ed halter
Since 2002
Works in Brooklyn, New York United States of America


I’ll Be Your Mirror


factumkang.jpg
Image: Candice Breitz, Factum Kang, 2009.

Candice Breitz’s current exhibition "Candice Breitz: Same Same" at The Power Plant in Toronto includes the premiere of the first works in Factum, a series commissioned by the gallery. Named after a pair of paintings by Robert Rauchenberg, Factum I and Factum II (both 1957), that appear indistinguishable but reveal differences on closer inspection, Breitz’s Factum consists of interviews with identical twins, found by placing ads on craigslist in Toronto and in the city’s alternative weekly. Each set of twins appears side by side one another on matching monitors, hung portrait-style. Breitz spoke to each sibling separately about their lives, but using similar questions, then edited the discussions so the pair’s words and gestures play off one another, highlighting both parallels and departures. The college-age Kang sisters, for example, diverge when discussing whether one twin has had a tendency to look up to the other, while a set of seventy-something siblings tell complementary stories of getting not-quite-matching rounds of plastic surgery over the years. Each piece runs roughly an hour, feeling like deftly structured documentaries unto themselves.

Prior to the opening of Same Same—her first major solo survey in North America—Breitz gave a sneak preview of a few freshly-edited examples from Factum at the Toronto Film Festival in a talk called “The Origins of Factum,” part of the festival’s Future Projections sidebar, which focuses on the intersections of cinema and the visual arts. In addition to a discussion with TIFF co-director Noah Cowan, Breitz screened a number of clips from cinematic works that informed the creation of her latest work. The following are excerpts from a transcript of her talk, including three of the films she screened. - Ed Halter





I'm going to start by answering two ...

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Eleven Evocations (For Paper Rad)


The following essay was first published in the catalog for the exhibition curated by Raphael Gygax "Deterioration, They Said" which is on view at the migros museum für gegenwartskunst in Zurich, Switzerland until November 8, 2009.

1. The popular dissemination of magical worlds has ultimately shifted from folk tales to children’s television. Paper Rad takes back this process from commercial channels, creating their own ever-shifting cosmos populated by robots, spaceships, monsters, talking animals, giants and wizards.

Like H. P. Lovecraft or J.R.R. Tolkein, Paper Rad created their own mythos, a set of characters that jointly share a fantasy world. Like Warner Brothers or Disney, Paper Rad circulate their creations across media—websites, comics, animated videos, sculptures, screen prints—thereby establishing themselves as the creators of both an imaginary alternative universe and an audio-visual brand.


After the Amateur: Notes


Film, video and photography once fell easily into two categories: professional or amateur. Professionals mastered their crafts, often through guild-like programs of training, and sought to make a living from their abilities. Amateurs learned on their own, or through informal clubs of like-minded aficionados, and pursued their arts for reasons other than money or wide-ranging prestige. Professionals pursued careers. Amateurs pursued hobbies.


White Box Testing


Addressing the American Association of Museums in 1941, Ananda K. Coomaraswamy, then curator at the Boston Museum of Fine Arts, put forth a fundamental question: "What is an Art Museum for?" He proposes that the answer is contained in the term "curator," which implies that "the first and most essential function of such a Museum is to take care of ancient or unique works of art which are no longer in their original places or no longer used as originally intended, and are therefore in danger of destruction by neglect or otherwise." Significantly, Coomaraswamy's concept downplays one curatorial activity otherwise taken for granted today: "This care of works of art," he writes, "does not necessarily involve their exhibition" but if an institution does choose to exhibit works, "this is to be done with an educational purpose." Moreover, he adds, "it is unnecessary for Museums to exhibit the works of living artists, which are not in immanent danger of destruction."

Coomaraswamy's antediluvian pronouncements, predating both the development of the modern computer and the institutional embrace of contemporary art, nonetheless provide a way to think about the assumptions underlying the twelve essays in Christiane Paul's collection New Media in the White Cube and Beyond: Curatorial Models for Digital Art, recently published by UC Press. For even if Coomaraswamy's skepticism about the value of exhibiting living artists now strikes us as thoroughly outdated, his general concerns continue to inform the questions posed by Paul and her contributors. For new media, the problem of how to deal with artworks "no longer in their original places or no longer used as originally intended" remains salient -- albeit for technological rather than antiquarian reasons -- and all of Paul's essayists propose some version of what necessary "educational purpose" curators of new media must embrace.


Get it? An Interview with Cory Arcangel on Comedy


Humor has been a prominent but under-analyzed aspect of art in the past century; the comedy impulse is strongest in the history of media appropriation and conceptual art, beginning with Duchamp's poker-faced readymades and continuing through the work of Bruce Conner, Andy Warhol, Dara Birnbaum, Ant Farm, Jeff Koons and many others. Even the very way we talk about art overlaps with laff-lingo: we call certain pieces "one-liners," value work for being "wry" or "witty," and discuss whether or not a viewer "gets it." And of course, one of the first things someone will ask who doesn't "get it" is: "Is this supposed to be a joke?"

Cory Arcangel's work has almost always played on the logic of the joke in its construction: witness his most recent exhibit, "Adult Contemporary" at Team Gallery, which includes work like Self Playing Sony Playstation 1 Bowling (2008), an old bowling game hacked to only throw gutter-balls, and Permanent Vacation (2008 version), two silver iMacs set to email each other and exchange "out of office" messages until they fill up and crash. But the line between comedy and art more or less dissolved in Arcangel's related event at the New Museum's New Silent Series, Continuous Partial Awareness. In this stand-up-style routine, Arcangel performed an hour-long monologue by reading off a huge list of his unused ideas for new artworks, ranging from "give a boring artist's talk entirely through a vocoder" to "have intern watch Lawnmower Man 10,000 times and then make a website about all the plot inconsistencies."

At the very real risk of ruining humor by critiquing it, Cory and I meet recently to discuss the relationship between comedy and art in both his work and that of others. - Ed Halter



Discussions (32) Opportunities (1) Events (3) Jobs (0)
DISCUSSION

The Rematerialization of Art


A quick response to just a few of these questions. I chose the title "rematerialization of art" because I thought this was one of the more interesting ideas or observations one might take from this show -- that certain changes over time have made a field once known for immaterial art now allow for the same artist to produce sellable art objects, both due to technological innovations and a broader idea of what constitutes a commercially-viable "object." Merely a play on Lucy Lippard's title. But, no, it is not the main theme of the show, and one could certainly read other lessons from it.

May I say up front that I do not consider any Rhizome blog post to be an "endorsement" in and of itself. I certainly don't read other blogs that way. I view the practice as providing an informed comment on something that is happening, and a link, allowing you to check it out and think about it for yourself. I figured this was a basic concept most internet readers had a handle on, so I'm surprised it has caused any confusion.

But I don't find the concept for the show "boring" in the least. It's quite provocative, in fact, and it certainly appears to have provoked Tom.

Also, I think this whole in the market / outside of the market dichotomy is rather un-nuanced. For example, even if all of these objects are for sale and selling, we might consider how central to the market they really are. I would guess that with a very few exceptions, a well-known new media artist makes far less money on his or her art than a painter or sculptor of comparable status. I have absolutely no knowledge of Cory Arcangel's bank account, but I would bet you a euro that any young painter with the same level of press attention and status would have moved a lot more product by now. Of course, Marcin argues that this is changing rapidly, but I still wonder about the sense of economic scale here.

I don't think this show is about "proving new media is sellable" but rather an observation that, de facto, a mode of art often thought of being beyond the market is in fact, right now, already within it.

Furthermore--and very importantly--most if not all of the artists in these shows do not centrally locate their practice in the production of said gallery objects. If anything, the sellable objects for many of them constitute more recent or relatively peripheral activities, and pretty much everybody still spends a lot of time producing things that aren't sellable -- performances, online work, sharable art, writing, etc. Again, significantly different from the traditional model of painting or sculpture or even certain gallery-centric video artists. I think this in a very important point to make here. Nobody as far as I can tell is migrating completely into the object-creation model and thereby abandoning all extra-market activities.


DISCUSSION

The Rematerialization of Art


To all --

I have not "left the building" but am in fact rather busy this a week-long project and attending the final NYUFF...but I will check in with this lengthy discussion when I have a chance soon! (and, as a new staff writer here, am only today realizing that anyone actually uses these discussion boards -- I read Rhizome on rss, so I kind of miss out on that usually...)

EVENT

Bard College Tech/Action: Games Conflict Simuation


Dates:
Sat May 19, 2007 00:00 - Wed May 16, 2007

For those of you near Bard College, please come by this weekend for our mini conference Games Simulation and Conflict, part of the College's Tech/Action series, presented by The Human Rights Project the dept of Film and Electronic Arts, and the Science Technology and Society program.

All events are free and open to the public.

Friday includes an enactment of Buckminster Fuller's World Game, a screening of the documentary 8 Bit, and musical performance by gameboy maestro Bitshifter.

On Saturday, talks and presentations by Eddo Stern (Darkgame, Waco Ressurrection), McKenzie Wark (author of the recent Gamer Theory) and Alexander Galloway (Gaming, RSG), Bard students (and real world bloggers!) Bonnie Ruberg and Scott Jon Siegel, as well as yours truly. Plus: Whiffle Hurling!

Link:
http://www.bard.edu/hrp/events/

Friday, May 18th 11 A.M.

Introduction, "Games, Conflict, and the World Game," Greg Moynahan (MPR)

Morning: Non Zero Sum Games

11:00 A.M. - ~2 P.M. Buckminster Fuller's World Game (MPR)

Afternoon: Zero-Sum Games

3:00 P.M. Capture the Flag and Others (CAMPUS CENTER)

4:30 P.M. The Bard Debate Team: Debate as Conflict and Game (MPR)

Evening: 8-Bit Music in Film

8 P.M. Film 8-Bit (MPR) w/filmmaker Marcin Ramocki and performances by Bitshifter and Greg Fox.

Saturday, May 19th

Talks and Presenations 10:30-5:45 P.M. (AVERY FILM CENTER)

10:30-11:15 Gautam Sethi

11:15-12:00 Kathleen Ruiz

12:05-12:50 McKenzie Wark

12:50-1:35 Eddo Stern

2:30-2:50 Bonnie Ruberg

2:50-3:35 Ed Halter

3:35-4:05 Scott Siegel

4:15-5:00 Alexander Galloway

Then later, a few rounds of Whiffle Hurling (no joke!) with Tom Russotti.


EVENT

Bard College Tech/Action: Games Conflict Simuation


Dates:
Fri May 18, 2007 00:00 - Wed May 16, 2007

For those of you near Bard College, please come by this weekend for our mini conference Games Simulation and Conflict, part of the College's Tech/Action series, presented by The Human Rights Project the dept of Film and Electronic Arts, and the Science Technology and Society program.

All events are free and open to the public.

Friday includes an enactment of Buckminster Fuller's World Game, a screening of the documentary 8 Bit, and musical performance by gameboy maestro Bitshifter.

On Saturday, talks and presentations by Eddo Stern (Darkgame, Waco Ressurrection), McKenzie Wark (author of the recent Gamer Theory) and Alexander Galloway (Gaming, RSG), Bard students (and real world bloggers!) Bonnie Ruberg and Scott Jon Siegel, as well as yours truly. Plus: Whiffle Hurling!

Link: hrp | events.

Friday, May 18th 11 A.M.

Introduction, "Games, Conflict, and the World Game," Greg Moynahan (MPR)

Morning: Non Zero Sum Games

11:00 A.M. - ~2 P.M. Buckminster Fuller's World Game (MPR)

Afternoon: Zero-Sum Games

3:00 P.M. Capture the Flag and Others (CAMPUS CENTER)

4:30 P.M. The Bard Debate Team: Debate as Conflict and Game (MPR)

Evening: 8-Bit Music in Film

8 P.M. Film 8-Bit (MPR) w/filmmaker Marcin Ramocki and performances by Bitshifter and Greg Fox.

Saturday, May 19th

Talks and Presenations 10:30-5:45 P.M. (AVERY FILM CENTER)

10:30-11:15 Gautam Sethi

11:15-12:00 Kathleen Ruiz

12:05-12:50 McKenzie Wark

12:50-1:35 Eddo Stern

2:30-2:50 Bonnie Ruberg

2:50-3:35 Ed Halter

3:35-4:05 Scott Siegel

4:15-5:00 Alexander Galloway

Then later, a few rounds of Whiffle Hurling (no joke!) with Tom Russotti.

More info: http://www.bard.edu/hrp/events/


EVENT

Ed Halter and Tom Moody talk at BookCourt


Dates:
Wed Jul 19, 2006 00:00 - Wed Jul 12, 2006

Wednesday, July 19th at 8:00 pm

Author Ed Halter discusses his book From Sun Tzu to Xbox: War and Video Games with digital artist and art-blogger Tom Moody

At
BookCourt
163 Court Street
Brooklyn NY 11201

For map and directions: http://www.bookcourt.org/?page\_idY

About the Book
Filled with high-tech weapons, gung-ho desert soldiers, and terrorist scenarios ripped from the headlines, today