Still from Art Gallery
Birth, Art Gallery, Death is a minimalist triptych in the form of a screensaver package. With white as life and black as death, each screen saver panel marks a stage in the cycle of consciousness. Birth is the genesis of consciousness through a birth canal of white arriving out of darkness. Art Gallery, where black is conspicuously absent, is the finite enclosure of a lifetime. Its contents are the thoughts and creations arising in consciousness; representations of life. Death, represented by black slowly descending upon a white screen, is ultimately a representation of life.
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Rhizome is pleased to announce London-based artist James Howard is featured this month on The Download.
Still from www.luckyluckydice.com (2012)
Utilizing spam that lands in his junk email folder and pop up ads, Howard appropriates the deceitful images and text in his collages highlighting the emotional tiggers that trap users. Rhizome members can download www.luckyluckydice.com (2012), a 51MB animated GIF of 1990s internet-style advertisments; a file size too large for dial-up speeds, but now easily viewable in any internet browser once downloaded. Rhizome editor Joanne McNeil interviewed him last year about the images he collects:
Images in online scams and phishing schemes can seem as artificially generated as the text — like botnet generated folk art. But there is a human hand at work. What do you think is the human element that draws people into these schemes?
People are like machines - their brains react to temptation like a computer does. Most people are able to recognise a scam, but if someone pulls the right string, sooner or later all that subconscious stuff inside you is going to lead you down the wrong path. Scams get people by playing on insecurities, desires, fears, greed, whatever - it's uncontrollable and causes one in a thousand people to make a snap decision and pay up.
What do you consider the visual clues of this kind of kitsch of deception? Any interesting patterns or trends you've spotted over the years of collecting examples?
Squashed grinning businessmen looking into fisheye lenses, sunsets over serene oceans, happy families, sexy nurses- it's an endless and totally recognisable global visual language. There's a gruesome image of someone hooked up to a life support machine that keeps landing in my junk-mail folder these days -it always comes from a new person, with ...
Rick Silva's La Région Decentralized is featured this month on The Download.
Still from La Région Decentralized, image courtesy of the artist
Working with nature and land feels natural to me. Nature and land are part of a larger fascination I have with perception, light, and time. I do spend a lot of time outdoors, my new project/blog En plein air http://enpleinair.org is all about that actually. For the project I’m taking my laptop outside and seeing what I can create while reacting to the immediate landscape and elements.
I’m interested in Snow’s use of a rotating camera/horizon. Spinning terrains are a reoccurring theme in my recent videos. Texts about La Région Centrale suggest that the camera/horizon movement in Snow’s film creates a cosmic perspective of space at the human scale, and I agree with this reading. My video game version adds an endless random time component to this idea as well.
In 2010 I used video game engines to generate scenes and imagery for video projects. I’ve used 3D spaces like Google Earth for projects since 2005 with my Satellite Jockey performances, but this is the first time that I’m releasing a game as an application. There is something very interesting in the stretching and randomizing of time that video ...
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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 ...