Posts for 2012

Artist Profile: Simone Giordano

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Bete, 2011 oil on canvas on board 5 pieces 25cm x 15cm

What do you feel is revealed in your utilization of rigid digital pixelated form in the medium of painting?

A constant in my oeuvre is my attempt to create works that have several layers of meaning, most of my choices are open to multiple interpretation and I think none of them are wrong. My paintings want to be the starting point for a thought rather than the embodiment of a thought. First of all, rigid digital pixelated forms attempt to create an order, give meaning to chaos, bring clarity and simplification. It is a tribute to the wonder of color, too, its power, its importance in our life. My colors in a pixelated grid most of the time represent objects, but only if you look at them from the right distance, as you move closer to them the only thing they portray are colors: how they work together and how they react between themselves, how they affect us and how we react with them. But those forms are also something that carries us back to the most synthetic, most artificial part of out lives. I refer, no matter how obsolete the definition, to the virtual sphere of our experience, a part of out lives now merged. It seemed like something I had to talk about.

You've stated that "Consoles, joysticks, cables and wires that litter the desks as a contemporary reinterpretation of the genre scene, aiming to capture the climax of the information society, to consider a digital alternative point of view and tell what lies behind his cold surface, because if you stop to it what we expect is just a miserable future." I wonder if you can talk a little bit about this miserable future ...

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Thoughts on Wikipedia's Future

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A page from David Horvitz's A Wikipedia Reader,2009

“Very few people are being promoted into the humble, hard-working positions which make Wikipedia work.”
- Robinson Meyer via The Atlantic

Earlier this month Wikipedia held its annual summit in Washington, DC. Afterwards, The Atlantic summarized the event in an article outlining how Wikipedia is slowly running out of admins to edit the site’s content. A trend is emerging. Fewer people are applying, and the current editors are slowly leaving. The long-term future has a flicker of uncertainty. To spark some discussion, I surveyed four artists and writers about the decline. We can all speculate what effects a decline in editor participation will have on Wikipedia as a global knowledge-base, but what are the implications for artists who use it as a tool for research and making work?

Lori Emerson
A healthy creative practice in the 21st century demands a baseline level of unencumbered access not just to information but to a broad range of cultural practices in general. While some of the most successful artists of the digital age are, as Mark Amerika has put it, 'remixologists' of information and culture, such a practice isn't sustainable without grassroots archives to draw from such as Wikipedia. For my own work, Wikipedia has long been a crucial entryway to information on the history of computing and digital art - Wikipedia pages on these topics are remarkably detailed and informative in ways often unmatched by books or print-based articles. I fear that the potential decline of Wikipedia would not only severely impact creative-critical practices but it also indicates more broadly that while we have made tremendous strides in opening access to information, we do not yet have any strategies in place for a long-term curatorial practice of maintaining and preserving this access ...

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Guest Blogger for the Week: Jason Huff

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Photo by Laura Swanson

Jason, our former editorial fellow, is back to guest blog while Joanne is on vacation this week. He is a practicing artist, writer, and designer who originally hails from Georgia but now lives and works in Brooklyn, NY. Last year he graduated with a Masters in Fine Art in Digital + Media from the Rhode Island School of Design. His work is currently featured in Daphne, a show at FJORD gallery in Philadelphia, PA that opened this month. Keep an eye out for American Pyscho, a collaborative piece he completed with Mimi Cabell scheduled to be published later this year by Traumawien. His work is also included in the Special Collections at the Whitney Museum of American Art.

 

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More Chris Marker Online

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GORGOMANCY menu

Continuing our tribute to Chris Marker, here is GORGOMANCY, his flash website that debuted last year. It contains a version of his CD-ROM Immemory, his video tour of Ouvroir, and the entirety of his 1989 miniseries L'Héritage de la Chouette (The Owl's Legacy), a record of a 13-part symposium on Ancient Greece supported by the Onassis Foundation.

From Stopover in Dubai

GORGOMANCY also hosts Marker's secretive film Stopover in Dubai. Stopover is the haunting reconstruction of Mahmoud al-Mabhouh's murder in September 2010. It utilizes security camera footage throughout, emphasizing the frigid complicity between surveillance and violence.

 

It's also worth mentioning here that Marker had an impressive Youtube presence as the user Kosinski. Recent work of his can be found there, including Kino, his short history of cinema, visible above. All of these works illustrate the reach of Marker's mastery and importance as an artist.

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The Universal Texture

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Images via Clement Valla.

These artists (...) counter the database, understood as a structure of dehumanized power, with the collection, as a form of idiosyncratic, unsystematic, and human memory. They collect what interests them, whatever they feel can and should be included in a meaning system. They describe, critique, and finally challenge the dynamics of the database, forcing it to evolve.1

I collect Google Earth images. I discovered them by accident, these particularly strange snapshots, where the illusion of a seamless and accurate representation of the Earth’s surface seems to break down. I was Google Earth-ing, when I noticed that a striking number of buildings looked like they were upside down. I could tell there were two competing visual inputs here —the 3D model that formed the surface of the earth, and the mapping of the aerial photography; they didn't match up. Depth cues in the aerial photographs, like shadows and lighting, were not aligning with the depth cues of the 3D model.

The competing visual inputs I had noticed produced some exceptional imagery, and I began to find more and start a collection.  At first, I thought they were glitches, or errors in the algorithm, but looking closer, I realized the situation was actually more interesting — these images are not glitches. They are the absolute logical result of the system. They are an edge condition—an anomaly within the system, a nonstandard, an outlier, even, but not an error. These jarring moments expose how Google Earth works, focusing our attention on the software. They are seams which reveal a new model of seeing and of representing our world - as dynamic, ever-changing data from a myriad of different sources – endlessly combined, constantly updated, creating a seamless illusion.

3D Images like those in Google Earth are generated through a process called texture mapping.... 

 

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A Tribute to Chris Marker's Double Life

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Saddened by the news of Chris Marker's death today at age 91, I guided my generic male goth avatar to Ouvroir, Marker's Second Life island chain. Ouvroir is devoted to monuments, art, eclectic means of transportation, and, of course, Monsieur Guillaume. It can be accessed at the coordinates 187, 61, 39. In 2010, Marker made Ouvroir, the movie, featuring Guillaume's wanderings through the space.

Dancing with Guillame. Here is a video of Monsieur Guillaume dancing with an unidentified bald avatar.

A Guillaume submarine.

Mount Guillaume.

A crashed plane, giraffe, and palm trees on the sands of Ouvroir.

Three cat statues and the iconic spherical museum.

Bowing before a giant Guillaume with a sampling of artwork visible at Ouvroir.

Ouvroir from above.

"Every memory can create its own legend," we are told in Marker's 1982 film Sans Soleil. Marker's work always concerned itself with memory and the formation of history, and ranged in subject from the Vietnam war to Alexander Medvedkin's CineTrain. In 1962, he made La Jetée, a short film composed almost entirely of stills. Other films include 1977's A Grin Without A Cat, focusing on Left political movements of the 60s and 70s, and 2004's The Case of the Grinning Cat, which explored France's own political turmoil in the years after 9/11. Famously reclusive, Marker is now free to sprial endlessly into legend.

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Artist Profile: Flightphase

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Sniff interacting with viewers, debug view

Flightphase occupies a unique space as a design studio that creates artwork for the art world. It would be great if you could talk about Flightphase a little bit conceptually--how do you negotiate the space you occupy? The website says says Flightphase is "creating a unique design and format solution for any challenge"--how do those challenges differ and collide in the world of art and design?

We started Flightphase by presenting our artworks in a design context -- to a design audience and a design market.  As a result, the projects we were engaged for were usually some kind of hybrid of design and art including art commissions, and we're hoping it's going to shift even further in the art direction.  This probably speaks more about the state of the art-design tension and about the artworld’s changing attitude towards design -- what used to be seen as the ‘inferior’ art form has gained new respect, as evidenced by shows such as Talk to Me.  New media practice in general seems to engender the attitude that its necessary focus on formal and functional considerations doesn’t preclude a high concept.  

One way to differentiate between design and art is that design challenges have to do with the ‘how‘ (i.e. how to achieve a given goal), and art challenges with the ‘what‘ (i.e. what is the goal).  If you think of design as a process, all artists are designers and good art is always well-designed.
The projects on which we are hired as a design studio normally call for a lot of formal exploration.  In the art projects, we mostly limit the visual language, because their focus is more conceptual.   We always carry what we learn in one into the other though ...

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Rhizome Digest: Best of Rhizome July

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Korakrit Arunanondchai, Installation "2012-2555"

Essays

Installation view of Omer Fast: 2001/11 Wexner Center for the Arts, The Ohio State University
Courtesy of gb agency, Paris, and Arratia Beer, Berlin Photo: Mark Steele

 

Reviews

 

CLUI Archive photo

Columns

 

Artist Profiles

 

VHS @ MAD

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Guide to Future-Present Archetypes Part 2: Strange Attractors

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Mike Flynn's Ferrofluid Magnetoscope via Make

There are a number of us driven to search the world for the newest forms of magical tricks. We dive into the darkest alleys, the most convoluted of document dumps, the blackest of markets, searching for clues. We tune our aetheric antennas, looking for signals that might indicate a disturbance in the order of things— eddies in the production currents of technology— where such supernatural powers might suddenly emerge.

Arthur C. Clarke’s famous words are often repeated: “Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic.” What isn’t often mentioned is that this is third of three of Clarke’s Laws. The full list reads as follows:

  1. When a distinguished but elderly scientist states that something is possible, he is almost certainly right. When he states that something is impossible, he is very probably wrong.
  2. The only way of discovering the limits of the possible is to venture a little way past them into the impossible.
  3. Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic.

The third law is delightfully vague, capable of converting from advice for writing space opera, to a commandment of UX design. But in the context of the other two laws, it reads as a presupposition to how we view technological history. 

Clarke is directing us to look at the means of the generation of history— the intersection point where the impossible is processed into the possible. The impossible is a large domain— containing impossibilities that may become possible in a week’s time, those that will only be possible in a thousand years, and those that for all intents and purposes within humans’ conception of time, will never be possible. Our knowledge of present technology is projected forward into the unknown, and the way forward is illuminated in heavy shadow, unfolding into what we conceive of as the future. To think about the future you must study history. But you also must be willing to perceive the currently impossible as already becoming historical. This temporally augmented reality is we are calling it in this series of essays, the Future-Present...

 

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Package Yourself

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At a time when so many Americans are disgusted with the personhood of corporations, it's surprising that more persons don't move to secure their expanded rights. Dan Graham notes, “Jasper Johns was the first American artist to fully understand that the newly subjectivized advertising icon and the gestures of Abstract Expressionist painting—which struggled against the cultural domination of this new form—were virtually identical.”1 The place of the (white male) individual and his potential for transcendence had already merged with corporate strategy. Warhol began operations at his Factory in 1962, and by 1966 Foucault proclaimed that man “would be erased, like a face drawn in sand at the edge of the sea.” In 1978, the band Devo told The SoHo Weekly News that they’d decided to “mimic those who get the greatest rewards out of the business and become a corporation."

According to Bernadette Corporation, “Mock incorporation is quick and easy … no registration fees, simply choose a name (i.e. Booty Corporation, Bourgeois Corporation, Buns Corporation) and spend a lot of time together. Ideas will come later.” Bernadette Corporation was founded in 1994 as "the perfect alibi for not having to fix an identity."2 Similarly, the Bruce High Quality Foundation employs a post-individual aesthetic while using the language of a endowed institution as opposed to a corporation. Yet the post-individual kernel is clearer in the Foundation’s mission, which presents itself as the arbiter of the estate and legacy of “the late social sculptor” Bruce High Quality. The Foundation is founded on the negation of an already fictional identity. The Icelandic Love Corporation, based in Reykjavik, adopts the title of a corporation without jettisoning their identities.

Corporate art practice challenges stale narratives of contemporary art, which resuscitate themes and tropes of 20th century conceptualism. By claiming the featureless corporation as the active artmaker, BC and other similar façades maneuver around cliché and retreat from the individual artist-archetype: a character to be media-narrativized into a pop-psychological explanation of their noble craftsmanship or pathology of resistance.

Bernadette Corporation's The Complete Poem installation at Greene Naftali (2009)

Corporations, much like contemporary art, have a unique relationship with the iterable. In an essay discussing the irony of the corporate sponsors of the San Diego Zoo, critic and writer Chris Kraus explains, “Like contemporary art, corporate linguistics seeks to eliminate the dreary mechanics of cause and effect. Shit happens. People demand.”3 Corporate language rests on clichés that are instantly understood. Phil Spector reportedly wondered, “Is it dumb enough?” while listening to “Da Doo Ron Ron.” The question that defined popular music has as much bearing on contemporary art: unencumbered by the boring (Kraus’ “dreary mechanics”), only that which is instantly understood remains. That which is dumb enough.

The artist Ed Fornieles, whose work includes the trend-forecasting agency Recreational Data and the management training company Coaxiom, indicated to me that part of what he likes about working with corporate aesthetics is the power of boring corporate cliché both in language and imagery. “Corporations have their own logic,” Fornieles told me. “It doesn’t always have to be about me.” In a sense, engaging with corporate style makes transparent a generic corporate aesthetic—visible in promotional materials, architecture, offices, commercials— which is both recognizable and unfixed. What’s appealing about something so blandly real is its ability to blend into the fabric of reality without the risk of a unique stake or identity...

 

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