Author: IVC Author

“I am Kenji” and the Indignity of Wearing the Others’ Look

Figure 1. “I AM KENJI,” Facebook page, https://www.facebook.com/IAmKenjiGoto (Accessed March 8, 2015). On January 20, 2015, ISIS released a ransom video featuring two Japanese hostages identified as Kenji Goto and Haruna Yukawa. That same day, Goto’s friend Taku Nishimae started a Facebook page titled “I am Kenji,” and subsequently posted a photograph of himself holding a letter-sized card bearing the same three words (Figure 1). The accompanying text invited others to do the same to “show that we are united.”1 Nishimae’s photograph is difficult to look at, not only because his fatigued face betrays his shock and distress at the news of his friend’s captivity, but also because it foreshadows a photograph that ISIS would release five days later. “Foreshadowing” might be an inaccurate word choice given that the photograph in question was likely a conscious mimicking of Nishimae’s image, if not of its model, namely, the mass spectacle of the anti-terror marches staged in the wake of the assassinations of the cartoonists and staff of Charlie Hebdo whose slogan Je suis Charlie (“I am Charlie”) …

Performing the Document in Francis Alÿs’s Re-enactments (2001)

Written By Emily Rose Lyver-Harris On November 4, 2000, Francis Alÿs illegally purchased a gun from a shop in downtown Mexico City. [1] He then left the shop, loaded gun in hand, and walked through the streets of the city. Twelve and a half minutes later, Alÿs was pursued by the police – he was quickly apprehended, pinned against the police car, searched, and taken away for his arrest. This event constituted the first part of Alÿs’s Re-enactments (2001) – a work in which the artist sought to execute a performance and then carefully recreate it based on the documentation of the performance. The script was simple: he was to buy the gun and move through the streets until something occurred to interrupt him. Alÿs’s initial performance, from his first grasp of the gun until his arrest, was filmed by his collaborator, artist Rafael Ortega, and this footage became the basis for the performance’s reproduction. Alÿs and Ortega replicated the initial performance the same day, a project only possible because Alÿs managed to evade punishment for his …

Opacity and Sensation in Reynier Leyva Novo’s Historical Installations

Written By Guillermina De Ferrari In revolutionary Cuba, history is never about the past. In the early days of the Revolution, state-sponsored cultural production paid much attention to the nineteenth century with one objective: to suggest that the struggle for Independence from Spain in the 1890s hadn’t been fully accomplished until the 1959 Revolution. The most evident examples of this official narrative can be found in the films produced by the Cuban Institute of Cinematographic Art and Industry (ICAIC). The ICAIC, established in March 1959 to produce documentaries about the Revolution, was one of the earliest and most prolific cultural institutions founded by the new government. In the early years, ICAIC produced films like Lucía (1968), directed by Humberto Solás. Lucía focuses on the War of Independence and the student uprisings in the 1930s during the US-backed Machado regime (famously photographed by Walker Evans and by Constantino Arias) as battles in the more significant Revolution.1 True independence, this and other films seem to suggest, was finally gained thanks to the brave “barbudos” of Sierra Maestra led by Fidel …

The Problem of Nonhuman Phenomenology: or, What is it Like to Be a Kinect?

Written By Anne Pasek New materialism presents an ambitious revision of key philosophical and political concepts, most notably that of the divide between human and nonhuman agents. In order to move critical inquiry outside of the labyrinths of language so that it might also attend to the material effects and actions of the nonhuman world, threads of human exceptionalism must be untangled from some of the West’s most basic ontological principles. From Bruno Latour’s expansion of the concept of agency to include nonhuman agents to Karen Barad’s concept of the post-human performativity of intra-acting matter, there has been a rapid expanse of scholarship that attests to the influential role the material plays in the mechanics of human operations, and indeed the need to dethrone the human from its central place in ethical, philosophical, and political concerns.1 This project also often intersects and extends to analyses of the human as an explicitly material being, one physical entity amongst others, adding a new emphasis on models of human embodiment, animation, and situated perception to a robust and on-going literature …

Afterthoughts on Queer Opacity

Written By Nicholas de Villiers What can a celebrity body be if not opaque? And yet what if the whole point of celebrity is the spectacle of people forced to tell transparent lies in public? We have already mentioned what we take to be a central chord in our culture of “knowingness”—the reserve force of information, the reservoir of presumptive, deniable, and unarticulated knowledge in a public that images itself also as a reservoir of ever-violable innocence. The economics of knowingness help us ask new questions about the transparent lies that constitute celebrity as well. —Eve Kosofsky Sedgwick and Michael Moon, “Divinity: A Dossier, a Performance Piece, a Little-Understood Emotion” ‘I think there are four kinds of gays in Hollywood,’ explains Howard Bragman, CEO of the PR firm Fifteen Minutes. ‘There’s the openly gay; the gay and everybody knows it but nobody talks about it; the married, closeted gay who doesn’t talk about it; and the screaming ‘I’ll sue you if you say I’m gay’ person.’ In other words, the no closet, the glass closet, the …

Art Documents: The Politics of Visibility in Contemporary Photography

Written By Jayne Wilkinson Photography has long been regarded for its power to make visible and to document the unseen and the unknown aspects of our world. As the technological force par excellence of the past hundred and fifty years and as a medium however defined, the processes that shape what we have come to understand as the photographic universe1 challenge the ways we see and understand the world around us. Photographic representation offers a kind of deferred sight, a way to see after the fact what was not visible in the moment. Whether analogue, digital, formal, vernacular, reportage, conceptual, social or any of the wide range of forms that photography now takes, the properties of the photograph make visible, or reveal, something not seen in the first instance. This production of visibility acts as a mirage, one that simultaneously obscures and reveals the social and political relations embedded within the processes of production. In addition to the immediate relations between photographic producer, object, and viewer there are also relations that exist external to the visible …

Knit for Defense, Purl to Control

Written By Jacqueline Witkowski “Sometimes the war news seems so abstract and it’s hard to imagine what it’s like for soldiers—knitting helped make it real to me.” 1 Left in the visitor’s notebook, this statement commented on Sabrina Gschwandtner’s Wartime Knitting Circle (2007), an interactive installation that invited the audience to sit down with the artist and other gallery attendees to discuss the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan while choosing from a variety of “wartime” knitting patterns: squares for blankets to send to Afghanistan and stump socks for those who suffered from casualties. In 2012, the Renwick Gallery in Washington, D.C.—a Smithsonian dedicated to American craft from the 19th century to present—unveiled the exhibition, Craft Futures: 40 Under 40, of which Gschwandtner’s work was a part. Curator Nicholas R. Bell argues that it was this generation—the forty artists featured—who were the most directly influenced by the events of September 11, 2001 (as the oldest were 29 years old and the youngest only 17). Bell states “the 9/11 attacks fundamentally altered the experience of everyday life for …

The Color of Silence

Artwork By Shalom Gorewitz Artist’s statement: Hidden Revelations  “Vision begins with a fault in this world’s smooth facade.” -Howard Nemerov I’m staring at a blank wall.  There is a window in between.  I am inside looking out. I’m staring at a television set.  There is a screen in between.  I am outside looking in. I’m moving my eyes from the keyboard to computer screen and back.  Peripheral vision shows surroundings.  I am simultaneously inside and out. My eyes are closed and I’m painting.  I’m neither inside or out. The painter is always making decisions about how much to cover and leave uncovered. Each mark has some level of transparency.  Form or nothingness, gestures given and withheld. There are shades of every color except black and white.  All pictures share the foundations of foreground, background, above, below, seen, unseen. Painting is always about layering.  Figurative or abstract, there is only the illusion created by strokes of color. “Why are black and white not part of the color chart?” asked Wittgenstein.  Why are they considered color at all?  …

Seeing / Being Seen

Artwork By Justin Nolan Seeing / Being Seen is a reflection on tourism, spectacle, and surveillance. The ubiquity of cameras at cultural sites like Times Square has shifted the memorializing function of the camera. The camera as a tool for experiencing place is nothing new but it becomes much more pervasive when digital cameras allow for almost limitless recording. The ritual of photographing oneself at cultural sites is often more important than the resulting photographs. The role of the camera becomes complicated in places like Times Square, which are so highly surveilled. Tourists point hundreds of cameras up at billboards and lights while at the same time nearly as many cameras are pointed down at the crowd. Autonomous, ubiquitous, and tacitly accepted by the crowd as necessary, the function of security cameras is not questioned and often the cameras themselves are hidden from public view. With cameras above and cameras below, the process of seeing and being seen becomes reciprocal. I first visited Times Square in 2000 and each time I returned I noticed an increasing …

Internal Frontier

Artwork By Kasia Ozga Artist’s Statement: Non-EU immigrants to France seeking long-term residency permits are required to obtain x-rays in order to be cleared for processing. Every day, the government asserts its right to peer into and catalogue the innermost parts of our bodies, in order to determine who gets to stay within its borders and who is unfit to remain. The works explore how our identities are formed as we pass through and reflect on the many borders, physical as well as mental, that we have each crossed in the past and must cross on a daily basis. In the x-ray images, the physical site of transit is inscribed within the body, rather than something that we pass through unharmed. The experience of passing from one area to another stays with the migrant, and becomes part of how he experiences the world. The works’ ambiguity underscores the dual symbolism of the border as a barrier and as a springboard, simultaneously inhibiting and enabling interactions between individuals and select geographic locations. Frontière interne I consists of …

Pay for Your Pleasures

Reviewed by Kirin Wachter-Grene Cary Levine. Pay For Your Pleasures: Mike Kelley, Paul McCarthy, Raymond Pettibon. Chicago: University of Chicago Press. 2013. Hardcover. 211 pp. Cary Levine’s first book, Pay For Your Pleasures: Mike Kelley, Paul McCarthy, Raymond Pettibon, uses three of America’s most transgressive artists to reconsider the concept of “transgressive” art. The first book to offer a sustained study of these Los Angeles artists, “bad boys” entering the art world in the 1970s and rising to prominence in the 1980s and 1990s, is, on one hand, a deeply researched biographical account of Kelley, McCarthy, and Pettibon, respectively, reinforced by interviews between author and artist. Levine places their considerable bodies of work, through the 1990s, in sociopolitical context and considers the artists both individually and together, linking their work through critical frames of gender, sex, and adolescence. His book is also one of the first to engage with all three artists’ involvement in underground music scenes, the effect such sonic subcultures had on their work, and the themes and methods running across and through the …

Building Zion

Reviewed by Dai Newman Thomas Carter. Building Zion: The Material World of Mormon Settlement. Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press, 2015. 408pp. The standard narrative of the settling of the Great Basin by members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints asserts that the Mormons moved west to craft a radically different society. Polygamy, theocracy, and communal economics dominate an understanding in which Mormons only acquiesced to American norms after intense outside pressure. The railroad came in 1869, followed by a federal crackdown on polygamy, which swept through the territory until the practice was officially abandoned in 1890. In Building Zion: The Material World of Mormon Settlement, architectural historian Thomas Carter hopes to add nuance this story, showing that Mormons actually experienced Americanization rather slowly and were never really as far from the mainstream as the stories about them suggest. Mormons were building their “Zion,” but the material world of Zion’s cities looked similar to the rest of America. Carter openly admits he is not the first scholar to claim Mormon difference was never as stark …

Radio Benjamin

Radio Benjamin

Reviewed By Anna-Verena Nosthoff Walter Benjamin. Radio Benjamin. Edited by Lecia Rosenthal. Translated by Jonathan Lutes with Lisa Harries Schumann and Diana K. Reese. London and New York: Verso Books, 2014, 424 pp. In view of the overwhelming popularity of Benjamin’s theoretical writings on the artwork, technology, and cultural-political change, it is curious that so little is known about his radio works. In fact, Benjamin produced around eighty radio talks, dialogues, and children’s stories for Berlin and Frankfurt radio stations in the late 1920s and early 1930s. Fortunately, Radio Benjamin finally compiles Benjamin’s most important pieces in this medium. The relative absence of Benjamin’s radio works from scholarly literature on his work is understandable. This phenomenon is, first, a result of the relative inaccessibility of the written transcripts. Second, only parts of a single audio file have been preserved, resulting in a lack of essential information on the works’ auditory qualities. Third, Benjamin’s own comments on the works reveal his skepticism about their importance.1 One of the major achievements of Lecia Rosenthal’s carefully edited volume is that, …

The Threads that Bind Us

In the home of an unknown Belgian collector, Ghada Amer’s work, La Belle Au Bois Dormant (1995) dances alone. The instillation consists of a white dress, a red dress, a chair, a mannequin and a music box. The red dress is entirely deflated, while the white dress appears starched and up right. The white dress hangs on a headless mannequin that has been rigged to spin in slow circles, constantly rotating the dress. The viewer gets the sense that the dress was made for the mannequin, not for an actual woman. While the red dress is entirely flat and has no sheen, the white dress appears to be glowing. The white dress is made from a heavy-weighted silk and the threads that embroider the dress interrupt the material’s radiance. Although the embroidery on the dress holds the complete text of the children’s fairy tail, The Sleeping Beauty by Charles Perrault, the exposed threads make the letters almost entirely illegible.1 What makes this work so mesmerizing is how Amer transforms these five ordinary objects into a …

Launching InVisible Culture Issue 21: Pursuit

InVisible Culture: An Electronic Journal of Visual Culture (IVC), published through the University of Rochester’s graduate program in Visual and Cultural Studies, is pleased to announce the launch of Issue 21: “Pursuit.” For this issue, we invited scholars and artists to explore ways pursuit manifests at both the individual and collective levels. What we received revealed the dual nature and contradictory inner-logic of pursuit: its focused trajectory coupled with its tendency to turn back on itself, operating in ways circuitous, surprising, vexing, and destructive. Authors Janet Wolff, Joel Gn Hong Zhan, Christopher Schubert and Timothy Welsh, Carolyn L. Kane, Diego Costa, artists Adam Sulzdorf-Liszkiewicz and Anton Hand, Erin Johnson, Paul Qaysi, Clint Enns, Walter Forsberg contributed articles and works of art that address at least two distinct but interrelated forms of pursuit which we are perpetually undertaking: technological pursuit and spatial pursuit. Issue 21: Pursuit (Fall 2014) IVC is a student run interdisciplinary journal published online twice a year in an open access format. Through peer-reviewed articles, creative works, and reviews of books, films, and exhibitions, our …

CFP InVisible Culture, Issue 24: Vulnerability

“Vulnerability” – Issue 24 (Download PDF) For its twenty-fourth issue, InVisible Culture: An Electronic Journal for Visual Culture invites scholarly articles and creative works that explore the concept of vulnerability. Almost two weeks after Thomas Eric Duncan’s plane landed in Dallas from Liberia in late September, the Centers for Disease Control announced the first case of Ebola in the United States. News feeds immediately jumped at the report, the Dow Jones plunged 266 points and petitions to ban flights from Ebola-stricken countries have since been circulating across social media platforms. From ISIS to the crisis in Ukraine to employment security, the media’s pronouncement of threats posed by vulnerabilities (and certain invisibilities) are ubiquitous. It is worth considering, however, what the stakes are in maintaining such rhetoric, and whether it is possible to imagine alternatives. As urgency slips into a normative state of being, for Issue 24, we would like contributors to explore the various meanings of vulnerability. Are there critical practices which uniquely encourage or discourage vulnerability? Can we imagine vulnerability as a position of …

Contributors / Issue 21: Pursuit

Issue 21: Pursuit (Fall 2014) Diego Costa is a PhD candidate at the University of Southern California in the Media Arts and Practice department. He is a queer theorist, experimental filmmaker, a film critic for Slant Magazine, and a contributor for the Brasil Post. Costa is also the co-founder of The Queer Psychoanalysis Society. Amanda du Preez is Associate Professor in the Department of Visual Arts at the University of Pretoria, where she teaches Visual Culture Studies. She has co-edited South African visual culture (2005); edited Taking a hard look: gender and visual culture (2009) and authored Gendered bodies and new technologies: rethinking embodiment in a cyber-era (2009). Clint Enns is a video artist and filmmaker living in Toronto, Ontario, whose work primarily deals with moving images created with broken and/or outdated technologies. His work has shown both nationally and internationally at festivals, alternative spaces, and mircocinemas. He has a Master’s degree in mathematics from the University of Manitoba, and has recently received a Master’s degree in cinema and media from York University. His writings and …

Provincial Matters

Janet Wolff This essay returns me to Rochester, thirteen years after I left. It also returns me to a mild obsession I developed in my last year in Rochester with the artist Kathleen McEnery Cunningham, and with the fascinating social and cultural world of Rochester in the 1920s. I curated an exhibition of McEnery’s work at the Hartnett Gallery at the University of Rochester in 2003, and advised on another in New York a couple of years later. The essay will also be a chapter of a book I am completing, entitled Austerity Baby, which is part memoir, part family history, part cultural history. Two other chapters were published in 2013: one in the collection Writing Otherwise (edited by Jackie Stacey and Janet Wolff, published by Manchester University Press), and another here in the online literary journal, The Manchester Review. * * * The American artist Kathleen McEnery Cunningham presided at the center of a lively cultural scene in Rochester, New York, in the 1920s and 30s. In 1914, she had married Francis Cunningham, then …

Playing through the Terminal: Mixed Realism and Air Travel

Christopher Schaberg and Timothy Welsh Picture an everyday traveler’s experience at the airport: the traveler checks in and receives a boarding pass, consults a monitor for the flight’s status, queues through security, waits, boards, and finally reposes in the aircraft seat, perhaps thumbing over an iPhone’s screen as the engines purr to life. In this situation, interactions between the individual traveler and the larger airport network are abound: humans, machines big and small, information technologies, a vast grid of energy, politics, geography. The reality of air travel exists on many levels at once, crisscrossing lines of human phenomenology, computer data flows, and physical logistics. Walking into an airport in a videogame happens somewhat differently, yet with curious similarities. After entering a disc into the terminal, the player logs on, checks game settings, and waits through load screens. The console meanwhile processes a queue of commands and inputs, pixels rapidly changing color to depict free-motion through virtual space as the player sits back, thumbing a controller as the CPU fan purrs in the background. A simulated …

Cute Technics in the Love Machine

Joel Gn Introduction Dating simulations (dating sims) are a category of video games where players “date” or establish a romantic relationship with a digitally synthesized avatar in a fictional world. In this representation of the lovers’ discourse, players are presented with a series of options when interacting with characters in the game. Taking the form of specific conversational lines or gestures, these options lead to pre-determined effects that contribute to the overall disposition of the character to the player. By following the correct combination of options as programmed into the game’s system, the objective of the game in the dating sim is to achieve a blissful conclusion with the in-game character.1 However, with their apparent trivialization of what is conventionally understood as romantic love, dating sims have inevitably emerged as the subject of much controversy concerning the asocial behavior of typically young and wired adults who allegedly prefer to date a computer algorithm made visible on a gaming console, as opposed to a “flesh and blood” human being. In Japan, where dating sims are particularly …

Compression Aesthetics: Glitch From the Avant-Garde to Kanye West

Carolyn L. Kane In a world that esteems technological efficiency, immediacy, and control, the advent of technical noise, glitch, and failure—no matter how colorful or disturbingly beautiful—are avoided at great costs. When distorted and unintelligible artifacts emerge within the official domains of “immersive” consumer experience, they are quickly banished from sight. This aggressive disavowal is particularly strange given that “glitch art” and “compression aesthetics”—loosely defined as the aesthetic use of visual artifacts, accidents, or technical errors—has become increasingly prevalent in media, art, design, and commercial landscapes.1 Why and how have glitch aesthetics achieved this ambivalent status? There is something about a glitch or patch of noise that disrupts convention and expectation. A glitch or technical error can be used to pose questions and open up critical spaces in new and unforeseen ways. Herein lies the appeal of glitch to numerous artists past and present, and my primary concern in this article. And yet, because glitches have also been quickly appropriated back into dominant fashions and styles, moving from political or social critique to commodity, glitch aesthetics bear …

The Category Is Pathological: The Object Must Be Found, The Object Must Be Lacking

Diego Costa “Sometimes, however, one’s imagination acts not only against one’s own body, but against someone else’s. And just as a body passes on its sickness to its neighbor, as is seen in the plague, the pox, and the soreness of the eyes, which are transmitted from one body to the other—likewise the imagination, when vehemently stirred, launches darts that can injure an external object. The ancients maintained that certain women of Scythia, when animated and enraged against anyone, would kill him with a mere glance. Tortoises and ostriches hatch their eggs just by looking at them, a sign that their sight has some ejaculative virtue.” Michel de Montaigne, “Of The Power of The Imagination” “Those who are able to satisfy their desire aren’t worried about living a long time.” Lucien Israël, La Jouissance de L’Hystérique “For it is not enough to decide the question on the basis of its effect: Death. We need to know which death, the one that life brings or the one that brings life.” Jacques Lacan, “The Subversion of the …

Utopia or Bust

Utopia or Bust: A Guide to the Present Crisis

Reviewed By Lyle Jeremy Rubin Benjamin Kunkel. Utopia or Bust: A Guide to the Present Crisis. London: Verso, 2014. 160 pp. Benjamin Kunkel appeared in the news not too long ago. During the carnage in Gaza, the novelist-turned-“Marxist public intellectual” lay down on Second Avenue, adjacent to the Israeli consulate in Manhattan. Kunkel was one of two-dozen protesters, all of whom were awarded an afternoon in jail for their pluck. The scene could serve as the first act in a sequel to the writer’s debut novel, Indecision (2005), whose twentysomething protagonist, Dwight Wilmerding, gropes about life aimlessly before meeting a Belgian beauty on an eye-opening jaunt to the Ecuadorian Amazon. At her urging, and amid the wreckage of Latin American neoliberal “reform,” the antihero finally arrives at a decision, rejecting a life of apathetic self-indulgence and swearing an oath to democratic socialism. It’s at this juncture that the tale ends, and it’s hard not to see Kunkel’s public dissent in light of his protagonist’s imagined trajectory. Now, with the publication of Kunkel’s collection of political essays, …

Hold It Against Me: Difficulty and Emotion in Contemporary Art

Reviewed By Amanda DuPreez Jennifer Doyle. Hold It Against Me: Difficulty and Emotion in Contemporary Art. Durham: Duke University Press, 2013. 243 pages. How can we respond to artworks that make us downright uncomfortable? What kind of thinking allows viewers to make sense of art that comes in the form of emotionally challenging physical encounters? How might one engage with an artist who only wants to hold you, as Adrian Howells does in Held (2006), a performance piece where he spoons the audience one by one? Posing these questions in her recent book, Hold It Against Me: Difficulty and Emotion in Contemporary Art, cultural scholar Jennifer Doyle searches for the politics embedded in artworks that relay their message through emotion not as a means of “narcissistic escape, but of social engagement” (xi). For Doyle, emotional and difficult works do not operate under modernist pretenses or require specific expertises in order to unlock their meaning. On the contrary, such works mostly come in accessible and mundane guises. Therein lies their potency. Despite its accessibility, however, difficult art …

What We Made: Conversations on Art and Social Cooperation

Nicola Mann Tom Finkelpearl, What We Made: Conversations on Art and Social Cooperation. Durham & London: Duke University Press, 2013. 388 pages. “Placing quotation marks around the everyday to both appreciate and critique it” is how critic Jon Davis describes the practice of interdisciplinary artist, Harrell Fletcher. Introduced halfway through What We Made: Conversations on Art and Social Cooperation, Davis’ quote serves as an anchor not only to Fletcher’s practice, but also to Tom Finkelpearl’s ambitious volume, and, more broadly, to the interdisciplinary field known as social practice art (152). The author’s commitment to social art practice is born out in his recent appointment as Cultural Affairs Commissioner for New York City after serving as the Executive Director of the Queens Museum, where he championed the everyday lives of local residents through community-focused outreach. Composed of 15 conversations conducted over the last 10 years with artists, curators, participants, art historians, and urban planners, the architecture of the book echoes the logic of the subject matter—it “quotes” the “quotes.” Like the schools, marketplaces and parades it …

A Box of Photographs

David Staton Roger Grenier. A Box of Photographs. Translated by Alice Kaplan. Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 2013. 109 pp. In this slender volume, writer Roger Grenier shares a life well lived, rich in memories, friendship, and historical touchstones. The 95-year-old Man of Letters offers A Box of Photographs as recollection and examination of histories personal, global, and cultural, and photography serves as the North Star in the telling of his story. Largely chronological, Grenier traces how photographs and cameras intersected with formative instances of his life. Using an economy of words in his vignettes—the shortest a slim paragraph, the longest several pages—he recounts the cameras he’s owned with the heartfelt fondness of someone reminiscing about an old love or a favorite haunt. For Grenier, this relationship began early. His parents were opticians and as a sideline to their business, they added a photo printing service. At age ten, he received his first camera, the 2 x 4½ Baby Box, a small handheld manufactured by Zeiss. In his later adventures, images and reflections are captured by an Agfa …

Bullet Hell

Artwork By Adam Sulzdorf-Liszkiewicz and Anton Hand (RUST LTD.) Bullet Hell (2012) is a side-scrolling 2D game in which the user controls the movement of a bullet. As with games like Canabalt and Robot Unicorn Attack, the object of the game is to prolong gameplay by avoiding collisions with the surrounding environment, and as gameplay progresses the game stage moves faster and faster until the user inevitably “fails” or “dies”. The game is driven by a core loop that revolves around a central decision point: should the user intervene and move the bullet? If the bullet is not moved, it will strike its target and then the game will rewind to the beginning and automatically begin again. This means that the game will loop indefinitely in the absence of user interaction, allowing users and spectators alike to approach the work as they would an animation or video installation. Thus, Bullet Hell explores the artistic potential of a popular game genre by removing its familiar feedback mechanisms—such as score, lives, music, and interface—and foregrounding its eternal recurrence …

Come In and Cassette Tape Leader, Ocean Horizon, and Ruled Paper Line

Erin Johnson Artist’s Statement: Over the past few years, I have worked with Morse Code operators in Marin County, California, whose sea-side station was shut down in 1999 when commercial telegraphy was officially taken off the air. In 2009, the operators re-opened the doors to the closed station and started sending out messages, but this time there were few or no listeners to receive them. When asked why they continued, even when no ships were calling in, one operator observed, “Even if there were no ships out there, we’d be keeping the faith.” My relationship with the Marin County Morse Code operators began when I started researching the notion of “faith” in connection with Morse Code and communication technology. I arrived at the 1859 publication of the Spiritual Telegraph, a weekly journal, whose title points to the entanglement of the telegraph’s history with that of Spiritualism. The Spiritualist Church was founded in 1848 by Leah, Margaret and Kate Fox when they claimed that the ability to speak with the dead, through mediums, was justified by …

Misprints

Paul Qaysi “Misprints” investigates the effect of destruction, trauma, and memory through deliberately accidental printing. Photojournalism ‘represents’ casualties of war; they refer to an actual event. Misprints suppress the literal, and ‘present’ destruction and the meaning of loss of life which is reconstructed in afterthoughts, how we think about it over time. In my first series of “Misprints,” I researched, and organized stories about civilian and American causalities of the Iraq War, that’s documented in hundreds of photographs, news outlets, and Iraqi/American blogs. The photographs I use are mostly in the public domain since they are works of the United States Government that are excluded from copyright law, while a few others, are under fair usage copyright for the progress of useful arts. The collected photographs are assembled on “Study Sheets” organized by names, location, and dates of the incidents and classified by generic types—civilian, soldiers, IED road explosion, house/building explosion, and so on. I cull these widely distributed photographs and print them on the wrong side of inkjet transparency film which is then presented …

Prepare to Qualify

Clint Enns Artist’s Statement: Prepare to Qualify is a short video that was made on a circuit-bent Atari using Namco’s classic 1982 video game Pole Position as source material. For those unfamiliar, circuit-bending is the creative re-wiring (and short-circuiting) of low voltage electronic devices such as children’s toys and small digital synthesizers. Circuit bending is often used by artists to create new musical instruments and/or to generate new images and sounds. This video is an attempt to explore the use of video games as source material–machinima–both thematically and materially. The playful re-contextualization of images from Pole Position and its opening line allow the video itself to comment on the ever-growing artistic potentials of this fresh found footage source. Re-contextualizing these images–or in this case, re-wiring the game console–ultimately allows us to conquer these games and their images. Dir. Clint Enns, “Prepare to Qualify,” USA, 3 mins., Video, 2008.