April 29, 2008

Terrifying Times

In John Oliver's recent tv special, Terrifying Times, he proposed that since we can no longer assure our children a bright future, the least we can do is improve on their past, e.g., by writing in Wikipedia that George W. Bush was "a conceptual artist whose thought-provoking installation entitled, '43rd Presidency,' is supposed to make us consider how terrible it would be if a man like him were ever really elected."

April 25, 2008

Abe and Mo Sing the Blogs

. . . here, is a treasure trove. E.g., the lyrics of the first song are from hansbernhardblog):

September 15, 2005

Breakfast Drugs

2x500 mg Depakine
1x300 mg Neurotop
0,05 mg Thyrex
250 microgram Seretide
1 Coffee
The entirety of hansbernhardblog appears devoted to simply listing drugs taken mornings and evenings. Abe and Mo sing this post as heavy metal, but their stylistic range is broad.

The subsequent songs are just as good.

P.S.: Love that hairstyle on Marisa -- really.

April 24, 2008

Ghosts of Failed Investments: Half-Built Resort Hotels in the Sinai

More cool ghost-resort pics and info at BLDGBLOG. (Thanks, Ben!)

We dream of Jeannie (nice slide show).

Documentary on Graffiti Research Lab (New)

You may remember GRL from the Tech-Art Activism compilation in the 2007 Dallas Video Festival -- see my post here.

Here are clips from a new documentary about GRL premiering at MoMA on May 4, 2008 (via Boing Boing -- worth the click; as usual, they've blogged it well.)

UPDATE: GRL is included in a nice collection of pics of technology-influenced graffiti on WebUrbanist, here.

Penis Theft Panic

Ok, I'm a girl; it's easy for me to laugh . . .

"Purported victims [in Congo], 14 of whom were also detained by police, claimed that sorcerers simply touched them to make their genitals shrink or disappear, in what some residents said was an attempt to extort cash with the promise of a cure. [And like, how did that touching come about?] . . . .

"It's real. Just yesterday here, there was a man who was a victim. We saw. What was left was tiny," said 29-year-old Alain Kalala, who sells phone credits near a Kinshasa police station.

More here.

UPDATE: Once again, TDS covered this story several days AFTER I did -- more evidence someone there reads me (i'm kidding, but).

April 23, 2008

3-D Bjork

. . . here. It was a bit glitchy for me, but I prolly just need to restart my browser; and anyway, they're offering free 3-D glasses! If the page doesn't work for you, here's the 2-D YouTube version; pls remember to rate it up:

Dr. Lakra's "Untitled (Vea)"

(2007), ink (and paint?) on vintage mag. From the "Martian Museum of Terrestrial Art," previously blogged here. More Lakra here, here, and here.

April 22, 2008


Me, Bart Weiss, and Dee Mitchell, co-curators of the DVF ' 08's new, new media and video art series, THE PROGRAM. Ok, yeah; in reality, I'm cuter. (Image scavenged by the superb Danette.)

As you may know, the DVF was the first in TX to show video art by Michel Auder, Matthew Barney, Paul Chan, Harun Farocki, Graffiti Research Lab, William Kentridge, Paul McCarthy, Tony Oursler, Pipilotti Rist, Martha Rosler, and Bill Viola, among many others.

This year, the new media and video art portion of the DVF will be presented separately from the rest of the Fest, in an expanded series of programs over a five-week period, with each week's work remaining on exhibit until the next week's is installed.

Nothing's set in stone yet, but it looks like there's a decent chance we'll get to show -- no, I'm afraid of jinxing it. But I will say, I'm really excited about the way the schedule's shaping up.

5 shows over 5 weeks, with openings on 5 consecutive Sat. nites, after-parties, etc. etc. Starting July 26 at Conduit Gallery.

Ink it into your calendar; and tell your friends!

April 20, 2008

Art Project: Purported Multiple, Deliberately-Induced Pregnancies & Abortions

"A Yale University art student duped the student newspaper with a story about inducing repeated abortions on herself and using the blood for her senior art project, the school said Thursday.

" . . . . The entire project is an art piece, a creative fiction designed to draw attention to the ambiguity surrounding form and function of a woman's body," said [a] Yale spokeswoman . . . .

"Shvarts' 'performance art' included visual representations, a news release and other narrative materials, Klasky said. When confronted by three senior Yale officials, including two deans, Shvarts acknowledged that she did not seek any abortions. . . .

"The newspaper's account detailed 'a nine-month process during which [Shvarts] artificially inseminated herself 'as often as possible' while periodically taking abortifacient drugs to induce miscarriages.'"

Personally, I don't consider an embryo with the I.Q. of a carrot to be a "person" entitled to Constitutional protection. On the other hand, chimps and gorillas can learn and even teach their kids language, but we don't protect them.

More here.

Paul Chan's "Alternumeric" Fonts

I've been looking at some of Paul Chan's stuff for possible inclusion in THE PROGRAM; he's so dam' cool. Something we prolly won't include but that's too fun not to mention is alternumeric fonts that you can download at Chan's site. The pic at left shows how the phrase, "See it here" looks written in "The Future Must Be Sweet" font, which refers to the work of Charles Fourier.

Note that Chan chose "desire" as the central glyph corresponding to the most common letter in the English alphabet, "e."

April 18, 2008

Unauthorized Group Exhibit in MoMA's Restrooms

On April 4, Jonathan Hartshorn, Brendan Carney, Thury Sigurthorsdottir and Scott Lawrence installed photos, sculptures and other works in an unauthorized exhibit in a the restrooms at MoMA. The photo (by Scott Lawrence) shows Hartshorn's performance piece, in which he crouched under a shower curtain.

As the NYT reports, "The exhibition lasted only from 6 to 6:26 p.m., . . . because a security guard, alerted by concerned bathroomgoers, showed up and tapped on Mr. Hartshorn’s shower curtain . . . and said, ‘I heard there was a mental patient in here.’"

The more enduring part of the exhibit is on the internet. Mr. Carney purchased the domain, "momaexhibitions.org," and replicated MoMA's site exactly, except for adding his own group's restroom show to the list of official exhibitions. The show's listed as, "Group Exhibition Down to Nature."

April 13, 2008

Take Your Pick

. . . and on and on. Lots more bumper stickers starting here, including, of course, "Bitter Hillary Clinton Supporters for Obama."

United we stand; divided we fall.

April 12, 2008

Al Gore's New Slide Show

From the first few minutes of Al Gore's recent TED talk:

"If religion, properly understood, is not about belief, [but] about behavior, perhaps we should say the same thing about optimism. . . .

"I'm a big advocate of changing light bulbs, buying hybrids, [etc.]; but as important as it is to change the light bulbs, it's more important to change the laws. And when we change our behavior in our daily lives, we sometimes leave out the citizenship part and the democracy part.

"In order to be optimistic about this, we have to become incredibly active as citizens in our democracy. In order to solve the climate crisis, we have to solve the democracy crisis. And we have one." [Emphasis supplied.]

In this talk, Gore describes some of the evidence that makes scientists think that climate change may now be happening even faster than they were recently predicting, and argues that we must put aside the distractions that engulf us, in order to rise with joy to the challenge and privilege of mobilizing politically and becoming the heroes "[a]bout which, a thousand years from now, philharmonic orchestras and poets and singers will celebrate by saying, 'they were the ones who found it within themselves to solve this crisis and lay the basis for a bright and optimistic human future.'"

Leidsche Rijn

Nice image, by Sandy Plotnikoff, apparently part of “Master Humphrey’s Clock,” a project by de Appel’s Curatorial Programme 07/08, in Utrecht, Netherlands.

Check out Plotnikoff's Blank Pizza, here.

April 10, 2008

Iraq: What Are We Waiting For?

A good one to apply this to.

Cf. the "Feel Like I'm Fixing To Die Rag" by Country Joe & the Fish:

April 9, 2008

Death and Diamonds.

Designer gasmasks by Diddovelema (via bbGadgets -- thanks, Ben!)

April 7, 2008

Seekway 3-D LED Cube

Seekway, please give one to Jenny Holzer? (Via Gizmodo.)

April 6, 2008

"Shiftspace": a Meta-Web Of, By, and For Users

One of the coolest things I've seen on the 'net, esp. when you consider the potential.

"ShiftSpace is an open source layer above any website. . . . ShiftSpace provides tools for artists, designers, architects, activists, developers, students, researchers, and hobbyists to create online contexts built in and on top of websites.

"While the Internet’s design is widely understood to be open and distributed, control over how users interact online has given us largely centralized and closed systems. . . . ShiftSpace attempts to subvert this trend by providing a new public space on the web.

"By pressing the [shift] + [space] keys, a ShiftSpace user can invoke a new meta layer above any web page to browse and create additional interpretations, contextualizations and interventions – which we call Shifts. Users can choose between several authoring tools we’re working to develop – which we call Spaces. . . . .

"Notes is a Space that allows a ShiftSpace user to leave post-it annotations on websites. Highlights is one we’re still developing, which would allow a user to highlight text on the page. Some Spaces lead more naturally to an interventionist usage. Two such Spaces that we have implemented are ImageSwap, which allows a user to grab any image on the web and swap it in place of other image, and SourceShift, which allows users to freely edit a page’s HTML code.

"When a user visits a modified (’Shifted’) webpage, the small ShiftSpace icon (§) pops up in the bottom left side of the screen. Pressing the [shift] + [space] keys reveals the ShiftSpace console. From the console, the user can browse through existing Shifts, choosing to enable those that might be of interest. Holding down the [shift] key shows a small contextual menu, allowing the user to create Shifts of her own. The user can then choose whether to share her Shifts or to keep them private."

Initiated by Dan Phiffer and Mushon Zer-Aviv and under continuing further development by an open source community comprising Avital Oliver, David 'dudu' Buchbut, David Nolen, "and more."

You have to use Firefox as your browser and download a bit of code, but ShiftSpace is easy to install and use.

UPDATE: The creators have upgraded to another version, which allows you to use Safari, among other benefits.

"Accidental Blue Screen" by John Michael Boling

Roll over the blue areas in the pics here.

April 5, 2008

"cover this YouTube in blood" by Guthrie Lonergan

Go here and follow the instructions. (Unfortunately, it doesn't seem to work on YouTube video embedded elsewhere.)

Lots of other fun stuff on his site; e.g., how to hack your own myspace profile.

April 4, 2008

Art to End Tree Nudity

Per denverpost.com, Carol Hummer's Tree Cozy (2005) "took her 500 hours and the use of a hydraulic lift to dress the upper branches.

"The cozy has survived several winters and even a swarm of cicadas, which left their molted skins clinging to the material.

"'There are a lot of copycats now,' Hummel said. . . . That's cool.'" More on Hummer's site.

Cf. Peter Coffin's Untitled (Tree Pants, Winter) (2007). More here and here.

UPDATE: Corkey Sinks just pointed me to some tree sweaters installed by Elaine Bradford in 2002 (last photo, with the white, gray, and red sweater on the tree in the foreground). More here.

April 1, 2008

Patches = Clues to What We're Buying with Bush's $32 Billion Black Ops Budget

Skulls, snakes, wizards, a dragon clutching the Earth in its claws, occult symbols . . . . "No, this is not the fantasy world of a 12-year-old boy. It is, according to a new book, part of the hidden reality behind the Pentagon’s classified . . . budget that delivers billions of dollars to stealthy armies of high-tech warriors.

"The book offers a glimpse of this dark world through a revealing lens — patches — the kind worn on military uniforms. . . . One patch shows a space alien with huge eyes holding a stealth bomber near its mouth. 'To Serve Man' reads the text above, a reference to a classic 'Twilight Zone' episode in which man is the entree, not the customer. 'Gustatus Similis Pullus' reads the caption below, dog Latin for 'Tastes Like Chicken.'

"Trevor Paglen, an artist and photographer . . . has managed to document some of this hidden world. . . . “Oderint Dum Metuant,” reads a patch for an Air Force program . . . according to Mr. Paglen, who identifies the saying as from Caligula, the first-century Roman emperor famed for his depravity. It translates 'Let them hate so long as they fear.'"

The book's entitled, I Could Tell You but Then You Would Have to Be Destroyed by Me, translated from one of the patches. More here.

Morale-boosters for those carrying on black ops; and, among those they encounter, U.S. brands. And we wonder why the world hates us?

Proposed Market Regulatory Reform Irrelevant & Dangerous

If you're wondering how Treasury Sec. Henry Paulson came out so quickly with detailed proposals for a complete consolidation and overhaul of the five gummint agencies now responsible for oversight of various sectors of our financial system, you haven't done the homework I assigned -- watching the Naomi Klein interview embedded in my earlier posts and (here and here).

Senator Chris Dodd (D) might be wondering, too -- he's Chairman of the Senate Banking Committee, and no one consulted him about the proposals.

Reuters reports, Dodd "said he welcomed the plan offered by . . . Paulson, but questioned its relevance in addressing falling home prices, rising foreclosures and the imminent threat of recession. . . . [Overhauling the regulatory system] 'doesn't relate to the issues we're grappling with,' Dodd said on a conference call. 'The failure of the administration to utilize the tools they've been given over the years . . . . That's the problem, not reorganization.'

" . . . Paulson on Monday issued a sweeping plan that calls for giving the Federal Reserve more authority over Wall Street . . . . Although the plan has been under development for many months, Dodd said he had not been asked for input on it. Noting that some of the ideas in the Paulson plan have been under discussion for years, Dodd said reorganizing the government was not the problem." More here.

I.e., in my view, the problem is not that the Federal Reserve needs more power, but that we've eviscerated the protections put in place after the market crash of 1929: the enforcement capabilities of bank regulators and the SEC, S&L regulation, and the Glass-Steagall Act.

The Wall Street Journal reports, "'It reads like amateur hour and it's because none of those guys ever worked in a regulated, chartered bank,' said Camden Fine, president and chief executive of the Independent Community Bankers of America . . . . 'A bunch of guys from Wall Street decided this was going to be their proposal.' . . . Large financial-services companies have had a seat at the table as Treasury crafted its plan . . . . " More here.

Others reviewing the details of the plan are even more concerned. Mike Whitney writes that, though the proposals are being billed "as a 'massive shakeup of US financial market regulation,' . . . [we should not] be deceived. [They] are neither 'timely' nor 'thoughtful' . . . . In fact, it's all just more of the same free market 'we can police ourselves' mumbo-jumbo that got us into this mess in the first place. The real objective of Paulson's so-called reforms is to decapitate the SEC and increase the powers of the Federal Reserve. . . . "

"If Paulson's plan is approved in its present form, Congress will have even less control over the financial system than it does now, and the same group of self-serving banking mandarins who created the biggest equity bubble in history will be able to administer the markets however they choose without the annoyance of government supervision. That's exactly what Treasury Secretary and his pals at the Fed want; unlimited power with no accountability." More here; see also The New York Times.