Posts for September 2010

Buzz (2006) - Jesper Carlsen

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Required Reading

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Is it still necessary to define art by intent and context? The gallery world would have us believe this to be the case, but the internet tells a more mutable story. Contrary to the long held belief that art needs intent and context, I suggest that if we look outside of galleries, we’ll find the actions, events and people that create contemporary art with or without the art world’s label.

Over the past 20 years, the theory Relational Aesthetics (referred to in this essay as RA) has interpreted social exchanges as an art form. Founding theoretician Nicholas Bourriaud describes this development as “a set of artistic practices that take as their theoretical and practical point of departure the whole of human relations and their social context”[1]. In reality, art erroneously known to typify RA’s theorization hasn’t strayed far from the model of the 1960’s Happening, an event beholden to the conventions of the gallery and the direction of its individual creator. In her essay Antagonism and Relational Aesthetics, Claire Bishop describes Rikrit Tiravanija’s dinners as events circumscribed in advance, using their location as a crutch to differentiate the otherwise ordinary action of eating a meal as art[2]. A better example of the theory of RA succinctly put into action can be seen in anonymous group activities on the internet, where people form relations and meaning without hierarchy.

Started in 2003, 4Chan.org is one such site, and host to 50 image posting message boards, (though one board in particular, simply titled ‘/b/’, is responsible for originating many of the memes we use to burn our free time.) The site’s 700,000 daily users post and comment in complete anonymity; a bathroom-stall culture generating posts that alternate between comedic brilliance, virulent hate ...

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Rhizome at the O1SJ Biennial

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Next week from September 16-19th, San Jose will host the digital art biennial ZER01. Taking place at locations across the city, events will include a symposium on collaborative environmental art, films (with a program geared towards live cinema), public art projects throughout the city, and exhibitions at partnering institutions Anno Domini, MACLA/Movimiento de Arte y Cultura Latino Americana, San Jose Institute of Contemporary Art, San Jose Museum of Art, San Jose Museum of Quilts and Textiles, and South Hall centered around the biennial's theme "Build Your Own World" and much more.

Rhizome will show "Domain" as part of their film program, which will present live performances by Jeremy Bailey, Petra Cortright, Constant Dullaart, and JODI nightly at the Empire Drive-In inside South Hall. You can read more about the program below. If you are planning to attend the biennial, please join us!



Domain

We have recently arrived at the moment in human history when the networked computer is no longer the mystical facilitator of communication, entertainment, and research; it is an appliance, as pervasive as the microwave and nearly as boring. Developments in technology and network infrastructure have delivered a networked computing experience that is affordable, instantaneous, user-friendly, and richly interactive to a broad audience. What is most unique about this moment is not technology's inevitable deliverance of a widely accessible networked space, but the virgin cultural aptitude for navigating this space that has accompanied the computer's ascendance to the mundane.

This cultural shift towards a visceral acceptance of networked space has rendered the spectacle of its inner workings inert, and in the process has opened up tremendous possibilities for artists using these spaces to finally connect with an audience undistracted by the underlying mechanics of the interaction itself. This presents an interesting opportunity for both ...

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Videos from Art History of Games Symposium

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From video game writer and critic Ian Bogost's blog come two videos from last Spring's Art History of Games conference at Georgia Tech. Bogost co-organized this interdisciplinary symposium that explored games as an art form. In the first clip, Frank Lantz champions the unique aesthetics of games and their defiance of other artistic categories in his talk "Doorknobs and Butterflies: Games After Art." In the second, Brenda Brathwaite discusses her use of game mechanics in elaborating tragedy and her newest work One Falls for Each of Us. All of the talks from the event are now currently online.



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Questions of the Ages (2010) - Extreme Animals

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Extreme Animals "Questions Of The Ages" from Audio Dregs Recordings on Vimeo.

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Not sick, (2009) - Animal Charm

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Required Reading

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Ive's designs for the iPod and the iPhone are network culture's icons, much as the Model T Ford or the Boeing 707 were icons of their time. Just as the earlier machines produced mobility, so do ours: mobile, networked technology allows most members of developed societies to compress space in a way reserved until recently for the media, government, and élite. In so doing opened it opens up a new phenomenological space.

Mobile technologies allow us to disconnect from the world around us so that we may instead connect with individuals at a distance or, alternatively, with software agents residing either in our mobile devices or in the networked cloud (as data speeds rise, the difference between local and remote applications and data is becoming unclear). Although sometimes this disconnect with our surroundings is a matter of lament, more frequently it is a deliberate choice, a way to fill something we lack in space that surrounds us. If sometimes we use such technologies to augment immediate space-looking up the address of a destination on a map, calling a friend to triangulate a meeting place while in route-more often we employ them to distance ourselves-reading and writing e-mail, updating a social media site, immersing ourselves in a soundtrack of our own choosing with portable music players.

Introduced in October 2001, the iPod was a runaway success worldwide. That it succeeded even though it was released just a month after the 9/11 attacks to a generally depressed consumer mood and a dismal economy points to its significance. By allowing individuals to paint the world with an emotional soundscape, it allows them to subject it to their control, making it familiar through the recognizable sounds it reproduces. Technology, it seems, could overcome alienation.

Just as financialization is a mutation in ...

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JOGGING COMMEMORATIVE (2010) - JOGGING (Brad Troemel and Lauren Christiansen)

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This project features a full archive of all 743 Jogging posts from 2009-2010. Images of these works are viewable in chronological secession on Youtube videos that feature the Billboard Top 100 tracks for the first week of September 2010. Each image is shown for 10 seconds in the videos. The first 24 Jogging posts are presented with the #1 Billboard song playing. Posts continue to unfold chronologically, moving down the chart and ending at the 31st song on the charts...

The songs in Jogging Commemorative are not intended as musical accompaniments. In this project, Billboard Top 100 tracks are the medium Jogging’s history exists through; the sites at which the Youtube viewer’s consensual desire to listen is paired with an unwitting visual experience. By choosing the most popular songs currently available, the artists intend to make use of this music’s universality as a form of digital public space. Here art is a parasite, assuming the shape of popular culture insidiously while seemingly undergoing minimal alteration in visual content.

Though these songs may be commonly heard due to their advantageous corporate sponsorship, they are not cultural commons. Each video in Jogging Commemorative stands as a display of Youtube users’ contextual helplessness in the face of heavily lobbied copyright law. The array of subsidized advertisements to purchase the songs is a constant reminder of the music industry’s tenuous relationship with freely distributed subject matter. “This is property on loan”, the advertisements figuratively tell viewers, as the RIAA hedges a bet that the more widely distributed the forced advertisements for MP3 purchases on available Youtube videos, the more likely they will recoup the lost profits of music listened to without cost. Jogging’s distributive and aesthetic intentions are nestled within this counterintuitive marketing ploy.

Not all will be able ...

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Repin Copy (2009) - Patrick Armstrong

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A full scale (80"x141") copy in oil of Ilya Repin's Reply of the Zaporozhian Cossacks to Sultan Mehmed IV of the Ottoman Empire, 1880-1891 is fabricated by a made-to-order painting workshop and mailed to the United States for the exhibition Rotation X, 2009. Cossacks, a painting made notorious as a textbook example of kitsch in Clement Greenberg's 1939 essay Avant-Garde and Kitsch, is currently displayed at The State Russian Museum, Saint Petersburg and has putatively been seen by only a fraction of those who have read Greenberg's criticism.

-- FROM THE ARTIST'S STATEMENT

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A Report from Trust: Media City Seoul 2010

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The first physical art work that you encounter when entering “Trust: Media City Seoul,” the sixth edition of Korea’s international media arts biennial, is Willem de Rooij’s Bouquet VII, a collaboration with local florist Kim Da Ra. A large-scale spherical gathering of blossoms in various hues of pink stands on a pedestal, resembling a centerpiece at an upscale wedding or a museum benefit party. The floral arrangement seamlessly integrates natural and synthetic flowers, blurring the boundary between the real and the artificial. Innocuous and timeless, this work sets the tone for this year’s Media City, an exhibition that eschews the embrace of new technologies in visual art in favor of a return to more traditional media and a broader definition of the term “media” itself. Bouquet VII also subtly introduces a method utilized by many of the artists in the exhibition: the conflation of fiction and reality.

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