VideoWear, (2003), Mixed Media Sculpture and Performance
Given your interest in revealing electronic circuitry and conduits as a symbol of the body, do you feel that your wearable pieces like Coat of Embrace are extensions of your own body's natural electric currents? Also, reflecting on early sci-fi and cyborg culture, what is your future vision of human interactions with electronics?
All of our instruments, wearable or not, act as extensions of our bodies. Our tactile relationship with the technologies that we use includes building our instruments by hand and designing them around our bodies. Despite or as a result of their origins, these instruments modify how we move while we play them, in ways we cannot predict in advance. They change not just our use of technology, but also the communication between us and our audience during the performance. In some of our work, we amplify natural electrical signals from the human body when we invite our visitors and audience to touch exposed electronic components that are connected to our instruments. This allows the live signals from their bodies to affect the final audio/video. We like creating this circuit between natural and man-made signals as it fits with our vision of a conglomeration of media/technology/electricity with natural and organic systems. In terms of past/future visions, we tend to think in terms of alternate possibilities for both present and future. We envision co-evolution of natural and man-made systems where interactions are innate and automatic.
Many of your pieces include live performance and video that feed into each other. When creating these types of pieces with feedback loops, do you start by searching for a particular visual you are trying to achieve or ...
Still image from Cory Doctorow's Keynote speech at SIGGRAPH 2011
When Cory Doctorow started his Keynote speech at this year's SIGGRAPH conference he started bravely by granting the audience "unequivocal permission to record video, audio, and to use those recordings ... in all media now known or yet to be invented throughout the known universe." This past Wednesday, two days after the speech, the Keynote was available on YouTube.
In the speech, Doctorow, co-editor of Boing Boing, outlined copyright and digital rights management's current state of affairs by providing details and examples that took the conversation far beyond the typically polarized copyright debate that divides the analysis into two mutually exclusive parts - either bad or good. In warming up to a proposal of his own set of laws he outlined an important issue that affects those experimenting on multiple portable platforms such as the iPhone, iPad, Android, and other emerging devices. Apple worked as the central example because of their sophisticated management of DRM, supported by the fact that they are generally good at what they do. Doctorow's concern about Apple's proprietary restrictions on transferring purchases from iTunes or the App Store were compounded by a recent announcement in the Guardian that German patent court has granted Apple a preliminary injunction that would prevent any import of Samsung's new Galaxy tablet into the country. This is certainly a concern for consumers and adds to the importance of Doctorow’s speech - but it’s an even bigger concern for artists who are experimenting on these platforms. As more artists make apps for the App Store they are opting into a restricted environment. If a consumer buys their app, and wants to transfer it to another device, they have no recourse except to ask Apple for permission ...
Often the smallest image files on the internet and sometimes created by truncating a much larger image to the 32 pixel by 32 pixel format, the favicon acts as a type of superscript icon hinting at a websites content or intention. If you're an avid bookmarker of sites, like myself, favicons are familiar and offer guidance but rarely get a closer look or the more detailed consideration as a work of art. Fabian G. Tabibian has rescaled favicons from their restricted pixel widths to large-scale desaturated C prints.
His prints cull from a number of sources, but most notably the websites for branches of the United States Government. Somehow the polite vertical American flag favicon on the Senate's website takes on more ominous tones when converted to black and white and printed poster size, confronting you with its deficient resolution. The collection of prints, which were simply mounted on the wall at the Wassaic Project where I encountered them this past weekend, have also been shown in lightboxes mimicking their original screen-lit existence. In either format they present an eerie portrait of a typically unconsidered element of the internet.
Flag (#Senate), C-Print, 2011
Lightbox versions of Tabibian's favicon series
Eagle, Duratrans in Lightbox, 2011