Posts for 2012

After the Cloudy Doubly Beautifully by Matthew Battles

(0)

The following short story is excerpted from The Sovereignties of Invention by Matthew Battles. Battles will be appearing at McNally-Jackson Books in New York City on August 16th, interviewed by Rhizome editor Joanne McNeil.

BEFORE THE TURN of the millennium when the Web was new, I worked in the bowels of Harvard’s Widener Library. There was as yet no Twitter, no Facebook, no YouTube; blogs and wikis were the glamorous spells of a whispering cognoscenti. But a web there was—enough of one to encourage the library to send many books off to storage in dark, refrigerated warehouses, never to be read again. This was my work in the Widener deeps. I was one of Bradbury’s firemen, almost—though instead of heat and flame, we used the cool buzz of networked catalogs to put the books out of reach.

Among the duties with which I had been charged was clearing out the “X-cage.” I wish I had made up this name; I wish I had made it up and then discarded it in embarrassment—alas, the X-cage was real. It was the repository of books, sheaves of paper, and artifacts in odd sizes and formats, of paper too fragile or content too salacious for the open stacks. Some of these I sent away to be stored elsewhere, while others I tried to place in more suitable libraries or museums. And some, frankly, I didn’t know what to do with. My fascination with one such item has lingered through the years. Although it never was listed in the online system, I found it recorded in the card catalog while it still could be browsed in the library’s attic. The card reads as follows:

Benjamin, Walter. Übersetzung Maschine. 1946. Gift of le bibliothèque Orléans, Fr.

The device was ...

MORE »


Exploring Bludgeoned Subjectivity: Talking to Chris Kraus

(0)

Chris Kraus, author of I Love Dick, Aliens & Anorexia, Video Green, among other titles; writes novels, criticism, and essays fluently addressing a range of subjects from from film to philosophy. Her forthcoming novel Summer of Hate is a love story that investigates recent American history all too eager to be forgotten on its own. We talked about her new book, its relation to other facets of her work, and other ideas.

 

Giampaolo Bianconi: Let's begin by talking about the beginning of your new book, Summer of Hate. It’s very different in tone from the rest of the book, very thrilling in its combination of sex, money, and fear.

Chris Kraus: The first two chapters set up each character’s situation before they meet—first Catt and then Paul. Catt is immersed in terror and flight: sex, murder, and delusional thinking. She’s panicked, hysterical. When she finally lands in Albuquerque in the third chapter, she re-enters real life. The movement of time changes once she gets there.  The book settles into a more normal, real-life progression. She’s driven into the story by her delirium. Paul enters the story with remorse, fear and shame. When they meet, the story continues on a different plateau.

GB: In relation to their meeting, I was struck by the fact that before Paul meets Catt he’s totally lost. Their meeting is so unexpected, and he’s so isolated and his possibility of interaction and collision is so small—especially in terms of their class differences.

CK: Right, it’s so farfetched. But given where she’s coming from, is it any more farfetched than meeting these lunatics online? She takes herself out of this delusional world and lands someplace else, where pretty much anything can happen. For Paul their meeting is improbable, but he’s already so far off the grid. This happens in life all the time! When people take themselves out of their normal, expected routines, other things can happen, and that’s what happens to these two.

GB: In one of your previous books, I Love Dick, there’s some discussion of the creation of a hybrid form of fiction and cultural criticism. Summer of Hate is a novel, but it fills a void in contemporary discussion about the incarceration industry.

CK: Yes … In I Love Dick, Dick has been charged with creating a new MFA program along those lines.  “Hybridity” was one of the funding buzzwords at that time.  But really, that is the definition of literature. If you look back to the great texts over the centuries, they’re hybrid forms of fiction and criticism. The great adventure stories: Moby DickRobinson CrusoeMoll Flanders, and then Balzac’s novels, the list goes on. The definition of literary fiction has become so incredibly narrow: domestic dramas based on the romantic and career ambitions within the upper middle class, but it wasn’t always that way. The agenda of fiction used to be to describe the whole world.

GB: The world that you describe in Summer of Hate is so regularly overlooked, not only in fiction but also in art and other forms of cultural production.

CK: It’s true; it’s not very sexy. Narrative hinges on subjectivity, and we’re accustomed to a certain kind of subjectivity...

 

READ ON »


When Machines Speak

(0)

On display at The New Museum until September 30th, is the exhibition Ghosts in the Machine. Curated by Massimiliano Gioni and Gary Carrion-Murayari, the exhibition is described as having been “conceived as an encyclopedic cabinet of wonders: bringing together an array of artworks and non-art objects to create an unsystematic archive of man’s attempt to reconcile the organic and the mechanical.”1 Of the myriad works presented in the exhibition, there is one humble object that in so many ways embodies the complex history of technical abstraction, and the externalization of that which is inherently human. This object is called the VODER.

Short for Voice Operation DEmonstratoR, the VODER was an instrument or tool that provided its operator the ability to synthesize human speech. It easily predates the first cases of computerized speech synthesis, and represents the distinct end of an era for a particular type of metonymic device, along with the beginning of a whole other era of synthesized speech. The year was 1929. As the story goes, Bell Labs researcher Homer Dudley experienced an epiphanic moment, while laying in a hospital bed.

 

A pioneering researcher of voice communications technologies, Dudley was working to develop more efficient methods of voice transmission that could make better use of the Bell System’s bandwidth. His eureka moment was the realization that the human mechanisms of speech (the vocal cords, mouth, teeth, tongue and lips), resembled the mechanics of radio transmission2: the vocal chords create high-frequency vibrations that serve essentially as a carrier wave to the data encoded by the articulations of the mouth. He would go on to spearhead the development of  technology that enabled the invention of a device called the Vocoder3. By breaking speech down into ten low frequency bands, the Vocoder was able to send transmissions requiring far less bandwidth than the full spectral information produced by the telephone. By the mid-30s the team at Bell Labs had developed these technologies to successful ends, but would not see implementation outside of the lab for another decade or so.

 

 

It was this initial work on the Vocoder that led Dudley down a winding path toward the VODER. The key distinction between the Vocoder and VODER is that while the Vocoder was a tool through which to process speech, the VODER was a instrument with which one could synthesize speech. The Vocoder required its operator to only turn a few knobs, and speak into a microphone. The VODER was an instrument in a wholly other sense, providing fourteen keys, a bar controlled by the operator's wrist, and a foot pedal. The Voder was not spoken to – it was performed, or played. The operator's speech impulses would bypass their destination of the vocal cords and mouth, instead manifesting themselves through their hands, wrist and foot, and finally through the manipulation of the VODER’s controls. Complex combinations of keys would produce the requisite components of speech that a given letter, word, and sentence is composed of. The foot pedal controlled pitch, providing the essential subtle variations of intonation. The resultant sounds approached that of modern speech synthesis. Computers would not meet the expressive abilities of the VODER for another twenty years.

 

READ ON »


The Piracy Project at Printed Matter Aug 17-18

(0)

A pirated Vargas Llosa novel bought in Lima, Peru in 2010, that went on sale a week before the official version arrived in bookshops.


On Aug 17th at Printed Matter in New York, The Piracy Project is holding a panel selecting books from the HELP/LESS exhibition to include in their collection, along with Rhizome editor Joanne McNeil, Sergio Muñoz Sarmiento (Clancco), David Senior (MoMA Library), and Anthony Huberman from the Artist's Institute. The following day, they will host a workshop making copies of the books selected to go back to their library in London:

The Piracy Project (Andrea Francke & AND Publishing) will host a panel discussion and book pirating session on August 17th, 6-8, and Saturday August 18th, 3-7PM, respectively.

In a public presentation/discussion, Andrea Francke and Eva Marie Weinmayr will introduce The Piracy Project. Panelists Joanne McNeil (Rhizome), Sergio Muñoz Sarmiento (Clancco) and David Senior (MoMA Library) and will present a selection of books from the exhibition that they would like to see inducted into the Piracy Project library, negotiating concepts of originality, copying, moral issues and taste as they defend their selections. At the end of the conversation, 3 books will be chosen as the winners.

On the following day, Saturday, August 18th, Eva and Andrea will make copies of the winning books to bring back to London to add to their collection. Anyone who would like to help us in the process of making the books is invited to join and find out more about the project.

 

right: No se lo digas a nadie by Jaime Bayly; left pirated copy with two extra chapters added by an anonymous writer. 


Check out the essay The Piracy Project contributed to Rhizome last spring, The Impermanent Book:

In the context of the Piracy Project, which we initiated ...

MORE »


Prosthetic Knowledge Picks: Computed Fashion

(0)


Virtual Clothing Touch 'Heatmap' Feature Of CLO 3D

A collection of items from the Prosthetic Knowledge Tumblr archive and around the web, around the theme of 'Fashion'.

 




Glitch Embroidery by Nukeme 

Clothing with embroidered logos whose sewing machine file has been purposefully corrupted, creating glitched outputs: 

 






CLO 3D 

South Korean 3D CAD software developed specifically for industry-class clothing design:






CLO 3D is Easy-to-Use 3D Apparel CAD, enables you to design, to view 3D samples in real-time and to communicate easily with partners. It is possible to create a virtual sample photo-realistically within 1 hour using your 2D pattern. You can send 3D clothing data in network to colleagues, and it�ll enable you to communicate effectively with your team members across the globe. You can view in real-time the impromptu changes in patterns, designs, colors, fabric design with others

[PK Link]

Netstyles

Limited edition T-Shirts designed by net artists:



Triangulation Blog has an interview with Netstyles' creator, Stirling Crispin: 

What is the idea behind Netstyles? How did this project come to your mind and when did you start it? Where you inspired by the bad smelling boy tumblr or other artists?
Netstyles is a digital aesthetics fashion line which translates virtual art into physical form. The clothes act as hyperlinks in physical space to emerging concepts developing in contemporary culture. I launched Netstyles on February 6th of 2012 but had been researching and doing tests since at least August of 2011. Many artists working today have adopted a post-internet sensibility and create far more digital objects than physical objects. Netstyl.es was created to provide a common platform for contemporary artists to experiment with, and make physical what would otherwise remain as digital forms. Bad Smelling Boy and Body By Body were two influences, both of which are included in ...

MORE »


Artist Profile: Michele Abeles

(0)

Red Rock Cigarettes Newspaper Body Wood Lycra Bottle

Your Re:Re:Re:Re:Re: series makes inventive use of the male nude. Many 
of the images seem to have a humorous consciousness of the history of
the female nude in painting and photography. Can you talk a little bit
about your use of the male nude and the context in which you place it?

When I decided to start working in way that combined the nude and the still life genre, I quickly found I wasn’t comfortable treating women as objects, so within that series I worked exclusively with men. Using male bodies has the advantage of the fact that the male is the agreed-upon neutral subjectivity for our culture—a “default” setting. The male body therefore can be a blank slate in a way the female can’t.

As for painting, in Re:Re:Re:Re:Re: I was primarily focused on the nude in popular media and not really thinking about the history of painting. Of course painting has informed photography throughout its history, so a certain dialogue between the two is built in.

What's the process behind your Recent Work (2012)? Do you consider these a post-camera form of photography as opposed to a more traditional collage?


In the pictures you’re referring to, about 10% of the elements in the pictures are appropriated or solely generated by computer, without a camera.  Examples include the grid backgrounds in Reverse Wallpaper and Re:Re:Re:Re:Re:Re:Re: and the two appropriated images of football players in the latter picture. What appear in the rest of the series are things I photographed specifically for this body of work or for the previous series--I appropriated my own work. What I did here actually questions what “postcamera ...

MORE »


Introducing the Rhizome Tumblr

(1)

 

We're pleased to announce that Rhizome is now on Tumblr! Over the last 16 years, Rhizome has amassed an incredible collection of images, videos, and more from memebers of our community. On RHIZOME DOT ORG we we'll bring to light this great content and more right to your dashboard.

MORE »


Interface Aesthetics: An Introduction

(0)

Image from CMD SHIFT 3 .NET by Emilio Gomeriz

Everyday we use digital tools to create, edit, and document our work. We click fastidiously into the graphical user interface (GUI) of applications, seeing expected results while trying to ignore the friction of bad design, failed UX, and glitches. Most actions are conducted successfully and the interface holds its transparent position. But despite the GUI’s seemingly innocuous presence, its aesthetic leaches its way into our own. How we view our creative process and documentation is minutely and incrementally shifted by the frame of the interfaces we routinely use.

Douglas Engelbart's 1968 demo of NLS (online system)

The current paradigm of the user interface had its first introduction on December 9th in 1968 when Douglas Engelbart demoed his famous NLS (online system) at the Fall Joint Computer Conference in held at the Convention Center in San Francisco, CA. Engelbart and his team at Stanford had an innovative vision driven by desires to improve the ways people communicate and interact with each other and computers. It was the public debut of the mouse. The work produced by his group went on to inspire the most basic interactions used in Xerox’s Star graphical user interface and almost every operating system since...

 

READ ON »


The Download: Elna Frederick

(0)


Still from Art Gallery

This month The Download features Elna Frederick's screensaver triptych Birth, Art Gallery, Death (2012).

Birth, Art Gallery, Death is a minimalist triptych in the form of a screensaver package. With white as life and black as death, each screen saver panel marks a stage in the cycle of consciousness. Birth is the genesis of consciousness through a birth canal of white arriving out of darkness. Art Gallery, where black is conspicuously absent, is the finite enclosure of a lifetime. Its contents are the thoughts and creations arising in consciousness; representations of life. Death, represented by black slowly descending upon a white screen, is ultimately a representation of life.

The Download is accessible to all Rhizome members. Start your digital art collection by becoming a member today.

MORE »


Thank You to Our July Sponsors

(0)

We would like to take a brief moment to thank this month's sponsors. These are the organizations and companies that keep us publishing, so be sure to check them out!

Featured Advertisers

  • Asia Society Museum - Current exhibition of ink paintings by Wu Guanzhong, considered one of the most important Chinese artists of the twentieth century, April 24th - August 5th
  • Parrish Museum - The Parrish Road Show is  an off-site creative summer series that will feature artists' projects and related programs that will be sited in atypical public spaces.
  • Art Southampton – The Premiere International Contemporary & Modern Art Fair in the Hamptons, July 26th - 30th
  • Saatchi Online – Online gallery that connects artists and art lovers directly

Network Sponsors

  • Art Systems – Professional art gallery, antiques and collections management software
  • The Wassaic Project - Summer Festival - Free annual celebration of art, music, dance, and community featuring over 100 artists, 25 bands, film screenings, and dance performances, August 3rd - 5th

If you are interested in advertising on Rhizome, please get in touch with Nectar Ads, the Art Ad Network.

MORE »