That vast, often vague, less metropolitan expanse that New Yorkers usually call “Upstate” has been a major force in the evolution of contemporary media art.
Almost five years ago, Electronic Disturbance Theater (EDT) 2.0/b.a.n.g. lab released the first iteration of the Transborder Immigrant Tool (TBT), a mobile-phone technology that provides poetry to immigrants crossing the U.S.-Mexico border while leading them to water caches in the Southern California desert. In 2010, the project caused a firestorm of controversy on the American political scene, and the artists of EDT/b.a.n.g. lab were investigated by three Republican Congressmen, the FBI Office of Cybercrimes and the University of California, San Diego (UCSD), where Ricardo Dominguez, co-founder of EDT (with Brett Stalbaum) and principal investigator of b.a.n.g. lab, is an associate professor in the visual arts department.
When BP’s Deepwater Horizon drilling rig exploded in April 2010, an estimated 172 million gallons of oil poured into the Gulf of Mexico, creating the worst petroleum-industry spill in U.S. history. The stories and images of crude oil reaching the coastlines of the Gulf States were appalling — pelicans mired in grease, local fishermen devastated, ocean water slick with oil, ecological systems threatened. But that mess is fixed now, all cleaned up by BP. The oceans are clear. Swimming is safe. And we can all happily gobble down as much Louisiana gumbo as we desire. This is what BP would have you believe.
When I visited JODI’s current exhibition, Street Digital, at the Museum of the Moving Image, I wondered how the notorious duo would take their earlier net art practices into the “street” (or gallery). Joan Heemskerk and Dirk Paesmans of JODI became well-known in the 1990s for upending traditional internet experiences with their online artworks. From wwwwwwwww.jodi.org to http://404.jodi.org/, they presented abstract code and programming glitches as art, bringing the background source of digital works into the foreground. Their work looked more like a crash of your web-browsing program rather than a coherent, readable text.
A lot has changed since novelist and physicist C.P. Snow’s assertion in the 1960s that Western intellectual life was split between two irreconcilable cultures: the arts and the sciences. Around that time, Experiments in Art and Technology (E.A.T.) was just beginning its efforts to bridge those two spheres. Fifty years later, Carnegie Mellon University’s Miller Gallery has made a significant contribution to representing and documenting where the relationship between art, science, and technology stands with the exhibition Intimate Science and the related book New Art/Science Affinities.
ROCHESTER, NEW YORK/ PITTSBURGH, PA — In his new book, Contemporary Art: World Currents, Terry Smith argues that three concerns dominate contemporary art: (1) world-picturing, or the imagination of global interconnectedness, (2) environmental problems and awareness and (3) the effects of social media. On a recent trip to Pittsburgh, I had the opportunity to hear Smith, who teaches at the University of Pittsburgh, speak about these “currents” of art created since the 1980s. When I visited Carnegie Mellon University’s Miller Gallery later that day to review the Pittsburgh Biennial, Smith’s ideas were fresh in my mind and I found myself comparing the exhibition to his understanding of art history.
The intertwined energies of art, technology, and environment were alive in Brooklyn on the night of Thursday, October 13. I was scheduled to speak at Hyperallergic HQ about the work I am doing with my Ecoarttech collaborative on social, political, environmental and media ecologies. When the first press release for the talk went out, a friend emailed me with an uncannily similar event happening nearby on the very same night: the opening for Ecologías Correlativas at 319 Scholes.