Tag Archives: politics

In Light of Recent Events during Art Basel, Miami Beach

In Light of Recent Events
An exhibition of necessary research
during Art Basel, Miami Beach

Wynwood Arts District, December 2-5, 2010
Lions Gallery @ Museovault
346 NW 29th Street, Miami, FL 33127

Showcasing contemporary work inspired by current events. In navigating the borderlands of investigative practice, spectre long ago abandoned the catalogue notion of “genre”; as such spectrevision humbly presents studio art work juxtaposed interchangeably with experiments and efforts that defy current modes of categorization, displayed alongside research materials and other relevant findings.

Jeremy Dean, Jonathon Keats, Abigail Portner, Oliver Laric, Judi Werthein, Julieta Aranda, Michael Mandiberg, Iris Lasn, Nellie Appleby, Mike Ross, hacker Dan Kaminsky, authors Stephen Mihm (“Nation of Counterfeiters”), Howard Bloom (“Lucifer Principle”), Robert Eisenberg (“Boychicks in the Hood”), & Zachary Mexico (“China Underground”), Philip Tinari (founding editor artforum.com.cn & LEAP), photographers Cheryl Dunn, Tod Seelie, Jamel Toppin, Janine Gordon, Stacy Kranitz, Olivia Wyatt, & Julia Solis, Miami firefighter Myles Kaplan, holographer Mark Diamond, psychic economist Eva Destruction, artist/activist Ben Sisto, ‘missed connections’ curator Gillian Sneed, consumer advocate Dewey LLC, and others.

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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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From the Archive… Q: Head Scarf?

From October 2008… this post was caught in WordPress limbo. I publish it now, well after this NYC microtrend has gone national, if not global. The questions remain the same, the scope has just increased…

Head Scarf

I’ve noticed a new NYC microtrend of people wearing billowy checkered cotton scarfs around their necks. They remind me distinctly of Yasser Arafat’s Keffiyeh. (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Keffiyeh). Fashion can be pretty fascinating in its ability to absorb and appropriate otherness. So while we are at war with much of the Arab world, and Arab-Americans are feeling threatened and misunderstood enough that they have had to launch an advertising campaign in the subway, NYC consumerist fashionistas have appropriated the Keffiyeh. I wonder whether the wearers know what they are wearing, and whether they see it is some kind of statement, or just “cool.”

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New Amsterdam Bike Slam in the New York Times

FDR Bikeway

The New York Times covers the New Amsterdam Bike Slam. We won hardcore. We proposed angle in parking, charging for street parking (!), bike ferries, multimodal transport, passive visibility through retroreflective coatings, secure centralized bike storage, a bike school bus (where a leader comes by and picks up all the kids on bikes and bikes to school in a posse), but best of all, we proposed a bike freeway:

But Team Amsterdam had more tricks up its sleeves. How about bicycle freeways? asked Carmen Trudell, a New York architect and City University professor. Imagine a bicycle speedway running under the shadow of Franklin D. Roosevelt Drive, a rain-free place for athletic cyclists out on training rides or those who just are not going to go at a “Dutch pace.”

Our presentation was awesome, and we are going to work on turning it into a paper or video in the next month or so. Too many good ideas. Too many good collaborators. Shout outs to great collaborators Claire Weisz, Carmen Trudell, Shachi Pandey, Wendy Schipper, and Stefan Verduin.

I can’t wait for my dutch bike!

More from our presentation:

Manhattan bridge to FDR Bikeway

Direct access to the FDR Bikeway from the Manhattan Bridge

Angle In parking and Bike Lane

New York City has the most expensive parking lot parking, and the cheapest street parking: free!

Think about those 150 sq feet of pavement transported to underneath an appartment building. If the building is four stories high:that is two studio apartments we’re talking about. That’s $3000-$5000 per month! And the city gives it away for free.

We need to take it back for the 99% of city dwellers who don’t park a car on city streets, with angle in parking, a bike lane on every street far away from doors (my assistant was doored today even!), a special spot for short truck deliveries, and a spot at the end of each block for 10 minute parking so people don’t just leave their cars in the middle of the street to pick up take out or dry cleaning.

And of course, bike parking at the end of each block

Concept by BrightNYC team from the New Amsterdam Bike Slam (Michael Mandiberg, Shachi Pandey, Wendy Schipper, Carmen Trudell, Stefan Verduin, and Claire Weisz). All renderings by Carmen Trudell.

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Ulrich Franzen’s Street: Radical Urban Planning from 1969

Watch the whole thing. Or at least the first 12 minutes. Its worth it. Fascinating. It is so familiar that I feel like I was shown this in grade school… alongside Powers of Ten.

Some things have changed since Ulrich Franzen made it: waterfronts are now viewed as more precious potential parks than he views the street. Putting a two mile long building on any waterfront would not work these days. Also, his vision of shared cars is starting to come true, with shared rentable cars now available in most cities, and bicycle share programs across Europe and heading stateside. I wondered if today’s political and economic culture could handle he importance and respond to the difficulty of such massive change; a review of Boston’s tragically executed and financially draining Big Dig would be a good case study in what can go wrong. All that said, I felt there were two things missing: Subways and Bicycles.

He never addresses subways: do we keep them, do we make more, are they better or worse than busses (electric or otherwise)? Which really is a question of fixed route transportation: you can put a bus in anywhere you want when you need it, but you can’t just add or take away a subway. There are vast swaths of Brooklyn and Queens that are underserved by Subways because in the first half of the 20th Century, either no one lived there because they were factories and are now living lofts, or (I would guess) the people that lived their lacked the political or economic power to bring the subway closer to them.

The other absence is any discussion of the bicycle. And while the bicycle is not the cure-all, for every transportation woe, having spent time in cities like Amsterdam, Portland, and even Shanghai & Beijing, it is clearly a hugely important part of removing strain on existing private and public infrastructure.

Just for comparison look at Shenzhen. Located just north of China’s border with Hong Kong, Shenzhen was designated China’s first Special Economic Zone roughly 30 years ago. At the time, it was rice patties. Now it is a city with the same population as New York City. It is the location one of the countries two stock exchanges, has remarkable skyscrapers, but has almost no urban planning to speak of. Much of the development has been dictated by the swaths of land set aside for corporate factories made possible by huge foreign investment. A subway was opened sometime in the last ten years, and it is in the process of being expanded. But it is one line. Running east to west. And only covers a small percentage of the width of the city. Running above this subway from the water to the city center is the main thoroughfare. When I visited we drove in my host’s car through this mostly-stoplight-free congested two lane road at a mere 25 MPH; all because of congestion, a disproportionate number of accidents by new drivers, and a lack of any other east west transportation mode. In Shenzhen new wealth lead to massive purchase of cars by first time drivers as a proud sign of their rise into economic power. At the time I was there, Shenzheners were purchasing 200,000 new cars per year. All this in a city of roughly 10 million. It corresponds with a Los Angeles like breakdown of the transportation system.

Inversely, the much much older Shanghai and Beijing have established subway systems, and a long standing bicycle culture. Despite being much larger cities traffic moves much faster, even though more people moving from one place to another. The citizens of Shenzhen do not commute far, as much of Shenzhen is made up of large and small factories that usually contain their own workers housing, which ranges from formal dormitory style high rises, to informal ramshackle wooden bunk beds in unlit rooms divided by curtains.

All this always interests me, but I am especially interested in these questions right now, as I am about to participate in the New Amsterdam Bike Slam a Transportation Alternatives co-sponsored bike related three think-tank as poetry-slam. I’ll be on one team, and some of the participants are listed here.

And while the focus of this session is on bikes in the harbor area (something dear to my heart as I commute to teach at the College of Staten Island/CUNY by bike and ferry), seeing (or maybe re-seeing) Franzen’s film has spurred my thinking in a different direction.

(via Urban Omnibus)

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S.A.S.E. a new project from ASDF


Marijke Appelman, Paul Branca, Jennifer Cane, Travis Hallenbeck and Guthrie Lonergan, Michael Mandiberg, Jennifer Delos Reyes, Gabriel Saloman, Suzie Silver, Lia Trinka-Browner, Jess Wilcox

S.A.S.E. uses the idea of the self addressed stamped envelope as its foundation (a method of distribution within the postal mail system that is always initiated by the one who wants to receive the information).

This method of distribution was (futilely) translated into a digital communication system, e-mail.

Eleven people were asked to organize an exhibition of images that would be contained within the space of an e-mail.

Ten e-mail exhibitions were created (each includes a selection of images, a statement, and a works list).

All the images were found online – either from web-sites or in e-mails.

To receive the e-mail exhibition one would initiate the process by sending a request email.

The exhibition e-mail would then be sent to the requester.


▸ Each e-mail exhibition must be requested individually
▸ Send an e-mail to sase.asdf@gmail.com
▸ Copy the title of the exhibition you want and paste it into the
e-mail subject

▸ Within 1-7 days your exhibition will arrive in your e-mail box
▸ NOTE: We will not be personally reading these emails
▸ NOTE: You must paste the show title exactly how it appears below
(a program will automatically be replying to the e-mails)

Marijke Appelman
edition of 365

Paul Branca
edition of 5000

Jennifer Cane
Arcadian Arrow
edition of 100

Travis Hallenbeck and Guthrie Lonergan
summer thumbs 09
edition of 1,000,000

Michael Mandiberg
FDIC Insured

edition of 2,500

Jen Delos Reyes
The Sound We Make Together

edition of 250

Gabriel Saloman
Miscalled a Republic

edition of 1684

Suzie Silver
Unusual Animal Friends (aka Interspecies Friendship)

edition of 1,000,001

Lia Trinka-Browner

edition of 110

Jess Wilcox
The Discovery of Orange

edition of 66

Click here to download PDF of the complete statements and work lists.

One thing lost when communication became digital was the activity of waiting (obviously, it has not disappeared completely, and that is not the point of discussion here). This waiting corresponded with a travel – and the technologies of travel. A travel of an object of communication. A letter sent from one person to another, transported across an ocean on a boat. Or in an airplane across the sky. The receiver, waiting the duration it takes for this boat to sail across the ocean, or for the airplane to fly from one place to the next. The waiting corresponded with movement across a physical distance. It is an absurd gesture to intentionally insert this idea of waiting into e-mail communication (there ceases to be a physical distance traversed, and it is possibly argued there is no object).. But the same can be said of attempting to “translate” the idea of the Self Addressed Stamped Envelope, or S.A.S.E into digital. If anything, what is happening is that an older way is being pointed to. A way, with its own subtleties and distinctions, that has been lost. Yet, this does not become about nostalgia or an embracing of an anachronism. It is simply a reflection (and maybe a rupture). The exhibitions organized for S.A.S.E. tread in different areas. Some can be seen as curated art exhibitions, such as Lia Trinka-Browner’s NO PUSSYFOOTING, which uses the cover of the 1973 Brian Eno and Robert Fripp album of the same title as a central locus to pull together different art-works. Some such as Michael Mandiberg’s FDIC Insured can be seen more as a work-in-itself. Mandiberg used image searches, and The Way Back Machine to group image files of logos of recently failed banks. Miscalled a Republic by Gabriel Saloman comes out of neither a curatorial or art-making position. It can be seen more as a visual presentation of Saloman’s historical research into movements of secession and autonomy in North America. And there is Suzie Silver’s Unusual Animal Friends (aka Interspecies Friendship). I would say that this would be similar to Mandiburg’s (an artist using an e-mail to make a work). Yet there is something more happening here. Silver’s images were collected from emails forwarded to her by her mother. These images, already freely circulating through the meme-pool via the personal communication of e-mail, were pulled out and put back into circulation (or maybe never pulled out, just re-contextualized). The editioning of the e-mail exhibitions was obviously out of humor (who makes something digital an edition?). Yet it also has larger motives. It was not to stop the circulation of these e-mails by closing the door. But to hope that they continue to live by the act of forwarding (and possibly being altered as well). Letting the images continue to traffic by entering new in-boxes, just as Silver’s selected images had done organically. These may be high hopes, to want people share the e-mails once they become unavailable, but there is nothing wrong with that.
11″ x 17″ print outs of each show will be available from Aug 10 – Sept 12 as an open edition. These are available only by a real self addressed stamped envelope. Requests must be post-marked no later then Sept 12, 2009. Only one print out per request. You may request a specific exhibition, or we will send you a random one. The bigger the envelope you send, the less amount of folds the print out will have when you receive it. NOTE: Please make sure you include enough postage.

Send here:

Mylinh Nguyen
165 Park St #6
New Haven, CT 06511

For those who live outside of the United States and cannot purchase US postage stamps, do as follows: Mail in an unstamped envelope. Paypal $5 to asdf.makes@gmail.com. In your paypal payment clearly state your name and address. When your envelope arrives we will buy your shipping. If you mail in a heavy envelope send $10.

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Plugins at Exit Art in End of Oil

My environmental focused plugins are included in the exhibition End of Oil at Exit Art. The opening is this Saturday, June 13th from 6-8. The exhibition runs from June 13 – July 31, 2009.

A project of SEA (Social-Environmental Aesthetics) , The End of Oil is an exhibition of photography, prints, videos, installations and new media that addresses human dependence on oil and other fossil fuels; the ramifications that this dependency has on the future of the environment and of global geopolitics; and the recent push towards viable alternative energy resources.


Khalil Chishtee; Louisa Conrad; Robert Ladislas Derr; Dominic Gagnon; Ed Kashi; Matt Kenyon; Michael Mandiberg; Andrei Molodkin; Jo Syz

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Drawing Contemporaries Video

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Tiananmen Square Paintings (20 years later)

Tiananmen Square: Do you exclusively paint Thomas Kinkade paintings?

Tiananmen Square: Do you exclusively paint Thomas Kinkade paintings?

June 3, 2009

Four years ago, in preparation for a research visit to Shenzhen’s Dafen Painting Village, I requested that roughly a dozen Chinese painters paint a copy of the image of the man standing in front of the tanks during the Tiananmen Square protest on June 4, 1989. I did this partly out an interest in copies and reproductions and partly just to see if I could do it: the image is famous worldwide, but I have since learned it is virtually unknown under Chinese national censorship.

Tiananmen Square: You can add the person to painting when you get it.

Tiananmen Square: You can add the person to painting when you get it.

Of the dozen requests I sent, most were returned with a price and the universal salutation “it is a pleasure to do business with you.” A few painters suggested I just leave the man and the lamp post out, often for unclear reasons: political or aesthetic? One person outright declared that he could not paint the image. I have titled each image with a snippet of dialogue from the negotiations for each painting.

Tiananmen Square: The man and the white lights will be painted or not?

Tiananmen Square: The man and the white lights will be painted or not?

Twenty years have passed since that violent government crack down on the twenty-something college students occupying the public square in pro-democracy protest. Enough time for the protestors’ children to grow up without ever seeing this famous image that was eradicated by the media. It lies cloaked lies cloaked in Google searches, behind the Great Firewall of China.

Tiananmen Square: our art products will give you total satisfation

Tiananmen Square: our art products will give you total satisfation

This famous image did not exist. This was one manifestation of China’s pattern of Internet censorship. Another pattern was that if a scandals breaks out in China, all webpages outside of China are temporarily disabled. During my month there, two regional politicians were caught in corruptions investigations. One of them was sentenced to death, and the other killed himself. The official reports glossed over the details, and focused on the new appointee. The New York Times, on the other hand, did an in-depth analysis, which I happened to read, as I was up at a strange jet-lagged hour. It was gone the next day.

Tiananmen Square: composition without lights

Tiananmen Square: composition without lights

Just yesterday the New York Times published a small series of editorials about the anniversary. And just now they are reporting on extensive shutdowns of most major communications platforms, from the NYTimes.com to Twitter. Ironically, that article will not make it through the firewall either.

Tiananmen Square: kindly please follow instructions for online payment

Tiananmen Square: kindly please follow instructions for online payment

My translator & fixer that helped me get access to the painting factories said she had never seen this image. She was a very successful college-educated journalist, who was leaving China to work in Canada. She was a worldly person. She had heard stories but she refused to believe them; stories from family friends whose children disappeared that day, 20 years ago tomorrow.

Chinese people forgot the history

Tiananmen Square: Chinese people forgot the history

I send images of these paintings out now as a quiet memorial, and an attempt to reseed this image of strength in the face of threats to humanity, tyranny, and the freedom of information


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Permanent State of Emergency

Permanent State of Emergency, video still

April 7 – 28: Eyebeam’s new window gallery in a Permanent State of Emergency

Date: April 7 – 28; Opening Reception: April 17, 6 – 8PM
Location: Eyebeam: 540 W. 21st, NYC
Cost: Free

Eyebeam is pleased to announce the opening of State of Emergency, the inaugural exhibition of the Window Gallery, our new rotating gallery space programmed by Eyebeam fellows and residents and viewable on West 21st Street. State of Emergency, a deliberately provocative projection series organized and co-curated by Sherry Millner and Ernest Larsen, includes work by Eyebeam senior fellow Michael Mandiberg, Mary Kelly, Allan Sekula, Walid Raad, Leslie Thornton, Gregory Sholette, Louis Hock, Marty Lucas, Sally Stein, Martha Rosler, Ligorano/Reese, Yvonne Rainer, James T. Hong, and Yin-Ju Chen, as well as Millner and Larsen themselves.

State of Emergency began several years ago as a silent shout-out against the ever-deepening devastation of democracy, a group response to the manufactured “state of emergency” in which we live. This updated version reinterprets that theme to include caustic responses to the ever-deepening economic collapse.

This inaugural exhibition in the Window Gallery is an initiative of senior fellow Michael Mandiberg.

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