BNPJ.exe (2011) - Jon Rafman and Tabor Robak


A virtual environment, with multiple levels, produced for Philadelphia's Extra Extra Gallery.

Tip: Also see Tabor Robak's Mansion, another virtual environment created by the artist.


Darkgame (2008-Ongoing) - Eddo Stern


Darkgame head gear

Currently in the prototype stage, Darkgame is a sensory deprivation computer game. The user wears custom made head gear, which triggers sensations. For more information about the project as it progresses, check the site.


Originally via CreativeApplications.Net

The Complete Collection: Marian Spore


Founded by curator Michael Connor in 2009, Marian Spore was a limited-duration art space that closed on December 18, 2010. Rather than organizing group or solo shows per se, the gallery was a perpetual work in progress; Connor added pieces irregularly, leaving them on display so that repeat visitors would find an accumulation of works. Connor has put the acquisitions into storage and will continue looking for buyers, considering the works on loan until they find a permanent home. Situated in a 16,000 ft loft on the fourth floor of a building in the gargantuan Sunset Park industrial complex Industry City and named after an artist who believed she was in communication with spirits of dead artists (and who was the third wife of Industry City’s founder), I visited Marian Spore for the first time only a week before the closing. Connor looked surprised when I referred to the “current exhibition” of all thirteen works he had gathered over the past months; after all, as the collection grew, each object had been on view continuously.


Michelle Ceja's M O M E N T U M at Important Projects



I'm in the Bay Area this week, and I stopped by Important Projects in the Rockridge area of Oakland. Started by SAIC grads and recent Chicago transplants Jason Benson, Sean Buckelew and Joel Dean, Important Projects is run out of the top floor of their house. It reminded me of some of New York's pocket-sized exhibition spaces I've discussed here on Rhizome, like Art Since the Summer of '69. All the exhibits at Important Projects last for four weeks, and so far, they've organized seven shows in total.

They are currently showing Michelle Ceja's M O M E N T U M until September 10th. A fully immersive installation accompanied by a continually building ambient sound loop, the work seemed to deliberately intensify one's sense of claustrophobia and confusion. In that sense, it felt like an enclosed physical version of Ceja's project Silicon Velocity for Jstchillin, while the use of black paint, lights and mirrors recalled Banks Violette's sculptures, but on a smaller scale. I took some shots of the show, see below.







Now at the Daniel Langlois Foundation


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David Rokeby, Very Nervous System, 1983-

Montreal's art and science organization the Daniel Langlois Foundation announced a new collection of online materials for Canadian artist David Rokeby's work Very Nervous System (1983-), an interactive sound installation that reacts to the movement of visitors. The work has developed over the years, and has exhibited in many contexts. This particular collection of documentation is interesting because they bring in the audience's response to the work, through a series of interviews. You can read more about the project and their approach in the excerpt below from the "Introduction to the Collection" by Caitlin Jones and Lizzie Muller.

This is the second documentary collection that we have created for artworks by David Rokeby. In 2007 we produced a collection for the artwork Giver of Names (1991-), through which we developed a documentary approach to media art that captures the relationship between the artist’s intentions and the audience’s experience or, as we have described it, “between real and ideal” (1). The aim of this strategy is to acknowledge the fundamental importance of audience experience to the existence of media artworks and to create a place for the audience within the documentary record.

We believe this approach offers a productive way to reconcile how media artworks exist in the world and how they are represented in an archival context. In recent publications, we have begun to refer to the product of this approach as an “Indeterminate Archive”: a collection of materials that provides multiple perspectives of the work, as well as multiple layers of information, held together with—but not secondary to—the idea of the artist's intent (2). This indeterminate archive, we have argued, captures the mutability and contingency of the artwork’s existence, creating a more, not less ...


Displacements (2005) - Michael Naimark



Displacements is an immersive film installation. An archetypal Americana living room was installed in an exhibition space. Then two performers were filmed in the space using a 16mm motion picture camera on a slowly rotating turntable in the room’s center. After filming, the camera was replaced with a film loop projector and the entire contents of the room were spray-painted white. The reason was to make a projection screen the right shape for projecting everything back onto itself. The result was that everything appears strikingly 3D, except for the people, who of course weren’t spray-paint white, and consequently appeared very ghostlike and unreal.



Civilization in 3D


Installation shot of Ouroboros (Image: ArtLab Video Projects)

In 1931, Sergei Eisenstein described montage as "an idea that arises from the collision of independent shots" wherein "each sequential element is perceived not next to the other, but on top of the other." This layering of images allows them to combine, producing a third meaning that was not present before their combination. "Ouroboros" - a video exhibition currently on display at the ISE Cultural Foundation - takes the aesthetics of early montage and hits fast-forward in 3D. By modifying a version of chromadepth into a process they call COLORSPACE, art collective SWEATSHOPPE achieves a layered 3D effect in which red, green, and blue (RGB) are each visible at a different depth from the surface on which they are projected. The effect is a complex sequence of images projected simultaneously and layered on top of one another to create an almost literal manifestation of Eisenstein's montage aesthetic.

The sequence combines over 30,000 images selected by artist Ali Hossani, and is meant to tell the story of cosmic evolution, "from the Big Bang to Lady Gaga." The images read more like the infamous montage sequence in A Parallax View (1974) than a statement on the rejoinder of art and science where "knowledge, desire, and energy meets the limits of human freedom," as the artist's statement suggests. Still, the effect is mesmerizing, and showcases one of several new possibilities for 3D technologies in the creation of a new digital aesthetic.


Link Round-Up



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 ...


"Decode" at the V&A: Digital Reflections and Refractions


A large installation in the Grand Entrance of London’s Victoria and Albert Museum clatters away, registering its presence in this historic hallway. Jointly commissioned (by the V & A and SAP), bit.code (2009), by Julius Popp, consists of a large panel of black and white blocks which appear to represent a curious, indecipherable code as they rotate around their frame. Periodically its units align, clearly depicting popular terms streamed live from news site feeds. In this physical form and location, this is real-time made somehow more timely. Looming over visitors, a literal staging of data being decoded, the work asserts itself as an apt entry portal to "Decode", the V & A's inaugural exhibition of contemporary digital and interactive design.


Video Selections from the Electronic Visualization Laboratory's First Decade


A joint initiative between the University of Illinois at Chicago's College of Engineering and School of Art & Design, the Electronic Visualization Laboratory has long operated as a center for interdisciplinary research in art and computer science. Founded in 1973 by artist Daniel Sandin (creator of the Sandin Image Processor, a crucial tool for video artists in the 1970s) and computer scientist Tom DeFanti (developer of the GRASS programming language), over the years EVL has sponsored pivotal research and development in the field of visualization, resulting in output such as the virtual reality theater CAVE (Cave Automatic Virtual Environment) in 1992, the GeoWall in 2001, Varrier in 1999 and the LambdaTable in 2004.

Admittedly, one day of videos is not enough to cover the breadth of EVL's work from the past 36 years. That said, today we will post selections by EVL's faculty and students from the first decade. These clips capture the playfulness and excitement of their creators, as they experiment with new tools and techniques. All of these videos were sourced from EVL's YouTube account, which includes original work and documentation up to the present day.