Looking Outwards – CSB – Christine Borland & Brody Condon, NewHive, Jon Rafman

I don’t know if I admire it profoundly, but I like the methodological approach of Christine Borland’s and Brody Condon’s 2013 installation, Daughters of Decayed Tradesmen. The work sits in a decaying watch tower in Edinburgh, built in the early 1800’s to prevent grave-diggers from excavating and selling the cadavers of dead tradesmen to a nearby anatomy school for dissection purposes. Hanging on the ceiling are pink punch cards (machined by the artists but read with the obsolescent Jacquard loom) that the artists encoded with oral histories of the daughters of the region’s defunct tradesmen (their maladies ranging from unemployment to death). The surrounding area is filled with gravestones marked with the specific specializations of the dead tradesmen who once inhabited the area. In my eyes, it discursively explores a number of contemporary issues from the hyper-specialization of the job market/academia to the afterlife and objecthood of defunct technologies to the historical changes [or stagnancies] in the taboos surrounding dead human bodies (btw described beautifully in what I’ve read thus far Knausgård’s hyped super-novel My Struggle).

Daughters of Decayed Tradesmen, 2013 from Brody Condon on Vimeo.


Disclaimer: Clickbait. Yeah, so there’s this new website called NewHive and yeah I had to look at Molly Soda gifs, but there’s also some good work there too :p. Highly customizable webpages for artists to dump/design their contents. Just drag and drop! You remember YTMND, dumpfm, tumblr, artstack [& i like weebly for its plethora of conspiratorial masterworks]. Maybe you also remember to be, which to be honest seems like the closest recent site to NewHive that I know of. Oh and my friend Rachel Pincus just told me about the now-defunct, TANG or Tight Artists, a splinter group from dumpfm created by Mary Rachel. I love the popping up of new surfing clubs / sharing networks, with my mind and my mouse, and the development of their interfaces to allow more open and easily manipulable tools/layouts. Sharing should be faster, easier, [more PC / less PC?]. It’s logical conclusion is more a game than a form of communication, although I think we all know that. Check it out; sign up; become an otaku; deactivate your account; live a little.



We all recognize the youtube comment: “Dude I ‘m in the weird part of youtube again!” Jon Rafman’s 2014 video, Mainsqueezereleased through Dis Magazine is an effectively disturbing, yet calm meditation of the status of image-objects, american youth culture, and specifically what I think he believes are symbols/artifacts from the dark parts of the internet (cue rule 34 dementors gif). His curation of images/videos from the web is actually good aesthetically and conceptually, and some of the combinations of audio and video are chilling, evoking combined feelings of net alienation and cultural disgust I think we’re all used to feeling rather separately. That’s the success. The framing choice of night time suburban domestic backdrops for the bright videos in front is also an appropriate and clever one, but I think it could go further, shoving in your face the weird physical/sociological realities of teen net surfing in the bedroom/cinema/sexshopbooth. I mean, even less fleshed out is the narration, vaguely referencing the possibility of objects’ feelings/sentience while showing gooey 3d animations referencing high levels of abstraction and [maybe?] scientific visualization (once again illuminating many artists’ limp engagement with and appropriation of Object-Oriented Philosophy). I love certain things about the video, mainly in a self-induglent way, but instinctively I know it could use a lil workshopping/revision.

Trigger Warnings: Animal Cruelty, Nihilistic Bullshit, Hentai

Mainsqueeze, 2014 from jonrafman on Vimeo.


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