Art + Music

Phuture

All essays, reviews and collaborative work on music and art are listed here.

4Columns

Soda Plains

The baroque of In Tongues, comprising ten unbearably lush set pieces, goes further. On his new album, Chan displays his dizzying facility as an electronic producer, composing and sculpting a sonic architecture through obsessive editing of disparate materials. He manages to stage and crystallize the sublimity that experimental music generates inside the club, its brutal, transformative emotions. In Tongues recaptures those heady feelings, which, leaving the party, dissipate like smoke in the night air outside.

Art in America

Get Free: Music and Gender at MoMA PS1

Venus X summarized recurring themes of the day: that the expressive freedom that flourishes outside institutions is difficult to recreate within them, and that “free people,” having to come to terms with their gender identity, present it boldly, and for good reason. For members of marginalized groups, existence in a xenophobic society is a battle. To make a style from this struggle is a radical act. And sustaining non-binary identities involves creating spaces where the presentation of difference can thrive, if only for a few hours.

POSTmatter

What’s in a Rave?

If there is one Youtube video I would give off my left hand to be in, it is this footage of Underground Resistance, the Detroit techno collective, performing in the foggy hours before dawn at a festival near Mt. Fuji. They are encoring with their famous anthem, Hi-Tech Jazz, full of outer-world melodic transmissions. The force of the crowd’s elation, optimism, and energy, is astonishing.

California Sunday

Defend and Protect

FRAMED AGAINST the dry, golden San Diego foothills, the man across the parking lot points a jet-black speaker at me. It looks like a bullhorn — light, even insubstantial. I signal that I’m ready. From the device, his voice booms.

Village Voice

Casey Reas’s Disconcerting Software Paintings

A software painting is generated from code that puts a set of ideas into motion. Artist Casey Reas, whose fourth solo show, “There’s No Distance,” is on view with bitforms gallery, describes this programming process as an aesthetic mode, in which he plays with code structure “as if it were a drawing — erasing, redrawing, reshaping lines” intuitively.

Village Voice

Meriem Bennani’s iPhone-Video Collage Mesmerizes at MoMA PS1

Meriem Bennani’s FLY, a video piece at MoMA P.S.1 that constitutes the artist’s first museum solo show, is, on its face, a collage of personal videos the artist shot on her phone during a recent trip to Morocco. It stitches together scenes of daily life in the old city quarters of Fez and Rabat (where she was born in 1988), interviews with family members and friends, and the frenzied pageantry of a wedding. The brilliant colors disorient: lapis and gold, deep black-blues, the crisp white of a man’s thobe as he’s silhouetted against the bright green of a soccer field. Manicured hands covered in jewels hold their iPads aloft to photograph a bride so beautiful she seems unreal.

Art in America

Family Function

Perhaps some aspects of the creative mind can be stored in code, but all of it? While the analytical capabilities of artificial intelligence are recognized as “real,” many refuse to acknowledge that simulations of taste can be equally authentic.  The common-sense consensus seems to be that aesthetic feeling is too complex to ever quantify, as it is generated by dozens of factors, from class upbringing and education, to social influences and pressures, to remembered and learned preferences.

Rhizome

Trust Issues

Bad Corgi, a “shadowy mindfulness app for contemplating chaos,” subverts the user at every turn. It seems to have a mind of its own. As an eager player, my inherent inclination is to fix, to reverse the war of attrition through mastery. But I must accept the corgi’s—the system’s—self-destruction and ruin. This is a difficult proposition to allow. On some level, I think my hard work and skill should pull my corgi through to an unspecified triumph. 

Rhizome

Flocking Behavior

You’re a small triangle in flight across a screen, four pixels wide and eight pixels tall. Your lot in life is to be an (x,y) pair. Your velocity has a fixed range. After the chaos of your origin at a random point in this field, your path is wholly determined by the triangles flying closest to you, and your path influences them in turn.

You are both an instantiated object and a member of a flock, a class, a school. You follow three rules: separation, alignment, cohesion. These three rules collaborate to update your position—helping you avoid collision, target a collective goal, stay close to friends.

AVANT

Faulty Inventory Control

Data barns loom like sublime cities in the desert, each housing a hundred trillion indexed points. We circle the colossus, dwarfed, drawn in by the mirrored candescence of inexhaustible machines performing calculations at a rate beyond imagination. Within, stacks of data, their lifetimes transient yet precisely accounted, pile furiously, and yet the machines continue to tame them. We suspect their mastery hints at our own latent capacities: for greater comprehension, for control.

Rhizome

Contagion!

In 2003, the Blaster Worm was a formidable security breach. A blended threat, rolling bad code into elements of various viruses and worms, it moved swift and ruthless across four hundred thousand Microsoft computers within two weeks.

Rhizome

Wavelength: Modular Youth, A Speculative Playlist

Alvin Toffler’s seminal book Future Shock (1970) posited the modular man, the disposable person, as one of the fundamental units and products of an urban, post-industrial society. We interact with specific modules of a person rather than the full human. 

Modular youth, then, is a play on modular man, and on Youth Mode, the title of a recent report by artists/trend forecasters K-HOLE and Box 1824 arguing that youth is not about age, but about endless adaptability…

 

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