Loops, Rings, Circles, and Infinity

“Motivator Pog” by Tom Moody

I was recently invited by the lovely folks at CONT3XT.NET to curate a “TAGallery”. This concept essentially involved selecting works on a theme of my choice, and then using the popular social bookmarking system del.icio.us to tag my choices, which are presented as an exhibition of sorts in del.icio.us. Or as the CONT3XT.NET folks put it, TAGallery “…transfers the main tasks of noncommercial exhibition spaces to the discourse of an electronic data-space. The method of tagging allows the attribution of artworks to different thematic fields.”

Exhibition 007_Loops, Rings, Circles and Infinity was tagged by yours truly, and here’s what I had to say about my selections:

“Connectivity on the Web is often thought of in a linear fashion – point to point, server to server. This perception might be rational and convenient, but the way that we use the web is often more circular, looping upon itself, or seemingly without end. The artworks selected for this TAGallery represent the opposite of a finite or fixed experience.

100 Black Boxes, for example, is a circular hypertext fiction. The last entry makes this explicit, referencing a repeating children’s rhyme and the ancient symbol of the Ourobouros: “There was an old man called Michael Finnegan. Ourobouros. That’s the word. Ourobouros, the snake that swallows its own tail. Between these shelves, between these books, between these words, I go round in circles. Swallowing myself.” Unlike most conventional games that have a logical conclusion, The Endless Forest invites you to participate in a gamespace that is ambient and endlessly explorative. Every Icon, a beautiful piece of software that will depict every possible combination of black and white squares in a grid of 32 x 32 is a work that will reach its endpoint so far into the future, by our human timescales it seems to reach forth into infinity. Mario Battle No. 1, with the iconic Super Mario wandering in a game world stripped of the usual enemies and prizes, ends after a certain amount of time, but the lack of objects in the world lengthens the sense of time. Instead of racing against the clock killing all the monsters in his path, the Mario character that you control is left to ponder his fate, wandering past a limitless, pristine expanse of digital green fields and blue skies. Tom Moody’s animated GIFs repeat a few frames over and over, offering a study of the simple charm of repetition of movement. These works and the others included here utilise the possibilities of the power of computation, channeling this power into aesthetic and emotionally resonant experiences.

With works by: Tom Moody, Lisa Jevbratt, Mark Napier, Myfanwy Ashmore, Auriea Harvey & Michaël Samyn, John F. Simon, Jr., Alistair Gentry

Exhibition at TAGallery: http://del.icio.us/TAGallery/EXHIBITION_loop.infinity
Statement: http://del.icio.us/TAGallery/STATEMENT_loop.infinity
Tagger/curator: http://del.icio.us/TAGallery/TAGGER_loop.infinity

I think this kind of “immaterial” curating is quite fascinating, and an interesting step beyond the net.art curating that came before. Like the Blogumenta project I mention elsewhere on this blog that used Facebook as a platform, TAGallery and other initiatives use the growing scope of social software and tools that are out there as drivers for cultural discourse.

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