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.
This post is part of a new monthly series of guest curated mixes for the Rhizome blog, entitled Wavelength.
JAPANESE NOISE: A REMINDER
Compiled Summer 2012 by C. Spencer Yeh
Back when I was an undergraduate and involved with college radio, we would hold educational meetings covering a wide variety of music by genre, artist, and geography. I was very much in thrall of the Japanese musical underground at the time, so I developed a presentation and this was the handout I made as an accompaniment. [See above.]
I’ve noticed the term ‘noise’ thrown around quite a bit lately, to encompass particular variations of form, ideology, and even affect, within organized sound culture. I generally have no qualms with what 'noise' can now mean and manifest. With that said, Japanese noise is my preeminent definition of 'noise'–my first and most formative experience. The birth and development of Japanese noise is singular, defined by its relation to time and place, to culture and aesthetic. Japanese noise taught me about freedom, fetish, listening, autodidactism, self-mythology, self-publishing, senzuri.
The selections for this mix date from the mid-'80s to the early '00s, are edited for length, and intentionally eschew the array of strategies in the scene (often deployed under the same project name) to focus on NOISE. Big parties can be a blast, but once in a while, a long visit with an old friend is incredibly fulfilling and necessary.
(note: all tracks are edited for the purposes of this mix)
01. Violent Onsen Geisha 'Heavy Introduction'
02. Government Alpha 'Anonym Slander'
03. The Gerogerigegege 'Nothing to Hear, Nothing to... 1985'
04. K2 'We Destroyed Barcelona Again'
05. Aube 'Aquatremble 2'
06. Merzbow 'Chant 2 (Part 1)'
07. Hedlah 'Proud Flesh'
08. Solmania 'Panic Bend Rock'
09. MSBR 'Psychic Blue'
10. Incapacitants 'Necrosis'
11. Masonna 'Spectrum Ripper (Part XVII/Part XII)'
12. Hanatarash 'We Are 0:00'
13. Killer Bug 'One-Eyed Nudist'
14. Monde Bruits 'Continuum'
15. Hijokaidan 'What A Nuisance!'
16. Masomania 'Burn Me Fast'
17. C.C.C.C. 'Loud Sounds Dopa (Part II)'
18. Gomikawa Fumio 'Satan's Tail, Santa's Head'
19. Niku-Zidousha 'Untitled'
20. Flying Testicle 'Testicle Rider'
21. Pain Jerk 'Crack n' Roll'
22. Kazumoto Endo 'Itabashi Girl'
I've noticed a lot of speculation and assumptions running around this discussion so far regarding Rhizome editorial and our motives, so I thought it would be best to begin by explaining how we do our research and how we decide to post what we do.
I do research all the time, through delicious, numerous art/culture/technology/etc. blogs, art magazines, mailing lists, etc. The same is true for John Michael, Brian, Ed and Marisa, as well as all of our contributors. Everyone is also engaged in numerous projects and activities (making art, curating, etc.), which only enriches the quality and depth of the blog. I'm also doing my PhD at NYU right now, and often my academic research and studies surface on the blog or in other ways. So that's where our information comes from, not from Pepsi or Dr. Evil.
Every morning, I check in with John Michael and we discuss our plan for the day. Usually I will send him a video or art project I found online or saw in a gallery, or he will do the same. For example, with the ebay projects we posted, John Michael sent me the Cary Peppermint piece, which reminded me of the Keith Obadike, John Freyer, and Michael Daines. I thought it was interesting that all of these works dealt with identity or the body through eBay, and also surfaced around the same time (2000/2001). Publishing these projects was not an attempt to fill space, but an effort to highlight 4 projects that used eBay to think about the body and identity. Usually John Michael and I will try to pair things thematically, it's a bit like DJing. I've thought of introducing the topics before we post, but I like keeping it loose. Curt got it right when he said:
>This blogging process seems fun to me, because I like art (and curation) that foregrounds the invisible connections >between things (les liens invisibles, if you will). I'm often less interested in the pieces themselves than in the implicit >connections that are gradually constructed between the pieces.
That's exactly what we're trying to do. In other instances, we'll post new work or old work because we like it, without an overarching thread to tie them all together. I see these posts as a visual conversation in a way, and I like that.
But art isn't the only thing we post. One of my frustrations with the old one paragraph format of Rhizome News was its brevity. In expanding Rhizome News to a forum for 1000-2000 page articles, we've been able to commission timely and insightful articles by some of the most outstanding writers in the field on a weekly basis. We also pay our writers rates comparable to some print publications, something I'm proud of. We've also been able to maintain the informational side of the Rhizome Digest in the Rhizome News mailer, with the latest announcements and discussions from the site. I'm very pleased with the current strength and direction of Rhizome News, and I look forward to seeing it develop further.
In terms of accusations that Rhizome is too focused on American artists, I disagree and I think this claim is totally unfounded. John Michael looked over his art posts from the last four months, and approximately 1/3rd of the artists are foreign born or currently based overseas. I know, personally, I filed two long articles in the past month on the Oberhausen Film Festival and the Venice Biennale, both of which focused on almost exclusively non-American artists and filmmakers. Today alone Brian wrote a really wonderful piece on his visit to Zagreb, spotlighting Mama, Kontejner, and artists such as Goran Skofic. Our website is in English, which in it of itself poses some limitations, but beyond that I think we've done a stellar job in covering and supporting a diverse and international group of artists. I've also worked very hard to open up the scope of our coverage to many practices - sound, sculpture, painting, performance, etc. - that engage technology in order to enrich the conversation and to acknowledge the expansion of the field. In addition, I'm keen to keep readers aware of the larger history of media art. I think we've succeeded in that regard as well, with posts such as Robin Oppenheimer's excellent article on psychedelic light shows on the west coast in the 1960s, Gene McHugh's article on Willoughby Sharp's research and experimentation with art and technology, Carolyn Kane's recent piece on James Turrell, etc. Marc, the fact that you would distill all of this into "one-liners and whiz-bang" art or "flashy websites and noisy visuals" is insulting.
In response to discussion - I've been thinking about that a lot, and I've noticed that the younger artists involved with Rhizome rarely contribute to the board. I would like to change that. I think part of it has to do with the way conversation happens online today. All of us have accounts on facebook, twitter, myspace, etc. Our conversations happen even more informally than they have in the past, and are distributed widely across numerous platforms. When Rhizome first began in the 1990s, this was not the environment it inhabited, and I think that produced a different platform for conversation. I've brought up the idea of starting something like empyre here, by inviting a group of people to discuss a specific subject over a set period of time, in order to focus the attention of participants and to establish a thoughtful, oriented conversation. I'm interested in hosting more discussion on the boards again and I am opening to hearing your suggestions in order to make that happen.
Deutsches Haus, NYU
42 Washington Mews,
New York, NY
Free, Open to the Public
Waiting Rooms: Architecture for the Time of Waiting
Exploring transitory spaces, limbo of bureaucratic hallways,
futuristic architecture, space pregnant with dangerous, utopian or
Round Table Discussion with Anthony Vidler, Ben Kafka, McKenzie Wark, Joe Milutis
Moderated by Paul North (NYU)
(Part of the Spring 2009 Graduate Student Conference of the Department of Comparative Literature at New York University "Waiting Time")
Anthony Vidler is Dean and Professor of the Irwin S. Chanin School of
Architecture at The Cooper Union, New York. He is the author of Warped
Space: Art, Architecture, and Anxiety in Modern Culture (2000), and
The Architectural Uncanny: Essays in the Modern Unhomely (1992), both
published by The MIT Press, and other books.
McKenzie Wark is an Australian-born media theorist and heterodox
Marxist scholar. Wark is the author of several books, including 50
Years of Recuperation of the Situationist International (2008), Gamer
Theory (2007), A Hacker Manifesto (2004), Celebrities, Culture and
Cyberspace (1998), The Virtual Republic (1997), and Virtual Geography
(1994). He is the Chair of the Culture and Media program at Eugene
Lang College, New School, New York.
Ben Kafka teaches media history and theory at NYU. His articles and
essays have appeared in Representations, Book History, Bookforum, and
Cabinet. His first book, The Demon of Writing, Paperwork and the
Making of Modern France, will be published by Zone. He is also working
on a book about graphology. In 2009-10 he will be a member of the
School of Social Science at the Institute for Advanced Study in
Joe Milutis is a writer, media artist and Assistant Professor of
Interdisciplinary Arts at the University of Washington, Bothell. He
is author of Ether: The Nothing That Connects Everything (2006). His
work has appeared in Cabinet, Film Comment, Leonardo Music Journal,
Ctheory, Wide Angle, ArtByte, and Afterimage, among other places.