:: Saturday, April 03, 2004 ::

Update on files: We are still in the process of moving files. Hopefully we will have things sorted out early in the week. Sorry for the inconvenience, but this is being done for the future development of Net Art Review.

Thank you!

:: Eduardo Navas [+] ::
:: Thursday, April 01, 2004 ::
Dear readers,

We are in the process of moving files around for the next couple of days and will have a slow week. Please check back on Sunday night (Los Angeles Time) to get fresh and new postings and reviews.

Thank you for the constant support.
:: Eduardo Navas [+] ::
:: Wednesday, March 31, 2004 ::
New artists are turning to the web every day to take advantage of the freedom / control technology can give them and gain an audience for their work that cannot be as easily achieved anywhere else.

Whats unusual about Dennis Cucumber is that he states that he works not as an artist but as a web remixer. In our times where very little is invented in comparison to what is recombined / recompiled, when the art of editing, the process of selection, supersedes the art of originating and theorists such as Lev Manovich claim that the DJ has become "a particular cultural figure, a new kind of author for whom this operation is key", one wonders why we don't have the same respect for the editor of a film, let alone anyone remixing the internet, and instead nearly relegate them to the position of technician guided by their director's vision.

The EJ (lets invent a new term, 'E' being all things internet) states that his work...

"is a web remixing project. This implies the creation of web pages built around the simplest concepts of the internet: linking and framing. Each new page is created remixing contents from different sources on the web. So images, text and sounds are composed in a new web site. By manipulating systems of signs this web remix destabilizes the chain of signification so that new relationships of meaning can emerge. My web site is totally produced mixing and linking other sites on the web (yes the sound too!!). So what you see it's not my graphics or sounds but produced by other people whom I'm not related. I do web remix. Only."

Now while not a terribly new concept to net.art, several projects have used this reuse / remix / recycle / re-contextualise idea such as various projects by Mark Napier i.e. the Digital Landfill etc. etc. We must remember that without exception these people work as artists, net.artists, who use this as an idea for one or a series of works and then move on in their development and not as a statement of intent for them as artists and the development of their work.

The importance of the DJ in modern culture can not be understated so a statement such as the above is a brave one indeed. The DJ "can be directly correlated to the rise of computer culture. The DJ best demonstrates its new logic: selection and combination of preexistent elements. The Dj also demonstrates the true potential of this logic to create new artistic forms. Finally, the example of the DJ also makes it clear that selection is not an end in and of itself. The essence of the DJ's art is the ability to mix selected elements in rich and sophisticated ways. In contrast to the 'cut and paste' metaphor of modern GUI that suggests that selected elements can be simply, almost mechanically, combined, the practice of live electronic music demonstrates that true art lies in the 'mix'". Surely this progression into computer culture is the next step forward?

Whether the future is EJ or not, whether they will gain as much attention as their musical counterparts and whether Dennis Cucumber will find, creatively, enough room to maneuver remains to be seen but remember the acronym is mine!

:: Garrett Lynch [+] ::
:: Tuesday, March 30, 2004 ::
syzygy The Human Remix Art in Motion's fifth annual international festival of time based media was held for a second consecutive year at the Armory Center for the Arts in Pasadena, California. Last year's AIM festival was held at the Armory's satelite warehouse which, although quite spacious, led to an almost chaotic experience of media in all shapes and forms from ellaborate installations to simple computer monitor displays. This year, however, the festival was held at the armory's main building, which is much more intimate. AIM was also more selective and included less participants. While this may be due to the physical space available at the armory, the end result is a highly advanced and sophisticated set of media projects presented with unexpected and welcomed cohesion; something that is quite hard to accomplish when presenting new media in a physical space. This may be because New Media relies on technology which has proven to be most effective everywhere but in the white cube. It is great to see that this year's AIM is quite an exception.

The exhibition offers both invited artists installations as well as open entry projects. The invited artists include Lew Baldwin, Bryan Jackson, Lev Manovich, and Bruce Yonemoto; and the open entry submissions feature works by Mouchette, Stanza, shauna frischkorn, Shane Hope, Kit Hung, Eunjung Hwang, Margarete Jahmann and Max Moswtizer, Dennis H. Miller, Rick Mullarky, Sterlin Ruby & Kristen Stoltmann, Jennifer Schmidt, and David Still. (Satellite events are not listed here.)

Upon entering the gallery space we find Game Boys by Shauna Frischkorn. This is a series of photographs of young boys staring at a tv monitor supposedly playing video games. A certain tension develops around these C-Prints as the viewer may wonder if the boys are actually posing or simply playing. Right next to these photographs is the entrance to Lew Baldwin's installation "Duplex", which is actually situated in a separate temporary room. Here a double video projection is set up as a corner piece; both projections present a very short loop of a man running through a tunnel, down a hill, then falling, and turning into a skeleton, then back to a man ready to keep running once again, suddenly freezing and collapsing in an open desserted field, while a woman dressed in white and holding flowers swallows a small moth, (which may actually be a fly). A constant flickering of colors is also part of the montage. Right outside of this room to the right is "Monsters of time" by Eunjung Hwang, which consists of two small monitors presenting playful animations of a pathetic character, which at times is abused by strangers and at others simply lonely, and at others making love with another man (who may be his double--not clear). This wall installation also includes an elaborate illustration made with projected lights of the animated character. At the center of this area we have "The Whippoorwill" by Bryan Jackson, consisting of a giant river cat fish made of resin that is semi transparent. Through its forehead the viewer can see blurred news footage. The giant fish is also accompanied by 5 or 6 river cat fishes (also made of resin) displayed on a shelve to the right, that are almost actual size, all of them with transparencies of frontline news on their foreheads. On the north wall of this gallery space we encounter Manovich's "Soft Cinema: Mission to Earth," which is a digital video projection of a set of files that are compiled to run in real time according to a script that accesses metadata, that then places images on the screen accordingly. While the oral narrative (which is an allegory of the cold war) is always the same, the actual imagery is different each time it replays, as the script will run a different sequence of parameters to choose a new set of files, proposing a different version of the same narrative. Right next to Manovich's piece we encounter a TV monitor on a cart--"Media Cart" by Shane Hope, presenting a self enclosed environment of a set of handcrafted objects that are also presented on the TV performing random activities. On the opposite wall we have another projection called "Nybble-Engine" by Margarete Jahrmann and Max Moswitzer. Unfortunately this project was not working at the time I visited the Armory. As we turn to the back area of the gallery we enter a room specifically showing four pieces by Bruce Yonemoto. Upon entering one encounters on the opposing wall a projection of teenagers walking on the sidewalk in broad daylight, which is actually projected from the other side of the wall. However, the teenager's bodies are cut short by a portable screen. On the left wall, we find a video of a man presented inside a photograph's frame. Here the man confronts the viewer, then a cut, and he reappears covering his mouth with his hand; upon removing it, one discovers that he has no mouth. At the opposite side we have a transparent fiber-glass chair which on its seat presents a monitor with a close-up of a man's asshole fully exposed. The chair is placed on top of four sets of black and white xerox copies of the man's ass. And finally, hovering over the entrance, we find seven tv monitors displayed on a long shelf presenting different loops of a blue sky overseeing a landscape. Leaving Yonemoto's room, we find a long hall way where four videos are screened one at a time, throughout the day. One of them is "couples" by Sterling Ruby and Kirsten Stoltman; where a man takes care of a woman's every need; he picks her up and places her on a chair, then dresses her, then picks her up and takes her to dining table, then to her personal working space where she writes on her laptop while he brings her coffee, and so on. One wonders if this is productive at all as they seem codependent on many levels beyond the physical activities. Walking to the right, we encounter another room painted black where twelve TVs on small pedestals present Marsia Alexander Clark's "Ut Coelum" a music composition carefully orchestrated with different grid patterns of women's faces, who are singing, although at times they appear to be in a state of panic. The images are presented in different color patterns, while the music takes over the room. The twelve monitors present video compositions according to the intensity of the music, changing the patterns starting from the monitors on the outside to the center. And finally as we turn full circle, we find a set of imacs, where all of the net art projects can be experienced. Ironically, there was no internet connection during my visit, but hey! I have the catalog and would always rather experience this section of the exhibit at home.

As it becomes obvious, the projects mainly explore video and film language. However, one thing that the exhibit pulls off that I did not think AIM was able to do in the past is an emphasis on content that goes beyond technical innovation. Story telling is presented as an important aspect--even during a time when database logic may be redefining how to tell a story. This of course is an obvious case here because time based media has always relied on narrative strategies. Manovich's Soft Cinema may be the most obvious example of this, as his work uses files at random to tell the same story. While the projects are interesting for their advancement of video and film language, their forte lies in the fact that the projects in the end are interesting works, regardless of what form is being used to disseminate the idea. However, unlike a more conceptual show, AIM exposes a nice balance between content and form which is rarely found in most media exhibitions.
:: Eduardo Navas [+] ::
:: Monday, March 29, 2004 ::
Tate Britain is hosting a one-day conference entitled British New Media Art to coincide with the launch of the book New Media Art: Practice and Content in the UK 1994-2004 (April 2004, Co-published by Arts Council England and Cornerhouse Publications, ISBN 0 948797 88 6).

"In the past 10 years, Britain has fostered a unique set of practices in the field of new media. This conference will look at these diverse characteristics and preoccupations." "Speakers and participants include Steve Dietz (keynote), Saul Albert, Geoffrey Batchen, Sarah Cook, Nick Crowe, Desperate Optimists, Matt Fuller, Charlie Gere, Shilpa Gupta, Lucy Kimbell, Julian Stallabrass, Thomson & Craighead and Carey Young."

The event will take place at Tate Britain, Clore Auditorium, Millbank, London SW1P 4RG on Saturday 03/04/04, 10.00- 17.30. For more information please see the Tate Britain website.

:: Garrett Lynch [+] ::
:: Sunday, March 28, 2004 ::
scan_rate created by Brad Todd is a net.video work inspired by "the early phase experiments with tape loops by steve reich".

Nine windows arrange themselves on screen from left to right, each one progressively containing a vertical strip of one video. In effect splitting the same video between nine different windows, nine different plugins each with a ranking in the web browsers download order. The video's...

"are loaded into memory simultaneously while the bandwidth allocation introduces delays and stutters in the sync. the deep resonance of the audio begins to expand and distort in ways not present in single or even coupled segments. the bands of filmic image sustain our watching with a mesmic looping and, occasionally, moments of cohesion occur..."

Configured to be a more classic video work, possibly playing from nine vhs players timed to play off sync (Douglas Gordon eat your heart out!), its easy to visualise this piece playing in a gallery - it certainly has that yearning to fill a room with its presence! Yet its the internet, ideas of speed / delay / file size / playback speed / memory etc. which make this piece ideally suited to the net. The windowed video's, easy to lose behind one another / the black backdrop window or other applications, allows the user the possibility to alter the video's presentation by reconfiguring the order of the strips. This feature, impossible as a more classic video work, only adds to the work on the net.

One problem for those of you who have limited internet access or are net.art purists, scan_rate is 26 MB, idea and presentation are impecable however so it is worth the wait!

:: Garrett Lynch [+] ::
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