Rhizome is dedicated to art and ideas that create richer and more critical technology cultures. With this program, we continue our examination of influential, technological objects from interdisciplinary points of view, in the context of artistic research practice.
Untitled, Image, 2013
Louis Doulas: It might actually be interesting to start with your mother. I didn't know she was an artist until you mentioned it the other night. She makes collage work similar to your own (or is it the other way around?)
Aaron Graham: Although there's a huge generational gap between my mother and I, we find ourselves in the same sort of position: how do you access an art world, or an audience? For example, my mom considers herself an artist, and is one, rightfully so, but who does she show her work to? She doesn't really have an art world connection or gallery plug—she's also not necessarily interested in that either. Anyways, I find myself in a similar situation. It's funny, I graduated from school, and am looking for the next step, but when I look towards the art world and all the galleries, I can't seem to muster up the interest in playing that game, and I think much of my attitude, or position, stems from my political involvements with Cooper. What was really significant for me was the Cooper lock-in we did in December, which was my first real experience with direct action. That lock-in lasted a week and it was one of the best weeks ever. I think that once you taste these things, it's hard to go back to anything else.
After an international search, leading digital preservation specialist, artist, and musician Dragan Espenschied has been appointed to lead Rhizome's growing and award-winning Digital Conservation program. Espenschied, who will relocate from Germany to New York for the position, will bring the program to its next phase and steward the ArtBase, Rhizome’s collection of over 2,000 born-digital artworks.
Trevor Paglen, Chemical and Biological Weapons Proving Ground; Dugway, UT; Distance ~ 42 miles; 10:51 A.M. (2006). From the series Limit-Telephotography.
every room has an accessible history
every place has emotional attachments you can open and save
you can search for sadness in new york
paths compete to offer themselves to you
life flows into inanimate objects
the trees hum advertising jingles
everything in the world, animate and inanimate, abstract and concrete, has thoughts attached
— from Headmap Manifesto by Ben Russell
Headmap Manifesto was a groundbreaking exploration of the possibilities of location-aware technology when it was released in 1999. A decade and a half later, many people have a wireless network device with them at all times, and the author of the manifesto seems to have disappeared from the internet. The landscape of our cities is irrevocably changed, as the data accumulates, erupting from our pockets and pooling in the network.
Austin Lee, Profile Picture (2013). 11" x 14" Acrylic on canvas.
Postmasters Gallery is now showing a solo exhibition of work by Austin Lee, a young painter whose work you should really not purchase. If his prices remain flat for long enough, it's possible that in the future, when all my babysitting bills are paid, I might stumble across it in the Postmasters sub-basement and offer whatever I happen to have in my wallet. Recent history shows us that the artworks that I have come to own do not significantly appreciate in value. Therefore, an important tip to prudent buyers: do not purchase this painting, or really any other painting by Austin Lee. Are you following my logic?
TaskRabbits and Art
TaskRabbit provides one-night stands of day labor. Through a familiar internet formula (connecting consumer and service), the platform lets workers underbid their peers to claim rather mundane tasks for even more mundane pay. A bizarre theme of illness runs through the site's own marketing. Its promo videos give us a Taskmaster with an injured knee, requiring Rabbits to the rescue. Meanwhile, the freelancing Rabbits can't nab full-time employment, too busy getting cancer treatments, in retirement, or supporting ailing hobbies (like careers in electronic music). If rabbits are meant to imply endless reproduction, TaskRabbit reproduces both symptoms and the disease. A neoliberal eternal spring is poisoned from the start.
Last Friday, LA-based artist and Jogging-member Spencer Longo used TaskRabbit for the close of his solo exhibition All Access, on view at the new Los Angeles project space Smart Objects. Under the amorphous heading of a potluck, Longo outsourced the task of picking out and picking up food and decorations to two members of the precarious herd.
Artist Jeff Thompson received a Rhizome commission in 2012 for his project Computers on Law & Order, for which he watched every episode of the long-running television series and took screenshots of all the computers. Thompson will present an illustrated lecture based on the project this Saturday, Feb 1 at 4pm at the Museum of the Moving Image, followed by a discussion with Law & Order graphic designer Kevin Raper. In this article, he shares some of his findings.
In the fall of 1990, a television program about crime, police investigation, and criminal trials named Law & Order aired for the first time. The show eventually ended in 2010, tied with Gunsmoke for the longest-running live-action television show at 20 seasons and 456 episodes. With its unique (and consistent) style and trademark "dun-dun!" sound, Law & Order has generated several spin-offs and can likely be found playing at any hour of the day somewhere on cable.
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.
Morehshin Allahyari, #dog #dildo #satellite-dish from the series "Dark Matter." Work in progress.
Daniel Rourke: Your ongoing project, Dark Matter, was something of a revelation for me: a collection of objects forbidden or "unwelcome" in Iran, brought together through digital modelling, meshing, and 3D printing. The results are playful and surrealistic, with the same capacity to waken the subconscious as any Dali Lobster-Telephone or Hair-Lamp. For me Dark Matter resonates as subversive not just because the dog-dildo is an affront to conservative sexual values, or because the Barbie-VHS blurs cultural boundaries (a feature of a lot of your work). Rather I was taken by how the objects spoke to the here and now; that perhaps there is something about the collapse of all commodities, forms, and ideas into the digital that promotes blurred perspectives and subversive practices. I wondered whether you saw your work as particular to the digital tools and materials you choose, or are you "just" making use of things that happen to be available to you?