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FAUND is a magazine comprised of images found on the internet. For their first issue, which debuted last month, Switzerland-based editors Daniel Pianetti and Renato Zülli invited artists Peter Sutherland, Guy Meldem and Constant Dullaart to submit their finds. Their second issue comes out today, with images collected by artists Oliver Laric, Samuel Nyholm, Chris Coy, Sorryimissedyourparty, and Justin Kemp. As a seemingly natural extension to sites such as ffffound, the magazine spotlights the curatorial taste and direction of each individual artist. I asked Daniel Pianetti and Renato Zülli a few questions about their project via email. - Ceci Moss
How did you come up with the idea for FAUND?
We noticed that we were spending more and more time surfing for images on the Internet for pleasure, that's how we discovered sites where people can collect found images (ffffound, flickr, as-found...). We often focus our attention on the person who's finding, we think that you can understand a lot about this person judging by his finds. That's why we decided to create a paper magazine that highlights finders by inviting and spotlighting them as guests. Also, by printing the found images they become more durable.
How did you solicit artists to contribute?
Usually we choose the artists judging by their approach to general appropriation art. We simply ask them to send us any amount of image links, without imposing a specific theme on them. The only rule is that they can't submit images that they've modified. We select the guests after considering the creativity of their finds. Until now, we've had a good response because it's an unusual request.
Do you plan to continue publication on a monthly basis?
We never intended to ...
The Republican National Convention is still a handful of days away, but controversy is already being courted in Minneapolis-St. Paul over CBS Outdoor's decision to cancel its contract with artist Suzanne Opton due to the politically-sensitive nature of her photographs. Working with local organization Forecast Public Art and curator Susan Reynolds, Opton aimed to display several billboards depicting active-duty American soldiers, whom she photographed at Fort Drum, New York in 2004 and 2005. Like Rineke Dijkstra's series of photographs of young soldiers serving in the French Foreign Legion and Israeli Army, Opton's works offer empathetic portraits of her subjects, at a time when American military action in Iraq and Afghanistan elicits increasing national dissent. Her striking, monumental images find their subjects stripped of body armor and military dress and leaning their heads against a table. The photographs are vertically-scaled and cropped to only show each subject's head and neck, a visual decision Opton has suggested lends vulnerability to these unarmed soldiers, but which also, in light of past Al Qaeda videos, carries a far more disturbing undertone. On the project's website -- now the most significant record of the billboards -- Opton accompanies each of the nine photographs with the length of time served, by a given subject, in Iraq and Afghanistan. In a sense, because of the ambivalent mix of emotions these images conjure, Opton's choice to exhibit them in equally ambivalent public spaces seemed very appropriate. Yet that ambiguity, the artist claimed, was precisely the cause of CBS Outdoor's concern. Worry about possible misinterpretation of the images -- and the lack of explicit indication that they were artworks, as opposed to advertisements -- contributed, she said, to the organization's decision to discontinue her contract. If nothing else, Opton's proposal will serve as an ...
Montreal-based artist Matthew Biederman is daring to speak out about what he sees as military and government hijacking of what is "arguably one of Earth's most important, and only inexhaustible resources": air waves. Whereas radio was once intended as a many-to-many mode of communication, tight regulation of frequencies has led to a scenario in which the few (mostly corporate entities) are entitled to speak to the masses. His project, DAREDX, "seeks to re-establish the public's presence and right of occupation within the radio spectrum." In an effort to restore some of the utopian ideals initially associated with radio, the project will connect the public with the voices that float in the air around them and yet often go unheard: the voices of amateur broadcasters. Working almost like an astronomer, Biederman (under the call sign VA2XBX) will pluck transmissions out of the night sky, playing them back in Montreal's Cabot Square and logging and mapping them online. Drawing a connection between free public speech and the right of public assembly, DAREDX will amplify the voice of the people. Radioheads will be excited to know that non-vocal signals will also be charted, as the artist will "work with digital communications on HF, in order to send and receive SSTV (SlowScan Televsion), WEFAX (from NOAA Satellites), PSK31, Hellschrieber, and many more." In case you don't feel dialed-in enough to understand what that means, consider attending one of the talks, walks, or workshops associated with the project--including the one on how to build and take home your own FM transmitter! - Marisa Olson
Critical Art Ensemble co-founder Dr. Steven Kurtz has been cleared of all charges in what is widely acknowledged as a bogus mail fraud case, and the federal government has said that they do not plan to appeal the judge's decree that the case was without merit. The CAE is a tactical media group whose highly-acclaimed, internationally-exhibited art and activist academic writings have been explicitly critical of threats to civil liberty, such as those posed in the case against Kurtz and his colleague, Professor Robert Ferrell. Dr. Ferrell and Dr. Kurtz were accused for an activity common in the field of scientific research: mailing each other materials in the spirit of collaboration and information-sharing. The U.S. government originally charged Kurtz with bioterrorism, after local officials discovered biological artwork in his home while responding to an emergency call regarding the tragic death of his wife. When this tack failed, they tried to save face by prosecuting both Kurtz and Ferrell for mail fraud. The allegation was that this use of the mail violated the terms of sale of the innocuous bacteria exchanged between the two parties. Under the Patriot Act, being found guilty of this crime could carry a sentence of up to twenty years in prison, rather than the five that used to threaten gangsters, petty criminals, and the long list of activists the government has previously tried to silence. At a MoMA screening of Lynn Hershman's film Strange Culture, which centered on Kurtz's case, the artist said that he was fairly certain that this was the first instance in which an individual was charged with fraud without another party actually claiming to have been defrauded. Others have previously likened the case to an act of making a federal case out of [allegedly] breaking the warranty on ...