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Fire it up! Turbulence Commissions New Firefox Extension "Tumbarumba" and F.A.T. Introduce Firefox Extension Blog "Artzilla.org"
Today, Turbulence announced a new commission by Ethan Ham and Benjamin Rosenbaum. Titled Tumbarumba, this Firefox extension allows the user to uncover twelve stories while surfing the web. Like a series of hidden doors, the user must discern the entry into a text via its apparent absurdity. By clicking through this outlier text, the story appears bit by bit. The project carries over elements from hypertext fiction, but through its implementation as a Firefox application, it becomes more firmly embedded in the user's overall browsing experience.
Firefox extension projects have picked up more recently, one of my favorites continues to be Steve Lambert's Add Art. (Incidentally, also a Rhizome Commission.) For the Firefox-extension aficionado, F.A.T. will launch "Artzilla.org" next week, a collection/blog dedicated to experimental Firefox add-ons. They're kicking the blog off on December 13th with an exhibition by Aram Bartholl, Dragan Espenschied, Evan Roth, Theo Watson, Jamie Wilkinson, Timo Klok, and Tobias Leingruber at Worm Rotterdam. Once running, Artzilla.org will definitely be worth checking out.
Guthrie Lonergan has gone seriously meta with his new exhibition Tag Team, up until December 23, curated for online art space Club Internet. Guthrie explained in an email to me that "artists in the show are tag-teaming with the "non-artist" creators of sites they have found to create the pieces in the show together, [and] I am tag-teaming with other artists in curating the show (I am curating something which has already been curated)." Got it. Like a good delicious feed, there are some intriguingly bizarre finds here. One standout is the animation Zoo Game found by Jon Williams which follows a librarian and library patron as they turn into creatures from Noah's Ark and race. Yeah. And the Tyra Banks gif wall which is....absolutely frightening. Somewhere between readymades and folk art, or folk art as a readymade, the sites presented in Tag Team are essentially a "Greatest Hits" collection of bookmarks by artists Petra Cortright, fixoid, Michael Guidetti, Travis Hallenbeck, Joel Holmberg, Lindsay Lawson, Olia Lialina, lowcast, Ilia Ovechkin, Jon Williams, Robert Wodzinski, John Michael Boling, and Tyler Campbell.
Chiros, a project by Rhizome-commissioned artist Melanie Crean, goes online today in acknowledgment of World AIDS Day, which was initiated twenty years ago in order to raise awareness about the disease and encourage research and prevention. Chiros pairs interviews with HIV+ women participating in New York-based non-profit programs Iris House, Life Force, Exponents and CAMBA with animations based on scientist Metod Saniga's elliptical model of time. The women were asked to speak about their perception of time, specifically as it has changed since becoming positive. The interviews are both empowering and moving, as many of the women express a need to reclaim time for themselves since their diagnosis. An installation of the project will also go up this week, at Longwood Art Gallery in Bronx, NY.
g-speak overview 1828121108 from john underkoffler on Vimeo.
Claire Evans wrote an interesting article on scientist John Underkoffler's "spatial operating environment" g-speak for GOOD last week. Unlike current operating systems (Vista, Leopard, etc.) which are designed entirely around the mouse, g-speak responds to the organic human movement of the user, without a mouse. This could potentially have significant consequences for how we interface with computers, which is precisely why g-speak is so compelling. Excerpt below:
After all, computers -- with their processors, memory, graphics, and networked view of the world -- are offering us increasingly complex possibilities for translating and interacting with 1s and 0s. Yet, the way we use computers hasn’t changed appreciably since the 1980s: we still click around a screen with a mouse or track pad.
The makers of g-speak know that this sort of control doesn't take advantage of how the human brain works. According to Underkoffler, the brain regions that controls muscles, muscle memory, and proprioception (the sense of where your body is in space) and the visual system evolved to work together to deal with spatial situations. "That's why we’re all such experts at getting around and manipulating the real world," he says. "So it seems clear to us that computers should work the same way."
Lots of radio-related activity this week. Art collective Finishing School will, um, finish their three-month residency at MOCA on Thursday with their project Finding Joy. The title "finding joy" is a military term for establishing radio contact in battle. In preparation for this one night event, Finishing School conducted and prerecorded a series of interviews in which interviewees discuss what brings them joy. Part workshop and part treasure hunt, participants will be asked to build small DIY radios in order to pick up transmissions of these interviews, which are dispersed throughout the museum. The public is also invited to call in and share their thoughts about joy, and Finishing School have set up a "Finding Joy Hotline" for this purpose.
New York-area freeform radio station WFMU is what brings me joy, and beginning this weekend WFMU will hold a benefit art sale at Printed Matter, accompanied by an online auction as well. This is their 50th year in operation, and as most listeners will agree, WFMU have a long standing commitment to supporting and covering the arts. Tauba Auerbach, Olaf Breuning, Mike Kelley, Christian Marclay, Richard Prince, Gelitin, Swoon are only a few of the artists auctioning work, which is "priced to sell."
Set up by artist Natalie Jerimijenko, the Ooz project is a non-traditional rest area for animals that stands in contrast to the nearby Bronx Zoo. Notably free of cages, Ooz is a place where, according to the artist, animals remain "by choice" and is designed to encourage new kinds of human/animal interaction. On Thursday evening, Jerimijenko will tackle a different but related topic: how urban dwellers can engage with a whole new set of species she claims will soon be living in close proximity. Jeremijenko lists coyote, luna moths, rhinoceros, beetles, raccoons and wild turkey as among the new arrivals that will force humans to rethink biodiversity and the kind of environmental services that are needed. The workshop will take place at the Van Alen Institute in New York City and the organizers request that attendees RSVP to torvsp[AT]vanalen.org by the end of today.