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An Artist Stares Back at the Surveillance State

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Screen Shot 2017-05-27 at 4.36.16 pm

Here is a nice little interview with Trevor Paglen talking broadly about his work, new ways of seeing, image making and machine vision.

"Multimedia artist Trevor Paglen is mapping out the new landscape of digital communications and surveillance. In this wide-ranging interview the photographer, sculptor, geographer and writer talks about how he is learning to see the historical moment we live in. Video: Gabe Johnson; Photo: Trevor Paglen" [source]

Alexandre Larose screening

[wpvideo oQn7h791] @ The Young Gallery, Wellington, part of the Circuit Symposium Phantom Toplogies September 2016

The work St Bathans repetitions 1/2/16 - 21/3/16 (portraits de Jacques à St Bathans, avec interlude de paysages, sur écran translucide) could be descibed as a series of sketches or studies. These exploratory fragments have come from a recent residency by the experimental Canadian video artist Alexandre Larose in the gold mining town of St Bathans in the South Island.

"It’s most prominent feature is the Blue Lake, a small turquoise body of water formed by the artificial process of gold-sluicing in the late 19th century. Over three months in early 2016 [he] made a series of works exploring St Bathans’ scenic environs and the domestic spaces of an iconic original mud-brick house. The selected spaces were then subject to intense image manipulation through in-camera techniques, suggesting slippages in time and place."

Photography Without a Lens? Future of Images May Lie in Data

image: Columbia Vision Laboratory/Columbia University

By DAVE GERSHGORN December 23, 2015 :  The New York Times Company

"The light passes through a glass sphere instead of a traditional lens, and it is diffracted into a cup of angled sensors. Because the camera knows exactly how light will pass through the sphere, it decodes and stitches the data from each sensor to make a complete image. 

“The hope is that if this architecture is adopted, you’ll see smaller and smaller cameras producing images with orders of magnitude higher resolution,” Mr. Nayar said.

Retrieved from:


really long trunks: first ever youtube video


Uploaded on Apr 23, 2005

The first video on YouTube. Maybe it's time to go back to the zoo?

Jawed Karim (born 28 October 1979) is an American-bangladeshi internet entrepreneur who co-founded YouTube and was the first person to upload a video on it. The video he released was named "Me at the zoo" and as of 2017 has reached 36 million views. Many of the core components of PayPal, including its real-time anti-internet fraud system, were also designed and implemented by Karim.

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Screen Shot 2017-04-25 at 9.42.57 am

"I Sell the Shadow to Support the Substance"

Here's a fascinating post from Art Blart (aka: Dr. Marcus Bunyan). Its an archival project from the The University of California, Berkeley Art Museum and Pacific Film Archive (BAMPFA) who are currently running an exhibition on the runaway slave Sojourner Truth, who was an abolitionist, feminist, and orator during the 1800's and the American Civil War. It not only documents her fervent drive for equality but it also speakes about her relationship with the image and the use of the photographic carte de visite as a propaganda tool to expose the realities of injustice.

Her use of the existing technologies of the time to disrupt the status quo is a testament to the power of simplicity and the effectiveness that the image can bring to raise awareness of social and political issues. "Truth used her image, the press, the postal service, and copyright laws to support her activism and herself." It also reflects her understanding of the value that images carry, as she equated her own image as a commodity. The wording on the cards is also carefully considered to speak to her own image and "Truth’s use of the first-person present tense “I sell” declares her ownership of her image: to sell it, she must own it. Most significantly, by using this caption Sojourner Truth knowingly aligned her photographs with paper money." (source: BAMPFA).

In a strange way it makes me think of Ferguson, Baton Rouge, Nice, just to name a few. But it also makes me think of the ubiquity of the image in our times, the agency that it might or might not carry and whether we have reached a 'saturation-density' that has marganilised the images affect. But what makes Sojourner Truth's story different is that she has made a consious decision to employ the image as a tool, not only for self-expression but as a means of dissent as well. Here intent becomes a function of outcomes and observation is left to those who interpret them.

Her possession of self is intimately tied to the photographic depiction of her bodily form. She sells the photograph to support the body and, as her agency, the images become a form of self-actualisation. In this sense the image that she controls becomes her holistic body, for she never displays her injured hand or the scars on her back that she were inflicted on her during slavery. (Bunyan, 2016)

During the Civil War, a ferocious debate raged about whether paper could represent value like coin. Paper greenbacks – the first federally issued banknotes in American history – were attacked by those who believed that money was not a representation but a “substance.” Hard money advocates (naively) believed that gold was value, not its representation…. Like paper bills, cartes de visite functioned during these years as currency and as clandestine political tokens.

Sojourner Truth’s very terms, “substance” and “shadow,” were economic as well as photographic metaphors in the fierce debates about money: shadow was aligned with the abolition of slavery, substance with proslavery and anti-black sentiment. Sojourner Truth knew this opposition very well. She was making cheap paper notes, printed and reproduced in multiples, featuring her portrait. She had invented her own kind of paper currency, and for the same reasons as the government: in order to produce wealth dependent on a consensus that representation produces material results, to make money where there was none, and to do so partly in order to abolish slavery.

The photographs of Sojourner Truth register only her appearance, not her commanding presence. They are shadows, and some are more elusive and mute than others. Yet the printed words – name, caption, and copyright – remain forthright: her speech, authorship, and recourse to law coexist with her image. Those printed words force us to acknowledge the illiterate woman’s authorship, as well as her eloquence, her agency, and her legal claim to property, even as we value these humble objects. [source:]

Exhibition dates: 27th July – 23rd October 2016 ‘I Sell the Shadow to Support the Substance’ Former New York slave Sojourner Truth (which literally means “itinerant preacher”) strategically deployed photography as a form of political activism. This deployment is part of a long tradition of photography being used in the African American struggle for political change, from […]

via Exhibition: ‘Sojourner Truth, Photography, and the Fight Against Slavery’ at The University of California, Berkeley Art Museum and Pacific Film Archive (BAMPFA), Berkeley — Art Blart

Dr Marcus Bunyan* is an Australian artist and writer. His work explores the boundaries of identity and place. He writes the Art Blart blog which reviews exhibitions in Melbourne, Australia and posts exhibitions from around the world. He has a Dr of Philosophy from RMIT University, Melbourne and is currently studying a Master of Art Curatorship at The University of Melbourne. (source:

* He makes great images too! HERE

2b-sojourner-truth-verso-web   [image] Unknown photographer  (American) Captioned carte de visite of Sojourner Truth (back) 1864. Albumen print mounted on cardboard. 4 x 2 1/2 in. UC Berkeley Art Museum and Pacific Film Archive, gift of Darcy Grimaldo Grigsby


[image] Unknown photographer (American) Captioned carte de visite of Sojourner Truth (back) 1864. Albumen print mounted on cardboard. 4 x 2 1/2 in. UC Berkeley Art Museum and Pacific Film Archive, gift of Darcy Grimaldo Grigsby

3-sojourner-truth-web   [image] Unknown photographer  (American). Captioned carte de visite of Sojourner Truth c. 1864-65. Albumen print mounted on cardboard. 4 x 2 1/2 in. UC Berkeley Art Museum and Pacific Film Archive, gift of Darcy Grimaldo Grigsby


[image] Unknown photographer (American). Captioned carte de visite of Sojourner Truth c. 1864-65. Albumen print mounted on cardboard. 4 x 2 1/2 in. UC Berkeley Art Museum and Pacific Film Archive, gift of Darcy Grimaldo Grigsby

Matt Mullican: Beyond the Planetarium

    • "I went from being surrounded by things—dealing with how we name them and how we experience our environment through naming—to the opposite end of the spectrum: starting with nothing, then calling the objects into being."

—Matt Mullican, "Planetarium"

Planetarium: Matt Mullican

A digital project, part of And Yet It Moves

  • Matt Mullican was born in 1951 and currently resides in Berlin. Working in performance, installation, digital technology, and sculpture, and employing tools ranging from hypnosis to cartography, Mullican seeks to develop a cosmological system based on his personal visual and symbolic vocabulary. His work has been exhibited extensively in the US and internationally.
"Planetarium" was commissioned by Triple Canopy as part of its  Internet as Material  project area, supported in part by the Foundation for Contemporary Arts and the Brown Foundation, Inc. of Houston. Tags:  Artist Project  |  Technology

"Planetarium" was commissioned by Triple Canopy as part of its Internet as Material project area, supported in part by the Foundation for Contemporary Arts and the Brown Foundation, Inc. of Houston. Tags: Artist Project | Technology

timeline of 2oth c. art and new media

[click on the image to expand]

Rama Hoetzlein is an interactive media artist and computer scientist working in the areas of knowledge engineering and behavioral systems. I seek to develop the theoretical foundations of new media arts, and to explore the design, limitations, and capabilities of intelligent systems. My goal is to enable convergence between these dynamic digital systems and the processes of physical making, building and interaction. [source:]


boris groys

boris-groys-2015-1 [image]

In the Flow

in-the-flowThe leading art theorist takes on art in the age of the Internet

In the early twentieth century, art and its institutions came under critique from a new democratic and egalitarian spirit. The notion of works of art as sacred objects was decried and subsequently they would be understood merely as things. This meant an attack on realism, as well as on the traditional preservative mission of the museum. Acclaimed art theorist Boris Groys argues this led to the development of “direct realism”: an art that would not produce objects, but practices (from performance art to relational aesthetics) that would not survive. But for more than a century now, every advance in this direction has been quickly followed by new means of preserving art’s distinction.

In this major new work, Groys charts the paradoxes produced by this tension, and explores art in the age of the thingless medium, the Internet. Groys claims that if the techniques of mechanical reproduction gave us objects without aura, digital production generates aura without objects, transforming all its materials into vanishing markers of the transitory present.


retrieved from :

Artspace article on OOO in the artworld, from April 8

hills_psych027 [image] Hugh McCabe - 2014. This is Hills, from Sweden. Find out more about them here.

I have been trying to get my head around François Laruelle and Non-philosophy. Silly me! Of course its pulled me in all sorts of related tangental directions including Ray Brassier (interesting post here by Hugh McCabe: on improvisation and "that the free act is not initiated by the self, but somehow self-determining in itself." (great photos too!) and the hot topic of speculative realism and Object Oriented Ontologies otherwise known as OOO in the art-world (linked article by Dylan Kerr below). Retrieved from Object-Oriented Philosophy by Graham Harman.


Manual Override

By Evan Calder

manual overide

The history of sabotage is the history of capitalism unmaking itself

And if linesmen make connections, can’t you make dis-connections? —Guy Bowman to telephone company workers, The Syndicalist, 1913

"In extending productivity measures to the person as a whole, whereby the self becomes a site of work not only for the labor of self-reproduction but also a project and product to be optimized, biometrically tuned, and circulated as image, the idea of sabotage receives its final twist: that of “self-sabotage,” a buzzword stalking the blasted earth of self-help rhetoric. As in, “3 Steps to Stop Sabotaging Yourself”: “Do you have a talent for self-sabotage? (Sure, you’re on a diet, but another doughnut won’t kill you, right?)” From the same article: “When your animal and computer selves are after the same goal, the two-beings-in-one arrangement works wonderfully. Say you’re a morning person and you work the morning shift. No problema! You know broccoli is good for you, and you love broccoli. Hooray! But when your computer self tries to force your animal self to do something it doesn’t inherently enjoy, you run into trouble. Self-sabotaging trouble, to be exact. In fact, self-sabotaging is almost always your animal self rebelling against not-so-much-fun conditions imposed by your computer self. The computer self builds a sort of cage of obligations and beliefs. Bad habits are your animal self’s attempt to ease its distress while living in that cage…” Or: “Why ‘self-sabotage could be ruining your career.” This belies more than the well-known shift of value production away from a clearly delineated working day. It also suggests that the slow dissemination of sabotage, as a concept, has itself tracked along shifts in the organization not only of capitalism itself but also of its self-narratives, roaming out from industrial waged work as central source of productivity to military contestations over access to territory and energy resource to corporate and office culture to the global subject of flexible accumulation."