Monthly Archives: September 2013

With my own research I considering how visual digital data can be played in a way that represents the space that the visual came from.  Add a new level to a visual perception of a space.  Here Brian House has created a record of his movements collected over a year.  The 11 minute record titled Quotidian Record rotates once for every day the data was collected.  Here is an article written by Kyle VanHemert for Wired Magazine about this project by Brian House.


One of the scariest things about all the data we generate is how little we seem to care about it. It’s like we’ve come to accept it as some intrinsic, inevitable thing, blowing off us harmlessly and invisibly like pheromones and settling, simply, somewhere else. Of course, it doesn’t just settle; it collects. Or, more accurately, it gets collected. Former NSA official and whistleblower Thomas Drake describes our government’s relationship with data as “a hoarding complex.” Corporations, too, are increasingly seeing the value in the stuff. But whether you find all that business downright Orwellian or just irksome, those efforts risk obscuring the fact that data can give us entirely new ways to look at our lives. And new ways of hearing them.

For a project called “Quotidian Record,” media artist Brian House turned a year’s worth of his movements into an 11-minute musical track and stamped it on a handsome piece of vinyl. In bleeps and bloops, the record follows House’s daily routine. Every revolution represents a single day. It sounds a little bit like Animal Collective.

“Each place gets assigned a step of the scale in the music.”

House recorded his location data with Open Paths, a private, personal tracking app he helped develop last year during a stint at the New York Times’ Research and Development Lab. When he had a year’s worth collected, he started thinking about what to do with it. Maps were an obvious choice, but not an especially compelling one. “I’m interested in the human perspective, not an all-seeing top down perspective,” he explains. But it occurred to him that his data contained something that cartographic representations could never capture: rhythm. “The hypothesis of the piece became the idea that the cadence of everyday life is in fact musical by virtue of the inherent, semi-repeating patterns that we trace in the world.”

So House cooked up an algorithm that identified the places he visited most, and set about putting them to music. “Each place gets assigned a step of the scale in the music, and each city a key,” he explains on the project’s page. “Theres kind of an underlying pulse to the composition…which represents two hours of actual time. And what you hear on top of that are these little motifs, the geographic narratives that I cycle through over the course of my daily movements.” House tapped Brooklyn-based graphic designer Greg Mihalko to develop the look of the record itself, which shows the time of day and the city you’re listening to at any given moment.

The back of the sleeve shows the paths the artist traveled in each city–essentially the score for the piece. Photo: Brian House

In an age of infographics, quantified selves, and the all-fixing promise of Big Data, House’s record is refreshingly useless. “Quotidian Record is about experiencing data in a way that might be more interpretive than practical,” he admits. But the idea behind the project–that data can be intimate and expressive and is, in the end, ours to tinker with–is a vital one. It’s the opposite of your location data ending up in an inscrutable spreadsheet or an NSA dropbox or a hyper-targeted advertisement. It shows us how art might represent a different place for our data–one that’s vastly more accessible. “Music is felt intuitively, so we don’t have to analyze the data to extract meaning,” House says.

“In a way, it’s meant as a bit of a warning,” he continues. “The data exhaust everyone produces everyday through the use of these devices, computers and cellphones and ATMs and self-driving cars, is more personal than we think, and we have to reckon with that…One way is to find alternative means of relating to data, ways that are not about classification and commodification and control but which emphasize embodiment and subjectivity and expressivity. There is a critical dimension in pointing out that data are always qualitative and mean different things depending on how they are cast. Google and the NSA don’t have to get the final word.”


Install-view-G1-iAquatopia: The Imaginary of the Ocean Deep, Nottingham Contemporary

20 Jul 2013 – 22 Sep 2013

Ninety percent of the earth’s oceans remain unexplored. Science knows outer space better than the ocean deep. Scores of new species, weirder than any fiction, are found each time a submersible descends to the ocean’s deepest trenches.

In the absence of knowledge the deep is a site where imagination has full rein. The ocean has always bred monsters, and like outer space has been a setting for science fiction since Jules Verne. But unlike outer space, the oceans are part of our own planet – and by extension a part of us too.

Throughout recorded history the deep has been the site of shared myths, subconscious fears and unnamed desires. Aquatopia, then, is less about the ocean as it actually is – it is about how it lives in our heads.

This major exhibition brings together over 150 contemporary and historic artworks that explore how the deep has been imagined through time and across cultures. Sea monsters, sirens, sperm whales, giant squids, octopi, submarines, drowned sailors and shipwrecks are all portrayed here by many of art history’s “greats” JMW Turner, Odilon Redon, Hokusai, Barbara Hepworth and Oskar Kokoshka among them. Steve Claydon, Wangechi Mutu, Juergen Teller, Alex Bag, Christian Holstad and Mikhail Karikis are some of the many celebrated contemporary artists amongst whose oceanic – inspired artworks are shown here too.

The exhibition is a collaboration with Tate St Ives in Cornwall, where it will be shown from 12 October to 26 January 2014.


Aquatopia: The Imaginary of the Ocean Deep, Nottingham Contemporary – review

By Jackie Wullschlager

This show takes an unusual approach to its subject, exploring the ocean as myth

The sea is a captivating subject for a summer show – especially for a city as far from the coast as Nottingham. With its exhibition spaces entirely bathed in blue watery light, Nottingham Contemporary takes an unusual approach, exploring the ocean as myth in a trans-historical, cultural-political voyage across new and old art. Guy Ben-Ner restages Moby-Dick in his kitchen; Spartacus Chetwynd reprises Hokusai’s “Dream of the Fisherman’s Wife”, reverie of coupling with an octopus, in a hula-hoop and pipe-cleaner sculpture; Simon Starling’s “Infestation Piece” ornaments Henry Moore with mussel shells.

The ocean has been a locus for stories of metamorphosis, repressed desires and mortal fears since ancient times, and for science fiction since Jules Verne. Surrealism avant la lettre abounds here: the giant fish foregrounded before a harbour scene in Willem Ormea’s “Fish Still Life with Seascape” (1649), Odilon Redon’s “The Beasts of the Sea, Round Like Leather Bottles” (1896), form a continuum with Dalí, Edward Wadsworth, Marcel Broodthaers and, in the absence of Hirst’s formaldehyde icon, Ashley Bickerton’s coconut-hung polyurethane “Orange Shark” from Hirst’s Murderme collection.

There is always a random, over-fashionable element to group shows of historic/contemporary juxtapositions, but at best the double resonances prompt new engagement even with familiar works. Reread, say, Turner’s “Sunrise with Sea Monsters”, his magnificent late depiction of a hazy sun over grey waves flecked with pink/red shapes – an abstraction of light and atmosphere? a fantasy of threatening deep-sea creatures? an unfinished fishing scene? – in the context of the Otolith Group’s “Hydra Decapita”. This 2010 video envisages an Atlantic populated by amphibious descendants of Africans drowned in the Middle Passage, playing to plaintively sung renditions of Ruskin’s critique of Turner’s “Slavers Throwing Overboard the Dead and Dying – Typhoon Approaching”, and overlaid with an imagined account of molecular mutation transforming the universe into a wholly aquatic space.

Until September 22,, then at Tate St Ives from October


I am excited to say that I will be spending the months of October and November this year at the SNEHTA Artist Residency program in Kipseli, Athens.  I hope this time will allow me to develop works that I have researching to do with glitched image data files.  Creating audio and visual samples to create soundscapes and musical works.  The residency has potential for me to meet and get to know the artists working in similar and different art mediums within the Greek art community and engage in new conversations about different art practices.  Click Here for websitepreview.5OcKq61KHdxEwsvS_1280


Snehta promotes and facilitates local and international artists through its residency and exhibitions programmes in Kypseli, Athens. Residents are selected through an open call for artists, designers, architects, curators and art historians who then spend two months researching in Athens. Two annual exhibitions showcase residents’ work. Snehta also organizes a series of exhibitions, talks and workshops in response to topics that critically engage with Athens’ unique identity as a historical and social center.

Snehta stands for the name of the City of Athens written in reverse. This name metaphorically suggests that the artists involved are to rediscover Athens by reading and translating it alternatively,observing and using the City’s local, social and cultural dynamics. We emphasize for the programme and the resident artists to bring a renewed awareness of Athens to the audience through the works produced exhibitions and events. These should relate to and critically stimulate Hellenic, inter-European and global audiences, redefining Athens in a global context.

The programme’s mission is to educate by spreading contemporary art practice whilst expanding artistic practices that present elements of innovation and experimentation. Snehta fosters practices that clearly delineate the implication between artist, work and audience, supporting creative practices that strongly regard the experience or involvement of the community in the artwork or within the organization.

featured august 27, 2013
aaron fisher combines, juxtaposes, and recontextualizes a variety of genres and unlikely pairings to bring a party to its proper place and feet to the dancefloor. and also to liven up the workplace– his mixes have been played quite often here at our studio. if we had the wherewithal to hire a full-time workplace DJ aaron would certainly be in the running. -briani. Instrument, Utensil, Implement, Machine, or Apparatus? which? why? where? if you had to choose just one preindustrial tool, which would it be?

a machine, i assume, would have the greatest utility and would be the most wieldy, especially one not designed with a specific purpose in mind. one with a goal to just create. synthesize. one with the end result becoming whatever the user sought after. i imagine a dream machine being like a guidance counselor: one that is willing to work with you, showcase what you’re capable of, and is critical to all of your mistakes before you emerge with a final product. it would be the missing link variable to whatever you desire. it’s a device that lets you use the scientific method to produce results.

also, that machine most likely contains a bevy of separate parts that could function pretty well on its own: a holistic component made up of utensils, instruments, and tools that could be implemented into other apparatuses. the megazord was a bad-ass machine made up of separate mech-animals that had their own fire-power y’know.

ii. creativity has been redefined throughout the ages. our most modern tends to focus on process, placement, person, and output (or product). do you find your abilities within this realm of definition or do you see outside influences, such as divine inspiration, muses, daemons, or forces of nature as factors?

creativity is like one of those “one man’s trash is another man’s treasure” kind of processes; it’s about what you can do with what you have. we got kids in africa creating an fm radio station from materials found in dumps and people making burial-style garage music from clicks and tap around their house. i’ve started out and still make electronic music with very basic techniques meticulously altered to my personal tastes. i feel the most creative when provided with a simple set of ingredients with the instruction of improving upon them, which is why i’m so keen to sample culture. i could hear a simple melodic theme and quickly know how i’d want to build, distort, destroy, add, compile, and rejuvenate. i just need a small push to get the gears going. often creativity comes with taking risks. with the monome being highly improvisational in its execution i get to combine elements in mlr on whim whenever the moment strikes. new life is born, the musical journey takes the off-road, and the listeners get to take part of an experience of creativity and “magic” that exists in that moment and that moment only. it’s like a customized audio keepsake.

in regards to “magic”, i don’t really attribute serendipitous/unfortunate happenings to the divine or occult, but some things just have their way of working themselves out that i will never understand. i just figure it’s the universe’s way lowering its sunglasses and saying “deal with it”.

iii. sound energy is the form of energy associated with the vibration or disturbance of matter. work, a form of energy, is force times distance. in living organisms, energy is stored as polysaccharides. common terms referring to such magical energy include mana, numen, chi or kundalini. how do you derive energy? how would you define your own personal energy?

the greatest strength of [music] energy comes along with the anticipation of good things to come. this energy source can be attributed to the influence of outside sources across several media ranging from watching a live performance to listening to a podcast. i’m a creature of habit that is propelled by the intrinsic and extrinsic desire of doing something great for myself and for others. watching others do great things that i associate with also gets me going as well, and i very much need that push to get ideas running and neurotransmitters shooting. but there’s still the need for a personal impetus, otherwise i’m stuck in a purgatory of hermitage. for me, that push to get creative has to come from outside sources to generate energy within.

for the most part of my life i’ve valued my alone time and it’s something that’s very crucial to my existence. without adequate chill-out periods i would surely self-destruct and become a panicky mess prone to disappear from social functions without mention of departure. waves of stark introversion and extroversion come and go and i’m still trying to settle of a compromise where i can equally enjoy this time by myself as well as out in the wild. the transition from the silence of my current living to raucous clamor of a venue’s audience (via plane or bus ride) is a slow churning of increasing optimism and good feelings. that feeling, that energy, is better than donuts.

and i *really* like donuts.



Currently my ears seem thirsty for experimental music and sound art, it is a productive time of research.  I feel it is leading towards new works and ideas being developed within sound and also back into sculptural forms and print processes.  This site Inverted Audio currently is providing more than enough inspiration and links to work by such talented artists and musicians.  It is great to become lost within works that in turn lead you onto others.  Being immersed in sounds and visuals which seem to expand your brain is exciting.  Click Here

The Continuing Relevance of Robert Smithson

This is an article reposted from Blouin ArtInfo original post here:

Robert Smithson, Map of Broken Glass (Atlantis), 1969
Art © Estate of Robert Smithson/Licensed by VAGA, New York, NY
Installation view of Robert Smithson’s “Map of Broken Glass (Atlantis),” 1969
by Alan Rapp, Modern Painters
Published: July 20, 2013

Adopting the concept of reclamation, Smithson produced projects with more contentious stances toward the environment. The ecological basis of land art was widely assumed, but Smithson’s position on environmental issues was not blithely pro-conservation. The last piece he published in Artforum, a long-form essay titled “Frederick Law Olmsted and the Dialectical Landscape,” and the positions he stakes out there do not assign a negative value to human impact on the environment. Central Park is a radical imposition of design onto what once was “real” nature; Smithson dryly cites the photographic evidence that it was a man-made wasteland during the transition to parkland. He saw Olmsted as an agent of creative destruction—engineer, maker, doer: “Olmsted made ponds, he didn’t just conceptualize about them,” Smithson stated.

In 1970, Smithson came close to realizing an ambitious project called Island of Broken Glass. Aiming to replicate on a larger scale a sculpture he had installed in a New Jersey parking lot, Smithson secured an islet in British Columbia’s Strait of Georgia, with the intention of covering it with 100 tons of pulverized glass. Environmentalists noisily objected, citing the potential impact on the island’s wildlife, especially the migrating cormorants. Smithson acquiesced and instead proposed a “dearchitecturalized” broken concrete work that would encourage wildlife habitation and indeed result in “a monument to ecology,” as he termed it. But by then even such a moderated intervention did not gain approval.

As his reputation grew within and beyond the art world, Smithson became increasingly self-assured in his communications as he navigated proposals, licenses, and permits with government agencies and industrial corporations. The spreading awareness of a global ecology movement provided Smithson a well-publicized platform for speculation at the intersection of landscape and industry. Emboldened to proclaim that “aesthetic impact needs to be dangerous,” he directly approached resource-extraction companies to pitch collaborations. His confident appeals at times included statements so polemical they would not have been out of place in one of his numerous critical writings.

In a 1972 letter to Allen Overton Jr., president of the American Mining Congress, “regarding my relationship to the mining industry as an artist,” Smithson grandiosely declaimed about his work’s transformational nature: “I am developing an art consciousness for today free from nostalgia and rooted in the processes of actual production and reclamation…. Industry cannot afford to view my kind of art as a luxury, but rather needs to view it as a necessary resource. My earth sculptures are of primary concern, not secondary. A dialogue between earth art and mining operations could lead to a whole new consciousness.” All of this points to a voraciously inclusive practice whose correspondence to architecture as a form-generating practice is perhaps peripheral. Smithson did more proposing of ambitious landscape-altering concepts than were ultimately built—and much the same can be said about the architecture industry today. Following a period of global recession that has precluded, deferred, or canceled a lot of architectural projects, studios have switched into research mode and deployed their powerful digital rendering tools toward hypothetical projects. Alluring structures with radical forms still fuel the press release–driven trade press, but some architects are working in sophisticated speculative zones, where they can project scaled-up concepts that integrate and blur architecture, landscape, and industry, much as Smithson did late in his career.

When Oregon-based architect Brad Cloepfil saw the posthumously realized Smithson work Floating Island, a tug-pulled barge landscaped with trees and shrubs that cruised the waterways around Manhattan in 2005, he felt reaffirmed by Smithson’s singular—and, in this case, rather deadpan—vision. Cloepfil’s Sitings Project, an early manifesto and proposal for enigmatic structures across the Pacific Northwest, bears distinct traces of this type of extra-architectural inspiration. The sole built work from the concept, the Maryhill Overlook at the Columbia River Gorge in Washington state, is a 150-foot-long, 8-foot-wide extruded concrete bunker form through which, Cloepfil says, “the inherent architecture of [the] landscape is revealed.”

Even as Floating Island circled Manhattan, Cloepfil’s firm, Allied Works, engaged in the controversial renovation of Edward Durrell Stone’s colonnaded building at 2 Columbus Circle (now the home of the Museum of Arts and Design). “Smithson and the installation artists of that period basically saved me from what at that time was a kind of commercialized neoclassicism,” Cloepfil says. “He showed me that architecture had a kind of alternate, aberrant past. He really kept me believing in architecture.”

A more conceptual, multimedia studio, such as MOS Architects in New York uses the physics simulators that game designers program for consistent rule-bound game play to explore and subvert traditional architectural forms. Principal Michael Meredith calls the process by which these multihued agglomerations of geometric forms result as “pouring blocks into spaces to see what happens, pouring digital asphalt on a hill, then changing the gravity slightly…really Smithson plus video games.” The software research informs some of the firm’s projects that can be realized in real space but that retain a critical edge: Thoughts on a Walking City, MOS Architects’ entry for the 2012 MOMA exhibition “Foreclosed: Rehousing the American Dream,” sites a rambling, metastasizing mixed-use development in the street spaces that exist between residential and industrial blocks. The project is volumetrically reminiscent of the strewn prisms of peat in Smithson’s 1971 drawing Peat Bog Sprawl.

“Peat Bog Sprawl” (1971) — © Estate of Robert Smithson/Licensed by VAGA

Beyond the daring (yet anticipated) experimentation of recent expo pavilions—from Elizabeth Diller and Ricardo Scofidio’s Blur Building, a massing of mist at the 2002 Swiss National Expo, to Heatherwick Studio’s Seed Cathedral of 2010 in Shanghai, a semisolid studded with fiber-optic rods—architects may be working more like environmental installation artists than ever before. London-based architect Asif Khan debuted Cloud, floating bubbles that slowly amass into a canopy, at 2011’s Design Miami/Basel. That same year, Khan and Pernilla Ohrstedt created Future Memory Pavilion in Singapore, commenting on the history of its host city-state in evocative construction materials: sand and ice framed in a tensile structure of rope and steel.

Smithson toted around a 1965 Brian Aldiss sci-fi novel prophetically titled Earthworks on his famous peregrination through the detrital industrial “monuments” around Passaic, New Jersey. As the reality of our world resembles in ways the pitiless dystopias in stories by Aldiss and J.G. Ballard—the science fiction writers of the British New Wave that Smithson read—these once exotic encounters between built form and landscape seem less like conceptual exercises and more like survival strategies. The emerging conditions facing the city today include the proliferation of remnant spaces (even as cities become denser) and interstitial sites that sample residential, commercial, and industrial programs. The new ideal sites for Smithson’s brand of exploration have returned from the hinterlands to be folded into the urban fabric.

One need look no further than a project that exemplifies the sunny marriage of industrial reuse, landscape architecture, and public space: New York City’s popular park, the High Line, shows that what once might have been a larky, radical conjecture is now the new normal. In a space ambitiously adapted by James Corner Field Operations (project lead) with Diller Scofidio + Renfro and Piet Oudolf, families and tourists now mass to behold the sensitively curated local flora threading throughout the paved-over elevated track.

More epochal in every way is Corner’s planned transformation of one of the world’s largest landfills, the notorious Fresh Kills on Staten Island, into vast parkland (more than three times the size of Central Park) with a revitalized ecosystem, over the course of the next three decades. The “danger” of Smithson’s most audacious visions may have been neutralized, but in almost every other respect, it’s his world and we just live in it.


Fabrice Fouillet is a photographer based in Paris.  His series titled Eurasism documents Kazakstans’ move to create a new capital city.  The works juxtapose the construction of this new capital within the extreme geography that the country inhabits.  The works really seem timeless joining old and new within a landscape that battles with the new.  I came across this series from a post on Aint-Bad Magazine click here.  To see more of Fouillets’ work click here.

Moving a capital city is an important decision. In 1998, Kazakhstan unveiled its new capital and Almaty lost its status to Astana, located 1300 kilometers up North.

As the world’s most recent capital city after Pyinmana(Myanmar), Astana is also the symbol of a new start, a unique initiative in the Post-Soviet region. This colossal project, the challenge to nature that is the construction of a capital city in an extreme climate which requires the laying of specific foundations, shows the will to break up with the past, to implement historic reforms and to encourage an appropriation of identity.

Considerable means have been deployed so that Astana could assume its role as the country’s new showcase city, while promoting the country’s development and insertion
into the global economy… Fabrice_Fouillet_7_650 Fabrice_Fouillet_8_650 Fabrice_Fouillet_9_650 Fabrice_Fouillet_13_650