Slippage, is an exhibition of net.art curated by Nanette Wylde, bringing together a group of 8 artists that include: Mez Breeze, Krista Connerly, Juilet Davis, Lisa Hutton, Paula Levine, Jess Loseby, UBERMORGEN.COM, and Jody Zellen. The exhibition presents an eclectic mix of work under the broad concept of ‘exploring and exposing relationships between intention, perception, control, experience, behaviour, memory, knowing and the unexpected’. There isn’t one specific theme that runs through the exhibition; it’s a collection of explorations of personal and social projects, that came about from an open call initiated by Loseby. The female artists exploring the theme of “angry women” have created an audio, visual mix of personal experiences, sometimes unexpected and far political and playful approaches to the concept proposed by the curator.
One project that touches on many of the different elements of the open, flexible and ad-hoc concept is, Jess Loseby’s disturb.the.peace [angry women]. It is a unique ingredient in the exhibition. Not only because it manages to sit well with the exhibitons’s original, fluid concept, but also because the work does not only reflect one individual creator’s voice alone. It is a collaborative project, that came about from an open call initiated by Loseby herself. The female artists featured in the work are exploring the theme of angry women and have created an audio-visual mix of personal experiences. Definitely worth anyone’s time due to the various imaginative explorations of the theme and the dynamic and expressive nature of the content. Some of the work displays unexpected shifts, reevaluating the notion of what an angry women actually is, declaring that anger can be many different things. The selection of artists featured in this project are; jess loseby, Anne Bray, Annie Abrahams, Barbara Agreste, deb king, Donna Kuhn, Elisabeth Smolarz, Evelin Stermitz, Girls who like Porno, Helen Varley Jamieson, Juliet Davis, Lilian Cooper, Maris Bustamante, Maya Kalogera and Regina Celia Pinto. It is an ongoing project with no specific deadlines, so if you are interested in showing a net-orientated work of art that fits with an angry context, and if you are female, perhaps you should contact Jess Loseby and offer to submit some work.
Another unique project is Mez Breeze’s Live Journal, with its use of language. Live Journal is an intriguing poetic discourse using computer programming syntax. Breeze’s stream of consciousness creates a staccato rhythm that stops and starts. With regular updates, the text reflects the everyday concerns of the artist. The statements, private classes and functions are, compiled one after each other to create a unique language that encourages the viewer to adopt an alternative approach in reading the material/work presented, which is much like trying to decipher code. Mez, is an interesting artist and has remained dedicated to her communication style since the early days of net art. “Written in her by now famous mezangelle language shows us one more time the possibility to use the Net as a non-linear reading tool and that coding can be artistically and culturally oriented, through its creative re-interpretation.” Tatiana Bazzichelli.
Social and political commentary is prominent with a number of the works featured in the exhibition. UBERMORGEN.COM, in PsychIOS Generator, is a playful commentary on the phenomenon of global pharmaceutical companies creating unnecessary drugs to treat apparent symptoms without addressing their cause. By selecting a series of options based on symptoms the PsychIOS Generator provides absurd diagnosis and fake prescriptions.
Also, taking a playful approach is Altar-actions by Juliet Davis, a tongue-in-cheek reality check on the modern wedding planning experience. Davis pokes fun at controversial issues by presenting interactive scenarios such as “make a better baby”, inviting you to create and customize your baby. Davis juxtaposes the absurdity with serious, factual information, best highlighted by a personal and engaging narrative describing the experiences of a student that Davis teaches from Sierra Leone, who has been directly affected by war in the region where the diamond trade in Africa plays a big part.
Not as slick but, also media-rich, which incorporates sound, video and text, Aqua by Lisa Hutton explores the relationship between humanity and water. While the concept is definitely imaginative and extremely poignant. In respect of its fluent referencing to natural catastrophes that have taken people’s lives and focusing on various connected social contexts from strong research. It seems to work at best in offering, informative in the context of art as information through a kind of networked clustering functionality. The interface’s execution slightly lets it down. The design and visual aesthetics lack the energy to inspire or fully engage the viewer. Which can distract one from getting its message across. Content-wise, and of course, contextually, it succeeds.
Exploring our relationship with other people in urban environments, the project for urban intimacy (PUI) by Krista Connerly is an online space that features a range of projects and ideas for ‘instigating intimate encounters and ‘border-crossing’ within an urban environment’. My favourite project is the urban parlour games, a series of games that can be played while you are out and about, encouraging its players to extend their brief encounters with other strangers. Connerly’s twist on childhood is in the form of Throw a Smile, a game I can imagine working well on the tube. Smile at someone, and if they return your smile, make them ‘it’ by throwing them a game card.
The mass media itself becomes a subject worthy of investigation for Jody Zellen in all the news that fit to print. Zellen has created a website that archives images and headlines from a year of newspapers. A selection of images on the homepage takes the user to a page containing a random headline juxtaposed with an image. Zellen’s motivation here is to question “what is real, what is important, what is of concern, what is not”. Using scanned newspaper print and well chosen images Zellen has, created a striking visual style. However, although there are instances where the headlines and images create profound statements, the repetitive nature of the work can wear you down. This is probably part of the work, in respect that we are overdosing through the mass consumption of perpetual news.
The visually engaging Shadows From Another Place by Paula Levine utilizes locative media to add a new way of referencing the ongoing war in Iraq. Levine sets the tone, stating her inspiration in the introduction to the piece: What if international gestures, such as acts of terrorism or war, were like boomerangs that returned to sites of origins with an impact equal to the one enacted? What would such actions look like if they landed in other backyards or our own?
By exploring the changes that redefine one land concerning another untouched by the traumatic forces of war, the project presents a series of web-based and site-specific maps. Using GPS, Levine has plotted the impact of political or cultural changes that have taken place in Baghdad and placed them upon a map of San Francisco. This is represented visually on the website where bomb sites in San Francisco have been marked out using longitude and latitude data. There is also a physical element that exists in and around San Francisco where geo-caches of project information contain the names of the U.S. service personnel who have died in the war since May 1, 2003 (the date that George Bush declared that major combat operations had ended). By employing the same technology used to target areas in Baghdad, Levine interrogates her immediate environment and creates a scenario that demolishes the distance from the place of the “other” to successfully “bring home” the impact of war.
This exhibition/project is to be congratulated for bringing together a creative mix of engaging works existing in the grey areas of language and social interaction. As well as the different levels of playfulness in dealing with subject matters, concepts, and audience interaction with imaginative shifts. Overall, it manages to encourage its audience to explore life, net art, media art and its themes to great lengths, in opening up artistic questions and notions in their practice, sharing questions and investigations.