Living It Up


Remember the olden days, when we didn't have to specify to people whether we were talking about second life or "first life"? These were the days when the notion of "liveness" was less problematic. Live once meant real-time, and live-art meant performance happening right here, right now. David Familian, curator of the exhibition "LIVE" at the Beall Center for Art and Technology, in Irvine, California, argues that the meaning of this word has changed now that "the majority of our day-to-day interactions are so mediated." This, of course, belies the dynamism of networks and interactivity, so he's selected project by media all-stars Natalie Bookchin, Karen Finley, Radical Software Group (Alexander R. Galloway) & MTAA (Mike Sarff & Tim Whidden), Ben Rubin, Aphid Stern & Michael Dale, and Siebren Versteeg whose work pulls "from the steady stream of unrelenting data [to] produce thought-provoking, aesthetic, and 'live' works of art." This includes Want (2008), a collaboration between RSG and MTAA which uses human actors to visualize peer-to-peer network searches and, like Natalie Bookchin's All That is Solid (2007), raises questions about privacy and surveillance. The latter is part of the artist's Network Movies series which exploits an unintended glitch in web-based security cameras permitting them to be indexed by Google and allows Bookchin to incorporate their streaming footage into beautiful films. Ben Rubin, a recognized maestro of visualizing information presents Two Lanes, 8th Avenue at 40th Street, October 27, 2007 (2007), a sort of time-based cityscape in which the uptown traffic on one particularly rainy day is translated into "linear pulses of color rendered on two LED tubes," each reflecting a lane of traffic. The piece creates a tension between stillness and motion that ultimately highlights the poetic significance of time spent waiting. But you don't have to wait to see it! The show will be live April 3-June 7. - Marisa Olson

Image: MTAA & RSG, Want, 2008