Media artist Kyle McDonald shares a lengthy rumination on his latest project Facework, “a game that imagines a world where face analysis is key to the latest gig economy app,” within the wider artistic and sociopolitical context of facial recognition. Citing works by Trevor Paglen, Sondra Perry, Paolo Cirio, and (many!) others, he traces the evolution of the underlying algorithms and technologies, and discusses the nuances of artistic work produced with them (image: Christian Möller’s 2003 installation Cheese).

Welcome to HOLO 2.5, the new digital arm of HOLO magazine! We don’t think it’s odd to be celebrating an in-between issue as HOLO is all about interstices: first between disciplines, now between mediums. Please take a look around; for more details on our new online home read the welcome note, linked below.
“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

Light artist Christopher Bauder teases the construction of DARK MATTER, a permanent home for seven of his iconic kinetic light sculptures, including Polygon Playground (2008), Grid (2013), and Inverse, a new site-specific piece. Built across from Bauder’s studio in East Berlin, the 1,000 square-meter “world of light, space, and sound” is set to open in 2021 and will be equal parts admission-funded exhibition space and research laboratory.

“The networks that determine artistic success are largely invisible to practitioners—even insiders see only specific segments of it. We relied on big data to map these networks out and remarkably, we find artistic success highly predictable.”
Albert-László Barabási, physicist and network researcher at BarabásiLab, on The Art Network, a data visualization that is part of the lab’s upcoming retrospective “Hidden Patterns: The Language of Network” at ZKM Karlsruhe [quote edited]

While many express outrage over the environmental impact of Non-Fungible Token (NFT) -based art, Memo Akten shows you the receipts. Building on an impassioned Twitter thread and Medium post, Akten has created a web app that calculates the ecological cost of tracking sales and bids on the blockchain for individual pieces of art distributed through SuperRare. Fire up the site, a random artwork is selected, and you’ll see its environmental impact as measured in number of flights or weeks of an average EU resident’s electricity consumption.

DOSSIER:
“TRANSFER is operating on a different timescale than most galleries trying to turn a profit to keep their doors open. The gallery exists to help bring artworks into the world, but our motivation is never around selling work in the short-term.”
– Gallerist Kelanie Nichole, on how focusing on emerging mediums is an exercise in patience and cultivation
H

Curated by Heather Dewey-Hagborg and Maya Allison “to be viewed in the palm of your hand,” N.Y.U. Abu Dhabi Art Gallery’s first virtual exhibition “not in, of, along, or relating to a line” opens on your phone. Organised like a “decentralized network diagram,” the show charts forking paths through 16 born-digital artworks by, among others, Cao Fei, Eva and Franco Mattes, Lee Blalock, Maryam Al Hamra, and Sophia Al-Maria. Among the highlights: a new entry to Addie Wagenknecht’s Opsec and Beauty YouTube series (image) that was specially commissioned for this show.

UNINVITED brings to life a new being, born of the combination of surveillance data with the hallucinatory state experienced by many device systems when infected with a virus.”
– Beth Jochim, on Nye Thompson and UBERMORGEN’s “horror film for machine networks” exhibited at Furtherfield Gallery, London, and online

The Society For Non-Trivial Pursuits (S4NTP, affiliated with UdK Berlin’s Generative Art class) launches “Future Voices,” a one-year-long radio broadcast generated from people’s “hopes, fears, and dreams,” uploaded as audio recordings from around the world. Commissioned for Berlin’s CTM Festival, the project hopes to amplify “voices that would otherwise remain unheard within an attention economy that favours loudness, provocation, and conspiracy theories.”

“Twitter and Facebook and other platforms are now trying to put the genie back in the bottle. They could have done something long before, but they chickened out. And they created a monster.”
– Longtime Anti-Racist Canada blogger Kurt Phillips, on how the QAnon mythos that “the world is controlled by pedophile child-eating Satanists“ festered in Silicon Valley’s privatized echo chembers
Tony Longson
(1948–2021)
British computer art pioneer Tony Longson dies in Los Angeles. A 1980 Artist in Residence at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Lab and credited for setting up Cal State LA’s computer animation program shortly after, Longson was a SIGGRAPH mainstay and exhibited internationally at, for example, The Hague’s Gemeente Museum, New York City’s bitforms gallery, and the Museum of Art, Architecture, and Technology in Lisbon (image: THEMES and VARIATIONS).
OUT NOW:
Golan Levin & Tega Brain
Code as Creative Medium
A deep resource for teachers focused on the expressive potential of code, loaded with syllabi suggestions, road-tested assignemnts, and interviews with leading educators.
“What distinguishes workmanship, craft, and making from industry is uncertainty. There’s a ‘risk’ in the process that resolves between the maker’s discernment and dexterity.”
Claire Hentschker, opening Art&&Code: Homemade, The Frank-Ratchye STUDIO for Creative Inquiry’s online festival for exploring “new approaches to combining everyday materials, craft languages, and cutting-edge computational techniques”

“What if satellites were art?” Régine Debatty recounts her visit to “Unseen Stars,” Trevor Paglen’s (temporarily closed) solo exhibition at OGR Torino in Turin, Italy. Revisiting his spacefaring sculpture Orbital Reflector (2018), the show comprises a series of non-functional satellites Paglen designed together with aerospace engineers. Their featureless mirror-surfaces demonstrate what space exploration could look like if, as Debatty puts it, “it were not guided by nationalism, global surveillance, and industrial logics.”

“I hope to inspire people like me to use their skillset for political purposes—hacking is political.”
– Hacker donk_enby, on scraping more than 56.7 terabytes of data from the far-right social network Parler before Amazon Web Services, Google, and Apple pulled its plug. Instrumental in organizing the Jan 6 attack on the U.S. Capitol, the network’s data dump might help reconstruct the events, donk_enby explains: “I hope that it can be used to hold people accountable and to prevent more death.”