Presentations: Street Level Youth Media

Posted in ART GROUPS & COLLECTIVES, Uncategorized on March 3rd, 2009 by CA – 3 Comments


Posted in ART GROUPS & COLLECTIVES, Uncategorized on February 10th, 2009 by MB – 127 Comments

The Ochanomizu Drop,
1964/Cut Piece, Yoko Ono, 1965

High Red Center

This was a Japanese group of performance artists briefly active in the mid 1960’s. They worked both individually and as a group. Affiliated artists were Jiro Takamatsu, Genpei Akasegawa, Natsuyuki Nakanishi, and to a lesser degree, Yoko Ono.

High Red Center did a series of performance art pieces and public demonstrations designed to emphasize the performance’s incongruity with the modern world. The medium, the happening, was selected to suggest the spontaneity of the event. Although closely influenced greatly influenced by Gutai, High Red Center had stronger focus on reflections on social interactions, society, and humanness in their performances. One artist, Nakanishi Natsuyuki, covered his face with clothespins and walked around the streets of Tokyo, observing the responses of passers-by. After he was done, he pinned the metal clothespins to a canvas and burned it, thereby destroying all traces of his work (except photographs) and its material, art market value.

Clothespins Assert Churning Action

5th Mixer Project (performance/happening)


The artists also did several performances that directly challenged the consumerist nature of modern society. For example, they did several “drops” where they would take various consumer goods such as machines and clothing and drop them from a height. They would then gather them up, put them in a random locker somewhere in the city and give someone the key. This emphasized a total disregard for modern consumerist behavior, both in the demonstrated apathy to the items and in the act of giving them away.

The Ochanomizu Drop



A similar performance took place during Japan’s preparation for the Olympic games, where the Japanese government reorganized the city and altered some social conventions. For example, they encouraged citizens to engage in more sanitary behaviors such as not spitting on the curb. High Red Center dressed in face masks and lab coats and scrubbed the streets, mocking the policies of the government. This was as much a demonstration as a commentary on the mentality of the society, as they were not bothered but believed by many of the bystanders.

Movement to Promote the Cleanup of the Metropolitan Area (Be Clean!)



In a performance with a similar agenda, in 1964 Yoko Ono staged Cut Piece, a performance where she sat still on the stage and invited the (paying) audience to cut away her clothing with scissors. This piece revealed issues such as the objectification of humans (and women) through financial contract and the sometimes crude desires enabled by permission, thus allowing this piece to be easily read as a critique of capitalism.


Posted in ART GROUPS & COLLECTIVES, Uncategorized on February 10th, 2009 by MB – 95 Comments

1955 Laceration of Paper/1956 Second Gutai Installation


Shozo Shimamoto and JiroYoshihara founded Gutai together in 1954, and it was Shimamoto who suggested the name Gutai, which means (again, according to this source) “concrete”. This group had a considerable influence on fluxus, but worked primarily in installations rather than happenings.

A common assertion is that Gutai was primarily fascinated with the destruction of material and its properties thereby revealed. Although this was an element of their work, Gutai was primarily interested in the interactions between different materials in a composition, the interaction between artist and material, and the specific actions of an artist that generated creative content.

Thus, Gutai did several pieces with considerable control over the art and a minor or nonexistent emphasis on destruction. For example, the 1955 work Challenge to the Mud featured a man wrestling with clay in a pit filled with mud and gravel, with images being taken of the event. On hands and knees, the artist sat in the mud and lifted, squeezed and punched it, while the gravel in the mud cut into his body. Other works involved artists swinging over a canvas and painting with their shoes, exploring the properties of paint and the dynamism resulting from the influence of the artist. Another repeatedly exhibited work was by Atsuko Tanaka, where she dressed in a suit of lights and would move about, demonstrating the visual effects of light and electricity when combined with the actions of a human artist. This work was also a commentary about the increasingly electronic life of human in a world full of commercial household goods, pushing the performance from the realm of art into the everyday.

Many of their works, however, did focus on the material’s destruction. Many pieces demonstrate the interactions between the artists and the material, often with a lack of complete control on the part of the human. For example 1955 Laceration of Paper, pictures were taken as an artist smashed through a row of sheets of paper. In 1956 throws of color, the artists fire jars of paint at a canvassed wall. Both these works demonstrate the interest in the material’s properties as it is destroyed- how the paper interacts with the artist, how the glass embeds in the canvas. In the respective cases, the artist then selected the most evocative images or cut the canvas, demonstrating a final act of control and artistic influence.


Posted in ART GROUPS & COLLECTIVES, Uncategorized on February 9th, 2009 by LH – 2 Comments

Antfarm was an architecture and design group that was founded in 1968 by the architects Chip Lord and Doug Michels, who were later joined by Curtis Schreier, Hudson Marquez and Douglas Hurr.

They wanted to challenge the the stiff conventions of the dominating style in modern architecture and particulary the Brutalist movement of the 1960s and 70s. Accordingly, they developed a a lot of giant inflatable structures.

They were also critical of massmedia and the constricted world view it offered. In satirical documentaries like “the Eternal Frame” they questioned the nature of collective memory and construction of truth in the media by reenacting the Kennedy assassination.

Another famous video and performance they did was “Media burn”, where they drove a customized Cadillac through a pyramid of burning televisions. (See below)

One of the large installations they created is called “Cadillac Ranch”, and consists of ten cadillacs buried halfway into the ground, standing with tail up in a row in Amarillo, Texas.

image 1: wp-content/myimages/2..
image2:…/ Cadillac-Ranch-horizon.jpg

Presentation: The Futurists

Posted in ART GROUPS & COLLECTIVES, Uncategorized on February 9th, 2009 by LH – 94 Comments

The Futurist movement was founded by the Italian poet Filippo Tommaso Marinetti in 1909. 
They disdained what they perceived as Italy’s backwardness and rejected everything in the past. They were optimistic about the future: the industrialization, war and revolutions. 
And they loved everything modern: the automobile, the streetlight, the airplane. 
They began painting in a neo-impressionistic way. After the group went to Paris they were influenced by the cubists. The futurists believed they went beyond cubism and other expressions of the era, and created their own style with representation of motion and emotion through a technique they named dynamism. 

image: images/russolo_Carra_Ma…


Posted in ART GROUPS & COLLECTIVES, Uncategorized on February 8th, 2009 by RS – 88 Comments

AES+F is a group of four Russian artists–Tatiana Arzamasova, Lev Evzovich, Evgeny Svyatsky, and Vladimir Fridkes. They create mixed media works as well as photography, video, and sculpture pieces.

The essence of the group is best illustrated through its artwork:

AES+F is known for its video “Last Riot” where “all are fighting against all and against themselves, where no difference exists any more between victim and aggressor, male and female. This world celebrates the end of ideology, history, and ethic.” (

Their first Photoshop experiment can be seen above. It is titled “Islamic Project” and includes a set of pictures where minarets or other images are superimposed on national landmarks. Here, the Statue of Liberty is shown in a burka with a Koran in her hand instead of the Declaration of Independence. The photos were not meant to be anti-Islamic or anti-US. Rather, they were intended to highlight paranoia within the media. Their art has been used by many anti-war protesters and has taken on a life of its own. (

The group has also taken on another controversial topic: the death of Princess Diana of Wales. In the video “Who Wants to Live Forever” they depict a woman (acting as Princess Diana) on a car seat covered in blood. Again, the piece is not meant to be insulting: ” ‘We were in London when Princess Diana died and we were impressed by the medieval hysteria, like with a new saint,’ Arzamasova says.” (

AES+F sees itself as a microscope, looking closely into things that we experience every day and then portraying them at an extremely exaggerated level.

PRESENTATION: The Wooster Group

Posted in ART GROUPS & COLLECTIVES, Uncategorized on February 8th, 2009 by RS – 111 Comments

THE WOOSTER GROUP is a group of artists that create theatrical, dance, and media pieces based in Soho, New York City.

Their theatrical pieces include “radical staging of both modern and classic texts, found materials, films and videos, dance and movement, multi-track scoring, and an architectonic approach to theatre design.” (taken from

Due to its multi-medium characteristics, The Wooster Group’s art appeals to individuals from a multitude of artistic backgrounds.

The Wooster Group has, in the past, performed art by Gertrude Stein and Eugene O’Neill, who both spoke to the increase in industrialization and its affects on human interaction and perception. As stated in an article published by the New York Times (referring to Gertrude Stein’s theories): “Life had ceased to flow in a continuous stream; it could be frozen, replicated and taken apart in ways previously unknown. The human eye had been shattered.” (taken from

You can view performances and photos of The Wooster Group here:


Posted in ART GROUPS & COLLECTIVES, Uncategorized on February 7th, 2009 by admin – 2 Comments



Self-selected (update 0902xx):
AT – ASCII Art Ensemble
BA –
CA –
LH – Futurists
MB – High Red Center
RS – AES + F
VF – Body Art

More suggestions from PL:

Bootlab (Berlin) & Diana McCarthy
American Indian Movement & Jimmie Durham

Bread & Puppet Theater
Robert Wilson (the plays)
Laurie Anderson

Sourveillance Camera Players
Institute for Applied Autonomy
Group Material

Reverend Billy & Church of Stop Shopping
Guillermo Kuitca
Lygia Clark

The Yes Men

Beehive Collective
Judy Chicago & the LA Mural Project
The Coalition of Black Revolutionary Artists (COBRA) & AFRICOBRA (African Commune of Bad Relevant Artists)

Rhizome (see also )

Art & Language
Collective Action Group (Russia)
Komar & Melamid

PRESENTATION: Independent Robotic Community

Posted in ART GROUPS & COLLECTIVES, Uncategorized on February 6th, 2009 by admin – 3 Comments

Independent Robotic Community:
Project by Ricardo Iglesias and Gerald Kogler

See video:

PRESENTATION: Art Movement of Choice: Body Art

Posted in ART GROUPS & COLLECTIVES, Uncategorized on February 6th, 2009 by VF – 98 Comments

Body art:

Art made on, with, or consisting of, the human body. The most common forms of body art are tatoos and body piercings, but other types include scarification, branding, scalpelling, shaping (for example tight-lacing of crosents), full body tattoo and body painting. More extreme body art can involve things such as mutilation or pushing the body to its physical limits.


Marina Abramovic’s: works involved dancing until she collapsed from exhaustion.

Dennis Oppenheim’s: works saw him lying in the sunlight with a book on his chest, until his skin, excluding that covered by the book, was badly sunburned. 

Vito Acconci:  documented, through photos and text, his daily exercise routine of stepping on and off a chair for as long as possible over several month.


Relevant Videos: