Marie Sester's "Exposure" at gallery@calit2

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Media artist Marie Sester's work Exposure (2001), on view at U.C. San Diego's gallery@calit2 until June 6th, encourages a closer examination of pre-9/11 surveillance technology. The multi-channel video installation gathers and superimposes x-rayed images of vehicles and, in one sequence, a house. Exposure came out of the artist's interest in the aesthetics of x-ray and laser technology, and it was initially exhibited at the San Jose Museum of Art in the Fall 2001 as part of the "Blind Vision: Video and Limits of Perception." The show at gallery@calit2 is accompanied by a lengthy interview with Sester by Eduardo Navas, in which she discusses her thoughts on the emergence of the concept of surveillance as a tool specific to the "war against terror" and the weight of this shift given the continued extension of surveillance since the early 2000s. Those unable to visit San Diego for the exhibition may view the three channel installation via the gallery's webcam. - Ceci Moss

Marie Sester, Exposure, 2001

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Life Transformations

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There's a very nepotistic event happening tonight at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute's Center for Biotechnology and Interdisciplinary Studies (the new venue with a whopper of a name presenting great science-related art), and it looks good! Chris, Birgitta, and Geoff Bjornsson happen to be siblings with some shared interests--go figure, maybe they had similar childhoods--but they are each making distinct "artworks that represent living biological systems." The common thread in the work they'll present at tonight's panel, "Essence: Transfigure," is an interest in "transformation from one state to another," whether that shift happens in a single cell, an entire organism, or a larger ecosystem. The Bjornssons use a variety of media to address and imagine these transfigurations. Birgitta Bjornsson's project, The Space of Disgust employs photography, film, sculpture, installation, and drawing to explore the terrain between the idealized no-place of utopian environments and the reality of the disorder and decay wrought by the very nature of our own biological existence, if not our culture's compulsion to pollute. Real-life scientist Chris Bjornsson's The Illuminated Veil, uses "immunohistochemistry and spectral confocal microscopy to highlight specific cells within the brain." The end result is a series of large-scale microscopic images that seek to map and pinpoint the identifying characteristics and relationships between every cell of our brain. If Chris's creative impetus seems to entail an almost impossible feat, his brother Geoff Bjornsson's work is more fantastical. Inspired by a constellation of interests in minimal Japanese animation, science fiction, and the tradition of hand-crafting, his sculpture, Sleeping golem II, is a vessel made with the potential to "enshrine a spirit." The container sleeps until aroused by a spirit, though that spirit will suffer karmic damage by choosing the vessel as its home. Obvious mechanical challenges ensue... Each ...

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Disruptive Media

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Wisconsin-based media artist Sabine Gruffat is kicking up quite a storm at Deadtech with her current installation, 24 Hour Riot, running through Tuesday, April 15th - an impressive fact, given the Chicago gallery's reputation for boundary-pushing fare. Gruffat has outfitted the space with a responsive array of electronic noise machines and televised riot scenes, such that a viewer's movement randomly triggers disturbances in the video and soundtrack. The effect is one of total dislocation, as our arbitrary influence on these broadcasts generates a palpable awareness of the existing gaps between politics, mass-media, and spectatorship. On this level, 24 Hour Riot continues Gruffat's extensive look at the various, mobile units of the culture industry and provisionally asks the question of how the reality of our contemporary, mediatized lifestyle may actually provide a groundwork for new modes of political engagement. As with Head Lines: Hybrid Film Trilogy (2007), in which the artist ran New York Times articles through semi-automated, recombinatory processes to produce skittery, 16mm animations, 24 Hour Riot suggests that any program of change must first arise from a greater understanding of the normativized codes of information dispersal, and of the means by which said codes may be subverted, erased, or reassembled. - Tyler Coburn

Sabine Gruffat, 24 Hour Riot, 2008

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Beat Poetry

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Madison Square Park Conservancy described their calendar for this year as "ambitious" in their press release and, judging from the amount of coverage we've allotted their public art program in the Rhizome blog this week, this is certainly so. Rafael Lozano-Hemmer, the Montreal-based artist slated to present work in the park this November, gave an informative lecture about his upcoming project Pulse Park (2008) at the Parsons The New School for Design last week. The inspiration for Pulse Park came about during his wife's pregnancy, when the artist listened to the heartbeats of his twins for the first time. "We could hear how different the heartbeats were, and the pattern - the music - that was generated by the pulses was really fascinating," he reminisced. Imagine that rhythmic pattern scaled up one hundred times, and you'll have an idea of the scope of his proposal for the interactive light installation Pulse Park, which is set to transform the oval lawn of Manhattan's Madison Square Park into a complex matrix of throbbing lights in synchronization with the heartbeats of passersby. During his talk, he explained how this complex operation would function. Two hundred aircraft landing lights will surround the oval lawn, pointing toward the center; on the north and south sides of the lawn will be a computer-equipped stand with two cylindrical metal tubes. When a user grabs the tubes, a sensor picks up the heart rate as well as the amplitude and shape of the beat's waveform. The system translates those variables into a unique pulse of light, which appears in the first light to the left. When the next user records his heart rate, the first person's pulse moves one down the line along the perimeter, and so on. After a pulse has traveled all ...

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In Print

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Artists Olia Lialina and Dragan Espenschied have produced a body of work that focuses on the vernacular visual language of the web, one that revels in its gaps and imperfections. Works such as Olia's and Dragan's: Comparative History of Classic Animated GIFs and Glitter Graphics and Midnight explore the evolution of digital imagery in tandem with the changing conception of the web's ideal appearance. Currently exhibited in Montage: Unmonumental Online, Lialina's Some Universe (2002) engages one of the most classic and widely used digital images: stars.

The latest iteration of Lialina and Espenschied's project Online Newspapers (2004-Ongoing), developed for the Madison Square Park Conservancy, follows this distinct direction. Shown on four outdoor video screens on the grounds of the Shake Shack, Online Newspapers: New York Edition is a series of scanned front pages of four New York daily newspapers. All have been rendered illegible by flashy animations and glitter graphics that evoke the look and feel of the early web. The papers imagine how websites for New York's major newspapers would look if designed not by the slick designers whose work dominates the web now but by the early users of the web who had a more homegrown aesthetic. By elevating these early styles and graphics, Online Newspapers suggests that the forward movement of the web does not necessarily amount to cultural improvement and that this assumption of progress is, in itself, an over-hyped and inaccurate piece of news. The exhibition will last from March 20 through April 27, with the works shown daily from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. - Dennis Knopf

Olia Lialina and Dragan Espenschied, Online Newspapers: New York Edition, 2008

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One Avatar's Trash is Another's Treasure

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The world is full of junk. Why should Second Life be any exception? In fact, something about the technological impetus to always create new, more advanced gizmos and realities makes this online virtual space a perfect site for the consideration of trash. The New York-based German art collective eteam are doing that now, in their project Second Life Dumpster. The duo's work often revolves around land-use issues and other socio-spatial interventions, and in this case they purchased 4096 square meters of space in SL to start a plein-air dumpster. The artists visit freebee sites throughout the virtual world and bring the detritus back to their space, and also encourage other users to drop their garbage at the site. Snippets of chat sessions with other avatars posted to the Second Life Dumpster blog reveal the humorous social challenges of keeping such an operation running. The project received a 2008 Rhizome Commission and their original proposal was to carve out a new type of behavior on Second Life. The site's owners, Linden Labs, say that exploring the world (including crafting one's persona and visage), creating objects, and selling those objects are the primaries forms of activity there, but eteam wanted to ask what happens after self-actualization and the ultimate disposal or withering of the ephemera exchanged in this process. After all, virtual junk is still junk, and its weighty presence online is but a mere token of the refuse our high tech lifestyles generate in "first life." If you're in the real world city of Brooklyn, this weekend, you can visit Smack Mellon to see the artists' physical rebuilding of decaying Second Life objects. Otherwise, check them out online or even consider joining the cadre of dumpster divers now hanging out at Fearzom. - Marisa Olson

Image: eteam, Second ...

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YOUNG-HAE CHANG HEAVY INDUSTRIES at the New Museum

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Documentation of BLACK ON WHITE, GRAY ASCENDING (2007) a new work by Seoul-based collective YOUNG-HAE CHANG HEAVY INDUSTRIES commissioned for the New Museum. In BLACK ON WHITE, the artists have expanded their usual single-channel format to create an unprecedented seven-channel installation that evokes a chilling story of abduction and assassination from seven separate points of view, set to an eerily laid-back bossa nova score.



BLACK ON WHITE, GRAY ASCENDING by YOUNG-HAE CHANG HEAVY INDUSTRIES from Rhizome on Vimeo.


BLACK ON WHITE, GRAY ASCENDING is organized by Lauren Cornell, Executive Director of Rhizome and Adjunct Curator, New Museum, and Laura Hoptman, Kraus Family Senior Curator, New Museum.

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Tiny Specimens

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The "nature expedition" is a tried and true exercise in elementary school science class. Assuming the identities of junior scientists, students embark into nature to collect samples of bugs, plants, twigs and sundry living things for study. The artists Pascal Glissmann and Martina Hofflin, working in conjunction with the Academy of Media Art, Cologne, have updated this model, but with a distinct twist: their samples are solar-powered Electronic Life Forms (2004-2007) or "elfs". According to the artists, "elfs are small, analog creatures reacting to light, calling the attention of the observer with their delicate sounds and movements." Isolated in glass Mason jars and accompanied by photographic documentation of the machines inhabiting their "natural" environment, the artists present elf "specimens" in the gallery much like exotic fauna. The set-up falsely attributes these simple robotic creatures with the characteristics of a living being, thus enduing the elfs with an endearing quality. Glissmann and Hofflin explain the underlying motivation for the project as a questioning of "the relationship between technology, nature and humans." The elf installation is currently on view in the "Urban Living" exhibition at Pittsburgh's Wood Street Galleries. - Gene McHugh

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Rhizome News Video: Replicant at Virgil de Voldere Gallery

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Rhizome News: Replicant, Virgil de Voldere Gallery from Rhizome on Vimeo.



"Replicant", on view at Virgil de Voldere Gallery in New York from January 10-February 13th, brings together four artists- Ian Burns, Shane Hope, Gilles Rotzetter, and Scott Wolniak- whose work playfully imagines the course of creative expression within a post-apocalyptic future. In this video, the gallery's Director and Founder Virgil de Voldere discusses the concept behind the show and reviews the works included.

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noplace (2007) by MW2MW

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noplace is an installation and website by artist group MW2MW (Marek Walczak and Martin Wattenberg). Drawing on the constant production and organization of information online, the artists developed software that arranges hundreds of feeds according to categories such as "fantasy," "paradise," "dreamscape," and "limbo."� This grouped material is then composited and projected, producing an overwhelming visual environment. By tangibly manifesting the contemporary experience of information inundation, the project proposes to generate "a browser in physical space". The work was included in the group exhibition Video Vortex at the Netherlands Media Art Institute, and will be in the upcoming China New Media Arts Exhibition 2008. - Ceci Moss



Image: Installation proposal for noplace at China New Media Arts Exhibition 2008.

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