Posts for June 2010

Reminder, New Silent Series Event Tonight



Join us this evening at 7:00pm for Nicoline van Harskamp's Expressive Power Series Part 1: Max Bonner on the Phenomenology of Speech, a New Silent Series event. This new performance builds upon an expansive body of work focused on politics and language. This ambitious, hour-long theatrical piece centers on an Interpersonal Dynamics consultant named Max Bonner and members of his audience, including a human rights activist, an academic, and a dogmatic anarchist, whom he attempts to convince of popular psychological models for social persuasion that are used variously by the Pentagon, corporations, and NGOs worldwide. The evolving discussion demonstrates, in the artist’s words “the impossibility of political consensus by way of verbal interaction”—a situation that is here framed productively, with generative meaning to be found in points of dissonance, paradox, and negotiation. Cast includes Greg Shapiro, Liz Bolton, Mark Bellamy and Sheila Evans.

Last week, we published an interview with van Harskamp in which she discusses Expressive Power Series and her practice. Read it here.

Friday, June 18, 7pm
at the New Museum
$10 Members/$12 General Admission


Following the Lines


Jeremy Wood's "Mowing the Lawn" Installation View at Tenderpixel

In an era of Google Maps, our first engagements with places are often anticipated by technology. That is, our experience with a place often comes with pre-emptive associations from aerial pictures -- our possible routes predetermined and mapped; personal narratives and exploration are displaced for utility. So, what happens to our individualized explorations in time and space when GPS technology intervenes? This is the inquiry of GPS artist Jeremy Wood’s body of work and his current show “Mowing the Lawn” at Tenderpixel in London.

Jeremy Wood, Lawn 2005 Scale 1:300, 2010

Treating his body like a “geodesic” pencil, his daily routines are documented as lines in space via GPS technology. In turn, Wood’s performative rituals are data visualized as densely packed line drawings and animations. Having spent ten years developing a system for tracking and translating his everyday movements, the resulting pieces are one part drawing, one part diary and one part critique of the technological system’s accuracy/inaccuracy and how that intervention enables/limits our perception of the spatio-temporal.

Jeremy Wood, Nine Years of Mowing, 2010

While his work ranges from tracking large-scale transatlantic flights (Star Flights, 2008) to tracing and superimposing quotes from Melville onto two meridians in London (Meridians, 2005), in his latest show, Wood focuses on documenting the simple act of mowing the lawn in different intervals of time. Here, Wood emphasizes how banal repetition offers “individual narratives that express a freedom of movement generated from an act of garden maintenance”.

What may be more compelling, though, is how a digital trace can bring to the fore the problems of technology. Looking at Lawn 2005 Scale 1:300, we see multiple lines drawn where a house already exists. In Nine Years of Mowing ...


Golden Shield Music (2009) - Marco Donnarumma



Golden Shield Music is a generative composition for eight audio channels. [...] The work is inspired by the Golden Shield Project, sometimes referred to as the 'Great Firewall of China'. [...] Golden Shield Music collects the twelve website’s IP that are most screened by the Golden Shield. Therefore IP numbers are listed in a text file which feeds an automated MIDI polyphonic synthesizer. The latter translates each IP in a single note formed by 4 voices with a specific velocity. Resulting notes are ordered by the amount of pages the Golden Shield obscured for each IP address: the website’s IP obtaining the highest page result on becomes the first note of the score and the others follow in decreasing order. Data organizes the musical notation, establishing an abstract relationship between Internet information and musical algorithms which sounds harmonious and "handcrafted".



MUTEK 2010 / Montreal



Montreal in June is an explosion of festivals. MUTEK, the annual festival of “digital creativity and electronic music,” is one of the most intriguing. The focus of the festival, now in its eleventh year, is on live experimental electronic music. This year's MUTEK sported an impressive roster -- electronic supergroups like Matmos and Mouse on Mars; cutting-edge UK dubstep producers such as Ikonika; and notable German DJs like Dixon, Henrik Schwarz, and DJ Koze.

Nurse With Wound Live at MUTEK 2010

One of the most anticipated live sets at MUTEK was a rare performance by the trailblazing British group Nurse with Wound. Nurse with Wound is a difficult act to pin down. The band, a revolving cast of characters helmed by the shadowy Steven Stapleton, has been in existence, in some form or another, since 1978. Some call Nurse with Wound "industrial music," but that's a bit of a misnomer. The band does bear some similarities with crusading British bands like Throbbing Gristle, Coil, and Current 93, but their music -- disorienting sound collages, ambient drones, tape edits, noise -- is defiantly anti-genre. Perhaps a better way to describe Nurse with Wound is through their artistic inspirations -- Dada sound poetry and French musique concrète, Futurist rhetoric and Surrealist cinema. The band's third album, released in 1980, was titled "Merzbild Schwet," a reference to Kurt Schwitters and his "Merz" philosophy and series of works; Side One was titled "Futurismo"; Side Two was titled "Dada." (Interestingly, many other musicians of the time were referencing Kurt Schwitters -- Faust, Brian Eno, and later the Japanese noise artist Merzbow -- the "Merzbau" being one of Schwitters' most famous works.)

Nurse with Wound played a haunting set in a dark auditorium against a sinister black-and-white film backdrop. Ambient drones were punctuated with harsh, sudden crashes -- reminiscent of ...


Original Content (2009) - Brian Khek




Portal (1984) - Daniel Ackerman



Ready to Rumble



[via -rumblr]

Rumblr is a new web application that allows users to pit Tumblr blogs against one another by placing randomly selected images from two or more blogs in juxtaposition with one another. Users then select the preferred image and after a certain number have been judged a winner is declared. The site launched in alpha about a month ago alongside TUMBLR_WRS, a party held at Home Sweet Home in New York City.


[via Feminine Itch]

The site capitalizes on the decontextualization and random juxtaposition of images that Tumblr is known for and attempts to objectively judge the taste of users and the quality of sites through a competition or brawl. This random selection often produces unexpected, odd, and beautiful combinations which are frequently screencapped and placed back on Tumblr. These same screencapped images might then appear as standalone images in yet another Rumblr battle, producing a kind of Russian Doll effect.

[via -rumblr]

Rumblr in still in beta and the site's producer, Benjamin Lotan is hoping to add additional features that quantify and visualize user's decisions in new ways, such as producing average color gradients based on the images selected. Check out the site to pit your favorite Tumblrs against each other.


Content-Aware Military Vehicles (2010) - Tabor Robak



[Content-Aware Jet]


[Content-Aware Helicopter]


[Content-Aware Tank]


Exploding Space: Conceptions of Space and Network in Interactive/Dynamic Architectures


An interactive architecture offers an explicit engagement for the user, a de-emphasizing of the architect; allowing anyone who enters the space to become at minimum a collaborator and in some cases a co-creator. The moment of the aesthetic of the collaborative, the utilitarian, the designed and empowering solution has arrived. In the histories of kinetic sculpture, video, installation, performance, littoral practices, there exist historical antecedents for interactive art practices. To the architectural, participating in the computational data rich experience and the interactive, presents a new escape, a new collaborative attitude, and an antidote to the static, extemporal, and spectacular that has dominated architectural thinking over the last 50 years.

The medium of architecture itself is changing, becoming a combination of spaces, networks, and agents both mechanical and organic. We already experience architecture as a shifting array of mediums. Architecture bloggers Stephen Becker and Rob Holmes winkingly named the iPhone as one of the most important architectural works of the first decade of the new millennium, arguing: “urban systems are defined most fundamentally not by structure and infrastructure, but by practice, action, and thought-process; what act has more significantly altered the practices and thought-processes of urbanites in the past ten years than the mass distribution of smart phones?” The Rhinoscript-ing of Parametric Architecture is most certainly, if nothing else, a demonstration that compelling notions of space can be generated by algorithmic processes. Architecture historian Beatriz Colomina argues in Architecture between spectacle and use that the fame of Mies van der Rohe is largely based on photographs of his work. The medium of architecture is already diffuse and complex. The interactive architectural environment simply extends that diffusion, integrating a dynamic system, an interconnected series of structures, situations, and objects that participate in the myriad ways that we consider and shape urban and living space.


"Mark Essen Makes 8-Bit Action an Art" on


In this clip, profile video game artist Mark Essen. It's a nice, brief overview of Essen's practice.