All posts filed under: Artworks

False Positives

False Positives, 2015, Esther Hovers   The project False Positives is about intelligent surveillance systems. These are cameras that are able to detect deviant behavior within public space. False Positives is set around the question of normal behavior. It aims to raise this question by basing the project on eight different ‘anomalies’. These so-called anomalies are signs in body language and movement that could indicate criminal intent. It is through these anomalies the algorithms are built and cameras are able to detect deviant behavior. The eight different anomalies were pointed out to me by several intelligent surveillance experts with whom I collaborated for this project. The work consists out of several approaches; photographs and pattern drawings. Altogether these form an analysis of different settings in and around the business district of the European capital: Brussels. The eight anomalies can be found within the images. The viewer is challenged to act as an intelligent surveillance system does and question the behavior of the different people within the photographs. Each photograph is a build-up of several moments; …

The New Town

Andrew Hammerand, Untitled, from the series The New Town, 2013 The New Town is a series of photographs made throughout 2013 that examine an idealized planned community in the American Midwest. The images were made by accessing a publicly-available, networked CCTV camera that was installed by the developer on a cell phone tower atop a church in the center of town. The goal was to monitor and publicize the construction of the community. The camera is an example of the many non-secure internet-ready devices that actively and indiscriminately stream information to the internet. In addition to the visual stream of information from the camera, any person could get online access to the device’s entire control panel. This allowed me to remotely operate the camera, and pan, tilt, zoom, focus, and adjust the exposure. With these tools, I could take control of the camera as if it were my own and subvert its intended purpose in order to make photographs. Maintaining such dynamic control and close observation of The New Town and its residents yielded a …

Fieldnotes from the Hy Meisel Slide Collection

Written by Ali Feser An inquiry into the senses, in this light, directs us beyond the faculties of a subject to the transfers, exchanges, and attachments that hinge the body to its environment. Objects are endowed with histories of sensory experience, stratified with a plurality of perceptual possibilities.1 Outbreaks of nostalgia often follow revolution.2 Hy Meisel lived his entire life in Rochester from 1895 to 1980, and he worked as a machinist for Eastman-Kodak, which has been based there since the 1880s. Though Kodak now employs only a couple thousand workers, it was the city’s largest employer for most of the twentieth century. From census records I know that Hy didn’t finish high school but could read and write. While growing up, his family moved frequently to different homes in the same predominantly German neighborhood. His father was a sometimes preacher; they often took in boarders. I found Hy’s draft card and the passenger list from his cruise to Guatemala. I learned that Hy never married, that he never had kids. Much of this is …

Alone Together

Artwork by Erika Raberg. Alone Together, 2014, HD video, single channel projection, 3 minutes, looped. Artist Statement Alone Together considers the idea of partnership in opposition. Drawing from footage filmed from the VIP section of a boxing tournament, it visually isolates a specific gesture from boxing matches in which the appearance of intimacy emerges briefly within an aggressive, hyper-masculinized space. The video alternates between providing information through sound and through sight. Most of the time, the viewer sees nothing but hears the background noise from the stadium, and when this gesture does appear, it does so in silence, and only for a moment. Referred to as clinching, it is a moment of remarkable sculptural tension between bodies that looks like an intense embrace. These moments occur when, at the height of their exhaustion, one fighter pulls the other close to him in order to have the briefest moment’s reprieve from the fight. In order to rest they must lean into one another. The men push each other to extreme physical exhaustion and in doing so …

No-Stop City

By Alan Ruiz “Significant economic growth has taken place and productive forces have expanded (technology, the destructive control of nature) without disturbing the social relationships of production. […] Development hasn’t kept pace across the board. And this results in the magnitude of the inequality of growth and development.”1 Written in 1968, Henri Lefebvre’s observation foreshadows the consumption of the urban commons under present-day globalization, in which growth accelerates in disproportionate relationship to equality. Within today’s pandemic of gentrification, the urban economy undergoes a kind of standardized resuscitation in which developers perform facelifts and apply repeatable spatial formulas with successful track records – all to the effect that places becomes non-places and, more troubling, these non-places become places. This kind of development, a commodified and seemingly homogenized spatial condition produced by capital, or what Lefebvre called abstract space, seems almost modernist as a normative mode of urban development, yet emblematic of our present neoliberal moment. It was modernism, after all, that presented the universalist goals that embraced industrialization and standardization. As Marion Von Osten observes, modernism …

The BLUEPRINT/Product Disparity: Learning from Lofty Plans and Humble Products

Artwork By Robert Watkins Where do art and academia meet? Can academic writing be artistic? Are academic journals art? Journals like Kairos, Digital Humanities Quarterly, Computers and Composition Online, and InVisible Culture (among others) like to push the boundaries of what is art and what is academia. Some may argue that they don’t push the boundaries of what separates the two so much as showcase how art and academia intersect. These questions drive my work. My current work, the academic-ish comic, “The Blueprint/Product Disparity: Learning from Lofty Plans and Humble Products” only attempts to answer this on a meta-level. Years ago, I became fascinated with the visual and its effectiveness in presenting data. Work from visual gods like David McCandless and Scott McCloud made me realize how clunky alphabetic text can be in representing ideas. I wanted to write about using comics and infographics as academic mediums. My intention was never to undermine the power of the written word by any means. I worried that using traditional text to promote visuals might seem hypocritical and …

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 …

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.

Video Preservation (NTSC)

Walter Forsberg Artist’s Statement: I began to think very seriously about the historical longevity of video test patterns while managing the New Museum of Contemporary Art’s XFR STN – an open-door, artist-centered media conservation laboratory that ran for 3 months in the summer of 2013. There, I provided countless explanations to the public, who passed daily through the fifth floor gallery’s video digitization workstations, as to how the color bars were merely a representational electromagnetic language about voltages. I wondered how an image so iconic as the SMPTE split-field bars would live on beyond the technological obsolescence of standard definition analog video. Translating these voltage values into filmic form seemed immediately logical, especially once Kodak discontinued its color reversal film stocks in late 2012. This occurred to me as one strategy to preserve standard definition video beyond the lifespan of its own magnetic media format. A light leak on my Bolex’s daylight spool makes for the pretty “dropout” flash in the magenta region, and rendering the 80% gray bar as a filmed 18 gray card is supposed …

EcoArtTech Interview: “Basecamp.exe”

EcoArtTech What does the term ‘ecologies’ mean to you and how is represented in Basecamp.exe? We see our creative work as a part of a performative response to cultural and theoretical conversations. Basecamp.exe, like much of our research, is highly influenced by but also building off of Félix Guattari’s Three Ecologies, in which “ecology” is described as an intertwining of the social, the psychic, and the environmental. To affect one is to affect all three. In one of our favorite parts of Three Ecologies, Guattari transfers the discourse of species extinction to the human imagination, moving from the environmental to the psychic: “It is not only species that are becoming extinct,” he writes, “but also the words, phrases, and gestures.” Put in another way: the agricultural and ecological monocultures being created by our industrial systems are simultaneous with the creation of what Vandana Shiva has called “monocultures of the mind.” Perhaps, every time we lose another species from our planet’s biodiversity we also lose another way of thinking, imagining, being, and relating. Guattari also obliquely …

Eddee Daniel: Hard Ecology: Rethinking Nature in an Abstract Landscape

Eddee Daniel My work examines the intersection of humanity, nature and culture and how images serve to construct our understandings of nature. I am attracted to the contradictory realities I perceive in a world where nature is increasingly transformed, reduced and abstracted. The resilience of human culture is being tested on a global scale by its own successes and failures. Nature and humanity are simultaneously in conflict and inextricably intertwined. My work deals with the tensions this creates. Historically our species has adapted to the natural environment by exploiting and altering it to suit our needs—whether real, contrived or imagined—as well as a desire for cultural and technological progress. Over time civilization gradually replaced wilderness as the dominant environmental paradigm. Humanity’s classic struggle between order and chaos has led to alienation from the natural world. The visual culture has generally conspired to promote both the dominant paradigm and the myth of progress. In my lifetime there has been a reawakening to the importance of ecological relationships along with restoring and maintaining a healthy biosphere. I …

Hiltrud Aliber: Earthing / Unearthing: With Closed Eyes I See

Hiltrud Aliber I draw with closed eyes. My closed eyes allow me to take a break from the relentless visual processing required by our contemporary technological culture and visual-material world. Enabled by the drawing process, my inner journeys navigate a strange geography where areas of the paper activate specific sites on the mental landscape, unearthing what has been dormant or lost, and reclaiming or earthing it. By closing my eyes I relinquish familiar methods of control, but gain access to ways of seeing and experiencing I could not have anticipated. For San rock artists the rock face represented a veil between tangible reality and the spirit world. Paper and charcoal have for me become mediating vehicles between inner and outer, visible and invisible worlds. The idea of drawing with closed eyes developed over many years. Night-drawings in the wilderness – sleepless from malaria drugs – initiated the process. The comforting stillness and inner connection experienced through different meditative practices, paved the way to a reflective form of drawing. Encounters with Betty Edwards’ blind contour drawings, …

Carolyn L. Kane: Color Control 1: Caught & Escaping

Carolyn L. Kane Artist’s Statement: This piece is inspired by some recent video art which blends luminous and opaque color with photographic imagery. Color, like water and electricity, is difficult to harness and control. Who is to say when we have caught it and when we have not? The body may respond affirmatively to what it sees, optically, haptically, or otherwise, but the body too is hardly within our control. It is like color, also caught within technologies of control and discipline. While there are ceaseless attempts to escape, these attempts are only ever conceivable within the conditions of possibility of that system, rendering each attempt futile and frustrating. Photoshop Color & Stylistic Blindness in Contemporary Digital Imaging  by Carolyn L. Kane “Concern with effect rather than meaning is a basic change of our electric time…” —Marshall McLuhan (1964) Color, like water and electricity, is difficult to harness and control. Who is to say when we have caught it and when we have not? Analogously, the human body may respond affirmatively to what it sees, optically, …

Historias Oficiales / Official Histories

Issue 12: The Archive of the Future / The Future of the Archive (Spring 2008) Carla Herrera-Prats Historias Oficiales—Official Stories Exhibited at la Celda Contemporanea, Mexico City, August–October 2006 Official Stories was originally an installation of archival material intended as an inquiry into the transformation of the Mexican government’s political investment in pre-Hispanic iconography and history. Two timelines charted the contemporary fate of nationalist symbols that have helped support Mexico’s identification with its pre-colonial past. I am interested in this nationalist identification at a time when the requirements of globalization upon developing countries have turned allegiance in historical and geographical territories into both a burden for development and an economical investment. Using materials from almost 20 libraries and museums from Mexico and the US,1 this project focused on the contradictory institutional/governmental administration of imagery through two cultural practices: on the one hand, the historiography of pre-Hispanic civilization in public school textbooks, and, on the other, globe-trotting government- sponsored exhibitions of pre-Hispanic artifacts. These first images correspond to the installation of this project at La Celda …