Martin John Callanan is an artist whose work spans numerous mediums and engages both emerging and commonplace technology. His work has included translating active communication data into music; freezing in time the earth’s water system; writing thousands of letters; capturing newspapers from around the world as they are published; taming wind onto the internet and broadcasting his precise physical location live for over two years.
Martin's work is always decidedly deadpan and served with a dash of ennui. Some of his more well-known pieces include Letters 2004-2006 published by Book Works, the ambient audio installation Sonification of You, the meta-news aggregator I Wanted to See All the News From Today and Text Trends, which abstracts the casual manner in which we receive, scan and process information and language on a daily basis.
Martin's work has been exhibited, published and screened at venues throughout Europe, Russia, North America, South America, Asia and Australia. Participating with, among others, Es Baluard Modern and Contemporary Art Museum, Moscow International Film Festival, Ars Electronic Centre, ISEA 2010, FutureEverything, Museum of Contemporary Art of Vojvodina, Riga Centre for New Media Culture, UCL Environment Institute, Science Museum (London), Tate Britain, Folly Festival of Digital Culture, Book Works, The Institute for Modern and Contemporary Culture, File Prix Lux, and in several editions of the FILE Electronic Language International Festival in Brasil.
Martin is currently:
- Teaching Fellow in Fine Art Media (Digital Media & Print) at the Slade School of Fine Art, University College London and a member of Slade Centre for Electronic Media in Fine Art (SCEMFA) and Word Image research group.
- Editor, Leonardo Electronic Almanac
- Publisher, Merkske
Since 2007, Callanan has linked his status updates across social networking sites to display messages in unison. The updates always read “Martin John Callanan is okay“, with corresponding dates to show when they were published.
For the first exhibition at Büro BDP, Callanan has printed all the status updates on a single table sized sheet of roll paper. Using the obsolete technology of a pen plotter, which marks the text onto the paper with a standard writing pen, the text characters have been reproduced with machine precision. After the opening night, the table will gradually revert to it’s everyday use as an office desk.
The 209 updates are displayed sequentially in reserve chronological order on the MINI Museum of XXI Century Art which occupies the window on Emserstraße.
The Time Machine in alphabetical order, by Thomson & Craighead, is a complete rendition of the 1960 film version of HG Wells Novella re-edited by the artists into alphabetical order from beginning to end. In doing so, they attempt to perform a kind of time travel on the movie's original time-line through the use of a system of classification.
January - April 2011
UCL, Gower Street, London WC1E 6BT
The celebrate 15 years of ground breaking research in electronicmedia, the Slade Centre for Electronic Media in Fine Art (SCEMFA) willhold a 14 week exhibition, showing new works from nine internationallyacclaimed artists: who use emerging practices to explore electronicand digital media, as both a source and material.
Martin John Callanan, 24 - 30 January
Thomson & Craighead, 2 - 13 February
Tim Head, 15 - 20 February
Simon Faithfull, 22 February - 6 March
Brighid Lowe, 8 - 13 March
Melanie Jackson, 15 - 20 March
Susan Collins, 23 March - 17 April
An exhibition that revolves every fortnight between each artist,acting as a showcase for the best of contemporary art in the UK, andhighlighting the Slade’s pivotal role in the history, development andcurrent research in the many varied forms of electronic media.
SCEMFA is a research group at the Slade School of Fine Art.
SCEMFA opened in 1995 and for the past 15 years has provided the opportunityfor leading artists to focus on research into Electronic Media andFine Art, contributing to debate on a national and international levelfor events, exhibitions, broadcasts, collaborations and online.
Tuesday - Friday: 10 am - 5pm, Saturday & Sunday: noon - 5pm
North Lodge, University College London, Gower Street, WC1E 6BT
Date: 9 May 2013
Convened to mark the appointment of Tim Etchells as Professor of Performance and Practice at LICA, Words / Worlds is an afternoon symposium focused on approaches to writing in an interdisciplinary context. The event takes its title from a two-part neon work All We Have is Words / All We Have is Worlds by Etchells, which quotes and then repeats with modification, a line from Samuel Beckett.
Beginning with a keynote paper/performance from Etchells, which opens questions relating his to text-work in different media, WORDS / WORLDS proceeds with panels and presentations from visual artists Martin John Callanan and Penny McCarthy, from curator Mathieu Copeland, from the novelist Tony White and from the performance maker and scholar Andrew Quick. WORDS / WORLDS celebrates the possibilities of a cross-disciplinary conversation between and about text-based work and writing. A statement by William Burroughs – that the purpose of writing is to make things happen – provides one point of departure for the discussions, which will see each of the participants touch upon key works and ideas from their practise as they think around texts and inter-texts, texts as interventions in, and transformations of, the world, texts as tests or probes of reality, and text as a tool for fragile and temporary world-building.
Free to attend
Organising departments and research centres: Lancaster Institute for the Contemporary Arts
MONDAY 24 JUNE 2013 – SATURDAY 20 JULY 2013
(Im)material Labour explores our shifting position in an economically functioning society. From the systemisation of post-fordist labour through to the de-materialisation of the service sector, our patterns of working behaviour are constantly being reconfigured.
(Im)material Labour draws together the work of a number of artists who interrogate this phenomenon in light of the current economic climate. Seeking to decode and humanise the financial crisis through analytical ideas and research, the works on display often result in therapeutic and humorous outcomes.
The exhibition includes works by SUPERFLEX, Zachary Formwalt, Ignacio Uriarte, Martin John Callanan, Paul Westcombe and Arnaud Desjardin.
The exhibition will take place both onsite and offsite in a disused office block situated in Colchester Town. Curated by MA Critical Curating students Warren Harper, Matylda Taszycka and alumnus Jonathan Weston.
Saturday 1 June, 1-2pm
Join the exhibition’s curators for a tour of (Im)material Labour at Art Exchange. To reserve your place, please email firstname.lastname@example.org
David Pescovitz writes on Boing Boing: Artist Martin John Callanan and the Advanced Engineered Materials Group at the UK’s National Physical Laboratory used an infinite 3D optical microscope to capture 400 million pixel images of the lowest denomination coin from many currencies. “The Fundamental Units”
Max Rosenberg writes:
Some nations have debated getting rid of their smallest monetary denominations.
Even President Obama came out against the penny earlier this year.
Photographer Martin John Callanan is trying to save these coins for future generations, using images.
and Capital Online
Daily Mail: Look after your pennies: microscopic pictures of world’s lowest value coins to save them for future generations
Look after your pennies: Photographer takes microscopic pictures of world’s lowest value coins to save them for future generations
With every battered line, scrape and knock, each coin has been rendered as individual as the many thousands of hands they have passed through.
Now, as governments across the world debate whether to do away with their lowest value coins, one photographer is on a mission to save as many pennies as he can before they are consigned forever to history,
Photographer Martin John Callanan is busy working on a photo project entitled The Fundamental Units – a series of extremely large prints showing the lowest value coins of countries around the world.
He has teamed up with National Physical Laboratory in Teddington, to use ‘Europe’s best microscope’ to show each coin in all its worn charm.
Each coin is photographed with 4,000 individual tiny exposures, and it takes three days of processing to turn the individual photos into a single composite photograph weighing 400 megapixels. Printed out, each photo measures 1.2 and 1.2 meters (~3.9 square feet).
‘In this sense, and in response to the dominance of macroeconomics in the discourse of the media, the artist chooses a microscopic view of the world economy.
‘The Fundamental Units, a series that begins with the works produced by Horrach Moyà Gallery for this exhibition, is an exploration of the lowest denomination coins from the world’s currencies using an infinite focus 3D optical microscope at the National Physical Laboratory in Teddington.’
‘The images obtained with the microscope have been combined to form an extremely detailed large scale reproduction of the least valuable coins from Australia, Chile, the Euro, Myanmar and the Kingdom of Swaziland.
‘In these images the humble metal acquires a planetary dimension and is displayed as the atoms that shape the global economy.’
There are many precedents for scrapping small coins.
In America, the half-cent was abolished in 1857, and in 1984 the UK’s halfpenny was withdrawn.
New Zealand and Australia abandoned the one-cent and two-cent coin in the 1990s.
Campaigners in the US and UK also want the penny and cent coins to be consigned to history, because nothing can be bought with a one-cent or one-penny coin.
Reposted on Numismatica
Rain Noe at Core77 writes:
What does that look like to you? The cave drawings at Lascaux, maybe?
How about this one? A shield from an ancient civilization?
Nope, these are the lowest of the world’s low-value coins, those forgotten bits of metal that keep lint company in our pockets or fill forgotten jars. Perhaps sensing that cents are on the way out, Martin John Callanan—self-described as “an artist researching an individual’s place within systems”—is photographically preserving them for posterity with his The Fundamental Units project.
The kicker is that a regular camera wouldn’t do, not for what Callanan had in mind; so he teamed up with the UK’s National Physical Laboratory, which is that country’s national measurement standards lab, to use their infinite focus 3D optical microscope. Callanan then captured some 4,000 exposures of each freaking coin, resulting in a series of 400 megapixel images that, blown up and hanging on a gallery wall, reveal details you’d never spot on the real deal. Every nick, scratch, dent, ding and discoloration are laid bare.
So far he’s captured cents, pesos and pence from Australia, Bulgaria, Chile, Croatia, Denmark, Iceland, Latvia, Lituania, Myanmar, Poland, Romania, Swaziland, Sweden, and the United Kingdom, not to mention the Euro; but by the project’s end, Callanan plans to have captured “the lowest denomination coin from each of the world’s 166 active currencies.”
Did you know that it costs the US Mint 2 cents to produce every 1 cent coin due to the cost of materials and production? Countries such as Canada have already done away with their lowest denomination coins due to their costs and lack of usefulness.
As these “worthless” coins cause debates in their governments about whether or not they should be abolished, photographer Martin John Callanan is on a mission to save them… not as a currency, but rather in photographs.
Article made it to the top of Digg.com
and the Baltic News Network
and Botanwang in China
and CNBCE in Turkey
and Wander Lust Mind
An aseptic space. One white table and on it a printed directory, accompanied by an apparently normal looking telephone. It would seem the right environment to make a call. And calls are, in fact, made. The phone operates automatically, dialling random numbers from the many listed in the phone book . The diffused audio allows visitors to listen to the classic dialling sounds, followed by a precise dead tone or a message saying, in varying languages, ‘the number you dialled does not exist’. The process repeats itself tirelessly; another number, another country, another language. A loop of sounds and dead time; a form of a dance, a ritual. A monologue or perhaps a soliloquy. No matter which of the many available numbers are dialled, it is certain that no calls will ever be answered because the list of numbers is officially exposed as The International Directory of Fictitious Telephone Numbers – an extensive list of numbers certified as non-existent and neatly divided into geographic areas of the world. The compilation of this phone book includes official requests from telecommunication regulators in different countries. The artwork, resulting from research by the British artist John Martin Callanan and presented first in Spain and then at the Whitechapel Gallery in London, is indefinitely offered as a resource for use in drama or film productions so that unsuspecting people aren’t disturbed by inquisitive viewers. Art in defence of privacy?
Your chance to get hold of issue #3 of Text Trends newspaper.
The Open Data Institute (ODI) and MzTEK invite you to the Data as Culture Open Day.
The Data as Culture collection is set in the offices of the ODI, and aims to bring tangible interventions into the
mass accretion of data around us. This is an opportunity to see the artworks in the collection and speak to the curators and some of the artists.
Informal presentations from 2.30pm – 4pm, refreshments provided.
Find out more about the artists and the collection visit: theodi.org/culture/collection
Data as Culture: Open Day
16 March 2013, 12pm – 6pm.
Open Data Institute, 3rd Floor, 65 Clifton Street, London, EC2A 4JE
23 February – 27 April 2013
Opening 7pm, 22 February 2013
Or Gallery is pleased to present Along Some Sympathetic Lines, an exhibition of artwork by London-based artist Martin John Callanan, and an archive project by curator Liz Bruchet. The exhibition considers the poetic possibilities of data and its documentation, and the tenuous process of making meaning.
Martin John Callanan is an artist researching an individual’s place within systems. Callanan generates and reworks photographs, letters and electronic data into evidence of exchanges – between the individual, the institution and the networks of power that intertwine them. The exhibition presents four of the artist’s series: The Fundamental Units, the result of amassing millions of pixels of data, to photographs, in microscopic detail far beyond the capacity of the human eye, the lowest monetary unit of each of the 166 active currencies of world, only to enlarge and print them to vast scale; Wars During My Lifetime, an evolving newspaper listing of every war fought during the course of the artist’s life; Grounds, an ongoing photographic archive which charts ‘important places’ in the world where security restrictions limit the image to the carpeted, tiled or concrete floors; and Letters 2004-2006, Callanan’s correspondence with various heads of states and religious leaders which implicate them in conversations that question their very rationale of their authority. These acts of excavating, accumulating and visualising data draw out the sympathetic aspects within documentation and in so doing, mark and disrupt the underlying power dynamics.
A second gallery features an archive project by London-based curator Liz Bruchet. The display of ephemera from the personal archive of the curator’s grandfather, a Canadian insurance salesman and aspiring radio presenter, takes its inspiration from a found audio recording – part monologue, part autobiography, and part radio show – made in 1974. Harnessing the impulses of the collector, archivist and biographer, the curator reasserts her role as custodian and caretaker to nurture narratives and give weight to the subjective remnants of one man’s life.
This exhibition is curated by Liz Bruchet.
The exhibition is possible with the generous support of Or Gallery, the National Physical Laboratory, and UCL European Institute.
With thanks to Galeria Horrach Moya, (Hiper)vincles, Whitechapel Gallery, Book Works, David Karl, and Pau Waelder.