[spectre] Whole Earth Catalogue / Neoncampobase

Domenico Quaranta quaranta.domenico at gmail.com
Sat Jan 23 15:19:16 CET 2010


Video selection for the series “Playlist”, Neoncampobase, Bologna  
Opening: January 27, 2010
Curated by: Domenico Quaranta (http://domenicoquaranta.com).

Founded by the American writer Stewart Brand in 1968, the Whole Earth  
Catalogue (WEC) was a catalogue of tools that was regarded as a bible  
by the counterculture generation – that is, by those who shaped the  
techno-cultural environment we are living in. Published regularly  
until 1972 and sporadically until 1998, it definitely died with the  
rise of the Web, of which it is considered a conceptual forerunner by  
people such as Steve Jobs (founder of Apple) and Kevin Kelly (founder  
of Wired). WEC was conceived as an “evaluation and access device”  
meant to bring power and knowledge to the people. It featured  
excellent reviews of books, maps, professional journals, courses, and  
classes, along with objects of any kind, from gardening tools to  
computers. Everybody could submit a review for the catalogue.

Like the WEC reviewers, the artists in this exhibition are  
contributing to a shared resource; like them, they love their tools  
and, like them, they are interested in understanding the world as a  
whole. What did change, in the meantime – and mostly thanks to the WEC  
generation – is the world itself.
These artists – WE – live in a world in which media don't just  
reproduce reality, nor just simulate it, in Baudrillardian terms: they  
shape reality, improve it, sometimes they build parallel worlds in  
which we can spend our time. They redesign our way to live, to think,  
to make and enjoy culture, to eat, to sleep, to die. And to think  
about God.

These artists use simple tools and editing tricks in order to comment  
on the current status of the image, to talk about themselves, to edit  
found material and to improve its meaning; they explore cultures and  
habits in order to sample, remix and comment them; they use and abuse  
technologies; they export metaphors, practices, aesthetics and  
narratives to other situations. This may sound weird if you are not  
living in their same time slice, but please – don't call them  
formalists. They are not working within a medium: they are working  
within a media-implemented reality. They are realists, in the only way  
that realism makes sense nowadays.

This peculiar realism can bring somebody to go back to when everything  
started. Notoriously, psychedelic drugs played an important rule in  
the beginning of digital culture. Without Sun, by Brody Condon, is a  
mesh-up of various found videos of individuals on a psychedelic  
substance. Why do people broadcast these materials? Do these “out of  
the body” experiences have any relationship with other now common  
forms of projection of the self, such as online videogaming? Some  
artists, such as Cory Arcangel or Oliver Laric, are interested in the  
conceptual consequences of technologies, and on the way they are  
updating fundamental concerns of our culture; others, such as the duo  
AIDS-3D, explore how technologies are increasingly affecting our  
spiritual life. In their own words, they want to make “the intangible  
magic of technology visible”. Not necessarily trough technologies  
themselves: Constant Dullart's video, for example, turns Youtube's  
“loading” animation into a suggestive, hypnotic object using light and  
styrofoam balls.

This concern with magic and transcendence is shared by many of the  
artists on show, from Petra Cortright to Damon Zucconi, from Harm Van  
den Dorpel to Martin Kohout. In their hands, a video filter can become  
the best way to explore how consistent the outer world is, and how  
consistent we are. It can become the best way to get a better  
knowledge of the world we live in, whatever we may mean with this word.

Selected works:

AIDS-3D (Daniel Keller & Nik Kosmas, US/DE), Motion Capture Dance,  
2008. Video, 08.34 min. Courtesy Gentili Apri, Berlin. Online at http://www.aids-3d.com/motioncapture.mov 

Cory Arcangel (US), Drei Klavierstücke op. II – I, 2009. Video, 04.21  
min. Courtesy Team Gallery, New York. Online at http://www.beigerecords.com/cory/Things_I_Made/DreiKlavierstucke 

Brody Condon (US), Without Sun, 2008. Video, 15.12 min. Courtesy  
Virgil De Voldere, New York. Online at http://www.tmpspace.com/video/WithoutSun.mov 

Petra Cortright (US), Das Hell(e) Modell, 2009. Video, 03.41 min.  
Online at http://petracortright.com/das_helle_modell/das_helle_modell.html 

Paul B. Davis (UK/US), Compression Study #4 (Barney), 2007. Video,  
02.49 min. Courtesy Seventeen Gallery, London. Online at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CWG5jqzYsEI 

Constant Dullart (NL), Youtube as a Sculpture, 2009. Video, 00.33 min.  
Online at http://www.youtube.com/constantdullaart.

Martijn Hendriks (NL), Untitled (12 glowing men), 2008. Video, 04.10  
min. Online at http://www.12glowingmen.com/.

Jodi (BE/NL), Mal Au Pixel, 2009. Video, 01.14 min. Courtesy Gentili  
Apri, Berlin. Online at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KE8VIKXnsQ0.

Martin Kohout (CZ/DE), Close Up, 2009. Video loop, 03.11 min. Online  
at http://www.martinkohout.com/new/close-up/.

Oliver Laric (DE), Aircondition, 2006. Video, 01.59 min. Courtesy  
Seventeen Gallery, London. Online at http://www.oliverlaric.com/airconditionvideo.htm 

Les Liens Invisibles (IT), Too Close to Duchamp’s Bicycle, 2008. Video  
loop, 02.14 min. Online at http://www.lesliensinvisibles.org/too-close-to-duchamps-bicycle/ 

Miltos Manetas (GR/UK), King Kong After Peter Jackson, 2006. Video,  
03.05 min. Online at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cNMkjWpdC4c.

Pascual Sisto (US), No strings attached, 2007. Video, 01.30 min.  
Online at http://www.pascualsisto.com/projects/no-strings-attached/.

Paul Slocum (US), You’re Not My Father, 2007. Video, 04.05 min. Online  
at http://turbulence.org/Works/notmyfather/.

Harm Van den Dorpel (NL), Resurrections, 2007. 3 animated found  
photos, 04.18 min. Online at http://www.harmvandendorpel.com/work/resurrections 

Damon Zucconi (US), Colors Preceding Photographs (woodshed), 2008.  
Video, 00.35. Courtesy Gentili Apri, Berlin. Online at http://damonzucconi.com/uploads/Video/woodshed_w.mov 


Domenico Quaranta

web. http://domenicoquaranta.com/
email. info at domenicoquaranta.com
mob. +39 340 2392478
skype. dom_40

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