Net.Art (+ art with dead rabbits)

January 29, 2010

How to Explain Pictures to a Dead Hare

Filed under: Net.Art + Dead Rabbits — markhramos @ 6:31 pm

“On November 26, 1965, Beuys put the hare into the leading role in an Action. The title: How to Explain Pictures to a Dead Hare. The place: Galerie Alfred Schmela, in Dusseldorf, a gallery that had commited itself early and strongly to Beuys and had done a great deal to promote his reputation. Beuys sat on a chair in one corner of the gallery, next to the entrance. He had poured honey over his head, to which he had then affixed fifty dollars worth of gold leaf. In his arms he cradled a dead hare, which he looked at steadfastly. Then he stood up, walked around the room holding the dead hare in his arms, and held it up close to the pictures on the walls; he seemed to be talking to it. Sometimes he broke off his tour and, still holding the dead creature, stepped over a withered fir tree that lay in the middle of the gallery. All this was done with indescribable tenderness and great concentration.”

Heiner Stachelhaus

In ‘How to Explain Pictures to a Dead Hare’, Beuys cradled a dead hare lovingly in his arms for three hours, walking it around and showing his drawings to it whilst explaining them to it in an inaudible whisper. The hare symbolises birth for Beuys because it is born and burrows underground, later to emerge from the earth[6]. The effect of Beuys’ body in the action is terribly important, the presence of a human being is difficult to ignore, especially as his head was covered in honey and gold leaf. The reaction would be far more different if Beuys had had his hare for example, reading about art from a book. The pictures on the walls, surrounding Beuys and the hare, are impossible to see all at once, and we realise that this is not so much about Beuys and a hare as it is about our own bodies, how we physically find ourselves in the world and how we relate to it. The problem of understanding and thus also of explaining is relevant to everyone.

“By putting honey on my head I am clearly doing something involved with thinking”, Beuys said. The image of the man made mute by his thinking, his over-rationalisation, is deeply unsettling. Perhaps this serves to emphasise Beuys’ opinion that western society is too rational. Beuys claimed he preferred to explain pictures to a dead hare than to other people. He said, “A Hare comprehends more than many human beings with their stubborn rationalism …I told him that he needed only to scan the picture to understand what is really important about it”.


Filed under: Net.Art + Dead Rabbits — markhramos @ 6:04 pm appears at first glance to consist of meaningless text, until a glance at the HTML source code reveals detailed diagrams of hydrogen and uranium bombs. Their early work often used this tactic of mimicking computer glitches and viruses as an aesthetic or humorous device, but upon viewing the source for this front page, the viewer is able to uncover plans for building a bomb.

Jodi, or, is a collective of two internet artists: Joan Heemskerk and Dirk Paesmans. Their background is in photography and video art; since the mid-1990s they started to create original artworks for the World Wide Web. A few years later, they also turned to software art and artistic computer game modification.

Jodi’s “Screen Grab” appears to depict mammoth Mac OS9 computers running amok: opening windows cascaded across the screen, error messages squawked, and files replicated themselves endlessly. But this was not a computer gone haywire, but a computer user gone haywire. To make this video, Jodi simply pointed-and-clicked and dragged-and-dropped so frantically, it seemed that no human could be in control of such chaos. As graphics exploded across the screen, the viewer gradually realized that what had initially appeared to be a computer glitch was really the work of an irrational, playful, or crazed human.

Here is a link to their map of the internet:

Vanitas II, Helen Chadwick

Filed under: Net.Art + Dead Rabbits — markhramos @ 4:08 pm

Helen Chadwick (1953 – 96) created baroque body art, using photography, a photocopier and her own urine to create ripely organic images and objects that multiply and sustain the associations of physical experience, sight, touch, smell. Chadwick’s works range from photographs of fresh meat arranged as lovingly as a 17th-century still life (the camera dwelling on wet, gold-lit compositions of newly butchered flesh), to a series of Viral Landscapes, in which a blotch smears itself across a rocky shore.

She became notorious for Piss Flowers, bronze sculptures derived from the patterns she made urinating in the snow in Canada. But looking at her work now, five years after her early death aged 42, what’s striking is the formal extravagance, literacy and sensual enthusiasm of an art that’s as bodily as that of younger 1990s British artists but much more luxurious.

Alexei Shulgin – the Man, the Myth , the Mystery

Filed under: Net.Art + Dead Rabbits — markhramos @ 3:54 pm

Alexei Shulgin is probably most well-known for his ongoing so called “386DX” performances, in which he manipulates an antiquated computer with Microsoft Windows version 3.1 and an Intel 386 processor to perform MIDI (Musical Instrument Digital Interface) renditions of popular music hits while a synthesized text-to-speech voice “sings” the lyrics. Shulgin describes his project, which he began in 1998, of electronic covers as “the world’s first cyberpunk rock band.”

In 1997, he released his first interactive work, Form Art, in which only minimum factors are programmed in the form of HTML. Shulgin describes this page as a “formalistic” aesthetical art site”. Navigating this site requires aimless click-throughs of blank boxes and links, which lead the viewer through countless pages of “form art” animations made up of Shulgin’s boxes. Some of the more interesting discoveries on the page include a “Gomputer Game”, which allows the viewer to make arbitrary decisions upon which link to cick- sometimes leading to the next round, other times often merely ending up at the “you lose” page.

His website: showcases some of his other works as well as (mostly) dead links to to other net based art.

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