I am the one

8 May

There should be a whole genre of music that consists of changing the speed of existing songs. It changes the tone of the thing completely.

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6 May

Who knew that’s what it looks like when you stick your entire head into a balloon/condom?!? (see 2:30m)

Sia Furler is an interesting beast – her media strategy is to never show her face, so she turns away from audiences and cameras, and use face-obscuring tactics. She also happens to have written some of the biggest pop hits in the last decade for other pop stars. I’m not terribly interested in the music, but she seems a bit weirder than your average pop star.

Maddie Ziegler, her mini-me, is also certainly magnetic. I can’t quite relax into it though, or let my guard down though, as it smells suspiciously like a pop singer who isn’t conventionally beautiful using an excuse to displace the gaze onto the body of a young pretty girl.

lies lies lies

4 May

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2 May

taking the mickey

29 Apr

Oscar Santillan

Artist who took 1″ rock off Scafell Pike’s summit ‘vandalised’ England’s highest mountain

It is still England’s highest mountain, but Scafell Pike is ever so slightly smaller now after an artist stole the top inch of the summit to display in a gallery.

Ian Stephens, managing director of Cumbria Tourism, said: “This is taking the mickey and we want the top of our mountain back.”

Oscar Santillan, 34, was accused of vandalism after removing the stone pinnacle of the 3,209′ Lake District peak for an exhibition in London.

Santillan, a visual artist from Ecuador, took the stones and placed them on a plinth to create an artwork called The Intruder which is being exhibited at the capital’s independent Copperfield Gallery.

The gallery’s description of the artwork says: “An entire nation’s height is modified and its landscape redefined by means of a single precise action. The artist explores the way in which human categories are imposed on nature: the largest, the tallest, the most powerful.”

Soooo, the opposite of The Englishman Who Went Up a Hill But Came Down a Mountain.

London is changing

27 Apr

Rebecca Ross’s London is Changing

This project is intended to facilitate discussion about the impact of economic and policy changes on the culture and diversity of London. Via a web form, we are asking a series of questions intended to capture a variety of personal stories and circumstances that will enhance understanding of broader demographic trends concerning migration into, out of, and around London. An edited selection of responses from the web form is currently on display on digital billboards in Central London and new responses are being added daily. Anyone who recently (within the past 12 months)
or is planning (within the next 12 months) a move to, from, or around Greater London is invited to participate. This project will run throughout the 2015 calendar year.

We have deliberately structured the web form so that questions can be answered without any identifiable personal details. The entire set will be made available on the internet for use by community and campaign groups, researchers, and designers on a CC0 ‘No Rights Reserved’ basis in early 2016.

(via The Atlantic, via Takming Chuang)

Deep web

24 Apr

Deep Lab is a congress of cyberfeminist researchers, organized by STUDIO Fellow Addie Wagenknecht to examine how the themes of privacy, security, surveillance, anonymity, and large-scale data aggregation are problematized in the arts, culture and society.

During the second week of December 2014, the Deep Lab participants—a group of internationally acclaimed new-media artists, information designers, data scientists, software engineers, hackers, writers, journalists and theoreticians—gathered to engage in critical assessments of contemporary digital culture. They worked collaboratively at the STUDIO in an accelerated pressure project, blending aspects of a hackathon, charrette, and a micro-conference. The outcomes of this effort include:

  • a 240-page book, written in a five-day booksprint
  • a video album of ten public presentations, the Deep Lab Lecture Series
  • and an 18-minute documentary film featuring interviews with the participants


22 Apr

Last winter, I watched Burtynsky’s Watermark, which was ultimately a disappointment.

He combines long silent shots a la Our Daily Bread, but doesn’t commit fully. Instead, there are sparse bits of his own commentary and a few sentences here and there by his subjects. We never get to know any of the people who speak beyond a scene or so and it feels like he is much more of a visitor and outsider looking in. We go from the Ogallala to China to India back to California, then to China and then he’s showing prints and talking to an unidentified man. There’s not enough information to make it interesting, but the presence of a couple of talking heads makes me expect information. This jumping around has the same effect as not paying attention – it feels as if he is compulsively shifting attention from one place to the next without any depth. It’s a film that is very much about surfaces with the exception of a couple of interesting things said by a handful of people.

The subject of water is so broad that it takes us anywhere from mining to bathing to ice cores to eating to weather to leather to surfing to sad Mexican old lady to Chinese workers. There is hardly anything thematic holding the film together aside from the physical presence of water, which is simplistic since after all, we all already know that water covers the globe, is ever-present in our lives and that the universal need for water cuts across all cultures.

He only makes the briefest of appearances and doesn’t fit into any water narrative on his own. What was an interesting back and forth with the authorities in Manufacturing Landscapes becomes a perfunctory nod to the presence of the artist in his work. The inclusion of his process of shooting in Manufacturing Landscapes shed a bit of light on the Chinese state and the companies which allowed him to shoot, but in this case, his subject matter is already so broad that he simply adds another confusing tidbit without illuminating us about his process at all.

For the first time I see how he could be a great propagandist, not in terms of messaging, but in terms of beautification of every sort of scene in the absence of significant social or political context. But maybe I am describing the kissing cousin of propaganda – commercial work.

He calls it a lament for a loss of what was there before humans changed the landscape, but aside from the great opening sequence, the film gives no hint of this. It feels more like a celebration, and of course that is wonderful, but does that mean he has essentially made a nature documentary? It does remind me of the nature series North America in the way that that also cuts across so many different locations as to give a sense of being rooted in a great nowhere.

Pastiche is the word that comes to mind. I had no sense at all of when the film was going to end, because it was just a pasting together of one different location after another. It could end at any moment or it could go on forever.

Either he has made a film about everything or a film about nothing.

revisiting Lewitt’s letter to Eva Hesse

20 Apr

Can’t you leave the “world” and “ART” alone and also quit fondling your ego. I know that you (or anyone) can only work so much and the rest of the time you are left with your thoughts. But when you work or before your work you have to empty you [sic] mind and concentrate on what you are doing. After you do something it is done and that’s that. After a while you can see some are better than others but also you can see what direction you are going. I’m sure you know all that. You also must know that you don’t have to justify your work – not even to yourself. Well, you know I admire your work greatly and can’t understand why you are so bothered by it. But you can see the next ones and I can’t. You also must believe in your ability. I think you do.

Sol Lewitt to Eva Hesse

Also discovered that he sent many postcards to her (postage was $.05, goddamn!), the last sent to her at the hospital where she was likely being treated for the brain tumor that eventually killed her a year later:

mcnugget redux

17 Apr

Googling to find other McNugget art, I found the Chicken McNugget Theorem:

The Chicken McNugget Theorem states that for any two relatively prime positive integers m,n, the greatest integer that cannot be written in the form am + bn for nonnegative integers a, b is mn-m-n.

…The story goes that the Chicken McNugget Theorem got its name because in McDonalds, people bought Chicken McNuggets in 9 and 20 piece packages. Somebody wondered what the largest amount you could never buy was, assuming that you did not eat or take away any McNuggets. They found the answer to be 151 McNuggets, thus creating the Chicken McNugget Theorem.

A proof follows.

The world is full of wonderful things.