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Memes As Art: Media Installation Artist Dave Greber

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by Mark Gould,
Editor – Photosynthesis Media Arts and Theory Journal (republished from my other blog)

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For a while now, I’ve wanted to write and introduce you to the work of media installation artist Dave Greber, part of the New Orleans based artist collective The Front. David belongs to a group of video artists, experimental cinema producers, writers and other artists who are exploring popular culture and it’s media conduit, exposing the often subliminal propaganda-style messages we are all confronted by every day, and in doing so invites all of us to examine media memes and the roles they play in social communications.

More than 30 years ago, long before the concept of an internet meme became so popular and commonplace, media theorists and activists were studying the cultural effects of a meme, most usually defined as “an idea, belief or belief system, or pattern of behavior that spreads throughout a culture,” often passed along on a personal, family or neighborhood level but on a grander scale through the mass media, including television and the internet.

adbusters.org

Adbusters and many other similarly motivated groups have long used the concept of “culture jamming” to both explore and reveal how commercial, corporate, government and other media channels transmit messages through means of mass communications networks that operate on any number of different levels and in dong so, help deconstruct media messages. Neither media messages or internet memes are inherently subversive or deceptive, but the fact that they can be and often are have led to the comparing of these messages to similar processes in what is more narrowly considered to be usually dramatic, commercial or political “propaganda.” But more broadly defined, propaganda is the spreading of ideas, information to further a cause and/or influence public opinion or perception in many ways, through many channels.

These ideas have been explored by media studies scholars, activists and artists (“artivists”) across the cultural spectrum for a long time. What media artists such as Greber employ are devices studied in the field of semiotics, a general philosophical theory of signs, symbols and cultural codes that deals especially with their function in both artificially constructed and natural languages and comprises syntactics, and semantics. From the Merriam Webster Dictionary (online)

Semiotics – Study of signs and sign-using behaviour, especially in language. In the late 19th and early 20th century the work of Ferdinand de Saussure and Charles Sanders Peirce led to the emergence of semiotics as a method for examining phenomena in different fields, including aesthetics, anthropology, communications, psychology, and semantics. Interest in the structure behind the use of particular signs links semiotics with the methods of structuralism.

Having recently seen some of Dave Greber’s work on Vimeo, I think the inspiration for much of his work takes place as part of this exploration into, as he says, “the constant attack on our biological and cultural environments by commercial forces.”

I have been researching and exposing tactics of corporate television advertising that are, for the most part, culturally degenerative memes overlooked by the general public. I create a skeleton commercial built from the tone, cadence, verbal and graphic illusions that comprise a corporate propaganda campaign. I then fill the shell with my own agenda, which is to reveal that the form itself is psychologically manipulative. I infuse them with my own contemporary style and present them as a seamless loop, which translates them from a parasitic corporate language to one of viewer empowerment.

And along with the artistic and cultural exploration inherent in his work, Dave Greber also combines a very healthy sense of humor. He says, “I have a great time making and showing these. They make me laugh and they are intended to make the viewer laugh when they have a realization of their own.” I hope you will enjoy them too, while you’re also “getting the message.”

Dave Greber’s website
Dave Greber on Vimeo

Primer (2010)
a video installation
by Dave Greber, TV Boxes. Roel Miranda
Starring
Camilla Bergin, Andy Cook, Tessa Corthell, Stephen Kennedy, Roel Miranda, JJ Smith, Robert Ries, Jen DeGregorio, Valorie Polmer, Lea Downing, Alden Eagle, Katie Gelfand, Matthew Holdren, Brandon Meginley, Phil Rached
Asst. Director, Katie Gelfand
Camera , Dave Greber, Phil Rached
Music: Peter Leonard, Kevin MacLeod

The EFF Guide to San Diego Comic-Con

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The EFF Guide to San Diego Comic-Con (via EFF)

With the arrival of summer at EFF, you can hear the excitement in the stuffing of luggage and locking of office doors as our team prepares for some of the most important conventions in the world. Black Hat starts on July 27, with DEF CON immediately…

Continue Reading →

VIDEO: World’s Largest Light Sculpture on San Francisco Bay Bridge

baylights-thumbnail

via artinfo.com

(note: the lighting is tonight! March 5th – at 8:30pm, more information at thebaylights.org

(BLOUIN ARTINFO:) After more than 75 years in the shadow of its glamorous cousin, San Francisco’s “other” bridge is getting a chance to shine. The San Francisco-Oakland Bay Bridge has been turned into the latest — and by far the biggest — backdrop for New York artist Leo Villareal, who has individually programmed 25,000 white lights spaced a foot apart on 300 of the span’s vertical cables to create what is being billed as the world’s largest illuminated sculpture.

 

Silent Winter at the Castro Theatre, Speak Your Peace at SOMARTS

Silent Winter at The Castro Theatre

Silent Winter at the Castro Theatre

San Francisco Silent Film Festival - Silent WinterThe San Francisco Silent Film Festival will exhibit five films on Saturday, February 16th as part of its Silent Winter program beginning at 10:30 opening and the screening of Snow White with musical accompaniment Donald Sosin on grand piano. According to the Silent Film Festival promotional material this film was Walt Disney’s original inspiration and is part of The Walt Disney Family Museum’s celebration of Disney’s Snow White. Other films are a selection of Buster Keaton shorts, The Thief of Baghdad, My Best Girl and Faust. Visit the festival site for more information about all of the films and find ticket information.

Venue

Castro Theatre

429 Castro Street
San Francisco, CA 94114 Directions
(415) 621-6120
www.castrotheatre.com

Speak Your Peace Exhibition and Opening Reception at SOMArts

Bay area painters, along with digital, video and installation artists will be brought together through this exhibiton to explore intercultural communication, social justice and propose new iconographies for peace through visual art at SOMArts in San Francisco. Included works by more than 20 artists and organizations to present cycles of destruction and reconstruction through Japanese-American symbols of identity, draw upon traditional and symbolic Persian and Iranian cultural iconographies, debate the value of the prison-industrial complex in the United States and Cuba, reinterpret historic narratives relating to Salvadorian military histories, expose stories of radical, personal self-expression in the face of persecution through Persian-influenced graffiti installations and discuss the manifold ways popular media informs the way we envision and discuss peace.

 

What: Speak Your Peace Opening Reception

Where: SOMArts Cultural Center

934 Brannan St. (between 8th and 9th) San Francisco, CA

When: Friday, January 4th, 2013, 6-9 pm

How Much: Free admission

 

 

 

 

Art, Culture, Media and Technology Notes: December 14th, 2012

news and ideas from writers around the San Francisco Bay Area this week, curated and edited by Mark Gould

Republished to the new good.is platform from YouTube by Thrash Lab: Video: (Empty America) What San Francisco Would Look Like Without Humans. This is both a very beautiful and a kind of creepy, the good kind of creepy, video (as it is intended) … in the sense that it makes the hair on the back of your neck stand up; Imagine the world with no people, that’s what Thrash Lab does to beautiful effect using Photoshop, After Effects and Premiere as their tool set – these skilled digital artisans  deleted every human and moving car from all the sequences. This short, the first of a series called Empty America, shows every landmark from the Golden Gate Bridge to Fisherman’s Wharf to Lombard Street to Ghirardelli Square to the Bay Bridge, ‘wiped empty of tourists and traffic.

It’s very worth your while taking a look at Thrash Lab’s growing body of work on YouTube where they are accumulating sizable views and apparently, loyal viewers. Links to their web presence elsewhere are on that page. From what I’ve seen so far, quite the talented young group of creatives, hashtag #dreambigger

From Golden Gate Xpress: SF State artist forges storytelling craft
by Sean Reichhold

aprilcRather than simply picking one medium to master, April Martin Chartrand has gone so far as to completely create her own art form altogether.

Her art form called  ”fiberalchemy,” is her attempt to find the most personal and accurate way of expressing herself. She uses extreme heat or cold to manipulate the texture of painted fabrics to create hardened, colorful sculptures. Chartrand has been using this technique to make anything from earrings and necklaces to hand fans and wall pieces.

Her journey however, began decades ago with a simple sewing machine. (full story ->)

East Bay Express: Noise Pop 2013 Lineup Announced: Toro Y Moi, Amon Tobin, Rogue Wave, and More

by Whitney Phaneuf

2013noisepop-stackedlogo-lores-130x151Noise Pop is the music festival for people who hate music festivals, i.e. the all-day, drag-out, beer-guzzling, bro-fest that many of the weekend-long music festivals have become. Noise Pop 2013 will take place over six days, Tuesday, Feb. 26 through Sunday, March 3, 2013, and today organizers announced an initial lineup that includes Berkeley resident Toro Y Moi, San Francisco’s Rogue Wave, and experimental DJ extraordinaire Amon Tobin.
(full story ->)


 

KQED Pressrom: KQED’s QUEST Science Series Expands Nationally with $2.5 Million National Science Foundation Grant

Grant will support a six-station public media science reporting collaborative

Contact: Sevda Eris, 415-553-2835, seris@kqed.org

questSan Francisco, CA  — KQED, public media serving Northern California, has been awarded a $2.5 million grant from the National Science Foundation (NSF) for a two-year collaborative multimedia science reporting initiative, QUEST Beyond Local. The grant will support KQED and five other public media organizations in creating content under the theme of “Science of Sustainability” on television, radio and the Web, along with educational assets and community outreach. QUEST Beyond Local is scheduled to launch in January.

“We are pleased to see how QUEST, with its history of being organizationally and technologically innovative, is expanding its science reporting model,” said Valentine Kass, acting deputy division director in NSF’s Division of Research on Learning in Formal and Informal Settings. “QUEST Beyond Local builds new capacity in local and national media channels to address current science and environmental issues with local authority and national relevance.” (full story ->)

 

 

 

Art and Culture Notes From The City: Saturday November 17th, 2012

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The Louvre will share art with San Francisco museums in new pact

via San Jose Mercury News

A five-year agreement between the Fine Arts Museums of San Francisco and France’s famed Musée du Louvre could bring priceless works of art to the Bay Area.

Museum officials said the pact will allow for an exchange of antiquities, paintings, sculptures and other objects between the institutions. The Fine Arts Museums operate the Palace of the Legion of Honor and de Young Museum in San Francisco.

“The accord will not only bring forth new scholarship through the collaboration of our colleagues, but it will also give our visitors the opportunity to see great works of art from both museums in ways that would otherwise not be possible,” said Richard Benefield, Fine Arts Museums’ deputy director, in a statement.

The agreement includes exhibitions, art conservation projects and public education programs. (full story at mercurynews.com – Contra Costa Times ->)

Johansson Projects presents SHEBAM! POW! BLOP! WIZZ! featuring work by Rachel Kaye

 

Artist Rachel Kaye has an upcoming show at Johannson Projects in Oakland beginning November 29th with a reception on December 1st from 3-5pm. Kaye’s textile playgrounds channel the eternally dramatic love affair between art and fashion. Ripped from fashion magazines today’s top trends melt into mazes of color and pattern, pure visual stimulation devoid of opinion or moral stance. As if conducting an operation, Kaye deconstructs the visual fabric of her physical fabrics, letting the symbiosis of art and fashion exist on the same picture plane. Eventually any trace of the textiles’ former life as a clothing object is forgotten as the patterns invite comparisons to graffiti, the internet, hieroglyphics and even technicolor cartography.

 

Rachel Kaye
SHEBAM! POW! BLOP! WIZZ!
Show Runs November 29 – January 12
Reception: Saturday, December 1, 3-5pm
Johansson Projects
2300 Telegraph Ave.
Oakland, California 94612

 

SFMOMA: Six Lines of Flight

Shifting Geographies in Contemporary Art

Source: http://www.sfmoma.org/exhib_events/exhibitions/446#ixzz2CWEqRhpK

September 15 December 31, 2012

This international group exhibition convenes artists from six cities around the globe that have become burgeoning artistic centers: Beirut, Lebanon; Cali, Colombia; Cluj, Romania; Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam; San Francisco, United States; and Tangier, Morocco. All of these places have active art communities that extend beyond their own regions to become international places of exchange. The exhibition showcases the work of artists who have developed institutions, collectives, or associations that have had a major impact on their respective communities; the contributing artists include Yto Barrada, Tiffany Chung, Wilson Diaz, Futurefarmers, Adrian Ghenie, Joana Hadjithomas and Khalil Joreige, Helena Producciones, Lamia Joreige, Dinh Q. Lê, Victor Man, Oscar Muñoz, Ciprian Muresan, Luis Ospina and Carlos Mayolo, The Propeller Group, Graziella and Jalal Toufic, and Akram Zaatari. In bringing together work by artists whose efforts have anchored each city’s cultural scene, this exhibition illuminates the dynamic, global, interconnected spirit of 21st-century art.

San Francisco Museum of Modern Art

SFsthetik: San Francisco Art Notes

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San Francisco 49er Tight End Vernon Davis is Finally Following his Artistic Heart
via Yahoo

Growing up as he did in a tough Washington, D.C., neighborhood, San Francisco 49ers tight end Vernon Davis had artistic interests and talents that were sidetracked by living a hard life on tough streets. Davis avoided art classes in high school, because he thought that his classmates would judge him. “I figured that if I took up art classes, people would look at me differently,” Davis recently told Yahoo! Sports. “I wanted to be cool, and I didn’t know how to adapt at the time. It’s sad, but that’s just the way it was.”

He got his primary support in life from his grandmother, who raised Davis and his siblings. It was when he went to the University of Maryland that things started to come together for him in a football sense. But it was also at Maryland that Davis finally found a way to further his previously hidden interest in art. He changed his major from Criminal Justice to Art Studio, and he was on his way. “I’ve always enjoyed the idea of being an artist,” he said. Davis has set up a visual arts scholarship fund so that young people can know that it’s OK to follow your dreams into art. “You can miss out on a great opportunity if you don’t follow your heart.”

Full story and video interview at Yahoo ->

PAPERMAG magazine: Guru(s): Artists Barry McGee and Chris Johanson

Two Legendary West Coast Artists Reunite…And It Feels So Good

PAPERMAG writes: Now that longtime friends and artists Chris Johanson and Barry McGee have transcended their underground status to become established figures in contemporary art, it seemed appropriate to see what they would have to say to each other all these years later. We’ve known them both for ages, first seeing the mayhem they wrought upon San Francisco in the ’90s as leading figures of what would be known as the Mission School. This was soon after having met them when they began showing at New York’s Alleged Gallery, and following them as they mounted their first spectacle shows at Deitch. In that period of time both artists’ work defined a generation. (full story ->)

 

Martial mastery and the African origins of Shaolin

via SF BayView

story and photo by by Malaika H Kambon

Recently I went to the Marin Veterans’ Memorial Center in San Rafael, where the famed Shaolin Warriors of China were to give a performance in display of their hand-to-hand and weapons martial skills. The troupe of 20 Shaolin monks were on the second leg of their fall 2012 North American Tour, and the performance, produced and owned by China Performing Arts Agency Productions, Ltd., was designed to be a dazzling display of gung-fu couched in a “theatrical display” of a “sacred and deadly art.”

Additionally, the Academy of Tae Kwon Do in San Francisco, where I am a student, was accorded a rare, once in a lifetime 15-minute special performance, a quarter hour prior to the show. (read the full review at SF BayView ->)


 

 

 

 

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