The Walker Curates the News: 12.22.14 | ART21 Magazine
Installations illustrating ethnographic studies, architecture media serving as evidence of political crimes, and artifacts staged as dioramas: A growing range of art involving “speculative archaeology” aim to uncover the hidden infrastructures of our society.
archaeology  media_archaeology  my_work  art 
2 hours ago
CASA Smart Cities Conference
Data can be visualized in a myriad of ways, yet sometimes it is the simplest that are the most effective. The London Data Table cycled through a series of visualisations from live aircraft feeds through to data from the Barclays Cycle Hire Scheme to present a view of London from above.

Combining a projector with a short throw lens, a table cut to the outline of London and various processing scripts and movies allowed an instant view of complex data feeds. Another highlight was the touch table enabled ‘Riot Simulator’ mixing data from the recent London riots with research into urban and behavioral modeling made hands on with the help of Lego.
smart_cities  interfaces  dashboards  maps 
18 hours ago
Grégoire Chamayou - / in print
Automating the remote collection of detailed information on the facts and movements of daily life was about filling an epistemic void: “Although we have daily records of the behavior of volcanoes, of the tides, of sun spots, and of rats and monkeys, there have been few scientific records of . . . how any boy lived his life from the time he awoke in the morning until he went to sleep at night,” psychologists Roger G. Barker and Herbert F. Wright mused wistfully in a 1954 book later cited by the Schwitzgebels.2 Indeed, why wouldn’t the psychologist, like the volcanologist, have his own network of sensors to measure the seismic shifts of behavior, or, like the ethologist, his own array of transponder necklaces to place on the body of (human) animals? It was proposed that this art of remote measurement of human conduct be called anthropotelemetry. But if anthropotelemetric devices were developed with a view to building a huge storehouse of knowledge, knowing was just one facet of the project. The purpose of collecting all this information was, above all, to act on it: “Gathering data in order to affect behavior” is the motto of electronic monitoring.3 “Feedback of information from the record to the patient,”4 it was hoped, would modify behavior more subtly and sustainably than cruder interventions.

The Apple Watch may be seen as a further refinement of this vision of a subtler mode of behavior modification. When the watch exhibits to the subject the graphics of her own activity, she is given her behavior as an object. She is provided with a constantly updated long-term perspective about herself, about her rhythm and her tendencies, with a diagrammatic past and a future that is traced as a line graph. The self, exposed to itself through the visualization of activity reports, can then be engaged in a process of normative transformation that proceeds via operant conditioning—i.e., not merely by instilling Pavlovian reflex in subjects but by making them adjust to a series of rewards or sanctions....

At a conference a year ago, David Gauthier—an official at the NSA’s less famous sibling bureaucracy the National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency—emphasized the central role that the “daticultural revolution,” i.e., the process of “taking all aspects of life and turning them into data,”5 could play in the development of a new paradigm for intelligence gathering.6 The idea is to intercept and store all the data made available by ubiquitous positioning devices, social media, etc., in order to conduct “activity-based intelligence” (ABI), which focuses not on tracing specific targets but on detecting patterns, congruences, or relevant anomalies within vast tranches of information.

Still virtually unknown to the general public, in intelligence circles ABI is unquestionably ascendant, and so is the NGA, which claims this new paradigm as its natural bailiwick. The agency’s recently appointed director, Robert Cardillo, enthused about ABI in almost philosophical terms this past October, telling a reporter that the methodology would allow analysts “to find meaning in the noise.”7 His predecessor, Letitia A. Long, had sounded positively evangelical when she wrote that ABI was “a new foundation for intelligence analysis.” While analysts had been overwhelmed by “ ‘big and noisy’ data from the huge increase in the number and type of sensors,” ABI would allow them to detect “patterns of life,” to trace “weaker, more dispersed signatures,” and to liberate all the information “‘trapped’ in products, reports, [and] disparate primary sources.”
sensors  data  methodology  surveillance  quantified_self  feedback 
The Sixth Year
The Sixth Year is an art world drama series in five episodes, which re-interprets the format of the TV series. Set in the New York art world, it stages the backstage and theatricalizes the social interactions and power games, the aspirations, passions, and everyday realities of the field. The screenplay is based on interviews with artists, curators, gallerists, collectors, and art advisors, whose opinions, anecdotes, and gossip it abstracts and extrapolates into a fictional narrative.

The art world is as rich a subject as it is an exploited one. Its internal contradictions and its entanglements with capital and power have nourished several generations of institutional critique; reality shows and lifestyle magazines cater to an ever-growing popular interest in its glamor and extravagant personalities;and a wave of gossip-based art has recently exploited its group dynamics and explicated its language games. Situated somewhere between Andrea Fraser, Gallery Girls, and Jerry Magoo, The Sixth Year seeks, above all, ambiguity of form. Inside knowledge and sensitive information were processed, rendered abstract, and relayed amongst contributors so many times that spectacular exposure gives way to a focus on structure, as the series’ formal heterogeneity foregrounds the processes of transmission and transformation rather than the information itself.
art_world  film  parody  institutional_critique 
Julian Rose on Fujiko Nakaya at the Glass House - / in print
“The fog is reading its own environment and making it visible. It’s very physical.” Indeed, Nakaya’s cloud offers a material index of those qualities that are understood as intangible—the caress of a shifting breeze, say, or the chill creeping into a cool summer evening—even though they have much to do with our physical experience of a place.

Ironically, these are the very qualities of the site that Johnson ignored. Although the Glass House is often discussed in terms of its openness and sensitivity to its environment, the building’s design and construction belie this. For Johnson, the surrounding landscape was less a ground for the building than a series of picturesque perspectives framed by the house. (He famously called these views his “very expensive wallpaper.”) The glass itself was less a material than a visual effect, a means of achieving transparency and invisibility. But at the microscale, glass is not so different from fog; it is dynamic and responsive stuff that swells, shifts, or contracts in response to even minute changes in temperature or air pressure. The critical point in any glass architecture, therefore, is the joint between the glass and the rest of the structure: Glass must be protected from direct contact with more rigid materials, as its greater rate of flex and different coefficient of expansion will cause stress concentrations that can lead to cracking and breakage. In contemporary structures, compressive gaskets (typically made of foam or rubber) are usually used to join glass to hard materials such as metal or concrete, while in older buildings, wooden window frames served a similar purpose. Yet at the climactic architectural moment in Johnson’s house—the joint between the glass and steel, where invisibility meets gravity, and his cherished visual effect runs into the solid support required to sustain it—Johnson simply butted the glass sheets directly against the steel structure, using two bars to hold them in place. The result is that any significant environmental shift (a hot summer day, a violent rainstorm) has the potential to shatter the glass—which has happened repeatedly in the past sixty-five years, to the point where none of the original panes remain. The glass is indeed immaterial, insofar as Johnson refused to acknowledge certain raw facts of existence.

But the fog and the glass are not just alternate approaches to the problem of materiality; they represent two different attitudes about the relationship between a work and its environment. Nakaya has embraced the inherent responsiveness and mutability of her medium to create a piece that defers to the complexity of its surroundings; Johnson sought to suppress the materiality of building and landscape in an effort to bring them equally, and totally, under his control. He understood physical reality as too messy, too contingent—as a threat to the perfect composition of his views or the pure conception of his design. Architecture is notoriously effective as a mechanism of control, and Johnson, with his avowed fascist tendencies, seems to have had a particular weakness for displays of power. Nakaya’s roots, by contrast, are in the counterculture of the ’60s and ’70s, and her project is one of self-proclaimed “democratic idealism.” The Glass House, with its rigidly enforced immateriality, reminds us that architecture succumbs most completely to authority when it is reduced to an image.
site_specificity  environment  land_art  fog  materiality  glass  architecture_as_media  media_architecture 
Hal Foster - / in print
Höch deemed two other preconditions to be essential: the novel forms of both film montage, which showed how visual meaning could be constructed dialectically, and “reportage photography,” the photojournalism featured in the illustrated magazines that boomed in the Weimar period and that she ransacked for material. This source also put her art in productive tension with advertising and publicity, which she both delighted in and tore up and turned every which way. Even before Brecht coined the term, then, Höch subjected her selected images to “refunctioning” or, as she put it, “remounting, cutting up, sticking down, activating—that is to say, alienating.” She called her photomontage “a new form of compressed utterance,” which is to suggest that it was, in an elliptical way, always dialogical with her viewers and often agonistic with her sources. This was so because Höch aimed above all to question, in her own terms, the “validity” of current “concepts” and “gestures,” usually through abrupt cuts in scale and perspective. “I would like to blur the firm borders that we human beings, cocksure as we are, are inclined to erect around everything that is accessible to us,” Höch wrote in 1929. “Today I would portray the world from an ant’s-eye view and tomorrow as the moon sees it.”...

Höch emerges as critical complement to the great documentarian of the Weimar period, August Sander; at the same time, her deep interest in expression and gesture keeps faith with Charles Darwin and Aby Warburg. Clearly, Höch still believed in a physiognomic reading of character (the humors are evoked and the faces of humans and animals are superimposed), even as she also mocked this antiquated version of social psychology.

The Whitechapel show had many small surprises, such as the early embroideries and pattern pieces and the late sexy collages and summa self-portrait Lebensbild (Life Portrait), 1972–73, and one major revelation, the scrapbook—now typically called the Album—Höch produced in 1933....

Many elements persist from the photomontages of the 1920s: her interest in expression and gesture, both human and animal, and her play with scale and perspective, or “the optical unconscious” (as Benjamin termed it at the time) of views from “ant” to “moon.” In this respect, Höch is in direct dialogue with predecessors like Karl Blossfeldt and contemporaries like László Moholy-Nagy...

the Album is less about fragmentary pieces than about intact wholes. It is still a work of montage, of refunctioning, but now the détournement acts on the magazine page or spread more than on the single photograph. This approach allows Höch to repeat motifs and develop themes. Stars and sporty types are back, and again there are more women than men, yet often they appear in unusual groupings: not just mother and child but girls together; not just a row of schoolchildren but a “mass ornament,” to use the contemporaneous phrase offered by Kracauer to come to terms with spectacles that subsume individuals into decorative patterns
photography  collage  remixing  Weimar  montage  archives  archive_art 
The Din of Gallery Chit-Chat: “The Sixth Year” Online - News - Art in America
Those looking for a tragicomic art-world counterpoint to It's a Wonderful Life-style holiday cheer might consider "The Sixth Year" (2013), a five-episode dramatic series now available for online binge-watching. Written by Los Angeles-based artists Jay Chung and Q Takeki Maeda, and produced in conjunction with their recent exhibition at New York's downtown art space Ludlow 38, "The Sixth Year" is a razor-sharp look at the social machinations and careerist maneuverings that unfold in New York galleries, studios and art bars.

Though it might resemble a TV miniseries, "The Sixth Year" is more like an omnibus movie, with each brief episode directed by a different artist or filmmaker, including sections by Rick Alverson, Dustin Guy Defa and Alex Ross Perry, who have each previously directed narrative feature films. Whether the story follows an emerging artist as he applies for a job in an established artist's studio or we watch as young strivers internalize the cynical lingo of art advisors, it's never clear whether viewers should empathize with these characters, struggling to "make it" in an unforgiving system, or whether we should all just throw in the towel and resign from the art world immediately.

Some cause for hope is found in the episodes directed by artists. Loretta Fahrenholz cast children in the roles of self-centered gallerists and nonprofit directors, transforming Chung and Maeda's bitchy dialogue into an absurdist comedy. Ken Okiishi and Nick Mauss departed from narrative drama altogether. In their episode a disembodied voice reads the entire screenplay, stage directions and all, while bizarre, pornographic 3-D animations are superimposed over a video of someone browsing through the Ludlow 38 website.
art_world  parody  video 
Oliver Beer  Artist Three Minute Wonder - YouTube
Artist Oliver Beer is followed by Channel 4 as he makes a new film in the huge Victorian sewer network in Brighton.
sound_space  sound_sculpture  voice  acoustics 
Oliver Beer - Galerie Thaddaeus Ropac
early interest in the relationship between sound and space, particularly the voice and architecture. He has translated his research into fascinating performances in which spectators take part by the mere fact of their presence, and he makes sculptures and videos that embody, literally or metaphorically, the plastic expression of this subtle relationship and the way the human body experiences it. Within and alongside his work with sound, Oliver Beer creates subtle and diverse sculptural, installation and film projects whose provenance sometimes seems biographical; but in which his play with universal – often intimate – concerns draws on shared emotions and perceptions. 
sound_space  installation  voice 
Lee Mingwei | Fabric Workshop and Museum
The Letter-Writing Project consists of three booths fabricated from wood and translucent glass. Subtly lit from within, a warm and inviting light emanates from the chambers. Inside each booth, the artist has designed a place for the viewer to stand, sit, or kneel—the three positions of meditation in Ch’an Buddhism. Viewers are invited to enter the booth of their choice and compose a letter to a person, either living or dead, reflecting on events that have inspired feelings of gratitude, insight or forgiveness— themes that correspond to the meditation positions. Completed letters are placed inside the booth for others to read, or they can be sealed in an envelope for privacy. During the exhibition, letters with addresses were mailed weekly, while all others were gathered together and kept by the artist. Lee currently has approximately 15,000 unsent letters, a number that continues to grow as the project is exhibited around the world. As most of these letters are written to the deceased, he plans to ritualistically release them from this world; at an appropriate time, Lee will place the letters on a series of paper lanterns, which will be set on fire as they float down a river.
letters  writing  installation  text_art 
Christopher Williams | Artforum | Tim Griffin - / in print
The objects depicted within the image’s frame are similarly reflexive, including the canopied bench, the striped canvas and cushions of which immediately summon Williams’s earlier photograph of a Daniel Buren ceiling tile—a citation effectively echoing the elder artist’s assertion that institutional (indeed, both architectural and social) context inevitably generates a syntax within which any image or object obtains specific cultural significance. And, as if to underline how, for Williams, such a grammar of representation and signification must be traced back to the most basic processes and mechanisms of photography, the lower right corner of his picture features a power box made by the now defunct photographic-equipment company Balcar, and this corporate name is emblazoned on a lighting apparatus that slices across the image’s upper right corner. (In fact, the instrument’s sharp angle mirrors the stripes’ diagonal grade while meeting them within the composition, conjuring—if one allows oneself the lyrical leap—the blades of a closing shutter.).....

For a good deal of the above perspective on his work could have been—and was—articulated in literature going back more than twenty years. Indeed, if the artist’s work is typically lauded today for its crisscrossing of conceptual and commercial motifs, making art-historical maneuvers for decidedly contemporary eyes, it is nevertheless worthwhile to look back at scholar Thomas Crow’s 1993 essay “The Simple Life: Pastoralism and the Persistence of Genre in Recent Art,” which considers Williams in the context of Dan Graham’s magazine piece Homes for America, 1966. The “promise of realism contained in [Graham’s] plain diction,” Crow noted, was confirmed at “the level of abstract critical allegory”—and one cannot help but think in such a vein, where the most cerebral endeavors are nevertheless linked to the most common, regarding Williams’s continual use of commercial modes in photography, from its models, color charts, and lighting registers to its resolution and saturated color.... when a practice such as Williams’s revolves so much around the social and technological conditions that contribute to meaning, one must ask how those conditions might have shifted to allow for that practice’s wider reception and more widespread praise.
photography  institutional_critique  construction  advertising  commercialism 
Gego: Line as Object
It shows us what is left of the art object when you have taken away precisely that which conventionally defined or supported it: whether mass from sculpture or ground from drawing. The little that remains has the surprising capacity to hold a space, even a very large one....

In the introduction to the publication, Simon Denny writes: “In Portikus one sees a fantastic conglomeration of material that tries to monumentalize [Samsung’s] powerful cultural message; arranging imagined and remade objects around excerpts from Lee Kun-hee’s texts and Samsung’s history. I’ve tried to stay close to the context it describes: the global material language of corporate pride and presentation.” In commissioning two different English translations of New Management, a publication in Korean about the philosophy and history of Chairman Lee’s legacy, Denny investigates existing hierarchies. On the one hand, the material carries with it extremely specific cultural and economic meaning and value, and on the other, it forms a part of global culture and public information....

the haptic is paramount in these experiments, in which uneven surface texture returns in the alternating warp and weft of the paper. Her technique was simple: Cutting existing photographs found in magazines or prints of her own work into very thin strips, she wove them in and out of one another, allowing two or even more images to intersect and break down into fragments.
sculpture  drawing  immateriality  materiality  haptics  objects  lines 
Ana Torfs | e-flux
The English word echolalia refers to both the compulsive and the playful repetition of the same words. Taking it for her title, Torfs points to her interest in how meaning and knowledge are based on reproduction, repetition and translation. The relation or tension between text/language and image plays a central role in Torfs’s work, and with it all the related processes of representation, interpretation and translation. She questions a topical and authentic perception through the scattered remains of our cultural and political history. Existing texts and/or images are often used as a starting point for her works, whether it is the classic Rossellini film Journey to Italy, the Latin names of plants by Carl Linnaeus or a travel journal of Christopher Columbus. In her series of tapestries TXT (Engine of Wandering Words) an image machine generates multi-layered combinations and variations of one specific loanword, a word that over time remained the same in many different languages, along the routes of early trade and global exchanges. Meaning is reconfigured permanently in a random order.

An archaeology of knowledge is at the heart of Torfs’s artistic endeavour: how things get named and described so that you can grasp them, and how during their transmission new constellations of word, image and sound emerge. Early scientific explorations, exotic imageries, and the totalization of knowledge in the encyclopedia are revealed and their instrumental roles in the colonization of the world questioned. Torfs also questions a topical and authentic perception through the scattered remains of our cultural and political history. Her resulting work often reveals only faint echoes of the original source: playful transpositions and translations from language to image and vice versa, rendering displacements of meaning and interpretation. She does this through the use of a remarkably broad variety of reproducible media, ranging from sound, video, photographs and slide projections to prints, silkscreens and tapestries.
encyclopedias  language  translation  classification  colonialism  art  text_art 
Portikus Exhibition No. 189; Simon Denny; New Management
For two months, the monumental gallery space is turned into an homage to technology, communication, and the relentless need for innovation. Simon Denny has produced an embracing and multi-faceted installation that functions as a documentary of the South Korean technology giant Samsung and its global success story. The exhibition’s title, “New Management”, refers to the legendary management philosophy that Lee Kun-hee, Chairman of the Samsung Group, infamously introduced in the early nineties. “The New Management” principle was first proclaimed in 1993 at a high-level executive meeting at the Kempinski Hotel Frankfurt Gravenbruch near Frankfurt am Main International Airport. Lee flew in his entire top management from around the world for a three-day conference, emphasizing the need to globalize and preparing his employees for a new philosophy of change he was going to introduce in order to turn Samsung into a global market leader in all its sectors...

In the introduction to the publication, Simon Denny writes: “In Portikus one sees a fantastic conglomeration of material that tries to monumentalize [Samsung’s] powerful cultural message; arranging imagined and remade objects around excerpts from Lee Kun-hee’s texts and Samsung’s history. I’ve tried to stay close to the context it describes: the global material language of corporate pride and presentation.” In commissioning two different English translations of New Management, a publication in Korean about the philosophy and history of Chairman Lee’s legacy, Denny investigates existing hierarchies. On the one hand, the material carries with it extremely specific cultural and economic meaning and value, and on the other, it forms a part of global culture and public information.
installation  institutional_critique  corporatization  samsung  korea  management  globalization 
Maria Bartuszová. Provisional Forms - Museum of Modern Art in Warsaw
The majority of the artist’s works are made in plaster – a material by nature preparatory and impermanent. For this reason alone, despite their perfect shape, her sculptures are, as it were by design, tentative, unfinished and transitory. They connote mobility and hesitation – a hypothesis rather than a conclusion. On the occasions when Bartuszová succumbed to the temptations of using bronze or aluminium, she would immediately undermine, through either form or subject matter, their material weight: softening the material, putting it in motion, altering its proportions and mocking gravity. Her material of choice, however, appears to have been plaster (which was cheap) and it was plaster that was to become not only the material of her art but also – through its inherent impermanence and transitory nature – its core message.

The artist’s early works were inspired by natural processes. These sculptures don’t appear to have been created; rather, they emerge and take shape as if a result of the pressure of gravity, the weight of water or wind or due to having emerged from under melting snow. These works appear not to have been created for art galleries but, instead, in order to become part of the landscape or a natural process; they look as if their essence were elsewhere, without rather than within. This is distillation rather than creation, reaction rather than appropriate action, process rather than the target object – and, at the same time, persistence, tension and a kind of conviction that, however ‘fragile’ the hypothesis in hand, it merits pursuing it further.

Such an experimental approach – to oneself as an artist (testing whether one is a creator or re-creator), to materials (the manner of their subjectification), and also to the content (never stable, always in motion, in a transitory state: falling, melting, budding or eventually decaying) – intensifies further when we observe closely the means by which the artist multiplies her remaining forms. To employ multiplication of form is not only the way to invest it with a ‘sign of life’ – as an organic flow of one form into another – but also a game, playing „with” and „through” sculpture.

From the late 1960s, Bartuszová produced works that were a kind of assembly kit: you could take them apart as you pleased, only to re-assemble them again, more or less intuitively. It is worthwhile at this point to recall one of the artist’s most unusual ventures: in 1976 and 1983, together with the art historian Gabriel Kladek, she ran workshops for blind and visually-impaired children. She created sculptures that enabled those unable to see to get to know various forms and textures, to differentiate between geometric and organic forms, to recognise their emotional significance and to develop their aesthetic imagination. Such trespass on the neutral territory of art, ‘alternative’ usage and the emphasis on the haptic characteristics of sculpture manifest Maria Bartuszová’s strikingly avant-garde approach to her artistic tasks.

From the 1980s, her work was dominated by pure, ovoid forms, hollowed eggs and shells, whose perfect shapes were subjected to deformation – crushing, squeezing, breaking, tying and considerable squashing.... The marks left by the hands and their imprints are materially present in the plaster and it is they that have defined it. At the same time, these marks and imprints rest on the surface and go no further. The surface is their limit, and the resultant object appears somewhere along the (shifting) division line between pressure and resistance.

This gesture of touching and imprinting transforms (achronologically) into gestures even more radical than squeezing: those of cutting, stabbing, piercing or tearing. And so, even though Maria Bartuszová created exclusively abstract forms – unusually sparse or even minimalistic in expression – her art sizzles not only with violence but also eroticism, the intuition of damnation and the hope of memory, a deep reflection on the origins of life.
In the final phase of her creativity (thus in the works produced since the mid-1980s) Maria Bartuszová began to employ a singular method of obtaining plaster casts by means of her signature technique, called ‘pneumatic shaping’. The cast was produced with elastic rubber balloons over which she poured concrete. The touched swaps places with the person touching, and the balloons, weighted with the quickly crumbling mass, burst under its pressure. The resulting objects – one can hardly refer to their having been ‘created’ – are the negatives of the presence of the destroyed positives. Their form brushes against their own impossibility: they are infinitely crumbly and thin as well as very sensitive; due to their material impermanence they are borderline ephemeral sculptures.
sculpture  tactility  organicism  memory  formalism 
Mira Schendel – review | Art and design | The Guardian
Her work is beautiful, pensive, quirky and so delicate it might fly away in a breath, which is partly its point and possibly one reason we have seen so little of it. Much of the work in this huge retrospective has never travelled outside Latin America.

Born in Zurich but brought up a Catholic in Italy, Schendel (1919-88) was studying philosophy in Milan when she was stripped of her citizenship as a Jew. In 1939 she fled Italy as a refugee without documents and seems to have passed through several countries by stealth before arriving in Sarajevo, where she married a Croat and acquired the papers that got them both to Latin America. It would be an overstatement to describe her art as restless, but there is a definite sense in which that passage through Europe registers in her work.

The stunning still lifes in the early rooms of this show, for instance, have clear overtones of Paul Klee and Giorgio Morandi: fantastical cityscapes, silent vessels on the tabletop. But Mira, as she tersely signs herself, breaks through at every turn. A gorgeous painting, so simple and yet so rich, shows a spoon, a cup and a couple of jars all arranged like small monuments in a geometric composition the colour of old copper and patinated bronze. She had a way of making the world look ancient and yet vividly modern.

Too poor to buy proper paints, Schendel worked with cheap combinations cut with talc and brick dust, so that some of the surfaces are now poignantly friable as old plaster. Pictures were made on the kitchen table (she had no studio), assembled out of collage or painted in wet charcoal, like the brilliant portrait of a water bottle by night, the clear fluid shining in the darkness.

When a friend appeared with a stack of rice paper, Schendel found both her medium and – in a sense – her message. Rice paper is there and not quite there, something on which you can paint but almost invisible in itself, a surface so diaphanous it is nearly transparent. Her Bordados (Embroideries) were made by laying rice paper on sheets of glass sprinkled with talc and ink and drawing on the paper with her fingernail. The effect is a Zen-like poetry of tiny marks – symbols, numbers and letters that nearly amount to words but stay just on this side of visual abstraction.

The symbols march, swirl or cluster, trailing out into vast spirals or clinging together like busy swarms of bees. They appear on sheets of rice paper that flutter from the ceiling on invisible threads; they appear behind glass – pictures you can almost read; they appear trapped in Perspex like flies in amber.
transparency  art  text_art  palimpsest 
Labour in a Single Shot | Films
Labour in a Single Shot
is a project that we – Antje Ehmann and Harun Farocki – started in 2011. We have initiated video production workshops in 15 cities worldwide. From February 2013 on we are also setting up a series of exhibitions that will show selected workshop results in a larger context.

The task of the workshops is to produce videos of 1 to 2 minutes in length, each taken in a single shot. The camera can be static, panning or travelling – only cuts are not allowed.

The subject of investigation is ‘labour’: paid and unpaid, material and immaterial, rich in tradition or altogether new. In some African countries an entire family lives from cultivating a tiny strip of land next to the highway. In many European countries farmers survive by leaving their soil uncultivated and being paid for it, an arrangement monitored by satellite images.

Camera Work
The task as set leads straight to basics questions of cinematographic form and raises essential questions about the filmmaking process itself. Almost every form of labour is repetitive. How can one find a beginning and an end when capturing it? Should the camera be still or moving? How to film the choreography of a workflow in one single shot in the best and most interesting way? Yet the workshop results show that a single shot of 1 or 2 minutes can already create a narrative, suspense or surprise. And this is precisely what we love about many of the workshop videos.
film  labor  farocki 
Heinz Emigholz: building in time | Sight & Sound | BFI
“My sense of time changed completely during this process,” says Emigholz, who slowed his practice down as he sought a form for his subject. He eventually realised that he had too much material for one film and broke the editing block with which he was working into several, creating a kind of film catalogue whose entries have multiplied over time. The builders whose work Emigholz has chronicled – primarily an octet of Americans and Western Europeans including Bruce Goff, Adolf Loos, Robert Maillart and Louis Sullivan – created living odes to adaptation. Their buildings, even when ornately decorated, offer structural designs of elegant simplicity and tranquil placement within their natural surroundings.

Emigholz follows the architects’ leads by building personalised cinematic spaces to house each of their edifices. In his films, buildings appear as both aesthetically unique and comfortable. The film Perret in France and Algeria (2012), for instance, presents former churches and government structures built by French architect Auguste Perret in what was then colonial Algeria within the casual modern flow of human traffic.

Other films show the buildings among the sights and sounds of their surrounding rich natural environments, and call attention to wind as it blows through trees. The edifices exist within registers of moments; Emigholz’s films offer a melancholy peace by depicting states of being that have changed before and will change aga
media_architecture  film 
THE AIRSTRIP – Decampment of Modernism Part III | Patra Spanou
The final film of the film series “Decampment of Modernisme” and “Architecture as Autobiographie”.

Director Heinz Emigholz knows you can learn more about architecture from actually looking at it than from having a narrator tell you what you are seeing. In Loos Ornamental he showed surviving buildings designed by Adolf Loos in a series of well thought-out shots, without extraneous commentary, and the result plays like a fascinating lecture. In his latest film, Emigholz takes a similar aesthetic approach, but instead of tracing the work of a single architect he takes a pilgrimage to look at modernist architecture around the world, from Europe to South America to the Mariana Islands. Both instructive and abstract, he shows us shopping centers and churches, airports and warehouses, all with minimal narration. It should also be noted that Emigholz has a sense of humor, particularly when his narration decries the use of music in documentaries before creating a mini-music video in the Montevideo Airport. Once the film arrives in the Mariana Islands, we see the airstrip evoked by the title where US forces launched the atomic attack on Japan that led to the end of WWII. This creates context for the entire film, a view of architecture in the face of complete destruction.
media_architecture  film  modernism 
Video interview Yuri Ancarani (sub eng) - Lo schermo dell'arte Film Festival 2012 on Vimeo
Il Capo and Piattaforma Luna are the first two chapters of Yuri Ancarani's film trilogy dedicated to the relationship between man and machine. The first concentrates on the gestural language of a marble quarry boss in the Apuane mountains; the second centers around a group of professional divers on the off-shore natural gas-extraction platform Luna A, filmed inside a hyperbaric chamber and in the depths of the Ionian Sea.
On the occasion of the 5th Lo Schermo dell'Arte Film Festival and the show Ricordi per moderni (Memories for Moderns) at the Museo Marino Marini di Firenze, the artist has spoken about his work, his investigation of the hero myth and the red thread that links the trilogy's films.
film  labor  machines 
Daniel Baumann - / in print
IT SHOULDN'T HAVE WORKED: just some red carpeting on the floors and walls, speakers, five small bells... deep and vibrating musical drone... five electronically operated bells arranged on the carpet. They would randomly ring every twenty-five minutes or so. The ephemeral, almost comical sequence of chimes starkly contrasted with the disturbing reverberations of the drone. ...

In 1989, Sol LeWitt used the entire stretch of its walls as a continuous support for his hypnotic wall drawings, to trouble the viewer’s perception of each perspectival space. In 1992, Michael Asher moved all of the building’s radiators (along with additional connective plumbing) into the entrance hall, where he displayed them, fully functioning, as both heaters and sculptures. ... In 1997, David Hammons changed, through window filters, the natural light to blue, displayed a few objects of no apparent value, and played recordings of music by legends including Miles Davis, Thelonious Monk, and Muddy Waters....All these interventions consciously renounced the usual exhibition lineup of selected works, turning the building into a work and the installation into a tool.... Nothing was completely hidden: not the structure of the rooms, the staples holding the carpet, the little electronics controlling the bells, or the cables connecting the speakers. The visitor was completely immersed because of, not despite, this exposed mise-en-scène.
installation  exhibition  sound_art  construction 
Yossi Milo Gallery - Exhibitions - Marco Breuer
For his inaugural exhibition at the Gallery, Marco Breuer will show new work that gets to the core of his unique artistic practice. Zero Base is Breuer’s most complex endeavor yet. Through a layered physical engagement with photographic material, Breuer essentially dismantles the photograph, obliterating traditional notions of image and support by stripping these works down to their very base.

Although, at times, spare in appearance, these works are the result of heavily layered actions, including folding, burning, scratching, sanding and scraping the surface of photographic material. The photographs record their own reductive evolution through a dense accumulation of subtractive marks. Breuer works and re-works these pieces over the course of days, simultaneously destroying and creating an artwork in the process. At every step along the way the piece is subjected to a complete reevaluation. Each added layer of destruction constitutes an erasure as well as a reinscription. Like a palimpsest, the work points both forward and backward in time—a sum of erasures that bears traces from the past, yet creates space and site for new considerations.
art  photography  materiality  erasure  destruction 
TONY FEHER - Exhibitions - The Bronx Museum of the Arts
Wayne KOestenbaum: "For years, I’ve felt Feher’s assemblages of found objects—domestic, utilitarian, cute—to be the most viscerally satisfying sculptures in this or any town. He collects and arranges his colorful foundlings with custodial precision—a kinky rigor that restores the dignity of those who overly cathect to household flotsam. Feher’s patterns reassure; he seems a model-maker, constructing maquettes of villages and bundled communities that imagine utopia by seceding from usefulness into gridded whimsy."
art  assemblages  collection  containers  installation  minimalism 
A Providence Library Becomes a Sort of Secular Church - CityLab
At the opening of the Providence Athenaeum's Benefit Street building in July 1838, Brown University President Francis Wayland gave a two-hour speech which, in the overwrought style of 19th-century oratory, described the new institution as "a fountain of living water, at which the intellectual thirst of this whole community may be slaked." Although the Athenaeum was a membership library—readers had to pay an annual fee for the privilege of borrowing books—it was, in an era before the proliferation of public libraries across America, designed to serve every stratum of Providence society.

Today, there are only about 18 membership libraries left in America, most of them located in those Northeast cities that are generally more inclined to hang onto relics. And perhaps more than any other institution, libraries in general are grappling with their place in a society that is increasingly dependent on and obsessed with technology. Many have coped with the shift away from printed books by becoming neighborhood computer labs, after-school centers, and even social-service clearinghouses....

The Providence Athenaeum, on the other hand, has stubbornly resisted change—and that may be the key to its continued relevance for this city of just under 180,000.

The Athenaeum, a Greek Revival edifice that still gives its solid wooden card catalog pride of place, looks and feels like it belongs in another century. But it has lately become a vital part of 21st-century civic life, thanks to a lively Friday night salon series with discussion topics ranging from the 100th anniversary of Stravinsky's The Rite of Spring to the Rhode Island quahog clam industry.
libraries  athenaea  my_work 
2 days ago
Lionizing the overdue investment in New York’s branch libraries — Medium
Walk into one of New York City’s 207 branch libraries and you’re likely to find a place that’s active with people of all ages, from kids hanging out after school to elderly neighborhood residents looking for a book and some chitchat. But books are only part of this story. Today the library functions as part of the “social infrastructure” of the city, delivering a wide variety of services from computer literacy, to job preparedness training, to cultural exchange. As hubs of diverse community activity, our libraries are thriving. Yet, as places, many are in dire straits with basic maintenance needs across all branches in the city totaling more than $800 million, according to the Center for an Urban Future (CUF)....

UNION’s proposal, which can be read at, grapples directly with the issue of visibility and recognition, because we see this as the starting point for a broader transformation. Our theory of change takes shared value for granted. If money is always the starting point of our institutional imagination, we’re beholden to a narrow view of the world. Though money is critically important to envisioning a better future for New York’s branch libraries, it’s by no means the only relevant form of capital. UNION’s story imagines how social, political, cultural—and yes, financial—capital can all be mobilized together.
libraries  branch_libraries  my_work  infrastructure  marketing 
2 days ago
After Harrowing Rescue, Timbuktu Manuscripts to Go on View in Brussels
Sixteen original 15th and 16th century Malian manuscripts will go on display Friday at the Centre for Fine Arts in Brussels, The Art Newspaper reported. The exhibition, titled Timbuktu Renaissance, has an exceptional backstory: the precious manuscripts were smuggled out of Timbuktu in the wake of the city’s 2012 takeover at the hands of Islamist rebels.

When the insurgents threatened to destroy libraries and other cultural artifacts they regarded as sacrilegious, Timbuktu Renaissance curator Abdel Kader Haidara organized a clandestine effort to convey Timbuktu’s wealth of historical documents to the Malian capitol of Bamako. Local families helped Haidara export over 350,000 manuscripts, sneaking the contraband out of Timbuktu in vegetable wagons and canoes.
manuscripts  preservation  exhibition  archives 
3 days ago
The Art of Making a Book +
This lovely short film documents the process of hand-printing and binding a book. There are ancient looking hammers and hot metal tools and wooden printing presses and guys with beards involved. In truth, it’s a lovely tableau and reveals some techniques that I wasn’t aware of, though the precious lighting and delicate piano music involved could inspire feelings of nostalgia for just about any kind of activity.
book_design  book_making  binding  letterpress 
4 days ago
Location, Location: GPS in the Medieval Library
Unlike today, medieval books lacked a standard size, so you couldn’t really make neat piles – which sort of brings order to chaos. Finding a book was also made difficult by the fact that the spine title had not yet been invented....

The most effective tool for retrieving a book in medieval times was to give it a number and placing it in the correct sequential order on the shelf... The most simple type merely stated that the book in question was the “twelfth volume” in the cupboard....

Larger libraries – exceeding 26 books – needed a more sophisticated shelfmark system. A particularly clever one is found in manuscripts that were placed on lecterns, like those used in chained libraries (Fig. 2). The shelfmarks had two components: a letter pointed to the appropriate lectern, while a number indicated the book’s position on the shelf. Because manuscripts were placed on both sides of the lectern, a bit of color was added – literally – to distinguish between the sides. Red numbers referred to books placed on the right side, black ones to those on the left....

Up to 1200 the contents list of a monastic library was usually merely an inventory: it marked the presence of a book, but not its location. The later Middle Ages saw a surge of real catalogues, listing books and their location. Some of these catalogues were written out in books (as we will see in a moment), while others were pasted to the wall in the library....

A particularly big wall catalogue survives from Lopsen Abbey near Leiden: it originally measured 800×590 mm (Fig. 4). The books in this list are numbered sequentially (1, 2, 3, etc.) within categories such as “libri refectoriales” (books read during the meals) and “libri devoti et utiles” (books for personal, spiritual development). However, there is no clear indication as to where the object may be found... By contrast, other late-medieval catalogues are very clear about the location of a book. From several monastic libraries in the Forest of Soignes just outside of Brussels, catalogues survive that actually refer to the sophisticated type of shelfmark seen in Fig. 3. The ones from Zevenborren Priory (now Brussels, Koninklijke Bibliotheek, MSS II 1038 and 7602, both early 16th century) refer to books on both the “black side” and the “red side” of the lectern....

The catalogue of the lectern library in another abbey in the forest, nearby Rooklooster Priory, is the cleverest of the lot. It comes in the form of a book with a peculiar shape (now Brussels, Koninklijke Bibliotheek, MS II 152). It is long and narrow, a format that indicates it was made for handheld use, as research has shown. Curiously, the shape of the pages resembles the long inventory slips on the side of book cupboards in chained libraries (see the wooden frames clearly visible in Fig. 5). The hand-held Rooklooster catalogue must have been copied directly from such slips on the side of the lecterns.
libraries  organization  cataloguing  navigation 
8 days ago
5 Design Concepts for New York's Branch Library of the Future - CityLab
The CUF reports describes the situation as being "on the verge of a maintenance crisis." It's not just that the libraries are crumbling—though many do suffer poor ventilation, lack of light, water leaks, and heating or cooling malfunctions. It's also that they're ill-equipped for modern life. Many lack sufficient power outlets for laptops (the McKinley Park branch in Brooklyn, for instance, has no place to plug-in at all) or activity space for community events or continuing education programs.

To bolster their findings, CUF partnered with the Architectural League of New York for a study of possible designs to improve New York's branch library system. Yesterday those concepts were released during a public showcase. Let's take a glimpse at New York's library of the future.
libraries  branch_libraries 
13 days ago
Hans Ulrich Obrist, the Curator Who Never Sleeps
He believes that, because culture is becoming more interconnected across geography and across disciplines, his knowledge must expand far beyond the visual arts: to technology, literature, anthropology, cultural criticism, philosophy. These disciplines, in turn, become tools in Obrist’s attempt to fertilize the arts with fresh ideas.

Another thing that Obrist loves to do is talk. His favorite word is “urgent,” to which he gives an elongated Mitteleuropean pronunciation. His words come out in an almost comical torrent, citations bobbing up and ideas colliding. Again quoting Ballard, he describes his curatorial work as “junction-making”—between objects, between people, and between people and objects. Words help Obrist process what he’s seeing, and he often channels this energy into interviews with artists and cultural figures, which he calls “salons of the twenty-first century.” He has conducted twenty-four hundred hours of interviews to date, talking to artists in their studios, on planes, or as they walk. Ideally, he records them using three digital recorders, to make sure that nothing gets lost....

Obrist is not interested in all art equally. He can be skeptical about painting, because at this point, he told me, it’s difficult to do meaningful work in that medium. For him, art, even old art, must be speaking to something current. “I don’t wake up in the morning and think about Franz Kline,” he said. The art he is most passionate about doesn’t hang on walls and often doesn’t have a permanent emanation... He looks for work that responds to the current moment or anticipates the moment after this one—Obrist is obsessed with the not-yet-done. His favorite question is “Do you have any unfinished or unrealized projects?”...

Relational Aesthetics: These works feel modern, in part, because they mirror the group decision-making found online; at the same time, they foster interactivity without leaving people isolated in front of screens. The Internet is always on Obrist’s mind, as he scans for signs of cultural shifts. ...

Obrist, for his part, notes that his exhibits often demonstrate what he has called a “quality of unfinishedness and incompleteness.” He doesn’t like art to have temporal, spatial, or intellectual limits. The white cube of the gallery irks him; closing dates bother him. He prefers to think of exhibitions as seeds that can grow...

Last year’s Marathon, which Obrist conceived with the French curator Simon Castets, was called “89plus,” and focussed on people born that year or later. Obrist explained, “1989 was the year the Berlin Wall came down, and it was the year Tim Berners-Lee invented the World Wide Web. This is the first generation to live its life entirely on the Internet.”....

When he was around twelve, he took the train to Zurich, where he fell in love with “the long thin figures” at a Giacometti exhibition. Soon he was collecting postcards of famous paintings—“my musée imaginaire,” he calls it. “I would organize them according to criteria: by period, by style, by color.” ...

Obrist did not yet feel qualified to put his stamp on the art world. He had the autodidact’s anxiety about not knowing enough. For all his energy, he was not a revolutionary; he was an accumulator of information. But how to find out what artists were doing? “There wasn’t then a place to study,” he said. “I knew of no curator schools.” So he designed his own education. He enrolled at the University of St. Gallen, and majored in economics and social sciences. When not in class, he set out to see as many shows as he could....

Switzerland is well situated if you want to make impulsive trips around Europe. Obrist spoke five languages: German, French, Italian, Spanish, and English. (His English was given a boost by Roget’s Thesaurus, and he still keeps a vocabulary list in a blue notebook that he takes with him—among the latest words are “forage” and “hue.”) He took the night train to avoid hotel bills and arrived in a city the next morning. “I would go to every museum and look and look again,” he remembered. Then he visited local artists. He found that he could improve his welcome if he brought news of what he had seen, plus other artists’ gossip and opinions....

Jens Hoffmann, the top curator at the Jewish Museum, who considers Obrist his mentor, wrote in the magazine Mousse: “Almost all of the innovative work done by exhibition makers in mainstream art institutions over the last decade owes much to ideas that Obrist first introduced.” Not everyone considers this a good thing. Claire Bishop, an art historian at CUNY, told me, “The world of contemporary art is fast-moving and superficial and demands constant feeding, and he’s a prime example.”...

Obrist told me that his own unrealized project is to found a new version of Black Mountain College, the defunct North Carolina retreat where, sixty years ago, top practitioners in the arts, culture, and the sciences taught and exchanged ideas. That ambition, combined with his admiration for Diaghilev, had shaped the Serpentine event.
curation  art  relational_aesthetics  classification 
13 days ago
The Knowledge, London's Legendary Taxi-Driver Test, Puts Up a Fight in the Age of GPS
It has been called the hardest test, of any kind, in the world. Its rigors have been likened to those required to earn a degree in law or medicine. It is without question a unique intellectual, psychological and physical ordeal, demanding unnumbered thousands of hours of immersive study, as would-be cabbies undertake the task of committing to memory the entirety of London, and demonstrating that mastery through a progressively more difficult sequence of oral examinations — a process which, on average, takes four years to complete, and for some, much longer than that. The guidebook issued to prospective cabbies by London Taxi and Private Hire (LTPH), which oversees the test, summarizes the task like this:

To achieve the required standard to be licensed as an “All London” taxi driver you will need a thorough knowledge, primarily, of the area within a six-mile radius of Charing Cross. You will need to know: all the streets; housing estates; parks and open spaces; government offices and departments; financial and commercial centres; diplomatic premises; town halls; registry offices; hospitals; places of worship; sports stadiums and leisure centres; airline offices; stations; hotels; clubs; theatres; cinemas; museums; art galleries; schools; colleges and universities; police stations and headquarters buildings; civil, criminal and coroner’s courts; prisons; and places of interest to tourists. In fact, anywhere a taxi passenger might ask to be taken...

The origins of the Knowledge are unclear — lost in the murk of Victorian municipal history. Some trace the test’s creation to the Great Exhibition of 1851, when London’s Crystal Palace played host to hundreds of thousands of visitors. These tourists, the story goes, inundated the city with complaints about the ineptitude of its cabmen, prompting authorities to institute a more demanding licensing process. The tale may be apocryphal, but it is certain that the Knowledge was in place by 1884: City records for that year contain a reference to 1,931 applicants for the “examination as to the ‘knowledge’ [of]…principal streets and squares and public buildings.”...

But the Knowledge is not simply a matter of way-finding. The key is a process called “pointing,” studying the stuff on the streets: all those places “a taxi passenger might ask to be taken.” Knowledge boys have developed a system of pointing that some call “satelliting,” whereby the candidate travels in a quarter-mile radius around a run’s starting and finishing points, poking around, identifying landmarks, making notes. By this method, the theory goes, a Knowledge student can commit to memory not just the streets but the streetscape — the curve of the road, the pharmacy on the corner, the mice nibbling on cheese in the architrave....

It is tempting to interpret the Knowledge as a uniquely British institution: an expression of the national passion for order and competence, and a democratization of what P. G. Wodehouse winkingly called the feudal spirit, putting an army of hyperefficient Jeeveses on the road, ready to be flagged down by any passing Bertie Wooster. But the Knowledge is less a product of the English character than of the torturous London landscape. To be in London is, at least half the time, to have no idea where the hell you are. ...

To call-over effectively is to find a golden mean between geography and geometry. The aim is not just to navigate cleanly, naming the right roads, but to make the shortest and most elegant line between points. While McCabe called-over a run, Vine followed along, tracing his partner’s route with a marker on the laminated map. When McCabe finished, he and Vine stretched a ball-bearing chain over the map to assess the straightness of his call. ....

Seeing, for a Knowledge candidate, is everything — at its heart, the Knowledge is an elaborate exercise in visualization. When McCabe called-over, he closed his eyes and toggled between views: picturing the city at street level, the roads rolling out in front of him as if in a movie, then pulling the camera back to take in the bird’s eye perspective, scanning the London map. Knowledge boys speak of a Eureka moment when, after months or years of doggedly assembling the London puzzle, the fuzziness recedes and the city snaps into focus, the great morass of streets suddenly appearing as an intelligible whole. McCabe was startled not just by that macroview, but by the minute details he was able to retain....

The brains of London taxi drivers have attracted scholarly attention. Eleanor Maguire, a neuroscientist at University College London, has spent 15 years studying cabbies and Knowledge boys. She has discovered that the posterior hippocampus, the area of the brain known to be important for memory, is bigger in London taxi drivers than in most people, and that a successful Knowledge candidate’s posterior hippocampus enlarges as he progresses through the test. Maguire’s work demonstrates that the brain is capable of structural change even in adulthood. The studies also provide a scientific explanation for the experiences of Knowledge students, the majority of whom have never pursued higher education and profess shock at the amount of information they are able to assimilate and retain...

Taxi drivers counter such claims by pointing out that black cabs have triumphed in staged races against cars using GPS, or as the British call it, Sat-Nav. Cabbies contend that in dense and dynamic urban terrain like London’s, the brain of a cabby is a superior navigation tool — that Sat-Nav doesn’t know about the construction that has sprung up on Regent Street, and that a driver who is hailed in heavily-trafficked Piccadilly Circus doesn’t have time to enter an address and wait for his dashboard-mounted robot to tell him where to steer his car.

Such arguments may hold for a while. But given the pace of technological refinement, how long will it be before the development of a Sat-Nav algorithm that works better than the most ingenious cabby, before a voice-activated GPS, or a driverless car, can zip a passenger from Piccadilly to Putney more efficiently than any Knowledge graduate? Ultimately, the case to make for the Knowledge may not be practical-economic (the Knowledge works better than Sat-Nav), or moral-political (the little man must be protected against rapacious global capitalism), but philosophical, spiritual, sentimental: The Knowledge should be maintained because it is good for London’s soul, and for the souls of Londoners. The Knowledge stands for, well, knowledge — for the Enlightenment ideal of encyclopedic learning, for the humanist notion that diligent intellectual endeavor is ennobling, an end in itself. To support the Knowledge is to make the unfashionable argument that expertise cannot be reduced to data, that there’s something dystopian, or at least depressing, about the outsourcing of humanity’s hard-won erudition to gizmos, even to portable handheld gizmos that themselves are miracles of human imagination and ingenuity. London’s taxi driver test enshrines knowledge as — to use the au courant term — an artisanal commodity, a thing that’s local and homespun, thriving ideally in the individual hippocampus, not the digital hivemind.

You could also call the Knowledge the greatest tribute a city has ever paid to itself, a love letter more ardent than “I ❤ N.Y.” or anything else a Chamber of Commerce might cook up. The Knowledge says that London is Holy Writ, a great mystery to be pored over, and that a corps of municipal Talmudists must be delegated to that task. To the extent that the mystifying clichés hold — that taxi drivers are London’s singers of songlines and fonts of folk wisdom, carrying not just the secrets of London navigation but the deep history of the city and its streets — the disappearance of the Knowledge would be an assault on civic memory, a blow, if you will, to historic preservation. Smartphone apps and Google Maps may ensure that Londoners will never again be lost in their own city, but if the Knowledge disappears, will something of London itself be lost — will some essence of the place vanish along with all those guys on mopeds, learning the town’s roads and plumbing its depths?
maps  media_city  transportation  memory  visualization  cognitive_science  urban_history  sense_of_place 
13 days ago
Andrew Ross's Second Act - The Chronicle Review - The Chronicle of Higher Education
Most people would call what he does interdisciplinary, but Ross is wary of that label, saying when "people ask me, 'What's your discipline?' I say 'an agnostic' rather than 'an interdisciplinary scholar.' In an intensely religious culture, to be an agnostic was never easy, and in an academic environment I don't think it's all that easy either." At first he gravitated toward American studies rather than cultural studies, because it "looks at society as a whole and deploys whatever methods are necessary to do so"...

Ross's approach is based less on disciplinary or methodological questions than situational ones; as he puts it, "A lot of [my] shifts were the result of responding to circumstance, political conditions, gaps in scholarship, and opportunities to do the kind of writing I felt I could find my own voice in." ...

Part of his motivation was to remedy the gap in urban and suburban studies, which is his other major interest of the past decade. He observes that "it was a long time since sociologists had gone out to do residential observation studies of communities," and that he was responding to the "wave of journalistic scrutiny of Celebration," which he felt was one-dimensional, often to the chagrin of residents.

He calls his approach "scholarly reportage," which he defines as a "blend of ethnography and investigative journalism that makes sense to me as a writer." So as not to trespass on anthropologists, he and his colleagues call it "people-based research"—which seems vague, but serves to distinguish it from text-based, as in literary studies, or statistics-based, as in much social science. His goal, rather than projecting one's frame on one's object, is "meeting people where they are."....

To do this, he had to leave behind two habits of literary studies. He was trained as a reader, which "meant that I was not a very good listener." The other was that he was "an armchair theorist," with a suspicion of the empirical. He admits that "theory can be a pretty good way of getting from A to B, but it's not the only way, and a lot of people got stuck spinning their mental wheels in the air. I've been in recovery from that." He adds, "Overcoming these obstacles was by no means easy, and it took several years to acquire the confidence to pursue research against [my] academic instincts."...

"It took me many, many years to find my own voice, which I think is the most difficult thing for people to do with a standard academic training." One is taught to "work with the voice of the disciplinary consensus or to ape some master thinker who has been influential in the discipline, and that's not unrelated to your choice of research topics." I asked if his recent writing reflected a more genuine voice, but he said no, and he quickly distinguished it from creative nonfiction. It tacks more to the kind of social reportage that people like the writer Barbara Ehrenreich or Ross's NYU colleague Richard Sennett, the sociologist, have done.
ethnography  academia  methodology  writing  style  public_intellectualism  professional_practice 
13 days ago
The 'Contemporary' Moment - The Chronicle Review - The Chronicle of Higher Education
Like ideas of the modern and the postmodern, the contemporary brings up the question of whether it simply designates a new style or more deeply captures the state of society and the feeling of our era. Key elements seem to run throughout discussions, especially the speedup of time and the leveling effects of globalization. If postmodernism was self-conscious about language, the contemporary is hyperconscious of time. Instant and constant communication roots us in the present as never before, and the speed with which we traverse space heightens the impact of globalization....

Globalization is why many theorists set the starting date of the contemporary at 1989, because the fall of the Berlin Wall signaled the end of dividing the world between the capitalist West and the communist East. That is why postmodernism is no longer adequate....

Postmodernism might have responded to media like TV, but the contemporary arose with the advent of personal computers, on every desk, beginning only in the 1980s and now in our pockets. Those change our sense of time, plugging us into our contemporaneity....

My own leaning is to see American literature as moving from modernism to midcentury to the contemporary. In other words, I would fold postmodernism into the general midcentury period. American literature flourished in that time, with authors like Ellison, O’Connor, and Lowell, leading up to the postmodern experimentation of Pynchon, Ashbery, and Paley. They held the field through the 1980s, when a new generation of authors started to emerge, gaining dominance in the 2000s.

Midcentury literature responded to the liberal consensus in politics as well as in culture, against communism and for building the welfare state, as Lionel Trilling observed in his classic The Liberal Imagination (1950). Postmodernism expressed the breakdown of that consensus. The contemporary responds to what is called "neoliberalism," the turn away from the liberal welfare state to privatization and the shrinkage of government services that emerged politically and economically in the 1970s and found its artistic expression beginning in the 1980s....

The converse of the shrinking of time is a recent focus on the extent of time, stretching to the existence of humans, or what has been called "the anthropocene," or to the existence of the planet itself, to geological or "deep time." ...

The question of the anthropocene or "deep time" has also come to the fore because of climate change, spurring the growth of environmental or ecocriticism. It represents the flip side of the speeding up of time: While our electronic devices quicken the pace of everyday life, we also have a heightened sense of time because the threat of its end hangs over us.
postmodernism  art_history  temporality  neoliberalism  deep_time 
13 days ago
Book-selling on Mutanabbi Street: texts from vital sidewalks | Al Akhbar English
Today, the statue of Saddam Hussein has been destroyed, and the street has become free. Any library or street-vendor can buy any books he wants and display them before the people.

There are two types of book displays: Some offer books at a fixed liquidation price (1,000-2,000 dinars), while others provide new publications at varying prices. However, the vendors differ: While some sell books just to make a living, others are educated and well-read, and their presence in Mutanabbi Street has helped widen their knowledge.

I met Ahmed Abadi, a vendor stationed at the left side of the street. I checked out the books he has on display. A young man asked him about the novel, “Baghdad Mail” by Jose Miguel Paras. He apologized because the book is unavailable. Abadi said he was familiar with the novel, which tells the story of a bunch of papers that were left behind in a drawer at a newspaper editor’s office in Chile. He adds that they are “letters from Baghdad,” and talks about the coup staged by [Augusto] Pinochet against [Salvador] Allende.

Abadi believes that the street-vending phenomenon became popular after the 1991 Gulf War, driven forward by intellectuals who started to sell their books, or engage in the buying and selling of books in the streets and providing banned ones.

“Street-vending underwent two stages after April 2003. First, an initial heightened interest by the people and intellectuals stemming from a desire to know the truth and different opinions, followed by a decline of interest due to instability, such as the economic situation, popular disappointment over what’s happening in the country, and the spread of social media,” he opined...

“The identity of the street has also changed as you can see, from a street that sells books to a weekly festival full of ideas, trends, and commodities, like Souk Okaz where contests used to be held between writers, politicians, and institutions,” he mused.
media_city  books  print  reading  public_sphere 
14 days ago
My Computer Language is Better than Yours — Backchannel — Medium
Braces were essential, Go’s creators felt. Some languages, notably the popular Python, have tossed them aside, allowing programmers to use indentation — white space, or “invisible characters” — to lay code out for both the human eye and the machine. The Go team believed that was a “profound mistake.” Braces meant programmers could tell the computer, explicitly and unambiguously, how to chunk code in larger blocks. (At one meeting with Sergey Brin, the Google founder suggested Go’s designers use square brackets rather than curly braces, saving developers countless trips to the “shift” key. “He didn’t win every argument,” Pike recalls.)

So braces made Go’s cut. But in December 2009, the Go brain trust decided to stop requiring programmers to end statements with semicolons. “Semicolons are for parsers” — behind-the-scenes tools that break programs down into chunks of related code — “not for people, and we wanted to eliminate them as much as possible,” their FAQ now explains. Henceforth, the language’s machinery would “inject” the semicolons for you after you handed it your code....

Given that Go was designed with Google’s particular problems in mind, the syntactic choices—the semicolons-and-braces philosophy—may seem like a “how many angels can dance on the head of a punctuation mark” kind of question. Yet these matters are not so trivial. It takes a passion for detail and, typically, a willingness to flout tradition for a programmer to bring a new language into the world. What may ultimately drive a language’s adoption is its designers’ studious attention to the rough spots of everyday coding — what programmers everywhere call their “pain points.”...

But if you sign on for Swift, you are buying into an entire universe that is shaped and owned by Apple. You will develop your programs inside toolboxes built and sold by Apple; you will run your programs on Apple machines, and have to rewrite your code in another language if you want it to run anywhere else; your fate is joined at the hip with Apple’s....

There’s nothing terribly new about spawning programming languages at large technology businesses. The dominant languages of the mainframe computer era had similar origins: FORTRAN emerged from IBM, and COBOL was largely based on Grace Hopper’s Flow-matic, created for Remington Rand’s Univac. In the 1990s, Sun gave us Java; in the 2000s, Microsoft gave us C#.

The truth is that the overwhelming majority of computer languages are products of big institutions — corporations or universities — because they have to be.
“Birthing a new programming language takes a lots of resources,” says Hertzfeld. “It’s a decade-long project to get a new language fully tooled and established and used. You can’t do it as a small company.”...

...we’re talking about something more like what foreign-policy types call soft power: the cultivation of influence by example, diplomacy, outreach and the spread of your worldview. In very specific ways, both Go and Swift exemplify and embody the essences of the companies that built them: the server farm vs. the personal device; the open Web vs. the App Store; a cross-platform world vs. a company town. Of all the divides that distinguish programming languages — compiled or interpreted? static vs. dynamic variable typing? memory-managed/garbage-collected or not? — these might be the ones that matter most today....

For developers, then, choosing a language is like choosing citizenship in a country. You’re not only buying into syntax and semantics. You’re buying into economics and culture, the rules that shape how you earn your livelihood and the forces that channel your hopes and dreams.
programming  google  rhetoric  epistemology  language 
15 days ago
Tomás Sánchez Criado | Anthropology, STS and material care policy | Anthropology, STS and the materials politics of care
As I said before, considering the importance of focusing on studying the "invisible work" (a crucial aspect of its foundation in feminist methodologies and practices), its is clear operation hidden or invisible , ephemeral or poor outcome for quiet operation and permanent ( with different degrees of repetition or rather re-iteration of trying to keep on being with certain frequencies and rhythms). Often this requires work that allows things to work in a way without making it look that way machinery working. Let me put poetic and we call this " work of the background ". But not a work of deep (like something sensible and indiscernible, something hidden and never reach for being transcendental), but rather to articulate a context in the sense of con-text , this is like a "tejer- with "- connecting-separating and generating effects background-form, as those who can see through the analysis of relationships around the hinged door linking the kitchen where she worked the black for the dining room of the luxury hotel watching Goffman in his " The Presentation of Self in Everyday Life ". That is, modes of demarcating what is backstage and what the frontstage of the current action (with all its political effects involved).
And this is where the approach of SL Star and M Lampland there is a political program for social sciences and ethnographic accounts that can get to make, or to understand the "material conditions of culture" . For the study of this work background, invisible work that often has the effect of producing what they call infrastructural investment (p.17): placed at the focus boring and gray cover our daily orders. And so we throw to analyze the formidable task of understanding how the drama is mounted, how scenarios are installed to act and what forms of pre-activated modes of subjectivity, agents or users that occupy more or less and frequency stability over time ; devoting considerable efforts to understand how all these beings "maintain the forms" (ie, ways of relating, being connected proposed to us every little and negligible infrastructure). But that also involves analyzing and crumble monitor modes, more or less frequently, the infrastructure of these social settings, like a battalion of engineers or carers (in most cases poorly paid by their invisibility) that attend "behind" to set and reset a given order.
infrastructure  labor  sensation  standards  ethnography  material_culture 
15 days ago
Tomás Sánchez Criado | Anthropology, STS and material care policy | Anthropology, STS and the materials politics of care
As I said before, considering the importance of focusing on studying the "invisible work" (a crucial aspect of its foundation in feminist methodologies and practices), its is clear operation hidden or invisible , ephemeral or poor outcome for quiet operation and permanent ( with different degrees of repetition or rather re-iteration of trying to keep on being with certain frequencies and rhythms). Often this requires work that allows things to work in a way without making it look that way machinery working. Let me put poetic and we call this " work of the background ". But not a work of deep (like something sensible and indiscernible, something hidden and never reach for being transcendental), but rather to articulate a context in the sense of con-text , this is like a "tejer- with "- connecting-separating and generating effects background-form, as those who can see through the analysis of relationships around the hinged door linking the kitchen where she worked the black for the dining room of the luxury hotel watching Goffman in his " The Presentation of Self in Everyday Life ". That is, modes of demarcating what is backstage and what the frontstage of the current action (with all its political effects involved).
And this is where the approach of SL Star and M Lampland there is a political program for social sciences and ethnographic accounts that can get to make, or to understand the "material conditions of culture" . For the study of this work background, invisible work that often has the effect of producing what they call infrastructural investment (p.17): placed at the focus boring and gray cover our daily orders. And so we throw to analyze the formidable task of understanding how the drama is mounted, how scenarios are installed to act and what forms of pre-activated modes of subjectivity, agents or users that occupy more or less and frequency stability over time ; devoting considerable efforts to understand how all these beings "maintain the forms" (ie, ways of relating, being connected proposed to us every little and negligible infrastructure). But that also involves analyzing and crumble monitor modes, more or less frequently, the infrastructure of these social settings, like a battalion of engineers or carers (in most cases poorly paid by their invisibility) that attend "behind" to set and reset a given order.
infrastructure  labor  sensation  standards 
15 days ago
The Thought Board
This section puts forward ideas for a redefined urban intelligence interface based on Shannon Mattern’s research. It then presents a field research framework that aligns with new human-computer interaction methods in smart cities.

The new human-computer interface in a smart city will, at its root, have the following characteristics:

Reflect the “multidimensionality and complexity” of an urban fabric
Reflect multivariate “intelligence” that a city encompasses in its people and systems
Be a medium of action for citizens to “enact their agency as urban subjects” (Mattern 2014, p. 6)
Mattern expresses the view that human-computer interaction should occur at every level of the “stack” of protocols that make up networked technology. Thus, new forms of interface now expand out to an all-embracing sensorial experience.

The table below presents essential attributes of the new HCI interface in smart city environments. The column on the left lays out these basic features we propose and the column on the right details out Mattern’s recommendations from which these have been derived.
my_work  smart_cities  interfaces 
15 days ago
The Thought Board
This section puts forward ideas for a redefined urban intelligence interface based on Shannon Mattern’s research. It then presents a field research framework that aligns with new human-computer interaction methods in smart cities.

The new human-computer interface in a smart city will, at its root, have the following characteristics:

Reflect the “multidimensionality and complexity” of an urban fabric
Reflect multivariate “intelligence” that a city encompasses in its people and systems
Be a medium of action for citizens to “enact their agency as urban subjects” (Mattern 2014, p. 6)
Mattern expresses the view that human-computer interaction should occur at every level of the “stack” of protocols that make up networked technology. Thus, new forms of interface now expand out to an all-embracing sensorial experience.

The table below presents essential attributes of the new HCI interface in smart city environments. The column on the left lays out these basic features we propose and the column on the right details out Mattern’s recommendations from which these have been derived.
my_work  smart_cities  interfaces 
15 days ago
Ferguson Municipal Public Library stays open through a hard week, receives $300K in donations » MobyLives
Ferguson librarians asked local rioters to leave the premises the night of the ruling, and no damage was done to the building. The library opened for regular hours the next morning, even though schools were closed. Staffers offered insurance assistance for local businesses and a safe space for the town of 21,000 to take shelter, spreading the word with the humble hashtag #whatlibrariesdo...

More than 10,000 people have demonstrated their support for the community in donations to the public library, adding up to over $300,000. The Ferguson Municipal Public Library has just one full-time staff member, and an annual budget of $400,000. Annual donations are typically around $3,000, according to library director Scott Bonner.

The library has used funds to purchase “healing kits” for the children in the community, including books that will help them process traumatic events, writes Elise Hu of NPR.
libraries  social_networks  infrastructure 
19 days ago
Nina Katchadourian's Mile High (Art) Club - artnet News
Katchadourian's series has a lovely limiting premise: All the stills and videos in it are shot in planes, using only the available props around her. (For her cell-phone videos, Katchadourian lipsynchs famous pop songs—very very quietly, in the airplane lavatory, with her normal clothes twisted and tucked and repurposed as outlandish stage costumes.)
photography  improvisation 
21 days ago
How to Light a Show: Liz Deschenes Turns the Gallery Into a Camera | MODERN PAINTERS
Material samples, models, and older pieces line the studio’s walls, the silvery, oxidized finish of
 her photograms—photographic works made without a camera by exposing photo paper to light—demonstrating what the final appearance of the rectangular models will be. There isn’t, as far as I can tell, a camera anywhere in the room, but there is an array of household tools organized on a table, perhaps a better indication of her practice....

Having received traditional training as a photographer at 
the Rhode Island School of Design in the mid 1980s, Deschenes has, for the past two decades, pursued a deconstructed, critically minded approach to the medium: one that places emphasis on
 the materials and mechanics of the photographic, invoking a 
rich history of producing and theorizing images, and developing 
a spatially minded minimal aesthetic that is quietly beautiful. In addition to photograms, she has also taken an interest in processes including dye transfer, the materials for which were discontinued by Kodak in the early 1990s, and the green screen. “There’s not one procedure I use,” she explains. “There are multiple procedures depending on what it is I’m responding to. I’m interested in making cameraless works, but I think it’s more about an inversion of elements playing against each other than it is a dedication to the photogram, or any other process, per se. It’s
 a means to an end for dealing with materials, an architectural mirror.” Important, too, is an interaction between the mechanics she invokes and the natural world. Her first photograms, created in Madrid in 2003, were exposed outdoors at night, picking up on the moon and the stars, as well as the city’s ambient light....

To me, the gallery becomes an enormous camera, a viewing platform, a way of looking
 at the city of Minneapolis throughout the entirety of a year.” The unfiltered light will, of course, also activate the photographic works, which, though fixed, slowly oxidize in response to the conditions of the space in which they’re installed—ultimately, over time, allowing them to bear some trace of the site in which they are displayed. The artist often plays with how works
 are lit. For example, a photogram installation at the Museum 
of Modern Art in New York this past summer, Tilt/Swing, 2009, was lit at lower levels than the work surrounding it. “I like 
to work with the spaces I’ve been given, but not necessarily the light I’ve been given,” she says. “I think this kind of intervention slows people down, though it may not be readily apparent.”....

In working with an expanded notion of photography, Deschenes joins a continuing tradition of artists experimenting with the form. She cites an exhibition she curated in 2000 at Andrew Kreps Gallery in New York, “Photography about Photography,” which included artists like Thomas Ruff, Louise Lawler, and Vera Lutter, as, at that point, a rare opportunity to exhibit artists with “self-reflexive practices” in photography. “In 2000,” she says, “nobody wanted to talk about nonnarrative concepts of photography. I didn’t have a big audience for that project, but
 I had 13 amazing artists—important people making important strides in photography.” It seems, however, that a niche has been carved for this sort of work, evidenced by exhibitions like this past summer’s “Fixed Variable” at Hauser & Wirth and an upcoming survey of new photography, mostly by women, at the Guggenheim.
photography  exhibition  medium_specificity  materiality 
23 days ago
Infographic: The Bauhaus Movement and the School that Started it All
Bauhaus, the school of design established by Walter Gropius in Weimar in 1919, has arguably been the most influential of any institution in shaping the trajectory of modern architecture. Out of this single school came an entire movement that would have lasting effects on architectural pedagogy and the design of everything from buildings to road signs. Born out of a larger cultural movement following Germany’s defeat in World War I which left the country ripe for regrowth without the previous constraints imposed by censorship, the core of Bauhaus philosophy were the principles of craftsmanship and mass production, which allowed for the movement’s rapid proliferation and a production model that would later inform contemporary design companies such as Ikea. Check out the infographic from Aram below to learn more about the movement, tracking the school from its origins in Weimar, via its canonical Gropius-designed home in Dessau, to its continuing legacy today.
bauhaus  infographics  design_history 
23 days ago
The new radio stars: welcome to the podcast age | The Verge
Here in the brand-new offices of Gimlet Media, on the fifth floor of a downtown Brooklyn co-working building, amid piles of old furniture and terrifying art, Blumberg and his colleagues are attempting to build a big business out of podcasts. They've been chronicling their adventures in — what else? — a podcast, called StartUp. It offers an intimate, funny, and occasionally deeply awkward look at what it takes to start a company. The podcast quickly became popular, and so did Gimlet: Blumberg and his co-founder Matt Lieber raised $1.5 million in venture capital, hired a team, and honed their pitch. That pitch, in a nutshell: we're entering a golden age of audio, the first since we all sat around radio cabinets and listened to The War of the Worlds. The future of radio is here....

As the shows and audience expand, the technology and infrastructure for podcasts is picking up as well. iTunes remains the behemoth of the podcasting industry, the place where most people find things to listen to. Apple now bakes a podcast app — and a decent one at that — into the iPhone, which has gone a long way toward making people aware of the fact that podcasts even exist in the first place. There are other great apps, too, like Overcast and Pocket Casts.
radio  podcasts 
23 days ago
Celebrating D.C.'s Punk 'Salad Days' - CityLab
it really isn't a working-class town. When you look at the parents of a lot of [the early musicians, who came primarily from D.C.'s more affluent Northwest quadrant]—Brian Baker's father was a producer for NBC. You're talking about lobbyists, media people, lawyers. There's a lot of that in DC. …

If you listen to that first Bad Brains record, there was something different: a sense of musicianship, just something a little different than what was going on in, say, Boston or New York or L.A. Lots of people have lots of different theories. There was a certain—intellectual, maybe—component to a lot of these kids' upbringing. I think that comes out a little bit more in the music. It tends to be a little more cerebral....

Say what you will about Barry, I know he's a polarizing figure, but … he allowed this stuff to happen on his watch. He signed off on a lot of these outdoor punk shows that would take place. Because of the urban blight and what was happening downtown, whether it was his intention or not, it allowed a lot of this stuff to exist. ... You had these clubs that were able to kind of do what they wanted.
music  music_scenes  hardcore  D.C. 
23 days ago
Sonorous Museum / ADEPT | ArchDaily
In the listed ’Radio House’ of Copenhagen, by renowned Danish Architect Vilhelm Lauritzen, the Danish National Museum has recently re-opened its vast collection of historical musical instruments. The elegant modernistic building from the 1950’ies have gone through an extensive refurbishment, respectfully carried out to emphasize the unique character of the listed building’s materiality and detailing.

In a close collaboration with Creo Architects and engineers Niras, ADEPT is behind concept and realization of the museum design that includes four delicately detailed sound spaces as part of the collection’s educational program...

’The Sonorous Museum’ is comprised of four sound regulated studios, acoustically adapted to a specific instrumental group: strings, brass, percussion and mixed instruments. The four spaces are designed as interactive classrooms in order to provide visiting school classes with a hands-on experience of the classical music instruments and their sound spectre.
sound_space  media_architecture  acoustics  music  exhibition 
24 days ago
Collecting and Preserving Digital Art: Interview with Richard Rinehart and Jon Ippolito | The Signal: Digital Preservation
We also discuss other non-traditional art forms–performance art, installation art–that are not as new as “new media” but are also not that old in the history of museum collecting. It is important to put digital art preservation in an historical context, but also some of the preservation challenges presented by these works are shared with and provide precedents for digital art. These precedents allow us to tap into previous solutions or at least a history of discussion around them that could inform or aid in preserving digital art. And, vice versa, solutions for preserving digital art may aid in preserving these other forms (not least of which is shifting museum practices). Lastly, we bring non-digital (but still non-traditional) art forms into the discussion because some of the preservation issues are technological and media-based (in which case digital is distinct) but some issues are also artistic and theoretical, and these issues are not necessarily limited to digital works...

From technology, the biggest threat is how the feverish marketing of our techno-utopia masks the industry’s planned obsolescence. We can combat this by assigning every file on our hard drives and gadget on our shelves a presumptive lifespan, and leaving room in our budgets to replace them once their expiration date has expired.

From institutions, the biggest threat is that their fear of losing authenticity gets in the way of harnessing less controllable forms of cultural perseverance such as proliferative preservation. Instead of concentrating on the end products of culture, they should be nurturing the communities where it is birthed and finds meaning.

From the law, the threat is DRM, the DMCA, and other mechanisms that cut access to copyrighted works–for unlike analog artifacts, bits must be accessed frequently and openly to survive. Lawyers and rights holders should be looking beyond the simplistic dichotomy of copyright lockdown versus “information wants to be free” and toward models in which information requires care, as is the case for sacred knowledge in many indigenous cultures....

I’d like to be as open-minded as Richard. But I can’t, because I pull my hair out every time I hear another minion of cultural heritage fixated on fixity. Sure, it’s nifty that each digital file has a unique cryptographic signature we can confirm after each migration. The best thing about checksums is that they are straightforward, and many preservation tools (and even some operating systems) already incorporate such checks by default. But this seems to me a tiny sliver of a far bigger digital preservation problem, and to blow it out of proportion is to perpetuate the myth that mathematical replication is cultural preservation.

Two files with different passages of 1s and 0s automatically have different checksums but may still offer the same experience; for example, two copies of a digitized film may differ by a few frames but look identical to the human eye. The point of digitizing a Stanley Kubrick film isn’t to create a new mathematical artifact with its own unchanging properties, but to capture for future generations the experience us old timers had of watching his cinematic genius in celluloid. As a custodian of culture, my job isn’t to ensure my DVD of A Clockwork Orange is faithful to some technician’s choices when digitizing the film; it’s to ensure it’s faithful to Kubrick’s choices as a filmmaker.
preservation  digital_preservation  copyright  archives 
25 days ago
Utah Considers Cutting Off Water to the NSA’s Monster Data Center
Lawmakers are considering a bill that would shut off the water spigot to the massive data center operated by the National Security Agency in Bluffdale, Utah.

The legislation, proposed by Utah lawmaker Marc Roberts, is due to go to the floor of the Utah House of Representatives early next year, but it was debated in a Public Utilities and Technology Interim Committee meeting on Wednesday. The bill, H.B. 161, directs municipalities like Bluffdale to “refuse support to any federal agency which collects electronic data within this state.”

The NSA brought its Bluffdale data center online about a year ago, taking advantage Utah’s cheap power and a cut-rate deal for millions of gallons of local water, used to cool the 1-million-square-foot building’s servers. Roberts’ bill, however, would prohibit the NSA from negotiating new water deals when its current Bluffdale agreement runs out in 2021.
infrastructure  water  data_centers 
29 days ago
The Best Soundtrack for a Tech Video Ever
Having just gone through the exercise of finding the right music to accompany a product video for Wildcard, I’m terribly jealous of Big Spaceship’s production for this video for the Samsung Galaxy Note 4. It features the amazing Reggie Watts, and it’s like no other.
sound  sound_design 
29 days ago
Urban Omnibus » Reading Room: A Catalog of New York City’s Branch Libraries
Between 2008 and 2013, I photographed the branch libraries of New York City’s three public library systems: 212 branches in all[1], spread across the five boroughs. Through arrangements with each of the library systems, I worked mornings before the branches opened to the public....

I began by browsing; in the end, if I have come away with an agenda or a wish, it is that the branch buildings of New York City’s public libraries be understood and maintained as a collection — a rare and living architectural legacy, all the more extraordinary for its mutations, planned and unplanned, over the course of the last century. It is a collection that is part and parcel of the evolution of modern public life as we know it; places that reflect and shape our best and changing aspirations as a society and as individuals within it.
libraries  branch_libraries  photography 
4 weeks ago
A Brief History of Failure -
What follows is — depending on how you want to think about it — either a gallery of technologies we lost or an invitation to consider alternate futures. Some of what might have been is fantastical: a subway powered by air, an engine run off the heat of your palm. Some of what we lost, on the other hand, is more subtle, like a better way to bowl or type. As new standards emerge, variety fades, and a single technology becomes entrenched. (That’s why the inefficient Qwerty keyboard has proved so difficult to unseat.)

We can take heart, however, in the fact that good ideas never disappear forever; the Stirling engine didn’t pan out in the Industrial Revolution, for example, but it can keep the lights on for a small village. As you look through the images, then, please consider not only what might have been but what could still be again
failure  media_archaeology  media_history 
4 weeks ago
Letterpress Printers Are Running Out Of @ Symbols And Hashtags | Co.Design | business + design
Before the Internet, the @ and # symbols were relatively obscure. Unless you were an accountant or a bookkeeper, you simply never used them. On the typewriter, they were largely ignored, and in a typesetter's tray, the @ and # symbols were usually among the most virgin and pristine slugs.

Then email and social media came along, reviving the @ and # symbols on the keyboard and turning them into the hottest metal slugs in letterpress. In fact, the @ and # symbols are so in demand that some letterpress artisans are starting to find the slugs a little hard to come by.
letterpress  media_literature 
4 weeks ago
The Habits of Highly Productive Writers - Advice - The Chronicle of Higher Education
Productive writers don’t reach for excuses when the going gets hard. They treat writing like the job it is. They show up, punch the clock, and punch out.

They don’t overtalk their projects. Some writers like to talk about writing more than they actually like to write. Others dine out for years on their topics—giving conference papers, writing journal articles, applying for grants—until they’ve all but lost interest in what they are supposed to be writing....

They know that a lot of important stuff happens when they’re not "working." I love this passage from Graham Greene’s novel The End of the Affair: "I was trying to write a book that simply would not come. I did my daily five hundred words, but the characters never began to live. So much in writing depends on the superficiality of one’s days. One may be preoccupied with shopping and income tax returns and chance conversations, but the stream of the unconscious continues to flow, undisturbed, solving problems, planning ahead: one sits down sterile and dispirited at the desk, and suddenly the words come as though from the air: the situations that seemed blocked in a hopeless impasse move forward: the work has been done while one slept or shopped or talked with friends."...

They read a lot, and widely. I’m always amazed when professors say they don’t have time to read for fun. How else can you attempt to write something good? If you don’t think that your work should be a pleasure to read, most of us won’t want to read it. Productive writers (should) pay attention to craft and read to steal tricks and moves from authors they admire....

They work on more than one thing at once. Of course, when you hit that wall, it’s tempting to give up and start on something new and exciting (see above, re: beginnings are easy). While that can lead to a sheaf of unfinished drafts, it can also be useful. Some pieces need time to smolder. Leaving them to turn to something short and manageable makes it easier to go back to the big thing. Fallowing and crop rotation lead to a greater harvest.
writing  academia  professional_practice 
4 weeks ago
Read Free Digital Art Catalogues from 9 World-Class Museums, Thanks to the Pioneering Getty Foundation | Open Culture
We’ve previously featured the various pioneering efforts of the J. Paul Getty Museum — from freeing 4,600 high-resolution art images (and then 77,000 more) into the public domain, to digitally releasing over 250 art books. Now they’ve put their minds to those rare, beautiful, and highly edifying specimens known as art catalogues. “Based on meticulous research, these catalogues make available detailed information about the individual works in a museum’s collection, ensuring the contents a place in art history,” announces their site. “Yet printed volumes are costly to produce and difficult to update regularly; their potential content often exceeds allotted space. One could say they are like thoroughbred horses confined to stock pens.” But now the Getty has offered a solution in the form of the Online Scholarly Catalogue Initiative (OCSI), creating an online platform for free catalogues — and not just the Getty’s, but those of any art institution.
open_access  art_catalogues  art 
4 weeks ago
What is the Professional Archivist’s Role in the Evolving Archival Space? (A talk given in Christchurch, NZ) | ArchivesNext
The first role for the professional archivist is to make our collections more usable / The second role the professional archivist needs to take on within the context of the archival space is to make our archival institutions more valuable. And, once again, I suggest three ways to make that happen. / The third and final role for professional archivists, and perhaps the one that may prove most challenging for many, is to promote our own value by sharing knowledge. /
archives  professional_practice 
5 weeks ago
It's Nice That : This tremendous site shows us where art actually happens
From Your Desks is a website set up by Kate Donnelly that invites people in the art world to submit photographs of their workspace, which she then accompanies with a short but sweet interview about what they do. Personally, seeing the detritus surrounding someone’s desk gives me the same building curiosity as seeing inside their bedroom – it’s such an important, personal space and can be surprisingly revealing.
labor  desks  furniture 
5 weeks ago
Archive Futures: Operations, Time Objects, Collectives — IKKM Weimar
yet an astonishing percentage of already-digitized collections has already begun to disappear, victims of the often-fatal consequences of hard- and software platform anachronization. Archives today are threatened both if they fail to engage with the digital and – ironically – if they embrace it wholeheartedly without thinking through the material, institutional and economic consequences of digital longevity. “Future-proofing” a digital archive requires extensive financial and technical resources in ways entirely different from previous epistemes of library science. The problem of digitization thus reveals that the archive is not – indeed has never been – defined merely as a collection or a storage room, but is rather a set of procedures, practices, or operations, of rules and protocols...

Long dominated by a largely exclusive focus on paper, the conceptualization of archival work and function must today countenance a vast array of heterodox object types ranging from solid and durable things, samples, and other physical phenomena such as the archival function of architecture, to much more fleeting time-based media such as audio recordings, film and television. From a media studies perspective, different materialities demand different practices and operations and foster completely different regimes of time, place, and power distribution through archival functions....

In a series of intensive seminars, workshops, and lectures the Summer School will take up and push further the by-now classical theorization of the archive undertaken by Michel Foucault, Jacques Derrida, and Giorgio Agamben (in their readings of Nietzsche, Bergson and others), not only as an institution or collection, but as a conceptual model for the formation of all discourses, practices and knowledges which regulate and delimitate what is sayable, thinkable, and conceivable at a certain point in history. Given the importance of new operations and materialities connected to the archive today, these concepts must be rethought and re-actualized.
archives  foucault  storage  digitization 
5 weeks ago
AirBnB and the Domestic Photograph
Oscillating between the two, the website Airbnb proves to be a powerful case study in showing how particular modes of representation are forced upon its users as instrumental assets to global capital and its consumption-based economy. One need only to consider how its Photography Department came about to gauge the importance the medium has had in making the American company's experience-based enterprise financially productive....

hat "something" is what Pablo Larios describes as "the doxa of digital circulation and image saturation" in contemporary image culture—i.e. "recognizability, translatability, clarity." In a nutshell, the company had to equip its users with a fairly uniform set of aesthetic references to make their homes an appetible commodity for its international service buyers...

The response to this exigency was the 2008 founding of Airbnb Photography—a free service provided by the company which users can apply for gaining "more visibility" (like), "verified watermarks" (like), and "high quality" imagery (multiple likes) to better monetize their spaces. Ensuring higher rankings in search results and guaranteeing that an Airbnb representative has visited the property, a few years ago the company stated that hosts with professional photography would be "booked 2.5 times more frequently than those without," rendering it a vital component in Airbnb's business model...
n aligning to these doxas, the redundancy of Airbnb photography is characteristic of a series of conditions which are increasingly epitomic not only of how home-ness is represented in order to be commodified but even more of how our homes themselves are being affected by this imagery: most evidently, it highlights (and in so doing also fosters) the current homogenization of middle class households all around the world—something which is rendered in a similarly problematic way across the CGI renderings found in IKEA catalogues and other providers where particular room configurations and combinations of furnitures are applied unchanged to distinct hosting spaces. Of course there are exceptions to this norm which can be found in Airbnb listings such as the American trailer, the sailing boat, the tree house and other exotic venues, but if we limit our analysis to the general substratum (i.e. homes of middle class city dwellers on a relatively tight budget) the uniformity is very apparent. But Airbnb sees such uniformity as an anomaly to correct, as a temporary impasse until every home on the website becomes highly individualized and "special," as acknowledged by Airbnb employees at the panel we organized at Swiss Institute. Given the aesthetic standards stringently imposed by the company, it is a highly circumscribed kind of individualism, one which "must be as special as possible, while remaining understandable as an image to an international audience of potential guests," as we wrote in a text for Fulcrum.
media_architecture  photography  vernacular 
5 weeks ago
Art + the Re-Presentation of the Past 3
While artists in general, and environmental artists in particular, have distanced themselves, either by design or default, from archaeology, there has been no attempt to date by archaeologists to use the production of art in the landscape as part of the process of interpreting the past. Going beyond this, while many prehistoric artefacts and monuments are widely acknowledged to be aesthetically beautiful, this is usually by artists rather than archaeologists. The aesthetic qualities of things are sometimes acknowledged in the archaeological literature. They are never discussed. Might an emphasis on aesthetic qualities also be an important element in the interpretation of the past?
art  archaeology  land_art  environment  landscape 
5 weeks ago
The Berlage Archive: Julius Shulman (2000) | ArchDaily
In this 2000 Berlage Institute lecture, titled “Neutra’s Architecture and Modernism in California,” American architectural photographer Julius Shulman outlines a twofold mission: to introduce his two new books, Modernism Rediscovered, and Neutra: Complete Works, and to speak to architectural students and educators who are responsible for the future of the field. Highly jovial and personable, Shulman starts off on a playful tone, inviting audience members to sit on the floor next to him and insisting on the informality of his lecture; he begins by describing how he met Richard Neutra, purely by chance, and made history with the iconic photograph of the Kaufman House, solely through a rebellious desire to pursue a beautiful sunset.
media_architecture  photography  julius_shulman 
5 weeks ago
Unveiled> Calgary Library - The Architect's Newspaper
Two years ago, The Calgary Municipal Land Corporation selected Snøhetta and Canadian firm DIALOG to design a New Central Library. Since then, Snøhetta—which will lead the architecture and landscape design—and DIALOG—which is serving as the executive architect and landscape architect—have worked with the community to refine the scheme, receiving feedback from over 16,000 Calgarians. The final plan, unveiled publicly in September, reveals an unusual approach: the library straddles an existing light rail, connecting the East Village to downtown. “We wanted to keep that open so people could move freely from the cultural district and downtown Calgary,” said Snøhetta principal Craig Dykers at the September public open house.
libraries  Snohetta 
5 weeks ago
Recreating Adam, From Hundreds of Fragments, After the Fall -
It happened at 6 on a Sunday night. Adam — a strapping, 6-foot-3-inch marble sculpture by the Venetian Renaissance master Tullio Lombardo — fell to the ground on a patio at the Metropolitan Museum of Art, smashing into hundreds of pieces. “Nobody knew what had happened — it could have been foul play,” said Jack Soultanian, a conservator who was called to the museum that night in 2002.

An investigation revealed that Adam’s plywood pedestal had buckled. “The head had come off,” Mr. Soultanian said. “There were 28 recognizable pieces and hundreds of smaller fragments,” he added, and skid marks on the torso where it slid across the patio floor. Philippe de Montebello, then the Met’s director, called it “about the worst thing that could happen” to a museum.

What followed was more than a decade of painstaking restoration that was unprecedented in the Met’s history. The project took so long there were rumors that the statue was beyond repair. But it was not, as the Met will make clear on Tuesday when the museum not only puts Adam on display again but also releases videos of how Mr. Soultanian and his colleague Carolyn Riccardelli — with dozens of scientists and engineers — put the 500-year-old sculpture back together, relying on a radical approach to the conservation. Along the way, it made a visit to the hospital for CT scans. (Adam needed a nose job, as well as head, hand, knee and foot operations.)

The restoration project serves as a watershed of sorts for the Met, reflecting a new attitude adopted by museums around the world to share such innovative work not just professionally but with the public. It is a dramatic reversal from decades past when museum conservators treated such efforts like state secrets, or subscribed to the belief that revealing a work’s history of damage would make it less beautiful to viewers. (Michele Marincola, a professor of conservation at New York University’s Institute of Fine Arts, recalled that the legendary conservator George L. Stout once compared discussing such restoration work to inquiring “about the digestive system of an opera singer.” )

But today, “restoration is the cutting edge of art history,” said Emilie Gordenker, director of the Royal Picture Gallery Mauritshuis in The Hague, whose museum is also planning a major exhibition centering on an in-depth restoration of a single painting, “Saul and David,” which she described as riveting as a “crime scene investigation.” Using the latest technology, the museum will chronicle the discoveries of its creation and history — every unexpected detail that lurks beneath the canvas, initially considered to be one of Rembrandt’s finest but later de-attributed. “We live in a time when the public wants to look behind the scenes and museums are finally becoming more open about it,” Ms. Gordenker said.

Italy’s Uffizi Gallery in Florence, for example, had conservators working in a glassed-in lab so visitors could watch the action. Right now, in Belgium, Jan and Hubert van Eyck’s “Adoration of the Mystic Lamb,” better known as the Ghent Altarpiece of 1432 — one of the world’s most famous panel paintings — is undergoing a seven-year restoration. Financing from the Getty Foundation in Los Angeles has helped pay for it, including an interactive website showing the work in minute detail. (The public can also visit the three sites in Ghent where it is being restored.)
museums  conservation  restoration  forensics  decay 
5 weeks ago
Points of View, Points of Origin
Matteo Pericoli’s drawings recall us, in the homeliest, most literal way, to the writer’s true business, and the reader’s. Each window represents a point of view and a point of origin. Here’s what the writer sees when he or she looks up from the computer; here’s the native landscape of the writing. If you want an image that will link the creation to its source, Pericoli suggests, this is the image you should reach for. Not the face, but the vision—or as close as we can come. To look out another person’s window, from his or her workspace, may tell us nothing about the work, and yet the space—in its particularity, its foreignness, its intimacy—is an irresistible metaphor for the creative mind; the view, a metaphor for the eye.
window  writing  labor 
5 weeks ago
Cabinet of Wonder
The “this” in question is Mmuseumm, a single-story space converted from an old elevator shaft on the edge of Chinatown, about four paces wide and four paces deep. Each of its three walls has four rows of floor-to-ceiling shelves lined with a red, velvety material and brightly lit: at night, the whole place shines, an island of light in the alley’s murk...

Now two years old and well into its third season, Mmuseumm contains an array of found and made objects, all of recent origin, taken from private collections. In Mmuseumm’s own language, they’re among the evidence that we exist—the stuff of a “modern natural history” or a “contemporary archaeology” museum. Those phrases are both deployed in Mmuseumm’s publicity materials; they’re equally applicable and insufficient....

Lee’s stones testify to the existence of a strange and lovely human; they’re also a vision of a kind of soft, impersonal apocalypse in which the natural world becomes an aggregate of artificial flotsam. Each of Mmuseumm’s artifacts and collections is like this: they blossom into stories with just the slightest interpretative pressure. The more you look, the more networks of analogy, of uncanny connection, emerge...

Mmuseumm belongs to a long lineage of cabinets de curiosité and wunderkammern, collections without the institutional imprimatur of a learned society, a university, or some other cadre of experts. Wunderkammern flourished in the West in the fifteenth and sixteenth centuries, but they’d begun to disappear by the eighteenth and nineteenth, when the West’s great collections were democratized into national institutions....

But is this really the aesthetic that best suits our trashed world of information, power, capital, commodity? We can say that cabinets of wonder are now on trend, as are taxidermy, scale modeling, diorama, curation. Kalman admitted immediately that a person who is good at making Mmuseumms would also likely be extremely good at marketing...

“This is a modern natural-history museum,” Kalman said. “It’s for looking at modern life.”...

Mmuseumm is a future thing, a subtle way of asking how we’ll continue to discover systems of meaning that push us toward a wiser, better integrated collective life. In an age of information and commodification, we don’t need more of either in order to best understand our existence. We need tools for determining significance, places where we can stop and think through the shared story of our world and our lives.
museums  miniature  collection  exhibition 
5 weeks ago
li xiaodong atelier: liyuan library
positioned within the small village of huairou, a two hours drive away from the urban center of beijing, china, the ‘liyuan library’ by chinese practice li xiaodong atelier is encompassed within a mountainous and forested landscape. a five minute stroll from the village’s center, the fully glazed interior contains quiet and contemplative reading spaces and a series of platforms which integrate shelving for books. after analyzing the region’s characteristics, an exterior screen clad with ordinary sticks was chosen to conceal the glass facade, receding into the surrounding nature without competing with it.
libraries  china 
6 weeks ago
issue 59: Harun Farocki out now | e-flux
Farocki’s films lead us to think that the real brutality of power that uses advanced forms of technology, transmission, and mediation goes far beyond the application of physical violence on human bodies, and towards something much more delicate, much more refined. Its real violence arrives in something like boredom, in rendering the actual functioning of power as boring—uninteresting and technical on the surface, but eventually and ultimately authoritarian in its inaccessibility. It is from this point that Farocki’s mastery begins: by identifying cinema as a historical meeting point between technology and seduction. Cinema has always been the name of the machine for merging warfare and entertainment, propaganda and pornography.

So why can’t we then draw a direct line from its history into a present where cinema has already been weaponized as the primary technique for mobilizing vision—for drones and romantic comedies alike? From here it only takes Farocki’s elegant sleight of hand to twist the apparatus back on itself, to render its own technologies of control interesting, seductive enough to be perceivable, perceivable enough to be accessible. It is through cinema that power can become fascinating in its complexity, charming in its grace, and deadly in its poetry, to the point where the spell of its technology is broken. Once the aura is gone, slippages appear at the very centers of command, where every lock can be picked and US generals fumble blindly with their own software. The technology has become impossible to master, and also available to anyone. With Harun’s precise scrutiny, an intimate world of techno-social micro-machinations comes to life. When an automated gate closes and latches, Harun is there. When looking into the LCD screens replacing rearview mirrors in cars, he is there. He is there when we address a colleague at work with a certain title.

Farocki’s last work looked at the design of worlds within video games. If we understand the history of cinema as also being the history of optics, then what are the physics of a world made out of vision, of a living cinema? In gamespace there is always a problem when you try to leave, when you reach the edge of the world and you try to go past it, to exit completely. And in Farocki’s Parallel I–IV, the moment you reach the edge, you hit a transparent border. Even if you fall through past the limit, the film loop starts again and you are urged to return.
films  operative_images  surveillance  video_games  Farocki 
6 weeks ago
INTERVIEWS Decoding Rome’s Old Master Graffiti
our relationship with masterpieces, between the 15th and 19th centuries, was very different from what it is today. Our time is marked by a heritage conscience: It advocates for a contemplative relationship to masterpieces — always kept at a distance, protected behind glass or barriers. On the contrary, these graffiti that cover a vast period since the 15th century show a more familiar, tactile, and sensitive relationship to the artworks marked by intimacy and appropriation. They put us on track toward an archaeology of the relationship to art that privileges tactile gestures rather than reliance solely on sight...
Today, most notably with the “graphic revolution” of the Arab Spring, we have a tendency to see graffiti as a transgressive and disruptive gesture, both politically and aesthetically. This may be true for the 20th and 21st centuries, which belong to the era of museums and art galleries, of the opposition between the voices of the street and the institutions of power. But this is not the case with the period spanning the 16th century to the 19th century, when ancient art, even the most canonical, was being updated by living artists, when the relation between ancient and contemporary art was alive and active, and when urban territory was open to more adaptable and unregulated uses. The graffiti etched onto Raphael’s frescoes at the Vatican proclaiming the glory of new popes, for instance, would be unthinkable today!
media_city  writing  graffiti 
6 weeks ago
Warburg Institute Claims Victory After Court Ruling in Dispute With University of London
Both the Warburg Institute and the University of London, which houses it, claimed victory on Thursday after a ruling by London’s High Court that sought to clarify the university’s obligations to the institute, which has a world-renowned humanist library founded by Aby Warburg, a scion of the German banking family...

In a statement Leticia Jennings, a lawyer who represented the Warburg, said that the ruling came “to the benefit and relief of scholars worldwide” and made clear that the university “is obliged to provide funding for the activities of the Warburg Institute” and maintain it “as an independent unit” within the university. She added that the ruling made clear that the collection “will remain available as before, in its entirety and that the university will not be free to in any way restrict the access of the many scholars who use and rely on the Institute’s outstanding resources.”
libraries  warburg 
6 weeks ago
An Illustrated Cross Section of Hong Kong’s Infamous Kowloon Walled City
The Kowloon Walled City in Hong Kong was built gradually—building on top of building—over time. Without a single architect, the ungoverned and most densely populated district became a haven for drugs, crime and prostitution until it was demolished in 1993. Photo documentation of the site exists but for the most part much of the inner-workings of the city remained a mystery.

Perhaps due to its proximity, Japan, in particular, developed a keen interest towards Kowloon. Its demolition in 1993 was broadcast on national television. But watching the footage, what most spectators didn’t realize was that up until the night before demolition a team of Japanese researchers were taking precise measurements and documenting the vacated city. Their findings were compiled into a book that, among other things, featured this panoramic cross section of the city depicting what life was like inside. You can read more about the book on Spoon & Tamago, and if you look hard enough, a few rare copies of it are available online. (via deconcrete)
mapping  deep_maps  china  Kowloon 
6 weeks ago
Jiminez Lai's "Manifestos, Summits, and Gangs"
manifestos  media_architecture  comics  animation 
6 weeks ago
Looking at Art in Tiny Galleries
Located between two busy train platforms at the Odenplan metro station in Stockholm, Gallery 1:10 is no bigger than a dollhouse. Its current show, If You Tolerate This, includes sculptures of books by Henrik Franklins, as well as several paintings, installations, and video works — some so small they could fit in the palm of your hand.

Run by Anna Lidberg, the gallery is one of several teensy art spaces that regularly put on old-fashioned exhibitions. In Amsterdam, for example, Reflex Gallery runs the Miniature Museum, which has shown thimble-sized works and reproductions of works by more than 900 artists, including Damien Hirst, Ed Ruscha, Louise Bourgeois, Roy Lichtenstein, and Yayoi Kusama. An ocean away, in Columbus, Ohio, artist Stephanie Rond runs three tiny galleries: S. Dot Gallery, Rigsby Contemporary Museum, and the Painted Lady Feminist Museum (there’s even a film about them).

The tradition of improbable art spaces goes back to at least 1962, when French Fluxus artist Robert Fillious opened the traveling La Galerie Légitime (“The Legitimate Gallery”) inside his hat. Fillious’s gallery was a way of making art more accessible to people and the exhibition hall more accessible to artists. It was also a way of creating a space where the politics of the market-driven art world didn’t rule.
exhibition  miniature  book_art 
6 weeks ago
The Quietus | Features | Tome On The Range | Cult Of Memory: Simon Critchley Interviewed
Yeah, the idea of memory theatre comes out of this in a sense. I re-read one of the source texts the other week, which is this apocryphal text attributed to Cicero called the Rhetorica ad Herennium which gives this distinction between natural and artificial memory. It’s a twenty page discussion, and there was clearly a whole literature on this subject – most of which has been lost. It’s just this not-particularly-interesting rhetorical manual which has survived, and its description of artificial memory always links it to images and space and defines it in architectural terms. So artificial memory, something one cultivates, is a cultivation of an architectural space which is a space that you imagine and then inhabit and then it’s taken a step further in the physical incarnation of that space....

There’s a scene in the book where the protagonist, we have to say the protagonist I guess, whoever it is, drives into work and the landscape itself appears as a kind of memory theatre which you can then link to a psycho-geographical set of concerns: to inhabit the space of a city or a town or a village is to inhabit a memory theatre. So the concept can be wildly generalised it seems to me.

The question of monuments is a central one as the book is, in some sense, the story of the construction of a failed monument. Separately I’ve got problems with monuments, and with architecture too. In a way, I’m against architecture. There’s that book by Denis Hollier about Bataille which begins with Bataille looking at Chartres cathedral and thinking ‘this is shit and I want to destroy it’ and there is something about architecture which stirs this impulse in me. There is a way which architecture is merely an oppressive monumentalisation of memory which obliterates other possible memories, other possible lines.

One thing which has concerned me over the years in response to this is thr question ‘could you have a monument to something immemorial’, or, could you have a kind of im-monument? Could you have a different notion of architecture which wouldn’t be prey to this memorialisation? I’m thinking of this particularly in relation to the cult of memory surrounding Holocaust memorials, the issues they have thrown up in recent years and, more specifically, I’m thinking of the things that Thomas Hirschhorn was trying to do with his monuments, which are different, almost im-monuments. They are these precarious, badly constructed, transient structures used for a social purpose and then dismantled. Which I guess is what the memory theatre ends up becoming in the back garden at the end....

I don’t want the dead to be forgotten but there is a sense in which the way we enforce remembrance produces obliteration, and it’s counterproductive.

There then is the huge philosophical issue of whether you should remember or whether you should forget, and there is an overwhelming preponderance in all traditions including the philosophical tradition, towards remembering. The idea of recollection in Plato, anamnesis, and through to Hegel, that I discuss in a sense philosophy becomes this total recall and that’s meant to be good because that’s knowledge. Knowledge is recollection based on whatever metaphysical theory that you have. Now on the one hand to remember is good, and the purpose of art is to make us remember. However the flip side of it which I am always conscious of is Nietzsche’s argument that we should actively forget, that we are flayed alive and tortured by memory as Beckett would say, and what has to be cultivated is the attempt to forget the ways in which we’ve been programmed as memory machines.

So there are two options: philosophy, or art, as total recall and then the counter proposal that what we should be cultivating is a kind of obliteration in the name of some kind of freedom from the past and I don’t come down on one side or another, they are merely opposing strategies.
memory  memory_theater  monuments 
7 weeks ago
How Do I Pitch Myself for Associate-Professor Positions? | Vitae
If you’re searching for a research-focused job at the associate professor rank, here are my suggestions for what information should go into your cover letter. Each of the bulleted items below represents one concise paragraph. (I list the specific number of sentences for each in an attempt put a brake on the rambling that tenured faculty seem unable to resist). For an effective letter, try organizing it by these subjects and in this order:

Introduction to you (about 3 sentences).
Current research: your topic, foci, methods, theory, argument, and conclusions (about 6 sentences).
Contribution of the work to the field (about 2-3 sentences).
Publications from current research, and major conferences (about 4 sentences).
Previous research and contribution of that work to the field (about 4 sentences).
Publications derived from previous research (about 2 sentences).
Dissertation research and publications (if necessary; about 4 sentences).
Next research project, along with with any associated grants, papers, or publications (about 4 sentences).
Teaching paragraph No. 1: basic competencies and methods (about 6 sentences).
Teaching paragraph No. 2: elaboration on particular techniques or skills (about 4 sentences).
Administrative and service experience: be highly selective; resist the urge to data dump; focus on meaningful administrative duties only (about 5 sentences, if needed; shorter is fine).
Tailoring paragraph: not more me, me, me; instead, connect to the hiring department’s existing initiatives, programs, and faculty (about 4 sentences).
Sign-off (2 sentences; don’t beg).
job_search  cover_letters  academia 
7 weeks ago
IM Backup tapes - Sebas and Clim
After seeing how the brand communicates through all its corporative elements we couldn’t resist proposing them to collaborate with our friend and respected paper craft artist Lobulo who has been the one in charge of recreating all the elements designed by SNC.

The colours, the materials, the rhythm of the editing, the sound effects and an accurate postproduction process made this video being simple, unexpected, clean, straight to the point, friendly and contemporary.
data_centers  archives  storage  geology  materiality  failure  error  media_space 
7 weeks ago
touchable memories make 3D photographs for people without vision
‘touchable memories’ by pirate3D, turns photographs into 3D-printed objects for people without vision. the social experiment project aims to increase the awareness of the endless possibilities of using technology to improve lives. using an affordable home printer called buccaneer, the visually-impaired can re-experience images by fabricating a tangible scene of it.
tactility  memory  haptics  materiality 
7 weeks ago
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