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Posted inOpinion

Art, Tech, and Gentrification in San Francisco

SAN FRANCISCO — As fleets of shuttle buses take employees to their respective Silicon Valley campuses, resentment and tension grows in the Bay Area. Last week, protesters blocked one such Google bus in an effort to draw attention to the widening gap between the technology industry and the communities it affects; a union organizer impersonated a tech worker to incite dialogue through performative gesture.

Posted inArt

Teaching a Robot to Paint

We’re fascinated with robots doing human things, from Elektro chain-smoking its way through the 1939 World’s Fair to the Turk automaton that was beating people at chess during the 18th and 19th centuries (there turned out to be a human hiding inside the latter, but still). Now a team at the University of Konstanz in Germany has trained a robot to paint.

Posted inArt

A Futuristic Ghost Story with Many Layers

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.

Posted inBooks

The Work of Fiction in the Age of Digital Reproduction: Alexandra Chasin’s “Brief”

Alexandra Chasin’s Brief, an innovative narrative in the form of an iPad app, is “Exhibit A” in the case that the novel is finding exciting new ways to reinvent itself after the digital turn. Brief, the first novel-app of its kind, would make a rich and wonderful addition to any syllabus or reading list on appropriation, experimental fiction, new media literature, visual studies, violence and representation, or text and image, and I hope in these “brief” paragraphs to adumbrate some of the reason why.

Posted inOpinion

Is 4D Printing a Thing?

If you thought 3D printing was confusing, just wait until four-dimensional printing hits. The somewhat erroneously named term has come into vogue as of late with a few MIT-driven projects that promise to lead the way for self-assembling skyscrapers, among other futuristic phenomena.

Posted inOpinion

Are Tech Companies the New Thought Police?

VALENCE, France — There is a new thread in the ongoing stream of censorship by social networks and mobile applications. Vine, the iPhone and iPod Touch “Instagram for video” app, underwent controversy mere days after it’s release on the App Store. Twitter-owned Vine was released last week to a notable buzz, even being featured by Apple as an App Store “Editor’s Pick” from the first day of its launch.

Posted inArt

Online Art Galleries Go Indie

Lately, the art world has been awash in technology-driven art start-ups, including well-funded ventures like 20×200, Artsy, and Artspace that dominate headlines by providing access to buying (or at least window shopping) art to a wider audience than blue-chip collectors. Making the gallery experience less intimidating is all well and good, but what about the nice parts of going to a small, hip art space and being able to pick out a piece that you might be able to afford? The good news is that a pair of independent, effortlessly cool online art galleries have recently launched to provide engaged collectors with the chance to follow specific curatorial voices.

Posted inOpinion

The Goofy Physical Ways We Interact With Digital Technology

There’s a post (that I can no longer find, unfortunately) on the hilarious Tumblr Sexpigeon (SFW, I promise) that features a man on the street, slouching over his smartphone, face angled far down, features invisible. The caption, something to the effect of: “What a brave new world for posture we live in.” The advent of portable technology has brought with it a range of new behaviors, both virtual and physical. Two recent projects take on the IRL side of how we interface with our contemporary devices.

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