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Newsticker, link list, time machine: HOLO.mg/stream logs emerging trajectories in art, science, technology, and culture––every day
January 2021
“People need to realize that some of their most intimate moments have been weaponized.”
– Liz O’Sullivan, technology director at the Surveillance Technology Oversight Project, on how companies, universities, and government labs harvested people’s public photos for (biased) AI training sets. Exposing.AI, an online tool O’Sullivan developed together with artist-researcher Adam Harvey, offers transparency: use it to find out if your photos have been “weaponised.”

Artist-researchers Adam Harvey and Jules LaPlace, in collaboration with the Surveillance Technology Oversight Project (S.T.O.P.), launch Exposing.AI, an online tool that lets users find out whether their Flickr photos have been used for training commercial face recognition and biometric analysis systems. The web app scans across twelve notorious datasets and provides deep analysis: MegaFace (image), for example, includes 3,311,471 Flickr photos used by Amazon, Google, and other corporate giants.

“Pas froid aux yeux,” an extensive retrospective of digital art pioneer Vera Molnar, opens at Espace de l’Art Concret (EAC) in Mouans-Sartoux, France. Curated by director Fabienne Grasser-Fulchéri in partnership with the Museum of Fine Arts of Rennes, the show surveys seventy years of generative geometry, from Molnar’s earliest pencil drawings to her latest commission: Orthogonal (image) is a room-sized, glow-in-the-dark rendition of an eponymous line drawing series from 2011-13.

Capping r/wallstreetbets’s triumphant pump of videogame retailer Game Stop’s stock (that torpedoed hedge fund Melvin Capital in the process), digital marketer Matei Psatta celebrates IRL.

“To be ready for 2035, I need to build battery plants, I need to do battery development, I need to develop electric vehicles.”
– General Motors executive Dane Parker, articulating the automaker’s gameplan to hit their target of only producing zero-emission cars within 15 years

Ralf Baecker premieres A Natural History of Networks (SoftMachine), a performance streaming live from Berlin’s STATE Studio as part of CTM Festival. Inspired by the work of British cybernetician Gordon Pask, Baecker devised an electrochemical instrument—the SoftMachine—to modulate a liquid metal alloy inside an electrode-equipped petri dish. The emerging fractal patterns, controlled via algorithmic electrical signals, reveal what Baecker describes as an “alternative computational and technological material regime.”

“What if, instead of using ethology to reaffirm our human-centric perspective on life, we looked to nature for ideas of how to do things better—particularly when it comes to growth?”
Chloe Stead, gesturing towards kinship rather than ‘survival of the fittest’ models of competition, as a path forward for humanity

Two years after its original release in 2018, the Rafael Lozano-Hemmer documentary Megalodemocrat premieres in the U.S.. Shot over 10 years in 17 different countries, the Benjamin Duffield-directed film offers an intimate look into how the Mexican-Canadian media artist transforms public spaces such as Trafalgar Square, the Vancouver Olympics (image), and New York’s Park Avenue Tunnel with large-scale interactive works.

“It is more than no. It is not an exit, nor is it passive. Instead it is a beginning.”
Nora O Murchú, transmediale’s new artistic director, on this year’s festival theme “for refusal.” Over the coming year, the 34th edition of the Berlin-based art and digital culture summit will explore “how the politics of disengagement can generate new ways of enacting solidarity and deepen our critical engagement with technology.“
“Instead of having ‘idea dinners’ or quiet whispered conversations amongst hedge funds in the Hamptons these kids have the courage to do it transparently in a forum.”
– Tech investor Chamath Palihapitiya, rebuffing the suggestion that r/wallstreetbets’ crowdsourced investment (that sent moribund brick-and-mortar retailer Game Stop’s stock to the moon) was market manipulation

A commentary on the decreasing lifespan of consumer electronics, Benjamin Gaulon adds Internet Compression to his long-running series of tech artefacts entitled Tech Mining (2002–). The hand-sized brick, produced during France’s first lockdown, constitutes a beyond-repair wireless router the artist reverted into a state of “inert matter” by shredding. “The resource takes the front stage,” Gaulon writes on his website, “the design is abolished, the utility is gone, still, a plastic object is present in the form of ultimate waste.”

“There are no false idols here. Worlds unfold inside worlds, all stimulating something else and speculating on the architecture of hope.”
– Curator and writer Hera Chan, on Revital Cohen and Tuur Van Balen’s 2019 video installation The Odds (Part 1), that cuts “glamorous showgirls from a Macau casino kicking their legs against a shimmering pink tinsel curtain” with “ketamine-anaesthetized racehorses” and “Steve Ignorant of anarcho-punk band Crass performing in a bingo hall that used to be a cinema in the aesthetic of a church.”
Omar Kholeif
Art in the Age of Anxiety
A rumination on the eponymous 2020 Sharjah Art Foundation exhibition that includes original essays by Saira Ansari, Cory Arcangel, Jeremy Bailey, Simon Denny, Heather Dewey-Hagborg, and others
“Neo-Crapstraction … post-Amazon-ism … proto-mycelium networks / biomimetics”
Rosa Menkman and students Patrick and Cat, partaking in the glitch artist’s ‘Proto Contemporary Genre’ exercise: use a temporal prefix to coin nascent (and nonsense) artistic genres
“Louder for everyone in the back: a Chinese rail system was completely halted after Adobe finally ceased all Flash support which is to say that there is a railroad out there RUNNING ON FLASH.”
Ingrid Burrington, writer and digital infrastructure pundit, highlighting the curious circumstances that lead to recent railway chaos in China’s Liaoning province, as reported by AppleDaily
“There was a heightened atmosphere in the room when I erased it, and I almost cracked.”
– Lucienne Rickard, on completing her 16-month long Extinction Studies at the Tasmanian Museum and Art Gallery, during which she meticulously drew—and erased—38 lost species. The last to go: a depiction of the Australian swift parrot, of which fewer than 300 remain in the wild.

In Stacking Traumas (2021), a new site-specific mural opening at St. Louis’ Kemper Art Museum, born-Deaf sound artist Christine Sun Kim identifies three sources of traumatic experience, represented by three tables stacked on top of one another. Looming high above “dinner table syndrome” (table 1) and “hearing people anxiety” (table 2) is the name of Alexander Graham Bell, the inventor, scientist, and eugenicist who vociferously opposed teaching sign language to Deaf children.

“It really started as a joke… I didn’t understand the game mechanics and how realistic the in-game lava and fire were, so my house burned down.”
– Jorge Juan B. Wieneke V (aka similar objects), on the 2019 origins of Club Matryoshka, a Minecraft-hosted “home for underground and unorthodox music mutants” run by Manila-based musicians that blossomed during the pandemic
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