30 June 2006


Two reminders for the July 4th weekend:

Dissent is Patriotic!
Art is NOT Terrorism!

22 June 2006

From Here music video

Hot on the heels of Dark Stars, here's another video. This one is a music video I made for Zach Layton's remix of my song, From Here.


Update: A Quicktime version of this one & Dark Stars, along with very sweet comments by Michael Szpakowski, were posted on DVblog. -Thanks, MS!

Dark Stars

My residency at the Experimental Television Center was amazing. It's a great place to make work--or even to watch work, in their extensive library, but the organization is also doing really ambitious and important things.

Anyway, I made a ton of work and some of it I'm still editing or sitting on, but I wanted to throw this one out there. It's called Dark Stars and it's pretty self-explanatory, though I should maybe indicate that the shifting of the image is all a result of analog knob-turning.... I'm not really one to tow the analog vs digital line and I have to say that this video pointed out to me how well the two can go together--analog processing of digital images & sounds and vice-versa. Anyway, I had fun making it! I also should thank Matt Underwood for his provision of the video game sample and heavy analog patch advice!

For now, the video's on YouTube (I know!), but stay tuned for higher quality Quicktime... But it's only 1.5 minutes--for today's attention span!

Update: A Quicktime version of this one & From Here, along with very sweet comments by Michael Szpakowski, were posted on DVblog. -Thanks, MS!

Second Update: Jimpunk has hacked Dark Stars!! He's started a vlog, called DVblogH4ck, on which he posts quicktimes of his hacks of the quicktimes posted at DVblog. Jimpunk is one of my favorite artists and I've been meaning to formulate a Jimpunk shout out, here, for some time. Stay tuned...

10 June 2006

My Friends Electric, at Sonar

Michael Connor (Head of Exhibitions at the British Film Institute/National Film Theatre) has included me in an exhibition he's curating at this year's Sonar Festival (Barcelona), called My Friends Electric. The other artists are Cory Arcangel, Emma Davidson and Paul B Davis, Jason Freeman, Olia Lialina, and Paper Rad--some of my faves! I'm showing Marisa's American Idol Audition Training Blog, a blog art piece in which I documented months of rigorous training for my American Idol audition. (See the fictional reenactment of that audition here.) The project had many aims, including thinking about the voice of the artist/individual in contemporary media culture, critiquing the show's gender/beauty-normative attitudes, thinking about the relationship between parody and participation, exploring the relationship between fame & talent, and perhaps mostly, thinking about voting and the discrepancy between the number of young voters in presidential elections versus the election of an Idol. Of course, it was also about the genre of the diary/personal narrative and tropes of self-(re)formation.

Anyway, Michael's curatorial statement is below and more details are here. I am quite excited about the context of this show and the way that he interpreted my project...

My Friends Electric
Curated by Michael Connor
Sonar2006: Digital a la Carte

Between 1964 and 1966, Andy Warhol produced 500 three-minute filmed portraits of people he thought had ‘star potential’. Warhol’s subjects would be seated in front of the camera and asked to keep still and to blink as little as possible. With such a simple set of stage directions, the resulting Screen Tests allowed Warhol’s starlets to make their own decisions about how to perform for the camera: Do I want to smile? Frown? Smoke? Laugh?

Since Warhol’s time, preening for the screen has gotten slightly more complicated. In this day and age, onscreen identity requires much more than a hairdo and a smile. Just ask anyone who signed up for MySpace recently. The website allows users to create their own web presence in minutes, no technical knowledge required. Users create lists of their ‘buddies’, upload music and video, post blog entries, customise their home page, and generate site traffic in no time flat. The appeal is far-reaching: over the past eight months, the number of people using MySpace has nearly doubled, now standing at about 79 million registered users. It’s certainly no utopia – MySpace is owned by hawkish media magnate Rupert Murdoch – but social networking sites have emerged as the pop culture phenomenon du jour.

If you’re new to this whole scene, don’t let the amateur appearance of MySpace pages fool you. The online community has given birth to a steadily evolving set of social conventions, making MySpace as difficult to navigate as any high school lunch room. My Friends Electric is an exhibition inspired by these emerging rules of etiquette and aesthetics. From the animated gif to the embedded mp3, the artists in this selection reflect on and critique the transformations taking place in the way identity and social life are negotiated on screen. The self-portrait will never be the same.


Da MySpace Hustlerz
Emma Davidson and Paul B Davis (2006)
Online tutorial and screenshot gallery

Paul B Davis and Emma Davidson make work that explores the creative potential of overlooked software and hardware tools. For this project, they have created a tutorial that explains how to ‘pimp out’ the design of a MySpace page, presented alongside an exhaustively researched gallery of the most pimped-out MySpace page designs on the web.

Friendster Suicide
Cory Arcangel (2005)
Live Internet performance (documentation)

On 8 December 2005, Cory Arcangel committed the ultimate act of social self-harm: in a public performance, he deleted his account on Friendster, a social networking site similar to MySpace. Personal messages, comments from friends, and a ‘buddy list’ of personal contacts disappeared into the ether at the click of a mouse. The performance is exhibited here in the form of the ‘suicide note’ Cory posted on his blog prior to the deletion of his account.

iTunes Signature Maker Jason Freeman (2005)
Audio clips produced with bespoke software

One of the most difficult things about MySpace is how to express your musical tastes. Striking the right balance between savviness and pretentiousness can spell the difference between popularity and loserdom. This software artwork opens up a new possibility for sharing your musical taste. It allows you to combine your entire music collection into a single file, by analysing your iTunes and creating an audio ‘signature’ that purports to represent who you are and what you listen to.

Animated Gif Model
Olia Lialina
Web-based animated gif gallery

Olia Lialina is a net artist, wife of Rockstar, and Animated Gif Model with star potential to rival any of Warhol’s screen test subjects. In this project, she redefines the meaing of the word ‘icon’, appearing in a collection of self-made animated gifs. These low-resolution, looped animations are a must-have for the net savvy MySpacer. Please feel free to download Olia’s gifs and re-use them all over the web!

A Vernacular Web: The Indigenous and the Barbarians
Olia Lialina (2005)
Web-based visual essay

One of the most interesting developments of social networking sites has been the rebirth of a ‘vernacular’ style on the web. Instead of slick design and professional copy-editing, the new style is messy, amateur, and fun. In this visual essay, Olia Lialina explains how this style typified the early web, connecting this emerging trend with its historical precedent.

Marisa’s American Idol Audition Training Blog
Marisa Olson (2004)
Online documentation of media intervention

The online diary is one of the defining features of the MySpace phenomenon. Marisa Olson’s project is an online diary, or blog, that she kept while training to audition for American Idol. The work relates directly back to Warhol’s Screen Test project: it is a record of a screen test, but it tells the story from the perspective of the subject, rather than the camera.

Welcome to my Home Page
Paper Rad (2003)
Single-channel video

Paper Rad’s compilation of low-tech computer animations celebrates the utopian electronic messiness of the personal home page.

06 June 2006

Creative Commons Salon discussion, SF 6/14

If you're planning to be near the Bay Area on Weds, June 14, please save the date for this Creative Commons discussion salon in which I'm participating, alongside some very important and interesting participants in the CC community. I'll be talking about my own work, which involves heavy sampling, and participating in a wider discussion about copyright issues. Details below (via CC) and more to come:

It's time for another CC Salon in San Francisco. Please join us on Wednesday, June 14, from 6-9pm (don't worry if you're late; there will be stuff happening all night) at Shine, (1337 Mission Street between 9th and 10th Streets). Note: Since Shine is a bar, this month's Salon is only open to people who are 21 and older.

CC Salon is a free, casual monthly get-together focused on conversation, networking, and presentations from people or groups who are developing projects that relate to Creative Commons licensing, content, and tools. Please invite your friends, colleagues, and anyone you know who might be interested in drinks and discussion.

We've got a terrific line-up of speakers:

Additionally, Quarterbar will be spinning a mix of CC-licensed music.

You can track this event on upcoming.org. We look forward to seeing you there!