[spectre] Whole Earth Catalogue / Neoncampobase
quaranta.domenico at gmail.com
Sat Jan 23 15:19:16 CET 2010
WHOLE EARTH CATALOGUE
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
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
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.
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
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
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
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