FALL 2011: V.07 N.02: CAA Conference Edition 2011
New Media Caucus Showcase
Review by Paul Catanese
This is the second year the New Media Caucus has organized a showcase of artwork produced by the membership as a series of short presentations during CAA. This idea, which was initially proposed for CAA 2010 by Leslie Raymond, Vice President of Exhibitions and Events at the time, has been received extremely well, in terms of participation, as well as in terms of fulfilling the goal of getting members to better know one another. At CAA 2011 in NYC, the NMC was generously invited by Bruce Wands – chair of the MFA Computer Art Department at the School of Visual Arts – to organize our showcase using a lecture hall at his institution, and throughout his department. The focus of the showcase was an intense, two-hour session featuring back-to-back, six-minute presentations by seventeen members of the NMC. We loosely modeled this format on pecha-kucha, but don’t build in a notion of a fixed number of “slides” – in fact, many artists chose to play a video, which they could mute at certain points and talk over. Other artists prepared Powerpoint or similar presentations with dozens of images of work that they moved through rapidly, while others chose to talk about a single work in more depth for their time.
A packed lecture hall with over 70 in attendance, and another twenty just outside the room, saw presentations by Victoria Bradbury, Rachel Clarke, Seth Cluett, Peter DePietro, Rachel Beth Egenhoefer, Dave Gordon, B. Colby Jennings, Patrick Lichty, Justin Lincoln, Christina McPhee, Ali Miharbi, A. Bill Miller, Molly Morin, Leila Nadir, Simone Paterson, Jack Stenner and Daniel Temkin. The artists included in this group were selected by lottery in the Fall of 2010; members were asked to nominate themselves for possible inclusion – and from the 47 who responded, seventeen were chosen to present at random. That being said, several slots in the lottery were held aside specifically for graduate students, and other slots were held aside specifically for non tenure-track educators and artists without institutional affiliations. The goal was to create a true cross section of our membership, and to allow people to have a chance to really get a sense of the range of work and thought being produced.
New Media in the context of art practice is an incredibly diverse field; the outcomes, methods, and conception of artwork being produced are not easily summarized, and the showcase is meant to celebrate how this diversity is present within our membership. There was no set order to the presentations; artists were simply asked: “When one presenter ends, and you feel you’re ready to present, to jump in” – which provided to a palpable energy, a fluid rhythm from one presentation to the next. Justin Lincoln was first to head up to the podium and discuss his radically interdisciplinary works that range from installations, screenings and writings that are modular and can become source material for one another, demonstrating this through a video that remixed these many sources. Christina McPhee presented a excerpts from a series of film works Meat Oil Joy Paint, Tesserae White Cloud Medanos Turbines and Bird of Paradise in Slow Times which was a prelude for describing processes and concepts present in her recent work “Shed.” In this work, she created drawings in a small enclosed building in the desert, tracing patterns of light that moved through the space over the course of days. While Peter DePietro showed works he has been creating for theatrical productions, using digital tools to enhance projections and other scenographic applications, Daniel Temkin gave a fascinating discussion about esoteric programming languages – esolangs, which he deftly described as “programming languages designed for the experience of using them, rather than any kind of practical result [some of which] function like brushes, others are like tubes of paint.” He went on to show examples of several esoteric programming languages including Entropy, Drunk Eliza, Unnecessary and Velato – a programming language that takes musical notes as input. Other artists showed installations, drawings, films, sound works, collaborations – the examples from the evening’s presentation strongly demonstrated the rich and complex nature of the types of work being produced by the membership, and in New Media as a field.
After the presentations, this evening continued with a two-hour catered reception kindly donated by SVA, and held throughout the entire tenth floor of the MFA Computer Art Department, for dozens of members and guests. During the reception, a video compilation of artworks by 56 NMC members, entitled 30 Second Spot was screened throughout the facilities, appearing on over dozen monitors. The artworks, collected by open-call from the membership, were each 30 seconds long, and the nearly half-hour program played continuously. Special thanks to Mat Rappaport for organizing the call and developing the DVD, along with his assistants Alice Feldt and Michelle Graves. This successful evening was made possible by the assistance of a number of individuals, including SVA Staff members Charley Lewis, Jose Vargas and Hsiang Chin Moe. We are especially grateful for the generosity of the School of Visual Arts and would particularly like to extend our special thanks and appreciation to Bruce Wands, Chair of the MFA Computer Art Department for all of his help in supporting the NMC Showcase and reception.