Over, Under, Around, and Through

April 21, 2015 · Print This Article

Ingrid Burrington recently spoke at the 4th Floor, “a public laboratory and educational facility with a focus on information, design, technology, and the applied arts” at the Chattanooga Public Library. She talked in detail about her research into the physical internet and the ways in which we can interact with that physical presence, including Networks of New York: An Internet Infrastructure Field Guide. My infrastructure seeking eyes that follow power lines and stormwater overflow and ears that stop at buzzing transformers and traffic signal cabinets have been renewed by Burrington’s investigations and provocations.


Ingrid Burrington, Infrastructure Studies, via Ingrid Burrington

Chattanooga has one of the fastest internet speeds in the world. That internet is advertised widely and its impacts on development and gentrification within the city are readily apparent. The infrastructure of that internet is, however, still hidden in plain sight. Burrington reminds us that the powerful forces that mold our lives and are felt in the lived experience of the city are rooted in physical places and pipes and wires. Vast hidden networks, systems, and bodies power and maintain our daily lives. We can begin to see the full richness of the world and understand how to change it by questioning and attempting to see through the built world, by noticing the infrastructure under our feet, over our head, within our walls.

Similarly, we can begin to see the full richness of artworks by questioning and attempting to understand the context of the gallery and the museum that hold them. It is no surprise the wall color, the lights, the temperature, the presence of other bodies affects our experience of artworks. The context of the museum exists in plain sight, if we know how to look for it and if we are vigilant in investigating the traces that cannot be erased.


Gajin Fujita, Play Mate

Gajin Fujita’s solo exhibition opened this month at the Hunter Museum of American Art. It is centered around four large, vibrant paintings that dominate the gallery. His paintings are bright and action-packed, and they reveal increasingly complex layers as they are unwrapped. They blend the figures, faces, themes, and composition of Japanese woodblock prints, contemporary pop cultural references, and graffiti culture. They mirror the digital world of anonymity and multiplicity. Beneath the flat, richly patterned, and layered surface, they reveal serious questions about the boundaries of appropriation and collaboration, formal cultural institutions and street art, traditional craft and the porousness of digital life.


Gajin Fujita, K2S Crew

A quote from Fujita on the wall above his painting K2S Crew reads, “Collaboration plays a role in my larger works…I invite friends from my crews to come in and tag the backgrounds. I started doing this because I wanted to mimic how we work on the street …the yard walls became heavily layered with graffiti, and I wanted to recreate a small piece of that within my paintings; the layer over layer over layer look.”


Gajin Fujita, Getting Harey

The paintings visually reflect that process, but the paintings themselves are far removed from the context of street art. The white walls of the gallery are sparsely hung; the paintings have labels explaining historic and contemporary references. Visitors are reminded that the gallery contains mature content. The “friends” and “crews” remain as anonymous as they would if they tagged buildings, yet Fujita is the only named and celebrated artist within the exhibition. The context of the Hunter is inextricable from the experience of Fujita’s work there, but I have questions about the work that can only flourish outside of the museum. I want to know more about Fujita’s process, the lived experience of co-creation, and the ways in which the infrastructure and people of LA intertwine with his work beyond the surface.

Fujita’s work, and all art, must live in multiple locations, within white cubes and out among the blooming trees, the pipes that carry sewage under our feet, and the electromagnetic waves that fuel our daily lives as they pass through us. We have hidden the world from ourselves, and we hide artworks within museums and galleries. It is the physical form of the internet that facilitates our simultaneous experience of locations around the world. How will museums and galleries help us experience the artwork they contain with similar simultaneity?

Best Halloween Costume Idea of 2010 Goes To

November 12, 2010 · Print This Article

Last year it was the amazing 8bit girl costume which I was eagerly awaiting to see what she would do this year and the costume seemed to be closing down her site so in it’s place the Best Halloween Costume idea of 2010 goes to the Amazing Banksy “Flower Thrower”.

George Schnakenberg has taken the iconic 2d graffiti work and turned it in to a living breathing (through a handkerchief) 3d person. You can see via his flickr stream his night out partying and either his proposal or attack of Raggedy Ann.

The costume is quite well done and best of all comfortable and versatile. Hope everyone had a great Halloween this year.

Bad at Sports on the Social Media Strategy Panel at Art Chicago

May 2, 2010 · Print This Article

Thanks to everyone for coming out to the “Social Media Strategies in Chicago’s Art Community” panel hosted by Art Critic Alicia Eler and Chicago Gallery News’ Ginny Berg at Art Chicago today. I loved talking with Karla Loring, Museum of Contemporary Art; Crystal Pernell, Hyde Park Art Center; and Carrie Heinonen, Art Institute of Chicago about all things tech & strategy and hope that it was useful or atleast entertaining for those of you in attendance. Every group on that dais has my upmost respect for the work they do in the Arts day in and out and it is an honor to have Bad at Sports counted among them.

As promised in the talk there is a program that is quite useful in Twitter to let you know who starts following you and more importantly who drops your account. At the time I was trying to think of Chirpstats and couldn’t get the word out but the great Crystal Pernell was kind enough to remind me of Qwitter which does more then Chirpstats by working to tie the drop to a specific tweet. This can be extremely useful if at times a bit misleading but a great alternative to Chirpstats which is only a weekly update but less taxing on an email account.

The net is a wonderful place to meet, share, promote and wallow in all the things you love or cherish and social media for me is a great tool to help accomplish & magnify those desires. I still say though the most important thing is to service the end users like they are your boss, anything less is putting the cart before the horse. Feed them data, facts, images & yes even sugar and rumors some days but remember that twitter, facebook, digg, stumbleupon, and whatever is next are only a means to that end. It’s something that even we have to be vigilant to keep in perspective and doesn’t come easy for anyone especially when you have to answer to a comittee; I have deep sympathy there. I look forward to the next time we can get everyone together and have honest and open talks about how we go about trying to promote and grow this thing we love called Art.

Thanks again for coming out!

BaS ArtChicago Coverage: Tuesday – The Cost of Doing Business

April 27, 2010 · Print This Article

Well it’s almost that time of the year again, High Holy week in Chicago where we all pilgrimage to the Merchandise Mart and endlessly complain how much we don’t want to be there. Which is kind of a shame really? The doors haven’t even opened, exhibitors are still unloading their wares (oh I’m sorry is that word verboten? :) and there is already a collective shrug/ennui working it’s way from gallerists to collectors to The Tribune. I am not suprised, unaware as to why or in disagreement really. The only thing less exciting then spending money on a show during a depression (oh those words again) that is collectivly expected to be poorly attended, poorly reviewed, have low sales and be generally as exciting, sharp & sexy as a slightly used chew toy is to not have one at all and instead we all stay home cleaning our patio decks/yards. It’s not that I don’t get it, I do. Make the best of it, stay together for the kids, you go to war with the army you have not the army you want (yea don’t like the taste of that phrase do you lol).

In a little bit here I am going to lay into the Mart over something and I am sure it will not be the first or last time that either I, Meg, Claudine, The Tribune, Rhona Hoffman or some prairie dog on the net uninformed or unfairly chimes off but before I do does anyone remember the word “Fun”?

If you work in the Art world in any capacity right now you could be easily making a better salary in say Print on mean average so if you’re still here it’s because you love it, chose it & in fact tell everyone else it chose you. So if we are not going to make a fortune, redefine art for the hundredth time this Century, rock the culture with something new or even agree what is the new Deer, Squid or Skull for this year can we at least agree to have some fun? I’m not saying fiddle while Rome burns. Do your due diligence and once that is done, share a laugh, have a meal with a large group, drink, dance,  greet old friends from out of town or even Continent but cut the emo angst and smile (Even you Scott Speh).

Arts a joyful struggle, it never becomes a breeze & it is never the way we want it to be 100% so in the gap between perfection & worthlessness lets remember why we got into this and have some fun cause everyone from the unpaid gallery interns to Chris Kennedy is working hard believe it or not, I know.

Having now said that, there are reports coming in that the Merchandise Mart is looking to charge the exhibitors $49.99 a day for wifi access. Now I have personally worked to provide wifi access for over 100 exhibitors in a large space and can say it is a thankless task that is readily abused by 10% of the users, requires constant oversight if you have power fluctuations of any sort, is consistently reported down when in reality it works and the problem is exhibitor’s laptops running Chinese drivers, or Macs with more warez then actual programs.

Oh do I have sympathy but $49.99 a day let me say that again so that it sinks in $49.99 a day is “screw off” pricing that you do to chase away clients so that you don’t have to provide the service to many & the ones that you do it’s crazy profit. So is that where the business model is right now with the Mart? Are things so tight that we are looking to cut costs and services or gouge to bridge the gap? If so I am sorry for your troubles but if not this is beyond the pale pricing and even I am going to call bunk on that.

Change it before you open, it’s the best PR you can have with exhibitors stuck in one place for hours on end when you can provide reasonably priced internet. Trust me many would rather surf and email then sell, you think I’m joking but I’m not. There is no excuse for that price point unless we’re talking 10MBs up and down which I almost know we are not.

Lets do some good sales, make some good connections & remember have some fun. I’ve seen accountants smile more lately.

MoMA’s Live Streaming Marina-Cam Invites Everyone To Be Present

March 22, 2010 · Print This Article

Screen grab from Live-Streaming Video of "The Artist Is Present"

Does the Museum of Modern Art’s live feed of Marina Abramović’s performance “The Artist is Present” defeat the purpose of the piece, or enhance it? “The Artist is Present” is the title of both Abramović’s retrospective, which opened at MoMA on March 14th, as well as her new live performance, which takes place in MoMA’s Marron Atrium throughout the run of the exhibition.  In her performance, Abramović sits on a wooden chair in front of a wooden table. The chair across from her is occupied by different museum visitors, who are invited to take a seat across from the artist and gaze at her while she gazes at them. Visitors are allowed to sit in the chair for as long as they want. (One man stayed for seven hours).  MoMA’s exhibition website notes that the retrospective as a whole endeavors to “transmit the presence of the artist” by including “live re-performances” of Abramović’s works by other people, along with this new durational performance by the artist herself.

I couldn’t find any mention of how live streaming the performance fits into the exhibition’s overall attempts to “transmit the artist’s presence,” however. Ideally, of course, viewers will experience Abramović’s performance in a more direct fashion, either by sitting across from her or watching from the audience as other people share her gaze.  But the existence of MoMA’s live streaming “marina-cam” (my nickname, not theirs) is downright puzzling. What’s the purpose of streaming a performance–one which purportedly explores what it means to “be present” in this particular historical moment — for the benefit of anonymous internet users who can engage with it only by staring at their computer screens for a few seconds at a time?

For a work of art that necessitates ‘presence’ in all the multivalent meanings of the term, I find it curious that Abramović agreed to the livecam broadcast in the first place. Read more