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‘Hurt me plenty’ opening speech by Olia Lialina
Opening speech by Olia Lialin on Sept 12th 2014, DAM gallery Berlin.
I’m happy to have a chance to talk at the opening of Aram Bartholl’s, “Hurt me plenty” exhibition. Please allow me to start by mentioning another artist, Herbert Franke. His work was exhibited at the DAM Gallery many times I believe. Some year ago I invited him as a computer art pioneer to tell young designers about the origins of Algorithmic Art and Generative Graphics.
It was a very inspiring and energetic talk. One of the most thought provoking parts though was Franke explaining that there were times such as in the late 50′s/early 60′s when you had to fight for the idea that you can make Art with computers. Computer Artists were outcasts of the Fine Art scene. They couldn’t claim to be called Artists. It was just not accepted, because computers are algorithmic and Art is spiritual. Art was not allowed to come from computers or algorithms. These times are long gone. Digital computers became medium, then meta-medium, and turned in to new media. There is hardly any art today made without computers in Fine Arts and in Contemporary Art. Moreover, there is a whole universe of Media Arts with at least a 30 years old tradition of creating art with digital technology as being medium specific, not just by producing the work with some application, but with being critical or at least attentive to the software itself.
Today we find ourselves surrounded by post-digital and post-internet art, whereas renouncing of digital technology is so important and paying attention to the computer is supposed to be of ‘yesterday’. In post-digital art, hybrid forms are preferred and ambiguous, veiled messages are sent around. Like, common, digital is everywhere. Don’t even mention it. Be an Artist. Don’t be Computer Artist. Full circle.
In particular, this state of the arts makes me think about the possible revival of Computer Art as a notion and term that nowadays could belong to artists who make an effort to show the computer itself. It is neither algorithmic, nor nostalgic. Not 8 bit.
Art of direct messages and gestures. Clear and totally explicit.
Here are 10.000 passwords from Yahoo messenger. Find yours.
This is the graphic card. A computer inside your computer. It is expensive and powerful.
This is your phone. You have no idea when it is off or on. Come to a workshop and make a copper bag to put it inside and find out for sure.
This is the Hard Disk Crusher. This is your hard disk.
Computer art of today is hardware art. Art of hard messages. It hurts.
These brutally scratched hard disk plates are there. They refer to a significant case that happened a year ago when the Guardian received an order to destroy the computer where Snowden’s files were stored. In the mass media we saw explicit pictures of damaged computer parts and images of journalists executing drives and chips. It hurts to see it, hurts to listen to the Guardian’s Editor in Chief, who says, “Its harder to smash up a computer than you think”. Yeah, it’s even harder to accept it as a reality, journalists drilling though hard drives.
They were forced to do so. It was an act of intimidation. But, I think soon we’ll do it voluntarily and on a regular basis. There is less and less certainty of what you are doing with your computer on the level of software. There is hardly a proper way to save, and almost no way to delete by giving commands to the software. When you really would want to delete information, you’ll have to put your hard drive into the hole of this machine.
You are probably familiar with classic images of the first ever computer called ENIAC from 1945. It’s a computer the size of this space, and it is operated by many people who rewire or rebuild it for every new tasks. ENIAC was operated on the level of hardware, because there was no software. These images are from the remote past, but maybe, they are also of the nearest future.
Software is developed in a way that makes us helpless and desperate and there are less and less commands available. I don’t have an ‘undo’ available on my phone any more. So if something crucial, if I really need to ‘undo’, the only way is to throw my phone into this hole. I’m exaggerating. Whats this phone after all? This dumb terminal through which I connect to the Cloud? But the Cloud is in the same routine.
Earlier this year at the Transmediale Festival, Sebastian Schmieg and Johannes Osterhoff showed their project “10 kilograms from the Google factory”. It’s a box of shredded hard disks from the Google Data Center in Belgium with hundreds of useless, formless objects looking like fragments of a meteorite. It’s of no importance for Science, but could be well suited for the gift shop of a science museum. Artists were actually selling them as a souvenir – 85 Euros per piece. Buy part of the Cloud, say hello to your files.
But there is also good news. There is a computer artist who brings a hard disk ‘crasher’ in to the gallery. It looks small here. It is three times smaller than the graphic card on the wall. These cards will not fit inside there. The ‘crasher’ looks rather harmless here. Looks like there maybe alternatives. There is a future for software. That there is a chance for software transparency, a chance to delete by giving a command to the computers not the computer terminators. You should see clearly to think about it.
Dimensions and scale matter.
Last semester we had the honor of hosting Aram at the Merz Akademie. He made a project with my students titled, “For your eyes only”. It was about wearable smart objects: smart watches, smart glasses. These are technologies that promise to be very helpful and almost invisible. Week after week this group was doing the opposite, working on projects and objects that would bring awareness about the presence of the devices. Works that would made them visible and that would make us notice them. Two students decided to build a big model of Google Glass. Like really big. Three to two meters or something like this. Yeah, surprise, of course, invite the author of the monumental ‘Marker’ and ‘Dust’ to teach, and wonder that his students will search for some vivid element of the digital realm to erect a statue of in public space. I know that Aram was not really comfortable with this and tried to guide students into more subtle solutions, but they were steadfast in their decision. And in the end of the semester, they carried in a huge clumsy model of this trendy high-tech accessory. I don’t know what grade they got, but it still stays there, an unusable and sad object like Google Glass itself. But now you can clearly see it.
The thing is, we are not blind, but invisible computing made us longsighted, we don’t see what is right in front of our eyes because we are not supposed to see it. Computer Art can help. It has an optic.
Enjoy magnification, zoom in, clear images and binary statements.
Olia Lialina 2014
Net Artist, one of the net.art pioneers.
Co-founder of Geocities Research Institute
New Media Professor at Merz Akademie, Stuttgart
Current & upcoming shows / talks / events
27.11.2014 – 18.1.2015
Hayward Gallery Project Space, London
Networked Space, Marketplace, Aarhus,
16.10.2014 – 4.1.2015
Kunsthalle St.Gallen, Switzerland
Curated by !Mediengruppe Bitnik
Master Artist-in-residence program
Atlantic Center for the Arts, Florida
Todaysart festival Scheveningen, Netherlands
HURT ME PLENTY
solo show at DAM Gallery, Berlin
Cuban Contemporary Art Salon
Centro de Desarrollo de las Artes Visuales – CDAV, Cuba
10.9. – 6.11.2014
Work in Public
Alingsås Kosthall, Denmark
art / space / public
symposium Urbane Künste Ruhr, Duisburg
KUNSTrePUBLIK, Urbane Künste Ruhr, Recklinghausen
19. 6. – 31. 8. 2014
net.art Painters and Poets
Mestna galerija Ljubljana, Solvenia
Curated by: Vuk Ćosić & Alenka Gregorič
with: !MEDIENGRUPPE BITNIK, 0100101110101101.org, Cory Arcangel, Kim Asendorf, Mez Breeze, Cristophe Bruno, Heath Bunting, Shu Lea Cheang, Paolo Cirio, Vuk Ćosić, Constant Dullaart, Lisa Jevbratt, JODI, Justin Kemp, Olia Lialina, Alessandro Ludovico, Mouchette, Mark Napier, Evan Roth, ®™ark, Eryk Salvaggio, Alexei Shulgin, Teo Spiller, Igor Štromajer, Thomson & Craighead, Ubermorgen, Young-Hae Chang Heavy Industries, Jaka Železnikar
Rauma Biennale Balticum 2014 Rauma art museum, Finnland
with: Aram Bartholl (DE), Cooltūristės (LT), Liisi Eelma & Minna Hint (EE), Inga Erdmane (LV), Evgenia Golant (RU), Geir Tore Holm & Søssa Jørgensen (NO), Stine Marie Jacobsen (DK), JP Kaljonen (FI), Karel Koplimets (EE), Haidi Motola (FI), Dorota Nieznalska (PL), NUG (SE), Lauri Rotko & Jukka Rapo (FI), Telekommunisten (Dmytri Kleiner, Baruch Gottlieb) (DE)
While I was working at Bethanien recently the bbk printing workshop cleaned up their space. A beautiful pile of abandonend DVDs build up it the middle of the empty room. Hundreds of files of precious art pieces ready to print left by artists. Nice sculpture! :))
Beautiful Killyourphone tutorial on http://www.technikjournal.de :)) thx!!
Nähanleitung für ein tragbares Funkloch
Wie schützt man sich mit Nadel und Faden vor der NSA? Der Berliner Künstler Aram Bartholl hat eine Lösung: Sein Projekt “Kill Your Phone” ist eine Handytasche aus Spezialvlies, die das Telefon abhör- und ortungssicher macht. // Von Falko Klöpper
In case you missed the DVD Dead Drop install at the Museum of Moving Image last year visit the show Hyper-Resemblances up at Wallach gallery right now. I am showing a documentation of the DVD Dead Drop install there and you are invitved to DOWNLOAD ALL 10 DVD Volumes from a local hard drive to your computer! Quick quick, before the show is over!!
at Wallach Art Gallery, Columbia University NYC
April 22–June 7, 2014
curated by Alison Coplan
with: Aram Bartholl, BFFA3AE, Nicolas Ceccaldi, Petra Cortright, Aleksandra Domanović, Marisa Olson, Hito Steyerl and Ryan Trecartin.
An exhibition in three parts, Hyper-resemblances explores how both modern and contemporary artists have experimented with different notions of representation as filtered through psychological, mechanical and digital lenses. In interchanges between embodied vision and the external world across various media, the grouping of works focuses on relationships between subjectivity, image production and reality. This show examines the role of the artist in reflecting and shaping images of both the self and “society.” Through modes of conceptual self-portraiture, montage and digital mediation, these artists subjectively construct contemporary consciousness. Hyper-resemblances is curated by Alison Coplan, Heidi Hirschl, and Kathleen Langjahr. It is the second presentation of the MODA Curates series—an annual opportunity offered by The Miriam and Ira D. Wallach Art Gallery and the MA in Modern Art: Critical and Curatorial Studies Program (MODA) for outstanding curatorial proposals related to students’ theses. Coined by Jacques Rancière, the term “hyper-resemblance” deftly embodies the theoretical underpinnings of each curator’s project: it refers to an image that refuses to be defined by the reality in which it resides and, rather, establishes its origin and interior identity in the pursuit of a truer vision. Alison Coplan’s REALITY FX explores how artists both create and expose constructions of reality, mediated by the digital technology with which we experience the world. These works challenge the concept of a hegemonic reality put forward by modern media industries and demonstrate how existing power dynamics can be rearranged when artistic subjectivity engages with these technologies. The artists featured here are: Aram Bartholl, BFFA3AE, Nicolas Ceccaldi, Petra Cortright, Aleksandra Domanović, Marisa Olson, Hito Steyerl and Ryan Trecartin.
The Wallach Art Gallery is located on the eighth floor of Schermerhorn Hall on Columbia’s Morningside Heights campus, 116th Street and Broadway, in Manhattan. The gallery is free and open to the public from Wednesday through Saturday, 1- 5 pm. For more information, call 212-854-2877 or visit columbia.edu/cu/Wallach.
I’m currently guest teaching a semester at Merz Akademie in Stuttgart. (Thx to Olia for the invitation!) “For Your Eyes Only” is the title of the class. We are looking into the hype about wearables like Oculus Rift, Google Glass and smart watches and all these new gadgets. What makes sense, what’s retro lost, how can we combine, what can we make better etc…? Yesterday the students were testing (fake) Oculus rift VR glasses in downtown Stuttgart. What would it be like people wearing those in public space? Today 90% of passengers in public transport are looking at their phones. Why not wearing a full VR (virtual reality) helmet?? :) Surprisingly many people recognized the dummies as Oculus gear. Will we walk around like this in a few years?? ;)
All about the new VR hype on http://www.roadtovr.com/
My talk at 30C3 congress in Hamburg last weekend. You can find all recordings of all talks also here http://media.ccc.de/browse/congress/2013/index_1.html Good stuff!
I had a lot of fun running this workshop at the congress last week. Visitors were invited to make their own blocking pouch. We had tons of interesting discussions at the table and it showed a lot of people know much about radio waves and frequencies but often have a hard time working the sewing machine :))
Thx for joining! to be continued…
“Open workshop to passively block your phone from sending and receiving. Make your own signal blocking Faraday pouch! How to wrap your phone to kill any wireless connection? How to pack your phone so it can’t record any sound? Which materials work best? Where to get them? What are the cheapest and fastest solutions? We have cloths, tools and a sewing machine. Feel free to join! Bring your own stuff!
I’m very pleased to announce my talk ‘Hello Work!’ at #30C3, the hacker congress by Chaos Computer Club. I love this annual event and I’ve been coming here since end of the 90′s. The congress is the place where I actually started to show my art 10 years ago, a perfect place to test prototype interventions or last minute workshop ideas :)). It is an honor to have the opportunity to present a full length talk with such an exquisite audience in this special year 2013. Thx to the art&beauty team Gregor & Mey!
How to make art after Snowden?
Day 2: 2013-12-28
Start time: 11:30 am
During the fiac art fair the newspaper Libération had a special edition (October 24, 2013) in which all pictures where replaced by pictures of art pieces. Ususally Liberation features every day on their last page a portrait of a person. I had the honor to draw the Jean Paul Sartre portrait for this special edition…
Aram Bartholl, «Portrait Google de Jean-Paul Sartre», 2013, fusain, 1m x 1m. Courtesy XPO GALLERY, Paris.
La 40e édition de la FIAC coïncide avec les 40 ans de Libération. Il fallait à cette occasion lier la création contemporaine à l’histoire du quotidien fondé en 1973 sous l’égide de Sartre.
L’artiste allemand Aram Bartholl signe un hommage à l’auteur des Mots, sans en écrire un seul. Ce QR code tracé au fusain, une fois scanné sur un smartphone, renvoie automatiquement vers les dix premières pages Google de la recherche «Jean-Paul Sartre». Aussitôt archivé et sans cesse actualisé, le visage du philosophe est sanctuarisé par l’information.
Alexis Jakubowicz et Jean-Brice Moutout Fondateurs de NonPrintingCharacter