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On iPad, Disney Makes Infinity Game Free to Play

Wired - Game Life - Wed, 08/14/2013 - 09:00
With just days to go before it launches Disney Infinity, Disney has announced an iPad version of the creative game's Toy Box mode that will be free to play.

Allan Sekula's Letter to Bill Gates

Rhizome.org - Tue, 08/13/2013 - 13:39

Allan Sekula, artist and author of such indispensable texts as "The Body and the Archive," passed away over the weekend. While Sekula's primary medium was photography, his work had no small relevance to questions that surround art and technology, and is well worth revisiting in the wake of this sad news. Among his works that have been circulating on Tumblr over the past couple of days are his 1999 work Dear Bill Gates. The work involved a photographed action in which the artist swam as close as he could to the Microsoft founder's house.

Sekula described the work as follows:

Recently I wrote a letter to a man who embodies the new paradigm of the global archivist, the facilitator of the new virtual and disembodied family of man. He's no Steichen, since he refuses the role of the grand paternalistic editor, preferring in a more veiled manner to manage the global archive and retrieval system from which any number of pictorial statements might be constructed. In effect, he allows his clients to play in the privacy of their homes the role of mini-Steichen, perusing vast quantities of images from around the world, culling freely-but for a price-with meaning in mind.

I made a point of typing the letter on an old manual typewriter, and of sending it anonymously: both neo-Luddite gestures of sorts. The first gesture befits a world of slower communications. In the old days, messages contended with the weather, with "rain and snow and heat" as the old slogan of the U.S. Post Office would have it. As you can see, my old-fashioned letter is appended to a documented action that pushes to an extreme this idea of meteorological resistance to communication


The date of the letter, possibly suspect in light of evidence yet to be introduced, underscores the neo-Luddite resort to the manual typewriter, since it marks the very day of show-stopping mass protests against the World Trade Organization in Seattle, the hometown and current residence of Mr. Bill Gates.

And the text of the letter:

November 30, 1999

Dear Bill Gates,

I swam past your dream house the other day, but didn't stop to knock. Frankly, your underwater sensors had me worried. I would have liked to take a look at Winslow Homer's Lost on the Grand Banks. It's a great painting, but, speaking as a friend and fellow citizen, at $30 million you paid too much.


So why are you so interested in a picture of two poor lost dory fishermen, momentarily high on a swell, peering into a wall of fog? They are about as high as they're ever going to be, unless the sea gets uglier. They are going to die, you know, and it won't be a pretty death.

And as for you, Bill, when you're on the Net, are you lost? Or found ?

And the rest of us—lost or found—are we on it, or in it?

Your friend

Throughout his life, Sekula was always on the side of those who struggled through the waters both literal and figurative, rather than those who stayed high and dry. He will be missed.


Source: Allan Sekula, "Between the Net and the Deep Blue Sea (Rethinking the Traffic in Photographs)" October, Vol. 102 (Autumn, 2002), pp. 3-34.


Categories: New Media News

What Could the Internet Be? Dia’s Online Projects

Rhizome.org - Tue, 08/13/2013 - 11:13

Laylah Ali, John Brown Song! (2013). Cropped screenshot of website with Quicktime videos.

Laylah Ali’s project, John Brown Song!, was launched in June as part of Dia Art Foundation’s artist web projects. It includes the videos of a number of people singing the song "John Brown’s Body," a Civil War–era marching song about a radical abolitionist who was executed in Virginia in 1859. The videos are arranged in twos, but a viewer could also choose to view all, in a grid of videos that can be played together, generating a multitude of voices, all singing different versions of the somewhat gruesome song ("John Brown's body lies a-moldering in the grave…")

Ali doesn’t give you much. A viewer is left to make sense of it alone—nine pages, each with two videos of different people singing, then an "endnotes" page which includes James Baldwin talking about the American dream coming at the expense of the African American, Whitney Houston and Johnny Cash singing the John Brown Song, a rap version thereof, as well as a series of 19th-century drawings of John Brown. Finally, if one clicks on "Thanks/Credits," one might find this line: "If you have arrived at this point and are still wondering 'Who was John Brown?' then please click here." I learned more about John Brown from this link than from the work itself.

Is a web project the best way to experience this archive that Ali builds? One would presume that another way of presenting these vignettes would be in an edited video or multi-channel installation, which would also generate a similar score of voices but would not leave the viewer with the same sense of assembling the story. And the somewhat vague tone of it (the introduction to the project tells very little of the backstory) induces the user to go to the natural surrounding of this project—Google, that is—to learn more, and more actively, than they could from any wall text in a museum.

Dia commissions very few of these web projects—only one or two a year—but it began doing them astonishingly early, in 1995, and has not missed a year since. The organization states that artist are chosen "for their interest in exploring the aesthetic and conceptual potentials of the medium, rather than their fluency or proficiency with technology." The result is that the Dia project is oftentimes the first web-based project these artists worked on. For some, it seems like a natural extension of their practice. But "natural" can be a little complex here, as in the case of Rosa Barba's 2008 web project Vertiginous MappingBarba's work generally considers the medium she uses quite intensely, mainly by focusing on the physical properties of said medium—usually 16mm film and projectors, in works that transform the film itself or its presentation in the space in a way that forces the viewer to think about the materiality of the medium rather than its illusion. For Dia, she created an archive of text and film that reads like a story. In a way, Vertiginous Mapping combines Barba's interest in film with the layered structure of the online project, veering closer to narrativity than most of her work in celluloid. Similarly, Francis Alÿs’s 1999 contribution The Thief (a screensaver that considers the futile role of the screensaver as a solely aesthetic tool, accompanied by a witty text laid in links providing insight into Alÿs’s thinking of the project, which includes conflating Windows95 with Alberti’s Window, the Renaissance-era system of understanding perspective in painting) examines a format that is new to the artist’s work in a manner that is consistent with his broader project of identifying small inconsistencies that society has grown used to and drawing our attention to them.

Amid the constant overhaul of museum websites to include research material, archival content, and web 2.0–like features, a number of art institutions have recently been rethinking their websites as sites for exhibition. What makes Dia's program particularly intriguing is the foundation's commitment to supporting new projects, and especially works by artists who aren't necessarily comfortable in the online space. Ali is a painter. Dia facilitated an opportunity for her to think about what an online project could mean in the context of her larger practice, opening up a new way to approach subjects she has dealt with in other media. Dia have considered the question, "What could the internet be for an art institution?" by thinking about what the internet could be for artists. 

Dia’s mission is "to extend the boundaries of the traditional museum to respond to the needs of the generation of artists whose work matured and became prominent during the 1960s and 1970s ... to commission, support, and present site-specific long-term installations and single-artists exhibitions to the public." I wonder if we can think of the space of Dia’s web projects as similar to one of the projects the foundation maintains like Walter De Maria’s Lightning Field in New Mexico or Smithson’s Spiral Jetty in Salt Lake. Even if the web projects the foundation maintains may not live on in history to be as giant as the two land art examples cited, they do exemplify that any art institution’s mission statement should be read with new technologies in mind.

Categories: New Media News

TED: Shigeru Ban: Emergency shelters made from paper - Shigeru Ban (2013)

TED - Tue, 08/13/2013 - 11:00
Long before sustainability became a buzzword, architect Shigeru Ban had begun his experiments with ecologically-sound building materials such as cardboard tubes and paper. His remarkable structures are often intended as temporary housing, designed to help the dispossessed in disaster-struck nations such as Haiti, Rwanda or Japan. Yet equally often the buildings remain a beloved part of the landscape long after they have served their intended purpose. (Filmed at TEDxTokyo.)
Categories: New Media News

I Don’t Need Your Torture, DuckTales Remastered

Wired - Game Life - Tue, 08/13/2013 - 09:30
I want to love DuckTales Remastered. Even now. Even after it broke me.

Game|Life: The Games We’d Like to Hack Most

Wired - Game Life - Tue, 08/13/2013 - 06:30
Game developers Greg Kasavin and Mike Mika join Game|Life hosts Chris Kohler and Peter Rubin for a lively conversation about what games they'd most like to hack.

Game|Life Podcast: Disney Infinity, Oculus and Carmack, Mario and Luigi

Wired - Game Life - Mon, 08/12/2013 - 15:07
Did nothing happen this week, or was the course of the very future of videogames laid out for us?

The Week Ahead: Honk-Tweet Edition

Rhizome.org - Mon, 08/12/2013 - 12:37

Labrynthitis by Jacob Kirkegaard is presented at Eyebeam on Friday

This week, New York is awash with sound art, led by MoMA's exhibition Soundings: A Contemporary Score (which features work by Rhizome-commissioned artist Tristan Perich). One event organized in conjunction with the MoMA exhibition looks particularly interesting: Jacob Kirkegaard's Labyrinthitis, in which the artist "sparks audible emissions within the audience's own ears" inside a "floating cube" at Eyebeam. The piece uses the listener's ear as an instrument, and it sounds like the best $11 night out we've heard of in a long time, except… it's sold out. More performances, please?

Since we're on the subject of sound art: last week the New York Times ran an article that included this passage contrasting more cerebral, "art-trained" figures in sound art with the "honk-tweet" school, described as follows:

Aligned with experimental music rather than visual art, the honk-tweeters are interested in strange beeps and buzzings for their own sakes. They craft what the sound artist, theorist and blogger Seth Kim-Cohen refers to as purely cochlear, rather than fully mindful, sound art.  In June, Mr. Kim-Cohen chided the survey at the Modern for including such work, which he described as the sonic equivalent of Op Art, a movement in painting “that does not demand (or merit) serious critical response,” as he has written.

This summary doesn't do justice to Kim-Cohen's ideas, but for the record: Op Art absolutely demands serious critical response, as does sound art that you actually have to, you know, listen to

We take it as a good sign that the listing for Labyrinthitis includes a diagram of a cochlea. Prepare to put that organ to good use.

So without further ado, here are more selected events, exhibitions, and deadlines for the near future, all culled from Rhizome Announce.


Saturday, August 17: Sam Ashby, Jesse Darling, Fabienne Hess and Jon Rafman open up their studios for a rare two-day showing, followed by an evening of Daniel Rourke and Kyoung Kim's hot collaborative mess GLTI.CH Karaoke on Sunday.


Ongoing until Sunday, September 1: The Algorithm of Manfred Mohr - Mohr's retrospective at ZKM Center for Art & Media showcases his algorithmically generated work.

San Francisco

Friday, August 16: Et al. Gallery opens a solo show of new works by Aaron Finnis.

New York

Sunday, August 18: Brooklyn Fire Proof opens their (new) doors for a night of mingling and refreshments complete with a multi-projection performance by the artist-collective Optipus.

Tuesday, August 20: SVA presents The Pond, the Mirror, the Kaleidoscope, an exhibition of more than 30 paintings from graduates working in the Symbolist tradition.




Thursday, August 15:

CultureHub has released an open call for multimedia or interactive installations and performances that explore the term 'regeneration.'

Piksel13, an international festival focused on free and open source technologies in artistic practice, invites submissions to a varied selection of catagories.

Residency for Artists on Hiatus, a virtual residency for artists not currently making or presenting art, seeks applicants for its 2013-14 reesidency period.

Friday, August 16:

MINA 2013 has put out a call for smartphone, mobile, or pocket camera films for their International Mobile Innovation Screening in New Zealand.

Sunday August 18:

The Simultan Festival 2013 calls for video works that use technology in a creative way or are based on an unusual story.

Tuesday, August 20:

Stereocure is looking for artists interested in displaying work during their takeover of Top Tomato Gallery in Los Angeles.



Thursday, August 15: Dave Miller seeks new Robin Hood stories for a printed book that will be 'extended' by augmented reality software on a mobile device.

Friday, August 16: MINA 2013 invites proposals for papers and presentations relating to different sorts of mobile innovation.



Thursday, August 15: SAIC has put out a call for Instructors in advanced 3D modeling for animation

Saturday, August 24: Purchase College seeks a full-time Assistant New Media Professor to begin in the fall semester of 2014.


Categories: New Media News

Don Slepian's "Sunflower Geranium" (1983)

Rhizome.org - Mon, 08/12/2013 - 11:57

Recently, Rhizome featured vector animations by Dov Jacobson that had surfaced at the XFR STN open-access media conservation project. Another standout work from the same videotape (RYO Gallery’s 1986 EVTV2 compilation) is the sensorially intense Sunflower Geranium (1983) by Don Slepian. The eight-minute 40-second video documents a live performance by the artist in which he used a custom array of specialized hardware and software to mix synthesized video imagery and original electronic music for a live audience. As Slepian, who is now a performing classical keyboardist, told Rhizome via e-mail, “I was a live performing VJ twenty years before the term existed." While the nature of performance of course doesn’t allow us to replicate the live experience, we’re thrilled that this video record of Sunflower Geranium can now find a new audience. After thirty years of advancements in technology, it’s difficult to imagine what went into Slepian creating these performances. Luckily, he was kind enough to answer some questions about performing with the system he created.

GM: Can you talk about the technology you used to create Sunflower Geranium?  

DS: I gathered and developed a Live Performance Theatrical Visual Instrument in the early 1980s in a tiny apartment in Edison, NJ, as a continuation of a life-long fascination with the tools and techniques of electronic performance art. 

I raised the money to create this studio from a private investor in 1983. I produced a series of shows featuring "Live Theatrical Image Processing" both in the USA and in France that anticipated the emergence of video VJ's twenty years later. Despite the best efforts of myself and two dedicated co-workers I failed to find a market for either the video stills or live video animation services. By 1986 I had to close the business and move on to other work. This was one of many financial failures in my life, but at the same time it represented a series of technical triumphs. At age 30 I had perhaps the most advanced and sophisticated privately-owned live-performance visual instrument in the world. I managed to develop and sustain it for several years of theatrical performances.

GM: What sort of programming went into producing the different effects?

DS: The opening visual motif is a pair of moving dot fields in contrary motion generated by a custom-modified Chromaton analog video synthesizer,[1] with colorized analog video feedback giving the rippling 3D effect. The colorization was done with a special effects keyer[2]; the video feedback was generated with an enclosed rescanning camera-monitor chain of my own design, a high definition monochrome camera with a good zoom lens facing an analog video monitor in a light-proof box, designed for controllable live-performance optically-modulated video feedback.

Behind this crude "star field" is an Apple II+ animation, really a score that I performed live.The computer that I used was specially souped up: not only did it have an accelerator board that made the graphics run much faster,[3] it also had extensive modification that allowed the computer to produce video that could be mixed with other sources and recorded.[4] This changed everything.

The score, which was called "Many Roads to L," comprised spiraling enlarging color-shifting visual echos of the text character "L". It was created in Brooke Boering’s wonderful CEEMAC graphical language, which was used to create very fast and highly responsive animations that could be instantly switched to music.[5] I would use the CEEMAC fire organ animation demonstration disc to pre-load up to 27 scripts, then put the Apple keyboard on a remote tethered floor mount. I would control and switch CEEMAC animations with both of my big toes while simultaneously switching, mixing and colorizing synchronized layers of analog video with my hands.

At 1:24 is an example of live image processing, my blue colorized hand on a synthesizer keyboard with a negative luminance-keyed background generated by the Chromascope, an English-made analog video synthesizer that I specially modified to produce NTSC video.

At 3:00 is a short segment produced with Ross Hipley’s “Microflix” animation software for Commodore C64, rescanned with blue colorized video feedback trails. Most of the C64 graphics did not record well, causing the sections of apparently black screen. The layer of colorized feedback, like a cloud chamber tracing of the motion of radioacitve subatomic particles, reveals the beauty of the moving little "microflix" dots.

At 3:19 I launched a series of pure CEEMAC fire organ animations performed live to the music:

At 6:05 is another example of live image processing, this time colorizing a monochrome video image of the trees outside my bedroom window with synthetic patterns from the Chromascope:  


At 7:22 is the output of one of my original CEEMAC scores in which I attempt to create texture and dimension using diffraction patterns and chroma shifting. In Apple II "Hi-Res" mode I was working with a 280px by 192px screen, 57 thousand pixels in all. A far cry from the 2.0736 million pixels we take for granted in standard 1080p video frames.

At 7:53, a doubly-mirrored color-shifted microcomputer graphic abstraction:

GM: Was it all mixed together live? Can you talk about the performance element of this?

DS: Yes, this is an edited collage of segments performed live to prerecorded music. The other element of the instrument that I didn’t discuss above was ¾” video[6] editing deck with fast, responsive buttons that let me perform live insert and assembly edits. I developed a stochastic layered video editing technique inspired by early videos on MTV.

The performance elements are better illustrated by two shows using this visual instrument. The first is Synthetic Pleasure (Plaisir Synthetique), a live performance at the Festival de La Rochelle in the south of France.

The second is Formula, my attempt to bring this dance/video art form to the USA.

In both cases I had taken pains to make my visual instrument portable, ergonomic, and rugged. In the second dance piece, "Formula", I have my assistant performing the visuals as I musically accompanied the dancers live on stage. It was important to make the instrument simple enough so that other people could quickly learn it and play it artistically.  

GM: Did you produce the music?

DS: Yes. I've produced the music in all of my video art. "Sunflower Geranium" was a live 1983 electronic music performance with keyboardist Lauri Paisley, who played an ARP Omni. I'm playing the rhythmic chordal progression on a KORG PS-3100 feeding a tape-based stereo echo device. I play occasional melody lines with a Yamaha CS-60.

Today I am first and foremost a musician, an original classical keyboard concert soloist using electronic instruments. I have chosen to concentrate on music performance and have currently passed on my visual tools to other fine artists.

GM: So much of the power of the piece is the rhythm between the music and the visuals. It becomes almost overpowering. Can you talk about some of the objectives you had in combining the music and video?

DS: I was influenced by the emergence of music videos on MTV, which had just started. I was looking to capture the power of some of the pop and rock music videos I was watching using instrumental electronic music and a hybrid melding of analog and digital techniques. I was interested in taking it to the stage, live. I wasn't trying to produce the sophisticated polished work that I saw on TV. I wanted to squirt electrons with a hose, I wanted to feedback colorized video smoke the way Jimi Hendrix would feedback tones on his guitar.  

GM: How much overlap was there between the electronic music scene and the scene around computer generated video art?

DS: They were always together, but very few people produced quality work in both art forms. I was rather isolated from other visual artists, and was mostly known as a musician.

GM: Who or what are some of your inspirations?

DS: I was influenced by Daniel Sandin's Image Processor and by Steve Rutt of the Rutt-Etra machine. They both influenced my designs and art. Ric Hornor always inspired me with his amazing video stills, and Carol Chiani kindly brought me into the community of NY SIGGRAPH.

GM: Where did you show your work?

As a video artist I was honored with a paid week-long residency at the Centre Georges Pompidou in Paris, France sponsored by the French Ministry of Culture. I was encouraged by Jean-Claude Risset at IRCAM and Max Mathews at Bell Telephone Labs. In the mid-80s I did several live music video concerts at the New York Open Center that incorporated live theatrical image processing. Later I did a number of electronic music and computer graphic performances at NY SIGGRAPH. Through the good graces of Phillip Sanders I was included in the Internet Archive project which led to this interview. 

GM: As technology has progressed, what would you like to see?

DS: I am looking to revive analog video synthesis. I believe that we could build analog video synthesizers at full 1080p resolution that would give unmatched live responsive HD animation power in the theater. 

I would like to extend the aesthetics of current VJ practice. So much of the imagery projected on large screens in concert today seem psychedelic, druggy, intoxicating, and suitable only for rock, pop, or electronica. How could current VJ tools accompany classical, folk, world, or acoustic music?  The art form needs to grow and mature. 


[1] Chromaton 14 analog video synthesizer from BJA Systems.  I was deeply involved with the Chromaton from 1977, when I first started working with the instrument, until 2001 when I placed it under the care of the talented visual artist Mr. David Egan of Audiovisualizers.  I got to know the Chromaton 14 designer, Mr. Ralph Wenger, worked with the circuitry, and made hundreds of video stills (photographs).

[2] The Adwar Special Effects Keyer combined a bidirectional luminance keyer with a powerful colorizer, all done with analog circuitry.  I used it with the Chromaton synthesizer for processing camera imagery.

[3] I used a Number Nine accelerator board that replaced the 1Mh 6502 processor with a 3.6Mhz processor.  This made the Apple graphics, already quite fast, run 3.6 times faster.  To put this in modern terms, imagine if you could add a board to your PC and run a 10Ghz processor to replace your 3Ghz processor.  

[4] In 1981 the late Sam Adwar, maker of the Special Effects Keyer, made an NTSC genlock board for the Apple II+.  There were only a few of these made, they were very expensive, and they completely replaced the standard Apple graphics with an output that could be genlocked to a standard NTSC sync signal.  

[5] I used I used a the CEEMAC fire organ animation demonstration disc while doing this, which allowed me to pre-load 27 assembly language scripts and switch between them rapidly.

[6] Sony VO-2610 3/4" U-matic deck

Categories: New Media News

TED: Margaret Heffernan: The dangers of "willful blindness" - Margaret Heffernan (2013)

TED - Mon, 08/12/2013 - 10:58
Gayla Benefield was just doing her job -- until she uncovered an awful secret about her hometown that meant its mortality rate was 80 times higher than anywhere else in the U.S. But when she tried to tell people about it, she learned an even more shocking truth: People didn’t want to know. In a talk that’s part history lesson, part call-to-action, Margaret Heffernan demonstrates the danger of "willful blindness" and praises ordinary people like Benefield who are willing to speak up. (Filmed at TEDxDanubia.)
Categories: New Media News

TED: Derek Paravicini and Adam Ockelford: In the key of genius - Derek Paravicini / Adam Ockelford (2013)

TED - Fri, 08/09/2013 - 10:58
Born three and a half months prematurely, Derek Paravicini is blind and has severe autism. But with perfect pitch, innate talent and a lot of practice, he became an acclaimed concert pianist by the age of 10. Here, his longtime piano teacher, Adam Ockelford, explains his student’s unique relationship to music, while Paravicini shows how he has ripped up the "Chopsticks" rule book. (Filmed at TEDxWarwick.)
Categories: New Media News

Marc Ngui, Illustration for 'A Thousand Plateaus'

Rhizome.org - Thu, 08/08/2013 - 14:05

Artist Marc Ngui recently returned to his A Thousand Plateaus drawing project, in which he visually interpretats the famous text by Gilles Deleuze and Felix Guattari. Ngui had previously only illustrated the first two chapters, but he is now working his way through the rest of the book and uploading his work to a Tumblr.

The above image is from the original series, created as an illustration of chapter 1, paragraph 6, which includes some rather key statements: "Any point of a rhi­zome can be connected to anything other, and must be;" and, "A rhizome ceaselessly establishes connections between semiotic chains, organizations of power, and circumstances relative to the arts, sci­ences, and social struggles." 

[H/T: Kenyatta Cheese]

Categories: New Media News

Forget ‘Addictive.’ Give Me a Game That Only Lasts Three Hours

Wired - Game Life - Thu, 08/08/2013 - 13:29
Most popular iPhone and Android games are designed to get you -- and keep you -- hooked. Rymdkapsel is not that game.

Olia Lialina, 'Summer' (2013)

Rhizome.org - Thu, 08/08/2013 - 12:20

Summer (2013). Olia Lialina. Screenshot of animation comprising individual GIF images displayed across multiple websites.

In a 2006 interview with Valeska Buehrer, artist Olia Lialina observed that her early web-based works, particularly My Boyfriend Came Back from the War, have been irrevocably changed by the accelerating speed of the internet.

Though the work is still as it was: same files, same address, links -- it is now more like a documentation of itself. Because everything else changed. First of all connection speed. I could now click through my work in one minute. Probably, I could do it even faster...if there is no delay in between phrases, no waiting for images, no Jpeg "progressive scan" loading -- the tenseness of the conversation is lost.

It wasn't that Lialina was inspired at the time by the creative possibilities of the slow-to-load early web (she recalls being as frustrated as any user); it was that the work functioned within a specific technological context. As the context has changed, so has the experience of the work.

Lialina's increasing awareness of the interplay between technological context and artwork is at the forefront of her latest work, Summer (2013). The piece is a short animated loop of the artist swinging from a playground swing that is seemingly fixed to the top of the browser window. When I loaded the animation, it played back quite jerkily, before finally freezing. This lack of smooth movement is a part of the piece: each frame of the animation is played back from a different website. The browser is re-directed from one server to the next, the speed and smoothness of the animation dependent on the functioning of the internet infrastructure that supports it. There are 21 frames in the piece, distributed across 21 different websites; at the time of writing, one of the host servers is not working. As Lialina told Jillian Steinhauer of Hyperallergic, "I like to swing on the location bar of the browser, and I like to know that the speed of swinging depends on the connection speed, and that you can’t watch this GIF offline." 

In contrast with My Boyfriend Came Back from the War, in which changing technologies introduced unwanted changes in users' experience of the work, Summer foregrounds and thematizes the deeply intertwined relationship between artwork and technology. It reminds us that each time we view the work, we will experience it in a slightly different way, reflecting the shifting conditions of the network and our position within it.

In other words:

MTAA, Simple Net Art Diagram, c. 1997. 

Categories: New Media News

At the Moment of Being Heard

We Make Money Not Art - Thu, 08/08/2013 - 12:00

Baudouin Oosterlynck, Aquaphone Cornemuse Opus 143, 2001. Photo © Leopold Oosterlynck

The photo above lured me to take the train to Peckham Rye and visit the South London Gallery. The image is the one relentlessly featured in the online mags announcing At the Moment of Being Heard, a show of works and performances that reflect on sound and modes of listening.

Sadly, Aquaphone Cornemuse Opus 143 is not presented in the exhibition. But in case you were still curious about it, the Aquaphone is part of a series of 'instruments d'écoute' (instruments for listening) made with glass objects used by chemists. The Aquaphone works in closed circuit to amplify tiny sound phenomenons. The glass element is partly filled with water and with air that acts as sound transmitter.

Even if the Aquaphone Cornemuse Opus 143 is not part of the exhibition, it still embodies accurately the tone and character of the show. At the Moment of Being Heard is the quietest exhibition about sound i've ever visited. You hear salt being slowly poured, speakers quietly growling, piano strings being struck, shutters falling down echoing inside your head only. At times, you might even hear silence as well.

Eli Keszler performing at the SLG in front of NEUM. Photo SLG

Eli Keszler, NEUM, 2013. Photo SLG

Eli Keszler, NEUM, 2013 (detail)

Eli Keszler, NEUM, 2013 (detail)

Tuned piano wires stretches all over to the ceiling in criss-cross patterns. The wires of Eli Keszler's installation are periodically struck and scraped by mechanical beaters to deliver deep and resonating sounds that reverberate through the main gallery. The result being quieter and much more harmonious than my description would have you believe.

crys cole, Filling a Space with Salt (in two parts), 2013. Photo SLG

crys cole's sound sculpture lays nearby and unassumingly within the gallery floor's vents. One part of the work is a small heap of salt that fills the vent in the left corner of the room. Its counterpart is located in the vent at the other side of the space, but this time there is nothing to see, if you bend down slightly you can hear the sound of the slow action (it took 108 minutes) of filling the first space with salt.

Reiner Ruthenbeck, Rollo, Geräuschobjekt Nr. 3, 1978

Filling a Space with Salt (in two parts) nicely echoes a photo by Reiner Ruthenbeck showing a lady closing the shutters outside a gallery. The black and white photo elicits the loud clang of the shutters inside you head, even if nothing in the room is actually making that sound.

Rolf Julius, Singing, 2000 (detail). Photo SLG

Rolf Julius, Singing, 2000. Installation view at the SLG. Photo SLG

Singing, by Rolf Julius, is made of seven suspended speakers which emanate a low, resonant hum. The vibrations in the cones cause sieved black pigment on the membranes to shift in sync with the quiet composition.

At the Moment of Being Heard is a nice, subtle, almost meditative show where i spent more time than expected. It reminded me that i love sound art as much as i dislike writing about it. Speaking of which.... I've only blogged about the pieces in the main gallery but there's more works upstairs: Baudouin Oosterlynck's score-drawings made over journeys in Europe in search of silence, Rolf Julius' curious videos of upturned speaker cones submerged in ash and a lonely and almost undetectable speaker playing an outdoor rural Summer soundscape.

Baudouin Oosterlynck, Variations of Silence, 1990-1991. Photo SLG

At the Moment of Being Heard doesn't stop there. Live performances and special events run until September at the SLG and also at nearby off-site venues. This one looked good, i'm sorry i missed it:

Tom White, Public Address, installation shots, Southampton Way estate, 2013. Photo Ollie Hammick for SLG

At the Moment of Being Heard is on view at the South London Gallery until 8 September.

Categories: New Media News

TED: Eleanor Longden: The voices in my head - Eleanor Longden (2013)

TED - Thu, 08/08/2013 - 11:00
To all appearances, Eleanor Longden was just like every other student, heading to college full of promise and without a care in the world. That was until the voices in her head started talking. Initially innocuous, these internal narrators became increasingly antagonistic and dictatorial, turning her life into a living nightmare. Diagnosed with schizophrenia, hospitalized, drugged, Longden was discarded by a system that didn't know how to help her. Longden tells the moving tale of her years-long journey back to mental health, and makes the case that it was through learning to listen to her voices that she was able to survive.
Categories: New Media News

New Mario & Luigi RPG Shows Nintendo’s Best, and Worst, Impulses

Wired - Game Life - Wed, 08/07/2013 - 13:00
When asked to reinvent the Mario universe, the development team behind the Mario & Luigi series once came through with flying colors. Now it's cranking out rehashes.

John Carmack Joins Oculus VR as Chief Tech Officer

Wired - Game Life - Wed, 08/07/2013 - 12:31
John Carmack, the game programmer who helped usher in the era of 3-D polygonal gaming with Doom and Quake, has joined virtual reality company Oculus as its chief technology officer, the firm announced Wednesday.

TED: Saki Mafundikwa: Ingenuity and elegance in ancient African alphabets - Saki Mafundikwa (2013)

TED - Wed, 08/07/2013 - 11:35
From simple alphabets to secret symbolic languages, graphic designer Saki Mafundikwa celebrates the many forms of written communication across the continent of Africa. He highlights the history and legacy that are embodied in written words and symbols, and urges African designers to draw on these graphic forms for fresh inspiration. It's summed up in his favorite Ghanaian glyph, Sankofa, which means "return and get it" -- or "learn from the past."
Categories: New Media News

Seeking Autumn Fellows and Intern

Rhizome.org - Wed, 08/07/2013 - 11:17

Former interns have participated in Rhizome-commissioned projects such as DISimages.

Rhizome is offering a range of professional development opportunities for the fall semester: an Editorial Fellowship, an ArtBase Curatorial Fellowship, and a Program Internship. Each of these individuals will join a small team and play a central role in shaping the organization and its core program as it deepens its collections and expands its program internationally.

Through its internship and fellowship programs, Rhizome has a track record in cultivating individuals who have gone on to play an important role in the fields of art and technology.


The Editorial Fellowship is a unique opportunity for a developing writer with a dedication to the fields of contemporary art and technology to further develop professional skills and build up a portfolio seen by a large audience.

The Fellow will spend 50% of their time researching and writing articles, and 50% working on related editorial tasks. They may edit and fact-check other writers’ contributions, contribute to art direction decisions, help manage the posting process, and help with ongoing administrative tasks such as maintaining the editorial calendar and producing Rhizome’s weekly newsletter.

QUALIFICATIONS: The Editorial Fellow may work remotely, but must commit to 16 hours of work per week, for 3-4 months, beginning in fall 2013. This position is unpaid, but academic credit may be arranged and is highly encouraged. The candidate must have very strong writing, editing, and analytical skills, and very high internet literacy. They must also have a high level of familiarity with contemporary art and technology. Education or advanced experience beyond the undergraduate level is preferred.


The ArtBase Curatorial Fellowship is an ideal opportunity for a graduate-level researcher in a field such as curatorial studies or contemporary art history to shape the development of an important archive of new media art. The Fellow will conduct research, including artist interviews by email and in-person, in order to enrich the public understanding of works in the ArtBase. They will write new descriptions based on primary-source research, as well as identifying gaps and make recommendations about artists to approach for future inclusion.

QUALIFICATIONS: The Curatorial Fellow must be based in New York and must be able to commit to 16 hours of work per week, for 3-4 months, beginning September 15, 2013. This position is unpaid, but academic credit may be arranged and is highly encouraged. The Curatorial Fellow will work directly with artists and be overseen by senior Rhizome staff. Education or advanced experience beyond the undergraduate level is preferred. Experience with CollectiveAccess is a plus.


Rhizome seeks a highly organized, responsible and mature Program Intern. Responsibilities will vary and engage with all areas of the organization: assisting with the daily administrative upkeep; research and production support of the Rhizome website; coordination of organizational projects; correspondence with artists, members, and press; management of various social media platforms and more. Interns must be familiar with contemporary art and savvy with the web and new technologies.

QUALIFICATIONS: The Program Intern must be based in New York and must be able to commit to 16 hours of work per week, for 3-4 months, beginning September 15, 2013. This position is unpaid, but academic credit may be arranged. Candidates must be possess strong administration and organization skills, and a confident, proactive and problem-solving nature. As this position will provide a broad entry point into the workings of a non-profit, a positive disposition and willingness to undertake any task with a positive attitude is key. Self-starting candidates who can spot areas to be improved in the organization, and set about improving them, will thrive. Knowledge of Microsoft Office software is required, and other creative software (Adobe CS i.e.) is a benefit.

TO APPLY: Please email a cover letter (written in the body of the email) and resume to jobs(at)rhizome.org, making reference to the position in the subject line.

Fellowship applications must include 2-3 short writing samples as PDF attachment. Deadline for all positions is August 22, 2013, and will start at a negotiated date in September or early October. Review of applications will begin immediately.

Categories: New Media News
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