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.

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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)
DISCUSSION

call for work (text/installation/visual art) - vague terrain 05 minimalism


vague terrain 05: minimalism

The German Architect Mies van der Rohe

DISCUSSION

announcing vague terrain 04: the body digital


vague terrain 04: the body digital is now live

The fourth issue of the Toronto based digital arts quarterly is
dedicated to surveying contemporary conceptions of the body in light of
digital technology. This issue features work from: Andrea Polli, Andrew
Bucksbarg, Chris Twomey, Ellen Waterman, Jenny Mason, Skyapnea, Suguro
Goto, Susanna Hood, Testroom, and an interview with Stelarc conducted by
David McCallum.

You can examine the work at
http://vagueterrain.net/content/archives/journal04/journal04.html

Thanks for the continued support!

greg smith & neil wiernik
editors/curators
http://www.vagueterrain.net

DISCUSSION

elsewhere - friday september 15th (toronto, CA)


Elsewhere
Friday, September 15th, 2006
Toronto, Canada
http://www.petermettler.com/elsewhere

from the maker of Gambling, Gods, and LSD,
Peter Mettler and friends invite you to an evening of improvised
audio-visual adventure. An uncharted 'live cinema

DISCUSSION

vague terrain - summer update


Hello folks,

We just wanted to provide you with a brief update of what is going on
around the vague terrain r&d labs this fine summer. First and foremost,
we will be launching vague terrain 04: the body digital in September,
we're quite excited about this collection of work and hopefully it will
be of interest to you. Also on tap for September is the launch of the
first episode of the vaguecast, a monthly podcast which will feature an
hour of live experimental electronic music by one or two artists each
month.

We will be co-promoting a show in Toronto in September alongside The
Music Gallery and Mutek. This event (entitled Nuit Avant) will take
place on Saturday September 23rd at the Underground at the Drake Hotel.
The showcase will be a part of the Music Gallery's X Avant festival
which celebrates all shapes and sizes of contemporary avant garde music.
We are honoured to be hosting the Toronto debut of Berlin based, ~scape
recording artist Jan Jelinek who is undoubtedly one of the most unique
and talented producers working at the moment. His performance at Mutek
2006 was one of the highlights of the festival and his last
genre-bending full length, Kosmischer Pitch is absolutely immaculate.
We have also invited Akumu and VJ Nokami, to join the vague terrain
resident artists (naw and ether.mann) to perform at this event.

Please see http://www.vagueterrain.net/content/events.html for more
information on this event and http://www.musicgallery.org/ for more
information on the X Avant festival.

Enjoy the rest of your summer,

Greg Smith & Neil Wiernik
http://www.vagueterrain.net

DISCUSSION

skoltz kolgen @ Recombinant Media Labs SF


Skolz\_Kolgen
AT RECOMBINANT MEDIA LABS
San Francisco
Wednesday August 16th & Thursday August 17th
at 8:30 pm
$15
http://www.skoltzkolgen.com

Skoltz\_kolgen is a plurimedia work cell based in Montreal, comprising
dominique [t] skoltz and herman w kolgen. Rigorous and raucous
creators,their artistic pursuits plumb the integral linkages between
sound and image. Skoltz\_Kolgen create liminal worlds that exist in the
nebulous territory between inner and outer space. Penetrating the
ephemeral skin between solid matter and the unsubstantiated, the
intimate and the objective, their work conjures bewitched worlds that
gestate betwixt accident and intent. This liminal quality bleeds into
all aspects of Skoltz\_Kolgen's practice, from the conceptual to the
technical, as they balance on the cusp of art and science. Liberated by
digital media they simultaneously assume numerous positions, inhabiting
a space between film, photography, audio art, and installation. Their
synergistic practice encompasses expanded cinema, explorations of the
subtle and visceral qualities of sound, and hybrid forms of digitally
enabled synaesthesia. Architects of worlds that simultaneously inhabit
us as we inhabit them, Skoltz\_Kolgen inquisitively seek out the intimate
material and ineffable substance of life.