The Ungovernables

The 2012 New Museum Triennial features thirty-four artists, artist groups, and temporary collectives—totaling over fifty participants—born between the mid-1970s and mid-1980s, many of whom have never before exhibited in the US.

“The Ungovernables,” the second triennial exhibition at the New Museum, acknowledges the impossibility of fully representing a generation in formation and instead embraces the energy of that generation’s urgencies. These urgencies are formal and philosophical, material and ideological. They stem from the unique experiences of this generation who came of age in the aftermath of the independence and revolutionary movements that promised to topple Western colonialism. However, these revolutions became mired in military dictatorships, the emergence of integrated world capitalism, regional and global economic crises, the rise of fundamentalism, and international interventions as well as failures to intervene. Faced with this somewhat bleak inheritance, artists in “The Ungovernables” embrace their complex relationship to history and assert a remarkable resourcefulness, pragmatism, and hopefulness in their work.

” …the object, expected to be one of the showstoppers at “The Ungovernables,” the museum’s Triennial — which opens on Wednesday with more than 50 young artists from around the world — was made by human hands. Using mostly clay, one of the world’s oldest and plainest art-making materials, a crew of six men and women from Argentina assembled, shaped and carved the piece, working seven days a week for the last month under the direction of a 31-year-old sculptor named Adrián Villar Rojas.” Read the rest here.


Folklorist’s Global Jukebox Goes Digital

“The folklorist and ethnomusicologist Alan Lomax was a prodigious collector of traditional music from all over the world and a tireless missionary for that cause. Long before the Internet existed, he envisioned a “global jukebox” to disseminate and analyze the material he had gathered during decades of fieldwork.

A decade after his death technology has finally caught up to Lomax’s imagination. Just as he dreamed, his vast archive — some 5,000 hours of sound recordings, 400,000 feet of film, 3,000 videotapes, 5,000 photographs and piles of manuscripts, much of it tucked away in forgotten or inaccessible corners — is being digitized so that the collection can be accessed online. About 17,000 music tracks will be available for free streaming by the end of February, and later some of that music may be for sale as CDs or digital downloads.

On Tuesday, to commemorate what would have been Lomax’s 97th birthday, the Global Jukebox label is releasing “The Alan Lomax Collection From the American Folklife Center,” a digital download sampler of 16 field recordings from different locales and stages of Lomax’s career.” Read the rest here.

When skyscrapers are your screen.

“Mr. Skola and his creative partner Max Nova create guerrilla projections; that is, works that are shown in public without any of the necessary approvals. They are part of a “video mapping” art scene that is bubbling up in New York, London and other urban centers. While video projection art is not new, it has become much more ambitious thanks to recent advancements in 3-D-projection mapping, a technology that helps create the illusion of multidimensional movement across or around the contours of any surface, regardless of its shape. And cheaper versions of video mapping software are now on the market, opening up the medium to a wider array of artists. A departure from box-office fare like “Avatar,” these projections require no special glasses to perceive them in three dimensions; popular online clips, like one of hands playing a building like it’s a piano, by Urbanscreen, a company in Germany, demonstrate the seductive power of this medium.” Read the rest here.

Rewind – Laurel Nakadate

Laurel Nakadate: Only the Lonely

January 23, 2011—August 15, 2011

Laurel Nakadate is known for her works in video, photography, and feature-length film. This is Nakadate’s first large-scale museum exhibition and will feature works made over the last ten years in all three media, including her early video works, in which she was invited into the homes of anonymous men to dance, pose, or even play dead in their kitchens, bedrooms, and living rooms.


Waste Land

Unreal City,
Under the brown fog of a winter dawn,
A crowd flowed over London Bridge, so many,
I had not thought death had undone so many.
Sighs, short and infrequent, were exhaled,
And each man fixed his eyes before his feet.

To most, the term ‘dumpster diving’ comes to mind with only enough consideration allotted to last resort preoccupations or musing the  questionable antics of an evolving freegan culture.  To the locals of Jardim Gramacho, the essence of the act comes with the urgency of everyday survival.  Lucy Walker’s recent film “Waste Land”, starring the contemporary Vik Muniz, follows the recycling lives of the towns natives in documentary style.  The film interweaves several dumpster-side chats with the catadores and Muniz’s recyclable portraiture of them.  Carol Kino’s article in The New York Times relates in lexical documentary the worlds of people like Tião Santos, who used the junkyards discarded literature to educate himself to the point of heading an organization for the catadores, and Muniz, who would find himself using the same remains for protraiture of whom the profits would benefit:

“The film, directed by Lucy Walker (“Blindsight,” “Countdown to Zero”), tracks the development of a 2008 series of monumental photographic portraits made from trash. Called “Pictures of Garbage,” they were created by Mr. Muniz in collaboration with the garbage pickers of Jardim Gramacho, a 321-acre open-air dump just outside Rio that is one of the largest landfills in Latin America.

This informal workforce — or catadores, as they are known — are the reason Brazil, with only a few municipal recycling programs, manages to reclaim a huge percentage of its trash, said Sonia Dias, the waste-picker specialist for Wiego, a global policy research group. This summer Brazil passed a law to eradicate open dumps and integrate the catadores into the recycling industry. Yet the catadores are still an underclass. The film tells the story of Mr. Muniz’s efforts to help those at Jardim Gramacho take charge of their lives, while giving them a new perspective on the world through art. …

The catadores in the film soon reveal themselves to be as personality-packed as Mr. Muniz. They include Tião Santos, president of the workers’ cooperative Association of Collectors of the Metropolitan Landfill of Jardim Gramacho; the scholarly Zumbi, who has educated himself by reading discarded books; Suellem, a teenage mother who has worked at Gramacho and lived in its shantytown since her childhood; and Magna, who became a catador when she and her husband fell on hard times. Though their work may be grim and dangerous, many of them seem to have a crystal clear idea of its environmental worth. And, as Magna says, “It’s better than turning tricks at Copacabana.” ”

To read further about Muniz’s own progression from his past, continue with the rest of the article at The New York Times.
The official trailer for ‘Waste Land’:

Creative Expression, In Starts and Less Stops

The Film Industry: Now an Equal Opportunity Employer

In many cases, success acts as the best promotional advertisement.  It doesn’t take more than a single first-place cross country runner to initiate a spike in Nike sales, or an exemplary actor to charmingly draw in record-breaking ticket sales for Warner Bros. Pictures.  Three young gentlemen–Stuart Bury, Jeremy Casper, and Isaiah Powers–have happened upon the role of poster boys for Dragon Stop Motion.  Silver medal winner of the 37th Student Academy Awards, their six-minute short “Dried Up” exemplified the ease and efficiency of animated film now made accessible with such programs.  From “serious college and high school students” such as the three, Dragon Stop Motion and other such programs are expanding their reach to other hands: autistic children.  The user-friendly functioning now enables those deprived of expression and communication to more conveniently circumnavigate the realms of speech and writing, too laden with semantic structure and the pressure of articulation.  By sanctioning a greater threshold of ability, these new functions translate to new faculties for those barred from the freedom of self-expression.  Peter Wayner of The New York Times reviews this program in its success and outreach to Arts & Technology:

“To simulate movement and expression, animators bend or twist their objects ever so slightly between shots, a painstaking process that makes it difficult to achieve consistency from frame to frame. But now, software can help remedy that, with programs that help check the alignment of the camera and the lighting of the scene while letting the animator flip between recent images to see if the items are moving realistically.

That part of the process — synchronizing the shots — was what made it difficult for amateurs to make a good movie. “We have one really solid product, and we make it reachable for a serious college or high school student, considering the gadgets that kids have these days,” said Jamie Caliri, a stop-action film director and a founder of Dragon Stop. His co-founder and brother, Dyami, is the software programmer.

“I really enjoy putting the real tools into someone’s hands.”

“Young kids can make a film in their room and distribute it and have half a million people view it,” said Mr. Howell. “Very young kids can have huge audiences for their work. Not long ago, it was impossible to consider someone that young having access to an audience that large. Students of the art can find hundreds of stop-motion films on video-sharing sites like YouTube, many of which are constructed by children who are younger than 10.”

Mr. Howell also says that many schools, and even some medical centers, are using the software to tell stories because it lets children express themselves when traditional words fail them.

“It’s become the software of choice for working with autistic children,” said Mr. Howell. “They’re uncovering issues that they’re finding hard to talk about conventionally or by writing down, but they’re quite comfortable making a film about it.” ”

See for yourself in 6 minutes and 8 seconds what technology has made possible; Bury, Casper, and Powers’ “Dried Up:”