wanted. a video installation by beth hall & mark cooley
video installation by beth hall, mark cooley & celia cooley | 2012
Maternalisms exhibition catalog by Natalie Loveless
The popular imagination is heavily invested in a deeply romanticized conception of the maternal. The laborious, messy and complex beauty of living with children is lost in countless sanitized and idealized images of a superficial, strictly gendered, privatized and heavily branded maternity. Popular culture gives a pre-packaged answer to the complex questions of parenting in a quickly changing world. For some, parenting is narrowed to a list of milestone purchases – graduating kids through a series of child development books, baby seats, bicycles, cell-phones, computers, cars, and so on into adulthood. Those who prefer a critical and active approach to parenting soon discover that information and disinformation abounds, and critically engaged parenting can quickly lead to significant research skills. Though the labor of caring for children is generally maligned in popular culture, if given attention, the daily rituals of child care-giving reveal a beauty based on a system of values radically different to those conjured by the media’s constant appeals to our well cultivated sense of alienation, self-interest and irrational fears.
“As philosopher of science Isabelle Stengers puts it, “an idea always exists as engaged in a matter, that is as ‘mattering.'”9
Inhabiting the space between detailed local care practices and the social frame- works enmeshed with them, beth Hall and Mark cooley’s Safe explores how ideas are engaged in matter and matters engaged in ideas. Safe juxtaposes the overwhelming medical data, advice, and rules that face parents in the information age with specific actions that invoke the maternal everyday: hand washing, hair brushing, flossing, etc… As accompaniment to these texts and images, a fetal heartbeat repeats and multiplies in the background, creating a soundscape of the periodic monitoring that punctuates modern pregnancy and stands as evidence that all is right and safe in the womb. At the same time, this soundscape insists on the anxiety of information, an anxiety that obstructs any ability to even entertain the fiction of unmediated experience, freighted as we are by the immensity of information and disinformation characteristic of contemporary motherhood.”
– Natalie Loveless – New Maternalisms exhibition publication.
2008 – 2011
“Kids in Congo were being sent down mines to die so that kids in Europe and America could kill imaginary aliens in their living rooms.” – Oona King, former member of the British Parliament.
For over a decade, war has ravaged the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC). Fueled, in part, by an intense demand for natural resources, the war has claimed over 5 million lives. Coltan (Columbite-tantalite), a metallic ore from which the element tantalum is extracted, is one of the DRC’s most sought after resources. Tantalum is widely used in common electronic devices such as cell phones, computers and video game consoles.
Ps4 is an interactive video mash-up that juxtaposes documentary video footage with live video gameplay. Though initially conceptualized in response to reports of Sony’s large stake in the DRC’s bloody coltan trade during the production of its Playstation 2, Ps4’s playlist has since expanded to look at a variety of issues. On a general level, Ps4 explores the potentially alienating effects of gaming by derailing the seamless gameplay experience and offering a problematic and politicized view of so-called “immersive” leisure activities.
PS4. Mark Cooley. Media Fields Journal
Launch project: (Dis)Location, (Dis)Connection, (Dis)Embodiment
(Dis)Location, (Dis)Connection, (Dis)Embodiment is a collective experiment in database video and random access narrative. The installation is the work of many artists, each responsible for thirty seconds of video attempting to engage with paradoxes of digital culture and 21st. century communications. The installation consists of a database containing the media contributions of each artist. A computer randomly retrieves video and audio and juxtaposes the media fragments in ten-second intervals on three projected screens and three stereo output systems. The process provides an endlessly randomized deconstruction and reconstruction of narrative and associative imagery in which meaning simultaneously forms and dissolves and the usual stabilities of conventional video are put in flux.
Project concept: Mark Cooley and Edgar Endress
Project architecture: Mark Cooley
Jacqueline Aceto, Jenifer Ashcroft, George Baker, Brigitte Balla, Sean Blackford, Said Boissiere, Bridget Borley, Juan Botero, Tara Bowen, Lindsey Burnett, Nicholas Carson, Luis Cavero, Robert Cowling, Brian Dang, Daniel Dean, Jessica Engel, Jennifer Fairfax, Jennifer Farris, Emmanuel Freeman, Jessica Gibson, Lance Gunther, Tyler Harris, Moises Herrera, Franklin Hwang, Maurice James, Andrew Ke, Arthur King, Julie Koziski, Peter Lawrence, Chongha Lee, Andrew Meinecke, Michael Merrill, Aaron Miller, Eli Mintzer, Julia Moscato, Nichole Mosher, Sarah Newdorf, Brent Nieder, Kelvin Olayinka, Adrian Peters, Jose Ruiz, Sorphea Sam, Michael Sargent, Nelly Sarkissian, Paul Sauter, Christina Schnittker, Matthew Searle, Alex Straub, Aisha Syed, Mohamed Talaat, Eric Tsai, Sean Watkins, Nestor Zerpa, Yerden Zikibayev
The Field museum of Art
This museum, its exhibitions, the artists, the art are all fictions – as it is with all museums, exhibitions, artists and art. This particular fiction is constructed as a sort of museum mash-up wherein a Fine Art Museum is constructed on the bones of a decayed Natural History Museum site – specifically, the Chicago Field Museum website was used as a template.
The Field Museum of Art site provides a stage for performing romantic and modernist attitudes toward this concept we call nature and for tracing how this concept – nature – and the living things and planetary systems it’s tied to, are changing in response to media and communications technologies. Of particular interest is the relationship between hyperreality and species extinction – investigating that relationship and marking out the real differences between a pulsing LED and a pulsing vein are primary concerns of The Field Museum of Art.
by Mark Cooley and Edgar Endress.
Connection, dislocation, fear, communication, fragmentation, collectivity, intimacy, disembodiment are all possible and often simultaneously present in our attempts to interact with others online and off. Dear Internet is an experiment in collective publishing that attempts to investigate how networked technologies become platforms for the paradoxes of social relations in digital culture.
Dear Internet began in 2006 as a kind of inversion of the security and authoring conventions of blogs and blogging. Dear Internet was set up as an unmediated publishing platform where users were urged to address the Internet directly and indulge in their deepest thoughts, feelings and fantasies with the abandonment, comfort and protection that only online anonymity can provide. Initially, letters rendered some interesting aspects of the complex relationships, or lack thereof, we have with the humans of the world. Sadly, but perhaps fittingly, contributions waned and the automated publishing platform gave way to spam. The blog is now an archive of spam email and seems to be establishing a “purely” networked identity – blissfully free from the messy and complex emotive states of humanity.
2009 update: blogger detected and removed the Dear Internet blog for violating blogger’s terms of service agreement.
The first wave of human contributions to Dear Internet were presented at MAP in 2007. Installation Notes:
- One or more webcam equipped computers are located throughout the installation space with internet browsers open.
- Through an established email account, to which installation visitors are given user id and password, participants are invited to email a letter addressed directly to The internet at: firstname.lastname@example.org.
- All emails are inventoried and published at Dear Internet blog.
- Submitted letters are gathered from Dear Internet blog, remixed and randomly projected as scrolling ticker texts in the installation space.
- Accompanying scrolling texts are a series of image projections. Projections feature webcam images of letter-writing installation participants accompanied by images accessed from anonymous live IP surveillance and web cameras.
- Installation audio consists of computer reading excerpts from submitted letters while being underscored and sometimes interrupted by cinematic scores and sound effects.
OneSmallStep: a MySpace LuvStory.
2006. Web-based Installation.
We are not ourselves. We cut and paste as we are cut and pasted. We are the remix of images and sounds that never existed outside of this mediated dream. And we are happy to exist this way.
OneSmallStep: a MySpace LuvStory is an unfolding automated jam – a conscious sampling and randomized regurgitation of MySpace.com media archeology wherein desire, fantasy and fetish form a composted feast for the withered and lonely senses in an eternally habitual loop of voyeuristic consumption, spectacular regurgitation, virtual intimacy and identity production/consumption.
With each launch, OneSmallStep runs continuously while randomly remixing content form from a database that is periodically updated. OneSmallStep is a conceptually interactive work, and also, a non-clickable work that is ideal for installation and performance contexts.
Important Technical Notes:
Browser preferences must be set to accept pop-up windows.
Flash plugin installed.
Speaker Volume up.
OneSmallStep: a MySpace LuvStory is a project developed for Concept Trucking, an exhibition venue maintained by LeisureArts that uses MySpace as its platform. It hosts work that critiques, mimics, or otherwise utilizes the structural logic of social networking sites and other Web 2.0 phenomena.