Now come socialbots. These automated charlatans […] have quirks, life histories and the gift of gab.
Researchers say this new breed of bots is being designed not just with greater sophistication but also with grander goals: to sway elections, to influence the stock market, to attack governments, even to flirt with people and one another […]
Christian Rudder, a co-founder and general manager of OkCupid, said that when his dating site recently bought and redesigned a smaller site, they witnessed not just a sharp decline in bots, but also a sudden 15 percent drop in use of the new site by real people. This decrease in traffic occurred, he maintains, because the flirtatious messages and automated “likes” that bots had been posting to members’ pages had imbued the former site with a false sense of intimacy and activity. “Love was in the air,” Mr. Rudder said. “Robot love.”
Mr. Rudder added that his programmers are seeking to design their own bots that will flirt with invader bots, courting them into a special room, “a purgatory of sorts,” to talk to one another rather than fooling the humans […]
But the bots are likely to venture into ours, said Tim Hwang, chief scientist at the Pacific Social Architecting Corporation, which creates bots and technologies that can shape social behavior. “Our vision is that in the near future automatons will eventually be able to rally crowds, open up bank accounts, write letters,” he said, “all through human surrogates.”"
this is really fascinating.
Hacktivists as Gadflies, Brecht Vandenbrouckefor the New York Times [14/04/2013]
"We travel for pleasure, for a door-slamming sense of “I’m outta here,” for a change of air, for edification, for the big vulgar boast of being distant, for the possibility of being transformed, for the voyeuristic romance of gawping at the exotic; and sometimes we travel because we have been banished. I was banished once, and it fortified me."
Paul Theroux, “My Travel Wish List,” New York Times
(Source: The New York Times)
I wrote an new piece for Art Observed on Subodh Gupta’s exhibition opening tonight at Hauser & Wirth in New York. I tried out a slightly different tone in this one, so please give it a click below and let me know if it’s too cheesy, and/or if I’ve been reading too many Holland Cotter reviews! I know a lot of you are writers, art lovers, and readers and I’d love to hear your feedback either in messages or hej [at] jenniferlindblad [dot] com.
fernandofrench: Page One: Inside The New York Times. Watching this trailer gave me a journalism boner.
"Now, though, many museum directors are finding virtue in necessity. Shows built largely from in-house collections have drawn well, they say, and curators are introducing the public to unsung treasures. […] Museums all over the country are now concentrating on their permanent collections rather than staging blockbusters that rely on borrowed works of art. A survey by the Association of Art Museum Directors this year found that nearly three-quarters of its members were planning shows based on their permanent collections, compared with a little more than half who planned such exhibitions in 2005. […] But Maxwell L. Anderson, the director [of the Indianapolis Museum of Art], said the blockbuster era was merely in hibernation. “That itch will come back as the economy recovers,” he said."
Robin Pogrebin, “Museums Are Exhibiting Works from their Own Collections” (NYT)
Blockbuster era in hibernation - beware!
I’m reading a book right now for my Historicity course called Re-Thinking History by Richard Jenkins (1991). Jenkins lays out the basic concept of reading history critically - not taking the historian’s view as fact, but rather as one of many (inherently biased) accounts. This criticality, he argues, has long been a given in other disciplines: philosophy, sociology, and the like - but had not yet made its way into mainstream notions of history. It was apparently groundbreaking at the time, and I wonder if perhaps the reason it seems so basic to me is that even as far back as middle school, I remember my social studies teacher telling us that primary and secondary source materials helped us to reconstruct the past, but that we never had access to one essential truth.
This is also the method I was taught in my museum education days, when, instead of reciting a wall plaque to the visitors about the artworks, I would engage them in seeing, thinking, and connecting. “What do you see here?” “What does this remind you of?” “What do you see that makes you say that?” What matters is facilitating people’s connection to the artwork, making them feel knowledgable not by laying out a clearly defined essentialist history, but by opening access from the viewer’s wealth of experiences to the image.
Paul Thek, Untitled (Meat Piece with Flies), 1965, from the series Technological Reliquaries. Image courtesy the NYT.
Holland Cotter’s review in this morning’s NYT of Paul Thek: Diver, a Retrospective at the Whitney Museum got me thinking - what artists does history miss? In today’s ever-expanding international art schedule, there are so many galleries, museum shows, and studios that, if unvisited or undocumented, go unnoticed. If you blink, you miss out. Thek studied painting at Cooper in the late 1950s, and ran in circles with Susan Sontag, Eva Hesse, and Peter Hujar. He was alert to the work of Johns, Kaprow, Oldenburg, Rauschenberg, Bueys, as well as the Arte Povera movement. He spoke the language of the great minimalists and neo-avant gardes. In the late 1960s, Thek travelled to Europe, where he was warmly received, and dabbled in creating large scale collaborative ephemeral environments. When he came back to New York, the 1960s were over and no one apparently remembered him. (I find this hard to believe, but the “facts” remain.)
He’s also devastatingly gorgeous:
Paul Thek in the Palermo Catacombs, 1963. Image courtesy the NYT.
Thek was 54 when he died of AIDS in 1988, but according to Cotter, he “had already slipped through the cracks of art history. Or rather he had fallen into one of the deep trenches that divide history into artificial islands with names like Pop and Minimalism.” Cotter seems all too aware of Jenkins’ concept of history-construction. In a look through the exhibition site, the images make it clear that this artist was of quality, and worth a re-writing. “And what of Thek today?” Cotter asks:
"There is little room for him in the existing history books, with their cut-and-dried geographies. Nor is his art a natural fit in conventional museums like the Whitney. The meat pieces are still frontal attacks on formalism, the art world’s closely guarded safety zone. The installation leftovers are moldy stains on the modernist white box: organic to its inorganic, dirty to its clean; emotion to its reason.
So if Thek is taken seriously, and his widespread influence demonstrates that he is, traditional history has to be resurveyed and rewritten. It will no longer be a tale of fortress islands but of ships and swimmers moving among them. It will be a history of gigantic obsolescence, and precious semi-permanent slightness, of active anger and hard-earned relief. (“Afflict the comfortable; comfort the afflicted,” is how Thek put it in a late painting.) And, of course, in that history he will take his rightful place.”
Installation shot: Paul Thek at the Whitney Museum of American Art. Image courtesy the NYT.
But will he? It depends entirely on art historians and the textbooks future students and scholars will read. Although the mounting of the show itself seems like a miracle, Cotter, as a critic, must make some comment on the exhibition. He describes the show as “ragged, moving and much-anticipated” and, later, “less than we hoped for, perhaps, but more than anticipated.” This is an interesting distinction - hope and anticipation. If the base of knowledge is zero — if we know nothing about the artist to begin with — then isn’t something better than nothing?
Not in the slightest. It is here that the curators make a huge difference in the perception of the work: if the installation had been ugly or somehow unpleasing to critics and connoisseurs, Thek may have been slandered, or, even worse, forgotten. His name, and all the work attached to it, would have slid further into anonymity. I’m glad the “organizers” (why is the Whitney not using the word “curators”?) Elisabeth Sussman and Lynn Zelevansky, made this exhibition happen, and I will definitely check it out in December.
If nothing else, you can always count on Cotter for some beautiful, thought-provoking prose. I like his metaphor of artistic movements as coarsely-delineated “geographies” and artists and their networks as “islands” and “archipelagos.” I am making a mental note to return to these phrases again soon.
Marina Abramović's ex-partner of 12 years, Paolo Canevari. After Ulay, her previous partner of 12 years, Abramović dated Canevari: an artist 16 years her junior. They split in 2009, but for the record, girl sure knows how to pick ‘em!
Not QUITE what I was hoping for but…
You may remember from a previous post how intrigued I am by scent art - the olfactory being one of the less explored senses. When I saw this headline I squealed - scent art, it’s heeeeere! - but apparently the exhibition consists of 12 legendary ground-breaking perfumes/fragrances throughout history.
The undertaking reminded me of Francesco Vezzoli’s ad campaign for the fake fragrance Greed, and I wondered how the scents would be visually displayed?
"The scents will be wafted around the museum’s second-floor galleries by atomizers in an exhibition space designed by the architect Toshiko Mori, and they will be presented with labels identifying only their creators and the years they were made. The packaging and brand names usually associated with them […] will not be seen.”
I commend the MAD and Chandler Burr for the exhibition idea and bold display, and perhaps this will open the doors for future scent art! Can’t wait to see it when I’m in New York in December!