Lines Made by Walking: Producing Spaces

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My keynote speech is scheduled for May 19th at 6 pm. 7th Inter-format Symposium Along Lines, at Nida Art Colony, Lithuania.

Abstract: Space doesn’t just exist; it has been produced from a primary matter, nature, argues Henri Lefebvre. It is the result of activity – political products and strategic spaces – that implies economics and technique but goes beyond them. There is not one social space but many.

As GPS technology came of age in the mid 1990s, artists turned to walking as a “symbolic form”, a way to pursue architectural concerns or to explore spatial perception. By the early twenty-first century, the convergence of global networks, online databases and new tools for location-based mapping coincided with the renewal of interest in walking as an art form. Imagining the city (and the world) as a set of crisscrossing paths, practitioners of locative media embedded stories and sounds in the landscape. Instead of “colonizing space” as mapmakers are wont to do, by eliminating the traces of the practices that produced their maps, they developed techniques of spatial annotation to retrieve lost layers of meaning.

“Remaking the world” is often done in smoke-filled cafes. A more effective tactic might be called “applied pedestrianism”: the use of walking, the lines it makes and the experiences it offers, to produce new spaces. Continue reading

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Along Lines: Inter-format Symposium 2017

I have been invited to speak at the 7th Inter-format Symposium Along Lines, by Nida Art Colony on May 19- 22 2017. The symposium “will reflect on the line as a very basic visual element and medium of knowledge. In the geopolitical context, the shoreline and borders of the Curonian spit, a group of artists, philosophers, scientists, archaeologists, dancers and musicians is invited to reflect on the contemporary means/gesture of the line facing fluctuating information, ecological changes and new territories. Using the line as a symbolic/metaphoric as well as analytical instrument the symposium presents different strategies to sketch and connect the world through methods of mapping, walking, drawing, recording, performing, swimming, writing, reading or singing.” Continue reading

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Talk at Anhembi-Morumbi University

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Art, action and participation at the National Museum in Brasilia

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Frank Popper’s title Art, action and participation is the theme of the 15th International Meeting of Art and Technology (# 15.ART) in Brasilia at the Museu Nacional da República. The conference runs from  October 3 – 6, 2016. I’ll be speaking tomorrow at 8:30 am with Gilbertto Prado. The exhibition EmMeio#8.0, curated by Maria Luiza Fragoso, Tania Fraga and Suzete Venturelli, opens tomorrow and runs till October 30.

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AlterMapping : Journée d’étude

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Aesthetics of the Gift – Fresh from the press!

"Aesthetics of the gift" Figures de l'art 28

“Aesthetics of the gift” Figures de l’art n° 28

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Review of Re-collection: Art, New Media, and Social Memory

In the 1990s a number of artists produced interactive artworks on cd-rom. It was, we thought, the medium of the future: more durable than videotape, cheaper than a book to print, and when used on a personal computer, it allowed the viewer to chart a unique path through layered images, texts and sounds. Mine was six years in the making yet, barely six months after it left the press, Apple’s new operating system no longer recognized the software. The company that made the software was bought by a competitor, the programming language was discontinued and cd-roms soon went the way of floppy disks and key punch cards.

Artists working in digital media regularly face the dilemma of obsolescence, but the problem of preservation concerns all types of new and experimental media. To make this point, the authors of Re-collection: Art, New Media, and Social Memory begin by comparing the fate of Eva Hesse’s experimental sculpture Expanded Expansion (1969) with her friend Sol Lewitt’s wall drawings. Lewitt’s work would have been more ephemeral than Hesse’s if he hadn’t happened on to an elegant preservation solution that dovetailed with his artistic program. Instead of making the drawings himself, he gave instructions for others to follow, accompanied by diagrams that served as scores for future interpretations. Hesse, on the other hand, experimented with new materials such as rubberized cheesecloth and polyester resin to make her sculptures. When she died in 1970 these materials hadn’t yet had the time to become opaque and brittle. Today Expanded Expansion languishes in a warehouse, a ghost of its former self, while Sol Lewitt’s wall drawings continue to be realized by gallery assistants the world over.
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