:: Saturday, January 08, 2005 ::

Review of MTAA's 1 Year Performance Video (samHsieHupdate)

Duchamp is often cited as the predecessor to conceptual art, mainly because of his famous urinal, which questions the autonomy and materiality of the work of art. However, a direct and even open attack on the materiality, autonomy and (later added) marketability of the art object did not happen until the emergence of Conceptual Art in the 1970s. Much of the work at this time relied on critiquing the object's relation to the white cube (the gallery), or the institutions that supported the supossed autonomy of the art object. Michael Asher and Hans Haacke are textbook examples of this practice.

After this period artists began to comment on other artists more specifically. Janine Antoni's work is one of the many examples of this allegorization, as well as Sherrie Levine's which relies on appropriation as a way to critique works by famous male artists, including Duchamp. Since then there have been a great number of other artists who have used such a strategy to comment on the multi-layered contensions of the object art. And this short but well established practice has been extended to the web with works like MTAA's 1 Year Performance Video (samHsieHupdate).

In this web-piece, the artists update the work of Tehching Hsieh, in particular his "One Year Performance 1978-1979," where Hsieh spent a whole year in a cell. He did not leave the space. A person brought him food and took away his refuse. The piece was notarized by a lawyer to give it authenticity.

T. Whid and M. River, who collaborate under the name of MTAA (M.River & T.Whid Art Associates) have extended Hsieh's concept of commiting to an activity for one year on to the web by presenting themselves in a room apparently spending time alone in 1 Year Performance Video (samHsieHupdate). At first glance this mimics Hsieh's activities in the cell, as the artists appear juxtaposed in two video feeds, doing simple things that always correspond with the time of day when the internet user is accessing the website. In reality the artists prerecorded their activities and created computer files which now can be accessed according to the internet user's computer clock.

In this piece the visitors are encouraged to watch the video files for the period of one year, and to sign up for an online account in order to keep track of their time. The visitors do not have to be logged on for the whole time at once, and can leave and comeback according to their personal schedules.

While the online piece may allegorize Hsieh's performance, it does so in a very unexpected way. Paticularly, it exposes the drastic changes in art production since Hsieh developed his one year performances (He did a few of them). At the time that Hsieh was performing, the object of art was in question, and like conceptual art, performance art was a way to negotiate meaning as a cultural product (these movements obviously overlap).

While Hsieh's art practice is often considered in relation to art's role in culture, one thing that is not discussed about him is his particular position as an artist, dare I say a priviledged one at that. Meaning that while he always did intensive performative pieces for one year, he had to be able to not work for that time in order to spend it making art. This position is of course at play if the artist's work in the studio is not considered work by the rest of culture, which is true in the United States. It is safe to say that Hsieh was interested in making the futile labor of art more obvious by creating pieces that led to no particular ends in themselves, but that instead ended up exposing the banality of the everyday, as well as the incidentality of art making in contemporary culture. Hence, his position not to hold a "real" job is important to note here.

This commitment and most importantly cultural position is passed on to the online user in MTAA's update. Here, the user quickly realizes that one year is a serious commitment that the average person is most likely unable to perform; thus Hsieh's particular role as an artist is exposed and questioned not passively but actively, because the users are given the option to put in their own time at anytime. The users then need to decide why they would commit to an online activity, especially when this activity will in the end validate the artists who were commissioned the project in the first place. This inversion, this transparency that is pivotal to the online project exposes the role of the audience in any work of art. In Hsieh's projects this is not so obvious because he is doing all the work, and all the viewer needs to do is acknowledge the final product through documentation.

1 Year Performance Video (samHsieHupdate), however, demands that the users acknowledge the work of art by completing it themselves, by actually putting in the time while watching pre-recorded files, the strain of the performance is on the viewer now, not the artist; but this strain is a virtual one, one that is no longer concerned with the body but with the dematerialization of such into a new type of action--a meta-action-- in art making, and art viewing. In a way, this not only updates the passive demand that a work of art has always had on the viewer: that it be completed by the viewer's gaze, but it also makes obvious the interactive demand of any art object since minimal art emerged. Michael Fried's opposition to the demand by the minimal object to have its meaning completed by the interaction of the viewer inside the gallery as a sort of theater is exposed in MTAA's update as a facist imposition by a certain privileged culture, which can only be possible today with new technologies. Furthermore, the imposition is efficient and liberal because the users do not need to strain themselves on performing for one year at once. They can do it whenever is convenient for them, by logging on as they so desire. And they do not need to be present as they can leave their computers running, logging time while they do other things around the house. The performance update, then, becomes background noise, like Television in the average home.

An air of helplessness overpowering disinterestedness may be sensed at this point--one that involves those who sense it as well as those who have allegorically produced it.
:: Eduardo Navas [+] ::
:: Thursday, January 06, 2005 ::
Se reabrio la muestra de Leon Ferrari

It has been re-oponed the exhibition of Leon Ferrari

::Ignacio Nieto::
:: [+] ::
Hacktivism in the Context of Art and Media in Italy
An exhibition and event about technological, artistic and political activism in Italy. It sheds light onto a large complex of activities that, throughout the 80ies, have set up and grown alternative networks to the traditional art system.
For six weeks, from the 14th of January till the 27th of February, the exhibition will take place at the Kunstraum Kreuzberg/Bethanien.

Hacktivismo en el Contexto del Arte y Medios en Italia
Exhibición y evento entorno al activismo político, artístico y tecnológico en Italia. Esta exposición da luces, de una gran y compleja cantidad de actividades que empezaron en los años ochenta y fueron creciendo creando redes alternativas a las del sistema del arte tradicional.
Por seis semanas, desde el 14 de Enero hasta el 27 de Febrero, la exihibicion sera expuesta en el
Kunstraum Kreuzberg/Bethanien.

::Ignacio Nieto::
:: [+] ::
Selected News

Acrobat 7 for Linux is in Beta version and is free, not the case for other operating systems: "Acrobat 7.0 Standard has an estimated street price of US$300, Adobe goes on. Registered users of Acrobat 4.0, Acrobat 5.0 or Acrobat 6.0 Standard can upgrade to Acrobat 7.0 Standard for an estimated street price of US$100."

Kodak's new digital camera friendly for professional printing and is wireless friendly, it uses a Wi Fi card to get online: "send images directly to Kodak's Ofoto online photo service (about to be renamed the Kodak EasyShare Gallery). You can't use the Wi-Fi card to browse any other Web sites, though."

Apple is suing for leaks of trade secrets: "Apple accuses Think Secret of soliciting 'information about unreleased Apple products' from 'unnamed individuals' who it says stole Apple's trade secrets and violated their confidentiality agreements."

Beware of Tsunami disaster relief scams, FBI Warns; "The FBI said the IC3 has received reports of Web sites being set up allegedly to assist with collection and relief efforts for the victims of the Dec. 26 disaster. Some of the schemes being used by the scam sites involve unsolicited e-mail asking for monetary donations."

Oh, yeah, 2004 may have been the year of the Blog, but are you ready for the Vlog? "In 2005, a new type of blog may emerge on center stage, marrying blogs with online video. It's called the video blog, or vlog."

Old Media worth noting--Howard Carter, the archeologist who discorevered the tomb of Tutankamon is accused of having damaged the Mummy. Only the head is in good shape, all other parts of the body were damaged when Carter tried to remove the golden mask: "Solo la cabeza de la momia está en buen estado, ya que el resto del cuerpo se encuentra en muy malas condiciones debido a los intentos de Carter de remover la mascara de oro de la cara" del cadáver."
:: Eduardo Navas [+] ::
:: Tuesday, January 04, 2005 ::
Selected News

Blog readership rises 58%. Check the word on PC World : "Most of these readers, 57 percent, are male. Less than half of the surveyed blog readers, 48 percent, are under 30, and a whopping 82 percent are long-time Internet users, with more than six years experience online."

The worst bit of nasty code: "More than 14 per cent of all attacks on computers detected by Panda Software were the work of Downloader.GK, which was double the attacks of any other virus."

Spam Law does not work: "A Trojan dubbed "Downloader.GK" caused the most damage to computers in 2004, markin the first time a worm hasn't occupied the top spot, according to Panda Software."

Internet sales in the U.S. increased by 25%: "Los estadounidenses gastaron 23.200 millones de dólares en compras a través de Internet durante la temporada navideña de 2004, lo que representa un incremento del 25 % respecto al año anterior."

If there is a Miss Universe, there is Miss Digital; the contest for the latter however appears to have been hacked by an insider. Katty Ko, the supposed winner has been disqualified: "Este miércoles, en un contacto telefónico desde Italia, el organizador del certamen, Franz Cerami, aseguró que de confirmarse la intervención en favor de Katty Ko, la modelo virtual sería descalificada."

Opera may well be the next browser following Firefox, voice interactivity plays a major role in the beta browser: "Según la propia empresa, la versión 8 de Opera (aún en beta) permite navegar la web mediante comandos de voz como "Opera next link", "Opera back", y "Opera speak". Esta última instrucción hace que el software “lea” el contenido de los sitios web y los e-mails en formato de voz hablada."

Rumors are that a new imac will be released in Jan 2005 in Frisco--their cheapest yet: "e iMac bon marché serait identifié par le nom de code Q88 mais les sources «sûres» ne s'entendent pas sur son prix; certaines affirment qu'il serait vendu à moins de 600 $US tandis que d'autres avancent un coût de 499 $US"

PCs get taxed 30 Euros in Germany as a way to alleviate stolen video and music file losses: ""Fujitsu-Siemens, le plus grand constructeur allemand d'ordinateurs, vient de perdre un procès en première instance contre la VG Wort (société de gestion des droits d'auteur) sur l'application d'une éventuelle taxe de 30 euros sur les nouveaux PC construit par la marque, taxe mise en place afin de compenser les pertes d'argent liées à la copie illégale de programmes musicaux et vidéo"
:: Eduardo Navas [+] ::
:: Sunday, January 02, 2005 ::

New Radio and Performing Arts, Inc. is pleased to announce that with the support of the Andy Warhol Foundation for the Visual Arts, 5 net art projects will be commissioned for the Turbulence web site in a juried international (open to everyone) competition. Each commission will be $5,000 (US).

DEADLINE: March 31, 2005

GUIDELINES: http://turbulence.org/

JURORS: Wayne Ashley (US), Arcangel Constantini (Mexico), Sara Diamond (Canada), Melinda Rackham (Australia), and Helen Thorington (US).
:: Eduardo Navas [+] ::
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