Archive for the ‘Art/Aesthetics’ Category

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Sigurdur Gudmundsson

July 16, 2014

Guided by an existential interest in the unknown, Sigurdur Gudmundsson generates work of abundant wit and verve that questions the way that vernacular culture and art relates to nature. Depicting everyday circumstances with absurdist tweaks, his Situations read as visual poems that explore the idiosyncrasies of human existence and tend toward the comical while retaining philosophical gravity. Gudmundsson uses himself as the subject of the Situations, but does not consider the works to be self-portraits but, rather, open-ended reflections that invite the viewer to ponder alongside the artist. Turning to sculpture in recent years, Gudmundsson has focused on creating works that retain his characteristic humor and are dominated by elegance, simplicity, and technical perfection.

In 1978, with 19 other artists, Gudmundsson co-founded Reykjavik’s Living Art Museum, which is dedicated to experimental and innovative contemporary visual art. His artworks have been exhibited internationally, including at the 37th Venice Biennale, the National Gallery of Iceland, and the Stedelijk Museum in Amsterdam, and his public commissions have been displayed in Rotterdam, Groningen, and The Hague.

Born: 1942
Hometown: Reykjavik, Iceland
Lives and Works: Amsterdam, The Netherlands and Xiamen, China

Text via Artspace
Images via i8 and ilikethisart

Collage, 1979. C-print, 69 x 87 cm / 106 x 127 cm framed

Horizontal Thoughts, 1970. Silver print on fiberbased paper. 100 x 95 cm

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Toward an Architecture of Enjoyment

May 16, 2014

The relationship between bodily pleasure, space, and architecture—from one of the twentieth century’s most important urban theorists

Toward an Architecture of Enjoyment, the first publication of Henri Lefebvre’s only book devoted to architecture, redefines architecture as a mode of imagination rather than a specialized process or a collection of monuments. Lefebvre calls for an architecture of jouissance—of pleasure or enjoyment—centered on the body and its rhythms and based on the possibilities of the senses.

Lukasz Stanek’s work has already taken scholarship on Henri Lefebvre’s concept of space to an unprecedented level of philosophical sophistication. With the discovery of the new text, Toward an Architecture of Enjoyment, Stanek escorts Lefebvre to the center of architecture theory since 1968. Lefebvre’s conceptual text and Stanek’s exquisite introduction together enable the possibility of thinking not about architecture, but thinking architecturally about how we inhabit our world. Toward an Architecture of Enjoyment takes us toward a concept of the architectural imagination that is a powerful mediator between thought and action.

—K. Michael Hays, Harvard Graduate School of Design

Text and Image via UPRESS

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Arvo Pärt on the Creative Process. From an interview conducted in November 1978

May 4, 2014

The following interview with Arvo Pärt was conducted at the composer’s home at Mustamäe, November 28, 1978. Filmed by Andres Sööt, the dialogue (at times, Arvo’s wife Eleonora seconds his husband behind the screen) and the rehearsal of the soon-to-be-premiered ‘Italian Concerto’ at the concert hall “Estonia” became the basis for the film-portrait entitled, suitably, “Arvo Pärt in November 1978″. The conversation, which lasted more than an hour (for the transcription of which we thank Jaak Elling), has been edited in order to make it more readable. Text from the actual film is in italics.

In February 1980, Arvo Pärt moved abroad with his family. His music stayed in his homeland as did two films by Andres Sööt about him: “Arvo Pärt in November 1978″ (Eesti Telefilm, 1978) and “Fantasy C-dur” (Eesti Telefilm, 1979), which haven’t been aired since the name and the compositions of Arvo were banned in Estonia.

Ivalo Randalu: I remember when you came [to the conservatory] in 1954 you had lots of blank sheets with you and you began to write a violin concerto. Then you had a very beautiful prelude a la Rachmaninov cis-moll, which you threw away after a year. You always changed, new qualities emerged. It led to your first symphony in your second year at the conservatory. And all those collages at that time. And then you had to turn again. What was it that made you change so much and move on?

Arvo Pärt: I think maybe the ideals that escort and accompany a human being in his life. Or let’s say – teachers, if we can say so. One has several teachers. One teacher can be the present and the people surrounding him – let’s say some school teachers belong there. At some period of time, a human is like inside these conditions and tuned to them. And then suddenly you discover another teacher for yourself – say, the past; great men of the past; all the cultural treasures of the past. It can happen that he becomes blind to all other things and fixes his view on the past only. And this certainly influences a man, gives a new tinge to his actions. Plus, there maybe exists the greatest teacher of all, I mean, the future – or let’s say, conscience. View yourself – what you’d really like to be. What you aren’t, but how you’d like to see yourself. We can say, it’s like a future we want to arrive at. Is that clear enough? Like an animal or, say, a little child chooses food.

Read fully HERE

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When Hitler Was Curator

April 27, 2014

Hitler loved art. His taste tended toward classicism. The Greek ideal of beauty was his general standard in aesthetics. He once wrote the following memorandum about how he guaranteed that he would get “good” art for the Munich Museum. “I have inexorably adhered to the following principle,” Hitler wrote.

If some self-styled artist submits trash for the Munich exhibition, then he is a swindler, in which case he should be put in prison; or he is a madman, in which case he should be in an asylum; or he is a degenerate, in which case he must be sent to a concentration camp to be “reeducated” and taught the dignity of honest labor. In this way I have ensured that the Munich exhibition is avoided like the plague by the inefficient.

And it was. I suspect a number of contemporary curators and museum directors feel roughly the same way Hitler did about artists who “submit trash.” But what made Hitler, Hitler — and not just your average Museum Director — was that he was willing to go that extra mile. He did, actually, send artists to prison, the asylum, and the concentration camp.

The current show at the Neue Galerie in New York City (“Degenerate Art: The Attack on Modern Art in Nazi Germany, 1937”) mostly displays art that appeared in the now-infamous “Degenerate Art” exhibits organized by the Nazis in Munich and then taken to other cities around Nazi Germany. The point of the “Degenerate Art” exhibits was to demonstrate just how bad modern art had become, according to the Nazi sensibility.

In the late 1930s, Hitler made it Goebbels’ responsibility to purge art of degeneracy. Goebbels appointed Adolf Ziegler, who happened to be one of Hitler’s favorite painters, to the position of Director of the Reich Chamber of Visual Art. Ziegler looked around and declared many of the artworks of his time, “the products of insanity, of impudence, of ineptitude, and of decadence.” Ziegler went about the process of seizing much of this “degenerate” art, some of which appeared in the “Degenerate Exhibit” before being sold off to other countries or destroyed. The show at the Neue Galerie includes paintings by Max Beckmann, George Grosz, Oskar Kokoschka, Ernst Ludwig Kirchner, and Paul Klee — to name a few of the most well-known “degenerates.” The Neue Galerie’s show also displays some of the work that Hitler and the Nazi apparatus liked. There is a painting by Adolf Ziegler himself, entitled “The Four Elements: Fire, Earth, and Water, Air” (1937). This painting was a special favorite of Hitler. He kept it hanging in his Munich apartment.

Written by Morgan Meis. Read full article at The Smart Set.

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Senses Of Vibration: A History of the Pleasure and Pain of Sound

October 22, 2013

The study of the senses has become a rich topic in recent years. Senses of Vibration explores a wide range of sensory experience and makes a decisive new contribution to this growing field by focussing not simply on the senses as such, but on the material experience – vibration – that underpins them.
This is the first book to take the theme of vibration as central, offering an interdisciplinary history of the phenomenon and its reverberations in the cultural imaginary. It tracks vibration through the work of a wide range of writers, including physiologists (who thought vibrations in the nerves delivered sensations to the brain), physicists (who claimed that light, heat, electricity and other forms of energy were vibratory), spiritualists (who figured that spiritual energies also existed in vibratory form), and poets and novelists from Coleridge to Dickens and Wells. Senses of Vibration is a work of scholarship that cuts through a range of disciplines and will reverberate for many years to come.

Senses of Vibration
A History of the Pleasure and Pain of Sound
By: Shelley Trower

Text & Image via Bloomsbury

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Hunks: How Ripped Became an Ideal. A historic look at images of masculinity

October 20, 2013

Not all purveyors of art think the male form gets enough attention. Exhibitions like Sascha Schneider’s show at the Leslie Lohman Museum of Gay and Lesbian Art have highlighted the importance of the male nude and its relationship to history; but others, including the recent “Masculine/Masculine” retrospective at the Musée d’Orsay, have prompted the question: “Why had there never been an exhibition dedicated the male nude until … last year?” The answer: Unlike female bodies, which are supposedly mysterious and full of secrets, male bodies are boring—or at least they’re presented that way. A new book, Universal Hunks: A Pictoral History of Muscular Men Around the World, 1895-1975, provides a little more perspective.

In Hunks, authors David L. Chapman and Douglas Brown trace the origins of the sculpted, nearly nude, or totally bare male silhouette across the globe. Their journey begins in Europe with Anglo-German “physical culturalist” Eugen Sandow and ends in South America with a snapshot of Hercules Cement—not because the West is the fount of all masculine identity or idealization, but because it was a tremendous exporter of those concepts at the time. The “male body factored prominently in the construction of modern national identities,” write Chapman and Brown, and as the imperial powers of the day disseminated their own religious and sociopolitical standards, they also strove to shape the actual bodies of the people they encountered.

Still, the exchange (or replacement) isn’t so cut and dry.

Text and Images via The Atlantic. COntinue THERE

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A Dolls’ House. 20 Starchitects and designers build a dolls’ house for KIDS

October 14, 2013

20 of the world’s best architects and designers build a dolls’ house for KIDS, an organization working with disabled children, young people and their families. HERE is where you can find details on all of the dolls’ houses, the architects behind these unique creations and place your bid.

The online site will be frozen at 12pm on Monday 11th November and further bids taken only at the auction event that evening. Highest bidders will be invited to attend the event or offered the opportunity to make a proxy bid. For further clarification on the bidding process, please contact info@adollshouse.co.uk

AMODELS. Creative architectural model makers

ADJAYE ASSOCIATES. In collaboration with Base Models and artist Chris Ofili

DRMM. In collaboration with Richard Woods Studio and Grymsdyke Farm

ZAHA HADID ARCHITECTS. Internationally renowned, award-winning architects

See more houses THERE

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Peephole: an online film magazine devoted to creative screen criticism.

October 1, 2013

Screen Shot 2013-10-01 at 5.03.59 PM

The peephole was a central feature of Edison’s Kinetoscope, an early cinematic exhibition device through which many audiences saw their first moving images. The line of movement of a man’s hat as he passes it from one hand to the other, the mesmerising flow of a woman’s dress as she dances, the expression on a person’s face as he sneezes, these single shots were the peephole’s micro-cinematic moments. Although the Kinetoscope is no longer with us, Peephole believes that digital technologies offer the possibility for screen criticism to return to the novelty of this time of early cinema and draw attention, once again, to the micro-elements of the screen.

Peephole features short essays on single shots of film, television and other screen media. Gesturing back to the cinematic moments viewed through the peephole, each piece is presented alongside a brief animation of the shot under discussion. In restricting writers to a single shot, Peephole aims to push the boundaries of screen criticism and, in returning to this moment of early cinema, experiment with ways of thinking and writing about film.

Peephole is edited by Whitney Monaghan.

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How We Learn To See Faces

September 24, 2013

Two eyes, aligned horizontally, above a nose, above a mouth. These are the basic elements of a face, as your brain knows quite well. Within about 200 milliseconds of seeing a picture, the brain can decide whether it’s a face or some other object. It can detect subtle differences between faces, too — walking around at my family reunion, for example, many faces look similar, and yet I can easily distinguish Sue from Ann from Pam.

Our fascination with faces exists, to some extent, on the day we’re born. Studies of newborn babies have shown that they prefer to look at face-like pictures. A 1999 study showed, for example, that babies prefer a crude drawing of a lightbulb “head” with squares for its eyes and nose compared with the same drawing with the nose above the eyes. “I believe the youngest we tested was seven minutes old,” says Cathy Mondloch, professor of psychology at Brock University in Ontario, who worked on that study. “So it’s there right from the get-go.”

Excerpt from an article written by Virginia Hughes at NatGeo. Continue THERE

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Virtual Violence, Immersion, and Harun Farocki

September 17, 2013

War, seen by the lay viewer through the lens of television news, seems distant; the people and the lands in the images are Other — other people, other cultures, other lands, other tragedies. War is not something that happens to me. War happens to others, elsewhere.

Read Full Articles:

How to Live in a Game Harun Farocki’s War Games

Virtual Violence: On war at a distance.

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How far can provocation in art go, before it becomes cynical and abusive? Scandalous: A Reader on Art and Ethics

September 10, 2013

Recent encounters between art and real life, the ubiquity of images of violence and humiliation in visual culture and the media, and the persistence of controversial debates on public and participatory art projects are raising fundamental questions about the importance of ethical decisions in art and curating. How far can provocation in art go, before it becomes cynical and abusive? Does “good censorship” exist? Are ethical decisions seen as more urgent in participatory art?

This reader introduces current notions of ethics in several contexts related to the cultural field. Responding to the instrumentalization of ethics as a privileged tool of neoliberalism, the reader claims the need for an ethics that critically reflects the mechanisms of contemporary global power structures. The contributions discuss models of subjective and situational ethics and pit them against a canon of unquestioned principles and upturned notions of ethics and human rights.

Texts by Petra Bauer and Annette Krauss, Franco Bifo Berardi, Galit Eilat, Ronald Jones, Maria Karlsson and Måns Wrange, Nina Möntmann, Peter Osborne, Marcus Steinweg, Nato Thompson; conversations between Simon Critchley and Miguel Á. Hernández-Navarro, Renzo Martens and T. J. Demos

Scandalous: A Reader on Art and Ethics
Nina Möntmann

Text and Image via Sternberg Press

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Where do artifacts go when they are destroyed? | Journal #47 September 2013 | e-flux

September 7, 2013

Boris Groys
Becoming Revolutionary: On Kazimir Malevich

After all, what is revolution? It is not the process of building a new society—this is the goal of the post-revolutionary period. Rather, revolution is the radical destruction of the existing society. However, to accept this revolutionary destruction is not an easy psychological operation. We tend to resist the radical forces of destruction, we tend to be compassionate and nostalgic toward our past—and maybe even more so toward our endangered present.

Nato Thompson
The Insurgents, Part I: Community-Based Practice as Military Methodology
The US military is seductive and repulsive in its grandiose violence. But it is also a fruitful place to examine developing techniques for the manipulation of culture. Considering the sheer scale of the US military—with its colossal budget—it’s not a bad place to look for new ideas and new methodologies concerning tactics for “getting to know people.”

Amanda Boetzkes and Andrew Pendakis
Visions of Eternity: Plastic and the Ontology of Oil

If plastic appears irreducible—appears to be a constitutive basis, instead of having emerged from and subsequently effaced its earthly basis—then the challenge is to uncover what plastic so readily disguises. Plastic is a petroleum product that claims at least a quarter of all the oil extracted. More than this, though, it is through plastics that we begin to fathom the complete permeation of oil into every facet of cultural life.

Jon Rich
The Bachelor Century: Single Sinners Seeking God’s Job

A soldier in the battlefield kills indiscriminately—gunfire and stabbings directed at whomever happens to be present. In contrast, the target of the bomb in Hiroshima is entirely ethnic, akin to the way Abu Musab Al-Zarqawi’s chose his victims. It is a crime against the human race, or a part of that race, because the bomb acts without regard for the political views of its victims. To be murdered because you are American, or Japanese, or Kurdish, or Christian, or Muslim is fundamentally different from being targeted because you are a soldier.

Claire Fontaine
We Are All Clitoridian Women: Notes on Carla Lonzi’s Legacy

In the Italian feminist ultra-left of Lonzi’s time, a deep connection between knowledge of oneself—especially of one’s own pleasure—and satisfaction was regarded as the only way to reach autonomy. There was a vivid awareness that colonization operates through the mind and the body, and the only way to reach freedom was working on one’s own subjectivity.

Lars Bang Larsen
The Society Without Qualities

Money is the one thing that connects us and that we cannot truly have in common. In societies without qualities we can, in theory, have any number of things in common. However, after the decline of symbolic orders, it is an enormous effort to call them up and give them words and form. Remember, this is the desert of the real … So never mind good intentions, they won’t get us anywhere: when art addresses the future in (self-)skeptical ways, it refuses nostalgia and hope as sentimental compensations for an uncertain future.

Where do artifacts go when they are destroyed? | Journal #47 September 2013 | e-flux
Julieta Aranda, Brian Kuan Wood, Anton Vidokle
Editorial

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Concrete Mushrooms

September 4, 2013

“Concrete Mushrooms” is a project initiated as an idea for research by two Albanian graduate students at Politecnico di Milano, and the purpose was to emphasize the appreciable assets of Albania such as bunkers which are vast in number and across all the rich and beautiful landscape of Albania. Apart all the studies done about the history of Albania, the reason of building the bunkers all over the country, how the people of Albania nowadays coexists with them, how and why do they use them, it is also thought of how the remaining bunkers can last their lives without being totally disappeared and can become the icon of a paranoid past transformed to the symbol of a bright future of the landscape of Albania. Bunkers seem to be happy of being born and living in Albania, and above all proud to be Albanians. But in fact their happiness masks an enormous sorrow of the past which would be recovered by their contribution to Albania.

Any of the “tourists” interested in adventures and nature, can enjoy natural resources of Albania by passing their nights in local at the same mobile cheap hostels without being obliged to carry their camping tents.
Cheap hostel – that’s what the future function of the bunker could be having the same commodity anywhere in Albania, there is not just one, there are supposed to be around 750 000 bunkers in Albania.

The priority of “Concrete Mushrooms” project is facing the symbol of xenophobia (bunker) with deliberate awareness for the purpose of inverting its meaning, the preservation of the memoir of a significant period of the Albanian history, giving bunkers value instead of having them as burden and as a result the promotion of an underdeveloped touristic sector such as Eco-Tourism which has an enormous potential at the same time growing the financial viability, social and environmental sustainability.
The project aims to create an institutional support for initiating the first steps of realizing it, the designed website will be a significant tool for any information related to the bunkers, to the implantation of network of transformed bunkers, the possible itineraries around them and great possibility for hunting and recording the number of the rooms of this huge hostel already built in Albania.

Production by Elian Stefa & Gyler Mydyti. Text and Images via Concrete Mushrooms

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Porno-graphics and porno-tactics: desire, affect and representation in pornography. An interview with Emilie Jouvet.

September 4, 2013

Pornography’s inscriptions in representation have troubled feminist writers, who since the 1970s have been critically addressing issues related to the presentation of the female body. Porn, it was contended, is for the most part a heterosexist genre, and its market circulation serves male libidinal pleasure, fixing the position of pleasure for both wo/men and abiding by patriarchal, gendered and sexually imposed norms. Later, the term was reclaimed under a critical re-perception of porn, cast as a gaze upon different others. This time race, religion, class came to the forefront. From Rosi Braidotti (m.s.) who addresses issues of racism in islamophobic representations such as the documentary ‘Fitna’, to the many commentators who related pornography to acts of torture, most notably in Abu-Ghraib (McClintock 2009) – pornography becomes a ‘concept metaphor’ that haunts autonomy (the laws of the self) through an heteronomous (laws of the other) affect (cf. Nancy 2007). Similarly, in debates over forced sex-work, the voyeuristic humanitarian gaze produces its Others either by sexualizing the other’s body, or by desexualizing the human in it.

On the other hand, many newly emerging artworks, documentaries, and porn productions, attempt to exscribe from porn its initial, normatively repressed qualities, and re-inscribe a feminist or queer perception of enjoyment and pleasure through feminine jouissance and the possibilities to push the limits of representation. In such tactics (de Certeau 1984), porn does not only become a concept-metaphor but, rather, it is being worked through a radical metonymic approach which seeks to transgress norms, explore desires and open up to affects. Tactics thus become tactile.

Continue Reading at Re-Public HERE

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Recover the Streets

September 4, 2013

Recover the Streets arises from the need to interconnect different European projects that work with urban art in their respective cities; the need to offer artists the possibility of interacting with other European creators, of improving their visibility and finding new expression formulas; the need to boost urban art as a regenerator of new city visions; to create participative processes that bring culture, and in this specific case, urban art, closer to population sectors that do not normally participate in cultural events.

Recover the Streets is a collaboration project between five European cities that, using urban art as a tool and common language, purport to interconnect artists and cultural agents from all these cities, promoting the exchange of artistic and social experiences; recovering, in each one of them, a debased space by means of a collaborative process that engages the social agents of the neighbourhoods where the activity takes place, and providing citizens with a new perception of urban art and its ability to activate social and cultural dynamics.
A project that will last for 8 months, which has united a total of six cities from different parts of Europe, where institutions and cultural agents have committed to promoting urban art, thus offering an open and diverse collaboration framework which has already given rise to sporadic collaborations outside the programme, among some of the cultural agents involved:

• Zaragoza (Spain): Sociedad Municipal Zaragoza Cultural
• Besançon (France): Association Juste Ici
• Toulouse (France): Mairie de Toulouse
• Colonia (Germany): Association artmx e.V / Cityleaks Festival
• Zagreb (Croatia): Association Centralna Jedinica

Know more HERE

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Techné/Dance/Dechné/Tance: body+motion+computation

August 2, 2013

This is only a small selection of recent dance work and therefore is a omitting a long list of dance collectives, performance artist, and other experimental movers/thinkers who have contribute tremendously to the development of what you will see below. Thanks to all of them.

SERAPH(2010): Created by Robby Barnett, Molly Gawler, Renée Jaworski, and Itamar Kubovy in collaboration with the MIT Distributed Robotics Laboratory, directed by Prof. Daniela Rus and including current and former MIT PhD students William Selby, Brian Julian, Daniel Soltero, Andrew Marchese, and Carrick Detweiler (graduated, now assistant professor at University of Nebraska, Lincoln). Music: Schubert Trio no.2 in E Flat, Op.100. ll Andante con moto

Anarchy Dance Theatre (From the project description): The collaboration project between Anarchy Dance Theatre and Ultra Combos focused on building up a new viewer centered performance venue. In this space all movements including the dancers’ and audience’s can be detected and interact with each other through visual effect. The audience is not merely watching the show but actively participating in it. More HERE

Trinity (From the project description): a dance performance with high levels of real time interaction and close relationship between: dance, sound and visuals.

The interactive link is done through a videocamera installed above the stage and under infrared lighting. Besides positional tracking the project is focus in measuring movement qualities as: forces and directions, accelerations, stage position, velocity and body area.

The performance has been created and executed in live using the environment MAX/MSP/JITTER by Cycling74 and the computer vision library CV.JIT by Jean-Marc Pelletier. More HERE

Dance and Projection Mapping from Daito Manabe (http://www.daito.ws/#2)

Instrumental Bodies (From the project description): Researchers at the Input Devices and Music Interaction Lab at McGill University recently released a video documentary on the design and fabrication of “prosthetic digital instruments” for music and dance. These instruments are the culmination of a three-year long project in which the designers worked closely with dancers, musicians, composers and a choreographer. The goal of the project was to develop instruments that are visually striking, utilize advanced sensing technologies, and are rugged enough for extensive use in performance.

The complex, transparent shapes are lit from within, and include articulated spines, curved visors and ribcages. Unlike most computer music control interfaces, they function both as hand-held, manipulable controllers and as wearable, movement-tracking extensions to the body. Further, since the performers can smoothly attach and detach the objects, these new instruments deliberately blur the line between the performers’ bodies and the instrument being played. More HERE

Cadence I – IV (The artist’s description): The institution of the military is steeped in performative traditions, rituals and practices. Indeed the collective military body can be thought of as being characterised by a carefully calibrated choreography of movement.

Cadence (2013) is a series of four new-media artworks whose subject sits between war and performance. In these new video works, the figure of the Australian, US and Taliban soldier is placed within formal landscapes appropriated from pro-military cinema and military training simulators.

Rather than enacting standard military gestures or postures, the simulated soldier performs a slow and poetic dance. The usual politics of movement, discipline and posture of the military body are subverted, and instead rendered soft and expressive.

The seductive visual rhythm of cadence, camouflage and natural mimicry in these works gesture towards the dark mysticism of military history, where soldiers and psychedelics have often combined to disrupt landscapes and produce mystic escapes.

Technological backstage – Mr & Ms Dream a performance by Pietragalla Derouault Company & Dassault Systèmes: a behind-the-scenes process, showing how a dance piece that uses projection and real-time processing is put together.

Gideon Obarzaneks Digital Moves: Hailed by The Australian as the countrys best modern dance company, choreographer Gideon Obarzaneks Chunky Move dazzles audiences with its use of site-specific installations and interactive sound and light technologies. Obarzanek’s avant-garde performances explore the tensions between the rational world we live in and richness of our imagination.

Dance techne: Kinetic bodily logos and thinking in movement.

…and a beautiful composition by Ryoji Ikeda called Forest Of Memories. Taken from dumb type’s memorandum. A performance that brings their unique audiovisual architectonics to an investigation of memory.

Memorandum (Text via Epidemic): Combining elements of multimedia, dance and fragmented narrative, memorandum explores the hazy dimensions of recall that ground and disquietly erode our experience minute-by-minute.
The set is simple – almost an abstraction. A bare stage is bisected by an impenetrable but translucent wall, a screen onto which will be projected a barrage of images.
Amidst a cascade of white noise and REM-speed visual flashes, the performers break down the motions into displaced gestures in silhouette.
Penetrating deeper beneath the surface of moment, dancers drift in a slow sensual subconscious slidestep through the “forest of memory” haunted by voices and desires.

Unnoticed by waking reason, a lone witness/observer records evidence of the scene and is repeatedly eliminated.
Whereupon three figures cycle through three different accelerated subroutines of emotion, instinct and intellect, scarcely intersecting, each oblivious to the oblique “orbital” workings of the other.
Until finally, the dance emerges onto a primal oceanic frieze simultaneously flooded and exhausted of meanings.

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Against the Sublime by James Elkins (2009, revised 2013)

July 24, 2013

This paper explores the uses of the sublime in recent art theory, philosophy, and literary criticism, focusing on Weiskel, Hertz, and Lyotard. I propose that the concept of the sublime, and the postmodern sublime in particular, are over-used tropes in critical writing. They sometimes serve a covert religious purpose, as a way of smuggling theological concepts into secular discourse; and they are stand-ins for notions of epistemological, linguistic, and psychological failures that do not require the specific discourse of the sublime.

Text and Images HERE

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Anti-Media. Ephemera on Speculative Arts

July 23, 2013

Florian Cramer, lecturer at the Rotterdam based Willem de Kooning Academy, demonstrates in his new collection of essays Anti-Media, how media and art critique constantly reflect on their own tradition, language and manifestations, while at the same time trying to subvert them.

In the essays Cramer presents and analyzes a wide range of subcultures – from Internet porn to neo-Nazi’s and anti-copyright activists – and offers a critical view on their imagery and poetry, plagiarism and automatisms.

Cramer asserts that art coexists with ‘anti-art’, and that the term ‘media’ is just as vague, or unfixed, as is ‘art’. Even so, both ‘art’ and ‘media’ resist elimination, and this is why the author introduces the term ‘anti-media’. Anti-media is what remains when people eliminate the concept of media – whether old or new – yet fail to discard it.

In this spirited collection of essays, Anti-Media, Florian Cramer discusses a thought-provoking variety of topics that come together in an unexpected manner. The topics range from internet art, pop culture and 17th century poetry, to electronic literature, amateurism, post-digitality, Rotterdam and Rosicrucians. Anti-Media proposes that high, low and subcultures can no longer be separated from each other, and that this also holds for the extent to which they refer to each other.

Text and Image via Network Cultures

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Tea with Burroughs and Bacon. Uncut footage from the BBC Arena archive

July 9, 2013

From The Space: ‘The BBC’s arts documentary series Arena has turned its unique archive into a hotel for The Space. It is modelled on New York’s Chelsea Hotel, a legendary haunt of the stars. / In this film from the Arena Hotel’s Tea Room, Francis Bacon makes tea for William Burroughs.’ Watch HERE

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Introducing Culture Identities: Design for Museums, Theaters and Cultural Institutions

July 9, 2013

An inside look by designers and clients at graphic design’s main playground and proving ground–working for cultural institutions.

This book takes an inside look at graphic design’s main playground and proving ground—working for cultural institutions. One would be hard pressed to find another area of graphic design in which the work is so fresh and experimental and so often serves as a precursor for future visual trends.

Introducing: Culture Identities features outstanding poster campaigns, publications, and cross-platform corporate design for international cultural institutions by both young designers, who are striving to prove themselves creatively, and established studios, who are experimenting with new forms of visual expression. In the book, readers not only hear from designers who are especially active in the cultural field, such as Bureau Mirko Borsche, the New York-based studio 2×4, James Goggin, and Johannes Erler, but also from notables on the client side including MoMA, the Barbican, Van Abbemuseum, and documenta.

With its selection of striking collaborations between innovative designers and visionary cultural institutions, Introducing: Culture Identities presents the field of visual identities for cultural clients as a continuous dialogue that pushes the limit of what is possible creatively.

Text and Image via Gestalten

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Moving without a Body: Digital Philosophy and Choreographic Thoughts

July 9, 2013

Digital technologies offer the possibility of capturing, storing, and manipulating movement, abstracting it from the body and transforming it into numerical information. In Moving without a Body, Stamatia Portanova considers what really happens when the physicality of movement is translated into a numerical code by a technological system. Drawing on the radical empiricism of Gilles Deleuze and Alfred North Whitehead, she argues that this does not amount to a technical assessment of software’s capacity to record motion but requires a philosophical rethinking of what movement itself is, or can become.

Discussing the development of different audiovisual tools and the shift from analog to digital, she focuses on some choreographic realizations of this evolution, including works by Loie Fuller and Merce Cunningham. Throughout, Portanova considers these technologies and dances as ways to think—rather than just perform or perceive—movement. She distinguishes the choreographic thought from the performance: a body performs a movement, and a mind thinks or choreographs a dance. Similarly, she sees the move from analog to digital as a shift in conception rather than simply in technical realization. Analyzing choreographic technologies for their capacity to redesign the way movement is thought, Moving without a Body offers an ambitiously conceived reflection on the ontological implications of the encounter between movement and technological systems.

Moving without a Body: Digital Philosophy and Choreographic Thoughts by Stamatia Portanova. Text and Image via MIT Press

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Participatory Composition: Video Culture, Writing, and Electracy

July 9, 2013

Like. Share. Comment. Subscribe. Embed. Upload. Check in. The commands of the modern online world relentlessly prompt participation and encourage collaboration, connecting people in ways not possible even five years ago. This connectedness no doubt influences college writing courses in both form and content, creating possibilities for investigating new forms of writing and student participation. In this innovative volume, Sarah J. Arroyo argues for a “participatory composition,” inspired by the culture of online video sharing and framed by theorist Gregory Ulmer’s concept of electracy.

Electracy, according to Ulmer, “is to digital media what literacy is to alphabetic writing.” Although electracy can be compared to digital literacy, it is not something shut on and off with the power buttons on computers or mobile devices. Rather, electracy encompasses the cultural, institutional, pedagogical, and ideological implications inherent in the transition from a culture of print literacy to a culture saturated with electronic media, regardless of the presence of actual machines.

Arroyo explores the apparatus of electracy in many of its manifestations while focusing on the participatory practices found in online video culture, particularly on YouTube. Chapters are devoted to questions of subjectivity, definition, authorship, and pedagogy. Utilizing theory and incorporating practical examples from YouTube, classrooms, and other social sites, Arroyo presents accessible and practical approaches for writing instruction. Additionally, she outlines the concept of participatory composition by highlighting how it manifests in online video culture, offers student examples of engagement with the concept, and advocates participatory approaches throughout the book.

Arroyo presents accessible and practical possibilities for teaching and learning that will benefit scholars of rhetoric and composition, media studies, and anyone interested in the cultural and instructional implications of the digital age.

Text and Image via Amazon Books

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City Archives – Tasveer Journal

July 9, 2013

The Tasveer Journal is an online magazine for photography in India. New articles are added each week showcasing work from the 19th century to today – contributed and contextualised by our network of critics, writers and curators.

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The Great Work of the Metal Lover: A strain of bacteria that POOPS GOLD

June 13, 2013

Historically, Magnum Opus, or The Great Work, was an alchemical process that incorporated a personal, spiritual and chemical method for creating the Philosopher’s Stone, a mysterious red colored substance that was capable of transmuting base matter into the noble metal of gold. Discovering the principals of the Philosopher’s Stone was one of the defining and at the same time seemingly unobtainable objectives of Western alchemy.

The Great Work of the Metal Lover is an artwork that sits at the intersection of art, science and alchemy, re-examining the problem of transmutation through the use of modern microbiological practice and thus solving the ancient riddle.

Gold production is accomplished by the pairing of a highly specialized metallotolerant extremophilic bacterium and an engineered atmosphere contained within a customized alchemical bioreactor. The extreme minimal ecosystem within the bioreactor forces the bacteria to metabolize high concentrations of toxic AuCl3 (gold chloride), turning soluble gold into usable 24K gold.

All text and Images via Adam Brown. Continue THERE

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SKYHOUSE: One more oneiric playground penthouse for who can afford it.

June 6, 2013

SkyHouse is residence constructed within a previously unoccupied penthouse structure at the summit of one of the earliest surviving skyscrapers in New York City.

With its steep hipped roof of projecting dormers and chimneys set over a base of enormous arched windows, the exterior of the penthouse gives the impression of an ornate Beaux-Art mansion suspended midway within the iconic vertical cityscape of Lower Manhattan. But this exterior shell was essentially an ornament for the skyline; inside was a raw space with only the original riveted steel structure -among the earliest steel frame of any surviving tower in New York- providing evidence of the late 19th century when the building was built.

The enormous angel caryatids at the corners of the four-story penthouse which crowns this building serve to advertise its original role the headquarters of the American Tract Society, a publisher of religious literature which constructed this early skyscraper in 1895.

All Text and Images via http://hotson.net/

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Without a Paint Tube, Claude Monet wouldn’t have been able to create Impressionist works

May 25, 2013

The French Impressionists disdained laborious academic sketches and tastefully muted paintings in favor of stunning colors and textures that conveyed the immediacy of life pulsating around them. Yet the breakthroughs of Monet, Pissarro, Renoir and others would not have been possible if it hadn’t been for an ingenious but little-known American portrait painter, John G. Rand.

Like many artists, Rand, a Charleston native living in London in 1841, struggled to keep his oil paints from drying out before he could use them. At the time, the best paint storage was a pig’s bladder sealed with string; an artist would prick the bladder with a tack to get at the paint. But there was no way to completely plug the hole afterward. And bladders didn’t travel well, frequently bursting open.

Excerpt from an article written by Perry Hurt at The Smithsonian. Continue HERE

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Spheres Of Action

May 23, 2013

Contemporary art is increasingly part of a wider network of cultural practices, related through a common set of references in cultural theory. Within Europe, relations between national theoretical traditions have become more fluid and dynamic, creating an increasingly transnational—or postnational—space for European cultural and art theory. This book offers a snapshot of recent influential work in contemporary art and political theory in France, Italy, and Germany, in the form of original writings by major representatives of each of the three overlapping national traditions.

In France, debates center on the status and possibilities of the image. Éric Alliez, Georges Didi-Huberman, Elisabeth Lebovici, and Jacques Rancière each adopt a distinctive approach to the making, undoing, and remaking of aesthetic images in contemporary art and their political significance. From Italy, Antonio Negri, Maurizio Lazzarato, Judith Revel, and Franco Berardi each address the “immaterial” situation of contemporary art. From Germany, Peter Sloterdijk, Peter Weibel, and Boris Groys reassess the contemporary legacy of postwar art, demonstrating appropriations of vitalism, structuralism, and deconstruction, respectively.

Text and Image via MIT Press

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Film As Ethnography

May 12, 2013

This work examines the reasons why anthropologists have not used the camera as a research instrument or film as a means of communicating ethnographic knowledge. It suggests that images and words in this discipline operate on different logical levels; that they are hierarchically related; that whereas writings may encompass the images produced by film, the inverse of this cannot be true. The author argues for this position further by suggesting that the visual is to the written mode as “thin description” (giving a record of the form of behaviour) is to “thick description” (giving an account of meaning). Film As Ethnography: Edited by
Peter Ian Crawford and David Turton. Text and Image via Amazon

Also: Using Film in Ethnographic Research

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Another turn after Actor-Network Theory: An interview with Bruno Latour

May 3, 2013

Bruno Latour’s forthcoming book, An Inquiry into Modes of Existence. We discuss his intellectual trajectory leading up to actor–network theory and the pluralistic philosophy underlying his new, ‘positive’ anthropology of modernity.

Bruno Latour’s work on actor–network theory (ANT) put him at the forefront of a wave of ethnographic research on scientists ‘in action’ in their laboratories and in the wider world. Starting with 1979’s Laboratory Life, his many books, written independently and in collaboration, have traced the chains of reference that connect instrumental inscriptions in labs to factual statements in journals and, eventually, to the laws of nature found in textbooks. Along the way, he has shown, facts take on increasing ontological weight, growing increasingly ‘universal’ through extensions of the scale and reach of networks and alliances between humans and nonhumans. His work has also contributed to rethinkings of modernity, leading scholars to study how scientists, engineers, and their heterogeneous allies have redefined and transformed both nature and society. Compelling, controversial, and constantly on the move, Latour’s arguments and collective projects have helped orient many research perspectives in Science and Technology Studies (STS) over the past three decades, creating bridges between science studies and anthropology, history, literary studies, art history, and environmental studies; philosophers have also increasingly engaged with his ideas (e.g. Bennett, 2010; Harman, 2009; Rouse, 1987; as well as Latour, 2010).

Read it HERE

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The Aestheticization of Everyday Life

May 3, 2013

For the next round of discussion I’d like to shift the subject to the physical environment, posing the question, Is architecture rational?

Much of the newer work we see as we walk the streets of the city whether it’s New York, Seattle, Dubai, or the newer sections of Copenhagen, is more dramatic than architecture once was: taller, swoopier, twistier, less symmetrical. Architectural language, informed by the capabilities of parametric software and computerized fabrication tools, has become more fluid and less rectilinear.

From the onlooker’s perspective, it looks a lot like style. But when you talk to an architect, you often wind up having a conversation about how utterly pragmatic the building in question is.

For instance, the Seattle Central Library by OMA, completed in 2004. The lead architect on the project, Joshua Prince-Ramus, once told me: “Style freaks us out, the very word style.” He went on to explain the strange shape of the building—it looks like a monstrous mechanical jaw—by showing a diagram made by the library’s administrators of all the functions they required in the new building. Prince-Ramus claimed the architects translated the librarians’ chart directly into architectural form. He called this method “hyperrational.”

More Info HERE