A Tribute to Chris Marker's Double Life


Saddened by the news of Chris Marker's death today at age 91, I guided my generic male goth avatar to Ouvroir, Marker's Second Life island chain. Ouvroir is devoted to monuments, art, eclectic means of transportation, and, of course, Monsieur Guillaume. It can be accessed at the coordinates 187, 61, 39. In 2010, Marker made Ouvroir, the movie, featuring Guillaume's wanderings through the space.

Dancing with Guillame. Here is a video of Monsieur Guillaume dancing with an unidentified bald avatar.

A Guillaume submarine.

Mount Guillaume.

A crashed plane, giraffe, and palm trees on the sands of Ouvroir.

Three cat statues and the iconic spherical museum.

Bowing before a giant Guillaume with a sampling of artwork visible at Ouvroir.

Ouvroir from above.

"Every memory can create its own legend," we are told in Marker's 1982 film Sans Soleil. Marker's work always concerned itself with memory and the formation of history, and ranged in subject from the Vietnam war to Alexander Medvedkin's CineTrain. In 1962, he made La Jetée, a short film composed almost entirely of stills. Other films include 1977's A Grin Without A Cat, focusing on Left political movements of the 60s and 70s, and 2004's The Case of the Grinning Cat, which explored France's own political turmoil in the years after 9/11. Famously reclusive, Marker is now free to sprial endlessly into legend.


Sara Ludy at bubblebyte.org


part of Sara Ludy, Transience (2011) image essay (originally released on Art Fag City)

Transience, originally released on Art Fag City, is an image essay containing rental-listing photos from Craigslist. The photos were found in April 2011. The 13 sets presented are taken from various locations as Guam, Mankato, Kenai, Quad Cities, Fairbanks, Thailand, Singapore, Cebu, Vancouver, The Virgin Islands, Huntington, Cape Cod, and Treasure Coast. The similarity between so many displaced different locations arise questions about visual globalization of our domestic settings and ways of living. The work 116, 74, 23 is a field recording from Second Life. The title of this recording comes from the specific location in 'Prefab Houses by GALLAND HOMES' where the audio was recorded. The recording is taken from the conversation between two women discussing their avatar appearances while they hang out in a pre-fabricated house. The music in the background, barely perceivable comes from the internet radio station martiniinthemorning.com and accompany their conversations. Tiles is a selection of 10 found animated gifs used for online real estate listings. Each gif is repeated as a tiled background, creating a graphical visual pattern. The last work, Transitions, is a selection of 9 amateur You-tube videos that show residential and commercial spaces.
Both Tiles and Transitions show random found locations, connected and not to their original spaces. The found images, reverted in a visual manner are able to confuse the spectator and loose its geographical affiliation arising questions of differentiation and cultural identity through the digital representation of the domestic space.


A Conversation with Jon Rafman from Bad At Sports


In this brilliant (and hilarious, and at times, NSFW) clip, Nicholas O'Brien interviews artist Jon Rafman about his work in Second Life for Chicago-based contemporary art blog Bad at Sports. Rafman uses his avatar Kool-Aid Man throughout, of his Kool-Aid Man in Second Life (.com).


On Nathaniel Stern & Jessica Meuninck-Ganger's "Passing Between" at AOP Gallery


Nathaniel Stern and Jessica Meuninck-Ganger, The Gallerist, 2009

This past month, Johannesburg’s AOP Gallery, a space devoted to works on paper, hosted the exhibition “Passing Between” which showcased the collaborative output between digital artist Nathaniel Stern and printmaker Jessica Meuninck-Ganger. At the outset, Stern and Meuninck-Ganger approached the collaboration as a chance to learn each other's techniques. But they quickly chose to focus on their own strengths in a process they call, "passing between", hence the title of the exhibition. For Stern, the move toward printmaking comes from a long interest in the technique. In recent work, he has engaged with an expanded form of digital print making, using a hacked portable scanner to produce densely patterned sequences of natural images, in a project called Compressionism. For “Passing Between,” Stern concentrated on using digital photo frames as a medium for displaying loops of video obtained through live filming, and sampled machinima taken from Second Life. Meuninck-Ganger responded to the framed video loops with an encyclopedic range of printmaking techniques from wood block to mono print, silkscreen, etching, and photogravure. In some cases, she printed or etched directly on the screens of the digital photo frames; in other cases, the prints were layered over the screens creating a delicate conjunction between the fibers of the paper medium and the illumination of the underlying video. In The Gallerist, a prominent New York art dealer is portrayed anxiously perched on a chair in middle of a lithograph while below the surface of the paper machinima sharks circle him endlessly.

Nathaniel Stern and Jessica Meuninck-Ganger, Twin Cities, 2009

The effect is both magical and subtle. Jessica's images often capture a static moment from the subject matter of the video in etching or ink. The pleasure offered by the composite images comes ...


Top 5 - 10


Image: From Jon Rafman's Google Street Views

Brian Droitcour is a writer, curator, and Russian-to-English translator. From 2002 to 2007 he lived in Moscow, where he covered art for The Moscow Times and Artchronika, a Russian monthly magazine. In 2008 he moved to New York, where he started working for Rhizome, first as curatorial fellow, then as staff writer. As a translator he's worked on several exhibition catalogues and art anthologies.

Jon Rafman's Google Street Views and the accompanying essay he wrote for Art Fag City's IMG MGMT series are sure to get several well-deserved mentions in end-of-the-year lists. Tom Moody on Google Street Views: "Jon Rafman's gathering of images from Google Street Views isn't really collecting at all but solid, groundbreaking journalism. Obviously untold hours were spent perusing this recent-but-everyday tool for images in very specific, focused categories. Photos that look like art photos, photos of mishaps, photos showing the success and failure of Google's face-blurring software, photos that show class issues in a supposedly 'universal' product (the down and out are more likely to be photographed unsympathetically than the up and in). As much as one hates to see more attention paid to the monopoly that aspires to put the happy face on Big Brother, this is worthwhile, thoughtful research." Kool-Aid Man in Second Life is a distorted twin to Google Street Views, another set of screen captures singling out accidental beauty and quirks of surveillance, only this time in a fantasy world that lets Rafman personify his searching gaze in a pitcher of fruit drink.

кремль.рф (kremlin.rf) won't go live until early next year, but the Russian presidential administration's new Cyrillic URL already made waves last month, when Russia became the first country to register top-level ...


Interview with Christiane Paul


The Third Quadrilateral Biennial opened last week at the MMSU in Rijeka, Croatia, and it will remain on view until January 13, 2010. The Biennial emerged out of a cultural partnership between four participating countries - Croatia, Slovenia, Hungary and Italy. Artists from these countries are selected for exhibition in the Biennial. The focus for this year is new media art, and the organizers fittingly selected acclaimed new media art scholar and curator Christiane Paul as the Artistic Director for the Biennial. Paul took a moment to answer a few questions about the exhibition over email.


Performa '09 Picks



Performa, New York's super duper mega whirlwind performance biennial, will take over the city for the next month. I thought I'd assemble a list of events that might be of interest to our audience. Before you dive in, I want to mention that one of our 2009 commissions, Brody Condon's Case, is also part of Performa. Case, a six hour performance and installation based on the classic cyberpunk novel Neuromancer by William Gibson, will take place at the New Museum on Sunday November 22nd from 12pm-6pm, so pencil it in!

Brody Condon * Without Sun * The Museum of Modern Art, 11 W 53rd Street * Monday, November 2 7:00pm

Condon’s “Without Sun” (2006), is an edited collection of ‘found performances’ - online videos of individuals who recorded themselves while having a psychedelic experience. The 15 minute video will be followed by a performative re-creation featuring the dancer Linda Austin and actor Russell Edge. Utilizing the original video as choreography document and script, the performers simultaneously repeat the gestures of the individuals, the actor mimicking the voices and the dancer matching the body movements. The title connects the references of memory, technology, and travel in Chris Marker’s seminal personal essay film “Sans Soleil” to the dissociation of bodily control and mental function induced by the hallucinogenic experience in the online videos.

Broadside * Radio Broadcast * Saturday, November 7 - Monday, November 9, times vary

BROADSIDE, the collaborative initiative of Alexander Fleming and Alistaire Knox, will broadcast a series of feminist inspired audio performances, including experimental readings, consciousness raising dialogue, presentations and live music. Contributors include Danny Snelson, Strength in Numbers founder Karen Soskin, curator Wendy Vogel, artist Liz Linden, art historian Jen Kennedy, The Center for Urban Pedagogy, Windy and Carl’s Windy Webber, experimental musicians Crown Now, and more ...


Between Spaces


"Beam Me Up" is the ultimate call for oblivion.

From Star Trek's transporter room to the tractor beams of our most fervent UFO nightmares, the very notion of "beaming"—of dematerializing only to reappear somewhere else, somewhere potentially unknown—represents a complete relinquishment of control, as well as a pure acknowledgment of the subjective, relativistic nature of human reality. After all, if you can spontaneously "beam out" of danger, or "beam in" to the frightful recesses of an alien craft, what is there to be said about the here and now? Or the me? To beam is to temporarily cease to exist in space and time, to blink into suspension, and, invariably, to invert the accepted order.

Besides being its namesake, "Beam Me Up" is a very apt starting point for Xcult.org's ongoing global exhibition about space, recently curated by Sarah Cook of CRUMB, the Curatorial Resource for Upstart Media Bliss. "Beam Me Up" takes place online, an alternative space which, perhaps incidentally, is probably the international human headquarters for the entire "beam me up" sentiment—that fervent, and often delusional, reach toward dreams of conspiracy, government mind control, and alien visitation ("I want to believe!").


Interview with Erik Adigard


Erik Adigard is a communication designer whose work stretches into domains as broad as identity systems, web sites, videos, visual essays, and book design, as well as documentary films and installations in art museums and exhibitions. With distillations of trends and ideas into visually arresting spreads and iconography, Adigard and his M.A.D. company partner Patricia McShane's work was a key element establishing Wired magazine's visual storytelling from its start in 1993. This last decade has seen Adigard nearly as involved in installations and art venues as he is with his admittedly broad design practice.

Adigard’s most recent public work was AirXY, for the 2008 Architecture Biennale in Venice, created with M.A.D. and Chris Salter. A multimedia installation with interactive animation, sensors, haze, light, and sound, AirXY explored space, architecture, media, and the human presence, extended by sensors and transformed by interfaces and networks. Its manifesto described the “de facto landscape of screens” and disembodied living and called for “re-materialization” that would unite “data and bodies.” It followed Dualterm, in which Adigard and Salter used a Toronto Airport Terminal as a mixed point of departure into a SecondLife 3D world, along with other, less virtual destinations.

Friends and sometime collaborators, we sat down in a San Francisco Mexican restaurant--in the midst of a blaring and lengthy Michael Jackson tribute--to talk about how his approach changes when working in the different modes of art and design. -John Alderman


Kool-Aid Man in Second Life (2009) - Jon Rafman


To schedule a free guided tour of Second Life contact: koolaidmaninsecondlife [at] gmail [dot] com

(Via i heart photograph)