Over the past year or so, Nicholas O'Brien has been contributing a series of very original interviews with new media artists to the Chicago-based contemporary art blog Bad at Sports. (I've posted a few of them already to Rhizome, here and here.) For each one, the interviews take place within the medium which the artists works (such as Second Life, video, or tumblr). O'Brien posted another interview this week with Nicolas Sassoon, in which they trade 3D models in between a discussion about architecture, copying/pasting, and site-specificity.
The thorn lodged in your swollen thumb is matter; the thought lodged in your mind is not. Yet that discrepancy can be troubled by any admission that thoughts are the outcome of, say, electrochemical impulses, or even (to borrow a medium-inspired tripe) the effect of synapses within a neural network. No matter how immaterial you understand your thoughts to be, you can't help but grant that they have some neurophysiological ground. Which is simply to say that the process of thinking has a materiality of its own.
This hardly means that you should abandon the original distinction (phenomenological or epistemological or ontological) between thoughts and thorns. Rather, it's a way to begin recognizing how, both in ordinary language and more specialized language, materiality can refer to different dimensions of experience, or dimensions beyond (or below) what we generally consider experience to be. Like many concepts, materiality may seem to make the most sense when it is opposed to another term: the material serves as a commonsensical antithesis to, for instance, the spiritual, the abstract, the phenomenal, the virtual, and the formal, not to mention the immaterial. And yet materiality has a specificity that differentiates it from its superficial cognates, such as physicality, reality, or concreteness. When you admire the materiality of a sweater, you're acknowledging something about its look and feel, not simply its existence as a physical object. When you complain of another sweater that it lacks this materiality, you're not asserting its immateriality. And if, after machine-washing the first sweater, you allow that you have witlessly destroyed its materiality, you mean that you've altered some of its physical qualities, not that you have eradicated the object tout court. Nonetheless, the obfuscation of an object can be the requisite result of gaining greater access ...
Nam June Paik (1932 - 2006) is an artist fabled for what he has achieved, as the instigator of video art, the pioneer of media art and through his influence on the indebted MTV generation. It's as if his career is almost made for the retrospective exhibition. His work is bound to his legacy, and his influence is hard to encompass. The importance of this legacy asks two parallel questions, how to preserve, present and document but also how to react, trace and respond. Both are targeted through a new joint exhibition of Paik's work at Tate Liverpool and FACT (Foundation for Art and Creative Technology), the first major retrospective of his work since his death in 2006 and the first exhibition of his work in the UK since 1988.
Tate presents a comprehensive chronicle of Paik's movements through the avant-garde, in performance, composition, television and sculpture. There are TV sets, robots and Buddhas, mixed with historical documentation, vitrines filled with exhibition programs, posters and photographs and timelines drawn on walls, which denote his many collaborators and read like a roll call of the most influential artists of the 20th century - John Cage, Karlheinz Stockhausen, Joseph Beuys and Merce Cunningham.
In contrast to the Tate, where you can look and listen with historical meticulousness, at FACT you are given a remote control. Here you are encouraged to relax, in an archive lounge, and browse a collection of his video works at leisure. Or lie back underneath Laser Cone (1998) and be dazzled.
This PDF is to serve as an extended statement of artistic purpose and critique of our contemporary relation to objects and images in Post-Internet culture. More than anything, it poses a survey of contemplations and open questions on contemporary art and culture after the Internet.
“Post-Internet Art” is a term coined by artist Marisa Olson and developed further by writer Gene McHugh in the critical blog “Post Internet” during its activity between December 2009 and September 2010. Under McHugh's definition it concerns “art responding to [a condition] described as 'Post Internet'-when the Internet is less a novelty and more a banality. Perhaps ... closer to what Guthrie Lonergan described as 'Internet Aware'-or when the photo of the art object is more widely dispersed [&] viewed than the object itself.” There are also several references to the idea of “post-net culture” in the writings of Lev Manovich as early as 2001.
Specifically within the context of this PDF, Post-Internet is defined as a result of the contemporary moment: inherently informed by ubiquitous authorship, the development of attention as currency, the collapse of physical space in networked culture, and the infinite reproducibility and mutability of digital materials.
Post-Internet also serves as an important semantic distinction from the two historical artistic modes with which it is most often associated: New Media Art and Conceptualism.
New Media is here denounced as a mode too narrowly focused on the specific workings of novel technologies, rather than a sincere exploration of cultural shifts in which that technology plays only a small role. It can therefore be seen as relying too heavily on the specific materiality of its media. Conceptualism (in theory if not practice) presumes a lack of attention to the physical substrate in favor of the methods of disseminating the artwork as idea, image ...
Images above from the exhibition "CONTACT" at XL Gallery. For more on Art Business Consulting and their practice, read "Corporate Culture: An Introduction to Art Business Consulting" by Brian Droitcour.
With the insertion of artist edition kitsch into the second-hand store industry I attempt an analysis of commodity flow and second-hand bric-a-brac capitalism and simultaneously generate critique of art object value (the thrift store is momentarily converted into venue for the avant-garde and the second-hand shopper inadvertently becomes collector of fine art).
120 ceramic E.T. figures were slipcast over a 10-month period from a single plaster mold purchased from a second-hand store in 2009. Once glazed and serialized The E.T.s were then circulated through donation to area thrift stores where they were priced, shelved and sold to the public.
Geostationary Banana Over Texas is an art intervention that involves placing a gigantic banana over the Texas sky. This object will float between the high atmosphere and Earth's low orbit, being visible only from the state of Texas and its surroundings. From the ground will be clearly recognizable and visible day and night; it will stay up for approximately one month.