Archive for references
using techniques pioneered by the imagineers for their Haunted Mansion ride? a real breakdown of the virtual/material barrier, we enter a liminal zone where the virtual animates objects, ensouling them…
Oursler began working with small LCD video projectors in 1991 in his installation “The Watching” presented at Documenta 9, featuring his first video doll and dummy. This work utilizes handmade soft cloth figures combined with expressive faces animated by video projection. Oursler then produced a series of installations that combined found objects and video projections. “Judy”, 1993, explored the relationship between multiple personality disorder and mass media. “Get Away II” features a passive/aggressive projected figure wedged under a mattress that confronts the viewer with blunt direct address. Oursler’s works seem like animate effigies in their own psychological space, often appearing to interact directly with the viewer’s sense of empathy. These installations are consistently disturbing and fascinating and lead to great popular and critical acclaim.
Signature works have been his talking lights, such as Streetlight (1997), his series of video sculptures of eyes with television screens reflected in the pupils, and ominous talking heads such as Composite Still Life (1999). An installation called Optics (1999) examines the polarity between dark and light in the history of the camera obscura. In his text “Time Stream”, Oursler proposed that architecture and moving image installation have been forever linked by the camera obscura noting that cave dwellers observed the world as projections via peep holes. Oursler’s interest in the ephemeral history of the virtual image lead to large scale public projects and permanent installations by 2000.
The Public Art Fund and Art Angel commissioned the “Influence Machine” in 2000. This installation marks the artist’s first major outdoor project and thematically traced the development of successive communication devices from the telegraph to the personal computer as a means of speaking with the dead. Oursler used smoke, trees and buildings as projection screens in Madison Park NYC and Soho Square London. He then completed a number of permanent public projects in Barcelona, New Zealand, Arizona including “Braincast” at the Seattle Public Library. He is scheduled to complete a commission at the Frank Sinatra High School in Astoria New York.
note how the documentation is edited to techno! The correlation with dance culture is a phenomenological one.
Fowler Museum presents ‘Nick Cave: Meet Me at the Center of the Earth,’ Jan 10–May 30, 2010
Exhibition features 35 of artist’s ‘Soundsuits,’ wearable mixed-media sculptures
By Stacey Ravel Abarbanel October 23, 2009
“Whether Nick Cave’s efforts qualify as fashion, body art or sculpture … they fall squarely under the heading of Must Be Seen to Be Believed.” —Roberta Smith, New York Times
“Nick Cave: Meet Me at the Center of the Earth,” on display at the Fowler Museum at UCLA from Jan. 10 through May 30, 2010, is the largest presentation of work by the Chicago-based artist, featuring 35 of his “Soundsuits” — multilayered, mixed-media sculptures named for the sounds made when the “suits” are performed.
Evocative of African, Caribbean and other ceremonial ensembles, as well as haute couture, Cave’s work explores issues of transformation, ritual, myth and identity through a layering of references and virtuosic construction, using materials as varied as yarn, beads, sequins, bottle caps, vintage toys, rusted iron sticks, twigs, leaves and hair.
Mad, humorous, visionary, glamorous and unexpected, the Soundsuits are created from scavenged, ordinary materials and objects from both nature and culture, which Cave recontextualizes into extraordinary works of art. The Fowler is the first Los Angeles–area museum to feature Cave’s work and the only Southern California venue for this traveling exhibition.
The Fowler presentation of this exhibition holds particular meaning for the artist and for Los Angeles because Cave’s first Soundsuit was sparked by the civil unrest in Los Angeles in 1992 following the acquittal of the police officers involved in the Rodney King beating.
The Soundsuits almost always cover the whole body, erasing the identity of the wearer. Thus, the Soundsuits can be understood as coats of armor, shielding Cave from the day-to-day prejudice he encounters as an African American man and facilitating a transformation into an invented realm of vibrant associations and meanings.
For this exhibition, Cave also employs animal imagery in ways as complex and multilayered as the human-based suits. While conjuring the spiritual strength and power of animal totems used in ancient rituals from around the world, Cave’s Soundsuits also become vessels of transformation and seek to connect us to the Earth and the animals around us. Using wit, humor and a fanciful sensibility, Cave’s Soundsuits beg us to pay attention and to dream of a different future.
Nick Cave received his B.F.A. from the Kansas City Art Institute in 1982 and his M.F.A. from the Cranbrook Academy of Art in 1989. He studied fiber art but is committed to a broad spectrum of interests and disciplines. Cave is an associate professor and chairman of the fashion department at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago, where he teaches in the fiber arts program. He has led such workshops as “Extending the Body: Experiments in Clothing” and has designed, manufactured and marketed his own line of men’s and women’s clothing. He has received numerous awards, including a United States Artists Fellowship (2006) and a Joyce Award (2006), and his work has appeared in solo and group exhibitions across the U.S. and Europe.
Is it candy, jewels, or blood? Skin, froth, mother of pearl, or cream? eyes deadened by narcotics, faces decomposing and yet fluffy with sweet, fresh flesh. Michael Hussar puts the texture back in the visual art, using impressionist techniques to create nauseating and irresistible allegories of desire, decay and sugar. Lovably tactile: sticky, soft, smooth, liquid, ticklish,and with the occasionally sharp claw or tooth to remind us of pain.
the commentary is priceless…
Drawing attention to Karen Pinkus from USC’s Comparative Literature Department and her latest book, Mercurial Alchemy: A Theory of Ambivalence. Quoting Gilles Deleuze from an interview I saw on Youtube, in which he was (apparently) addressing filmmakers: “filmmakers invent films. Philosophers invent concepts.” Extrapolating theorists/critics from philosophers, then weaving alchemy and ambivalence together seems (at least the suggestion of it) to open up delightful new fields of theoretical imagination…interdisciplinary is the word.
“How can we account, in a rigorous way, for alchemy’s ubiquity? We think of alchemy as the transformation of a base material (usually lead) into gold, but “alchemy” is a word in wide circulation in everyday life, often called upon to fulfill a metaphoric duty as the magical transformation of materials. Almost every culture and time has had some form of alchemy. This book looks at alchemy, not at any one particular instance along the historical timeline, not as a practice or theory, not as a mode of redemption, but as a theoretical problem, linked to real gold and real production in the world. What emerges as the least common denominator or “intensive property” of alchemy is ambivalence, the impossible and paradoxical coexistence of two incompatible elements.
Alchemical Mercury moves from antiquity, through the golden age of alchemy in the Dutch seventeenth century, to conceptual art, to alternative fuels, stopping to think with writers such as Dante, Goethe, Hoffmann, the Grimm Brothers, George Eliot, and Marx. Eclectic and wide-ranging, this is the first study to consider alchemy in relation to literary and visual theory in a comprehensive way.”
David Maisles, History’s Shadow (x-rays of antique sculptures from museum archives)
The Most A-Maze-ing Hypertext is not Electronic: House of Leaves, Dictionary of the Khazars, Derrida’s Glas
First Passage: The Religion of Flowers. In Phenomenology of the Spirit…. “And then the nightmares begin”. Exploration Z…”Even the hallways you’ve walked a hundred times will feel longer, much longer, and the shadows, any shadow at all, will seem deeper, much deeper”. They could read other people’s dreams, live and make themselves at home in them, and through the dreams hunt the game that was their prey – a human, an object or an animal.
from David Rokeby’s article The Construction of Experience: Interface as Content (1998):
In a similar vein, it’s important to understand the difference between “fractal” complexity and the complexity of life experience. Fractals are fascinating because a rich variety of forms are generated by a single, often simple algorithm. The endless and endlessly different structures of the Mandelbrot set are generated by a single equation addressed in an unusual way. This relationship between the infinite detail of the fractal and its terse mathematical representation is an extreme example of compression. The compression of images, sound and video into much smaller encoded representations is one of the keys of the current multimedia explosion.
Opposed to the incredibly compressible “complexity” of fractals is the complexity of true randomness. Something can be said to be random if it cannot be expressed by anything less than itself… that is to say, it’s incompressible. This rather philosophical notion can be observed in our everyday on-line communication. To move data around quickly and efficiently, we compress it, then send it through a modem that compresses it further. What is left is the incompressible core of the information. As you can hear through your modem when you dial up your internet service provider, the result sounds close to random noise.
Randomness and noise are usually things we avoid, but in the purely logical space of the computer, randomness and noise have proven to be welcome and necessary to break the deadly predictability. But random number generators, used so often to add “human” spice to computer games and computer-generated graphics are not “random” at all. They merely repeats over a fairly long period?a sterile simulation of the real thing.
…In designing environments for experience, we must remain humble in the face of the power of irresolvable, non-fractal complexity. The computer is an almost pure vacuum, devoid of unpredictability. Computer bugs, while annoying, are never actually unpredictable unless this “vacuum” fails, as when the hardware itself overheats or is otherwise physically damaged. This vacuum is extremely useful, but it’s no place to live.
When I started working with interactive systems I saw the “vacuum” of the computer as the biggest challenge. I developed “Very Nervous System” as an attempt to draw as much of the universe’s complexity into the computer as possible. The result is not very useful in the classical sense, but it creates the possibility of experiences which in themselves are useful and thought-provoking, particularly by making directly tangible that what is lost in over-simplification.
from Craig Baldwin’s Sonic Outlaws:
“Let us cross a great modern capital with our ears more alert than our eyes, and we will get enjoyment from distinguishing the eddying of water, air and gas in metal pipes, the grumbling of noises that breathe and pulse with indisputable animality, the palpitation of valves, the coming and going of pistons, the howl of mechanical saws, the jolting of a tram on its rails, the cracking of whips, the flapping of curtains and flags. We enjoy creating mental orchestrations of the crashing down of metal shop blinds, slamming doors, the hubbub and shuffling of crowds, the variety of din, from stations, railways, iron foundries, spinning wheels, printing works, electric power stations and underground railways.
…The variety of noises is infinite. If today, when we have perhaps a thousand different machines, we can distinguish a thousand different noises, tomorrow, as new machines multiply, we will be able to distinguish ten, twenty, or thirty thousand different noises, not merely in a simply imitative way, but to combine them according to our imagination. “
Excerpt from a “Vice Magazine” interview:
Even though you’re not part of the system, would you say that living in Los Angeles makes it easier to deal with the business aspects of filmmaking?
It’s not making anything easier. Filmmaking has always had its complications, but I’m not in the culture of complaint. Los Angeles is just a very exciting city. There’s great excitement, there’s vibrant culture, and there are a lot of things going on here that I wouldn’t relate to filmmaking, but yet they trigger films. For example, I was fascinated by the Galileo space probe, which at the end of an incredible odyssey was sent on a suicide mission into the atmosphere of Jupiter, where it burned into superheated plasma and was gone. Only 30 minutes from where I live there is a mission-control center in Pasadena, and because of this fascination with Galileo I found out that there was a completely unknown NASA archive in downtown Pasadena in a warehouse. I discovered footage of astronauts who filmed on 16-mm celluloid back in 1989, and it is such fantastic footage. In a way it was the backbone of a science-fiction film I made called The Wild Blue Yonder. So you see, the excitements are everywhere, and they don’t have to be connected with Hollywood or production companies.
“Why can’t we have an aesthetic language of composition for the sense of touch using vibration?”
They should have beauty contests for the insides of bodies
I decided I want the humiliation
You’re fucking a mutant!
- Posted by: David Pescovitz on Boing Boing blog
- on September 1, 2009 at 7:10 am
Want to see with your tongue? Boing Boing’s David Pescovitz looks at technology that blurs the boundaries between our five senses.
What if you could see with your skin? Or taste what you see? While those kinds of experiences might suggest a mental disorder, or an acid trip, the ability to substitute your senses by choice is on the horizon. A confluence of new technologies are leading to a kind of digital synesthesia.
Synesthesia, of course, is the fascinating neurological phenomenon whereby stimulation of one sense involuntarily triggers another sensory pathway. A synesthete might taste sounds or hear colors. But the ability to reroute the senses could dramatically help blind individuals, for example, or restore the sense of touch to amputees wearing prosthetic limbs.
At Institute for the Future, where I’m a researcher, my colleagues and I have spent the last few months exploring the notion that “everything is programmable,” or will be soon. The idea is that emerging technologies—from pervasive computers to synthetic biology—are making it possible to program our bodies and our worlds to desired specifications. Increasingly, we are looking at the entire world through a computational lens. As part of that research, we’ve been collecting “signals”—events, developments, articles, scientific publications—that taken together, give indications of key trends. We’ve entered these in our public Signtific signals database and tagged them based on their subject matter. I’ve found many research efforts suggesting how we may reprogram our senses in the future.
For example, there are the “Flavor Tripping” parties fueled by Synsepalum dulcificum, aka “Miracle Fuit,” the West African berry that temporarily reprograms your taste buds to make anything sour or bitter taste perfectly sweet. And there’s the story of Daniel Kish, the blind psychologist who, by clicking his tongue, uses echolocation to “see.” In the realm of digital synesthesia, numerous projects are attempting to leverage tactile feedback in the form of clothing outfitted with tiny vibrators. Instead of picking up your phone to read a text message, you might feel the words spelled on your back.
The late Paul Bach-y-Rita could be considered the father of all technology used to reprogram the human senses. In 1963, Bach-y-Rita developed a “Tactile to Visual Sensory Substitution” device. It converted images from a camera to tactile sensations that a blind person could feel on his or her back. Bach-y-Rita’s research was all based on the notion of “sensory substitution.” The brain, he argued, was not hardwired and that a working sense, say touch, could be used to replace a failing one, e.g. vision. His ideas around the plasticity of the human brain were very controversial at the time but widely accepted today. He continued his research on sensory substitution technology at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, and his company Wicab, until his death in 2007.
“I can connect anything to anything,” Bach-y-Rita said in a profile in The Telegraph shortly before his death:
We see with our brains, not with our eyes. When a blind man uses a cane he sweeps it back and forth, and has only one point, the tip, feeding him information through the skin receptors in the hand. Yet this sweeping allows him to sort out where the doorjamb is, or the chair, or distinguish a foot when he hits it, because it will give a little. Then he uses this information to guide himself to the chair to sit down. Though his hand sensors are where he gets the information and where the cane “interfaces” with him, what he perceives is not the cane’s pressure on his hand but the layout of the room: chairs, walls, feet, the three-dimensional space. The receptor surface in the hand becomes merely a relay for information, a data port.
In the latest incarnation of Bach-y-Rita’s work, the data port is the tongue. The company he co-founded, Wicab, has developed a visual prosthetic for the blind that converts images from a video camera into tactile sensations on the tongue. The system, called BrainPort, pairs a head-mounted digital video camera with a postage stamp-size electrode array that sits on the tongue. A small computer translates the visual information into a pattern that is “displayed” on the tongue.
“The tactile image is created by presenting white pixels from the camera as strong stimulation, black pixels as no stimulation, and gray levels as medium levels of stimulation, with the ability to invert contrast when appropriate,” reads the company’s website. “Users often report the sensation as pictures that are painted on the tongue with champagne bubbles.”
The BrainPort is not yet FDA approved, but clinical studies have been quite exciting. During trials, blind test subjects had their brains scanned while using the device. Interestingly, even though the device provides tactile sensation, visual regions of the brain were activated.
Seeing with your tongue may seem unusual, but arguably not as weird as “skin vision.” A researcher at Tel Aviv University suggests that humans might be able to “see” with their skin. Engineering professor Leonid Yaroslavsky hopes that through biomimicry, new kinds of imaging technology might be developed that obviates traditional optics. Yaroslavsky presented his theories on the subject in a scientific book titled Advances in Information Optics and Photonics. From an American Friends of Tel Aviv University press release:
Skin vision is not uncommon in nature. Plants orient themselves to light, and some animals—such as pit vipers, who use infrared vision, and reptiles, who possess skin sensors—can “see” without the use of eyes. Skin vision in humans is likely a natural atavistic ability involving light-sensitive cells in our skin connected to neuro-machinery in the body and in the brain, explains Prof. Yaroslavsky.
While the first people to reprogram their senses are likely to be people with a sense that has failed them, the technology will likely trickle down. Eventually, the hard lines between our five senses may be blurred. And in a world where everything is programmable, five may be a choice, not a limit.
Do you see what I’m saying?
To precipitate the player into a daydreaming state – the goal of an immersive envitonment?
Bachelard, Poetics of Daydreaming: “daydreaming allows us to know language uncensored. In solitary daydreaming, we can say everything to ourselves. We still have a clear enough conscience to be certain that what we say to ourselves is for us and for us alone…To understand ourselves doubly as real and idealized beings we must listen to our daydreaming. We believe that our daydreaming can be the best school for a “psychology of the depths“.
“In our hours of happiness, our daydreaming nourrishes itself; it self-sustains the way life self-sustains.”
On alchemy: “The exaltation found in the names of substances is a preamble to experiments on certain “exalted” substances”.
un jadis a jamais disparu: a once upon a time forever dissapeared
l’ombre est alors un etre riche: the shadow is then a rich and splendid being
On loneliness and the condtional tense: “I am alone, therefore I dream of the being who healed my loneliness, who would have healed my loneliness”.
“What do we know about the other if we don’t imagine him/her?”
From architecture and design magazine website Blueprint:
“Clear transparent tubes feed plumbing pipes with compressed air. These create a chorus of howls and moans. It is sort of like an out of tune harmony but isn’t displeasing, almost like the cry of a stream-train but not intrusive. This is apt for the Roundhouse, as it was built in 1846 as a Steam engine shed. The sounds become a reawakening of the haunts of its previous existence. It gives significance to the user of the building, as if our own experiences and lifetimes within that building become infused into the very make-up of it. This user-building relationship is highlighted by the operation of the installation, where the building only speaks when the user touches the keys of the pump organ to feed it.
If the large, round room is empty when you enter it, the installation is silent. One may feel timid walking to the pump organ, with its yellowy spotlight and the massive room to play to. The words ‘Please Play’ painted on the floor offer some encouragement. Most people are generally shy when playing musical instruments to an audience, but the pump organ cannot make a formal tune: the sound it generates is more like the clunking noises made by old, creaking heating systems in houses. The instrument itself is like an exaggerated version of the solitary church organ, usually played alone because it is only in tune with itself and not with other instruments.” (Elice Catmull, August 2009)
“A simple example will clarify this: the beginning of Le Chiendent. A man’s silhouette was outlined, simultaneously thousands. A realist novelist would have written: Jules came along. There was a crowd. But in writing this, the realist novelist would only have shown that he was confusing the concreteness of things with literary concreteness, and that he was counting on quashing the latter in favor of the former. he would have claimed to have rendered his sentence wholly transparent to that which it designates.That is literature according to Sartre, and transitive language. In literature, the smallest combination of words secretes perfectly intransitive properties”.
“Language doesn’t manipulate notions, as people still believe; it handles verbal objects and maybe even, in the case of poetry, sonorous objects.”
“Nine or ten centuries ago, when a potential writer proposed the sonnet form, he left, through certain mechanical processes, the possibility of a choice.”
Jean Lescure, Brief History of the Oulipo
Hershman’s talking head appears successively on the three screens of an editing machine. No hands are visible that would explain this ghostly process – the machine seems to be creating Hershman(s), conjuring her / they out of a database, splicing bits and pieces together in an eerie act of cyborg (re) production. The editing machine becomes both an inscription tool and a metaphor for the private / public performance of a community of alter egos.
Hershman stands in the corner of a white room next to a short white pedestal and an unidentifiable dark rectangular object on the wall (a picture, a painting?). The room is stretched out and replicated across the picture plane, calling up the effect produced when mirrors are placed opposite each other : recursive reflection, mirrors containing themselves replicating across an infinite depth. Hershman, as the subject obsessed with the perfecting, the retooling of her own discourse enters in a demonic dialogue with the camera, adjusting the mirror (the sliver of discourse that constitutes a particular edit), picking different angles to produce a variety of refraction patterns.
She retraces the history of her overeating and chronicles the progress of her “cure”, a schematic scale often appearing as a graded line to the left of her head, marking with mathematical precision the chronological positioning of a particular interview episode – the measurement / assessment of her body functioning as both clock and time machine, transporting the audience across her body / her time (her temporality).
The whole project, she admits, is grounded in the fact that she is alone with herself / with the mirror that is the camera – a curious place I identify with the sound booth of her interview space, a societally detached cubicle in which (intentional) discourse and (spontaneous, uncensored) private thought are disturbingly close, perhaps inextricable. This space, between herself and the camera, seems to allow her a great degree of license in her storytelling – it becomes easier to scrutinize interior events, and, liberated from the necessity of an interlocutor, Hershman is no longer compelled to (artificially) carve out fact from fantasy. Fantasy itself emerges as fact / act, a documentable event alongside others, testifying to the occurrence/reality of this continuous performance of subjectivity.