From the Rhizome archives, here’s a discussion that unfolded ten years ago today on our mailing list, prompted by an article in The New York Times about curatorSteve Dietz’ dismissal from the Walker Art Center. Rhizome’s founder Mark Tribe posted an excerpt, which began:”The Walker Art Center in Minneapolis, which has been a strong supporter of Internet art, has dismissed the curator for its online art projects… the center’s director, Kathy Halbreich, said plans to build a digital-art gallery would be deferred for at least five years… “
production to one of consumption. At this
point, it’s become an age of accumulation,
of all of the above. We don’t choose
between objects or ideas as much as
we accumulate them, holding on to all
options. We don’t agree or disagree, we
filibuster and save for later.
Vladimir Nabakov once put it.
The idea for Blow Job came during an open studio event in his hometown of Vilnius, the capital of Lithuania. Cern decided he wanted to do something “entertaining, that would make people laugh and in which everyone could participate.” The idea to blow wind into people’s faces popped into Cern’s head. He made a special light source to create a clean background for the images and then had an assistant turn on a wind machine while Cern took the pictures.
And not just any wind machine. The effect was the equivalent of sticking your head out a car window traveling at 186 mph (300 kph). To avoid injury, participants had to take a breath and hold it for a few seconds while the picture was being taken.
Reconstructing and juxtaposing typical images of history and reality, collective and private memories, Zhang Xiaogang brings history and memory to the present. Despite the fact that this period of history and its experience was a regional one, the collectivistic, Utopian spirit at its base aimed to liberate man in the spirit of cosmopolitism. Also, from the pictorial level, we can establish a certain connection between Chuck Close, Gerhard Richter and Zhang Xiaogang, which enriches the depth of the world of imagery. Close’s paintings are a logical, material and physical analysis of portraits; Richter’s paintings are a philosophy of images; while Zhang’s paintings are about the historic issues of human kind. Among these images are the birthmark-like prints and bloodlines in “Big Family Series,” the colored shades on the face and tear stains under the eyes in “Amnesia and Memory Series,” the electric wires, lamp cords, ink and pens in “In-Out Series,” the lines representing blood ties in “Green Wall Series” and the parallel tracks in “Train Window Series.” All these images extend the cultural historical memory contained in the artist’s self-exploration which is exuberant with a mildness and tenderness that are unmistakably Zhang’s. Moreover, they could also be understood as a continued personalized expression of a collective memory. It is exactly Zhang’s primitive expression and adherence to the traditional culture that brings back our belief in and worship of the narrative quality of painting. The melancholy and isolated figures immersed in contemplation in Zhang Xiaogang’s works have already been interpreted by the West as the archetypes of contemporary China. In his new works, the artist would again return to his old acquaintance the old painting and continue his stylized tone with stains of time and warmth of life.
Green’s differentiation from other colours usually comes quite early in a language’s development, but not in all. In Japan, green as distinct from blue did not appear until the Twentieth Century, while many Turkic languages use one word for the blue of the sky, the sea, and green plants; and another for the green of man-made things. This post is about the man-made green.
From: Mark Amerika
Subject: Re: [NEW-MEDIA-CURATING] November Theme: Curating on and through web-based platforms
Date: November 25, 2012 9:39:06 PM CST
Mark, your Museum of Glitch Aesthetics was presented as a gallery installation at Abandon Normal Devices festival this year, I wonder if you would like to tell us more about how it was to work with this two different ‘platforms’ of display in terms of deciding how to present the works in relation to the structure and organisation of material, e.g. architecture, the interface, the modes of arrangement.»
Thanks for your question, Marialaura. To start, I should say that both MOGA (glitchmuseum.com - commissioned by Abandon Normal Devices and Harris Museum) and remixthebook (Univ. of Minnesota, 2011 and remixthebook.com) are expandable hybrids that are open to remix / reconfiguration in a variety of exhibition, publication, and performance contexts. This open collaboration is ongoing if anyone’s interest is piqued by my (too long) comments below.
With MOGA, a close “reading” of the work will reveal a central, pseudonymous figure, The Artist 2.0, and a small bevy of other fictional characters: Nigel Foster, the Director of the Museum of Glitch Aesthetics; Gaby Whitebread, the head curator of the museum but also a research professor running a new program in Social Media Performance Art at a university in the NW of the UK; Brian Hale, a media art critic for the Guardian; and an international pop star (who cut her teeth experimenting making art on the net in the mid-90s) who is now the most prolific “collector” of the work of The Artist 2.0. The various artworks thought to be made by The Artist 2.0 and that are included in the online museum are discussed by these figures and others in the free, downloadable, full-color catalog available via glitchmuseum.com. A color, collector’s edition of the catalog is available via Lulu and linked to from the site as well. The web-based version of this (admittedly satirical / transmediated) work was released on the net on June 22, 2012, in conjunction with the launch of a few other projects at Abandon Normal Devices right around the time the torch was being passed in Manchester.
After the web release and over the summer, AND helped facilitate a dialog between the curator Omar Kholeif, Cornerhouse, and I, and we began formally developing a strategy for what would be the first remix of the website in a gallery context. The eventual Manchester-based gallery venue that MOGA was exhibited in was the Lionel Dobie Project, a very new space focused on “emerging curatorial strategies as they relate to artistic practice” — something that resonated with the MOGA project which is, after all, a net art work but also an experimental form of curation. It’s also been identified as a work of electronic literature (or transmedia narrative) which would probably make sense to anyone who is familiar with my work.
Having said that, we like to think that what the work actually “is” is quite open to interpretation. In this regard, Lional Dobie was the perfect space to initialize the coming out of MOGA into more traditional exhibition contexts. In many ways, Omar — and the curatorial team at Harris who I will discuss in a bit — assumed the role of The Artist 2.0-as-curator. Of course, since the work is a playful investigation of digital persona as it relates to contemporary forms of artistic and curatorial practice, the Lionel Dobie venue ended up being the perfect location to launch the first physical remix of the site (Lionel Dobie is a fictional character / abstract painter played by Nick Nolte in a movie based on a short story by Dostoyevsky, so the playful relationship between abstract artist, fictional persona, pseudonymity, and narrative myth-making was further accentuated in this hands-on cultural production with the gallery space — and here it should be noted that creating these resonant convergences of cross-generational, like-minded cultural producers and experimental
Omar and I agreed that since the Lionel Dobie Project was just getting started and MOGA would be the first exhibition of its kind in the space, that we would experiment with the way we redistributed the web artifacts into the physical space and that MOGA would, in a sense, inform the nascent gallery’s initial narrative (which I’m sure has since changed). The gallery was just getting started and had no real exhibition history to speak of, so the space was (mockingly? seriously and with good intent?) transferred into a slick, Soho-like gallery, and the exhibition was also very clean and included many of the works and texts available on the WWW, including some of the following:
* the construction of a maze-like or labyrinthine space to navigate
* lots of vinyl wall text sampled from the catalog
* the MOGA logo
* framed digital images from the blog (sized at blog-thumbnail scale)
* looping animated GIFS consisting of images shot on early mobile phone video circa 2006 playing on small LCDs
* projections of experimental Google Street View glitch video distributed by The Artist 2.0 on sites like Vimeo (also sized at large desktop monitor full screen scale)
* a display of assorted books and early mobile phones referenced in the catalog as being instrumental in the early and ongoing nomadic practice of The Artist 2.0 (the catalog discusses the various hardware, software, books, etc. that the artist has used over time including mobile phones and experimental / open source software and postmodern metafiction … although keep in mind that the narrative tone is definitely satirical — perhaps the natural outcome of some of the frustrations often voiced in communities like CRUMB and nettime and Rhizome, etc. — and that as an artist who has worked in the field for what feels like forever, is best addressed through black humor)
* a small listening room for the Soundcloud stand-up comedy performance (more glitchcrack humor focused on many issues but most significantly “art schools”)
* a computer displaying the glitchmuseum.com website
Here is a link to some images from the AND / Lionel Dobie exhibition:
A month after closing in Manchester, MOGA then reappeared (and is still on exhibit until January 3) in an exhibit at the Harris Museum and Gallery in Preston. When the curator at the Harris, Lindsay Taylor, came to the opening of MOGA at Lionel Dobie, we began a discussion on how best to re-remix the Manchester exhibition and glitchmuseum.com exhibition of MOGA into the Harris. Lindsay’s curatorial team included Steph Fletcher, Aneta Krzemien, and Kit Robinson, and in consultation with Omar, we came up with a different approach. Contrary to Lionel Dobie, which opened this summer, the Harris has been around since 1893 and has a rich and deep historical narrative already implied in its building foundation, extensive and centuries-old collection, permanent exhibitions, etc. Given these very different contexts, we decided it would be more provocative to try and, if you will, “glitch the museum” (“glitch the muse” is how I saw it). The different works distributed throughout the Harris also include the looping animated GIFs, framed jpegs, books, video projections, old mobile phones, screen based net art, QR codes (that link to quotes from The Artist 2.0 peppered throughout the catalog), and the album-length stand-up comedy routine.
Here is a link to some images from the Harris remix of the MOGA exhibition:
As you can see by following the link above, the various digital works and objects exhibited in the Harris are distributed through the permanent collections of fine and decorative art as well as within the more contemporary galleries where the “Digital Aesthetic” exhibition is located. In this way, Museum of Glitch Aesthetics goes mano y mano with the by now predictable narrative trajectories of museological discourse. Yes, the work was first intentionally constructed as a playful, online intervention into the challenges of not only curating web-based art but of resisting (or strategically embracing) the potential canonization, historicization, and mythologization of a pseudonymous (fictionalized) net art presence (The Artist 2.0). Some of you may find that this figure resonates with the mid-late 90s net art practitioners who still inform the discourse today as we tangle ourselves up with the academic, commercial, and mainstream art purveyors now glomming on to the potential of digital transformation in the arts. Obviously, much of the artist’s bio-data resonates with many of my own creations over the years, and of course this is intentional, and resonates with my next work which looks at the relationship between Duchamp’s portable and miniaturized museums (Boîte-en-valise) and his Large Glass delay-in-painting which comes with its own “album” and “book” (terms he used to describe “The Green Box” that many think is at the heart of his practice).
Perhaps I should also mention that MOGA has been sampled from and remixed into two live performances as well: the first with Lydia Lunch, Chad Mossholder and myself in a packed hotel room in the Salutation Hotel in Manchester as part of AND’s “Machine By Other Means” event (http://www.andfestival.org.uk/events/machines-by-other-means/) and as the closing act on the opening night of performances at ELMCIP’s “Remediating the Social” event held at the Edinburgh College of Art earlier this month.
I must say that as exhausting as it was to make and continue performing this elaborate artwork — I’m trying to imagine what Gaby and Ruth at AND thought when they first opened up the website — it was really quite fun to address these issues that concern us all (the institutionalized life as experienced in museum/gallery culture, the “art world,” art school, creative industries, etc.), It goes without saying that I had an excellent team of collaborators and amazing production support from the team at AND.
Sorry for the lengthy email … I think I will end there for now. I am happy to discuss two other recent works, remixthebook and Immobilité, in relation to the themes of the month if there’s time. remixthebook tries to rethink the relationship between practice, theory and performance by hybridizing the publication as print book and digital exhibition / performance; and Immobilité has a semi-interesting history in relation to museum culture, cinema culture, urban screens, and fine art collection.
But I know there are many others who have a lot to contribute as well.