Technology and art ride together on a tidal wave of imagination, and many media artists delight in exploiting the latest technological developments. Arcangel, however, works with the detritus, the junk left behind as the cutting edge slices into the future. Here, Arcangel—known internationally for his subversive reworkings of obsolete computer systems—contemplates what media art would look like if the engine of consumer innovation had stalled at the development of the VCR (video cassette recorder).
Arcangel grew up in Buffalo and received a Bachelor of Arts degree in music from Oberlin College. He participates in the artist group BEIGE and the Radical Software Group. Source codes for his projects are available on his Web log at www.beigerecords.com/cory.
Listen to the Cory Arcangel Acoustiguide segment (Flash 7 plug-in required)
The word “icon” used to denote objects of worship—images or sculptures. Now, the word refers more commonly to company logos and the thumbnail images on computer screens you double-click to activate an application. Icons are ubiquitous symbols providing information without words, antidotes to misunderstanding in the enveloping sphere of world languages in the global electronic network. With Book from the Ground, an ongoing project, Xu Bing intends to foster communication through a common language of icons.
Xu Bing was born in Chongqing and received a Master of Fine Arts degree from the Central Academy of Fine Art, Beijing, in 1987. He has resided in New York since 1990. His work can be viewed online at www.asinglescript.com.
Listen to the Xu Bing Acoustiguide segment (Flash 7 plug-in required)
Could a chimpanzee pecking randomly at a typewriter reproduce Shakespeare’s Hamlet? The question gave twentieth-century philosophers, mathematicians, and sundry other academics a platform on which to strut their erudition. Now the question needs an update, because today if a savvy chimp hit the right key, a computer would simulate all the random typing. An ambitious simian scribe might start a successful writing career with Lozano-Hemmer’s grammatical software program. It processes random-access words to form questions at a modest rate of thirty-three per minute. Words or questions entered by viewers become part of the program’s database.
Lozano-Hemmer spent his childhood in Mexico City, where he was born, and his teenage years in Spain. He graduated from Concordia University, Montreal, in 1989, with a Bachelor of Science degree. In 2007 Lozano-Hemmer represents Mexico at the Venice Biennale. His work may be viewed online at www.lozano-hemmer.com.
Listen to the Rafael Lozano-Hemmer Acoustiguide segment (Flash 7 plug-in required)
Many moviegoers remember and yearn for the good old days before high-decibel action in surround sound took over the super-wide screens of cinemaplexes. The McCoys undertook to bring films down to manageable dimensions—they reduced the car accident in Jean-Luc Godard’s film Week End (1967) to tabletop size. A brief stroll around the installation provides the full impact of Godard's masterpiece, more or less.
Jennifer McCoy (born Sacramento) and Kevin McCoy (born Seattle) have worked together since 1990, in video, installation, media, and performance. Their work may be viewed online at www.mccoyspace.com.
Listen to the Jennifer and Kevin McCoy Acoustiguide segment (Flash 7 plug-in required)
For some kids, the dream of becoming a basketball star overshadows hope for eternal salvation, and adults as well strive for a “big score” now and then. For many, a video of a basketball hovering over a hoop has come to signify the highest worldly achievement. The title of this work refers to the Gospel of John in the Bible, specifically the line, “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.” The conjunction of this religious sentiment with professional sports, and therefore with celebrity, suggests that markers of success often substitute for traditional objects of worship—the cross may be taken down from the wall and replaced by a basketball hoop.
Born in Honolulu, Pfeiffer spent his childhood in the Philippines. He came to New York in 1990 and attended Hunter College and the Whitney Museum Independent Study Program. Pfeiffer works in video, sculpture, and photography. His work may be viewed online at www.elproyecto.com.
Listen to the Paul Pfeiffer Acoustiguide segment (Flash 7 plug-in required)