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Double Take
Maya de Paula Hanika, 6 June 2011

Evidently, the way that we interact with and curate art is changing; advances in the tech-world have allowed new forms of engagement between audience and creator, social media has augmented our communities, and the internet’s proliferation of collaborative opportunities continues. Revisiting examples from my last post, Hackney Podcast and the New York Neo-Futurists (innovative theater and radio producers from London and New York) are progressing their practice with GPS technology. The general public can now access and curate their own exhibits from a wealth of global masterpieces, via online tools like the Google Art Project. But artists themselves are reacting in different ways, using analysis of post-digital sociology to comment on rather than pioneer the ‘revolution’.

Tom McCarthy and Johan Grimonprez are two artists whose works highlight the contrary possibilities and pitfalls of technological advancement. Their new feature film Double Take recently screened at the home of Cabinet Magazine in Brooklyn, New York. Grimonprez is a fine art filmmaker who blurs intention by hopping from media presented as art, to art turned into media, and back again, famous for his pre 9/11 work Dial H-I-S-T-O-R-Y a surveillance of the media’s escalating obsession with terrorism. His critical investigations address the sinister potential of the information superhighway, and bring our unconscious acceptance of its necessity into question.

His new work is dense and almost farcical with parallels, chronicling the cold war, the kitchen debate, the birth of television media and its living room parade of fear and power, alongside McCarthy’s screenplay: A Borgesian encounter between Alfred Hitchcock and his double on the set of The Birds.

McCarthy is a British artist and writer with a focus on transmission, allegory, duplication, and the distortions they effect. In 2004, with his semi-fictitious International Necronautical Society – an anarchic art group inspired by the manifestos of Futurism and Surrealism – McCarthy set up a broadcasting unit at the ICA and used Burroughs’ cut-ups technique and concepts of viral-media to generate poem codes that were broadcast over various radio stations across the world.

Both artists examine in fascinating detail the great possibilities of transmission alongside the infiltratory nature of technology and its potentiality to isolate the consumer. With this film McCarthy and Grimonprez look to the past and the birth of broadcast media in western society with radio and television, but the debate remains the same in our contemporary digital landscape; are we maintaining an awareness of the changing world around us, and to whose benefit and what purpose is it that we be so connected?

With the hope that I don’t create a lasting impression of myself as a technophobic curmudgeon, I leave you with an image of the cosmonaut set adrift in Tom McCarthy’s novel Men in Space, who suffers a fate similar to that which I fear. Working as a radio surveillance operative, he starts out boasting of his consistently good signal, but finally ends up losing the signal and becoming cut off from all communication, deafened and lost in space.

Now I’m off to the garden shed to whittle myself a new backgammon set. If anyone needs me, send a telegram.

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Categories :  Artists | Film | Filmmaker
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7 September 2011
Issue 09

After some creative strategy brainstorming over here at HQ we have decided to take a new direction with our next issue.

Issue 09 will be the first in a continuing series of themed issues of The [Un]Observed. With this focus we aim to challenge our curatorial style, to continue to forefront the work of a growing number of artists and producers, whilst allowing The [Un]Observed to realize itself more fully as a publication.

The first issue takes the theme of Borders. We are already over the moon about the works we have lined up and can’t wait to share them with you.

7 September 2011
The [Un]Observed: Live

After the success of our last event at OHIO in March, we’re going for round two.

We’re hoping to add a performance element to the lineup, showcasing the talents of some amazing local artists, in addition to our selections from the magazine.

We are committed to maintaining our goal of clearing a space for creative thinkers and audiophiles to meet and mingle and listen. Stay tuned for details.

5 May 2011
Get Your Audio On (with food)

Francesca Panetta was in town and to celebrate, we decided we would have an audiofile party, a chance for people who love sound to geek out for the evening over delicious food. So a little over a week ago, we got together, at tart made by Philip, and talked shop with Andrew Roth, Ben Furstenberg, Aaron Ximm, Roman Mars, Amy Standen and Jeremiah Moore. We realized how fun it was and hope to have more audio parties in the future…

5 May 2011
We’re going Terrestrial…Again!

In less than two weeks, The [Un]Observed will have its debut on WGXC in New York, the radio station for the brilliant Free103point9 which presents some of the best transmission arts around. We’ll be launching our show with new work from the upcoming edition. On deck will also be the remarkable Gregory Whitehead who has been an inspiration for many on how to make great audio. Stay tuned on May 14th for The [Un]Observed on WGXC.

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