The Art of Networks

Next week, Montreal's Oboro Gallery will open 'Deconstructing Networks,' a solo exhibition by the very active American new media artist Jonah Brucker-Cohen. The works included in this show provide an excellent overview of Brucker-Cohen's insightful and witty approach to complex questions about networks, as we stare down the barrel of Web 3.0 and beyond. He vividly illustrates the possible physical applications of network structures and concepts, as with the Alerting Infrastructure project, where hits to a website are manifested in physical 'hits' to a building; in the Crank the Web project, a browser that requires elbow grease to run; and in IPO Madness, a slot machine that also acts as a domain name generator for the IPO of your dreams. The traces and trails generated by data are explored in SpeakerPhone, an arrangement of speakers that spatialize the data it receives. Any internet user will find insights into issues of anonymity, autonomy, and security in projects such as PoliceState, a group of radio-controlled police cars that react when they detect suspicious keywords on a local network, and WiFiHog, a tool that allows a single user to dominate any wireless hotspot. Visitors can directly and spontaneously contribute to the SimpleTEXT audiovisual performance at 3PM on the 16th, so be sure to bring your mobile phone along, and don't forget a sense of play and an inquisitive state of mind, as the underlying intent of the exhibition is to interrogate our participation and implication in the networks that surround us. - Michelle Kasprzak