Posts for October 2013

Seven on Seven London at the Barbican Centre, October 27

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 David Karp (Tumblr) and artist Ryan Trecartin at Seven on Seven 2010. Image credit: Renny Gleeson. 

Rhizome's Seven on Seven conference series heads to the Barbican Centre in London on October 27. The event brings together artists and technologists to make something new together in one day, presenting to the public for the first time in the conference the following day. We're particularly proud of the lineup for our first London event, which includes luminaries who Rhizome has written about, followed or supported for some time: 

Susan Philipsz + Naveen Selvadurai (Foursquare, Oscar) 
Jonas Lund + Michelle You (Songkick) 
Mark Leckey + Daniel Williams 
Graham Harwood + Alberto Nardelli (Tweetminister) 
Aleksandra Domanović + Smári McCarthy (IMMI) 
Cécile B. Evans + Alice Bartlett (BERG) 
Haroon Mirza + Ryder Ripps (OKFocus) 

Hot on the heels of Mayor Bloomberg's assertion that London, not Silicon Valley, is New York City's biggest tech competitor (we'd like to think ally is the more appropriate word), the city seems a natural fit for the event's first international foray. In its new location, Seven on Seven's underlying goal remains the same: to bring criticality and thought to the development of technology in culture, and promote further dialogue between the two contexts. 

Tickets available from £35 on the Barbican's website

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The Sixth Annual Imagine Science Film Festival

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Forms (2012) by Memo Akten and Quayola. Image Credit: ISFF 

The Imagine Science Film Festival, now in its sixth year, has grown in the hands of organizer Alexis Gambis from a small discussion group among friends to a multi-venue mélange of screenings, discussion panels, and interactive installations taking place across New York City and New Jersey. This year's festival opening was held at Google's offices in Manhattan and debuted a line-up of short films organized around the evening's theme, "The Art of Code." The program selections were remarkably diverse, speaking in a variety of ways to both the focus of the evening and the festival's larger mission of encouraging dialog between scientists and filmmakers to bring increased awareness of the sciences to the public.

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Required Reading: A Closer Look at JODI's 'Untitled Game'

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Mute, Vol 1, No. 22 ("The Art Issue"), including CD-ROM of JODI, Untitled Game (1996-2001). 

Rhizome's erstwhile Conservation Fellow, Lisa Adang, has published the results of her material analysis of JODI's Untitled Game (1996-2001), and her findings are both more concrete and more nuanced than much of the extant scholarship.

By way of background, Adang points out that JODI began working with game "modding" around the same time as they began working with the web.

Although they may be best known for their web browser-based works, in this early period, JODI also experimented with the alteration of game code using two hugely popular computer game sources: Wolfenstein 3D (1993) and Quake 1 (1996), both developed by John D. Carmack, John Romero and the team at Id Software based in Richardson, Texas. Wolfenstein is widely recognized as the first fully rendered three-dimensional polygon game environment, a technique that allows objects and walls to appear to wrap around the player's perspective, realistically block the player’s sightline, and recede into a vanishing point that shifts with the main character/player's perspective. Characters within the game are also comprised of polygons, and sprite images occur on instances such as the firing of a weapon, scaling to suggest proximity and perspective.

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Heroes and Villains: Nate Hill in New York

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Nate Hill, from the series Trophy Scarves (2013).

To the extent that people know his name, Nate Hill is a controversial figure in the internet art world. He gets into bizarre, seemingly one-sided fights with art blogs, sends fake computer viruses to his press contact list, or generally puts people off by relentlessly focusing his web projects on "white women"—the most recent example being Trophy Scarves (2013), a photo series in which Hill, who is biracial, poses wearing a tuxedo while nude white women are slung across his shoulders as if they were recently slain wild animals. Like many, I found myself turned off by some of these projects, but, nonetheless, wanted to know more: the satire was clearly there and he was prolific. I also liked how committed he was to being an artist and how thoroughly he followed his artistic voice, no matter where it took him. In a growing series of conversations with Hill, what impressed me was how consistently every project revolves around the idea of a performative "character" and how committed he is to the idea that his artistic voice is channeled through these different characters. I quickly learned that the majority of these characters aren't even internet-based, but performed in public, on the streets and subway cars of New York. Be it online or in New York City, though, these works share a common motivation to be catalysts for disruption, to interrupt Hill's daily passage through networks of various kinds. While I can't justify everything Hill does, after speaking with him regularly and engrossing myself in the work, I am convinced that he is, in a strange way, a significant artist, as well as an interesting if unacknowledged heir to David Hammons and Andy Kaufman, whose projects Hill cherishes. Because he so frequently invokes the idea of character, I thought that to write about Hill necessitated describing him as a character in a fictional style—a mode of prose that I've been experimenting with recently. What follows is an impressionistic story following a few hours in the life of Nate Hill.  It precedes two upcoming projects: a live reenactment of Trophy Scarves and "Lights: Nate Hill and Ann Hirsch," a performance event I am curating at Interstate Projects on November 2nd.

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Running a Marathon

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Douglas Coupland, I Miss My Pre-Internet Brain (2013). Pigment on lacquered apple plywood 22" x 17". Courtesy of The Daniel Faria Gallery, Toronto.

With the Frieze Art Fair now in full swing, London is undeniably where the art world is at. For those not exhausted by art fairs and panel discussions about postinternet art, we encourage you to keep up the (pun intended) pace for the 89plus marathon at the Serpentine on Friday night and all day Saturday. Curated by Ben Vickers, notable vestment-wearing participant in yesterday's "Post-Net Aesthetics" panel organized by Rhizome at the ICA, and forming a part of Hans Ulrich Obrist and Simon Castet's long-term research project of the same name, the marathon focuses on concerns facing the generation born in or after 1989—those "Younger than Rihanna," as Harry Burke put it in an article for Rhizome—who have never known a world without Tim Berners-Lee's world wide web, or with the Berlin Wall.

A diverse range of performances, talks, screenings, and installations will consider the subjectivities that have emerged in this period in history and offer speculations about the future. Notable participants include Zaha Hadid, Brad Troemel, Jake Davis aka Topiary, Hito Steyerl, Smári McCarthy (Icelandic Modern Media Initiative), Douglas Coupland, Harry Burke, and Le1F.

For those not in London, the event will luckily be livestreamed via the 89plus Clubhouse, beginning at 2pm EST / 7pm GMT today.

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Video of Post Net Aesthetics is Now Online

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Post-Net Aesthetics, a panel organized by Karen Archey and Rhizome that took place at the ICA in London last week, picks up the discussion from Rhizome's Net Aesthetics panels of 2006 and 2008, both of which sought to examine the state of contemporary art engaged with the internet. This edition was organized as a discussion of the term "postinternet," and it reflected a shared sense that the term's usefulness has perhaps run its course. By way of putting it to bed, panel participant Josephine Berry Slater suggested that the "post" was problematic, in its suggestion of sequentiality. She referred to Peter Osborne's critique of Lyotard's Postmodern Condition, in which he suggested "transmodern" as an alternative term to the equally problematic "postmodern." Likewise, Slater suggested that "transinternet" might be a useful term for artists. Ben Vickers suggested that beyond postinternet, artists have a whole range of critical stances with regard to technology available to them. These include stacktivism and the new aesthetic, as well as the radical refusal to use technology or even to make art. (We'd suggest printing this out, before signing off for good.) The full video of the panel is well worth a watch.

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UBERMORGEN at Carroll/Fletcher, London

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UBERMORGEN, Perpetrator i (2008) detail. Pigment Print on Paper, 220 x 146 cm.

Edward Snowden, MMO gamming sweatshops in China, torture as participatory art, madness, and the troubled life of a Guantanamo Bay prison guard. The diverse research-based practice of Swiss-Austro-American duo UBERMORGEN makes a sustained assault on the notion that individual autonomy, liberty, privacy, and agency remain intact in advanced capitalist societies. Birthed in the mid-'90s heyday of highly politicized net.art, their project shatters the myth that democratic freedoms are being facilitated or enhanced by modern network technologies. Userunfriendly is Hans Bernhard and Lizvlx's first major solo exhibition in the UK as UBERMORGEN. Ambitious and impeccably installed, the duo has assembled a collection of shocks and reveals: projects that expose the surreptitious methods of coercion, and the subtle mechanisms of control prevalent in institutions of authority, from hospitals to supermax prisons. 

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The Age of Drones

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Detail from ESSAM, Drone Campaign Poster (2012).

If the epoch of a technology is signaled by the simultaneous appearance of new potential uses and looming ethical questions, then without a doubt we've entered the age of the drone. In mid-October, individuals from the drone industry, aviation policymakers, lawyers, engineers, makers, activists, and artists gathered at the first Drone and Aerial Robotics Conference (DARC) in New York City to draw together the swarm of questions and possibilities that this technology engenders.

Defining "drone" is no small part of the problem. Those who work in the industry shy away from the "d-word for many reasons, not least of which is the image of the "drone strike." The US government is using the more innocuous acronyms of UAV (unmanned/unpiloted aerial vehicle) or RPA (remotely piloted aircraft) to simply evoke the technology's long-accepted use as surveillance tools—with which to guide other weapon strikes. But an acronym makes for crappy branding, and it seems the word drone is here to stay.

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Artist Profile: Steve Roggenbuck

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The latest in a series of interviews with artists who have developed a significant body of work engaged (in its process, or in the issues it raises) with technology. See the full list of Artist Profiles here.

 

Steve Roggenbuck.

LD: You recently posted AN INTERNET BARD AT LAST!!! (ARS POETICA) on YouTube about your vision of poetry on the internet. You talk about the importance of poets harnessing social media as a powerful way to change the life of someone else, anywhere in the world. Why is it so important for you to share this message at this time?

SR: the importance of sharing this message now is that our whole society is currently struggling to determine the role of these social platforms. corporations are trying to learn how to make money from them, families are trying to learn how to stay connected through them, everyone is asking "what value can there be in a 6-second video?" and it's all moving so fast, Vine blew up to 40 million users in its first 7 months. but the poetry world has largely been ignoring social media, mainly just using twitter and facebook to post links to standard, plain-text poems. my message is this: if our job is to move people with our language, these platforms give us endless and powerful new ways to do that. the tools to make our language visual and auditory have been democratized; the ability to maintain actual relationships with hundreds of our closest readers across the world is now a reality. i have no publisher, i've only been working at this for ~3 years, and my poems reach thousands of people each. i think social media represents the biggest set of new opportunities for poetry since the printing press.

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Wherever You Are: Watch Seven on Seven London Live on October 27th!

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Rhizome is pleased to announce that Seven on Seven London, at Barbican Centre on October 27th, will be streamed live, 7AM through 1PM8AM through 2PM EST. The particpants in this first international iteration of the annual event include many notable practitioners that Rhizome has supported over the years: 

Susan Philipsz + Naveen Selvadurai (Foursquare, Oscar) 
Jonas Lund + Michelle You (Songkick) 
Mark Leckey + Daniel Williams 
Graham Harwood + Alberto Nardelli (Tweetminister) 
Aleksandra Domanović + Smári McCarthy (IMMI) 
Cécile B. Evans + Alice Bartlett (BERG) 
Haroon Mirza + Ryder Ripps (OKFocus) 

Through the development of collaborative proejcts, Seven on Seven aims to promote ongoing dialogs between art and technology. Remember to stream the conference online on October 27, or find it archived at that location anytime thereafter

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