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7-16 June 2013

 Da Contents H2

July 24 2013
Past-present tensions
Keith Gallasch, Naala-Ba (Look Future), Carriageworks and ISEA2013

July 3 2013
Data noise & the limits of dance
Keith Gallasch, Myriam Gourfink & Kaspar Toeplitz, Breathing Monster

June 26 2013
Nailing the virtual
Virginia Baxter, Keith Gallasch, The Portals

Night work
Keith Gallasch, Embodied Media, Night Rage

Palpable virtualities
Keith Gallasch, Paula Dawson, Holoshop: Drawing and Perceiving in Depth

The big connect
Somaya Langley, The Portals

Transformational walking
Anne Phillips, Long Time, No See?

June 18 2013
Musical multiverses
Gail Priest, Polysonics

Rainbow over ISEA
Keith Gallasch, Electric Nights

realtime tv @ ISEA2013: Zydnei, Troy Innocent

June 17 2013
If a system fails in a forest, is anybody listening?
Urszula Dawkins, If a system fails in a forest…, 107 Projects

June 16 2013
In the digital age, love your stationery obsession
Urszula Dawkins, Durational Book

Painting by algorithms
Keith Gallasch, Ernest Edmonds: Light Logic

June 15 2013
Home, sweet home
Urszula Dawkins, disSentience, Sleeth, SelgasCano, Tin Sheds

Pop up pleasure zones
Gail Priest, Electronic Art Pop-Ups, The Rocks

June 14 2013
Aural ecologies, mechanical and musical
Urszula Dawkins, EchoSonics, UTS Gallery

June 14 2013
Heck, baby, I shoulda seen it comin…
Urszula Dawkins, The Very Near Future, Alex Davies

More than meets the eye
Virginia Baxter, Keith Gallasch, Point of View

New tools and old skool grammars
Gail Priest, Macrophonics II

realtime tv @ ISEA2013: The very near future, Alex Davies

Start by leaping off a small stool
Urszula Dawkins, ISEA Closing Keynote Address: Julian Assange

June 13 2013
A curative dose of spontaneity
Lauren Carroll Harris, pvi collective, Deviator

M e d i a a r t t h e n a n d n o w
Darren Tofts, Catching Light, Campbelltown Arts Centre

Olfaction, decay & speculation
Gail Priest, Raewyn Turner & Brian Harris, Ian Haig, Nandita Kumar, Verge Gallery

Riding the theta waves
Urszula Dawkins, Theta Lab, George Poonkhin Khut and James Brown

Run for your lives [2]
Keith Gallasch, Running the City, COFA, UNSW

To re-map and reclaim
Lisa Gye, Mapping Culture [panel]

Turning the media back on itself
Lisa Gye, Mark Hosler, Adventures in Illegal Art

June 12 2013
Outside the labyrinth…looking in at someone waving
Urszula Dawkins, SoundLabyrinth, Mark Pedersen and Roger Alsop

realtime tv @ ISEA2013: semipermeable (+), SymbioticA

Run for your lives [1]
Keith Gallasch, Marnix de Nijs, Run Motherfucker Run

June 12 2013
The uncanny in the gallery
Keith Gallasch, Mari Velonaki, Simon Ingram, Petra Gemeinboeck & Rob Saunders, Artspace

June 11 2013
realtime tv @ ISEA2013: EchoSonics, UTS Gallery

The science and art of tangible things
Urszula Dawkins, Synapse: A Selection, Powerhouse

Touch me there
Gail Priest, ISEA Artist talks: Siu, Baumann, Velonaki

June 10 2013
Being Stelarc
Gail Priest, Stelarc: Meat, Metal, Code: Engineering affect and aliveness

Life and death, and the membranes inbetween
Urszula Dawkins, semipermeable (+), SymbioticA

realtime tv @ ISEA2013: Catching Light, Campbelltown Arts Centre

June 9 2013
'Pure' experience, in the round
Urszula Dawkins, Pure Land, iCinema

Data lives
Gail Priest, Genevieve Bell, Mark Hosler, Paolo Cirio & Alessandro Ludovico

realtime tv @ ISEA2013: Velonaki, Ingram, Gemeinboeck & Saunders, Artspace

June 8 2013
Knowing your place in Cartesian space
Gail Priest, Ryoji Ikeda, datamatics [ver 2.0]

Stars and starlings, pixels and picknickers
Urszula Dawkins, Ryoji Ikeda, datamatics [ver 2.0] & test pattern


Turning the media back on itself

Lisa Gye, Mark Hosler, Adventures in Illegal Art

Lisa Gye is a Senior Lecturer in Media and Communications at Swinburne University, where she teaches, among other things, Remix Culture with Darren Tofts.

Mark Hosler, Negativland Mark Hosler, Negativland
Mark Hosler is an entertaining guy. The full title of his talk is “Adventures in illegal art: creative media resistance, Negativland, and the fight not to be absorbed.” He has the easy patois of the Southern Californian that riffs through events, times and places in a way that immediately connects with his audience. And it’s a full house at the forum, a mix of older types who actually remember analogue media as something more than mere nostalgia and young people who have grown up in a world where memory is so cheap, it’s almost redundant.

It’s hard to gauge how many of the audience saw the works that Hosler is showing here the first time around but judging from the reaction there appear to be many here for whom it is a revelation.

As Hosler cycles through the works and happenings that made him and his collaborators in the famous (or perhaps, in some instances, infamous), experimental audio collage band Negativland, those of us who have followed their work for over two decades are reminded how infectiously fun, challenging and clever these guys are. Twelve studio albums, starting in 1980 with the self-titled Negativland, two live albums, six EPs and the radio program Over the Edge, broadcast on KPFA FM in Berkeley for 32 years, are just some of their achievements. But Hosler’s presentation focuses mainly on the video works, kicking off with No Business and followed up with Truth in Advertising, Guns, Christianity is Stupid, The Mashin’ of the Christ and Gimme the Mermaid.

Between the videos, Hosler talks about the process of making the works, one very much guided by a kind of vernacular deconstruction. Hosler points out that the starting point for many of the works comes at that moment when the material they are working with reveals its own internal contradictions. Teasing this out allows the material, in a sense, to expose itself and gives them a way to move the material to its own inevitable endpoint. So, for example, Truth in Advertising takes audio material sourced from a radio call in a show called Penny Wise hosted by Bob Phillips. By manipulating and repeating certain phrases from the show, which purports to advise its listeners on saving money, they demonstrate how the program routinely promotes consumption and advertising as transparently natural. This process of denaturalisation lies at the heart of much of the work Hosler screens in the lecture.

Hosler also talks at length about the various copyright battles faced by Negativland highlighting the case brought against them by Irish mega-pop group U2 through their record label, Island Records. The case has been well documented elsewhere, notably by the band themselves in their zine, The Letter U and the Numeral 2, which was later released as Fair Use: The Story of the Letter U and the Numeral 2. Hosler’s characterisation of the album cover (a release by Negativland called U2) that sparked the controversy and subsequent lawsuit as a moment of ‘consumption disruption,’ resonates as an excellent description of many of their works.

Hosler spends some time talking about one particularly hilarious culture jam that had the somewhat satisfying outcome of exposing the cannibalistic character of much mainstream media. Unable to afford to tour their album Escape From Noise in 1987, due to a lack of time and funds, the band issued a press release claiming that the real reason they were cancelling the tour was that one of the songs from the album, “Christianity is Stupid” had played a role in a quadruple axe murder in Rochester, Minnesota. The perpetrator, David Brom, had killed his devoutly religious family, they claimed, after listening to the song. Of course, this was a complete fabrication but it didn’t stop multiple news outlets in California reporting it as fact. The ensuing media frenzy later became the source material for the band’s next album, Helter Stupid, where they relentlessly lampooned the media who had failed to fact check the press release that got the whole thing started.

This anecdote could be read as a kind of manifesto for Hosler and Negativland. Nothing is sacred. No source material is off limits. It is our right to write with the media that surrounds us like ether, that is the pharmakon of our lives. Our poison and our cure. Interestingly, this manifesto appears to have been embraced in the vernacular remix cultures that have emerged from YouTube and other media sharing sites on the web just as Hosler and the band have decided that its time to go back to where it all began—experimental electronic music.

Hosler says he preferred it when what they were doing stood outside of the mainstream and that he’s happy to leave it to others to take up the mantle of taking from the media and turning it back on itself. One can only hope that the spirit of Negativland—their wicked, playful and, yes, politically subversive spirit—remains in the mix.

Mark Hosler, Adventures in Illegal Art, ISEA2013 and Vivid Sydney, 8 June, MCA;

This article first appeared on RT's ISEA2013-in RealTime blog

Lisa Gye is a Senior Lecturer in Media and Communications at Swinburne University, where she teaches, among other things, Remix Culture with Darren Tofts.

© Lisa Gye; for permission to reproduce apply to [email protected]

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