Sunday, May 1, 2011

avant garde for every one?

What? an update? Where have the last 6 months gone? Well, financial exigencies had to be assuaged in the form of a media facade project for a 24-floor office building in Seoul. It is a beautiful building with an unusual curved black glass curtain facade designed by Edgar Bosman and Peter Couwenbergh.
photo by Edgar Bosman

While I was in Seoul, I also got to show iMine. It was pretty well received by the digital sophisticates out there on the peninsula, and even got some sympathetic press.

At the transmediale, there was Global Village Idiots, a prototype for McLuminations, a three-part series I will do at the Canadian Embassy here this year as part of the McLuhan Centennial celebrations going on everywhere. At PIXELACHE, thanks to Susanne Jaschko, I had a chance to present a fleshed-out concept paper for my Congo Confluence project. PIXELACHE was an inspiring experience, especially getting to know so many luminaries I had only read before, and unexpectedly having my sensibility opened through encounters with Bartaku and the people from FOam. Bio-diversity was a very prominent theme at this year's PIXELACHE, some projects, like MARIN, seemed to be preparing for the techno-necessities of a post-apocalyptic condition, whereas Bartaku's photoElectric Digestopians project with its edible explorations of micro-voltages was playful and provocative poetry.

photo by Bartaku

After PIXELACHE, I immediately went to Amsterdam to meet Bas van Abel of the Fairphone project. Bas is a designer trying to do the practically impossible, researching the problematic sourcing of mineral raw materials for electronics and trying to find "fair trade" sources in order to produce a phone using materials which are extracted under 'fair' conditions, that the people responsible for exhuming the materials get an adequate wage for their work, or even that they get a communal share in the value of the minerals they extract. Those of you who have read this blog before will know about this problem at the heart of our electronics.

I asked Bas for some tips to get funding for my Smartphone Teardown6000000 project (more about this imminently). In Holland, it seems, even the banks are concerned with conflict minerals, Bas got a lot of funding and support from Rabobank, I, on the other hand... still looking....

Next week is Operative Performances with the good people at LEAP. It is finally a chance to get back to performance-grounded work, human (and, of course other) scale, real (and, of course canned and hyper-) time, maybe even a little mimeolography. Hopefully I can be more prompt about putting up the next update.

To tide you over in the meantime here is the brilliant art historian Boris Groys with a lecture on the role of the art avant-garde in soviet Russia, with speculations on what could be considered avant-garde today. I was a bit confused by seemingly contradictory contentions in this lecture. Groys declares that the Avant Garde is always unpopular (because it assumedly makes people uncomfortable, forcing them to confront themselves in unaccustomed manners) but, at the end of the lecture, Groys speculates that people posting (art?) on Facebook might be the current avant-garde. Who doesn't like facebook "art"? The most popular works at transmediale (cutting edge? avant-garde?) the last two years have engaged with facebook: FAT lab's face book resistance and Cirio and Ludovico's Face to Facebook, I wouldn't say those works were very unpopular at all. On the contrary, they went viral, and were generally applauded. It may just be that our society has reached such a degree of militarization that the avant garde has become popular. Readers of this blog will know my position on this.

No comments:

Post a Comment