This week, artists and drones, archiving the web, Russian art manifestos, the lies of American Sniper, modern life, and more.
Art is supposed to combat loneliness, too. The key question about tech-based art is still the one Roy Ascott asked in 1989: “Is there love in the telematic embrace?” When we say of a work of art, “I didn’t get it,” we don’t mean only that we didn’t understand it but literally that we didn’t receive it. It didn’t cross over to where we are. It left us just as it found us, on our own. All art has to cross this distance, but tech art comes up against the additional bias of our “deep-seated fears of the machine coming to dominate the human will and of a technological formalism erasing human content and values,” Ascott wrote. Our technophobia. It’s a bias I know I have, founded in my insecurity about my life essentially depending on technological structures that I barely understand. Twomey had a feeling deep down that computer art “was bunk” because he didn’t believe in its ability to love.
In 2006, David Cameron gave a speech in which he said that Google was democratizing the world, because “making more information available to more people” was providing “the power for anyone to hold to account those who in the past might have had a monopoly of power.” Seven years later, Britain’s Conservative Party scrubbed from its Web site ten years’ worth of Tory speeches, including that one. Last year, BuzzFeed deleted more than four thousand of its staff writers’ early posts, apparently because, as time passed, they looked stupider and stupider. Social media, public records, junk: in the end, everything goes.
- In Connecticut, pickles must bounce to officially be considered pickles.
- In Florida, a person may not appear in public clothed in liquid latex.
- In Ohio, it’s illegal to disrobe in front of a man’s portrait.
- In Washington, it’s illegal to paint polka dots on the American flag.
- In Kentucky, it’s illegal to paint your lawn red.
There are the warehouse workers who snap themselves letting a wisp of marijuana smoke slip from between their lips, little Instagram rebellions. There are the soldiers and sailors pulling a night shift for no good reason other than orders, photographing themselves and their comrades on the verge of sleep or already under. Cops in noirish black and white, their pictures framed to show a bit of badge. And nurses. A lot of nurses. Close-up, arm’s length, forced smiles, dead eyes. Scroll through #nightshift, and you’ll see some saints among them and some whose hands you hope will be more alive in an emergency than their ashen faces.
1. The Film Suggests the Iraq War Was In Response To 9/11: One way to get audiences to unambiguously support Kyle’s actions in the film is to believe he’s there to avenge the 9/11 terrorist attacks. The movie cuts from Kyle watching footage of the attacks to him serving in Iraq, implying there is some link between the two.
RELATED: Matt Taibbi writes that American Sniper is almost too dumb to criticize:
Sniper is a movie whose politics are so ludicrous and idiotic that under normal circumstances it would be beneath criticism. The only thing that forces us to take it seriously is the extraordinary fact that an almost exactly similar worldview consumed the walnut-sized mind of the president who got us into the war in question.
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