To tackle the anxiety of online identity and the constant torrential rain of information, artist Toni Dove has orchestrated a ghost story. It’s a spectral experience that spills from video screens that raise from the floor and hover from the ceiling, blending in live soundtracking, robotics, motion-sensing animation, and a whole cavalcade of integrated technology that comes together more like a sci-fi symphony than a replica of all that online noise. I recently visited Dove’s studio in Lower Manhattan, where she demonstrated the technology behind Lucid Possession and discussed her continuously evolving new media-based work.
I first learned about Cubism in an art history class my sophomore year of college. I remember the moment of revelation, after reading a lot about but still failing to grasp what exactly Picasso and Braque were after. In the darkened lecture hall one afternoon, our teacher summed it up this way: how sparingly could you paint a face while still having the viewer understand it as a face? What was the bare minimum required for representation? As legend has it, these questions and the art they inspired changed the course of art history forever.
Is the same true of the digital revolution? That’s the premise of Decenter, an exhibition curated Andrianna Campbell and Daniel S. Palmer and currently on view at the Abrons Arts Center.
Whether you like it or not, the digital invasion of Google Glasses is on its way, bringing the alternate world of augmented reality with it. As the late sci-fi author Philip K. Dick, who I really wish was here to react to the rapidly cyborg-like technology advances, forebodes in his 1978 essay “How to Build a Universe That Doesn’t Fall Apart Two Days Later”: “What is real? Because unceasingly we are bombarded with pseudorealities manufactured by very sophisticated people using very sophisticated electronic mechanisms. I do not distrust their motives; I distrust their power. They have a lot of it. And it is an astonishing power: that of creating whole universes, universes of the mind. I ought to know. I do the same thing.”
The deal making begins weeks before the celebrities touch down in Park City, Utah, a pop-up center of the universe for the culture industry during the ten-day run of the 2013 Sundance Film Festival. Open Road Films buys the Steve Jobs biopic jOBS, starring Ashton Kutcher as the Apple co-founder, long before audiences clap, yawn, or both at its Sundance Closing Weekend premiere. Other movies including Mud, starring Matthew McConaughey, and No, featuring Gael García Bernal, also arrive with deals intact. The pre-fest deals, as well as decisions by filmmakers from former Nirvana drummer and Foo Fighters frontman Dave Grohl (Sound City) to Shane Carruth (Upstream Color) to take on a DIY release model, lead to an inevitable question: with the ability to build communities of fans and supporters 24/7 on digital platforms, are the time, energy, and money spent getting in and getting to Sundance still necessary?
You’re digital! I’m digital! We’re all digital! No better way to stir the pot than to bring up the post-IRL condition that has us all confused: What does it mean that we spend so much time online? How are artists engaging technology? Everyone’s arguing, from the curmudgeonly Artforum-approved art historian Claire Bishop to curator Lauren Cornell and author Eleanor Heartney. Here’s what they’re saying.
2012 was a great year for digital art. As Tumblr rocketed over 25 million hits a month and Instagram became a new venue for creative expression, artists continued to traverse the internet’s sprawling landscape and confront us with the weirdness of our own experiences of virtual space. In this end-of-year roundup, I’ll look at ten events, moments, and trends that marked these past 12 months in digital art.
Have you waited till the last minute to do your holiday shopping for all your arty friends? Not a problem — we have a slew of gifts for you that won’t take any time at all to deliver. They’re GIFs! Easily giftable and transmitted instantly over email or the social network of your choice, GIFs make the perfect gifts.
BRIGHTON, UK — The difficulties facing post-war German artists can seem insurmountable. And it may not be fair to the likes of Beuys, Kiefer, or Richter to look for an adequate response to the worst atrocities of WWII; we should surely share the guilt around. But a lesser-known artist from Pforzheim has apparently cracked the worst dilemmas facing his countrymen. His name is Manfred Mohr and he has maneuvered German art out of its cul-de-sac with a healthy dose of logic and a working knowledge of early computer technology.
EDMONTON, Alberta — Animated GIFs express newness through the medium of the explicitly old. Seen as the quaint markers of a pre-Flash world wide web, GIFs’ ongoing renaissance over the past half-decade places them in an online context that marks their vintage aesthetic difference as a notable appeal rather than an intrusive deficiency.
What if every image that ever passed through your web browser was published for all to see? Surfcave is a new Chrome browser plugin and website by Jonathan Vingiano and Brad Troemel that turns surfing the internet into a relentlessly public, voyeuristic, and hypnotic activity.
New York-based artist J.K. Keller has come up with a new use for his phone — a facial cleanser. In his new project, iPhone Oil Paintings, Keller rubs his iPhone all over his face and then traces patterns and designs into the resulting gunk.
Somewhere along one of the exterior walls of the Museum of the Moving Image, there is a slot. It’s barely noticeable — a small, dark crevice cut into the wall, incredibly thin and not more than five inches long. If you happened to see it, you’d probably think it looks a lot like a CD/DVD drive — and you’d be right. It is a drive, meant for blank discs. If you bring a DVD, insert it into the slot and then wait a few minutes, the drive will eventually return your disc to you. On it will be a curated exhibition of video art — for the next month, at least. After September 15, the content being offered will change. It will change again a month later, and then again, and on and on indefinitely (or until the museum decides to uninstall the drive).