In Google Me/Duplicate Self-Portrait, a video playback command bar splits each paused screenshot in half, suggesting a 'split' identity between you, the artist Mahmoud Khaled and, Khaled Mahmoud, the dancer. The work demonstrates the location and displacement of identity in a networked age--one that is defined by finding oneself in others. Could you expand on both these senses of biformity and disparity? Does the piece also hint at something more directly political? The individual's relation to the architecture of search systems?
I have been interested in issues related to the Internet as a space with infinite possibilities for self-representation, and how the current networked age has changed our personal and professional lives and the way we think about ourselves. Also the fact that on the Internet there is always hope to get rid of your ready-made self, discover another self or find someone else who can change your life, through what I can the "mechanisms" of duality and disparity. I started to think about “dichotomy” and “juxtaposition” as key tactics in my practice and my way of thinking as I practically filter all my ideas through these two concepts, which redefines the work, the elements it is composed of, its internal relationships, meanings, aesthetic qualities and social and political connotations. I also have a stubborn belief that elements cannot survive, as they are, that they can only survive in pairs or in relation to other things. Basically like personal relationships, even if the counterpart is imaginary.
The point of departure of this piece was based on my accidental discovery of Khaled Mahmoud, a popular London-based oriental dancer born in ...
All your found sculptural assemblages are culled from your immediate local surroundings and re-appropriated into Rube Goldberg like contraptions with each object serving a very specified transmissive function. The sculptural forms then become crucial as they exist to explicate the sounds themselves. Can you expand on the intentionality of the material used, or lack thereof? How do you approach the documentation of these sculptures as images on the internet, without the accompanied support/context of audio?
As images or objects devoid of their operational potential, the works are sculptures like any other static and quiet object of art. I see their formal qualities as a thing in itself - the aesthetic result of a process of engineering music. So the form follows function and therefore the composition or constellation of objects becomes somehow more gestural than designed. Of course as images it is difficult to understand the work as a whole but I hope that the form opens up some ideas around traditional sculpture.
Works like Adhãn, Taka Tak and Evolution of a Revolution, capture a certain political ethos and critique specific Islamic ideological structures . Where potentially, can sound, and music in general (your own and others) exist in such arenas? Where do you see its potential? How do you think it can actively function and what form can it take, besides one of aestheticizing politics?
To be honest I don't believe it can have any immediate function other than an aesthetic one, however, I do think the proliferation of sound and music within an Islamic society can have a transformative social function. This, however, isn't the aim of my practice. For me it's a way of understanding and rationalising the problems around belief systems in general such as religious faith. I make an ideological critique on Islam because I understand it more by growing up with it, but really the critique is about dogmatic views that are prevalent in all types of religious faith....
Ursula Endlicher, Light and Dark Networks, 2011.
The Whitney’s Sunrise/Sunset project consists of a series of commissioned internet based works that exist within the axis constraints of Earth’s orbit: New York City’s sunrise and sunset. Besides the entire website’s background transitioning from white to black each day representing this shift in time (white for day, black for night), each project is designated a net presence between ten to thirty seconds—that is, within this brief timeframe, each work gets to take over the entire Whitney site once only at sunrise and once at sunset; the exact times for each determined day to day by the weather among other environmental fluctuations.
Sunrise/Sunset is part of Whitney’s Artport—an online gallery space demonstrating the institution’s own internet awareness. First launched in 2002, Artport attempts to engage and archive internet and new media based practices through the commissioning of works specific to whitney.org as well as documenting all Whitney based net/new media exhibitions. Currently, Artport is featuring commissions from Ursula Endlicher and Scott Snibe.
Light and Dark Networks is a ten second piece from Endlicher that continues the artist’s interest in ‘data performances’. The morning encounter involves a spider web that is blown into multiple directions of the website based on current New York weather and CO2 levels. At sunset, an image of the mycelium of a mushroom grows or shrinks based on the temperature of the city while also responding to humidity levels which generates videos of the artist, costumed and reenacting the mushroom’s physical reactive changes. Endlicher draws attention to the way information and data inform and affect the physical, as well as how the physical can inform quantification itself.
Snibe’s, Tripolar was originally commissioned in 2002 by the Whitney but now has made its renewed debut as an iPhone and iPad application. The app involves the path of forms made from a user’s point of touch, reacting to the effect a pendulum makes while swinging over three magnets, resulting in a scribbled line drawing. Through the app a user can also add, remove and place magnets as to customize and experiment with formal variations of line. The work, first exhibited in online exhibition CODeDOC, demonstrates the way the input [code]—through random or subtle manipulation—drastically changes its visual output, creating chaotic and unpredictable outcomes.
Jim Punk is prolific and anonymous.
His website is encased largely in a cryptic vernacular predominately of his own design: A laptop is rendered in ‘Oldskool’ ASCII style illustration graphics with the ‘keyboard’ displaying letters and symbols (such as “&” or “n”) arranged in no particular order—as if Punk had button smashed his keyboard and left the results to exist as is. There are no direct title links, or any kind of straightforward archive list of projects, instead it’s these arranged letters and symbols that when painstakingly, individually clicked on, lead the viewer down into a further maze of Punk’s own glitchy, early net art based work.
It’s this jumbled arrangement of symbols and navigation confusion that has come to define Punk’s work over the years. Responding to blog comments, tweets and even emails with this seemingly incomprehensible employment of language, Punk avoids a certain communicative regularity; rejecting the comprehensibility and clarity that often lends itself to distinct individual recognition. Instead, Punk’s non-linear, schizophrenic performance draws attention to the form language and communication take, all the while disrupting standardized information flow and producing an irregularity in the way we expect to approach and access content.
Punk's latest user generated project, exq=.s.te =n.c&de/s, is a glitched out Twitter feed that anyone can post to. Utilizing a customized keyboard, comprised solely of unicode symbols, users can easily create and tweet glitchy status updates. With currently more than 600 tweets, Punk’s project works within the hyper consumptive pace of Twitter and utilizes it as an alternative platform for ...