"In your opinion, how has the practice of (curating) new media art changed in the last 10 years?"
Posted by Steve Dietz on January 2, 2010 3:17 PM
In the spirit of the new year, I was recently asked to answer the question "In your opinion, how has the practice of (curating) new media art changed in the last 10 years?" for a new book of interviews, including one with me, edited by Sarah Cook and Beryl Graham, which is a 10-year book of CRUMB, the Curatorial Resource for Upstart Media Bliss, forthcoming in Spring 2010 from The Green Box publishers in Berlin.
I recently ran across an article, Digital Aesthetics, in the Village Voice from September 2000. In it, the author, Jeff Howe, writes - "As technology progresses, so does the quality of artwork on the Internet, and major mainstream art institutions have begun to take notice." While I don't think this - the last part - has proved true in any interesting way over the past decade, his closing "note" is interesting. "Due to the multimedia nature of most of these works, it's best to prepare your browser by allotting plenty of memory to the application, as well as downloading a full range of plug-ins, from Flash to Shockwave to Beatnik, which are available for free at any number of sites."
While I'm interested in much of the work is often described as "new media art," it is not a term I find particularly productive, and I think the challenge, which is now much more tenable, is for curators is to provide a critical context for the work they are interested in that quickly moves past the starting line of "prepare your browsers" and, in particular, is willing to cross the boundaries not only of science and technology and software and politics but also contemporary art. What are the connections not just the differences? And why not include some different connections in our next exhibition?
Posted by Steve Dietz on February 12, 2009 10:45 PM
Net Art 1.0
An Add-Art Exhibition
Curated by Steve Dietz
February 12-26, 2009
Add-Art is a free FireFox add-on which replaces advertising on websites with curated art images. The art shows are updated every two weeks and feature contemporary artists and curators. Learn more about Add-Art or install it now (instructions).
Net Art 1.0
It is little more than a decade since artists first began using the Internet as the "medium" of their art. Net Art 1.0 uses the Web 2.0 platform of Add-Art to present "ads" -- sedimentary reminders -- for a handful of the early works of net and related art, which pressaged the present with uncanny precision.
Vuk Cosic, ASCII art
According to Wikipedia ASCII art consists of pictures pieced together from the 95 printable (from a total of 128) characters defined by the ASCII Standard from 1963 and ASCII compliant character sets with proprietary extended characters (beyond the 128 characters of standard 7-bit ASCII). ASCII has been used since the earliest days of the computer to make images.
Similarly, Vuk Cosic experimented with ASCII in the early days of the World Wide Web as a way to present images on then-slow networks. More significantly, Cosic used ASCII as an aesthetic strategy to recapitulate a history of the moving image with high tech but primitive-looking online versions of Eisenstein, Star Trek, Psycho, and Deep Throat among other sources. It also allowed Cosic to épater la bourgeoisie and infiltrate the staid seriousness of the Internet with trademarked, pop culture content and pornography, which is what everyone really wanted to see, as YouTube and its Web 2.0 ilk arguably prove.
Vuk Cosic is a true classic of net.art. Most recently he did game flags that you can see here.
Rehearsal of Memory is not a net art project per se, but as a collaboration created by the patients and staff of Ashworth Hospital in association with Harwood, it is a prototype of the kind of Web 2.0 "community storytelling" that has become commonplace on the Internet. It also remains as one of the most powerful, interactive storytelling experiences yet produced.
Graham Harwood was a founder of the acclaimed group Mongrel and with Yokokoji and Wright, his most recent project, Tantalum Memorial--Reconstruction was awarded first prize at the 2009 transmediale festival.
Links: Rehearsal of Memory Download Rehearsal of Memory Mongrel See all images
Lisa Jevbratt, 1:1(2) and Migration Project
Working within the arist group C5, in 1999 Jevbratt set out to map every single IP address and then create different interfaces to the database of results. According to Jevbratt, her spider programs were only able to search "approximately two percent of the spectrum . . . and 186,100 sites were included in the database." She resampled these sites in 2001 and 2004 and created different interfaces or maps by which to both navigate the World Wide Web and to make comparisons of it over time with, for example, many .mil sites becoming inaccessible since 1999.
Lisa Jevbratt is associate professor in the Art Department and the Media Art Technology program at University of California, Santa Barbara, who's work, ranging from Internet visualization software to biofeedback and interspecies collaboration, is concerned with collectives and systems, the languages and conditions that generate them, and the exchanges within them. She is currently working on ZooMorph - plug-in filters for image and video software simulating how non-human animals see, generating pictures that help us experience the world through the eyes of another species.
Jodi is the name of the collaboration between artists JOan Heemskerk and DIrk Paesmans, who have been working on the Internet since 1994, along with Cosic and a relatively small group of practitioners. It is often remarked by veterans of net art that despite the phenomenal increase in the number of people on the Internet over the past decade, when net art first started appearing, it was almost easier to get people to participate in online projects. During this period, around 1997, Jodi used a map of the Internet backbone and replaced the names of major providers with, according to them, "alternative and art sites on the net, with links to these sites." It was both a mental map of "Jodi's Internet" and a conceptual conflation of this personal map as the "mission-critical" backbone of the Internet.
JODI's 5 words acceptance speech at SF Webby Awards 1999: "%Ugly%corporate%sons%of%bitches!" Their most recent project: self.map.addOverlay(new GPolyline([point0, point], '#ff0000',8,0.8)); http://geogoo.net
Airworld was commissioned in 1999 by the Walker Art Center. In their application for the commission, the McCoy's wrote: "AIRWORLD is a distributed network that posits itself to be anywhere and everywhere. An important strategy for articulating this state will be AIRWORLD banner ads." And in an essay about the project, cultural theorist Felix Stalder wrote:
Much of the Internet’s glitz is underpinned by an invention so unimaginative that I hesitate to call it an invention at all: the banner ad, cluttering up screens and slowing down surfing. As the Internet changes from an elite, publicly funded research network to a socially more diverse commercial environment, the economics of content production are changing with it.
Add-Art is testament to the ongoing desire to divert people's eyeballs to something other than ads, but a decade ago, the McCoys had to fantasize their own system of distribution, Airworld.
Jennifer and Kevin McCoy are artists from New York who work with conceptual media practices. In their latest video "I'll Replace You", they replaced themselves with fifty actors who perform them enacting minute gestures of everyday life.
line is "subtitled subjectivity in the cyberpolis, the experience of living on-line" is about the virtual relationship between two people, nomadic and physically separated. According to Rackham, "On-line their intimate communications and private images become public property, their fantasy of each other fuelled by a lack of physical reality, their personal boundaries blurred in the virtuality of the screen domain." Like many of the projects in this exhibition, this work pressaged what is commonplace in the Web 2.0 era, but with remains an uncommon aesthetic.
Melinda Rackham makes things happen across time, space and media/ums, then often writes about it. In her most recent project "stringr", she wove, wrapped, glued and tied personal tribal adornments for and with a gaggle of 25 creatives, documenting the resultant intimate narratives and objects into an online artefact museum.
Selbo played a crucial role in the conceptualization and design of one of the most remarkable websites in the brief history of net art, ada'web. She also produced her own online artwork, including Vertical Blanking Interval, which was both a prediction about the technical future of information delivery and an example of using the strategies of advertising to highlight and undermine the messaging of ads. Vertical blanking interval is a technical term describing the largely untapped portion of the video spectrum that is part of any television signal, and according to Selbo at the time "this portion of the signal is where high speed internet access will soon be transmitted" allowing for the transformation of the Internet, historically a "pull" medium into a push medium, like television.
With many of Sermon's projects, he "connects" two spaces via the network by using green screen technology to overlay what is happening in one space onto another. In Telematic Vision, you sit down on a couch to watch TV. Only the people on the TV in front of you are on an identical couch at the other end of the network, and it looks on the TV as if you are sitting on the couch with them. The interaction, even though mediated, is remarkably visceral.
Paul Sermon is a pioneer of telematic artworks. His most recent project, AVATARIUM – A Consumer Paradox was inspired by Slavoj Zizek’s semiotic account of John Carpenters 1988 sci-fi classic “They Live." In it, Sermon combines the actual "first life" City's Nisantasi Shopping Mall in Istanbul with a deconstructed derelict shopping mall in the virtual world of Second Life. Through a live video link between first and second life, the installation allows both real and virtual life visitors/customers to converse, interact and confront the consumption driven aesthetic and architecture of contemporary shopping spaces.
Posted by Steve Dietz on November 16, 2008 11:48 AM
According to Joe Swaine's recent article for the Daily Telegraph, Barack Obama "collects Spider-Man and Conan the Barbarian comics" -- a fact that has most geeks more excited than a freshly leaked trailer for Watchmen.
After the jump, Gabriel Fowler, owner of Williamsburg indie comic shop Desert Island, gives us his expert analysis of what Obama's fanboy picks reveal about our future President.
"Unlike previous teen super heroes, Spider-Man did not benefit from adult mentors like Captain America and Batman. He was his own man, and had to learn for himself that 'with great power comes great responsibility'. Perhaps Mr. Obama identifies with Peter Parker's lone-wolf outlook?
The Twin Cites has been chosen as the site of the 2008 Republican National Convention. To commemorate this historic event, the people of Minneapolis and St. Paul are building a parade to celebrate the idea of liberty. Everyone is invited to participate, whether that means marching in the band, decorating your car, volunteering to help, or just sitting back in your lawn chair and enjoying the show.
After the last float rolls by, you are invited to follow the parade to its conclusion at Loring Park, where we will have several stages of music, speakers and surprises that will rock into the evening hours.
MiSSion of the Liberty Parade
The Liberty Parade is an event scheduled to coincide with the opening day of the Republican National Convention in St. Paul on August 31st, 2008, as one of the many events under the umbrella of “The Unconvention“ (http://theunconvention.com/). The central purpose of the Liberty Parade is to create a large scale parade through the heart of Minneapolis that is a CELEBRATION of shared values (liberty, freedom, justice, equality, free speech) rather than a partisan protest. The parade will culminate in a large gathering featuring music, speakers, art displays and activities. Participants will be answering the question “what does liberty mean to you?” in the form of a float, group march, or another sort of mobile visual representation that suits their artistic needs. Organizers are working closely with the city of Minneapolis and various agencies in securing one of a few proposed high-visibility parade routes through some of Minneapolis’s most recognizable districts. Planning efforts have been enhanced through close contact with several arts and cultural organizations who have offered assistance and logistical support. The organizers are currently applying for and receiving grants, negotiating with city officers, designing a website and finalizing details for this large-scale, free, public program, all details of which will be made available via the website as they are confirmed.
As members of the Twin Cities community, we feel that holding an event like this at precisely the moment that questions around issues of liberty and freedom are front and center on the national stage, is imperative. We believe that free speech does not need to be confined to “zones” and that participatory democracy requires that every citizen, regardless of their party affiliation or political views, must have the opportunity to contribute and express themselves without fear or censorship.This is an event of,for and by the people, and a moment to focus on what brings us together rather than the all-too-familiar rhetoric of what keeps us politically separated.We are dedicated to the principles of liberty and equality that we see as the cornerstone of our nation’s future, values that have been distorted for political ends in recent years. We are excited to be a part of celebrating these most noble principles and we are proud to have this historic opportunity!
The Liberty Parade is part of the UnConvention, a non-partisan collective of citizens and organizations who have come together to create a forum in which to promote the democratic and free exchange of ideas on important issues. It exists as a counterpoint to the highly scripted and predetermined nature of the contemporary presidential nomination process and convention.
The UnConvention is a series of programs in art, education and alternative journalism, which will take place at various locations in the Twin Cities, primarily from August 30 – September 4 in parallel to the Republican National Convention.
The UnConvention was initited by Northern Lights, a new Twin Cities-based arts agency with support from the McKnight Foundation (http://northern.lights.mn). Lead partners for the UnConvention are Intermedia Arts and the Walker Art Center. Local and national participating organizations include, to date, Creative Time, Dialog City, Forecast Public Arts, Form + Content, Independent Feature Projects/Minnesota, the Liberty Parade, Macalester College’s ExCo program, MCAD, Provisions Library, PCTV, Sandbox Studios, the Spark Festival, Spark24, St. Paul Neighborhood Network, Traffic Zone, Twin Cities Youth Media Network, the UpTake, the Weisman Art Museum.
We are a group of artists, audience members, and donors committed to the Southern Theater.
We are concerned with the "indefinite leave" issued to Artistic Director, Jeff Bartlett, and the void of artistic leadership this creates. We are also gravely concerned with the manner in which this decision was made and the attendant silence around this action from the Board of Directors.
We feel that these actions in and of themselves are troubling, and are concerned that they indicate a larger sensibility and style of leadership that is detrimental to the future of the Southern.
We support Jeff's vision of artistic leadership, and we believe that artistic and financial viabilities go hand in hand. We hope our collective voice will be considered as the Board tenders its ultimate decision regarding Jeff.
While we respect what may be confidential aspects of the Board's negotiations with Jeff, we as individuals and community leaders who directly support the financial and artistic life of the Southern demand a public meeting with the Board of Directors to discuss how this situation was handled, and how it reflects the Board's vision. The Southern Theater is a 501(c)3 organization and its board is beholden to public accountability.
The Southern's mission statement declares its commitment to artists, audiences and the local community. We expect the Board will honor that commitment by meeting with the community in a timely fashion.
The UMN Dance Department has offered space for this meeting on Monday, July 21st at 7:00 p.m. We look forward to your confirmation.
Morgan Thorson, Artist
Judith Howard, Carleton College/Artist
Mary Easter, Founder and Director of the Dance Program, Carleton College/Dancer/Choreographer
Cassandra Shore, Artistic Director, Jawaahir Dance Company*
Sarah K. Sawyer, Arts Journalist/Performer
Katherine Strohmaier, Performer
Ranee Ramaswamy, Artistic Director, Ragamala Music and Dance Theater*
Aparna Ramaswamy, Artistic Director, Ragamala Music and Dance Theater*
Judith Brin Ingber, Artist
Wendy Knox, Frank Theater
Leslie Ball, BALLS Cabaret*
Kevin Lawler, Director/Actor
Karla Grotting, Founding Member/Artistic Associate, Joe Chvala and the Flying Foot Forum*
Colette Illarde, FUEGO Flamenco*
Robert Haarman, Artist
Michele Blanchard, Perimeter Productions
Robert C. Hammel, Perimeter Productions, Former Southern Board Member
Tamara Nadel, Founding Member/Development and Outreach Director, Ragamala Music and Dance Theater*
Ashwini Ramaswamy, Founding Member, Ragamala Music and Dance Theater*
Ben Krywosz, Nautilus Music Theater
David Harris, Performer/Arts Producer
Linda Shapiro, Arts Writer
James Sewell, James Sewell Ballet*
Laurie Van Wieren, Choreographer; Producer/Host of 9x22 Dance/Lab
Jon Skaalen, VSA Arts Minnesota
Sally Rousse, Sewell Family Foundation
Megan McClellan, Artist
Brian Sostek, Artist
Penelope Freeh, James Sewell Ballet/METRO Magazine Dance Writer*
Nicolas Lincoln, James Sewell Ballet*
Genevieve Bennett, Artist
Molly Stoltz, Dance BFA Major, University of Minnesota
Jeremy Bensussan, Out on a Limb Dance Company
Susana di Palma, Artistic Director, Zorongo Flamenco*
Justin Jones, Artist*
Carl Flink, Chair, University of Minnesota Dance Department; Artistic Director, Black Label Movement*
Karen Sherman, Artist*
Joe Chvala, Artistic Director, Joe Chvala and the Flying Foot Forum*
Steve Dietz, Director, Northern Lights
* denotes 2008-2009 season artist
Kathleen Fluegel, Program Director, HRK Foundation
Neal Cuthbert, Vice President of Program, The McKnight Foundation
Vickie Benson, Program Director, The McKnight Foundation
Nancy Fushan, Program Officer, Bush Foundation
Amy Frimpong, Senior Program Officer, State Arts Board
Sue Gens, Interim Executive Director, State Arts Board
Jeff Prauer, Executive Director, Metropolitan Regional Arts Council
Kris Kewitsch, Target Foundation
Cynthia Gehrig, President, The Jerome Foundation
Eleanor Savage, Program Officer, The Jerome Foundation
Philip Bither, Performing Arts Curator, Walker Art Center
R.T. Rybak, Mayor of the City of Minneapolis
Cam Gordon, City Council, Ward 2, City of Minneapolis
Caroline Palmer, City Pages
Chris Roberts, Minnesota Public Radio
Rohan Preston, Star Tribune
Marianne Combs, Minnesota Public Radio
Camille Le Fevre, Star Tribune
Graydon Royce, Star Tribune
Dominic Papatola, Pioneer Press
Kathy Berdan, Pioneer Press
Heidi Raschke, Senior Editor, Pioneer Press
Casey Selix, Minnpost.com
Lightsey Darst, Minneapolis-St.Paul Magazine; mnartists.org
Marya Morstad, KFAI
Tim Gihring, Arts Editor, Minnesota Monthly
There are only a few more days to create and submit signs for My Yard Our Message. Since the project started in May, we've gotten over 200 submissions, but there is plenty of room for more. It's easy to make a sign, we've got templates and all you have to do is tell us a little bit about it when you submit the design.
Beginning July 1, you'll be able to vote on signs, helping to curate the signs that will eventually be available for purchase and show up in some selected neighborhoods in St. Paul and Minneapolis. We're working on the voting right now, and it'll be super-easy to vote.
The deadline for submitting your designs is June 30th.
Call for submissions for artist-designed political yard signs
Yard signs are as ubiquitous and familiar to the American political landscape as baby-kissing and stump speeches, combining catchy images and pithy campaign slogans to increase visibility for vying candidates and their parties' messages. In honor of this election season, My Yard Our Message turns this tradition of political ephemera on its ear with a unique national competition: we're putting the message and the creative design for these political yard signs in the hands of artists and then--in true democratic fashion--you, the people, will vote among the entries to determine a selection of fifty winners, whose designs will be made available to order as full-sized political yard-signs after August 1.
Now through June 30, artists and designers are invited to submit yard signs to MyYardOurMessage.com around the theme of what it means to actively participate in a democracy. Entry specifications and the submission form are available on MyYardOurMessage.com. The full call for entries is available at http://www.mnartists.org/article.do?rid=192440 or http://www.myyardourmessage.com/
My Yard Our Message is produced by the Walker Art Center (walkerart.org) and mnartists.org in collaboration with The UnConvention (theunconvention.com ). The project was conceived by Scott Sayre.