Greg J. Smith
Since 2003
smith@serialconsign.com
Works in Toronto Canada

BIO
Greg J. Smith is a Toronto-based designer and researcher with interests in media theory and digital culture. Extending from a background in architecture, his research considers how contemporary information paradigms affect representational and spatial systems. Greg is a designer at Mission Specialist and is a managing editor of the digital arts publication Vague Terrain. His writing has appeared in a variety of publications including: Creative Applications, Current Intelligence, Rhizome, Vectors and the Handbook of Research on Computational Arts and Creative Informatics.

Greg has presented work at venues and institutions including EYEO Festival (Minneapolis), the Western Front (Vancouver), DIY Citizenship (Toronto), Medialab-Prado (Madrid) and Postopolis! LA. He is an adjunct instructor in the CCIT program (University of Toronto/Sheridan College) and has taught courses for CSMM (McMaster University) and OCAD University.

The Search for a Center: Vito Campanelli's Web Aesthetics



"Why look at Gustave Courbet when you can download free porn?" is a question posed by one of the animated characters in Parker Ito's sardonic Artist Statement (2009), a piece that both mocks and celebrates a selection of trite, blanket statements regarding media art. Ito's humorous animation is one of the many projects enmeshed within the dense weave of Vito Campanelli's new book Web Aesthetics: How Digital Media Affect Culture and Society (NAi Publishers), a sprawling examination of post-web visual culture and the cultural implications of various forms of digital media. While the last decade has yielded a considerable amount of scholarship judging and qualifying online interactions, tracking the transformation of identity and contemplating the changing nature of attention, Campanelli's writing project extends beyond these stock investigations and sets out to identify how the web has altered our means of experiencing and evaluating contemporary art and media. The browser, internet mailing lists, peer-to-peer networks, spam, MP3 files, vernacular video and numerous other everyday platforms and protocols are put under the microscope in the interest of cultivating a broad aesthetics of digital media. While these topical, episodic investigations are generally quite successful, Web Aesthetics is not lacking in fundamental structural and stylistic idiosyncrasies.

READ ON »


Interview with Jeremy Bailey


Jeremy Bailey is a Toronto-based new media artist whose work explores custom software in a performative context. Powered by humor and computer vision, his work wryly critiques the uneasy relationship between technology and the body while playfully engaging the protocols of digital media. Over the last decade Bailey has exhibited and performed at a range of international festivals and venues including the 2010 01SJ Biennial, HTTP Gallery, Subtle Technologies and in 2001 he co-founded the (now defunct) 640 480 Video Collective. I conducted the following interview with Bailey over email and we used our conversation to delve into a number of his projects from the last five years.


Code Crossings: A Review of Form+Code: In Design, Art, and Architecture


Form+Code: In Design, Art, and Architecture is an ambitious new text that investigates the creative exploration of software across numerous disciplines. A collaborative venture between artists Casey Reas, Chandler McWilliams and the graphic design studio LUST, the book presents both a succinct history of computational design and an indexed guidebook of strategies and approaches. Form+Code fundamentally differs from more traditional, tutorial-based books on creative coding by delving into precise contextualizations of the origins of various tangents within software art. The scope of these nuanced discussions is both sweeping and extensive. For example, within the space of six pages, the authors examine the computer as a drawing instrument starting with Ivan Sutherland’s Sketchpad proto-CAD workflow (1963), then turn to advances within various proprietary applications, which opens up into a discussion about digital representation and fabrication. Form+Code is full of these compact histories, and each is tastefully illustrated with related contemporary projects and (sometimes surprising) precedents and predecessors. Op-artist Bridget Riley’s Polarity (1964) sits in a spread beside Martin Wattenberg’s music visualization The Shape of Song (2001), highlighting the similarities in the graphic language of luminaries from two distinct generations.


Knowledge Work(s): In Search of a Spreadsheet Aesthetics


I sympathize with the protagonist of a cartoon claiming to have transferred x amount of megabytes, physically exhausted after a day of downloading. The simple act of moving information from one place to another today constitutes a significant cultural act in and of itself. I think it's fair to say that most of us spend hours each day shifting content into different containers. Some of us call this writing.

- Kenneth Goldsmith, 2004

While Kenneth Goldsmith's wry statement about knowledge jockeying is directly discussing the plight of the contemporary author, his comments are useful for thinking about other disciplines. In editing this quote, the word "writing" could easily be replaced by any number of verbs (programming, composing, painting, storyboarding, etc.) as we undoubtedly inhabit an era where creative transposition rather than raw creativity can be enough to drive a project. The ctrl-c clipboard, the layer palette in photo editing software and the flash memory of a microcontroller are all examples of spaces that serve as staging grounds for storytelling and crafting aesthetic experiences — these are interstitial zones where art gestates. Goldsmith clearly doesn't approach the creative process with reverence, and his blasé attitude is an excellent springboard into reading contemporary artistic production in relation to knowledge work. An important question: How might we appropriate this daily activity of "shifting content between containers" as a site (rather than a means) of artistic production? This article will consider the aesthetics of the spreadsheet, and act as the first installment of a series that will engage projects that explore the documents, software, interior architecture and politics of the contemporary workplace.


Imperfect Sound Forever


Many scholars within the field of media archaeology opt to focus on the backstory behind an influential medium or technology and map out how its inception and organizational logic (re)shaped the world. An alternative approach is the excavation and arrangement of fringe/forgotten prototypes into an array to problematize dominant historical narratives regarding technological progress. Caleb Kelly's recent text Cracked Media: The Sound of Malfunction uses two consumer technologies, the phonograph and the compact disc, to survey 20th century musical and artistic production. The book catalogs a broad range of experimentation with these playback technologies to create detailed timelines of misuse and critical engagement. In bracketing this realm of sound-producing practice, Kelly proposes "cracked media," a subversion of technological devices whereby "...tools of media playback are expanded beyond their original function as a simple playback device for prerecorded sound or image." Given the prominence of the glitch and lo-fi malformed digital artifacts everywhere from media art to pop music to web video, it is easy to take the aesthetics of failure for granted. The investigation executed within Cracked Media prefigures many of the discussions that underpin generative and glitch aesthetics by focusing on work that foregrounds and interrogates the materiality of two specific mediums. Kelly methodically tracks projects that subvert the CD and phonograph over the entire 20th century and in doing so he builds a fascinating discourse about musical performance and reproduction that is equally comfortable referencing Friedrich Kittler as DJ Qbert.



Discussions (37) Opportunities (5) Events (15) Jobs (0)
EVENT

vagueterrain.net 01: digital detritus


Dates:
Thu Aug 11, 2005 00:00 - Tue Nov 08, 2005

Announcing the launch of http://www.vagueterrain.net

Vague Terrain is a new quarterly web-journal showcasing work from various Canadian and International artists, musicians, and writers. Our intent is to stake a unique claim which will sample the focus and methodologies of academic and art journals while commissioning parallel excursions in the sonic realm. The first issue of Vague Terrain is now online and features contributions related to the theme of "digital detritus" from: des cailloux et du carbone, greg lynn form, intercom, kero, liav koren, willy le maitre & eric rosenzveig, neil hennessy, robin armstrong, tasman richardson, tony scott (aka beflix), and tomas jirku.

This notice serves as a statement of intent. We plan on carving out a unique niche for ourselves not only on the net, but through a series of upcoming Toronto based, immersive electronic music showcases which will feature a blend of aural and visual work in a live environment. We hope to provide a platform through which established and emerging artists can promote their work online, and stimulating event-spaces where mediums and disciplines intersect.

Greg Smith
http://www.vagueterrain.net
http://www.serialconsign.com
greg@vagueterrain.net


EVENT

Vague Terrain, Sat. Oct. 29th - Toronto


Dates:
Sat Oct 29, 2005 00:00 - Mon Oct 10, 2005

saturday october 29th / vague terrain presents...

kero - detroit / det.und / bpitch / shitkatapult
naw - noise factory / vague terrain
des cailloux et du carbone - montreal / natacha's records / mutek 2005
video / tasman richardson - famefame
video / liav koren

toronto / canada
art bar / the gladstone hotel
limited capacity
$5 / doors open @ 9pm
1214 queen st. west
http://www.vagueterrain.net

Join us for the official launch of vagueterrain.net - our new digital arts quarterly. The first issue of vague terrain, an exploration of digital detritus will be launching within the next few weeks. To celebrate the beginning of our e-publication we have invited a number of artists involved with the first issue of vague terrain to show/perform work at our monthly at the artbar.

Hope to see you out on the 29th! We’ll be making a formal announcement once vagueterrain.net goes live.

Greg Smith & Neil Wiernik
vagueterrain.net - editors/curators

--
Artist Information

kero - detroit / det.und / bpitch / shitkatapult / http://www.djkero.com

With over 13 releases on some of electronic music's most celebrated and innovative labels such as Bpitch, Ghostly International, Shitkatapult, and Downwards, as well as his own critically acclaimed Detroit Underground Records, Kero (nee Sohail Azad) has established a reputation for his unrepentantly brash, yet cultivated compositions and unforgettable live performances. Kero has established himself as a leader within the growing pack of electronic music producers successfully infiltrating contemporary art circles world wide and has recently shared the stage with Speedy J, Ken Ishii and Funkstorung. His innovative approach to music, graphic design and video production feeds on the detritus of popular electronic culture, creating a montage of fleeting musical and visual experiences that are paradoxically critical and enamored with contemporary culture. Drawing on his experiences as a dual citizen of both Canada and the United States, Kero conducts visual and aural investigations that are concerned with ideas of the diametric and intermediary. Subsequently, the ephemeral nature of electronic culture, the "rave" experience and aesthetic offers a microcosm to explore similar elements in popular culture. The result is music that blurs genres from hip-hop to the most rarified of techno experiments, video art which stirs faint recollections of print and televised media, and a design language that has ingrained itself upon the most celebrated electro-cultural market in the world.

naw - noise factory / vague terrain / http://www.naw.phoniq.net

Montreal native Neil Wiernik currently living in Toronto, began his explorations in electronic music making as early as 1988. Known to push the boundaries of his musical form from designing new or manipulating existing sound making devices and software to creative uses of production environments and sound sources, naw's music is a blend of sound manipulation/design, experimental musics and dub-tech rhythms, which on the surface sound quite simple, but incorporate a number of touches that steer this artist away from being simply another minimal techno or experimental laptop artist. He combines post-house, dubby minimal techno, microsound and thick ambience, to create his own version of deep techno, house and other electronic laptop orineted musics. Neil has released music on various national and international record labels, including releases on Noise Factory, Complot, Clevermusic, Piehead and Pertin\_nce. As naw, Neil has performed extensively along side a variety of national and international artists both in and outside of Canada. In 2004 and 2005 naw will released his follow up noise factory record full length called: "green nights orange days", as well as a full length outting with Pertin\_nce Records called: "terrain vague". These two records find Neil at his deepest, dubbiest and most experimental sounding yet. The release of these records will coincide with a series of North American and European tour dates through out 2005.

des cailloux et du carbone - montreal / natacha's records / mutek 2005

This solo project from Marcello Marandola, a Montreal-based musician and one-half of “data-folk” duo Cian Ethrie, subscribes to a niche of experimentations and playful escapades associated with Natacha’s Recordings. So, when Marandola claims that his music is of the “house” variety, do not misinterpret him! Actual household field recordings are incorporated into his sound; it’s an “bedroom” brand of music that he concocts in the comforts of his own abode. His compositions are undeniably intimate, infused by sounds that we may hear everyday. Powered by melancholic tones and subtle jolts, with a layering of accidental fractures that fittingly disrupt the sonorous continuum, the compositions from des cailloux et du carbone are unfaltering in their quest to invade your memory with dissected and detailed repetitions, simultaneously evoking nostalgic images. On stage, the traditional house music influences may increasingly appear as the overall sound oscillates between the scattered and the rhythmic.

tasman richardson - famefame / http://www.famefame.com

Tasman Richardson is a videomaker , electronic composer, designer, curator, and organizer. His work has shown in Argentina, Austria, Bulgaria, Canada, Egypt, England, France, Finland, Holland, Iceland, Peru, Poland, Spain, Switzerland, and The United States. His time is slowly whittled away by making art and cultivating a refined knowledge of all things geek. He does not live in his parents basement but does enjoy winning Jubal's money on Bosconian and the odd D&D game. He has performed and collaborated under the aliases M.O.I., JAWA, Pox, FAMEFAME, theblameshifter, IBM, OHVOV, Anvil, Polygon Noose, and Noise-Op. His artworks are available through Vtape, Artcore, Microcinema International, Hymen, and famefame.

liav koren

Liav Koren studies architecture, urbanism, cities, people, digital techniques, gossip, the trajectories of dust motes in sun-light, art and design at the University of Toronto's Faculty of Architecture, Landscape and Design. In a different life he pretended to be a math student at York, while sneaking into urban studies and fine arts classes. He is particularly interested in the ways in which tools and systems of representation quietly infiltrate and shape the way we think and design. He spends too much time pecking instructions into computers and waiting patiently to see what will happen. Recently, animated grids have been the result.


EVENT

vague terrain 24/09 Toronto


Dates:
Sat Sep 24, 2005 00:00 - Wed Sep 14, 2005

saturday september 24th - vague terrain presents...

granny'ark - vancouver / zora lanson / interdisco
naw - noise factory / vague terrain
akumu - spider records
video / patricia rodriguez - substance communications

art bar / the gladstone hotel
limited capacity
$5 / doors open @ 9pm
1214 queen st. west
toronto, canada
http://www.vagueterrain.net

--
artist information

Granny'Ark is the music project of nomadic media artist Michelle Irving. Although officially a resident of Vancouver, Granny'Ark spends the other part of her time at Zora Lanson Label's home base in Berlin. Her first release Resurgo (2004) garnered praise from The Wire, XLR8R, De-Bug, and was featured on the late John Peel's legendary Radio One show. Granny'Ark's music can be described as a blend of explorations in electroacoustic sampling, and musical structures of rhythm and melody. Generally, Granny'Ark attempts to transform sounds into a progressive soundscape that evokes a sense of mood or place in the listener. Sometimes this might mean enticing them to dance. Her music is featured in the internationally acclaimed documentary "The Corporation" and another award winning Canadian documentary "Scared Sacred." In the fall Granny'Ark will be releasing her follow-up EP on Zora Lanson Label as well as a collaborative project with Si Cut.db on Biphop. Granny'Ark's "Three Seas and One Bottle" EP is available for download at http://www.interdisco.net

Neil Wiernik (aka naw) has been extremely busy over the 12 months. The last year has seen the release of two naw albums; “Green Nights, Orange Days” on Noise Factory and “Terrain Vague” on Pertin_nce, as well as an extensive European tour. Neil's production was recently described by The Wire as having "the kind of sharpness and clarity usually lost amid the murk and decay of clicks and cuts and digital delays." Neil recently moved back to Toronto and began working with long-time collaborator Greg Smith in the creation of Vague Terrain, an entity which will promote a series of eclectic electronic music showcases and the website of which will act as a digital arts journal.

Akumu is Toronto’s Deane Hughes, composer of atmospheric ambience, shadowy beats and minimal manipulations. Formed as a solo project in 2000, Akumu has released three full-length albums on his own Spider Records imprint. His newest CD, Magmas (2005) was conceived and written in Guatemala, Honduras and Mexico; it is the follow-up to 2004’s Fluxes, an ambient, zero-bpm recording of unflinching minimalism that The Wire says “raises neat hackles across the skin.” For six months, Deane traveled throughout remote locations, making binaural recordings from which he created the drone- and loop-based instruments that form the spine of material on both CDs. Akumu has performed live across Ontario and Quebec, including 2005’s Mutek festival in Montreal, featuring visual projections of original photography, animated collages and 2D/3D digital experiments. His live sets highlight and improvise on Magmas and Fluxes to create an immersive, flowing sound scape of micro-sonics, ambient drones and low-frequency pulses. More information is available on Akumu at http://spiderrecords.com/

Keeping with our mandate of integrating electronic music with digital art, Vague Terrain will be welcoming back one of our earliest collaborators, video artist Patricia Rodriguez. Formally trained in the visual arts, Patricia is a multidisciplinary specialist, integrating analog and digital technologies. She delights in playing with perception and problem-solving. A keen synaesthete, Patricia enjoys the neurological mixing of the senses. Her love for improvisation translates into performances using movement, sound and light (including video and film), as well as real-time collaborations with musicians and other artists. She has shown her work alongside Richie Hawtin, Monolake, Kit Clayton, Derrick May, Steve Bug, and Damo Suzuki of Can to name a few. She has worked with several collectives including Clonk, Eight, Wabi, Whipit, Die Lux, and Geekend. Patricia is currently the Art Director for Substance Communications.

Extensive artist & event information, album reviews and artist links are available at
http://www.vagueterrain.net


EVENT

vague terrain 26/08 - toronto


Dates:
Fri Aug 26, 2005 00:00 - Sat Aug 20, 2005

This is just a brief reminder that after a 3 year hiatus, the event
promotion organization formerly known as clonk returns to Toronto on
Friday August 26th with the first in a series of events under a new
moniker; Vague Terrain. Vague Terrain will serve as a promotional vehicle for forward thinking electronic music/arts events in Toronto and digital arts online as a quarterly journal.

This evening will featuring live performances from..

tinkertoy - lautmaschine / noise factory recordings
naw - noise factory recordings / vague terrain
aidan baker - http://www.aidanbaker.org
video by robin armstrong

Friday August 26th/2005
toronto @ art bar / the gladstone hotel
limited capacity
$5 / doors open @ 9pm
1214 queen st. west

For more information please take a look at our URL
http://www.vagueterrain.net our online flyer
http://www.vagueterrain.net/poster.jpg or contact us at
vagueinfo@vagueterrain.net

--
The first issue of http://www.vagueterrain.net will be launched this
October and it will be dedicated to an exploration of digital detritus.

The next vague terrain event is scheduled for Saturday September 24th and will feature a live PA from Vancouver Based Zora Lanson recording artist Granny'Ark, Spider Recording's Akumu, & naw.

--
Artist Information...

tinkertoy - noise factory recordings/ http://www.lautmaschine.com/

Tinkertoy is a Toronto based duo comprised of Andrew Wedman and Paul
Shrimpton. Both Andrew and Paul came from classical music backgrounds to
form Tinkertoy in 2000 -- a project that has since evolved into a unique
style of washy, sometimes melodic techno. Tinkertoys music is about the
discovery of beauty in sundry noise. Their sound palette is developed
through an extensive process of sampling outdoor environments and
natural instruments and remodeling those samples using their
own-programmed software. Tinkertoy's sound is always based on
experimentation, and they bring this approach to their live performances.

naw - noise factory recordings / vague terrain / http://www.naw.phoniq.net

Montreal native Neil Wiernik currently living in Toronto, began his
explorations in electronic music making as early as 1988. Known to push
the boundaries of his musical form from designing new or manipulating
existing sound making devices and software to creative uses of production environments and sound sources, naw's music is a blend of
sound manipulation/design, experimental music and dub-tech rhythms, which on the surface sound quite simple, but incorporate a number of touches that steer this artist away from being simply another minimal techno or experimental laptop artist. He combines post-house, dubby minimal techno, microsound and thick ambience, to create his own version of deep techno, house and other electronic laptop oriented music. Neil has released music on various national and international record labels,
including releases on Noise Factory, Complot, Clevermusic, Piehead and
Pertin_nce. As naw, Neil has performed extensively along side a variety of national and international artists both in and outside of Canada. In 2004 and 2005 naw will released his follow up noise factory record full length called: "green nights orange days", as well as a full length outing with Pertin_nce Records called: "terrain vague". These two records find Neil at his deepest, dubbiest and most experimental sounding yet. The release of these records will coincide with a series of North American and European tour dates through out 2005.

aidan baker - http://www.aidanbaker.org

Aidan Baker is a Toronto-based musician and writer. As a solo artist, he explores the deconstructive possibilities of the electric guitar creating music that ranges from &/or encompasses ambient/experimental to
electronica to post-rock. He has released numerous albums on such labels
as Drone Records, Piehead Records, Zunior Records, & Die Stadt Musick.


DISCUSSION

74 nights photoarchive


I've completed a modest photo documentation of my summer wanderings through Los Angeles which celebrates much of the city that often goes unseen. East LA, Downtown, Echo Park, Little Armenia, MacArthur Park/Westlake & Koreatown have all been regular targets of mine as well as occasional trips into West LA.

This catalogue of photographs will be online for the next month. It's really only the beginning of a much more involved meditation on LA. But, for the time being it is available for viewing at

http://www.serialconsign.com/74nights.swf

GS

--
greg smith
http://www.serialconsign.com
http://www.vagueterrain.net
213.480.8050 x202
smith@serialconsign.com