In Outlet’s group exhibition Sight | Site | Cite, “site specificity” seems to have lost its relevance. Instead, artists try their hand at nomadic placemaking through gregarious or personal gestures.
In one of her many talks at the Creative Capital retreat this July, President & Executive Director Ruby Lerner spoke of the importance of keeping the organization weird. The short explanation of what this means is simply that she wants them to continue to fund projects that aren’t beholden to the market. (Lerner has announced her retirement, so the succession planning has begun in earnest.) More specifically, though, it means supporting artists who bring a point of view to the table, who aren’t afraid to fail, and who pursue excellence in whatever field they work in. These are artists who exemplify the creative spirit. Their work must be supported.
In my previous two posts summing up highlights from the Creative Capital retreat, I’ve tried to highlight presentations by artists who I felt exemplified those qualities. In my last post on this year’s retreat, I highlight three more. Here goes.
Thanks to critic and curator Ed Halter for pointing out this morning on Twitter that the Internet Dancing Baby meme would be 20 now if the baby were alive. Cray-cray. Cited as one of the earliest memes, “Baby Cha-Cha,” came to life in 1996 as viral video of a 3D-rendered baby dancing to Blue Swede’s “Hooked on a Feeling” by the Swedish rock band Blue Swede. By late 1996, web developer John Woodell created a highly compressed animated GIF from the original movie, as part of a demo of the movie-to-GIF process, which further launched its spread.
Since this time, we’ve seen the Dancing Internet Baby show up in seemingly countless places, including the AIDS 3D IMG MGMT essay Hubris/Nemesis/Whatever. We expect to see this ageless baby a lot more in the future too. It’s of historical importance, but it also harkens to all those weirdly shaped babies in Madonna and child paintings, which perhaps explains why it sits a little longer in our consciousness. It’s a creepy kid.
I like looking. It’s why I write at Art F City, and why, every summer, I chose to vacation in the wilderness. I don’t want to stop looking, but I need a break from the rest of the job.
Spending a bunch of time on a trail makes that easy. This year, I spent part of my vacation at Cape Breton Highlands National Park in Nova Scotia. One of the best qualities of visiting a national park: admission doesn’t come with a press release telling you what to think about your experience and why it’s important to humanity. Nobody expects visitors to theorize their experience in the woods or even reflect on it. The job is just to enjoy it. (Which I did.)
More after the jump.
This week, we return to our NSFW GIF of the Hump Day series with a bang.
Tumblr content usually falls into one of several categories: net art, pop-culture meme GIFs, niche porn, or conspiracy theories. Thankfully, Tumblr user/artist PEEKASSO has merged all of the above into one glorious online practice. Homer Simpson navigating a world of scantily-clad women sent to distract internet users from the Illuminati/CIA’s real agenda? Naturally.
Check out some of our favorite examples, after the jump.
What is it going to take to get city politicians to start doing the right thing? It costs a small fortune to live in this city and when bills are introduced that would help give a leg up to artists, there isn’t enough support to get them off the ground.
Case and point: The Small Business Jobs Survival Act. This is a bill that will help commercial tenants facing displacement from rising rents—including artists’ studios and small businesses—and it currently has only 23 of the 26 votes it needs to pass.
The bill would require commercial landlords to offer ten-year leases to all existing tenants who’ve paid their rent on time. If the two sides can’t agree on terms, they go to arbitration. Currently a landlord doesn’t have to renew a tenant’s lease, can kick the tenant out whenever it suits them, raise their rent exorbitantly, and the tenant has no means of contesting the decision.
As a net art trope, the desktop GIF is an obvious reflexive gesture: a portrait of the artist as an array of tabbed browsing, or a portrait of the artist as their in medias res studio softwares. But in Miao Ying’s “LAN Love Poem.gif” series, the artist is seemingly absent from the desktop: it’s the typical Chinese local area network user encounter with a blocked website, imbued with an unsettling sentimentalism via kitschy Baido-found translated Chinese internet poetry. The overwrought feelings dominate, and true to its literary mode, ultimately access a greater truth—the artist’s own love-hate relationship with China’s Great Firewall.
“Censorship is like a nasty boyfriend/girlfriend you cannot tame,” divulges Ling in a recent interview with Rhizome’s Iona Whittaker. “It’s even worst than that; it’s actually more like developing Stockholm syndrome—a traumatic bonding. This kind of love takes place in an isolated environment where the hostage-taker—who makes the rules—becomes so powerful that you gradually fall in love with them.”