Sanity Disobedience


I have artwork in a couple of shows opening this week in Brooklyn. Both have receptions this Friday, Oct. 22. The image above accompanies the press release for a show curated by Rod Malin called "Sanity Disobedience for a New Frontier," at Camel Art Space, near the Graham "L" stop on Metropolitan. Here is the press release, from the Camel website:

Camel Art Space presents:

• Sanity Disobedience For a New Frontier •

October 22- November 28, 2010
Weekends only: 12 – 6 pm or by appointment
Opening reception: Friday, October 22nd, 6 – 9 p.m.
Location: 722 Metropolitan Avenue, Brooklyn NY 11237

“Sanity Disobedience for a New Frontier,” an exhibition that addresses the concept of technological assimilation in the digital age and its relationship to counter-cultural, anti-conformity assumptions. The show alludes to the irrational becoming rational, a paradox reflected in many characteristics of the digital age. In a sense, according to exhibition curator Rod Malin, the show explores the attitudinal space between two media pieces, Bas Jan Ader’s short conceptual film piece of 1970 “I’m Too Sad to Tell You,” in which the artist cries in front of a camera after a brief title, and Chris Crocker’s more recent YouTube phenomenon “Leave Britney Alone.” Although neither of these works appears in the show, they act as psychological signposts or brackets for the art on view.

Artists include: Allen Cordell • Tom Moody • Jamie O’Shea • Sophia Peer • Tristan Perich • Meridith Pingree • David Prince • Janos Stone

“Sanity Disobedience for a New Frontier” pulls together eight unique-minded individuals whose practices parallel those of tech pundits, rewiring the brain to deleterious effect. Tristan Perich is driven by the computational/theoretical limitations of our own brains and of digital code; he uses seemingly simple forms to reveal the sensitivity of complex systems. Tom Moody works in an under-examined form of post-studio art that he has called Psychotronic GIFs, ranging from sincere social commentary to degrading trash. As an advocate of impermanence, usually in the incongruous dual persona of “the lumberjack” or “the scientist,” David Prince uses slight mockery, humor, and a dose of heroism to challenge current unascertainable attributes. Transforming human behavior and traffic patterns, Meridith Pingree creates a spatial interruption with her reactive sculptures. Particularly strange, yet stunning with beauty, the new appropriation piece by filmmaker and artist Allen Cordell inexplicably justifies the act of refrigeration of TV dinners. Sophia Peer teams up with Allen Cordell to create an infomercial embracing the superior ability of Black Water to create a cooler apartment. Janos Stone creates fractal wall pieces out of drywall with relief etching, resulting in images depicting social interactions through media and matter. If Jamie O’Shea were to boast of his civic duties, self-deception would be top on his list, and in doing so he probably wouldn’t stand on a soapbox but rather create a vortex in time so he can levitate.

An exhibition booklet, Sanity Disobedience, will be published in conjunction with the show.

About the Curator:

Rod Malin has been a media specialist for the last five years for Marian Goodman Gallery, Bronx Museum of the Arts, as well as various Contemporary institutions and artists. Simultaneously, Malin has been working on a self-accredited PhD in liminal cultural studies while maintaining his own projects at M A L I N S T U D I O, a space that explores ephemeral and contextual ideas. Malin has worked with several curators including Lance Fung (Fung Galley NYC), Erin Riley Lopez (Bronx Museum of Art), and Catherine de Zegher (The Drawing Center). Malin’s ability to be versatile as a media specialist, artist and curator is exemplified by his recent exploration in “Curating the Virtual,” which has drawn over 7,000 visitors from all over the world to his Invisible Museum of Post Contemporary Art.

Camel Art Space is an artist-operated exhibition space with a focus on current issues in art within a not-for-profit framework and is affiliated with the studio artists at 722 Metropolitan Avenue, Brooklyn, NY. Camel Art Space does not represent artists in the traditional sense, but merely composes shows of their works for the inherent merits of showing art. In an inclusive spirit, Camel Art Space is open to proposals from independent curators and artists. As an affiliate member of Williamsburg Gallery Association, Camel Art Space participates in 2:nd Friday Art Walk, holding receptions every 2nd Friday of the month. Camel Art Space has been named by New York Magazine as one of the City’s new galleries to watch.

I'll be showing looping GIF animations on TV sets, and a handful of portraits drawn on the computer using the "vintage" MSPaint(brush) program. I share the curator's interest in showing new media work in galleries and hope you'll come see the show. After the opening I'll be in the gallery on November 13 from 12-3 if you want to come by then.

The other exhibit I'm participating in is the show at 319 Scholes--I'll put some links up for it in a separate post.

Update: The artist in the photo above is Jamie O'Shea, performing a piece situated mainly in the viewers' retinas (afterimages from the bright light). His assembly of a battery using Stone Age materials can be viewed in the Motherboard video "Immaculate Telegraphy". (Update to the update: A video in the exhibit shows him building a fire with handmade tools and smelting iron and copper oar in a furnace also made with materials from the forest landscape. The battery is a component of a working telegraph key that emits a small electric charge when tapped. All the information on how to do this came from internet research.)

Films Folded on the Facebook movie

tedg reviews The Social Network:

The facts are intimidating. Soon, Facebook will have a billion users. It is already the most visited site in history. As an entity, it already is on par with the the top tier tech companies: Apple and Google. But far beyond that, far, far more significant is the way that the world is changing. Until now, friendship was absolutely anchored in physical proximity. All media allowed that to be extended, but only if it were well established by actually being together.

Now, this notion is being replaced by an entire generation. The compact is no longer on mutual support and emotional needs, but simply being paid attention to. Life is flattened while the numbers get larger. Shared abstract thinking is reduced to whether something is "liked" or not. Political movements exploit this and we are getting into trouble faster than we can imagine. So we enter a theater with a film about this phenomenon with dire worries. Social networking is the successor to TeeVee as the next possible disaster in the social experiment.

The filmmaker and writer decided to make a movie about this simplification of the social fabric by taking a story that is necessarily rich and human, and reduc[ing] it to a cartoon. We liked it not because the thing is well crafted, though it is. We embrace it because it explains things. In fact, it simplifies things so much that we can feel superior in knowing that we would have made a (slightly) more rich version.


In the real world, what is interesting is not what happened with a girlfriend or some jock twins. What matters is the way that connection is changing, the way we form associations and indeed what an association means and what value it gives. This is not a fad. Facebook and Twitter may fade but something profound has started, perhaps changing the very nature of what it means to invest in societies. We likely are not yet past a tipping point in government and family units, but it is likely that we are well past the tipping point in narratives. We may never get richness back as a basic value. It will be relegated to a few who form a social network.

It is also interesting that Zuckerberg, Dorsey, Canter, Mullenweg and Winer truly believe that what they are about amplifies life in all its dimensions. They believe they are doing good work. If this film is anything, it is evidence that the contrary is true.

And Zuck isn't cool enough to be an Emacs user any more, though he seems to have a genius in the opposite direction: finding the lowest common, scalable need.

I shouldn't like this review, as a blogger who for years has flattened and un-enriched experience by reducing it short posts, jpegs, GIFs, "google juice," and conversations with strangers in comments. Where it resonates for me is the idea that this simulacrum of connection becomes the exclusive domain of a "top tier tech company." Facebook is AOL that works, which means that the media convergence the AOL-Time Warner merger represented in the late 90s is finally coming to pass. There is no place for the "indie" in this scheme except completely outside it--as opposed to the loose fabric of independents we briefly enjoyed in the early to mid '00s. Dire worries is right.

Afterthought: Have hated facebooks since my college days when I put down an outre fake hobby and never heard the end of it (no way I'm repeating it). Although you can create a "persona" on Facebook it is discouraged, in the same manner as entering "Nightly, I.P." in the phone book. You are supposed to be you and people are supposed to be able to find you so they can sell you stuff.