In the Future-Past Tense

(0)


The fantasy of the future and the utopian promises of new technologies have always gone hand-in-hand. If the history of technology's evolution tells the story of our culture, we can also trace our present-day novelties back to the root of our anxieties about the future and the problems these devices hoped to solve. With this correlation in mind, the interactive DVD novel The Imaginary 20th Century (2007) by Norman Klein, Margo Bistis, and Andreas Kratky, jumps back to the fin de siècle era between the 19th and 20th centuries. It was a time of wonder when new technologies and their representation were wedded in documents like panoramic films of public light shows and short actualities about newfangled transportation devices called roller skates. The novel tells the story of "the Chicago World's Fair in 1893, and the story of a woman (Carrie), who in 1901, selects four men to seduce her, each with his own version of the new century" in a recombinatory visual narrative that overlaps 2,200 images culled from primary documents, architectural plans, photos, and other ephemera with an original score. The project speaks to the multiplicity of visions circulating about what the new century would hold, and it's an even more past-tense follow-up to Norman Klein's interactive novel, Bleeding Through: Layers of Los Angeles, 1920-1986 (2003). Klein's work has clearly resonated with at least eleven people, because closing this week at Otis College of Art and Design's Ben Maltz Gallery is "The Future Imaginary," an exhibition that responds to The Imaginary 20th Century with the work of artists Deborah Aschheim, Jeff Cain, Tom Jennings, Jon Kessler, Ed Osborn, Lea Rekow, Douglas Repetto, Phil Ross, Kari Rae Seekins and Aaron Drake, and Susan Simpson. Each contribution embodies the special genre of ...

MORE »


Untitled (1997) - Dieter Kiessling

(1)



The video cameras record each other. The images are mixed digitally and transmitted to the monitor.

Via Constant Dullaart

MORE »


HEXA_FLEXAGON_F_EVER (2008) - Anna Lundh

(0)

hexacombo.gif
Image: HEXA_FLEXAGON_F_EVER Myspace page (Screengrab)

hexi.jpg
Image: Installation with information station, 3 computers,
display of hexaflexagons, Anthology/Manual, reading area

The hexaflexagon is a strip of paper, that has been folded into a hexagon. This two dimensional shape can then be turned inside out, flexed, so that a number of faces that were previously hidden will appear. In theory, it can have an infinite number of faces, although in reality, the thickness of the paper sets the limit. It was discovered 1939 by a British fellowship student at Princeton, who started to fold the strips he had just trimmed off his American "letter-size" sheets to fit his A4 binder. It had a revival in the late 50s, when it first became popular among magic buffs in New York, and after an article in Scientific American, it became something of a craze.

To investigate which connections that can be made between the ideas and the people associated with the hexaflexagon, I use the digital network Myspace as my tool. A some-what old fashioned and analog phenomenon is applied to something very contemporary and digital. Right now, HEXA_FLEXAGON_F_EVER is trying to become friends with Alan Turing, Lewis Carroll and Katherine Hayles. It’s an exponentially growing mapping, where more dimensions will uncover, for an unforeseeable future.

-- EXCERPT FROM THE ARTIST'S STATEMENT

MORE »


Closing Tomorrow, Catch It Today

(2)

Video: Paul Sharits, Shutter Interface, 1975 (Installation at Greene Naftali, 2009)

shutterinterface.gif
Image: Paul Sharits, Shutter Interface, 1975 (Installation at Greene Naftali, 2009)

A restoration of Paul Sharits' 1975 installation Shutter Interface, now on view at Greene Naftali Gallery in New York, will close this weekend, so get over to Chelsea while you can. Rarely screened during Sharits' lifetime, this project was recovered in a collaborative effort by Anthology Film Archives and Greene Naftali. A noted example of "expanded cinema," four 16mm films loop onto four separate screens, accompanied by four soundtracks played simultaneously. The resulting color and sound feed in and out, to a deliriously pulsating effect. A collection of Sharits' drawings and diagrams are on display in the second room, providing an overview of Sharits' research and interests.

MORE »


White Box Testing

(0)

Addressing the American Association of Museums in 1941, Ananda K. Coomaraswamy, then curator at the Boston Museum of Fine Arts, put forth a fundamental question: "What is an Art Museum for?" He proposes that the answer is contained in the term "curator," which implies that "the first and most essential function of such a Museum is to take care of ancient or unique works of art which are no longer in their original places or no longer used as originally intended, and are therefore in danger of destruction by neglect or otherwise." Significantly, Coomaraswamy's concept downplays one curatorial activity otherwise taken for granted today: "This care of works of art," he writes, "does not necessarily involve their exhibition" but if an institution does choose to exhibit works, "this is to be done with an educational purpose." Moreover, he adds, "it is unnecessary for Museums to exhibit the works of living artists, which are not in immanent danger of destruction."

Coomaraswamy's antediluvian pronouncements, predating both the development of the modern computer and the institutional embrace of contemporary art, nonetheless provide a way to think about the assumptions underlying the twelve essays in Christiane Paul's collection New Media in the White Cube and Beyond: Curatorial Models for Digital Art, recently published by UC Press. For even if Coomaraswamy's skepticism about the value of exhibiting living artists now strikes us as thoroughly outdated, his general concerns continue to inform the questions posed by Paul and her contributors. For new media, the problem of how to deal with artworks "no longer in their original places or no longer used as originally intended" remains salient -- albeit for technological rather than antiquarian reasons -- and all of Paul's essayists propose some version of what necessary "educational purpose" curators of new media must embrace.

READ ON »


Turn On, Tune In, Zoom Out

(1)


DREAMCAPTCHA #006 from blackmoth on Vimeo.
Video: Dreamcaptcha #006, 2008

Kari Altmann is a Baltimore-based artist who initiated the collaborative project Netmares and Netdreams. She agreed to do an interview ahead of the project's residency on Sunday March 15th at Capricious Space in Brooklyn as part of the program In Real Life. - Brian Droitcour

Netmares and Netdreams is going to be featured "in real life" at Capricious Space in Brooklyn. How is this going to be different from the first incarnation of Version 3.0, at Current Gallery in Baltimore? What were some of the challenges you encountered when displaying an online project in physical space?

The opportunity to do version 3.0 of the show arose very suddenly. Current gave us just two weeks to put everything together. But I knew that if we didn't accept that challenge, we might never do the show at all. It wasn't ideal, but it was also perfect luck, because it needed to happen in a space like Current while we had some momentum. We just said yes and pushed through the limitations, which is how we do a lot of things.

Some netdreamers were confronted with the question of how to present things offline for the first time, and they needed to experiment with the options. We didn't have computers for the show, which I was okay with, but we also had zero budget and very limited gear. We wanted to make it the most “real” show we could without all the resources. A lot of things ended up as prints or videos. We debated over whether or not certain pieces still functioned in the way they were presented. If someone didn’t answer an email or send their piece in time, it would affect the way everything ...

MORE »


Permanent Junk For a Changing World

(0)

twilightzone.jpg

twlighting2.jpg
Image: Shih Chieh Huang, Twilight Zone, 2008
(Installation shot from Zero1 Biennial, San Jose Museum of Art, 2008) Courtesy of the artist

Let's face it: A lot of new media art is mystifying. Shih Chieh Huang's work is mesmerizing. Of course, his installations have much in common with other media art. They light-up and like to be exhibited in dark rooms, they often employ electronic circuitry and robotics, and they are dynamic rather than static--his works move, blink, and make noise. But it somehow seems just as appropriate to connect Huang to the vocabulary of kinetic art (where there have indeed been many media innovators) than to link him exclusively to interactive art. Typically, his work is only interactive insofar as it stimulates deep visceral and emotional responses, but then by that barometer we might as well acknowledge that all art is potentially interactive... In Huang's work, the subject of high technology is perhaps even more important than using high tech media. The artist is a big fan of dollar stores and recycle bins. He collects cheap toys, plastic water bottles, and small, often overlooked colorful trinkets to assemble into what often feel like synthetic life-forms. A series of neon zip ties become a prickly spine for a shrimp-like character, while glowing wire tendrils embody other sea creatures' tentacles. Throwing in a little colored water, some LEDs, and plastic bags that appear to breath (earth, wind, and fire, anyone?), Huang gives us a candy-coated reflection of the media ecology many of us fail to see. In his current solo exhibition, entitled, "Connected: Eject before disconnecting," at the RISD Museum of Art through June 21st, the artist invokes the kind of right-under-our-noses, generally unspoken yet totally commonplace messages associated with personal computing. By doing so, he connects the ...

MORE »


Curating Contemplation

(1)

The current exhibition at the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, "The Third Mind: American Artists Contemplate Asia, 1860-1989" is in many ways a bold take on the "group show" genre. Not focused on a particular era, style or group of artists, Senior Curator for Asian Art Alexandra Munroe has instead created a sweeping show of over 110 artists around an idea as ethereal and subjective as cultural "contemplation." The show's thesis, that "vanguard artists consistently looked toward 'the East' to forge an independent artistic identity that would define the modern age -- and the modern mind -- through a new understanding of existence, nature, and consciousness" certainly seems timely in this era of rampant globalization, but it simultaneously opens the door to a host of debatable issues around cultural appropriation.

The broad scope and variety of art forms covered under this broad thematic umbrella, from paintings of James McNeill Whistler and Mary Cassatt through multimedia works of Tehching Hsieh and Laurie Anderson, creates a compelling alternate to the usually mono-cultural narrative of Art History. For those of us interested particularly in time-based media, it also provides a compelling context through which to view issues such as duration, notation, communication systems, and networking that are so prevalent in time-based forms.

READ ON »


Breaking things to make things

(0)

artissimasmall.jpg

Image: Mika Tajima/New Humans, "Dead by Third Act" Performance
November 7, 2008 at Artissima Volume @ Lingotto Fiere, Turin

With the economy undergoing a dramatic shift, and predictions for the art world ranging from bad to catastrophic, questions abound regarding the future of contemporary art production and exhibition. Over the next year, a new non-profit arts organization, X, intends to take stock of this extraordinary moment through a series of exhibitions and programming. X will open the first of four phases tomorrow in the Dia Art Foundation's building on West 22nd street, an enormous space which has remained empty for years. Mika Tajima's multimedia installation The Extras will take over the ground floor of the building, while an expansive survey of Derek Jarman's films will be on view on the 2nd, 3rd and 4th floors, and, on the roof, Christian Holstad will show Light Chamber (Part Two).

I've been a big fan of Mika Tajima's work, as well as her noise band New Humans, for years, and this week I had the opportunity to speak with her about The Extras as well as some of her other pieces. A visual artist and musician, her practice often navigates between installation, video, sculpture, performance, and sound. Her work attempts to illuminate the repressive echoes of modernism within the present through destruction and disassembly. In this sense, Tajima's work puts forth an interesting counterpoint to the financial crisis, by illuminating the increasingly rapid, and unsustainable, cycles of production and consumption. This interview is one of a number of upcoming interviews and articles dealing with the current economic situation. - Ceci Moss

small.jpg

Images: Mika Tajima, The Extras, 2009 (X Initiative, New York, NY, Installation view).
Courtesy the artist, Elizabeth Dee, New York, and X Initiative

Explain the project at ...

MORE »


Software Teach-in

(0)

art_and_code_logo_3.gif

Although most of us use software on a daily basis, its operation still remains obscured to a large majority. In Golan Levin's introduction to the 3-day conference Art and Code hosted this weekend at Carnegie Mellon University, he describes distressingly low levels of software literacy, and the need to further educate the public about these tools. This impulse underpins the many "How-To" workshops, panels, and discussions scheduled over the next few days, which will devote specific attention to tools useful for artistic production, such as Max/MSP, Processing, openFrameworks and VVVV. While heavy on the tutorials, Art and Code will round out the calendar with an exhibition of generative artwork by Casey Reas and Marius Watz as well as nightly screenings of visual music pioneer Oskar Fischinger's films.

MORE »