Murmur Study (2009) - Christopher Baker and Marton Andras Juhasz

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Murmur Study from Christopher Baker on Vimeo.


Murmur Study is an installation that examines the rise of micro-messaging technologies such as Twitter and Facebook’s status update. One might describe these messages as a kind of digital small talk. But unlike water-cooler conversations, these fleeting thoughts are accumulated, archived and digitally-indexed by corporations. While the future of these archives remains to be seen, the sheer volume of publicly accessible personal — often emotional — expression should give us pause.

This installation consists of 30 thermal printers that continuously monitor Twitter for new messages containing variations on common emotional utterances. Messages containing hundreds of variations on words such as argh, meh, grrrr, oooo, ewww, and hmph, are printed as an endless waterfall of text accumulating in tangled piles below.

The printed thermal receipt paper is then reused in future projects and exhibitions or recycled.

-- FROM THE ARTIST'S STATEMENT

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All titles (2008) - Jan Vormann

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A modified black and white hairdryer of the same brand are installed on a grey platform. Directed towards each other they get into a direct relation, blowing with hot air at the opponent. The circuits and the plastic cover heat up until a decision is made: Either, one breaks earlier than the other, leaving a „winner“, both break at the same time or, being equally weak, none breaks, leaving the situation in a vital draw.

-- FROM THE ARTIST'S STATEMENT

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g (2008) - Jack Strange

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A lead ball rests on the "g" key of a laptop, producing the letter "g" within the body of a Word document. Eventually, the document becomes so large that it crashes the computer.

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Size Small

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In New York City, time and space (and, of course, the ever-present dollar bill) have long operated as limiting factors in the exhibition of art. In response, curators and artists alike have had to eek out unique and innovative approaches to show work. Galleries such as Fake Estate have set up shop in former utility closets while curatorial initiatives like Apartment Show have taken up impromptu, one-night only residencies in homes across the city. Art Since the Summer of ’69, run by Hanne Mugaas, Fabienne Stephan and Paul-Aymar Mourgue d’Algue, is another such enterprising venture to carve out space, often in uncommon settings, to show work by emerging artists.

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The Body of Michael Daines (2000) - Michael Daines

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In 2000, Michael Daines, then a 16-year-old high-school student in Calgary, attempted to sell his body under eBay's sculpture category. By treating his body as a sculptural object, this project recalls the work of Eleanor Antin, Chris Burden, Gilbert and George, and other Performance artists who used their bodies as a medium in their work.

-- FROM THE INTRODUCTION TO "NEW MEDIA ART" BY MARK TRIBE

Note: The Body of Michael Daines is no longer available online, but you can read a 2002 interview with the artist by Eryk Salvaggio here. For a shorter, informal interview with Daines about the project, also conducted by Salvaggio, go here. The work was briefly mentioned in Artforum in 2001, here.

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He Blinded Me with Science

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Image: Conrad Shawcross, Slow Arc III, 2009

In an interview in the Village Voice ahead of his current show at Location One, British artist Conrad Shawcross called his Slow Arc Inside a Cube an analogy to Plato’s cave: “the idea that visible reality is only a small crumb of what's really out there.” As a lightbulb moves on a mechanical arm inside a cage, it throws the cage’s gridded shadow across the white walls of the enclosed space that contains the installation, creating the sensation that the room is expanding and contracting as the viewer stands within it. The grid is simultaneously a solid object (the cage) and its fluid trace (the shadow). Could Slow Arc be a wry joke about the white cube and the grid, those two pillars of modern art? Perhaps, but it is primarily a study in reality and tangibility. Lattice Cube IV and Lattice Cube II, two other sculptures at the exhibition, are both segmented, hinged boxes in different forms of expansion, like a moving object caught at two moments in time. Dumbbells are machine-made drawings that trace the frequency of a major sixth, and The Celestial Meters are an homage to the Earth meter, devised in 1799 based on an incorrect estimation of the distance from the equator to the North Pole. Shawcross determined the length of his eight sticks through similar calculations, but for each one he took data on the planet whose name is inscribed in the metallic stick. Shawcross’ work recalls that of Olafur Eliasson, who uses simple geometric and kinetic structures to elicit a sense of wonder about light, optics, and nature. But unlike Eliasson, Shawcross foregrounds the role of the scientific imagination in shaping perceptions of the world.

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Image: Conrad Shawcross, Lattice Cube IV, 2009

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A Whole New World? On the 53rd Venice Biennale

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Image: Aleksandra Mir, VENEZIA (all places contain all others), 2009

“Making Worlds”, the theme for this year’s 53rd International Art Exhibition curated by Daniel Birnbaum, argues that art should be seen as a form of “world making” and taken seriously as such. His accompanying essay in the catalog holds a distinctively transcendent ring to it, one that calls out for a universal solidarity through art, in stating, “Perhaps art can be one way out of a world ruled by leveling impulses and dull sameness. Can each artwork be a principle of hope and an intriguing plan for escape? Behind the immediate surface we are many - together and individually, through the multiplicity of imaginative worlds we hold within.” Given the very real worlds of national and political ambitions on the table in the Biennale’s pavilions, not to mention the surreal economic and class component to these sorts of events, Birnbaum’s curatorial statement, which suggests that art is autonomous from these factors, seemed like floral hyperbole in comparison. Why would the U.S. Pavilion be the only country to extend their Bruce Nauman exhibition to three locations across the city? And why would the United Arab Emirates Pavilion feature numerous models of large-scale cultural projects proposed for Abu Dhabi? The world’s fair mentality is here for the long run, that is to be sure. The strongest projects I viewed, in both the main exhibition and the pavilions, were able to eek out a space, certainly not a “world”, with a degree of critical distance and integrity away from the Biennale circus.

Venice is one of the few cities in the world to completely rely on boats for delivery, transportation, garbage disposal, and every other municipal need you can think of. The upkeep of the city is expensive due ...

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Interview with Samara Golden

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Image: Samara Golden, Yes no party, 2009 (Installation at Sculpture Center, Spring 2009)

Samara Golden’s colorful, multifaceted video and sculptural installations have been popping up quite a bit in New York City recently. Earlier this year, the artist’s "Yes no party" was set up within an alcove in the basement of the Sculpture Center in Queens as part of the group exhibition “In Practice Winter '09.” Golden then presented her sculpture "There's more but it's invisible" at Columbia University’s 2009 M.F.A. Thesis Exhibition, and this piece is now on view at the Project Room at Marvelli Gallery in Chelsea until June 27. I spoke with the artist at the Sculpture Center and then at her studio, where we discussed her interest in combining video and sculpture, her incorporation of images culled from image searches on the web into her installations, and more. - Chloe Gray

You surf the web for images to incorporate into your installations. Can you talk about your surfing methodology?

Sometimes I start by typing in a broad term like “messy room,” and when I find a good picture I take elements out and print them, such as a lamp or a vase that I like. In other cases I use the "messy room” picture to help me figure out what I’m looking for; I like the mirror in the picture, so I search for “unique wall mirror” and see what I can find. It's very fun, like making an immediate wish list for a 2D thrift store.

On another level, I’m interested in what photographers call “gaining access”: the ability to have access to other peoples lives. Using the internet allows me access without interfering. Photographers often have to consider these issues because there is an implied ...

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Pop Up Shop

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Image: Raster Noton, Shop, installation view, Tokyo

e-flux's Lower East Side space will host a temporary record store for German electronic label Raster-Noton over the next two months. The record label came out of artists Olaf Bender and Frank Bretschneider's label Rastermusic and artist Carsten Nicolai's own Noton.archiv für ton und nichtton in 1999, and their individual sensibilities have shaped the minimalist aesthetic the label is now known for. Many of the artists who have releases on Raster-Norton, such as Ryoji Ikeda, CM Von Hausswolff and Marc Behrens, examine the materiality of sound as part of their visual arts practice. No wonder, then, that the label's short residency in Manhattan will take the form of an installation, titled The Shop, where none of their over 100 releases will actually be for purchase. Instead, all of their output will be exhibited as artifacts, with CDs displayed and recordings audible via listening stations. Some of these recordings will activate the movement of light in White Line Light, a work by Olaf Bender and Carsten Nicolai that will illuminate the installation. The Shop opens May 26th with a performance by Nicolai and Bender and runs until the end of July.

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Export to World (2007) - Linda Kostowski and Sascha Pohflepp

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Export to World seeks to comment ironically on the design and production of merchandise in virtual worlds. At Ars Electronica in Linz, retail space on Marienstrasse was temporarily converted into a shop like those found in Second Life. Large scale display ads showed what's for sale: custom-made or purchased virtual objects that shoppers could buy at a price determined daily by the current Linden dollar/euro exchange rate. Instead of the acquired object suddenly appearing in the purchaser's inventory, though, the proud owner received a a two-dimensional paper representation of it which he/she could manually fit together into a three-dimensional object on site. The final results are paper representations of digital representations of real objects, including all the flaws that copying entails.

-- FROM THE ARTIST'S STATEMENT

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