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In New York City, time and space (and, of course, the ever-present dollar bill) have long operated as limiting factors in the exhibition of art. In response, curators and artists alike have had to eek out unique and innovative approaches to show work. Galleries such as Fake Estate have set up shop in former utility closets while curatorial initiatives like Apartment Show have taken up impromptu, one-night only residencies in homes across the city. Art Since the Summer of ’69, run by Hanne Mugaas, Fabienne Stephan and Paul-Aymar Mourgue d’Algue, is another such enterprising venture to carve out space, often in uncommon settings, to show work by emerging artists.

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A Whole New World? On the 53rd Venice Biennale

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Image: Aleksandra Mir, VENEZIA (all places contain all others), 2009

“Making Worlds”, the theme for this year’s 53rd International Art Exhibition curated by Daniel Birnbaum, argues that art should be seen as a form of “world making” and taken seriously as such. His accompanying essay in the catalog holds a distinctively transcendent ring to it, one that calls out for a universal solidarity through art, in stating, “Perhaps art can be one way out of a world ruled by leveling impulses and dull sameness. Can each artwork be a principle of hope and an intriguing plan for escape? Behind the immediate surface we are many - together and individually, through the multiplicity of imaginative worlds we hold within.” Given the very real worlds of national and political ambitions on the table in the Biennale’s pavilions, not to mention the surreal economic and class component to these sorts of events, Birnbaum’s curatorial statement, which suggests that art is autonomous from these factors, seemed like floral hyperbole in comparison. Why would the U.S. Pavilion be the only country to extend their Bruce Nauman exhibition to three locations across the city? And why would the United Arab Emirates Pavilion feature numerous models of large-scale cultural projects proposed for Abu Dhabi? The world’s fair mentality is here for the long run, that is to be sure. The strongest projects I viewed, in both the main exhibition and the pavilions, were able to eek out a space, certainly not a “world”, with a degree of critical distance and integrity away from the Biennale circus.

Venice is one of the few cities in the world to completely rely on boats for delivery, transportation, garbage disposal, and every other municipal need you can think of. The upkeep of the city is expensive due ...

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Light Art Museumified

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Renowned light artist James Turrell (1943, Los Angeles) was first associated with the American Minimalists that emerged in the 1960s such as Donald Judd, Robert Morris, and Frank Stella. Today Turrell is known more as an installation artist who uses colored lights to sculpt space and disorient perception. Currently Turrell lives in Flagstaff, Arizona, near the Navaho reservations, where he continues to oversee the completion of his monumental land art project at Roden Crater, an extinct volcano that the artist has “been transforming into a sky observatory for over three decades. In honor of the recently opened James Turrell Museum in Colomé, Argentina, the only museum worldwide dedicated specifically to the artist's career, this article discusses highlights from Turrell’s rich body of work and introduces the new Turrell Museum, where many of these pieces reside.

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A New History for New Media

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Image: Art and Electronic Media (Cover)

Edward A. Shanken’s new book Art and Electronic Media (Themes & Movements), published by Phaidon Press, presents a rich and comprehensive overview of the history of electronic media art practices in the twentieth century, focusing mostly on work produced in the United States, Canada, and Europe. The book balances the historical and the contemporary, the analytic and the particular, with style and critical rigor.

The text is organized thematically in order to cover major topics in the field: Motion, Duration, Illumination; Coded Form and Electronic Production; Charged Environments; Networks, Surveillance, Culture Jamming; Bodies, Surrogates, Emergent Systems; Simulations and Simulacra; and Exhibitions, Institutions, Communities, Collaborations. Given the extensive breath, in historical accounts and details, this organization system presents the reader with a convenient way to access a historical period, artist, or practice of their particular interest. Each theme reappears three times throughout the book, in each of the three main sections: Survey, Works, and Documents (a division that is consistent with previous volumes published in this Phaidon series).

Quality research into the history of electronic media art production, exhibition, and conception is consistent throughout. The section on "Networks," for instance, includes an insightful contextualization of new internet-based art with pre-network art, such as Hans Haache’s 1969 News, an installation that involves a series of Teletype machines set to receive and print local, national, and international news in real time. Shanken’s placement of current genres in these historical frameworks not only enhances our appreciation of the newer practices but also develops an understanding of the historical origins of net, systems, or environmental art.

Over 200 colorful images accompany the text, many of them projects that have not been exhibited widely. One example is the photograph of Christa Sommere and Laurent Mignonneau’s A-Volve (1994-95 ...

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Variable Frame Rate: Multimedia Performance at MUTEK 2009

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It is understandable that we sometimes overlook the surge of innovation and experimentation that has taken place within live musical performance over the last decade. A culture obsessed with emerging channels of distribution and incremental software upgrades is almost predisposed to overlook the virtuosity (or lack thereof) that drives live performance. A pertinent frame of reference in considering evolving paradigms in musical performance is the MUTEK festival, a progressive electronic music summit that takes place in Montreal each spring. Launched in 2000, and having just celebrated their tenth anniversary this past week, MUTEK has consistently programmed dynamic lineups of luminaries representing various facets of global house, techno and experimental music communities. The festival has cultivated an idiosyncratic identity that references the pulse and dense revelry of the after hours scene while also showcasing more amorphous, adventurous multimedia and gallery-oriented projects. In addition to positioning Montreal as a key node within international electronic music networks, MUTEK has developed into a platform for showcasing integrated audio-visual performance.

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Interview with Samara Golden

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Image: Samara Golden, Yes no party, 2009 (Installation at Sculpture Center, Spring 2009)

Samara Golden’s colorful, multifaceted video and sculptural installations have been popping up quite a bit in New York City recently. Earlier this year, the artist’s "Yes no party" was set up within an alcove in the basement of the Sculpture Center in Queens as part of the group exhibition “In Practice Winter '09.” Golden then presented her sculpture "There's more but it's invisible" at Columbia University’s 2009 M.F.A. Thesis Exhibition, and this piece is now on view at the Project Room at Marvelli Gallery in Chelsea until June 27. I spoke with the artist at the Sculpture Center and then at her studio, where we discussed her interest in combining video and sculpture, her incorporation of images culled from image searches on the web into her installations, and more. - Chloe Gray

You surf the web for images to incorporate into your installations. Can you talk about your surfing methodology?

Sometimes I start by typing in a broad term like “messy room,” and when I find a good picture I take elements out and print them, such as a lamp or a vase that I like. In other cases I use the "messy room” picture to help me figure out what I’m looking for; I like the mirror in the picture, so I search for “unique wall mirror” and see what I can find. It's very fun, like making an immediate wish list for a 2D thrift store.

On another level, I’m interested in what photographers call “gaining access”: the ability to have access to other peoples lives. Using the internet allows me access without interfering. Photographers often have to consider these issues because there is an implied ...

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Psychic (2004) - Antoine Schmitt

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Psychic sees the spectators and describes what she sees using phrases projected on the wall. And she sees maybe a little more/differently than what we see : she perceives the internal states and motivations of the spectators. The text is printed letter by letter like by a typewriter which we can also hear. (Installation design inspired by a work by Pierre Bismuth)

-- FROM THE ARTIST'S STATEMENT

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Pop Up Shop

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Image: Raster Noton, Shop, installation view, Tokyo

e-flux's Lower East Side space will host a temporary record store for German electronic label Raster-Noton over the next two months. The record label came out of artists Olaf Bender and Frank Bretschneider's label Rastermusic and artist Carsten Nicolai's own Noton.archiv für ton und nichtton in 1999, and their individual sensibilities have shaped the minimalist aesthetic the label is now known for. Many of the artists who have releases on Raster-Norton, such as Ryoji Ikeda, CM Von Hausswolff and Marc Behrens, examine the materiality of sound as part of their visual arts practice. No wonder, then, that the label's short residency in Manhattan will take the form of an installation, titled The Shop, where none of their over 100 releases will actually be for purchase. Instead, all of their output will be exhibited as artifacts, with CDs displayed and recordings audible via listening stations. Some of these recordings will activate the movement of light in White Line Light, a work by Olaf Bender and Carsten Nicolai that will illuminate the installation. The Shop opens May 26th with a performance by Nicolai and Bender and runs until the end of July.

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Spamtrap (2007) - Bill Shackelford

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"Spamtrap" is an interactive installation piece that prints, shreds and blacklists spam email. It interacts with spammers by monitoring several email addresses I created specifically to lure in spam and an old unused personal email address I use to lure in spam. I do not use these email addresses for any other communication. I post these individual email addresses on websites and online bulletin boards that cause them to be harvested by spambots and then to start receiving spam.

Because I know that all email sent to these email addresses are spam, I have set the installation to print and then shred each email as it arrives. Simultaneously the installation is feeding spam blacklists on the web with information gathered from all the received spam (a newly added feature). This in turn helps to feed spam filtering systems across the web that are working to reduce the amount of spam we all receive. Click here for more information about Spamtraps.

The installation uses a Pentium II computer connected to a wireless network, personal printer, personal shredder, aluminum rails, Spamtrap email addresses, automatic printing software, email client software, antivirus software, and a SpamCop user account. The paper is recycled after the spam email has been shredded.

-- FROM THE ARTIST'S STATEMENT

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A Short Week in Shorts

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Long a destination for filmmakers to showcase their work, the International Short Film Festival Oberhausen has expanded its program in recent years to incorporate experimental film and video art. Beginning in 2006 distributors, such as Lux, Electronic Arts Intermix, Netherlands Media Art Institute, and the Canadian Filmmakers Distribution Center, were invited to spotlight works recently added to their catalogs. This portion of the festival was rounded out by “Unreal Asia”, a themed series of screenings of Southeast Asian film and video art, as well as a profiles on Japanese experimental filmmaker Matsumoto Toshio, Mexican filmmaker Nicolás Echevarría, German filmmaker Herbert Fritsch, the Sarajevo Documentary School and a retrospective on the Russian art group the Factory of Found Clothes. Annual segments, such as the MuVi award for music videos, an international competition, a competition including only German work, and films made by children, were scheduled alongside the thematic programs, resulting in a diverse and active six-day calendar. I had the opportunity to attend the festival for the first time a week ago, and caught a number of the screenings.

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