Ceci Moss
Since 2005
Works in Oakland, California United States of America

BIO
Ceci Moss is the Assistant Curator of Visual Arts at Yerba Buena Center for the Arts in San Francisco. She launched YBCA’s exhibition series “Control: Technology in Culture” which showcases work by emerging and mid-career artists who engage the social, cultural, and experiential implications of technology on the museum’s second floor. In its first year, the series includes solo exhibitions by Jacqueline Kiyomi Gordon, Lucy Raven, Nate Boyce and Shana Moulton. Taking its title from Gilles Deleuze’s 1992 essay “Postscript on the Societies of Control,” the series seeks to prompt timely questions about the profound and far-reaching influence of a control society in the 21st century by focusing on artists whose work spans a multitude of disciplines and relates to a diverse set of issues, including architecture, acoustics, psychology, labor, consumerism, the environment, and the military. Beyond the “Control” series, she curated a large scale public art installation by Kota Ezawa in YBCA’s sculpture court, the solo exhibition Brenna Murphy: Liquid Vehicle Transmitter, the video installation Erin Shirreff: Lake, and co-curated with Betti-Sue Hertz the exhibition portion of YBCA’s signature triennial Bay Area Now 7. She also co-curated with Astria Suparak the touring group exhibition Alien She that examines the lasting influence of the punk feminist movement Riot Grrrl on contemporary artists, and originated at the Miller Gallery, Carnegie Mellon University.

Currently a PhD candidate in Comparative Literature at New York University, her academic research addresses contemporary internet-based art practice and network culture. Her PhD dissertation “The Informational Milieu and Expanded Internet Art” examines the expansion of internet art beyond the screen in the 2000’s, especially towards sculpture and installation, as a product of what theorist Tiziana Terranova called an “informational milieu.” Combining art history and media theory through the analysis of case studies that range from internet art and social media in the 2000’s to Jean-François Lyotard’s groundbreaking new media exhibition at the Centre Pompidou in 1985 Les Immatériaux, her dissertation asks how the widespread technological capture of information affects cultural production, specifically contemporary art, and the kind of critical response it necessitates.

Her writing has appeared in Rhizome, ArtAsiaPacific, Artforum, The Wire, Performa Magazine, and various art catalogs. Prior to her position at YBCA, she was the Senior Editor of the art and technology non-profit arts organization Rhizome, and an Adjunct Instructor at New York University in the Department of Comparative Literature. From 2000-2014, she programmed a radio show dedicated to experimental music, Radio Heart, on the independent radio stations KALX, East Village Radio and Radio Valencia.

Required Reading: From the VCR to YouTube: An Interview with Lucas Hilderbrand by Henry Jenkins


What happened before YouTube?

It's a question we've addressed here many times before. Many different histories lead to our current moment of video sharing and DIY media-making -- some subcultural (the history of fandom and a range of other communities of practice which are generating new content), some economic, some technological. Lucas Hilderbrand, author of Inherent Vice: Bootleg Histories of Videotape and Copyright, holds some critical pieces of the puzzle, writing with historiographical sophistication about the emergence of video as a technology and as set of cultural practices, about the debates it sparked especially around shifts in control over production and distribution, about the communities which formed around the sharing of tapes, and about how all of this looks forward to contemporary digital practices. It is a book which raises vital questions and provides a rich historical context for our current debates.

As someone who lived through the era when the VCR was launched, the book brought back many memories of things I had almost forgotten about the dramatic adjustments which the culture made to this transformative and transgressive technology. Working through the book for an interview, I was struck by the fact that I, like many other instructors, have had very little to say about videotape in my current course on new media and culture, something I will work on the next time I teach it.

Given my enthusiasm for this book, I was delighted to be able to interview Hilderbrand and share with you his own reflections on the ways the history of video can help us to understand some contemporary media developments.

-- FROM THE INTRODUCTION TO "FROM THE VCR TO YOUTUBE: AN INTERVIEW WITH LUCAS HILDERBRAND" BY HENRY JENKINS

[READ PART ONE]

[READ PART TWO]

READ ON »


40 gigs to Freedom -or- Hot Shit (2011) - Jesse Hulcher




USB-harddrive, 1.82 gigabytes of illegally downloaded media

The USB-harddrive hanging on the wall contains a collection of illegally downloaded files, all of which contain the words "Steal This..." within their titles. The accompanying text-file catalogues all of that media and illustrates the files' locations on my computer's harddrive.

-- STATEMENT FROM THE ARTIST

[Note: This work is currently on view through May 1st at SPACE gallery in Pittsburgh in Jesse Hulcher's solo show STRAIGHT OUTTA CompUSA]

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Video Roundup: Severed Heads


Severed Heads on ABC Television's program "Edge of the Wedge" in 1986

Originally founded in 1979 by Richard Fielding, Andrew Wright and Tom Ellard, Severed Heads was an electronic group based in Sydney. They used synthesizers, tape loops, and an array of electronics to yield a distinctive sound, one which could most easily be described as industrial music, which later developed into abstract pop. While the lineup changed over the years, Tom Ellard has been the main continuing force in the group, up until his announcement of its end in 2008. In 1983, Severed Heads began integrating live video in their performances, which became a mainstay in their work. This post collects videos of the group, the majority of which date from the early 1980s, and many of which document their use of video synthesizers. For more information about everything Severed Heads, check Ellard's official site.


Below: Videos of a live set performed on Metro TV, a community video center, in 1982. The video synthesizer used here was developed by Stephen Jones.



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Required Reading: After the Screen: Array Aesthetics and Transmateriality by Mitchell Whitelaw


1. Glowing Rectangles

For all the diversity of the contemporary media ecology - network, broadcast, games, mobile - one technical form is entirely dominant. Screens are everywhere, at every scale, in every context. As well as the archetypal "big" and "small" screens of cinema and television we are now familiar with pocket- and book-sized screens, public screens as advertising or signage, urban screens at architectural scales. As satirical news site The Onion observes, we "spend the vast majority of each day staring at, interacting with, and deriving satisfaction from glowing rectangles."

Formally and technically these screens vary - in size and aspect ratio, display technology, spatiotemporal limits, and so on. They are united however in two basic attributes, which are something like the contract of the screen. First, the screen operates as a mediating substrate for its content - the screen itself recedes in favor of its hosted image. The screen is self-effacing (though never of course absent or invisible). This tendency is clearly evident in screen design and technology; we prize screens that are slight and bright - those that best make themselves disappear. Apple's "Retina" display technology claims to have passed an important perceptual threshold of self-effacement, attaining a spatial density so high that individual pixels are indistinguishable to the naked eye (below - image Bryan Jones).


The second key attribute of contemporary digital screens is their tendency to generality. The self-effacing substrate of the screen is increasingly a general-purpose substrate - unlinked to any specific content type; equally capable of displaying anything - text, image, web site, video, or word-processor. This attribute is coupled of course to the generality of networked computing; since the era of multimedia the computer screen has led the way in modeling itself as a container for anything (just as the computer models itself a "machine for anything"). The past decade has simply seen this general-purpose container proliferate across scales and contexts, ushering us into the era of glowing rectangles.

However over the past decade in design and the media arts, a wave of practice has appeared which as this paper will argue, resists the dominance of the glowing rectangle. Given the near-total cultural saturation of the screen, this is unsurprising, given the ongoing cultural dance of fringe and mainstream in which this practice participates. This is not simply a story of resistance however. In proposing and describing two particular strains of "post-screen" practice, this paper aims firstly to outline the shared terms of their relationship with the screen, and in the process develop a more detailed sense of these conceptual devices of generality, outlined above, and its opposite, specificity. Secondly, and more briefly, it outlines a theorisation of this practice, invoking transmateriality, an account of the paradoxical materiality of (especially digital) media, and Gumbrecht's notion of presence.

-- EXCERPT FROM "AFTER THE SCREEN: ARRAY AESTHETICS AND TRANSMATERIALITY" BY MITCHELL WHITELAW

[Note: Whitelaw explored some of the ideas in this paper previously in his "Right Here, Right Now - HC Gilje's Networks of Specificity" republished in Rhizome News on December 20, 2009]

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