This past Wednesday, June 8, curator Lindsay Howard mounted a guerrilla “Speed Show” at an internet cafe in Williamsburg. Featuring the websites of eight internet-based artists and collectives as art objects, the exhibition presented a different way of showing net art: in its natural, interactive habitat.
Did you know this week is Internet Week New York? Surprise! And there are art events, too. Tonight only, curator Lindsay Howard will be taking over Internet Garage, a Williamsburg internet cafe, with a team of net artists.
Online exhibition space The State has a new show up: Jacob Broms Engblom’s “wShare” is a fetishization of those internet moments when we’re just caught waiting.
Can a sunset be crowd-sourced? Artist Jasper Elings has done just that with “Sharing a Beautiful Sunset” (2009), a 1 minute video that creates one single ocean sunset from hundreds of disparate images found on Google Images. The resulting video, set to a industrial drone soundtrack, is both poetic found art and intriguing conceptual exercise. As found internet artifacts, the source of Elings’ images is a popular tool for art-making lately, but “Sharing a Beautiful Sunset” succeeds in transcending the banality and kitsch of sunset photos into something much more inspiring.
From ASCII sunsets to screen-flattened foliage, Artist Laurel Schwulst makes parks for the internet. In a temporary exhibition called Proposals For Future Parks shown on internet-based art space bubblebyte.org, the artist uses different media approaches, both online and off, to explore the abstract idea of a “park,” a loose term that for the artist might signify a constructed landscape that has been made for humans to experience. In this show of four parts, Schwurst designs parks that are meant to be experienced in the manner we are now most accustomed to — through screens, virtually and at a remove.
On the internet exhibition space The State, a Tumblr-based website, artist Chris Collins has published “tyepilot.com”. The text and image-based essay riffs off the artist’s discovery of a hidden cache of spam images advertising work-from-home internet jobs. Tyepilot’s images are remarkably reminiscent of the trends of contemporary internet art, recycling the visual tropes of the early internet, from bad photo manipulation to fake lens flare. The images are fascinating, but even more interesting is our fascination for the lost artifacts of the internet, and the vagueness of their sources and creators. Could finds of these semi-anonymous digital artifacts constitute the folk art of the internet age? Is Tyepilot the Grandma Moses of the 21st century?
In response to my post on ambient creativity, speaking to how our online creative outlets of Twitter and Facebook might be sapping our ambition for bigger projects, the idea came up that maybe we don’t need to seek out masterpieces of these new media. Instead, what about thinking of social media networks as aggregate works of art?
Can you believe your internet? Newst Week is a physical device that gets implanted by pranksters in a specific location, a coffee shop, for example. After connecting to the internet through a local router, the device intercepts wireless signals going to computers and edits the headlines on news websites. US Wants Julian Assange as Head of Department of Defense!?
I’m sure everyone reading this blog has had the same brain-fart online experience: someone sends you a link, you catch something on Twitter, you open a recommendation from a friend, but as soon as it pops in to a new tab in your browser, you forget about it. It’s not that the new thing isn’t interesting, or that you don’t mean to open it, you just get distracted. Twenty minutes and an email/Twitter/Facebook update later, the tab catches your eye catches and you click into it. Often, I find that I have no idea how I found the thing I’m opening, where it came from, or what it is. This built-in web browser surprise creates an interesting context (or lack there of) for online content, particularly for images.
Yeah, so everyone knows Kanye West has invaded the Internet since he got on Twitter, and has been dropping songs every (GOOD) Friday. But the rap star’s presence online has done some funky things to online aesthetics as well. Just like Kanye has the supernatural ability to create a Twitter trending topic at will (see lipstick … ) and memes seem to spring fully formed from his forehead, or iPhone as it may be, he has the single-handed capacity to inspire self-replicating conceptual art moments online.
Internet artists have been taking the raw materials of Kanye’s digital output and using it as the basis for new works. Part collage, part DIY crafting project, the spinoffs are interesting studies in the creative scrapyard of the online world.