“The Inflammatory Essays” (detail) by Jenny Holzer, (1979-1982), offset posters on colored paper, 17 x 17 inches.

heike

The Decade that Changed the Art World
May 13th, 2018

Via Hyperallergic: "If there’s one work emblematic of the entire show, it is surely Gretchen Bender’s (1951–2004) extraordinary 1984 installation Dumping Core, an 'electronic theater' of rapidly cut and cascading film footage, corporate logos, computer animations, and crashing noise presented across 14 television screens. The work debuted at The Kitchen in 1984, where the artist described it as a response to the 'corporatization of culture.' Bender operated beyond the sphere of fine art, editing music videos for New Order, R.E.M. and Megadeth. She also produced the frenzied and nightmarish title sequence for Fox television’s America’s Most Wanted. 'Today legal questions concerning movies are generally related to pornography' a female voice declares during Dumping Core, '… but the violent cry over movie content continues.' The voices sampled in Dumping Core are frequently interrupted by audio glitches and violent sounds including crashing glass, broken synth music, and gun shots. The work is as engrossing as it is unnerving.

The primary takeaway of Brand New is how high the stakes of representation became during a decade of proliferating imagery and technology. Much of the work on display sought to disrupt the mass media’s ability to perpetuate and normalize discrimination. Julia Wachtel’s 1983 painting, Love Thing isolates cartoon characters from two separate greeting cards: a young Native American woman with an arrow shot into her buttocks, and a well-coiffed white woman brandishing a pair of scissors. Each are bent over suggestively, with their buttocks prominently raised. The decontextualization of each character emphasizes their respective stereotypes while also amplifying the underlying violence of each image. [...]

It is extraordinary how current Brand New feels, whether it’s the ongoing relevance of Holzer’s The Inflammatory Texts or the remarkable prescience of Bender’s Dumping Core. The ’80s were a political decade and Brand New is a political show. The art world as we recognize it today was largely manufactured by the decade’s commercial prowess, and we’re still grappling with its fallout. Jetzer’s exhibition is by no means perfect. It stumbles with its coverage of collectives and often foregrounds blue-chip work whose thematic relevance is obvious. It remains however, an engrossing exploration of art and commerce that deserves far more critical attention. The exhibition indelibly contributes to ’80s scholarship by foregrounding the talents of the decade’s less-appreciated artists."

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Peter Saville on Richard Hamilton's "Toaster" (1967).

The game

Also known as the White Bear Principle
April 28th, 2018

Via my favorite blog the new sheldon wet/dry: "‘The trouble with comparing yourself to others is that there are too many others.’ –Sarah Manguso"

Via Wikipedia: "The Game is a mental game where the objective is to avoid thinking about The Game itself. Thinking about The Game constitutes a loss, which must be announced each time it occurs. It is impossible to win most versions of The Game. Depending on the variation of The Game, the whole world, or all those aware of the game, are playing it all the time. Tactics have been developed to increase the number of people aware of The Game and thereby increase the number of losses. [...]

The origins of The Game are uncertain. In a 2008 news article, Justine Wettschreck says The Game has probably been around since the early 1990s, and may have originated in Australia or England. One theory is that it was invented in London in 1996 when two British engineers, Dennis Begley and Gavin McDowall, missed their last train and had to spend the night on the platform; they attempted to avoid thinking about their situation and whoever thought about it first lost. Another theory also traces The Game to London in 1996, when it was created by Jamie Miller 'to annoy people'. Journalist Mic Wright of The Next Web recalled playing The Game at school in the late 1990s.

However, The Game may have been created in 1977 by members of the Cambridge University Science Fiction Society when attempting to create a game that did not fit in with game theory."

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Talk @ CVM Symposium 2018

Teaching Visual Music
April 14th, 2018

The fabulous Center for Visual Music in Los Angeles invited me to talk about Teaching Visual Music at their Exploring and Preserving Visual Music symposium (August 14-16) in Sonoma, California.

Via CVM: "The CVM Symposium 2018: Exploring and Preserving Visual Music will explore the theories, histories and practices of Visual Music. It features two days of talks and presentations from international scholars, artists, students, curators and researchers, plus a final half day of special sessions. Set in Sonoma County’s wine country.

A series of screenings feature historical and contemporary visual music works. CVM is pleased to present this symposium in association with Sonoma State University at their Rohnert Park campus. Some of the special events are off-campus.The Symposium features talks on music visualization, sonification, color organs, visual music and art history, Oskar Fischinger, James

Whitney, Norman McLaren, Charles Blanc-Gatti, John Cage, Teaching Visual Music, 1960s psychedelic light shows, mapping, oscillocopes, preservation and more. Plus special video spotlights on Mary Ellen Bute and others, and screenings. A preview of the program is online."

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Jee-ook Choi for Rimowa.

It’s all about reputation now

Say goodbye to the information age
April 8th, 2018

Via Aeon: "Gloria Origgi is an Italian philosopher, and a tenured senior researcher at CNRS (the French National Centre for Scientific Research) in Paris. Her latest book is Reputation: What It Is and Why It Matters (2017), translated by Stephen Holmes and Noga Arikha.

There is an underappreciated paradox of knowledge that plays a pivotal role in our advanced hyper-connected liberal democracies: the greater the amount of information that circulates, the more we rely on so-called reputational devices to evaluate it. What makes this paradoxical is that the vastly increased access to information and knowledge we have today does not empower us or make us more cognitively autonomous. Rather, it renders us more dependent on other people’s judgments and evaluations of the information with which we are faced.

We are experiencing a fundamental paradigm shift in our relationship to knowledge. From the ‘information age’, we are moving towards the ‘reputation age’, in which information will have value only if it is already filtered, evaluated and commented upon by others. Seen in this light, reputation has become a central pillar of collective intelligence today. It is the gatekeeper to knowledge, and the keys to the gate are held by others. The way in which the authority of knowledge is now constructed makes us reliant on what are the inevitably biased judgments of other people, most of whom we do not know. [...]

The paradigm shift from the age of information to the age of reputation must be taken into account when we try to defend ourselves from ‘fake news and other misinformation and disinformation techniques that are proliferating through contemporary societies. What a mature citizen of the digital age should be competent at is not spotting and confirming the veracity of the news. Rather, she should be competent at reconstructing the reputational path of the piece of information in question, evaluating the intentions of those who circulated it, and figuring out the agendas of those authorities that leant it credibility.

Whenever we are at the point of accepting or rejecting new information, we should ask ourselves: Where does it come from? Does the source have a good reputation? Who are the authorities who believe it? What are my reasons for deferring to these authorities? Such questions will help us to get a better grip on reality than trying to check directly the reliability of the information at issue. In a hyper-specialised system of the production of knowledge, it makes no sense to try to investigate on our own, for example, the possible correlation between vaccines and autism. It would be a waste of time, and probably our conclusions would not be accurate. In the reputation age, our critical appraisals should be directed not at the content of information but rather at the social network of relations that has shaped that content and given it a certain deserved or undeserved ‘rank’ in our system of knowledge.

These new competences constitute a sort of second-order epistemology. They prepare us to question and assess the reputation of an information source, something that philosophers and teachers should be crafting for future generations."

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Example for Stadtgarten's new corporate design by Christian Schäfer.

Redefining Stadtgarten's personality

European Center for Jazz and Contemporary Music
April 4th, 2018

Via Stadtgarten: "The Park-Restaurant Stadtgarten was first opened in 1898 and is located within Cologne's oldest inner-city park Stadtgarten. After a colourful history, in 1985 the city of Cologne agreed to a long term lease contract with the Initiative Kölner Jazz Haus e.V., both for the park grounds and its building. Initiative Kölner Jazz Haus is an association of Cologne musicians, founded in 1978. Also in 1985 Stadtgarten Restaurant Betriebs GmbH was founded, and reopened the restaurant after its renovation. [...]

On September 4th 1986, the concert hall was opened and in 1997 Studio 672 [former Schmuck-Kästchen] was reopened in its basement. Today the entire venue hosts up to 400 concerts per year.
In 2016, Stadtgarten received the Venue of the Year award by the German government as part of their the venue programming award Applaus. In 2018, the venue was transformed into the European Center for Jazz and Contemporary Music with support from the state of North-Rhine Westphalia and the City of Cologne."

Reiner Michalke, program director for the renowned Stadtgarten venue, hired me to support their executive team to reposition the Stadtgarten identity. Over the course of one year I led the team to reflect and brainstorm on the uniqueness of their concert hall, club, and restaurant. We also started a concentrated research into the different audiences to understand their values and interests.

This process finally resulted in a precise design briefing, which Reiner Michalke used to call a pitch for Stadtgarten's new corporate design. Cologne based designer Christian Schäfer won and created a striking visual identity, which is praised throughout the community and widely recognized.

The Stadtgarten team was one of the most engaged, and inspired clients I have ever had the pleasure to work with. And it is quite wonderful to see how they achieved a complete repositioning of this much loved venue. The endeavor of carefully refacing an identity is always quite a challenge, and achieving it in a group is even harder but if you succeed, you win on all levels.

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Jannis Hannover

Raumbewegungen
April 2nd, 2018

The Raumbewegungen project by Jannis Hannover is concerned with the sonification of environmental data. The focus of the study is the public space, which is created and used by human beings, and the way it changes physically within a particular time span. The sonified environmental data include temperature, air pressure, humidity, vibrations in the ground, CO2 levels, and movement. The translation of the fluctuating environmental data in an open space into sounds yielded an abstract composition, which made the constant reconfiguration of the environment audible. In addition, it provides the new soundtrack of a synchronized and alienated film of the place.
The result is an audio-visual interaction between electronic, abstract sounds and a video, which demonstrates the influence of people on the characteristics of their immediate environment.

Raumbewegungen by Jannis Hannover was an exam project for the Visual Music major at the Institute For Music And Media of the Robert Schumann conservatory. Marcus Schmickler and I supervised the project.

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Christoph Beck

Focus
April 1st, 2018

Participants in the Focus installation by Christoph Beck attempt to focus their attention on a mantra in front of them. When they allow themselves to be distracted, they transform the distraction into the focus. If they ignore the distractions this suggests that their internal thinking processes were 'louder' than the external impulses.
The installation reflects how the way we interact with ourselves and the external world leaves traces within us. It links up with the internal processes of the autonomous nervous system in order to show that participants direct their own well-being by means of conscious processing of distractions. 

Focus by Christoph Beck was an exam project for the Visual Music major at the Institute For Music And Media of the Robert Schumann conservatory. Marcus Schmickler and I supervised the project.

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Vincent Stange

Transformation in Sync
March 31st, 2018

The installation Transformation in Sync by Vincent Stange reflects the connection and separateness of rooms. Both, the sound and the lighting, play a crucial part in this installation. On February 14, 2018 Vincent Stange presented his sound and light composition on the two floors of Filmwerkstatt Düsseldorf. The audience was exposed to equally strong auditory and visual stimuli. What they heard was converted to light and back again to sound. The central question in this study is whether a light composition can replace musical elements or whether it remains only a visual event.

Transformation in Sync by Vincent Stange was an exam project for the Visual Music major at the Institute For Music And Media of the Robert Schumann conservatory. Marcus Schmickler and I supervised the project.

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Journey in Satchidananda (1971) b Alice Coltrane.

Music on Good Friday

by the One and Only Alice Coltrane
March 30th, 2018

Via Wikipedia: "Discography as leader:
A Monastic Trio (Impulse!, 1968)
Cosmic Music (Impulse!, 1966–68) with John Coltrane
Huntington Ashram Monastery (Impulse!, 1969)
Ptah, the El Daoud (Impulse!, 1970)
Journey in Satchidananda (Impulse!, 1970)
Universal Consciousness (Impulse!, 1971)[15]
World Galaxy (Impulse!, 1972)
Lord of Lords (Impulse!, 1973)
Reflection on Creation and Space (a Five Year View) (Impulse!, 1973; compilation)
Illuminations (Columbia, 1974) with Carlos Santana
Eternity (Warner Bros, 1975)
Radha-Krsna Nama Sankirtana (Warner Bros., 1976)
Transcendence (Warner Bros., 1977)
Transfiguration (Warner Bros., 1978)
Turiya Sings (Avatar Book Institute, 1982)
Divine Songs (Avatar, 1987)
Infinite Chants (Avatar, 1990)
Glorious Chants (Avatar, 1995)
Priceless Jazz Collection (GRP, 1998; compilation)
Astral Meditations (Impulse!, 1999; compilation)
Translinear Light (Impulse!, 2004)
The Impulse Story (Impulse!, 2006; compilation)
World Spiritual Classics: Volume I: The Ecstatic Music of Alice Coltrane Turiyasangitananda (Luaka Bop, 2017; compilation)"

Thanks to Sarah Szczesny!

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rand

Ruggero Maramotti somehow got fired from National Geographic.

Thoughts without a thinker

by Mark Epstein, M.D.

Via Mark Epstein: "A landmark contribution to the field of psychoanalysis, Thoughts Without a Thinker describes how Buddhist teachings in particular have reshaped understandings of our minds and behavior. Drawing upon his own experiences as a psychotherapist and meditator, New York-based psychiatrist Mark Epstein lays out the path to meditation inspired healing. Now with a new preface by the author, Thoughts Without a Thinker offers a revolutionary understanding of what constitutes a healthy emotional life."

Via The New York Times: "The problem with the ego, according to Mr. Epstein, is that it wants so badly to know. 'The ego comes into being when we’re two or three or four years old,' he said, 'just feeling our own separateness and how difficult it is to navigate the external pressures from parents and teachers, and the internal pressures of one’s biology, one’s drives and so on. The ego wants security and stability and coherence. It’s rooted in the intellect, so it tells stories. It fastens on to the first stories that start to make sense, both positive and negative.'
We then incessantly repeat these stories to ourselves 'under our breath,' as Mr. Epstein writes in the new book. The classic stubborn story dealt with in therapy, he said, can be summarized in four words: 'The problem is me.' And the low self-esteem reinforced by such stories 'is as much ego as the puffed-up, I’m the best, competitive, American way we ordinarily think of the ego.' "

Via Wikipedia: "Epstein has been a practicing Buddhist since his early twenties, when he traveled to Ajahn Chah's forest Buddhist monastery near Bangkok, Thailand together with his American Buddhist teachers Joseph Goldstein, Jack Kornfield, and Richard Alpert.
He is a contributing editor to Tricycle: The Buddhist Review and his books include Thoughts Without a Thinker, and Going to Pieces without Falling Apart. Both books deal with the difficult and counter-intuitive Eastern teachings of non-self."

Thanks to Nina Juric!

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