Rapture Heap v2.0 - Back 2 Reality (2010) - Eilis McDonald





Eilis McDonald's Rapture Heap is a multi-phased project that centres around the occupation of one of Dublin's many empty retail spaces. The first installment of the project saw McDonald curate an exhibition that highlighted the artists that influence her and brought to Ireland some of today's most prominent internet based artists (http://www.raptureheap.com/v1). "Back to Reality" is the second installment of the series. Here McDonald delivers a body of work that is a result of her 6 month residency in the retail space. Commissioned under the Per Cent for Art Scheme for Dublin City Council’s Liberty Corner, the residency period afforded the artist time and space to explore the wealth of diverse activity in the surrounding area - from the various cultural institutions, such as the LAB and DanceHouse, to the Buddhist Centre, €2 shops, financial institutions, beauty salons and 24-hour internet cafés. With this particular urban spectrum serving as her backdrop, McDonald searches for the sublime and ethereal by seeking out the spiritual and subliminal. McDonald recontextualises the discarded artefacts of the local domesticity found in charity shops and fuses them with video assemblages that include a transient public contacted through advertising and classifieds in the CityAds Weekly newspaper. "Back to Reality"; the research phase of the Rapture Heap project brings together a number of varied strands of interests and motivations. The projects future online presence provides access to a broad national and international public and an opportunity to relate to a wider demographic, while the installation provides a visceral, immersive physical environment. "Back to Reality" presents a story-thus-far in preparation for the 3rd installment of the Rapture Heap Project.



General Web Content


On gaming, gear, and tech sites across the net one can find threads asking users for ratings and approval on their equipment. A simple search for "rate my rig", "rate my setup", "rate my collection", "rate my gear" will return hundreds of these images and videos. From snapshots of elaborate home entertainment centers to short videos displaying one's own modded gear, a sense of pride and showmanship pervades throughout. The threads and video clips speak to the social and performative nature of collection, as well as a competitive consumerist drive, and offer a glimpse into the lives, homes, and obsessions of geeks of all kinds.







Putting the capital in decapitation


Goldin+Senneby, Headless, 2007- (Photo: John Barlow)

As a lead-up to the Headless Conference, co-organizer Ginny Kollak shares her essay “Putting the capital in decapitation” which is excerpted from the brochure accompanying the exhibition “The Office for Parafictional Research Presents Headless: Work by Goldin+Senneby” on view through March 21 at CCS Bard. The Headless Conference is a mini-symposium for this exhibition.

Goldin+Senneby is the identity-resistant “framework for collaboration” established by Stockholm-based artists Simon Goldin and Jakob Senneby in 2004. An interest in capitalist logic and networked culture guides their investigative practice, which explores juridical, financial, and spatial infrastructures through performance and role-playing, invented (and often virtual) realities, writing and publishing, and public interventions.

Headless (2007-) is the artists’ ongoing analysis of the shadowy realm of offshore finance. The subject represents a nearly perfect encapsulation of Goldin+Senneby’s many preoccupations, but perhaps its most relevant feature is its provocative and strategic use of masking, secrecy, and withdrawal. The system is evasive by definition: its procedures allow a company’s assets to be protected from taxation or other bureaucratic regulation, and the identities of its owners and their true business practices can be concealed. In spatial terms, examining an offshore company can be thought of as encountering a space that shifts readily from an impenetrable barrier to an empty void—like a hologram, it appears and disappears according to the perspective from which it is viewed. From a moral standpoint, offshore’s slippery visage is just as apt to inspire bored yawns as righteous indignation: one man’s exploitation is another’s tedious paperwork. Still, like most unknown territories, offshore triggers mainly sinister readings. A more anthropomorphic understanding might conceive the offshore company as something monstrous—a decentralized, elusive body that moves without any visible means of control—a ...


A Tool to Deceive and Slaughter (2009) - Caleb Larsen




Combining Robert Morris' Box With the Sound of Its Own Making with Baudrillard's writing on the art auction this sculpture exists in eternal transactional flux. It is a physical sculpture that is perptually attempting to auction itself on eBay.

Every ten minutes the black box pings a server on the internet via the ethernet connection to check if it is for sale on the eBay. If its auction has ended or it has sold, it automatically creates a new auction of itself.

If a person buys it on eBay, the current owner is required to send it to the new owner. The new owner must then plug it into ethernet, and the cycle repeats itself.

This work is discussed in the catalogue for The Value of Nothing, a 2009 exhibition. Buy or download it.

Follow the current auction here: http://atooltodeceiveandslaughter.com



Interview with Temporary Services


Copies of "Art Work: A National Conversation About Art, Labor, and Politics"

Independent, Chicago-based collective Temporary Services, comprised of Brett Bloom, Salem Collo-Julin and Marc Fischer, have been producing exhibitions, events, projects, and publications since 1998. More recently, they published the newspaper and website “Art Work: A National Conversation About Art, Labor, and Politics” which assembles writing by artists, activists and academics about the economic decline and its influence on the livelihood of artists. (I previously posted one article to Rhizome from this collection, "Art Versus Work" by Julia Bryan-Wilson.) I had the opportunity to interview Temporary Services over e-mail, and they answered my questions as a group via Google docs. - Jenny Jaskey

This post is the concluding article in a series on art production and economy. To read the other articles in this series, go here for an interview with Caroline Woolard of OurGoods and here for an interview with Jeff Hnilicka of FEAST.

How did Temporary Services begin?

TS: We began in 1998 as a storefront space that presented experimental art projects and exhibitions. In late 1999 there were several people collaborating in and around Temporary Services. We decided to form a group. Since that time, the group has fluctuated in membership to arrive at the current configuration of Brett Bloom, Salem Collo-Julin and Marc Fischer, which has been stable since 2002.

Your most recent project is a paper and accompanying website, "Art Work: A National Conversation about Art, Labor, and Economics." What led to its development?

TS: We were invited by Christopher Lynn, the director of SPACES Gallery in Cleveland, to organize an exhibition. SPACES is an important art organization that has its origins in the nationwide alternative art spaces infrastructure built in the 1970s, and funded in part by a more adventurous National Endowment for the ...


Interview with Jeff Hnilicka of FEAST



As the second part of a series on art, labor, and politics, I spoke with Jeff Hnilicka of FEAST, a Brooklyn-based community dinner that funds the work of emerging artists. FEAST will be hosting their next meal tomorrow evening, February 6, from 5-8 p.m. at Church of the Messiah, 129 Russell St, Brooklyn NY. The event is open to the public. - Jenny Jaskey

What is FEAST and how did you begin?

Jeff Hnilicka: FEAST has been going on for a little over a year and runs out of a church basement in Greenpoint. There are around twenty people who help facilitate it. We come from the art world, food world, and design world, and we are connected to ideas of collectivism and immediacy - things like zines, living room dance parties, bike rides, and dinners. Many of us are also involved with Hit Factorie, an artist collective.

FEAST grew out of our desire to investigate the collapse of cultural production in the face of emerging sustainable food production systems that were successful. We wanted to ask “what is localism?” in relation to cultural production and how the structures of a farm co-op translate to an art economy. In the food world, the sustainable is the heirloom - that is the desired experience. In cultural production, the sustainable is relegated to the amateur, the “craft.” But we wondered: can you produce high quality cultural products using a sustainable model? Those were our basic goals. What developed was a dinner party, where around 300 people come to a church basement every couple of months. We ask for $10-20 donations at the door to attend the dinner, although no one is turned away. Artists propose projects over the course of the meal, and the guests select one project to fund. We vote democratically. Whichever ...


Interview with Caroline Woolard of OurGoods


I first learned of OurGoods from an advertisement in “Art Work: A National Conversation about Art, Labor, and Politics.” Intrigued by their claim to provide an online infrastructure for artists to obtain goods and services without cash, I wrote to Caroline Woolard, a co-founder of the OurGoods project, to find out more. For those in the New York area, OurGoods will host "Trade School" in a storefront at 139 Norfolk Street in the Lower East Side from January 25th through March 1st.

What is OurGoods?

Caroline: OurGoods is an online barter network for artists, designers, and cultural producers to barter skills, spaces, and objects. Members of OurGoods organize creative projects with "haves" and "needs" and OurGoods matches barter partners, tracks accountability, and helps the business of independent, creative work. The site can be used to find collaborators, see emerging interests, or execute projects without cash. For example, I can help you write a grant if you make my costumes. OurGoods is a new model for valuing creative work. It fosters interdependence and strong working relationships. You will get your independent work done with mutual respect instead of cash.


Required Reading


Never mind that the decade really ends in a little over a year, it's time to take stock of it. Today's post looks back at the decade just past while tomorrow's will look at the decade to come.

As I observed before, this decade is marked by atemporality. The greatest symptom of this is our inability to name the decade and, although commentators have tried to dub it the naughties, the aughts, and the 00s (is that pronounced the ooze?), the decade remains, as Paul Krugman suggests, a Big Zero, and we are unable to periodize it. This is not just a matter of linguistic discomfort, its a reflection of the atemporality of network culture. Jean Baudrillard is proved right. History, it seems, came to an end with the millennium, which was a countdown not only to the end of a millennium but also to the end of meaning itself. Perhaps, the Daily Miltonian suggested, we didn't have a name for the decade because it was so bad.


Link »

It's time for my promised set of predictions for the coming decade. It has been a transgression of disciplinary norms for historians to predict the future, but its also quite common among bloggers. So let's treat this as a blogosphere game, nothing more. It'll be interesting to see just how wildly wrong I am a decade from now.

In many respects, the next decade is likely to seem like a hangover after the party of the 2000s (yes, I said party). The good times of the boom were little more than a lie perpetrated by finance, utterly ungrounded in any economy reality, and were not based on any sustainable economic thought. Honestly, it's unclear ...


Required Reading


Image: Shoveling pirated DVDs in Taiyuan, Shanxi province, China, April 20, 2008

The poor image is a copy in motion. Its quality is bad, its resolution substandard. As it accelerates, it deteriorates. It is a ghost of an image, a preview, a thumbnail, an errant idea, an itinerant image distributed for free, squeezed through slow digital connections, compressed, reproduced, ripped, remixed, as well as copied and pasted into other channels of distribution.

The poor image is a rag or a rip; an AVI or a JPEG, a lumpen proletarian in the class society of appearances, ranked and valued according to its resolution. The poor image has been uploaded, downloaded, shared, reformatted, and reedited. It transforms quality into accessibility, exhibition value into cult value, films into clips, contemplation into distraction. The image is liberated from the vaults of cinemas and archives and thrust into digital uncertainty, at the expense of its own substance. The poor image tends towards abstraction: it is a visual idea in its very becoming.....

......The circulation of poor images creates a circuit, which fulfills the original ambitions of militant and (some) essayistic and experimental cinema—to create an alternative economy of images, an imperfect cinema existing inside as well as beyond and under commercial media streams. In the age of file-sharing, even marginalized content circulates again and reconnects dispersed worldwide audiences.



Corporate Culture


"Contact," the most recent exhibition by the group Art Business Consulting, featured a rocket ship built from computer hardware, with a trio of yuppies floating weightlessly on a video screen inside. The trappings and denizens of the office have figured in ABC's work since Mikhail Kosoplapov, Maxim Ilyukhin, and Natalia Struchkova formed the group in 2001, and as in "Contact," they have always been subject to some sort of disfigurement. Early on, ABC established a pseudo-corporate identity by showing up at art openings in expensive cars and nice suits, performing the role of Russia's nascent upper-middle class while their colleagues in the Moscow boheme were riding public transport in sweaters and jeans. To solidify that image, ABC made good on their name's promise of "business"--in 2004, they became dealers, selling the work of artists they liked at ABC Gallery. Change happens quickly in Moscow; now that the market has dwarfed institutional influence in Russia's art world, linking the words "art" and "business" doesn't feel as novel as it did in 2001, and Western-style corporate culture has lost the cachet of an exotic interloper. ABC's symbolic launch of the office into space in "Contact" came on the heels of the loss of their own office space; at the end of May, the arts complex where ABC Gallery was located shut down to make room for a new development. While Ilyukhin, Kosolapov, and Struchkova continue to work as artists, businesspeople, and consultants, the events of last summer seem to mark a turning point, a time for reflecting on the future of a project initiated to document social change now that those changes are entrenched.