*note: this is the first email of PYRAMIDROME, a new art+tech+future-focused email I’ll be sending out on a semi-regular basis. I will also be posting text from the emails on my website, which is why you received this email 🙂
If time travel is possible, where are the tourists from the future?
– Stephen Hawking
What if I told you I was writing this from the future? That my 2014-situated body was a mere puppet – very much a downgrade from my robotically infused, omniscient self of the future – sent back in time to survey the past, working on my research paper, “How busyness ruined culture, a report from 2014”?
Well, I’m actually not a time traveler (side note: something like this did actually happen). I can’t proclaim to know how our present actions will flutter their way into an evolved and beautiful, or wrecked and dystopian, future. What I can do, though, is send you a few token thoughts, articles you should read, and the occasional GIF. It’s my small attempt to slow down, to think things over, to brew something a little stronger inside my head, and share it with a few of you. We all do what we can!
Alas, I ramble. Thank you for subscribing to PYRAMIDROME, my new art+tech+future-focused email thing. I’d love to talk more about any of what’s written herein, so simply hit “reply” to send me your thoughts, rants, relevant reads, etc. Who knows, maybe we could infuse this 2D hologram life we’re livin’ in with something anchor-like, floating just above and beyond the elusive time/space continuum.
♥ enjoy ☯
A thought on the virtual:
what is real, really?
Are perceived realities
What and where
- Art, brains, + computers – perhaps the definitions that keep these nouns separate are pointless, and the symbols we use to delineate our processes keep reality masked. What if we thought of art as software, and the brain as hardware: “…the brain is an artist, creating images out of separate visual components. Maybe our ability to read a curve drawn on a flat surface as a three-dimensional figure is related to our reception of visual data from the world as edges—lines and curves. Maybe when artists draw they are doing with their hand what the brain is doing with its electrical pulses.” x
- Are we even conscious? Or are our biologically precious brains simply organic computers? “…what is the relationship between our minds and the physical world? Here, we don’t have a settled answer. We know something about the body and brain, but what about the subjective life inside? Consider that a computer, if hooked up to a camera, can process information about the wavelength of light and determine that grass is green. But we humans also experience the greenness. We have an awareness of information we process. What is this mysterious aspect of ourselves?” x
- Science is slowly revealing a shimmering new truth, which I’ve been mildly obsessed with recently. Apparently, the world that we experience as stable is actually a wiggling 2D hologram. “In an emergent space-time, every world-line deﬁnes a particular projection of the wave functionassociated with the structure of nested light cones (or “nested causal diamonds”) around it. Thus, the quantum geometrical position information is entangled for bodies whose world-lines are close together.” x
- Telepathy could be a real thing, as this video featuring cats explains.* x
*Please note this as a bit of off-brand content, as I’m trying to move away from my association with cats. Not in real life, just on the Internet. Ask me about it over a beer some time and I’ll explain.
INTERJECTION: I stopped by Art Silicon Valley – the newest attempt to get Silicon Valley to buy art – over the weekend.
While there, I saw the usual art fair mix of populist glitter paintings, some Banksy works that were apparently purchased by George Lucas, one of those horse sculptures made of drift wood, some captivating Chul Hyun Ahns (you know, the endless mirror pieces that are just great for selfies), etc, etc.
At the fair, I also caught the tail end of a panel discussion with some of the people behind tech company artist-in-residency programs: Facebook, Autodesk, and Google. I actually have visited and talked with most of these folks at length, and I think what they’re doing – although not perfect – is definitely a step in the right direction. When tech companies start supporting artists by creating more opportunities for them to make work (and even earn some money, as is the case with Facebook and Autodesk’s residencies, but not Google’s), I’m all for it – this engagement is where we can start to see progress in terms of bringing the two worlds of art + technology closer together in the Bay Area.
I don’t want to write extensively about technology companies supporting artists in this email – instead, I want to bring up one idea that came up during the panel’s audience Q+A, from an artist who had previously been a part of Google’s AIR program. She said something along the lines of, “When I was a part of the AIR program at Google, people asked if Google was collecting my work. The answer was a definitive ‘no.’ But why not? Why wouldn’t Google buy the pieces I made during my time there?” This launched an interesting dialogue: what if tech companies were more like museums, commissioning artists and then collecting their work? What if Google was like the Fishers of the Gap – collecting art to ultimately create a museum out of the work of artists they supported? Would this be something the fine art world would support? Or, is this a risky idea, posing questions of curatorial integrity, capitalism’s influence on the art world, and beyond? I’m still thinking about it. Let me know if you have thoughts.
ARTICLES I RECENTLY ENJOYED READING, and you might too:
- The forgotten female programmers who created modern tech→ x
- Some well-known [sadly, all dude] artists have been making news with social media-related artwork:
- On semantics – the corporate tech industry likes certain words at different times, it appears – I know this to be true, as someone recently called me out on Twitter for using the word “innovative” to describe something in the art world, saying that word just shouldn’t be used anymore – it’s been ruined by the startup vernacular. Hmm. Read more… “Apple’s new corporate motto is “Simplify, perfect, delight.” Yahoo’s turnaround plan? You guessed it: “Inspiring and delighting users.” x
- SOME QUESTIONS:
- What are the political possibilities of making information available? Rhizome explores→
- When is something “real” versus “digital”? Some more mind-bending analysis via MuseumTwo→
- When you die, what happens to your email accounts, social media pages, websites, and beyond? Personal communications (i.e. letters) are often a huge part of an important person’s historical archive – why does it feel so wrong, then, to have our loved ones sifting thru our emails if and when we die? We really need to talk about digital death. x
- Can accessing information in and of itself be a crime? Jennifer Lawrence thinks so, so stop looking at her stolen nudes! x
SOME ART THINGS YOU SHOULD LOOK AT ON THE INTERNET:
- PANTHER MODERN→ Artist/curator La Turbo Avedon has created a purely virtual space in order to “promote the versatility of digital installation, via the construction of new architectural spaces for artists.”
- Ways of Something→ Curated by Lorna Mills, this remake of the historic 1972 documentary, Ways of Seeing, brings together 58 (!) excellent new media artists in a very amazing project. Each artist has re-made 60 seconds of the original film in his/her own way, interpreting the content via their view on contemporary, technologically-infused culture.
- Exhibition Kickstarter→ this hybrid project (which was already successfully funded) by artist/curator Krystal South is great because it uses Kickstarter in a subversively productive way.
- Something fun: this pixel-sorting Twitter bot! Simply tweet @pixelsorter with an image attached and the bot will respond with a beautifully glitchy version of your image. More about the processes behind the bot’s behaviors here.
- Learning: I’ve become a student again by way of Gray Area’s Creative Code Immersive. I’ll be learning all sorts of new tricks which will help push me towards an ultimate transformation into 100% Lady Internet Wizard.
- Teaching: this November I’ll be teaching a class with Kathryn Jaller – Chronicle Books’ community manager and former wrangler of all things digital/social at the CJM – at the Makeshift Society. Join us?
- I wrote and published a few articles recently. Here’s a piece about new media artists who are creating stunning work for the digital realm, here’s an interview I did with two Internet artists who spoke at localhost.us in LA. I also have a few upcoming pieces in the works, so stay tuned for those.
- My website has a new ART PORTAL. Check it out?
ONE LAST THOUGHT:
This page deserves your attention.
via my IRL copy of Jean Baudrillard, The Transparency of Evil: Essays on Extreme Phenomena. x