Marisa actively contributes to the field, writing for many major art publications, ranging from magazines & exhibition catalogs to academic journals and chapters in books on the history and theory of media art. She has served as Editor & Curator at Rhizome, the inaugural curator at Zero1, and Associate Director at SF Camerawork, whose Journal she edited. In 2013 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, Marisa has also curated programs at the Guggenheim, New Museum, SFMOMA, White Columns, and Artists Space. She has served on Advisory Boards for Ars Electronica, Transmediale, ISEA, the International Academy of Digital Arts & Sciences, Creative Capital, EYEBEAM, the Getty Foundation, the Rockefeller Foundation, the Kennedy Center, and the Tribeca Film Festival.
Marisa 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, Oberlin, VCU, UC-Boulder's Brakhage Symposium, Penn State, Visiting Faculty at Bard College's Milton Avery Graduate School of the Arts, and Visiting Faculty at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago's Ox-Bow program. She previously taught at NYU's Tisch School of the Arts' new media graduate program and was Assistant Professor of New Media at SUNY-Purchase's School of Film & Media Studies. She is currently Visiting Critic at Brown University.
The awesome New York arts organization Artists Space has come up with three new ways to spice up your computering, no matter where you live. If we had to make a list of the main things we do on our computers everyday, wouldn't typing, watching YouTube videos, and staring at our desktop be high on the index? Now Artists Space--under the savvy influence of curator Joseph Del Pesco--has initiated three ways to art-up those acts. The first, "TypeCast", is a series highlighting one artist-designed font per month, available as a free download. This month, you can find Mungo Thomson's Negative Space, which he describes as "a graphic scaffolding for the sake of alpha-numeric meaning." It's cool and it will totally impress your employer. Following "TypeCast" is "YouTube Commentary Project," which addresses a major problem with the video-sharing site. There just isn't enough commentary and recursion there! (sic!) Nonetheless, inviting smart international artists to verbalize their reactions atop the video of their choice sounds like a can't-lose idea. Stay tuned to Artists Space's YouTube channel for more of these videos, which premiered with a work by Cesare Pietroiusti. And finally, if you're a fan of the element of surprise, then "Artists Space Daily" is for you. It's "a free software program that downloads an artist 'postcard' from the internet and places it on the desktop of your computer, once per day." While this brings art into viewers' lives that they neither have to pay for nor live with for more than 24 hours, the project brings attention to international emerging artists you just may want to see again. It's all fun, it's all free, and it's all for the love of contemporary art, so get with the program and ...
When the cinematic masterpiece Wayne's World was released in 1992, their tag line was, "You'll Laugh, You'll Cry...You'll Hurl!" Who among us couldn't say the same about the media blunders we've seen recently, in connection with the U.S. presidential elections? Brooklyn-based artistic duo MTAA dramatize this sort of overwhelming desire to emote in their newest project, Our Political Work, which they describe as Beckett-like. The "Waiting For Godot" playwright might well approve of their creation, which features 141 clips of the artists screaming, laughing, and yelling as they wait in vain for something to change. The clips are randomly strung together using generative software, not unlike the clips in their One Year Performance Video, thus locking them in a state of perpetual indignity. The longer one watches, though, the more they are called upon to consider the roles of the artists and the very nature of their "political work." Are they political agents or spectators? Are their blurts and indiscretions responses to the behavior of political actors, or are they themselves enacting politics? Take a look for yourself, online. The piece is hosted by Lisboa 20 Arte Contemporânea, whose LX 2.0 Project commissioned the work. - Marisa OlsonImage: MTAA, Our Political Work, 2008 (Screenshot)
As of today, the U.S. will have a bold new venue for new media art and performance: EMPAC. Short for Experimental Media & Performing Arts Center, the Troy, NY-based facility embodies state-of-the-artness and its affiliation with the highly regarded research university, Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, ensures that the installations, performances, and concerts presented there will always be ahead of the technological curve. The space, itself, is a masterpiece. The 220,000-square foot building, designed by Grimshaw, includes a 1200-seat concert hall with an adjustable fabric ceiling; a 400-seat theater with a 70-foot fly tower; two black-box studio spaces with tunable, tilting wall tiles; and acoustically isolated artist/researcher work spaces. Within these walls, and under the direction of Johannes Goebel (who helped found ZKM) and curators Kathleen Forde, Hélène Lesterlin, and Micah Silver, visitors will experience work that emphasizes immersion, interactivity, and time-based media. For the next three weekends, EMPAC will present a major festival full of provocative performances and installations by The Wooster Group, dumb type, Workspace Unlimited, Verdensteatret, Vox Vocal Ensemble and International Contemporary Ensemble, Per Tengstrand, Madlib, Cecil Taylor, Pauline Oliveros, Richard Siegal/The Bakery, Robert Normandeau, Fieldwork, Gamelan Galak Tika + Ensemble Robot, and others. This unveiling has been several years in the making but reservations are going fast, so you won't want to wait to get your tickets and get over to Troy. - Marisa Olson
Stan VanDerBeek (1927-1984) shares with artists like Josef Albers, Aldous Huxley, John Cage, Robert Rauschenberg, and Buckminster Fuller the legacy of having developed their practice at Black Mountain College, the creative mecca where these and other thinkers pushed the edges of visual art, music, literature, technology, and consciousness. His experimental films of the 1950s blurred dada collage and science fiction, and he was an early adopter of both analog processes and computer animation, establishing for him a godfather-like position in the origin-narratives surrounding new media. His often rough aesthetic anticipated glitch-fetishism by several decades and drove the surrealist aesthetic into new territory; yet this is not to say that his works didn't go down smoothly. (The internet is full of video evidence of his colorfully dreamy proliferations.) The artist is currently the subject of an exhibition at New York's Guild & Greyshkul gallery, where one can see VanDerBeek's contribution to the proto-history of digital copy-and-paste stylistics in the form of real copy-and-paste collages and his own reworkings of his early films. Much of the work in the show, including a "faux mural" he transmitted electronically to international venues, in 1970, was made in his days at MIT, where his immersion among scientists and engineers had a clear impact on his art. VanDerBeek had a futurist and almost cosmological approach to his work and was one of those artists known for spouting beautiful witticisms about finding universal modes of expression that transcended media and the confinement of traditional forms. At the end of the day, he also reminded us that "Art is the artifact of reality (not taken for granted)." - Marisa Olson
No longer mere distractions cooked-up by programmers as a form of light relief in the early days of computers, video games have evolved into a variety of forms and have had a wide impact on multiple generations. To some extent, the same can now be said of art that addresses video games, the visual complexity and conceptual richness of which has grown with the medium. An exhibition guest-curated by artists Marcin Ramocki and Paul Slocum at Arthouse explores "the history, control mechanisms, political and art-historical implications of electronic games" by surveying both better-known and more emerging practitioners of game-related art, including Cory Arcangel, Michael Bell-Smith, Mike Beradino, Brody Condon, Alex Galloway, JODI, Guthrie Lonergan, Kristin Lucas, Joe McKay, Michael Smith, Eddo Stern, and Keita Takahashi. RESET/PLAY is up through November 2nd and is accompanied by a series of public events that includes a night of video game competitions and a performance by New York-based sound artists Loud Objects. - Marisa Olson
Image: Brody Condon, Judgment Modification (After Memling), 2008 (Courtesy of the artist and Virgil de Voldère Gallery, New York, NY)