Today feels more threatened and threatening today than at any time since the 1960's. Terrorism, nuclear proliferation, the prospect of war on Iraq and ever tightening security measures at home has sent a hum of tension through daily life.
In the 1960's, comparable tension, excruciatingly amplified, produced a big response: the spread of a counterculture, one that began with political protest movements and became an alternative way of life. Among other things, it delivered a sustained, collective "no" to certain values (imperialism, moralism, technological destruction), and a collective "yes" to others: peace, liberation, a return-to-childhood innocence.
The collective itself, as a social unit, was an important element in the 60's. Whatever form the collective concept took, its implications of shared resources and global implications made it a model for change.
The collective impulse has never died in American art and now it is surfacing again.� An old countercultural model, often much changed, is being revived, in some cases by artists barely out of their teens.
Computer-savvy collectives are starting to gain attention. �They are housed in apartments, storefronts, art schools and minivans. �Their members � who often support themselves with day jobs as designers, programmers, teachers or temps � are identified by a group name, like rock bands. �And their art is often a multitasking mix of painting, sculpture, printmaking, design, digital art, video, zine production and musical performances.
Such Net-centric collectives are electronic descendants of earlier American groups that cohered and dissolved from the 1960's through the 1990's: PAD/D (Political Art Documentation and Distribution), Colab, Group Material, Guerrilla Girls, REPOhistory, Act Up and General Idea, which originated in Canada, to name but a few. The full history of this phenomenon has yet to be written, though a few art historians are now working on it.
I would like to give a quick overview of some of the more notable art collectives and focus on the politics of each.
Euphoria & Dystopia: The Banff New Media Institute Dialogues, edited by Sarah Cook and Sara Diamond. Foreword by Kellogg Booth and Sidney Fels. Essays by Sandra Buckley, Steve Dietz, Jean Gagnon, N. Katherine Hayles, Eric Kluitenberg, Jeff Leiper, Allucquere Rosanne Stone. Afterword by Susan Kennard.
With the Technological Mandala series I combined the suggestive and spiritual meaning of the Indian Mandalas with something that has been perceived as far from that sphere of influence, technology. The search of perfection as necessity within the electronics industry has stimulated my curiosity to produce this series of pieces in order to evocate that specific need. I wanted to show what has been hidden from the eyes of the consumer, representing electronic circuits as extraordinary objects where the perfection of the design can becomes almost something ethereal. The shapes and colors of the single components intrigued me for pure aesthetic reasons with the consequent loss of the actual functionality of the component itself. My circuits/ Mandalas do not activate lights or do other complicated function, but they simply function as stimulus to produce simple questions like: what will happen if a real electric current flows through the Circuit/Mandala?
I’m currently at ISEA2012, the 18th International Symposium on Electronic Art, a six-day international conference, this year taking place in Albuquerque under the glorious banner ‘Machine Wilderness’, which references the New Mexico region as an area of rapid growth and technology within vast expanses of open land.
Astrophysicist and President of the Leonardo Institute for Art, Science and Technology, Roger Malina gave a keynote to a packed auditorium, in which he discussed (in a rich and wide-ranging lecture) the epistemological revolution that is underway with the arrival of the era of “big data”. The amount of data in our world has exploded, Malina explained. Today, each day we create 2.5 quintillion bytes of data (source: IBM). This trend is accelerating so fast that 90% of the data in the world today has been created in the last two years alone. Data sets have become so large and complex that it has become extremely difficult to process using current tools. Malina argued that there is a critical role for artists in creating new systems of data representation, visualisation, sonification, and simulation, across fields ranging from astronomy, geology, nanoscience and medicine, to business and finance. It’s not a field in which I am an expert, but it strikes me that – as well as the systems that Malina outlines – the key contribution that artists can make is in helping to create meaning and poetry from these vast data fields.
Watch Christopher Bedford, Chief Curator of Exhibitions at the Wexner Center, and Ashley Brook, Associate Producer of Artzine discuss and interact with this playful exhibition!
Six Solos is a set of independent exhibitions featuring the work of six rising international artists on view inside and outside the Wexner Center. Organized by the Wexner Center and opening in conjunction with the center's 21st anniversary celebrations, the presentations continue the Wex's tradition of supporting younger artists in their efforts.
It was with no small amount of surprise, when starting a new job last year as executive director of The Kitchen in New York, that I found my first order of business to be attending a conference required of hundreds of nonprofit institutions, from modern dance companies to major opera houses, in addition to alternative arts spaces such as my own – all of whom had recently accepted major grants from Bloomberg Philanthropies for the enhancement of cultural organizations’ usage of contemporary technologies and, more specifically, social media.  Not that I felt artistic institutions harbor no need for consultation when seeking to grasp the cultural influence and implications of changes in the digital field. Quite the contrary
This is a story about an arts organization that set out the shape the future of the planet by bringing together collaborative partnerships across industries of art, technology, business, science, design, architecture and academia.
ZERO1: The Art & Technology Network is here to build a resilient world through the lens of the arts.
“Art does not transform anything, it does not change the world, it does not change reality. What really transforms the artist, whilst advancing, transforming and completing his modes of expression, is himself. And it is this man, transformed by art, who can attempt to transform reality through life.”
Rackroom interview for contemporary artist KRIS SCHEIFELE.New York, Sept. 2012: For her second solo show “Fade” at Janet Kurnatowski Gallery, Kris Scheifele has made a series of sixteen paint-sculptures. Body-like and reminiscent of flayed meat, they hang from thin nails on the wall. They allude to the human form but they also suggest handbags, torn yoga mats, the friction-burned undersides of tennis shoes—plastic detritus in the process of breaking down, the kind you might find in a garbage dump. But they are beautifully made. They sag and droop and—juiced up with color—these lovingly (and maybe frustratingly) cut slabs of acrylic offer the viewer lessons about history and aesthetics. The most significant and exciting is: so much can be done with paint and color and gravity. “Fade” continues through October 7, 2012.
The Artist's Museum video series looks at eight significant artists who have produced some of the finest contemporary works in Los Angeles from 1980 to present day. Structured as extended studio visits, these videos capture each artists’ creative process and motivations, developing a rich narrative on the vitality of the Los Angeles artist community.
Finally! An art & tech festival that makes sense. A festival that resonates with the media art expert and the casual passerby alike. An event that values art above in-your-face tech prowess. It was my first visit to an AND festival. I found it witty, surprising, often thought-provoking and enlightening.
Exhibitions, performances, open air cinema and workshops were free and distributed all over the city. My first stop was for the CUBE which was showing two works dealing with biotechnology. Pigs Bladder Football by John O'Shea and Reproductive Futures by Zoe Papadopoulou.
Pigs Bladder Football looks back at the time when football balls were made from pig bladders but instead of using an existing organ, the project tissue engineered small balls from animal cells harvested from abattoir waste. The artist was showing a video, a DIY incubator case as well as prototype of bladder muscle cell growing on 3D-printed polymer scaffold.
I met Signe Lidén over the Summer at FARM, a festival that brings digital art into rural contexts. The event was set in Tufo, a small town famous for its wine. Tufo is located in the mountains near Naples, people there are fantastically friendly, there's only one bar with wifi, the supermarket is inside a pastel-coloured ex-cinema but damn that place was so hot and sunny i almost got a tan.
In Tufo, Signe was performing the sound pieces she had recorded while traveling on the train line between Benevento-Avellino. The field recording were an homage to the rural train line that is threatened to be shut down next month.
There's nothing subtle about the artworks of John Isaacs. While some artists would like to make pretty pictures and beautify the world with their expression, John's work comments critically on how screwed up the world has become and demands attention. Every piece is a morally critical statement on the way we choose to live our lives as a species in this modern world. His hideously confronting executions can't help but make you think and riddle you with guilt on what we have become... It's like being bludgeoned about the head with our fast food guzzling, consumer driven, resource eating, air polluting, Prozac popping ways.
Personally this was one of the most memorable things for me during Turku 2011 - European Capital of Culture year. Tobias Rehberger won the Golden Lion as the best artist at The Venice Biennale (Italian: Biennale di Venezia) with his cafeteria installation utilizing the infamous Artek's furniture.
Rehberger continued the collaboration with Artek by creating this wonderful piece of art "Nothing Happens for a Reason" to Logomo (main venue of Turku 2011). This is what Rehberger says on the work:
"I like the idea of creating a visual art project which is about 'not seeing something'. the painting method of battle ships in the first and second world war, the so called dazzle painting, in a way for me perfectly represents this paradox.
The sculpture I created for Turku is based on the same concept as the one in Venice. It applies a completely different pattern to the space, but despite its very different look, it should have the same dazzling effect.'
In 1831 Honoré de Balzac wrote a short story, "The Unknown Masterpiece," in which he invented the abstract painting. Almost 200 years later, writer Ingo Niermann tries to follow in his footsteps to imagine a new epoch-making artwork. Together with the artist Erik Niedling he starts searching for the future of art and, seeking advice, meets key figures of the art world.
Conflict Kitchen is a take-out restaurant that only serves cuisine from countries with which the United States is in conflict. The food is served out of a take-out style storefront that rotates identities every six months to highlight another country. Each iteration of the project is augmented by events, performances, and discussions that seek to expand the engagement the public has with the culture, politics, and issues at stake within the focus country. These events have included live international Skype dinner parties between citizens of Pittsburgh and young professionals in Tehran, Iran; documentary filmmakers in Kabul, Afghanistan; and community radio activists in Caracas, Venezuela.
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