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'Alien' Art
August 3, 2006 10:03 AM   Subscribe

'Alien' art Artist Jonathon Keats has made abstract paintings from SHGb02+14a, a radio signal discovered by SETI@home in 2003, then dubbed their best candidate yet for an attempt at contact by intelligent aliens. Keats is also returning the favour, broadcasting his work into space from the Judah L. Magnes Museum using CB radio.
posted by jack_mo (19 comments total) 1 user marked this as a favorite

 
See also: a list of past projects by Keats.
posted by jack_mo at 10:04 AM on August 3, 2006


"...he has produced several visual abstractions that he considers art."

That's funny.
posted by ruby.aftermath at 10:24 AM on August 3, 2006


I like to imagine myself to be a rather liberal minded person when it comes to what is art and what's not. Any form of expression is to my mind artistic, even if some argue it may also be autistic. Art is art.

This one's really pushing my limits on what constitutes art. Is this the expression of a human being's reaction to the signals/noise we're getting rom? Looks like lines and circles. How is that expression? There's no emotion here at all. This isn't expression. It's barely description.
posted by ZachsMind at 10:43 AM on August 3, 2006


...Okay. It IS art. I question whether this is GOOD art. I can spit in a jar and put it on display and call it art. Doesn't make it good.
posted by ZachsMind at 10:50 AM on August 3, 2006


"we're getting rom?" was supposed to be "we're getting from space?" I don't know what the hell happened there.
posted by ZachsMind at 10:51 AM on August 3, 2006


Why would you put limits on what constitutes art?
posted by signal at 10:51 AM on August 3, 2006


Art is anything intentionally done by someone that causes a reaction, usually emotional, by someone else.

Lines and circles inspired by extra-terrestrial noises are as much art as, say, this is.
posted by Balisong at 10:54 AM on August 3, 2006


Is this the expression of a human being's reaction to the signals/noise we're getting rom? Looks like lines and circles. How is that expression? There's no emotion here at all. This isn't expression. It's barely description.

When I read the piece I just assumed that the work lies between Keats' visualisation of the data from SETI and the broadcasting of work into space. It's a conceptual piece of which the circle paintings are a part; they're not the work itself, so lack of emotion/expression doesn't really apply when it comes to the paintings - the transformation of the signal into paintings that we can look at, and the sending of art back into space is 'the expression of a human being's reaction to the signals/noise we're getting' part.
posted by jack_mo at 10:55 AM on August 3, 2006


(Which I think is quite a satisfying exchange, even more so since I doubt Keats really believes the signal is from aliens, making the whole thing about hope more than anything.)
posted by jack_mo at 10:58 AM on August 3, 2006


Maybe Keats was trying to create "universal" visual representations? Ones that would be basic and uncluttered enough for worldwide appreciation - if we're to assume that the alien signal was meant for us all on this earth - as well as hopefully everywhere in space? That may have led him to keep his visuals to simple geometric forms as opposed to more complex visualizations or interpretations.
posted by shortfuse at 11:02 AM on August 3, 2006


RECEIVED YOUR TRANSMISSION STOP YOU CLEARLY DO NOT UNDERSTAND OUR WORK STOP YOU ARE ANNOYING US WITH YOUR ATTEMPTED RENDERINGS IN YOUR OWN PATHETIC SOCALLED STYLE STOP PLEASE STOP STOP
posted by languagehat at 11:14 AM on August 3, 2006


Balisong: I guess I would define "art" a bit differently. Visual art is the intentional manipulation of visual elements (such as color, shape, texture). So a lot of modern abstract art is simply, "this is an interesting way of combining these elements." So to be honest, I rather like Warhol's "Knives."

Music works the same way. Beethoven's 7th symphony isn't supposed to "say" anything. It's a technically complicated and precise arrangement of musical motifs that is intended to be interesting to the listener.
posted by KirkJobSluder at 11:15 AM on August 3, 2006


What if the aliens hate modernism and destroy our planet ?
We have already put ourselves in enough danger by launching that terrible Blur single to Mars.
posted by sgt.serenity at 11:15 AM on August 3, 2006


Any form of expression is to my mind artistic

Art is anything intentionally done by someone that causes a reaction, usually emotional, by someone else.

Suicide bombing is art?
posted by QuietDesperation at 11:26 AM on August 3, 2006


Suicide bombing is art?
posted by QuietDesperation at 1:26 PM CST on August 3 [+] [!]


Yes.

And, ironically, it has been government funded since Reagan. Although not through NEA.
posted by Ynoxas at 11:48 AM on August 3, 2006


Suicide bombing is art?
Yes.

Yeah, a real beautification act.
posted by TwelveTwo at 12:27 PM on August 3, 2006


Please. Let's not have yet another damned 'what is art?' 'is it good art?' 'your art sucks balls' discussion. Enough.
posted by geekhorde at 2:28 PM on August 3, 2006


to be honest, I rather like Warhol's "Knives."

Me too.. I like all art.

But, yes, according to my definition, preformance art is art even if it is a suicide bomber, or someone setting themselves on fire.

Does it provoke a response? Does it cause discussion? then the artist has done their job.
posted by Balisong at 9:28 PM on August 3, 2006


Love his mischievous/playful sense of humor.

Keats copyrighted his mind in 2003, claiming that it was a sculpture that he'd created, neural network by neural network, through the act of thinking. The reason, he told the BBC World Service when interviewed about the project, was to attain temporary immortality, on the grounds that the Copyright Act would give him intellectual property rights on his mind for a period of seventy years after his death. He reasoned that, if he licensed out those rights, he'd fulfill the Cogito ("I think, therefore I am"), paradoxically surviving himself by seven decades. In order to fund the posthumous marketing of intellectual property rights to his mind, he sold futures contracts on his brain in an IPO at Modernism Gallery in San Francisco.

Brilliant.
posted by nickyskye at 10:26 PM on August 3, 2006


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