Archive for the 'Art' Category

Identity, Photography and Flickr

September 27, 2006

German artist Sascha Pohflepp‘s continued investigation of how photo-sharing technologies like Flickr mediate self-perception recently rose to poetic heights with “Buttons,” a “blind camera” that captures not images but moments:

Buttons takes on this notion of the camera as a networked object. It is a camera that will capture a moment at the press of a button. However, unlike a conventional analog or digital camera, this one doesn’t have any optical parts. It allows you to capture your moment but in doing so, it effectively seperates it from the subject. Instead, as you will memorize the moment, the camera memorizes only the time and starts to continuously search on the net for other photos that have been taken in the very same moment. (blinksandbuttons)


If it Bleeds, it Leads

September 18, 2006

Caleb Larsen’s Monument (If it Bleeds, it Leads), scans XML news feeds for references to deaths and death-tolls, then “memorializes” these events by squirting little yellow BBs onto the floor of the gallery where the project is installed. Larsen describes the project as a playful exploration of the “media’s fixation with tragedy:”

In this piece a computer program continuously scans the headlines of 4,500 English-language news sources around the world, looking for people who have been reported killed. Each time it finds an article, an algorithm determines the number of deaths, and instructs a ceiling-mounted mechanism built from Legos to drop one yellow BB per person. During the course of the installation, BBs will accumulate on the floor, contributing to an ever-growing constellation, ultimately forming a sort of monument. At the beginning of an installation the pellets will be sparsely scattered around the space, and by the end they will form a dense and chaotic arrangement, with errant BBs traveling throughout the building.

There is an inherent dichotomy between the playfulness of the materials: the Legos, the bright yellow balls, the cake-pan BB hopper, and the sobering reality of the subject matter. This tension is combined with the viewer’s natural inclination to expect and desire activity from a kinetic sculpture. However, that desire represents a morbid reality in that every time the mechanism drops a ball, a real person has died. Thus a confusing ethical situation exists; the viewer finds himself secretly and selfishly waiting for someone to be killed only so that he can watch a little yellow ball bounce around on the floor. On the same note, there exists a certain reassurance when the piece displays little activity. (


Secret Banksy Show Location Revealed

September 15, 2006

Well, it’s “official.” If you’re in LA, go check it out:

Night Swim

September 9, 2006

This is right around the corner from where I live, so I’m definitely going to try to make it out. September 30th, 7pm to 7am, at the Trinity Bellwoods Community Centre swimming pool in Toronto:

NIGHT SWIM is a cross between a sound and light installation, a music festival and a swimming pool party which will be held from sunset till sunrise at the Trinity Bellwoods Community Centre swimming pool in Toronto on Saturday September 30, 2006. Architect and artist Christie Pearson, co-organizer of the highly successful WADE festivals of performance art in Toronto’s public wading pools, has transformed this much loved downtown public swimming pool into a shimmering, reflective dream-space for one night only. Wire contributor Marcus Boon has invited sound artists, musicians and DJs to produce site specific works and sets in a sound environment designed by sound designer Darren Copeland, which will include underwater microphones and speakers. The event is free and open all night – visitors can swim (bring your bathing suit, towels provided!), lounge in the kiddies’ pool, or hang out in the bleachers and around the pool, soaking up the sound and light. 120 people in the pool at a time maximum – first come, first served!

Sounds: Montreal dirty beats by Ghislain Poirier and colossal drone-scapes by Tim Hecker; loops by Beijing-based creators of the Buddha Machine FM3; heavy ambient sounds by Boston-based Keith Fullerton Whitman a.k.a Hravatski; turntablist-composer Marina Rosenfeld and experimental tribal rhythmist Raz Mesinai from New York; from Toronto, electronic composer and improvisor Sarah Peebles, Sandro Perri/Polmo Polpo’s indie funk, sexy nocturnal grooves with Luis Jacob, baile funk, grime and dancehall from Geoff Snack, a.k.a. DJ Showcase Showdown, and ecstatic sustained tones by Orixasound.

Deconstructing Networks

September 8, 2006

Montreal’s Oboro Gallery presents Deconstructing Networks by American media artist Jonah Brucker-Cohen, September 16-October 21st, 2006. Included in the exhibit is Brucker-Cohen’s hilarious “!Alerting Infrastructure! – A Physical Hit Counter,” which translates web hits into actual damage (via wall-mounted drills) to the interior of the gallery space.

Deconstructing Networks by Jonah Brucker-Cohen is an exhibition of projects that critically examines and questions the proliferation of networked media in both physical and online instantiations. Projects in the exhibition include: “Alerting Infrastructure!,” a website hit counter that destroys a building; PoliceState, a fleet of radio-controlled police cars whose movements are dictated by “suspicious” keywords scanned on a local network; Wifi-Hog, a tactical tool to liberate public wireless nodes; SpeakerPhone, a sequence of individually addressable speakers that expose the hidden pathways of data networks; Crank The Web, a browser that allows the user to physically “crank” their bandwidth to download a website; and IPO Madness, a slot machine that generates domain names in the quest for an eventual IPO. The exhibition will also feature a one-night performance of SimpleTEXT, an audio-visual project that is controlled by audience members texting messages from their cellphones and a workshop entitled MIDI Scrapyard Challenge which will be held by the artist and collaborator Katherine Moriwaki, where participants can create digital instruments from discarded or cast off materials. (


This project’s for the birds!

September 6, 2006

I can’t decide if this is a utopian or dystopian use of skyscraper rooftops:

Australia-born engineer/artist Natalie Jeremijenko has recently completed ‘OOZ, Inc. […for the birds],’ a remotely-monitored social experiment that takes the technology and theories of contemporary urban planning and applies them to a habitat for New York’s native bird population. Jeremijenko studied avian traffic above Manhattan’s Postmasters gallery and then enlisted seven vanguard architecture firms to create high-density housing units that are customized for the birds and installed in a 1,000 square-foot roof garden. Beginning September 7, visitors downstairs in the gallery can monitor the birdhouses via a live video feed.


Rafael Lozano-Hemmer at bitforms

September 3, 2006

Rafael Lozano-Hemmer’s new sense-and-display artworks will be exhibited at bitforms between September 15 and October 21, 2006. He’ll also be giving an artist talk on September 12 at 7pm (call bitforms for reservations):

Shown for the first time, Close up and Third Person are part of the Shadow Box series that builds up on Lozano-Hemmer’s concepts developed in Under Scan, and in which passers-by activate portraits in their own shadows. Each of the pieces features a high resolution, 30-inch diagonal, interactive display, made of steel and black anodized aluminum and including a built-in computerized tracking system. Close up creates the viewer’s image with hundreds of tiny videos of other people who have recently looked at the work. When a viewer approaches, the system automatically makes a video. Up to 800 recent recordings are simultaneously triggered inside the viewer’s silhouette, suggesting a schizoid experience where people’s image sets off a massive array of surveillance videos. In Third Person, the interactive display draws the viewer’s portrait in real time with hundreds of tiny words, which are all the English and Spanish verbs conjugated in the third person. In addition to these two pieces, the exhibition will include a video of Lozano-Hemmer’s critically acclaimed, large-scale public art installation, Under Scan, along with Under Scan Portraits (Lambda print), and a book of signature of the 800 people who participated in this project. (rhizome)

Banksy does Paris

September 3, 2006

Grafitti artist Banksy has taken his culture-jamming practice to a whole new level, pranking UK record stores by planting doctored copies of Paris Hilton’s debut album on shelves across the country:

Banksy has replaced Hilton’s CD with his own remixes and given them titles such as Why am I Famous?, What Have I Done? and What Am I For?He has also changed pictures of her on the CD sleeve to show the US socialite topless and with a dog’s head.

A spokeswoman for Banksy said he had doctored 500 copies of her debut album Paris in 48 record shops across the UK.

She told the BBC News website: “He switched the CDs in store, so he took the old ones out and put his version in.” (BBC)

Orit Zuckerman’s memory machines

August 9, 2006

Orit Zuckerman‘s “Moving Portraits” — animated photographs that interact through gesture with the viewer — are bold statements about memory and technology. Zuckerman’s site describes how one of these portraits — essentially a slim LCD screeen connected (wirelessly, it appears) to a computer — at first looksto be a picture of a little girl covering her eyes. But if the viewer looks long enough, the little girl starts peeking out, eventually smiling. If the viewer leaves, the little girl in the portait again covers her eyes.

Equally exciting are Zuckerman’s multi-portrait arrays that interact with each other. Like David Rokeby’s seminal (n)chant, what we have here is essentially a network of autonomous software agents interacting with one another. But where (n)chant used words and sounds (and the influence of the viewer) as the medium for the software agents to interact with one another, Zuckerman uses her moving portrait technology to create “…an interactive artwork visualizing how collective behavior emerges from decentralized interaction in a small social network.”

Recently, Zuckerman has been experimenting with haptic systems such as TapTap (with Leonardo Bonanni, Jeff Lieberman, and Cati Vaucelle), a scarf that “allows nurturing human touch to be recorded, broadcast and played back.”