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Archive by July, 2008

Ant Farm’s Cadillac Ranch Remixed

The above image is a photoshop composite by Steve Brown for the New York Times. The background was taken from the Getty Images archive. It is an illustration for the article Putting the Dream Car Out on the Pasture, published on July 27, 2008, which explains how people are coping with the high cost of gas prices.

As many people in the arts would know as well as those who love to take road trips, the above image borrows from Ant Farm’s famous land art piece “Cadillac Ranch,” in which Cadillacs were dumped into the ground at Amarillo, Texas. In 1997 it was moved a couple of miles from its original location. It is a disappointment that there is no reference to Ant Farm’s work. Below are some images of Ant Farm’s public art installation, along with comments by the people who took the pictures.

Image from Flickr

Quote: “The Cadillac Ranch just west of Amarillo is a famous Route 66 landmark. Built up in 1974 by said to be eccentric but brilliant millionaire Stanley Marsh 3 and The Ant Farm, this line of old Cadillacs are buried nose first into the ground. The angle of the cars are also reputed to be the same as the ancient pyramids at Cheops. The Cadillacs were moved further west in 1997 from its original location due to growth from nearby Amarillo. The Cadillac Ranch is another of the must see sights off the Mother Road.”
-RoadsidePeek.Com Website

Image and text from Treehugger

Quote: Ant farm was a group of artists and architects that, along with Archigram, was hugely influential among architecture students in the seventies, particularly if you were into mobile architecture, alternative technologies and dovetail joints. Many know about their Cadillac Ranch, which remains an iconic statement about the end of oil as it was in the last oil crisis; few, including Regine at Worldchanging know about their other work. However she does now, after seeing an exhibition of their work at the The Centro Andaluz de Arte Contemporaneo in Seville.

REBLOG: Graphite Sequencer Rocks the Analog World

Text source: Neural.it

Originally posted: July 8, 2008

Caleb Coppock’s “Graphite Sequencer” is an analog drum machine of sorts that works through simple electrical conductance. Two wires scrape along the surface of a spinning paper disk with graphite shapes scrawled across them (graphite is a conductive material) so that when they pass over the shapes, they generate tones. The resulting sound is then amplified and played back through the device’s speaker system. Coppock has customized the device so that when the graphite line is thick, allowing more current to pass, the pitch of the resulting tone changes to a lower one. This is in contrast to a thinner line, which creates a very high-pitched tone on contact. Although the resulting sounds are anything but musically appealing, the ability to hand-draw your own beats is a nice and simple way of creating audible results from physical media. The video on the project’s website illustrates how this works although the resulting sounds are a bit difficult to stomach.
Jonah Brucker-Cohen

Car Repetition

The above image was taken by Fabrizio Constantini for the New York Times. It was used to illustrate the lack of car sales in the U.S. during the last few months. The title of the article is Car Sales at 10-Year Low. One cannot help but find some beauty in such lack, which is making possible other alternatives for transportation. Like the Zipcar.

Hoping Two Drugs Carry a Side Effect: Longer Life, by Nicholas Wade

Image and text source: NYTimes

Published: July 22, 2008

BOSTON, Mass. — One day last month, clad in white plastic garments from head to toe, Dr. David Sinclair showed a visitor around his germ-free mouse room here at Harvard Medical School.

The mice, subjects in studies of health and longevity, are kept in wire baskets under intensive nursing care. A mouse gym holds a miniature exercise machine that tests the rodents’ ability to balance on a rotating bar. In a nearby water maze, mice must recall visual cues to swim to safety on a hidden platform, a test of their powers of memory. Those that forget their lessons are rescued as they start to submerge and humanely dried out under a heat lamp, Dr. Sinclair assured his visitor.

Dr. Sinclair is a co-founder of Sirtris, a company that itself has been swimming in uncharted waters as it works to develop drugs that may extend the human life span. But it seemed to have found a safe platform last month when it was bought last month by the pharmaceutical giant GlaxoSmithKline for $720 million.

Sirtris has two drugs in clinical trials. One is being tested against Type 2 diabetes, one of the many diseases of aging that the company’s scientists hope the drugs will avert. With success against just one such disease, the impact on health “could be possibly transformational,” said Dr. Patrick Vallance, head of drug discovery at GlaxoSmithKline.

Read the entire article at NYTimes

Munch Remixed by the Wall Street Journal: a brief critical note

Image source: Wall Street Journal

I read a Wall Street Journal article on Sunday July 20, titled “How to Control your Fears in a Fearsome Market.” The article by Jason Zweig was accompanied with the above image by artist Heath Hnegargner. The image is quite small online, but the WSJ’s print edition shows a much larger reproduction.

There are a few things that intrigue me about the image. First, there is no reference to Edvard Munch’s original work, The Scream. This could be because Munch’s work may be so ingrained in people’s minds that a citation of the original is no longer necessary.

Second, Hnegargner appropriates Munch’s image in the name of that which many consider the opposite of nature: modernity and its current aftermath in the global economic market. In the image above, the appropriated figure covers his ears in despair not because nature is screaming (as the original image is contextualized based on Munch’s writings), but because the world market is screaming. Such is the power of appropriation. Below is a reproduction of Munch’s painting, from 1893.

Image source: http://www.charleroisd.org/middleschool/images/munch.png

For Coors Light, a Night Out That Begins on MySpace, by Stuart Elliott

Image and text source: NYTimes

Published: May 28, 2008

BEER has long been marketed as a sociable beverage, from a campaign for Budweiser that carried the theme “When gentlemen agree” to the Löwenbräu jingle that began, “Here’s to good friends.” Now, another beer brand, Coors Light, is extending its presence in the new media with efforts on the social networking Web sites Facebook and MySpace.

To promote a new wide-mouth Coors Light can, two clips of the “perfect pour” have been posted on YouTube. New media like Facebook and MySpace have also been enlisted by Coors Brewing.
Enlarge This Image

On Facebook next week, consumers 21 and older will be able to send their friends invitations to meet for Coors Light.

Read the entire article at NYTimes

New Music Playlist Section in Remix Theory

Remix Theory has a new section called Music Playlist, in which you can listen to music I’ve selected from Last.fm. Please feel free to listen to my growing music selection, and to also send me feedback as well as suggestions.

New Section: Music Playlist

Observatori apuesta por la obra digital más experimental, por R. Bosco / S. Caldana


Text: El Pais, Image: Observatori

Originally published: 6/12/08

(Spanish Only)

Regreso al futuro. El Festival Observatori, que se celebra en Valencia hasta el 29 de junio, vuelve a sus orígenes, centrándose en la vertiente más experimental de arte digital.

La novena edición, titulada After the Net, toma como punto de partida el documental La Red: Unabomber, LSD e Internet, de Lutz Dammbec, para explorar el lado oculto de los avances tecnológicos, la arquitectura de los trabajos en red y las raíces históricas de los sistemas abiertos, que emplea para reactivar los principios fundadores de la ética hacker

Entre las obras que se enfrentan a las dinámicas comunitarias en red destaca Antisocial networking, un almacén de proyectos, coordinado por Geoff Cox, que investiga la naturaleza de las plataformas sociales en Internet. Entre esas propuestas se encuentra Logo_wiki, de Wayne Clemens, donde intenta demostrar cómo militares, empresarios e instituciones gubernamentales son autores de miles de alteraciones de páginas en la enciclopedia libre Wikipedia.

Las contradicciones del software libre se plasman en Hello process, de Aymeric Mansoux y Marloes de Valk, que revela la paradoja de los sistemas de código abierto, a través de una máquina que ejecuta un software libre con un proceso tan complejo, que le convierte otra vez en un sistema impenetrable.

Entre las instalaciones destaca Chatroom, de Jeff Gompertz y Caen Botto, que se apropia de los videochat del público y los retransmiten manipulando la imagen de los rostros, creando un efecto parecido al de los salones de espejos de las ferias.

La producción española está representada por una retrospectiva de José Antonio Orts, pionero de un trabajo que integra tecnología, objetos, luz y sonido.

La selección de sus obras, que incluye algunas inéditas, arranca con el primer circuito sonoro fotosensible interactivo, que realizó en 1970 con tan sólo 15 años, punto de partida de todo su trabajo posterior, entre ellos instalaciones interactivas y unas esculturas sonoras fotosensibles.

La exposición se completa con la sección openKURATOR. Destacan el minimalista Netart for poor people, de Carlos Katastrofsky, y Con el tiempo contado, una obra digital efímera del español Javier González que lleva la cuenta regresiva de su existencia.

OBSERVATORI: www.observatori.com

The End of Theory: The Data Deluge Makes the Scientific Method Obsolete, by Chris Anderson

Image and text source: Wired Magazine

June 23, 2008

“All models are wrong, but some are useful.”

So proclaimed statistician George Box 30 years ago, and he was right. But what choice did we have? Only models, from cosmological equations to theories of human behavior, seemed to be able to consistently, if imperfectly, explain the world around us. Until now. Today companies like Google, which have grown up in an era of massively abundant data, don’t have to settle for wrong models. Indeed, they don’t have to settle for models at all.

Sixty years ago, digital computers made information readable. Twenty years ago, the Internet made it reachable. Ten years ago, the first search engine crawlers made it a single database. Now Google and like-minded companies are sifting through the most measured age in history, treating this massive corpus as a laboratory of the human condition. They are the children of the Petabyte Age.

The Petabyte Age is different because more is different. Kilobytes were stored on floppy disks. Megabytes were stored on hard disks. Terabytes were stored in disk arrays. Petabytes are stored in the cloud. As we moved along that progression, we went from the folder analogy to the file cabinet analogy to the library analogy to — well, at petabytes we ran out of organizational analogies.

Read the entire article at Wired Magazine

Zinio puts hundreds of digital magazines a click away, by Jon Swartz

Text source: USA TODAY

Originally published on 5/20/08

SAN FRANCISCO — The future of magazine publishing increasingly is appearing on a digital display — not just a newsstand.

Advancements in software and hardware are making it easier for a growing faction of consumers — including coveted younger readers called screen-agers — to read their favorite publications on the Internet or download and read them later offline.

“It’s not Jetsons. It’s real,” says Richard Maggiotto, CEO of Zinio, one of a dozen or so companies that specialize in creating digital editions of magazines and newspapers.

Read the entire Article at USA TODAY

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