July 16, 2004

David Lamelas: Exhibiting Mediality

David Lamelas: Exhibiting Mediality
ICA - Institute of Contemporary Art, Philadelphia, PA
September 8 - December 12, 2004

David Lamelas, 1967

This exhibition at the Institute of Contemporary Art (ICA) in Philadelphia draws attention to the late-1960s film and media installations of Argentinean artist DAVID LAMELAS (Buenos Aires, 1946) at a moment when they can speak with renewed urgency. "Exhibiting Mediality" reconstructs and recontextualizes a seminal work from this period to address the conditions under which images are produced and decoded; to consider what it means to exhibit not the image, but mediation. The concept of exhibiting pure mediality/mediation is further explored through collaborations with the University Archive and Records Center, and the Department of English and Film Studies, University of Pennsylvania, and International House, Philadelphia. This exhibition is organized by ICA's 2003-2004 Whitney-Lauder Curatorial Fellow Tanya Leighton.

Image: David Lamelas, Límite de una proyección I (Limit of a Projection I),
1967 Installation View, Instituto Torcuato Di Tella, Buenos Aires
Courtesy of the artist and Witte de With, Center for Contemporary Art, Rotterdam

DAVID LAMELAS is a pioneer of the radical repositioning of sculpture in the sixties and seventies that abandoned traditional definitions of sculpture, displacing its materials and modes of production. In doing so a redefinition of the status of art and its "sites of display" took place. Situated within an emerging aesthetic of institutional critique (that addressed conditions of spectator behavior as forms of social experience within the public institution of art), and opposed to the false neutrality of minimalist sculpture, Lamelas' sought to analyze art as a means of communication, relating it to how information was conveyed by the film and television industry, and to the discourses around public space and media technology. In light of current discussions on the relationship between cinema, art, the media, and politics, his work re-presented thirty years later has lost none of its relevance. 

David Lamelas's work proposes an extreme focus on self-awareness, an aesthetic of pure information—unfettered and laconic. The transformation of the space of the exhibition is one of the most overlooked and critical dimensions of his work, and the often alienating effects that Lamelas realizes through his use of media, challenge us to distance ourselves and to question the role of film, television and the media. In Límite de una Proyección aka Light Projection in a Dark Room, David Lamelas divides the exhibition space into two distinct zones of light and dark by reducing the art object to a single beam of light: the projection of a spotlight in an otherwise completely dark space. The work is almost non-existent, David Lamelas offers only its illusion: "a (dark) space occupied by another (illuminated) space." He poetically and succinctly creates a work that exists for itself, in "undisguised violence," only within its own consciousness and self-awareness. The object upon which light is shed is deliberately erased, paradoxically highlighting the act of "shedding light" itself. The political implication of which is that the work always has the possibility of change, existing as it does as nothing other than the product of the spectator; it exceeds the prefigured meanings imposed by the artist as producer and challenges the restrictions of the aesthetic structure itself. 

In the context of this exhibition, David Lamelas' simple gesture of "shedding light" is understood "in the light" of cinema. Tracing the origins and pre-history of cinema we find that the act of "spotlighting" (the "fonction éclairagiste du cinéma" as French critic Serge Daney wrote) is the very genesis of cinema. The spotlit, illuminated 19th Century vitrine is widely understood as an essential component of cinema's birth. From a diametrically opposed perspective we could say that cinema's birth coincides with a notion of "blocked vision," a blocking-out, that is, a context in which the observer sees one thing, and then another successively in darkness; his/her vision directed only to what is being spotlit and to nothing else.

EADWEARD MUYBRIDGE: Animal Locomotion plates, 1884
Parallel to David Lamelas's work, and as a means to elucidate the constitutive elements of cinema, "Exhibiting Mediality" draws attention to Eadweard Muybridge’s Animal Locomotion plates, created in 1884 in Philadelphia, and preserved at the University Archives and Records Center, University of Pennsylvania. Eadweard Muybridge's photogravures offer another reflection on the essential elements of cinema and in a sense complete the sentence that Lamelas' spotlight opens. Cinema is one image after another, each image disappearing for the apparition of a third invisible image in the mind of the spectator. This invisible image is again what David Lamelas's work is spotlighting.

Exhibiting Mediality is a collaboration with the Department of English and Film Studies at the University of Pennsylvania, and International House, Philadelphia. For details of talks and film/video screenings visit http://www.icaphila.org

The curator, Tanya Leighton, is the ICA 2003-2004 Whitney-Lauder Curatorial Fellow. David Lamelas: Exhibiting Mediality is the culmination of a year-long fellowship offered by the Lauder Foundation, in collaboration with the Whitney Independent Study Program (ISP) in New York.

University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia
September 8 - December 12, 2004
Exhibition Walkthrough: Friday, September 10, 5-6pm, ICA Members Only, join on-site
Opening Reception: Friday, September 10, 6 - 8pm, free and open to the public.

July 14, 2004

Samsung SPH- S2300 : 3,2 megapixels camera phone

SAMSUNG 3.2 megapixel Digital Camera Phone: the SPH- S2300 

Samsung S2300 Camera phone

Samsung unveiled its first 3.2 megapixel digital camera phone (SPH- S2300) with 3 times optical linear zoom today. The SPH-S2300 is the world’s first camera phone with optical linear 3X zoom.

Linear Zoom, an upgrade from the stage-type of non-linear zoom, allows users to zoom into subjects at a more precise magnification. Most digital cameras on the market have adopted this format to improve picture quality. By adopting a 3X linear zoom, as well as operations expected of a high quality digital camera, Samsung was able to raise the functionality of its camera phone to that of digital cameras.

Along with a 4X digital zoom, the S2300 can magnify pictures up to 12 times. It allows users to choose an image size from a maximum of 2,048 x 1,536 to a minimum of 640 x 480 and between an ISO setting of automatic, 100, 200 and 400. White balance can be used automatically or manually and a manual setting allows users to alter settings to accommodate weather and lighting.

Instead of a LED flash, a camera flash, whose brightness can be adjusted, is installed, allowing users to take pictures of subjects that are in darker settings with outputs that are similar to that of a digital camera. The S2300 also has an auto focusing function that allows the user to take pictures where the main image is in focus and the background out of focus to produce pictures that were only possible with manual focus cameras.

Like a high quality digital camera, the S2300 offers camcorder functions and a high quality microphone. Users are able to record images for more than 2 hours and with Samsung’s unrivaled TV-out function, they can connect the phone to a TV to view video and images directly through a TV.
Users are able to extend the memory capacity with a mini SD card, which can be used as a portable storage device when connected to the PC through a USB cable.

The phone adopts a design that salvages the special features of a digital camera. The front is designed like a digital camera with a zoom lens that projects up to 3 cm out of the device and boasts a hidden antenna (so called ‘intenna’ design). Because menu, zoom, shutter and ok buttons are arranged similar to a digital camera, users are able to operate the S2300 like a digital camera. The rear looks like a mobile phone with a slide-down panel that contains keys for functions, such as menu, send and ok, and covers two rows of dial buttons.

Kitae Lee, President and CEO of Samsung Electronics stated, “Although the number of pixels of camera phones were a widely debated issue, it is meaningless to simply compare camera phones based on this parameter. The key is how efficiently and harmoniously a camera phone can embody the functions of a digital camera with identical number of pixels.” He adds, “The S2300 is a totally new product that offers the functions of both a high quality digital camera and phone.”

The S2300 is currently being tested and with the carrier’s approval, Samsung plans to start selling the S2300 in the Korean market in July.


July 1, 2004

Evolution of American Modernist Art - Exhibition at SAM

 Modern in America, is an installation of more than 90 works drawn from Seattle Art Museum's (SAM) permanent collection. It is a selective survey of American modernist movements from 1905 to the present day. Organized by Susan Rosenberg, SAM’s associate curator of modern and contemporary art, the installation includes paintings, photographs and mixed art.

Modern in America begins with the museum’s remarkably rich collection of paintings by the earliest exponents of modernism in America: artists who participated in the circles of Alfred Stieglitz’s pioneering “291” gallery (1905-17) and Louis and Walter Arensberg’s New York Dada Salon during World War I. Featured are major works by Georgia O’Keeffe’s (including A Celebration, 1924), John Marin and Marsden Hartley, as well as photographs by those who waged the first battles for photography’s status as fine art, including images from Camera Work by Edward Steichen and Paul Strand. The installation also presents oil paintings from the museum’s unmatched collection of works by John Covert, cousin of Walter Arensberg and an artist now widely recognized for his idiosyncratic and distinctive contribution to the New York Dada movement.

A post-World War II generation went about reinventing modernism for itself in the form of a return to primitivism and the unconscious, as embodied in the exquisitely crafted signature paintings reflected in SAM’s celebrated collection of Abstract Expressionism, including Jackson Pollock’s Sea Change (1947), Mark Rothko’s Number 11 (1947), and Willem de Kooning’s Woman (1943). The radically altered vocabulary of art-making reflected in a successive generation of artists is represented with several works from SAM’s collection by Jasper Johns, Robert Rauschenberg and Ellsworth Kelly. The exhibition also includes two major works borrowed from local collections: Ellsworth Kelly’s Red and White, 1963, Jasper Johns’, Harlem Light, 1967, and Robert Rauschenberg’s Manuscript, 1963, a partial and promised gift to the museum. These artists individually and collectively displaced art-making to art perception, moving away from the subjective, unconscious and personal to embrace the cerebral, the systematic and the everyday.

Also featured is a selection of prints from The Stockholm Project, a portfolio conceived by the New York-based “Experiments in Art and Technology” (E.A.T.) - which had a Seattle branch in the late 1960s. Made in 1971, and donated to the Seattle Art Museum by Robert Rauschenberg, it provides a mini-survey of artists of the minimal, conceptual and fluxus movements, including Sol Lewitt, Hans Haacke, Nam June Paik and others, demonstrating the profound shift to an art of mechanical reproduction. A rich collection of works by Andy Warhol includes Double Elvis, 1964, and the rare multiple Kiss, 1966. Warhol’s embrace of photographic reproduction, as well as American typologies, looks simultaneously backward and forward. The deep and continuing influence of cinema on painting emanates from Andy Warhol to Edward Ruscha (with An Exhibition of Gasoline Powered Engines, 1993) and John Baldessari (in Blue Pole: Two Men With Guns and Woman (Hands to Ears), 1997).

Cinematic influences are also evident in works by Sue de beers, Deborah Mesa Pelli and Catherine Opie, younger photographers included in the installation. Their large-scale photographic works, which conclude Modern in America, not only declare the warm embrace of photography as just one art form among many today, but also the evolution of photographic technologies and its status as manipulated versus true.

Seattle Art Museum Fourth-Floor Installation
100 University St., downtown Seattle
July 8, 2004 – January 4, 2006