Posts archive: June 2006

The Guardian reports on the Guerrilla Girls in London.

- Jeannine McDonald [Friday, June 30th, 2006]

At Matthew Barney’s SFMOMA opening last night I was surprised. Bjork was there; she tiptoed right in front of me, trying not to make noise while the band played. I hadn’t realized she was so small. She wore her hair in two tight buns. She didn’t seem particularly happy or sad, instead her expression seemed to be that of consternation.

I knew Bjork was glad that most people didn’t recognize her. She didn’t have a bodyguard or an entourage and her movements made her seem just like any other person in the room. But the crowd was big and she was small.

Matthew Barney, for his part, often stood in one place for ten or fifteen minutes at a time. People approached him, chatted briefly and then walked on. Like Bjork, few people seemed to know who he was.

Upstairs on the fourth floor of the museum lay glacier-like flows of vaseline. Originally pumped into a giant mould, the mass of petroleum jelly had been allowed to harden in the room and then cool for a week. The mould was then removed and after a few hours the whole thing buckled under its own weight and collapsed all over the floor.

At the opening children were drawn to it magically. They were sneaking touches when the guards weren’t paying attention. Then they would look at their fingers in disgust and then wipe it on their pants. This happened several times while I was in the room.

There was a series of events, talks and receptions scheduled for Matthew Barney on June 21st. The opening itself didn’t happen until 6:00pm.

Earlier, around lunchtime, I saw him leaving to drop off a small FedEx package. He was insistant that he put it in the mail himself. The museum staff seemed reluctant to let him go. He looked like he was trying to reassure them that he would indeed come back.

When he returned a woman confided in me that she desperately wanted to have her picture taken with him. Her hands fumbled with her small digital camera and she asked no one in particular if Matthew Barney allowed such things to happen. I suggested she go and speak with him but she was too nervous. About ten minutes went by and afraid she would lose her chance, she strode up alongside him and began asking him questions.  She even got her picture with him.  Afterwards she came to where I was and showed it to me, her hands still shaking from the experience.

— Chris Cobb

- Meredith Tromble [Thursday, June 22nd, 2006]

Ars Electronica is nearer than you think this year, located in Downtown San Jose from August 7 - 13.  No need for that expensive plane ticket, just take the train (an hour and forty minute ride max; from San Francisco it’s $13.50 round trip, about the price of parking).  There are shuttles, buses, and light rail to take you downtown or you can walk for about a mile to get there.
ZeroOne San Jose: A Global Festival of Art on the Edge and ISEA 2006 (the 13th International Symposium on Electronic Art) is the place to be in August.  From 1800 submissions, reviewed by 200 jurors, about 130 projects and 70 papers and presentations from 40 countries (and about 25 locals) were chosen by organizers Steven Dietz and Joel Slatkin. 
As I gleaned from a press conference staged on June 14th at the San Jose Museum of Art that included several San Jose luminaries, there are many agendas surrounding this event,  from the city’s “branding opportunity” (Art as Logo) to Silicon Valley businesses’ need for tourist dollars and a cultural environment to attract the talent of innovative workers (Art as Bait).  Ignore the hype.  What the ZeroOne Festival and ISEA Symposium, modeled after Ars Electronica and comparable in size, means is an “experience that technology can provide when it is in the hands of artists,” as Dietz comments.
In fact, you can start now.  The Web site is for the schedule of events, some free, some ticketed.  Click the ISEA Symposium where you will find abstracts, or in some cases entire papers, on which you can comment in an on-line forum.  The four general topic areas are Interactive City, Community Domain, Pacific Rim, and Transvergence.
As a preview, on display at the San Jose Museum of Art is a grid of 231 mini-LCD screens called The Listening Post, developed from a collaboration between artist Ben Rubin and statistician Mark Hansen.  With words culled from live Internet chat rooms streaming across the screens, like an electronic tower of babble, it includes an audio component periodically repeating selected words.  Scrabbled and difficult to comprehend, but shocking when you see the word “Sunnis” cross your visual field, it captures one of the two main political themes in several projects, the environment and surveillance. 

Check it out!

— Allegra Fortunati

- Meredith Tromble [Sunday, June 18th, 2006]

At 10:05 PM EST last night the House passed HR5252-COPE without the net neutrality amendment.

Is this is the way the House can thank the telecoms for handing over the records of our phone calls now that flying junkets are under scrutiny? This could affect the viability of websites like Stretcher that don’t have the funding to pay the additional broadband fees for access to the Internet. The public has already paid for the internet through our taxes when it was developed by the department of defense, and the public is already paying for it through the fees we pay to internet providers and through the costs of hosting etc. Check out these sites for further information: ">Alliance for Community Media, ">Save Access, ">Save the Internet, and the ">Electronic Freedom Foundation.

- Cheryl Meeker [Friday, June 9th, 2006]

From the editors