Archive for October, 2013
Artist and IMA MFA candidate Grayson Earle has just launched the NSA Haiku Generator. Set against a GIF-style rainbow sky background is a haiku composed of NSA watch words. The use of any of these 845 words or character combinations over internet communications can land one on the NSA’s terrorist watch list. Grayson Earle edited the list down to some 300 terms to construct haikus that poke fun at what seems like a ridiculously sweeping effort to construct a flawed terrorist watch list. As the artist states:
This web app uses the NSA’s database of terms which can land you as a suspected terrorist if you use them in electronic communication. Rather than being all ‘doom and gloom,’ I decided to make a game out of it. I’ve assigned each phrase a syllable count which enables you to create random haikus out of hundreds of words.
Click the haiku text to generate new haikus and then share them over various social media, to make the NSA list even more pointless.
The information page to the site also presents links to organizations that are taken a serious stance against the NSA monitoring of our electronic communications:
Fight For The Future
Electronic Frontier Foundation
Stop Watching.Us and the October 26th Rally in DC
Phil Collins puts together a good show! There’s not much to not enjoy in Phil Collins current exhibition at Tanya Bonakdar Gallery. Walking into a gallery with two home trailers is always going to be visually engaging. And when you step into the trailers, there are salty potato chips and refreshments waiting for you, so that you may have a seat and enjoy programming from a television channel created by the artists – TUTBU.TV (I wish it actually existed online). Although I did not have the patience to watch the programming for very long, what I did see were entertaining vignettes that appeared to mock the usual television programming available and included a soft porn featuring what appeared to be 18th Century European aristocracy.
Upstairs are two more projects, a series of private listening rooms that present a record player and shelves with 7″ records. I only listened to one, but the song is beautiful and the quality of sound inside the listening room is quite amazing. Below is a description of these audio listening rooms:
Within the upstairs main gallery, six specially designed listening booths house Collins’ most recent work, my heart’s in my hand, and my hand is pierced, and my hand’s in the bag, and the bag is shut, and my heart is caught, a project conceived in collaboration with guests of a survival station for the homeless in Cologne. There, Collins installed a phone booth with a free line that anyone could use for unlimited local and international calls on the agreement that the conversations would be recorded and then anonymized. The selected material was posted to a group of musicians, including David Sylvian, Scritti Politti, Lætitia Sadier, Maria Minerva and Damon & Naomi, among others, who used these recordings as source material to produce original songs presented here inside the booths as 7” vinyl records.
And perhaps my favorite piece is the video “Subculture: The Meaning of Style” although it fell short of initial expectation formed upon walking in due to the lack of narrative. When I first walked in, projected onto the wall were two young Asian men with shaved heads dressing against a backdrop of Buddhist wall paper. The clothes that the men are wearing are easily identified as skin-head clothing, but their faces look like young buddhist monks. I loved the juxtaposition and it appeared as if they were preparing to go somewhere and a narrative would ensue that would complicate the superimposition of popular British construct onto a non-Western community. Unfortunately, what followed was brief and no more than a series of gatherings of these skin-head Malaysians hanging out, entirely visual. Although one is left wondering who they are, why they choose this fashion style, do they understand its roots, how was it popularized in Malaysia… It’s great to have a piece generate these questions, but the work left me wanting more and feeling like it’s a bit empty and too easy… Perhaps that’s point.
Today, I attended Suzanne Lacy’s discussion regarding “Between the Door and the Street” which was interesting and would require its own post. Following the discussion, I went for a quick stroll through the museum and discovered Valerie Hegarty’s “Alternative Histories” – three installations in the period rooms. The Brooklyn Museum’s period rooms have always struck me as precious, spaces that remain intact for the visiting tourist to enjoy, so it was a real surprise to see that the museum would allow a contemporary artist to intervene upon these rooms. It’s particularly surprising as the installations are critical of the history portrayed in the period rooms. Valerie Hegarty tears away at the pristine nature of these rooms that reflect early U.S. Puritanism and a humble nobility, by presenting rooms that are in decay, crows or woodpeckers have entered the rooms and tear away at the objects. The rooms effectively bring to question the heroism of early U.S. history and remind us of the horror that early settlers brought to Native Americans and the natural landscape.