In 1994, SCHORN performed a series of incisions, amputations and sutures on the body of the letter “A.” “Letters can now be explored as living, organic wonders by removing old tissues, transplanting new organs, or grafting new limbs,” he said.
Big Data is encountering the problem of the archive: the archive is only as comprehensive as the comprehensiveness of its record. What is absent is as notable as what remains but it is sometimes impossibly difficult to know what is absent. The unknowns remain unknown. Even the most diligently unbiased archives are limited by the availability of material(s) and the fluency of its searchability. Likewise when it comes to big data, we know only what we record and we record only what we can knowingly capture. Further depths of problematics come when we try to read what we’ve recorded, and when we try to understand what we’ve read.
The movement was physical: an essentially pre-internet band, Bikini Kill’s shows were small and visceral, their mailers were hand-lettered and often came with unasked for goodies — little handwritten notes from the KRS staffers (there were only a few of them) and stickers — reminders that you were ordering from human beings.
To mark the 20th anniversary of the release of their first record, the band has re-issued the Bikini Kill EP, on its own, brand new label, the first of a series of reissues of its back catalogue. The records — available digitally and on vinyl — are just one piece of evidence that riot grrrl has left a lasting and still relevant mark on American culture. NYU’s Bobst Library recently acquired, from Kathleen Hanna and others, documents, photographs, notebooks, and zines for its Fales Riot Grrrl Collection.
Bikini Kill is, according to Kathi, doing things in much the same way as they did back in the ‘90s: Tobi Vail (also the drummer of the band) is handling mail order of the records and t-shirts, and each package includes a note. But the world that those packages are sent into is very different than it was in 1992. Most people don’t actually buy records or CDs, or even MP3s: a growing number of people simply stream music through services like Rdio or Spotify.
Also highly recommend the photo collection on the Bikini Kill Archive’s blog.
Enda O’Donoghue’s work presents a forensic interest in the medium and process of painting and an ongoing dialogue with the mediation of images through digital technology. Hovering between the realms of abstraction and representation, between the mathematical encoded and the organic, O’Donoghue’s paintings are the result of a process which is highly analytical and methodical and yet inviting of errors, misalignments and glitches. The imagery comes almost exclusively from found photographs sourced from the Internet, where O’Donoghue plays with random throw-away moments of everyday life, merging them together in various interconnected themes. In O’Donoghue’s work, the painterliness of his technique works with the disposable nature of his subjects to make the work sometimes poignant and melancholic, or alternatively brittle and harsh. His work is deeply influenced by our digital high speed reality and he transports these seemingly meaningless sound-bite images from a place of apparent futility to one that questions and searches for meaning through the transformative act of painting.
Fach & Asendorf Gallery is running a new exhibition called Juxtapose by Daniel Schwarz consisting in a series of images taken directly from Google Maps that expose distant places, far from society, shown simultaneously under the force of contrary seasons and weather phenomena at varying times. The images arise from glitches which are created automatically when Google Maps’ algorithm stitches images of updated photos with prior recorded ones together in a grid- like view. The glitched images force viewers to interrogate how technology changes our understanding of time, space and place.
James McGirk in 3QD:
If the mechanical dreams of the Diesel Age were exuberant and colossal, those of the Internet Age are effervescent and charming. I remember the feeling of logging into the Internet for the first time, of making a million weird discoveries as I traversed space and time from behind a monochrome display. It felt glowy and golden. The way swiping an iPhone does the first time you try. The chirping, friendly infrastructure of the Internet has been scorched into our brains. Our literature has been extruded through its cheerful strictures. As mundane as our glowing Apples may seem to us now, they have changed the way we think and the way we write.
Literature will slide back on the continuum. The next wave of novels will slough the Internet. They will be dark, bitter and angry: like biting down on a hunk of coal. But a trace of the Internet’s tinsel will remain.
A really popular thing among my friends on Instagram is to take pictures of newspaper and tabloid bills, especially if they’re funny or insane (which they usually are). This morning it was probably around 5 or 6 pics in a row in my feed of different magazine covers. It struck me that what is going on here is collective digital archiving. If I was a researcher from the future, I would think these images quite valuable, not only because you can find every front page the way you do when going to a physical archive, looking through micro films, but also in the way you can see why they are chosen and what they say about a given time and space historically. These type of micro themes are potential goldmines from a myriad of perspectives and approaches, but might also be a great way for archives (such as The Royal Library who collects one copy of every single issue) to precisely crowdsource digital archiving when money is an issue (which it always is).
Some digital archives are almost like the Room of Requirement in Harry Potter, they pop up whenever there is a need for them, but they also have to be found and organised by those who see their value and can make sense of the data.
For memory institutions, this should be of great importance for a number of social and cultural reasons. Collect them, they’re right there.