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Times ::: Is That a Dagger I See on My iPhone? Editorial Notebook
By EDUARDO PORTER
Published: October 21, 2010
We’ve been waiting a long time for technology to deliver us an alternative reality, like the future in H.G. Wells’s “Time Machine,” Neo’s Matrix, or the universe of code navigated by the “Neuromancer” hacker, Case. The future has arrived, finally — by the prosaic hand of our cellphones. Chances are it will soon be sponsored by laundry detergent or a fast-food chain.
Just the other day, my iPhone showed me an exhibition at the Museum of Modern Art that most people around me didn’t know was there. Looking at the galleries through the phone’s camera, I saw a chunk of the Berlin Wall floating before me. There were faces suspended in midair in the museum’s immense atrium. Over the sculpture garden hovered a path through the desert along which illegal immigrants often die.
Other than being the venue, MoMA had nothing to do with the show. The organizers, artists Mark Skwarek from New York and Sander Veenhof from the Netherlands, used a smartphone application called Layar and uploaded the work to be seen at the MoMA galleries’ particular set of coordinates in space. It’s still “there.”
This has specific relevance for artists. Since art is a value judgment — and being in a museum is one of the sure-fire tactics for something to be defined as art — being able to upload your stuff into the galleries of top modern art museums in the country without asking permission must be a handy trick.
Yet I wonder what this could do to our everyday experience. Just as I downloaded a filter onto my iPhone to find new art on MoMA’s walls, why couldn’t I overlay alternate skins on everything else? Maybe replace the building outside my window with a seascape? Or hang a disco ball from the subway car on my way home?
It can’t be long before some entrepreneur installs the technology on a pair of wraparound shades, with earplugs for sound. We could choose realities to drape over the world on iTunes. The bucolic will change cityscapes to forests; fast-food devotees will roam a world where everyone is lithe. I find this prospect unsettling. Right now, this may have the fun, innocuous feeling of Wii. But what will so many alternative realities do to the one in which we live?
By ALEXANDER FIDEL
PARIS — “In the ’50s, we were the first museum in the world to have an audio tour,” Hein Wils, a project manager for the Stedelijk Museum in Amsterdam, said last month. “Today, we’re one of the first to have augmented reality.”
Mr. Wils was speaking about the museum’s project that lets people use their smartphones to enrich their museum visits. Smartphones can overlay digital content, like images or movies, across real spaces. Mr. Wils wants visitors to use their phones as lenses, allowing them to see otherwise invisible images — like sleek computer-generated sculptures or floating interviews with artists — on the screens as they walk around the Stedelijk and point their phones’ cameras at objects. This creates what developers are referring to as “augmented reality.”
The Amsterdam museum is not alone in its use of smartphones. Within the next year, many of the top museums in the world — especially contemporary ones — will introduce applications for smartphones, if they have not done so already. The Museum of Modern Art in New York and the Los Angeles County Museum of Art offered smartphone applications this summer, and European museums are following suit. Think of it as a 21st-century update on the audio guide, that staple of museum education departments.
By next spring, the Stedelijk will allow people to interact with exhibitions on smartphones while at their home or in the museum. Although the Centre Pompidou in Paris has no anticipated starting date, it is six months into the production of a smartphone application and already sells exhibition guides to be used with smartphones. The Reina Sofía Museum in Madrid and the Hamburger Bahnhof in Berlin are expecting Web sites or applications designed for mobile technology in the next two years.
The Museum of Modern Art’s application is one of the most popular. Since its iPhone application was introduced in August, it has been downloaded more than 400,000 times, according to Allegra Burnette, the museum’s creative director of digital media.
Drawing on earlier applications like those from the Museum of London and the Brooklyn Museum, MoMA’s application offers a selection of audio tours with images and videos and access to one-fifth of the museum’s collection. MoMA also started offering a Web site for mobile phones last month.
MoMA’s effective use of audio, video and slide shows on its smartphone application is likely to keep drawing new users, but the future of museum applications lies in how these features are combined. The Stedelijk is taking a gamble, putting audio and video features on an “augmented reality” Web browser on the smartphone. Stedelijk is using Layar, an application that lays three-dimensional objects over the smartphone’s screen when the phone’s camera is pointed at real rooms and buildings.
The Stedelijk used the Layar application at the Lowlands music festival in the Netherlands in August and in September at Picnic, a yearly conference in Amsterdam on art, science, technology and business. At Stedelijk stations set up at the events, visitors thumbed through collections showing the museum’s works. The works included bar codes that people could scan using a separate application. They then received a digital version of each work. Using Layar, they could “hang” the work on a geographic coordinate within the grounds of the festival. When other Layar users pointed their phones at the coordinate, they could also see the hung work.
The Museum of Modern Art was the site of another Layar exhibition. The Conflux Festival in New York held a show in October, using Layar on smartphones to display art in the museum’s galleries without first asking the museum.
Ms. Burnette, the museum’s digital media director, was unfazed by this new use. “That’s something we were really excited to see,” she said. “For us, it means that they care about the museum enough to participate actively in it.”
(Page 2 of 2)
Participation is important for the new generation of applications coming from these museums. The Stedelijk, for example, intends to ask a lot of the user. “We want to make an A.R. project with strong emphasis on user-generated content,” Mr. Wils said, referring to augmented reality. He also emphasized the importance of getting artists involved in the process. “We want to see that artists are using the technology to come up with new user experiences,” he said.
The Los Angeles County Museum of Art started offering an application last summer, called “In Still Life 2001-2010,” that required user participation.
“I myself would call it an interactive participatory work of art, but it’s up for interpretation,” said Amy Heibel, the museum’s director of Web and digital media, referring to the application that lets people rearrange 38 elements of a 17th-century Dutch still life.
This application, produced by the technology companies For Your Art and Ovation, yields results in the style of the contemporary conceptual artist John Baldessari. Its introduction coincided with the June exhibition of Mr. Baldessari’s work at the Los Angeles museum.
The general smartphone application for the museum is expected to be introduced by the end of this month. Through an icon that appears on the smartphone’s screen, the phone’s browser will be connected to the museum’s mobile Web site, where users can see 175 works from the permanent collection, with supporting text, video and audio from the curatorial department.
In Madrid, the Reina Sofía is taking a different track. Chema González, the head of cultural activities, says the museum is focusing on audio programming, in an effort keep visitors’ eyes on the artworks while enriching their experience. It plans to have four audio podcast channels from which people can download programming onto smartphones and use at home or in the gallery.
“The key is not to offer a substitute for real experience,” Mr. González said. With podcasts, Mr. González wants to mix oral history with the museum visit. “What is important is not to narrate each specific work of art,” he said. “The works are politically and socially engaged moments. We will focus on context.”
Beginning this month, two channels will have programming by exhibiting artists and curators. Another channel will draw programming from the museum’s 1970s collective conceptual art, and the last channel will be left for more conceptual programming by artists.
Most museums’ smartphone application projects have a similar approach to development, through contracting with outside companies or experts in the digital arts sector. The museums all offer information and gather feedback on social networking and media sites, and almost all the products are free. The Centre Pompidou sells smartphone audio guides to special exhibitions, and the Stedelijk is considering offering premium smartphone editions. But for the most part, all of these new experiences cost nothing but the time it takes to download them.
A new definition of art?
By Erin McHugh on November 5th, 2010
WIRED’s Beyond the Beyond
“the leak in your home town” was featured on WIRED’s Beyond the Beyond
Read Write Web
Written by Chris Cameron / July 6, 2010 12:50 PM /
The use of logos or insignias to symbolize a product, service or company is one of the oldest ways for a brand to stand out from competitors and similar products. These days, laws protect the misuse or copying of trademarked brand logos, but as technology evolves and companies find new ways to market their brands, these laws must adapt to cover new possibilities for infringement.
Augmented reality is a popular technology for new media advertising, allowing images, logos and markers to become triggers for 3D experiences on computers and mobile devices. It also could create 21st century legal dilemmas. Who has the right to create AR experiences from trademarked brand logos? Is the age of “augmented reality trademark infringement” rapidly approaching?
Consider a new application being developed in reaction to the oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico. The iPhone app – which is still in development – is called “the leak in your hometown,” and will let users augment any existing real-world British Petroleum (BP) logo with a virtually rendered oil pipe that is gushing with oil. The app developers, Mark Skwarek and Joseph Hocking, in their own words describe the app as “turning [BP's] own logo against them.”
“This repurposing of corporate icons will offer future artists and activists a powerful means of expression which will be easily accessible to the masses and at the same time will be safe and nondestructive,” they say.
Nondestructive in what sense? Yes, virtually spilling oil is safe for the planet, but the use of BP’s own logo is destructive to their brand and the company has the right to protect it. It is true that BP’s brand has already been irrevocably damaged due to the spill, and it is also true that augmented reality is a niche technology not likely to be a strong vehicle for further brand damage (yet), but BP still has the right to control how its logo is used.
Would BP actually benefit from defending their trademark in this way? Erik J. Heels, a trademark lawyer with the Clock Tower Law Group in Maynard, Massachusetts, says BP would be better off simply letting it go.
“The analysis falls in two categories,” Heels told ReadWriteWeb. “First, what does the law allow a rights holder to do? And second, what is the smart thing to do from a business and public relations perspective? Even if BP wanted to take action against them, I don’t think they would win the battle of public opinion, it could backfire on them.”
Trademark law, Heels says, was created to protect similar products and services from being confused with one another, and it is unlikely a person using this app would be unsure of whether it was or wasn’t officially endorsed by BP. Free speech, parody and commentary are other areas of law that overlap with this issue, which makes any action from BP even more unlikely.
If any entity is going to challenge the existence of the application, it is likely to be Apple, which has had no problem keeping any app they deemed questionable from passing inspection. It is unlikely that this application will get by Apple in its current state, but an updated version using a different logo most certainly would. In the future, however, if augmented reality takes off and is part of our everyday lives, an application like this could attract more legal attention from a popular brand.
Should brands have the same protections over the use of their logos in augmented reality (or specifically as the marker to launch an AR experience) as they do in actual reality? Who has the right to use trademarks as AR triggers? These are questions brands will be faced with as AR continues to expand its presence in digital marketing.
In an interview with UgoTrade author Tish Shute, AR developer Anselm Hook discussed what he calls the “imageDNS” – a name space for images – which could potentially be used to solve some of these issues.
“When an image becomes a kind of hyperlink – there’s really a question of what it will resolve to,” said Hook. “Will your heads up display of McDonalds show tasty treats at low prices or will it show alternative nearby places where you can get a local, organic, healthy meal quickly?”
Trademark laws and image disputes aside, the potential for augmented “ad busting” and virtual activism is promising on the augmented reality platform, and more mobile apps will certainly surface in this space. I can even see an app in the future that will let activists spill virtual blood on fur coats, so developers, please get to work on “Fur is MurdAR.”
World Trademark Review
By Adam Smith
July 07 2010
There’s a new form of trademark infringement on the horizon. For the past few years, brand owners have been scratching their heads over what to do when third parties use their trademarks in online games and virtual worlds. The merging of parody, free speech and trademark infringement has led brands into some murky waters. Now programmers have come up with a new way to play with brand value: augmented reality.
It is an innovation that connects the real world with the virtual world: for example, physical branded products can be augmented in real-time with digital images. Point your camera phone at the logo on a BP service station and the screen displays the now infamous Helios with a gushing oil pipe bursting from its centre. This topical example is the basis for the first brand application of the system.
However, while augmented reality is already in use on smartphones and other devices, the brand and trademark implications are yet to be explored fully. “As augmented reality technologies become more prevalent, we will see increasingly innovative uses of brands, by brand owners and others. Much of this activity will be creative and positive, but some of it may also be unauthorized, and potentially damaging,” says David Naylor, partner at Field Fisher Waterhouse. “Aside from the sheer increase in the number of issues that can be expected, we also anticipate that new categories of business will potentially get caught up in disputes: for example, the developers of augmented reality applications. We’re also looking into whether the combination of mobility and augmented reality will create new substantive issues that have not yet been addressed in the law or by the courts.”
Potential threats aside, augmented reality provides brands with a huge opportunity. Shrewd brand owners can develop applications of augmented reality that support their brand strategies and bring trademarks to life in new ways. A consumer may be able to enhance their pair of Nike trainers, which could appear on the screen of their smartphone with all manner of additions, be it a flashing swoosh or winged soles.
Naturally, this will be done by marketers and IT experts but trademark managers will have to ensure they are involved in the discussion to ensure the marks are used appropriately. Augmented reality might also beg the question: are motion marks about to take on a whole new life force?
The story Bruce Sterling posted up last week on his Wired blog blew my mind. It shouldn’t have really. But I guess I’ve been considering augmented reality and its commercial uses to be official and sanctioned. This kind of unofficial gonzo-view of reality could go a long way.
First, if you’re too lazy to click the link and check out the article, the leak in your hometown gang have made an augmented reality view that shows the oil leak on your smartphone when you point it at any BP logo, assuming you have the proper layer pulled up.
Mark Skwarek, one of the creators, sent me an email about the project as I was writing up this post. Here’s some of the progress they’ve made and other places talking about it.
We were featured on WIRED’s Beyond the Beyond. We have an upcoming show at Famous Accountants in Bushwick NY, Aug 7th through Sept 4th. We are showing it at the Bronx Art Space in NYC. We were featured on Turbulence’s Networked_Performance and will present on it at Upgrade! Chicago in September. We were also featured on Eyebeam’s Reblog. And we are in the upcoming Cyberarts.
This project itself seems simple and is quite ingenious. But why stop at poking fun at the world’s current kick toy? Pointing your smartphone at random objects and getting an individual person’s POV visual could be quite mind expanding.
An unofficial game of object-association could make great interactive art, political rhetoric, or dystopic reinforcing world-view; depending on its implementation. Wouldn’t you like to point your smartphone at everyday objects and find out how your favorite artists or celebrities view the world? Seeing how YoYo Ma, or the Dalai Lama or Bruce Campbell (the guy from the Evil Dead series) view the world could be liberating. Or since our own Bruce Sterling is the Prophet of AR, one of the AR browsers could do a “Bruce Layer” and show us what kind of world he sees when he’s looking around.
Maybe if Glenn Beck was your thing, you’d have a Nazi symbol pop-up when you pointed it at an Obama sticker. Or if you were a former Bush-hater, you could see a Stalin-esque version of the W with your smartphone. Propaganda could be all encompassing, blotting out all but the sanctioned viewpoints.
I’m absolutely certain I wouldn’t want to see what Lady Gaga has in mind for the world. Well. I might take a peak for a few minutes. Just out of curiosity. Not like I’m a fan or anything. Just curious.
And maybe that’s what a gonzo-reality could bring to AR. Instead of a mirror reflecting all of our beliefs into an ever-increasing sine wave, we might be privy to alternate views to our own. Maybe even trying out how someone else sees the world.
Or maybe we couldn’t handle their viewpoint. The overstimulating rush would make our realities spin around us until we puked it back out, losing all those alternate nutrients our world views could have used to grow.
It’s a nice little project, anyway.
Famous Accountants just voted Best New Brooklyn Gallery!
The L Magazine
Best of Brooklyn (and Manhattan too)
BEST NEW BROOKLYN GALLERY
Accountants Tunnel Deeper
by Paul Cox | August 24th, 2010
Mark Skwarek and Joseph Hocking mentioned in BushwickBK.com review for the Famous Accountants show.
Joseph Hocking and Mark Skwarek were mentioned in the review “”Tunneling” Curated by William Pappenheimer at FAMOUS ACCOUNTANTS” by James Kalm in Art Review.
Hyper Allergic Review
Full article here — Hyper Allergic Review
“One of the most awe-inspiring pieces in the show is Mark Skwarek & Joseph Hocking’s timely “the leak in your home town” (2010). Considered a “logo hack,” the artists have created an iPhone app (not available on iTunes or online yet) that allows users to hold up their iPhone cameras to the BP logo on the floor of the gallery, which is then transformed into a digitalized crude oil spill. It’s a fascinating technological trick and a type of corporate hacking that artists are only starting to experiment with. After my fascination subsided, I felt a sense of concern as I imagined how companies will eventually find ways to hook into the cool factor of these innovations and warp it into yet another means of advertising (think Foursquare).” — Article by Hrag Vartanian
The Creators Project “Augmented Reality Augmenting The Art World”
The ability to superimpose additional information on a physical object is one of the most exciting aspects of AR, and one that is utilized to convey a poignant political message by artists Skwarek and Hocking. Although the BP oil scandal has died down considerably since the oil flow in the Gulf has been (finally) put to a stop, it was arguably the largest national disaster we’ve witnessed since Katrina. Still, both the government and the public seemed relatively unphased by the travesty, likely because it didn’t seem to affect them directly. Hocking and Skwarek’s iPhone app art piece hopes to eliminate that sense of distance by confronting the viewer with the realities of that gaping oil hole under the sea every time they see a BP logo, turning the logo into a tube hemorrhaging barrels of oil. The app is an interesting demonstration of how AR can be used to overcome the limitations of the physical world and make seemingly distant objects or information feel more immediate and relevant.
Submitted by Willy A on Fri, 07/09/2010 – 13:10
I don’t even know if we can call this an Augmented Reality APP, because “the leak in your home town” is all about the Real Reality! So, let’s be optimistic and get some hope from people who really care for our children but also for our planet in general. Joseph Hocking (Professor) and Mark Skwarek ( Digital Artist) are working on this new AR “Green” project and plan to release an Iphone APP very soon. This is the type of application that will help us to never forget, but also be aware of what’s going on in our ocean. This is a perfect example of AR Iphone App that really makes sense! Here is the App’s description with Mark ‘s own words:
We are using the iPhone to create site-specific art work about the BP oil spill. Basically the work lets the viewer see the broken pipe and oil anytime they see a BP logo. The viewer aims their iPhone at any BP logo and what they will see is the broken oil pipe come out of the BP logo. Out of the broken pipe comes the oil, pluming upward. This is done by overlaying 3D computer graphics onto the iPhone’s video camera, a process also known as augmented reality. What makes this project important is that we are using BP’s corporate logo as a marker to orient the computer-generated 3D graphics, basically turning their own logo against them. This re-purposing of corporate icons will offer future artists and activists a powerful means of expression which will be easily accessible to the masses and at the same time will be safe and nondestructive.
Checkmate, The Beaupre Blog
An important component of the project is that it uses BP’s corporate logo as a marker, to orient the computer-generated 3D graphics. Basically turning their own logo against them. This repurposing of corporate icons will offer future artists and activists a powerful means of expression which will be easily accessible to the masses and at the same time will be safe and nondestructive.
Ad Busting BP
As the cruel oil rig disaster of BP continues to spill oil all over the bay, beaches and birds, activists and artists start to think of new ways of ad busting and stigmatizing companies, to be seen on the black list sooner and longer. This social hacking raises awareness for the problem and burns the bad management of this biggest environmental accident ever – with Augmented Reality.
Blog by Tony Volpe
I have to give a big two thumbs up to the iPhone App, “The Leak in Your Home Town” created by Mark Skwarek and Joesph Hocking. In summary, after grabbing their iPhone App you can head off to any BP station, point your camera at the iconic British Petroleum logo and voila! You’ve got yourself an oil spill of your very own! It’s like socially aware, virtual, graffiti.
One thing that I love about this piece is that it’s much truer to what I feel is Augmented Reality than most applications just by using the BP logo. What I mean by this is that as a user of AR Apps I’m sick of being required to print out a logo that looks like some kind of half finished cubist painting and position it somewhere to get a virtual object to appear. At this point am I really augmenting reality? It feels more like I’m augmenting a piece of paper in an environment of my own choosing. I understand this proceedure is required to overcome huddles involved in the technology, however it seems that Ad Agencies and Developers of AR applications seem to forget that this typical process destroys much of the illusion that is so key to their idea.
I’ll give you an example brief that I’ve seen many times. To promote a product an agency wants to create an out of doors event where people will use a mobile device to present a virtual representation of a that product layered onto the real world. To do so the user must point their device at the stereotypical AR marker.
The intention is that viewer is Shocked! Amazed! that there is a crazy, unreal object right before their eyes! The problem is this : at the point which the user is required to point the camera at a symbol which is clearly not a part of their normal surroundings, that user already knows that something is out of the ordinary. And so why would they be surprised when something virtual appears above it? The user already has a big hint that “Hey! something out of the ordinary exists right here!”
“The Leak in Your Home Town” avoids all this by using something that is naturally present in the environment. That’s part of what makes this project so excellent to me, and I’m sure it’s been done before and will be done often after this.
What are some other alternatives? A simple one is to have the app respond to a logo in a billboard 50 feet away. Hand the phone to the user and give them alternative task – “Can you take a picture of me and my girlfriend?”. When a car leaps off the billboard and is chased by a giant T-Rex, I can gaurentee you the view will be suprised then!
So there’s this cheeky new app concept that’s been floating around the Internet lately, and it’s raised the question of how trademarks are protected in the virtual space. “The Leak in Your Hometown,” an augmented reality app for the iPhone that hasn’t yet been approved by Apple, captures any BP logo that the phone’s camera detects, and superimposes an animated pipe, billowing some kind of miasma. Cute, but is it legal?
Adbusting like this is a facile form of protest, but the main failure of this app
is the fact that it’s both private and self-selecting. Turning a Pepsi
logo, say, into a billboard that reads ‘OBESITY’ is charming,
but it also reaches a multitude of viewers who may or may not believe
that the soft drink giant contributes to American fattiness. “The Leak
in Your Hometown,” in contrast, will only be downloaded and viewed by
people who already believe that BP is evil. (Well, that may include all
of us nowadays, but you get our point.) If an ad gets busted, and no
one’s around to see it, did it ever really happen?
The discussion, though, is all theoretical unless Apple approves the app, which could have its army of attorneys scrambling at yet another lawsuit. Chris Cameron at ReadWriteWeb wonders if this app isn’t a blatant case of trademark infringement, and what precedent an app like this could set for the AR space. While he notes that parody is often protected, he doesn’t really give libel law its due. Unless people mistake a busted BP logo for the real thing, the company has little legal recourse. The real question is whether Apple would approve an app that negatively targets a business, and we’re betting that they won’t.
BP has much, much larger problems than a minor iPhone app (like 60,000 barrels of crude soaking poor cormorants each day), so the corporation probably won’t take the developers to court (if the app ever manages to get into the App Store). “Hometown” creators Mark Skwarek and Joseph Hocking write on their site that AR adbusting “will offer future artists and activists a powerful means of expression which will be easily accessible to the masses.” Although we think their distribution platform limits the effectiveness of their message, we agree that the virtual space may become the next stomping ground for digital protest. But, until we see the first case of virtual trademark infringement hit the court room, we think activists have little to worry about. [From: ReadWriteWeb]
App developers are always quick to hop on a new trend, especially one as big as the Gulf Oil Disaster. But that also means a plethora of tools and apps for all of us, from the serious news to snarky political elbowing. For staying up on the latest updates, becoming a citizen reporter, or simply grasping the impact of the spill, here are 14 apps that connect you to one of the greatest ecological disasters the US has ever experienced……
full article here
Quando sei responsabile del più grande disastro ambientale del secolo non puoi cavartela facilmente. Ma gli errori di comunicazione commessi da BP sono stati davvero tanti: dall’aver cercato inizialmente di minimizzare l’accaduto fornendo cifre sottostimate del petrolio sversato passando per il tentativo di far ricadere la colpa sul fornitore Transocean Ltd., fino alle dichiarazioni inopportune del suo amministratore delegato.
Ciò ha dato vita ad una reazione dal basso tesa a tentare di
opporre all’ipocrisia del corporate storytelling una narrazione
credibile in grado di disvelare la realtà e sensibilizzare le persone
attraverso le armi dello humor e della creatività (e non
le solite azioni di boicottaggio reale e virtuale). Tra i massimi
il geniale video spoof “BP Spills Coffee”
l’hacking della parola BP presente nelle pagine web o del logo BP incontrato nel mondo fisico attraverso un’applicazione di augmented reality
il fake twitter account BPGlobalPR che ha spiazzato tutti con i suoi messaggi al vetriolo e che inizialmente è stato davvero confuso con quello ufficiale BP_America .
“the leak in your home town” was featured on Networked_Performance
“the leak in your home town” was featured on Eyebeam’s Reblog.
World’s Best Ever
Pink Tentacle‘s twitter
Plus: The BP Augmented Reality app.
Posted by EcoFriendly
Wonder How To
Post Position, by Nick Montford
Art and New England magazine, Feature article on Children of Arcadia, in April 2009.
Boston Phoenix review, April 2009
Video Interview by the Boston Globe, April 2009
The New England Journal of Aesthetic Research, What to see at 2009 Cyberarts Fest, April 2009 http://www.gregcookland.com/journal/
The Portland Pheonix, Keepin' it real . . . sort of, Virtual reality at the Boston Cyberarts Festival, By EVAN J. GARZA. April 15, 2009
Artscope, featured Children of Arcadia in “email blast!” April 30th 2009
Hubarts.com, April 2009
Art Digital Magazine, April 2009 http://admag.wordpress.com/
Enter the matrix, By Greg Cook, January 13, 2009
by Ceci Moss
retrieved November 5 2008
Networked Performance [blog]
by Jo-Anne Green
retrieved October15 2008
Humanities, Arts, Science, and Technology Advanced Collaboratory [blog]
by Ana Boa-Ventura
retrieved Sept 23 2008
retrieved Sept 29 2008
"I'm not going to lie - Mark Skwarek's work scares me. His computer-generated interactive scenarios show us what the world will be like if any number of catastrophes occurred. His virtual overlays place one in the thick of grave hypothetical realities, like the 42nd street library in ruins. In another piece, he overlays the New York skyline with that of Baghdad. When smoke rises to the clouds there, we see the grim image in our own skyline. We love his non-virtual installations too, especially an empty, sterile room he created with 400 headphone speakers embedded in to the walls, giving off an eerie hum. He lives in Bushwick, is part of the Rhizome ArtBase, and is RISD MFA 08'."
The Boston Phoenix
"State of the art"
RISD grads share their visions
by GREG COOK | May 28, 2008
***edited -- full version here
"RISD’s annual “Graduate Thesis Exhibition” could be just the place to glimpse the future of art, as predicted by the school that U.S. News & World Report recently said has the best master of fine arts program in the country."
"No trends pop out. This year’s painting and photography are bland, but the show comes through with its usual selection of stylish graphic design and alluringly curious fashion, like Nanhee Kim’s exploded sweater and knit dresses covered with stuff that looks like knit scales or dinosaur fins. But mostly this year’s event is populated by been-there-done-that ideas and styles."
"An exception is Mark Skwarek’s Children of Arcadia, which invites you to explore a digital apocalypse. Lightning flashes and rain pours down on rolling green hills dotted with tall trees and ruined classical-type temples. Great plumes of smoke billow into the sky. Blonde women in blue dresses wander about with names hovering above their heads. Occasionally a bit of type pops up on the screen, something about “NYSE” (the New York Stock Exchange). As video game worlds go, it’s good, but nothing much seems to develop. The most interesting thing I found was a group of six virtual ladies rest-lessly walking in a tight circle like furies or fates."
"A computer intro explains that this “is a real time virtual ecosystem which undergoes the stress test of the apocalypse to expose the moral fibers of its inhabitants and the flaws in their idealized utopia.” The virtual landscape somehow corresponds to the landscape of New York’s Wall Street. Real people can also supposedly wander New York’s actual financial district wearing special goggles that allow them to virtu-ally wander the apocalyptic arcadia. The severity of the virtual apocalypse is determined by US economic data and Google headline searches for America “good” or “evil.” That’s a lot to take on, and it doesn’t quite add up here, but Skwarek’s onto something."
retrieved April 2008
"Intellectual Economy” attacks gallery system
THE UNRELATED FINDS A HOME AND LIGHTS UP CAVE
Until the 25th of this month. Cave, at 58 Grand Street, is showing a video installation titled "Intellectual Economy," by Robert Ladislas Derr.
Cave is a fascinating venue for contemporary art, as it offers both a main gallery and studio spaces behind, which are part of CAVE AcTS, the gallery's Artists in Residence program. Cave was founded in 1996 and is now one of the longest running experimental art spaces in Williamsburg.
Passing on ahead to studio K, one enters Mark Skwarek's "58%", a fantastic mixed-media offering in a small, windowless room, resembling the inside of a cube, with a low ceiling and bright florescent light. The cube's surfaces are entirely covered in what appear to be single-mold casts of a porous plaster skin. The installation is accompanied by a hissing white noise that neutralizes the pounding heard outside. It feels futuristic, and in this context, serves as a purifier, entirely white and clean. One feels transformed by this piece.
It is important to note that the steady sound also causes one to question the purpose of the pores; something in their neat regularity makes them indistinct from each other, whereas when, as if by suggestion, one begins to wonder if some gas may indeed be being pumped into this room, each pore becomes more curious and terrible. Like all good science fictions, "58%" is both unfamiliar and miraculous. The rest of the studio spaces are ultimately less effective, largely interesting for their grab-bag feel in comparison to the satisfying, organic nature of the preceding three environments. Studio S houses "Broken Circus." drawings by Mary Doyle, which reads more as an installation that is immature in both subject-matter and accomplishment, while studios N and D show paintings by Naoki Iwakawa and Daisuke Nishimura, respectively.