Reddit Co-Founder Indicted for Downloading Too Many JSTOR Articles

July 20, 2011 · Print This Article

Does information really want to be free? *Should* it be free? These questions came to my mind upon learning that Aaron Swartz–founder and director of Demand Progress, co-founder of Reddit, and founder of, a site dedicated to making it easier for people to locate and retrieve government data–was arrested yesterday for allegedly downloading too many journal articles from JSTOR. From The Boston Globe:

Aaron Swartz, a Cambridge web entrepreneur and political activist who has lobbied for the free flow of information on the Internet, was charged in federal court with hacking into a subscription-based archive system at MIT and stealing more than 4 million articles, including scientific and academic journals.

Swartz, 24, who at the time of the alleged hacking in fall 2010 was a fellow at Harvard University’s Edmond J. Safra Center for Ethics, was charged in an indictment unsealed yesterday with wire fraud, computer fraud, unlawfully obtaining information from a protected computer, and recklessly damaging a protected computer. He faces up to 35 years in prison and a $1 million fine.

Although just 24, Swartz has long been an activist for the free flow of information, and has published many articles decrying the influence of corporate money on nonprofit institutions, the media, and public opinion in general. Until recently Swartz was a fellow at Harvard University’s Edmond J. Safra Center for Ethics. It’s not yet clear whether Swartz meant to make the JSTOR documents he downloaded freely distributable to the public or if he planned only to study those documents as part of his ongoing research on the influence of corporate money on institutions. You can read further details about Swartz’s indictment on Kottke here.

Swartz’s case may not be as easy to get behind as that of Ai Wei Wei, whose ongoing oppression at the hands of the Chinese government has appalled and fascinated free speech activists and the international artworld for a number of months now. Swartz’s actions fall into that grey area of ethical (and obviously legal) conduct that, for some, makes his current predicament harder to rally behind. But to me his case signifies ideas no less vital for us to consider than those represented by Ai Wei Wei’s situation – and it’s happening in the United States. If you want to follow Swartz’ case, or take action (which, not surprisingly, means going to a website and signing a petition), go to Demand Progress, the site for whom Swartz currently serves as director.

Episode 307: Mark Bradford

July 19, 2011 · Print This Article

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This week: Duncan and Claudine talk with Mark Bradford!

Deeply influenced by his experience growing up in South Central Los Angeles, the titles of his works often allude to stereotypes and the dynamics of class, race, and gender-based economies that structure urban society in the United States, specifically those of Los Angeles where he lives and works.

An anthropologist of his own environment, Bradford describes himself as a “modern-day flaneur,” saying, “I like to walk through the city and find details and then abstract them and make them my own. I’m not speaking for a community or trying to make a sociopolitical point. At the end it’s my mapping. My subjectivity.”

UPDATE-Our friends at the CAC want you to learn stuff and they are willing to help.

July 18, 2011 · Print This Article

As we all know, there are a number of institutional (SAIC, Columbia College, UIC…) and less-institutional (Paul Klein’s Artist Works, CAR’s lecture series, Three Walls salons…) ways to get yourself educated about the art world and the ways that artists support their careers. We at Bad at Sports have always been interested in and a fierce supporter of transparency and explanation, so we are excited about every affordable educational opportunity we can find.
Our friends at the Chicago Artists Coalition have gone through a number of changes in the last couple of years and look posed to dramatically change a lot of artists lives. So we have been waiting with interest to see what they would do with their educational workshops. We will no longer, the first is this Saturday.

UPDATE-They are now delaying the discussion till September as to accommodate all of us who are out of town for the summer.


Technology + Art

You understand how social networks work. Now make social networks work for you.

In this seminar, a series of speakers will demonstrate the significance of social media technology and why it’s too important to ignore, how to effectively use the leading social networks to promote yourself and your work, and help you to pinpoint the social media outlets most relevant to your artistic practice.

Speakers: MartinJon Garcia, Creator of ChicagoArts; Anijo Matthew of Illinois Institute of Technology; and Pek Pongpaet, VP of Technology and Product for SpotOn Inc; Panel Moderator: Sara Schnadt of Chicago Artists Resource.

Our seminar will be a mixture of presentations, discussion and a Question & Answer segment to address your particular questions. Handouts will be provided.

Date: Saturday, July 23, 2011 now some time in september
Time: 1 – 4:30 pm
Location: Chicago Artists’ Coalition (217 N. Carpenter, Chicago, IL 60607)

Cost: $25 (CAC Members) or $45 (Non-Members).

Registration is here.

One Night Only: “A Small Forest” at Kunsthalle New this Saturday Evening 7-10

July 15, 2011 · Print This Article

Just popping in on this beautiful Friday afternoon to give a heads’ up about a one-night only exhibition event at Kunsthalle New this Saturday (that means tomorrow) night, July 16th, from 7 to 10 pm. Titled “A Small Forest,” it includes the work of artists Michael Manning, Camilla Padgitt-Coles, Kate Steciw, and Michiel van der Zanden. The show is co-curated by Nicholas O’Brien and Bea Fremderman, and focuses on “delicate landscapes manipulated by the space of the screen” – love this premise! Full details below; and remember, its a one-night event so catch it this Saturday evening!


A Small Forest

artist included:
Michael Manning
Camilla Padgitt-Coles
Kate Steciw
Michiel van der Zanden

Co-Curated by Bea Fremderman and Nicholas O’Brien

A Small Forest explores delicate landscapes developed and appropriated by artist that have been found and manipulated within the space of the screen. The scale and focus of these environments varies between each maker, however the underlying self-reflexiveness of each participant is reflected in the tenderness of the spaces that they shape. Manning employs gifs to create delicate animation loops that reflect on a recent past, a distant landscape, and the resulting forgotten emotion that was once occupied but now remains abstract. The lush super-saturated moments found within Padgitt-Coles’ digital images linger in an ambient realm that only appears in discarded or neglected VHS b-roll footage from backyard nature documentaries. The abstract nostalgia of Manning and Padgitt-Coles is countered by the physical reconfiguration of Steciw’s rug which reminds us our physical presence in the space of the screen. Lastly, van der Zanden’s machinima employs a humorous approach to tackling the issue of land and its representation in digital frameworks. Together these artists create a suite of subtle works that slow the otherwise rapid navigation of the networked world, and give pause to allow for the sublime properties of land to take precedence when entering screen space.

For Fellow Playmobil Fans….

July 15, 2011 · Print This Article

Pure awesomeness. An extended shot of designer Jasper Morrison’s Playmobil collection. It’s kinda like the Utopian flip-side of that famous tracking scene from Jean-Luc Godard’s 1967 film Weekend, no? Even if it isn’t, I like how it looks when they’re played simultaneously. Happy weekend people.

(Playmobil Via Things magazine).

Swap & Share at Arnold Circus from Jasper Morrison Shop on Vimeo.