:: Saturday, June 12, 2004 ::

Cabinet is an art magazine that saw better days - in terms of distribution i mean... It's not easy to find but its last 13th issue, "Futures", is really worth checking out. There are several interesting articles to read but I would like to focus on one that I think is very relevant for this forum. It is an interview with Murtha Baca, head of Digital Resources Managament and the Vocabulary Program at the Getty Research Institute in Los angeles. The article addresses the complex topic of the adoption of metadata by museums for the description of art, much in the same way libraries have MARC (MAchine-Readable Cataloging format) for bibliographic information.

Baca demystifies terms that she says have the tendency to scare curators, such as "authority file", or "controlled vocabulary", but that are endemic to the discussion of standards and metadata elements. Standards that Baca says are seen by many as imprisoning when in fact they liberate.

The CDWA (Categories for the Description of Works of Art) naturally includes net art. The article concludes with an anedocte: Baca refused to co-lead a workshop with a colleague who insisted that contemporary art needed different metadata elements and a distinct vocabulary. For her,the two types of information that are seminal in CDWA - the creator and the title information - apply to any artwork: net art included.

The Getty leads this process of finding the standards that museums can use universally- for more information go here for the basics and here for detailed information.

:: ana boa-ventura [+] ::
The presentation of the new site of incident.net, a French collective of net-artists, took place the 3rd of June in Paris. Incident.net members' works were presented, as well as a selection of the Hors Seriés, an open project which proposes academic themes, like “still life”, worked on with new media practices.
From the many works of Gregory Chatonsky, a founder of Incident.net, I suggest to check out 1=1, a piece that splits the screen for a spatial editing of David Lynch’s Lost Highway. The two parts of the movie are there for our (illusion of) control. A further de-construction of that movie? You can try...
BetaGirl by Reynald Drouhin is a work on seeing and being seen. It’s also the spectacle of the void, even if Airalin, the young girl who shows on the Web her intimate daily life, promises that the “rabbit hole into my world” – her web cam – conducts to Wonderland. Eating, sleeping, watching TV... Alice must have had a more exciting life! Drouhin’s editing transforms the insignificant images of a reality show into a narration, staged on a lonely bed. Many works of Drouhin are based on images composed through search engines, like in J’eux, where a child appears from a mosaic of several images resulted from the search string “portait”.
Vadim Bernard in Par[cours] develops his research, in progress, on visual interpolations between real and virtual space. With a bright mix of video and 3D he rebuilds fragile models of some yards of Paris. The results presented in the quicktime demo are encouraging for future developments.
KRN’s self-photoportraits in the mirrors of all of the Ladies toilettes of NY is a work that doesn’t need extra reflections, while Julie Morel in her cd-rom entitled InAbsentia presents a visual interaction through her handmade drawings and a marimbas piece by Steve Reich with the categories of daily objects. The on-line video of the project is not like the interaction with cd, but gives an idea...

Contribution by
Daniele Balit

Posted by
:: Eduardo Navas [+] ::
:: Friday, June 11, 2004 ::
And the horse keeps getting back up...

My mother is a savant at Minesweeper - she can clear 175 mines in expert mode in around a minute. Pretty impressive for a person who still has troubles with emails and TV remotes. So it was not surprising to find that this month's Wired contained a feature entitled The Wrinkled Future of Online Gaming by David Kushner.

The article highlights the significant presence of a new generation of gamers, or rather, "game players," between the ages of 35 and 54. These game players, mostly women, utilize online sources such as Pogo (Electronic Arts), MSN Games and Yahoo! Games to make friends, "visit" with family, or pass the time.

And at 4 hours a night to eight hours a day these are serious players, and a very serious growth market for game developers. Perhaps then it is no coincidence that yesterday Nintendo announced plans to put out a new console, code-named Revolution, designed to attract what they call "casual gamers."

Whether or not the motivation or interests of these game players is significantly different from those of their younger "gamer" counterparts, remains to be explored. Perhaps the shift might only be in the indexical attributes of the games the have chosen to play rather than in the deeper nature of "play" itself. However, considering how this newly acknowledged demographic might impact the future of commercial game development, poses some intersting questions and possibilities as to how that element might also impact game theory.
:: [+] ::
:: Thursday, June 10, 2004 ::
This is posted on from an email I received today. Please try and attend and show your solidarity if you can.

For those of you following the Steve Kurtz / Critical Art Ensemble investigation and are states-side, note that there will be a PROTEST TO DEMAND AN IMMEDIATE END TO THE INVESTIGATION OF STEVE KURTZ AND THE CRITICAL ART ENSEMBLE at 9 AM, June 15, 2004 in Niagara Square, Buffalo, New York, near the courthouse.

DRIVING DIRECTIONS: From Interstate 90 take 33W into downtown all the way to the end. It will put you onto Oak St. Continue on Oak for 2 long blocks to Broadway. Go right on Broadway which runs right into Court St. The first square is Lafayette and then comes Niagara Square. There are paid parking lots all around this downtown area. Information on possible housing will be on the website shortly. Map of location.

ABOUT THE DEMONSTRATION: Please bring signs and banners if you can (see here for more info). This is a peaceful demonstration. As in all demonstrations, it's best to bring personal identification (driver's license, passport, student id, proof of address, etc.). Let someone know where you're going to be. Stick with a buddy.


:: Garrett Lynch [+] ::
:: Wednesday, June 09, 2004 ::
Readers who are following the development of the Stever Kurtz FBI incident should visit Newsgrist. Joy Garnett has done an amazing job at gathering important information including news and articles.
:: Eduardo Navas [+] ::
This post is not about net art or new media, but about an event that is so important it deserves to be mentioned here. But if an excuse is needed, some of the participants in the event develop new media projects,and may become important personalities in the emerging fields. Supersonic, an exhibition of all the major art schools in southern California will be having its opening event this coming Saturday at the Wind Tunnel--that's Art Center's new space adjacent to their graduate studios. The Wind Tunnel was used by an airplane company to build supersonic aircrafts, hence the title of the show.

But how massive is the event one might ask? Well, here are the schools participating: Art Center, Cal Arts, Claremont,Otis, UCLA, UCI, UCSD, USC

The Saturday night event will be followed by a Symposium on Sunday at MOCA, the keynote is Mike Davis--California's foremost urban ecologist.

This is sure to be an historical event with high possibilities to become a time-mark in art history perhaps in similar ways to how the exhibit Helter Skelter at MOCA marked a new time for art practice in Los Angeles.

:: Eduardo Navas [+] ::
:: Monday, June 07, 2004 ::
Since the last postings have been on games I am not going to be the one dropping the subject... It's just too much fun.

The Digital Media Collaboratory (DMC), part of the Institute for Innovation, Creativity and Capital (IC2) at the University of Texas at Austin, is organizing the next of their series of conferences in Game Development. Last year the theme was "Artificial Inteligence": the turnout was amazing and well beyond the expected numbers! Austin was/is base for some of the best game companies (and games) produced.

The next conference will be on what the organizing committee is, for now, intentionally leaving as vague as "merged realities and worlds". It promises to be less directed at computer scientists and more appealing to designers - and especially to "world designers". This is a bold decision, as the IC2 is traditionally directed at industry professionals and its agenda is one of appplied research. The conference now in preparation seems to be pointing at innovative areas of game world building - and so maybe it addresses those professionals that Richard Florida calls the "creative class"... Could this new agenda reflect an emerging trend in the field? The DMC at UT is definitely suggesting a new path in the field of "games": one that nods at MMORPGs that have redefined the concept of User's License Agreement such as Second LIfe, at the use of wireless in alternative forms of street theater (read about "Uncle Roy All around you" and "Blast Theory"), and at artists physically representing game environments such as Matthew Barney did at the Guggenheim with his Cremaster cycle (more info here). I don't mean to imply that these will be part of the DMC Game Dev 2005 conference - although it is a possibility.. I am trying to imply something that i think is far more important that the conference program- the idea that the formulas of Symposia in Game Development are changing and becoming more integrative of technologies and media, more interdisciplinary and, as a result, more sophisticated in their agendas.

:: ana boa-ventura [+] ::
Seeing as Games / ludology (the study of games) tends to be the current topic here I thought it might be appropriate to review the work of Paul Johnson who exhibited some very interesting console based work under the title “Score” at the Postmasters Gallery from April 3 - May 1, 2004.

"New York artist Paul Johnson creates sculptural computer consoles which are autonomous networked video game systems. Although conceived as games, they cannot be played or won. Instead, these games are “self playing” via computer software. They acquire resources from one another mutually affecting their respective worlds. Without the audience interaction, the networked games generate unpredictable narratives unfolding in real time."

At first glance I assumed that these console's were the typical console's that the vast majority of us play, playstation / sega / nintendo / x-box, whatever. All reverse engineered to create works that contradict the nature of their original intention, interesting in itself. Instead here the artist is not alone custom building games but also the hardware that is needed to run them. The works are a true demonstration of function over form (yes I know the dictum is the reverse) with wires and connections trailing across from screen to screen, parts of the computers and screens found to be unnecessary - removed or reduced down to expose parts creating what looks like every hackers dream, a mess of a custom built machine, elegant only in the eyes of a technophile.

Hardware and appearances aside, the works themselves are both amusing and slightly worrying. Self perpetuating games developing their own narratives and context they run without any user intervention. A household that becomes a battlefield (entitled “Trauma”), or is it the reverse, illustrating that our social lives are wars or that real wars are forever encroaching on our social lives? The comparison of an underground group who daily explore and conquer urban territories - skaters, to middle age crusaders (entitled “Dark Network”), free of social, political and economical constraints yet paradoxically controlled by a commodities game working in much the same way as any stock market. Surely a commentary that no group of reasonable success is free from commercial exploitation no matter how much they protest? And who can fail to see the irony in a space station intrinsically linked to the dietary cycle of a couch potato (entitled “Maiden Flight”)?

If you missed the exhibition of Paul's work at the Postmasters they there will be another opportunity to see his work in September at Villette Numerique in Paris, France at an exhibition entitled Zones de Confluences, curated by Benjamin Weil.

:: Garrett Lynch [+] ::
:: Sunday, June 06, 2004 ::
Japanese artist, Aya Takano had imagined how life will be in The World after 800,000,000 Years.

Takano is interested in playing with the concept of Japonisme as well as incorporating elements of anime, cartoons, science fiction, and erotic art into her work.

As you can imagine, entering her world that exists 800,000,000 years from now, requires that you search and click. It reminds me a bit of being a baby exploring a new and foreign world, listening to sounds, watching its environment, tasting and touching, in order to make sense of the still unknown sensations surrounding it.

However, not everything is foreign. There are recognizable “human-like” creatures which seem to be exclusively skinny post-adolescent girls, barely clothed yet somehow highly fashionable (in that world). They have big, empty eyes reminiscent of supermodels posing for a camera. If they indeed are the only ones in that world, without male counterparts ogling or objectifying them, then maybe they don’t care how they are perceived. Perhaps they’re just free to walk around as they are then, without any of my 21st century concerns.

The other clickable objects in the future environment are mostly from nature and offer smooth and some not-so-smooth transitions (pop-ups) that give us more information about this world. Aya Takano has graciously provided text to explain some of the things we encounter. I just wish some of it were a little easier to read. I did think the sounds in the piece, especially the voices, were very well done.

Aya Takano is based in Kyoto and Tokyo, and belongs to Kaikai Kiki, a group of young artists organized by Takashi Murakami.
I recommend checking out her work. It can be found at Moca’s Digital Gallery.

:: Kristen Palana [+] ::
Hi, I like to suggest you to look at Gonzalo Frasca's own company, newsgaming
Their games, 12th September and Madrid, deal with politics and ethical issues inbedded in a really cool game interface.

:: Ana Valdes [+] ::
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