Must-See Net Arts From “Collect the WWWorld”

11/16/2012 4:50 PM |

Screenshot of Ashland Mines, from Ryan Trecartins W Magazine Spread

  • Screenshot of Ashland Mines, from Ryan Trecartin’s W Magazine Spread

It’s too bad that the 319 Scholes show Collect the WWWorld: Artist as Archivist in the Internet Age, kind of a greatest hits album of the last five years, was only open for a few weeks. Lucky for us, you can still find a lot of these treasures on the exhibition site. I’ve highlighted three below.

The premise and subtitle for the show “artist as archivist in the internet age” feels tacked-on to a handful of works, Eva and Franco Mattes’s video montage My Generation probably being the best example. Image-collecting doesn’t register so much when faced with clips of pubescent boys unleashing their rage at their computers, playing from an old smashed computer monitor on the floor. If the torrent of kids screaming “Fucking fucked up fuckin tard shithead!” while pounding their keyboards and suffocating themselves doesn’t cut you right to the bone…well…it should.


Collect the WWWorld also included print-outs from Ryan Trecartin’s new e-book, A Lossless Fall, which was basically notes from his 2010 W Magazine portraits of the same title. It’s a list of typed, randomly bolded-and-colored notes; they surround stock photos sketching what he’d like his subjects to look like. Much like his videos, they feel like a stream-of-consciousness vacuuming of the internet, with moments that hit hard; he adds a steering wheel so that Ashland Mine’s face “Vaguely Feels like A Steering Wheel or a Navigational Device for Long Distance and Memory.” In a phrase, it sums up the feeling of a mind racing forward through the internet with no brakes.

Another gem (emphasis Trecartin’s):

She received a ton of well-done surgeries, at too young of an age. So that she looks 46
But it’s really unclear if she got to 46
From 60 or 30

You were thinking it before you even see the following photos of Madonna and Lindsay Lohan. Thomas Seely of BreakThru Radio had mentioned the idea of identity crisis as emergent from this show, which resonates here.

Another particularly memorable work is Aleksandra Domanovic’s 2007 video Anhedonia, made in fan video style with stock Getty video, which corresponds to dialogue from Annie Hall.

The artist’s statement informs us that the title is a psychological term for “an inability to experience satisfaction from normally pleasurable life events such as eating, exercise and social or sexual interaction. It was also supposed to be the original title of Annie Hall, but was considered unmarketable.” The slideshow moves fast to banter between Woody Allen and Diane Keaton, winding around unexpected turns:

There’s an old joke – um… two elderly women are at a Catskill mountain resort, and one of ’em says, “Boy, the food at this place is really terrible.” The other one says, “Yeah, I know; and such small portions.” Well, that’s essentially how I feel about life – full of loneliness, and misery, and suffering, and unhappiness, and it’s all over much too quickly.

The video brings up a kind of keyword search version of whatever he’s talking about: the word “food” brings up a video of cheesy fries; “really terrible” brings up aliens; “how I feel” brings up a woman massaging the back of her own neck. You tend to notice a split between advertorial emotional bursts and World War 2 imagery. It’s somewhere between a wide-angle picture of post-war anxiety and just really good improv.

For the rest of “Collect the WWWorld” and more, check out the show’s exhibition tumblr. Curator Domenico Quaranta has catalogued decades of art which uses image archiving as their M.O.

UPDATE 11/16: An original version of this post mistakenly assumed that the show was under reviewed. In addition to Thomas Seely’s interview with Domenico Quaranta on Art Uncovered, the show was reviewed on Furtherfield, The Verge, and was an editor’s pick on Bushwick Daily.