Olson has served as Editor & Curator at Rhizome, the inaugural curator at Zero1, and Associate Director at SF Camerawork. She's contributed to many major journals & books and this year Cocom Press published Arte Postinternet, a Spanish translation of her texts on Postinternet Art, a movement she framed in 2006. In 2015 LINK Editions will publish a retrospective anthology of over a decade of her writings on contemporary art which have helped establish a vocabulary for the criticism of new media. Meanwhile, she has also curated programs at the Guggenheim, New Museum, SFMOMA, White Columns, Artists Space, and Bitforms Gallery. She has served on Advisory Boards for Ars Electronica, Transmediale, ISEA, the International Academy of Digital Arts & Sciences, Creative Capital, the Getty Foundation, the Rockefeller Foundation, the Kennedy Center, and the Tribeca Film Festival.
Olson studied Fine Art at Goldsmiths, History of Consciousness at UC Santa Cruz, and Rhetoric & Film Studies at UC Berkeley. She has recently been a visiting artist at Yale, SAIC, Oberlin, and VCU; a Visiting Critic at Brown; and Visiting Faculty at Bard College's Milton Avery Graduate School of the Arts and Ox-Bow. She previously taught at NYU's Tisch School of the Arts' new media graduate program (ITP) and was Assistant Professor of New Media at SUNY-Purchase's School of Film & Media Studies. She was recently an Artist-in-Residence at Eyebeam & is currently Visiting Critic at RISD.
Nancy Holt, Boomerang (1974), still from video.
In her time on this planet, Nancy Holt came to be known as a great American Land Artist, and certainly her brilliant installations, like Utah's Sun Tunnels and collaborations with her partner Robert Smithson and their peers, are profoundly significant, but it was her work in film & video that has had the greatest personal impact on me.
I somehow didn't see Boomerang, her 1974 video performance usually credited to her collaborator Richard Serra, until I was a Ph.D. student in Linda Williams's Phenomenology of Film seminar at UC Berkeley's Rhetoric program, but the time delay was more than made up for by the work's formative resonance. In the video, made during Serra's residency at a Texas television station, a young Holt is seen sitting in an anchor's chair before a staid blue background. Despite brief station ID graphic overlays and one minute of silence in the midst of the ten-minute piece (announced as audio trouble and reminding viewers of the work's live TV origin), the work is in many ways sound-centric.
On Saturday, April 11th, New York's School of Visual Arts will co-present the 2009 Visual Music Marathon with the New York Digital Salon and Northeastern University. Promising genre-bending work from fifteen countries, the lineup crams 120 works by new media artists and digital composers into 12 hours. If it's true, as is often said, that MTV killed the attention spans of Generations X and Y, this six-minute-per-piece average ought to suit most festivalgoers' minds, and the resultant shuffling on and off stage will surely be a spectacle in its own rite. In all seriousness, this annual event is a highlight of New York's already thriving electronic music scene and promises many a treat for your eyes and ears. The illustrious organizers behind the marathon know their visual music history and want to remind readers that, "The roots of the genre date back more than two hundred years to the ocular harpsichords and color-music scales of the 18th century," and "the current art form came to fruition following the emergence of film and video in the 20th century." The remarkable ten dozen artists participating in this one-day event will bring us work incorporating such diverse materials as hand-processed film, algorithmically-generated video, visual interpretations of music, and some good old fashioned music-music. From luminaries like Oskar Fischinger, Hans Richter, and Steina Vasulka to emerging artists Joe Tekippe and Chiaki Watanabe, the program will be another star on the map that claims NYC as fertile territory for sonic exploration. - Marisa Olson
The National Museum of Contemporary Art (EMST) in Athens, Greece, has committed itself to curating a number of recent exhibitions of internet art. Their current show, "Tag Ties and Affective Spies," features contributions from both net vets and emerging surfers, including Christophe Bruno, Gregory Chatonsky, Paolo Cirio, JODI, Jonathan Harris and Sep Kamvar, Les Liens Invisibles, Personal Cinema and The Erasers, Ramsay Stirling, and Wayne Clements. The online exhibition takes an antagonistic approach to Web 2.0, citing a constant balance "between order and chaos, democracy and adhocracy." Curator Daphne Dragona raises the question of whether the social web is a preexisting platform on which people connect, or whether it is indeed constructed in the act of uploading, tagging, and disclosing previously private information about ourselves on sites like Flickr, YouTube, and Facebook. Dragona asks whether we are truly connecting and interacting, or merely broadcasting. While her curatorial statement doesn't address the issue directly, the show's title hints at the level of self-surveillance in play on these sites. Accordingly, many of the selected works take a critical, if not DIY, approach to the internet. The collective Les Liens Invisibles tends to create works that make an ironic mash-up of the often divergent mantras of tactical media, culture jamming, surrealism, and situationism. In their Subvertr, they encourage Flickr users to "subverTag" their posted images, creating an intentional disassociation between an image's content and its interpretion, with the aim of "breaking the strict rules of significance that characterize the mainstream collective imaginary..." JODI's work, Del.icio.us/ winning information (2008) exploits the limited stylistic parameters of the social bookmarking site. Using ASCII and Unicode page titles to form visual marks, a cryptic tag vocabulary, and a recursive taxonomy, their fun-to-follow site critiques the broader content of the web ...
In 1997, internet art hall-of-famer Olia Lialina made a "net drama" called Agatha Appears that was written for Netscape 3 and 4 in HTML 3.2. One of the main features of the interactive narrative was the travel of the eponymous avatar across the internet. Let's just say the girl got around. But the magical illusion of the piece was that she appeared to stay still, even when links in the narrative were clicked and the viewer's address bar indicated movement to another server. But in time, both the browser and code in which the story was written became defunct and the piece unraveled as the sites previously hosting the links and files upon which Agatha was dependent disappeared or cleaned house. Such a scenario is common to early internet art (and will no doubt continue to plague the field), as ours is an upgrade culture constantly driving towards new tools, platforms, and codes. Many have debated whether to let older works whither or how it might be possible to update these works, making them compatible with new systems. For those who are interested, some of the best research on the subject has been performed by the folks affiliated with the Variable Media Initiative. Meanwhile, luddites and neophiles alike are now in luck because Agatha Appears has just undergone rejuvenation. Ela Wysocka, a restorer working at Budapest's Center for Culture & Communication Foundation has worked to overcome the sound problems, code incompatibilities, and file corruption and disappearance issues, and she's written a fascinating report about the process, here. And new collaborating hosts have jumped in line to bring the piece back to life, so that like a black and white boyfriend coming home from war, Agatha now offers us a shiny new webring as a token of ...
The fantasy of the future and the utopian promises of new technologies have always gone hand-in-hand. If the history of technology's evolution tells the story of our culture, we can also trace our present-day novelties back to the root of our anxieties about the future and the problems these devices hoped to solve. With this correlation in mind, the interactive DVD novel The Imaginary 20th Century (2007) by Norman Klein, Margo Bistis, and Andreas Kratky, jumps back to the fin de siècle era between the 19th and 20th centuries. It was a time of wonder when new technologies and their representation were wedded in documents like panoramic films of public light shows and short actualities about newfangled transportation devices called roller skates. The novel tells the story of "the Chicago World's Fair in 1893, and the story of a woman (Carrie), who in 1901, selects four men to seduce her, each with his own version of the new century" in a recombinatory visual narrative that overlaps 2,200 images culled from primary documents, architectural plans, photos, and other ephemera with an original score. The project speaks to the multiplicity of visions circulating about what the new century would hold, and it's an even more past-tense follow-up to Norman Klein's interactive novel, Bleeding Through: Layers of Los Angeles, 1920-1986 (2003). Klein's work has clearly resonated with at least eleven people, because closing this week at Otis College of Art and Design's Ben Maltz Gallery is "The Future Imaginary," an exhibition that responds to The Imaginary 20th Century with the work of artists Deborah Aschheim, Jeff Cain, Tom Jennings, Jon Kessler, Ed Osborn, Lea Rekow, Douglas Repetto, Phil Ross, Kari Rae Seekins and Aaron Drake, and Susan Simpson. Each contribution embodies the special genre of ...
You've been an awesome colleague, Patrick! Thanks for everything!
Hi. I'm looking for collaborators (performers, sculptors, the a/v savvy, the paranoid) to join the crew of a new project taking the form of a scifi homemaking tv show, filmed before a live studio audience, June 1-15, 2008, at Wooloo.org's New Life Berlin festival. More info is below. Please note that, while the official deadline is May 31st, we are looking at applications immediately. If you're in Berlin this summer, please consider joining us!
ASSISTED LIVING is a futuristic parody of Martha Stewart's American TV show focused on coping with the health & environmental challenges of living a life prolonged by technology. The hostess, Marisa Olson, will devise craft-projects and recipes for these 130-year-olds, taping the show on-site before a "live studio audience." (There will be one episode taped in each day of the festival, June 1-15.)
Technology might help us live longer, but it may also give us health challenges like Global Warming-Related Illnesses (GWI's) and radioactive growths, or lifestyle setbacks like high waterline stains on furniture and insomnia due to the extinction of animals whose sounds we once slept to. ASSISTED LIVING invites participants to travel 30 years into the near future, joining the live studio audience for daily tapings of the very first episodes of this TV phenomenon.
Anyone can join the audience of the show by arriving 30 minutes prior to each afternoon's "taping." You can also apply to go behind-the-scenes and join the crew of this show, as a production assistant, audio/visual coordinator, audience-coordinator, or propmaker. The crew and hostess will perform together to make the show's production process as transparent (if surreal) as possible, humorously blurring the lines between process and product.
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
April 21, 2008
Edmund Cardoni: (716) 854-1694
Lucia Sommer: (716) 359-3061
JUDGE DISMISSES MAIL FRAUD CASE AGAINST BIO-ARTIST KURTZ
Buffalo, NY—A process that has taken nearly four years may be coming to an end. On Monday, April 21, Federal Judge Richard J. Arcara ruled to dismiss the indictment against University at Buffalo Professor of Visual Studies Dr. Steven Kurtz.
In June 2004, Professor Kurtz was charged with two counts of mail fraud and two counts of wire fraud stemming from an exchange of $256 worth of harmless bacteria with Dr. Robert Ferrell, Professor of Human Genetics at the University of Pittsburgh Graduate School of Public Health.
Dr. Kurtz planned to use the bacteria in an educational art exhibit about biotechnology with his award-winning art and theater collective, Critical Art Ensemble.
Professor Kurtz’ lawyer, Paul Cambria, said that his client was “pleased and relieved that this ordeal may be coming to an end.”
The prosecution has the right to appeal this dismissal. How the prosecution will proceed is unknown at this time. If an appeal were undertaken the case would move to the New York Second Circuit Court of Appeals in New York City.
Lucia Sommer, Coordinator of the CAE Defense Fund, which raises funds for Kurtz’ legal defense, said, “We are all grateful that after reviewing this case, Judge Arcara took appropriate action.” She added that “this decision is further testament to our original statements that Dr. Kurtz is completely innocent and never should have been charged in the first place.”
BACKGROUND ON DR. STEVEN KURTZ AND CRITICAL ART ENSEMBLE
Critical Art Ensemble (which Kurtz co-founded in 1987 with Steven Barnes) has won numerous awards for its bio-art, including the prestigious 2007 Andy Warhol Foundation Wynn Kramarsky Freedom of Artistic Expression Grant, honoring more than two decades of distinguished work. The group has been commissioned to exhibit and perform in many of the world's cultural institutions—including the London Museum of Natural History; The ICA, London; the Whitney Museum and the New Museum in NYC; the Corcoran Museum of Art in Washington, DC; Schirn Kunsthalle, Frankfurt; Musée d'Art Moderne de la Ville de Paris; der Volksbüne, Berlin; ZKM, Karlsruhe; El Matadero, Madrid; Museum of Contemporary Art, Helsinki; Museo de Arte Carrilo Gil, Mexico City and many more.
For more information about the case, please visit: caedefensefund.org
"The DoJ is almost certain to appeal, meaning the case could drag on for 2-3 more years (being bounced back and forth between appeals court in NYC and Buffalo) and could even reach the Supreme Court -- thus making it nearly impossible to raise the amount of money required to defend Steve..."
They are working on a press release right now. I'll post it here when it's out.
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SOUSVEILLANCE CULTURE CONFERENCE
Saturday, April 26, 2008
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Presentations on the theory & practice of surveillance and contemporary protest art, by graduate students in the ITP program at NYU's Tisch School of the Arts.
The presenters' talks will be grouped into four panels, to be moderated by their Professor, Marisa Olson (Curator at Large, Rhizome), on topics ranging from voyeurism and play to intervention and networks of control. These panels will consist of both artist talks and critical essays, and audience members will be invited to give feedback on a few works in progress.
Venue: The Change You Want to See Gallery
84 Havemeyer @ Metropolitan, Brooklyn, NY 11211
L to Bedford or Lorimer, G to Metropolitan, J/M/Z to Marcy
Hours: 12-5 pm, Saturday, April 26, 2008
11:45 Open Seating
12:00 Welcome & Introduction, Marisa Olson
12:05-1:15 Voyeurism vs. Exhibitionism: Online and In the Streets
Panelists: Allistar Peters and Meng Li, Ana Maria Gutierrez, Heather Rasley
1:15-2:00 Watchful Intervening: From Scientologists to Spy Shops
Panelists: Amanda Bernsohn and Kacie Kinzer, Syed Salahuddin
2-3:30 Playtime: Games, Toys, and Entertainment
Panelists: Oscar Torres, Scott Hoffer, Shlomit Lehavi and Leah Gilliam
3:30-5 Looking at Control: From Candidate Self-Surveillance to Wireless Subversion
Panelists: Michael Clemow and Tom Jenkins, Alberto Tafoya, Emery Martin
About the venue:
The Change You Want To See is the gallery and convergence stage run by the activist arts collective Not An Alternative.