title>Source Code Source Code


Feeling lucky? Downloading as a desired risk

According to Wikipedia, a russian roulette is "the practice of placing one round in a revolver, spinning the cylinder and closing it into the firearm without looking, aiming the revolver at one's own head in a suicidal fashion, and pulling the trigger. The number of rounds placed in the revolver can vary. As a gambling game, toy guns are often used to simulate the practice. The number of deaths caused by this practice is unknown".

Carlos Katastrofksy used this concept in one of his latest netart projects, but replacing the shooting activity by the more zeitgeist behaviour of downloading. And if randomly shooting could easily take your life away "in a suicidal way", the random downloading of files with no safety guarantees whatsoever could easily take your computer's "life" as easy as the original roulette did. There is no possible ingenuity, "be aware!" the artist says. One can be about to download bad or dangerous data, but who can resist the thrill of risking your own beloved state-of-the art laptop?

But dangerous downloading isn't just the only important aspect here. like in any p2p application, downloading implies uploading, for a file to be downloaded by someone it has had to be generously uploaded by someone else. The files stored in Russian Roulette are the files people decided to share. We don't get to know who uploaded what, just their names (in a reminescence of The Original), a way of further combining the most important concepts of this project: file transfer (up and downloading), desire and risk.

Katastrofsky plays with something very interesting: the file sharing that takes place isn't utilitary (the information per se value), social (the relational value) or political (the free acces to information value). File sharing in this situation has only to do with desire, risk taking, by surprising or being surprised, by engaging in potentially dangerous behaviour or enabling others to do so... one yearns to engage in such activities. Risk taking is part of our contemporary society, no more an external threat, but an actual definig element of contemporary, western societies, Ulrich Beck said in his La Société du risque - Sur la voie d'une autre modernité (the french translation), and this project is such a good way of ilustrating that: desire and risk connected to the file sharing activity of our digital times.
Oh the thrill of downloading and opening an unknown file just for the sake of doing it... adrenaline rushes through the whole body...

Carlos Katastrofsky
russian roulette
call for contribution


Led throwing action

I just saw this video from the Graffiti Research Lab at Eyebeam OpenLab.

It shows an installation of LED Throwies in action on a street corner in New York.

What's a LED Throwie? It's a lithium battery, a 10mm diffused LED and a rare-earth magnet taped together. You throw them on to anything metal to add a splash of light and color. The result is reconfigurable, night compatible, digital graffiti. Here's how to make your own. Wouldn't Lisbon look so more interesting?
(through Rhizome)

Sometimes Always/Sometimes Never

Sometimes Always/Sometimes Never are a set of two wireless interactive installations by Brazillian artist Giselle Beiguelman, presented at Life Goes Mobile, São Paulo, 2005 (Sometimes Always) and Festival Internacional de Linguagem Eletrônica, São Paulo, 2005 (Sometimes Never).

Sometimes Always discusses the visual horizons of nomadic culture and its entropic and saturated environments. Its point of departure is that nowadays life is seen through windows and screens and each moment seems a movie frame that consumes and erases itself as soon as it is processed. The project consists of an interactive projection, based on generative systems, which allow the audience to shot images with cell phones with video cameras and send them via Bluetooth to big screens. On mouse over, the videos fragments in frames can be reorganized by the interactors, following the movements and draws they do with the mouse. When they interrupt the action, the videos restart without erasing the mosaic of images that was built by their activities on the screen. An intriguing image of difference and repletion emerges there. Always.

Sometimes Never is a (de)generative video which is decomposed through the inputs of its interactors. Videographic images, shot with mobile phones in the exhibition space, can be manipulated by keyboards and mouse and the audience edits, in real time, the order of its original frames, their position on the screen as well as introduce colored filters on the new images. When someone leaves the mouse, the original film restarts over the layers built by the interactors. The result is an imagetic and dynamic palimpsest, that consumes itself following and entropic logic where saturation produces erasing and fluid memories. The project dialogues with the series Sometimes Always, where the audience also shots images with mobile phones to be deconstructed by the same algorithmic process used here. In spite of their methodological and technical equivalences, Sometimes Always and Sometimes Never, are very different in their results and cognitive processes. In Sometimes Never the manipulation of images do not produce an entropic mosaic, but instable saturated palimpsests where it is impossible to repeat an action. Never.
(project descriptions by Giselle Beiguelman)

Giselle Beiguelman
Sometimes Always, 2005
Sometimes Never, 2005


Blogging the gifs away

Hypertemporality Animations, a project by Peter Baldes, are a series of gif files laid out in a table that due to network conditions, browser idiosyncrasies, and the user’s own behaviour act dynamically. These simple, animated shapes and colors load sequencially, a typical web browser behaviour, giving birth to dynamic images that are the result of factors other than the artist's will. Reloading them or using different browsers will make them load differently everytime. Slower or faster Internet connection speed will influence how the animations are viewed.
These Hypertemps are categorized according to three subjects: color field, shape and web, which are simply a way to catalogue the artist’s inspiration for the original animated composition. Web relates to the use of an already existing animated gif. In the case of the flickr ones, Baldes created his own from a known web image (the flickr loading screen interface animation). Web also relates to representing time. Cory Arcangel's email gif gets subverted to more accurately show what an email must go through to arrive at it's destination, Tom Moody's atomic animation is broken down to show Heisenberg's uncertainty principle, flickr loads slowly… Animations labelled as color field use specific colour palettes or colour relationships that are significantly interesting to the artist. Shape follows the same principle than the previous category but now taking forms and shapes as the main interest.
These animations were originally created for an online exhibition called Hypertemportality, hosted by the University of Richmond and curated by Nathan Altice. Now they have moved to a blog, allowing Baldes to explore a more dynamic, almost performative way of creating and presenting his animated experiments.

Hypertemporality Animations
2005 - ongoing
Peter Baldes


Such a beautiful sky today...

Such an incredible piece... there is nothing I want to say except: awesome!

This project was initially made in 2002 (or 2003, Arcangel isn't sure), but now he rewrote it. The artist took an old Super Mario Nintendo video game and erased everything but the clouds. In his personal blog, Cory's Web LOG, Cory posted a tutorial on how to do it. Go check it out.

And since the year is coming to its end, I almost feel like saying this is one of 2005's best projects (even if this is a version of an older project). But then again, the "best of the year" ideology always strikes me as completely random... So I'll just say it is a great project.


Calling For Informations

Chiara Passa is developping for Medialab in Madrid a project called Art Calling-Digital Art Stories.The purpose of the project is to bring people closer to digital art in an easy way. “Art Calling-Digital Stories” is a public art project that invites people to listen to stories about digital art (through phone booths used as a communicative medium).

People using “Art Calling-Digital Stories” only need to dial a telephone number (listed on sticker on the booth) which is linked to a switchboard (from a telephone company) with various vocal options and also various audio files. For instance, one of the audio files could be about software art and it will correspond to the phone’s #5 key. The person wanting to listen to information on software art, must call the number, hear all the vocal options and later push button #5. Inside the booth people will find another sticker with instructions about how to connect with different stories. Every tale will be told in English. The stories are about the most interesting artists, artworks and events on interactive art, software art, modified video games, demo scene, hacking tools, digital animation, video installation, sound art, from the beginning to present day, several selected by Passa herself.

The “Art Calling-Digital Stories” audio files will also contain additional materials such as bibliography, webography, info about artists, specific projects, festivals and various resources. Submissions regarding artistic material and artist’s works can be sent to chiapa@libero.it

Art Calling-Digital Art Stories
Chiara Passa


I tag ----> I own

It all began a couple of weeks ago with the post "on blogging as curating". Quickly the discussion about it turned into "tagging as curating". Katastrofsky took it one step further, proposing in his personal blog (in accordance to what he had explored in his "the original" project) tagging as owning.

The idea is simple, and it would make Duchamp proud of this new pupil of his. In a set of three simple rules the artist asks us to choose one site whatsoever (the more you like it, the better), then to tag it as an "interactive readymade by Carlos Katastrofsky" and it's done. You become the owner of an online readymade done by you and Katastrofsky himself.

The simple act of signing, so characteristic of readymade works of art (and from a conceptual point of view, the work itself) is replaced by a tag defined by the artist, the creator of this "performative" piece. The interesting thing here is that it is not the artist who signs (tags) the existing object. The artist only allows us to do it for him, and by doing so he completely looses control of what becomes one of his works of art. In the end it doesn't matter if noone else recognises what you just did as a readymade done by both of you, but then again they might.

Using del.icio.us, and defining a priori the readymade-iser tag, Katastrofsky allows for a community, or a net of readymades of his authorship to exist. Tagging something as a Katastrofsky's collaborative readymade opens the door to the club. You get to know what are his readymades, how many of them there are and who owns them (and most important of all, if yours is better than the rest).

By recurring to del.icio.us or the Flock browser he is creating a "one tag" network centred around the ideas of tagging as signing (he allows others to tag in his name) and tagging as owning (what you tag in his name becomes your own katastrofsky piece). If in "the original" it wasn't possible to choose what you could own, the decision belonging solely to the artist, now it depends on you entirely. Now everyone can have whatever "interactive readymade by carlos katastrofsky" they desire.

free interactive readymade
Carlos Katastrofsky


Go for the original, not the copies

The dichotomy between an original (authentic) work of art and its copies isn't a new one. Walter Benjamin adressed it a long time ago and stated that the work's aura (its distinctive characteristic) gets lost when technically reproducing it. This discussion became a bit obsolete when digital culture (and its artifacts) became common in our contemporary world. When looking at a net art piece, how can you conceptualize an original (and its copies) when the work is online, accessible to everyone at the same time? Ubiquity doesn't go along with unicity, at least not at a first glance.

This debate has become old, so much has been said and written around the lost of "the original" (its death by means of the digital) that nobody is interested in it lately. Benjamin couldn't expect this turn of events, but we solved the problem. No original, no copies, just information accessible to everyone.

But what if someone wanted to subvert this status quo? What if an artist missed a time when a work of art was a unique object that one could own? That is what Carlos Katastrofsky's "the original" is all about. This netart project allows you to be the owner of a unique (one of a kind) netart piece. The confusion arises. How can one be the owner (in the traditional sense) of netart? The truth is one can´t and in this lies the interest of "the original". Katastrofsky allows you to be the owner of a unique, numbered, but not signed (the irony continues...) work of art; of something that isn't an object and that will disapear from your screen as soon as you close the window. Your original work of art will forever be gone and the only memory of it will be a print (if you decided to take the artist's advice and print it) and your name in a list of "owners of original artworks by carlos katastrofsky".

This is an extremely ironic project. It allows you to traditionally own a net art piece, own it like any objectual art piece. But the irony lies in the fact it isn't an object, and what you can own is nothing more than a copy (a print out) of that non existing object, another irony (what is a copy of a net art piece?)... In the end there is nothing of an object here, just a process, a set of rules that leads you to the point of questioning unicity, ownership and the object-like nature of a digital art work.
Licença Creative Commons
Esta obra está licenciada sob uma Licença Creative Commons.