Posts for 2012

Announcing: Heather Corcoran Appointed Executive Director of Rhizome

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Today, the Rhizome staff is pleased to announce Heather Corcoran as Rhizome's new Executive Director. Corcoran succeeds Lauren Cornell who has served the organization for the past seven years and will continue to be involved by joining the Rhizome Board.

Corcoran comes to Rhizome from Film and Video Umbrella in London where she has served as Deputy Director. She has previously worked as a Curator at FACT, the UK’s leading center for new media, and at SPACE, London and Interaccess Electronic Media Arts Centre in Toronto. Considered a leading figure in media art internationally, Heather has also produced large-scale projects with the Barbican Centre, AND Festival and was a contributing Curator for the 2010 Liverpool Biennial.  She will take up the new post on September 15th.

The staff is very excited to have Heather on board and look forward to working with her! It goes without saying that we will miss Lauren, but know her presence and support will still be felt through her participation on the Board of Directors and her continued work in the field!

 

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Guide to Future-Present Archetypes Part 1: The Spark

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This is the first in a series of six essays, drawing on interviews with speculative thinkers finding and defining the technologies of the Future-Present.

Near Tappi Saki, Aomori (via Pink Tentacle

It is the 21st Century, and history has delivered us into a time when aerial swarms of hypertextual futurist essays sling bombshell proclamations down upon us, guided down the invisible path of a laser beam. With each new detonation our grounding worldview shakes with tectonic intensity, as what we have always known as “the future” is driven to critical fission when hitting the present. Behold, this new technology: the “Future-Present”: where our dreams collide with reality. There is no fantastical World of Tomorrow, and there is no reality in which we know the real from the imagined. There is only the waking dream of the categories’ simultaneous coexistence. In this world, cities explode, the network sings like razor wire, a caustic, aerosolized powder rises up from pavement beneath our feet, people wearing masks shout instructions over our heads. The dream is still going on, a double exposure of ideas over impact weapons. It is difficult to say whether we are excited, or terrified, or bored, or confused. But we understand this, don’t we? We must say we understand this. There is no one else that could understand this, other than us. What would it mean, if no one understood the future?

 

Electronic Countermeasures GPS enabled quadcopter, Tomorrow's Thoughts Today (video)

 

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Artist Profile: Nadim Abbas

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Cataract, site specific installation, dimensions variable, 2010

Your series "I Would Prefer Not To" consists of 22 photographs and action figures in vitrine, labeled based on disorders and psychoses. The series focuses on "men without qualities," males cut off from society by the Internet, videogames, and anime. What drew you to this subculture? Do you think of their withdrawal as a kind of decadence that accompanies historical and literary portrayals of societies on the brink of disaster?

Growing up in Hong Kong in the 80s & 90s, it was very easy for a boy to become immersed in the manga and anime that was being imported over here from Japan.  For this project, I was drawn to what is popularly known as “otaku” culture partly because of this childhood familiarity.  In Chinese, “otaku” is often translated as 宅 男, which although usually spoken in the same breath, actually carries very different connotations.  宅 is short for housing (complex), or tenement (block), and 男 means male.  The term thus describes the stereotype of the otaku as a socially inept male subject walled up in his apartment.  While this is a generalization of a more complex state of affairs, I do think there is a certain truth to the suggestion that otaku culture arose, or at least thrives within a uniquely urban context.  It’s difficult to imagine an otaku pursuing his/her hobby in a log cabin in the woods.  My concern with this work then was not why otaku do what they do, but rather, what kind of space allows this to happen?  It is as if the extremely dense accumulation of cramped interior spaces that characterize many Asian cities encourages a turning inward, or a vacuum of mental space itself. 

I hesitate to use the term decadent because of ...

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Even Alien Whales: Stan VanDerBeek's Brainchildren

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Interview with Stan VanDerBeek from John Musilli's 1972 documentary The Computer Generation

Jonas Meekas crowned Stan VanDerBeek the "laughing man of the bomb age," refering to his starry-eyed embrace Cold War technology and its transformative aesthetic and spiritual potential. Of VanDerBeek’s numerous large scale proposals, his Movie-Drome was the most fully realized. VanDerBeek began creating films for the Drome in 1957. Built next to his home in Stony Point, NY, the Movie-Drome operated between 1963 and 1966. During that time, viewers would lie on the floor with their heads against the wall and watch and watch projections throughout the dome’s interior. It's visible at the New Museum as part of the exhibition "Ghosts in the Machine" next week until September 30. 

Interior view of the Movie-Drome in action

The full potential of the Movie-Drome, as proposed in his Culture: Intercom manifesto, was not fully realized. In that tract, VanDerBeek proposed:

That immediate research begin on the possibility of a picture-language based on motion pictures.

That we combine audio-visual devices into an educational tool: an experience machine or "culture-intercom."

That audio-visual research centers be established on an inter-national scale to explore the existing audio-visual devices and procedures, develop new image-making devices, and store and transfer image materials, motion pictures, television, computers, video-tape, etc.

That artists be trained on an international basis in the use of these image tools.

The Movie-Drome was to be the exhibition space for these experiments: a network of Movie-Dromes would have been built throughout the world to show experiments from the culture-intercom. “The audience,” wrote VanDerBeek, “Takes what it can or wants from the presentation and makes its own conclusions. Each member of the audience will build his own references and realizations from the image-flow.” Additionally, the urgent utopianism of his project cannot ...

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Plausibility Isn't the Endgame

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On Arcfinity, you can watch Bruce Sterling and Liam Young discuss the conceptual process of designing and modeling urban space of the future. Both showcase thier unique ways of thinking practically beyond utopia, without regard for efficiency or plausibility. The conversation is the coda of a summit last month in which Young brought together a collection of the future-minded best and brightest to form a blueprint for the city of tomorrow.  

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"Standard Remote" by Dena Yago

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A crater dismounted facing towards

One problem

Natural counting towards two a surface

You said ‘immaleable ruin’

That settles in the palm of a hand

 

Development psych

Standing in it’s shadow

Giving a one way signal

Like no one is home

 

Cosmic accents

Back and forth

Like where are you from

Anyway

 

Make from me leaned over

A sitting desk

A standing desk

 

Five thousand bookmarks

Returning numbers in fines

I have paid for this in interest

Down-paid

Discomfort

 

Swung open

A revolving door turns unconvinced

Pre-paid

 

I am still at home

I have not left yet

I am in Queens

 

What one line can accomodate

A text wrap around

That one.

 

Alternative to a shade of preparation

Alternating between white and another white that you notice less

Putting one glove on takes two hands

And what can my cold hands say to that?

 

Standing on gravel

site specific self identifying

As gravel

 

Layout interrupted

A path following

An aluminum Swiss water bottle

 

A transcription:

She told me they sell no deodorant here

I knew she was lying I asked

Why I know that you are lying

She told we do but they don’t need deodorant here

I knew she was lying

I said you are lying

She said you are the salt of the earth

 

With one hand held over two breasts

No dark storm can rage over two breasts

With one hand

And cream shirt worn

Into a dark 3 p.m. screening

Of my life my love

This love is truly abated by

No one else’s breasts

 

A distant swiss watch chimes background fade

Powdered marble on powdered marble on

An unlined t shirt

Cognito ergo sum

 

Index finger in hot black coffee

There is no aporia in heaven

She said wiping her nail ...

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The Center for Land Use Interpretation: "More To Be Discovered Than We Have Ever Imagined"

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CLUI Archive photo

Founded in 1994, The Center for Land Use Interpretation is both an essential and furtive organization. In the Center's 2006 publication Overlook: Exploring the Internal Fringes of America with the Center for Land Use Interpretation, founder Matthew Coolidge shares his hope that after reading the book, "You forget about us–the Center." What matters to Coolidge is that after an encounter with the Center, "You come away with a widened sense of awareness of the physical world that surrounds you." Aside from its physical locations scattered across the country, the Center provides an online Land Use Database of "unusual and exemplary sites throughout the United States." The database catalogues sites as diverse as an abandoned pyramid project in Bedford, Indiana and the Cannikin nuclear test site on Alaska's Aleutian Island Chain. As an ongoing project, the Center is dedicated to the creative interpretation of America's already radically transformed and continually changing landscape and utilizes a decentralized model of research and inventory.

Abandoned Pyramid Project in Bedford, IN

Overlook offers this explanation of how locations are selected: "The Center regards a site as 'unusual' if it stands out as unique, extraordinary, singular, rare, or exceptional. An example might be a piece of land art of a plutonium processing facility. A site is considered 'exemplary' if it serves well to represent a more common type of land use, if it is especially articulate, descriptive, coherent, or concise. Or if it represents an apogee of its type: perhaps it's the first, the largest, the smallest, or has some other superlative quality."

Essential to the Center is the process of interpretation without the burden of encyclopedic objectivity. It offers residencies to a variety of interpreters, who engage in a creative process of understanding and interpretation. The Center ...

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Linear Development

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Installation view of Pohflepp's "Forever Future" at the Wind Tunnel Gallery in Pasedena

Artist Sascha Pohflepp's recent work "The Tsiolkovsky Trick," sourced from models of space rockets via Google's 3D Warehouse, visually embodies a particular understanding of techno-history. In his essay "Lagrangian Futures," Pohflepp explains that in 1903 Konstantin Tsiolkovsky "published a scientific article titled 'Investigation of outer space rocket appliances,' in which he proved that a propelled object could perform space flight if throughout the launch would shed parts of itself." Later in the essay, Pohflepp expounds:

Technology, although shrouded in notions of logic, reason and profit, is a largely narrative endeavor anyway. Futures have to be thought before they can be built or sold and their thinking as visions, myths and also plain lies provides what Norman M. Klein fittingly refers to as “fantastic infrastructure.” It is hardly surprising then that both Tsiolkovsky and [Jack] Parsons had a great interest in science fiction. Before he published in scientific journals, Tsiolkovsky had been writing fiction, only one year before his first influential theoretical article, he had published a novel about space colonization titled “Dreams of the Earth and Sky.”

The Tsiolkovsky Trick

Any attempt to construct a linear narrative of technological process faces countless hurdles. In embodying this narrative, Pohflepp's reveals its inadequacy through simple scrolling. Tsiolkosky's trick, of course, is narrative itself. Just as past serves as prologue, so too does the imagined future. Pohflepp's emphasis on the narrative impulse echoes an eternal critical obsession. While dreams and science fictions undoubtedly form a discursive basis for any potential future, the form of narrative itself may conceal as much as it displays. Paul Ricoeur reminds us that the stakes here may be higher than they appear: "Ultimately at stake in the case of ...

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VHS @ MAD

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From Jerusalem

In the late 70s, the film medium's intellectual monolith Hollis Frampton announced that the video frame was "a degenerate ameoboid shape passing for a rectangle to accomodate cheap programming of late night movies." Never has this fact been more gloriously indulged than at the Museum of Art and Design's ongoing three-month celebration of everyone's magnetic tape: VHS. The series traces VHS' impact on every facet of the movie process from production to distribution, including workout tapes.

VHS assumed the throne of consumer videotape formats after defeating competeing Betamax and VX technologies. Rebecca Cleman, distribution director of Electronic Arts Intermix and one of the series' co-organizers, stressed that VHS was "an inferior format, that won over Betamax primarily because it could boast longer recording times. The poor quality of VHS, of course, makes it represent decaying technology, which always gets fetishized."

Video continues to maintain an aesthetic presence within the art world. From pioneers to contemporary practicioners, qualities associated with the aesthetic of VHS--a warm, gummy image, static lines and the low quality that comes from infinite playback--have become standbys of the gallery scene. Tonight, Cleman will present a lecture entitled Aesthetics of Analog, which will investigate the qualities of consumer video recording processes. Said Cleman: "It’s important to think beyond the VHS tape, to understand that this is part of a system of components – television, VCRs, camcorders – that created a really new culture (as of the 80s) of home video, that was very different than home movies (from film) . . . video engenders a participation that folds spectator, producer, and distributor into one." 

In June, MAD showcased works like Herschell Gordon Lewis' 1967 psychic adventure Something Weird, the inspiration for Something Weird Video in 1990, which revivified Lewis' film along with works classics by Doris Wishman ...

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Prosthetic Knowledge Picks: The Algorists

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Kubo-Oktaeder, 1971 by Ludwig Rase + Georg Nees


A collection of items from the Prosthetic Knowledge Tumblr archive and around the web, focusing on a collection of European artists who since the 1960's have independently been creating art with the computer, and in 1995, became known as 'Algorists'. 

 




Below are five artists picked with accompanying animated gifs of their work. For a more expansive investigation, check out the links at the end of the piece:

Definition of an Algorist:

if (creation && object of art && algorithm && one's own algorithm) {
     include * an algorist 
} elseif (!creation || !object of art || !algorithm || !one's own algorithm) {
     exclude * not an algorist 
}


Herbert W. Franke 




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