404 pages have been a staple since the web’s early beginnings. Custom designed 404 pages range from meme remixes to a parody of the classic “blue screen of death”. The history of the 404 page even has it’s own fictional myth linking it to a story of young scientists at CERN unsuccessfully routing data in a room numbered 404. The real meaning of the numbers, however, is simply an indication of a client to server file location communication error.
psyklone.com 404 page
huml.org 404 page
Earlier this month, the artist Steve Lambert created his own 404 error page titled, The Most Awkward 404 Not Found Page on The Internet. Wrapping up at approximately 6 minutes and 20 seconds, Lambert passes through multiple phases of dead-end questions, small talk, and suggestions that point to the basics of web browsing and encourage you to move on and navigate to more “cool stuff”. Taken as a performance nested into a default error page, Lambert's limited set up reveals what might be a minimalist artist's studio. With cheeky self-aware lines Lambert reminds us that he is "an artist" and that he's not "pretentious". This kind of minimal set up and ironic self-reference combined with instructions to the viewer is reminiscent of Vito Acconci's 1973 video, Theme Song. Although unlike Acconci, Lambert takes a neutral position inviting visitors to hang out or head to another page. Just as a 404 error page, in its most basic form, serves as a home for the absence of content and misguided navigations, Lambert's video is reminiscent of time both before and after a performance where everyone involved is waiting for something else to happen.
Still from Steve Lambert's video The Most Awkward 404 Not Found Page on The ...
In addition to Light Industry's recent restaging of Anthony McCall's 1975 Long Film for Ambient Light, they also curated a gallery of images related to the installation on their website. Here are a few images that highlight the process of creating a large-scale conceptual piece like this one:
Images courtesy of Light Industry from their Anthony McCall portfolio (2011)
Images from Adam Shecter's Last Men video installation at Eleven Rivington (2011)
Drawing inspiration from four classic sci-fi novels, Adam Shecter recently created a dense sci-fi paperback of his own titled Last Men. Filled with images, drawings, photographs, and intermittent text, the book is an expanded companion piece to an animation titled Last Men, also by Shecter, exhibited recently at Eleven Rivington. The book opens with an image of a book with the words erased, a photo of blades of grass, and blurry hands clasped amidst an even blurrier background. Without page numbers, you're left to browse Shecter's imaginary, post-apocalyptic world using your own instincts. Browsing beyond a few sequential pages of TV static reveals a sea of black and white pages, a pastiche of coded, grainy, and macro images interrupted by drifting, melancholic poems and a few zoomed in clips from books. The contributions from 2-UP's Matthea Harvey, Christian Hawkey, and Cathy Park Hong add threads of a human presence that balance out the pages of monochrome, galactic noise.
Stopping somewhere near the end of the book to read Hong's Aubade Using Bradbury's Lines, I was reminded of Chris Marker's 1962 experimental sci-fi film La Jetée. And as I continued turning the pages, Hong's poem stayed with me narrating the incomplete diagrams and deep-black night shots of stars. In the end Shecter succeeds in creating a vision of a distant future where humankind reflects on a past we have yet to write.
Oh yes, we knew, we understood. And, looking into each other's faces for confirmation of what we felt, it was there—the future.
- excerpt from The Making of the Representative for Planet 8 by Doris Lessing
Online message boards were a mainstay of early web communities. Now they have the challenge of coexisting with Facebook, Tumblr, and numerous other social networking sites. So how has their presence changed? Virginia Heffernan, writing for the New York Times, offers a survey of the rise and fall of message boards from declining statistics to personal experience:
Not to get too misty, but the board format itself might deserve a nostalgic embrace. The Internet forum, that great old standby of Web 1.0., has become an endangered species.
Many boards are stagnant or in decline, if they even still exist. Several once-thriving boards on the women’s site iVillage have closed up shop. Big fiction-fan boards haven’t seen real action in years. Last month, a once-popular eight-old-year British board about mental health went dark with a note: “The Internet has changed significantly.”
Tauba Auerbach has recently teamed up with Printed Matter, Inc. in New York to create an oversized, colorful, and intricate pop-up book titled [2,3].
For [2,3], Auerbach has created an oversized pop-up book featuring six die-cut paper sculptures that unfold into wonderful, elaborate forms. While much of Auerbach’s work has previously dealt with compositions staged in the flux state between 2D and 3D,[2,3] represents an expansion for the artist towards a more sculptural medium. Engineered by the artist, each “page” opens into a beautifully constructed object, intricately conceived so that the large-scale paper works—some up to 18” tall—can be collapsed totally flat.
The six sculptures in [2,3] take their cue from a range of geometric forms—the pyramid, sphere, ziggurat, octagonal bipyramid (gem), arc, and möbius-strip. The use of a bright, contrasting palette is familiar from Auerbach’s previous work across a range of materials, including acrylics, etchings and C-type prints. This groundbreaking project stands as an astonishing art-object, part bookwork and part sculpture, and represents an advance in the field of pop-up technology.
Hi Tom, and all
First off, the purpose of Required Reading is to point to compelling articles relevant to new media. We're not always endorsing them 100%, but also often sharing them with Rhiz readers for the purpose of discussion. (Its a column Rhizome has been running for 2 years.) I thought Davis' article was worth inclusion because its an attempt at defining the field, and its a proposition: The first five sections draw lines between what Davis describes as social media art and other forms of new media. But in his final section, he closes his analysis with some self-criticism: "It’s not a frame to think within. It’s a box that needs to be escaped."
With that in mind, Salas makes a good point about it including traditional definitions of art, and the absence of participatory art, including contemporary practitioners like Miranda July and Harold Fletcher. In my opinion, I appreciate a non media art critic calling for a deeper and broader research of social media artwork - but I agree, to some extent, that an attempt to form definitions at a point of emergence can prove to be problematic, and boxes art in inappropriate ways.
Thanks for writing.
Again, a great initial resource is the Rhizome list of New Media Programs. We have programs listed and linked in the States and Abroad. I think there is a good school in the south of France. If I find the link I'll post here.
Definitely check the New Media program list with Rhizome first. I'm in the MFA program at RISD right now and can say that it offers a lot of flexibility and resources to students. As a note, we're in the middle of an international search for a new department head which should end at the end of this academic year. Feel free to email me if you have any extra questions. The programs website is here: http://dm.risd.edu
You can also cruise this mega list of national new media programs:
It's not exclusively MFA but it's a good starting point for broader research on schools.
I know SVA just started an Interdisciplinary MFA program that might be worth checking out:
I've had a few friends who have gone to ITP too that had a good experience. The RISD program is geared more toward Fine Art and you can take courses at Brown - ITP is more technically focused. At least that's my understanding.