In this series of posts, we will be blogging recently updated content from Rhizome's Artbase.
Founded in 1999, the Rhizome ArtBase is an online archive of new media art containing some 2503 art works, and growing. The ArtBase encompasses a vast range of project by artists all over the world that employ materials such as software, code, websites, moving images, games and browsers to aesthetics and critical ends.
%20wrong (2000)- JODI
This work has been restored and is now being permanently hosted on the Artbase. More recently repaired works from the ArtBase can be found here.
This past Migrating Forms festival opened with a screening of Melanie Gilligan's feature-length film Popular Unrest, which is also available as five episodes on Gilligan's website. Set in a fictional future London, not unlike the present, Popular Unrest seizes upon the modern preoccupation with systems, data, and constant technological improvement. The story revolves around the influence of the "World Spirit," a technological system that controls all transactions and social interactions with the aim of boosting productivity and increasing profitability. The world of the Spirit is a rational existence where everything is monitored, quantified, and rationally controlled.
At the film's opening a mysterious disembodied knife brutally commits murder, while the 24 hour media cycle, punctuated by television advertisements for the spirit drones on in the background. Equally mysterious as the violent murders, people around the world are being inexplicably drawn together into what have been termed "groupings." The plot of Popular Unrest centers on one such grouping, comprised of twelve individuals, from diverse backgrounds with nothing in common other than their overwhelming desire to come together. While the closeness the group feels towards each other is inconceivable in the rational terms of system transactions that govern their reality, they find comfort in their connection.
When a group of scientists approach them to conduct a study of their group and hopefully provide a scientific explanation for the phenomenon, they agree to participate. The biological causes of their behavior and the dehumanized and technological control of the spirit that approaches the world in terms of data and profit margins are pitted against the humanity of the grouping and the irrationality of life. They are, as the scientists tell them, like a snapshot taken by the system, a frozen moment of social exchange. They represent the Spirit's reflexivity.
Ultimately, however, Gilligan is uncertain in the power of our humanity to resist the faith, comfort and often overwhelming power we invest in the quantifiable, data driven systems we ourselves have created.
Lets turn into a narrow street where it’s dark and less busy. I can’t catch it when the sun is shining. We need grey days for this. Here it comes, all by itself. Small, bigger, bigger, whoosh, smaller, smaller. Nice! Now some stillness. I double behind your shoulder. Me, the rear view mirror. Objects are gone before they appear. Small, big, bigger, whoosh, vanished. Keep going now. We’ll run into it again by coincidence. Waiting makes no sense. Remember the sign? “no relax no easy”. I count until twenty. No. No. No. No. No. Yes. OK. Replay. The object is replaced by the object that was removed. Cherry Crap. The bus drove in. How absurd. Where is that bus coming from?
eteam's Track One, screened at the Migrating Forms festival last month, is now available online. eteam, a collaboration between Franziska Lamprecht and Hajoe Moderegger often explore the tension and developing relationship between the real world and the virtual world. In 2008 they received a Rhizome Commission for Second Life Dumpster, a project that highlights the levels of consumption and disposal in the virtual world. The pair constructed an evolving virtual garbage dump, a repository for deleted objects tagged with a custom decay script written by the artists. In Track One, weaving together various global locations, they similarly assemble real and virtual properties to create an amalgamation of the physical and virtual worlds.
In my earlier sculpture and installation work, I used found and fabricated elements–barriers, detectors, and security devices. I was interested in the technology of deterrence and passage, movement and restraint as well as crowd control and traffic flow. This is what I was thinking about with the work involving bullet-proof barriers and waiting line stanchions.
One of the things I wanted to do with these sculptures and installations was to call into question notions of safety, security, protection and vulnerability, and to confuse the sense of inside and outside. While I always liked producing slick and seductive objects, in some sense I was more interested on their effects, both physically and psychologically, on the space around them. This charged mental space is already, in a sense, virtual, so working with 3-D software (at first just to arrange and visualize installations) seemed a great way to explore these ideas.
Narrative and cinematic movement were always important to me, and the first 3-D works I did were in fact animation loops that were output to video. Nevertheless I quickly became fascinated and obsessed by the great detail possible in still images. The sense of imminence and the implication of the covert, of a beyond just out of reach, is of central importance to me. This is what leads me to say that the spaces I depict are in a way haunted. I do love the almost cheap or tongue-in-cheek sense of mystery involved, but the emptiness of the images speaks to a sense of absence and loss that works on many different levels, and I think loss is very important to technology in general.
Although they are often seen ...