Tag Archives: laserletters

FDIC Insured

FDIC Insured is collection of cast off investment guide books burned with the logos of the 300+ failed banks closed by FDIC during the great recession. The books were all purchased off the dollar racks at the Strand bookstore in New York City.

Since the beginning of the Great Recession the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation has taken control of over 300 failed or failing banks. The government has bailed out, or brokered forced sales of a number of other major financial institutions. These emergency conversions are done in one weekend; on Friday the bank is alive, but at 6 PM it begins a massive autopsy, and by Monday morning all traces of the original bank are gone. It is operated under the name of a formal rival bank, many of the employees are gone, and the entire visual signage has changed. These logos and the failures the represent disappear from our memory, they disappear from the clutter of the visual landscape, they are even erased from the Internet and its many archives. This archive is a memorial to these banks, the failure of the system they are part of, and the failure of their aesthetics of hope and strength.

FDIC Insured
Investment guide books with laser cut logos of failed bank
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“the future is not what it used to be” at Centre for Contemporary Art Ujazdowski Castle, Warsaw, Poland

the future is not what it used to be, CCA Warsaw Poland

An exhibition curated by Magdalena Sawon
10.11.2010 – 26.12.2010

Tamas Banovich
Kevin Bewersdorf
Mikolaj Dlugosz
Ursula Endlicher
Zach Gage
Kenneth Tin-Kin Hung
Kobas Laksa
Michael Mandiberg
Eva and Franco Mattes (aka 0100101110101101.org)
Joe McKay
JooYoun Paek
The Yes Men

Art has always been a transformative reflection of reality and a moment in time. It is 2010. The screen is the window and the web is the tool to experience and engage in the world. Google, Wikipedia, Facebook, Twitter, Chatroulette, YouTube, Second Life and ebay are not virtual, they are real.

“the future is not what it used to be” brings together artists engaged in the Internet shaped culture. Through photographs, sculpture, video, and online projects they explore new tenets of social interaction in a networked world.

Where Do We Come From? What Are We? Where Are We Going? – the grand troika of Paul Gauguin’s questions about existential doubt and one’s consciousness is always relevant, but this very moment, loaded with radical changes taking place, also calls for specific inquiries: How do new communication tools and smart technologies affect cultural and sociopolitical realm? What happens to contemplation in the times of speed? What are sustainable strategies for contemporary life? How does one navigate between connectivity and dis-connect, instantaneity and rapid obsolescence, and digital/analog divide. How does the Internet – the largest image depository and the largest data base ever – affects new forms of appropriation, means of production and delivery, and modes of political engagement?

The future may only bring more questions. Einstein said “I never think of the future. It comes soon enough” This may be true, but – back to Gauguin – who we are and what we do today shapes our tomorrows.

*The title of this show is a quote from Paul Valery (1871-1945)

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No Customs – SAMA Tower, Abu Dhabi

No Customs - SAMA Tower, Abu Dhabi

No Customs
SAMA Tower, Abu Dhabi
November 4-27, 2010
opening reception: Thursday Nov  4,  7-9 pm
curated by Jennifer and Kevin McCoy
an exhibition of transmissible ideas with:

Vito Acconci, Jason Robert Bell & Marni Kotak, Torsten Z. Burns, Jennifer Dalton & Susan Hamburger, Anthony Discenza, Melissa Dubbin & Aaron Davidson, Bill Durgin, Tara Fracalossi, David Grubbs, Sara Hubbs, Thomas Lail, Michael Mandiberg, MTAA, Marisa Olson, Jonathan Schipper, Mark Tribe, Karen Yasinsky

A common art-making strategy when one enters into new territory is to listen, to ask, and to wait. As newcomers to Abu Dhabi, we considered this strategy, but then rejected it.  Instead of waiting to receive information, we begin our sojourn in the Emirates by making an offer.  In curating this show, No Customs, held in our remarkably gallery like living space, we offer the work of artists connected to us from our home community of New York City.  When they asked what life is like here, we answered we didn’t yet know.  We told them to send what they could send via email, via instructions, via concept. We told them to send it fast.  So then, what we have is a show called No Customs. This title is a double entendre. Practically, since no objects have been mailed, we were not slowed by the expense of shipping and the delays of customs.  Metaphorically, the show is not about tradition or interpretation, but rather about mapping and transcription.   How does form map onto landscape? How does it transform landscape? How do you demarcate space for contemplation, for understanding, for revolution? What happens to the body when its image occupies this demarcated space? – Jennifer and Kevin McCoy

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The Philosophy of Money at Museu da Cidade in Lisbon

The Philosophy of Money

Lisbon City Council and Miguel Amado Projects are presenting the exhibition “The Philosophy of Money”, which opens on June 22 at 10 pm at the Pavilhão Branco of the Museu da Cidade in Lisbon. This exhibition brings together works by 28 artists who, in the light of the current financial crisis, examine money as the “God of the modern age”.

Works by Alejandro Vidal, Alfredo Jaar, Carey Young, Carolina Caycedo, Cildo Meireles, Danica Phelps, Henrik Plenge Jakobsen, Joana Bastos, Liam Gillick, Lotte Lindner & Till Steinbrenner, Mads Lynnerup, Mariana Silva, Melanie Gilligan, Michael Elmgreen & Ingar Dragset, Michael Mandiberg, Nika Oblak & Primoz Novak, Raymond Pettibon, Regina José Galindo, Rita GT, Runo Lagomarsino, Ruth Ewan, Sara & André, Sparring Partners, Superflex, Triiibe, Xurban Collective + Alex Villar, Yonamine e Zanny Begg + Oliver Ressler
Curated by Miguel Amado

Museu da Cidade
Campo Grande, 245
1700 Lisboa, Portugal

Through September 5
Tuesday to Sunday, 10 am to 1 pm and 2 pm to 6 pm

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Total Money Makover, by Chas Bowie

Total Money Makeover

Chas Bowie wrote a really tight insightful essay for the show’s mini-catalogue entitled Total Money Makeover. Pacific Northwest College of Art’s UNTITLED magazine has just re-published the essay here. A choice snippet:

Monuments invariably testify to their own physicality as much as they do to the memory of the subjects they commemorate. Mandiberg’s installation of investment guides emblazoned with the logos of fallen banks is no different. The get-rich-quick volumes that comprise FDIC Insured were purchased from the dollar bins of Manhattan’s Strand bookstore, where they served as pitiful markers of their own failure. For every bank that the government bailed out or brokered into sale, Mandiberg laser-cut the fallen institution’s logo on the covers of tomes such as Nothing Down, The Business Bible, and Dress Like a Million. At more than 220 titles and counting, Mandiberg’s library of financial failure is built upon the promise of buying even when you have no money, trading when you have nothing to trade and profiting when you have nothing to provide.

The full essay is here

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The Great Recession at PNCA

The Great Recession

The Great Recession is an exhibition of new work exploring the psychic implications of this most recent burp by the American economy, late Capitalism, gold hoarding, and the end of an empire. Some of the works on display include FDIC Insured, a collection of 220+ cast off investment guide books laser engraved with the logos of all of the failed FDIC insured banks, Under the Floorboards, a video about hiding and hoarding, and 1 Million Iraqi Dinars secured in a Zero-Halliburton case.

The show opens April 1st at the Feldman Gallery at PNCA, and runs through the end of May. There will be an opening April 1st during First Thursday from 6-8. Location is: PNCA Main Campus Building, Feldman Gallery, 1241 NW Johnson St. RSVP on Facebook.

I will also be giving a lecture the night before, March 31st, from 630-8pm at The Lab at Museum of Contemporary Craft, 724 NW Davis St. RSVP on Facebook. Both events are free and open to the public.

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OMG LOL in the New Yorker

OMG LOL in the New Yorker

OMG LOL in The New Yorker’s 1000 Words. Posted by Macy Halford

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Burning the New York Times

A short interview video with Michael Mandiberg shot and Edited by Dan Eckstein (daneckstein.com) in March 2009, with Music from Au Revoir Simone at Eyebeam and Postmasters Gallery NYC.

From the dialog:

I’m Michael Mandiberg. I am an artist, designer, and educator, and I am a Senior Fellow at Eyebeam, which is an Art and Technology Center in Chelsea, Manhattan.

As an artist I am pretty omnivorous. I have a background in photography, so it is pretty image based, but I was also a really really good bad high school poet. So I am particularly interested in words and their meaning, and their nuances and their poetic value. So I am always looking at the world around us visually, informationally, and culturally, and politically for inspiration

Some of my more recent work involves the laser cutter, cutting paper and books, making sculptures and drawings. The laser cutter takes the information from the computer file, and it uses a laser to cut that shape out of the material being cut, which in this case is a newspaper.

A few of my recent works are at The Future Is Not What It Used To Be, which is a show at Postmasters Gallery. One is called Old News, which is a stack of New York Times into which I am cutting daily the phrase “Old News” into it. The other is DATA BASE, which is an Oxford English Dictionary with the phrase “DATA BASE” cut into it.

The show itself is about the promise and the failed promise of technology, and its potential to connect people or not connect people.

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Security Patterns video walkthrough

Security Patterns is a studio visit installation of recent laser cut work. These sculptures and drawings are made from old books laser cut with poignant words, and drawings made from industrial patterns, all of which explore transformations in technology and their relationships to evolutions (or devolutions) in economies. Some choice examples include: two display bookshelves with an ever growing collection of 130+ investment guide books and get-rich-quick books (e.g. “Weath is a Choice” or “Investing by the Stars”) all laser engraved with the logos of failed FDIC Insured banks, A shrink wrapped bundle of 12 Yellow Pages that have been cut all the way through with the phrase “GOOGLE” and a dictionary with the phrase “OMG LOL” cut from its pages.

I have previously burned the OED, Atlases, and Phonebooks. I am interested in exploring books, especially expensive reference books, as a symbol of technological obsolecense and consumption culture. Once they were a huge symbol of prestige, now they are a sign of a era whose time has passed away. I burn them with word and symbols, as a way of commenting on their technological obsolescence, and simultaneously restoring their aura as precious objects.

More images on this blog post, or on James Wagner’s review of his studio visit

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Scanned Laser Cut Books

Gluten Free Scan
Without hands (click through to see the full 5000px wide image)

Gluten Free Scan with Hands
With hands (click through to see the full 5000px wide image)

This is an experiment to document/represent the laser cut books I have been making. They are all reference books, which used to get photocopied, but are now just plain obsolete.  I have been laser cutting poetic epigrams into them. I thought that returning them to their original status as things-to-be-photocopied might have some resonance.  So i scanned them.  This is a worldbook – just a test.  This is a tabloid(?) sized scanner (and this is the smallest book I have cut.

I am unsure if this works or not, and whether the hands help or hinder the idea. Hands always showed up in old photocopies of books, but here, it seems overwrought?  Or does the reference carry meaning?

Also, I was just informed by Billy Quin AKA Bottom Feeder that Irish arist Dorothy Cross did something similar with the Bible. I can’t find any images on Google, so if anyone has any further info on that work, please add it in the comments.

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