Cory Arcangel, "Clinton," 2011. Pencil on paper (produced with Mutoh XP-300 series printer), edition 1 of 3, 11 x 8.5 inches.
Last year, critic Alix Rule and artist David Levine suggested in a much-discussed article in Triple Canopy that the dense, quasi-theoretical writing found in contemporary art press releases should be reformatted as meter and appreciated as avant-garde poetry. This week, Cory Arcangel took the next logical step and used the email press release for his forthcoming exhibition at DHC/ART, which was circulated on the e-flux mailing list, as an opportunity for a sly text-based intervention.
Artist and erstwhile Rhizome staff writer Tyler Coburn's recent project I'm that angel includes a book and performance narrated by a fictional “content farmer,” a writer (typically freelance) who creates large amounts of text that is designed for maximum traction with search engine algorithms. The performances typically take place in data centers or spaces in which the physical infrastructure that supports "the cloud" is made manifest.
Douglas Davis, "The World's First Collaborative Sentence" (1994). Detail.
Many of the comments posted to the article offered sage advice for the conservation team, free of charge. According to Francesco of New York, “it was probably build in java or php and they need to update the server.” VJBortolot of Guildford, CT, expressed surprise “that the Whitney didn't … use an legacy browser … and run it in a Win95 environment on a vintage computer.” E.W. Chesterton of Palm Beach simply wrote, “Oh please! It’s html!”
Expert diagnoses notwithstanding, it’s well worth delving a bit further into some of the complex issues that emerged during the Davis restoration.
Pinar & Viola, Scandal Acqua - 2013 Surface Collection.
Today, multiple news outlets report that opposition to Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan grows amidst harsh government responses to peaceful protests. Meanwhile, the man who shared previously classified information about the corruption of Middle Eastern despots, thereby helping spark the Arab Spring, goes on trial today in the United States.
Here are several of the week's listings, culled from Rhizome Announce.
June 5: CONFABULATION: Symposium on 3D in the Classroom addresses the importance of digital 3D literacy in education.
June 6 & 7: We Are Museums. This 2-day conference focuses on the integration of the museum into people's daily lives and the use of digital tools to help museums become more connected and accessible.
June 7: Alexandra Reill: Quoting Walter Benjamin @upgrade!zagreb is a series of real-time performances and a print compilation demonstrating the relevance of theorist Walter Benjamin's work to contemporary media technologies.
June 8: Opening of Glitch Moment/ums, an exhibition featuring seven artists who subvert our ordinary relationship with technology by hacking the hardware of familiar devices to disrupt their software and digital artifacts. Featuring Alma Alloro, Melissa Barron, Nick Briz, Benjamin Gaulon, José Irion Neto, Antonio Roberts and Ant Scott.
June 6: Open Call: Park in Progress / City Sonic International Sound Art Festival. A one-week residency application open for European artists looking to realize inter- or multidisciplinary work with a sound dimension.
June 10: Call for Participation: Touch.My.Print ISSUE02. A project exploring the concept of photography as data rather than image; Participants download a photograph to use as data input for the creation of new works.
June 10. Call for Submissions: Public Assembly: An Alternative Summer Show. In response to the extinction of Cooper Union's tuition-free ...
GIF extract form Hito Steyerl, How Not To Be Seen. A Fucking Didactic Educational .MOV File , 2013. HD video file, single screen, 14min.
How Not to be Seen: A Fucking Didactic Educational .MOV File is the title of Hito Steyerl's new work, included in the Venice Biennale exhibition Il Palazzo Enciclopedico. (It is installed at the far back corner of the Giardino delle Vergini behind the Arsenale; to reach it, Steyerl joked, one must swim two canals and climb a wall).
The video is partly inspired by the photo calibration targets in the California desert, which look like giant pixels in the ground. As described by the Center for Land Use Interpretation, these targets were used in the age of analog aerial photography to test the resolution of airborne cameras, like a kind of optometrist's chart for the ancestors of drones.
Three Tri-bar targets at Cuddeback Lak. Photo: CLUI.
Partly shot on location at one of these disused targets, How Not to be Seen begins as an instructional video informing viewers how to remain invisible in an age of image proliferation. Various possible strategies are outlined. One suggestion is to camouflage oneself (to demonstrate, Steyerl smears green paint on her face and is chroma-keyed into invisibility). Another suggested tactic is to be smaller than the size of a pixel. For this demonstration, several people appear on camera wearing pixel-like boxes on their heads. Wearing a box on one's head may seem unpleasant, but in Steyerl's video it seems quite fun, imbued with some of the techno-human spirit of Bauhaus theater costumes.
After these tactics are outlined, the film crew making this educational video also disappears. In their absence, happy low-resolution pixels take over the production. Digital rendering ghosts dance in the desert landscape as The Three ...