:: Monday, October 25, 2004 ::

ORIGINAL POST: Friday, October 08, 2004
BY: Kristen Palana

150 Years by photographer Yuri Marder is an online exhibition of photos that explores the changes in people made over the course of 150 years. By juxtaposing found photos from the mid 19th century with Marder's own shot portraits from today, the user begins to make associations and to ask questions.

For example, are we seeing ancestors from the same family line and the gradual change of race and ethnicity through the generations? Or are we meant to compare relationships between couples and families separated by 150 years and the way body language has become less restrictive in 2004? One particularly interesting combination is of two couples. The 19th century couple sits rigidly with no touching, appearing to almost be strangers; while the modern couple wears big smiles as the woman sits on her man's lap. The body language echoes the freedoms found in modern relationships, including the freedom to date, break-up, and divorce. The other images are of real or fictional sisters, friends, parents, couples, assorted family members, and individuals.

Other themes explored in Yuri Marder's photographs focus on immigration, family, and exile and can be found on his main website.

ORIGINAL POST: Saturday, October 16, 2004
BY: Garrett Lynch

It’s fantastic when industry sponsors, funds, or instigates the creation of art, whether it’s to be seen assisting in culture or because it’s interested in researching topics using people (artists) with different perspectives or objectives to their own researchers, scientists, etc.

We all know (or should know) about companies such as Xerox, with their PARC Artist in Residence program, and HP, who regularly sponsor new digital art (especially of the print variant) but seldom pay attention to commercial companies who initiate projects for advertising their latest products.

Not at all what I would consider net art--but very beautiful and certainly worth a look--is Diesel's (the clothing brand) new Diesel Dreams website. True, it’s not the sort of art that makes us question our relation to new media forms or how our identity is diffused by media, for example; but sometimes, beauty really does suffice.

Taking the almost-classic, year-one, art course project concept of interpreting people’s dreams, Diesel manages to collect together thirty stunning video shorts from seventeen different cultures. The presentation on the site of the videos is simple but elegantly worked into a flash catalog, employing dreaming models, itself very clever. And credit should be given to Diesel for allowing the videos to be both downloaded in Quicktime format (and not hidden through the use of flash as is often done) or picked up on DVD at stores for free.

Personally, I prefer the three shorts "My Dark Horse is Horny," "The Geisha will show me," and "There's Smoke in my head," all heavily influenced by David Lynch. Now, if only there wasn't that unsavory track record of clothes being manufactured in Asia.

ORIGINAL POST: Wednesday, October 06, 2004
BY: Ana Boa-Ventura

I was just in Toronto. The AGO (Art Gallery of Ontario) is showing Mark Lombardi’s “Global Networks.” The timing of this exhibition is great. And it is great to follow the labyrinthian lines that compose the intricate maps of financial scandals with your eye – where names such as “George H. W.” come up frequently. Kudos to Independent Curators International, NY for putting not only the exhibition together but for the excellent 128 page catalogue.

But back to "net art" (if I was ever away from it when mentioning an artist that while drawing with a pencil, works with “nets” in the most genuine sense of the word); the point is that revisiting Lombardi’s “narrative structures” -- the term he used* to name his maps -- made me revisit Universite Tangente (UT) and their digitally created (as opposed to Lombardi's) political maps. To my inquiry on whether they were still active, since there has not been much posted in the last year, the UT team replied that soon they are going to replenish the site with new maps and ideas. Still, there is a lot to see as the site now stands. Since the last time I visited UT they have included an infowar/psychic war map that is really worth a visit. And older but always great--and to some extent the foundation of what the UT project is all about--is “mapping excess” by Brian Holmes. An essay by the same author is "Flowmaps, The Imaginaries of Global Integration," with some wonderful maps listed in the references section for those interested in this field.

* I’m using the past tense because Lombardi died in 2000, allegedly “from suicide,” or “suicided” as some of his friends have suggested. Lombardi's work was, one must admit, uncomfortable for many.

ORIGINAL POST: Monday, September 27, 2004
BY: Danielle Balit

The traveling exhibition "I love you [rev.eng]" considers the relation of Hacker Culture to Digital Art, Code Aesthetics and Viruses.

The exhibition examines: What actually is a computer virus? Who creates them, and why? What sort of world is hiding behind these everyday phenomena?

Even though it is impossible for me to review the actual traveling exhibition, the website does provide an excellent set of links dealing with the chronology of the virus, interviews, video files and hacker manifestos that are complemented with a set of stills from some of the actual artworks.

The site makes the most of the aesthetics of modularity; this is obvious in the presentation of interviews. The user can either read through the content by question or by artist. I found it more interesting to go by question, this way the artists' personalities stand out unexpectedly as they all "line up" to give very unique and often detailed answers to stock questions like "who are you?" or "How did you get into computers?" or even the more expected, "What programming language do you use?"

The manifesto is really well written, giving way to the true spirit of the egotistical hacker. Part of it reads: "My crime is that of curiosity. My crime is that of judging people by what they say and think, not what they look like. My crime is that of outsmarting you, something that you will never forgive me for."

This is actually one of the few websites for a traveling exhibition that can stand on its own, as an online resource worth bookmarking to reference the aesthetics of hackerdom.