It's Getting Hot in Here

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Image: Claudia X. Valdes, Revelation 2213, (2009) interactive networked video installation

Claudia Valdes refers to her work as "a rehearsal for the end of the world." The New Mexico-based artist employs photography, performance, video, interactive installations, and painting to address the subject of nuclear weapons. In her first solo exhibition, up now at Seattle's Lawrimore Project, she dials-in on the specific period of our nuclear history that followed 2001 (i.e. 9/11 and the ongoing war in Iraq), to trace the evolution of the bomb in the popular imagination and the rhetoric of holocaust and apocalypse in the present. Entitled "Ten Million Degrees," the exhibition includes many formal variations in different media, all of which initiate a tension between documentary, archive, and performance. By recreating nuclear test blasts in Turner-like watercolors and processing snapshots and video clips to channel radiation and frenzied vibrations, the artist stands between past and present in gauging the temperature of viewers' historical understanding. In fact, in her video installation, Revelation 2213 (2009), Valdes inserts viewers into public domain footage of nuclear tests through real-time chroma keying of gallery-goers' images. The artist performs her own escape fantasy in Minutes to Midnight, a ten-minute video that distends Super 8 footage of her public performances at New Mexico's Trinity Test Site. In the spirit of the science fiction genre her work recalls, Valdes traces the fears and dreams associated with technological evolution in the performance, which was repeated over a two-year period, thus sliding between historical event and historiography. These and other works are on view through March 14. Readers with a special interest in nuclear themes might also visit Joy Garnett's Bomb Project, which includes digitized historical records, images, and documentation of other artists' projects, including Michael Light's re-photographing project, 100 Suns ...

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Cursor (2008) - Ilia Ovechkin

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Tony Oursler's "Cell Phones Diagrams Cigarettes Searches and Scratch Cards" from VernissageTV

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See below for installation footage of Tony Oursler's new show "Cell Phones Diagrams Cigarettes Searches and Scratch Cards" at Metro Pictures from VernissageTV, which opened last week. The show examines themes of addiction and consumerism in an increasingly interconnected culture.

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Random Rules

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From AIDS-3D's Selections

Many believe that since the launch of YouTube in 2005, the history of the moving image has diverted from its canonical route. The website, which makes it possible for anyone who can use a computer to post a video, reaches millions of people daily. Like no other time before, it is now possible for amateur videos, music videos, film footage, commercials and news segments as well as (in some cases) artists' videos to be mingled together in a random way, free of any preconceived hierarchy or system. According to Fokidis, the active use of YouTube is a form of curating and "Different people's 'playlists' are transformed into exhibitions and "tagging" becomes a process of random archiving." For PULSE PLAY>Random Rules, Fokidis has invited several emerging and established artists to create their very own playlists thereby presenting these artists not only as artists, but as curators and as collectors as well. Artists include Andrea Angelidakis, Aids 3D, AVAF, Pablo Leon de la Barra, Erick Beltran, Keren Cyter, Jeremy Deller, Cerith Wyn Evans, Dominique Gonzalez Foerster, Dora Garcia, Rodney Graham, Annika Larsson, Matthieu Laurette, Ingo Niermann, Miltos Manetas, Ahmet Ogut, Angelo Plessas, Lisi Raskin, Linda Wallace.

-- FROM THE PULSE WEBSITE

Editor's Note: Artist-selected videos on the "Random Rules" YouTube playlist (link below) will be on view this week at the Pulse Play video art lounge at Pulse Art Fair in New York City. The fair opens tomorrow.

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The Prometheus Institute and the Work of Bulat Galeyev

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Image: Light Composition Using Prometei-3

It's hard to sum up the interests and achievements of Bulat Galeyev, who died in Kazan, Russia, on January 5 at the age of 68. He was a teacher of physics and aesthetics. As a scholar, he published scientific research on synesthesia, and as an artist he staged his own theatrical performances that synthesized visuals and music. He studied and championed the work of Lev Termen, even when the theremin's inventor was nearly forgotten in his native country. Inspired by the ideas of early-twentieth century composer Alexander Scriabin, whose orchestral works are usually performed without the colored-light shows that he choreographed for them, Galeyev devoted his life to a multi-faceted study of art and sensory perception. The radical, interdisciplinary nature of his career is even more impressive when you consider that it evolved in the conservative, often stifling intellectual atmosphere of the Soviet Union.

Galeyev's base of operations was the Prometheus Institute in Kazan, a city about 450 miles east of Moscow. To gain official support and funding, Prometheus attached itself to an aviation engineering research institute, and its unique position in relationship to industry was not dissimilar from the experimental initiatives hosted by Bell Labs and Siemens in the West. Galeyev's line of inquiry was certainly not a priority for Soviet science. But when he founded Prometheus in 1962, the country was still euphoric from launching the first human into space a year earlier. The light-music concerts that Galeyev organized at Prometheus blended in with the widespread vogue for science fiction and futurism.

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Image: Debussy's Fireworks Played on Kristall

Thanks to Prometheus' close connections to an official research laboratory, its employees had access to equipment that ordinary citizens could never dream of. Galeyev and his team took advantage of ...

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Monster (2009) - Pascual Sisto

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Feedback Speed Kills (2009) - Yoshi Sodeoka

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Feedback Speed Kills, 2009 from yoshi sodeoka on Vimeo.

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Time Keeps on Ticking, Ticking, Ticking, Ticking, Ticking, Ticking......

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Image: Graham Dolphin, The Possibilites Are Endless, 2008

Time. It's an old topic. From cave paintings to code paintings, the recording of time is among the most basic and persistent of subject matters seen in art, and it has very often propelled new tools for keeping itself measured. Oddly enough, despite time's catalyzing role in the innovation of techniques and technologies, time-based media has all too often been left out of exhibitions surveying creative explorations of time. But the current exhibition at Dundee Contemporary Arts, entitled "Timecode," takes the pulse of temporality from a more electronically enlightened perspective. The show does include works employing painting and sculpture, but puts them in conversation with works such as Thomson & Craighead's "narrative clock," Horizon (2009), in which webcams around the world convey a perpetual horizon, and Tatsuo Miyajima's large-scale LED timepiece, Counter Void S-1 (2003). Situated next to classic performance works by the likes of Douglas Gordon and On Kawara, and of course the eponymous multi-channel film by Mike Figgis, the show holds a lens to the myriad ways in which time endures as an organizing principle for our lives and our creativity. - Marisa Olson

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Out-of-Body

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When the independent curator, publisher, writer and art dealer Willoughby Sharp died this past December at the age of 72, the art world lost an iconic figure. Active internationally in the art world since the early 60s, Sharp's name is most often associated with his role as the publisher and co-founder (with Liza Bear) of Avalanche magazine (1970-1976) and for his curation of the seminal art exhibition Earth Art (1969). Avalanche has become something of a cult classic in the art world. Consisting mostly of idiosyncratic editorials by Sharp and Bear and interviews with figures such as Joseph Beuys, Yvonne Rainer, Bruce Nauman, Lawrence Weiner and Vito Acconci, Avalanche helped define the art of an era while also redefining the role of the art magazine. The editors viewed Avalanche as an open space for artists and art, and this vision dictated the overall direction of the magazine. Sharp's seminal Earth Art, held at Cornell University in Ithaca, New York in 1969, was the first major exhibition of land-based sculptural work, and it included artists such as Walter de Maria, Robert Smithson, Hans Haacke, Robert Morris, Richard Long and Dennis Oppenheim (among others). It has also become somewhat mythologized as the exhibition where the young Gordon Matta-Clark, who lived in Ithaca, was hired by Sharp as an assistant and, thus, met the vanguard of the international art scene for the first time.

However, it should be noted that Sharp, himself, was also a performance artist, video artist, satellite artist and computer artist. In fact, his work at the nexus of art and technology is one of the most passionate chapters in his career, but has largely gone unnoticed. The art historian Frank Popper (who met and befriended Sharp in 1968) has offered one of the few accounts of this work in his book From Technological to Virtual Art. According to Popper, the introduction of television to American culture in the late 1940's had a tremendous effect on Sharp. "Almost instantly after DuMont television sets began to dominate living rooms and lives in 1948, television took control of Sharp, and he was transformed from just watching "Uncle Miltie" to being him," writes Popper.

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Pixel Bleed

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Silver (2006) - Takeshi Murata
(Murata used this same pixel bleeding effect in his 2005 piece Monster Movie)


umbrella zombie datamosh mistake (2007) - Paper Rad & Paul B. Davis

These Murata and Paper Rad/Davis videos are two early examples of manipulating digital compression to produce pixel bleeding for artistic effect. In the last week, two mainstream music videos have been released by Chairlift and Kanye West that use this effect, and it has come to be known as "datamoshing." Heralded as a brand new innovation by some, the near simultaneous release of these two music videos have fans of each musical act crying foul. But, as the two videos above indicate, these techniques have been in circulation for a number of years now. It seems an argument concerning the origin of "datamoshing" is unnecessary, given that almost everything is built upon something else.

If you know of other examples of this technique please post them in the comment section.

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