Lisa Oppenheim is interested in how the present viewer sees media of the past, and to study this she takes materials from archives and transforms them with editing effects that distill her interpretation of how an image’s meaning changes over time. For a show at tank.tv, on view through July 21, Oppenheim has revealed her sources and processes in texts accompanying five of her moving-image works. E-M-P-I-R-E reconstructs Andy Warhol’s eight-hour film of the same title using a single 100-foot roll of 16mm color film. “Unlike Warhol’s endurance test of extended filmic boredom, this version uses the language of structuralist ‘flicker’ films of the late 60’s and 70’s,” Brian O’Connell writes in an essay excerpted on tank.tv. He goes on to inform us that the rhythm of the flickering Empire State Buildings spells out “E-M-P-I-R-E” in Morse code—a system as obsolete as 16mm film. Explanations like these never hurt, but Oppenheim’s work is stronger when the transformation of an image over time is a compelling sight in itself. The two channels in Story, Study, Print (2005) juxtapose children’s posters used in predominantly African-American schools in the 1970s with a disconnected sequence of still and moving images; here, chance and obscurity force viewers to form their own associative links rather than relying on a statement to decode meaning. In Yule Log, 2008, a soothing image of a fireplace at Christmastime deteriorates through several repetitions, each one a 16mm copy of the last, while The Sun Is Always Setting Somewhere Else (2006) is a slide show where each frame shows a hand holding snapshots of a sunset ...
In June I traveled through southeastern Europe from Venice to Athens, where I’m looking at art and blogging. Part three of the travelogue is about Belgrade, Serbia.
With a population of two million, Belgrade is twice as big as Zagreb, which is thrice as big as Ljubljana, but the sizes of these three cities have a paradoxically inverse relationship to their cultural infrastructure, particularly at the intersection of art and technology. While little Ljubljana had enough events to fill my schedule for four days, Zagreb’s handful of galleries were in a summer slumber. But organizations were actually there, even if hibernating, while Belgrade had nothing. Many attributed that to the smaller country’s attempt to find a niche or a brand for itself in Europe’s crowded contemporary art world. “New media in Slovenia was as a more or less organized way of deterritorialization from the ex-Yugoslavian context, a systematic attempt ‘to be more serious than the system itself,’" said Maja Ciric, a Serbian curator, citing Zizek. “But in Belgrade the new media paradigm is self-driven and performed individually.”
Belgrade had a small but active demoscene in the 1990s, which gave rise to one of the most interesting art collectives in the former Yugoslavia, Kosmoplovci (pronounced “kos-mo-PLOV-tsee”). The name means something like astronauts or space sailors, and comes from a 1970s do-it-yourself science and technology magazine that some demoscene friends found at a flea market in the early ‘90s. The members of Kosmoplovci are fond of rummaging through the past, and their varied output—which includes internet works, videos, music, comics, and books—usually involves allusion and found media. Satelitska Stanica is based on an old 8mm film extolling a joint project with Japan to ...
This month I’m traveling through southeastern Europe from Venice to Athens, where I’m looking at art and blogging. Part two of the travelogue is about Zagreb, Croatia. Part one is here.
Zagreb’s center has more street names than streets; the names change every few blocks so meters can be allotted to every worthy Croatian hero. And many names differ from the ones streets bore twenty years ago, since a different history needed to be inscribed in Zagreb’s map after Yugoslavia dissolved and Croatia became independent. “The Renaming Machine,” an exhibition currently on view at Zagreb’s Galerija Miroslav Kraljevic, addresses the obsession with names. Sanja Ivekovic’s contribution is inspired by Zagreb’s Street of the Unknown Heroine—a name that is both unsettling and appropriate when virtually all other streets are named for men—which takes the form of a poster with maps, e-mails, and other supporting documents describing the artist’s attempt to give the same name to a street in Utrecht during her retrospective at Van Abbemuseum.
Just as street names reflect political values, so do the uses of buildings on them. After arriving in Zagreb and settling in the Angelina Jolie room at The Movie Hotel, I met with Tomislav Medak, director of Mama, an organization that was founded in 1999 as a center for internet activists and artists, but in recent years has shifted its attention to urban development, specifically the use of former industrial sites that abound in Zagreb (as they do in many other large, formerly socialist cities). Mama lobbies the municipal government to reserve abandoned factories for public use—whether cultural activities or low-cost housing—rather than handing them to private investors ...
Shane Hope’s sprawling prints can’t be processed with one or two looks. They are built on thousands of tiny details, rather than around a single focal point, and as the eye travels across the picture field, it sees lines and pieces accumulating in recognizable bodies and then collapsing into chaos, or maybe an order that can’t be discerned by the naked eye. Hope calls them Molecular Modeling prints, or “Mol Mods,” and they are informed by his belief that “the molecule is the brushstroke of the future”—that nanotechnology, the manipulation of matter on a molecular scale, will transform industry sometime soon. For now, Hope’s tools are coding languages Python and Perl. Because of the Mol Mods’ size he can only work on one screen-sized swath at a time, and because of their complexity, that is all that can be rendered even on Hope’s homemade desktop, which he proudly calls "faster than any factory-built Mac on the planet."
United States of America
The Abrons Arts Center of Henry Street Settlement is proud to present DECENTER: An Exhibition on the Centenary of the 1913 Armory Show, curated by Andrianna Campbell and Daniel S. Palmer. Opening February 17, 2013 and on view through April 7, the exhibition celebrates the legacy of the Cubist paintings and sculptures in the historic 1913 Armory Show by featuring a group of 27 emerging and internationally recognized contemporary artists, who explore the changes in perception precipitated by our digital age and who closely parallel the Cubist vernacular of fragmentation, nonlinearity, simultaneity, and decenteredness. The show highlights the sponsorship of the 50th anniversary exhibition by the Henry Street Settlement in 1963, the occasion which announced the building of what is today known as the Abrons Arts Center located at 466 Grand Street, New York, NY, on the Lower East Side of Manhattan.
The exhibition commences on the 100th anniversary of the Armory Show, Sunday, February 17, with a 1913 Armory Show Centennial Event, which will feature panel discussions about the 1913 exhibition, as well as the theme of perception and art in the digital age, followed by an opening reception. The show exhibits a group of artworks in the gallery, and also features digital works displayed at www.decenterarmory.com. The site launches February 17.
At the 1913 Armory Show, the Association of American Painters and Sculptors showcased the “New Spirit” of modern art. A backlash of scathing criticism showed how baffled the general American public was by the seeds of abstraction in the Cubist artworks, which quickly became a shorthand expression for the structural changes precipitated by modernity. They not only redefined artistic practice, but also altered our understanding of the process through which we perceive the world. On its 100th anniversary, we will celebrate the Armory Show by posing the question: What is the legacy of Cubism in the hundred years since the Armory Show’s radical display of modern art, and especially, how has this become relevant today?
Accordingly, this exhibition celebrates the centenary of the groundbreaking Armory Show by assembling artworks that analyze the digital revolution and the ways it has affected our perception of the world. Artists as varied as Sara VanDerBeek, Gabriel Orozco, Liz Magic Laser, and Abrons AIRspace residency program alumna Amy Feldman evoke the formal innovations of the historic avant-garde but differ through an embrace or flirtation with digital mediation. Artists today like Andrew Kuo, Tony Cokes, and Cory Arcangel are inspired by the inter-cultural circulation of images, ideas, and data in a worldwide network. While Pablo Picasso and fellow Cubists combined archaic Western forms and appropriated exotica to shatter inherited modes of representation, today ubiquitous computing and the digital image explosion create an intersection of the physical and the virtual, and in doing so, have decentered the locus of artistic praxis.
Although the far-reaching historical significance of the Armory Show was examined through a partial re-creation on its fiftieth anniversary in 1963 (sponsored by the Henry Street Settlement), even then, scholars acknowledged that the exhibition’s social import could not be replicated simply by re-staging the show. In order to honor that “New Spirit,” and the collaborative process through which the 27 members of the Association of American Painters and Sculptors organized this radical exhibit, the 2013 show will inhabit all available exhibition spaces at Abrons and also feature a corresponding online component of digital works. This web-based portion of the show, accessible at www.decenterarmory.com, will grow as artists invite others to contribute in a process that highlights the diversity and expansiveness of the 1913 show’s legacy as it relates to our world today.
This event celebrates the 1913 Armory Show, exactly 100 years after its doors opened to the public. What is the legacy of the exhibition, and how has it been understood and misinterpreted? Is there a “new aesthetic” brought about by perceptual shifts in the digital era? How do these changes align with the formal innovations of the historic avant garde? These two discussion panels, organized in conjunction with Abrons Art Center’s “Decenter: An Exhibition on the Centenary of the 1913 Armory Show,” will address the legacy of the 1913 Armory Show, and the ways that perception and artistic practice in the last hundred years has been radically transformed by our digital era.
Panel Discussion: The Legacy of the 1913 Armory Show:
Charles Haven Duncan (Collection Specialist, Archives of American Art)
Franklin Evans (Artist, New York)
Andrea Geyer (Artist, New York)
Marilyn Satin Kushner (Curator and Head, Department of Prints, Photographs, and Architectural Collections, New-York Historical Society; Co-curator of The Armory Show at 100)
Mary Murray (Curator of Modern and Contemporary Art, Munson Williams Proctor Arts Institute)
Panel Discussion: Perception and Art in the Digital Age:
Introduced by: Israel Rosenfield (City University of New York)
Ethan Greenbaum, Barbara Kasten, Andrew Kuo, Travess Smalley, Sara VanDerBeek
Moderated by: Brian Droitcour
1) Several people have asked me about submitting videos of readings, or video works where words appear as images. The Wordworks series is mainly about writing, rather than performance, video, or other mediums. Any submission should have a core of text that people don't have to press "play" to read. I welcome the inclusion of diverse media objects in submissions as complements to text, but not as replacements of it.
2) Submissions should be able to fit in a Rhizome blog post, without requiring readers to go to another site to read it. I'm aware of the strong traditions of electronic literature, hypertext, interactive fiction, etc., where writers make use of the entire browser window, from the background color to the forward and back buttons. I read and enjoy works like that, but for Wordworks I'm looking for writing that does not exceed the format of the post. This is just an arbitrary decision that I have made in order to maintain continuity throughout the series.
Thanks for reading and responding!