Posts for October 2015

Artist Profile: Olivia Erlanger

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 The latest in a series of interviews with artists who have a significant body of work that makes use of or responds to network culture and digital technologies.

 Olivia Erlanger x Ned Siegel x NanoCorp, Suggestion of a House Slipper, The Refusal to get Dressed, Spending a Season Dreaming of Sunlight only to Prefer it Dark (2014)

Language plays a huge part in your work. The titles of works range from being exploratory—The Space Between My Hand and What it Holds (2014)—to almost explanatory (Olivia Erlanger x NanoCorp x Ned Siegel Suggestion of a House Slipper, The Refusal to get Dressed, Spending a Season Dreaming of Sunlight only to Prefer it Dark. Painted Leather Slippers, 2014), and are always poetic (Everything that Rises Sinks into Mud, 2015). How do you come up with these titles? How do you envision their connection to the work?

A title is a guide.

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Mapping Landscape Paintings: Joe Hamilton's 'Indirect Flights' on the front page

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Joe Hamilton's Indirect Flights is on the front page of rhizome.org through Sunday, as part of the ongoing online digital painting exhibition "Brushes," presented by Rhizome and the New Museum as part of the First Look series.

All of the works in "Brushes" are paintings made on the computer and shown primarily online. The exhibition focuses on works that are derived from an artist's bodily gestures, rather than those that are derived from code-based practices. In the case of Indirect Flights, the brushstrokes in the work are actually sampled from high-resolution scans of landscape paintings by notable historical figures like Van Gogh and Arthur Streeton. Thus, the gestures in this case were made long ago on canvas, and only later translated to digital form. 

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Organic Hardware at Fantastic Arcade

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 Paloma Dawkins and Cale Bradbury, Alea (2015)

This past week, Fantastic Arcade, an independently curated video games arcade featuring talks, tournaments, and over 45 playable games—part of the Fantastic Fest film festival—was held in Austin's Alamo Drafthouse.

A number of the games at Fantastic Arcade this year featured alternative game controllers. Cat Nips contains stuffed animals whose bellies need to be rubbed; the gameplay in Butt Sniffin' Pugs was controlled by balls that needed to be rolled. Other games used a receipt dispenser and a gun with which one played Russian Roulette. A fair amount of the games, easily accessible in the arcade setup, featured used standard controllers and interfaces, from Playstation controllers to mice and keyboards. The audience was diverse; the only underrepresented group appeared to be X-box players (fun fact: Sony Playstation sponsored Fantastic Arcade).

Perhaps the most innovative and interesting game was Alea, a psychedelic hiking simulator designed by Paloma Dawkins and Cale Bradbury using organic materials as part of the hardware.

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October 22 at the New Museum and Livestreamed: Blockchain Horizons

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PWR, #1 (trustless), 0x9ab9f7a4b85412bfbe2f4f63b1c98808851c4f32, Tongersestraat 42a, Maastricht, NL, 9/10 2015. Photograph of Bitcoin mining rig. Courtesy of the artists.

Blockchain Horizons
Thursday, October 22, 2015 at 7pm 
at the New Museum, 235 Bowery, NYC 
and livestreamed at rhizome.org 
Tickets

Blockchains are distributed databases, secure and transparent by virtue of peer-to-peer communities that cryptographically validate each entry. As the technology behind cryptocurrencies like Bitcoin, the blockchain has given rise to divergent speculations about the future of politics and finance outside of direct state control, from collective utopias to sublime dystopias.

Organized by Rhizome's Artistic Director, Michael Connor, "Blockchain Horizons" convenes artists, critics, and entrepreneurs to discuss the cultural implications of this technology for publishing, licensing, and distribution. In doing so, it treats the blockchain as social fact rather than science fiction.

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Sara Ludy's abstractions probe the psychic charge of Photoshop

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Sara Ludy, Acid Cloud (2015, digital video) embedded on rhizome.org.

Sara Ludy's video works will be on the front page of rhizome.org all week as part of the ongoing online digital painting exhibition "Brushes," presented by Rhizome and the New Museum for the First Look series.

For this series of abstract video works, originally created for the online collaborative w-a-l-l-p-a-p-e-r-s.net, Sara Ludy begins with images created in Adobe Photoshop using the "Difference Clouds" feature, which alters color levels in an image according to cloud-like patterns. This software-generated image is then imported into Adobe Aftereffects, where Ludy adjusts preset parameters to create these swirling cloud patterns. In part, the works are an investigation of the aesthetics inherent in the software tools—but unlike artists such as Cory Arcangel, who previously explored such "default" aesthetics in his Photoshop gradient series, Ludy allows more latitude for her own improvisation, seeking out visual complexity that transcends the seemingly mundane origins of her imagery.

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Artist Profile: Lou Cantor

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The latest in a series of interviews with artists who have a significant body of work that makes use of or responds to network culture and digital technologies.

Lou Cantor, "The Labour of Watching" (exhibition view at Oslo 10, 2015)

Your most recent work, The Labor of Watching (2015), takes as a primary reference point historical images from automobile safety test videos. These videos, as your work notes, are now widely available on internet video-sharing platforms; they are thus radically de/re-contextualized by audiences who in many cases have no firsthand memory of the vehicles shown or the context the videos were designed for. Could you speak about how you see the proliferation of digital images changing expectations of visual experiences?  

In our work, we use the videos only as a point of reference. In the space in Basel we presented just the crash barriers themselves. These objects are present in the videos, but they usually escape the attention of audiences who are focused on what happens to the cars. Depending on your perspective, this focus could be understood as a distraction. For us, the barrier is a much richer object, conceptually speaking;

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Announcing Rhizome's Fall 2015 Program

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Established in 1996 to champion the field of net art, Rhizome continues to fund and present new artwork, foster critical discussion, and ensure ongoing access to digital culture. Today, we are pleased to share news about our fall program. 

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9 billion paintings by Michael Manning

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The final work in the "Brushes" online exhibition.

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Always-Already a Ghost: Laura Brothers featured on Net Art Hell

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Laura Brothers, come and be real for us (Dec 25, 2007). Detail area of 803 x 840 digital image.

Artist Laura Brothers, whose work was included in the online exhibition "Brushes" (co-presented by Rhizome and the New Museum as part of First Look), is featured on the newest installment of Gene McHugh's podcast, Net Art Hell.

Brothers has been posting her images to a LiveJournal blog under the moniker out_4_pizza since 2007; in his podcast, McHugh tracks the visual progression of the images through the evolution of Brothers' style and content. He points to the use of cut-and-paste image appropriation in the earlier work: imagery drawn from 1980s television, imagery from the past 40 years of rock music album cover culture, and other imagery that Brothers refers to as "timestamped." Building on this exploration of temporality, McHugh adds that the LiveJournal platform is itself dated, which emphasizes the datedness of the image content. In addition, the chronological structure of the LiveJournal feed allows the viewer to understand how Brothers' practice unfolds over time. As artist Giovanna Olmos noted in the Brushes panel at the New Museum, scrolling is a new narrative form.

Brothers' newer work is still inspired by timestamped cultural imagery, but unlike the earlier clearly appropriated collages, it alludes to its sources in loose, gestural abstractions. This style can be seen in the recent posts Cake Walk Howl (posted, according to LiveJournal, at 24 September 2015 @ 03:42 pm) and Alfredo Frenzy (posted 10 September 2015 @ 04:40 pm), which have Brothers' signature pixelated texture, but refer more to expressive sketches and figure drawing than to specific timestamped cultural images.

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EITHER WE INSPIRE OR WE EXPIRE: New work by Liam Gillick and Nate Silver

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EITHER WE INSPIRE OR WE EXPIRE (2015) by artist Liam Gillick and data journalist Nate Silver considers technological failure and its lack of visibility in a society obsessed with success.

Created as part of Rhizome'’s Seven on Seven conference, which convenes leading artists and technologists for high-level collaborations, this web-based project draws on a selection of words handpicked by Gillick and Silver—such as THE .COM FOR MOMS, ASSASSIN VAPORS, DRONE CON, and WRAPIPEDIA—from a database of inactive trademark applications.

Gillick and Silver embarked on the project by taking one of the questions commonly addressed using statistical analysis—How can we reduce risk?—and inverting it, asking instead: How can we guarantee risk? Applying this question to the creative process, Silver observed that our understanding of innovation suffers from "sample bias": we have a distorted perception of the success rate of new ideas because only the successful ones, or the ones that change the game or disrupt an industry, are discussed. Thus, failure in creative production and innovation represents a "dark corner" for statisticians.

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