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July 6, 2009

On Tour:
Southeastern Europe Travelogue, Part 3

By Brian Droitcour on Friday, July 3rd, 2009 at 10:00 am

Image: Kosmoplovci, P3225504-procesor, from the series “Fragments”

In June I traveled through southeastern Europe from Venice to Athens, where I’m looking at art and blogging. Part three of the travelogue is about Belgrade, Serbia.

With a population of two million, Belgrade is twice as big as Zagreb, which is thrice as big as Ljubljana, but the sizes of these three cities have a paradoxically inverse relationship to their cultural infrastructure, particularly at the intersection of art and technology. While little Ljubljana had enough events to fill my schedule for four days, Zagreb’s handful of galleries were in a summer slumber. But organizations were actually there, even if hibernating, while Belgrade had nothing. Many attributed that to the smaller country’s attempt to find a niche or a brand for itself in Europe’s crowded contemporary art world. “New media in Slovenia was as a more or less organized way of deterritorialization from the ex-Yugoslavian context, a systematic attempt ‘to be more serious than the system itself,’" said Maja Ciric, a Serbian curator, citing Zizek. “But in Belgrade the new media paradigm is self-driven and performed individually.”



Image: Kosmoplovci, stills from Satelitska Stanica

Belgrade had a small but active demoscene in the 1990s, which gave rise to one of the most interesting art collectives in the former Yugoslavia, Kosmoplovci (pronounced “kos-mo-PLOV-tsee”). The name means something like astronauts or space sailors, and comes from a 1970s do-it-yourself science and technology magazine that some demoscene friends found at a flea market in the early ‘90s. The members of Kosmoplovci are fond of rummaging through the past, and their varied output—which includes internet works, videos, music, comics, and books—usually involves allusion and found media. Satelitska Stanica is based on an old 8mm film extolling a joint project with Japan to build a satellite station in a remote Yugoslavian province; the reel was salvaged at a flea market and transferred to digital devices with minimal interference. Marko Kraljevic, the Turk-fighting hero of Serbian epics, appears in previews of 2D and 3D video games that Kosmoplovci will probably never make. Self-aware makes public footage from a broken webcam, primarily the bewildered faces of the camera’s owner and repairman in the shop.

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F'Book: What my Friends are doing on facebook (2009) - Lee Walton

By Ceci Moss on Thursday, July 2nd, 2009 at 12:45 pm

Katie Minton is monochromatic. from lee Walton on Vimeo.

Rick Silva is self-editing. from lee Walton on Vimeo.

In Lee Walton's most recent project, he will perform what his Friends on Facebook are doing.


I'll Replace You (2008) - Jennifer and Kevin McCoy

By Ceci Moss on Thursday, July 2nd, 2009 at 11:30 am

I'll Replace You from Jennifer & Kevin McCoy on Vimeo.

This film is an experiment in outsourcing everyday life. In it we hired 50 actors to take over all aspects of our daily routines and roles as parents, spouses, professors, artists and friends. The actors play opposite their real counterparts - our kids, our students, our friends, in our studio, presenting our work.

Take Care of Yourself (2007) - Sophie Calle

By Ceci Moss on Thursday, July 2nd, 2009 at 10:00 am

In this “tour de force of feminine responses…executed in a wild range of media,” Sophie Calle orchestrates a virtual chorus of women’s interpretations and assessments of a breakup letter she received in an email. In photographic portraits, textual analysis, and filmed performances, the show presents a seemingly exhaustive compendium with contributions ranging from a clairvoyant’s response to a scientific study, a children’s fairytale to a Talmudic exegesis, among many others. Examining the conditions and possibilities of human emotions, Take Care of Yourself opens up ideas about love and heartache, gender and intimacy, labor and identity. 107 women (including a parrot) from the realms of anthropology, criminology, philosophy, psychiatry, theater, opera, soap opera and beyond each take on this letter, reading and re-reading it, performing it, transforming it, and pursuing the emotions it contains and elicits.


For an interview with Sophie Calle, where she discusses the exhibition of Take Care of Yourself at the French Pavilion in the 2007 Venice Biennale, go here.

The Question of Freedom at the Open Video Conference

By Carolyn Kane on Wednesday, July 1st, 2009 at 1:00 pm


Does free video uploading and downloading equal democracy? I asked myself this question during the recent Open Video Conference, organized by the Information Society Project at the Yale Law School and the Open Video Alliance, an umbrella coalition for the development of an “open video ecosystem”: a “movement to promote free expression and innovation in online video.” Conference sponsors include Mozilla, Redhat, Intelligent Television, and Livestream. The conference was held at New York University’s Vanderbilt Hall, home of the NYU Law School from June 19-21, 2009. I attended several of the panels at the conference, although it was primarily Yochai Benkler’s opening keynote that was of concern.

The mission statement for the conference reads, “Open Video is a movement to promote free expression and innovation in online video." The conference and its affiliates aimed to respond to outdated copyright law in an attempt to open the limits on the circulation and distribution of copyrighted material. Gabriella Coleman of New York University in her talk, “The Politics and Poetics of DeCSS,” demonstrated the historical connection between code and free speech. Coleman traced the relationship back to John Stuart Mill, who first equated Romantic notions with utilitarian ones in order to justify free speech. In the 20th century, figures such as Richard Stallman, Peter Salins, and Daniel Bernstein, all further solidified the connection between legal rights and code. This history, Coleman points out, thus explains the popularity of today’s research into the triumvirate of copyright, law, and culture. Ideally, the open video culture sought after would be one that would allow for the distribution and use of copyrighted video content without the fear of lawsuits or legal action.

Yochai Benkler, author of the celebrated book, The Wealth of Networks (2006) took the stage in the morning on Friday June 19. His conflation of the freedom to access content, as noted above, with freedom in general, was suspect. Benkler argued that Open Video was indicative of an “open democracy for everyone, everywhere, all the time.” Open Video Culture, he said, would usher in the possibility for “anyone to express oneself, be creative and innovative.” Benkler also claimed that because “millions of people are now looking at [social and political] problems” we will thus find millions of, “distributed solutions.” In this “free” culture, he continued, “human creativity would move to the core.” Aside from the seemingly naïve conflation of terms, exactly which society, which “everyone,” and which economic system did Benkler have in mind?

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= (2009) - Elna Frederick

By Ceci Moss on Wednesday, July 1st, 2009 at 12:41 pm


the peace tape (2009) - Jacob Ciocci

By Brian Droitcour on Wednesday, July 1st, 2009 at 10:34 am

Music by Extreme Animals.

Beginning this week, Jacob Ciocci will be touring the west and east coast with his videos and a new performance, tour dates here.

Zebra Standards 29 - R. Stevie Moore (1978/2006)

By John Michael Boling on Tuesday, June 30th, 2009 at 4:00 pm

Video assembled in 2006 by Nuno Monteiro using footage from George Romero's "There's Always Vanilla"

Mea Culpa (1981) - Brian Eno and David Byrne

By John Michael Boling on Tuesday, June 30th, 2009 at 2:19 pm

Video assembled by Bruce Conner

No Static - Bottin (2009)

By Ceci Moss on Tuesday, June 30th, 2009 at 1:20 pm

Music video, edited by Iris Lateral, using all appropriated footage from Lucio Fulci's Warriors of the Year 2072.

The Museum's Profile

By Ally Paz on Tuesday, June 30th, 2009 at 11:30 am

Image: The Brooklyn Museum's iPhone Application

As another major American art museum joins the Twitter-verse this past month (@Guggenheim), it begs the question: how can institutions and the public they serve better benefit from participation in Web2.0? Currently, many museums utilize the major social networking sites in the same manner they use their websites—to promote current and upcoming exhibits, special events, display works, and post the rare job opportunity. And while we can all benefit from multiple reminders, it's beginning to feel as if these institutions are not truly adapting to the opportunities opened up by social networking. The goal is to use these sites as they were intended, as a tool for conversation and relationship building between individuals, and not as an avenue for a one-way transmission of information.

The fear, of course, is that once museums begin actively participating in Web2.0 environments, they will have to give up some control over both content and message. As museum professionals Nina Simon and Gail Durbin both point out, in a world where all knowledge is at one's fingertips, visitors expect to be able to respond to their experience, therefore museums should develop platforms that allow for a diversity of voices. One New York institution in particular, The Brooklyn Museum, has successfully adopted Web2.0 endeavors, with two blogs on the website documenting installation and artist processes, an iPhone application to view and search the museum's collection, and 1stfans, a $20 museum membership with exclusively social network-based content and features, such as the Twitter Art Feed (@1stfans), which allows followers to pick a different artist to create work for the feed each month. Another example of an organization which has expanded its 2.0 reach is the Victoria and Albert Museum, which uses its Flickr stream to display user-generated exhibits, such as artistic photography of tattoo and body art, and documentary materials of period weddings, which are currently being studied by the museum's genealogical research team. By creating platforms that allow for a constant feedback and participation between the institution and visitors, these museums have been better able to expose their content to an audience outside of the traditional brick and mortar model.

Sixteen Candles (2007) - Aaron Miller and Nick Bruscia

By John Michael Boling on Tuesday, June 30th, 2009 at 10:00 am

Sixteen Candles is an experiment in physical computing. As a candle is burning, it is being captured and processed live by a computer. The computer copies the live image onto a 4x4 grid and projects it onto 16 mirrors. The mirrors, rapidly tilted up and down by custom solenoid apparatuses, throw the images of the candle across the room.


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Dispatches from No Soul For Sale:
More Highlights!

By Ceci Moss on Monday, June 29th, 2009 at 2:18 pm

No Soul For Sale closed yesterday, ending a mad week of performances, exhibitions, lectures, and more. See below for the last of our mini-reports from the festival.

Light Industry
Light Industry put together a packed program this past week, and I would expect no less from this smart and savvy Brooklyn-based cinematheque.

Image: Daily program listing in the Light Industry space

Image: "A Combination of Works" by Oliver Laric and Wojciech Kosma


Images: People playing Mark Essen's new game "The Thrill of Combat" during opening night and a screenshot of "The Thrill of Combat"

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White Glove Tracking (2007) - Evan Roth and Ben Engebreth

By John Michael Boling on Monday, June 29th, 2009 at 11:00 am

On May 4th, 2007, we asked internet users to help isolate Michael Jackson's white glove in all 10,060 frames of his nationally televised landmark performance of Billy Jean. 72 hours later 125,000 gloves had been located. wgt_data_v1.txt is the culmination of data collected. It is released here for all to download and use as an input into any digital system.


A 2007 Rhizome Commission

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Rhizome Commissions Announced!

By Rhizome on Friday, June 26th, 2009 at 6:32 pm

Rhizome is pleased to announce the ten emerging artists and collectives that have been awarded grants through the Rhizome Commissions Program. All emblematic of new directions in the field of new media art, the works manifest in a variety of forms from performance, sound to web-based works and touch upon themes from cultural and historic memory, to reality TV, to the possibilities for humanizing participants in mass social networking systems.

Two of the commissions were determined by Rhizome’s membership through an open vote; eight were determined by a jury including Paola Antonelli, Senior Curator of Design at the Museum of Modern Art; Jason Kottke, blogger, Kottke.org; Henriette Huldisch Independent Curator and co-curator of the 2008 Whitney Biennial; Monica Narula, artist, Raqs Media Collective; and Paul Pieroni, freelance curator, critic and Associate Director of SEVENTEEN.

The Rhizome Commissions Program is supported by the Jerome Foundation, the New York City Department of Cultural Affairs, the New York State Council on the Arts, a state agency, the Rockefeller NYC Cultural Innovation Fund, and Rhizome members.

2010 Rhizome Commissions

Jury Awards:

Toby Heys of Battery Operated and Steve Goodman aka Kode9, Unsound Systems
Unsound Systems will be an hour-long sonic documentary that explores the ways in which sound, infrasound, and ultrasound have been utilized as weapons, as apparatus for psychological manipulation, and as instruments of physiological influence by industrial businesses, civilian police forces, and military organizations around the world.

Heba Amin, Fragmented City
Amin writes “Cairo exudes the clichés of a romanticized Ancient Egypt and, through its tourism industry, is banking on fantasy.” In this multi-faceted project, Amin will research and locate abandoned buildings in Cairo and then populate Google Earth with sketch-up models of these structures to “counteract the skewed understanding of the city’s experience online where only models of historic monuments exist.” She will then set-up a tourism bureau in Cairo in order to give tours of these forgotten areas to provide a new view of the city.

Jeffrey Crouse, Crowded
Crowded is an montage audio program similar to radio shows like This American Life, The Moth, or the productions of Joe Frank. What makes it unique is that all of the material is is made up of segments of audio requested from and submitted by workers on Amazon’s Mechanical Turk site in return for payment. Crouse will produce a series of shows, comprised of recordings by Mechanical Turk workers, that will culminate in a CD and accompanying book.

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Dispatches from No Soul For Sale:
Migrating Forms

By Ceci Moss on Friday, June 26th, 2009 at 5:41 pm


Local experimental film and video festival Migrating Forms are screening "Half-inch Half-life" in their booth during No Soul For Sale this week. For this film program, the organizers asked their network of friends to submit tapes from their personal VHS collections, which are available for viewing on a television set in the space at specific times.


Dispatches from No Soul For Sale:
Kling & Bang

By Ceci Moss on Friday, June 26th, 2009 at 1:33 pm


Image: Videos in Kling & Bang's space at No Soul For Sale

I talked to Hekla Dögg Jónsdóttir of Kling & Bang, an artist-run gallery based in Reykjavik, Iceland, yesterday about their organization and their set up during No Soul For Sale. With three projectors, 5 or so small DVD players, and two flat screens, Kling & Bang packed the audio/visual material into their space. I asked Hekla about this, and she said that they brought 44 DVDs by artists who show and collaborate with Kling & Bang to the festival, and switched them out throughout the day. The problem, of course, is that it was difficult to tell what was what, but with two representatives from Kling & Bang right there, I was able to talk to them about the works. When I was in the booth, they were screening a video by John Bock, titled Skipholt, that he had produced in collaboration with Kling & Bang. There were also a handful of flatworks and sculptures on view. The one pictured below, by Egill Kalevi Karlsson, is constructed entirely of wet clay, and as the water circulates, the fountain slowly falls apart. It also resembles excrement in a playground kind of way, and with a gaudy rotating glass ball as its centerpiece, I couldn't help but chuckle.

Image: Egill Kalevi Karlsson, Fountain, 2009

HEXA_FLEXAGON_F_EVER workshop/performance by Anna Lundh Sat. June 27th from 2-3pm

By Rhizome on Friday, June 26th, 2009 at 1:00 pm


As part of Rhizome's participation in No Soul For Sale, Anna Lundh will stage a workshop/performance on Saturday June 27th from 2-3pm on the first floor of the 548 West 22nd Street space in Chelsea. Based around her work HEXA_FLEXAGON_F_EVER (2008), the event will walk participants through the process of hexaflexagon construction and present a short history of the hexaflexagons in the form of a corporate seminar. The event is free and open to the public.

On Tour:
Southeastern Europe Travelogue, Part 2

By Brian Droitcour on Friday, June 26th, 2009 at 10:04 am

Image: Sign for Mama internet center

This month I’m traveling through southeastern Europe from Venice to Athens, where I’m looking at art and blogging. Part two of the travelogue is about Zagreb, Croatia. Part one is here.

Zagreb’s center has more street names than streets; the names change every few blocks so meters can be allotted to every worthy Croatian hero. And many names differ from the ones streets bore twenty years ago, since a different history needed to be inscribed in Zagreb’s map after Yugoslavia dissolved and Croatia became independent. “The Renaming Machine,” an exhibition currently on view at Zagreb’s Galerija Miroslav Kraljevic, addresses the obsession with names. Sanja Ivekovic’s contribution is inspired by Zagreb’s Street of the Unknown Heroine—a name that is both unsettling and appropriate when virtually all other streets are named for men—which takes the form of a poster with maps, e-mails, and other supporting documents describing the artist’s attempt to give the same name to a street in Utrecht during her retrospective at Van Abbemuseum.

Image: Installation at Touch Me festival in Zagreb, December 2008

Just as street names reflect political values, so do the uses of buildings on them. After arriving in Zagreb and settling in the Angelina Jolie room at The Movie Hotel, I met with Tomislav Medak, director of Mama, an organization that was founded in 1999 as a center for internet activists and artists, but in recent years has shifted its attention to urban development, specifically the use of former industrial sites that abound in Zagreb (as they do in many other large, formerly socialist cities). Mama lobbies the municipal government to reserve abandoned factories for public use—whether cultural activities or low-cost housing—rather than handing them to private investors. But it also keeps up its media-art legacy through collaboration with Kontejner, a curatorial collective with annual exhibitions that alternate thematic focus on machines and bodies.

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Dispatches from No Soul For Sale:
"Sonic Bed_Marfa" (2008) by Kaffe Matthews at Ballroom Marfa

By Ceci Moss on Thursday, June 25th, 2009 at 3:00 pm

Image: Kaffe Matthews, Sonic Bed_Marfa, 2008 (In the Ballroom Marfa space at No Soul For Sale)

Image: Kaffe Matthews, Sonic Bed_Marfa, 2008 (In the Ballroom Marfa space at No Soul For Sale)

I asked a stranger lying in Sonic Bed_Marfa, a sculpture by artist Kaffe Matthews, to describe the sensation in two words. He said simply, "Sonic Massage." Non-profit arts space Ballroom Marfa is currently showing Sonic Bed_Marfa in their section on the third floor of No Soul For Sale. The piece was originally commissioned for their 2008 exhibition on sound art and public space, "The Marfa Sessions" curated by Regine Basha, Rebecca Gates and Lucy Raven. The work is one in a series of Sound Beds that take their materials and bedding design from their local surroundings. Sound Bed_Marfa is constructed out of wood gathered from around the Marfa area and its bright yellow bedding is inspired by the color used to paint houses in neighboring Ojinaga. The color yellow also figures into the title of the composition "Yellow" by Matthews which effectively encircles the visitor and vibrates the bed through a 12 channel sound system hidden underneath the mattress and in the side panels.


New Music Greats: An Evening with Rashaad Newsome

New York artist Rashaad Newsome creates powerful, original collage and performance through composite parts. For this event, Newsome will discuss his new work, The Conductor, as well as his recent project Shade Compositions.

Friday, July 17, 7pm
at the New Museum, New York, NY
$6 Members, $8 General Public
Buy Tickets

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