[artinfo] Automatic Update

Janos Sugar sj at c3.hu
Wed Jul 4 09:19:28 CEST 2007

The momentum of the dot-com era infused media art with a heady 
energy, artists, many switching from analog to digital equipment, 
tried their hands at a range of newly invented art forms. They built 
interactive installations, electronic publishing networks, and art 
for the Internet. Technology evolved so fast that in some cases an 
art form may have disappeared while an artist's work was still in the 
By the year 2000, this quasi-revolutionary aura had dissipated and 
media art had settled into the mainstream. Automatic Update features 
several installations from this later period. They are mature works 
that ease the somber mood of the times with entertaining 
presentations. Nevertheless, their humor does not soften their biting 
commentary on our social milieu. What at one time was Pop art has now 
become pop life.
The exhibition is organized by Barbara London, Associate Curator, 
Department of Media.

New Media History Refreshed
As with any vibrant art form, new media finds itself historicized in 
multiple and evolving ways. Significant attention has been paid to 
whether the field is alive, dead (date negotiable), or risen from the 
grave, and to defining its constituent elements. Automatic Update, an 
exhibition at New York's Museum of Modern Art organized by Barbara 
London, argues that new forms of media art rose with the swell of the 
dot-com era and became mainstream in its wake. The five installations 
included, all drawn from the moment after the bubble burst, speak 
less to the internet or interactivity and more to a culture saturated 
with media of all kinds. As markers of this designated cultural 
moment, the works on view vary widely in their ideas and approaches. 
Jennifer and Kevin McCoy explore the interplay between the 
construction of cinematic genre and the development of personal 
history in Our Second Date (2004). Xu Bing ponders remote 
communication in Book from the Ground (2007, and in! -progress) in 
which a dialogue between two individuals, separated by a mylar 
screen, is translated into a vocabulary of computer-like icons. Also 
featured are new and recent works by Cory Arcangel, Paul Pfeiffer, 
and Rafael Lozano-Hammer. It's arguable whether new media art has 
become mainstream, yet the assertion that the Internet has 
fundamentally changed contemporary culture and propelled new art 
forms is undeniable. This influence is explored in screenings 
organized by London with Hanne Mugaas that run concurrently with the 
exhibition, including signature works by film and video-makers such 
as Iara Lee, Kristin Lucas, Takeshi Murata, Miranda July and Marcin 
Ramocki, among others. Automatic Update is on view until September 
Lauren Cornell

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