Past Exhibitions

Other Contemporary Materialities

A Group Show Curated By Constant Dullaart

12 April 2016 – 25 April 2016

 

 

Introduction

Science has provided the swiftest communication between individuals; it has provided a record of ideas and has enabled man to manipulate and to make extracts from that record so that knowledge evolves and endures throughout the life of a race rather than that of an individual.”
Vannevar Bush, July 1945

 

From the formal to the appropriated, from the basic interaction to the relished experience; arrangements of transparencies, you and the other, warmth, code itself, clicked interests, interaction challenges, even the miscellaneous and lost. We tread on continuously refreshing land, filing our surroundings to the record, with this record becoming our new material and landscape simultaneously.
Constant Dullaart, April 2016

 

In Other Contemporary Materialities Dullaart provides a counterpoint to his solo online exhibition Contemporary Materialites or smth . Direct links can also be traced to Dense Mesh, a group exhibition curated by Joshua Citarella on display 14 April 2016 to 25 May 2016 in Carroll / Fletcher’s Eastcastle Street gallery , and the Experimental Writing Series, conceived in collaboration with the Institute for Contemporary and Modern Culture, University of Westminster. The exhibition is followed by an Afterword that is a continuation of the Afterword that accompanied Dullaart’s solo exhibition.

 

Other Contemporary Materialities

 

 

 

Screen Shot 2016-04-26 at 15.35.50

wwwwwwwwwwwwww.net, Jonas Lund, 2011, website

Unique, courtesy Jan Robert Leegte Collection

The work is located here: http://wwwwwwwwwwwwww.net

The page lists, from top left to bottom right, the million most visited websites (downloaded on 12 December 2011 from Alexa). On first encountering http://wwwwwwwwwwwwww.net, the only visible names are those of the websites that the viewer has visited (using the same browser as the one being used to access the work) – the display is created by the website accessing the viewer’s history cache (to confirm this try Clearing Browsing Data/History then reloading the work). The other websites can be viewed by right-clicking on the white space.

 

A minor diversion inspired by http://wwwwwwwwwwwwww.net:

http://automatedbeacon.net, Thomson & Craighead, 2005
“BEACON continuously displays live web searches. It first began broadcasting online at midnight on January 1st 2005. It has been instigated to act as a silent witness: a feedback loop providing a global snapshot of ourselves to ourselves in real-time.” Thomson & Craighead.  The BEACON exists in three instantiations: a website, a wall projection, and a railway flap sign.
http://imhereandthere.com, Jonas Lund, 2011
In 2011, Jonas created an extension that sends every website he’s viewing to http://imhereandthere.com. It refreshes when a new website is visited. “It works a bit like a mirror to my browser and life – you can now see what I see.” Jonas Lund.
Somewhat ironically, this was displayed when the work was accessed: http://www.newyorker.com/magazine/2016/04/11/gay-talese-the-voyeurs-motel
“For Life Sharing we turned our private lives into a public artwork. We made each and every file on our computer, from texts and photos to bank statements and emails, available to anyone at any time through our website. Unlike social networks, which didn’t exist at the time, its focus was sharing. Anything on our computer was available to search, read and freely copy, including the system itself, since we were using only free software.” Eva and Franco Mattes.
“Life Sharing is abstract pornography.” Hito Steyerl.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

ethereal self, Harm van den Dorpel, 2008

Unique, courtesy Miltos Manetas/Electronic Orphanage Collection

The work is located here: http://etherealself.com

When the work is opened a pop-up window is displayed:

harm

If the viewer clicks on ‘Deny’, a static diamond is displayed; if the viewer clicks on ‘Allow’, the diamond shimmers with a portrait of the viewer sourced from the device’s built-in camera. As the viewer gazes at their image the device’s camera allows the work to record the viewer – “If you click Allow, you maybe recorded” – and the videos are archived to provide the images for…

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Screen Shot 2016-04-26 at 15.23.47

ethereal others, Harm van den Dorpel, 2008

Unique, courtesy Miltos Manetas/Electronic Orphanage Collection

The work is located here: http://etherealothers.com

If you check back in a few days time you’ll find yourself a participant in a collective snapshot-portrait of our viewing habits – http://etherealothers.com – and if you leave your camera on too long you may even feature in a movie: Ethereal Others When No One is Looking, Harm van den Dorpel, 2009 – 2014.

 

Another minor diversion, this time inspired by http://etherealself.com and http://etherealothers.com:

http://thisplaceintime.net, Jonas Lund, 2011.  This Place In Time displays the location of all visitors to the website, continuously updated and centered on the location of the last visitor; slowly collecting every spot in the world.
http://citizen-ex.com, James Bridle, 2015.  “Every time you connect to the internet, you pass through time, space, and law. Information is sent out from your computer all over the world, and sent back from there. This information is stored and tracked in multiple locations, and used to make decisions about you, and determine your rights. These decisions are made by people, companies, countries and machines, in many countries and legal jurisdictions. Citizen Ex shows you were those places are… [more here].” James Bridle.
The Others, Eva and Franco Mattes, 2011. “A slideshow of 10,000 photos appropriated from unaware random people’s personal computers. Technically, the act of obtaining the images did not involve any hacking but took advantage of a software glitch.” Eva and Franco Mattes.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

olia

clear.gif, Olia Lialina, 2013, website

Unique, courtesy Evan Roth Collection

The work is located here: http://www.collection.evan-roth.com/olia_lialina/clear.gif

clear.gif is a collection of ten clear (transparent) gifs, artefacts from old web design technologies that enabled the layout of web pages; tangible yet invisible objects that separate and, hence, provide structure.

Listen to Olia talk about the work here.

As ever with Lialina’s work the simple celebration of the folk art and technologies of the internet is cut with a penetrating socio-political critique. The idyllic, apparently isolated, beach that, through the use of the internet, can connect and interact with the world is slowly disappearing as governments and corporations seek to control and structure the internet – two of the websites are no longer reachable. In this respect, clear.gif provides an interesting companion piece to the artist’s Summer (2013) and Best Effort Network (2015), and Constant Dullaart’s Jennifer in Paradise Series (here and here).

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

JODI-

ᒥ.com, JODI, 2015, website

Unique, courtesy Jonathan Hirschfelt collection

The work is located here: http://ᒥ.com

http://ᒥ.com is part of the Apache is functioning normally series of one-letter websites in which the url is the sole content of the work. The letters are drawn from different, often little-known, alphabets and their simple elegance helps create minimal, abstract works reminiscent of concrete poetry. In http://ᒥ.com, whilst the page remains blank, the address bar, tab and history cache hypnotically loop between three websites. In contrast, in http://xn--8o7a.com the page rhythmically fills with the glyph.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

jodi screen

Screen shot showing a static image of http://xn--8o7a.com.

The aesthetic of each work subtly changes when viewed within different browsers. The website http://idn.jodi.org details the symbols used.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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All HTML, Evan Roth, 2011, website

Unique, price on application

The work is located here: http://all-html.net

At first sight, http://all-html.net consists of a static address bar and a relatively small grey rectangle in the top left corner. However, if one zooms in, a sentence resolves itself: “One sentence contained in every HTML tag in alphabetical order”.  HTML, Hyper Text Mark-up Language, is a computer language designed to allow the, relatively straightforward, creation of websites. HTML tags are the commands that tell the browser how the page should look. http://all-html.net is composed using all the HTML tags in alphabetical order to instruct the browser how to display the sentence: “One sentence contained in every html tag in alphabetical order”. This can be appreciated by viewing the source code of the work. How does the viewer access the source code?

In Chrome menu bar: View/Developer/View Source

In Firefox menu bar: Tools/Web Developer/Page Source

In Safari menu bar: Safari/Preferences/Advanced – check show Develop menu in menu bar/Develop/Show page source

Following http://all-html.net, Evan has continued to explore the aesthetic possibilities of composing a website based on using all the HTML tags in alphabetical order; of finding a visual representation for the entire HTML language, which forms the basis of our day-to-day experience of the world wide web. For example: http://one-url-contained-within-every-html-tag-in-alphabetical-order.com (2013). The source code, perhaps, best reveals why the Evan considers these works to be text pieces.

evan

Screen shot showing a partial view of the source code of http://one-url-contained-within-every-html-tag-in-alphabetical-order.com, courtesy Sobre collection.

 

Artists’ interest in the poetic possibilities of the source code can be traced, in part, to JODI’s seminal work from 1995 http://wwwwwwwww.jodi.org (viewing the source code is highly recommended…).

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

olia 2

clouds, Olia Lialina, 2014, website, tab 3 of a four tab browser installation, 640×480

Unique, price on application (sold as the installation)

The work is located here: http://tilde.club/~olialia/640×480/clouds

As with clear.gif, Olia uses frames to direct our gaze, encouraging us to consider and celebrate the everyday objects and images of the internet – clouds, stars, silk and water –  – the vernacular or folk art of the internet.

Following the path of the url is an interesting journey. http://tilde.club is the home page of tilde.club: “Tilde.club is not a social network it is one tiny totally standard unix computer that people respectfully use together in their shared quest to build awesome webpages… Tilde.club is supported by a global community of good people. We don’t rank people by the amount they give, only by the fact that they gave. Here’s who has donated. When you’re on the server THANK THEM.” http://tilde.club/~olialia/ is Olia’s Tilde.club page, which features an article that explains the significance of ~, and links to Olia’s version of facebook, the Tildeclub webring (remember webrings?) and to the four tab web installation 640×480. http://tilde.club/~olialia/640×480/ takes us to the installation and http://tilde.club/~olialia/640×480/clouds to one element of the installation.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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straightest freehand horizontal one pixel black line contest, Nasty Nets, 2008

Unique, not available for sale

The work is located here: http://archive.rhizome.org/artbase/53981/nastynets.com/index3be1.html?p=1476

Founded in August 2006 by John Michael Boling, Joel Holmberg, Guthrie Lonergan and Marisa Olson, Nasty Nets was a surf club – a collaboratively run website where members share and comment upon content, either their own work or found material, in a non-hierarchical manner – that lasted until January 2012. Nasty Nets was the first website to call itself an “internet surfing club”.

“Oh boy am I excited to tell you about this!!: Nasty Nets internet surfing club! What’s a surfing club? It’s a hangout for my favorite surfers (and I), an extension of the collecting that’s already been going on, on del.icio.us and elsewhere. Right now it’s mostly a blog, but the idea is that it expands into more of a community – preservation, creation, criticism.. I like putting stuff there because it’s more like two-way sharing, and there’s more of an impulse for discussion (blog comments take on a different nature.) So come on check it out…” Guthrie Lonergan, co-founder, 10/16/2006.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Screen Shot 2016-04-26 at 15.28.42Spirit Surfing, Kevin Bewersdorf, 2008

The essay is located here: http://web.archive.org/web/20080521094644/http://www.maximumsorrow.com/writing/spiritsurfing.html

In 2008, Kevin Bewersdorf, Marcin Ramocki and Paul Slocum founded the internet surf club Spirit Surfers, www.spiritsurfers.net:

“I am greatly indebted to the surfers of Nasty Nets for getting me excited about art again. Simply by typing a series of letters into a browser I was connected to a shapeless organization of users who rearranged bits that were unimportant individually but who’s sum amounted to something so massive that it could only be thought about and never seen. Ever since Nasty Nets ended, Paul Slocum and I have wanted to feel part of a strong surf community again. Over many phone calls our mutual feelings on surfing have solidified, and we have developed a philosophy of surfing that I will attempt to express here as part of the founding of a new surf club, spiritsurfers.net… [more here].” Kevin Bewersdorf, Spirit Surfing, 2008.

“A hyperlink or list of links is not much of a boon. A link is an entry to another surf, a starting point. A boon is a jewel. These jewels are what separate surf clubs like Spirit Surfers from social bookmarking sites – the posts on Spirit Surfers are jewels publicly removed and reset.” Kevin Bewersdorf, Spirit Surfing, 2008.

“This site is dedicated to the glory of the INFOspirit. Nothing on this website do I retain personal rights or ownership to, since everything I offer up is a rearranged reincarnation of the INFOspirit which binds us all. You may use anything from this site as you see fit, without consulting or asking me.” Kevin Bewersdorf, 2008.

And a final diversion, this time into the world of surf clubs, thanks to Paul Slocum:

http://rhizome.org/editorial/2016/mar/30/catalog-of-internet-artist-clubs

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Screen Shot 2016-04-26 at 15.29.00

The Real Smiling Rock Last Updated 11-06-2015, Lindsay Lawson, 2015, HD video continually updated as versions, 27’ 25”

“Go to www.ebay.com. Navigate to a category called ‘Everything Else.’ Within it are categories like ‘Weird Stuff’, ‘Totally Bizarre’ and simply ‘Other’. This is the outer limits of eBay, a place for items that defy categorization. Set your minimum bid relatively high at $1,000, for example. Now you are scrolling through the crème of the dregs of online auctions. This is where the smiling rock resides… [more here].”

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Screen Shot 2016-04-26 at 15.29.30

Repossession Services, ongoing, website

Unique, courtesy The Boss and Reep Dog

The work is located here: http://repossessionservices.info

This exhibition has been made possible by the generous support of Repossession Services.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Biographies

Kevin Bewersdorf
http://www.taotegif.com

“Kev is an artist living in Rockaway Beach NY.” Courtesy Kevin Bewersdorf.

Aleksandra Domanović 

Aleksandra Domanović was born in 1981 in Novi Sad, Serbia. She lives and works in Berlin, Germany. “Domanović was awarded the 2014/15 ars viva prize. The ars viva exhibition series presented a selection of works by the three award-winners through 2015 at the Hamburger Kunsthalle, Galerie der Gegenwart, Bonner Kunstverein and Grazer Kunstverein. Domanović’s recent solo exhibitions include: Glasgow International 2014, Gallery of Modern Art, Glasgow (2014); ‘Aleksandra Domanović’, firstsite, Colchester (2014); ‘The Future Was at Her Fingertips’, Tanya Leighton, Berlin (2013); ‘Turbo Sculpture’, SPACE, London (2012); and ‘From yu to me’, Kunsthalle Basel (2012).” Courtesy Tanya Leighton.

CV here.

Harm van den Dorpel

http://harmvandendorpel.com

Born 1981 in Zaandam, the Netherlands. Lives and works in Berlin. “His most recent exhibitions include: IOU, Narrative Projects, London (2015); Ambiguity points to the mystery of all revealing, Neumeister Bar-Am, Berlin (2015); 24/7: the human condition, Vienna Biennale, MAK, Vienna (2015); Inflected Objects, Swiss Institute, Milan (2015); Private Settings (commissioned! sculpture), Museum of Modern Art, Warsaw (2014); Art Post-Internet, Ullens Center for Contemporary Art,Beijing (2014); Image Employment, MoMa PS1,NYC (2013); Dissociations @ First Look Series, online commission, The New Museum, New York City (2013); Analogital, Utah Museum of Contemporary Art, Salt Lake City (2013).” Courtesy Narrative Projects.

CV here.

Constant Dullaart

www.constantdullaart.com

Constant Dullaart (b. 1979, Leiderdorp, Netherlands) studied at the Gerrit Rietveld Academie and Rijksakademie in Amsterdam. Solo exhibitions include Jennifer in Paradise, Futura, Prague; The Censored Internet, Aksioma, Ljubljana (both 2015); Stringendo, Vanishing Mediators at Carroll / Fletcher, London; Brave New Panderers, XPO gallery, Paris (both 2014); Jennifer in Paradise, Future Gallery, Berlin; Jennifer in Paradise, Import Projects, Berlin (2013) and Onomatopoeia, Utah Museum of Contemporary Art, Salt Lake City (2012). Group exhibitions include Electronic Superhighway, Whitechapel Gallery, London (2016); Follow, FACT, Liverpool, UK; Then They Form Us, MCA, Santa Barbara; When I Give, I Give Myself, Van Gogh Museum, Amsterdam (both 2015); Evil Clowns, HMKV, Dortmund, Germany (2014) and Online/Offline/Encoding Everyday Life, transmediale Festival, Berlin (2014). He lives and works between Berlin and Amsterdam.

CV here.

JODI

www.jodi.org (when you get to the website check-out the address bar and tab then reload the page…)

“Jodi, or jodi.org, is a collective of two internet artists: Joan Heemskerk (born 1968 in Kaatsheuvel, the Netherlands) and Dirk Paesmans (born 1965 in Brussels, Belgium). With their first website registered in 1995, JODI.org were amongst the first artists with a presence on the internet. JODI has exhibited around the world, with notable exhibitions and performances including the Centre Pompidou, Paris (2015), the Whitney Museum, NY (2013), the New Museum, NY (2012), Eyebeam NY (2009), Documenta X Kassel (1997).” Courtesy Belenius/Nordenhake.

Lindsay Lawson

http://www.lindsaylawson.com

Lindsay Lawson (b. 1982, Biloxi, USA) is an American artist based in Berlin. “Lindsay received her BFA in Sculpture from Virginia Commonwealth University, her MFA in New Genres from UCLA, and attended the Städelschule in Frankfurt am Main. Her first feature-length film, The Smiling Rock was shot in Berlin and is currently in post-production during residencies at Trinity Square Video in Toronto as a guest of the Goethe Institut as well as at 1646 in The Hague. Lawson’s most recent solo exhibition, The Inner Lives of Objects, featured 23 vase and panel sculptures filled with various everyday objects. Other recent exhibitions include Home Work at Open Forum, Berlin; January Blues at Frutta Gallery, Rome; A Perfect Lie at Jeanroch Dard, Brussels; Rocks, Stones, and Dust at Justina M. Barnicke Gallery, Toronto. Upcoming exhibitions include ob-iectum sub-iectum at Galerie Tobias Naehring, Leipzig, and a solo exhibition at 1646, The Hague.” Courtesy Canapé Canopy.

CV here.

Olia Lialina

http://art.teleportacia.org

“Born in Moscow.  Net Artist, one of net.art pioneers.  Writes on New Media, Digital Folklore and Vernacular Web. Co-founder of Geocities Research Institute. Professor at Merz Akademie, Stuttgart. Animated Gif Model. Mother of three – http://art.teleportacia.org/olia.html – mother. @GIFmodel .” Courtesy Olia Lialina.

CV here

Jonas Lund

http://jonaslund.biz

“Jonas Lund (born 1984, Linköping, Sweden) received an MA at Piet Zwart Institute, Rotterdam. Lund has had solo exhibitions at New Shelter Plan, Copenhagen; BoetzelaerNispen, Amsterdam; Steve Turner, Los Angeles; Showroom MAMA, Rotterdam; W139, Amsterdam. He has participated in ‘Electronic Superhighway 2016-1966’, Whitechapel Gallery, London, UK; ‘The Value of Nothing’, TENT, Rotterdam, NL; The Moving Museum, Istanbul, Turkey; ‘The Crime was almost perfect’, Witte de With, Rotterdam, NL; ‘Out of Office’, Arcade Cardiff, Cardiff, UK; ‘Dread’, De Hallen Haarlem, NL; ‘local.#non.access’, KM Temporaer, Berlin, DE; ‘Fast Connection Search’, IWNY, New York, US; ‘The Paintshow’, Van Abbemuseum, Eindhoven, NL; ‘Public Access Me, First Look’, New Museum, New York, US; ‘HOT, DVD Dead Drop’, Museum of the Moving Image, New York, US; ‘Temporary Stedelijk’, Stedelijk Museum Amsterdam, NL. His work has been written about on Artforum, Rhizome, Huffington Post, Furtherfield, artnet and Wired.” Courtesy Boetzelaer|Nispen.

CV here.

Evan Roth

www.evan-roth.com

Evan Roth (b. 1978, Michigan, USA) is an American artist based in Paris. Roth’s work is in the permanent collection of the Museum of Modern Art, New York and has been exhibited at various institutions, including Centre Pompidou, Paris, France; Kunsthalle Wien, Vienna, Austria; Tate Modern, London, UK; and the front page of Youtube. He has received numerous awards, including the Golden Nica from Prix Ars Electronica, Rhizome/The New Museum commissions and the Smithsonian’s Cooper-Hewitt National Design Award. He also co-founded the arts organizations Graffiti Research Lab and the Free Art & Technology Lab.

CV here.

Afterword 2

“Everyone is equal before the machine. I can use it; so can you. It can crush me; the same can happen to you. There is no tradition in technology, no class-consciousness. Everyone can be the machine’s master, or its slave.” László Mohly-Nagy, Reality Of Our Century Is Technology, 1922.

“[artists] must become preoccupied with and even dazzled by the space and objects of our everyday life, either our bodies, clothes, rooms or, if need be, the vastness of Forty-second Street… we should utilise the specific substances of sound, movements, people, odours, touch. Objects of every sort are materials for the new art: paint, chairs, food, electric and neon lights, smoke, water, old socks, a dog, movies, a thousand other things that will be discovered by the present generation of artists… Young artists need no longer say, ‘I m a painter’ or ‘a poet’ or ‘a dancer’. They are simply artists. All of life will be open to them.” Allan Kaprow, The Legacy of Jackson Pollock, 1958.

“They [the Sex Pistols] were also carefully constructed proof that the whole of received hegemonic propositions about the way the world was supposed to work comprised a fraud so complete and venal that it demanded to be destroyed beyond the powers of memory to recall its existence. In those ashes anything would be possible, and permitted: the most profound love, the most casual crime.” Greil Marcus, Lipstick Traces: a secret history of the twentieth century, 1989/2001, p.18.

“We exist in a world of pure communication, where looks don’t matter and only the best writers get laid.” Legba, player in the Multi-User Dungeon (MUD) LamdaMOO, 1994 (quoted in Cluster Mag).

“With more and more media readily available through this unruly archive, the task becomes one of packaging, producing, reframing and distributing; a mode of production analogous not to the creation of material goods, but to the production of social contexts, using existing material.” Seth Price, Dispersion, 2002.

“In Postproduction, I try to show that artists’ intuitive relationship with art history is now going beyond what we call ‘the art of appropriation’, which naturally infers an ideology of ownership, and moving toward a culture of the use of forms, a culture of constant activity of signs based on a collective ideal: sharing.” Nicolas Bourriaud, Postproduction, 2002, p.9.

“The question is no longer: ‘what can we make that is new?’ but ‘ how can we make do with what we have?’ In other words, how can we produce singularity and meaning from the chaotic mess of objects, names and references that constitutes our daily life.” Nicolas Bourriaud, Postproduction, 2002, p.17.

“This site [http://www.spiritsurfers.net] is dedicated to the glory of the INFOspirit. Nothing on this website do I retain personal rights or ownership to, since everything I offer up is a rearranged reincarnation of the INFOspirit which binds us all. You may use anything from this site as you see fit, without consulting or asking me.” Kevin Bewersdorf, 2008.

“If we only look through the interface we cannot appreciate the ways in which it shapes our experience.” Bolter, Gromala: Windows and Mirrors, quoted in Olia Lialina’s Rich User Experience, UX and Desktopization of War, 2015.

“First of all, because it [the Peeman GIF] is an expression of a dislike, when today there is only an opportunity to like…. On vine, when commenting on another user’s video, you are not presented with an empty input form, but are overwriting the suggestion ‘say something nice’… On Tumblr, a ‘close this window’ button becomes ‘Oh, fine’.” Olia Lialina, Rich User Experience, UX and Desktopization of War, 2015.

“The innovators were rebels. Two axioms to bear in mind here: sedition is, by definition, ungrammatical; the artist is the first to recognise when a language is lying.” John Berger, Portraits, 2015, p.83.

“The very act of producing dissonant archives, in real time as events unfold, is now understood by insurgent citizens as a fundamental way of rupturing the spectacle of power, not of simply sharing information… Our contemporary landscape is marked by the overwhelming impulse to document, save and narrate the moment, and significantly, the desire to publicly share this record. While perhaps this impulse is not new, its ubiquity is. Who has the power to record, to speak, and to perform this ‘archival’ activity has radically shifted in the last ten years.” Basel Abbas and Ruanne Abou-Rahme in You Are Here: Art After The Internet, ed. Omar Kholief, 2015.

“It seems as if Flusser’s* concept of the totalitarian apparatus, hypothesized in 1985, has today come to fruition in the form of climate change, the intelligent war machine, the surveillance state, factory automation and the seemingly unavoidable, locked in place, systemic flows that forecast an inevitable and catastrophic end to the anthropocene.

“Can communications technology serve as a vehicle for social change? How does one negotiate the envisioning power of technical images, which unlock unprecedented degrees of creative agency for humanity, against what appears to be the immanent downwards trajectory of human value through technological progression? Is there a possibility within the dialogical fabric of networked culture to enact a meaningful social restructuring and so push back against the totalitarianism of the apparatus?” Joshua Citarella, 2016, in the essay that accompanies the Desh Mesh exhibition at Carroll / Fletcher (14 April 2016 – 25 May 2016). *Vilem Flusser, Into the Universe of Technical Images (1985).

 

 

 

Contemporary Materialities or smth

A solo exhibition from Constant Dullaart

1 March 2016 – 21 March 2016

 

Introduction

In Contemporary Materialities or smth, Constant Dullaart explores the formal properties of the Internet as a medium of expression and a mode of distribution, whilst critically engaging with the technological and socio-political constraints that structure our experience and use of the Internet. Through the works in the exhibition, as with his other works, the artist subverts the Internet standards imposed by oligopolic service providers, such as YouTube, Google, Twitter, Amazon, Facebook, et al, to make visible the infrastructure of the Internet and question the power relations embedded therein.

Dullaart often contrasts the recent tendencies for the Internet to be colonised and surveilled by governments and corporations, and the related construction of panoptic ‘gated communities’ and blurring of the distinctions between public and private, consumer and producer, with the apparent openness, democracy and anonymity of an earlier era that saw the rise of the Commons, Open Source and File Sharing. However, this is not a simplistic, nostalgic yearning for a lost utopia; it is the creation of a constructive tension between what was and what is, a tension that empowers us to imagine what can be:

“My proposal is that artists (and their audiences) must find new spaces to develop their work by engaging with the possibilities offered by the freedoms of encryption. To achieve this, they must surpass the misconception of technical elitism and the idea that only those with ‘secret knowledge’ can have access to space without surveillance. We must realize that this knowledge is obtainable for all.” Constant Dullaart, Where to for Public Space in You Are Here: Art After The Internet, ed. Omar Kholief, 2015.

Contemporary Materialities or smth is Carroll/Fletcher’s first online exhibition (all the works in the show – apart from those already in collections – are for sale). The exhibition is the first in a series that will investigate the aesthetics and artistic potential of the Internet.

Screen Shot 2016-03-22 at 18.15.32

TOS 2012, Constant Dullaart, 2012

Embedded HD video, 10’20”.

Edition of 3 plus 1 AP, price and further details on request.

View the website here

TOS 2012 is a 10′ 20″ video of an animated Google search page, reading out loud the Terms of Service for users of Google’s English language search engine.  The artist is committed to making the work publicly available on his website here.  To reflect the ever changing, fluid nature of terms of service, an updated version of the work is made each time the work is exhibited.  To date, two further versions have been made – TOS (Russian) 2013 and TOS (English) 2014.  Each version is an edition of three plus one AP.

“I was looking at how services like Google or Facebook want to be transparent, but how they show this information is kept secret. These terms of service agreements and how they communicate this to you, either through marketing or explaining how it works, they are saying you are agreeing with it by using it. I thought it was interesting because a lot of the Internet is viewed as public space but it’s not. The Internet is basically private spaces linked together. And Google’s private space is made to make a profit.” Constant Dullaart, Motherboard interview, 2013. The full interview is available here: http://motherboard.vice.com/blog/constant-dullaart-loves-the-internet

“How many of us are aware that as soon as we use Google we implicitly signed their Terms of Service and become subject to the laws of California. Do you want to be judged in a court in California?” Constant Dullaart, interview with Carroll/Fletcher, 2016.

 

 

The Death of the URL, Constant Dullaart, 2013

Website; server space, domain name (with subdomains) javascript and .jpg image

Unique, price and further details on request.

View the website here

The viewer’s gaze naturally settles on the static, green, uppercase text set against a grey background within the frame:

THE DEATH OF THE URL

CONSTANT DULLAART

2013

In what way is the URL dead? If it is, what killed it? Surely, the website has an address, hence, proving that the URL is not literally dead? When we look from the text to the address bar to confirm the existence of a URL, things start to become active, hyper-active even. The address bar is flashing as the URL ceaselessly cycles around a loop of frames within the underlying website – the website tab is also changing to reflect the movement. Hitting the back button doesn’t help as we are simply taken back to another place in the loop from where the restless movement restarts. Attempting to copy the URL proves almost impossible, as it never stays still long enough to be captured. Repeated clicking on the ‘x’ next to the address bar eventually pauses the manic cycling and the URL is revealed:

http://xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx.xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx.xxx

So if the URL isn’t literally dead, what is the artist concerned with?

“Nobody types in the domain name anymore. In my first online experiences, I would type in a domain name from a magazine. By now, you just go to Google or Facebook and you type in the keywords. Now if you share pictures, you’re not going to put it on a website, you’ll put it on Facebook. You’re not taking control of your own data anymore. When I went to China, that’s what I saw – people not taking the initiative to protect their own private space anymore. It’s public space controlled by the state. In America it isn’t controlled by the state, but Google and Facebook. There’s this weird discrepancy between public and private space going on right now and I think Occupy Wall Street was a great example of that, a protest in a private space. The web started with a lot of ideals around it, making a world with open communication. The idealist infrastructure of the web is changing. That’s important.” Constant Dullaart, Motherboard interview, 2013. The full interview is available here: http://motherboard.vice.com/blog/constant-dullaart-loves-the-internet

In it’s manic attempt to evade the control of the user The Death of the URL mimics the colonisation of the Internet by governments and corporations; it has also taken over our history – just go to the ‘history’ tab on your browser to take a look…

Dullaart is not alone in lamenting the increasing control over the users’ experience of and access to the internet and the world-wide web, and the opacity with which these controls are implemented.  In December 2012, Forbes magazine ran an article Directed Browsing And The Death Of The URL:

“One area of the Internet that I think is suffering in the current climate of social media, targeted search, and recommendation engines, is the ability for people to find a website on their own. More emphasis is being placed on having a strong presence on Facebook, having pages and stories picked up by Reddit, Stumbleupon, and Twitter, while the idea that content is still published on its own website, more and more the ability to discover a website is being taken away from the individual.

“While every web browser still has a URL bar that allows someone to enter a website address, but with shinier interfaces and toys available, the role of the direct URL is being diminished. Open up a new tab on a modern web browser and you’ll be presented with a collection of sites that you are likely to want to click through to. Generally these are comfortable choices derived from your history… [full article here]”

Courtesy Ewan Spence and Forbes.

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Anamorvista, Constant Dullaart, 2012

Website; code, domain name, router

Unique, price and further details on request.

View the website here

Anamorvista is an adaptation of Geometry of Circles, an animation with a soundtrack by Philip Glass created for Sesame Street. Dullaart has modified a YouTube player to make the video respond to the viewers’ mouse movements – as the viewer moves their mouse over the animation the image appears to flip and tilt within 3D space while the animation continues to play. A version of the original animation can be viewed here.  The work was commissioned in 2012 by e-PERMANENT, the first in a series of online commissions exhibited on e-PERMANENT’s website.

The address bar functions in a similar manner to The Death of the URL (see also the browser History).  The artist has credited the commissioning body in both the tab and the website column in the History cache).

Anamorphosis is a distorted projection or perspective requiring the viewer to use special devices or occupy a specific vantage point (or both) to reconstitute the image. The word is derived from the Greek prefix ana‑, meaning back or again, and the word morphe, meaning shape or form. Source: Wikipedia, full article here: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Anamorphosis

 

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thedisagreeinginternet.com, Constant Dullaart, 2008

Website; code, domain name and router

Unique, price and further details on request.

View the website here

In contrast to The Death of the URL, in The Disagreeing Internet the address bar is static whilst the frame is moving, and the tab offers an ironic subtitle. The Disagreeing Internet is the first in a series of six works that, without disrupting the functionality, playfully question the familiar, apparently neutral, google website:

The Disagreeing Internet, 2008, http://thedisagreeinginternet.com/

The Doubting Internet, 2010, http://thedoubtinginternet.com/

The Revolving Internet, 2010, http://therevolvinginternet.com/

The Sleeping Internet, 2011, http://thesleepinginternet.com/

Internet spread, 2012, http://internetspread.com

Untitled Internet, 2012, http://untitledinternet.com

“All these works display a simple, single behaviour.  They deal with the home page of Google, which remains fully functional despite its unorthodox appearance.  Whether you first read the domain name, or first focused on the content of the page, when you put them together you get the joke, and you probably smile.  And then?  Then you leave, maybe a bit disappointed (especially if you were told that this is a work of art), but also richer in a way.  You now know, consciously or unconsciously, that Google is not God.  That Google is not the absolute untouchable, clear thing it pretends to be.  It censors, and can be censored.  It can be displayed upside down.  It can disagree, doubt and sleep.  The Revolving Internet is like Anderson’s famous tale , The Emperor’s New Clothes: when you read it, nothing really changes, except your perception of those in power… [the full article can be found here].”

Courtesy Domenico Quaranta

Not long after, Dullaart created The Revolving Internet Google stopped supporting iframes (the software that enabled the disruptive detournement of the website).  The artist found a work-around that ensured the works would continue to function.

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Defaultism, Constant Dullaart, 2010

Website; code, domain name and archived website on router

Unique, price and further details on request.

View the website here

Similar concerns can be found in Dullaart’s work Defaultism – http://www.defaultism.com, which shifts between a number of basic frameworks commonly used as templates for websites. A default, in computer science, refers to a setting or value automatically assigned to a software application, computer program or device. Such settings are also called presets, especially for electronic devices. The Oxford English Dictionary dates this usage to the mid-1960s, as a variant of the older meaning of “failure in performance”. Default values are generally intended to make a device (or control) usable ‘out of the box’, i.e. with minimal user interaction with the device and it’s potential and constraints.

 

Jennifer_in_Paradise, Constant Dullaart, 2013

Restored digital image re-distributed online, holding a steganographically encrypted payload within the code of the JPG file, which can only be revealed by a password

Series of 3, price and further details on request.

A buyer of the work receives the password and software to enable the decryption of the code embedded in the image, and documentation of the project (including a signed certificate of authenticity).

Jennifer in Paradise is one of the first pictures to be manipulated in Photoshop. Originally, a holiday snap taken by John Knoll, co-creator – along with his brother Thomas – of the now ubiquitous software, it depicts Knoll’s girlfriend sitting on an idyllic tropical beach languidly gazing at the clear blue sea. The image was digitized by Kodak in 1987 and supplied with early versions of the programme. Though initially widely available, it became increasingly difficult to track down. In 2013, in recognition of its cultural significance and intrigued by the story of Jennifer and John, Dullaart determined to restore and make readily available the image, and uncover its history.

“My recent restoration of the 1988 image that became the first publicly manipulated image in Photoshop, Jennifer in Paradise (originally taken by John Knoll, co-creator of the software), was not intended purely for the redistribution of the of the image itself. Originally, the image was used to show potential customers and investors of Photoshop the possibilities of the software. The image I restored, also named Jennifer in Paradise, was redistributed online through articles, tweets, blogposts, and other social media networks by various sources. Importantly, this restored image included a secret message woven into the code of the image file through a steganographic encryption. Steganography uses a method to attach bits of a file to the background noise of, for example, a jpeg file; it is often used by security experts to ensure private communication over the internet. To read out this non-visible information, a password is often required to decrypt the message from the image. The use of steganography adds a layer of meaning to the digital image as a medium. The hidden message, revealed only with the right encoding software and password, signifies a hierarchical layer of knowledge necessary to fully understand the image in its entirety – only a chosen audience can access all the information the image contains. This points to the claim of a private space with something that is publicly viewable, in this case the restored version of the Photoshopped image.” Consant Dullaart in You Are Here, Art After the Internet, ed. Omar Kholief, 2014.

Alongside the image file Dullaart has produced a series of lenticular prints, in which the image is manipulated using a photoshop filter, and a website – www.jennifer.ps.  The website is a GIF constructed from Jennifer in Paradise images manipulated using the same Photoshop filters as the lenticular prints.  The website’s source code contains a ‘post scriptum’ update to Dullaart’s September 2013 letter to Jennifer.

Writing on the series of lenticular prints, Erika Balsom observed:

“With its array of pixels functioning as so many modular elements open to discrete manipulation, the CGI image stands as an emblem of a completely administered world, allegorising the forms of social, biopolitical and informational control under which we now live. By taking the 1988 photograph that served as the original demonstration image of Photoshop and subjecting it to the various filters proper to the software, Constant Dullaart’s Jennifer In Paradise series (2013- ) testifies to the plastic malleability of digital imaging. But its relentless versioning also hints at a crucial point: this creativity is the flipside of unprecedented fine-grained control. The grid of the calculable image is an emanation of the new regime of algorithmic governance, a figuration of a world in which everything can be surveilled, tracked and monitored – right down to the very last individual, just as the digital image can be specified down to the last pixel.” Erika Balsom, On the Grid, in Electronic Superhighway catalogue, 2016.

 

Constant Dullaart, lenticular prints 2, installation view, room 1, 2014

Further details of the artist’s archaeological quest, including his correspondence with Jennifer and John Knoll, can be found here.

 

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inhuman.me, Constant Dullaart, 2008

Website; code, domain name and router

Unique, courtesy of the Dirk Paesmans collection

View the website here

On typing www.inhuman.me in the address bar then ‘hitting return’ the viewer is presented with, what looks at first glance to be, a generic error message: ‘Not Found. The requested URL / : ) was not found on this server’. However, the requested URL was www.inhuman.me not / : ) and as we look closer the ‘requested URL’ keeps changing – : ) : 8 : P : D : o ; ) : ‘ c : x : ) : 8 : P… – and the tab flickers with the text ‘no emotions’.

Inhuman.me uses the technique of an ‘induced server error’ to frame the work.  Dullaart used a similar technique  to publish his 2013 manifesto ‘Balconism’ on the websites of Frieze, Artforum and Flash Art, while simultaneously publishing it in ArtPapers. An audio rendition of the manifesto can be listened to below, and a full publication including responses from James Bridle, Shumon Basar, Victoria Camblin, Aram Bartholl, Jonas Lund, and an interview between Omar Kholeif and Susanne Treister is available in the Carroll/Fletcher shop.

 

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baselitz.org, Constant Dullaart, 2010

Website: code, domain name, Wikipedia article, documentation dossier, and router with archived website.

Unique, price and further details on request.

View the website here

An Internet ready-made; a détournement of the Georg Baselitz Wikipedia page and a parody of Baselitz’s signature style: “A parody (also called spoof, send-up, take-off or lampoon), in use, is a work created to imitate, make fun of, or comment on an original work, its subject, author, style, or some other target, by means of satiric or ironic.” (source wikipedia).

Biography 

Constant Dullaart (b. 1979, Leiderdorp, Netherlands) studied at the Gerrit Rietveld Academie and Rijksakademie in Amsterdam. Solo exhibitions include Jennifer in Paradise, Futura, Prague; The Censored Internet, Aksioma, Ljubljana (both 2015); Stringendo, Vanishing Mediators at Carroll / Fletcher, London; Brave New Panderers, XPO gallery, Paris (both 2014); Jennifer in Paradise, Future Gallery, Berlin; Jennifer in Paradise, Import Projects, Berlin (2013) and Onomatopoeia, Utah Museum of Contemporary Art, Salt Lake City (2012). Group exhibitions include Electronic Superhighway, Whitechapel Gallery, London (2016); Follow, FACT, Liverpool, UK; Then They Form Us, MCA, Santa Barbara; When I Give, I Give Myself, Van Gogh Museum, Amsterdam (both 2015); Evil Clowns, HMKV, Dortmund, Germany (2014) and Online/Offline/Encoding Everyday Life, transmediale Festival, Berlin (2014). He lives and works between Berlin and Amsterdam.

Full cv available here

Artist’s website: www.constantdullaart.com

Artist’s pages at Carroll/Fletcher: http://www.carrollfletcher.com/artists/76-constant-dullaart/overview/

Afterword 1

“This song is Copyrighted in the U.S., under Seal of Copyright #154085, for a period of 28 years, and anybody caught singin’ it without our permission, will be mighty good friends of ourn, cause we don’t give a dern. Publish it. Write it. Sing it. Swing to it. Yodel it. We wrote it, that’s all we wanted to do.” Woody Guthrie.

“This is our world now… the world of the electron and the switch, the beauty of the baud. We make use of a service already existing without paying for what could be dirt-cheap if it wasn’t run by profiteering gluttons.” The Mentor, Hacker Manifesto, 1986

“There’s a battle going on… a battle to define everything that happens on the internet in terms of traditional things… Is sharing a video on BitTorrent like shoplifting from a movie store? Or is it like loaning a videotape to a friend? Is reloading a webpage over and over again like a peaceful virtual sit-in or a violent smashing of shop windows? Is the freedom to connect like the freedom of speech or like the freedom to murder?” Aaron Schwartz, Freedom to Connect speech, 1986.

“Governments of the Industrial World, you weary giants of flesh and steel. I come from Cyberspace, the new home of the Mind. On behalf of the future, I ask you of the past to leave us alone. You are not welcome among us. You have no sovereignty where we gather.” John Perry Barlow, A Declaration of the Independence of Cyberspace, 1996.

“Identities are managed by commercially driven algorithms; the URL has died; SLL is broken; most communications are recorded and analyzed for reasons beyond our access. Can art still play an active role in finding new visions, of locating hope and beauty to deal with the Internet in times of Prism? (As I write, the uk Prime Minister is suspected of having ordered the destruction of a journalist’s hard drives.) Or should we leave these subjects for activists to deal with, and just enjoy the images on our Google Glasses™, perhaps even printed on aluminium?” Constant Dullaart, Frieze, November-December, 2013

“My proposal is that artists (and their audiences) must find new spaces to develop their work by engaging with the possibilities offered by the freedoms of encryption. To achieve this, they must surpass the misconception of technical elitism and the idea that only those with ‘secret knowledge’ can have access to space without surveillance. We must realize that this knowledge is obtainable for all.” Constant Dullaart, Where to for Public Space in You Are Here: Art After The Internet, ed. Omar Kholief, 2015.