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tom moody

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9 matchs for petra:


An interview with musician and animator Silicious, by Petra Cortright, commissioned by, is on the Rhizome front page*. Earlier posts on Silicious are here.

I love the music of Silicious' video Georg: like slowed down Giorgio Moroder with call and response vocals, ringing telephones, etc.

Update: Just noticed that Rhizome tabbed the interview "ironic." That is way off base--this is very sincere and emotional work, and I believe Petra and others are sincerely interested in it. "Visionary," "playful," expressionistic," non-status quo," "angsty," "political," "disturbing" are the words I would use. Or "freakedelic," to use Daniel's term.

Update, 2011: The Rhizome link has been changed to

- tom moody 7-14-2007 6:23 am [link] [1 comment]

Petra Cortright - 10

"Yarnstripe" by Petra Cortright.

- tom moody 5-23-2007 6:43 pm [link] [5 comments]

petra webcam

Petra Cortright's vvebkm (YouTube) - An Exchange from Paddy Johnson's Blog Comments - Cindy Sherman Reference Partially Explained

Paddy Johnson (Mar. 27, 2007):

Four days ago Tom Moody posted Petra Cortright’s webcam video and since then I’ve been struggling to articulate why the aesthetics of this piece of go beyond taking a few clip images from the web and slapping them on a video. Unlike a David Shrigley piece, which uses humor so obvious its value requires no explanation, a cam featuring a still figure, dancing pizzas, and falling snow to an electronic beat may require a little more discussion.

Probably the most amusing aspect of this work lies in the fact that it’s basically a documentation of a live performance, in which you watch someone concentrate on their computer screen for the duration of a song. I realize this comment tends to incite a host of responses most of which begin something to the effect of “So why am I looking at this?”, and while there’s no response to this if you don’t find the redundancies of web surfing that so many net artists like to highlight funny, there’s also a level of virtuosity in the live arrangement of gifs etc, that needs to be called to attention. Cortright’s webcam piece succeeds because her dancing pizzas are unexpected, and the snow and lightening seem almost delicately placed. I know it sounds ridiculous, but you have to spend a lot of time with these seemingly crappy images not only to gain a sensibility for how to use them, but how to read them. It’s not that Cortright found the most exquisite buzzing bee and flower on the net, it’s that she thought to use it, and then did it so well. It’s a skill very few people have.

27 Mar 2007 at 9:16 pm1--tom:

These icons may all be defaults that come with the webcam program or host. I don’t know for sure. Cortright says in the comments “i need to put more curated imagery into this but the defaults were still pretty good!!” [Update - Make magazine editor Phillip Torrone plays with the same webcam in this YouTube in what seems more like an extended product promotion for logitech--thx paul)]

So the artistry is mostly in the timing, I think, plus the “live” nature of the performance, the choice of music (the ceephax is pleasantly spacy), and playing on our expectations of what a cam person is supposed to do. Instead of mugging, pouting, and otherwise playing directly to an imagined audience she’s concentrating on the behind-the-scenes work of manipulating the images, which are not particularly sexy. The audience is still staring at her (and one commenter is rather hitting on her with that “smile” line) but she’s only giving you her image and what she does. This relates to Marisa Olson’s videos of herself listening to music, too, I think.

My great unwritten essay (or not so great) is on how the camgirl and camboy phenomenon relates to Cindy Sherman and her “self-empowering” use of her own image to act out media tropes (she’s a millionaire and they...have lots of internet friends). Pieces like Cortright’s are even more punk than that–as if Sherman were taking photos of herself loading and unloading the camera and setting up the lights instead of being the “actress.”

27 Mar 2007 at 10:00 pm 2--paddy:

It’s true - the timing is done extremely well.

I’m not sure I’m understanding your comment on Cindy Sherman correctly. Are you saying that work like Cortright’s is more punk than Sherman’s because there’s a greater DIY element to it? If so, I suppose there’s some element of truth to that, but I suspect Sherman was just as broke when she was in her twenties and making that work, and probably didn’t have too much help past the necessities. Does the DIY aspect of it really add that much to this particular piece?

28 Mar 2007 at 12:13 am3--tom:

Punk in the sense of a guitarist keeping her back to the audience while playing rather than doing all the emotive face moves that say “I’m happy, I’m in pain, look at me, love me.” Here Cortright is looking down and “working.”

The early, classic Sherman work was DIY and done on the cheap. It’s not her fault she got canonized so early and was forced ever thereafter to work with big budgets.

My point in bringing her up (I think) was how web cammers kind of do what she did early on instinctively. It’s personal or self-centric photography, but still a series of media tropes (the “working girl,” the “ingenue,” “Marilyn” etc) Whereas Cortright isn’t going there–she’s a nerd pushing buttons to summon kitties and pizza slices and you just happen to be watching her.

28 Mar 2007 at 12:43 am4--paddy:

I really like that punk reference.

Interestingly, one of the things I was going to bring up in the post that got lost for whatever reason, was that the piece reminded me of how in the late 90’s and early 2000 people would go see DJ’s spin, and various musicians working with electronics perform, and complain that it was totally dull watching people turn a few nobs for hours on end. Like any good net artist, Cortright knows that about a minute and a half of nob turning is fascinating - do much more than that and you’ve lost your audience. It makes me feel like the piece builds something positive into a tradition of performance that often suffered from some significant problems just a short time ago.

- tom moody 4-18-2007 4:14 am [link] [1 comment]

Cortright System Landscapes Rmx 2

Another blog-sized Petra Cortright capture. This work would be really great on a big plasma screen. Just kidding!

- tom moody 3-31-2007 10:46 pm [link] [add a comment]

Cortright System Landscapes Rmx

Petra Cortright: from Selected System Landscapes:



Karl Blossfeldt meets Tron by way of pixel art. The image above is a "remix"--apologies to the artist, just wanted something self contained and looping for the blog since most of imagery fills the entire screen. You can page through the presentation, which is somewhat JODI-esque but with more of the cool botanical imagery--by clicking anywhere on the screen. Just singling out a couple of pages I like--for the busy surfer.

- tom moody 3-31-2007 9:02 pm [link] [add a comment]

petra webcam

vvebkm (YouTube) (petra cortright)

Update: We're discussing this project over at Paddy Johnson's.

- tom moody 3-23-2007 9:55 pm [link] [10 comments]


me see Saddam on teevee
he bad man
George Bush good man
kill Saddam dead
everybody happy now

--a typical American

(image from

Jim Henley:
...the US and its Iraqi allies chose to try Saddam on one of his relatively minor crimes because if they did so they could get him safely hung before they had to try him for the major ones, the gas attacks and massacres that happened during The Years of Playing Footsie with the United States. The Dujail reprisals were a war crime, no doubt about it, a bigger sham of justice than Saddam’s own trial, by two orders of magnitude. They were also the sort of war crime that people like Ralph Peters and a hundred other pundits and parapundits think the United States should be committing. Every time you read a complaint about “politically correct rules of engagement” you are reading someone who would applaud a Dujail-level slaughter if only we were to perpetrate it. Those are the people who are happiest of all about tonight’s execution. Smells like - victory! It’s the pomander they don against the stench.
Juan Cole, writing for Salon:
Saddam Hussein was tried under the shadow of a foreign military occupation, by a government full of his personal enemies. The first judge, an ethnic Kurd, resigned because of government interference in the trial; the judge who took his place was also Kurdish and had grievances against the accused. Three of Saddam's defense lawyers were shot down in cold blood. The surviving members of his defense team went on strike to protest the lack of protection afforded them. The court then appointed new lawyers who had no expertise in international law. Most of the witnesses against Saddam gave hearsay evidence. The trial ground slowly but certainly toward the inevitable death verdict.
New York Times headline writer: "Saddam Hussein never bowed his head, until his neck snapped." Oh, man, you should be, like, a writer. That makes me feel like, I don't know.

Financial Times:
One of the witnesses, Judge Munir Haddad, was quoted by CNN as saying that as the noose was being tightened around Mr Hussein’s neck, one of the hangmen shouted out "Long live Moqtada al-Sadr." "Moqtada al-Sadr," said Mr Hussein mockingly [...] According to the report, those were Mr Hussein’s last words.
Glenn Greenwald:
It really is striking, and a potent sign of just how absurd is our ongoing occupation, that the "Iraqi Government" which we are fighting to empower could not even conduct this execution with a pretense of legality or concern for civilized norms -- the executioners were not wearing uniforms but leather jackets and murderers' masks, conducting themselves not as disciplined law enforcement officers but as what they are (death squad members and sectarian street thugs). [...] But as Floyd also correctly observes, Saddam was in U.S. custody until the very last minute, and both the fact and the terms of the execution required the approval of Bush officials, which they gave -- implicitly, if not explicitly, by handing over Saddam for his middle-of-the-night noose fitting. Comparisons to the relatively dignified and orderly Nuremburg executions only serve to highlight how far America has tumbled under this administration, on every level that matters.

- tom moody 12-30-2006 8:30 am [link] [2 comments]

Middle east expert Professor Juan Cole helps penetrate the fog of Administration and media disinformation about what's going on in Iraq. The US has no chance against this insurgency without massive troop increases and a nationwide will to "win"--which means what exactly? Making the country safe for a government friendly to US interests? Who cares about that except the neocon crazies and Americans deluded by simplistic Clint Black songs? By invading without a plan to manage the aftermath, Bush really put his foot in the bucket, to use a Texas expression. Americans are paying for this stupidity with precious lives and untold sums of tax dollars.
Iraqi government spokesman Laith Kubba said of Wednesday's horrific bombings in central Baghdad, which left over 40 dead and twice as many injured, "Those who commit these crimes are the same ones who specialized in mass murder during the era of the tyrant Saddam." He added, "They have a plan that is composed of two stages. The first is to spread terror and grief serially, in order to break the will of the Iraqi people. The second is to attempt to overthrow the government through spreading chaos in the land."

Kubba is in part correct and in part in error, and he left out something big. Some of those behind the campaign of car bombings and other acts of terror are the old Baathist power elite (especially military intelligence, elements of the officer corps, and the secret police or mukhabarat). But some of them are Sunni jihadis who would not have been allowed to operate in Baghdad by Saddam. And others were relatively apolitical in the Saddam era but have been galvanized by a conviction that their country is suffering foreign occupation (Anglo-American at least, and perhaps Iranian as well). So it isn't correct to say that the perpetrators are exactly the same group as put all those Shiites and Kurds in mass graves, though there is certainly an overlap. Note how different Kubba's discourse is from that of the Bush administration, which almost never talks about anything but "al-Qaeda" in Iraq. Here we have a high-level Iraqi spokesman, and all he sees in the insurgency are Baathists.

The important thing he left out is that the plan actually has three parts. First the guerrillas force the Americans and British out. Then they destabilize Iraq. Then they make a coup and kill the elected government, along with Sistani and anyone else who gets in their way. Since the guerrillas have so many former military officers and veterans in their ranks, and since they know where thousands of tons of hidden munitions are buried, they believe they still have an edge over the ragtag Shiite militias such as Badr Corps and Mahdi Army.

- tom moody 8-18-2005 10:45 pm [link] [5 comments]

How cool is it that the people of Spain reacted to the terrorist attacks in Madrid by firing their right-wing government? And that the new government plans to bring the country's troops home? Let's do that here! Unfortunately we have to wait eight months before we can get rid of George Bush Jr., whose crappy leadership the Spanish have also implicitly rejected. Or maybe we don't--for the crime of lying us into war with the wrong country (and general all around corruption), how about impeaching the perpetrator? To get an idea of how bad things are over in Iraq--our tax dollars at work--please read Robert Fisk's one year recap. Here's the plan: send Bush back to the Midland Racquet Club, then pressure Kerry to end the occupation post haste. After paying reparations, we'll only be out a few hundred billion for our little adventure.

- tom moody 3-15-2004 5:27 pm [link] [10 comments]