Artist Profile: Christine Sun Kim

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The latest in a series of interviews with artists who have a significant body of work that makes use of or responds to network culture and digital technologies.

Christine Sun Kim, Speaker Drawing (2012)

Your own physical presence seems integral to your work. Sometimes you are literally in the space, guiding people and forging an interaction—I think of Gesture Sign Art that I saw at Kunstlerhaus Bethanien in 2012, where you showed instructions on an iPad for viewers to manipulate transducers and piano wires in space to create vibrations together. At other times you leave objects in the space that show evidence of your actions, like the Speaker Drawings that manifested transducer vibrations on paper. Do you think of those projects in terms of action and evidence? Are they autonomous, or do they require you to activate them?

Some of my performances are about the process of building a platform and conducting participants to become my voice (Subjective Loudness in Tokyo, 2013) rather than leaving my traces afterwards. It seems as if my "voice" as an artist cannot be conveyed without all those people’s involvement. It’s almost a direct reflection of my everyday communication. I expand my voice through other voices.

The Speaker Drawings were my baby steps as a sound artist, and I don't do them anymore. They were very straightforward: sound to visual. I'm so into the conceptual aspect of sound that these drawings almost feel like decoration, almost empty... or just a vessel. I like getting messy, though.

I met you while working for the Bard MFA program and was hired to be your note taker—I would transcribe all your studio visits with professors and afterwards you would read how the conversation had been translated through your interpreter from ASL [American Sign Language] to spoken English. I suddenly understood to what extent all communication is mediated artificially, and also confronted issues of accessibility for the first time. Do you think you're placed in an "educative" role by default in an art world where accessibility is so rarely part of the conversation?

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Support Rhizome on the Eve of a New rhizome.org

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A new rhizome.org will launch November 2, and we ask you to support its programming. 

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EITHER WE INSPIRE OR WE EXPIRE: New work by Liam Gillick and Nate Silver

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EITHER WE INSPIRE OR WE EXPIRE (2015) by artist Liam Gillick and data journalist Nate Silver considers technological failure and its lack of visibility in a society obsessed with success.

Created as part of Rhizome'’s Seven on Seven conference, which convenes leading artists and technologists for high-level collaborations, this web-based project draws on a selection of words handpicked by Gillick and Silver—such as THE .COM FOR MOMS, ASSASSIN VAPORS, DRONE CON, and WRAPIPEDIA—from a database of inactive trademark applications.

Gillick and Silver embarked on the project by taking one of the questions commonly addressed using statistical analysis—How can we reduce risk?—and inverting it, asking instead: How can we guarantee risk? Applying this question to the creative process, Silver observed that our understanding of innovation suffers from "sample bias": we have a distorted perception of the success rate of new ideas because only the successful ones, or the ones that change the game or disrupt an industry, are discussed. Thus, failure in creative production and innovation represents a "dark corner" for statisticians.

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Always-Already a Ghost: Laura Brothers featured on Net Art Hell

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Laura Brothers, come and be real for us (Dec 25, 2007). Detail area of 803 x 840 digital image.

Artist Laura Brothers, whose work was included in the online exhibition "Brushes" (co-presented by Rhizome and the New Museum as part of First Look), is featured on the newest installment of Gene McHugh's podcast, Net Art Hell.

Brothers has been posting her images to a LiveJournal blog under the moniker out_4_pizza since 2007; in his podcast, McHugh tracks the visual progression of the images through the evolution of Brothers' style and content. He points to the use of cut-and-paste image appropriation in the earlier work: imagery drawn from 1980s television, imagery from the past 40 years of rock music album cover culture, and other imagery that Brothers refers to as "timestamped." Building on this exploration of temporality, McHugh adds that the LiveJournal platform is itself dated, which emphasizes the datedness of the image content. In addition, the chronological structure of the LiveJournal feed allows the viewer to understand how Brothers' practice unfolds over time. As artist Giovanna Olmos noted in the Brushes panel at the New Museum, scrolling is a new narrative form.

Brothers' newer work is still inspired by timestamped cultural imagery, but unlike the earlier clearly appropriated collages, it alludes to its sources in loose, gestural abstractions. This style can be seen in the recent posts Cake Walk Howl (posted, according to LiveJournal, at 24 September 2015 @ 03:42 pm) and Alfredo Frenzy (posted 10 September 2015 @ 04:40 pm), which have Brothers' signature pixelated texture, but refer more to expressive sketches and figure drawing than to specific timestamped cultural images.

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9 billion paintings by Michael Manning

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The final work in the "Brushes" online exhibition.

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Announcing Rhizome's Fall 2015 Program

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Established in 1996 to champion the field of net art, Rhizome continues to fund and present new artwork, foster critical discussion, and ensure ongoing access to digital culture. Today, we are pleased to share news about our fall program. 

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Artist Profile: Lou Cantor

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The latest in a series of interviews with artists who have a significant body of work that makes use of or responds to network culture and digital technologies.

Lou Cantor, "The Labour of Watching" (exhibition view at Oslo 10, 2015)

Your most recent work, The Labor of Watching (2015), takes as a primary reference point historical images from automobile safety test videos. These videos, as your work notes, are now widely available on internet video-sharing platforms; they are thus radically de/re-contextualized by audiences who in many cases have no firsthand memory of the vehicles shown or the context the videos were designed for. Could you speak about how you see the proliferation of digital images changing expectations of visual experiences?  

In our work, we use the videos only as a point of reference. In the space in Basel we presented just the crash barriers themselves. These objects are present in the videos, but they usually escape the attention of audiences who are focused on what happens to the cars. Depending on your perspective, this focus could be understood as a distraction. For us, the barrier is a much richer object, conceptually speaking;

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Sara Ludy's abstractions probe the psychic charge of Photoshop

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Sara Ludy, Acid Cloud (2015, digital video) embedded on rhizome.org.

Sara Ludy's video works will be on the front page of rhizome.org all week as part of the ongoing online digital painting exhibition "Brushes," presented by Rhizome and the New Museum for the First Look series.

For this series of abstract video works, originally created for the online collaborative w-a-l-l-p-a-p-e-r-s.net, Sara Ludy begins with images created in Adobe Photoshop using the "Difference Clouds" feature, which alters color levels in an image according to cloud-like patterns. This software-generated image is then imported into Adobe Aftereffects, where Ludy adjusts preset parameters to create these swirling cloud patterns. In part, the works are an investigation of the aesthetics inherent in the software tools—but unlike artists such as Cory Arcangel, who previously explored such "default" aesthetics in his Photoshop gradient series, Ludy allows more latitude for her own improvisation, seeking out visual complexity that transcends the seemingly mundane origins of her imagery.

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