Rhizome Commissions Cycle Proposal, 2011-2012
Today the work of art lies equally in the version of the object one would encounter at a gallery or museum, the images and other representations disseminated through the Internet and print publications, bootleg images of the object or its representations, and variations on any of these as edited and recontextualized by any other author.
Image Objects is part of an ongoing thread in my practice examining our relationship to images in a vastly networked society. I am interested in employing this plasticity and the sheer amount of potential venues for image dissemination as aesthetic strategies within my work.
As such, Image Objects takes as inspiration the variety of techniques alotted to the claiming of authorship, curatorial intent, and authenticity that persist in culture despite our ability to create any conceivable amount of copies and variations of any image or object imaginable. This includes things such as Digital Fingerprinting, which exists to sustain the market value of authorized copies of an image either by making it possible to identify the source of dissemination or by making the content identifiable by algorithm for the purposes of removal or litigation.
Project Description //
Image Objects will begin as a set of works which exist ontologically somewhere between physical sculptures and augmented documentation images. The initial series will comprise somewhere between 12 and 15 large format digital prints mounted to CNC-cut MDF. Each piece of cut MDF will be matched with a print conforming to the same shape, adding a "layer" or "skin" over the physical substrate to create a unified object. This will be procedurally and aesthetically similar to an earlier work, RGB Icon (see below).
However, each time the pieces are documented officially (i.e., by myself or by a gallery), any released documentation will be edited first to create a new form which does not accurately represent the physical sculpture.
Below is a formal example, using RGB Icon:
|3/4 x 49 x 97 Medium Density Fiberboard (MDF),
15 sheets at $30.57 ea.
|Printing costs (estimated $70 / piece)||
|Mounting, adhesives, &c.||
|New domain registration||
|Limited edition Artist Book w/ unique variations,
150 copies at $10.90 ea.
Previous Work Samples //
1 - Untitled Videos
Untitled Videos, C-prints exposed by projected YouTube videos, 2011
Left to right: FASTEST 32oz SHOTGUN CHUG IN 6 SECONDS GRAPE CORE HIGH GRAVITY “EL JEFE”, 36 Seconds, C-print, 20 in. x 30 in. x 36 seconds, 2011 // 9 SECONDS ON YOUTUBE, 9 Seconds, C-print, 20 in. x 30 in. x 9 seconds, 2011 // DON’T VLOG AND DRIVE, 12 Seconds, C-print, 20 in. x 30 in. x 12 seconds
Images as disseminated on the Internet:
2 - Histogram Sculptures
left: Fluorescent On Fluorescent Off, styrofoam, histogram curves from video stills, autoexposure (2010);
right: Copy, styrofoam, histogram curves from video stills, autoexposure, user interface overlay, color digital fingerprint (2011)
below: Monochrome Arc, styrofoam, histogram curves from video stills, autoexposure, color digital fingerprint (2010)
3 - Daylight / Twilight
Daylight / Twilight, HD video diptych, 2 hr. 05 min. (2010)
The films Daylight (1996) and Twilight (2008) rearranged frame by frame based on each frame’s brightness value. Daylight runs brightest to darkest while Twilight runs darkest to brightest.
Daylight / Twilight is archived in full in UbuWeb's Film / Video Archive here
below: installation view (with Fluorescent On Fluorescent Off)
4 - Real Proper
Real Proper, HD Video, 1 hr. 58 min.
The following text is an excerpt from Lev Manovich's 2011 article "Understanding Scanalation":
"Real Proper by artist Artie Vierkant perfectly illustrates this circulation of media in the early 21st century. This two-hour long video consists of four different versions of the same commercial film. The artist explains:
Each version stems from a single release, a leaked unfinished copy of the film X-Men Origins: Wolverine, illegally uploaded to the Internet in 2009. The "Wolverine Workprint" spawned countless copies, re-encoded and re-distributed by many users to fit different formatting conventions, including the addition of subtitles, altered aspect ratios, altered running times, etc. 38 unique versions of the workprint still exist on various file-sharing platforms more than a year later, despite the availability of "true" copies released to file-sharing networks after the availability of the completed film and officially licensed DVDs. (Artie Vierkant, email to Lev Manovich, 12/10/2010.)
The artist named his video “Real Proper” after the tag “proper” used to describe some of the movie files on BitTorrent. In the text accompanying the exhibition that included this video, he quotes the text by Abhishek Kunal, which describes this tag as follows:
Due to scene rules, whoever releases the first Telesync has won that race (for example). But if the quality of that release is fairly poor, if another group has another telesync (or the same source in higher quality) then the tag PROPER is added to the folder to avoid being duped. PROPER is the most subjective tag in the scene, and a lot of people will argue whether the PROPER is better than the original release.” (Abhishek Kunal, All About Movie in torrent Tags,” uploaded to scribd.com 09/12/2010.)
It is relevant to note that Kunal’s text defines a vocabulary of 30 different tags. This number alone hints at the richness of the BitTorrent scene for unofficial film versions. Here are few additional examples of these tags. CAM is “a theater rip usually done with a digital video camera.” Telesync indicates “the same spec as CAM except it uses an external audio source (most likely an audio jack in the chair for hard of hearing people”) Workprint is “a copy of the film that has not been finished.” The tag Repack is used when “a group releases a bad rip, they will release a Repack which will fix the problems.” These examples illustrate that cultures of unofficial versions are not a simple “copy and paste,” but instead have their own social dynamics, their own methods of production, and their own forms of creativity that - as this article will show using the example of scanlation - go beyond the simple competition to release copies of commercial media files before they become officially available"
5 - Solvent Studies
left: Solvent Study – B/W Gradient Down, Digital print, acetone, .PSD, 72 x 48 in (2010)
right: Solvent Study – CM Reverse, Digital print, acetone, HD video, .PSD, 70 x 30 in., 4 min. 5 sec. (2010)
below: Solvent Study – GBIV Drip, Digital print, xylene, HD video, .PSD, 72 x 48 in., 5 min. (2010)