"A guy at work emailed me a picture of him and his wife, but over the wife's face is a picture of mine! Is that cute or creepy?" So begins the song "Cute or Creepy?" by Japanese artist Takuji Kogo. Under the auspices of Candy Factory (the name of the gallery Kogo operated from 1998 to 2000 and the body through which he still mounts online projects), Cute or Creepy is also the title of Kojo's new collaborative project for this year's Kitakyushu Biennial 07--exploring the potentially cute and creepy terrain of surveillance and appropriation. Collaboration is the core of Kojo's practice and Candy Factory's flexible iterations allow him to easily work with an international group of artists. For this project, Kojo collaborates with Jon Miller, Sean Snyder, Hiroyuki Hanada, and Young Hae Chang Heavy Industries, among others, creating a series of websites and songs reflecting *Candy Factory's aesthetic of animated photographs, overlaid text, and computer-generated audio. Fitting within this general framework, the personal style each participating artist brings to the formula resonates loudly, explicitly recognizing and celebrating influence and collaboration in the artistic process. Nothing creepy about that.
Whether it's building forts, playing with blocks, or remodeling Barbie's Dream House, even as children, the architectural impulse to create an ideal space for our self looms large. Nowhere in the digital realm is there such a literal translation of this impulse than in Second Life, and recognizing the growing use of this space as an experimental architectural playground is the 1st Annual Architecture and Design Competition in Second Life. The public voted on the four finalists, who were selected by a panel at this year's Ars Electronica, (the theme of which was GOOD BYE PRIVACY), and the people's favorite was Tanja Meyle's Living Cloud. Avoiding anything that mimicked real life structures, the finalists all responded to their virtual environment, reassessing what good design means in a virtual space. In some cases walls were constructed from sound and Second Life detritus, but for Meyle's entry she truly examined her spatial needs within this multi-user context. Ironically, hers is a semi-transparent cloud that constantly travels with her avatar--an extension of her virtual self. In a space where one doesn't really go to be alone, Living Cloud nonetheless provides its owner with both privacy and mobility.
Haven't we all wondered what it would be like to live someone else's life? To wear their clothes, live in their apartment, drive their car--basically to see if someone else lives a life better than our own? This curiosity has an outlet in the latest project by WOOLOO, an artist-run organization based in Berlin that offers exhibition opportunities and practical tools for artists and curators. This week, as part of PERFORMA07, they have organized Life Exchange, a week-long performance which gives spectators the chance to swap lives with a stranger--more particularly, one of the ten artists commissioned by WOOLOO for the project. Curated by the legendary performance artist and curator Martha Wilson (Founding Director of Franklin Furnace), spectators are invited into the Chelsea, NY apartment of writer Nancy Weber, and after a series of steps anyone who wants can emerge with different clothes, different documents, and different apartment keys. At a time when issues of privacy and identity are constantly being debated in the public forum, Life Exchange requires an almost inconceivable level of trust. But on the lighter side, Life Exchange offers both the narcissist and the voyeur the opportunity to snoop, covet, or criticize the life of another.
From October 25-27, St. Augustine Trinidad is host to the 6th annual Animae Caribe: Animation and New Media Festival--part of the Trinidad and Tobago Film Festival. The screening 'African Animation Panorama,' consists of short films ranging from early cartoons such as Egyptian artist Frenkel's Mish-Mish, to the work of contemporary South African production house Black Heart Gang--and much in between. A showcase of student films and other juried submissions will also be screened over the three-day festival. But what separates this festival from others of its ilk (aside from its geographic locale) is its bent towards the pedagogical. Numerous instructional workshops will take place alongside the screenings, in addition a 'Business Day' which focuses on animation as a career and gives practical tips for those who would seek one. Perhaps most notable is the 'Mobile Caravan,' which brings both festival highlights and workshops to community centers in rural areas throughout the islands. Taking their audience into vital consideration, the Caribbean Animation Festival not only entertains, but also addresses the needs of its community.
Yael Kanarek's latest show, 'Warm Fields,' at New York City's Bitforms Gallery extends her well-known internet work World of Awe into a gallery space. The World of Awe is a long-running work that follows the movement of a traveler in the land of 'Sunset/Sunrise.' The texts and languages so vital to the virtual sphere are physically articulated through a series of sculptures that reflect the varied landscape that Awe's traveler inhabits. In the piece 'Sunset/Sunrise' hundreds of delicately cut words, spelling out the title in English, Hebrew, and Arabic are pinned to the wall, creating the illusion of multiple spatial and temporal dimensions. The amorphic and web-like 'Travelog 765.34/3: Cut Sunset/Sunrise' makes physical the textual and networked nature of the traveler's journal. While so many artists struggle to make the jump from web to gallery, Kanarek's installation seems an organic and logical physical extension of her internet practice, and just like her weary traveler, Kanarek's work seamlessly moves through multiple spaces.