Wednesday, December 15, 2010

CFP: Digital Resources for Humanities and Arts (DRHA)

DRHA 2011 (Digital Resources for the Humanities and Arts) Conference

Connected Communities: global or local2local?

Call for Papers and Performances

The deadline for submissions for papers and/or performances/installations is Monday 31st January 2011.

Applications from Curatorial based papers and panels very welcome !

Sunday 4th September - Wednesday 7th September 2011
University of Nottingham Ningbo, China
(with add on option of Saturday 3rd September in Shanghai)

In 2011 the DRHA conference will explore the new connectivities in societies and cultures which are enabled by the blending of virtual and physical space, the traversing of time and space through the virtual, and the evolution of innovative methodologies. Crossing disciplines and challenging boundaries within the humanities, arts and the creative industries, this conference will examine critically familiar notions of the ‘local’, the ‘global’ and the ‘network’ across the cultural spectrum.

Please see for more information. Abstracts should be approx 600 words. All submissions must be on-line.

Co-chairs - DRHA 2011 Judith Still (University of Nottingham) and Ghislaine Boddington (Middlesex University/ body>data>space). Conference Lead - Andy White (Nottingham University, Ningbo, China)

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Mourning the Death of Education, Dec 15th 2010

forwarded from marc garrett / furtherfield:

join us for a minute's silence on Resonance FM, mourning the death of
Education Dec 15th, 7-8pm

Friday, December 3, 2010

A Collection of Many Problems (In Memory of the Dead Media Handbook)

telharmonium && for the documentation
book available for 7.78$ at:



"A Collection of Many Problems" by Garnet Hertz, extracted out of the Ancient and Modern Philosophers: as, Secrets and Experiments in Informaticks, Geometry, Cosmography, Horologiography, Astronomy, Navigation, Musick, Opticks, Architecture, Statick, Mechanics, Chymistry, Water-Works, Fire-Works, &c. In memory of the Dead Media Handbook.

This book concept is a continuation of Bruce Sterling's Dead Media Handbook proposal (1995), and is influenced by contemporary writings in media archaeology. Its format is inspired by Quentin Fiore's design of Marshall McLuhan's The Medium is the Massage: An Inventory of Effects (1967).

Licensing: This bookwork is currently being sold at cost and without profit to the author, and is distributed under a Creative Commons Attribution 2.5 License: you are free to share, copy, distribute, transmit, remix and adapt the work.

Graduiertenfeier @ Stift Göttweig, Dec 4th 2010

tomorrow I will be at the Graduiertenfeier @ Stift Göttweig. i wished all of you could be there and we could see each other again. i'll be thinking of all of you && will take you with me in my pocket! many <3!

Olia Lialina, My Boyfriend Came Back From the War

My boyfriend came back from the war from Per Platou on Vimeo.

jon satrom && ben syverson introducing the satromizerOS

Introducing Satromizer OS from Pox Party on Vimeo.

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

media art and sustainable energy

Energetics and Informatics: the 7th ADA Symposium, Whanganui, December 10-12 2010

The 7th ADA Network Symposium examines the relationship between energy and information in media arts. We ask how sustainable is the technology that supports media art? What new forms of practice are developing at the intersection of energy conservation and production, technology, and art? And how can we balance a global arts practice with the ethical complexities of global air travel, and the social complexities of remote participation?

These issues will be explored through keynote presentations, discussions, artist presentations, workshops, a screening programme and two exhibitions.

The symposium features keynote presentations by internationally renowned sound and media arts theorist Douglas Kahn, and Australian artists Joyce Hinterding and David Haines, and a remote conversation with London-based media artist Graham Harwood, creator of the Coal Fired Computer.

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

taxonomedia project

A Taxonomedia (Consuelo Rozo and Vanina Hofman) interview by Raquel Herrera posted at the new media fix website can be found here.

We, in Taxonomedia, regard documentation as a privileged tool to explain an important artistic production which hardly could be conserved through other kinds of strategies. On the one hand, because of the essentially economic questions we have previously mentioned. The conservation projects that suggest solutions such as emulators and migrations are beyond the scope of most museums and media spaces, and probably their efforts in that direction are not sustainable in the medium or long run. On the other hand, there are expressions within art based on technologies that don’t “allow for their conservation”, and if presented with this situation, the artist’s intention must be respected. Finally, also, through their documentation and subsequent availability, the work might be able to survive as a concept and be recreated in other works. Projects like Variable Media delve into the conservation of the integrity of the work regardless of its medium, clearly considering media art within the field of conceptual art, emphasizing a perspective which many would find inadmissible, but is interesting to us.

To be able to access this material as it was in this day represents a huge time investment, a specific budget, provided also that the artist wants to work on that again. In some cases this might mean counting on programmers and developers to generate platforms that allow the piece to work seamlessly in current environments. We have translated a paradigmatic case undertaken for the exhibition Seeing Double (Guggenheim Museum) about the work The Erl King by Roberta Friedman and Grahame Weinbren. Examples like these are feasible if there’s an institution like a museum, a specialized archive or a project that might take charge. It is also possible, if the artist was willing to undertake it herself, as could be in the example you mentioned. She might add some ideas to the piece she didn’t include in the past and the technology she might have to use might also alter the particularities of the work. So we can imagine The Intruder might be different if manipulated, although we leave this aspect at the hands of the artist.

Reinterpretation and documentation are ways of contact with many of the previous works, but unfortunately the experience is hardly repeatable.

Saturday, November 13, 2010

Artists Re:Thinking Games

re-posted from

Ruth Catlow, Marc Garrett, Corrado Morgana - 
Artists Re: Thinking Games

Ruth Catlow, Marc Garrett, Corrado Morgana, 
Artists Re: Thinking Games, FACT/Liverpool University Press, 
87 pages, 
ISBN-13: 978-1846312472, 
artists_rethinking_games.jpg FACT/Liverpool University Press, 
87 pages
, 2010, 
, ISBN-13: 978-1846312472
Ruth Catlow and Marc Garrett, the two founders of Furtherfield (a collaborative artist-led community and organization dealing with art, technology and social change since 1996) are joined by artist and curator Corrado Morgana in editing this nice compendium of texts about game art. In the Furtherfield tradition the book is centered on artistic practice and is engaged with re-thinking games and their set of expected rules and stereotypes. So a few unedited interviews and texts by a valuable roster of contributors (Mary Flanagan, Mathias Fuchs, Anne-Marie Schleiner, Heather Corcoran, Daphne Dragona, Emma Westecott and David Surman) share quite a few remarkable concepts and topics: from "slow gaming" defined by Corcoran to the "interpassivity" formulated by Fuchs and the freedom of movement in game space discussed by Schleiner. Morgana, in the introduction, tries to frame many of these practices within Situationism and its strategies, including the preeminent and famous détournement. And strategies are undoubtedly essential for game art, so Morgana also points to the hacker approach as the other reference for artists who recombine games technically and conceptually. Published in conjunction with the exhibition "Space Invaders: Art and the Computer Game Environment" at FACT Liverpool (which travelled to the Netherlands Media Art Institute), this book talks about artists who construct non-normative games, and collects a representative selection of the significant game art scene.

Friday, November 12, 2010

ISEA2011 ISTANBUL Call for Papers, Artworks, Panels and Workshops


ISEA2011 ISTANBUL dates are September 14 to 21 and the event will coincide with the Istanbul Biennial.
Please note that multiple proposals are acceptable.

Proposals should be submitted by panel chairs or co-chairs who will organize the session including its call for submissions or invitations.


* A catchy title - you really need to stand out in the sea of information

* Concept for the panel and areas of investigation in the form of an abstract no longer than 350 words

* Keywords (maximum 10)

* Questions the panel will raise

* Specific topic areas presenters could address

* What types of presentation formats will be considered

* If your panel will be invitational, indicate the possible panelists (this is an hypothetical list the reviewers would like to see a sampling of your potential panelists)

* If your panel will have a call for submissions, provide a timetable for the process

* Include Email and Phone Contacts for Chair &/or Co-Chair together with address and affiliation

Leonardo Electronic Almanac (LEA) will provide the best panels proposal with an online platform for discussions (with ISSN: 10714391) leading up to the conference and moderated by the Chair &/or Co-Chair. Please state if you are interested in your proposal to be considered for a LEA Discussion (LEAD).

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

INCITE! Journal of Experimental Media & Radical Aesthetics


INCITE! Journal of Experimental Media & Radical Aesthetics
Issue #2: Counter-Archive

Contributors: Simon Aeppli, Jo SiMayala Alcampo, Cory Arcangel, Dave Barber, Jessica Bardsley and Penny Lane, Nicola Bergstrom and Valdemar Lindekrantz, Michael Betancourt, Aleesa Cohene, Bruce Conner, Amelia Does, Walter Forsberg, Sandra Gibson and Luis Recoder, Noam Gonick, I LOVE PRESETS, Brett Kashmere, Bryan Konefsky, Evan Meaney, Jason Orman, Julie Perini, Jenny Perlin, Tasman Richardson, Michael Robinson, Ben Russell, Brittany Shoot, Ryan Tebo, Bart Testa, Cat Tyc, William C. Wees, and Philip Widmann.

Edition of 300.
Designed by Eliza Koch.
120 pages with DVD, $12 USD plus shipping.


INCITE #3: New Ages

Submission Deadline: December 15, 2010

RE:WIRE Call For Papers

Media Art History 2011 - Rewire
Fourth International Conference on the Histories of Media Art, Science and Technology
Liverpool, 28th September - 1st October 2011
Call For Papers now open - Deadline Monday, January 31st 2011

Host: FACT (Foundation for Art and Creative Technology), Liverpool
In collaboration with academic partners: Liverpool John Moores University, CRUMB at the University of Sunderland, the Universities of the West of Scotland and Lancaster, and the Database of Virtual Art at the Dept. for Image Science.

Following the success of Media Art History 05 Re:fresh in Banff, Media Art History 07 Re:place in Berlin and Media Art History 09 Re:live in Melbourne, Media Art History 11 Rewire will host three days of keynotes, panels and poster sessions.

Media Art History 2011 - Rewire will increase the voltage and ignite key debates within the internationally distributed network of histories, which takes account of the questions surrounding documentation and methodologies, materiality, and agency. Rewire aims to up the current to illuminate the British contribution to media art, and by looking at our industrial heritage and contribution to the history of computing technologies themselves, we will open the discussion to how these contributions are manifested internationally. Considering the International scope of the histories of media art, science and technology, Rewire is also listed as part of the "McLuhan in Europe" programme, and will take place concurrently with The Asia Triennial in Manchester and Abandon Normal Devices, the North West's festival of new cinema and digital culture which returns to Liverpool in September 2011.The reviewers especially welcome proposals for presentations that
resonate thematically with these events.

We are looking for original research on:
* The relations between art, science, technology and industry, both historically and now
* New paradigms and alternative discourses for media art and media art history, such as, for example, craft, design, social media, or cybernetics
* Local histories and practices of media art, including (but not limited to) Britain
* Colonial experiences and non-Western histories of media art, science and technology
* Media art history in relation to the biological, biomedical and ecological sciences
* Relations between the histories of media art and those of computing and new technologies
* Writing art history in a technologised and scientific culture, including the documentation of media art and how it is changed in a technologised and scientific culture
* How the field of science and technology studies (STS) can offer useful models for new paradigms for art history

General papers will be accepted. The conference will be delivered in a range of formats, from panel discussions to Pecha Kucha sessions and video poster presentations, as well as a small number of invited speakers. The programme will include competitively selected, peer-reviewed individual papers, panel presentations, and poster sessions, as well as a small number of invited speakers. Keynote Lectures, by internationally renowned, outstanding theoreticians and artists, will deliberate on the central themes of the conference and will include the Roy Stringer Memorial Lecture, held annually by FACT in memory of Roy Stringer, an early pioneer of digital media, champion of multimedia industries in the North West and Liverpool, and former Chair of the Board at FACT. The conference will also include dedicated forum sessions for participants to engage in more open-ended discussion and debate on relevant issues and questions.

Please submit abstracts of no more than 250 words and a short cv by Monday 31 January 2011, either in Text, RTF, Word
or PDF formats, and clearly identify three keywords for your paper via the Call for Papers.

Chaired by Professor Mike Stubbs, Director of FACT, the panels at Rewire will be led by co-chairs - Paul Brown (Sussex, Deakin), Dr. Sarah Cook (CRUMB), Colin Davies (LJMU), Dr. Charlie Gere (Lancaster), Prof.
Andy Miah (UWS), Prof. Ed Shanken (UvA) - on areas of their own expertise, and submissions will be juried by the co-chairs together with Rewire's International Advisory Committee of leading academics, artists and industry professionals.

International Advisory Committee:

Saturday, November 6, 2010

exhibition: "Roboterträume" (robot dreams) @ kunsthaus graz

09.10.2010-20.02.2011, 10:00 - 18:00 Uhr
kunsthaus graz, austria

catalogue available here
contributing authors:
Isaac Asimov, Wenzel Mracek, Jutta Weber, Lilian Pfaff, Joachim Schätz, Manuela Kraft und den Kuratoren Katrin Bucher Trantow, Peter Pakesch, Andres Pardey und Roland Wetzel

Kehrer Verlag
160 Seiten
Preis: 36 €

Thursday, November 4, 2010

“Coding Patterns: The Algorithmic Mechanisms of John Whitney, Larry Cuba and Early Digital Animation”

Andrew Johnston (PhD candidate, U. of Chicago)
“Coding Patterns: The Algorithmic Mechanisms of John Whitney, Larry Cuba and Early Digital Animation”
Respondent: jonCates (SAIC)
Thursday, Nov. 4 @ 6:30pm
The School of the Art Institute, 112 S. Michigan Ave, Room 1307

This paper examines the development of digital filmmaking and animation technologies in the 1960s and 1970s through an analysis of John Whitney and Larry Cuba’s films. Whitney made some of the first digital animations while an artist in residence at IBM from 1966-1969 and later worked with a variety of programmers through the 1970s, including Larry Cuba on "Arabesque" (1975). Through an analysis of the materials employed in the construction of Whitney and Cuba’s films, my paper attempts to make an intervention into contemporary discourses that highlight the ephemeral nature of digital film or that neglect the importance of how specific platforms and programming languages affect both visual aesthetics and notions of digital technology. I show how these filmmakers were each deeply invested in working through a negotiation with digital technology that attempts to reveal both the mechanism’s expressive logic and its limitations while simultaneously exploring the nature of animation.

jonCates, Associate Professor of Film, Video, New Media & Animation at The School of the Art Institute of Chicago, will respond.

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Friday, October 29, 2010

tate events podcasts

podcasts of past tate events can be downloaded here

check out especially:
Resolutely Analogue?: Art Museums in Digital Culture podcast part 1, part 2

Expanded Cinema: Activating the Space of Reception
part 1
part 2
part 3

and Friedrich Kittler's keynote lecture for Media Matters podcast

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

in praise of copying

Marcus Boon's "In praise of copying" (2010) is available through the harvard univ. press website
Do read the author's statement for uploading the book to
through monoskop

Friday, October 15, 2010

Kim Cascone, The Aesthetics of Failure (2002)

reposted from:

The Aesthetics of Failure:

'Post-Digital' Tendencies in Contemporary Computer Music

Over the past decade, the Internet has helped spawn a new movement in digital music. It is not academically based, and for the most part the composers involved are self-taught.

The digital revolution is over.

Nicholas Negroponte (1998)

Mr. Kim Cascone

Music journalists occupy themselves inventing names for it, and some have already taken root: glitch, microwave, DSP, sinecore, and microscopic music. These names evolved through a collection of decon-structive audio and visual techniques that allow artists to work beneath the previously impen-etrable veil of digital media. The Negroponte epigraph above inspired me to refer to this emergent genre as ‘post-digital' because the revolutionary period of the digital information age has surely passed. The tendrils of digital technology have in some way touched everyone. With electronic commerce
now a natural part of the business fabric of the Western world and Hollywood cranking out digital fluff by the gigabyte, the medium of digital
technology holds less fascination for composers in and of itself. In this article, I will emphasize that the medium is no longer the message; rather, specific tools themselves have become the message.

The Internet was originally created to accelerate the exchange of ideas and development of research between academic centers, so it is perhaps no sur-prise that it is responsible for helping give birth to new trends in computer music outside the con-fines of academic think tanks. A non-academic
composer can search the Internet for tutorials and papers on any given aspect of computer music to obtain a good, basic understanding of it. University computer music centers breed developers whose tools are shuttled around the Internet and used to develop new music outside the university.

Unfortunately, cultural exchange between non-academic artists and research centers has been lacking. The post-digital music that Max, SMS,
AudioSculpt, PD, and other such tools make pos-sible rarely makes it back to the ivory towers, yet these non-academic composers anxiously await
new tools to make their way onto a multitude of Web sites.
Even in the commercial software industry, the marketing departments of most audio software companies have not yet fully grasped the post-digi-tal
aesthetic; as a result, the more unusual tools emanate from developers who use their academic training to respond to personal creative needs.

This article is an attempt to provide feedback to both academic and commercial music software de-velopers by showing how current DSP tools are be-ing used by post-digital composers, affecting both the form and content of contemporary ‘non-academic' electronic music.

The Aesthetics of Failure

''It is failure that guides evolution;
perfection offers no incentive for

Colson Whitehead (1999)

The ‘post-digital' aesthetic was developed in part as a result of the immersive experience of working in environments suffused with digital technology: computer fans whirring, laser printers churning out documents, the sonification of user-interfaces, and the muffled noise of hard drives. But more spe-cifically, it is from the ‘failure' of digital technol-ogy that this new work has emerged: glitches, bugs, application errors, system crashes, clipping, aliasing, distortion, quantization noise, and even
the noise floor of computer sound cards are the raw materials composers seek to incorporate into their music.

While technological failure is often controlled and suppressed - its effects buried beneath the threshold of perception - most audio tools can
zoom in on the errors, allowing composers to make them the focus of their work. Indeed, ‘failure' has become a prominent aesthetic in many of the arts in the late 20th century, reminding us that our control of technology is an illusion, and revealing digital tools to be only as perfect, precise, and effi-cient as the humans who build them. New techniques are often discovered by accident or by the failure of an intended technique or experiment.

''I would only observe that in most high-profile
gigs, failure tends to be far more
interesting to the audience than success.''

David Zicarelli (1999)

There are many types of digital audio ‘failure.' Sometimes, it results in horrible noise, while other times it can produce wondrous tapestries of sound. (To more adventurous ears, these are quite often the same.) When the German sound experimenters known as Oval started creating music in the early 1990s by painting small images on the underside of CDs to make them skip, they were using an aspect of ‘failure' in their work that revealed a subtextual layer embedded in the compact disc.

Oval's investigation of ‘failure' is not new. Much work had previously been done in this area such as the optical soundtrack work of Laszlo
Moholy-Nagy and Oskar Fischinger, as well as the vinyl record manipulations of John Cage and Christian Marclay, to name a few. What is new is that ideas now travel at the speed of light and can spawn entire musical genres in a relatively short period of time.

Back to the Future

Poets, painters, and composers sometimes walk a fine line between madness and genius, and throughout the ages they have used ‘devices'
such as absinthe, narcotics, or mystical states to help make the jump from merely expanding their perceptual boundaries to hoisting themselves into
territories beyond these boundaries. This trend to seek out and explore new territories led to much experimentation in the arts in the early part of the
20th century.

When artists of the early 20th century turned their senses to the world created by industrial progress, they were forced to focus on the new and changing landscape of what was considered ‘background.'

''I now note that ordinarily I am concerned
with, focus my attention upon, things or
‘objects,' the words on the page. But I now
note that these are always situated within
what begins to appear to me as a widening
field which ordinarily is a background from
which the ‘object' or thing stands out. I now
find by a purposeful act of attention that I
may turn to the field as field, and in the case
of vision I soon also discern that the field has
a kind of boundary or limit, a horizon. This
horizon always tends to ‘escape' me when I
try to get at it; it ‘withdraws' always on the
extreme fringe of the visual field. It retains a
certain essentially enigmatic character.''

Don Idhe (1976)

Concepts such as ‘detritus,' ‘by-product,' and ‘background' (or ‘horizon') are important to con-sider when examining how the current post-digi-tal
movement started. When visual artists first shifted their focus from foreground to background (for instance, from portraiture to landscape paint-ing), it helped to expand their perceptual bound-aries,
enabling them to capture the background's enigmatic character.

The basic composition of ‘background' is com-prised of data we filter out to focus on our imme-diate surroundings. The data hidden in our perceptual ‘blind spot' contains worlds waiting to be explored, if we choose to shift our focus there. Today's digital technology enables artists to explore new territories for content by capturing and examining the area beyond the boundary of ‘normal' functions and uses of software.

Although the lineage of post-digital music is com-plex, there are two important and well-known pre-cursors that helped frame its emergence: the Italian Futurist movement at the beginning of the 20th century, and John Cage's composition 4'33' (1952).

Futurism was an attempt to reinvent life as it was being reshaped by new technologies. The Italian Futurist painter Luigi Russolo was so inspired
by a 1913 orchestral performance of a composition by Balilla Pratella that he wrote a manifesto, The Art of Noises, in the form of a letter to Pratella.
His manifesto and subsequent experiments with intonarumori (noise intoners), which imitated urban industrial sounds, transmitted a viral message to future generations, resulting in Russolo's current status as the ‘grandfather' of contemporary ‘post-digital' music. The Futurists considered in-dustrial life a source of beauty, and for them it provided an ongoing symphony. Car engines, ma-chines, factories, telephones, and electricity had been in existence for only a short time, and the resulting
din was a rich palette for the Futurists to use in their sound experiments.

''The variety of noises is infinite. If today,
when we have perhaps a thousand different
machines, we can distinguish a thousand
different noises, tomorrow, as new machines
multiply, we will be able to distinguish ten,
twenty, or thirty thousand different noises,
not merely in a simply imitative way, but to
combine them according to our imagination.''

Luigi Russolo (1913)

This was probably the first time in history that sound artists shifted their focus from the foreground of musical notes to the background of incidental
sound. Russolo and Ugo Piatti - who together constructed the noise intoners - gave them descriptive names such as ‘exploders,' ‘roarers,' ‘croakers,' ‘thunderers,' ‘bursters,' ‘cracklers,' ‘buzzers,' and ‘scrapers.' Although the intonarumori themselves never found their way into much of the music in the Futurists' time, they did manage to inspire composers like Stravinsky and Ravel to incorporate some of these types of sounds into their work.

A few decades after the Futurists brought incidental noise to the foreground, John Cage would give permission to all composers to use any sound in composing music. At the 1952 debut of Cage's 4'33', David Tudor opened the piano keyboard lid and sat for the duration indicated in the title, implicitly inviting the audience to listen to back-ground sounds, only closing and reopening the lid to demarcate three movements. The idea for 4'33' was outlined in a lecture given by Cage at Vassar College in 1948, entitled ‘A Composer's Confessions.' The following year, Cage saw the white paintings of Robert Rauschenberg, and he saw in this an oppor-tunity to keep pace with painting and push the stifled boundaries of modern music. Rauschenberg's white paintings combined chance, non-intention, and ‘minimalism' in one broad stroke, where the paintings revealed the ‘changing play of light and shadow and the presence of dust' (Kahn 1999). Rauschenberg's white paintings were a powerful catalyst that helped inspire Cage to remove all con-straints on what was considered music. Every environment could be experienced in a completely new way - as music.

Of equal importance to Cage's ‘silent piece' was his realization that there is, in fact, no such thing as ‘silence' - that, as human beings, our sensory per-ceptions occur against the background noise of our biological systems. His experience in an anechoic chamber at Harvard University prior to composing 4'33' shattered the belief that silence was obtainable and revealed that the state of ‘nothing' was a condition filled with everything we filtered out. From then on, Cage strove to incorporate this revelation
into subsequent works by paying attention not only to sound objects, but also to their background.

Snap, Crackle, Glitch

Fast-forwarding from the 1950s to the present, we skip over most of the electronic music of the 20th century, much of which has not, in my opinion, focused on expanding the ideas first explored by the Futurists and Cage. An emergent genre that consciously builds on these ideas is that which I have
termed ‘post-digital,' but it shares many names, as noted in the introduction, and I will refer to it from here on out as glitch. The glitch genre arrived on the back of the electronica movement, an umbrella term for alternative, largely dance-based electronic music (including house, techno, electro, drum'n'bass, ambient) that has come into vogue in the past five years. Most of the work in this area is released on labels peripherally associated with the dance music market, and is therefore removed from the contexts of academic consideration and acceptability that it might otherwise earn. Still, in spite of this odd pairing of fashion and art music,
the composers of glitch often draw their inspiration from the masters of 20th century music who they feel best describe its lineage.

A Brief History of Glitch

At some point in the early 1990s, techno music settled into a predictable, formulaic genre serving a more or less aesthetically homogeneous market
of DJs and dance music aficionados. Concomitant with this development was the rise of a periphery of DJs and producers eager to expand the music's
tendrils into new areas. One can visualize techno as a large postmodern appropriation machine, as-similating cultural references, tweaking them, and then re-presenting them as tongue-in-cheek jokes. DJs, fueled with samples from thrift store pur-chases of obscure vinyl, managed to mix any
source imaginable into sets played for more adventurous dance floors. Always trying to outdo one another, it was only a matter of time until DJs unearthed the history of electronic music in their archeological thrift store digs. Once the door was opened to exploring the history of electronic mu-sic, invoking its more notable composers came into vogue. A handful of DJs and composers of electronica were suddenly familiar with the work of Karlheinz Stockhausen, Morton Subotnick, and John Cage, and their influence helped spawn the glitch movement.

A pair of Finnish producers called Pan Sonic - then known as Panasonic, before a team of corpo-rate lawyers encouraged them to change their
name - led one of the first forays into experimentation in electronica. Mika Vainio, head architect of the Pan Sonic sound, used handmade sine wave
oscillators and a collection of inexpensive effect pedals and synthesizers to create a highly synthetic, minimal, ‘hard-edged' sound. Their first CD, titled Vakio, was released in the summer of 1993, and was a sonic shockwave compared to the more blissful strains of ambient-techno becoming popular at that time. The Pan Sonic sound con-jured stark, florescent, industrial landscapes; test-tones were pounded into submission until they
squirted out low, throbbing drones and high-pitched stabs of sine waves. The record label Vainio founded, Sähkö Records, released material by a growing catalog of artists, most of it in the same synthetic, stripped-down, minimal vein.

As discussed earlier, the German project Oval was experimenting with CD-skipping techniques and helped to create a new tendril of glitch - one of slow-moving slabs of dense, flitting textures. Another German group, which called itself Mouse on Mars, injected this glitch aesthetic into a more danceable framework, resulting in gritty low-fidelity rhythmic layers warping in and out of one another.

From the mid-1990s forward, the glitch aesthetic appeared in various sub-genres, including drum‘n'bass, drill'n'bass, and trip-hop. Artists
such as Aphex Twin, LTJ Bukem, Omni Trio, Wagon Christ, and Goldie were experimenting with all sorts of manipulation in the digital domain.
Time-stretching vocals and reducing drum loops to eight bits or less were some of the first techniques used in creating artifacts and exposing
them as timbral content. The more experimental side of electronica was still growing and slowly es-tablishing a vocabulary.

By the late 1990s, the glitch movement was keeping pace with the release of new features in music software, and the movement began congealing into a rudimentary form. A roster of artists was developing. Japanese producer Ryoji Ikeda was one of the first artists other than Mika Vainio to gain expo-sure for his stark, ‘bleepy' soundscapes. In contrast to Vainio, Ikeda brought a serene quality of spirituality to glitch music. His first CD, entitled +/-, was one of the first glitch releases to break new ground in the delicate use of high frequencies and short sounds that stab at listeners' ears, often leav-ing
the audience with a feeling of tinnitus.

Another artist who helped bridge the gap be-tween delicate and damaging was Carsten Nicolai (who records and performs under the name Noto).
Nicolai is also a co-founder of Noton/Rastermusic, a German label group that specializes in innovative digital music. In a similar fashion, Peter Rehberg, Christian Fennesz, and the sound/Net art project Farmers Manual are tightly associated with the Mego label located in Vienna. Rehberg has the distinction of having received one of only two honorary Ars Electronica awards in Digital Music for his contribution to electronic music. Over the
past few years, the glitch movement has grown to encompass dozens of artists who are defining new vocabularies in digital media. Artists such as
immedia, Taylor Deupree, Nobukazu Takemura, Neina, Richard Chartier, Pimmon, *0, Autopoieses, and T:un*, to name just a few, constitute the second wave of sound hackers exploring the glitch aesthetic.

There are many artists who have not been mentioned here who contribute to pushing the boundaries of this movement. It is beyond the scope of
this article to go deeply into the evolution of glitch music, but I have included a discography at the end of this article that will offer good starting points for the casual listener.

Power Tools

Computers have become the primary tools for creating and performing electronic music, while the Internet has become a logical new distribution medium. For the first time in history, creative output and the means of its distribution have been inextricably linked. Our current sonic backgrounds have dramatically changed since 4'33' was first performed - and thus the means for navigating our sur-roundings as well. In response to the radical
alteration of our hearing by the tools and technologies developed in academic computer music centers - and a distribution medium capable of shuttling tools, ideas, and music between like-minded
composers and engineers - the resultant glitch movement can be seen as a natural progression in electronic music. In this new music, the tools
themselves have become the instruments, and the resulting sound is born of their use in ways unintended by their designers. Commonly referred to as
sound ‘mangling' or ‘crunching,' composers are now able to view music on a microscopic level. Curtis Roads coined the term microsound for all
variants of granular and atomic methods of sound synthesis, and tools capable of operating at this microscopic level are able to achieve these effects. Because the tools used in this style of music embody advanced concepts of digital signal processing, their usage by glitch artists tends to be based on experimentation rather than empirical investigation. In
this fashion, unintended usage has become the second permission granted. It has been said that one does not need advanced training to use digital signal processing programs - just ‘mess around' until you obtain the desired result. Sometimes, not knowing the theoretical operation of a tool can result in more interesting results by ‘thinking outside of the box.' As Bob Ostertag notes, ‘It appears that the more technology is thrown at the problem, the more boring the results' (1998).

''I looked at my paper, said Cage. Suddenly
I saw that the music, all the music, was already
there.' He conceived of a procedure which
would enable him to derive the details of his
music from the little glitches and
imperfections which can be seen on sheets of
paper. It had symbolic as well as practical
value; it made the unwanted features of the
paper its most significant ones—there is not
even a visual silence.''

David Revill (1999)

New Music From New Tools

Tools now aid composers in the deconstruction of digital files: exploring the sonic possibilities of a Photoshop file that displays an image of a flower,
trawling word processing documents in search of coherent bytes of sound, using noise-reduction software to analyze and process audio in ways that
the software designer never intended. Any selection of algorithms can be interfaced to pass data back and forth, mapping effortlessly from one di-mension into another. In this way, all data can become fodder for sonic experimentation.

Composers of glitch music have gained their technical knowledge through self-study, countless hours deciphering software manuals, and probing
Internet newsgroups for needed information. They have used the Internet both as a tool for learning and as a method of distributing their work. Com-posers now need to know about file types, sample rates, and bit resolution to optimize their work for the Internet. The artist completes a cultural
feedback loop in the circuit of the Internet: artists download tools and information, develop ideas based on that information, create work reflecting those ideas with the appropriate tools, and then upload that work to a World Wide Web site where other artists can explore the ideas embedded in the work.

The technical requirements for being a musician in the information age may be more rigorous than ever before, but - compared to the depth of
university computer music studies - it is still rather light. Most of the tools being used today have a layer of abstraction that enables artists to explore without demanding excessive technical knowledge. Tools like Reaktor, Max/MSP, MetaSynth, Audiomulch, Crusher-X, and Soundhack are pressed into action, more often than not with little care or regard for the technical
details of DSP theory, and more as an aesthetic wandering through the sounds that these modern tools can create.

The medium is no longer the message in glitch music: the tool has become the message. The technique of exposing the minutiae of DSP errors and
artifacts for their own sonic value has helped further blur the boundaries of what is to be considered music, but it has also forced us to also to examine our preconceptions of failure and detritus more carefully.


Electronica DJs typically view individual tracks as pieces that can be layered and mixed freely. This modular approach to creating new work from pre-existing materials forms the basis of electronic music composers' use of samples. Glitch, however, takes a more deconstructionist approach in
that the tendency is to reduce work to a minimum amount of information. Many glitch pieces reflect a stripped-down, anechoic, atomic use of sound,
and they typically last from one to three minutes.

But it seems this approach affects the listening habits of electronica aficionados. I had the experi-ence of hearing a popular sample CD playing in a clothing boutique. The ‘atomic' parts, or samples, used in composing electronica from small modular pieces had become the whole. This is a clear indication that contemporary computer music has become
fragmented, it is composed of stratified layers that intermingle and defer meaning until the listener takes an active role in the production
of meaning.

If glitch music is to advance past its initial stage of blind experimentation, new tools must be built with an educational bent in mind. That is, a tool
should possess multiple layers of abstraction that allow novices to work at a simple level, stripping away those layers as they gain mastery. In order to
help better understand current trends in electronic music, the researchers in academic centers must keep abreast of these trends. Certainly, many of
their college students are familiar with the music and can suggest pieces for listening. The compact discs given in this article's reference list form a
good starting point. More information can be obtained by reading some of the many electronic mailing lists dedicated to electronica, such as the
microsound, idm, and wire lists. In this way, the gap can be bridged, and new ideas can flow more openly between commercial and academic sectors.

''We therefore invite young musicians of
talent to conduct a sustained observation of
all noises, in order to understand the various
rhythms of which they are composed, their
principal and secondary tones. By comparing
the various tones of noises with those of
sounds, they will be convinced of the extent
to which the former exceeds the latter. This
will afford not only an understanding, but
also a taste and passion for noises.''

Luigi Russolo (1913)


First we shape our tools and then our tools shape us.

Marshall McLuhan

Within the current subgenre of electronic music known as 'microsound', or
glitch' and which I prefer to call 'post-digital', composers have
collapsed the performance and work environments into a single environment
via the laptop computer. The laptop is no less a musical instrument than
the guitar or the piano but represents the first time in music history that
an instrument can be used to write and perform music as well as distribute

Most electronic music relies heavily on its ability to stimulate the
listener with new sounds sculpted via the power of the computer. These new
forms of computer music are heavily informed not only by the way the
computer enables the composer to work but also by how the software
developer implemented his or her software program. Many of the abstract
layers of digital technology that exist between the composer and the CPU
are now being drawn upon in an attempt to critique the medium of digital
audio and to use the less stable boundaries of software as a aesthetic
device. This collection of abstract layers of hardware and software can be
viewed as a 'chain of abstractions.'

The reason that these abstractions come into play on a laptop and not on a
dedicated piece of hardware such as a synthesizer or sampler is due to the
fact that the laptop is an open system whereas the synthesizer is a closed
system in which the end user accepts the limited functionality based on its
intended set of behaviors. For example, a synth cannot browse the internet
or perform word processing tasks but the laptop can and shapeshifts along a
continuous surface of possible functions, functions that can change based
on context.

The chain of abstractions has placed the musician in the role of a remote
operator of their 'instrument.' An instrument is defined in computer music
as a chunk of code running on the CPU that generates sound via some method
of sound synthesis. This code based generator of sound is kept separated
from the musician by multiple layers of conceptual abstractions. Each level
translates a lower language into a higher one which makes the information
flowing up the chain understandable to the person working on the level
above but also makes the lower levels inaccessible to those working at
higher levels who don't possess specialized knowledge. From the machine
code to the user interface to the cultural apparatus of the listener, the
musician can navigate these multiple levels in order to actualize their
vision or they can rely on the higher abstractions and let the
'under-the-hood' operations remain unknown.

But because the musician is relieved from the work of physically producing
sound (the causation of physical vibrations) there is another more direct
connection that gets formed by bypassing the physical connection to an
instrument: thought to sonic output. This freedom and power had contributed
highly to the rich culture of electronic music today enabling a new
generation of composer's access to tools and methods previously found only
in academia. The Ivory Towers have been infiltrated and their tools
appropriated in the service of creating a new style of music and this can
only be a good thing.


-Cage, J. 1952. 4'33'. Published c. 1960. New York: Henmar Press.

-Idhe, D. 1976. Listening and Voice: A Phenomenology of Sound. Athens, Ohio: Ohio University Press.

-Kahn, D. 1999. Noise, Water, Meat. Cambridge, Massa-chusetts: MIT Press.

-Negroponte, N. 1998. ‘Beyond Digital.' Wired 6(12).

-Ostertag, B. 1998. ‘Why Computer Music Sucks.' Available online at

-Revill, D. 1992. The Roaring Silence. John Cage: A Life. New York: Arcade Publishing.

-Russolo, L. 1987. The Art of Noises. New York: Pendragon Press. (Originally published in 1913.)

-Whitehead, C. 1999. The Intuitionist. New York: An-chor Books.


-Christian Fennesz. 1999. +475637-165108. London: Touch TO:40.

-Farmers Manual. 1999. No Backup. Vienna: Mego MEGO008.

-Kim Cascone. 1999. cathodeFlower. Frankfurt: Mille Plateaux/Ritornell RIT06.

-Mika Vainio. 1997. Onko. London: Touch TO:34.

-Mouse On Mars. 1995. Vulvaland. London: Too Pure 36.

-Neina. 1999. Formed Verse. Frankfurt: Mille Plateaux MPCD72.

-Nosei Sakata and Richard Chartier. 1999. *0/rc. Brooklyn: 12K 12K.1006.

-Noto. 1998. Kerne. Bad Honnef: Plate Lunch PL04.

-Oval. 1994. Systemische. Frankfurt: Mille Plateaux MPCD9.

-Pimmon. 1999. Waves and Particles. Tokyo: Meme MEME015CD.

-Pita. 1999. Seven Tons for Free. Osaka: Digital Narcis MEGO009.

-Ryoji Ikeda. 1996. +/-. London: Touch TO:30.

-Various Artists. 1999. Microscopic Sound. New York: Caipirinha Music CAI2021-2.

-Various Artists. 2000. blueCubism. Osaka: Digital Narcis DNCD007.

-Various Artists. 2000. Clicks and Cuts. Frankfurt: Mille Plateaux MPCD079.

Monday, October 4, 2010

Symposium: The Digital Oblivion - Substance and Ethics in the Conservation of Computer-Based Art

4. – 5. 11. 2010

ZKM | Zentrum für Kunst
und Medientechnologie
Karlsruhe, Germany

As part of the broader research project digital art conservation, this international symposium aims to investigate the future of our digital cultural memory, focusing in particular on the preservation of computer-based art. For a couple of decades now, digitalisation has allowed the content of cultural memory to be more easily processed and circulated. However, the preservation of digital contents is fundamentally conditioned by the need to conform to an ever more rapid sequence of new technical systems. This functional obsolescence presents a systemic threat to digital cultural memory. Again and again, the threat of obsolescence leads previous criteria of cultural memory – longevity and authenticity – ad absurdum. The practice and theory of art collecting and preservation has also seen a paradigm shift, presenting curators, collectors, scholars and conservators with a new set of as yet unsolved problems. Whereas traditional media and tools remained in the possession of artists and curators, new digital media have definitely reduced the autonomy of these cultural actors.
Parallel to day-to-day collecting and exhibition practice – necessarily pragmatic – conservation theory has recently seen a normative debate on the ethics of preservation, a discussion comparable to developments elsewhere in the humanities and natural sciences, as well as in bioethics and environmental ethics. The conference’s discussion of the ethics of conservation aims to overcome the current uncertainty surrounding the preservation of digital media art as part of our cultural heritage. This set of interconnected themes forms the context for the questions posed by the first international symposium of digital art conservation, a threeyear research project funded by the European Union: What consequences will the ongoing systemic change of cultural memory have for our consciousness of time and of history, and for our image of ourselves and the world? Are traditional criteria for conservation – a work of art’s originality, longevity and inherent economic value – at all applicable to new media art? Should standards of best practice be developed for the conservation and collection of digital media art?

Prof. Dr. Hans Belting
Professor emeritus for the science of art and media theory,
Staatliche Hochschule für Gestaltung Karlsruhe
Prof. Dr. Edmond Couchot
Professor emeritus Université de Paris VIII
Alain Depocas
Director of the Centre for Research and Documentation,
Daniel Langlois Foundation, Montréal
Herbert W. Franke
Artist, scientist and writer, Egling
Rosina Gómez-Baeza Tinturé
Director, LABoral Centre for Art and Creative Industries, Gijon
Prof. Dr. Hans Dieter Huber
Head of degree programme conservation of new media and digital
information, Staatliche Akademie der Bildenden Künste, Stuttgart
Antoni Muntadas
Artist, New York
Daria Parkhomenko
Director, LABORATORIA Art & Science Space, Moscow
Dr. Ingrid Scheurmann
Deutsche Stiftung Denkmalschutz, professorship
architectural heritage and applied historical
building research, Technische Universität Dresden
Prof. Dr. Bernhard Serexhe
Head curator, ZKM | Medienmuseum, Karlsruhe
Prof. Dr. h.c. Peter Weibel
CEO, ZKM | Karlsruhe
Dr. Klaus Weschenfelder
President ICOM Germany
Prof. Dr. Siegfried Zielinski
Professor for media theory, Universität der Künste, Berlin

Entrance free, no booking required

Languages /Sprachen/ langues: EN, DE, FR
Lorenzstraße 19
76135 Karlsruhe

Saturday, October 2, 2010

Bit International : A Little-Known Story ...

A little-known story about a movement, a magazine, and the computer\\\'s arrival in art: New Tendencies and Bit International, 1961-1973 : [bit international [Nove] tendencije. Computer und visuelle Forschung Zagreb 1961-1973. Exhibitions: Neue Galerie Graz am Landesmuseum Joanneum 28.04.-17.06.2007, ZKM, Center for Art and Media Karlsruhe 23.02.2008-18.01.2009] / ed. by Margit Rosen. - Cambridge, Mass. : MIT, 2011. - 576 S. : zahlr. Ill.
ISBN: 978-0-262-51581-8

This book documents a short but intense artistic experiment which took place in Yugoslavia fifty years ago, but whose impact has been felt far beyond that time and place. Ostensibly, the “little-known story” concerns the advent of computers in art and a movement which began in 1961 in Zagreb, Yugoslavia. It was through the activities of that movement, known as New Tendencies, and its supporting institution, the Galerija suvremene umjetnosti, that the “thinking machine” was adopted as an artistic tool and medium. Pursuing the idea of “art as visual research,” the New Tendencies movement proceeded along a path which led from Concrete and Constructivist art, Op art, and Kinetic art with its dynamic apparatuses to computer-generated graphics, film, and sculpture – from “programmed art” without computers to art generated or controlled by computers.

With their exhibitions and conferences on the theme of computers and visual research and the launch of the multilingual, groundbreaking magazine bit international in 1968, the New Tendencies transformed Zagreb, already one of the most vibrant artistic centers in Yugoslavia, into an international meeting place where artists, engineers, and scientists from both sides of the Iron Curtain gathered around the then-new technology. For a brief moment in time, Zagreb was the epicenter for exploring the aesthetic, scientific, and political potential of the computer. This volume, edited by Margit Rosen, includes new essays by Jerko Denegri, Darko Fritz, Margit Rosen, and Peter Weibel; a great number of essays and texts that were first published in New Tendencies exhibition catalogs and bit international magazine; and historic documents. Over 650 black-and-white and color illustrations testify to the wide and diverse panorama of artworks that were presented in the exhibitions, and introduce the movement’s protagonists. Many of the historic photographs, translations, and documents are presented here for the first time. The book presents the long overdue history of the New Tendencies experiment and its impact on the art of the twentieth century.

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

CFP: virtual histories (deadline: oct. 24th)

Graduate Humanities Forum |
Penn Humanities Forum |
University of Pennsylvania

SUBMIT proposals (250 words maximum) and one-page CV by e-mail
attachment to Scott Enderle (

The Graduate Humanities Forum of the University of Pennsylvania
invites submissions for its 11th annual conference: "Virtual
Histories." The one-day interdisciplinary conference will take place
on Friday, February 18th, 2011 at the Penn Humanities Forum in
conjunction with its 2010-2011 topic: "Virtuality."

Ours is, as the commonplace would have it, an age of information.
Viewed as part of the old-fashioned scheme of Stone, Bronze, and Iron,
our age seems rarefied indeed: hard yet malleable, iron is apt to be
shaped by our will, but information is infinitely more so. Poised to
escape into pure ideality, we may find it easy to forget that the
virtual also has a history.

"Virtual Histories" foregrounds the historical matrix in which our
information technologies are embedded, seeking traces of the virtual
in the rituals and dreams of the past, while at the same time
considering the history of virtuality as one not yet enacted.

We invite submissions from a wide range of disciplines exploring
points of continuity and rupture between past, present, and future
virtualities. How do the other worlds of religious doctrine overlap
with the other world of Second Life? What is the long history of
icons, scripts, and avatars? To what degree are instant wire transfers
more virtual than the bills of sale and credit, bank notes, or paper
money of earlier centuries? What is the phenomenology of a bank run?
What are the ramifications of virtual experience for the empiricism of
Locke, Berkeley, and Hume? What is the material history of the
virtual? How have constructs of gender and race virtualized bodies,
and what are the ethics of bodily escape and transcendence among
Platonic users of sites such as

At the same time as we seek to historicize the virtual, we invite
contributions that limn possibilities not yet realized, exploring the
potential of distant reading and text mining, and considering
prospects that continue to emerge for politics, social interaction,
and art, not only in visual, but also in auditory and even tactile
forms. What new subjectivities and experiences might the virtual make
available, perhaps even as it calls into question the stability of
those concepts?

Other topics for proposals might include the following:

-The demarcation of the virtual.
-The material bases of virtual superstructures.
-"New" media of past eras and virtual appropriations of "old" media.
-Grammars and ideologies of the virtual.
-Imagined communities and virtual nations.
-Intellectual Property and virtual appropriation.
-Mimesis, simulation, and sensory prosthetics.

Conference Keynote: LISA NAKAMURA (Illinois, Urbana-Champaign)
Lisa Nakamura is the author or coeditor of four books, including
_Digitizing Race: Visual Cultures of the Internet_ (University of
Minnesota Press, 2007) and _Race After the Internet_ (with Peter
Chow-White, Routledge, forthcoming 2011). She is currently working on
a new monograph tentatively entitled Workers Without Bodies: Towards a
Theory of Race and Digital Labor in Virtual Worlds. Nakamura is the
Director of the Asian American Studies Program, Professor in the
Institute of Communication Research and Media Studies Program, and
Professor of Asian American Studies at the University of Illinois,
Urbana-Champaign, where she teaches courses on Asian Americans and
media as well as introductory and advanced courses on new media
criticism, history, and theory.

Proposals should be no longer than 250 words, and should be submitted
along with a one-page CV by email attachment to Scott Enderle
( The deadline for proposals is Thursday,
October 14th, 2010.

Scott Enderle
Brizdle-Schoenberg Fellow in the History of Material Texts
Graduate Research Assistant
Penn Humanities Forum
University of Pennsylvania
Philadelphia PA

Paul Brown - based in OZ April to November 2010
OZ Landline +61 (0)7 3391 0094 == USA fax +1 309 216 9900
OZ Mobile +61 (0)419 72 74 85 == Skype paul-g-brown
Synapse Artist-in-Residence - Deakin University
Honorary Visiting Professor - Sussex University

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

paraflows 2010, Sept. 9th - Oct. 10th

paraflows 2010, "mind and matter" exhibition and symposion in vienna, started last week:

Monday, September 13, 2010

nonlinear history

Andrey Smirnov's Nonlinear History (of audiovisual composition) features some long forgotten yet amazing equipment...ppts and videos can be downloaded here

Saturday, September 11, 2010

Photos of Ars Electronica 2010


i uploaded my photos from this year's Ars Electronica festival to here.

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

noise & capitalism

a recent title published by arteleku audiolab, edited by Mattin & Anthony Iles, with constributions by Ray Brassier, Emma Hedditch, Matthew Hyland, Anthony Iles, Sara Kaaman, Mattin, Nina Power, Edwin Prévost, Bruce Russell, Matthieu Saladin, Howard Slater, Csaba Toth, Ben Watson.

the full book can be downloaded here

an exhibition as concert based on the book is taking place at
CAC Bretigny the next weeks.

Saturday, August 7, 2010

Open Call for Artists - ANEMIC FESTIVAL

Join us in creating the ANEMIC Festival, November 4 - 16, 2010!
2010 marks the first annual ANEMIC FESTIVAL, initiated by the organization « M77 Arts, Digital creation & Training ». The international festival of the independent creation dedicated to the short-films, animated films, documentary films, video arts, vfx & motion graphic , visual arts, digital creation, multimedia performance & installation, web art and all forms of crea(c)tion in situ & urban. The festival needs you ! We are looking for willing volunteers to help us to build an international platform gathering and displaying all independent & contemporary creations.

Interview with Ken Knowlton

Zach Lieberman interviewed Ken Knowlton:

ken knowlton interview from thesystemis on Vimeo.

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Vodule: Tracing the extension of volume and modularity in 3-D, augmented reality, and emerging media

Vodule, a new project by Yong Kim, Eduardo Navas, Maxx Navas and Ludmil Trenkov, examines the concepts of volume and modularity in media:

"Vodule examines the concepts of volume and modularity in media. We focus on how image, sound and other forms of communication are reinterpreted and extended with the purpose to provide immediate and believable bodily experience. At the moment, it is in Augmented Reality, Gaming, and 3D technology where much research and development is taking place, which is why we take these areas as starting points. Vodule also includes material from more established fields that push the possibilities of representation and communication as we know it.

Vodule is a word that encapsulates “volume” as in actual body or mass, as understood in physical space and simulated in 3D visualization; and “module” as a reference to different parts or objects that can work together but are interchangeable and independent, as defined in computing. Media covered includes Film, Photography, Gaming and all in-between. Reblogs, news feeds, reviews and special features are presented together to enhance the understanding of emerging media.

We reblog everyday and write in-depth articles regularly. If you would like to contribute or give us a tip, make sure to visit our contribute page to learn how."

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Amiga Gaming Retrospective

Jeremy Reimer on ArsTechnica:

"The Amiga was born a game machine, but it entered a world where the video game industry was well-established and changing rapidly. Long gone were the days where a lone coder would stay up all night in his basement for six weeks and bang out a hit for the Atari 2600. Even the younger and smaller computer game industry had moved far beyond Roberta Williams putting floppy disks into ziplock bags and answering phone calls from players in her kitchen. The success of the Commodore 64 (and on the other side of the pond, the Sinclair Spectrum) meant that more money was available for computer game development, and it was a good thing too, as the more powerful 16-bit machines were starting to seriously test the limits of a one-man development team. For the first time, specialized careers were starting to emerge in game development. The Amiga's rich, 4096-color palette demanded people who were skilled artistically to create the sprites and backgrounds. The four-channel sampled sound chip cried out for musicians to make it sing. The larger size and complexity of the games required that someone other than the programmers be asked to test the games before they were released."

[read on]

Thursday, April 29, 2010

Entangled. Technology and the Transformation of Performance

Chris Salter's Entangled, Technology and the Transformation of Performance, explores technology’s influence on artistic performance practices in the twentieth and twenty-first centuries. In Entangled, Chris Salter shows that technologies, from the mechanical to the computational—from a "ballet of objects and lights" staged by Diaghilev's Ballets Russes in 1917 to contemporary technologically enabled "responsive environments"—have been entangled with performance across a wide range of disciplines. Salter examines the rich and extensive history of performance experimentation in theater, music, dance, the visual and media arts, architecture, and other fields; explores the political, social, and economic context for the adoption of technological practices in art; and shows that these practices have a set of common histories despite their disciplinary borders.

sample chapters available

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

Do read this !

conversation of Garnet Hertz with Jussi Parikka on Archaelogies of Media Art published on Theory/
rt020 - 4/1/2010

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Tobias Bernstrup and Palle Torsson interview - jonCates (2007)

"Make your own exhibitions. Examine it, rip it apart and learn from it and do copy it. Don´t forget that stealing is everything." from the Museum Meltdown README by Palle Torsson and Tobias Bernstrup (1996)

i am currently releasing an interview that i did w/Tobias Bernstrup and Palle Torsson on the Art Game Studies platform which i introduced here:

Bernstrup and Torsson collaboratively created a series of Art Games in the form of Art Mods called Museum Meltdown from 1996 to 1999. these Art Mods are among the first of their kind, New Media Art interventions into the site of their own exhibition which utilize the possibilities presented by First Person Shooters and level editing. i interviewed Bernstrup and Torsson in 2007 to discuss these Media Art Histories for an essay of mine called Running and Gunning in the Gallery: Art Mods, Art Institutions and the Artists that Destroy Them, which will appear in From Diversion to Subversion: Games, Play, and Twentieth-Century Art, edited by David Getsy. our discussion is both technical and conceptual, involving questions of Institutional Critique, site specificity and personal reflections of the often self-relfexive process of making museums meltdown...


Monday, January 25, 2010

Art Game Studies resource

i am releasing a new + open collaborative/community-based resource on/for Art Game Studies here:

this list is primarily drawn from classes that i teach at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago where i have developed the New Media curriculum in the department of Film, Video & New Media. the list includes works that i + others have taught, played, researched, written on, developed, screened + exhibited as well those that have been developed by my students, colleagues, peers, fellow artists + myself. as such, this resource is subjectively crafted from my own experiences but hopefully objectively useful as a contribution to the field of Art Game Studies + Media Art Histories.

the resource will be used in my upcoming course Art Game Studies, a new Media Art Histories course being offered by the Art History, Theory & Criticism department + Film, Video & New Media. this course is both an overview of Art Games as well as introduction to the theories + discourses of Game Studies. the research for this resource also comes from + contributes to my ongoing work in this field, such as my essay, Running and Gunning in the Gallery: Art Mods, Art Institutions and the Artists that Destroy Them, which will appear in From Diversion to Subversion: Games, Play, and Twentieth-Century Art, edited by David Getsy, to be published by Penn State Press.

i am offering this resource freely + openly to anyOne who wants to contribute to or comment on these histories. i will be revising the version that i use in my classes based on your contributions + comments. i hope that artists, academics, researchers + theorists of Art Mods, Art Games, Artware + New Media Art (1) in general find this resource engaging + useful as an open + collaborative/community-based resource that we can develop together, to help document these emerging theorypractices. (2)


1. a note on taxonomies + my approach: in my thinking/feeling on the subject, Art Games are a subset of Artware (or Software Art) which itself is a subset of New Media Art. i will use the term New Media Art, as it is used in the field by authors such Michael Rush in his New Media in Late 20th-Century Art from 1999 or Mark Tribe + Reena Jana in their collaborative book simply entitled New Media Art. i am also using the phrase "New Media Art" as we use it in the Film, Video & New Media Department. When we use the phrase New Media we refer to time, screen + code based Digital Art that is connected to the histories + theorypractices of Media Art, i.e. Film Art + Video Art. we are primarily concerned with experimental Media Art + we see New Media Art in relation to all other forms of experimental Media Art such as Film, Video, Animation, Installation, Art Games, Machinima, Realtime Audio Video, Web Art, Software Art + Free & Open Source Software. i also take this perspective from two of my own professors, Lev Manovich + Sean Cubitt. For Cubitt + Manovich Video Art and New Media Art are (respectively) both hybrid categories of creative cultural work, meshworks of interconnections that are socially situated technological forms. i am similarly motivated to understand Art Games in this manner.

2. a note on the contents of the Art Game Studies resource: this resource is not intended to be comprehensive but rather as i described above, collaborative + open. not all works in this list can be included in any given syllabus, courseware, research project, published essay, book, etc. still, i believe it is very important to openly compile + discuss such lists in order to respect + encourage multiple parallel Media Art Histories to develop. in this initial version i have not included many commercial mainstream or mass market gaming products or services in terms of chronologies of hardware (i.e. particular consoles) or software (i.e. specific games). in the cases where i have included these they are primarily in place to document the development of a genre (such as the First Person Shooter) or a crossovers between markets (such as in the case of Electro Plankton by Toshio Iwaii).


Monday, January 4, 2010

Gothic Chic in the Future Favela - Bruce Sterling (2009)

Bruce Sterling delivered a keynote talk "Gothic Chic in the Future Favela" @ the conference You Me and Everyone We Know is a Curator in Amsterdam. Morgan Currie transcribed + has published a transcript on the Masters of Media collaborative blog of the new media master students of the University of Amsterdam. Currie's transcript of Sterling's talk follows below. - jonCates

"Bruce Sterling: Gothic Chic in the Future Favela

The next decade we’re entering into the teens. It’s a decade inhabited by digital natives, rather than digital revolutionaries, though this is something that has already happened. It’s already behind us, after 1989,when we switched from analogue to digital, from actual to virtual, from scientific to user-centric, local to global, multinationals to financial moguls.

Most of my life has been spent talking about this change. This next decade is in the hands of people who don’t care about that. They don’t know what a typewriter ribbons was. They don’t remember older ways of doing things abolished by these revolutions. Digital natives are growing up in a depression, when banks make people poor, and healthcare makes people sick. Digital natives never have to be told to digitize anything. The hardware is all around. Their immediate response is to grab for a mobile or a laptop.

The driving forces of the digital revolution continue and intensify, but there is no previous order left to rebel against. We don’t get a digital new world order. Digital culture is too fluid and inherently destabilizing, there are too many small pieces to join, and it’s always in beta form. The digital is a tool, but not a tool that interest groups can use to advance their own interests. We don’t get prosperity or governance from it. It’s not a force for good or ill but a phenomenon like electrification, the railroad, or other transformative infrastructures. Railroad natives were bored to death by people who explained railroads as if they were impressive. They’re just there once they’re there.

Now we need to comprehend the teens…today. My intuition is that the teens offer two categories of historical experience. What’s it like? Gothic high tech and favela chic. These two cultural sensibilities are not here yet.

Gothic high tech is the analogue past, It’s the industrial order with enormous holes and absences, with dead areas formerly thriving but that have been undercut or disintermediated, or digitally layered over or off-shored or abandoned. They no longer pay or socially function. They are ruins. In the graphics world they’re obvious: analogue graphics, letter set, hand-letter typed fonts, scissors, glue, type setting machines, books, magazines, print media, and the early digital media of 80s and 90s, stuck on abandoned websites and dead social networks. No one is in charge; it’s visibly decaying. Megatons of it, irrelevant, incapable of restoration, the walking dead…the House of Usher.

This will worry us. Rot was caused by the fact that you are super high tech. These are the consequence of the transition. The transition has torn money out of the system faster than wealth was generated. You are the curator of conditions of gentile poverty. The curator repurposes it; the heritage industrialist, the cultural industrialist, the knowledge worker of a dysfunctional heritage have awesome access, but are broke. The European cultural experience becomes the global experience. Amsterdam’s industrial shipping infrastructure has become a tourist attraction. Repurposed city centers are now common in Europe; they are shrink-wrapped ruins of Chinese restaurants, Braziliian night clubs, the spear heads of globalization. High-tech gothic.

It’s not conservative or backwards looking to say the basic means of production are cut and paste. This enables one to skip the boring parts that require original thought from scratch. No blank page is already blank.

Favela chic takes the logic of software and networks and applies them to institutions no matter what they are. It’s like taking a mac laptop and using it to hammer in nails. It represents the promise of change, instead of making do with overused stuff. It makes sense to young people and idealists. It’s consistent and easy to grasp. The problem is that over time, it tends to be squalid. It is user centric rather than planned. It’s made of small pieces joined: beta, open source rather than refined by competition. It pastes over institutional failngs with utopian rhetoric. Time reveals its slipshod cheesiness and cheapness, its poor engineering. Electronic democracy is about blogs, spam, flame wars, rather than the responsible participation in society. Sharing music means destroying the music industry. Digital artisanship means precarious employment. Dot com starts ups means existing monopolies on the ground and occupational forces that can’t establish functional governments. E-banking means financial panics. It’s endearing but flawed. It can’t take yes for an answer, which would imply building something solid instead of the next favela. It can’t acknowledge downsides. The universal forces of time and entropy apply to their labor. Revolutionaries are allergic to continuity. Digital culture will need critical reassessment in about five or seven years from now.

For people in museums this is more problematic. Because it’s more about irruption. We should scan all of our museum holdings and put them online, but now no one comes through our doors. How can we pay to maintain our website? The favela chic response is to just change the subject.

Mackenzie said the mobile internet is gonna be twice as big as the laptop revolution. The logical step isn’t to create a workable public order but a decent civilization. The logic is to transform everything into equivalents of internet architecture. Citizens become users, laws become code, cities become urbanwear applications.

Will we become internet civilization? No, the internet is unstable. Guidebooks become old fashioned immediately. The internet has gothic high tech aspects that can’t be disguised. Whereas the museum’s purpose is to hold on in perpetuity. There is no storage method for digital data that can predictably last for fifty years. Favela chics are jargon imperialists. They say if you’re not on search engines you don’t exist.

What is the response? The Unesco Cultural Heritage, academic conferences, live events. This conference is about picking over the ruins of favela chic and pulling it into gothic high tech. The digital is going to vanish like the dot coms, unless efforts are made to snatch it back. But that’s the problem. Nothing is left to conserve. Advanced but rapidly decaying hardware is everywhere. Maybe we’ll have an internet of things?

It’s critical to understand this will pass, this period has clear issues and a victory condition. There’s a promising situation called chic favela gothic. We’ll grow into an oxymoron. Realizing contradictions open things back up. Favelas are the plant nurseries, the squats, the reunited spaces, repurposed structures. High-end, low-end, for everybody. Chic favela gothic looks like a violent contradiction of terms, but it will make sense.

In 2020 children of digital natives will be interested in their analogue grandparents, in our parents. Those living from ‘45 to ‘89 will be romantic to young people denied that way of life. The digital revolution will have outlived its luster. It won’t be shiny or new but fashionable to count cost and valorize painstaking, beautiful analogue things that belonged to long dead atomic ladies and gentlemen. They’ll prize analogue museum pieces for weird, wrong reasons. What does a chic favela gothic institution look like? How does it strategize? It wouldn’t want a gothic ruin, but an unprecedented, elegant combination. Everybody lives in museums, in resolving contradictions. In new forms of the old continuity.

In the digital dark ages we may lose tons of stuff. I’m worried about the death of analogue published documents, magazines, and newspapers. We may lobotomize ourselves. We may become haunted by totalitarian states that ceaselessly reinterpret the past. Actual people’s experience that are set in record then incessantly reworked. The internet lends itself to that. Things we see stored there are not really restored. We don’t have storage methods. We can have a black out that lasts years. The internet is vulnerable to all kinds of passing upsets.

There may be a tipping point where it’s easier for a social network to start a religion or a museum, rather than the other way around. We may start making printouts of our digital stuff. But I say in my book Shaping Things that design objects exist as data and only occasionally as printouts. Right now we’re doing a crap job. No social network is also doing a cool store. Deviant art could lead the art world; deviant art has tons of art and could build a Deviant Art museum. Los Angeles low-brow artists have their own curators, collectors, and distribution system. But I worry about rhetoric that valorizes this stuff. Time will not be kind."