Posts for March 2012

Artist Profile: Heba Amin


Heba Amin's My love for you, Egypt, increases by the day is featured this month on The Download.

Still from My love for you, Egypt, increases by the day (Heba Amin, 2012)

From The Conceptual Tourist, Fragmented City, and other works, it's clear that the relationship between abandoned buildings and the surrounding's inhabitants is important to you. What experience are you investigating with these relationships? Does it alter depending on your medium (e.g., drawing, website, installation)?    

I think my fascination with abandoned buildings has to do with the abstract, the feeling in the air. They fascinate me as spaces of lost memory or as time capsules of history. I am also interested in how they fit within a broader framework and what they say about the contemporary context.

I grew up in Cairo, where its visual characteristics bluntly display the deterioration of urban life, where abandoned buildings have become normalized within the urban fabric. I began to explore them when I couldn’t make sense of the mass waste of space and money in a city where so many are struggling to survive. My reaction to them was emotional; they disturbed me. So, I began to use them as visual symbols for the emotional collective, metaphors for unrest.

My explorations are not limited by medium, and in fact I experiment with various media in attempt to confront and portray the emotions they move in me. Somehow in the process of working intimately with them, these buildings became beautiful to me because of their honesty.

With your most recent work, you've expanded that spatial connection from Cairo, a place you're intimate with, to Berlin, a newer locale. What are some differences you encounter in the change of location? Are there seeming universals you could apply ...


AT&T Archive on YouTube


AT&T's official YouTube page includes an incredible number of educational videos from their archive including work by Jim Henson and Saul Bass.

via Prosthetic Knowledge

The Viewtron System and Sceptre Videotex Terminal (1983)

The Hello Machine

Microelectronics Video Disc Exhibit

Music in Motion

Crystal Clear


Bottle of Magic

The UNIX Operating System


Now You Can Dial

Principles of the Optical Maser

Genesis of the Transistor


DUOX4Larkin at Artists Space


[Installation view, Artists Space, 2012. Photo: Daniel Pérez]

Archaeological in its meticulous arrangement of items, images, and ideas – within cases, wrapped in chords, laminated in plastic, or otherwise contained – DUOX4Larkin enacts a process of defamiliarization with corporate and retail objects, forming new connections and relations through Internet-informed practices of layering, connecting, enclosing, and manipulating objects.

DUOX is a collaboration between artists Daniel Wickerham and Malcom Lomax, MICA grads based out of Baltimore and New York City. The group has gained momentum in the past two years after several shows in Baltimore, leading to the Bard 2011 CCS exhibition Break My Body, Hold My Bones.

[Installation view, Artists Space, 2012.]

The show's title would appear to be a play on the collaborative X for Y schema that has become a popular way to make couture designers accessible to a broad audience (Missoni for Target, Lanvin for H&M, etc.). The double sided hanging displays of ten large print photographs that dominate much of the space resemble look books comprised of a collection of sporty, synthetic fabrics and colors. Shirts transform into dresses which are hung with laminated images and logos, over which Photoshop blur effects have been layered along with an arm captured mid-motion-blur in what appears to be a blue wetsuit with a sandal on its hand and the shadow of an eye on its forearm. This additive gesture (and…and…and…) dominates all pieces in the show, but rather than overwhelm, it flattens such details into a broader set of visual cues. It is a sophisticated collage that seems to both revel in and critique the consumer goods it deploys, repurposing and abstracting them.

[Part of the show's online component, a "Men Seeking Women" ad on Craigslist.]

Curiously absent from the show is the foregrounding of sexuality ...


Millennium Magazines


PWR Paper, no.2, summer, 2010

Spread across three tables, publications culled from around the world are surprisingly not rendered dead and embalmed under the vitrine coffin that most library material usually exhibits within, but instead can be found alive and well, waiting to be sifted through and handled. Curated by Rachael Morrison and David Senior, Millennium Magazines features magazines and journals spanning a broad range of subject matter including photography, art theory, design, architecture and social activism. Though diverse, each one encapsulates an experimental future forward ethos driven by an independent small publishing spirit.

The 102 featured publications begin from the year 2000 and feature familiar faces such as Fillip, Mossless, Triple Canopy and Bidoun but also include many burgeoning international winners such as White Fungus, PWR Paper, Institute for Social Hypocrisy and Junk Jet, to name but a few. Included also in the exhibition are monitors showcasing footage of the publishing process.  The show continues online as well, featuring a website with links to each and every exhibited publication.

There is plenty of diversity here and one will surely find something new and refreshing, both content and design-wise. 

Millennium Magazines is on view at the MoMA through May 14, 2012.


Artist Profile: Ann Hirsch


Stills from Here For You (Or My Brief Love Affair with Frank Maresca)

Having appeared as a recurring character on various reality television shows such as “Frank the Entertainer,” would you consider reality television to be an artistic medium that you work through? If so, are there any important attributes specific to it? Were you interested in reality television due to the wide audience that it could offer your work?

“Medium” is a tricky word here because most other media bear the ability to become a craft to an artist, one you can mold, shape and learn to use better and better over time. Reality TV is more like a grab bag. You never know what’s going to happen. So, if it is a medium, it is not a medium that you, as an artist, are ever really in control of. Someone else is calling the shots--the producers, storywriters and editors.

I currently think of reality TV more like a landscape, in which I can appear and reappear in different places in various ways.

I went on “Frank the Entertainer…In a Basement Affair” to just be this anomaly. To get the non-art audience who might see me to scratch their heads for a minute and say “Hey what is this girl doing here? I’m used to seeing girls that look and act like X on these shows.” And then, after I sang the dirty rap song, which was completely incongruous with the woman I had been portraying up to that point, to have audiences see that I was not who they thought I was—that none of the girls on these shows are.

Building on the last question related to reality TV, are there some instances on air in which you’re mainly acting, and others in ...


Announcing Seven on Seven



HTC is proud to present the third annual Rhizome Seven on Seven Conference. Seven on Seven will pair seven leading artists with seven influential technologists in teams of two, and challenges them to develop something new --be it an application, social media, artwork, product, or whatever they imagine-- over the course of a single day. The seven teams will work together at locations around New York City on Friday, April 13th and then unveil their ideas at a not to be missed, one-day event at the New Museum on April 14th, 2012 from 12-6pm

Participating technologists are Jeremy AshkenasBlaine CookMichael HerfMarissa MayerAaron SwartzKhoi Vinhand Anthony Volodkin. Artists are Aram BarthollXavier ChaLatoya Ruby FrazierNaeem MohaiemenJon RafmanTaryn Simonand Stephanie Syjuco.

More information about this year's participants and past conferences here.

Seven on Seven 2012 is presented by HTC and organized by Rhizome. The following Conference Partners collaborated to help produce the event: eBay, Knoll, RRE, betaworks and Wieden + Kennedy. We would like to thank our media partner New York Magazine and the Standard Hotel for their hospitality.



The Shape of Shaping Things to Come


A weird commotion outside wakes you up. You peer out the window to see the source of the music and revelry. A group of college kids from the engineering school are smashing all of their furniture in the street. The next day while walking the dog, you see them again. They’re sweeping up the pieces of broken housewares, and shoveling it into bags. The next day, it looks like they’re moving in again as they carry brand new designer furniture into their house. They do this every month or so.

You are shopping in Ikea, looking for a new end table, and perhaps a rug. Suddenly, uniformed security guards appear, and surround a young woman. She is escorted from the store, uneventfully. “Pocket scanner”, you hear an employee tell an inquiring couple.

With delighted expectation, your son unwraps his birthday gift. Awe is quickly replaced by disappointment. “Isn’t that the one you wanted?” you ask confused, certain that it was the new action figure, ordered directly from the TV show web site. “Yeah, it’s the one,” he says cautiously, not looking you in the eyes. “I just forgot that all the accessories would be un-modded on the store version.”


3D printed objects, or “physibles” are an incredible example of the mundane aspects of future-weird. They are glitchy-as-fuck, but their shapeshifting effect on our cultural space will inhabit the same metaphysics of street graffiti--appreciated by only a few, truly understood by even less.

A physible is simple. Download a file with information about the shape of an object, or components parts of an object. Use a 3D printing machine that squirts molten plastic, metal or other material to pour you that object, without needing a mold. Or, send the file to a company who will do that for you. These machines simplify the process of fabbing an object, by using a single machine to create parts of nearly anything. Previously, specific injection molds had to be created for each piece, or a welder had to attach pieces by reading a diagram. Now the machine can build the entire piece in one run, with basically zero set-up investment. The investment to produce a single object is nearly nothing--all it takes is the design, and one of these universal printing machines.

This technical evolution is interesting, but the real revolution will be in the changing distribution of fabrication shops that this production shift will create. Fabrication has been sourced wherever the set-up requirements are cheapest, with the run production runs made as large as possible. But the technology behind physibles will make short-run fabrication, anywhere, much more preferable. It will eventually be cheaper for a person to fab one object at home, than to buy one of five hundred thousand made in one place and shipped across the world. Physibles will decentralize the Pearl River, and bring China home. 

But the technology of physibles doesn’t mean much to the consumer. Not any more than the encoding of a MP3 file, or the precise stitch pattern of a handbag. It means something to the person who actually fabs the object, but as a consumer, you’ll get your things wherever is cheapest and easiest, just like always. You’ll still order things online. Rather than coming from China, perhaps a Chinese company will outsource the design to a fab shop down the street that will hand deliver it to your door. The means of production continue to mean nothing to the end-user: commodity cost is king. Most people want their stuff to just be stuff, and don’t care about how it works. Consider the frustration people experience trying to get a PDF to print correctly on a flat sheet of paper. These folks will be filling their cabinets, entertaining their children, and brushing their teeth with physibles every day of their lives without knowing how the object came into existence, or what that means for global distribution networks.

Most people. On the other hand, there will be a new set of object hackers, who will be spending all their free time online, discussing the precise interior dimension ratios of the new set of Target glassware ....



Rhizome at SXSW


SXSW Interactive starts this weekend and both Director of Technology Nick Hasty and Senior Editor Joanne McNeil are speaking at upcoming panels.

Nick is leading the panel Preserving the Creative Culture of the Web, which will include Jason Scott and Kari Kraus.

For over 20 years the web has provided continuous deluge of cultural production. Digital artifacts such as websites, images, and videos have much to communicate about our social and cultural evolution, and yet their messages or moments can be fleeting or quickly lost. Both the accessibility and longevity of digital content are subject to a wide range of risks, from technological obsolescence to outright deletion by their creator or host. So what is being done to preserve these cultural objects for the long term? Approaching web content from a cultural and artistic perspective, this panel will convene leading writers, archivists, thinkers and technologists to discuss to the questions, challenges, and imperatives involving preserving the creative culture of the web. We'll cover topics like "what is the long-term significance of a website, and why would it be worth preserving?", "should web sites and artifacts be treated like works of art or architecture?", and "how do we go about archiving digital content to ensure its accessibility and longevity?". Example initiatives to be discussed will be the Archive Team's various projects (such as the Geocities torrent), the Internet Archive's Wayback Machine, Internet Archeology, and the Rhizome ArtBase. This panel will be presented by Rhizome, an organization dedicated to the creation, presentation, preservation, and critique of emerging artistic practices that engage technology.

Joanne is appearing on the panel organized by James BridleThe New Aesthetic: Seeing Like Digital Devices

Slowly, but increasingly definitively, our technologies and our devices are learning to see, to hear, to place themselves in the ...


Corpus Continuum


Jennifer Cohen, Grey Lines in Formation (i), Excerpt, at P.P.O.W, 2011

At a recent day-long conference at The CUNY Graduate Center, Professor Patricia Clough discussed the concept and formulation of the body via feminist and technoscientific discourse. In summary and reduction, the body's various meanings draw from multiple lineages. Current definitions include: the body is a container of consciousness, its consciousness is potential; the mind is disembodied; conversely, the mind is embodied and endosymbiotic with the body; the body is material/gendered/sexless/constructed; it is situated and locatable. The range of defining qualities indicates the spectrum of debate, and the body's importance in arenas beyond academic conversation (e.g., shaping the literature in jurisdiction and personal rights). Academia is laying the groundwork for evolving nomenclature, and reconsiderations of the figure of life. 

An attempt to grasp the body’s metaphysical nature highlights assumptions of the past: modes of inquiry, method, and research were long established along philosophical terms of defining primary qualities that cannot be changed, and secondary qualities that are provided by humans. While incredibly useful in definitive classification, those steady states wobble now that we can almost transform primary qualities. In nanotechnological reality, an object can occupy two places at once and atomic level rearrangement can occur, leading to a multitude of tangible forms. 

Matter is in constant process and tends towards movement; mobility implies some level of consciousness or intelligence. Algorithmic in behavior, matter has the capacity to change itself through its interactions. It can hold multiple explanations, just as light can be composed of both particles and waves. That relational definition of light, as discussed by Karen Barad via Niels Bohr, is determined by its measurement apparatus: Depending on the object and what it's in relation to, variable definitions ...


Artist Profile: Cliff Evans


Still from Untitled (sketch for a monument to J.G. Ballard #1), 2009

Works like Empyrean and The Road to Mount Weather among others, critically address an overwhelming range of issues including anything from consumerism, economic globalization to American politics and Hollywood. The presentation of these works often echo religious altarpieces particularly reminiscent of the Renaissance era. Why do you choose to allude and conflate content within this metaphorical ʻframeʼ? 

My interests lie in the historical and political reconstruction of recordings and transmissions of mediated subjects, places, and ideas. The jumble of these issues are, for the most part, what I am addressing, not specifically critically, yet the ideas of criticality are also part of the conflation. Since the delivery of such information is the mediation, the mediated becomes the underlying subject. The conflation of these mediated images is something of a subjective regurgitation of the wash of juxtaposed information and images I encounter and distill throughout the process. Predilections and obsessions have a tendency to become more recurrent within this framework. Certain compositions from the Northern Renaissance reverberate with this complexity and resultant flatness of form reminding me of the compositions I construct. There is a kinship. There is also, in these altar pieces, a transcendence of the profane and banal that I find myself striving to accomplish.

Your work is allegorically intricate and labor intensive; always using millions of found images off the internet to arrange and animate. What are the intentions of working specifically in this accumulated way?

The searching, downloading, and databasing of images are modes of research, acquisition, and consumption all at once. It fulfills my need to collect but without the excessive expenditures of other possible activities and makes me feel as if I am actively participating in a complex economy of consumption, production ...