News of the world

Luke McKernan writes:

allthenews

News is not an absolute. Though we talk about world news, what is news to one person is to necessarily news to another. News is a report of an event of specific interest to a particular audience. So it is that online news services such as Google News or Yahoo News offer means to tailor the world’s news streams to your particular interests. Sign up to the BBC news app, and it will shape the news to your location. Publishers deliver, but it is readers and viewers to ultimately construct the news around what interest them, around their world.

Nevertheless the idea remains of an absolute world of news. It’s more a concept for an artist than a journalist, and I have been fascinated by Martin John Callanan‘s online installation, I Wanted to See All of the News From Today. Created for an exhibition held earlier this year by the Slade Centre for Electronic Media in Fine Art, it persists online. What he has done is generated feeds for all (?) of the world’s newspaper websites where they make their front pages available on a daily basis. This he then ingeniously publishes on a single webpage, allowing you to scroll through hundreds of newspaper pages from every land and language imaginable – and with every concern under the sun. And as a new page is published, so the website changes. The screengrab above is for a small part of the news pages for 30 August 2013, a heady day for news indeed.

scemfa_5478

Callanan’s artwork makes one ponder the nature of news and community. It shows how we all thirst after news, but how different our concerns are. It shows how news separates us, how different we all are, even if the same kinds of story persist wherever we are (celebrities, murder, scandal, sport, animals). it is the world’s news, but also no one’s news in this form.

newsmap

There have been other attempts to pull together the world’s news in one place, for journalistic rather than artistic reasons. Mostly based around maps and Google News feeds, these efforts have come and gone. The standout effort, which is superb as a news source quite as much as an ingenious piece of programming, is design engineer Marcos Weskamp‘s site Newsmap.

Newsmap visualises data from the Google News aggregator on a continual basis, displaying the world’s news with headlines taken from news websites (which link to those sites) displayed according to priority, territory, theme and time. So one can see all the world’s news, algorithmnically ordered according to its significance in relation to other news stories. The newsmap can be tailored to different countries or groups of countries, and is classifiable by themes such as Business, Technology and Sport, which are colour-coded for easy reference. The colour then comes in different shades according to how recent the news is. It is a brilliant realisation of a solution to the information problem Weskamp identifies on his personal site:

Currently, the internet presents a highly disorganized collage of information. Many of us are working in an information-soaked world. There is too much of everything. We are subject everywhere to a sensory overload of images, bombarded with information; in magazines and advertisements, on TV, radio, in the cityscape. The internet is a wonderful communication tool, but day after day we find ourselves constantly dealing with information overload. Today, the internet presents a new challenge, the wide and unregulated distribution of information requires new visual paradigms to organize, simplify and analyze large amounts of data. New user interface challenges are arising to deal with all that overwhelming quantity of information.

I find that Newsmap is not just an inspired attempt at making the information overload manageable; it makes knowing more about the world desirable. While I Wanted to See All of the News From Today shows how divided we are all, and how mutual understanding is a fantasy, Newsmap demonstrates that our news is anyone’s news. The one cannot contain the world’s news on a screen and can only let us scroll endlessly through page after page. The other distills, condenses, classifies and makes clear. It is news for the world.

Newsmap has been running since 2004, and Weskamp’s last blog entry about the site was in 2010. I do hope it will continue to be supported. It’s one of those key sites that tells you what the Internet is for, and how it has changed us – for the better.

Orginal article

Framing the digital: materialising new media (31 Jan 2013)

Professor Susan Collins gave a UCL Lunch Hour Lecture about SCEMFA and featured several works by Martin.

How are artists translating or materialising digital works for gallery and physical situations? Professor Collins shows a snapshot of works coming out of the Slade and the Slade Centre for Electronic Media in Fine Art (SCEMFA) over the past decade that explore the material of the digital. This lecture explores a range of groundbreaking perspectives and manifestations.

Back-to-basics money shot shows a cent’s battle scars – New Scientist


The euro has taken a bit of a battering of late – and not just in the financial markets. As you can see for yourself above, the surface of a 1-cent coin, while smooth to the naked eye, is pitted and scarred when viewed through a powerful microscope.

 

To create this image, artist Martin John Callanan, a fellow at University College London based in the Slade Centre for Electronic Media in Fine Art, worked with Ken Mingard, Petra Mildeova and Eric Bennett at the UK’s National Physical Laboratory in London. The team used an optical microscope to create images of the lowest-denomination coins used in Australia, Burma, Swaziland and Chile, as well as the transnational euro. They took standard coins that had been in circulation and left the microscope to make 4000 tiny exposures overnight. It then took three days of processing to stitch these images together to create each final, 400-million-pixel version. The zoomable picture above is a low-resolution version.

 

The coin images are part of an ongoing series called The Fundamental Units in which Callanan explores “the atoms that shape the global economy”. Ultimately, the series will encompass all 166 of the world’s active currencies that use coins. The first five are on display as 1.2-by-1.2-metre prints, along with more of Callanan’s works, at the Galleria Horrach Moyà in Mallorca, Spain, until 17 January 2013.

Physics & Math, Picture of the Day, Science In Society

Sumit Paul-Choudhury, editor, 16:05 4 December 2012

Several Interruptions

To celebrate 15 years of ground breaking research in electronic media, the Slade Centre for Electronic Media in Fine Art (SCEMFA) will hold a 14 week exhibition, showing new works from eight internationally acclaimed artists: who use emerging practices to explore electronic and digital media, as both a source and material.

Martin John Callanan, 24 – 30 January
Thomson & Craighead, 2 – 13 February
Tim Head, 15 – 20 February
Simon Faithfull, 22 February – 6 March
Brighid Lowe, 8 – 13 March
Melanie Jackson, 15 – 20 March
Susan Collins, 23 March – 17 April

An exhibition that revolves every fortnight between each artist, acting as a showcase for the best of contemporary art in the UK, and highlighting the Slade’s pivotal role in the history, development and current research in the many varied forms of electronic media.

SCEMFA is a research group at the Slade School of Fine Art. SCEMFA opened in 1995 and for the past 15 years has provided the opportunity for leading artists to focus on research into Electronic Media and Fine Art, contributing to debate on a national and international level for events, exhibitions, broadcasts, collaborations and online.

Tuesday – Friday: 10 am – 5pm, Saturday & Sunday: noon – 5pm
North Lodge, University College London, Gower Street, WC1E 6BT

encoding_experience/

Martin John Callanan is Okay will be shown at encoding_experience/ Plimsoll Gallery, University of Tasmania, Australia. 10 October – 31 October 2008

encoding_experience/ is the first of a series of exhibitions inspired by the ways in which artists are embracing critical, hands on interventive strategies towards the understanding of, and experimentation with media. The artists in the show open up issues of privacy, piracy and control, paradigms that are deeply embedded into technology and the way technology is designed. Most of the artists favour a collaborative, socio-centric approach to their work. They have an agenda about thinking through questions such as; Where does the technology come from? What is the real use of a computer? What are the social issues around regular access to domestic machines i.e. game consoles, home stereos and digital cameras. How do we use and question systems that tirelessly reproduce and augment environments, image and sound?

Actively engaging with conceptual concerns, DaDa-esque notions of performance, hacking and intellectual property; encoding_experience presents an insight into how electronic media and craft knowledge operates in current art practice, not only in terms of its functionality, but also in regards to artists who have a critical approach towards the politics, aesthetics and ecconomies coded into these systems.

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]
Top