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the MTAA-RR

[splash image]

MTAA-RR:

Mar 31, 2003

I’m Disconnected

posted at 09:32 GMT by T.Whid in /news/twhid

I’m disconnected from my normal communications systems so updates to this section of the web site are on M.River’s shoulders.

I’ll be back on Friday April 5, 2003. I know all 2 regular readers of this section will be very disappointed. permanent link to this post

Mar 26, 2003

new front line

posted at 21:16 GMT by M.River in /news/mriver

I changed the front page of Tinjail. It still has the NO WAR stuff but I added a 3 frame thingy at the bottom. It’s great for people with war coverage ADD. Check it. permanent link to this post

Perle IS the swine

posted at 17:07 GMT by T.Whid in /news/twhid

A great article today by Ariana Huffington on Salon.com which helps to expose Richard Perle for the swine that he is. A few columnists on the left have been taking shots at this punk including Joe Conason of Salon.com and the New York Observer. But it was Seymor Hersh in the New Yorker who started the whole thing.

OH, who is this guy and why should we care? Here’s an interview with him with a concise bio. He’s chairman of the Defense Policy Board which reports to the Under Secretary of Defense for Policy AKA The Defense Department. In short, this Board has a lot to do with why the USA is in Iraq right now. It’s a semi-public board it seems, from their charter, “Individual Defense Policy Board members will be selected by the Under Secretary of Defense for Policy with the approval of the Secretary of Defense. ” Find the charter here. permanent link to this post

Mar 25, 2003

Shut your mouth

posted at 10:02 GMT by T.Whid in /news/twhid

If this article on Salon doesn’t scare the hell out of you… well, I can’t imagine anyone who wouldn’t be scared and enraged by this report.

click here to read the article

This Bush administration has got to go, hopefully the country will wake up and the Dems will grow a backbone before 2004. A Dem win in 2004 may be our only hope for a return to a sane government which doesn’t rule by fear and demagoguery. permanent link to this post

Mar 23, 2003

Anti-war March, March 22, 2003

posted at 10:55 GMT by T.Whid in /news/twhid

M.River, Kate, Colleen Smiley, Alex Galloway and I all met at the main library at 11:30AM.

We headed over to the march around ten ‘til noon.

You can check out the photos here: http://www.mteww.com/antiwar_march_03-22-03/

The march was great, over 200,000 people according to the media. It was fairly uneventful, very mellow. We started off very slowly, it took about two hours to get from 41st to 34th but after Herald Square we were moving at a pretty good rate. We even stopped for pizza on 27th street.

At 14th and Union Square my friends Bill Hallinan and Dawn Winchester joined us (we had lost Kate and Colleen by this point).

At Washington Square Park (the official end of the march) there was some police scuffling, shoving, some people got arrested. We were standing about 10 yards away when it happened but we were in the park, not on the street. People chanted ‘Shame, Shame’ at the cops. It was tense at that point, but most people didn’t really want to get in a confrontation with the police so they started to leave and we did too. permanent link to this post

Mar 19, 2003

NO WAR campaign

posted at 09:39 GMT by T.Whid in /news/twhid

And why MTEWW.com won’t be taking part.

FutureFarmers have replaced their homepage with an anti-war homepage that says simply ‘NO WAR’ with links to resources and other ‘NO WAR’ pages.

I can’t put mteww.com into the campaign because I don’t believe in the ideology behind the message. The <title> of the page reads “NO BLOOD FOR OIL AND PROFIT!!!”, I believe this is an overly simplistic view of our current situation and a dangerous view to espouse. I don’t oppose the war for pacifist or ideological reasons, I oppose it for security reasons. This war is going to make the world a more dangerous place IMO. Also, the simple message of ‘NO WAR’ would lead people to believe that I oppose all wars, but I don’t. Sometimes violence must be met with violence in order to achieve greater aims (WWII being the example that everyone drags out).

So, the FutureFarmer’s ‘NO WAR’ message will not replace mteww.com’s index page, I’m not sure if M.River agrees with me but I maintain mteww.com and I feel I’m allowed to make the decision.

Having said that, don’t forget to join the ANTI-WAR MARCH THIS SATURDAY, MARCH 22ND. If you’re in NYC you can join the march on Bway between 36th and 42nd streets before noon. M.River and I are going to join the funeral bloc which is meeting at the main library (42nd and 5th) and march from there to the main march. permanent link to this post

Mar 17, 2003

Five Small Videos

posted at 23:07 GMT by T.Whid in /news/twhid

“Five Small Videos About Interruption And Disappearing” is a group of very simple interactive videos that MTAA have created. Check it out.

This project was commissioned by The Alternative Museum but they haven’t announced it yet and word on the street is that other commissions from this group are not yet completed (with some not even started).

So… I guess it’ll be a while before you see any announcements about this from TAM. permanent link to this post

Mar 16, 2003

Interview 99

posted at 16:52 GMT by M.River in /news/mriver

The following fictional alternative interview is presented as the artist statement in an attempt to explain / demonstrate the working methods of the MTAA. This fiction was written during Hurricane downgraded to Tropical Storm Floyd¹s landfall in New York on Thursday September 16, 1999. This fiction is set in a warehouse along the East River waterfront of Brooklyn. More specifically, this fiction takes place on the 7th floor of this warehouse at a small kitchen table. The windows in front of this table looks out to the underbelly of the Manhattan bridge. This underbelly frames the perfect view of the New York skyline. It is a sky line that on this day is covered in a constant gray downpour.

(this is the moment the tape player is turned on)

HS - Woooooh…it¹s really coming down now…Okay, let¹s get started guys…so first.. a very basic question: Are dogs smarter than cats?

TW - Yeah, this one comes up quite a bit for us. Yes, dogs are smarter than cats. That is not just my opinion. It is hard science. It is just the facts.

MR - I have to agree with T Whid. Some people seem to get all upset by this. We¹re not saying that cats are not intelligent animals…I mean some of them are quite clever…but the cold truth is dogs are smarter. I would not say that dogs are better pets…I don¹t think is always the case at all…but brain mass to brain mass…you have to give it to the dogs.

HS - Well…you know how I feel about my cats…

TW - Yeah, but we don¹t mean it in more brain…higher evolution…humans on the top rung of evolution and your right to BE is the size of your brain kinda way.. but…dogs ARE smarter.

HS - Okay,…okay. So what have you been listening to lately?

MR - Well…as I am writing this interview, I have:I Care Because You Do by AphexTwin pounding in my head phones. God damn it, it hurts. Usually I only write while listening to Mark Eitzel or American Music Club (…truly beautiful and broken stuff over and over and over…) but I thought I¹d give this a try. Originally, when I was jotting down the sketch of this interview during the storm, I was listening to all of the Magnetic Field¹s 69 Love Songs box set.

TW - Yeah, I think the liner notes for the box set helped get M River focused on this artist statement. The liner notes are a long conversation about the making of 69 Love Songs. It was tapped in restaurant and has a nice off the cuff feel. I think M River is using this as a starting point in this work.

MR - Si, but I have a feeling that the interview in the liner notes is a fact that may have been altered a bit afterwards. This is of course is the opposite… All fake with a little truth tossed in at the end for luck.

HS - Okay, so T Whid. What have you been reading?

TW- Um… I hate to admit this but I¹m reading ³The Secret History of UFO¹s². But I SWEAR…I¹m only doing it to win a argument with the guy in the next cubicle at work. Hey…it¹s really starting to come down out there. Maybe we should cut this short and go…

HR - Sure, T Whid, sure. One last question. How is this interview functioning as a artist statement? Or is this just some kinda tongue-in-cheek conceptual cop out?

MR - Let¹s begin to answer that with the MTAA motto: Given 1: confusion 2; misunderstanding

TW - The working method of the MTAA states that the MTAA is a performed fiction. It is a fiction that does not strive for the “Spiritual” nor does it presents any symbolic meaning. The meaning, if one may use this word, may be found in ideas like: faith in pop culture, narcissism, anti professionalism, kindness, Artainment and science.

MR - Uh huh,…as well as in the thought of Self being a mailable state.

HS - I don¹t buy it … but, if that is your statement, we¹ll go with it. Thanks for your time.

MR - No, no. Thank you.

(interview stops and tape is turned off)

End note - It rained and rained and the city looked gray. It¹s a week later and I am finishing this at my desk at home. Soon I will send it to T Whid and then to HS. They will read it for the first time. They will edit and add some words. They will do with it as they like. You will read it and wonder why. Artist statement? Apex Twin says;…I care because you do. I just tend to say;…I just don¹t care anymore.

I am staring at my monitor and thinking of Hurricane down graded to Tropical Storm Floyd. I am thinking of you. permanent link to this post

Mar 15, 2003

Texas’ Final Meal Requests

posted at 16:29 GMT by T.Whid in /news/twhid

I suppose this site is for the press. But it’s matter-of-fact, banal listings of death row last meal requests and other information pertaining to Texas’ death machine should give the surrealies to any thinking reader.

And remember:

”*The final meal requested may not reflect the actual final meal served.”

Get your chills here: http://www.tdcj.state.tx.us/stat/finalmeals.htm permanent link to this post

Mar 13, 2003

Thing Benefit

posted at 14:44 GMT by T.Whid in /news/twhid/photos

The Thing’s benefit was lots of fun the other night and, yes, we took some pix. The only problem with it was that the place was way to small, it was packed! Wolfgang should have found a bigger place or they should have banned all the non-Thing benefitters from the place.

M.River and I started out our evening by having some drinks at openair bar on St. Mark’s Place in the East Village. We then met Doran Golan at his restaurant, La Casalinga (check out a qtvr), and he treated us to a very good pasta dinner with tasty red wine. Highly reccomended if your visiting NYC.

Cabbed it to The Thing benefit at Good World Bar & Grill. The place was already crawling with thingistas including Wolfgangsta himself, Christiane Paul & John Klima, Ricardo Dominquez & Diane Ludin, and Mark Tribe. Everyone looked like they were having fun supporting The Thing. permanent link to this post

Mar 10, 2003

New Art Ideas Update

posted at 17:56 GMT by T.Whid in /news/twhid

art idea #1:
So, M.River and I have some new ideas for art which involve sculptural forms meshed with more ‘new media-ish’ video and sound elements. Don’t worry they’ll still be funny and absurd and ridiculous. At least I hope they will. We’re sorta edging into creating a body of work in the vein of Endnode (AKA Printer Tree). We’ve been considering half-jokingly to create a body of work whose aesthetic is bare plywood married with vacuum-formed consumer electronic goods and have a few ideas in that vein. Another idea is a self-portrait that downloads our email from and prints it but then immediately shreds it.

art idea #2:
This is a good one and I can describe it in 3 words (or 4, one’s hyphenated):

Abstract Expressionist Auto-Trace!

This is a good one I think.

art idea #3:
This one is sorta connected to art idea #1, but it might not be in the bare wood/molded plastic series and it can be described in only 2 words:

Gas Huffer!

We’re thinking about getting back into imagery and an image of someone huffing gasoline has particular resonance today we think.

art idea #4:
And of course the NATO idea described below. Send us money now! permanent link to this post

Mar 09, 2003

New Art To Old (NATO)

posted at 14:21 GMT by M.River in /news/mriver

So, by now you have probably seen T.Whid’s candid pictures of our active social life:

Upgrade’s Party
Rhizome’s Party
Barney’s Party
Eyebeam’s Party

You may have asked yourself, "Okay, cool, but is it art?" Well, according to T.Whid, no. Although now with our New Art To Old (NATO) offer, it could be. Here is the offer: 1. Pick an image off of the MTAA Society Pages. 2. Send us a check for 500 USD, and the name of the image you want. 3. We will make you a 20 x 24 inch acrylic on canvas based on the image. Note: 1. Only one painting per image will be made. 2. This is a limited time site unseen offer but trust us, we are very good painters (well… T.Whid is). 3. The painting will be done by either M.River, T.Whid, or M.River and T. Whid. 4. It will take us a month or so for delivery of the painting.

So, that is our NATO offer. Order now before we wise up and change our minds. permanent link to this post

Eyebeam Kegger

posted at 14:16 GMT by T.Whid in /news/twhid/photos

OH YEAH! Haven’t been to a good KEG party in WEEKS!

Me and M.River got ripped doood. Check it out.

beer cups permanent link to this post

Mar 08, 2003

when Google has achieved the net art masterpiece, what are the artists to do?

posted at 23:17 GMT by T.Whid in /news/twhid

[orginally posted to the rhizome raw list on 11.29.2002]

preface: this little text started out very casually, then grew a bit organically. i attempted to polish, but i’m not a great writer. it now seems to be uncomfortably sitting somewhere btw tossed off email and a serious attempt at commentary. reading this story in the nytimes recently:

"Postcards From Planet Google"
http://www.nytimes.com/2002/11/28/
technology/circuits/28goog.html

from the article: "AT Google’s squat headquarters off Route 101, visitors sit in the lobby, transfixed by the words scrolling by on the wall behind the receptionist’s desk: animación japonese Harry Potter pensées et poèmes associação brasileira de normas técnicas.

The projected display, called Live Query, shows updated samples of what people around the world are typing into Google’s search engine. The terms scroll by in English, Chinese, Spanish, Swedish, Japanese, Korean, French, Dutch, Italian - any of the 86 languages that Google tracks.

Stare at Live Query long enough, and you feel that you are watching the collective consciousness of the world stream by. “

this article, like many tech-related articles i read, got me thinking about the two worlds in which many of us on this list exist: the worlds of art and technology. how they’re different. how they’re the same. how are their functions evolving?

in a world where a technology company can display ‘the collective consciousness of the world’(1) as a backdrop to their reception desk, essentially a marketing ploy for their services; when they can collect this data, sit on it and ruminate on how to ‘monetize’ it; when it takes a fully capitalized, profit-driven corporation employing some of the brightest engineers around to achieve such fascinating data then what is left for the artist to do?

it used to be that it was the artist’s job to capture the ‘collective consciousness’ either through intuition, genius, or dumb-luck. the artists were the ones who told humans what humans were thinking about, obsessing over, loving, hating. we no longer need intuition, genius or even dumb-luck. we’ve got hard data and more is coming in every millisecond.

thinking about google’s Live Query (check out google’s zeitgeist for a taste: http://www.google.com/press/zeitgeist.html (2)) i start to imagine what an artist might do with the information. especially if the artist could get the info in a realtime stream. but, then, i think about most of the data visualization projects i’ve seen (Carnivore clients as an example) and they don’t do all that much for me. they are simply formal exercises which, though are interesting in their random-seeming behavior, don’t have a visual richness to command my awe (a limitation of screens and projectors) and don’t possess a depth conceptually to make me go, ‘aaahh’.

what could an artist add to the Google Live Query? How could one make it any more sublime than it is? the artist could add nothing. when the data-set ITSELF is so conceptually fascinating there is no more to do. any sort of visualization would simply be distraction. simply KNOWING that the data is flowing in and stored on some magnetic media somewhere is enough for me. it’s fun to see it stream-in i suppose, but the knowledge of it’s creation and archival is much more than fun; it’s sublime.

Google has achieved the net art masterpiece. there has not been anything created in net art that comes close to it and i don’t foresee anything coming from the arts that could rival it. the arts are underfunded. the arts don’t have access to the same resources. the technologists will always win in this game of art and tech. i feel that we’ve strayed to far into their world in some areas; we can’t compete when it comes to the ‘awe’ factor. sure, we can ‘comment’, ‘criticize’, and ‘tweak,’ but it mostly comes out thin compared to our market cousins: the Googles, the Ids, the Pixars, the Rockstar Games. we simply don’t have the tech that they play with and will always be behind in that area; we can’t compete FORMALLY with the commercial side. though our projects my be much deeper conceptually, the form or aesthetic allows people to step into the work, if it doesn’t stack up against the commercial counterpart, it’s easy for the audience to ignore it.

To be precise, there are a few areas where artists are going to be hard-pressed to compete. Those areas are 3D gaming, ‘virtual’ worlds and 3D animation; and realtime data visualization and manipulation.

The worlds created in the Sims, Grand Theft Auto, Toy Story, Quake and etc are complex and exciting in ways which their artworld counterparts can’t match up. They are larger, easier to navigate, more exciting to interact with, have more sophisticated visuals, are more entertaining, and are surprising in their level of freedom to interact (the audience has more options). And why shouldn’t they be more interesting? They’ve got large teams of developers working on them, they can test the interaction in focus groups and have almost unlimited pools of capital to draw from. What individual artist could compete with that?

in realtime data collection and manipulation, IMO, the strength of the work comes from the intriguing data. the visual representations of this data should help us comprehend interesting data. if the data isn’t interesting, neither is the piece no matter how interesting the visuals may be. Research firms, search engines, polling companies create interesting and therefor very valuable data to the market. There will always be a technological advantage fueled by capital to the market technologists as opposed to the artists. They have the capital to put together interesting data in ways that artists can’t compete with.

One area where the artists and the industry can compete head-to-head is in *web art*(3), this is an area where artists are ahead of industry, IMO. Web *presentation* technologies (CSS, XHTML, DHTML Flash, Director, etc) are more readily available so this makes sense. It’s an area where artists are able to achieve technological parity. It’s also the area that is the most similar to traditional art practice; it lends itself to the individual creator working with limited means.

So what should be done? More funding for the arts is one answer. Collectives of pooled technology and economic resources would be a great way to go. Korean immigrants in NYC join credit clubs where everyone pays into a central pool and they can then receive loans to start businesses. This model could work for artists working in technology.

it will be very hard to compete it some of these areas however. if there is no pay-off in the end, capitalists won’t put money behind projects. public funding is almost non-existent, subject to it’s own opaque rules, and wouldn’t be enough to achieve technological parity in any case.

+++
(1) i know, i know, it’s not the entire world, but it seems to me that the sample is large enough that searches wouldn’t change much if you added EVERYONE to the mix.

(2 ) Looking over the google zeitgeist makes one a bit sick by it’s heavy tilt toward USAian pop cultural obsessions. They may be filtering the data for this page to suit western viewers. Or perhaps lots more USAians use Google.

(3) I make this distinction btw net art and web art: net art needs to use a network as an integral part of the medium. if one takes the network out of the piece, the piece ceases to function either literally or conceptually. web art simply uses the web for distribution (ie one can run it without a network connection and it works fine), is presented through a browser (most of the time), and/or uses web technologies (HTML, Flash etc). permanent link to this post

Mar 07, 2003

Notes On Cremaster At The Guggenheim

posted at 17:37 GMT by T.Whid in /news/twhid

Some thoughts on the Matthew Barney show at the Guggenheim. The notes are in response to an email on thingist from a netizen known as a-nd which I quote below.

a-nd wrote: First off i had seen part of Cremaster 2 some years back and had walked about halfway through the film because of a variety of feelings (disturbed, dislike, resistance, disgust, boredom). Having had that experience i wasn’t sure what to expect of the exhibit and i went there a bit resistant. In the end i can’t say i came out of the Guggenheim with a feeling of dislike, etc. as i expected. I felt detached/removed/disengaged from the exhibit in every way and i think with all the people around me that only made the experience worse. On the other hand i am very much curious to watch Cremaster5 because from what i saw in the exhibit i think i would greatly enjoy it. I plan to go back to the Guggenheim on a weekday when hopefully there will be less people. t.whid replies:

I have ambivalent feelings toward the films. (I can never keep ‘em straight either). The first one I saw was the one which takes place on the Isle of Man and I thought it was brilliant. Barney is great at creating enthralling mecho-psycho-sexual scenes and tableaus that make you squirm and want to take part in them at the same time.

The next film I saw was the one in the opera house with Ursala Andress and it was over-wrought, self-indulgent and boring as hell and I wanted to kill him for forcing me to go through it. Of course I wasn’t forced, but artists who work in linear narrative video or film seem to need a lesson in thinking a little about the audience’s stamina.

a-nd wrote: As far as the people who i was with, one person said the exhibit felt violating, another was really put off by lack of understanding, expecting to understand but not really getting it and feeling like everyone else around was in the same boat. t.whid replies:

What didn’t they get? He does have an obtuse narrative that travels through the Cremaster films that isn’t always clear (purposefully IMO). Sometimes I wish he was a bit more up front with his narrative but I get the feeling that he’s reflecting what he sees as obsessions of our contemporary culture.

I love his obsessive attention to detail. Perhaps it’s the part of me that is into fantasy films and literature, but Barney’s world seems to be fully realized to the last detail. From the seams on the costumes to the genitals on the water faeries, he doesn’t miss a thing.

The Guggenheim installation is especially fun as it’s the set in the last (chronologically in order of production) film. He’s subverted this landmark into merely being a set for one of his films. With all the props in place you begin to feel that you’re part of the piece now, you’re in the work. It was fun.

a-nd wrote: I think there was a real sense of somehow feeling locked out, like no one was getting anything out of it. Too much ego, too much narcissism. t.whid replies:

I feel that any narcissism or ego you feel was brought with you. I’m sure Barney has a healthy ego and is as narcissistic as every other artist I’ve ever known, but the work doesn’t seem to exude that feeling IMO. I’m sure people will feel that way about the work but IMO it’s simple jealousy at his success. As I looked at the show I couldn’t imagine any other artist of his generation pulling something off this big. He practically filled the entire museum.. and he’s only 36, pretty impressive. permanent link to this post

Mar 04, 2003

The Upgrade

posted at 11:45 GMT by T.Whid in /news/twhid/photos

For 3 years now a group of new media artists, curators and hangers-on in NYC have been meeting and discussing online and new media art. This loose group has called their meetings The Upgrade.

The Upgrade started as a casual get-together between Yael Kanarek, Mark Napier, M.River, and T.Whid at the bar 2A in Manhattan’s East Village. Eventually, as the get-togethers grew, we moved over to Two Boots pizza. Finally, to make the meetings more productive, Yael persuaded Eyebeam to begin hosting the events at The Filmmakers Collaborative (another org, like Eyebeam, founded by John Johnson). That’s when the meetings became known as The Upgrade because we were upgrading to a new room with projectors, internet connections and critical discussions as opposed to pizza, beer and gossip. When Eyebeam’s Chelsea warehouse became usable the meetings moved there.

The most recent Upgrade was the three year anniversay and Eyebeam was kind enough to donate a small brunch to accompany the presentation. Here are some photos of the event: http://www.mteww.com/upgrade_brunch/ permanent link to this post

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