We want to hijack the word "Xanadu" and modulate it for a while. We will create several visual images in dialogue with Xanadu's residual history (Kahn, Coleridge, Kane, Kissimmee, Newton-John, Nelson, Broadway, Las Vegas, New Jersey, etc.) -- layered psd files, static jpg images, and animated gifs. We will then invite "dispersal agents" to download, modify, repost, title, tag, link, blog, tweet, digg, mySpaceize, Flickrize, youTubulate, interlink, webringize, URL-ate, folksonomize, and otherwise disperse these source images in order to associate them with the word "Xanadu."
Google Images returns up to 1,000 images for a single word search. We will hijack as many of these image results as possible for a "xanadu" word search. We will develop a basic "kit" of search engine optimization and meme dispersal best practices and make it publicly availabe for all dispersal agents. We want to play the entire network as a single instrument, causing Google Images to "perform" a bricolaged visual "score" we have composed.
Historically, Xanadu has come to symbolize the epic failure of a singular type of megalomaniac. We want to more widely distribute and actualize this epic failure by collectively re-architecting the word Xanadu itself.
"I would build that dome in air,
That sunny dome! those caves of ice!
And all who heard should see them there,
And all should cry, Beware! Beware!"
- Coleridge, "Xanadu"
"[The Internet] is an instrument which performs extraordinarily well but which contains its own catastrophe."
- Virilio, "Infowar"
"If it bleeds, we can kill it."
- Schwarzenegger, Predator
Curt Cloninger is an artist, writer, and designer living in western North Carolina, US. His art undermines language as a system of meaning in order to reveal it as an embodied force in the world. His materials are spoken words, sounds, hand-written words, lines, objects coupled with words, objects as words, light, and time. He orchestrates these materials using video, software, performances, installations, and networks. By layering, restructuring, hashing, eroding, exhausting, and (dis)splaying language, he causes language to perform itself until its "meaning" has less to do with what it denotes and more to do with how it behaves. Cloninger is an Assistant Professor of Multimedia Arts & Sciences at the University of North Carolina Asheville. His work has been featured in the New York Times, ABC World News, and at festivals and galleries from Korea to Brazil. Exhibition venues include Digital Art Museum [DAM] Berlin, L'Instituto de México à Paris, Living Arts of Tulsa, and The Art Gallery of Knoxville. Cloninger also maintains lab404.com, playdamage.org, and deepyoung.org in order to facilitate a more lively remote dialogue with the Sundry Essences of Wonder.
Seth Johnson is a founding member of the multi-media collaboration called Carnal Torpor. Carnal Torpor investigates ideologically motivated social structures such as institutionalized religion, occult practices, and marketing strategies. As such they often subvert the techniques of said practices to more flexible ends while investigating the felicity of these structures to create meaning in the context of an information saturated culture. Their work is generated from a collective perspective borne of a shared set of beliefs and ideas. The work consists of testing of these values and ideas through a wide variety of media and within a number of contextual frameworks. They have shown their work in traditional gallery settings such as La Esquina and Paragraph in Kansas City, Missouri, and have performed in venues such as Bemis Center for Contemporary Art in Omaha, Nebraska, OK Mountain in Austin and Grand Arts in Kansas City. Likewise they have mounted numerous projects in alternative or unsanctioned venues such as death-metal concerts, public alleyways, and festivals of new-age spirituality. It is through testing their ideas and beliefs in a variety of contexts that they gain a more holistic sense of the veracity of the cosmology that is created by their shared set of ethics. To put it in short, CARNAL TORPOR is a way of being and their work is the liturgical expression of that way.
1. The Emily Dickinson Difference Engine (2007)
A performance and installation combining phrases from Emily Dickinson's poetry with found objects.
2. Google's Greatest Hits (2009)
Using language and history to bricolage visuals at Google Images.
3. playdamage (2000 - present)
An ongoing, online, multimedia wonder cabinet. 70+ screens and rising.
Seth Johnson (with Carnal Torpor)
4. EGGS (2008)
An installation associating three visual sigils with three different ways of knowing.
5. Bifurcated Invocations of Six Archetypes of the Calmdome (2007)
Press play to hear the audio invocations. Click on "lyrics" to view the pencil drawings.