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Clement Valla and John Cayley's Hapax Phaenomena is featured this month on The Download.
Certificate of Authenticity, Hapax Phaenomena (2011)
In Hapax Phaenomena and other projects such as Google Earth Sites, you refer to your art objects as artifacts or curios. Do you see yourself as an observer documenting an endangered technological curiosity?
Yes. These things will all disappear, and probably soon, in the name of progress. These artifacts are atypical ephemera, and often accidental products created by various internet algorithms. There is very little direct human hand in these artifacts. Though the purpose in collecting them is not simply for their preservation. It's more about framing them, allowing them to be seen, and showing a kind of bizarre byproduct of these super-functioning and useful systems, such as Google.
When did you first notice the glitch in Google Earth? What inspired you to begin capturing these surreal moments?
It was accidental. I was Google-Earthing a location in China, and I noticed that a striking number of buildings looked like they were upside down. I could tell there were two competing visual inputs here - the 3d model, and the mapping of the satellite photography, and they didn't match up. The computer is doing exactly what it's supposed to do, but the depth cues of the aerials, the perspective, the shadows and lighting, were not aligning with depth cues of the 3d earth model. I figured that this was not a unique situation in Google Earth, and I started looking at obvious situations where the depth cues would be off—bridges, tall skyscrapers, canyons. Soon I noticed the photos being updated, and the aerial photographs would be 'flatter' (taken from less of an angle) or the shadows below bridges would be more muted. Google Earth is a constantly ...
Sabrina Ratté's video, Activated Memory, is featured on The Download this month.
Still from Activated Memory (2011)
On your tumblr, you quote Phillip K. Dick's "How to Build a Universe That Doesn't Fall Apart Two Days Later," wherein he presents his thoughts on "reality" from his perspective of a science-fiction writer whose job is to create universes in his novels and stories. Does your video work represent the reality you see? Are you attempting to make the viewer see reality as you see it?
I believe that Philip K. Dick is a master at questioning reality as we see it. When I first read Ubik, I was fascinated by the way Philip K. Dick would call in to question the basic structure of reality and disturb the meaning that we give to our everyday life. Diving into his world can cause a huge life crisis! It made me realize that we need to take certain things for granted or have faith in a « reality » that we choose in order to go on. (While being aware at the same time that this is only one choice among an infinity of others.) Doubting that we live in 2011, or being unsure if we are dead or alive can be very dangerous - and yet these questions can lead to very interesting lands if well managed. Philip K. Dick is dangerous in that sense. Are we in someone’s mind ? Are we dead ? Are the objects around us really concrete or can they melt in another dimension? Will this elevator go back in time if I step in it? The fact that he writes these ideas into a science fiction context allowes him to go further into his reflexions and gives him the opportunity to build these incredibly complex and convincing ...
In-process screenshot of Ryder Ripps's Facebook, courtsey of the artist
Last week, we kicked off our annual Community Campaign with the announcement of a new program for Rhizome members called The Download. Through The Download, Rhizome members are invited to get a first look at a new and significant artwork by one artist every month. Artworks will come in a variety of ubiquitous file formats such as .gifs, .html, .mov, and .jpegs. All works will be delivered as a .zip via The Download page. Once the artwork is downloaded, it is yours to collect, share with friends, and display on the screen of any suitable device. The Download is a premier opportunity to become a collector of great digital art!
For the first Download, we are highlighting a new work by conceptual artist Ryder Ripps (Internet Archaeology, dump.fm and OKFocus). Ryder Ripps's Facebook (2011) is a copy of his entire personal Facebook history including all of his photos, private messages, chats, and wall posts. The viewer is invited to explore all of Ripps's Facebook activity, exposing some of the most intimate and private information. As with previous works, this project confronts issues of privacy, Facebook, and fetishization of technology. Read more about Ripps's work on The Download page.
Next month, we will feature a new work by video artist Sabrina Ratté including music by Roger Tellier-Craig, aka Le Révélateur. Look out for more information about upcoming featured artists in the next few months.
The Download is supported by the Artist Fund, a pool of financial support generated by our members that is divided evenly among the participating artists. You can learn more about The Download and the Artist Fund on the FAQ page.
If you would like to be able to receive The Download first-hand and directly support artists, please contribute to Rhizome's Community Campaign and the Artists Fund today!
For part two of our intern roundup, we would like to introduce you to another new member of the team: Ross Leonardy. Ross is studying Fashion Design at Parsons, and is filling the crucial role of general intern. Ross supports day to day operations at Rhizome headquarters, doing everything from conducting research to helping out with events to organizing to photo editing. Let's hear it for the general intern - Welcome, Ross!