Crisis Links 1/23

Every Thursday, we have our “Crisis Century” class, an overview of modern media and culture in the feverish, fast-paced world of the 21st Century. Our professor, writer and curator Tim Druckrey, usually begins the morning with a reading from Harper’s (yes, definite left-leaning bias there ;) and a show of links to modern art resources and other sites of interest to the subject matter. I think that every week, I shall blog a sample of links from class, just to share a bit of the new media millieu which I am currently immersed in:

Information Awareness Office. Innovating new ways to intrude on your privacy from sea to shining sea! I love their slick, clipart-enhanced, MS FrontPage designs, as well as the effective use of corporate jargon. Our taxes are paying for a lot of alarming stuff, such as the EARS program, which aims to develop ways to transcribe eavesdropped phone conversations into rich text format. Ooohh. Scary high-tech money sinks.

Illegal Art. “On the legal fringe of intellectual property.” Art made to challenge and address issues of copyright and creativity through subtle and blatant duplication and reproduction of existing work.

The Zgodlocator. A giant, elaborate technological installation piece: whole computers and computer parts are destroyed and crushed into a fine metallic dust, which is then thickly strewn over a pattern of powerful electromagnets. Pressing buttons in the installation triggers the magnets, creating abstract sculptures from the “granulated landscape” to explore the raw physical manifestation of stored information.

386 DX and the Leningrad Cowboys. Russian bands respond to the influx of Western culture with their own form of parodic postmodern cut-and-paste techno-Dadaism. 386DX plays reprised rock music on a 386DX PC with customizable text-to-speech and MIDI synthesis. The Leningrad Cowboys reinterpret classic American rock into bombastically Russified masterworks, complete with stentorian men’s choruses and harmonized Cossack dances. Their reprise of “Stairway to Heaven” is even better than the original. Good stuff.