October 14, 2012

Critical Art Ensemble

You can tell I'm researching for a curatorial project.

Just came across this from CAE, re- their 2012 project, Winning Hearts and Minds, presented at documenta 13:
War zones are as instructive as they are destructive. Since Vietnam, they have beautifully illustrated the contradiction between capitalism and democracy. . . . The establishment of global democracy has never been a goal of global capital. Its preference is for an authoritarian plutocracy that can be labeled a democracy. This is why the psy-ops principle of “winning hearts and minds” could simultaneously exist with the military strategy of “search and destroy.” Now that winning hearts and minds is not just US policy, but NATO policy, we can see it at work in every conflict in which NATO members have a stake; in every case, the idea of winning over the people through the alleged establishment of democratic institutions never has to be reconciled with unprovoked invasion, house-to-house searches, assassinations, torture, or drone attacks . . . .

Cultural institutions in capitalist nations reflect this same disturbing set of contradictions and relationships. In the field of visual arts, museums tend toward a support of plutocracy through collection building and maintaining the value of collections by functioning as a parallel track to the art market. Institutes, Kunsthalles, and major festivals function as corporate alibis for good cultural citizenship, and too often function within the frame of research and development of cultural products in the service of profit and enterprise. At the same time, these institutions have their democratic side, which usually appears in the form of community outreach, public programming, or education programs. These programs are generally the most impoverished, but are staffed by those who genuinely want to create events promoting social change (and are willing to accept poverty as a given condition to do it). This blend of having few resources together with a strong sense of volunteerism leads to the development of low-cost public events that are subsidized by the free labor of those who create them. Or to put it another way, the poor subsidize the creation of a false alibi that signifies the beneficence of [the] plutocracy. And yet, on an immediate person-to-person level, the results of such performances, exhibitions, and events can be inspiring and culturally valuable.
 * * * * *
Two weeks before the festival started, we issued a call for proposals to use the space for one hour each day at noon; there would be one hundred lunchtime events over the one hundred days. Proposals poured in from around the world. Even though we told those who applied that there was no financial support, and even worse, that they would have to bring all their own equipment, the program filled in a matter of weeks. Most of the events we chose were not curatorially viable (which is not to say we didn’t think they were good projects). As usual, the poor and the marginal were subsidizing the wealthy with free programming.
More at Critical Art Ensemble's website.

Soda_Jerk Re- Copyright

Soda_Jerk's site is here.

To Google and My Readers

The new blogger interface imposed by Google is an unmitigated disaster.

I'd have liked to post my curatorial essay re- Expanded Cinema here, but it's apparently become impossible to format it correctly unless I first take the time to learn whatever code it is that Google's now using. Searching for help, I get 11,099,961 hits of "I hate the new blogger interface."

Since I won't be blogging much during the next couple of months anyway, I've decided to defer any drastic action 'til year-end in the hope that Google might perhaps either restore the Blogspot interface or fix some of the biggest problems created with the new one.

But bottom line: if Google doesn't fix the problems by then and I'm going to be forced onto a more Wordpress-like platform, I might as well port to Wordpress, where I can have my privacy.

October 8, 2012

R. Luke DuBois

Doing some curating for my next project, Co- Re-Creating Spaces, an exhibition opening on Nov. 17 at CentralTrak (in Dallas, TX), and enjoying the research.

The artist explains,
Kiss takes 50 iconic embraces from the history of cinema and re-animates them through a non-photorealistic rendering technique developed by the artist. The technique analyzes the footage by looking at details in the source that resemble the lips of the kissing actors and redrawing them with points tinted to match the colors of the original film. Because the computer schematizes lips in a mathematically abstract, and not particularly accurate, manner, all sorts of details fit this criteria, causing the software to highlight not only lips but hair, details in clothing, and portions of the cinematic backdrop. The artist then creates a vectorization of these 'points of interest' akin to a cats-cradle, connecting all the dots to create a work of moving string-art that entwines the actors performing the kiss in a new, geometric embrace of connecting lines. A deliberate misuse of computer vision, Kiss evokes the embrace-as-viewed, tracing the trajectory of our gaze with an abstract connectivity akin to our mirror neurons firing when we feel the romance underneath these cinematic objects. The soundtrack of the piece subjects the non-diegetic soundtrack of the kissing scenes to an auditory time-lapse effect, creating a feedback network that underscores and propels the imagery.