I have some work in a show opening this Friday, at Honey Ramka gallery in Brooklyn. Here is the press announcement:
Honey Ramka is pleased to present Control Panel, an exhibition featuring work by James Clark, Linda Francis, Micah Ganske, Ben Garthus, Tom Moody, and Yael Rechter. Control Panel opens Friday, June 19th from 6-9pm, and runs through Sunday, August 2nd.
Formally diverse, Control Panel highlights works that channel a distinctive machine aesthetic, and are also iterations of various technological types, processes, and modes. Together, they stage the gallery as an anxious chamber quickened by patterns, programs, and other visual/aural tics, rhythms, and effects.
Also opening in the project space is Salman Toor: Drawings from 'The Electrician'. Illustrated by Toor and co-written by Toor and Alexandra Atiya, The Electrician is an in-progress graphic novel that, while steeped in the strangeness of the supernatural, highlights themes and social conflicts of contemporary Pakistani life. Following the life of one family, The Electrician explores the vulnerabilities of aesthetic minds within a corrupt tyranny. A sensitive register of lived experience, Toor’s drawings address the toll of anxiety and the need for fantasy in a collapsing world.
Honey Ramka is located at 56 Bogart Street (1st floor), in Bushwick, Brooklyn, NY. Hours are 1-6pm on Fri-Sun and by appointment.
It's amusing in an Invasion of the Body Snatchers kind of way to watch hundreds of New Yorkers walking around on sidewalks holding their phones, checking them constantly. A few years ago everyone was toting water bottles -- you see less of those now because people need their phone hands.
Facebook + Phone has proven to be amazing catnip for humans. An unbeatable combination that took screen addiction out of the office and home and into the streets.
This phenomenon has hit Europe hard as well. The magazine EXBERLINER.com tried to get theorist Evgeny Morozov to talk about "internet addiction" but he was more interested in who is specifically benefiting from this phone crack:
I have little problem with the "addicts" part; it's the "internet" in "internet addicts" that I find troubling. A major part of my own critique of contemporary digital discourse is the way in which it barely registers any alternatives to the way in which Facebook, Google, Twitter and others have colonised our lives, presenting themselves as the only game in town when it comes to connectivity. They are also tied to a particular business model – advertising – and it's this model which results in these sites being as addictive as they are. If they don't get you hooked and you visit them rarely, you are a money-losing unit for them. So when I speak critically of "internet addiction," I am simply cautioning people not to medicalise a socio-economic problem. The right answer here clearly is not to develop more drugs to fix our addiction, but to question how we should run our communication services – perhaps, disconnecting them from the current advertising model altogether.
There is chicken-egg problem, though: if everyone has a phone and checks it constantly, who is going to agitate for change?
This is the 10th track on the Curbed Convolution LP on Bandcamp.
Mostly done on modular synth, with Expert Sleepers' ES-3 module translating sequences in Cubase into control voltages for pitch, gate, and LFOs.
The jazz drums are from a Steinberg product called "Groove Agent" -- that name is so dumb it needed a semi-retired version.
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Recommended indie horror film: Jug Face, 2013, which deviates from the usual maniac-torturing-people-in-a-cabin formula to explore themes of rural patriarchy, fatalism, and the meaning of community bonds. Elements of Shirley Jackson's lottery, Lovecraft's color out of space, and Dickey's deliverance can be found here but it's an original work.
Wisdom in this unnamed Appalachian enclave is dispensed by The Pit, an actual, literal hole in the ground, which can either heal or kill you. As explained by the moonshine-seller who is the town's unofficial mayor (played by Larry Fessenden), "The Pit wants what it wants." It has been healing the villagers since the days of "the pox" and they take its dictates seriously. Formally it communicates its wishes to a local potter who makes a ceramic "jug face" likeness of a person in the community who will be bloodily sacrificed. Villagers submit reluctantly but willingly. Lest we think the mayor and the potter are cooking all this up themselves, we see several examples where protocols aren't followed and The Pit takes matters into its own hands, or tentacles (this is left to our imagination) -- it butchers several people to communicate its displeasure. The film centers on the efforts of a determined young woman to flee The Pit and its servitors, after receiving some mixed signals about whether she's supposed to be breeding or dying to sustain the community.
Reviews of the film have mostly discussed the lead actress (who is excellent) and the mood of tension in this backwoods pressure cooker. Most interesting, though, is The Pit as a metaphor of the yawning hole of chaos that this town, and by logical extension, the rest of the world relies on as an organizing structure. Why did we invade Iraq when agents provocateurs funded by another country launched a domestic attack? The Pit wanted it. Why did Obama promise to close Guantanamo and then renege? Ask The Pit. Who decided, in the thick of congressional discussion of a bad trade bill, to focus the attention of the country on a popular sports figure's gender change? A capital idea from The Pit. Etcetera. Reptilians have been adduced as an explanation for all the incomprehensible evil things that happen but they've got nothing on The Pit.