The touring show 9 Evenings Reconsidered: Art Theater and Engineering 1966 documents the legendary series of performances by the likes of John Cage, Robert Rauschenberg, Yvonne Rainer, and many others, and organized by Billy Kluver, a Bell Laboratories engineer, in October 1966 at the 69th Regiment Armory. The exhibition opened in Montreal at the Leonard and Bina Ellen Gallery, traveled to MIT's List Visual Arts Center, and is now on its way to Berlin's Tesla Media Art Laboratory at the beginning of November. For those of us who aren't on the exhibition's path, we can see many elements of the exhibition in a virtual space. Compiled by Langlois Foundation researcher-in-residence Clarisse Baridot, the 9 Evenings: Theater and Engineering fonds has been animated in a way that highlights the specific aspects of the technology not often at the forefront of existing scholarship. Based on the multitude of detailed stage directions, electronic schemas, and process documents in the collection, the interface provides numerous points of access to this incredible set of documents. One click on Robert Rauschenberg's name takes you to video of the tennis match/performance Open Score, and also images and descriptions of all vital electronic components (including photographs of the racquets which were equipped with wireless transmitting microphones). Another click opens an entire section dedicated to every screen and monitor used over the course of the evenings. As so much of the discourse on 9 Evenings is related directly to its importance as an art historical event, it is invigorating to explore this resource that, while still locating this moment firmly within this artistic context, for once puts the technical in the spotlight.
The latest two person show at Dallas' And/Or Gallery showcases the work of Kevin Bewersdorf and Guthrie Lonergan. Using the web in all its multi-functional glory, both these artists emphasize the degree to which the internet has become embedded in our culture and psyches. Lonergan's practice is a superlative example of a new generation of internet artists who combine net.art aesthetics with Web 2.0 content. Turning web surfing into an art form (Lonergan is a founding member of the Nasty Nets Internet Surfing Club), Lonergan borrows from user-generated sites, primarily YouTube, and composes snapshots of a culture that has become increasingly comfortable with the conflation of public and private space. This blurring is evident in the video Babies' first steps for which Longergan combed the web for clips of this monumental family event. With no voice over, the first steps of Riley, Annie Kate, et al, become a compelling vision of how the forms offered by Web 2.0 can transform our most intimate memories into cultural products. Kevin Bewersdorf's work also examines this recontextualization and the eroding distinctions between public and private spaces and the control. In his latest work, Bewersdorf--who recently garnered attention for his part (as co-author and star) in the film LOL The Movie (about our reliance on technology and its affect on our physical relationships), mines the web's image pool with keyword searches and then converts them into objects at his ready-made production house: Walgreens.com's 'Photo Center.' Creating pillows, mugs, coasters and other tchockes, Bewersdorf literally objectifies other people's lives.
Historically, what remains of performance art are documents and anecdotes. While the anecdote ends up as lore and possibly lives on in an art history text, the document has taken on a hotly contested function in recent years as photographs of seminal performances have become valuable objects and in some instances come to stand for the original performances themselves. How does the relationship between the document and the performance change when performances take place in virtual spaces, or are streamed live on the web? How does this blur the line between a performance and its documentation? For the month of October, Vancouver, British Columbia is host to the LIVE Performance Art Biennale--a series of performances, panels, and exhibitions over multiple weeks on multiple sites. Almost all of the activities are being documented and updated constantly, online, in the form of text, photographs, and video--eliminating a degree of distance that has normally existed between the event and its trace. The document is a key element in Friday's 'The Great Learning,' in which Michael Morris and Vincent Trasov reanimate the documents of their past performances, and on Tuesday October 23rd this increasing simultaneity of performance and document will be explored in 'Bodies
Nature and technology are often forced into an antagonistic relationship and artists Cary Peppermint and Christine Nadir, known jointly as EcoArtTech, seek to problematize this faulty opposition. "The question of whether human use of technology is ecologically a fault or a strength, the relation of the digital to the natural, the expansion of the imagination of what constitutes technology" are a few of the lines of inquiry which form the core of their work. A Series of Practical Perfomances in the Summer of 2005 was a series of performances in which the artists negotiate their relationship to nature and the idea of 'wilderness.' Slightly ritualistic and also humorous, one performance enacts an important element of our modern quest for nature--driving there. For their newest project, Untitled Landscapes for Portable Media Players Peppermint and Nadir, as the title would suggest, offer a series of four moving landscapes to be played on your iPod (or whatever portable device you might use). In the tradition of the landscape painting these moving images offer the viewer a chance to contemplate the sublime character of nature, but in the case of EcoArtTech's landscapes, the sublime is sublimated under layers of technological intervention.
"Behind every great man..." is perhaps a phrase more identified with 1970s feminism than the current state of gender relations, but in an art world which appears to offer greater opportunity to the male sex (for example see Jerry Saltz's illuminating Village Voice article), perhaps this axiom is still more a reality than a tired cliche. Such is the case of Shikego Kubota, artist and wife of the late Nam June Paik whose current show at Maya Stendhal Gallery, in New York City, at long last celebrates her own illustrious career. Perhaps best known for her iconic feminist work 'Vagina Painting' (1965), Kubota was a major player in the international Fluxus movement and an early adopter of video. Generating and distorting video signals and creating video sculpture (techniques so supremely associated with Paik), Kubota's works explore links between the technological, the personal, and the natural. The humorous and extremely moving exhibition My Life with Nam June Paik (which closes on October 20th), is an homage not only to her life partner who passed away in 2006 but also a remarkable display of her own artistic gifts. Showing both older video sculptures and two new sculptural portraits of her late husband, the title of this exhibition brings to light some highly nuanced issues of gender, collaboration and influence, and recognition.
I wholeheartedly agree that Ben made some excellent points (and it's nice to have the link to his notes—thanks for that). In particular:
"//It tried to reinvent the wheel because it lacked the tacit knowledge of previous generations who had shared similar concerns and worked through many of the pitfalls."
I feel this statement clearly encapsulates a problem with much of the recent discourse around the idea of post-internet. There's an assumption that a critical articulation of the relationship between online and physical objects is a new phenomenon. The materiality (or demateriality) was an ongoing concern from the outset of artists working on the Internet. So I'm disappointed when I hear Karen Archley cite a 2009 exhibition curated by AIDS-3D as the first instance of this kind of material engagement—if we are suggesting that this is what the term post-internet has come to represent.
Finger wagging over.
I'm just surprised to see Rhizome facilitating a discussion that suggests that artists and curators were not thinking about the relationships between online themes and aesthetics and offline presentation before 2008!
It doesn't seem like a provocation or exaggeration, it seems like a serious misrepresentation of the history.
I'm sorry. Can someone explain this statement to me? Michael?
Job Title: Exhibitions Curator
Position Type: Full-time contract, 35 hours/week
Location: Vancouver, British Columbia
Years Experience: 3+
The Western Front Society seeks an outstanding, highly motivated arts professional to step into the role of Exhibitions Curator.
The Western Front is one of Canada’s pioneering artist-run centres and produces and presents works in five programs: Exhibitions, Performance Art, New Music, Media Arts, and FRONT Magazine. The Western Front was founded in 1973 by a small group of interdisciplinary artists, and has developed into an exemplary multi-disciplinary environment for experimental art practice and research. With a staff of ten plus interns and volunteers, the Society collectively produces over fifty events a year.
The Exhibitions Program has a mandate to present contemporary visual art by local, national and international artists. Intentionally open, this mandate has historically focused on artwork that is conceptual, media-based or otherwise ephemeral in nature. Currently the program promotes experimentation with conceptual models and contexts for visual art that have allowed the program to expand beyond gallery exhibitions to include artist books and posters, cross-disciplinary works, site-specific and Internet projects, and commissions.
The Exhibitions Curator reports to the Executive Director, and is responsible for:
• Developing and communicating a dynamic vision for the Exhibitions Program
• Curating exhibitions and all associated programming
• Editing publications
• Writing grants and seeking opportunities for additional funding or support
• Supervising one part-time staff member, contract workers, as well as volunteers
• Exemplary knowledge and understanding of contemporary art practices
• Excellent written and verbal communication skills
• Proven financial management experience
• Strong organizational skills
• Ability to provide direction and work with a diverse staff
• High capacity to meet deadlines and work under pressure
• Knowledge of a broad range of issues related to the arts
• A clear understanding of the philosophy and history of the Canadian artist-run centre movement
• Knowledge of the principle funding agencies and prior grant writing experience
• Knowledge of managing publications and print projects
• Experience installing a variety of art exhibitions
• Mac OS, Microsoft Office, electronic mail and Filemaker Pro, an asset
A competitive benefits package is available after the three months probation period is complete. After eight months of employment, four weeks paid vacation may be taken during the period when programs are recessed. An additional ten days paid holiday time may be taken during the December/January holiday period.
A part-time Exhibitions Assistant supports this position. Provisions are also made within the program budget for research-based travel.
HOW TO APPLY
The Western Front Society is committed to the principles of Employment Equity and encourages applications from Aboriginal persons, members of a visible minority group or persons with a disability.
Applications containing a cover letter, curriculum vitae, three references, and writing samples, must be received by 4:00 p.m. on December 14, 2009.
Please send applications by email only to:
Exhibitions Curator Hiring Committee
Western Front Society
303 East 8th Avenue
Vancouver, BC V5T 1S1
NO PHONE CALLS PLEASE. Only candidates selected for an interview will be contacted.