Dolphin has produced an exact replica of the wooden bench that sits in Viretta Park, Seattle, arbitrarily overlooking the site of Kurt Cobains suicide in 1994. This object has become an inadvertent memorial to the deceased rock star, through the weight of small, heartfelt but ultimately throwaway tributes scratched or drawn onto the wood by hundreds of fans visiting the spot. Dolphin has rebuilt this dense layering of inks, marker pen, tipex, and scratching that repeats Kurt RIP, Kurt Forever and similar abundant, banal phrases.
For this video I played the opening riff to Nirvana's song Smells Like Teen Spirit repeatedly for the duration of the video.
But, also in 1977, David Bowie releases his single “Heroes.” He sings about a new brand of hero, just in time for the neoliberal revolution. The hero is dead—long live the hero! Yet Bowie’s hero is no longer a subject, but an object: a thing, an image, a splendid fetish—a commodity soaked with desire, resurrected from beyond the squalor of its own demise.
Just look at a 1977 video of the song to see why: the clip shows Bowie singing to himself from three simultaneous angles, with layering techniques tripling his image; not only has Bowie’s hero been cloned, he has above all become an image that can be reproduced, multiplied, and copied, a riff that travels effortlessly through commercials for almost anything, a fetish that packages Bowie’s glamorous and unfazed postgender look as product. Bowie’s hero is no longer a larger-than-life human being carrying out exemplary and sensational exploits, and he is not even an icon, but a shiny product endowed with posthuman beauty: an image and nothing but an image.
This hero’s immortality no longer originates in the strength to survive all possible ordeals, but from its ability to be xeroxed, recycled, and reincarnated. Destruction will alter its form and appearance, yet its substance will be untouched. The immortality of the thing is its finitude, not its eternity....
What happens to identification at this point? Who can we identify with? Of course, identification is always with an image. But ask anybody whether they’d actually like to be a JPEG file. And this is precisely my point: if identification is to go anywhere, it has to be with this material aspect of the image, with the image as thing, not as representation. And then it perhaps ceases to be identification, and ...
Every time I tell someone about my idea for this painting they say, "Who?", and then I show them the jpeg and they're like, "Oh yeaaaaaaa." Everyone knows the "The Most Infamous Girl in the History of the Internet", but nobody knows her. Basically shes like Warhol's "Marilyn", but the 21st Century "golden-age-of-the-Internet" version, and a mega babe. The above painting is being painted somewhere in Asia, probably China. I got a painting made through Ebay before and it came from Thailand. The painters in Asia are really good. Since this is the best idea I've probably ever had I'd like to try and make like 100 of these paintings by 100 different "custom oil painting" painters. If anyone wants a painting email me and I'll make one just for you. Special shout out to Dustin for taking this pic, and to Hannah for posing so good.
-- DESCRIPTION FROM AN EMAIL WITH THE ARTIST
The art and design behind DIS Magazine is unlike any other fashion publication to date. Its contributors eschew the standard conventions of print publication to create an ever evolving series of related threads, organized around categories such as distaste, dystopia, discover, and dysmorphia. DIS is a collaborative project amongst artists, designers, stylists, writers and friends. They are Lauren Boyle, Solomon Chase, S. Adrian Massey III, Marco Roso, Patrik Sandberg, Nicholas Scholl, and David Toro, along with guest contributors that include artists such as Ryan Trecartin, Anna Lundh and Scott Hug. I recently conducted this Q&A via email with the members of DIS, in which they discuss the magazine's goals, its unique use of digital media technologies and the Web, and the future of the publication.
“The Conductor (Fortuna Imperatrix Mundi),” is the first of a six part video installation. “The Conductor (Fortuna Imperatrix Mundi),” contains two chapters: "O Fortuna" and ""Fortune Plango Vulnera". The 3:55 min. digital video loop is made up of footage from various hip-hop videos. All the footage is digitally enhanced and re-edited to track the motion of the hands of the artists. The audio is a composite of sounds consistently heard in artist deemed Hip Hop music greats from a survey conducted with local New York radio stations Hot 97 and 105.1 These sounds are then weaved in and out of Carl Orff’s “Carmina Burana”. The seeming fluidity of the image belies the painstaking nature of the production process: over 5000 individual video frames have been enlarged and repositioned to create the moving image.
Oscar Wilde's The Picture of Dorian Grey upset the purpose of portraiture--rather than preserving the memory of its subject in his best light, the painting of the title grew gradually uglier to record Grey's sins, even as he kept the beauty that facilitated his sinning--but left intact art's status as an attribute of rich, leisured living. The arch moral tale is invoked twice in "Virtuoso Illusion: Cross-Dressing and the New Media Avant-Garde," an exhibition currently on view at MIT's List Visual Arts Center. Michelle Handelman's hour-long, four-channel video Dorian, 2009, loosely retells Wilde's novel with club kids standing in for opium eaters. In her ghoulishly lit self-portrait Dorian Grey, Manon appears messily caked in makeup, wearing a baggy gray suit, like the corporate conscience of a hedonist spirit. Both of these works introduce to drag a story about beauty, representation, and pleasure, and the anxieties that attend them. This suggests there's more to "Virtuoso Illusion" than an exercise in gender studies; as exhibition curator Michael Rush writes, "[i]n each major historical advancement of experimental art, cross dressing has been present as a strategy that has expanded the possibilities of the perception-bending intentions of artists (as opposed to merely gender-bending)."
This clip of protesters in Bil'in, Palestine dressed as Na'vi from James Cameron's Avatar circulated widely across the internet this week, and that, paired with the recent announcement that Avatar is nominated for 9 Oscars, made me feel that it was about time to present a round-up of the more thoughtful articles I've collected on Avatar. Feel free to post links in the comments section - I'm hoping this post can become a resource for those who might be interested in additional reading concerning the film.
► "Avatar and Invisible Republic" by Rob Horning [From PopMatters]
By coincidence, I began reading Greil Marcus’s Invisible Republic, which in part is about the demise of the 1960s folk movement and Bob Dylan’s role in destroying it after having come to exemplify it. The folkies, in Marcus’s depiction, had the same patronizing attitude toward Appalachian poverty and civil-rights injustices (the Other America, as Michael Harrington dubbed it) that the makers of Avatar seem to evince about colonization. Capitalism sullied and exploited the pure rural people, as clear-headed bourgeois liberals can best recognize. To adherents, folk music (and Avatar) offers us glimpses of pre-capitalist America, a “democratic oasis unsullied by commerce or greed” in which art seems “the product of no ego but of the inherent genius of a people.” The Avatar planet is such a product, for the race occupying it and the film-industry execs who made it.
The substance of this fantasy about indigenous people at harmony with their appropriate environment is the denial of individual subjectivity (the overriding value of the folk revival, according to Marcus), which is rendered unnecessary and impossible. Everyone is at one and merged with one another. Just look at the blue people in the movie sway to the unsounded ...