Prising open the corners of the Cube: Open Cube curated by Adriano Pedrosa at White Cube Mason’s Yard

One Stop Arts

Open Cube brings together the work of 17 artists selected from an open submission and curated by Adriano Pedrosa, a former co-curator of São Paulo Biennale. Spread across two floors with distinct themes, this could easily be two exhibitions.

4/5 stars, Harriet Dopson, 21st August 2013
White Cube Mason’s Yard, until 21-Sep

The ground floor of Open Cube at White Cube Mason’s Yard addresses the ideas of “inside” and “outside” the gallery space, inspired by Brian O’Doherty’s Inside the White Cube, The Ideology of the Gallery Space. Downstairs, in contrast, is a focus on more formal qualities with geometric abstraction and a recurring theme of the circular.

The ground floor is dominated by Nada Prlja’s floor-to-ceiling Peace Wall. The black, chalk board-like wall is covered with messages in German, kid’s drawings, photocopies and paint. What appears to be the end point of some community project is, however, a reproduction. This wall was created after Prlja’s Peace Wall which was part of the 2012 Berlin Biennale. The project challenged the financial divide between the upper and lower city road Friedrichstrasse (a walk away from the former Berlin wall). Here at Open Cube Pedrosa takes a controversial and originally raw work and brings it into the commercial and isolated space of the White Cube. It is an interesting experiment which really highlights the differences between “inside” and “outside” of the white cube – perhaps it is through this effort that Pedrosa is trying to prise open the corners of the cube?

Having described Prlja’s Peace Wall as dominating the ground floor, you may be surprised to learn that in the middle of the same room is a full-scale crumbling column. Made out of reclaimed construction materials, the column still oddly seems to have some kind of precious heritage sentiment attached to it that I can’t shake, as inside the walls of the White Cube the weight and prestige of the exhibit seems to exaggerate it further – perhaps that’s the point.

The ground floor also deals with another very strong political symbol: currency in Martin John Callanan’s photographic series The Fundamental Units. In contrast, Matt Ager’s delicate work Fine doesn’t quite fit in with the bold works of the of the room and his work is perhaps best appreciated above the stairway, in his work Ish, which seems to question you as you make your journey downstairs. The artists Daniel de Paula reflects Ager’s reflective mood in Toward the Great Labyrinth, a documentation of a walk which the artist took until he completed the same titled book by Hélio Oiticica. Another poetic work is Helen Barff’s display of pockets which have been separated from their cloth and filled with concrete or plaster – one of the few indexical works which feels very suited to the small room of the lower ground floor lobby.

The remainder of the lower ground floor space is a harmony of shapes, material and senses. It is extraordinary to think that the exhibition was formed through open submission with no given theme when experiencing this space. Frank Ammerlaan’s huge treated corrugate-steel disk Day’s End appears to watch over the exhibition, setting the tone of the works; the tone is circular, from the circular hole in the table of Nuno Direitinho’s table in Dialogue on Tides, to the circles of Rowena Harris’s wire mobile of photocopies and the endless loop of Nicky Teegan’s sound work Prayer Battery. There is also a richness of materials such as the thick yellow of Sarah Bernhard’s work with bee pollen and the Amish quilt which is spread over a steel structure in Caitlin Yardley’s Black Refract. The works in this room really bounce off each other and it is impossible to account for them all here. It is really is enjoyable to discover these new works, especially as this platform, White Cube gallery is usually for a select few.

It is perhaps here that I should pause on Pedrosa’s concept of an open and transparent cube, which was the purpose of the open submission. It undoubtedly is a triumph to see so many artists have the chance to exhibit together, although I do question how far the boundaries are really being pushed as out of the 2,900 applicants (the only requirement was to be available for an interview in March) over half of the artists who exhibited have studied or are currently studying at RCA or a UAL college. This does feel disappointing if Adriano Pedrosa really was aiming to challenge the “inside” and “outside” of the gallery world. Regardless, the exhibition is an ambitious summer show which really is worth seeing for the strength of both themes and the thoughtful curation of each room – especially in the lower ground floor gallery.

Original review

Charlie Levine goes inside the White Cube for a review of the current exhibition at Mason’s Yard

Art Fetch

For Art Fetch, Charlie Levine goes inside the White Cube for a review of the current exhibition at Mason’s Yard.

Like many curators, I have been hugely influenced by Brian O’Doherty’s wonderful and seminal book, Inside the White Cube, the Ideology of the gallery Space (1976).  The book, which began life as a series of Artforum essays, defined new ways of thinking about exhibitions and the contemporary white walled art gallery. So, when I heard that the latest Mason’s Yard White Cube gallery exhibition, Open Cube, guest curated by Adriano Pedrosa, was inspired directly by O’Doherty’s book, I had to go and see it.

I wasn’t disappointed. Not only is it a fascinating exhibition, but also reflects a great deal of what Artfetch believes in, and is working to achieve. The 17 artists in the exhibition were selected from an open call out for proposals – a brave thing for a gallery with the branded reputation of White Cube – as an open call invites a deluge. The gallery received over 2,900 applications, from which the curator interviewed 38 to select the final group.

This process of deliberately working with artists new to the curator breaks down the idea of curator/artists networks, drawing its concepts from O’Doherty’s ideas about the ‘inside’ and ‘outside’ relationships of a gallery. The idea of opening up the application process and allowing audiences, the gallery and the curator to push themselves in terms of looking for, working with and presenting a new stock of artists is incredible, though only in terms of how top level galleries usually work. By this I mean, it shouldn’t be so unusual, and as I considered this, I began to wonder at how difficult it is for new artists to break into these ‘inside’ relationships.

This relates directly to what we are doing at Artfetch, as we believe it is vital to open the processes of becoming an art world insider, so that talented artists can come to the publics who would otherwise not have a chance to see their work. And although internet–based, face to face meetings are a vital part of our commissioning process. If the relationship and quality of work is there, we invite the artist to work with us.

Open Cube itself is broken down into two parts: on the ground floor the exhibition concerns itself with commerce, value and currency; meanwhile, the lower floor of the Mason’s Yard building looks at different forms of abstraction: including constructivist and geometric, as well as organic, amorphous, and fluid types.

Particular stand out works were by Fay Nicholson’s A is for Albers, a small stack of photocopied postcards, sliced in two by a sheet of Perspex; a series of large photographs of foreign coins by Martin John Callanan; and Jacopo Trabona’s Untitled, which was a simple few cuts on a sheet of paper made by slicing a diamond across it. But my particular favourite was Nicky Teegan’s Void a flat circle of woven VHS tape over a bent steel ring.  It summed up the show for me: defunct material (the VHS tape) re–used to create a typical fine art image – the circle.  It was creating something new and conceptual from the old and familiar.

This exhibition is excellent, from its concept to realisation.  It is a must see show that I hope is the start of a new way of thinking about artist/gallery networks, and about how we produce exhibitions and create new associations. The process itself also questions the role of the physical gallery space, as the open method of calling for, and selecting works, echoes the opportunities offered by the internet – something Pedrosa realises, as he notes his ambition for the show: to break down the “seemingly closed systems that exist in the criteria for staging exhibitions”. About time too.

Open Cube, is at White Cube Mason’s Yard, London, until 21 September 2013

Artists: Matt Ager, Frank Ammerlaan, Adriano Amaral, Helen Barff, Sarah Bernhardt, Martin John Callanan, Nuno Direitinho, Venisha Francis–Hinkson, Rodrigo Garcia Dutra, Rowena Harris, Alan Magee, Fay Nicolson, Daniel de Paula, Nada Prlja, Nicky Teegan, Jacopo Trabona and Caitlin Yardley.

Charlie Levine is Chief UK Artfetcher and Curator.

(Im)material Labour, Art Exchange, Colchester

art exchange colchester

(IM)MATERIAL LABOUR
MONDAY 24 JUNE 2013 – SATURDAY 20 JULY 2013

(Im)material Labour explores our shifting position in an economically functioning society. From the systemisation of post-fordist labour through to the de-materialisation of the service sector, our patterns of working behaviour are constantly being reconfigured.

(Im)material Labour draws together the work of a number of artists who interrogate this phenomenon in light of the current economic climate. Seeking to decode and humanise the financial crisis through analytical ideas and research, the works on display often result in therapeutic and humorous outcomes.

The exhibition includes works by SUPERFLEX, Zachary Formwalt, Ignacio Uriarte, Martin John Callanan, Paul Westcombe and Arnaud Desjardin.

The exhibition will take place both onsite and offsite in a disused office block situated in Colchester Town. Curated by MA Critical Curating students Warren Harper, Matylda Taszycka and alumnus Jonathan Weston.

Curators Tour
Saturday 1 June, 1-2pm
Join the exhibition’s curators for a tour of (Im)material Labour at Art Exchange. To reserve your place, please email immaterial.labour@live.co.uk

Download press release (PDF)

Pointing at what isn’t there

This piece of writing by Diane Sims accompanies The Present is a Point Just Passed at the Stephen Lawrence Gallery, Greenwich (curated by Lizzie Hughes). The exhibition is open from Thursday 7th June to Wednesday 11th July 2012.

What if your passage through the world today was the only enduring evidence of what happened here? Would you change your route? Would you tread more purposefully, or more softly? Would you look up more often? Would you leave any breadcrumbs along the way?

I look for patterns in an infinite system of discrete events. As collectors, do we begin to restore the order of our measured universe, or do we endlessly accumulate a miscellany of stuff and nonsense? A catalogue may be more comprehensive than a memory, but is it any more true?

It’s there, just peeping out from behind the clock tower, in the black and white photograph of Church Farm in the 1960s (the one with the blurry figure standing on the roof of the dairy, which Carole thinks is probably her father).

They say we are awash with data. We keep it in pools. Data that is open flows in streams, but the data that we hide away festers in stagnant pools, becomes unconsumable, a story (or many stories) left untold. Can we ever step twice into the same data pool? Do we change it by casting our own reflection on the surface, just by looking?

We can weave stories from our data, like knitting fog, or leave it to drip through our fingers.

Was it there when I fell off my bicycle on Hart Street? I still have the scar. I know the exact spot. I remember the dip in the pavement, the green bicycle, the gravel that ended up in my knee, the torn trousers, but not that…

I try to pinpoint the moment when things changed – the fork in the path. But it’s like splitting photons. I am ill-equipped. But some things I am sure of.

I know that I slept soundly on the night of Wednesday 9th March 2011. I have a graph to prove it. A single flat line amongst months of turbulence, the peaks and troughs of many restless nights, recorded by a smartphone app. The data knows I finally slept that night, but it does not know why.

I know that it snowed on my seventh birthday, in the last days of April. This is beyond doubt, because I remember it. This year our local newspaper decreed it to be the first snowy April for 
so-many years, but I knew that the numbers didn’t add up. All my life I have been the girl who had snow for her seventh birthday. I’m not about to stop now.

It’s there on the wall of the dental surgery, where I ended up after losing half a tooth on my most recent birthday. I’m no longer seven years old, and I’ve been away a long time. But it’s there, sharing a photograph with White Hart Drive, which was still fields when I was a child. This suggests a date much later than I had presumed.

I know that there was a heavy storm on Jina’s journey from Boulogne to Paris. She saw magnificent lightning from the window of the train. I know this because she sent a postcard from Paris on 27th April 1909 to Mrs Kirley of County End, Lees, Oldham. “It seems years since I left”, she said. But the data doesn’t tell us when, or if, she returned home.

It was here when Cherry moved to Newsome in 1978. We talked about it on the way home from the allotment.

I know that there was torrential rain during the Armistice Day silence in 1982. I know the cloud formations at 6am Coordinated Universal Time (UTC) on 2nd February 2009. I know there were 19,126 planes in the sky over North America at 4.01pm Eastern Standard Time on 20th March 2005. I know where a particular gesture was made on Friday 9th May 1969. X marks the spot. 
I know what the California Earthquake of 18th April 1906 looks like, as recorded by smoke and pendulums – a fine wire inscribing a record of the earth’s motion onto a smoked glass plate.

I know that the first public exhibition of a Foucault’s pendulum (demonstrating the rotation of the earth) was in February 1851 in the Paris Observatory, 3 months before the Great Exhibition.

I know the acoustic shape of a particular person’s footsteps vibrating through a particular spiral staircase in a particular room on a particular day, perhaps in 1996. Again, the data is incomplete.

It should be there in my memory, but it isn’t. Long gone, yet not so long. Some of the bricks could be propping up a shelf in a nearby cellar, or be built into someone’s foundations, stepped over obliviously every day.

Does summer fall neatly either side of the solstice, the day when the sun stands still, or does it arrive on a day of its choosing, with the first smell of the elder blossom? The meteorologists say neither.

Our data has many moments. Today we measure earthquakes with the moment magnitude scale. Subatomic particles have magnetic moments, tiny magnetic fields generated by a particle’s spin. A mathematical moment is a way of measuring the shape of a set of points. The moment is also now.

Where did its shadow fall? Did it stretch as far as my mother’s house. Was it there towering over us when we walked up the garden path in the snow on my seventh birthday? Where was I when it fell?

Runners may be separated by a fraction of a second, yet the first man over the line knows in that instant that he has won the race. It is certain, quantifiable. Even before he breaks his stride. So how is it that we cannot even recall the year of momentous events? How is it that everyone knew the story of Joseph Beuys and the vanishing blackboard, but no-one could place it accurately in time?

Without the data, the story retains its weight. But data is smoke without the storytellers. So we must make our own records. Begin our explorations. Unearth the data. Stitch together a story from the fragments of each moment. We must look for the evidence (deliberate or accidental) and seek out the anomalies within it – and the gaps between it. That’s where the stories are.

Was there a day in 1909 when no-one sent a postcard from Paris?

Are the pencil marks still there in the margins of Four Quartets in the UCL Library?

Astronomers in search of the oldest galaxies in our universe are looking for light sources that disappear (or “drop out”) when recorded at a specific wavelength – they must look for what isn’t there in order to find out what has been here all along.

Why do galaxies huddle together across space and time? Why do we?

One day the chimney at Newsome Mill wasn’t there any more. We have lost the moment when it fell. Was it cloudy that day? Who felt the earth tremor as it hit the ground? Did anyone look up (or down) or make a gesture? Was there a thoughtful silence? Did anyone send a postcard or press record? Was there a smell of elder blossom in the air?

Maybe there is data out there somewhere, a pool of knowledge that can flow into the gaps and somehow make it all add up. The dark matter of memory.

Look away from the universe for a second then turn back. What’s missing?

(The moment has passed.)

Diane Sims {72prufrocks}
25th May 2012, 11.40pm & 27th May 2012, 11.11pm British Summer Time 
(Greenwich Mean Time +1hr)

Global, solo exhibition at Casal Solleric, March – June 2012


A solo exhibition across six spaces at Casal Solleric, the city of Palma’s contemporary art gallery and archive, including two new works.




Ten years in the making, and shown here for the fist time, Grounds, an archive of thousands of photographs of the ground in locations important to society. A set of 200 displayed across three slide projectors.



Wars During My Life Time, a new work for this exhibition, a newspaper listing – in Catalan – all wars fought during my lifetime.


I Wanted to See All of the News From Today, amasses from across the internet, the front pages of over 960 newspapers from around the world and displays these images within the space of a single scrolling display.

Text Trends, an animation which takes the content generated by search queries and reduces this process to its essential elements: search terms vs. frequency searched for over time, presented in the form of a line graph.

Gallery information sheet in English, Catalan and Castellano [PDF]

Curated by Pau Waelder and Fernando Gómez as part of (HIPER)vincles

Life (2011)

I am Still Alive included in a Rhizome Exhibit curated by littlebeast:

This exhibition attempts to blur the line between life and algorithms. Mitozoos emulate life using a genetic algorithm, while L-Garden shows how an algorithm can itself be life. self-portrait uses DNA as an algorithm to create something else entirely. I am Still Alive shows how even the simplest algorithm can show signs of “life”, and CyberZoo makes light of the distinction by treating ordinary algorithms as life.

Extimitat. Art, intimitat i tecnologia

Catalogue of the group exhibition on digital art curated by Pau Waelder. The exhibition proposes the spectator reflect on the new parameters introduced into the concepts of subject, body and interpersonal relations as a result of the development of new technologies, and how intimacy thus turns into extimacy, to use the term created by Jacques Lacan to define existence. The selection of works, interactive installations that involve the spectator through active participation, brings together renowned international artists: Gazira Babeli, Clara Boj and Diego Díaz, Martin John Callanan, Grégory Chatonsky, Rafael Lozano-Hemmer, Paul Sermon, Christa Sommerer and Laurent Mignonneau, and Carlo Zanni.

The catalogue has been published with a heat-sensitive cover. Includes colour reproductions of the works displayed and critical texts by Pau Waelder, Pau Alsina and Francesc Núñez. 2011, ISBN 978-84-938055-4-8, 184 pages, 23x17cm, Catalan, Spanish, English and German.

The Big Picture: Gaining a New Perspective with the Help of Databases (2009)

The Big Picture: Gaining a New Perspective with the Help of Databases (2009)
Curated by Tim Carroll

Through the eight works in this online exhibit, my goal is to show how bits of information can be combined into a database and displayed so that the viewer can gain a greater understanding of the world and how individuals fit into it. In addition to this I will point out how each piece of information may have a personal meaning to an individual, but once it is collected and displayed in conjunction with many other bits of information, that personal meaning is typically lost.

Daily

Daily, curated by Jacqueline Friedman:

Artist Martin John Callanan’s “I Wanted to See all of the News from Today” collects the front pages of newspapers from around the world daily and displays them all together on one large web page. The primary purpose of this artwork is to include all printed national newspapers daily on one website. This is unique because each day a spectator can view all the front pages on national newspapers simultaneously. Therefore, a viewer is able to compare the subject matters from different nation’s front pages of their newspaper from around the world. This piece is unique to Daily curatorial show because it is the only art project chosen that is not user-friendly when trying to look at previous days’ sites, as it is not treated like a blog. “I Wanted to See all of the News from Today” successfully visually expresses history per day.

Daily is an online exhibition portraying the effect of art updated daily and continuously, ranging from a set collapsed-time projects, such as a year or three months, to ongoing artwork with no end date. With an array of themes such as World News as well as personal daily blogs, the linking factors among the artwork in Daily exemplify progression and history. Although some of the artwork chosen for Daily directly portrays history of news, the progression in the show Daily is dealing with the development within an artwork.

A common factor within each artwork is a start date, and one can compare the first post of the project to the most recent or any post in the project, allowing a viewer to note its succession and development. Furthermore, the consistency being updated everyday is significant; it forces an artist to update on a daily, regular basis rather than when an artist feels like updating. This helps distinguish what art-updated-daily is. This new form of documentation is similar to the 21st century, common term blog – a digital, update website that can resemble a diary as well as a place on the Internet to post comments. Another distinguishing factor, is that the artwork included in Daily are on the World Wide Web, meaning they are accessible to everyone on the Internet.

Besides being updated daily, each piece of artwork displays the information in reverse chronological order. This is a distinguishing factor of a blog. The one exception to a “blog-like” appearance in Daily is “I wanted to See All of the News From Today” by Martin Jon Callanan who only shows the most recent update on the initial website; a viewer must search harder to view previous posts. However, the piece was included in Daily because it is a new form of updating daily, and has similarities with some of the other pieces.

Each piece of artwork in Daily has to do with a progression over a certain amount of time; however, some pieces deal with self-portraiture and privacy on the Internet, personal information on a public space, while other artwork included deal with history and the news. Daily brings these pieces together to show how these pieces are linked together through being updated daily.

Aerial View

Aerial View, curated by Phuong:

In the Location of I, artist Martin John Callanan gives himself up for public viewing. He enables viewers to find him at any moment in time through a use of a tracking device that pinpoints his exact location through a series of maps. This form of observation allows Callanan to be continuously accessible to everyone. He states in his artist statement that this project allows him to be both physically and virtually sought and accessible. Advances in technology has allowed people to be available and accessible at all times through various means like cell phones and Blackberrys but also allows people to be elusive if needed. Callanan says that because of the Location of I, he loses the ability to hide and thus increases his vulnerability.

Observation has always played a role in the development of art. People or things have been used as subjects of work or as bystanders in a larger piece without ever even knowing they are involved. The participation or unknowingness of people in a piece of work is an interesting aspect that I believe says a lot of how the work coveys itself. For this exhibit, the works that were selected were chosen because of their connections to the idea of being observed or watched. Observation can be done through several different means. Observation can be taken literally where another is physically watching someone or something or it could be more of a conceptual observation.

It is a part of human nature to observe. We are all fascinated by each other and by our surroundings. Whether through physical means or conceptual ideas, the actions of the world intrigues everyone in some shape or form. We all would like to know more about what we see and at times that can be impossible. Whether because of privacy or a lack of connection to learn more about what we see, observation can be unfulfilled. With the use of contemporary art and new media, the depth of observation can be widened and people can learn more about what they desire to see. This could be done in a virtual world or through means that may seem unrealistic but new media allows for an avenue for people to explore this part of their human nature.

Sonification of You / Sonifikacija tebe / Sonificazione di te at PixxelPoint, Slovenia

PixxelPoint, Nova Gorcia, Slovenia,Sonification of You. Martin John CallananPixxelPoint, Nova Gorcia, Slovenia,Sonification of You. Martin John Callanan

Sonification of You was part of 8th Pixxelpoint Festival (Green Desert), Nova Gorcia, Slovenia, December 2007. Curated by Narvika Bovcon and Aleš Vaupotič, organized by the city of Nova Gorica.

Interaktivnost je postala ambient. Zaradi povečevanja omrežij in zmanjševanja naprav za sprejemanje in oddajanje posamezniki niso več izolirani. Različne naprave za komuniciranje, ki jih vedno nosimo s seboj, neprestano sprejemajo in oddajajo informacije. Neprestani tok podatkov je neviden in večini ljudem nepoznan. Današnje prenosne naprave lahko vidimo kot podaljške človeškega telesa, ki ustvarjajo vseprisotno medsebojno povezanost omrežij, ki ji ni mogoče ubežati.

Delo »Sonifikacija tebe« poskuša ta tok podatkov »prikazati« uporabnikom aktivnih napravic. Naša oprema na določenem območju pasivno spremlja različne frekvence radijskega spektra, ki jih uporabljajo mobilni telefoni, omrežja Bluetooth in WiFi, ter druge mobilne naprave. Podatkom so bili dodeljeni zvoki, ki predstavljajo aktivnost, oddaljenost in moč signalov.

Delo temelji na tehnologiji za kontrolno spremljanje velikih računalniških omrežij, rezultat pa je »zvočna podlaga« v sobi, ki jo ustvarjajo prisotni in njihove naprave.

Nevidno tako postane slišno in s tem tudi vidno. Tako se posamezniki začno zavedati nenehne omrežne povezljivosti, ki jih spremlja.

L’interattività è diventata ambiente. Le persone fisiche non sono più isolate, dato il graduale aumento della presenza del network e la graduale riduzione degli impianti per la trasmissione e la ricezione. I vari dispositivi di comunicazione mobile emettono e ricevono continuamente informazioni. Questo continuo flusso di dati è invisibile e spesso anche sconosciuto dalla maggior parte delle persone. I dispositivi portatili odierni possono essere visti come prolungamenti del corpo umano che permettono un’onnipresente e inevitabile interconnetività di network.

L’obiettivo di ‘Sonification of You’ è quello di rendere questo flusso di dati ‘visibile’ a coloro che possiedono dei dispositivi attivi. Questo apparecchio visualizzerà passivamente le varie frequenze dello spettro radio impiegate dai dispositivi di telefoni cellulari, Bluetooth, WiFi network, e da altri dispositivi mobili impiegati all’interno di uno spazio delimitato. I dati saranno rappresentati da suoni che indicheranno l’attività, la distanza e la potenza dei segnali.

Ricorrendo ai metodi per il monitoraggio di ampi network di computer, il risultato è quello di creare un ‘suono’ di sottofondo per uno spazio figurativo di persone, e dei loro dispositivi, il presente.

L’invisibile diventa intelligibile e perciò visibile, permettendocosì all’individuo di essere consapevole della propria costante connettività.

Green Desert
Andrei Tarkovsky’s film Nostalgia (1983) closes with a renowned travelling camera shot that gradually traverses the film space, tracking from images of Russian landscape in which the protagonist is framed to a final image of the interior of a Tuscan church. In the third phase of this uninterrupted shot, it can be seen that the church has no roof and is exposed to the influences of weather. The shot concludes with snow falling in a hybrid of interior and exterior. Another example of such hybrid style can be found in the Diesel Company’s advertising campaign Global Warming Ready (2006) which features images of spatial collage: for example, Mount Rushmore as a coastal cliff, and a Venetian scene in which colourful tropical parrots replace the ubiquitous pigeons. These very different visual effects combine a common theme: the association of two seemingly disassociated spaces in one place. The consequence of this type of catachresis is the revelation of specific socio-political problems that can be either complex, as in the example of the differing states of Russian and Western understanding of life found in Tarkovsky’s Tuscany, or half-serious, as in the example of the advertising campaign that wants to increase the global public awareness of environmental protection issues using shocking and attractive images of various ecosystems that have fallen out of balance. The theme of Pixxelpoint’s Green Desert refers to the controversial linkage of something beautiful and dead at the same time, the positive connotations of greenness combined with its absence in the desert. There is of course a way out of this quandary, though one solution remains limited to virtual technically-simulated reality. The second solution lies with the change of humanity and efforts to sharpen its sensitivity to the delicate balance of the environment that is not an object to be exploited but a complex and layered entity encompassing different worlds in the same geographic location, worlds that appear different to different eyes.

Zelena Puščava

Film Nostalghia (1983) Andreja Tarkovskega se zaključi s slavnim travalingom kamere, ki razkrije postopno prehajanje filmskega prostora iz podobe ruske pokrajine z glavnim junakom v okvirjajočo se podobo notranjosti toskanske cerkve. Zanjo se v tretji fazi nepretrganega posnetka izkaže, da je brez strehe in odprta za vremenske vplive, saj se prizor sklene s sneženjem v tem hibridnem interjerju-eksterjerju. Drugi primer je reklamna kampanja podjetja Diesel Global Warming Ready (2006) s podobami prostorskih kolažev, npr. Gore Rushmore kot obmorske pečine ali pa prizora barvitih tropskih papig v Benetkah namesto letečih podgan. Sicer zelo različni konkretizaciji združuje skupna tema, povezava dveh, na prvi pogled nezdružljivih prostorov na enem mestu. Posledica tovrstne prostorske katahreze pa je praviloma razkritje specifične družbenopolitične problematike, ki je lahko kompleksnejša, kot v primeru raziskave razmerja med ruskim razumevanjem življenjskega sveta in zahodnjaškim, ki ga predstavlja Toskana pri Tarkovskem, ali pa le na pol resna, kot v reklamni kampanji, ki želi ozaveščati globalne javnosti o problematiki varstva okolja s podobami šokantnih in obenem privlačnih ekosistemov, ki so že zdavnaj padli iz ravnovesja. Tema Pixxelpointa “zelena puščava” se nanaša torej na kontroverzno povezavo nečesa sicer lepega vendar obenem mrtvega, s pozitivnimi pomeni zelenine, ki je v puščavi seveda ni. Ostaja pa seveda pot iz te zagate, vendar pa je predlagana možnost omejena na virtualnost tehnosimulirane realnosti. Drugi izhod pa je sprememba v človeku, ki si s prizadevnostjo izostri posluh za krhko ravnovesje v svoji okolici, ki ni zgolj predmet za izkoriščanje, ampak preplet plasti različnih svetov na isti geografski lokaciji, ti pa se kažejo različno različnim očem.

Spatial Archives

Spatial Archives, a Rhizome exhibit, curated by Jason Valdez, featuring I Wanted to See All of the News From Today.

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

Everyday Life: the things that shape us

Everyday Life: the things that shape us, a Rhizome Exhibit, curated by Andrea Margois, includes I Wanted to See All of the News From Today

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.

Seeing Privates

Location of I included in a Rhizome Exhibit curated by Corey Richardson:

This exhibition features four artworks that focus on aspects of surveillance and tracking of the private and public lives of humans in the world of today and the projects were brought together to hopefully expand our consciousness concerning the increasing lack of privacy in our lives today. With the remarkable advances that technology has gone through in the past several years, the lives of people in the world today are more public and available than ever before in history. In this world of Wireless internet, cell phones, digital cameras, credit cards, and surveillance cameras, we are being observed and tracked mare than ever before. It is hard to imagine how often someone is “tracked” everyday of their life and most people don’t think about it, but just like the three artists shown in this exhibition, I hope to open some eyes and get people thinking about the privacy issues of today. So, imagine if you wanted to disappear, hide, or vanish in today’s society. You would need to eliminate ways for anyone to track or watch you, but that is completely impossible it the world of today. That would mean no credit card use, the emails, no cell phone calls, and no internet, but even then, your information and records would still available online and there would still be cameras in every store, school, and on every corner. Staying private is impossible with just simple tasks in today’s life and that’s without even getting the FBI or CIA involved. Technology has made it impossible to “hide” from the world. Just think, Google earth is available to anyone in the world and it is just the tip of the capabilities when it comes to satellite and cameras so imagine what is considered “private” to the general public but is available to governments for surveillance. There are devices being used that the general public won’t know about for another ten years and advances in technology being made everyday. We all might as well live in glass houses, because there really is no private life available anymore.

Martin John Callanan’s artwork shows that it is impossible for the artist to “hide”. His location is constantly being recorded and made available on his site. This piece helps to show the point that we can easily be tracked in today’s world.

To Be or Not To Be – Private

Location of I included in a Rhizome Exhibit curated by Michelle Graham:

Privacy is something that is becoming more and more scarce in today’s electronic society. Where it doesn’t seem to bother some, others will go to great lengths to preserve what shreds they have left. Artists mirror the varying public opinions on this matter. Some such as Roch Forowicz want to bring to the attention of all that their privacy is being invaded without their knowledge or rather without their attention. It is general knowledge that there are surviellance cameras watching us when we enter certain areas. Without a second thought we pass by them and don’t think about them again. But if you do stop and think about it, our image is being captured, our actions are being recorded. The thought of Big Brother may cross your mind. It should, because you are being watched and you have no control over that record of your actions. That moment of your life no longer belongs to you, not alone at least. Forowicz saw the error in this and wanted to express his frustration in being observed. He transplanted a surviellance camera from one area to another. While not changing the function of the camera he did change its purpose. Generally the camera is not meant to allow the observed to become the observer. He projected the observed images up on the wall of the subway station they were walking into. This enabled them to immediately recognize the fact that they were being monitored. Because this was all deemed illegal, this act was short lived but very effective. On the other end of the spectrum there is British artist Ellie Harrison who is willing to share her private moments with anyone willing to log on. Everyday since January 1, 2006 she has faithfully made entries into her online journal. Entitled Tea Blog, appropriately Ellie Harrison records the first thought she has while enjoying her first warm beverage of the day. While not very informative it allows for a brief glimpse into the inner workings of her mind. Something that most people wouldn’t say out loud let alone share with the world, she puts it out there freely for all to read. Martin John Callanan also gives up his privacy freely. Through his work entitled Location I, he has enabled anyone to be able to learn his location at anytime. He has labeled himself an “absolute citizen”, he has made himself everyones neighbor although not physically. He wanted to make himself accessible for anyone to talk to, work with or just be able to contact him whenever and where ever he is. While all of these are taken to be true there is the possibility of false statements being made. We take it on good faith that the thoughts that Ellie Harrison are making in her Tea Blog really are her first thoughts, and that Martin John Callanan is where he says he is. These thoughts maybe intriguing, it may add an element of suspicion to the situation. There is room for interpretation and specutlation of the private lives that we are getting glimpses of. Whether it’s guessing the destinations of the people walking in and out of the subway, or the first thoughts of a women you’ll never meet or the location of a man you have no intention of ever contacting. It is interesting to have the knowledge and the ability to know more. The artist Ethan Ham recognized the interest in the stories behind the faces. He created art with a program that attempts to make facial recognitions. With this program he coupled photographs with short stories written by Benjamin Rosenbaum. Through this collaboration he created Anthroptic. While a photograph of someone of something appears you can listen to a story behind the photograph. Whether it is about someone they met or about the thoughts that were triggered by the photograph. There is a continuity between the story and the photograph that seems to bridge the gap and fill in the history. While watching the display there is no doubt that the two are meant to go together, it is a voyueristic experience. Like listening in on someones private conversation. Then you find out that it is actors reading Rosenbaums short stories and the photographs are random and the stories are not related. Privacy is the key to all of these works of art. Whether they are trying to preserve it, give it up or layer it beneath falsehood, privacy is a topic that all can relate to. I also believe it is human nature to be interested in others lives, it can be like reading a good book. Always wanting to learn more about others, it may help us to understand ourselves.

Callanan has labeled himself an “absolute citizen”, he has enabled anyone to be able to find him at anytime. Through the digital world anyone can find him, work with him and even speak with him if that is what they desire. This sacrifice of privacy has allowed him to become everyones neighbor. Callanan is creating a global village, in his digital world there may not be physical contact but there are connections being made.

Mediart, curated by James Worsham

I Wanted to See All of the News From Today, included in Mediart, a Rhizome Exhibit, curated by James Worsham,:

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.

Information curated by David Battle

Curated by David Battle, A Rhizome Exhibit featuring both I Wanted to See All of the News From Today and Location of I:

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.

[also at IABlog]
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