The Null Device
Posts matching tags 'dadaism'
Some hackers in Germany have automated the process of generating semi-random T-shirt designs. The result is Zufallsshirt (“chance shirt”), a sort of Borgesian infinite library of quasi-ironic T-shirts. It generates a huge number of combinations of phrases (mostly in German, though with quite a few in English), words and clip-art. Some look like the sort of thrift-store attire hipsters wore 15 years ago, others like miscellaneous ravey wordmarks pumped out by T-shirt labels, and others are rectangles of acrostics of random words.
Some of the results are more presentable than others; one might believe that “Budapest Bicycle Flux” was a semi-obscure math-rock band whose gig the wearer happened to catch in some college-town bar back in the day, and there are situations where one might plausibly wear a T-shirt reading “I Reject Your Reality And Replace It With Cupcakes”, which, alas, cannot be said for some of the outputs, such as “your vagina is a wonderland”, or a grid of words including “Hitlerponys”, “Mörderpenis” and/or the decidedly euphemistic-sounding “wurstvuvuzela”. There are no permalinks and no way of keeping a design other than by buying it (i.e., getting it printed and shipped, which is done by a Leipzig-based mail-order T-shirt printing company). Or by saving the .png file of the image from the website. Anyway, I suspect that the creators have made a fair amount of money, and quite a few people have drawers full of odd-looking shirts from a parallel universe.
Interestingly enough, after clicking through the site for a while, a reader with a limited grasp of German may find their German comprehension improving slightly; perhaps the flood of meaningful (if nonsequiturial) sentences exercises the language pattern-matching parts of the brain in some kind of process of combinatorial fuzzing, reinforcing plausible word sequences.
Art Threat has an article about VOINA, the Russian radical performance-art collective responsible for happenings protesting against the corruption of the Russian state, its abuses of human rights, and the complicity of the mainstream art world. Their projects have included provocations such as sliding live sheep down a pro-Putin election banner at a book fair opening, staging mock hangings of gays and foreigners in Moscow to protest the Mayor's hostile stance to both, spray-painting a giant phallus on a drawbridge opposite the headquarters of the security services in St. Petersburg; though a lot of their ire is also directed at a bourgeois contemporary art world they see as more oriented to catering to the corrupt elites than questioning the state of affairs:
At the Moscow Art Fair in 2007, they staged It’s Time to Whip Russian Art, inviting members of the public to participate in a public flogging of a man dressed in white lying on a white sheet with an S&M whip dipped in red paint, a protest against elitism and conformism in Russian contemporary art.
“All our actions have political underlying messages, but we use art language only. We speak in images, symbols, which are mostly visual. We don’t use the language of political journalism. Politics is just a main theme of our works. In the current socio-political situation in Russia, an honest artist can’t be mute and make glamorous “masterpieces” for oligarchs, who decorate their “brilliant” dachas.”VOINA's actions have, perhaps unsurprisingly, brought the full brunt of the Russian security state down upon them, with all the brutality and arbitrariness that this entails.
“Being captured, the artists with handcuffs on their hands and plastic bags on their heads were thrown into a minibus and were carried from Moscow to St. Petersburg on the iron floor for ten hours. During this trip, cops kicked Oleg, the ideologist of the art group, in the kidneys and head. Two weeks later the human right defenders and the medics, who visited the arrested artists in prison, found hematomas on Oleg’s body in the kidney area and handcuff marks. Leonid had serious bruises.”British street artist turned crypto-celebrity Banksy has offered to pay the bail for Oleg and Leonid (cited as US$133,000), though his offer was rejected. There is a web site which claims to be a defence fund here.
Seen in a recent spam message, from one "Fawlty Towers":
vob psp gpAlong with a graphic containing a pitch for penis-enlargement pills or something of that sort, though that part is not important. It appears that these spammers are mining blogs and/or news sites for text, randomising it in some way (possibly using Markov chains), and reconstituting it in an attempt to get around keyword-based spam filters; and whilst they are doing so, they are providing the much put-upon recipients of their otherwise worthless and noisome messages with a sort of automated Dadaist poetry capturing the current zeitgeist. Zen Thanks indeed.
adapts still literary
issues gender poltiical leavens message firstrate
Pets Sports Religion
Ferry Corsten Toca Race
families higher leaflets
Author Software Handheld
Chicano cyberpunk performer discusses visionary RUSirius Duncan
viewer winzip proxy proxify
revered foolish habit. generally credited
Realtime Sweeper spyware
station Engineers DNA Nanowire Assembly
OperaThis speedy recently widgets.
punish letting Hizbollah menace
guessing painting. racist
protocol thatthe garbage
Kiwis trapped kills strikes BEIRUT: killed least punish
mail.The phrases auxiliary Compare: Youve Talebones
beside song Thus roughly
The Smithsonian Magazine has a good article on the history of the Dada movement:
When Dadaists did choose to represent the human form, it was often mutilated or made to look manufactured or mechanical. The multitude of severely crippled veterans and the growth of a prosthetics industry, says curator Leah Dickerman, "struck contemporaries as creating a race of half-mechanical men." Berlin artist Raoul Hausmann fabricated a Dada icon out of a wig-maker's dummy and various oddments--a crocodile-skin wallet, a ruler, the mechanism of a pocket watch--and titled it Mechanical Head (The Spirit of Our Age).
Duchamp traced the roots of Dada's farcical spirit back to the fifth-century b.c. Greek satirical playwright Aristophanes, says the Pompidou Center's Le Bon. A more immediate source, however, was the absurdist French playwright Alfred Jarry, whose 1895 farce Ubu Roi (King Ubu) introduced "'Pataphysics"--"the science of imaginary solutions." It was the kind of science that Dada applauded. Erik Satie, an avant-garde composer who collaborated with Picasso on stage productions and took part in Dada soirees, claimed that his sound collages--an orchestral suite with passages for piano and siren, for example--were"dominated by scientific thought."
In Cologne, in 1920, German artist Max Ernst and a band of local dadas, excluded from a museum exhibition, organized their own--"Dada Early Spring"--in the courtyard of a pub. Out past the men's room, a girl wearing a "communion dress recited lewd poetry, thus assaulting both the sanctity of high art and of religion," art historian Sabine Kriebel notes in the current exhibition's catalog. In the courtyard, "viewers were encouraged to destroy an Ernst sculpture, to which he had attached a hatchet." The Cologne police shut down the show, charging the artists with obscenity for a display of nudity. But the charge was dropped when the obscenity turned out to be a print of a 1504 engraving by Albrecht Dürer titled Adam and Eve, which Ernst had incorporated into one of his sculptures.
Born the same year as Duchamp--1887--Schwitters had trained as a traditional painter and spent the war years as a mechanical draftsman in a local ironworks. At the war's end, however, he discovered the Dadaist movement, though he rejected the name Dada and came up with his own, Merz, a word that he cut out of an advertising poster for Hanover's Kommerz-und Privatbank (a commercial bank) and glued into a collage. As the National Gallery's Dickerman points out, the word invoked not only money but also the German word for pain, Schmerz, and the French word for excrement, merde. "A little money, a little pain, a little shit." she says, "are the essence of Schwitters' art."
(via Boing Boing)
Mark Dery looks at spam subject lines as Dadaist found literature:
If only Tristan Tzara had lived to read spambot subject lines, some boiler-room hacker's idea of a foolproof strategy for bluffing your way past spam-killer defenses. "Be godparent or osteology," admonishes today's first hunk of junk mail, a Dadaist ultimatum if ever there was one. What mental-ward wisdom hides in this love-it-or-leave-it, my-way-or-the-highway dualism? Does it mean: If you're not part of a social network, bound by family ties, you've got your nose in the boneyard? "Ragweed conjunct Sherlocke," the next spam asserts, cryptically. A reference to Conan Doyle's mythical detective?
But why the antique terminal "e"? Intriguingly, this one makes use of the market-tested alt.music formula of stringing together three unrelated words to generate a record title or bandname guaranteed to inspire hours of beer-bong explication de texte, as in Wilco's Yankee Hotel Foxtrot or The Butthole Surfers' Locust Abortion Technician or Independent Worm Saloon or the Mother of Them All, Captain Beefheart's Trout Mask Replica. Do spambot programmers in offshore sweatshops have a secret sweet spot for the Captain? Or is there a neurocognitive reason for our requirement that three's the magic number when it comes to dream-logic word games? I've archived mails with Beefheartian subject lines such as "biracial Auerbach crankshaft," "boil longleg Kant" (those of us with little patience for the bewigged old dear couldn't agree more) and the painful-sounding "hardwood pancreatic departure".
(via bOING bOING)
Someone has written a program for generating random computer-science papers, designed to scam dubious conferences, apparently with some success:
One useful purpose for such a program is to auto-generate submissions to "fake" conferences; that is, conferences with no quality standards, which exist only to make money. A prime example, which you may recognize from spam in your inbox, is SCI/IIIS and its dozens of co-located conferences (for example, check out the gibberish on the WMSCI 2005 website). Using SCIgen to generate submissions for conferences like this gives us pleasure to no end. In fact, one of our papers was accepted to SCI 2005!
The authors intend to attend the conference in question and deliver a randomly-generated talk.
A sample of its output (without the authentic-looking graphs), excerpted from a paper titled "Refining DNS and Suffix Trees with OWLER":
We have taken great pains to describe out evaluation setup; now, the payoff, is to discuss our results. We ran four novel experiments: (1) we deployed 86 Atari 2600s across the underwater network, and tested our checksums accordingly; (2) we ran 34 trials with a simulated instant messenger workload, and compared results to our hardware deployment; (3) we measured flash-memory space as a function of ROM speed on a Motorola bag telephone; and (4) we asked (and answered) what would happen if mutually replicated vacuum tubes were used instead of I/O automata. All of these experiments completed without LAN congestion or 10-node congestion.
I take my hat off to them. When I wrote the Postmodernism Generator, all those years ago, I was sceptical of the possibility of successfully generating convincing random text in a more objectively verifiable field, such as computer science. I guess that, if those responsible for reviewing the paper aren't bothered to actually read it and attempt to assemble a mental model of what it states, one can get away with anything.
The LJ Times, a generative art hack which populates a newspaper-style page with random LiveJournal entries and Associated Press photographs. Quite amusing.
(Hmmm... the LiveJournal XML feeds offer a veritable cornucopia, or perhaps an Augean stable, of postings, most of them all but meaningless to people who don't know the poster, and thus functionally indistinguishable from computer-generated text or cut-up art. (The blogosphere at large can be said to have similar properties, though not all of it is in one convenient location.) I'm surprised more artists haven't harnessed these founts of commentary to power generative-art installations.)