Marisa Olson
Since the beginning
Works in Brooklyn, New York United States of America

Marisa Olson is an artist, writer, and media theorist. Her interdisciplinary work has been exhibited at the Venice Biennale, Centre Pompidou, Tate(s) Modern + Liverpool, the Nam June Paik Art Center, British Film Institute, Sundance Film Festival, PERFORMA Biennial; commissioned and collected by the Whitney Museum, Museum of Modern Art, Houston Center for Photography, Experimental Television Center, and PS122; and reviewed in Artforum, Art21, the NY Times, Liberation, Folha de Sao Paolo, the Village Voice, and elsewhere.

Olson has served as Editor & Curator at Rhizome, the inaugural curator at Zero1, and Associate Director at SF Camerawork. She's contributed to many major journals & books and this year Cocom Press published Arte Postinternet, a Spanish translation of her texts on Postinternet Art, a movement she framed in 2006. In 2015 LINK Editions will publish a retrospective anthology of over a decade of her writings on contemporary art which have helped establish a vocabulary for the criticism of new media. Meanwhile, she has also curated programs at the Guggenheim, New Museum, SFMOMA, White Columns, Artists Space, and Bitforms Gallery. She has served on Advisory Boards for Ars Electronica, Transmediale, ISEA, the International Academy of Digital Arts & Sciences, Creative Capital, the Getty Foundation, the Rockefeller Foundation, the Kennedy Center, and the Tribeca Film Festival.

Olson studied Fine Art at Goldsmiths, History of Consciousness at UC Santa Cruz, and Rhetoric & Film Studies at UC Berkeley. She has recently been a visiting artist at Yale, SAIC, Oberlin, and VCU; a Visiting Critic at Brown; and Visiting Faculty at Bard College's Milton Avery Graduate School of the Arts and Ox-Bow. She previously taught at NYU's Tisch School of the Arts' new media graduate program (ITP) and was Assistant Professor of New Media at SUNY-Purchase's School of Film & Media Studies. She was recently an Artist-in-Residence at Eyebeam & is currently Visiting Critic at RISD.

Status Symbols

Joseph Del Pesco is over caffeinated. from lee Walton on Vimeo.

Beth O'Brien is dancing to her alarm clock. from lee Walton on Vimeo.

Lee Walton's use of Facebook in his most recent video series continues his habit of publicly displaying what we often think of as private moments. The artist calls himself an "experientialist" and his performances, videos, and participatory projects often merge situationism and instruction-art to convey or slightly tweak the experience of everyday life. He's created elaborate instruction sets that determine the marks made in his seemingly abstract drawings representing activity on a sports field or at a major street intersection, and, on some occasions, the lists of instructions themselves have stood in for these drawings. Walton's commitment to playing by the rules in his art have borne humorous results in projects like his season-long online free throw competition with Shaquille O'Neill, or his compilation video of strangers on the streets of New York following his instructions to lift ever-dwindling payphone receivers off their hooks. The artist's Red Ball project helped pioneer net-based performance projects that rely on distributed decision-making networks--of which MTAA's Automatic for the People is a more recent example. But now Walton is taking his friends' Facebook status messages as instructions and acting them out in short videos posted to his Vimeo account and (of course) his Facebook profile. It seems safe to say that none of the subject lines were originally intended as instructions, but seeing Walton act-out statements such as Joseph Del Pesco is over caffeinated, Marcie McAfee Carrier is doing late night Yoga and is so happy and peaceful!!!, Beth O'Brien is dancing to her alarm clock, or Andy Diaz Hope is wielding a knife calls attention to the public/private line often ...


Kill Your Television


Today, the Berkeley Art Museum/ Pacific Film Archive, Berkeley Center for New Media, and Long Now Foundation will host what author Bruce Sterling calls a "Dead Media hootenanny." The Funeral for Analog TV will be a full day of revelry, capped-off by the kind of pseudo-event perhaps not seen by the Bay Area since Ant Farm's Media Burn. Attendees of the festive wake are encouraged to bring their analog TV sets to pile on an electronic heap which will simulate a snow crash at the end of the night. Though the US Congress recently extended the deadline by which all broadcasting television signals must legally be converted to digital HD, Sterling says the event is moving ahead as originally scheduled "because we prefer to bury a fresh corpse rather than wait for the walking dead to fall over." As the organizer of the Dead Media Project, Sterling knows a thing or two about the carcasses left behind as a result of technological upgrades. He joins a lineup of people that includes media historian Paul Saffo, artist collective Neighborhood Public Radio, and sound artist Author & Punisher in marking this rite of obsolescence. The organizers point out that it's only fitting that the funeral service be held in the Bay Area, given that the system for broadcasting and receiving TV signals was invented there. But if you can't make it to the West Coast to hear the eulogy, fear not. The event's penultimate "scattering of the ashes" will be an online rebroadcasting of the program. - Marisa Olson


Bucking the Pseudonym

Image: Rick Silva, Antlers Wifi, 2009

Calgary-based Brazilian-American artist Rick Silva is a man of at least as many talents as identities. Perhaps this can be chalked-up to the fact that he studied under and often collaborates with pseudonymous hypertext pioneer Mark Amerika. But last week he unveiled a collaboration with himself in which he's finally ready to disclose that he is the artist previously known as Abe Linkoln. Antlers Wifi merges the stylistic affinities with which both names have been associated. Linkoln anticipated the "pro-surfer" net art movement with, his first collaborative work with Jimpunk, the motto of which was "we crash your browser with content." He's continued to push this aesthetic over the last five years while helping to establish "blog art" as a genre, and (with Jimpunk and Mr. Tamale) is evidence of his ongoing interest in web-based group remix blogs. But Antlers Wifi is a step in a solo direction, bringing a copy/paste aesthetic to original animations. If Linkoln is the product of Amerika, then Silva is the product of Stan Brakhage, with whom the artist also studied. He refers to the site's multi-layered digital collages as "poems about light and nature" and indeed they have all the flickery appeal of Brakhage's performatively-composed films. The project is an interesting move on the heels of Silva's high-def Rough Mix, which playfully compared the practices of scratching images as a filmmaker and scratching records as a DJ. It also conveyed a deep interest in nature appropriate to someone who came of age in the mountains of Colorado. The videos posted at Antlers Wifi build upon each other while leaning on the time-based format of the blog. Now in its second week, Silva anticipates archiving his posts on a ...


Picture Stories

Image: Kristin Lucas, Travel Advisory, 2007

This year's Artefact festival is organized around the notion that "images inevitably show and hide at the same time." Given the theme of "Behind the Image/ The Image Behind," the fest will feature the usual assemblage of great performances, panels, lectures, and installations. From the 10th through the 15th of February, Leuven's STUK Museum will be headquarters for deep discussion of the semiotics of digital images, the cultural snapshots that looking at code provides, and the patterns by which both are circulated. These form vs. content questions are part of the event's goal of "covering and uncovering media," as a means of exploring the nuances of contemporary digital visual culture, and the politics of representation and sharing in this realm. The lineup of speakers attests to a continuum of modification practices ranging from secret messages encoded in images to remixing other people's images, and the organizers hint explicitly at the connection between these transitional forms of textuality and the ideological transitions in representational strategies that coincide with technological development. That's right--this is a no fluff conference! Smart practitioners Taryn Simon, Ines Schaber, Harun Farocki, Pia Linz, Kristin Lucas, Peter Weibel, and ShiftSpace will be among those present to crack into these deep discussions. Not to worry, the evening programs are full of fun events to stimulate your eyes and ears after days of thinktankery. - Marisa Olson


Downtown Dorks

Video: Jeremy Bailey, SOS - Preview, 2008

In the New York art world, there's a funny distinction between "uptown" and "downtown." If "uptown" is Broadway, "downtown" is Off-Off-Broadway. The 92nd Street Y has famously presented an uptown lecture series for years, bringing in artists, musicians, authors, and others worth taking note of. But their downtown Tribeca branch is the place to go see cool bands or comedians rapidly sprouting up from the underground. It's within this context that the fine geeks at Dorkbot have curated an evening next Wednesday entitled "You're Doing it Wrong: Creative Misuse of Technology." Following from the group's mission to present "people doing strange things with electricity," the night will begin with live performances by The Draftmasters + Daniel Iglesia, who will invite you to don 3D glasses in viewing and listening to their pen plotter-generated sound and video projection, and Jeremy Bailey, who will run a deadpan demo of SOS, "his latest ill-conceived homebrew productivity software." These live activities will be followed by five short screenings, including Tom Sachs's Space Program, billed as "an incredibly detailed mis-re-imagining of a NASA space mission;" Paul Slocum's You're Not My Father, a compilation of internet users' reenactment of a clip from the 80s sitcom Full House; and Daniel Greenfeld's Mini-disasters, small-scale reenactments of famous transportation-related disasters. The lineup offers something for geeks of every stripe and a collective glimpse at the aesthetics of failure. - Marisa Olson