Posts for 2002

The Strange Life of Everyday Objects

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John Freyer sold his possessions on Ebay and then traveled cross-country to visit the stuff and the people who bought it. Documenting the process at AllMyLifeForSale.com, Freyer describes each item, the related Ebay transaction, and its ultimate destination. The buyer of John's Star Wars sheets writes: 'My wife always felt guilty about giving away her son's [Star Wars] sheets. What a joy when we saw you had your sheets up for auction. We gave them to our son (who is now 25) and had a great time of reliving old times.' If you want to learn more about these dispersions and related stories, a book is due November 2002. -- Brooke Singer

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Machines R Us

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My favorite title in Tom Sherman's new book \_Before & After the I-Bomb: An Artist in the Information Environment\_ is 'My Machines Are Patient With Me When I'm Having Trouble Finding Myself.' For Sherman, machines come alive, and take us on a wild ride transforming our consciousness, ecology, and culture. Sherman's march through the last two decades of the information revolution is revealed in 49 essays or rants about technologies, information, art, nature, memory, and the future. Part writer, part artist, part visionary, Sherman has been making video, live performance, public and web-based radio for over 30 years, as well as teaching art and theory (currently at Syracuse University). Read why 'Bored People Are Dangerous.' -- J. D. Marsching

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Walk, do not Surf, the Web

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The artist group Tsunamii is not surfing the web figuratively but walking it literally. As part of a project for art show Documenta 11, Tsunamii is walking from Documenta headquarters in Kassel, Germany, to their web server in Kiel. As they travel the 500-km route, a GPS (Global Positioning System) tracks their location and initiates a series of web browsing movements viewable in a Documenta gallery. Tsunamii's desire: to foreground the physical make-up (hardware, cables, and backbones) of the Internet instead of its often hyped virtuality. And there is even more: issues concerning access and boundaries arise as '403: Forbidden Access' and '404: Page not Found' errors dominate this webwalk. --Brooke Singer

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Whose Jam?

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Back in the 80's, lo-fi music savant John Oswald released a homemade CD called Plunderphonic that sampled and shredded pop artists from Metallica to Michael Jackson to Bing Crosby. The goal of the CD was not merely to make brilliantly mutated music, but to question the copyrighting of audio --when does one person's composition become someone else's? Oswald was sued and forced to recall all the CDs. Now the entire illegal CD is available online for free in mp3 format. Download and jam at your own risk. -- Curt Cloninger

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All Your Pork Belong to Us

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A do-it-yourself breast enlargement kit for little girls, a subversive plot by pigs to replace the sale of pork with human meat, a young woman trapped inside a children's game -- welcome to the disturbing world of Pleix, a collective of skilled digital media professionals producing harshly sardonic, faux advertisements slamming contemporary marketing. All five short Quicktime films are painstakingly slick in their production, making their content all the more hard-hitting. Two are predominantly eye candy though -- welcome breaks in the midst of some intense material. - Curt Cloninger

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Where Do You Want To Go Today?

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There are Temporary Autonomous Zones, and now there are Temporary Telecommunication Autonomous Zones. The Personal Telco Group of Portland, OR, is creating the latter out of a used satellite truck. The group, associated with the freenetwork movement, is reverse-engineering a broadcast television machine to create a roving, open node: Internet access by the people, for the people. If in the Portland area, attend the next meeting to see how you can help. Also, the group is seeking "any number of bizarre things" to do with the truck once its on the go. Rhizomers with ideas, contact Nigel at nigel@joejava.com. - Brooke Singer

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My Old Friend the Future

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No futurist is ever 100% accurate, but often "wrong" predictions prove more enlightening in hindsight than "right" ones. Gene Youngblood's prophetic 1970's work 'Expanded Cinema' is to us now what Lev Manovich's 'The Language of New Media' may be to future readers -- a fascinating, heady analysis of digital media phenomena in process. The noosphere, bio-computing, techno-anarchy, and oceanic consciousness -- all are examined from a pre-desktop perspective. Featuring an introduction by Bucky Fuller, 'Expanded Cinema' is now available free online. - Curt Cloninger

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DJ You

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Potluck is a shockwave audio engine with a twist. Most online remix environments feature sound samples by a single artist. Potluck gives access to loops and ambient effects created by a range of experimental artists, and new sound libraries are added each month. The playful interface is the brainchild of Amy Franceschini (of futurefarmers.com fame), and takes some getting used to, but one can master Potluck without being DJ Clue. Create your genius mix, and save it online for others to enjoy.

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Believe It Or Not...

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A bat that flies through lead, an ant with an audible scream, a detailed miniature crucifix made out of human hair -- these and other anomalies are on display at the Museum of Jurassic Technology in Los Angeles, and online at the museum\'s website. Something between London\'s Natural History Museum and Ripley\'s Believe It or Not, the Museum of Jurassic Technology is pleasurably disorienting in its deadpan Victorian earnestness and its collection\'s persistent ability to astound. Orchestrated ambiguity meant to undermine certainty and provoke wonder: art perhaps?

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Donnie Darko Rips It Up

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Engaging and believable narrative environments within the non-linear, browser-based confines of the internet -- these are the holy grails of much net art. The Donnie Darko site comes pretty darned close. Created to promote the Hollywood paranormal thriller of the same name, the site is its own entity -- derived from the movie, yet establishing an entirely other, web-specific universe, complete with spoofed URLs, password-protected areas, and evil 404 error messages. Winner of the 2002 Prix Ars Electronica distinction for net excellence, donniedarko.com ups the ante for web narrative.

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