Technology

“To take back the gold that was stolen from us – this is the object of our actions.”

Lettres du Voyant is a documentary-fiction about spiritism and technology in contemporary Ghana, which attempts to uncover some truths about a mysterious practice called "Sakawa" — internet scams mixed with voodoo magic. Tracing back the scammers’ stories to the times of Ghanaian independence, the film proposes Sakawa as a form of anti-neocolonial resistance. 

September 24th, 2016, North Avenue Beach, Chicago. It was a sunny day. According to the weather report, the temperature was 75°F, with the barometer reading of 30 inches height and the wind speed of 13 miles per hour. The time was 2:27 pm, I was standing by the Michigan Lake. In my hand there was a waterproof camera that weighs 2.6 ounces. I pressed the record button on the camera and threw it into the lake. The camera sank into the lake immediately and embarked on a mysterious journey. During the journey, it was elevated, pressed, panned, rotated, and spun by the water.

The Luminous Image was an international exhibition of video installations held in the fall of 1984 at the Stedelijk Museum in Amsterdam.

In this 2013 interview, experimental animator and School of the Art Institute of Chicago alumna Jodie Mack discusses the developments that have taken her from an interest in musical theater and playwriting to organizing microcinemas and DIY filmmaking.

Mack describes her interest in early cinema history and the relationship between its technologies and spectacle, particularly the manner in which video production incorporates planned obsolescence. Referring to the “scavenger nature” of her work, Mack discusses her interest in waste and her desire to use reclaimed materials in her work. Using fabric and paper to create shifting fields of color, Mack references corroded and glitched digital media in her work. Her use of quotidian materials reflects upon the role of abstract animation in everyday life, and serves to draw audience awareness to the spectacle of televisual technology.

– Kyle Riley

A post-apocalyptic computer animated vision of humanity lost in an industrial wasteland, Maxwell's Demon was animated on a low-cost, consumer computer model - an IBM PC. The tape takes its title from an early 20th-century physics theory postulating the existence of an impossible intelligence, a being that knew the exact location, energy, and direction of every particle in the entire universe - something akin to your home computer, but a lot bigger."

A wonderful and humorous example of early image processing, Parry Teasdale and Carol Vontobel perform to camera as their faces are morphed together, forming an image of one person. 

Less than two minutes long, this short tape makes playful and surreal use of video’s editing capabilities. Set to a sped-up version of The Band’s “The Weight” – complete with the falsetto vocals, and accelerated tempo that come with time manipulation on records – is a series of rapid, alternating washes and split-image cuts overlaying and juxtaposing the faces of the freex upon one another. Male faces and female faces fuse, the exact identity of the individuals becoming dissolving into ambiguity.

Jacqueline Goss and Jenny Perlin retrace the journey of two 18th-century astronomers tasked with determining the true length of the meter. From the Mediterranean Sea to the English Channel, The Measures explores the metric system’s origins during the violence and upheavals of the French Revolution. Along the way, Goss and Perlin consider the intertwining of political and personal turmoil, the failures of standardization, and the subtleties of collaboration.

Money, 1970

Taped on Prince Street in Soho, New York City, Skip Blumberg creates a one-word performance. Shouting the word "money" over and over, he attracts the attention of New York's finest. The video crew attempt to explain to the policemen that there is no public disorder as the streets were empty when they began to tape.

The video is an unwitting early example of the reaction of the state to the use of video cameras on the streets.

Skip Blumberg of the Videofreex conducts an interview with Charles “Cappy” Pinderhughes, the Lieutenant of Information of the New Haven branch of the Black Panther Party. From the steps of the New Haven headquarters, Cappy publicizes the upcoming Revolutionary Peoples Constitutional Convention set to take place in Washington, D.C. later that week (June 19th, 1970). In addition, Cappy provides a statement to be shared via the Videofreex at the Alternative Media Conference occurring at Godard College in Vermont.

This piece purports to be about the discontinuation of the much-loved format, Kodachrome, and with it the further endangerment of super-8 film. But it has other agendas of reclamation and personal reckoning that are its true subject matter.

ocularis, 1997

This video highlights several narratives concerning video surveillance—not to reiterate the conventional privacy argument but rather to engage the desire to watch surveillance materials and society’s insatiable voyeurism. A variety of subjects recount their interactions with surveillance—getting caught in the act of stealing or watching pornography, being discouraged from making an illegal ATM withdrawal—and question technological determinism, asking whether we choose to develop technology or technology shapes our choices.

Growing up in the early computer age, around machines like the Commodore 64, had a formative effect on Marisa Olson and her subsequent artistic career. Now operating across a diverse spectrum of media including video, performance, and even the internet itself, she creates work that simultaneously comments upon and instrumentalizes the potential of digital machines as well as the global networks they’re linked to. However, her work is not circumscribed within the boundaries of these systems’ technical specificity.

Ouroboros: Music of the Spheres is Chapter 3 of Mysterium Cosmographicum.

"Positing a linear continuum, with 'nothing' at one end of the spectrum and 'something' at the other, at what point does 'nothing' become 'something?'"

The four‐part cycle Parallel deals with the image genre of computer animation. The series focuses on the construction, visual landscape and inherent rules of computer-animated worlds.

 “Computer animations are currently becoming a general model, surpassing film. In films, there is the wind that blows and the wind that is produced by a wind machine. Computer images do not have two kinds of wind.” 

-- Harun Farocki

 


 

This eight-minute video is part experimental video art, part sketch comedy routine, and part informational lesson on the advantages and disadvantages of owning Sony's latest video technology. In it, David and Carol participate in a brilliantly theatrical, seemingly improvisational conversation, in which each one adopts the specific identity and perspective associated with a particular video technology: David plays the part of the Sony Camera AVC 3400, while Carol takes on the personality of the Sony Portapak AV3400.

If second lives have grown into the landscape of social network space and avatars engage a full range of human emotions and experience, it follows that they would eventually encounter existential questions. A plot of land is purchased in the online network of SecondLife and a simple questions is asked: Where do discarded 3D objects go and can we build a dumpster to accommodate them? To find out eteam set aside a year to let this virtual land use problem unfold and what is captured in Prim Limit is the lived experience of avatars managing and recording this dumpster.

RECKONING 4 is the second in a series of investigations into (among other things)

Flesh meets robotics in this early video documentation of Survival Research Laboratory’s spectacular exhibitions of collective invention, anti-corporate technology, and satirical mass destruction. In the performances documented here, various animal corpses are integrated into the action as the clawed and spiked machines attack dummies, each other, and, occasionally, the audience. The video begins with the song Stairwell to Hell, an appropriate prologue.

Taking its title from a sound design maxim and using it as a conceit to grasp the desire for connection, See A Dog, Hear A Dog probes the limits and possibilities of communication. In this liminal cinematic space, the fear of conscious machines is matched with a desire to connect with nonhuman entities. Algorithms collaborate and improvise. Dogs obey/disobey human commands, displaying their own artistry and agency in the process. Technology, from domesticated animals to algorithmic music to chat rooms, reflects human desires but has its own inventiveness.

A collage of informal interviews and short clips, this collection of material comes from guerilla TV excursions at the 1976 Democratic National Convention. Conducted off hand, usually amidst crowds of other journalists, the footage oscillates between slight antagonisms, genuine interest, and tongue-in-cheek play. The sheer breadth of participants being engaged with, however, is quite impressive as the soon-to-be First Lady, Jesse Jackson, David Dellinger, Bella Abzug and Jerry Brown all make appearances.

The Sky Is Falling... is part of an ongoing series of performances that make up The Data Humanization Project.

The sale of a plot of land marks the kickoff of an unlikely road trip in this strange American odyssey. When eteam buys an acre of the Southwestern desert on eBay, the deed fails to arrive and the pair attempt to track down the phantom seller. Children in tow, the artists embark on a noir-inspired search through Colorado, Arizona and the American West to locate the shadowy landowner and claim their portion of the vast desert.

Filmed directly from the screen of a smartphone using a language translator app that has been told to translate from French into English, Steve Hates Fish interprets the signage and architecture in a busy London shopping street. In an environment overloaded with information, the signs run riot as the confused and restless software does its best to fulfill its task.

Strip / Musrara is part of Assor's ongoing “Strip” series, set in Jerusalem’s Musrara neighborhood. It is an attempt to create a living map that is both collective and subjective – a plurality of combined perspectives. Not a map of the exact measurements of the neighborhood, but of the experience of moving through it, together and alone, locals and strangers, intersecting and drifting apart.