February 27, 2008

Art for Collectors Near Power Lines

The 1,301 florescent bulbs in this installation by Richard Box aren't plugged into anything; they're powered solely by the magnetic fields from the power lines above. More cool photos here.

(Oh yeah, only poor folk live near power lines.)

February 26, 2008

Martian Museum of Terrestrial Art

At Barbican Art Gallery, London. "Anthropologists from outer space set out on a mission to understand life on Earth. . . . [T]hey begin their mission by examining the curious phenomenon that human beings call ‘contemporary art’." Judging from The Guardian's slideshow, a great show, including 100 artists and accompanied by "Films from Another Planet," naturally including some Cremaster. Through May 18, 2008.

(Photo at right, My Name as Though It Were Written on the Surface of the Moon (1968), Bruce Nauman; Sonnabend Collection, 2008.)

(Thanks, Ben!)

February 25, 2008

February 23, 2008

"Save the Internet" Bill Is a Sham

If you get an e-mail urging you to support of the “Internet Freedom Preservation Act of 2008” (HR 5353), please be aware it's a sell-out.

Per ZDNet, the bill "carries no enforcement provision on network neutrality, and even carries the co-sponsorship of a neutrality opponent, Rep. Chip Pickering of Mississippi.

"Pickering has said he plans to leave Congress after this term and is expected to become a lobbyist. Defanging the network neutrality bandwagon will doubtless please his potential corporate employers.

"The bill is a fig leaf, offering vague 'principles' which would be 'guide stars' for future policy.

"Violation of the principles carries no penalty. The FCC would merely study the question and then suggest whether rules are necessary later." More at ZDNet.

February 22, 2008

Msg to Institutional Dems:

Thanks, babylonsister! (Click on the image to enlarge.)

US Feds Ordered "Assassination City" Police to STOP Screening for Weapons at Obama Rally

Per The Fort Worth Star Telegram, "[s]ecurity details at Barack Obama's rally [in Dallas, Texas] Wednesday stopped screening people for weapons at the front gates more than an hour before the Democratic presidential candidate took the stage at Reunion Arena.

"The order to put down the metal detectors and stop checking purses and laptop bags came as a surprise to several Dallas police officers who said they believed it was a lapse in security.

* * *

"Several Dallas police officers said it worried them that the arena was packed with people who got in without even a cursory inspection.

"They spoke on condition of anonymity because, they said, the order was made by federal officials who were in charge of security at the event."

You can't even get into the Dallas Museum of Art without having your bag inspected.

February 20, 2008

Hunter S. Thompson, Richard Nixon, Noam Chomsky, Etc.

— all this and more is yours on DU.

"'The trail of Richard Nixon, if it happens, will amount to a de facto trial of the American Dream. . . . The real question is why we are forced to impeach a president elected by the largest margin in the history of presidential elections . . . . The necessity of actually bringing Nixon to trial, in order to understand our reality in the same way the Nuremberg trials forced Germany to confront itself . . . .' Hunter S. Thompson, Fear and Loathing in Washington: The Boys in the Bag, 1974, The Great Shark Hunt.

"The old fashioned American way of dealing with problems like Richard Nixon was to sweep them under the rug. Kick him out of office in disgrace, arrange a pardon so that his actual crimes — and especially the identities of his coconspirators in high places, such as the business community — could never be revealed. Ensure that the mechanisms that he used to steal power are left in place so that the same methods can be used again, as Noam Chomsky so presciently noted in 1973:

“'But the conditions that permitted the rise of McCarthy and Nixon endure. Fortunately for us and for the world, McCarthy was a mere thug and Nixon's mafia overstepped the bounds of acceptable trickery and deceit with such obtuseness and blundering vulgarity that they were called to account by powerful forces that had not [yet] been demolished or absorbed. But sooner or later, under the threat of political or economic crisis, some comparable figure may succeed in creating a mass political base, bringing together socioeconomic forces with the power and the finesse to carry out plans such as those that were conceived in the Oval Office. Only perhaps he will choose his domestic enemies more judiciously and prepare the ground more thoroughly.' Noam Chomsky, 'Watergate: A Skeptical View,' The New York Review of Books, September 20, 1973.'"

Murakami Snarfs Up Bombed Billboard

Details here.

Cao Fei’s "iMirror"

. . . a documentary “filmed” entirely in Second Life and directed by her SL avatar China Tracy. Including some slightly hilarious avatar disco dancing and rather long credits at the end, Part 3, below, is 9:28 min.

Part 1 opens with a great quote from William J. Mitchell's Me++: The Cyborg Self and the Networked City: "I construct, and I am constructed, in a mutually recursive process that continually engages my fluid, permeable boundaries and my endlessly ramifying networks. I am a spatially extended cyborg."

More iMirror: Part 1, Part 2.

Info re- current exhibits of Fei's work at Artkrush, which quotes Fei, "[i]n the end, I think this 3-D world is the future world." Which 3-D world?

Body Worlds UPDATE

Re- my previous post . . . The Times reports that Gunther von Hagens, "sometimes dubbed Dr. Death," plans to put some 150,000 plastinated body parts on sale to the public.

"Dr. von Hagens says that he will not sell the body parts if it damages the dignity of the corpse.

"'That means forbidding the use of the body sections as, for example, placemats for cocktail glasses,' he says, 'and if the owner wants to get rid of the body bits he will be required to cremate them and not simply throw them in the bin.'

". . . . so far he has been promised 8,568 corpses and has 531 in stock, all swimming in baths of alcohol awaiting his chemical treatment" -- in addition to the hundreds already plastinated and in touring exhibits?

Suck My Fish Cakes

What got me about this story is, "[t]he cost of the meal came to £284.68, including a 10% service charge." Per the first currency converter that popped up, that's $554.23, so the server's tip was automatically ca. $55.42.

February 18, 2008

Whistle-Blowers' Site Taken Off-Line in the U.S.

. . . that is, the eminently useful Wikileaks. As reported by the BBC, the site, which "allows whistle blowers to anonymously post government and corporate documents[,] has been taken offline in the US.

* * *

"The site was founded in 2006 by dissidents, journalists, mathematicians and technologists from the US, Taiwan, Europe, Australia and South Africa.

"It so far claims to have published more than 1.2 million documents."

Versions of the site hosted in other countries such as Belgium and India can supposedly still be accessed.

P.S.: Note to journalists: it's ok to have more than one sentence per paragraph.

UPDATE Feb. 29, 2008: Per the Electronic Frontier Foundation, the order that disabled the wikileaks.org domain name in the U.S. has, for now, been rescinded. EFF attorney Matt Zimmerman said, "[a]ttempting to interfere with the operation of an entire website because you have a dispute over some of its content is never the right approach. Disabling access to an Internet domain in an effort to prevent the world from accessing a handful of widely-discussed documents is not only unconstitutional -- it simply won't work." The ACLU has also intervened. Consider donating.

From the Collection of Robert E. Jackson

Photographer unknown. The collection of photos by "average Americans trying out their cameras" was scavenged by Jackson from yard sales and antiques shops and was recently shown at the National Gallery of Art in Washington, D.C.

"I'm not a hot shot, I'm not rich," Jackson said laughing. "I work in a cubicle."

(From The Seattle Times via snarky -- thanks!)

At the Amon Carter Museum in Fort Worth, TX, through April 27, 2008.

Martin Creed's New Tate Commission: Run, Dick, Run!

Tate Britain has commissioned Creed to create a new art work to be exhibited in a 300 foot-long (90m) gallery hall, in which the artist will, Times Online understands, "do no more than get individuals to run through the gallery every minute for months on end." Ah, but which individuals?

Creed won the Turner Prize in 2001 for Work No. 227: The Lights Going On and Off.

February 16, 2008

Unofficial Tallies in NYC Understated Obama Vote

According to The New York Times, "[b]lack voters are heavily represented in the 94th Election District in Harlem’s 70th Assembly District. Yet according to the unofficial results from the New York Democratic primary last week, not a single vote in the district was cast for Senator Barack Obama.

"That anomaly was not unique. In fact, a review by The New York Times of the unofficial results reported on primary night found about 80 election districts among the city’s 6,106 where Mr. Obama supposedly did not receive even one vote, including cases where he ran a respectable race in a nearby district." More here.

During the last several years, there have been more than one election reform bill pending in Congress, most of which were "bandaids" that would have failed to assure meaningful transparency and auditability. To understand the merits and status of any particular bill, I recommend verifiedvoting.org (you might want to bookmark that for the next time you get e-mail urging you to support particular legislation -- I had serious problems with one bill moveon was pushing).

Ending the Iraq war and health care reform are urgent issues. But for me, the top two priorities are election reform and media reform, because our ability to respond effectively regarding everything else depends on those two.

Last I checked, none of the leading Presidential candidates' official websites addresses either election reform or media reform, presumably because the corporate media and others aren't asking about them. To ask the candidates about those issues, for Huckabee go here, for McCain go here, for Clinton go here, and for Obama go here.

February 14, 2008

Woebken & Okada: New Picnic Threat

This "Ant" device created by Chris Woebken and Kenichi Okada is intended to simulate the experience of being an ant. Exhibited at a masters student show at London’s Royal College of Art. (Via dezeen.)

Clinton & Obama Supporters: Pls Refute This if You Can

I happen to believe there can be no bigger, better art work/ game/ life purpose than trying to help make a "better" universe, however you might prefer to define that. If you agree, you might rhyme with this.

February 13, 2008

TWO STEPS to Voting in the Texas Dem Primary

The primaries in Texas will be held on March 4, 2008.

Per Texas Dem party rules, there are TWO steps. Texas has both a New Hampshire-style primary AND an Iowa-style caucus.

  1. Go to the polling place and vote.
  2. Return to your polling place at 7:15 PM and sign in at your party convention. You do not have to stay and caucus, you just need to sign in.
Only 3/4 of the total Texas delegation (126 delegates) will be based on the primary returns. The other 1/4 (42 delegates) will be distributed based on the number of people attending the precinct convention. To "attend" you need only sign in (at which point you indicate your candidate) and then you can leave.

Of course, if you want to stay -- and if you want to actually run to be a delegate -- you can do that, too.

It's vital to go and sign in, because that sign-in number determines the percentage in attendance for Obama vs. Clinton vs. Undecided, and delegates are allotted based on that number alone. The choosing of delegates is a subsequent step that's based on the sign-in sheet, but separate from it.

Senate Dems Agree: the Constitution Really Is "Just a Goddamned Piece of Paper"

-- as Bush put it.

A number of Senate Dems, including Senator Clinton, have voted in favor of granting telecoms immunity for abetting the Bush administration's wholesale, warrantless spying on U.S. citizens, in gross violation of our Constitutional rights. Senator Obama voted against granting the immunity. You can check the roster here.

Remember, this isn't just about the telecoms, or even just deterring illegal spying. It's also about (1) whether the telecoms have any reason to reveal who in the Bush administration pushed for the illegal spying and (2) whether anyone in the future has any incentive to say "no" to the next violation by our government of our fundamental rights.

February 11, 2008

WaPo: U.S. Border Agents Seizing Laptops, Phones and Copying Info

The Washington Post reports that federal agents at U.S. borders have been seizing and copying the contents of some travellers' laptops, cellphones, and other electronic devices.

The Association of Corporate Travel Executives has tracked complaints from members whose laptops were seized without warrants and without any crime ever being charged. The laptops were usually returned days later, but one member's laptop has yet to be returned after more than a year.

At least two global corporations have directed their executives not to carry confidential business material on laptops overseas. One law firm has instructed its lawyers crossing U.S. borders to carry only "blank laptops," preferring the risks of having their docs hacked while accessing them over the internet to the risks of government search and seizure.

The Electronic Frontier Foundation and other organizations plan to sue to force the government to disclose its policies on border searches, including which rules govern the seizing and copying of the contents of electronic devices.

B.t.w., on the corporate surveillance side, when I accessed the WaPo article, the company or its associates wanted to set 22 cookies. For now, I'm denying all that appear to be not so much for my benefit as for someone else's, which appears to be at least 95% of them.

February 9, 2008

"MySpace Intro Playlist"

A delicious collection curated by Guthrie Lonergan, here.

E.g., what could be better than:

I also loved this one and this one.

February 8, 2008

Furry Utopians

A fun doc about another way to be differently-oriented. Ca. 4 min. including a couple of brief ads:

(Thanks, Ben!)

February 7, 2008

Help Defeat Telecoms' Third Push for Immunity for Warrentless Wiretapping

In response to grass-roots pressure, legislation has twice been successfully filibustered that would have granted telecoms immunity for abetting the Bush administration's indiscriminate wiretapping in gross violation of our Constitutional rights. Apparently a third push for immunity is now underway. Please go here to urge your representatives to defeat it.

February 6, 2008

"Specimens" Animation by Bradly Brown

See the hi-def version of Radium's first in-house music video, with animation by artist Bradly Brown, here. Art Direction by Bradly Brown and Jeff Hunt; © 2008 Radium/Table of the Elements.

February 3, 2008

Reinventing the Wheel

From National Georgraphic, via Dark Roasted Blend (scroll down).

Kristin Lucas's "Whatever Your Mind Can Conceive" at And/Or Gallery

. . . in Dallas, Texas -- one of the best shows I've seen anywhere in the last twelve months; smart and insightful, expressing archetypal yet urgent concerns in the idioms of today.

There are two, thematically-related parts. In the front gallery is her "contemplative installation including video, light box prints, cast rocks, and laser cut comets" featuring, among other things, fragments of a narrative including sessions the artist undertook with a real hypnotherapist to treat a grotesque eruption on her face that she purports to believe enhance her job performance as a bingo caller. In the back of the gallery is her related, "Refresh group exhibition [comprising the legal documentation and courtroom sketches from when] she legally changed her name from Kristin Lucas to Kristin Lucas as a kind of re-awakening, [plus portraits] she had her colleagues produce . . . of her before and after the change."

The work in the front gallery is shown in the picture but looks better as installed at And/Or. There are three channels of video, one screening on a boxy, older computer monitor that's been painted with a finish similar to that of the fake "rocks," and two screening wholly or partly on beautifully-knotted plywood -- a last-minute decision that may sound weird but looks fantastic and works well with the Western setting of the narrative.

See the show if you can; more info on And/Or's site.

February 1, 2008

For Your Snarky Valentine

My friend Julie Jackson, the creator of Kitty Wigs among other things, just added a great new product to her subversive cross stitch shop: limited edition Natalie Dee cross stitch kits. Take a look.