Art-Up Your Computering

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The awesome New York arts organization Artists Space has come up with three new ways to spice up your computering, no matter where you live. If we had to make a list of the main things we do on our computers everyday, wouldn't typing, watching YouTube videos, and staring at our desktop be high on the index? Now Artists Space--under the savvy influence of curator Joseph Del Pesco--has initiated three ways to art-up those acts. The first, "TypeCast", is a series highlighting one artist-designed font per month, available as a free download. This month, you can find Mungo Thomson's Negative Space, which he describes as "a graphic scaffolding for the sake of alpha-numeric meaning." It's cool and it will totally impress your employer. Following "TypeCast" is "YouTube Commentary Project," which addresses a major problem with the video-sharing site. There just isn't enough commentary and recursion there! (sic!) Nonetheless, inviting smart international artists to verbalize their reactions atop the video of their choice sounds like a can't-lose idea. Stay tuned to Artists Space's YouTube channel for more of these videos, which premiered with a work by Cesare Pietroiusti. And finally, if you're a fan of the element of surprise, then "Artists Space Daily" is for you. It's "a free software program that downloads an artist 'postcard' from the internet and places it on the desktop of your computer, once per day." While this brings art into viewers' lives that they neither have to pay for nor live with for more than 24 hours, the project brings attention to international emerging artists you just may want to see again. It's all fun, it's all free, and it's all for the love of contemporary art, so get with the program and ...

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You Fell Asleep Watching a DVD (2008) - Ginger Anyhow

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One Mile Scroll (2008) - Daniel Eatock

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"The One Mile Scroll transforms virtual space into an actual, physical distance. Take your computer for a scroll."

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Credits Never Ending (2006) - Li Xin and Eirik Fatland

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""Credits NeverEnding" is an interactive TV program, created for Finnish television channel Dina. Credits NeverEnding is intended for television's off hours, and was developed as part of a project to produce intentionally boring TV... The names and titles on the list come from the viewers themselves. A viewer with the right mix of attentiveness and time to kill will eventually discover the URL of the website where new credits may be entered. Viewers enjoy nearly total freedom to shape the neverending credits, including promoting themselves. Nothing is true until it is on television."

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wowPOD (2008) - Aristarkh Chernyshev and Alexei Shulgin

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Interview with Sarah Cook

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Image: JooYoun Paek, Not Bicycle Cover, 2008 (Image courtesy of Eyebeam)

Sarah Cook kindly took a moment to speak to me this week about the exhibition she curated, "Untethered", which opens tonight at Eyebeam in New York. The group exhibition, which takes the form of a sculpture garden and explores "everyday objects deprogrammed of their original function, embedded with new intelligence, and transformed into surrealist and surprising readymades", includes 15 artists, many of whom are current or former Eyebeam fellows or residents. "Untethered" will remain up through October 25th. - Ceci Moss

Ceci Moss: How did you first begin working on "Untethered"?

Sarah Cook: Preamble: I am an inaugural curatorial fellow at Eyebeam through my work with CRUMB (Curatorial Resource for Upstart Media Bliss). My position was enabled by a three-year grant received by CRUMB, which allows me to use Eyebeam as a site for research into curating new media art, the question of how collaboration works through international networks, and how curators can work in lab environments. I arrived in New York in April; before that Amanda McDonald Crowley and I had been discussing whether I should take advantage of an opportunity to curate an exhibition as part of the Fall program as one way to put my research into practice, given that exhibition practice is my strength. Eyebeam was interested in challenging that and allowing me, through my fellowship, to think about curating in a different way.

Together with Liz Slagus, Director of Education and Public Programs at Eyebeam, I visited with all of Eyebeam's resident artists and fellows (I had participated in the juries which had selected them) and got to know what they were working on in the labs. At the same time, I tried to learn about Eyebeam's exhibition history, its use of its ...

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Tools of the Trade

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Video: Excerpts from a film in progress by Christina McPhee

Christina McPhee recently presented Shake Stations at dorkbot-nyc. The project, which is currently in progress, studies the work of fellow artist and friend DV Rogers' geologically interactive, kinetic earthwork known as the Parkfield Interventional EQ Fieldwork or PIEQF in the form of a stark, dusty Western-style video documentation. McPee calls the work, located in Parkfield, CA, a "sideshow attraction of generative audience participation," where the elaborate wooden scaffolding, looking something like the planked sidewalk of an old West saloon, is activated to shake like an earthquake tremor when motion sensor cameras powered by industrial strength generators trigger movement around it. Incredibly sensitive to its exterior surroundings, PIEQF not only reacts to real seismic events so small they are normally missed by observers, but also to passing cars, wild animals, and even weather patterns.

McPee's film will detail the construction and philosophy behind the creation of the covered pit. PIEQF was conceived as a temporary human intervention to deep time, and McPhee's will elaborate on this point through her meditative use of montage, which in her words, enables "latent energy landscapes" to unfold. Drawing on the uneasy relationship between man and the natural environment, the film will allude to a human sense of both wonderment and dread towards large scale seismic activity.


DV Rogers' PIEQF Station is scheduled to remain in Parkfield from September through part of November, with more details for the adventurous at http://allshookup.org/. - Melody Chamlee

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Interactive Crowd Sourcing

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While the term "crowd sourcing" generally refers to a large group of people (i.e. internet users) contributing to the realization of a project, it might also apply in interesting ways to the newest installation by Jody Zellen. In "The Blackest Spot," at LA's Fringe gallery, she culls footage of crowds and corrals them into content categories which are in turn activated by visitors to the exhibition. While the crowd is usually theorized as a single entity or herd, Zellen's selections exemplify the many different means and reasons for which people choose to assemble in a single spot. When viewers step on censor-marked spots on the floor of the gallery, they trigger audio responses linked to the gatherings, ranging from quietude to cacophony. As a result, Zellen's audience is compelled to consider their own identification with those portrayed in the collected images. - Marisa Olson

Image: Jody Zellen, The Blackest Spot, 2008

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Sounding the Alarms

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Jane Philbrick's "PULL" installation, at New York's Location One gallery, is definitively interactive. Not only does it require viewer participation to really make the work happen, but it invites reflection on the agency, authority, and influence of the viewer. Flanked by walls of 502 beautifully symmetrical, gridded, illuminated fire alarms, strobes, smoke detectors, siren horns, and control panels, the installation relies on (or questions) the human impulse to pull the trigger. Once a viewer does pull on an alarm handle, loud noises, flashing lights, and loud words bombard the participant's eyes and ears in a simultaneously beautiful and overwhelming cascade. The project is intended to reflect on questions of fear and control, as well as the seductive versus destructive nature of power. Philbrick's collaboration with Honeywell Labs instigates commentary on the ways in which these issues have trickled down into architectural, industrial, and consumer devices, while upping the volume on her ongoing investigations into the subjective dimensions of language and the voice. - Marisa Olson


Image: Jane Philbrick, PULL, 2008

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LoS amiGoS dE la iMagEN by Federico Torroba + Juan Ignacio Colombo

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A veritable "garden of forking paths".

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