Green Studio

SoA Green Studio website
2010 – Present

Located on the grounds of the George Mason University’s Art and Design Campus, SoA Green Studio offers students a living studio in which to creatively explore the interdependence of biological and cultural systems. The Green Studio exists, as any working art studio does, in constant flux and develops organically through the relationship artists form with the developing ecology of the site.

The concept of an externalized art studio challenges conventional approaches to landscapes as master-planned perpetually finished products. The Green Studio also challenges the notion of the art studio as a place where artists retreat from the world, while repositioning the artist within the contingencies of a living space with its art materials embedded in a functional ecosystem. The goal of work in the Green Studio is not to create in spite of the world, but rather in relation to it. In this sense, traditional art and design concerns of creating abstract aesthetic relationships (whether on the canvas or in the landscape) are reshaped to include social and ecological relationships.

Finally, The Green Studio is not contained in any one physical space. It exists as conceptual space for exploring the role of art and design in building meaningful, creative, critical, and supportive relationships between people and the earth’s life support systems. The Green Studio can materialize anywhere and anytime an artistic act forms a conscious relationship with an ecological process, and renders the opposing concepts of “nature” and “culture” as inadequate terms for creating a sustainable future.

Book of Dangerous Ideas

Book of Dangerous Ideas
2013

A university faculty exhibition is used as an opportunity to provoke and collect a sample of creative witing from GMU students in response to the following text:

“Earlier this year, American University released a two-year study uncovering the infamous Koch brother’s little black checkbook. The study validates the far-reaching influence that America’s richest, most powerful men have on the public, via non-profit institutes, foundations, and higher education. The study, conducted by AU’s Investigative Reporting workshop, shows the broad, widening reach of right-wing libertarian ideologues Charles and David Koch, and the $134 million dollars that has been used to influence politics and policy through the right-wing echo chamber. The largest of the Koch’s University donations went to George Mason University, which collected $16 million between 2007 – 2011 with Mason’s Institute of Humane Studies and Mercatus Center bringing in 14 million between them.  

The Institute for Humane Studies (IHS) website states its mission as, “taking bold new steps to combat the dangerous ideas that threaten our freedom, our prosperity…” With Koch funded ideologues with PhDs talking about everything from eliminating environmental protections, social safety net programs and public schools, it’s startling to think of what “dangerous ideas” they might be talking about. 

In the spirit of protecting our freedom at a public university to express ‘dangerous ideas’ please anonymously write your best ones in this book.”

Ps4

Ps4. Mark Cooley. Issue 6: Fetish. Katalog

Deadliest Animal

Deadliest Animal
Photomontage and design by Mark Cooley; research and text by Stephen F. Eisenman.
Produced for: TAMMS Y10 Solitary Confinement Photography Project.

TAMMS Y10 asked prisoners in solitary confinement at notorious Tamms C-MAX prison in Illinois, “If you could have one picture, what would it be?” Artists from across the country responded to the requests. The resulting images were distributed to the prisoners.

Tamms Year Ten is a coalition of prisoners, ex-prisoners, families, artists and other concerned citizens who have come together to protest the inhumane treatment of prisoners at Tamms C-MAX in Illinois. Tamms prisoners never leave their cells except to shower or exercise alone in a concrete pen. Meals are pushed through a slot in the cell door. There are no jobs, communal activities or contact visits. Suicide attempts, self-mutilation, psychosis and serious mental disorders are common at Tamms, and are an expected consequence of long-term isolation.

Article: Visions From Solitary: Prisoners’ Imaginations Made Real By Activists’ Photographs. Prisonphotography.org.

Ps4

 Ps4
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.

Documentary footage,”Congo’s Bloody Coltan”  Produced by, and used with permission from, thePulitzer Center.

Publications

PS4. Issue 6: Fetish. Katalog
PS4. Media Fields Journal

PS4

PS4.  Mark Cooley. Media Fields Journal

(Dis)Location, (Dis)Connection, (Dis)Embodiment

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

Participating Artists:
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

 

Dear Internet

Dear Internet
2007
project documentation
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: dearest_internet.user@blogger.com.
  • 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.