Spotlight: Angelo Plessas

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Angelo Plessas is an artist based in Athens, Greece and a professed member of Neen, an art movement whose manifesto declares,"Computing is to Neen as what fantasy was to surrealism and freedom to communism. It creates its context, but it can also be postponed...Neenstars find their pleasure in the in-between actions. Neen is about losing time on different operating systems." Following this philosophy, Plessas' interactive flash animations "lose time" by requiring the user to activate seemingly pointless and absurd scenarios-- whether it be feeding snakes to Medusa's head or balancing bubbles on a scale with a mustache.

Below are a few of my favorite projects by Plessas. Click through to view.


AThrowOfTheDiceCannotAbolishChance.com, 2002


Neenstar.com, 2004



MeLookingAtYou.com, 2005


WhatRemainsIsFuture.com, 2006


DoubleFaced.com, 2007


NotOnlyPossibleButAlsoNecessary.com, 2007


TheHistoryOfADecadeThatHasNotYetBeenNamed.com, 2007

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Rhizome Commissions 08: Conversation with Rafael Rozendaal, Evan Roth, Eteam and Steve Lambert

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The Rhizome Commissions Program was founded in 2001 to provide support to emerging artists working with new technologies. The forty-four works commissioned to date represent some of the most innovative, pioneering efforts in the field. At the New Museum on May 22nd, several artists who received support in the 2008 cycle will present their finished projects as well as other select projects. Artists to present include Evan Roth, Eteam (Hajoe Moderegger and Franziska Lamprecht), Steve Lambert and Rafael Rozendaal.



Thursday May 22nd, 7:30pm
the New Museum, New York, NY
$6 Members/ $8 General Public

2008 Commissioned projects:
http://www.rhizome.org/commissions/2008/

Image Credit: Rafael Rozendaal, JELLOTIME.COM, 2007

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The Club Who Was Thursday

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Bearing a deceptively straightforward name, The Thursday Club at Goldsmiths College, University of London plays host to a wide range of technologist-artists for its recently-announced Summer Season; in upcoming weeks, the Club's guests will explore such diverse topics as narrative interactivity, biofeedback, coded textiles and "strategic walking." On April 17, Rachel Beth Egenhoefer presents works in progress from her ongoing art-melds of knitting and coding, including a knit zoetrope and knitting with the Wii. Writers Kate Pullinger and Chris Joseph talk about their "networked book" Flight Paths on April 24; a novel to be based partially on strange-but-true occurrences of immigrant airline stowaways tragically plummeting to earth, Flight Paths is currently crowdsourcing research and ideas in its online forum. May 8th brings two artists who use medical technologies to esthetic ends: Camille Baker, whose MINDTouch combines biofeedback and mobile phones to create live performances, and Marilene Oliver, who creates artworks with MRI and CT scanning data. Future clubbers include E:vent organizers Colm Lally and Verina Gfader, artist/writer Richard Colson, and "live coders" Alex McLean and Dave Griffiths. - Ed Halter

Image Credit: Rachel Beth Egenhoefer, Detail of Knit Zoetrope (Work in Progress)

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Paul Chan "The 7 <strike>Lights</strike>" Website

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The New Museum produced a special website, which went live today, in conjunction with Paul Chan's new exhibition "The 7 Lights." The site presents elaborate documentation of the exhibition, in the form of video, text, audio, and drawings. In the spirit of Creative Commons, the source files for Chan's animations are also available for download and modification. This underlying feature inserts a unique interactive component to the website and, further, to the exhibition itself. - Ceci Moss

Image Credit: Paul Chan, 5th Light, 2007 (Photo by Jean Vong)

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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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Baltimore Rising

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metropolis-robot.jpg

The Maryland Institute College of Art (MICA) is home to a very interesting set of new media artists--both faculty and students--and exhibitions like "sight.sound [interaction] 2.0" are securing the space as a breeding ground for new ideas. An annual exhibition curated by Jason Sloan and open through March 14, the show brings together local and international artists whose work--much as the title implies--explores audio/visual interactivity. "sight.sound" doesn't aspire to a much tighter curatorial theme than that, but this allows viewers to create associations of their own, ranging from labor commentary to the aesthetics of experimentation. For instance, Nashville-based collaborators [Fladry+Jones] and DJ Black Noise meditate on collage theory, as it has shifted from the era of expressionist film to the present, by offering a 30-minute remix of Fritz Lang's film, Metropolis. The original film comments on the relationship between workers and the ruling class in an increasingly mechanized society, and the artists' remix offers a contemporary take on this evolving narrative. Baltimore-based artist Colin Ford conducts an experiment in color psychology, asking visitors to identify the hues that represent business brands, such as "Starbucks Green" and "Verizon Red," and each subsequent visitor's selection is averaged with their predecessor's, which Ford believes turns corporate power on its head by allowing consumers to " alter the meaning that the brand holds." Local artists Dan Huyberts and Will Rosenthal bring play into the fold with their fun projects. Huyberts's Circuit Bent Video Sculpture Aural Vision 1 allows viewers to "watch" nature recordings on a television, using a photocell that triggers the screaming of a circuit-bent smoke detector. Rosenthal's Cideslide is an interactive video game inviting users to choose their own adventure in navigating what Rosenthal describes as a surreal "Lynchian" world by using ...

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Art World Data Visualization

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Jennifer Dalton's work very often takes up the art world as its subject matter. Art about art--and the world that revolves around it--can often be cheeky at best, but Dalton manages to pull it off with grace, wit, and originality. She also tends to merge newer and more traditional media in doing so, ranging from internet art to paintings to temporary sculptures. On March 8, Brooklyn-based alternative art space Smack Mellon will open a solo show of her work, entitled "Jennifer Dalton is a Scientist--Not!". This moniker comes from an entry written by a gallery visitor on one of the surveys Dalton facilitated over the last year, in preparation for the show. As the gallery notes, the project puts a unique spin on the concept of site-specific art by revolving the work around the space's audience. The show will include a Powerpoint-style DVD infographically presenting the results of a survey entitled What is the Art World Thinking? (2007-Ongoing), in which "this particular slice of New York's art-going public has been invited to take a short anonymous survey consisting of a few simple questions on topics ranging from art to feminism to philanthropy to politics." The results of a previous poll, entitled How do Artists Live (2006) will also be presented in a slide show, along with a new "'insta-survey" asking viewers to respond to a pressing question by taking a candy." These questionnaires raise interesting unspoken questions about the attention spans and consumptive habits of contemporary artists and patrons, as well as the lack of demographic information we have about these individuals, despite the fact that we now live in what many have called a "database society." If you can't make it to Brooklyn but want to participate in the Q&A festivities, check out Artsurvey ...

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"Design and the Elastic Mind" @ MoMA

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Adaptability has always been a distinctive feature of human intelligence, but as MoMA's new exhibition "Design and the Elastic Mind" claims, recent developments in science call for faster -- and, indeed, more elastic -- modes of social response. Beginning with a display on nanostructures and concluding with one about social and global networks, this ambitious exhibition examines the various scales on which our contemporary lives are led, and the way design can translate technological innovation into objects of everyday use. Aranda/Lasch's Rules of Six (2007), for example, foregrounds nanodesign's potential for self-assembly with a wall relief and images of nanostructures. Developed through simple rules and interactions, these structures offer provisional cases for the role such generative, modular organization may hold in the realms of architecture and design. On the human scale, Emili Padros for the emiliana design studio's NSS: Non-Stop Shoes (1999) is one of many projects to consider micro-solutions to energy conservation: high-top sneakers that store energy over their use to power lightbulbs and small, domestic appliances. Experiments on the social scale frequently focus on the interaction of individual users with a larger (often virtual) public, as with I Want You To Want Me (2007-ongoing), Jonathan Harris and Sep Kamvar's condensation of internet dating networks into an interactive, flatscreen display, and Fernanda Bertini Viegas, Martin Wattenberg and IBM Thomas J. Watson Research Center's History Flow (2003), which visualizes user-generated revisions to Wikipedia topics. As Senior Curator Paola Antonelli points out in an essay accompanying the exhibition, the ability of virtual users to "break the temporal rhythms imposed by society in order to customize and personalize them" is one of the many ways that we are tackling technological novelty with a spirit of agency and play. - Tyler Coburn

Image: Fernanda Bertini Viegas, Martin Wattenberg and ...

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Fashion Forward

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The LilyPad Arduino


Demonstration of a shirt made with a mounted motion-responsive LilyPad


At first glance, it would seem that wearable computing and traditional craft operate in distinctly different realms of cultural production. However, Leah Buechley, a University of Colorado at Boulder PhD student working with the Craft Technology Group, bridges this gap by taking a homemade approach to the use of computation in clothing or jewelery. The LilyPad Arduino Kit allows for the construction of simple, but aesthetically innovative, computational jewelery made out of the environmentally responsive open source platform known as Arduino. According to Buechley's site, the LilyPad is "designed to empower novices to work with electronic textiles. Using the kit, you can build your own soft interactive clothing." Along with the necessary tools, the kit also includes a highly instructive tutorial that will provide those without a strong background in technology with the know-how to build their own arduino and apply it to their projects. Leah Buechley will lead a lesson on the LilyPad Arduino at Mediamatic's Designing Wearable Hybrids workshop from February 19-21 at Mediamatic, Amsterdam. - Gene McHugh

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Floating Above

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These days it's common to hear about the "ephemerality" of digital media. Artists and scholars love to celebrate and critique the presumed immateriality of work composed of zeros and ones, but rarely have we seen insightful theses on the deeper conceptual implications of this condition. Now, a group exhibition curated by Thomas Charverlat, at Shanghai's Island 6, takes the leap of considering the digital condition as one of Zero Gravity. Charverlat's curatorial statement argues, "new technologies have created an effect of contemporary weightlessness that resembles the spatial-temporal suspensions produced by the absence of gravity," and the included works (by Yang Longhai, Zane Mellupe, Zou Susu, Christophe Demaitre, Zhang Deli, Wang Dongma, Thomas Charveriat, and Zhu Ye) seek to create a sensation of floating, with regard to the viewer's interaction with objects. Aside from these unique physical qualities, the content of the work sounds deeply engaging. For instance, Yang Longhai and Zou Susu's LED collages address sleep paralysis; Zhang Deli and Wang Dongma present inventions and elixirs to aid in the act of flying; and Zou Susu addresses lunar systems, merging the history of China's calendar system with the scientific mysteries of outer space. This must be what the organizers mean when they say the show aims for "new altitudes of consciousness." - Marisa Olson

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