Archive for March, 2010

Tuesday, March 16th, 2010

The art collective Jodi’s J_O_D_I Delicious account contains – as of the publishing of this blog post – 3,512 bookmarks collected between February 20, 2008 to the current day – March 16, 2010.

This averages-out to between 4 and 5 bookmarks marked by the artists per day – everyday – for the past 2 years or so.

Today J_O_D_I has, thus far, bookmarked 16 sites.

Each site depicts images or conversations about images related to the archiving of imagery.

Whether it be in an online database, art collection, or photographic contact sheet, the thread running through the subject matter of each of these bookmarks is image archiving.

By making an archive of images that refer to image archives, they make a work of self-reflexive art.

As time goes on and one sees Jodi’s bookmarks refer to the same theme again and again, one sees not bookmarks, but the apparatus of the entire platform: an archive.

Tuesday, March 16th, 2010 is a social network.

Users publicly share url’s, notes, and metadata associated with websites bookmarked by the user throughout the course of their own Web surfing.

This information, then, becomes the foundation for a useful search tool which often provides more productive (or at least differently productive) search results than Google.

Outside of its function as a search engine, delicious users manage a stream of their own bookmarks that are viewable to anyone that has become a “fan” of the user’s bookmarking.

In turn, the user can become a fan of others and view all of their bookmarks in a stream representing the entire network of others users that the first user has become a fan of.

The use of the term “fan” on Delicious – as opposed to, say, “friend,” “subscriber,” or “follower” – denotes a consideration of the social network as a game space.

This is an important shift regarding a social network’s description of its own functionality. In Delicious, social capital is gained through performance in a game.

While many users of the site are not particularly engaged with this game (for example, they bookmark for their own research and pay little attention to other users bookmarks), there are many other users who do play.

Some find a niche – say, computer science bookmarks or experimental music bookmarks – which become a key consistent note in the data flow of the bookmarking network.

Other users account for a potpourri of moves through the Web – from, say, a funny YouTube clip, to a news item on Internet security in China, to a Wikipedia entry on a scientific theory, to whatever else the user comes across – each of which adds (what one hopes to be) a harmonious note in the data flow.

And, finally, a small number of Delicious users – such as, for instance, J_O_D_I – turn their performance through the cloud into a type of self-reflexive artwork in which bookmarking becomes about itself.

Monday, March 15th, 2010

Harm van den Dorpel’s Texture Mapping works are minimal, starkly-outlined cube sculptures whose high-gloss surfaces each depict abstract images reading to the viewer as “painterly.”

The “painterly-ness” of each image, though, is mutated by the de-texturing (or mapping of texture) accompanying one’s view of their subject matter through the glossy “screen” of transparent acrylic which functions as the surface of each cube.

The result is less the experience of viewing a painting first-hand (as in, say, a museum) and more the experience of viewing a painting remotely (as through, say, the screen of a computer).

In the process of describing the experience of textural remoteness, however, van den Dorpel creates a short-circuit to a whole new type of texture:

That of virtual space.

He does so in at least two ways:

1. Van den Dorpel’s technique in these works is to paint on the surface of the acrylic which – in the final product – will be viewed as the inside (as opposed to the, more traditional, outside) of the cube sculpture.

One’s view of the painting process is, thus, reversed.

The first layers of paint applied to the surface are the most visible and everything else is masked through, not overpainting, but underpainting.

The virtual presence of this painting’s absence is, thus, activated.

2. Similarly, the mobility of the relatively very light cubes and their subsequent malleability into almost instantaneous re-arrangement nudge the viewer’s understanding of the work’s physical “presence” away from, say, the mass and volume of Minimalist cubes and closer to the virtual 3D space of Second Life.

Saturday, March 13th, 2010

If I encounter the work of a contemporary artist through their website or some other form of managed presence on the Internet and I do it again and again and again and again, then the evolution of their website or managed presence itself becomes a work.

That is to say, the more I view the artist’s work as an ongoing chronological development accounted for in a database accessible on the Web (as opposed to, say, seeing an object first-hand and, then, relying on memories or reference books to account for the artist’s previous body of work), the more I view a whole new type of first-hand:

A performance of the artist as an artist, moving in and out of positions and tempos, and, in some cases, picturing their own inhabitation of time.

Friday, March 12th, 2010

As .*` .* ;`*,`., `, ,`.*.*. *.*` .* ;`*,`., `, ,`.*.*. *.*` .* ;`*,`., `, ,`.*.*. *, the left video of Sparkling I and II, a video diptych by Petra Cortright, opens, one views a character in a lush garden world wearing sunglasses propped-up on the top of her head (played by Cortright herself) who nearly fills the frame.

Likewise, the right video of the diptych – :’ |._ ~**~ _.:’ |._ ~**~ _.:’ |._~**~ _.:’ |._ ~**~ _.:’ |._ ~**~ _. – opens with the same character in a (different but similarly lush) garden world, wearing sunglasses propped down on the lower-bridge of her nose as she – again – nearly fills the frame.

Within the first ten seconds of each of these videos an identical plot point, then, occurs:

After re-adjusting her sunglasses so that she views the world through their lenses, a jump-cut catalyzes all perceptually-realistic motion represented in the video to be trailed by an automatized “sparkle” animation in which plus-signs (+’s) and ex’s (x’s) flare up and down in flurries of syncopation which read as the sparkle of, say, light on water, light through trees, stars at night, or the Web-native “sparkle” of star field wallpaper.

The bulk of each video’s subsequent actions, then, occur through these automatically animated sparkle animations as Cortright, whose moving body is now trailed by sparkles, walks away from the camera towards a tree and begins to casually – poetically, but almost aimlessly – pull at its branches, run her hands through its leaves, amble through its shade, and generally interact with it in a pas de deux of sparkle showers emanating from both her body and the tree parts she performs with.

Cortright makes work that is often indistinguishable from vernacular forms of culture.

There are lots of videos of young people using a default effect and then acting silly.

She does it with a style, humor, and somehow very human sincerity that makes each of her works a very good example of whatever cultural form she is working in.

This piece is a good example.

For someone who doesn’t look at it as art, it would be a pretty good example of an amateur video.

By putting it in the context of art and the context of her larger body of work, though, the video takes on a different meaning.

It works as a readymade almost, demonstrating for the viewer part of the visual language of the moment so that the viewer can see it.

What is more powerful, though, is that it doesn’t do it in an academic way.

While being a work of art, it is also a work that is not “of art.”

Thursday, March 11th, 2010

Between the work 10 Seconds to Each Point and the work Lateral Crossings Damon Zucconi leapt between one form and then another.

In 10 Seconds to Each Point he describes a unit of time – 10 seconds.

In the course of viewing the work, one begins to view less the motion through space of a small orb and more the time of the orb’s cycles between contact with one line intersection and then another – 10 seconds.

In Lateral Crossings, on the other hand, he describes a unit of time occurring within a broader spectrum of 16 concurrent units of time – each unit placed according to its location within the represented scale of chronologically-ordered time units in the spectrum.

In the course of viewing the work, one begins to view less the temporal rhythm of a single orb and more the simultaneity of multiple temporal rhythms framing the spatial motion of multiple orbs.

It’s a more structurally complicated picture of time.

Now that said, I don’t know if Lateral Crossing is “better” than 10 Seconds to Each Point because both works are limited in describing temporal objects – they’re just pictures.

Rather, if one was tasked to name the art of Zucconi’s work here, one might say that it occurs neither in Lateral Crossings nor in 10 Seconds to Each Point, but rather out (t)here on his personal website where one follows his leap from one form of life to another.

The leap – the artist’s performed mutation – is the only thing that I know I viewed.

Thursday, March 11th, 2010

In Tinypic Video Thumbnails, an 85 page artist’s book and .pdf by Travis Hallenbeck, the artist explores the convention of the thumbnail – the still image representation of an uploaded video file (in this case, the thumbnails generated by the video hosting service Tinypic) – and re-presents his own subjective response to them through the display of over 5,000 appropriated thumbnails organized in 6 X 10 grids which almost completely fill all but the first and final pages of the book.

Perhaps the initial thing to be said about the project is that pouring over this massive volume of thumbnails in densely packed grids effectively conveys the sense of surfing through a video website – an experience premised on scanning through hundreds of thumbnails, critically resisting the urge to click on a single one, waiting for the “right” video to catch one’s eye.

However, unlike the heterogeneous mass of thumbnails encountered in a conventional surf, Hallenbeck’s images are:

1. All singularities in their own right:

One views a medium-wide framing on a ten-year old girl in faded blue jeans and a striped tank-top holding a brown clay bowl in the middle of a backyard garden in circa 1970s film stock; a medium-wide framing on a fist-fight between two young men in their 20’s wearing baggy shorts in the middle of the woods shot on marginally pixelated digital camcorder imagery; a medium framing inverted 90 degrees on the sunlight pouring through a floral-patterned curtain illuminating a cat jumping over an armchair in an otherwise black room shot on relatively sharp digital video.

Each image resists being swallowed wholesale by the database as each one affords the viewer something to hold onto – Barthes may have called it a punctum – that which pricks one.

2. Intentionally patterned – there’s a structural order that emerges from the chaos here.

Hallenbeck seems to have narrowed down the iconography of his surf to a few key themes, which appear regularly through the grid. Here is a representative sampling:

1. Young people getting fucked up at random times of the day or generally goofing off

2. Skateboarding video imagery

3. Pixelated digital imagery

4. Obsolete technologies

5. Minimal abstractions derived from glitches in technology

6. Swimming pools

7. Empty wide shots of natural settings

8. Empty baseball fields

9. Empty bedrooms

10. Empty living rooms

The first two themes – youthful goofing around and skateboarding – lend the pattern a light, often humorous, and positive vibe.

However, these positive images are generally surrounded on all sides of the pattern by the heavy, melancholic, and negative imagery identified in the subsequent categories listed above.

The result is, on the one hand, a bummer: it seems to swallow the hope and freedom associated with youthful debauchery and skateboarding up in the surliness of empty rooms, landscapes and technological glitches.

It’s nostalgia for a past time, but a bitter nostalgia.

On the other hand, there is another relationship to time in Tinypic Video Thumbnails.

The work is a labor – a daily, almost religious, performance lived in the present of each moment, as Hallenbeck surfs, scans, and reflects back on the database.

One feels the volume of images, of course; but one also feels the volume of time spent sifting through images, the performance of the surf as an intentional work of art.

Perhaps one could say that the secret message of the book is this affirmation of daily web surfing.

Wednesday, March 10th, 2010

10 Seconds to Each Point, a work of time-based Web browser art by Damon Zucconi, describes 10 seconds in the Web browser.

At first glance, though, one doesn’t view the time of these 10 seconds, but rather, the movement through space of a small red orb with a white center – perhaps the “eye” of the Hal 9000 computer? – as it linearly bounces through and glides along the edges and intersections of a rectangular black plane.

One quickly realizes that the speed of the ball as it bounces between the walls, though, is not premised on physics (as in, say, Pong), but rather a uniform amount of time: 10 seconds.

The title of the work nudges you to this.

10 Seconds to Each Point.

That’s what it says.

So one wonders:

Is it really ten seconds to each point?

Let’s count.

“1 second”

“2 seconds”

“3 seconds”

“4 seconds”

“5 seconds”

“6 seconds”

“7 seconds”

“8 seconds”

“9 seconds”

“10 seconds”


“1 second”

“2 seconds”

“3 seconds”

“4 seconds”

“5 seconds”

“6 seconds”

“7 seconds”

“8 seconds”

“9 seconds”

“10 seconds”


“1 second”

“2 seconds”

“3 seconds”

“4 seconds”

“5 seconds”

“6 seconds”

“7 seconds”

“8 seconds”

“9 seconds”

“10 seconds”


“1 second”

“2 seconds”

“3 seconds”

“4 seconds”

“5 seconds”

“6 seconds”

“7 seconds”

“8 seconds”

“9 seconds”

“10 seconds”


Every time the orb “pops” – dictated by the time unit of ten seconds – one feels a pleasurable violation.


Again, again, again, again.





It’s the rhythm one responds to.

And as one feels this pleasure, one begins to makes a picture of it.

10 seconds.

Wednesday, March 3rd, 2010

Watching feature length movies shows one “the two hours,” “the hour-and-a-half,” and “the three hours” and if one views enough feature length movies one begins to develop a picture in their own mind(s) regarding these lengths of time. “This is what two hours feels like.”

Thus, when a feature length movie is successful it perfectly corresponds with the picture in one’s own mind of “the two hours,” “the hour and a half,” or the “the three hours.”

(That is to say, it finishes at the same you do.)

But what about other lengths of time?

Well, television figured out that we could be trained to picture “the hour,” “the half-hour,” and “the thirty seconds” and it began to regulate these particular time-units vigorously.

Thus, the joy of good television is the spasm of correspondence between the episode or commercial’s account of “the hour,” “the half-hour,” or “the thirty seconds” and one’s own trained picture of “the hour,” “the half-hour,” or “the thirty-seconds.”

When one downloads an entire season of Mad Men, for instance, one begins to get off less on the content of the individual episodes and more on the rhythm of the individual episodes in succession as each one fills in “the 48 minutes” again and again and again and again as versions on a theme.

What time, though, does the digital network picture?

On the one hand, everything’s gotten shorter:

Blog posts are short, videos are short, news articles are headlines.

However, on the other hand, everything’s gotten longer.

One blog post is merely a version on a theme developed in an ongoing performance inhabiting “the several months and years.”

Does the digital network, then, polarize one’s desires for time – make you crave for both the instantaneous and the epic?

Make it schizophrenic?

Tuesday, March 2nd, 2010

50 50 by Oliver Laric is a version of the 50 Cent track In Da Club composed of 50 other versions of the song culled from YouTube user videos. In each of the videos, a user (or users) performs a homemade karaoke performance of a pop song in front of a home video camera or webcam.

Laric cuts these versions together to create a single, seamless performance of the track which has less to say about In Da Club and more to say about the fact that the world of images in 2007 – the year the video was initially uploaded – is composed of versions of In Da Club as much as it is composed of the original track.

When one searches for a pop song on YouTube, more often than not one will find versions of the track produced by rank-and-file YouTube users as opposed to an “original” version.

And if one does find an “original” version of the song, it will still be versioned anyway through the video’s visual component – say a slide show of thematically relevant imagery or a static screen of text and graphic elements advertising whatever it is that the user sells.

This ecology of versions is what 50 50 shows me.