Archive for March, 2010

Wednesday, March 31st, 2010

The exhibition READY OR NOT IT’S 2010, organized by the Jogging collective and virally announced just one day ago (March 30, 2010), is an open call for artists to post work or link to themselves en masse through the stream of the Los Angeles County Museum of Art’s Facebook Wall right now (today – March 31st, 2010).

The point of the show is to resist the hierarchical historicization and canonization of contemporary art by art museums and other art institutions.

In the words of the exhibition’s announcement text:

[…] digital artists should take the task of historicization into their own hands.



The manipulability of art museums’ Facebook walls allows artists the chance to wrest curatorial control back from institutions empowered by years of exclusionary practices.


As one begins to view the exhibition, the impressively active and continually growing stream of art posts on the LACMA Wall by a broad spectrum of artists seems like an event – a “happening” right there in the virtual space of a collecting museum.

However, as one continues to watch, one might begin to grow anxious about all of this happening.

What is happening?

Is this really the emergence of a Web 2.0 resistance to art world gatekeeping?

Or is LACMA’s authority is simply re-inscribed?

As one continues to view the exhibition, the artists and artworks may come across less as liberated individuals expressing their individuality and more as ammo – data – or, in Jaron Lanier’s lingo, “gadgets.”

This doesn’t mean that there’s nothing interesting happening here.

On the contrary, one begins to take-in an alternate point-of-view regarding the way in which art might work in the network:

That is, as a stream.

The art occurring on the LACMA wall right now is not found in the individual posts (as interesting as many of them are), but rather in the visibility of the stream of posts itself – the curatorial gesture by Jogging.

A stream.

In an interview on the Counterfeit-Mess Tumblr, Jogging’s most visible member Brad Troemel speaks to this very understanding of contemporary creative practice as an ongoing, publicly-visible, and remotely-followable stream:

A couple years ago when I became a Photographer-hater, I realized that you can’t possibly explain the world through a single tool. I feel that way now in regard to The Art Project, that 10 projects can’t explain everything or anything either. All you can do is have a constant engagement with art, trying to find meaning. On Jogging, we, the creators, are the art and artists.



Creating this way makes assessing/accessing our work on the whole difficult.

There’s no fitting “grading rubric” for everything at once because the intent of the art is multiple.

So, you can either assess every single work individually, or, you can assess us, ourselves, as the work.


With this in mind, READY OR NOT IT’S 2010 becomes another status update in Jogging’s own publicly-visible stream.

Tuesday, March 30th, 2010

From Tea From An Empty Cup (1998) by Pat Cadigan:

In the next moment, Tom was gone and she was staring at a regular-style reflection. Or as regular-style as a reflection in Artificial Reality could be, considering it wasn’t really a reflection of something that wasn’t really there in the first place. Or was it? Maybe reflections were sort-of reflections, subroutines dumbed-down to the point of the AR version of an automatic reflex.

Monday, March 29th, 2010

In the film Greenberg, Ben Stiller’s character sees the world as false and meaningless and he’s bitter about this, resulting in a form of nihilism.

In the same film, Greta Gerwig’s character sees the world the same way, but, instead of bemoaning this or going on a quixotic quest for truth or certainty, her character seems to say you that you should rather begin with the knowledge that you’re obviously, automatically just playing at reality and then mean that playing as if it was real.

By acting with conviction (meaning what you say to the best of your ability), your actions then become real and this is the only way to deal with things.

According to the film critic A.O. Scott, Greta Gerwig herself is:

embarked on a project, however piecemeal and modestly scaled, of redefining just what it is we talk about when we talk about acting.


He says:

She will play – that’s what acting is – but she will also mean what she says.


In a key scene from Greenberg, Gerwig recounts a story, which is told like a dream, in which she and a friend play (or “like, are”) these “slut” characters who let themselves be picked up by random guys at a bar.

Her point (as broken and dream-like as it sounds) is that she is not really that girl, but when she played that girl like she meant it she became that girl because that’s what happens when you mean the part you play.

As she tells this to Greenberg, she looks at him with equal parts longing and hysteria as if to say:

I’m sorry I’m telling you this, but this is – to the best I can tell – my situation – my un-real real situation.


This is her philosophy.

NOTE: This post was inspired by Stanley Cavell’s The World Viewed: Reflections on the Ontology of Film (1971).

Friday, March 26th, 2010

Since April 28, 2008, Joel Holmberg has posted one hundred and seven (and counting) questions to Yahoo! Answers.

If one skips back to the first of the chronologically-organized questions posed by the artist in early 2008, one views three general, relatively straightforward questions regarding the subject of coffee in a category termed:

“Non-Alcoholic Drinks.”

However, in his following (often funny, koan-like) questions posed throughout the course of his performance, Holmberg branches-out his performed investigation into multiple question categories such as, for example, “Other – Society and Culture,” “Laptops and Notebooks,” and “Other – General Health Care,” which each catalyze a different set of responses to the act of “answering” a question.

The “Philosophy” category, for example, is more logically precise than the “Religion and Spirituality” category which is more emotionally-charged than the “Etiquette” category which is more polite than the “Other – Internet” category which is more nerdy than the “Other – Visual Arts” category which is more artsy than the “Men’s Health” category and so on and so on and so on and so on.

Throughout his performance, Holmberg explicitly explores these categorical-discrepancies by asking the same question in multiple categories.

For example, he asks the question “How do you occupy space?” in the “Physics,” “Other-Environment,” “Other-Internet,” “Military,” and “Wrestling” categories.

In each category, one views a unique approach to language and the act of “answering” a question.

The work, in the end, may be less about showing one answers and more about showing one the different answer categories we constantly shift in and out of through our lives.

Thursday, March 25th, 2010

Dreams from google 3d warehouse by Guthrie Lonergan is:

1. The artist’s re-contextualization of seventeen “3D” models – each of which are based on an individual dream of the Google 3D Warehouse user who initially created the model.

2. An accompanying commentary on the process of translating the memory of a dream to a 3D model provided by the dreamers/3D model-makers themselves (in conversation with Lonergan).

The work is viewed on two Web pages – each of which are hosted on Caitlin Denny and Parker Ito’s website.

On the first page, one views three lines of black sans-serif text extending the horizontal-length of the page.

This text reads:

This is a Piano I dreamed that I was playing, but its actually a tattoo that I want to do somewhere on my body… You can’t really comment about it because i dreamed it and you didn’t see it… Oh well…


Positioned below this text is the 2D representation of a 3D model depicting a black piano keyboard which – when clicked – opens a Web browser tab displaying the 3D model’s original Web page on the Google 3D Warehouse Web site.

On the second page of the work, one views a block of sixteen additional dream-text-and-3D-model pairings which are positioned above a block of seventeen lines of text which each (a.) list the 3D models’ file names and creator/user names, as well as (b.) link to the models’ original Web pages on the Google 3D Warehouse Web site.

The first of the dream memories-into-3D models displayed at the top of this page is prefaced by the following text:

i had the wierdest dream last night. i was walking downtown when a space ship landed in the street, naturely i dove for cover behind a bush. thank you to dj orion for the road


Below this text is an initial view of the 3D model described above in which one views a low medium-wide framing on:

1. A grey figure running away from a large white craft emanating blue flames, which is labeled “space ship,” and

2. A second grey figure labeled “me” lying on the ground behind a rectangular box with a green marbleized texture, which one takes to be the bush mentioned in the dream.

Below this view of the model, then, are three lines of grey text in which a question regarding the model-maker’s memory of certain details is posed.

It reads:

i’m curious if the blue flames from the jets on the spaceship were in the dream? also, there seems to be some sort of steering column inside of the spaceship, is this something that you remembered?


And a reply, reading:

to answer your questions, yes there was blue flames from the spaceship, and yes, i do remember the steering column was something i remembered. i remember the aliens coming out and there was that steering column


As one scrolls down the page, one encounters two more views of the 3D model – one into the cockpit of the space ship in which the steering column mentioned above is visible, the other a high wide-angle in which the steering column is – again – made visible.

Below these views are another question-and-response regarding the translation of dream memory into 3D model.

The question reads:

do you remember anything else about the steering column, like how it functioned, or anything else about it?


And the model-maker responds:

i just remember the steering stick was like a big joystick, controlling the ship here and there


One more view of the steering column is, then, displayed and the next dream model and commentary begins.

The remaining fifteen of these dreams involve similar science-fiction scenarios as well as relatively banal scenarios involving the architecture of, for example, factories and shopping malls.

Throughout the project, though, one theme remains constant:

As one begins to picture a dream, one begins to mutate the dream to fit the picture (until one can’t say for sure if they remember the dream at all).

Tuesday, March 23rd, 2010

Same Shit Different Island, a sculpture by Joel Holmberg, is a thin, haphazardly bent-up metal beam supporting a rough chunk of concrete in the shape of, say, a long piece of petrified grey shit, which itself is held to the beam by a thin piece of fishing wire.

Also attached to this bent-up metal beam-armature are a small piece of wood and a second, relatively smaller metal beam element, which, in turn, each support a vertical leg of the larger metal beam-armature.

Before the sculpture is an object, it is – for the artist – a process which is designed to be replicated and reproduced through a broad spectrum of scales.

The work consists of the following 5 process-steps:

1. A beam is bent in three points, forming an armature.

2. Two wires span the uprights of this armature and a third, longer (and, thus, more deeply hanging) wire is suspended down the middle of the first two wires.

3. A tarp is stretched over the three wires, resulting in a hanging “hammock” form.

4. A cement mixture is poured into this hammock form.

5. After the cement dries, both the tarp and the outer two wires of the armature-form are removed so that a curved concrete shape (the piece of shit) is left suspended in air by the “third wire” which still spans the upright points of the beam.

One is, thus, provided with a blueprint for the creation of the “same shit” on “different island(s).”

As one evaluates the sculpture in terms of form, one evaluates it as a set of instructions as well.

It’s virtual art.

Friday, March 19th, 2010

From Triton (1976) by Samuel R. Delany:

The Web of possibilities is not simple – for either abstract painting, atonal music, or science fiction. It is the scatter pattern of elements from myriad individual forms, in all three, that gives their respective webs their densities, their slopes, their austerities, their charms, their contiguities, their conventions, their cliches, their tropes of great originality here, their crushing banalities there: the map through them can only be learned, as any other language is learned, by exposure to myriad utterances, simple and complex, from out the language of each. The contours of the web control the reader’s experience of any given s-f text; as the reading of a given s-f text recontours, however slightly, the web itself, that text is absorbed into the genre, judged, remembered, or forgotten.

Friday, March 19th, 2010

Michael Bell-Smith, in his YouTube work Better Bouncing Ball, depicts the inevitability of artistic failure.

A ball bounces in twenty-four different ways – each slightly different; none are the “best” bounce.

As one views through the set, increasingly-complex graphic elements – such as animated shadows and glares – are gradually phased-into the animations.

So, on the one hand, one views change.

(Each bounce is a “better” representation of a ball bounce).

However, on the other hand, one also views non-change.

(None of the bounces – no matter how graphically complicated – are “the” bounce.)

An actor (represented here by a red ball) enters frame-left, bounces, and, then, leaves frame-right (they are born, they act, and, then, they die) in-and-out-and-back-again forever.

Thursday, March 18th, 2010

Phasing Dancing Stand Sculptures by Cory Arcangel consists of a pair of “Dancing Stands.”

Dancing Stands are metallic commercial display-units whose  shelves remain flat and parallel despite the steady flexing in-and-out of its hinges (it looks like the machines are swaying back-and-forth as in a dance).

The tempo of one of the Dancing Stands is modified to gradually phase its flexing-action further-and-further out of harmonious unison with its companion Dancing Stand.

This results in:

1. An “echoing” effect occurring between the first and second Dancing Stands.

2. A “reverse-harmony” in which the flexing-actions of each Dancing Stand become—for an instant—perfectly  diametrically opposed.

3. A “reverse echoing” effect.

4. A re-linking-up-again in the original harmonious position from which one viewed the sculptures in the first place (before—again—falling out of unison and so on and so on and so on and so on).

This is “phasing,” a term Arcangel links to the avant-garde music of Steve Reich, in which the same phrase of music is played on different instruments in different tempos, resulting in a similar cycle of unison to echo to discord back to unison.

The effect is the gradual emergence of a new type of readymade—one having less to do with the objects in space and more to do with the phasing through time which they describe.

Wednesday, March 17th, 2010

Constant Dullaart’s is a looped series of 15 unique, link-generator websites parked on “empty” Web domains – domains that have no content other than whatever advertising is temporarily parked there.

These 15 automatically-looping Web domains are themselves each composed of two words separated by a period (or “dot”) which complete (in a close paraphrase anyway) a quote which is attributed to Marcel Duchamp.

It reads:
















“He CHOSE it. He took an ordinary article of life, placed it so that its useful significance disappeared under the new title and point of view – created a new thought for that object.”

By gradually unveiling Duchamp’s conceptualization of the readymade, Dullaart gives new life to the concept of the readymade itself.

The readymade is interesting not so much as a theoretical default, but more as a necessarily shifting ideal.

One way to read the readymade is to say that it shifts an ordinary object into a different context and, by doing so, allows the viewer of the work to see it for itself – divorced from any use value.

If the term were to be confined to physical commodities like snow shovels, then it might not be relevant in a world of both physical and virtual commodities – snow shovels and snow shovel websites.