Borrowing its title from Italo Calvino’s 1972 travelogue, the exhibition sets out to explore the human condition, looking at “disparate themes and differing infrastructures, mediated systems, the parafictional, and the digital baroque, to describe the multiplicities of contemporary subjectivity.”
The gallery is part of Columbia University, where graduate students in the Modern Art: Critical and Curatorial Studies program, Page Benkowski, Taylor Fisch, and Georgia Horn have curated the exhibition in tandem with their research in ‘technological intermediaries.’
Group show Unlike is on at Chapelle Des Augustins in Poiters, France, opening February 2 and running to February 26.
Unlike brings together, for the first time, a group of artists who each appropriate Facebook in their work directly. Be it tape recording and archiving statuses or posts about media art, or ‘Bliss’, a new website by Anthony Antonellis that enables you to actively administer Facebook notifications, the show seems to be going for a different kind of appropriation of social media technologies than some art that also deals with the subject. It’s not just using blues and whites in your work.
Another piece by Benjamin Grosser called ‘Demetricator’ is a plugin that stops you counting likes and instead provides summaries of actual interactions.
It is not clear how the exhibition will be presented in a room. Definitely worth checking out, though.
DAM gallery opens DRKRM, a new group show exploring GIFs as artworks, running at their Berlin space from October 30 to January 16, 2016.
DRKRM focuses in on the different aspects of GIF animation as art forms and their widespread distribution in the last few decades, becoming a kind of coded and somewhat sophisticated new language. “GIF animations”, the press release states, “are subject to specific principles”. The gallery in turn decided to use these principles to create a “Darkroom” of animations projected onto multiple screens.
Exploring collapsed dichotomies across, digital and physical space, subconscious and conscious, sleep and awakened states, Antonellis produces a series of paintings and moving images from brainwave recordings of spatial experience within a dream using an EEG neuroheadset.
Drawing out the dreamscape and making it manifest, while presenting it in the public exhibition sphere, the work echoes the pervasive nature of online culture and its intrusion in to and extrusion of the private realm. After all, what could be more private than your dreams?
Read an overview of Antonellis’ work and see the TRANSFER website for details. **
Curated by Jennifer Chan and expressing her concerns with gendered online environments as an artist -as well as a part of a ‘Gendered Cultures on the Internet’ issue –the Crazy, Sexy, Cool gif exhibition over at French-Canadian feminist art and culture journal dpi. is up now.
Featuring contributions by the likes of Lorna Mills, Emilie Gervais and Jaakko Pallasvuo, each artist is assigned a folder and a cute girl anime avatar to file their contributions. Those include the obvious in Faith Holland‘s ‘boobs.gif’ and an illustration of gender stereotypes in Anthony Antonellis‘ ‘alphachannels.gif’.
In reference to the 1994 TLC album CrazySexyCool, that many an internet artist like Chan would have grown up with, it’s a reminder that, online or offline, nothing much has changed.
Superficially diverse but elementally connected –if for nothing more than their positioning outside of the official programme –a handful of things worth doing beyond Regent’s Park during Frieze week criss-crossed the London city map. In fact, geographical location had almost as much to do with an event’s significance as it did the event itself. Emerging art from the dynamic South London cluster started the week with Harry Sanderson’s Unified Fabric exhibition at Arcadia Missa and Jesse Darling’s play on the notion of Frieze event exclusivity with her Haus party –art as presentation and piss up –at the centre of it.
Closer to the well-to-do west but not quite there was Moving Image London, on the South Bank and in the Bargehouse and possibly one of the most exciting exhibitions by sheer volume and diversity of video works from across the globe, as well as the unforeseeably controversial National #Selfie Portrait Gallery huddle on the top floor. In the upmarket commercial district of Mayfair, the GCC art collective’s Achievements in Swiss Summit, its Rolls Royce joyrides and location at Project Native Informant assuming the pan-regional political pose of a Gulf Arab delegation. Wrapping up the week of outer-events and perceivably speaking to its artists’ proximity to making the leap to Frieze Proper soon, the Sunday Art Fair at Westminster University’s Ambika P3, literally down the road from the official site, showed interesting works from ripening, nearly ripe, artists set to complete the art market cycle.
But in the meantime, a moment for the underground. Down here a ring of sound and images has Harry Sanderson’s DIY render farm at Unified Fabric surrounded; the super computer and the labour behind it literally placed at the centre of videos looking at the problem of the image. Among them is Hito Steyerl’s ‘STRIKE’, exploring the artist’s position in relation to the screen and Clunie Reid’s ‘The More or Less of Miley Cyrus’, interrogating representations and their source in an uncomfortably familiar image.
Then there’s Darling’s Haus. As a relative outsider, the prospect of a Camberwell residence packed with strangers was an intimidating one to say the least, but appropriate to the invite-only setting of “post-fordist scene colleagues” the event consciously caters to. A house party but also a showcase of video works and performances, its gesture to a Frieze-emulating fake-exclusivity was realised by a guest list and actual bouncer with an entry stamp reading “neoliberal singularity”. Darling’s ongoing refusal to “frame” her work in the ‘white cube’, as she iterated in a recent aqnb interview, reflects the anarchic nature of London art as “gallery-as-brand-as-dj-as-person”, while one busting for a wee is confronted by a ‘performative’ toilet; a couch keeping the bathroom door ajar for your viewing pleasure. Precious privacy is mercifully granted a floor up with one that shuts but the option of keeping public, as a nudge to contingency, with an in-house camera inviting patrons to contribute toilet selfies, beneath a mirror with text that reads “PLEASE FUCK #frieze”.
Downstairs, Lead Pipe, a “metal band” featuring a shirtless Arcadia Missa co-curator Tom Clark on drums, as well as artists Charlie Woolley, Harry Burkeand Paul Kneale, play among Leslie Kulesh’s artforum chain decorations, while a hand written poster on DJ Imran Perretta, aka Madboy Zimba’s deck (singular) announces studio visits around his corner of the lounge room (#fuckfrieze). There’s also the promised stack of “good” video art –the “bad” being screened in the perpetually rammed kitchen that I don’t dare enter –called The basis of all structures is the placing, very carefully, of two bricks (Faust was right, have no regrets) curated by Takeshi Shiomitsu. I’m not sure how ‘good’ The Armando Iannucci Shows episode called ‘Twats’ is in itself but the (homo)eroticised initiation of a young protégé into the business world by puffing on his first official phallus in Annika Larsson’s ‘Cigar’ suggests the commentary’s in the context.
The same could be said for the Frieze week art interactions in general, where perceptions of legitimacy are established by a series of ritual gestures and arbitrary signifiers determining social value. Achievements in Swiss Summit exposes said charade as a Gulf Arab “delegation” of nine artists –including Fatima Al Qadiri, her sister Monira, Sophia Al Maria and Khalid Al Gharaballi, among others –descend on Mayfair to congratulate themselves on their oblique accomplishments, buried in political jargon and described as “a High Level Strategic Dialogue”. What the specifics of that dialogue is, is anyone’s guess but it’s in the ceremony surrounding it that the empty concession to economic self-interest is exposed: a display case of glass trophies, proud symbols of accord, and large-scale photos of delegates in thobes, shaking hands, drinking tea and signing papers in the idyllic backdrop of a Swiss village. Here, ‘delegates’ exchange “cordial talks” and discuss a nebulous agenda, while visitors ride the Rolls in circles around the gallery to a looping recording of the collective’s official charter, hijacked from their Gulf Cooperation Council namesake. Meanwhile, in the same way that the chaotic Haus party in Camberwell knowingly celebrates what Darling calls its “post-fordist network of friendly/collegial affect & etc”, so too does the GCC hold on to its in-group interests of art associations, friends and family in a brilliantly-executed and pointless PR exercise.
Perceivably reflecting the outsider perspective of the GCC set –as an exhibition set apart by its location in Mayfair and its ‘delegates’ transplanted from the Gulf to the Swiss mountains –so too does the green triangular display of the Maraya Video Archive at the multi-level Moving Image art fair present a similar vantage point. It features video works by three UAE-based artists, Alaa Edris, Nermine Hammam and Karim Al Husseini under a title explicitly referencing the geopolitical nature of their presence. Between Edris’ expressionistic montage of pre-confederation British film documentation and personal footage in ‘Kharareef’ and Al Husseini’s poignant mixed-media narrative on the dispersal of his family’s Palestinian roots across the globe in ‘Dew Not’, the display not only illustrates their experience as unique but as a fundamentally, and problematically, alien one. It’s very proximity to Constant Dullaart’s stunning ‘Niagara Falls, Special Economic Zone PRC, HD VIDEO’ –a single shot video of said miniature natural wonder at China’s ‘The Windows of the World’ theme park in Shenzen focussed on an unaware couple posing for photos –exposes the problem of the artist as outsider looking in. Those issues of patronage and intervention it raises are echoed in the intrusion of a Mountain Dew delivery truck and a ship marked “UN” in Al Husseini’s video, pointing toward a type of occupation, beyond the Israeli kind and to a corporate and humanitarian one.
Hence, the Maraya Video Archive display’s situation between Cliff Evans’ play on Jasper Johns’ work of the same name, ‘Flag’, and Jonathan Monaghan’s CGI animation, ‘Mothership’. One, a digital simulation of its familiar stars and stripes made up entirely of drones, watching its audience and awaiting orders to strike. The other, a more insidious system of control realised in its ubiquitous popular cultural tropes and the entertainment industry’s art of emotional manipulation and propaganda by littering the surreal landscape with images of Marvel superheroes, London city discworlds and that flying ‘mothership’ propelled by a Fed Ex engine.
As anecdotal evidence of a world view externally shaped, Eve Sussman and Simon Lee’s ‘Seitenflügel’, a floor down, tricks my eyes into thinking its a large-scale projection of an iPhone interface from a distance but turns out to be a stylised view of apartment windows inhabited by the artists’ Berliner neighbours. More than an insight into our everyday voyeurism, said incidental confusion for a smartphone is a telling illustration of modern life as State control via the consensus rule of an inward and outward-looking screen. In some ways the National #Selfie Portrait Gallery, curated by Kyle Chayka and Marina Galperina subverts that system in 16 commissions from emerging artists. As a showcase of short-form video contributions based around the digital self-portrait, or “selfie”, artistJennifer Chan mediates her recent feline phase, also performed on twitter, by literally drawing the ‘Cat Ears’ of its title on a pixelated shot of herself saying “my dick”, while ever-prolific Darling presents herself nude and in a sunbed, all Žižek quotes and apocalyptic self-obsessions vocalised through a pitched-up voiceover (“like me ya know I jus wanna look good naked”) in ‘Lil Icarus’. Paul Outlaw and Jennifer Catron literally devour each other, in the form of busts fashioned from food, in ‘Succulent’. Anthony Antonellis mediates himself, to himself, through his macbook screen, flesh fading into his keyboard, while Daniel Swan’s self is represented by the dazzling cover of a smartphone facing outward in Selfie Video Loop.
Pronouncing this form of self-mediation a “democratic artistic medium”, the N#SPG press release assumes the concept of liberal freedom –from political autonomy to access to technology –isn’t still a privilege afforded a lucky few, here demonstrated in a collection of works by EU and US-based artists only. Again, it’s a hard reality physically realised by their positioning on opposite ends of the same room and in view Al Husseini’s ‘Dew Not’. Meanwhile, a general public still hostile to the dynamic net art community, the consciously exhibitionistic nature of National #Selfie Portrait Gallery especially, was aptly summarised in a tweet by fellow ‘selfie’ contributor Petra Cortright. A link to the 700-plus comments (“each more LOL than the next”) on a Yahoo News article on the exhibition with the ‘narcissistics’, ‘not arts’ and ‘I could do thats’ liberally heaped on the resounding thumbs down from the Yahoo.com readership.
This very focus on ‘real art’ and what legitimises it is a recurring theme on the Frieze Fringe, resonating through to the Sunday Art Fair as it establishes its place in the hierarchy of cultural value. The Ambika space is less ‘white cube’ and more “vast concrete construction hall”, speaking to the nature of the fair, down the road from Frieze London and showing artists just outside or halfway in to the big leagues. The ICA: Off-Site video showcase features Sophia Al Maria and Fatima Al Qadiri’s ‘HOW CAN I RESIST U’and Martin Arnold’s unsettling ‘Hydra’ video loop, an animation reduced to its eyes, teeth and salivating tongue, making reference to the sexualised nature of children’s TV and resembling the creepy Cheshire Cat of Disney’s Alice in Wonderland. Katja Novitskova’s ‘Branching IV’and ‘Approximation VIII’ digital print cut outs and Avery Singer’s acrylics on canvas, grey and ungraspable geometric forms, in ‘Exhibitionist’ and ‘Dancers Around an Effigy to Modernism’ keep things abstract, expressing a contemporary tension between overtly political art concerned with the exploitation behind image production –most explicitly illustrated by Harry Sanderson’s Unified Fabric –and a growing concern with lofty philosophical concepts, potentially in response to imminent environmental catastrophe, even human extinction.
That’s a possibility George Henry Longly attempts to counteract in his rather dazzling marble tablets that look like they could survive the ravages of time in a way that a MOV file won’t. Respectively engraved with “GHL”, “SORRY”, “Don’t be an Asshole”, among other things, and studded with gilded tubes of YSL “Touche Éclat” complexion highlighters and silver plated “poppers”, Longly speaks to said fatalistic outlook by evoking a sense of knowing what the problem is, being helpless in resolving it and doing what you do in the meantime. **
Frieze Art Fair runs in London’s Regent’s Park annually in October. The fringe events happen elsewhere.
Header image: #fuckfrieze: Scenes from JD’s Neuliberal London. Image courtesy of Jesse Darling.
These days it would appear that anything can be curated and anything is a gallery. It might just be that as the art world expands, so does the cultural lexicon. In the same way that ‘like’ and ‘friend’ can mean one of several things, so too can a credit card become an art space.
Hence, the ever prolific and ingenious Anthony Antonellis and his Credit Card Curation, which this month features artist Faith Holland and her Sadie Plant-inspired “feminine zero”. Its suggestive hues and hypnotic movement is an image of those Western gender stereotypes and binaries that evidently won’t die with 1 and 0s of the internet. And if you have any doubt as what this images is suggestive of just check out the abstract porn site from whence it came.
Net art monopoly Anthony Antonellis has been running online gallery directory netartnet.net for a year and to celebrate he’s expanding the site and asked his readers to provide bumper videos (the short segments that come between programmes before cutting to commercial). As just another example of the rapidly expanding internet world gaining credence as a significant movement in contemporary art, here’s to another fertile year in the netscape. You can see the netartnet.net website for more information and to watch some of the very creative bumper video responses here. **
Net artist Anthony Antonellis is the second to have a screensaver featured at ScreenSaverGallery. The art space aims to recontextualise work in an online setting and vice versa, in this case within the hitherto dead medium of the screensaver. In the same way that Olia Lialiana and Dragan Espenchied aim to keep GeoCities alive by keeping it in circulation, through new online mediums such as tumblr and IRL with their One Terabyte of Kilobyte Age exhibition, ScreenSaverGallery founders, Czech artists Barbora Trnková and Tomáš Javůrek, along with curator Mary Meixner, aim at reviving the screensaver by placing it in a contemporary art context.
The “post-internet” artist, Antonellis, is an ideal candidate -following a submission in March by Berlin-based artist, curator and art historian Robert Sakrowski -with Blue Brightness. Antonellis’ is the exploration of the link between the physical and the cyber worlds, in opposition to ideas of digital dualism, and surrenders the active participation of his user to the passive engagement of an audience, given the nature of the screensaver. The work is set to be distributed through the App Store, softpedia and elsewhere, while aiming to translate the exhibition in a physical exhibition context, as well as being disseminating online. You can download Anthony Antonellis’ screensaver here. **
Anthony Antonellis “lives and works on the Internet”, as many of us do. His output is often classified as “post-internet art”, which, according to critic Gene McHugh, “is deﬁned as a result of the contemporary moment: inherently informed by ubiquitous authorship, the development of attention as currency, the collapse of physical space in networked culture, and the inﬁnite reproducibility and mutability of digital materials”. What this translates to in practice is a commentary on the situation whereby the Internet ceased to equate with The Future, and became instead a pervasive element of daily experience.
As a means of appraising the present, post-internet art often reaches for outdated media: ASCII characters, GIFs, over-pixelated awkwardness. These choices – which Antonellis is keen on – are a puzzling link to an era in which the utopian cyberspace over which William Gibson and Timothy Leary raved was impedingly due; a connection to a collective dream. The resurgence of near-obsolete formats and the ubiquity of these unshapely, awkward digital relics provide a refreshing DIY antidote to those showy, Flash-heavy, video-interactive-yet-user-unfriendly behemoth websites.
Antonellis is interested in net art making its way into the IRL (‘in real life’) dimension, and vice versa. When the online experience is brought into physical gallery space, as in the case of “IRL GIFs”, it echoes the unabashed visual joy of Cory Arcangel’s gradient prints. Conversely, in Antonellis’ ‘putitonapedestal.com‘, the gallery is brought into webspace and the user can arrange the displayed GIFs according to their own liking. Very often, the sheer banality of online content develops into a fascinating set of patterns; the videos ‘People I May Know’ and ‘How Nicolas Bourriaud Uses Facebook’, recordings of someone’s social media activity, achieve the quality of a digital mantra after a while. This may happen at the moment when their content dissolves into pure process; following the flow, the personal nature of the information on display ceases to matter.
This is work that seems to share a common field with James Ferraro, whose brilliant Far Side Virtual was possibly the most acute commentary on our contemporary condition. Yet where Ferraro left the listener with the sense of a stock-photo-adorned void, Antonellis seems more playful and light-hearted in his attempts. His witty ‘Moneybrick’ provides an answer to the pressing question known from hundreds of spam e-mail headlines: ‘How to make money on the Internet?’ – print and fold it yourself, that’s how! ‘Facebook Bliss’, an instant cheer-up application with fake Facebook notifications, plays both with psychological readings of social media phenomena and the ubiquity of memes: the likes of ‘The Okay Button’ or the ‘Fukitol Wonder Pill’ became instant online fads as quickly as office jokes about coffee or Mondays and Fridays – highlighting the triviality of memespeak.
On another level, the continued expansion of copy/paste between “online” and “offline” can also be read as a critical response to the concept of digital dualism, which, despite being repeatedly questioned, seems to thrive equally in academia and magazine columns. According to the dualist perspective, there is a distinction between “virtual” and “real”, and on- and offline activities are of a clearly different nature. What post-internet art does instead is to stress a link between the two worlds – suggesting they are interconnected, mutually influential or, most likely, that there is simply no distinction at all. **