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WHY INFINITE FILL? WHY NOW? (SOME THEORIES)
Speaking of Infinite Fill patterns, an artist saw the image of mine below printed out in the studio and said something like "It's so old it's new again." That's actually kind of a bad reason to be working with these patterns and programs: what might be called the fleeting buzz of historicization. Two generational moments connected with an emerging technology are when you experience it in all its newness (especially in pimply adolescence), and when you encounter it nostalgically as a kind of "future past." The rubbing together of those two instants can throw off some sparks, but they're pretty meager to power a body of work, or a career. Better reasons for using old programs might be: (1) to access good effects that have been superseded or "improved" in newer programs, (2) as a way of clearly revealing the futuristic assumptions, mass production values, or plain bad aesthetics of existing programs (most of which are just tricked-up, bloated versions of the old ones), and (3) because less is more, as Kate Moss once said.
Below is the press release for the "Infinite Fill Show," opening Thurs., July 22 at Foxy Production in New York. The call for entries describing the project is here. I submitted three animated .GIFs, which I'm told will be shown on a laptop. The .GIFs themselves (including two of mine & a collaboration with jimpunk) are here; the html display page
THE INFINITE FILL SHOW
Curated by Cory + Jamie Arcangel
Opening reception: Thursday, July 22, 6.00 - 8.30 pm
Dates: July 22 to August 19, 2004
Summer hours: Tuesday to Friday, 11.00 am - 6.00 pm
Foxy Production (547 WEST 27 ST. FL 6, NYC 10001 - TEL 212 239 2758) announces The Infinite Fill Show, a group exhibition of dazzling black and white patterns, curated by brother and sister team Cory and Jamie Arcangel. The exhibition includes new and historical, readymade and handcrafted works in a range of media.
The curators sent out an open call to artists for found or made objects which had to adhere to two basic rules: they must be black and white, and they must contain repeating patterns. The curatorial concept was inspired by MAC Paint, the 1984 software application with varied 16-bit monochrome patterning that could be picked and dropped into areas of the screen to denote color and depth. For Cory and Jamie Arcangel, this rudimentary precursor to Photoshop's draw and paint functions provides a creative tool to explore multiple perspectives within a unifying aesthetic.
The Infinite Fill Show, features over fifty artists, from high school students to internationally renowned artists, including: Lucas Ajemian + LLFS, Elyse Allen, Cory Arcangel, Jamie Arcangel, Maureen Arcangel, Steve Austin, Jimmy Baker + Matt Coors, Michael Bell-Smith, Marc LeBlanc, Orit Ben-Shitrit, Chris Bors, Sascha Braunig, Jonah Brucker-Cohen, James Buckhouse, Anthony Campuzano, Henry Chamberlain, Peter Coffin, Ryan Compton, Elisabeth Condon, Devon Costello, Jim Drain, Sarah Dunbar, Dragan Espenschied (with Sofia Aleinikova), Devin Flynn, Nello Gacuda, Joy Garnett, Tamara Gayer, Paul Gigolotti, Benjamin Godsill, Katherine Grayson, Sabrina Gschwandtner, Jim Hamlyn, Tamara Henderson (with Brent Wadden), Honeygun Labs, G.H. Hovagimyan, Akiko Ichikawa, Ketta Ioannidou, jimpunk + Tom Moody, Aya T. Kanai, Chris Kasper, Ori Kleiner, Paul Laster, LoVid, Noah Lyon, Kevin McGarry, Joe McKay, Erica Magrey, Frankie Martin, Jonte Martin, Jillian Mcdonald, Louisa Minkin, Justin Mitchell, Kyle Mock, Mombert, Tom Moody, MTAA, Josh Nimoy, David Noonan, Marisa Olsen, PAPER RAD, Marcin Ramocki, Scott Reeder, Tyson Reeder, Douglas Repetto, Leif Ritchey, RSG, Sterling Ruby, Justin Samson, Gregory J Scranton, Daniel Shiffman, Sistaz 4Ever, Paul Slocum, Renee So, Erika Somogyi, Nancy Smith, Oriane Stender, Kirsten Stoltmann, Jennifer Sullivan, Joshua W.F. Thomson, Cody Trepte, Van Arsdale High School Art Students, Andrew M.K. Warren, Ben Warwas, Andrew Jeffrey Wright.
UPDATES: A short report on the opening (with installation photos) is here (also links to other posts, criticism, etc.) The artist list above has been edited to conform to the exhibition checklist.
In an earlier post I linked to some sample tracks by BASIC and other musicians from humanworkshop.com, a Netherlands-based sample and .mp3 trading forum, which has just released a CD of site artists. Track 14, about 30 seconds of BASIC's "Narrow Minded Fool," caught my ear, and after a few listens I pegged a couple of the sources (I know, music nerds, big whoop)--"Accidentals" by Broadcast (1997), a kind of post-Portishead ambient pop outfit from the UK, and "Gui La Testa (Duck You Sucker!)" from The Big Gundown, John Zorn's otherwise not very good 1986 tribute to Ennio Morricone (or is it just that anything with a jaw harp makes me think of that?). I dug out those tracks from the crates (as we say) and did a short "educational" mix, consisting of the BASIC sample followed by Broadcast, Zorn, and the BASIC again, just to hear how everything overlapped. We're talkin' some serious chronological folding here, with the non-hippie '60s as the epicenter. [.mp3 removed]
One of the finest things about Paul Thomas Anderson's psychotic film Punch Drunk Love was the revival of the Harry Nilsson/Van Dyke Parks/Shelley Duvall love song "He Needs Me," from Robert Altman's pretty-much-forgotten Popeye movie. Duvall, as Olive Oyl, sings this ballad of co-dependency (hers, to Bluto) with a meek, charmingly off key voice, and Nilsson's perpetually ascending kiddy-song melody coupled with Parks' Charles Ives-cum-Max Steiner orchestation pretty much guarantee goosebumps. The song was the reason I bought the Popeye soundtrack years ago (but regrettably wasn't enough reason to keep it during a later vinyl purge). I was actually thinking about tracking it down again, so I could play "HNM" obsessively and see if the score contained other warped gems.
But now I don't care.
I heard it again today, in the movie house during the usual interminable string of pre-show ads. Fucking Nilsson estate (or fucking someone) sold it for a commercial, fast on the heels of Anderson's rediscovery of it--hawking what, I don't even know (shoes?); it was one of those concept advertisements where the product isn't mentioned, with a gaggle of teenage girls competing for the amorous attention of a buff tennis pro while Duvall sings sweetly in the background. (The next ad featured the Stones' "You Can't Always Get What You Want'," selling soda, I think.)
Fucking hell, fucking marketing culture, it wrecks everything it touches. (OK, Popeye wasn't exactly Ibsen, but it wasn't about selling tennis rackets either.) Fucking sellout artists (or their dependents), always needing more to live the lifestyles of "playas," destroying creative legacies and the unique auras of songs. Fuck.
Still working on this, trying to nail the continuity bugs (and lapses in drawing skill) frame by frame. I found a good description of what it's about, though:
I don't think it's possible to touch people's imagination today by aesthetic means. [Moody's dumb animations] are psychological provocations, mental tests where the aesthetic elements are no more than a framing device.apologies to bloggy and J.G. Ballard
It's interesting that this should be the case. I assume it is because our environment today, by and large a media landscape, is oversaturated by aestheticising elements (TV ads, packaging, design and presentation, styling and so on) but impoverished and numbed as far as its psychological depth is concerned.
Artists (though sadly not writers) tend to move to where the battle is joined most fiercely. Everything in today's world is stylised and packaged, and [Moody] is trying to say, this is [Spider-Man vs Doc Ock]. He is trying to redefine the basic elements of reality, to recapture them from the ad men who have hijacked our world.
Good Tom Tomorrow cartoon here makes fun of the "Sensible Liberal" who thinks it's rude to call Bush a liar and who distances himself from Michael Moore's rather effective filmmaking. Slate movie critic David Edelstein is a typical SensLib, declaring Moore "a blowhard the left can call its own" and implicity comparing him to Rush Limbaugh and Morton Downey Jr. (really climbing into the wayback machine on the latter). Does Edelstein really see no difference in Moore's incisive, frequently hilarious documentary and this schtick from the July 1 broadcast of the nationally syndicated Rush Limbaugh Show (via Media Matters)?:
LIMBAUGH: [laughter] Folks, it doesn't get any better than this. [laughter] Do you know something that's -- I'm sorry. [laughter] Oh, I'm trying to maintain my composure. The Democrats have found their keynote speaker for their convention: Saddam Hussein. [laughter] "The real criminal is [President George W.] Bush." Give him a talk show. Put him on "Dead Air America". [laughter]Believe it or not, I actually can laugh at jokes at the expense of the left, but the above is just supremely unfunny. Moore's film nails Bush and his cadre (including the media) and doesn't deserve all the mealy mouthed qualifications it's getting from the center-left Democrats. Fortunately theatregoers are paying the full ticket price ($90 million in box office receipts so far), unlike the left-leaning pundits who insist on a "Michael Moore discount."
LIMBAUGH: It makes you wonder who hates Bush more, Saddam or the Democrats.
LIMBAUGH: Let me -- let me ask you liberals out there: Did that image of Saddam in a sport coat and an open collar just melt your heart?
LIMBAUGH: All he's doing is reading Democrat talking points. Come on. Bush is a criminal? What's the difference in what Saddam says and what you hear coming out of MoveOn.org every day, or George Soros, or any of these other people that are out there speaking against George W. Bush?
LIMBAUGH: We killed his sons. We took his country. We put him in jail. He is still calmer and more rational than Howard Dean after he lost Iowa. He's calmer and more rational than Gore after he lost his mind. He's calmer and more rational than George Soros is.
An email for a "Bands Against Bush" event received late last night led to an orgy of random (mostly apolitical) linkage; here's what came up, some of which bears further investigation:
Cotton Ponies (boston garage rock)
cotton ponies download page (2 songs)
Googled "cotton ponies":
Deadly Productions Records (hardcore techno label based "in the Poconos"--reps another, different cotton ponies) w/ links to:
Widerstand Records (hardcore label out of Austria) mp3 download page listed:
doppelganger mp3 "Can't See Cali4nia With The Marlon Brando's Eyes" (Atari Teenage Riot-ish)
Leisure B & BASIC (nice neurofunk/drill track on mp3); widenstand mp3 download page for Leisure B & BASIC also listed homepage for:
humanworkshop.com (Dutch ambient D&B label) with link to sample page:human workshop 1