What happens when you gather one million stolen Facebook profile photos, filter them through face-recognition software, put them on a dating website, and show the work internationally? You’ve got some thought-provoking art.
If you haven’t seen or heard of this project, I suggest you check out the genius behind Face to Facebook created by Paolo Cirio and Alessandro Ludovico. The project is the third installment of The Hacking Monopolism Trilogy. By the way, if you’re huffy and puffy about art like this, you’re probably the same person that says, “My kid can do that!”, when you look at Modern Art. Or, you’re hyper-vigilant and quick to say, “What about my privacy?”. To remind you, your kid didn’t do it (case closed). About your privacy, change and check your settings and starting educating yourself. Still concerned about your privacy? Keep a slambook, lots of stamps, and hush.
This is art.
Why and how, you ask? Face to Facebook forces the viewer to contemplate the age of social media and how one differentiates from their physical existence. Cirio and Ludovico are providing some hefty culture criticism and, well, I enjoy the philosophical, social, cultural, and economical underpinnings of this work. Again, check it out and feel free to share your comment and thoughts. I’d love to hear them.
Being an art writer and blogger is tough. There’s so much to keep up with in the world since the popularization of social networking sites such as Friendster, MySpace, Tribe, and Facebook. THEN, you have online news sources like Digg and Reddit on top of reading through RSS feeds. OH, and did you know about online curation sites like Pearltrees and Pinterest (suggested by talented new media artist, Matt Ganucheau)?!?!
Yeah, I know. That’s a lot of online stuff going on, eh?
It can all be a bit daunting but this is all indicative of the time we live in.
It’s difficult to keep up with all the rapid changes in technology but I’m convinced it’s all about working with what you’re able to handle. One of my resources for what’s going on in the world is print and online publication WHOA, which is where I learned about new social media platform, Unthink. The hope is to give Unthink users an online space where they completely own their content and usage is free from advertising (hmmmm, quite ambitious) BUT this does give way towards yet another venue for discussions, forums, and endless possilibities for folks who want something different from current platforms. Whether it will incite an online social revolution, we have yet to see. In any case, if you’re interested in learning more, click on the screenshot of Unthink below.
PS: Just in case you’re wondering, I signed up with Unthink to be a Beta Tester but didn’t receive my invite pin. Sigh. I’ll keep you posted.
True nostalgia is an ephemeral composition of disjointed memories. ~ Florence King, Novelist
Having seen Kenneth Lo’s show at the Southern Exposure Gallery this past week, it’s got me thinking about the way we preserve our memories or what we even perceive as memory. To think something is utterly sublime and beautiful one moment can be gone within a second. Lo’s work has stuck with me, really stuck with me since I saw it. Yeah, sure, I have art crushes (lots of them, quite frankly) yet there was something about the every stone tethered to sleep exhibition that put into physical form what I’ve always felt about the nature of the mind in contemporary times. The mind is more scattered and inundated with massive amounts of information coupled with emotions, feelings, experiences, and memories. I swear, sometimes, I wonder how many gigabytes of memory I have. It’s even worse when I’m physically writing or drawing and thinking, “Damn, control-Z!! control-Z!!!” Ah, well, that’s technology for you.
Yes, Mr. Lo has become an artLove. Sigh.
By the way, my girlfriend is fully aware of this affinity I have for Mr. Lo.
With the ephemeral nature of comment threads, twittering, and status updates, the tangibility of feeling seems lost. I believe many humans have this irrational notion of permanence. This foolish idea that things persist. We could get all complicated and I won’t do that but, at some point in our lives, we die. Things die everyday. As Lo shows us, even our exchanges are subjected to a type of death UNLESS we examine them. Maybe, this is why I’m fixated on the work. Death, technology, and social networking rolled up into one? I mean, come on, you don’t think that’s ridiculously and wickedly clever? Well, it doesn’t matter, I think it is and that’s why I can’t stop writing about it, which leads me to the photo I posted today.
My Mom has impeccable timing (and has given me an excuse to talk about Lo’s work). She felt the need to change her profile picture and let me know. She was sensitive to the fact that I may wonder why our picture (a picture my cousin took of us a few months ago) is no longer her profile picture. Whether this is true or not, is irrelevant. The fact that she was sensitive enough to write was really thoughtful. Do I care if she changes her Facebook profile? Of course not!! That type of decision is left to her own volition BUT the sensitivity expressed was pretty priceless if you ask me. As a matter of fact, the comment thread resulted in this quite heartfelt and endearing exchange. Truthfully, there have probably been hundreds of thoughtful exchanges with friends and family that I have discarded. Now, I’m not going to encourage everyone start print screening and cropping their threads and putting them into scrapbooks (what a surreal thought, eh?). However, I will say this, why is it that art comes to the rescue when people forget that they’re people (living beings for goodness sake)? Why is it becoming so natural to pay less and less attention to the things we say, express, and how we act? Lastly, most importantly, why on earth does my mother continue to use license plate language when leaving me comments or text messages (sorry, Mom, you know how I feel about letter and number combinations in written form)? Only joking…
Having a father that was significantly older than my mother (older than my maternal grandfather as a matter of fact) made for an interesting childhood. Many funerals were attended. More than any other kid I knew. That being said, there was a familiarity with all the little details that outfitted such an occasion. The headstone alone was the summation of a person’s life – Name, Birth and Death Date. Perhaps, for the living (and, if money permit), an epitaph accompanied with etchings of roses or some serene landscape. It is safe for you to assume I know a thing or two about what is involved in the ritualistic aspects of burying a person and the act of commemoration. Kenneth Lo’s work is the whole package – intelligence, wit, humor, and correlation to universals. It’s undeniable quite frankly. Sure, the work may cater to one’s fascination with death and impermanence but it brings forth aspects of our daily lives we would often neglect or choose to forget. Lo’s work in his solo exhibition, every stone thethereed to sleep/every presence wedded to stone, 2011, showing at Southern Exposure Gallery (San Francisco, CA) addresses memory, ritual, loss, being/non-being, nothingness, and fixation.
Not everyone’s actions will be memorialized, bronzed, marbled or collected for posterity, but that does not detract from someone’s legacy. ~Michael Hall
One never really knows where thoughts and conversations go after all is said and done especially with technology giving the illusion that time moves faster than our physical existence. If one were to think about this, philosophically, time is linear, doesn’t change, and the adage is right – it, certainly, doesn’t wait for anyone. Although humans are constantly evolving, there is still that irrationality of permanence. With a rapidly evolving globalized world dictated, in many ways, by technology, Hall asserts that Lo, “…realizes that in the end, all the monuments, all the lists, the forget-me-nots, don’t mean a thing if no one remembers. After all, it’s often the small, significant moments we remember best.” It is even more impressive to turn the lens on oneself and disclose aspects of every day life that would otherwise be buried in the deep recesses of cyberspace.
With commemoration comes the choice of material. Lo’s use of granite and concrete lent itself extremely well to the ritualistic nature of burying the dead. It is the one physical thing that remains. It serves as a marker of life and truly universal. From a wooden cross to an elaborate gravestone, culture and tradition obliges us to place that physical marker at the end of life. Lo examines this act of morbidity by re-contextualizing and re-interpreting this ritual. The viewer is forced to read and remember these moments. A tombstone is synonymous with an end albeit a tangible artifact of a life lived but for Mr. Kenneth Lo, this exhibition has exuberantly breathed new life (pun very much intended) into our collective understanding of modern life that is completely worth the examination.