Each print in this edition, Book 1/1, is the same and yet each is unique. Each one has its own ISBN number and is registered under its own individual title. Each one of the edition is therefore an official publication and each is an edition in, and only of, itself. An edition of one...a book reduced to a reference, purely an imagined space.
Every book published anywhere in the world carries its own, identifiable ISBN (International Standard Book Number) number. Since 2007 ISBNs have contained 13 digits. Each print in this edition has its own identifiable ISBN number just as every edition of every book published carries its own number.
The received notion of the public sphere in fact melds an array of narrative and structural elements into a domain of expressive possibility whose center of attention serves both aesthetic and intersubjective concerns. This commingling entails two dynamic affordances that have been especially open to manipulation through new media art: the presence of architecture as sculptural object, and the use of projective strategies for pluralistic communication. The latter works as a new branch of street performance, not for actors, but for media. The sense of novelty here is more than mechanical; it compacts the distance between human and machine, the latter increasingly assuming roles played by the former, but organizes both in a new coordinate space that is neither entirely physical/real nor virtual/technological.
In 1931, Sergei Eisenstein described montage as "an idea that arises from the collision of independent shots" wherein "each sequential element is perceived not next to the other, but on top of the other." This layering of images allows them to combine, producing a third meaning that was not present before their combination. "Ouroboros" - a video exhibition currently on display at the ISE Cultural Foundation - takes the aesthetics of early montage and hits fast-forward in 3D. By modifying a version of chromadepth into a process they call COLORSPACE, art collective SWEATSHOPPE achieves a layered 3D effect in which red, green, and blue (RGB) are each visible at a different depth from the surface on which they are projected. The effect is a complex sequence of images projected simultaneously and layered on top of one another to create an almost literal manifestation of Eisenstein's montage aesthetic.
The sequence combines over 30,000 images selected by artist Ali Hossani, and is meant to tell the story of cosmic evolution, "from the Big Bang to Lady Gaga." The images read more like the infamous montage sequence in A Parallax View (1974) than a statement on the rejoinder of art and science where "knowledge, desire, and energy meets the limits of human freedom," as the artist's statement suggests. Still, the effect is mesmerizing, and showcases one of several new possibilities for 3D technologies in the creation of a new digital aesthetic.
I am very concerned with problematizing the class and gender dynamics of this history in particular, especially since I am using the term "queer" here in a slippery way, applying it to a group of men who may better fit its historically pejorative definition more than its contemporary transgressive one. I'd love to chat more online and in person. I'll contact you through twitter and perhaps we can get a coffee.
Honestly I just found it more interesting to talk about what the show might mean instead of whether or not it was good. People are going to see the show regardless, and I'd rather they read a piece that puts the show in a context they hadn't thought of then go in with the idea that the show is good or bad because they read it on a website. Is it the responsibility of a site like Rhizome to publish reviews that take a clear stance on the quality or validity of shows such as this? Maybe. But honestly I find that kind of work dull, particularly when it devolves into snark and shade that does more to boost the ego of the reviewer than it does to inform its readers. In fact I would argue that it is precisely those kinds of reviews that are uncritical, or at least, critically shallow.
Part of the reason I reviewed the show as I did is that I was not particularly interested in the pieces as artworks - and how they might fit into a longer art historical tradition - but more what they might be saying about art, technology, and culture. Whether or not the pieces are good is entirely beside the point for me. And, not to contradict Brian, but what the artist's intentions were when creating that piece, or whether or not he did it for the reasons I gave in my review, is also not personally of interest. And while I said in the first paragraph of my review that even though the show was "about" failure the show itself was not a failure, that does not mean that many of the pieces were not critical or intellectual failures, particularly in their failure to provoke any consideration from the viewer beyond "I see what you did there."
But when I went to the show having to actually consider the pieces beyond their immediate punchline and forced myself away from the kind of knee-jerk eat-our-own criticism that is so easy with so much of this kind of work - and so prevalent in this community - I found something that I thought was worth writing about, and that (hopefully) wasn't the same kind of critique that everyone has given Cory for years. For me the review wasn't about if the show was good or bad, it was about what it meant both for the new media art community and within the broader context of art, technology, and culture.
So while this may be a question of defaults it doesn't seem to be reflecting on technologically specific defaults, just culturally specific defaults and readily available forms.