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Archive for November 2006

Spam

2006-11-28

The products they are selling by spam are exactly the same products that they sold in the Middle Ages. This really is a human problem not a computer problem.

Dave Rand of Internet security firm Trend Micro commenting on the fact that 9 out of 10 e-mails sent worldwide are now spam messages

B-Open: art and politics?

2006-11-22

Last Friday I was attending the seminar “Political?” at Landmark part of B-Open. Jeremy Welsh has already given an excellent summary of it at his blog and I don’t see any point in repeating any of his arguments so I’ll just add my two cents:

As part of B-Open a new journal was introduced as well: B-post. It is really positive that this (seminar and publication) is taking place in Bergen. In the last few years there have been much less of this kind of public debate and discourse within the arts in Bergen as compared to Oslo and it has no doubt contributed to a feeling of a centralization within fine arts in Norway: If something takes place in Oslo it is seen reviewed and debated outside Oslo it goes without notice. The only way to change this is for artists and art organizations outside Oslo to raise their voices and start writing and contribute to the debate.

Samir M’Kadmi raised the most precise and concise critique of the National Museum of Art Architecture and Design that I have encountered so far also pinpointing some of the fundamental problems of how nationality is (not) understood in Norway at the moment.

My understanding of the presentation by Tore Vagn Lid is quite different to Jeremy’s. I did not get the impression that he claimed that the consequences of 9/11 have no great significance for art and politics. Rather I got the impression that he suggested that if political art is now once again re-emerging it might be less because of 9/11 as an isolated event than due to the political schemes of international society and politics being inappropriate to understand and deal with the current situation. If so that was already emerging prior to 2001 but 9/11 has functioned as a catalyst accentuating it.

The absolute low-down was the critique raised by Lars Ramberg towards Samir M’Kadmi and later towards the support for art and new technology from The Art Council. I simply did not get the point of his critique against Samir and I am not convinced that he got it himself either. It seemed utterly inconsistent with his own art projects as presented earlier during the seminar.

The critique against art and new technology was depressingly tabloid and ignorant and I second every word of Jeremy on this. To me the most depressing thing about it was that it seemed to suggest a huge step back from one of the positive tendencies I have sensed the last two or three years:

Conceptualism arrived late in Norway with tendencies of gross over-simplifications. In the late 90s there seemed to be a misconception that the only thing that mattered was the concept while the material realization of the art work had little or nothing to say. While this attitude might sound charmingly punkish the result to often was poorly realized art works where the lack of craftsmanship undermined the conceptual idea of the work. Compared to e.g. the works of Joseph Kosuth the importance of the presentation seemed underestimated. Even if his works are highly conceptual a lot of time and effort has gone into how they are realized. There is obviously strong craftsmanship manifested in his works on a number of levels.

In the last few years this gradually seems to have improved. In Bergen there is a thriving environment for collaboration. I do not feel that the field of fine arts is threatened in any way instead specialized arts is more and more moving towards becoming integrated part of fine arts while the idea of specialized arts as pure craftsmanship is fading. Hopefully this could encourage a situation where relevance to contemporary discourse is matched with a firm understanding of the importance of craftsmanship. I do not subscribe for a second to the claim by George Morgenstern last spring that there is a continuous tendency towards de-skilling in the arts for the last 100 years rather I believe that the fields where skills are required have been in continuous drift.

If there is a new tendency towards political art in Norway at the moment I sincerely hope that it will not reinforce old misconceptions about the non-importance of the medium and realization. To me Rambergs critique just felt so much like yesterday’s paper.

Analysis of ambisonics 5:1 decoders

2006-11-22

Angelo Farina has done a very instructive analysis of three 2nd order ambisonics decoders for ITU 5:1: * Emigrator by Gerzonic Decopro by Gerzonic and Wigware by Bruce Wiggins leading to the following conclusions:

  • Emigrator employs the Furse coefficients which are plainly wrong.
  • Decopro works reasonably but features constant-directivity virtual microphones with aimings perfectly corresponding to the speaker angles and this is suboptimal in the case of a strongly-irregular loudspeaker array.
  • Wigware is the best one providing spatially-optimized variable-directivity patterns which should provide better reproduction and more uniform surround sound.

CUBIC SECOND review

2006-11-22

A thorough and very positive review of CUBIC SECOND has just been published at kunstkritikk.no.

The installation A NIGHT IN SARDINIA by fellow musketeers Jeremy Welsh and Jon Arne Mogstad (with a minor sound contribution by yours truly) is mentioned briefly in another review covering B-Open last weekend. Unfortunately this is yet another gonzo-review. They seem to appear everywhere in Norway at the moment and are generally more concerned with whatever the reviewer is up to (this time he was looking for Guinness) than reflecting on the artistic works.

I know that the act of drinking beer with friends is the highest form of art. Is it also the highest form of art review? I am not so sure.

 

Update: Spam problems have forced me to temporarily disable comments while looking for a more elegant solution.

Leif Magne Tangen the author of the B-Open review have tried to comment on this post. As that did not work out he has instead posted his comment here at kunstkritikk.no.

Expanded cinema

2006-11-21

Expanded Cinema is a blog maintanied by Joao Ribas focused mainly on experimental film early video and sound-based durational work. All of the material is being pulled from available media online elsewhere as part of emphasizing an overlooked facet of the archival function of new media.

Resurfacing

2006-11-18

I have not been blogging much lately mainly for three reasons.

First and foremost the last three or four weeks have been very busy. The process of installing Cubic Second was hectic and the two last nights before the opening I slept for 1 1/2 and 3 hours respectively. I often end up skipping sleep for a night when doing projects but this was the first time I did it for two nights in a row. And I had a few the last two weeks before moving into the space as well. During the ten days that it was up and running I did several presentations of the work and the art-based research project I have been working on for the last three years. Deinstalling was also time consuming and had to be done in a very short amount of time. I had painted all walls black and we had to apply four layers of white to bring them back to normal. We finished Tuesday morning at 03:00. The next two days I had to arrange with transporting everything back to my studio. Only now things starts to slow down and this will be the first normal weekend with some time off in several months. But I am not complaining I have had a lot of fun along the way and I was very happy about the end result.

Painting the gallery space white again might sound really dull but it was actually satisfying. There were no compromises or shortcuts in terms of how the installation was done. In addition I have had a fantastic team to help me on the installation: Are Hauffen Hilde Hauan Johnsen Kristian Skjold Matthias Marieke Verbiesen and Elin Solvang. When it comes to practical planning of the installation the one thing I have been the most satisfied about is the team I managed to pull together. Without their help I would not have been able to pull this off.

The second reason not to blog was that while working on the Cubic Second installation and in particular so after moving into the gallery space I decided that I did not want to reveal to much of what could be expected by posting images at the blog. The space was completely transformed for the installation and I wanted that to be a surprise as the audience entered the space at the opening.

Finally one of the things I have been using the blog for is reflecting on books that I am reading. Currently I am reading Background Noise: Perspectives on Sound Art by Brandon LaBelle. I have been fortunate to have Brandon LaBelle as member of the
comittee currently assessing my research. It might well be that he is currently reading this blog (in that case: Hi!) and it felt a bit awkward writing about the book prior to the meeting of the comittee in Bergen for assessing the installation a week ago.

Suffice to say: I believe this will become a (maybe the) standard text on sound art. I am reading it slowly on the 45 min. buss ride in and out of town every day.

In a way I regret that this book was not available three years ago as it could have saved me quite a bit of time. On the other hand I have myself tried to track down the emergence of sound art and how it relates to both contemporary music and fine arts. I guess that if I had read this book three years ago I would have lost out on a lot of the points he is discussing. Now I find that it confirms many of my own findings and vastly elaborates on them. His discussion of the work and writings of John Cage is one of the most lucid I have ever read.

Bø rre Sæthre at Bergen kunsthall

2006-11-06

Wow! I just found out that Børre Sæthre will be doing the Festspillutstilling at Bergen kunsthall next year. Now that is really something to look forward to!

CUBIC SECOND: Opening

2006-11-06

 

 

Physics throw me off: A line multiplied by a line is a plane.
A plane multiplied by a line becomes volume.
I can almost
grasp the idea of velocity being derived from location in space.
But acceleration implies time multiplied by itself. What does a
square second feel like? And what is the volume of sound?
A cubic second?

 

 

After a hectic week of work the installation CUBIC SECOND opened at Hordaland kunstsenter last Friday. The opening ended up being a really nice party with lots of visitors and friends present. Below are some photos from the opening taken by Jeremy Welsh.

Opening_mari

 

Opening speech by Mari Aare director at Hordaland kunstsenter. I am grateful to her and HKS for letting me do the installation at the gallery space one of very few spaces for contemporary art in Bergen. In addition I was able to use the space for several weeks last spring for development and testing. Most of the ideas for what to do in the space matured during that period. In addition I was able to do extensive testing of loudspeaker setup leading to the development of several modules in Jamoma for spatialisation using ambisonics and vector-based amplitude panning.

Morten Eide Pedersen senior lecturer at the Grieg Academy in composition and one of my supervisors for the fellowship can be seen behind Mari.

 

 

Opening_me_and_paula

 

Me and the dean at the Art Academy Paula Crabtree listening to the speeches.

 

 

Opening_nina

 

Another speech by Nina Malterud principal at Bergen National Academy of the Arts. Nina is also at the board of the fellowship program. I have had a lot of interesting discussions with her over the last three years. She is one of many at KHIB that has shown great interest and enthusiasm for what I have been working at.

 

 

Opening_trond

 

I wanted to say a few words of thanks myself on the opening. I did not get the time to sit down and make a proper list beforehand so I probably forgot a whole bunch of all the persons I have been in touch with interchanging with getting help from collaborating with etc. over the last three years.

 

 

Opening_hilde

 

A year ago Hilde Hauan professor in textile at the department of applied arts invited me to participate in a worshop on acoustics and textiles. I probably ended up learning more than any of the students. During that workshop I also told about some of my experiences with working with the gallery space at Verftet Visningsgrommet USF last fall for the “White-out” installation. That ended up being a particularly difficult room to work in and since I have felt the need of doing an installation were I am taking total command of the space I am working in as a contrast to the experience of almost being overrun by the gallery space at Verftet. I suppose that is what I am doing for CUBIC SECOND.

In the wake of the workshop last year me and Hilde have continued discussion possible ways of modifying gallery spaces and her experience and advice was crucial to the development of this project. Hilde also joined in two days helping out with practical matters during the process of setting up this installation.

Here she is chatting with HC Gilje. He just joined the fellowship program and I have borrowed a lot of equipment from him for this installation.

 

 

Opening_crowd_1

 

I hoped that the opening would be well-attended and I was not disappointed. I believe that there is a particularly friendly and enthusiastic atmosphere among artists in Bergen and preciously few sharp elbows.

 

 

Opening_crowd_2

 

Opening_jon_arne

 

Me and Jon Arne Mogstad talking. Having collaborated on several projects and having studios next door we have been discussion on a more or less daily basis for the last three years. He has been in Drammen for the last month doing a large wall painting for a new library. One of the last days before leaving we were talking about what he was planning to do and he was particularly emphasising the improtance of how transitions from one color or field to another is done. That stayed at the back of my mind as I was working on the video material for the installation making me a lot more concious about how I was dealing with sharp transitions versus blurred edges.

 

 

Opening_installation

The installation itself is really hard to capture as the space is very dark. Above is a shot of one of the videos a back projection presented horisontally approx. 60 cm above the floor. It is actually the stairs down to the cellar parft of the gallery that has been modified to become an object with projection. The colors are widely misleading the greem is supposed to be white or bright greyish. The photo below of yours truly in profile gives a better impression of the colors.

 

Opening_profile

 

 

Opening_flowers

 

Flowers received.

 

 

The day before the opening I was guest in the studio of the local television news and also on radio. In addition Bergens Tidende the local paper wrote about the installation.

Jeremy Welsh my main supervisor has been writing about the opening at his blog.

 
 
 

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