Posts for 2012

Rafaël Rozendaal tour of the Rhizome booth at VIP Art Fair

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Rafaël Rozendaal created a special video tour of the Rhizome "booth" at the VIP Art Fair.

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My Broken iPhone

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Doug Aitken (Victoria Miro) at Art Basel Miami (via)

The day I moved to Brooklyn was the day my iPhone screen first shattered. I struggled to get my keys out of my purse while a group of students were waiting at the door for a friend to buzz them in. Unlocking the door in a confused jetlagged state, I held it open for each of them while juggling several bags with the other hand. After the last student entered the building, I stopped the door with my foot while attempting to redistribute the weight of my belongings. My iPhone slid out of my back pocket and on to the concrete. 

The resulting spiderweb of a crack had no impact on the iPhone's haptic sensitivity. It looked ruined but worked just as well. Eventually, I got used to reading without much eye strain. There were even some benefits. Everyone knew which phone was mine at dinner parties with iPhones strewn on various counters and end tables. I never worried about dropping it again as the screen wasn’t going to get any worse. And I didn’t worry much about it getting stolen, either.

My broken iPhone also resulted in random conversations with strangers. In queues for restaurant bathrooms, on public transportation and park benches, I was asked again and again what happened, and why didn’t I just take care of it? ...

 

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Rhizome Presents Renowned Digital Artist Rafael Rozendaal in web-based VIP Art Fair

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Rhizome is pleased to present a solo exhibition of work by outstanding artist Rafaël Rozendaal, who is known for his trailblazing explorations of the web browser, and for his forward-thinking contributions to the curation and sale of digital art.

Rhizome will present eight recent works by Rozendaal at the VIP Art Fair, all unique websites, each one an animation representative of the artist’s exploration of the browser as a limitless pictorial space. Here, in the ‘white walls’ of the online VIP Art Fair, each work is represented as a screenshot: a single frame that also includes the browser window that demonstrates how these works exist natively online. Colorful, minimal and redolent with feeling, the exhibited works range from figurative, such as Hot Doom. com’s depiction of a volcanic explosion, to abstract, as seen in From The Dark Past. com’s rendering of a scorched emotional terrain. Rozendaal’s formal aesthetic—his tendency to render commodities, like popcorn, or familiar scenes, like sunsets--recalls Pop art’s interest in the mass market and kitsch. Yet, in these works, each image has been pared down, stripped of idiosyncrasies related to place or time, and transported into a visual language of computer graphics and figuration--a language the artist suggests is more ‘universal’ today.

Rozendaal is noted not only for his own digital work, but for his inventive, free-form curatorial project BYOBthat  has been staged around the world, and his contract that outlines how a browser-based work can be sold. This contract applies to all works for purchase at VIP Art Fair, and is available online here. As an organization dedicated to advocacy of digital art, and education around its history, preservation, and exhibition, Rhizome is proud to share Rozendaal’s contract within the VIP Art Fair as an example of an artist’s bold move towards defining best practices around the sale of digital art. Proceeds from the sale of Rozendaal’s donated works will be split between the artist and Rhizome. 

 

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The Art of Fieldwork

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Simon Fujiwara, The Museum of Incest: A Guided Tour, 2009 (performance), courtesy of Neue Alte Brücke, Frankfurt

In 2008, the New York-based artist Ellie Ga joined the crew of the Tara, a sailboat drifting in the Arctic Ocean as part of a scientific expedition, occupying the incongruous position of the ship’s “artist-in-residence” among a team of scientific researchers. The role of “artist in residence” on a scientific expedition is a malleable one, without clearly defined parameters, thus Ga decided that her project would be to become the ship’s archivist, attempting to capture the various facets of life aboard the Tara: the ways in which the crew organized the world around them without conventional landmarks; how they entertained themselves; the sense of uncertainty that results from following the whims of weather patterns, never quite knowing where they would move next; as well as her own personal associations and insights about the expedition and their surroundings, unburdened by the demands of scientific fact or reportage.

In the resulting body of work, which has taken various forms, including lectures, performances, slideshows, and videos, her personal narratives and memories often occupy a central role. In the performance Reading the Deck of Tara at the Lower East Side gallery Bureau in 2011, visitors were given one-on-one readings with the artist herself, in which she used a custom deck of cards inspired by those used in fortunetelling to relay aspects of her life aboard Tara. Each visitor’s particular cards determined the form and content of the narrative, with each reading—and thus each version of the story she’d tell—being particular to that visitor, the performance’s element of chance echoing the movement of a ship adrift.

Ellie Ga, Reading the Deck of Tara installation (2011)

Borrowing methods from various disciplines, from sociology to fiction writing, Ga is one of a number of younger contemporary artists whose work is tied to a kind of artistic fieldwork, investigating aspects of their lives and interests by merging the apparent objectivity of documentary forms and anthropological research with a plainly subjective, flexible approach, drawing on multiple methodologies and discourses. While the “archival impulse” in contemporary art is hardly a new phenomenon, and research-oriented practices have arguably become the norm rather than the exception, what seems to differentiate work like Ga’s from those that fall under the broad, often contested banner of “relational,” “dialogical,” or “socially-engaged art,” is that the endgame here isn’t to offer a historiographic corrective or engage an outside community; rather...

 

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Artist Profile: Rick Silva

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Rick Silva's La Région Decentralized is featured this month on The Download.

Still from La Région Decentralized, image courtesy of the artist

Nature and land are prominent subjects in your work. Could you speak a bit about your interest in nature? Do you spend a lot of time outdoors?

Working with nature and land feels natural to me. Nature and land are part of a larger fascination I have with perception, light, and time. I do spend a lot of time outdoors, my new project/blog En plein air http://enpleinair.org is all about that actually. For the project I’m taking my laptop outside and seeing what I can create while reacting to the immediate landscape and elements.

For your piece in The Download, La Région Decentralized, you explore and remix iconography of Michael Snow's 1971 experimental film La Région Centrale in a endless, self-playing video game. What about Snow's film fascinates you?

I’m interested in Snow’s use of a rotating camera/horizon. Spinning terrains are a reoccurring theme in my recent videos. Texts about La Région Centrale suggest that the camera/horizon movement in Snow’s film creates a cosmic perspective of space at the human scale, and I agree with this reading. My video game version adds an endless random time component to this idea as well.

Is La Région Decentralized your first time working with video-games as a medium?

In 2010 I used video game engines to generate scenes and imagery for video projects. I’ve used 3D spaces like Google Earth for projects since 2005 with my Satellite Jockey performances, but this is the first time that I’m releasing a game as an application. There is something very interesting in the stretching and randomizing of time that video ...

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Artist Profile: Joe Winter

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The Stars Below, 2011. Mixed media installation

One thing I like about your work is the fact that you seem to operate like a hacker, taking things apart, finding new ways to misuse technology. But throughout your approach appears to be deliberately poetic, wherein you bring out these singular moments of beauty. For example, when you first started working on your scanner films during a residency at the MacDowell Colony, you mentioned that you began by simply placing a scanner outside of your cabin at night. The footage became a kind of accidental biological study, as the scanner intrigued light-seeking moths and other bugs, resulting in a time-lapsed nighttime sample of the various critters in the forest. I’m wondering if you can comment on how you “hack” technology in your work, and what you hope to achieve in that process. Are you guided by a kind of poetic hacking? How so?

In most of my works that involve a technological device (printer, scanner, photocopier, etc.) the technology itself is actually fairly un-altered. I tend to adjust the context in which the object is placed, or introduce variables or conditions that exist outside what I might call the area of expertise of the device. To use your example of the scanner: whether I'm scanning documents or moths in the woods, the scanner is still executing its function in exactly the same way; I've simply adjusted the expected input. I'm interested in looking at a given system and seeing what else it has the potential to speak about aside from its narrow band of acceptable usage, and how its native landscape (office, classroom, computer lab) might be related to other sorts of spaces, systems, or sets of ideas.

Since you brought up the topic of systems, I’m wondering if you could discuss that further. How do you approach the notion of “system” in your work? How do you reveal the presence of these systems, is it simply an act of mimesis or a disturbance or something else?

At different moments, I might describe my work in terms of systems, structures, frameworks, rules, and/or devices. I think there are a few things at play for me on that page of the thesaurus. The first is that I am always looking for various sorts of engines to move a project forward. Just like a physical device I take up may immediately describe a set of material and procedural constraints, I'll often involve a secondary framework--south polar exploration, the history of astronomy--that will both move a material system beyond itself and help to select supporting materials, an installation’s logic, etc. The second is developing a relationship between the system immediately at work and the secondary framework through a third, usually less visible system. To use my recent piece, The Stars Below, as an example: I first developed the material process. A series of solenoid valves release drips of water onto upright sticks of chalk,  slowly eroding them. The secondary framework--an installation space suggesting something between an office and a classroom--arises from the materials involved (what is the domain of a stick of chalk? Where does this drip of water originate?) and provides a context in which to situate the erosive activity. Between these two things is a conception of Deep Time, of which slate and chalk are both products, which complicates the scales of time at play within institutional spaces. So, the work tries to establish a series of interrelations between a set of materials, landscapes, and ideas. In short, a system. Whether or not the audience is able to unravel all of that immediately is not as important to me as their awareness that there is a sense of order, an underlying logic at work.

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Rhizome Recommends: Art and Technology SXSW Panels

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Nick Hasty moderates "Emerging Trends in Internet Art" at SXSW 2011

SXSW Interactive is a little over a month away, and with hundreds of talks and panels, it is easy to miss some of the great ones. This year, Rhizome Director of Technology Nick Hasty is leading the panel "Preserving the Creative Culture of the Web" and Senior Editor Joanne McNeil will be on the panel "The New Aesthetic: Seeing Like Digital Devices." Here are a dozen other art and technology oriented panels that might be of interest to the Rhizome community. Please add anything we missed in the comments! ...

 

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Jim Punk: exq=.s.te =n.c&de/s

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Jim Punk is prolific and anonymous. 

His website is encased largely in a cryptic vernacular predominately of his own design: A laptop is rendered in ‘Oldskool’ ASCII style illustration graphics with the ‘keyboard’ displaying letters and symbols (such as “&” or “n”) arranged in no particular order—as if Punk had button smashed his keyboard and left the results to exist as is.  There are no direct title links, or any kind of straightforward archive list of projects, instead it’s these arranged letters and symbols that when painstakingly, individually clicked on, lead the viewer down into a further maze of Punk’s own glitchy, early net art based work. 

&é'(-è_çà)#+           

azertyuiop^$¨£           

qsdfghjklmù%*µ!§          

<>wxcvbn,?;.:/~"{@ 

It’s this jumbled arrangement of symbols and navigation confusion that has come to define Punk’s work over the years.  Responding to blog comments, tweets and even emails with this seemingly incomprehensible employment of language, Punk avoids a certain communicative regularity; rejecting the comprehensibility and clarity that often lends itself to distinct individual recognition.  Instead, Punk’s non-linear, schizophrenic performance draws attention to the form language and communication take, all the while disrupting standardized information flow and producing an irregularity in the way we expect to approach and access content.

Punk's latest user generated project, exq=.s.te =n.c&de/s, is a glitched out Twitter feed that anyone can post to. Utilizing a customized keyboard, comprised solely of unicode symbols, users can easily create and tweet glitchy status updates.  With currently more than 600 tweets, Punk’s project works within the hyper consumptive pace of Twitter and utilizes it as an alternative platform for ...

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Hidden Information: The Work of Jim Sanborn

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 Jim Sanborn's cryptographic sculptures, pieces on atomic energy, and large-scale projections might already seem familiar. Installed in front of the CIA headquarters, the ciphers in his sculpture Kryptos have puzzled many a code-cracker (three out of four of the coded sections have been solved), and he has been the subject of several museum shows. The artist answered a few questions we had on his work via email:     

There's often something hidden in plain sight in your work.  In public installations like Kryptos (at the CIA plaza) and A Comma, A in Houston, among others (I'm thinking also of the Covert Obsolescence andArcheotranscription pieces), it's letters/word/code.  How does written communication affect your work?  Is there a background story that drives these pieces?

Prior to the Kryptos commission my work documented hidden or invisible natural forces, Earth’s magnetic field etc. For the Kryptos piece and for the 20 years since, the hidden forces/content in text and language have taken over.

For most of my life both of my parents worked at the Library of Congress, My father as the Director of Exhibitions and my mother as a photo researcher, this privileged access to the historic record was tremendously enabling. The texts I chose for my public projects were heavily researched at the L.C. and in these works in particular the International, Classical, and Native American texts were used to encourage collaboration among cultures to fully decipher. Like Kryptos, the other public works are designed to exude their information slowly.

The “background story” is either above, or resides in the following: The Archeological record offers us a frustratingly fragmented view of the past. Though fragmentary, this archeoview is pregnant with secrets yet to be discovered and is thrilling in its potential. Secrecy is power even if it is just a little something kept from view, buried, so to speak, in the matrix of everyday life...

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Feb 10th at the New Museum: Untitled (mobile.app) + (one more thing..), JODI 2012 (premiere)

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At this event, renowned Dutch collective JODI will premiere a new mobile application, outfitted for iPhone and Android, that is invested in “Motion/ Figure/ Posture Actions.” The application records users’ quotidian movements and turns them into choreography—one that captures our awkward, mundane, frustrated, addicted interactions with our ubiquitous devices. This focus on dynamics of control, as well as the psychology and behavior produced by technology, is at the core of JODI’s work. For this presentation, the collective will present and discuss the work, and hired performers will enact its choreography.

 

Friday, February 10th, 2012 7 p.m at the New Museum

$6 Members, $8 General Public (tickets

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