Arcangel and the future of digi/net art
December 8, 2009 5:44 AM   Subscribe

Corey Arcangel is perhaps the internet's most infamous hack, masher-upper, digi/net artist. His work stands for a growing culture of artists who run wildly through animated GIF landscapes populated with corrupted data-compressed bunny rabbits and tinny, MIDI renditions of Savage Garden ballads. As the Lisson Gallery, London, opens its archives to Arcangel's curatorial eye, could digi/net art be set to infect the real, fleshy world, like a rampant Conficker Worm? Has YouTube become the truest reflection of our anthropological selves? Are we destined to roam the int3erw£bs like the mythic beasts of yore, hoping, in time, that digi art can free us from the confines of this fleshy void? [...previously]
posted by 0bvious (20 comments total) 11 users marked this as a favorite
The internet's most infamous hack?

First of all, since when are people who hack hacks, and not hackers? So do you mean that NES cartage hack was "the most infamous hack" or that this guy is the "most infamous hacker"

Either way, I kinda doubt it.
posted by delmoi at 5:57 AM on December 8, 2009

Excuse the grammar/comma build up in that sentence. I mean 'hack-artist', 'masher-upper-artist', 'digi-net-artist'.

posted by 0bvious at 6:02 AM on December 8, 2009

So that's what happened to my back issues of Mondo 2000.
posted by Spatch at 6:05 AM on December 8, 2009 [1 favorite]

I too was going to dispute the "most infamous hack" given I follow a lot of hack-type blogs and I've never heard of this guy. But this is hilarious.
posted by DU at 6:09 AM on December 8, 2009 [1 favorite]

That Simon and Garfunkel thing is hilarious.
posted by OmieWise at 6:37 AM on December 8, 2009

This reminds me of the noise around graffiti artists getting gallery showings. Art made by outsiders to the art world, not getting recognition or appreciation from traditional art critics.
posted by filthy light thief at 7:04 AM on December 8, 2009

before this post all I knew of this guy was his super mario movie (it's awesome!). it doesn't look like it's linked up there.
posted by past at 7:28 AM on December 8, 2009

oh, I also meant to say, thanks for the post!
posted by past at 7:29 AM on December 8, 2009

I though the most infamous hack was the sharpened tree branch.
posted by fuq at 7:33 AM on December 8, 2009 [1 favorite]

Rhizome, Turbulence and Furtherfield are all places to keep tabs on this creative milieu. Calling it might not really work anymore, that was a specific moment.

Vague Terrain is a project that I am involved in, we dedicated an issue to online curation that was organized by the fantastic CONT3XT.NET collective.

If you dig Arcangel you'll probably enjoy as well.
posted by serial_consign at 7:42 AM on December 8, 2009 [2 favorites]

I saw Cory speak a few months ago in Chicago and it was amazing. He just had his laptop connected to a theater projector and went through his work, partially by browsing his own website, partially in the Finder, partially on YouTube videos and even scrolling around and playing music out of iTunes. It was funnier than any 'comedy' I've ever seen, but it was art maybe? Maybe it was just about art, I don't know. I've never seen anyone do anything like that. The point is, you should definitely go if he's speaking near you. He is an awesome dude.

If I ever need to be cheered up I think about Sans Comic, in which he reset the Whitney Biennial press release in Comic Sans and sent it to their mailing list again. It makes me laugh every time.

BTW, he's not exactly "not getting recognition or appreciation from traditional art critics" as Super Mario Clouds was on the cover of ArtForum a few months ago. And I'll give you that Super Mario Clouds is the most famous NES hack maybe. I'm not sure what's infamous about it though, it's really a beautiful idea.
posted by mike_bling at 8:09 AM on December 8, 2009

I've always thought that Digimon was better than Pokemon.
posted by Memo at 8:41 AM on December 8, 2009

I'm more impressed by the insane work of Paul Robertson. I'm not sure if Paul's making his own sprites, but if so, pretty amazing. Pixel art is hard!
posted by autodidact at 9:14 AM on December 8, 2009

So that's what happened to my back issues of Mondo 2000.
posted by Spatch

That's odd. For no apparent reason I was thinking about Mondo 2000 last night. I had a subscription that they somehow flubbed up and doubled. I got two copies every month. It cracked me up that the high-gloss monthly paean to tech managed to mess up a mail-merge somehow. Since I had two copies I used one as raw material for collage stuff. I loved making mix tape covers with spliced together bits of shiny techno fetish silliness. I hadn't thought about Mondo in years and I've no idea what brought it to mind last night. Score one for Jung.
posted by Babblesort at 9:27 AM on December 8, 2009

Okay, I don't mind mash-up people doing their mash-up thing. But they can not have the word "hack". It does not mean what they think it does.

Also, it's poor form to call yourself a hacker.
posted by ixohoxi at 10:24 AM on December 8, 2009

Out of all the net artists I know of, Arcangel seems the most involved and successful in the traditional art world. I think that's great.

Paul Robertson's elaborate pixel work looks cool, and I don't know much about him, but I like net art partly because there's a subversive element to it. Paying attention to data compression artifacts, the backgrounds of video games, unfashionable and obsolete formats like GIF and MIDI, dorky websites, computer errors of all kinds, and odd digital coincidences (and not being super-serious about these things, just casual and silly) can be exciting. I got into it through Nasty Nets, which was on Metafilter earlier (my comment).
posted by dreamyshade at 12:01 PM on December 8, 2009

I really like him. This is brilliant: Two keystone projectors.
posted by beerbajay at 4:11 PM on December 8, 2009

i love Corey to pieces. he's one of the nicest people i know and incredibly talented ... omg, i want to say for his age but it's true, he was rather precocious when he busted into the scene more than 12 years ago ... geezus, time flies.

but i honestly think that as far as infamous hackers are concerned, JODI's body of work (and friggin' popularity --they're everywhere!) speaks for itself.

by the way, serial_consign, i can't believe you think is not relevant anymore. tell that to the father of my children. by the way, he has a show right now in Berlin.

as to net/digital/software artists, Bitforms Gallery and Postmasters represent about 90% of the US (and some European) artists in the scene. John Simon, a guy worth knowing, is represented by Sandra Gering.

thanks for the post. corey's amazing.
posted by liza at 4:39 PM on December 8, 2009

Hi Liza,

I didn't say that I think is no longer relevant. (IMO) I just don't think it is that useful of an umbrella term to describe digital art.
posted by serial_consign at 7:51 PM on December 8, 2009

back in the day i had proposed using the word ARTWARE because in many cases it not only involved creating the software but building the hardware as well.

somewhere in RHIZOME there's logs of those convos.

alas ... the academics won and was it.
posted by liza at 8:13 PM on December 8, 2009

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