Like Digital Clockwork

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Image: John Gerrard, Sentry (Kit Carson, Colorado), 2008 (Realtime 3-D on plasma screen, Sculptural display: 78 x 87 x 31 1/2 inches overall with table, Edition 6) Courtesy Knoedler Project Space and the artist.

John Gerrard creates eerie landscape works in realtime 3D (a type of graphics usually used in gaming), seen recently at the Knoedler Project Space and Simon Preston Gallery. Eerie because their encircling viewpoints, afforded by slow moving, 360-degree camera pans, not only posit them between the cracks of photography, sculpture, cinema, and painting but also carry a whiff of surveillance. They operate in real time, showing their subjects both in daylight and moonlight, amid enormous, man-made constructions in remote country settings, thus imbuing 20th century industrial inventions with the ancient mystery of the pyramids or Stonehenge.

In 2008's Sentry (Kit Carson, Colorado) at Knoedler, Gerrard presents a red oil derrick continuously pumping oil. There are no people in sight, only telephone wires and a few silos barely visible in the background. It's a reflexive work, a virtual mechanism designed to run on its own in real time without human supervision (as is the derrick). The up and down movement of the pump provides a counterpoint to the lateral movement of the camera, while the camera's perpetual motion mirrors the derrick’s constant activity.

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Image: John Gerrard, Sentry (Kit Carson, Colorado), 2008 (Still)

Sentry, which is silent, brings to mind Rashawn Griffin's installation of a real time transmission of sounds from a quiet country road in Kansas to a room in last year's Whitney Biennial, for its stark midwest milieu, and as an exercise in synchronicity. The piece is meant to be activated by the viewer by turning the monitor's frame, which will set the camera in either clockwise or ...

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Call for Submissions: Location One Virtual Residency Project

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Image: Work by 2008 Location One Virtual Residents Andy Deck, Susanne Berkenheger, and Hidenori Watanave

Downtown New York art non-profit Location One are seeking submissions for their Virtual Residency Project. The program is in its second year, and is one of the few residencies of its type out there. Deadline is April 15, 2009. More info below:

Location One presents its second Virtual Residency Project in the form of a call to artists and other creative individuals with the purpose of fostering collaboration and creativity across geographical expanses and areas of expertise. The goal of this residency is to find two participants who are not physically proximate but who are willing to work with someone they've most likely never met before using some form of non-F2F (face to face) interface such as webcams, email, chat, video, blogs, telerobotic prostheses, Second Life, MIDI, skype, social networks, walkie-talkie, snail mail, mental telepathy, radio, networked video gaming, POTS (plain old telephone service), tin cans on string, or any other means of collaboration to develop a project that will be presented at Location One in the Fall of 2009, either on our web space or in our exhibition space. The theme of this project is "Levels of Undo".

The two participants will also use a blog set up expressly for the Virtual Residency Project to discuss ideas, possible projects and to track the progress of the work. The conversation will be public and open for public comments and will be considered an intrinsic part of the Virtual Residency.

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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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One Mile Scroll (2008) - Daniel Eatock

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LAUNCH

"The One Mile Scroll transforms virtual space into an actual, physical distance. Take your computer for a scroll."

More work by Daniel Eatock

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You have entered a maze of twisty twisty passages all alike! (TRAPPED!!!) (2008) - Nathan Hauenstein

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LAUNCH

More work by Nathan Hauenstein

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Tools of the Trade: Albert Hwang's WireMap

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In this installment of Tools of the Trade, tech writer Melody Chamlee describes Albert Hwang's project Wiremap. - Ceci Moss

In a combination of software development and 3D interface design, Albert Hwang's Wiremap is a multi-view map created with strands of fishing wire that refract 3D projector scenes and bounce back the revolving imagery to viewers - producing a representation of an object in 3D space.

According to Hwang, from the projector's single-point perspective (at the very front of the installation) all the wires appear evenly spaced. Move off to the left or right however, and by degrees the randomized dimension of depth settles on the wires at different angles to create a topographical form.

Hwang says he would like to explore wire displays in a broad range of new installations and is already working on expanded tweaks on the current design to have a bigger, more detailed display framework. In his Wiremap installation at the the 2008 Last Hope Conference in Midtown Manhattan, he was able to produce a green and blue globe with topography and directional changes according to keyboard and mouse input.

To create Wiremap, Hwang used the open source programming language Processing, and says it was an ideal platform for the project:

"When I began...I had very little computer programming experience. Knowing what I needed, I waded through Java GUI tutorials only to be continually faced with frustratingly confusing Java jargon - I needed a programming environment designed to give graphic feedback instead of visual feedback. Processing, an open source programming environment built on top of Java turned out to be a perfect fit for the project."

Since this is open source, Hwang provides his downloadable source files on his site and encourages others to develop their own Wiremaps and contribute to the evolution of ...

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Social Notworks

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Organized by project.arnolfini, "antisocial notworking" is an online hub for critical and creative practices appraising the contradictory agendas of many of the internet's most popular websites. As Art & Social Technologies Research member Dr. Geoff Cox persuasively argues, in an essay accompanying the project, websites like Facebook and Myspace have amassed tens of millions of users through a promise of providing virtual spaces built upon user-generated content and geared towards positive interpersonal relations. While a peer-to-peer (p2p) system engages the same democratic project in the web's public realm, these social networking sites exist in the private sector, operating through a top-down, server-client relationship with its membership and harvesting social relations towards their own economic benefit. 'antisocial notworking' does not propose abandoning these programs, but rather seeks to elucidate the process by which social positivity became a marketable tool of capitalistic enterprises, and to consider how antagonism (to Cox, a necessary component of politics) may be constructively introduced into the virtual demos. Notable among the current projects on the site is Linda Hilfling's "Participation 0.0 - Part I" (2007), documentation of the 112 billboards the artist installed throughout "Second Life" that collectively display the full 7,000 words of the Terms of Service which users traditionally skim and agree upon before gaining access to the program. By planting this text on "Second Life" land, Hilfling allows users to recognize their tenuous position in a virtual world in which they may develop businesses and purchase land, but from which they may also be erased, according to Hilfling's reading of the terms, "for any or no reason." In keeping with its critical agenda, "antisocial notworking" will retain a dynamic, open-ended structure, to which people can add further texts, projects, and documents of their own navigation through similarly fraught online ...

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Interview with Eddo Stern

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Image: Still from "Amongst Fables and Men"


Tonight artist Eddo Stern will host "QQ More", a screening he curated of offbeat fan-made machinima dealing with real-life issues such as drugs, pornography, and death at Brooklyn's Light Industry. The show begins at 8pm and will be followed by a discussion between Stern and Alexander Galloway. I conducted an email interview with Stern about his interest in the phenomenon and its relevance to his own art practice. - Ceci Moss

In gaming parlance, what does "QQ More" mean? How does this relate to the concept behind your program "QQ More"?

QQ is an emoticon that means crying or sobbing - think two big round eyes with lil' tears. The program contains a few real tearjerkers hence the title "QQ More."

When and how did you start working on "QQ More"?

I've spent quite a few too many hours watching fan made machinima from MMOs on fan sites, most of which I would call "vanity videos" -- short films of players' tributes to � themselves, set to emotionally charged music. Then one day I stumbled on a video called Rest in Peace Ignoramus -- a Norwegian World of Warcraft video made by a few guild members to commemorate a fellow guildmate's death -- the video's intended audience appears to be Ignoramus's family and his online friends. The video is uncomfortably intimate, and the production is very amateurish - it runs way too long, has terrible camera control, sappy music and no editing whatsoever but it still will bring you to tears. (Oh pathos, I cannot resist thee!)

After unearthing Rest in Peace Ignoramus and watching the infamous video by Serenity Now about the memorial massacre, I started a more systematic search through fan-made WoW videos and found a few other oddballs -- the selection for QQ ...

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One Avatar's Trash is Another's Treasure

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The world is full of junk. Why should Second Life be any exception? In fact, something about the technological impetus to always create new, more advanced gizmos and realities makes this online virtual space a perfect site for the consideration of trash. The New York-based German art collective eteam are doing that now, in their project Second Life Dumpster. The duo's work often revolves around land-use issues and other socio-spatial interventions, and in this case they purchased 4096 square meters of space in SL to start a plein-air dumpster. The artists visit freebee sites throughout the virtual world and bring the detritus back to their space, and also encourage other users to drop their garbage at the site. Snippets of chat sessions with other avatars posted to the Second Life Dumpster blog reveal the humorous social challenges of keeping such an operation running. The project received a 2008 Rhizome Commission and their original proposal was to carve out a new type of behavior on Second Life. The site's owners, Linden Labs, say that exploring the world (including crafting one's persona and visage), creating objects, and selling those objects are the primaries forms of activity there, but eteam wanted to ask what happens after self-actualization and the ultimate disposal or withering of the ephemera exchanged in this process. After all, virtual junk is still junk, and its weighty presence online is but a mere token of the refuse our high tech lifestyles generate in "first life." If you're in the real world city of Brooklyn, this weekend, you can visit Smack Mellon to see the artists' physical rebuilding of decaying Second Life objects. Otherwise, check them out online or even consider joining the cadre of dumpster divers now hanging out at Fearzom. - Marisa Olson

Image: eteam, Second ...

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