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)
OPPORTUNITY

sonification of the electric sheep


Deadline:
Fri May 27, 2005 08:19

From EU-gene.

,g

--
Greg Smith
http://www.serialconsign.com
416.877.4281
greg.smith@utoronto.ca

----------------------------------------------------------------------

Message: 1
Date: Thu, 26 May 2005 17:55:14 -0700 (PDT)
From: generative.net@draves.org
Subject: [eu-gene] sonification of the electric sheep
To: eu-gene@generative.net
Message-ID:
Content-Type: TEXT/PLAIN; charset=US-ASCII; format=flowed

i am seeking collaborators to add a sound-track to the
electric sheep. this would be software that generated audio
based on the same genetic code and also based on the images.
i made a web page to explain it:

http://electricsheep.org/sound/

you can download a dataset for development from that page.
drop me an email if you have any suggestions or questions.
you are encouraged to forward this announcement.

thx, -spot


DISCUSSION

Internet Musicians Adopt 'Pet Sounds'


Internet Musicians Adopt 'Pet Sounds'.

A group of internet-based electronic musicians are celebrating the
anniversary of the release of the classic Beach Boys album 'Pet
Sounds' by remixing it for the 21st Century. The album, titled
'Hippocamp Ruins Pet Sounds', comes from contributors to acclaimed net
label Hippocamp.net. Each track from the original album has been
reconstructed by a different artist, creating an album as diverse and
inventive as the original.

In a project similar to DJ Dangermouse's controversial 'The Grey
Album' (which spliced rapper Jay-Z's vocals with the music of the
Beatles), 'Hippocamp Ruins Pet Sounds' takes the original Beach Boys
vocals for each track and creates new musical landscapes for them.
Comprising styles ranging from electro-pop via glitchcore and ambient
to all-out avant-garde, this release demonstrates that art cannot be
stifled in an era of closely guarded copyrights and litigious record
companies.

"The idea came from Hippocamp contributor Blue T-Shirt", explains
fellow contributor Martin Bryant (AKA The Star Fighter Pilot). "We
wanted to do something interesting and new with an album that
regularly tops 'Best album ever' polls. We wanted people to get a new
perspective on a classic.

"Pet Sounds was originally released on May 16th 1966 and next year is
the 40th anniversary of its release. It made sense to us to release an
unconventional album at an unconventional time - its 39th
anniversary".

The album is spreading across the internet via P2P (peer-to-peer)
networks and more information can be found at the website
http://petsounds.a.la

Background:
PET SOUNDS

Critics and fans of popular music have long identified the 1966 album
Pet Sounds as a milestone of musical achievement. The circumstances
that birthed this masterpiece are well documented - the turmoil of the
Wilsons, within and without (especially Brian, tormented genius and
Pet Sounds mastermind); the band's disinterest in spearheading a
sophisticated-feeling musical revolution; and perhaps most
significantly, the indelible ripples cast over the future of pop music
as we were to know it.

The music-loving public's fascination with Pet Sounds has increased as
its fingerprints continue to be discovered throughout the outer
reaches of the pop universe. The shadow cast by this monolithic album
looms over the discographies of all but the most accomplished
musicians of history, with the obvious exception of the Fab Four.
Indeed, the Beatles played a pivotal role in the genesis of Pet
Sounds; Prior to the landmark 1965 Beatles LP Rubber Soul, an album
was generally constructed as a collection of songs, usually padded
with mediocre b-sides. Legend has it that Brian was caught off-guard
by the completeness and cohesiveness of Rubber Soul and vowed to best
this accomplishment. The next few years pitted Brian Wilson pitted
against the Beatles (each of which had stopped touring at this point)
in a brief exchange of attempts to one-up each another, culminating in
the insurmountable achievement that was the Summer of Love's Sgt.
Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band and sending Brian into a downward
spiral of depression and self-abuse in his attempts to best the
Beatles' undeniable masterwork.

The story doesn't end there. the condensed version outlines Brian's
triumphant return to the top of his game; his well-received
re-creations of Pet Sounds on tour; and the completion of SMiLE, his
"teenage symphony to God" intended to trump Sgt. Pepper's. The year is
now 2005; the Wilson saga continues to unfold. Strangely enough,
however, the latest chapter in this story was written not by the man
himself, but a rag-tag group of electronic bedroom musicians hell-bent
on blowing his undisputed classic apart. Out of respect, of course.
Not to mention that there's something particularly thrilling about
taking a sledgehammer to something untouchable.

HIPPOCAMP.NET
Net label Hippocamp.net has been releasing experimental, mainly
electronic music since 2000. Based in Manchester, England but
releasing music from all over the world, Hippocamp distributes all its
releases as MP3 downloads free of charge. It has become a respected
site for finding new and unusual music of the highest quality.
'Hippocamp Ruins Pet Sounds' is released in the month of the net
label's fifth anniversary.

Resources:
http://www.petsounds.a.la
http://www.hippocamp.net
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pet_Sounds

--------------------------------------------------------------

DISCLAIMER

Here are some things that need to be said:

Pet sounds is an album that everyone should own, study, cherish, and
enjoy. Hippocamp Ruins Pet Sounds is an open-ended experiment
conducted out of reverence, curiosity, and aware of the sobering fact
that you can't improve upon perfection.

Despite the fact that the release is named Hippocamp Ruins Pet Sounds,
Hippocamp does not endorse the creation or distribution of this work.
At no time was hippocamp.net involved with distributing this material
to the public. Hippocamp's involvement has been explicitly limited to
providing a forum where the artists could plan the project before its
completion and where fans could discuss the values and cultural
ramifications of such a piece of art.

As the project tended towards completion we began to contemplate the
merit of the art we were making and what it meant to the artists
involved. It became apparent that the values of such a project were
greater than we had anticipated. We believe the recognition of these
ideas reinforces the project's merit as a piece of critical commentary
to be freely disseminated and discussed. Here are some of the key
concepts regarding Hippocamp Ruins Pet Sounds:

- The songs that form Pet Sounds are timeless and as relevant today as
they ever were.
- Recontextualizing the sounds, lyrics, and feelings of the original
work can transform the listening experience entirely.
- Anything we meager bedroom artists shall ever hope to accomplish
will never hold a torch to the masterpiece that is the original Pet
Sounds.
- We hope that any fans of the Beach Boys with no previous electronic
music listening experience may discover an appreciation for the stuff
and vice versa.
- We relish the opportunity to increase public awareness about the
original Pet Sounds and perhaps increase album sales as a result.
- The recognizable elements of Pet Sounds are still beautiful when
presented in a drastically altered form.
- Perhaps this demonstrates in an exagerated way how pervasive the
influence of classics such as Pet Sounds may be.

Support Brian Wilson and The Beach Boys! Buy an album! See a live
show! Great music never dies.