Jon Kessler’s installations respond to our current information-saturated culture where the search for the self often occurs within the realm of digital media. His most recent exhibition, “The Web“, immerses viewers in our technology obsessed world. Cameras and surveillance equipment abound, constantly capturing and clicking photos and videos of participants. The installation itself is a conceptual clusterfuck that suggests our importance of ritualistic clicking over what’s actually being captured with the clicks. His other work similarly addresses themes of capture, surveillance, fame, and mass media by using related techniques. These installations confuse us and ask us to consider the nature of reality and the authority we grant to technology and mass media with regard to our own identities.
At this point there’s no use denying the ridiculous amount of time most of us spend on a computer each day, and artist Bea Fremderman is among a growing number of contemporary artists that use this reliance as a tool in their practice. Much of (arguably all of) the imagery we see on a computer is an illusion. A digital fabrication or manipulation meant to simulate or document reality. But as our physical and digital worlds continue to fold in on one another – who decides what is real? We must become our own authorities on reality, and Fremderman seems keenly aware of this.
Fremderman may be young, but the elegance with which she blurs lines is anything but amateur. A range of objects and textures shift contexts as they face-off with their own physical and virtual counterparts. The end result of which is an aesthetically and conceptually dynamic body of work. Her practice is multifaceted, but focused. Fremderman chooses her media/mediums based on what will most effectively convey the ideas in her work, and I am eager to see what she comes up with next.
Ben Schumacher creates art in many traditional and non tradition forms, whether it be through drawings or exploring new ways to conceptualize and present art via and about the internet with an ironic sense of humor that could only have been developed by long hours mulling over the way we use and relate to the tools specific to our cyberspace generation. Ahh, the day I’m tired of it is the day I’m dead!
In self-described “experientialist” artist Lee Walton’s most recent project (though on his Vimeo, it seems the last upload was 9 months ago…), he will perform what his Friends on facebook are doing. This online project will only be viewable to those listed as Friends on the web site. The man is hilarious and ridiculously clever- I’ve added him as a friend, so should you!
Founded by artist Ryder Ripps, Internet Archaeology is a project that “seeks to explore, recover, archive and showcase the graphic artifacts found within earlier Internet Culture.” It’s essentially a repository of imagery from old Geocities and Angelfire sites, including a full few mirrors of some old homepages. This is an important service because, as their mission statement points out, Yahoo will be taking down Geocities in October 2009. I miss the pre-Web 2.0 internet!
The embedded video above comes from the latest project by Montreal-based media artist Jon Rafman. Kool-Aid Man in Second Life offers to give Internet users free guided tours of Second Life by Rafman’s avatar, the Kool-Aid Man. The aforementioned video is a promotional video showing scenes of the tour (by the way, apparently some of this may not be NSFW, though I watched the first minute or two and didn’t really notice anything bad). The subtlety of the video, and the entire project, is what makes it so engaging. There are all sorts of questions raised here: about the role of crafted pop culture icons in the new era of user generated content, about the nature of scenic beauty, about our interaction with kitsch. Someone take the tour and let us know how it is!
PS: Check out this essay Rafman wrote on Google Street View. Very compelling stuff.
Andreas Pihlström is an extremely talented Swedish designer working in the arenas of graphic design, typography, web, and interactive work. You might know him as the creator of Dropular (pictured above), an extremely slick and well engineered image sharing and tagging website. I assumed based on these credentials he was more of a coder than a designer, but really he is equally strong in both disciplines, as you can see after the jump.
PS: Mr. Pihlström, if you read this, can I get a dropular invite? Please?
Anton Gerasimenko‘s single paged web-works uses functionalities and traits of the internet browser in surprising ways. He turns the aesthetically mundane objects which are essential to any sort of online activity, tool bars and radio buttons, into subjects of these small sites. Each page has few to no links- when there are links, they transform the screen into a maze of pop ups, and when there are none the window seems to become a movie screen.