Joanne McNeil
Works in Brooklyn United States of America

BIO
writer (Los Angeles Times, Wired UK, Frieze, etc) // former editor of rhizome.org

How do Artists Illustrate the Passage of Time? by Karen Archey


Alan Michael, ‘Mood 8’, (2010)

Karen Archey writes about art representing the passage of time in MAP magazine:

There are certain artists whose works exist in multiple temporalities, and challenge the notion of temporality itself. They exhibit a sensitivity to an evolving contemporary condition defined by this recently developed shift in pace. such work operates under multiple, connected working methods, each containing at least two temporalities: the first being the specific cultural moment in which it is made, evidenced by the marks and mediums endemic to its time; the subsequent moment being that in which the work is accessed or activated by its viewer. But what happens when these temporalities are complicated, or even masked? Is it possible for an artwork to possess multiple meanings through different activation points in time, or preserve a singular meaning that is timeless?

Consider Andy Warhol’s ‘Time Capsules’ project, an archive of the artist’s everyday accruals from 1974 to his death in 1987. A set of 612 dated cardboard boxes containing banalities ranging from daily newspapers, correspondence, and financial records to gifts and refuse, Warhol’s ‘Time Capsules’ reimagine the impetus of the first time capsule realised in 1939 by Westinghouse Corporation for new York’s World Fair. As per the popular understanding of the time capsule, the Westinghouse version combined and preserved items considered emblematic of their historical moment: microfilaments, bank notes, recorded messages from Albert Einstein, commonly used textiles, etc. somewhat perversely, the boxes containing Warhol’s cast offs have since been lovingly catalogued, preserved and photographed by museum archivists. Yet Warhol presciently understood that it was the near-invisible matter most familiar to us that may most distinctly define a given historical moment, perhaps more so than whatever is ceremoniously deemed significant at the time. Warhol’s nonchalantly collected materials ...

READ ON »


Our Daily Code


Adam Rothstein's Rhizome News essay City of QR Codes has inspired a new Tumblr, Our Daily Code:

 

READ ON »


Artist Profile: James Howard


data-encrypt-127.5x103, (2011)

Images in online scams and phishing schemes can seem as artificially generated as the text — like botnet generated folk art. But there is a human hand at work. What do you think is the human element that draws people into these schemes?

People are like machines - their brains react to temptation like a computer does. Most people are able to recognise a scam, but if someone pulls the right string, sooner or later all that subconscious stuff inside you is going to lead you down the wrong path. Scams  get people by playing on insecurities, desires, fears, greed, whatever - it's uncontrollable and causes one in a thousand people to make a snap decision and pay up.

What do you consider the visual clues of this kind of kitsch of deception? Any interesting patterns or trends you've spotted over the years of collecting examples?

Squashed grinning businessmen looking into fisheye lenses, sunsets over serene oceans, happy families, sexy nurses- it's an endless and totally recognisable global visual language. There's a gruesome image of someone hooked up to a life support machine that keeps landing in my junk-mail folder these days -it always comes from a new person, with a different story every time.

Your installation "Black Money" is based a well known email scam — displaying what is said to be millions of dollars dyed black to go through customs, alongside call cards offering chemicals for sale which could clean the cash. When I look at the sort of unboxing video that was posted to DailyMotion, the site suggests I might also like videos with titles like "Make $100,000 Now" and "How to Win the Lotto." Did anyone email cleaningmoneyATgmail.com looking to clean some dirty dollars with "SSD solution"?

Loads of people contacted ...

READ ON »


Kowloon Walled City Lives On in Videogames


1989 German documentary on Kowloon Walled City (English subtitles, Part 1 of 4)

In Kill Screen, Michelle Young writes about Kowloon Walled City as an inspiration for game level designers. The fortress-like Hong Kong settlement once contained 35,000 residents within its 6.5-acre enclosed space. A labyrinth of alleyways, staircases, and 250 sq ft apartments; much of it poorly lit makeshift spaces with unstable construction; it was also largely a lawless enclave with thriving drug trade, mafia, and other black market activities. It was demolished in 1993:

Often, aspects of Kowloon’s architecture and environment are used to impart a sense of repression, confusion, or loss. In videogames, the mafia and undercurrent of illicit activity provided ideal storylines amidst dank and mysterious backdrops. The cramped businesses in the inner alleys, and the jumbled exteriors of Kowloon, gave videogame designers a rich visual vocabulary.

The characteristic that most set Kowloon Walled City apart from other slums was its high-rise, skyscraper form. Videogame design has capitalized on the city’s verticality. In the opening sequence of Shenmue II, we are transported between the normalized architecture of Hong Kong to Kowloon and enter the city as if falling upside-down from the sky into the depths of the Walled City. The distance between Hong Kong proper and Kowloon is greatly exaggerated with hills and wide plains separating the two, likely an attempt to emphasize Kowloon’s “Otherness.”

 

Kowloon was an anomaly in modern urban construction not only for its organic formation, but also for its reversal of standard building aspects: interior versus exterior, street versus roofs. Its ad-hoc construction engendered a maze of narrow alleys and staircases. Think of single apartment units being stacked over time like Jenga pieces—except that the façades don’t have to be match or be in-line with ...

READ ON »


Cole Stryker, Author of "Epic Win for Anonymous" on Interior Semiotics, Context Collapse, and "You Rage You Lose"


Still from Natacha Stolz's Interior Semiotics

Last year, an anonymous Rhizome contributer interviewed Natacha Stolz regarding her performance Interior Semiotics, the video documentation of which eventually found its way on 4Chan:

What is it that made, and is still making, [4chan users] so angry about Stolz’s performance? The video contains graphic material, but in the age of Goatse, and Tubgirl, explicitness alone cannot shock or offend most people—especially internet trolls. Rather, it was the label on it—art—and the work’s perceived demographic—hipsters—that crawled under people’s skin. Many on the internet seem as angry with the audience—for sitting there, for clapping—as they are with the performance itself. Whether or not you like Stolz’s piece may be a matter of personal taste, but taste is never strictly personal. It stands at a nexus of hot-blooded issues; issues relating to class, status, accessibility, belonging and not belonging. Taste necessarily begs the question not just of how we assign value to things, but also of who should be doing the assigning. The hipster has come to epitomize for many what’s seen to be the ridiculousness of taste; and so it struck people who hated Interior Semiotics as no mere coincidence that many audience members in the video were punked out, or gothed up, or otherwise retrofitted.

A lot of the comments on the video fall into two categories: comments addressing the definition, or ideal definition, of art, and comments addressing the nature of hipsters. The latter tend to be violent expressions of a kind of inchoate rage.

Recently I asked my friend Cole Stryker, author of Epic Win for Anonymous: How 4chan’s Army Conquered the Web for his take on the trolling of the artist: