The Screen as a Canvas
This exhibition looks at the way the screen has become the new canvas, and the square that it is enclosed within as the gallery space. Artists rely on the television, video games, the computer screen and video cameras as their paintbrush for documenting the war on terror. The news is brought to us by a variety of screens, and the eight artists in this exhibition have reciprocated what they have seen in the news back to the viewer through their square, making it available to the viewer in their own home. These screens have a continuous movement, pixellation and change, therefore they are constantly in evolving, much like the subject matter they are presenting. These works are the artists' individual reactions to the issues that war has brought up, and they have each used everyday technologies to present their responses to the viewer through a medium which they are already dependent on for the news.
Marksmanship Training by Chris Reilly
Marksmanship Training is a video game performance using "the official U.S. Army game," America's Army. It has over six million registered players, and is used as a recruitment tool by the U.S. Army. The game "provides players with the most authentic military experience available, from exploring the development of Soldiers in individual and collective training to their deployment in simulated missions in the War on Terror." Chris Reilly has created a game that provides its players with an experience that they would have in the army, however, they do not ever have to leave their home because the computer will take them there instead. The artist in this situation has contributed to individual's desire to have an idea of what it would be like to fight in the war, and they can go there through the computer they use everyday. The video game has the ability to give its player an alternative life that they can come and go from as they please.
BushSpeech by Max Min
In this piece Max Min has taken a video of President Bush and removed the sound and text, leaving it open for the viewer to create their own "Bush Speech". By clicking the "OK" button, you accept that the author of the site does not take any responsibilty for any content you create on the site. Min has turned this piece around and put it back in the viewer's hands, and all he had to do was create the framework for individual's to have the opportunity so say what they wish the president would. This work combines television, video and the computer to bring the artist and consumer of these products together to create a variety of reactions to President Bush's speeches.
Shooter by G.H. Hovagimyan and Peter Sinclair
"Shooter looks at the steps to immersion in a game. The visitor enters the chamber and is surrounded by the ambient sounds of a gaming archade. In the center a mirrored cube emits laser beams which weave a web throughout the space. Upon tripping a laser visitors find themselves incorporated into the game, experiencing what it feels like to be the target. As with any game you always lose." This piece takes the familiar and makes it unfamiliar by causing the player to have to use their imagination to understand what they are experiencing, based on previous experiences they may have had. By making the viewer the target, they have no sense of control, it is the medium itself that controls this piece. This element of control that the medium has is similar to the way the media controls the viewers' conceptions of things, making them uncomfortable with they they do not understand. This is why the media wins and the viewers loose, because they are not able to control the way the information is being presented.
Digital Warfare Network (Project Phase Two) by James Coupe
A screen in amongst a rack of computers installed in the gallery would invite visitors to send a cellular phone text message, which would connect them to the Digital Warfare Network. If they complied, the installation would immediately send a text message to the visitor, telling them that they had become part of the Digital Warfare Network. All the information that the system could get from the visitor's message was automatically stored inside a database: message, phone number, date, time, etc. Every ten minutes, the system would select a message and a phone number from its database and send it to somebody connected to its system. The effect of this was that over the course of the time the project was exhibited, over 2,000 people were connected to the installation's system via their cellular phones and intermittently received messages from each other.
The interesting element of this piece is the way it using technology to connect people who do not know one another at all. Most people use their cell phones to contact people they know, yet James Coupe has reversed the typical use of the cell phone. He has used the screen as the visual component of the piece, but replaced the typical function of the computer to do something else by connecting cellular phone text messages.
The Palace at 4 am by Jon Kessler
Jon Kessler's piece best fits into the concept of replacing the canvas with a screen, as he has placed multiple televisions in the gallery space that each show a different image. The visual effect that this piece has reminds the viewer of the familiarity of watching a television, but they have been brought to a new environment to do so, and have no control over what is on the screen.
Musical and Visual Geopoetics by Arnaud Perennes
"In this context I am dealing mainly with the expression of my feelings from, on the one hand, viewing of news programmes, and on the other hand, hearing accounts from a friend who is a news reporter. I am aiming to portray the combination of these influences in a multimedia environment, performed using a mixture of 2D video, Flash animated cartoons, and Super 8 films, played and video-projected in real time. Making a performance out of something given and presented to us as is news.
"Is it war which is virtual, or the image of war?"
TV Channel by Omer Krieger
TV CHANNEL is a producer and distributor of public television;A laboratory for experimental television;A permanent media installation; A curatorial space;A cultural center;A model for a digital television channel.
TV CHANNEL produces live television, video works, public actions, music, prints, text, discussions and documents.
TV CHANNEL invents, appropriates, creates, reclaims, remixes, authors and authorizes public images and sounds that construct collective consciousnesses.
TV CHANNEL wishes to appear as a daily experience,journalism of a kind.
TV CHANNEL proposes a long look into the fundamental properties,the visual language and the political implications of what we all call 'television'.
What can art do when it is television?
Krieger is asking the viewer to think about what role television plays in their life. Art and television have a lot in common in the way they have the ability to alter images to give them different meanings, and this piece brings the two together just by placing the word "TV" in a work of art.
Ascii Bush by Yoshi Sodeoka
Electoral Drum Machine by Ruben Coen Cagli and Stefano Perna
It is evident - as shown by the italian political campaign in 2006 - that contemporary videopolitic strategies rest upon the circulation of meaningless patterns, audiovisual cells governed by the rules of rhythm, repetition, pulsation, where the permanence of elements that still signify appears as superfluous. What matters is the ability of the media object to graft to the social psychic fabric through the process of tuning. The meaningless fragment, thus, is able to duplicate itself and transfer its working schemes, namely to tune on itself the senses and percepts of the videolisteners. What was said is really of no importance.
The ber.loose.coin project presents a prototype device for the optimization of such a mechanism, trying to facilitate politicians' life. It removes the burden of contents, still used just as a makeup tool for the speech, and preserves the molecules of rhythm, vision and sound, thus constituting a sort of drum machine for electoral speeches.
The choice of Silvio Berlusconi (the former prime minister of Italy, who was in charge at the time ber.loose.coin was realized) as the experimental material is almost incidental, apart for the fact that he seemed to us the person that is closest to this kind of political practice.
This piece relies on rhythm to drive home political issues, and represent the various ways the media subliminally gets its point across. Video has the ability to alter an idea or image to put an idea in one's mind, similar to the way the media exerts that kind of control. These two artists have collaborated to show the way the media has the ability to show what they want on their screens, and artists have the same advanatge through the optical illusions that technology can provide through motion.