Category Archives: Arts

The White God 1: Kurtz

He’s been haunting me. In the past few months, he’s been following me in the books I’ve been reading: Blood Meridian, Heart of Darkness, and now The Windup Girl. The character is a little different each time, whether he shows up as Kurtz, Judge Holden, or Gi Bu Sen/Gibbons—yet there is no mistake. He is a figuration of white, European Humanism, for whom science and technology provide the instruments for the brutal colonization of non-whites and nonhumans alike. He is a white god of death, whose anthropomorphism and ethnocentrism fuel a blinding nihilism… Continue reading The White God 1: Kurtz

Numbers or Souls? Angelo Musco’s Ecotechnical Bodyscapes

Angelo Musco. Xylem.  2011.  Metallic C-Print mounted between Aluminum and Plexi-glass.  8'x20'.

“For some it’s the numbers,” Angelo Musco told TIME Lightbox in an interview last March. “For me, it’s the souls.”

Musco creates “Bodyscapes,” enormous images composed of thousands, even millions of naked bodies. What looks like a forest scene or a bird’s nest from a distance turns out to be, upon closer inspection, a mass of bodies stretched, reaching, bent, huddled, flying, swimming, curled, piled, entwined—but most of all, amassed, aggregated, collected, concentrated. The images are certainly beautiful, but it is a terrifying beauty. For Musco, the body is a site and a celebration of pain as well as joy. Continue reading Numbers or Souls? Angelo Musco’s Ecotechnical Bodyscapes

Floris Kaayk’s Visions of Emergence 1: “The Order Electrus”

O nature, nature, life will not perish! . . . [I]t will start out naked and tiny; it will take root in the wilderness, and to it all we did and built will mean nothing—our towns and factories, our art, our ideas will all mean nothing, and yet life will not perish! Only we have perished. Our houses and machines will be in ruins, our systems will collapse, and the names of our great will fall away like autumn leaves.

—Karel Čapek, R.U.R.

Back in January, I wrote a post about Floris Kaayk’s “Metalosis Maligna,” a short film that I had seen years ago but thought lost to the internet void. There are two more of his videos that I want to share. Embedded above is “The Order Electrus” (2005), which I saw at the same time as “Metalosis Maligna,” in those heady days as I was groping around for my doctoral thesis project. Check out the video after the jump. Continue reading Floris Kaayk’s Visions of Emergence 1: “The Order Electrus”

Allegories of Occupation

Our Lady of Liberty Park.  Molly Crabapple.  2012-13. "Occupy Wall Street. An anatomy of Zuccotti park, from the free cigarette table to the obnoxious drum circle to the people's library, with appearances by Tim Pool, Shamar Thomas and Tony Bologna. All signage is authentic, especially 'Shit is Fucked up and bullshit'." --Crabapple
Our Lady of Liberty Park. Molly Crabapple. 2012-13.
“Occupy Wall Street. An anatomy of Zuccotti park, from the free cigarette table to the obnoxious drum circle to the people’s library, with appearances by Tim Pool, Shamar Thomas and Tony Bologna. All signage is authentic, especially ‘Shit is Fucked up and bullshit’.” –Crabapple

To celebrate May Day, New-York-based artist and illustrator Molly Crabapple released hi-res images of her recent collection, Shell Game, on Creative Commons. I have posted five images here; the rest can be found on Crabapple’s website.

The project takes the form of nine 6’x4′ paintings and one 3’x3′ painting, all of which depict and comment upon the various crises, occupations, protests, and revolutions that happened throughout 2011. Check out some of my favourites, after the jump. Continue reading Allegories of Occupation

He’s Being Replaced . . . by a Human!

 
Director James Cunningham and a team of student animators from the Media Design School in Auckland, New Zealand, imagine a future of robot labour that is certainly less typical than the usual “armed uprising” fare. Perhaps “Shelved” is a more realistic prognostication of how robotic workers might behave, especially if their “intelligence” is being designed by the slacker generation.

Roomba Art

As the review for my dissertation was being put together over at Dissertation Reviews, I was asked to find an image to head up the post. A little Googling later brought me to an amazing Flickr pool called The Roomba Art Pool. It seems that quite a few individuals (including a group of students (?) at Braunschweig University of Technology in Northern Germany) have been fitting Roombas with LED lights, letting them loose in darkened rooms, and doing long-exposure photos of the action. The results are hypnotic, cycloid images of the robots’ meanderings as they perform their functions. These images recall the same long-exposure photos of W. Grey Walter’s robotic tortoises from the 1950s.

W. Grey Walter and his robotic tortoises.
W. Grey Walter and his robotic tortoises at home.
For more information and a slew of fantastic images, visit Reuben Hoggett’s Cybernetic Zoo

Something enchanting emerges from the simple feedback circuits that drive these simple machines, which in turn invites us to question the role of intentionality (human and otherwise) in artistic practice.