After completing her informal education in Berlin's underground club scene, artist and musician Holly Herndon relocated to the Bay Area to pursue an MFA at Mills College's esteemed music program. Now continuing her studies in computer-based music at Stanford, Herndon has an inquisitive approach to technology, finding common threads among often-divided disciplines and communities: electronic music, academia, the tech sector, and contemporary art. As a result, her work is not easily categorized, whether she's composing music for brass ensembles or working on robotic sculptures with artist Conrad Shawcross, touring festivals in Europe or making dance music with heavily processed recordings of the human voice. This week, she released a 12" entitled Chorus on RVNG Intl.
Ceci Moss: Your new 12" Chorus comes out this week. The title track recalls the experience of continuous partial attention in online browsing, using audio samples derived from your own daily browsing. Chorus begins chaotically, taking form with the addition of percussion. Could you discuss the ideas behind this composition? Also, what did you use to sample your browsing history, and how did you technically create the track?
Ben Aqua, NEVER LOG OFF, 2013 (Limited edition t-shirt designed for #FEELINGS)
We are no longer mostly dealing with information that is transmitted form a source to a receiver, but increasingly also with informational dynamics—that is with the relation between noise and signal, including fluctuations and microvariations, entropic emergences and negentropic emergences, positive feedback and chaotic processes. If there is an informational quality to contemporary culture, then it might be not so much because we exchange more information than before, or even because we buy, sell or copy informational commodities, but because cultural processes are taking on the attributes of information—they are increasingly grasped and conceived in terms of their informational dynamics.
- Tiziana Terranova, Network Culture: Politics for the Information Age
Post internet, post media , post media aesthetics, radicant art, dispersion, formatting, meme art, circulationism—all recent terms to describe networked art that does not use the internet as its sole platform, but instead as a crucial nexus around which to research, transmit, assemble, and present data, online and offline. I think all of the writers advancing these terms share a sense that since the rise of mainstream internet culture and social media, art is more fluid, elastic, and dispersed. As Lauren Cornell astutely points out in the recent "Post Internet" roundtable for Frieze, terms are always placeholders for more complex ideas, and when successful, can instigate further, deeper conversation. Towards that end, I'd like to introduce another word to the list—expanded. Drawing from the definition of expansion as "the action or process of spreading out or unfolding; the state of being spread out or unfolded," I consider "expansion" not as an outward movement from a fixed entity, but rather, in light of data's dispersed nature, a continual becoming. Expanded internet art is not viewed as hermetic, but instead as a continuously multiple element that exists within a distributed, networked system. In order to elaborate this term, and to take small steps towards thinking through the changing conditions for art production in the early 21st century, I will use Tiziana Terranova's notion of an "informational milieu" to describe the dynamic process of exchange among artist, artwork, and network.
Photo of Earth by the crew of Apollo 8. December 22, 1968
The central theme for this year’s Venice Biennale exhibition, curated by Massimiliano Gioni, comes from an obscure patented design for an encyclopedic palace by the self-taught Italian-American artist Marino Auriti. Envisioned as a 136-story building that would take over sixteen blocks of Washington, D.C., Auriti’s palace was to house all the available knowledge in the world. Titling the show "Il Palazzo Enciclopedico" after Auriti’s unrealized model, Gioni and his team selected an eclectic group of artists, psychologists, mystics and more whose work resonates with Auriti’s desire to create a total image of the world. In many ways, the exhibition can be seen as a response to the exhaustive overabundance of information available on the internet. As Gioni pointedly asks in his essay, "…what is the point of creating an image of the world when the world itself has become increasingly like an image?"
The Paris, Texas of the Second Empire
Compiled July 2012 by Lawrence Kumpf
The flâneur is someone abandoned in the crowd. He is thus in the same situation as the commodity. He is unaware of this special situation, but this does not diminish its effects on him, it permeates him blissfully, like a narcotic that can compensate him for many humiliations. The intoxication to which the flâneur surrenders is the intoxication of the commodity immersed in a surging stream of customers. -- Walter Benjamin, 1938
A phantasmagoric journey through mid-20th century Country-Western music inspired by Walter Benjamin’s "The Paris of the Second Empire in Baudelaire."
Like the poet as flâneur in Benjamin’s essay, the country singer holds a position as the susceptible vessel that embodies the incongruities and ruptures characteristic of modern life. Neither an active symptom nor proprietor of a solution for the social ills, the singer finds himself drawn into the intoxicating world of empathetic relations to, with and as commodity. We hear, perhaps more clearly then in Baudelaire, a voice speaking not from the elevated position of a social commentator or critic, but as the desire of the commodity and commodified. Connoisseurs of narcotics sing empathetic odes to inanimate objects and intoxicants, fortifying themselves in homes that are really bars. Hobos, trashmen and ragpickers walk the street collecting and picking through the worn out, exhausted items that have escaped our economy of exchange: the antiques of modernity, the images of obsolescence. The perpetual peregrinator, a rambling man, heroically stripped of the comforts of modern life finds himself stalking graveyards and mourning a loss that has yet to occur, the final refuge of his own death. In a way these songs embody the last gasp of a failed American politics, the moment before county western music slips into an emphatic listing of personal property as banal as Rick Ross’ "Trilla." The tragedy of our era is that the latent revolutionary desires present in Hank Williams Jr.’s "Fax Me a Beer" (not included in this mix) are forever doomed to find their outlet in an inane fantasy of endless technological advancement.
1.Porter Wagoner - The Wino
2.Jim Ed Brown- Bottle, Bottle
3.Porter Wagoner – Shopworn 4.Hank Williams – Men with Broken Hearts
5.Leon Rausch – Glass of Pride
6.Don King – Live Entertainment
7.David Allen Coe – Sad Country Song
8.Don Silvers – Play me another Hank Williams
9.Porter Wagoner – Bottom of the Bottle
10.Merle Haggard – Swinging Doors
11.Porter Wagoner – I Just Came to Smell the Flowers
12.D. Sheridan – Don’t Make Me Laugh (While I’m Drinkin’)
13.The Willis Brothers – Gonna Buy Me A Jukebox
14.David Frizzell – I’m Gonna Hire A Wino to Decorate our House
15.Frank Lowe - "Trash Man"
Lawrence Kumpf is a curator at Issue Project Room in Brooklyn, NY.
New York-based musician and artist Eli Keszler integrates piano wire into his compositions in a way that falls between installation and improvisation. For Cold Pin, motorized beaters controlled by a generative sequence struct 14 piano strings hung across the wall of Boston's Cyclorama in 2011. Keszler then invited Ashley Paul, Greg Kelley, Reuben Son and Benjamin Nelson to play off the work, improvising alongside the randomized clunks, scraps, and bangs emanating from the wall.
His recent L-Carrier at Eyebeam complicated this format by activating the motors in tandem with a changing visual score designed by Keszler. Hosted on a dedicated website commissioned by Turbulence, these images evolved when visitors tripped up "targets" on the site that interfere with the code, modifying the pattern of the motors. On June 7, Keszler again played in a seven piece ensemble in conjunction with the installation, including musicians Ashley Paul, Anthony Coleman, Alex Waterman, C Spencer Yeh, Catherine Lamb, Geoff Mullen, and Reuben Son.
In both compositions accompanying Cold Pin and L-Carrier, the installation serves not as a simple backdrop, but a central element. On their own, the installations continue to have a commanding presence. Unlike the extended resonating tones of Ellen Fullman's Long Stringed Instrument, which meditatively fill a room, Keszler's approach to auditory space reveals his training as a percussionist, where the plucks are akin to hits - busy, feverish and complex. Taken out of an enclosed environment, such as in Collecting Basin, piano wire is not only responsive to the whims of the motor beaters but also the wind and the elements. Here, Keszler hung the wire from a large water tower, transforming an industrial space into an open air instrument.
Removed Nina Pope and Karen Guthrie's names from the sentence on NODE.London - thanks for pointing that out to us!
Among the various ways to study a sonorous environment, an ethnographical approach allows to focus on the way
habitat and urbanism is being re-appropriated by individuals or communities. As Michel De Certeau exposed in The
Practice of Everyday Life1, structures of power (political or economical) create space through urban planning for
instance, in within inhabitants create space for themselves through their practices, and “tactics”. Urbanism and
social practices interact in order to define a new territory, a new area of life, centered on its inhabitants. This sound
work deals with the aural spatial practice of culture in a context or massive urban renewal projects in Hong Kong.
The sounds recorded in Hong Kong’s Central Wet Market, reflect the everyday practices of a community, its own
social ties, and cultural codes, and its particular production of space in Lefebvre’s terms2. In this context, voices are
primary formal elements: People yelling in the street trying to attract attention of the crowd, trying to make
themselves heard, negotiating with each others, and so on. Other manifestations of human activities can be heard
through other sort of noises of these busy streets. Participants are not only creating the soundscape, but they are
interacting with it through their listening acts, with most certainly a communication purpose; merchants' yells echo
each others, creating “a feedback loop between human activity and our material surroundings3” (p.29)
This sound composition can be taken as a metaphor for the risk of dislocation of the social fabric and micro-level
cultural codes through the idea of disappearing sound. Urban renewal projects do not only affect the architectural
physical space, but also the sounds themselves that used to resonate through the space. This work takes roots in
the soundscape from the outdoor market in Central Hong Kong, and the listener embarks into the noisy streets
among stalls of fishes and vegetables. The sounds are moved around the listener’s head thus defining a constantly
evolving and unstable space for the listener.
The recorded sounds evolve from anecdotal sounds to more and more transformed sounds. The processes
involved in their transformations are real-time spectral effects. They imply is a shift from the common time domain
representation of sound, where amplitudes of sound are counted over time to a frequency domain, where the
different frequencies are evaluated over time. The way the sonorous data is processed in the frequency domain is
ruled by a particular algorithm referred to as the Fast Fourier transform. It is an equation that allows spectral
conversion of the raw sound then temporal reconversion for its normal playback. The first step deals with
calculations of the numbers series of numbers representing the strength of the frequency component at a variety
of points. Diverse processes can then be operated at this stage upon the frequency constituent of the sound, such
as selection of particular frequencies or range of frequencies, ‘freezing’ the sound on particular frequencies, etc. In
order to be heard back, these numbers have to be reconverted into the temporal scale.
In this work, voices become blurry, frozen-like, thanks to these spectral processes. Their original richness and variety
are reduced to drones, as being the mere traces of the initial sounds. However, all the sound frequencies present
throughout the piece are constituted by the original sounds from the market. Hence these sounds are slowly
thinning, freezing into this disappearing process of voices.
Hong Kong, August 04th 2009.
1 The Practice of Everyday Life. Steven Rendall trans. University of California Press. 1984
2 The Production of Space, D. Nicholson-Smith trans., Oxford: Basil Blackwell, 1991. Originally published in1974
3 “Experimental Geography: From Cultural Production to the Production of Space”, Paglen Trevor. Experimental Geography: Radical Approaches to Landscape, Cartography, and Urbanism, Nato Thompson and Independent Curators International. Melville House, 2009
I would also look into Open Source Embroidery, an ongoing project curated by Ele Carpenter:
The catalog for the Radical Lace and Subversive Knitting show at MAD would be a good resource as well:
I would definitely track down past issues of KnitKnit or get the book:
Lastly, I just received the press release for a new show that looks relevant, The New Materiality: Digital Dialogues at the Boundaries of Contemporary Craft, at the Fuller Craft Museum. If you live near Boston, maybe you can see it, it opens in late May:
Hope this is helpful and good luck!
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