Joanne McNeil
Works in Brooklyn United States of America

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

My Broken iPhone


Doug Aitken (Victoria Miro) at Art Basel Miami (via)

The day I moved to Brooklyn was the day my iPhone screen first shattered. I struggled to get my keys out of my purse while a group of students were waiting at the door for a friend to buzz them in. Unlocking the door in a confused jetlagged state, I held it open for each of them while juggling several bags with the other hand. After the last student entered the building, I stopped the door with my foot while attempting to redistribute the weight of my belongings. My iPhone slid out of my back pocket and on to the concrete. 

The resulting spiderweb of a crack had no impact on the iPhone's haptic sensitivity. It looked ruined but worked just as well. Eventually, I got used to reading without much eye strain. There were even some benefits. Everyone knew which phone was mine at dinner parties with iPhones strewn on various counters and end tables. I never worried about dropping it again as the screen wasn’t going to get any worse. And I didn’t worry much about it getting stolen, either.

My broken iPhone also resulted in random conversations with strangers. In queues for restaurant bathrooms, on public transportation and park benches, I was asked again and again what happened, and why didn’t I just take care of it? ...

 


City of Work by Michael Lewy


City of Work is a project by Michael Lewy including maps, charts, videos, letters, and 3D rendering made with Vue and Google SketchUp. I caught up with Lewy over email to find out more about how this city operates.


 

City of Work appears to be a superfiction of videos and architectural rendering. Could you describe the story behind it?

City of Work is a dystopian society. Work is all encompassing, vacation is chosen by lottery and each individual is tested at the HUMAN POTENTIAL INSTITUTE.  I wanted to create a work that would use a lot of different media to discuss the ideas of success and failure. Along with the video I have also created blueprints, advertising, PowerPoint charts, social media, websites and architectural renderings.


The project seems inspired by corporate management training videos and human resources handbooks. Did you do any research outside of your own office experiences?

The Prelinger Archives, is a great resource for industrial films form the 40’s and 50’s – I look at those a lot. I also look at a lot of architecture from the 1970’s, I have a fondness for the Brutalism period and Russian architecture.

How does one escape the City of Work?

It is gated city but I don’t think of it as a prison. People end there by choice. So I guess you would escape by moving away.


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RECOMMENDED READING: Maximal Nation by Simon Reynolds


Simon Reynolds (author of Retromania) writes a long essay considering "maximalism" in electronic music starting with the "awake" sounds of Rustie's Glass Swords: "The overall effect of pulling from all these different phases in the evolution of electronic music technology is a fiesta of retro-futures: as if flashing back simultaneously to all the moments when a bunch of new machines changed the sound of music could somehow redeliver that original shock of the now. But there's no melancholy for a "lost future," just delirious reiteration, thrilling overkill."

Compared with the analog hardware that underpinned early house and techno, the digital software used by the vast majority of dance producers today has an inherent tendency towards maximalism. In an article for Loops, Matthew Ingram (who records as Woebot) wrote about how digital audio workstations like Ableton Live and FL Studio encourage "interminable layering" and how the graphic interface insidiously inculcates a view of music as "a giant sandwich of vertically arranged elements stacked upon one another." Meanwhile, the software's scope for tweaking the parameters of  any given sonic event  opens up a potential "bad infinity" abyss of fiddly fine-tuning. When digital software meshes with the minimalist aesthetic you get what Ingram calls "audio trickle": a finicky focus on sound-design, intricate fluctuations in rhythm, and other minutiae that will be awfully familiar to anyone who has followed mnml or post-dubstep during the last decade. But now that same digital technology is getting deployed to opposite purposes: rococo-florid riffs, eruptions of digitally-enhanced virtuosity, skyscraping solos, and other "maxutiae," all daubed from a palette of fluorescent primary colors. Audio trickle has given way to audio torrent-- the frothing extravagance of fountain gardens in the Versailles style

...

I got quite a long way into this piece before discovering that the term "digital ...

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James Bridle's Talk “Waving at the machines” at Web Directions South 2011


 James Bridle's  keynote from Web Directions South 2011 (Transcript.)  

Beginning with a picture of a cupcake stand that is pixelated rather than printed in gingham or something more obvious, Bridle considers the allure of 8-bit designs, "augmented reality made physical" like Dear Photograph, the architecture of data centers, biometrics, Street View as a historical record, and iPhone photography. Especially thoughtful near the end, considering ways we might coexist with bots in the digital realm. A thorough look at the contemporary "robot-readable" design aesthetic.

Previously: The New Aesthetic

 

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The Twilight Zone for the Facebook Age: Charlie Brooker's "The Black Mirror"


The Black Mirror is a British television program that premiered last night. Charlie Brooker, creater of the series, a media critic and host of the shows Screenwipe and How Television Ruined Your Life, was inspired by The Twilight Zone. Rod Serling's "quasi-fictional world" allowed for more political and provocative television scripts to go uncensored by networks and corporate sponsers, Brooker argues in the Guardian. 

The first episode of The Black Mirror is provocative but with unambitious targets —the 24 hour newscycle, omnipresent social media— the disgusting premise is unmerited. One gets the sense it was written mostly to test television's limits; which may be a worthwhile demand itself. Nevertheless, upcoming episodes sound much more promising.

Trailer for The Black Mirror

Episode descriptions via The Guardian:

1. The National Anthem

Set slap-bang in the present, The National Anthem, starring Rory Kinnear and Lindsay Duncan, recounts what happens when fictional royal Princess Susannah is kidnapped and prime minister Michael Callow is presented with an unusual – and obscene – ransom request. The traditional media finds itself unable to even discuss what the demand is, while the Twittersphere foams with speculation and cruel jokes. As the ransom deadline nears, events start to gain a surreal momentum of their own. This was inspired partly by the kerfuffle over superinjunctions, and partly by the strange out-of-control sensation that takes grip on certain news days – such as the day Gordon Brown was virtually commanded to apologise to Gillian Duffy in front of the rolling news networks. Who was in charge that day? No one and everyone.

2. Fifteen Million Merits

In 1984, Apple ran a famous advert that implied the Mac might save mankind from a nightmarish Orwellian future. But what would a nightmarish Orwellian future that ran on Apple software actually look like? Probably a ...

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Discussions (2) Opportunities (0) Events (0) Jobs (5)
JOB

Editorial Fellow


Deadline:
Fri Dec 28, 2012 14:00

Rhizome seeks an Editorial Fellow from January through May 2013. The Fellow will support the editorial department at Rhizome through research and writing for the website. This position is a unique opportunity for a person with strong dedication to the fields of contemporary art and technology to further develop professional skills.

The Editorial Fellow is ideally based in New York and must be able to commit to 16 hours of work per week for 5 months. This position is unpaid, but academic credit may be arranged. The Editorial Fellow will coordinate and assist in production of Rhizome's website and weekly newsletter Rhizome News. Fellow will support daily publishing and maintenance of the blog, as well as researching and writing editorial essays, reviews, and opinion pieces.

QUALIFICATIONS: Candidates must have a high level of familiarity with contemporary art and technology. Education or advanced experience beyond the undergraduate level is preferred. The candidate must have very strong writing, editing, and analytical skills, and very high internet literacy.

TO APPLY: Please email a cover letter, resume or c.v., two references, and three writing samples (url or attachment) to Joanne McNeil at editor(at)rhizome.org. Deadline Dec 28, 2012. Review of applications will begin immediately. Starting date is January 2013.


DISCUSSION

Improving Prometheus


The script is available on his website. Here is the link again to http://starwarsmodern.blogspot.com/2012/08/prometheus-rebound_14.html

JOB

Editorial Fellow


Deadline:
Fri Aug 24, 2012 19:45

Rhizome seeks an Editorial Fellow from September through December 2012. The Fellow will support the editorial department at Rhizome through research and writing for the website. This position is a unique opportunity for a person with strong dedication to the fields of contemporary art and technology to further develop professional skills.

The Editorial Fellow is ideally based in New York and must be able to commit to 16 hours of work per week for 4 months, beginning in Summer 2012. This position is unpaid, but academic credit may be arranged. The Editorial Fellow will coordinate and assist in production of Rhizome's website and weekly newsletter Rhizome News. Fellow will support daily publishing and maintenance of the blog, as well as researching and writing editorial essays, reviews, and opinion pieces.

QUALIFICATIONS: Candidates must have a high level of familiarity with contemporary art and technology. Education or advanced experience beyond the undergraduate level is preferred. The candidate must have very strong writing, editing, and analytical skills, and very high internet literacy.

TO APPLY: Please email a cover letter, resume or c.v., two references, and three writing samples (url or attachment) to Joanne McNeil at editor(at)rhizome.org. Deadline Aug 24, 2012. Review of applications will begin immediately. Starting date is Sept 17, 2012.


DISCUSSION

NA - Further Thoughts


Hi Patrick,

Thanks so much for these comments. You are right that the New Aesthetic is a broad conversation, but James Bridle's investigation is definitely political, unfortunately many of his points have been missed in the ongoing metacommentary. It seems a lot of people are confused by the visuals, which aren't *the* the New Aesthetic so much as artifacts *of* the New Aesthetic.

The NA Tumblr was Bridle thinking out loud, and something to consider in tandem with his writing/talks. Meanwhile, the conversation about these ideas has gone on for over a year now, over a number of blogs, mostly based in London

In addition to James Bridle's talks and notes, this is what I recommend reading to understand what the New Aesthetic conversation is really about:

Aaron Straup Cope's notes from SXSW:
http://www.aaronland.info/weblog/2012/03/13/godhelpus/#sxaesthetic

Chris Heathcote: A New Fashion Aesthetic
http://anti-mega.com/antimega/2012/04/02/a-new-fashion-aesthetic

Many, many BERG posts:
http://berglondon.com/blog/2011/05/13/sensor-vernacular/
http://berglondon.com/blog/2012/02/06/robot-readable-world-the-film/
http://berglondon.com/blog/2011/08/03/the-robot-readable-world/

We are the droids we’re looking for: the New Aesthetic and its friendly critics by JJ Charlesworth
http://blog.jjcharlesworth.com/2012/05/07/we-are-the-droids-were-looking-for-the-new-aesthetic-and-its-friendly-critics/

Honor Harger:
https://www.jiscmail.ac.uk/cgi-bin/webadmin?A2=ind1204&L=new-media-curating&F=&S=&P=20818

Tom Armitage:
http://infovore.org/archives/2011/05/21/waving-at-the-machines/

Greg Borenstein:
http://urbanhonking.com/ideasfordozens/2011/06/07/on-the-future-and-poetry-of-the-calibration-pose/

Natalia Buckley:
http://ntlk.net/2012/04/12/on-the-new-aesthetic/

Other notes from SXSW are linked here:
http://booktwo.org/notebook/sxaesthetic/

this was my favorite New Aesthetic tumblr post, btw:
http://new-aesthetic.tumblr.com/post/21437296950/i-used-to-go-to-the-trocadero-in-central-london-as

JOB

Editorial Fellow


Deadline:
Tue May 01, 2012 10:00

Rhizome seeks an Editorial Fellow from June through September 2012. The Fellow will support the editorial department at Rhizome through research and writing for the website. This position is a unique opportunity for a person with strong dedication to the fields of contemporary art and technology to further develop professional skills.

The Editorial Fellow must be based in New York and must be able to commit to 16 hours of work per week for 3 months, beginning in Summer 2012. This position is unpaid, but academic credit may be arranged. The Editorial Fellow will coordinate and assist in production of Rhizome's website and weekly newsletter Rhizome News. Fellow will support daily publishing and maintenance of the blog, as well as researching and writing editorial essays, reviews, and opinion pieces.

QUALIFICATIONS: Candidates must have a high level of familiarity with contemporary art and new media. Education or advanced experience beyond the undergraduate level is preferred. The candidate must have very strong writing, editing, and analytical skills, and very high internet literacy.

TO APPLY: Please email a cover letter, resume or c.v., two references, and three writing samples (url or attachment) to Joanne McNeil at editor(at)rhizome.org. Deadline May 4, 2012. Review of applications will begin immediately. Starting date is June 4, 2012.