Report from the Library of Congress

For three days, on April 3-5 of this year, the Library of Congress in Washington, DC hosted an exhibition, readings, and talks on electronic literature. Electronic literature, according to the Library of Congress website, is something different than traditional print literature:

More than a computer screen and different from an ebook or a digitized text. It is hypertext narrative, literary games, interactive fiction, kinetic poetry. Not just a new way to display the written word, electronic literature exploits the digital world’s capacity for multiplicity and interactivity to create new forms of literary expression that can’t be fully replicated in print. Like all literature, it explores the human condition—but as “born

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is now mediated by underlying computer code, often combining the written word with sound, images, animation, and video.

The event, “Electronic Literature & Its Emerging Forms,” created by guest curators Dene Grigar and Kathi Inman Berens, was a milestone for the electronic literature community, and a philosophical leap forward for the Library of Congress. Sure, the LOC has all of the 400 million tweets sent by Americans each day, so they’re not hurting for new media, but judging by the reactions of librarians at the event, electronic literature is alternately something they had originated themselves, or a first glimpse at a brave new world unimagined by Thomas Jefferson.

Either way, electronic literature is here to stay. Over the three days of the event, approximately seven hundred people wandered, nudged, and jostled their way through the Whittall Pavilion. They played, studied, and explored “twenty-seven works of electronic literature by American authors, relevant printed works from the Library of Congress collections, readings by select authors featured in

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the exhibit, and hands-on creation stations.” They watched elit authors do live performances of their work. They saw an exhibit of rare books, heard a keynote address, and listened in on a panel discussion about electronic literature. In the event’s most retro moment, young children discovering a manual typewriter for the first time were puzzled by the unresponsiveness of the keys. Why don’t they work? they asked, and upon being told to push them harder, learned that typing is still possible without a computer. At the end of it all, the question in the air wasn’t “What is electronic literature” but “Where can we find more?”

The answer is everywhere. Not just in Facebook posts (where people use multimedia all the time to tell their

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stories). Not just at the Webby awards, where a work of electronic literature won in the Net Art category in 2011, and another was an honoree this year. And not just in museums, galleries, festivals, online journals, and college classrooms around the world, where elit is no longer an emerging form, but a full-blown phenomena.

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there’s the database for Electronic Literature as a Model of Creativity and Innovation in Practice (ELMCIP).

To learn more about the event at the Library of Congress, go here.

 

Channel TWo to Launch “Instances” and Lecture at APSU on April 9, 2013

Channel TWo Terminal

 

Project Information 

An instance is an intentional hidden message, inside joke, or feature in a work such as a computer program, movie, book, or crossword. Some [instances] may be intentional tools used to detect illegal copying, others are clearly examples of unauthorized functionality that has slipped through the quality-control tests at the vendor.

“Channel TWo: Instances” consists of thirteen augmented reality instances hidden across the campus of Austin Peay State University, beginning on April 9 and running through May 10. Each instance will direct you to a Channel TWo, downloadable friendly care package. All thirteen instances, you will need to download the Layar augmented reality browser by going to the Layar website and downloading the browser onto your iPhone or Android phone (http://www.layar.com/download/). In order to begin finding instances, visit the Channel TWo site for instructions at: http://www.onchanneltwo.com/instances

 

Bios

 

Adam Trowbridge and Jessica Westbrook collaborate as Channel TWo (CH2), a studio/research construct focused on mixed reality, media, design, development, and distribution, authorized formats + unauthorized ideas, systems of control + radical togetherness. Channel TWo is loosely aligned with the concept of over-identification, Slavoj Žižek’s description of a tactic intended to reveal the hidden nature of dominant ideologies — not by pointing to them but by becoming extreme forms of them. CH2 intersects joyful/play-oriented aesthetic experiences and user interfaces with challenging social undercurrents. Projects take the form of computer viruses, virtual environments, augmented realities, and motion/generative graphics. CH2 was awarded a Rhizome Commission in 2012, a Turbulence Commission in 2011, and a Terminal Commission in 2009. Trowbridge and Westbrook are both Assistant Professors at The School of the Art Institute of Chicago where they teach in the Department of Contemporary Practices and the Department of Art and Technology Studies.

Tagged ,

Lei Han, April 8 – 19, 2013

Lei Han Terminal

 

Lei Han is a new media artist, educator and designer. Fascinated by the influences of eastern philosophy in western art, especially in modern and contemporary art, her recent work aim for creating the cohesion between spirituality and creativity, and as well as making new connections between artist, viewer and object/subject. Lei’s current work, in experimental video, digital animation, video art and interactive video installation, has been exhibited at galleries, museums, and film festivals nationally and internationally. Including Krannert Art Museum, the Arts Center, St. Petersburg, Asheville Fine Arts Theater, North Carolina Visions, and Shenzhen & Hongkong Bi-City Biennial, China.

Lei received her BA in fashion design from Shenzhen University in China and her MFA in computer arts from Memphis College of Art. She is currently Assistant Professor of Multimedia Arts and Sciences at the University of North Carolina at Asheville and board member of The Media Arts Project.

http://nm.unca.edu/~lhan/mysite/

Tagged

On Lying

 

A while back I wrote a book on how to be creative (download the free, illegal pdf here). It was bound to fail because creativity doesn’t really break down into easy modernist steps like a recipe you can follow. Indeed, something like “individual human creativity” arguably doesn’t even really exist. It’s just an idea humans invented at a particular time in history to make them feel good about being humans at that particular time in history. Even so, great artistic chefs do use recipes, and failure sometimes leads to fruitful art, so it wasn’t such a bad idea to write a book like that after all. The book was like a way for me to exhaust all the “best practice” advice on how to be creative, compile it in a single text, get it out of my system, and then whatever was left after that might actually have something to do with creativity.

hotwiring

how to be creative as crap

 

So I researched all sorts of methods for being creative, and distilled them into a long list. Here are a bunch of those methods:

repeat, combine, add, transfer, empathize, animate, superimpose, change scale, fragment, isolate, distort, disguise, contradict, parody, analogize, hybridize, metamorphose, substitute, simplify, adapt, modify, rearrange, reverse, symbolize, mythologize, fantasize.

Finally, my favorite method is “prevaricate,” which simply means “lie.” I love the prevaricate method and find it woefully under-used by artists (although politicians use it all the time). I’m not sure why artists’ don’t lie more in their work. If you make art involving networks, then the medium more or less forces your work to lie, whether you want it to or not. Even if you don’t have a Facebook pseudonym or an opposite-gender avatar in Second Life, you are more or less lying every time you say “I” online — because your Facebook actions are always meant to have some kind of limited effect within the context of Facebook, because the formal constraints of the medium and the network greatly limit the “amount” and “quality” of “self” “you” are able to “put” online.  Indeed, media have always modulated the “self” of the “artist/author” — painters, writers, dancers, sculptors (cf: Barthes’ “The Death of the Author“). Even more radically, philosopher Alfred Korzybski says to use the word “is” at all is a kind of lying, since no single subject could ever be adequately equated to a single predicate. Even more radically, philosophers Gilles Deleuze and Felix Guattari famously undermine the use of the pronoun “I” at all. In the beginning of their seminal A Thousand Plateaus they explain:

The two of us wrote Anti-Oedipus together. Since each of us was several, there was already quite a crowd. Here we have made use of everything that came within range, what was closest as well as farthest away. We have assigned clever pseudonyms to prevent recognition. Why have we kept our own names? Out of habit, purely out of habit. To make ourselves unrecognizable in turn. To render imperceptible, not ourselves, but what makes us act, feel, and think. Also because it’s nice to talk like everybody else, to say the sun rises, when everybody knows it’s only a manner of speaking. To reach, not the point where one no longer says I, but the point where it is no longer of any importance whether one says I. We are no longer ourselves. Each will know his own. We have been aided, inspired, multiplied.

 

Obviously, there are some ethical problems with lying. If I am a different “I” from one moment to the next, then the “I” of today no longer need take responsibility for the actions of the “I” of yesterday. If the “I” of a conglomerate corporation is protected by certain rights that leave the individual members of that corporation unaccountable for their actions, then we have some problems. But art is not individual citizenship or corporate citizenship. Art is the province of the trickster. Art is always already lying. Ai Weiwei is a trickster artist because the Chinese government is a shifty, lying entity. Even if you’re not making overtly political art, materials and media (particularly new media) are lying all the time. Materials aren’t even “lying,” because that would imply that somehow they were aware of the truth. Materials and media are simply indifferent to our human notions of truth. As anyone who has used or studied color can tell you, colors shift subjectively depending on their context. They fail to remain “true” to their mathematical properties. Art has always already been more about “seems” than “is.” Even in the province of science (a famously “is”-y province), “is” can get slippery at very small and very large scales.

Josef Albers proves that colors are full of crap

 

Here is a famous picture of Yves Klein leaping into the void. A leap of faith.

famous lying art

 

Here is a less famous picture of Yves Klein leaping into the void. The fact that the famous picture is a lie doesn’t really matter. It serves its historical purpose.

unfamous true non-art

 

The best art liar is David Wilson of the Museum of Jurassic Technology. He is great because he is not really lying. Or better yet, he makes the issue of whether he is or isn’t lying less relevant than what he is actually doing, which is something like awaking wonder. And sometimes, in order to do this, he lies.

Mary Davis’s horn at The Museum of Jurassic Technology

 

Recently I got an email from someone who was lying. His fake name is Sebastian Elk. He is trying to find a replacement for himself so he can stop doing whatever it is he is doing. My guess is that he is the webmaster of a wonderful online repository of 20th Century manifestos and periodicals (in the spirit of the original Dada periodical 391), and he wants someone else to take over his job. Whatever the case, he has now issued two abstract/surreal surveys (text based and video based) to help him select his successors. The surveys themselves are wonderful works of lying art.

 

On the topic of surreal/abstract surveys, here are some more that I really like:

Jane Dark’s Emotion Criteria Exam (Marcus)
NODATA (Donwood/ Radiohead)
The Will Power Clinic (Szyhalski)
starfish exams (Stanton)

 

I run a website that may not be lying: http://deepyoung.org . My wife runs a similarly named school that may not be lying: http://deepyoung.com . My uncle has my same name and he may not be lying: http://curtcloninger.com . Some corny people are fond of saying, “Fiction is a lie that tells the truth.” A lie that tells the truth! What a colossal waste of a lie! Why not just tell a lie that tells a lie? Or better yet, why not tell a lie that tells of a speculative future that is not yet and may never become true (cf: this lie and the lie below)?

Arakawa & Gins have decided not to die. Arakawa is dead. Long live Arakawa.

 

An insane person is not really lying; she just thinks of the truth differently. Maybe artists are insane. If you are an artist on the internet and you aren’t intentionally lying, you are really wasting  a great opportunity.

Tagged

Rosa Menkman, March 18 – April 5, 2013

Rosa Menkman Terminal

 

Every technology possesses its own inherent accidents. Rosa Menkman is a Dutch artist/theorist who focuses on visual artifacts created by accidents in both analogue and digital media. The visuals she makes are the result of glitches, compressions, feedback and other forms of noise. Although many people perceive these accidents as negative experiences, Menkman emphasizes their positive consequences.
By combining both her practical as well as her academic background, Menkman merges her abstract pieces within a grand theory artifacts (a glitch studies). Besides the creation of a formal “Vernacular of File Formats“, within her static work, she also create work in her Acousmatic Videoscapes. In these Videoscapes she strives to connect both sound and video artifacts conceptually, technically and sometimes narratively.
In 2011 Rosa wrote the Glitch Moment/um, a book on the exploitation and popularization of glitch artifacts (published by the Institute of Network Cultures), organized the GLI.TC/H festivals in both Chicago and Amsterdam and co-curated the Aesthetics symposium of Transmediale 2012. Besides this, Rosa Menkman is pursuing a PhD at Goldsmiths, London under the supervision of Matthew Fuller and Geert Lovink.

 

Tagged , ,

Interview with Joseph DeLappe

Joseph DeLappe is a Professor of the Department of Art at the University of Nevada where he directs the Digital Media program. Working with electronic and new media since 1983, his work in online gaming performance and electromechanical installation have been shown throughout the United States and abroad – including exhibitions and performances in Australia, the United Kingdom, China, Germany, Spain, Belgium, the Netherlands and Canada. In 2006 he began a project dead-in-iraq , to type consecutively, all names of America’s military casualties from the war in Iraq into the America’s Army first person shooter online recruiting game. He also directs the iraqimemorial.org project, an ongoing web based exhibition and open call for proposed memorials to the many thousand of civilian casualties from the war in Iraq. He has lectured throughout the world regarding his work, including most recently at the Museum of Modern Art in New York City. He has been interviewed on CNN, NPR, CBC, the Australian Broadcasting Corporation and on The Rachel Maddow Show on Air America Radio. His works have been featured in The New York Times, The Australian Morning Herald, Artweek, Art in America and in the 2010 book from Routledge entitled Joystick Soldiers The Politics of Play in Military Video Game.

This interview was conducted with Barry Jones in January of 2013

How To Be a Digital Writer & Write Electronic Literature

(1) Are there any prerequisites to being a digital writer?

To be a digital writer, it’s probably best if you like to write, or at least not hate it.

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Then, if you can pull as many muses into your corner as you can, that might help: history, music, dance, astronomy, and art….

Patience is a virtue with digital writers, as you will have to explain what you do to a great many people who have never heard of it….

Having a thick skin and (again) more patience will help protect you from the slings and arrows of outrageous critics. Critics love to criticize, and when it is something new and without precedent, they will laugh and grind it under their heels….

(2) Do I need to take a class in digital writing to be a digital writer?

Most of the digital writers working today teach courses they never took when they first started out. A truism of the avant-garde: there are no teachers in your field, so you have to teach yourself, so you can become a teacher.

(3) Is it true that digital stories were on the web back in prehistoric times, when humans lived in caves?

This is totally true. Plato

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writes about it in his “Allegory of the

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a perfect place for projecting digital works, and cave dwellers were among the first to recognize this (before them, it was nomadic

tribes, who used deer hide tents).

The web back then was less sophisticated than it is now–being constructed of stone, goat’s intestines, elk horns, and camel hair–but its reach was global, with fewer system outages and faster download times.

In the Middle Ages, this technology was lost, and only recently reconfigured through electronics.

(4) Are digital writers flesh and blood people, or are they virtual, like their stories.

It depends where you meet them. If you meet them online, they are virtual, and their primary substance is electrons and code…

If you meet them in the flesh, their virtuality plays second fiddle to the fact that, at any moment, they could spill coffee all over your favorite carpet.

(5) Is it easy to be a digital writer?

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If answers were songs, try this (sung to the tune of “Yesterday,” by the Beatles):

Digital

All it takes is
lots of time

and what you make

may be fine
if going digital

is on your mind.

(And so on, with feeling…)

(6) Does it cost a lot of money to be a digital writer?

After you have made the initial investment in a good

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of the code you’ll need will be free–so tack on another $200 a year. At these rates, your total for a year of publishing digital literature is approximately $330, which is cheap compared to most other businesses.

Since you won’t make much (or any) income, it’s money

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(7) Can I make any money being a digital writer?

Let’s do the math:

Expenses a year (see #6 above): $330
Income publications: $0
Income readings:

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Your talent and self-satisfaction? Priceless.

(8) Is there a website where I can find links to digital literature, and learn more about new media?

Do a Google search on “Electronic Literature” or “E-Lit” or “Hypermedia” or “Digital Literature,” and here are some links (a very few of many!):

Atticus Review: http://atticusreview.org/

Born Magazine: http://www.bornmagazine.com

Counterpath Press: http://counterpathpress.org

Dreaming Methods: http://www.DreamingMethods.com

Drunken Boat: http://www.DrunkenBoat.com

Electronic Literature Directory: http://directory.eliterature.org/

Electronic Poetry Center: http://epc.buffalo.edu/e-poetry/

Electronic Literature as a Model of Creativity and Innovation in Practice: http://elmcip.net/

FILE (Electronic Language International Festival): http://www.file.org

Grand Text Auto: http://www.grandtextauto.org/

Hyperrhiz: http://www.hyperrhiz.net

I ♥ E-Poetry: http://leonardoflores.net/

netpoetic.com: http://www.netpoetic.com/

New River Journal: http://www.TheNewRiver.us

nt2: http://www.labo-nt2.uqam.ca/

Rhizome.org: http://www.rhizome.org

SpringGun Press: http://www.springgunpress.com/

Turbulence.org: http://www.turbulence.org

Unlikely Stories: http://www.unlikelystories.org/

Vispo: http://www.vispo.com

Word Circuits: http://www.wordcircuits.com/index.html

WRT: Writer Response Theory: http://www.writerresponsetheory.org/wordpress/

And the list goes on…

(9) Are digital writers happy people?

You can’t get much happier than a digital writer. Because they practice in an emerging form, they have nothing to lose. This makes them reckless, and beyond sadness.

(10) If I wanted to be a digital writer, how would I begin?

Read the

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FAQs above. If you have any questions, make up your answers.

Valerie Sullivan Fuchs, March 4 – 15, 2013

Valerie Fuchs Terminal

 

Valerie Sullivan Fuchs (valeriefuchs.com) is an artist who works with film, video, video installation, sound, and sculpture to encounter the industrial and electric forms, which mediate our direct relationship with nature, the land and each other. Her work has been shown at “Transparencies and Trans-formations in Contemporary American Art,” U.S. Embassy, Stockholm, Sweden (2010-11); New Albany Public Art Project: Bicentennial Series, New Albany, Indiana (2010-11); Contemporary Arts Forum, Santa Barbara, California (2007); Non Grata Film and Video Festival, Pärnu, Estonia (2006); Galerie Eugene Lendl, Graz, Austria (2005); BELEF Art Festival, Belgrade, Serbia; and “Presence,” Speed Art Museum, Louisville, Kentucky (2005). She has received grants from the Sony Corporation, the Kentucky Arts Council (Al Smith Individual Artist Fellowship), and the Kentucky Foundation for Women. Sullivan Fuchs’ work has been reviewed in Art Papers, Dialogue, American Theatre, the Louisville Courier-Journal, the Louisville Eccentric Observer, and MIT’s electronic journal Leonardo. Beauty Unlimited, 2012 an anthology published in 2012, included a review by Fuchs.  She has published articles in Pitch Magazine and the Louisville Eccentric Observer.  Fuchs is a full-time Lecturer with the Fine Art College’s School of Art & Visual Studies, at the University of Kentucky.

 


boys don’t cry from Valerie Fuchs on Vimeo.

boys don’t cry, 2008, 3:23; is a collaboration between artist Valerie Sullivan Fuchs, choreographer David Ingram, and musician Ben Sollee.  David Ingram who has collaborated with Valerie Sullivan Fuchs on several projects including work with the Ft. Wayne Ballet in Ft. Wayne, IN and the Louisville Ballet dancers in Empujon. Ben Sollee and Valerie Sullivan Fuchs have collaborated on other works, ‘Western|Western’, 2008, and ‘I Need’ which premiered at the Speed Art Museum in 2009. Special thanks to William Morrow, director of the 21c Museum, for introducing David Ingram, Ben Sollee and myself and for encouraging our collaboration. Collection Laura Lee Brown & Steve Wilson.

 


Western|Western! from Valerie Fuchs on Vimeo.

Western|Western, 2008,8:06; is collaboration with Ben Sollee where I asked him to play his cello with a rifle.

This piece was inspired while I was thinking about Western culture, and this question,  ‘How can it be that such beautiful cultural artifacts like the cello, violin, and such destructive ones like guns, exist in the same culture?”

So I invited Ben Sollee, whom I had met through William Morrow, the then the director of the 21c Museum, to meet me at a recording studio and play his cello, with my husband’s 22 rifle.  Luckily he agreed, and even though the rifle Ben bowed was 5.5lbs, he managed to play for over an hour creating amazing improvised sounds despite the weight and awkwardness of the rifle.

Collection of Brook Smith.

 


a horizontal line makes a stable image, 2007, Valerie Sullivan Fuchs from Valerie Fuchs on Vimeo.

 

a horizontal line makes a stable image, 66 seconds, 2007

After my grandfather died, I inherited 70 years of family 8mm films. While viewing them, I realized I developed new memories of my mother’s childhood without my being there, or her being present to contextualize them. I began to work with these films, in part, to understand the passing of time but also to visualize the energy or the shape of it within my family’s recorded history.

In a horizontal line makes a stable image, I digitized and edited these family 8 mm films into clips of my mother, then I layered these clips into 42 overlapping layers so I could visualize the arc and energy of her life in 66 seconds.  This memorial to my mother includes the sound of the last 66 seconds of a piano piece she played often at my request.  Each note is edited into an arc where the first note would play forward and then would repeat in reverse.  The destabilization and destruction of the shape of a family after the death of a loved one happens over time and continually reforms like the memories of them.

This was a part of  “Finding Family”; curated by Karen Gillenwater,  21c Museum, Louisville, KY & Mount Sterling, KY’s Gateway Regional Art Center

Tagged ,

Morgan Higby-Flowers, February 18 – March 1, 2013

Morgan Higby-Flowers - Terminal

 

 

Morgan Higby-Flowers is an American artist based currently in Clarksville,Tennessee. He
received an MFA in Electronic Integrated Arts from Alfred University in 2011 and a BFA in
New Media Arts from The School of the Art Institute of Chicago in 2008. Morgan has
participated in multiple exhibitions including GLI.TC/H in Chicago and The Bent Festival
in Brooklyn NY. He recently performed live in the parking garage of the Museum Of
Contemporary Art for The Dirty New Media Round Robbin in Chicago, Illinois. He is
currently a visiting assistant professor of New Media Art at Austin Peay State University
in Clarksville,TN.

 

Statement:

My interests circulate around particular areas of the New Media Art spectrum,
specifically, work that incorporates discarded technologies. My aesthetic sensibility
tends to pursue encounters with wonderment, combining visual representations with new
deformations.

I use obsolete technology to create “no-input” systems that produce their own inherent
visual and audial elements. Antiquated AV equipment is devalued in our society where
“newer is better.” An item that was priced at ten thousand dollars in 1983 is perceived as
trash in 2013. Analog technology is inherently more malleable than digital. In my work,
antiquated machines create new and informed back leaps forward.

Tagged , ,

Winners of the 13 – 14 Terminal Awards

Juror Greg J. Smith  has selected proposals from four artists for the 2013 – 2014 Terminal Awards. Projects by Gottfried Haider, Josh Hite, Frederick Witold Ostrenko, and Atif Akin were selected.

 

Juror Statement

In selecting the 2013 Terminal Awards recipients, proposals were evaluated based on the provocativeness and clarity of project outlines, the strength of related past work and the manner in which proposals directly engaged the internet, as a medium. The four selected proposals are listed below.

Gottfried Haider’s “Drawing Circuits” playfully proposes a rudimentary browser to 3D milling machine workflow through which visitors to a website can draw electronic circuits and then manufacture them. In conflating the sketchpad and the electronic enthusiast’s workbench this project promises to create both a social space and an educational tool.

Frederick Witold Ostrenko’s “Conglomeration” is a sharp critique of the carnivorous capitalism of Silicon Valley that will transform the logic of a crude game prototype into a First-person shooter (FPS). Ostrenko’s proposed game riffs on the informatics of gaming and the ubiquitous data streams and visualizations of financial markets.

Rather than plug work into the tedious trappings of stock web portfolio templates, Atif Akin’s “The Mutant Space” proposes a sincere rethinking of online photo archives. Utilizing Processing.js and experimenting with the capabilities of modern web browsers, this work promises to construct a dynamic space to exhibit the eerie non-place qualities of a collection of photographs documenting urban environments, frozen in time by the Chernobyl meltdown.

Delving into the world of vernacular video, Josh Hite promises to stitch together a video comprised of footage of ‘trundling’ – the rolling of rocks and boulders down hillsides. Curating a meditation on the essential qualities of landscape through YouTube footage might seem counterintuitive, but Hite’s past work demonstrates his capacity to identify and foreground strange idiosyncrasies and patterns, culled from the natural world.

Greg J. Smith February 2013

Tagged , , , ,

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