“Ghosts in the Machine” at the New Museum

 “Ghosts in the Machine” Public Programs July 18–September 30, 2012

“Ghosts in the Machine” will be accompanied by a series of public programs that explore the temporal and social dimensions of the relationship between art and technology. These include a conversation between artist Otto Piene and exhibition curator Massimiliano Gioni, a series of films that elaborate on the idea of “expanded cinema” and offer a counterpoint to the immersive environment of Stan VanDerBeek’s Movie-Drome (1963–66/2012) on view in the exhibition, and a performance by choreographer Tony Orrico that will test the limits of the artist’s body as a medium for drawing. A panel discussion at the end of September will open up the concept of “technological art” as well as invite critical reflection on the exhibition itself.


Otto Piene in conversation with Massimiliano Gioni 

Wednesday July 18, 7 p.m. 

Free to New Museum members, $10 General Public 


An evening devoted to an intergenerational conversation about art and technology between artist Otto Piene and exhibition curator Massimiliano Gioni. Otto Piene (German, born 1928) is a leading figure in kinetic art and one of the founding members of the group ZERO, initiated in 1957. Central to Piene’s art practice are connections between art, technology, and nature. In 1974, he succeeded György Kepes as the director of the Center for Advanced Visual Studies at MIT where Piene established MIT as an important locus internationally for furthering the union of art and technology. Massimiliano Gioni is Associate Director and Director of Special Exhibitions at the New Museum, New York. He curated “Ghosts in the Machine,” with Gary Carrion-Murayari and he is currently organizing the 55th Venice Biennale opening in summer 2013.


Get Weird: Antipop Consortium

Friday July 27, 7 p.m.

$10 New Museum members, $12 General Public

Antipop Consortium is a rap ensemble based in New York. Conceived in 1997 out of a series of daring collaborations at the “Rap Meets Poetry” sessions of the Nuyorican Poets Café, the group has developed a cerebral, visionary strain of hip hop that incorporates the fragmented rhythms of contemporary electronic music with the confrontational, interrogative stance of rap. All four members of Antipop Consortium are musical historians who draw upon the bravery and dedication of futurists like Sun Ra and Afrika Bambaataa with reverence and grace, looking to renew these projects for a 21st century dialogue.


Film Program: “Ghosts on the Screen”

Three Saturdays: August 11, August 25, September 8, 3 p.m.

$8 New Museum members, $10 General Public 

Moving image technologies have transformed the visual arts in myriad ways. As movie cameras and film stock became widely accessible outside of the studio system in the 1960s, artists began to explore the potentials of narrative film in a variety of genres. On three Saturdays, we will screen films made by artists that explore the visual dimensions of narrative and the narrative dimension of form.

Saturday August 11
Since, dir. Andy Warhol, 1967 (16mm, 67 min)

Since refers to the phrase “since the assassination,” i.e., the 1963 assassination of President John F. Kennedy. The film reconstructs the event in Dallas with both Kennedy and Lyndon B. Johnson present before the assassination and then after at Johnson’s swearing in. Constructed from media reports at the time and Johnson’s speeches, and using an elaboration of Warhol’s of split-screen technique, the film does not change the vantage point of the camera and it is not presented in continuous time, but features multiple moments and modalities of the scene that are established strictly through dialogue and character. Since has rarely been screened since its premiere in 1967 as part of Warhol’s twenty-four-hour opus Four Stars (****)

Saturday August 25

Invisible Adversaries, dir. VALIE EXPORT, 1976 (112 min) German with English subtitles

Anna, an artist, is obsessed with the invasion of invisible aliens who she believes will take over the world through mind control. Her schizophrenia is reflected in the juxtapositions of long camera takes with violently edited montages that splice together private with public spaces, black-and-white film with color, still photographs with video, and earsplitting sounds with disruptive camera angles. EXPORT privileges rupture over unity in order to convey Anna’s experience of her inner and outer worlds.

Presented with Alone, dir. Stephen Dwoskin, 1963 (13 min) 

Alone is a major departure into projecting feelings and senses of loneliness, timelessness, and the sensual self. The film presents moments that are passing tones in any life, yet far from registering a passive despair, protests against a traditional culture which is unable to confront such moments and passes them by as both trivial and obscene,” is how Dwoskin described this film. Alone explores the onanistic potential of both the female body and the camera, and was the source and the inspiration for J.G. Ballard’s collage Does the Angle Between Two Walls Have a Happy Ending? (1967).


Saturday September 8

The Deadman, dir. Peggy Ahwesh, 1989 (35 min)

Made in collaboration with Keith Sanborn, The Deadman is based on a story by Georges Bataille, charting “the adventures of a near-naked heroine who sets in motion a scabrous free-from orgy before returning to the house to die—a combination of elegance, raunchy defilement and barbaric splendor,” wrote Jonathan Rosenbaum  in the Chicago Reader.

The Color of Love, dir. Peggy Ahwesh, 1994 (10 min)

Ahwesh subjects an apparently found pornographic film to coloring, optical printing, and general fragmentation—the source material threatens to virtually collapse under the beautiful violence of her filmic treatment. What emerges is a portrait at once nostalgic and horrible: the degraded image locked in symbiotic relation with an image of degradation.


New Museum Presents: Pauline Oliveros with Doug Van Nort and FILTER

Friday September 7, 7p.m.

$12 New Museum members, $15 General Public 

Pauline Oliveros and Doug Van Nort perform with FILTER, an artificially intuitive software agent that listens and responds to the performing musicians transforming the duo to a trio.

Pauline Oliveros is a senior figure in American avant-garde music. Her career spans fifty years of boundary dissolving music making. Oliveros is as interested in finding new sounds as in finding new uses for old ones—her primary instrument is the accordion. Her compositions and performances explore modes of making and listening to music enabled by technology. Since the 1960s she has influenced American music profoundly through her work with improvisation, meditation, electronic music, myth and ritual. Recently awarded the John Cage award for 2012 from the Foundation of Contemporary Arts, Oliveros is Distinguished Research Professor of Music at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, Troy, NY, and Darius Milhaud Artist-in-Residence at Mills College.

Doug Van Nort is an experimental musician and music technology researcher whose work explores the interactive sculpting of recorded sound materials and electroacoustic improvisation, often with machine partners. His instruments are custom-built software systems with an ear towards noise, immersion and free improvisation. Van Nort performs solo and in the trio Triple Point with Pauline Oliveros and Jonas Braasch, with the Composers Inside Electronics and recently with Francisco López, Chris Chafe, Al Margolis and Judy Dunaway among many others. His music can be found on the Deep Listening, Pogus and Zeromoon labels and his writing in Organised Sound and the Leonardo Music Journal, among other channels. Van Nort holds advanced degrees in music technology, electronic arts and pure mathematics, and is currently a research associate at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute where his main project is FILTER, and other related intelligent systems for improvisation

FILTER is the Freely Improvising, Learning and Transforming Evolutionary Recombination system. Following in the tradition of Pauline Oliveros' Expanded Instrument System (EIS) and Doug Van Nort's Granular-feedback Expanded Instrument System (GREIS), FILTER accepts a fellow performers' sound and re-presents this material in a transformed state over the course of a perfomance. FILTER advances this area of research by including machine listening and musical structure-learning capabilities, in order to create new musical gestures, phrases and textures based on what it has learned of its partners' style. As with any sensitive musician, FILTER can mirror its improvising partner or it can suggest new musical directions, relative to the given musical context. The development of FILTER has been supported by grants from the CreativeIT initiative of the National Science Foundation. 


New Museum Presents: Tony Orrico: Penwald: 15: fourths and quarters

Saturday September 22, 3 p.m.

Free with Museum admission 

7th Floor Sky Room

Tony Orrico is a visual artist, performer, and choreographer whose work merges the act of drawing with choreographic gesture and bio-geometrics. Evocative of the graphite wall drawings of Sol LeWitt, action painting, and Da Vinci’s “Vitruvian Man,” Orrico’s “Penwald Drawings” have been presented and exhibited internationally in galleries, performance venues, and public spaces. His work reflects upon the limitations and awe-inspiring possibilities of man as machine, where subtle “imperfections” in the final drawings reveal the intervention of human presence in an otherwise mathematically precise choreographic gesture.

Orrico’s work is in the collection at the National Academy of Sciences and he will present a commissioned drawing at MUAC, Mexico City, in September for their permanent collection. He recently collaborated with choreographer John Jasperse on a design for Canyon, presented at BAM’s Next Wave Festival. Orrico is a former member of Trisha Brown Dance Company and Shen Wei Dance Arts, and was one of a select group of artists to re-perform the work of Marina Abramović during her retrospective at the Museum of Modern Art, New York. 

Panel Discussion: “What’s Wrong with Technological Art?”

Thursday September 27
New Museum Theater

Free to New Museum members, $8 General Public 

In 1969, Robert Smithson wrote to György Kepes, “Technology promises a new kind of art, yet its very program excludes the artist from his own art. The optimism of technical progress results in political despair.... If technology is to have any chance at all, it must become more self-critical. If one wants teamwork he should join the army. A panel called ‘What’s Wrong with Technological Art’ might help.” Responding to Smithson’s call over forty years later, noted scholars, critics, and artists will discuss problems (and possibilities) of art and technology in response to “Ghosts in the Machine.”