UPGRADE! NY: We Passion Power and Control – the dark desires of art under surveillance

Upgrade! NY
August 2006

This time the Upgrade event attempted to take on the dark desires beyond the basic art/privacy/surveillance discourse.

Through three projects exercising different modes of surveillance we discussed artists jealousy of authoritative powers and the desire to posses these powers themselves.

in(security) – 31Down’s Online Surveillance Drama
This is a live online theater piece that uses surveillance cameras as a playing space for actors and audience members as you become part of a security team policing the streets of New York.
devised and developed by: Ryan Holsopple and Mirit Tal.

Little Feet
Little Feet Bureau International brings privatization to government surveillance. Four dot-matrix printers comb internet traffic. Upon finding words that threatens a client nation, the machines use the intercepted “evidence” to draft letters accusing and questioning the offenders. Obsessed with uncovering secrets, the final product of the system is a culture of paranoia. As such, the installation stands with one little foot planted in hysterical paranoia and conspiracy theory and the other in denial and the claim “it can’t happen to me”.
Little Feet are: David Nolen, Toshiaki Ozawa and Mushon Zer-Aviv.

Generative Social Networking®
Taking advantage of Bluetooth security flaws in cellphones, Generative Social Networking® unlocks the hidden potential of mobile contact lists to automatically connect people. GSN® is an artistic experiment in urban hacking instigated by Christian Croft and Andrew Schneider, a critical media partnership currently researching at the Interactive Telecommunications Program at NYU.

Ryan Holsopple, founder and director of 31 Down radio theater, has worked as an actor with directors: Richard Foreman, Pavol Liska, Tea Agalic and DJ Mendel, among others. He co-created the website Buskerdu.com with John Schimmel, a website that allows you to record and post your favorite subway buskers to the Web. Ryan is a graduate of the Interactive Telecommunications Program at New York University.

Mirit Tal is an Israeli media artist and a software engineer. Intrigued by the powers of technology on our life, her work deals with issues such as surveillance, paranoia, unconscious interaction and mind control. Soon after arriving to New York in 2004 she joined 31 Down and have since presented in venues such as the New Museum of Contemporary Art, Rhizome, Spark Festival 2006 and White Box/Performa 05.

David Nolen is an artist whose work incorporates both analog and digital processes and he enjoys playing at the blurry boundary between the intellectual rigor of code and the intuitive free play of the pencil. He now knows far too many programming languages for his own good though in a past life he studied film and curated an avant-garde music festival in Austin, Texas. Currently he’s writing his own software to analyze and animate his drawings. This project arose from his thesis work at NYU’s Interactive Telecommunication Program where he just received his masters.

Toshiaki Ozawa was born in Tokyo and has spent a great majority of his time ever since playing with light, shadow, emulsion and liquid-solutions. His work, screen based and otherwise, reflects this compulsively tactile approach to subject matter. He has collaborated on the work of many artists including Isaac Julien, Laurie Anderson, Leandro Katz, and Matthew Barney.As a cinematographer, he has photographed many films. One of them won the cinematography and best film awards at Sundance 2002. Another was reviewed by Roger Ebert in 2004 as “the worst film in the history of the [Cannes Film] festival.” Current projects include, ‘Quixotic Unmeanings,’ a robotic wire sculpture broadcasting Cervantes in semaphores, ‘Pikadon Seoul,’ a multimedia performance opposing the worldwide atomic arsenal, and ‘Scar,’ a slasher horror movie filmed in 3D.

Mushon Zer Aviv is an Israeli designer, a media-activist and a net artist. He is the co-founder of ShiftSpace (.org) – a new Open Source platform seeking to extend the current borders of the web and to allow the creation of public spaces within it. For that Mushon has recently won the Swiss Projekt Sitemapping new-media grant. Mushon is a new-media lecturer in the Shenkar college in Tel-Aviv and is the co-founder of Shual (.com) design studio. He has curated the BD4D Tel-Aviv and the Upgrade! Tel-Aviv New-Media events series. Mushon currently lives with his wife and cat in New York, studying for his masters degree in ITP, NYU’s new-media program.

Christian Croft is a new media artist and interactive designer from Athens, GA currently doing research at NYU’s Interactive Telecommunications Program. He works both collaboratively and individually on projects that revolve around such themes as info glut, technological ritual, and recombinatory language. He has received grant funding from Ideas for Creative Exploration (ICE) at the Univ. of Georgia and was chosen to participate in The Kitchen 2003 Summer Institute. He has shown work at the Georgia Museum of Art, ICE, Athens Institute of Contemporary Art (ATHICA), Rhizome Artbase, AskTheRobot Festival, Sony Wonder Technology Lab, and the Bushwick Arts Project Festival. More of his work can be explored online at xncroft.com.

Andrew Schneider is a performer and video artist. As a founding member of the Chicago-based multimedia performance ensemble bigpicturegroup, he has just recently completed an artist-in-residence program at the University of Chicago where the group has been developing their latest work TRUE+FALSE. His work has also been seen at P.S.122 as well as part of the New York International Fringe festival.

All three projects have been developed at the Interactive Telecommunications Program at NYU.

People: Andrew Schneider, Christian Croft, David Nolen, Mirit Tal, Mushon Zer-Aviv, Ryan Holsopple, Toshiaki Ozawa
Tags: critiquemobile devicenet artsurveillanceToshiaki OzawaMushon Zer-Aviv



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It’s well known that money can make us independent. But what to do if one has no cash? The one way only is to receive the loan or bank loan.