The World Wide Web is an ever-expanding source for knowledge. More information is added with every passing moment. Like a library containing books, the Internet must find ways to sort out the never-ending flow of ideas. But in the case of the web, the available storage space seems unlimited. This is an illusion. There is of course a cap on the amount of information this amazing new medium can handle but hitting this imaginary ceiling is not likely. As technology grows and the rate at which information is processed increases, it becomes easier to cram everything into one place
Everyone is different. Identity is something that is unique to the individual. The moments in life that shape us into who we are and what we do are things that, often times, others are able to relate to. This collection tells a piece of those stories and connects us to the individual through auditory, visual and written recollections of events. We are given simple snapshots into their complex lives and leave feeling as if we know them and what they are about.
These are the front pages of newspapers from around the world. Updated daily, the newspaper has the ability to touch so many different lives. World news is something that affects us all, whether we pay close attention to it or not.
Earlier this year, Martin John Callanan launched a project called I Wanted to See All the News from Today which mines feeds from hundreds of newspapers from around the world and sets up an impressive array of front pages. There are moments within this work when a few adjacent papers feature some of the same content illustrating the permutational quality of how stories are explored in different nodes across a network of texts.
Media in our society is unavoidable. It plagues every aspect of our lives, being almost intrudingly accesible everywhere, from our daily publications to our living rooms, from our office desk to our home computer. News, in particular, is ever present, yet easily biased. Favoritism towards one viewpoint or another is inevitable when information can be so easily personalized and polarized. I’ve gathered several works that include this aspect of modern society. Artists, long known to call the bluff of modern man, never skip a beat when it comes to informational media. Other aspects are so prevalent that they are often ignored entirely. Marketing and advertising is more prevalent than news, especially when ‘news’ is used as an advertising agent. Logos, slogans, campaigns and imagery are drilled into our heads at every turn. Unfortunately, many people in our society rely solely on these messages as a means of imbibing fact, taking for granted elements of manipulation that any ‘good’ ad campaign is sure to employ. The websites I’ve chosen below all use different methods to convey the fallacies and implausibilities of media in our society, from newspapers to children’s games.
Martin John Callanan has been collecting front pages of various media and news sources and displaying them on a single page. The sources range from socialite periodicals to hard-hitting newsheads from all around the world. The effect is both overwhelming and inviting, asking you to examine each one, but only if you can inspect all of them. The viewpoints change per country of publication, let alone intended audience. I enjoyed the idea that at once the audience was forced to translate images, text and presentation into their own innate sense of format and cultural context. The idea that everyone around the world could see this piece and it would change given their location, age, gender, etc. added to it’s deluge of information.
Every life and the experiences that person goes through are different, but with every life lived there are common stages in the life that can be applied to others. In the most general form, people are born, go through a childhood, go through adulthood, and then get old and die. This can be further broken up to the point of saying that in one’s childhood they are born, start school, don’t like the opposite sex, do like the opposite sex, do love their parents, don’t like their parents, etc. Through the database of artworks at rhizome.org, there were many pieces that were able to highlight and display different parts of a full life. In a linear way, one would definitely start with a childhood. Definitely a characteristic of a person’s childhood is fun and games. “The Attic” by James Mercer is a very interesting game where the player chooses their own adventure. Being that the game uses very simple graphics reminds the viewer of a younger time. In between one’s childhood and coming into that age of maturing, one starts to notice the opposite sex. In today’s world, we live in a sex driven society, whether it is present ion TV and movies or a big element in advertising, sex is everywhere; especially with man’s fascination with the female breast. In “knockers, etc” by Jessica Gomula, the artist depicts this fascination that society has on breast. In the piece, the artist goes through different aspects of the breast such as health, nourishment, pleasure, politics, and form. It is an interactive piece and a very informative one also. As people get a little older, people like to know what is going on around them. One of the most creative ideas to display this thirst for knowledge is Martin John Callanan’s “I wanted to See All of the News From Today “a work in progress). In this piece that is updated constantly, newspapers from all over are posted up to see exactly what is going on that day. I think people are drawn to see what interesting things happened to other people and how events affect them. Later on in life comes to a crossing point where people look back on what they have done. This is also known as a midlife crisis. In James Ford’s “33 Things to do before your 10” the artist realizes that there are certain things that people should do as kids. So as an adult, Ford does these kid type events such as getting his face painting. This best signifies a midlife crisis because he is reliving his childhood. Then of course the close of one’s life comes in the form of death. This is where people realize their faith. Pradip Malde’s “Looking At God” is a very simple concept with a very intense message. The simplicity of the pictures makes the subjects that much intriguing. While looking back at these half faces one wonders to whether they are looking at you or through you. Definitely anyone at that point in their life would want god to look at them and not through them. Even without that element of god, just as people and the selfishness that people unknowingly have to be wanted, is present. Another element that some people experience is that of a rebirth. To explore this concept, Matthew Board made the piece “Eternal Life” and takes the concept of some videogames ability for the player to regenerate and applies it to the thought of a rebirth. After who is to say what happens. I think this piece also brings this concept of a life outline full circle because the piece uses a video game and that can take you back to one’s childhood, and start this cycle again.
[also at IABlog]
More so than ever the significance of information has been at a high. The transitions from analog to digital and written to electronic media are finished. Since the beginning of what people call the information age the ways in which information is used, collected, and made available have continued to push the boundaries of what some thought would never be possible—or rather, have never thought possible. The use of information continues to change daily. These four artists just take part in the spread of concepts that will, like everything in the information age, become commonplace as people are exposed.
Today I shall be speaking on noise in relation to my research, as a guest lecturer at University College for the Creative Arts at Maidstone to Experimental Artists Film Video and Photography research group.
The news industry is changing. The days when the newspaper was the only available news source are gone. People don’t read the paper front to back and then sit on the porch talking about it; they sit on their couch and watch it on TV. But now TV as a news source is becoming inferior. The Internet is where it’s at. When there’s an accident or a major crisis, what kind of person will wait for the 9 o’clock news to come on, or read about it in tomorrow’s paper? No one. The Internet is fast and easy, and people are using it more and more to get their news. The Web also offers interactivity with the news, something that is not possible with a hard copy. Readers can click on links sending them to related pages, view slideshows and videos, and comment on an article. The popularity of online news has made a new medium possible for the public. Before, if you wanted to comment on an article, you would have to write out a letter and send it to the editor. Today, if a reader has something to say, he or she can simply post a comment on the story. This invention is making it possible for anyone to voice his or her opinion on an article. The pieces I’ve chosen for my exhibition are all related to news media and each artist’s reactions to it. … Seven pieces that touch on the subject of news, each with completely disparate ideas…
Upgrades, improvements, advancements: All are achievements that, in the digital age, aid in the continued betterment of everything from communication to work flow. In the beginning, when the Internet was “new” technology, it was a slow process to transfer or transmit information, but now faster ISP speeds allow people to quickly and easily communicate through the transmittal of files . However, while digital is inevitably on the rise in society, the actual personal level of things is on the decline.
Computers and humans are not naturally compatible and thus scientists are working to make interactions between the two easier. There is a whole psychology behind their findings and project, but more importantly, society is becoming more and more dependent on the use of computers or technology for communication . Humans, as a very basic instinct, long to connect with others, and are reaching out for any means of contact amidst the cold, impersonal digital landscape.
With Internet art, digitally produced art viewed online or ANYTHING that is displayed on or through a public domain, there is very little to hide. Once something is out there, it is exposed, and while whatever it is can be taken back, there is a high possibility that at least one person will see it before it is gone. Perhaps this is exactly why many artists prefer to make websites to display their work. Galleries could very well be considered out of date or old fashioned considering the rate at which art is displayed through the Internet.
In any case, I have found that artists (through their publicly-digitally-published art) seem to be reaching out for some sort of connection, whether it is to get someone’s attention or to reveal something personal or private to their viewers. Allowing others to see a side of oneself that is not usually apparent tends to form strange little bonds, and there is something strangely intriguing about knowing something about a complete stranger. This sort of information may come from a variety of places, or come in a variety of forms, but it gets where it is intended eventually. I hope that I have chosen a variety of pieces that will aid in showing the different methods used to communicate connections. In a general sense, we are all connected by the news and things happening in our own societies. Whether you are from the United States or Australia (or anywhere for that matter), SOMETHING is happening around you whether it is the same THING or not.
Martin John Callanan addresses this in his piece, “I Wanted to See All of the News From Today (a work in progress),” by displaying the front page of all printed papers, all on one web page. Bloggers that have reviewed this piece claim that he is making fun of how the news industry bombards its viewers with too much information . However, I would say that it is more of a direct statement that we should recognize and appreciate that everyone, though different, lives in this similar way of keeping up-to-date and thus connected.
[…] Have you ever people-watched while sitting in a park or on a crowded bus and wondered what kind of people you were seeing? Who are they, what do they do? In Peoples, by Gregory Chatonsky, you get to find out the answers to your questions. By selecting a person from a crowd, you are directly sent to another page that continues on to randomly generate words and images pertaining to the particular person you chose.
On the other hand, some artists like to invite their viewers into the own very personal lives. Martin John Callanan (from who I have chosen to include two pieces), in The Location of I, has mapped out his location for the whole world to see. He likes that he can easily be tracked by anyone, and yet he remains nearly un-findable. In any case, he has purposefully made his location apparent so that people will track him down.
Ellie Harrison, while not telling her location, has posted some he personal thoughts in combination with what she was drinking at the time. In her piece, Tea Blog, she presents her thoughts in a sort of random, and yet very structured way. It’s almost as if the viewer could be sitting with her conversing over the tea or coffee that accompanies her thought.
As a viewer, myself, I wondered after reading a few of her thoughts what I might be thinking in her situation … what is it that goes through my mind at first when I settling down to drink something that is most likely meant to sooth some tension. I don’t know, next time I drink a cup of tea, I may just consciously note what happens to be in my head at that time.
A true artist, whether digital or not, will make you think, and connect to you in some way. All of these pieces and their artists are very different, but even they are connected; not only by this art database/display arena (Rhizome.org), but by the fact that, as a viewer, I have found something about each piece or artist that triggered a response or feeling of connection.
… in choosing “I am still alive” as the message sent to unwitting participants, Callanan has brilliantly honed the basic sentiment in every message that we send or profile update we make. Every message may as well say “I am still alive” since that message is the function of all such communication. Not just an odd phrase to rouse curiosity, the message is crafted to make the recipients aware of the medium itself…
I Wanted to See All of the News From Today (a work in progress) ascended to Rhizome ArtBase
At serial consign, Greg Smith has an interesting post on the evolution of the architecture of information as presented in newspapers.
A work in progress:
Aggregating – on a daily basis – the front pages of newspapers from around the world into one place. The aim is to include all printed national newspapers; daily.