Posts for June 2008

alex munt interview


I first encountered the writing of Alex Munt while doing research for a post on David Lynch last summer. While googling various ephemera related to Lynch's recent work I came across the article Inland Empire: The Cinema in Trouble?, which stopped me dead in my tracks. This text, which Munt penned for Flow TV, is indicative of his dynamic reading of cinema and related analysis of emerging methods of production and distribution. Alex is a Lecturer in the Media Department at Macquarie University (in Australia) and his focus is on digital low-budget cinema and new directions in screenwriting and feature filmmaking. Alex and I have been emailing back and forth for the last several weeks and the transcript that follows provides a fascinating window into his research.

Harun Farocki - Deep Play

One of the most recognizable characteristics of your writing about film is that you spend quite a bit of time "off the screen" addressing new means of distribution (i.e. youtube) and production techniques (i.e. pro-am gear). A binary that turns up in your Feature Film: A 'You Tube Narrative Model' article is the divide between 'Elite Digital' and 'Democratic Digital'. Could you discuss the difference between these paradigms and speculate as to what commercial cinema can learn from Youtube?



Originally posted on serial consign - design / research by smith

Putting the I in Imaginary


Reading Hayley Silverman's statements about her own work, it's evident that she recently attended a smartypants art school. Of her Free TV (2008) installation, in which a small mirror is angled into position on the floor and spray-painted with the eponymous phrase, she says "The mirror exemplifies the fallibility of showing the fixed image as a means of conveying self, and questions the immediate material construction of objects that frame what we perceive." Such Lacanian readings, and a consistent concern with critiquing the tropes of modernism, are peppered throughout the young artist's work which offers physical stand-ins for theories about the Symbolic and the Real. Seemingly left out of the infamous Lacanian triad, she invokes the concept of the Imaginary, but perhaps this is a triangulating force bequeathed by Silverman to her viewers. Her sculpture, The Everything is a Stonehenge-like assemblage using traditional stage prop materials (foam, wood frames, faux finishes) to offer a sort of pile-up of tombstones engraved with the names of digital file formats, operating systems, and programming languages. Theatrical appearances aside, Silverman says she intended to create something devoid of performativity, but rather--like its ancient representational forebears-- a structure that generates a monumentality seemingly predetermined by the eventual extinction of the systems it celebrates and the people who celebrate them. There is, in fact, a kind of sharply ironic morbidity in her work, which gives it a sort of human charm. In 11:11 (2008), Silverman (also a member of the net art group, Loshadka) seems to admit something that many contemporary internet artists working with readymade materials cannot. Pulling a found image (in this case, a tree whose trunk bears a knot resembling a human eye) from a phenomenologist's archive of found images, she says that the image "either amounts to ...


Shilpa Gupta: BlindStars StarsBlind / BodhiBerlin / Interview with Shilpa Gupta and Shaheen Merali


Currently, the galleries BodhiBerlin and Volker Diehl present the first monograph exhibition entitled "BlindStars StarsBlind" in Germany of the Mumbai-based artist Shilpa Gupta. Shilpa Gupta (born 1976) works in a variety of media, from photography to interactive installations. Shilpa Gupta's work has been widely shown in the context of major group exhibitions including the Biennales of Sydney, Shanghai, Havana, Liverpool and Lyon. In this video we attend the opening of Shilpa Gupta's exhibition at Bodhi Berlin. We meet with the curator of BlindStars StarsBlind and artistic director of BodhiBerlin, Shaheen Merali, who provides us with an introduction to the work of Shilpa Gupta and the exhibits at BodhiBerlin. We also speak with Shilpa Gupta about the exhibition and her work in general. In another video that will be online soon, we attend the opening of Shilpa Gupta's exhibition at Volker Diehl.


Originally posted on VernissageTV art tv by Enrico

Blast to the Past


Departing from the 'Pictures' generation's "laconic pillaging strategies," the fifteen artists in "Not Quite How I Remember It," at Toronto's The Power Plant, deploy "embodied and labor-intensive" attitudes toward history. As exhibition curator Helena Reckitt argues, in a text accompanying the exhibition, the relationship of these artists to their subject-matter is analogous to that of performer to script; mediums as diverse as sculpture, photography and installation thereby become stages and props in dramatic reprisals of the near and distant past. Among the more explicit examples of this, in the sculptural realm, is Dario Robleto's She Can't Dream for Us All (2005-6), which, as with many of the artist's other works, exists somewhere between the exhibited object (here a wooden bed covered with a partial skeleton) and the caption (informing, among other things, that the homemade paper under the skeleton was "pulp made from mothers', wives' and daughters' letters to soldiers in the field from various wars"). Beyond simply making contemporary art fit an image of the past, Robleto actually uses the materials of the past, but in so doing obliterates their value and legibility as historical relics. For his excellent installation 1984 and Beyond (2005-7), Irish artist Gerard Byrne invited a group of Dutch actors to perform the text of a 1963 discussion between leading sci-fi writers, including Isaac Asimov and Arthur C. Clark, concerning their predictions for the years spanning 1984 through 2000. Three video monitors show different segments of the reenactment, performed in English, and the mind-boggling presages of lunar colonies, physical immortality, and overpopulation are underscored by twenty black-and-white photos ringing the installation space, all depicting fragments from the scrap-heap of future-looking idealism, from rocket-shaped cars to the concrete pavilions of the 1939 World's Fair. - Tyler Coburn

Image: Dario Robleto, She ...


Weaving Shades of Binary Grey


A number of artists have started using textiles and needlework to explore the relationship between computer culture and craft. Here on Rhizome, we've recently covered Ben Fino-Radin, Sabrina Gschwandtner, Cat Mazza, and Cody Trepte, among others employing "traditional media" in the service of a technological critique. Not to be left out of this group is Christy Matson, a Chicago-based artist who takes this investigation to even more self-reflexive heights. Matson's work may not look high tech, but it responds directly to media culture and is often made using a Jacquard Loom, a mechanical device that is important in the proto-history of computing. Many of the artist's projects involve building feedback loops between the sonic experiences of making and viewing her work. Recordings of the weaving process are algorithmically translated into binary yes/no, on/off, or true/false patterns and translated into images in the form of thread color choice, needle behavior, and other factors. The artist includes copper wires in these weavings to act as amplifiers or antennae for further sonic transmissions. See, for example, Movements, in which the viewer's hand is meant to rove as a sort of playhead on what is posited as a 4-channel audio installation. The same questions are raised in her work, Digital Synesthesia, which looks at similarities in the abilities (one might even say tendencies) of both the human brain and the computer to conflate sound and image. To her credit as a dedicated artist, these are issues Matson works to flesh out again and again, even exploiting the repetition of the line-by-line weaving process as an ironic take on the re-spinning of these narratives. When she explored synaesthesia in Soundw(e)ave (a piece whose title conveys her obvious love of word play), she wrote that "This transmutability ...


transmediale.09 Award Competition - Call


transmediale.09 DEEP NORTH - festival for art and digital culture berlin :: 27 January - 1 February 2009 :: club transmediale.09 - STRUCTURES - festival for adventurous music and related visual arts :: 23 - 31 January 2009 :: Call for Entries - Deadline: September 5, 2008.

As leading international festivals for art and digital culture as well as adventurous music and related visual arts, respectively, transmediale and club transmediale are calling for submissions to the transmediale Award competition and the Vilem Flusser Theory Award.


For the 2009 edition, the festivals have each set a specific thematic focus.

transmediale.09 - DEEP NORTH peers beyond the evolving alarmist scenarios of catastrophe prevalent in the often contradictory global warming debate. transmediale.09 shifts this focus to the global artistic, cultural, societal and philosophical consequences that the presumed imminent collapse of the polar ice barrier may trigger. Are we about to reach another historically succinct moment of unavoidable and cataclysmic change - a point of no return leaving in its wake uncontrollable global transformations? Does climate change elicit cultural change, a shifting of extremes or a collapse in established, systemic and network norms? DEEP NORTH becomes not a fixed location, but a paradigm transforming loss, scarcity, inertia and rivalry into urgent and revealing states of being and expression.

With STRUCTURES - Backing-Up Independent Audio-Visual Cultures, club transmediale.09 presents projects that spring from the critical, interdisciplinary and experimental practice at the intersections of sound and other art forms. In recent years, a new breed of hybrid projects and initiatives that merges experimental audio and media cultures has developed in the convergence-zone between pop culture, science, arts and media technologies.

This still remains primarily the domain of committed individuals and small, self-organised groups or networks that, often in the most precarious of circumstances, provide the supporting platform for these new artistic articulations and experiments ...


Originally posted on Networked_Performance by jo



This is a new video loop I made that is up in Oakland, CA at Blankspace Gallery with accompanying digital prints and also featured at the group show in Portland at Upper Playground. The prints are nice and big, about four feet wide.


New video loop from Portland-based artiste*rock

Originally posted on Light and Sound by Rhizome



Contact (image above) by Stéphan Barron, is a beautiful simple networked installation employing simple interaction in a sophisticated way.

"Two seemingly unconnected copper plates in two different locations. When a [sic] someone places a hand on the first plate, the second will begin to warm up."


Originally posted on Network Research by Rhizome

Rhizome 2009 Commissions: Announced!



Image: Angelos Plessas, Still from 'ElectricityComesFromAnother' Proposal

We are pleased to announce the international group of artists who will receive grants through the Rhizome Commissions Program, this year.

Their projects will culminate in a variety of forms, from performance, to sound, to interactive websites and installation, to works that manifest across multiple disciplines. Each one pushes forward the field of contemporary art engaged with technology. All works will be completed by Summer 2009 or earlier, with information available on Rhizome.

The next call for commissions will take place in January 2009. Commissioned artists receive a grant and are invited to present their work at Rhizome's affiliate, the New Museum of Contemporary Art.

Marfa Webring, Jona Bechtolt, Claire Evans, Aaron "Flint" Jamison
In Marfa Webring, the artists Claire Evans, Jona Bechtolt and Aaron "Flint" Jamison will attempt to alter the Google search results for the town of Marfa, TX by creating a Webring and, then, (with the cooperation of the town's permanent residents) investigating the results of this action on the daily life of the town.

Case, Brody Condon
Brody Condon will re-create William Gibson's cyberpunk classic Neuromancer at a red barn theatre in rural Missouri with a local, former political activist in the role of the protagonist.

Untitled (Plate Tectonics), Andy Graydon
Andy Graydon explores sound as a building material. The project begins with field recordings taken at New York City arts institutions and manifests as phonograph records and a website where visitors are encouraged to add their own ambient recordings of installation and performance spaces.

Versionhood, Kristin Lucas
The artist Kristin Lucas recently changed her legal name from Kristin Sue Lucas to Kristin Sue Lucas and, thus, in her words, created "the most current version of Kristin Sue Lucas." In Versionhood, Lucas will consult ...


Pixel Pop


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