Amir Esfahani is a practicing Bay Area artist, educator, and curator. Esfahani's role at the Internet Archive is to connect artist with our collections and to show what is possible when open access to information meets the arts. He is also the Director of Special Art Projects at the Internet Archive.
What remains of the initial hope that digitization and Internet technology can contribute to human emancipation and a more just future? Today, surveillance scandals, dominance by a few mega-corporations, and hollow egocentricity increasingly dominate our perception of the digital world. But these negative trends are challenged by independent actors who vehemently defend the early dream of a free Internet. I believe the Internet Archive is one of the important institutions in this fight.
Recently, we had the pleasure of hosting two amazing emerging artists who created a work of art with these ideals in mind. Thomas Georg Blank from Germany, and Işık Kaya from Turkey are an artistic duo who spent several days at our San Francisco headquarters creating their own archive of visual and sound recordings. Blank and Kaya bring together text, video, and audio fragments to form a composition showing that, in the right hands, the Internet does not have to become an instrument of surveillance and control, but, on the contrary, can be graceful and divine.
Their short film, When looking at stones i get sucked into deep time, when looking at my harddrive i’m afraid that it will break, poetically interprets the Internet Archive’s headquarters in San Francisco.
Here is the film, available here on archive.org and embedded below:
More About the Artists
Thomas Georg Blank, born 1990 in Germany, was first trained in cultural and media education focusing on photography before studying Visual Arts in Karlsruhe and Mexico City. He currently lives in Darmstadt and San Diego and has participated in exhibitions in galleries and museums, including Hek Basel, Historisches Museum Frankfurt, Kunsthalle Darmstadt, Blue Star Contemporary and C/O Berlin. His works won many awards and he has been a scholar of DAAD at Uinversity of California San Diego’s Center for Human Imagination.
Moving between research and speculative interpretations, Blank explores how spatial and habitual representations of individual and collective imagination affect the world we are living in, and vice versa. By creating multidirectional, spatial narratives he offers spectators a space to reconfigure and change of their perspectives.
Işık Kaya was born in Turkey and currently lives in the USA, where she is pursuing an MFA in Visual Arts at the University of California, San Diego. In recent years, her work has been featured internationally in art institutions and was shortlisted and won awards in many competitions and festivals. She holds a BA degree in Photography and Videography from Bilgi University and had worked for major art galleries, museums, and publications in Istanbul before moving to California.
Space plays a crucial role in both the practice and thinking of Işık Kaya. Her lens-based practice explores the ways in which humans shape contemporary landscape. In her work, she focuses on traces of economic infrastructures to examine power dynamics in built environments. By framing her subjects exclusively at night, she accentuates the artificial and uncanny qualities of urban landscapes.
Artist Whitney Humphreys is collaborating with the Internet Archive and Tiny Splendor Press to produce 100 copies of a limited-edition zine. In the three-part zine titled Gendered Machines, Humpries uses digital artifacts discovered in the collections of the Internet Archive to explore physical objects that have been assigned a gender, exposing the assumptions and biases of these gender labels.
Printed at Tiny Splendor Press and designed using manipulated, found imagery sourced largely from media in the Internet Archive, the zines of Gendered Machines are both examinations and artifacts of knowledge production technologies. Possessing the capability to transfer between a digital and physical state, the zine format itself reflects the modes through which influential information is delivered and shared, as well as the liminal quality of the space between real and constructed existence.
In Humphreys’ project, Gendered Machines are defined as any non-human, mechanical objects that are associated with, signifiers of, or assigned a gender. Humphreys is intrigued by how this phenomenon manifests in both lived and fictional realities, revealing a typical polarization in these relationships. Society imposes on these objects labeling that reflects our limited understanding of gender. People create, use, and identify with these labels, designating things as either objects of service or of domination, worshiped or feared for the power they possess. This is a patriarchal oversimplification that her work seeks to complicate.
A web of representations produced through repeated narratives in fiction have linked how we understand both object-hood and person-hood. The project’s title likewise reflects the culturally constructed mechanisms through which we learn to identify. Just as an ideal femininity is socially invented to serve male desires, technological artifacts, tools and media have been built to fulfill the needs of the historically male-controlled landscape of invention. The interwoven histories of influence that are brought to light through this project are embedded in the computerized objects we use every day.
Gendered Machines is an extension of these findings, synthesized into the accessible framework of a set of zines. The volumes are focused within three scopes–Body, Voice, and Spirit—each acting as a nexus where patterns of signification are often located across time and media. Humphreys’ collection represents a variety of resources, influences, curiosities, and inspiration.
To receive a copy of the zines mailed to you (only 100 copies available) fill out the form below:
Whitney Humphreys is a San Francisco Bay Area artist and teacher and a recent graduate of San Francisco Art Institute’s Dual Degree program, earning an MFA in Studio Practice, with a focus in printmaking and sculptural installation. She also earned an MA in the History and Theory of Contemporary Art with her thesis titled, Gendered Machines. Culminating in a practice rooted deeply in the processes of research, her work addresses modes of knowledge production and representation that impact constructions of identity, examined through an Intersectional Feminist lens. She has exhibited throughout the Bay Area during her career as an artist, muralist, designer, maker, event coordinator, and instructor.
Tiny Splendor started in 2012 as a tiny collective, traveling around sharing friends’ artwork out of a small wooden fold-up gallery. Now they operate two separate studios, one in Berkeley and one in Los Angeles, providing print and publishing services to artists locally and from around the world. They continue to pursue self-publishing and a love of ink on paper, producing print editions, zines, books, apparel and more.
We are looking for artists of all levels to create and upload a short film of 2-3 minutes to the Internet Archive to help us celebrate Public Domain Day on December 17th!
Public Domain Day is a celebration of all the rich content that will be newly available to the public free of copyright restrictions from the year 1925. We want artists to use this newly available content to create short films that contain content from the archive’s collection from 1925. The uploaded videos will be judged and prizes of up to $1500 awarded!! (Please see details below)
Winners will be announced and shown at the virtual Public Domain Day Celebration on December 17th at 3pm Pacific (registration opens soon), and we will introduce the artists. All other participating videos will be added to a Public Domain Day Art Collection on archive.org and featured in a blog entry in January of 2021.
Here are a few examples of some of the rich content that is now available for you to use:
Link all your sourced materials from 1925 in the upload description
1st prize: $1500
2nd prize: $1000
3rd prize: $500
*All prizes sponsored by the Kahle/Austin Foundation
Judges will be looking for videos that are fun and interesting for showing at the Public Domain Day virtual party and that highlight the value of having cultural materials that can be reused, remixed, and re-contextualized for a new day. Winner’s pieces will be purchased with the prize money, and then put into public domain under a CC0 license.
Amir Saber Esfahani (Director of Special Arts Projects, Internet Archive)
Carrie Hott (Artist and Professor, University San Francisco)
Brewster Kahle (Founder, Digital Librarian, Internet Archive)
Rutgers University and Internet Archive have collaborated to create a limited edition series of risograph posters. Facilitated by Amir Esfahani, Director of Special Art Projects at the Internet Archive, and Mindy Seu, Assistant Professor of Design in the Mason Gross School of the Arts, 14 students in the course Design Practicum gathered unique collections on the Internet Archive and then adapted their findings into an 11×17 graphic. These were printed on a risograph by the Brooklyn-based studio TXT Books.
The first 40 people to sign up will receive a packet of these tabloid-size posters. Please sign up here! https://forms.gle/72sX8F8vM8sCBDwo6 (Please note: We can only provide shipment to people in the United States).
After World War II, many military Jeeps were left in the Philippines by U.S. troops. These Jeeps were decorated and modified to hold more passengers. Since then, Jeepneys have become the most popular form of transportation in the country. This collection showcases Jeepneys in the Philippines starting from the 1950s, exploring a visual history of this symbol of Filipino culture.
Chinese Calligraphers of the Tang Dynasty 618CE—907CE by Zhongxuan Lin
For this collection of comparisons between the USA’s and Japan’s box art for specific Nintendo games, it can be observed that the advent of global releases has removed much of the differences in box artwork with newer releases possessing nearly identical covers between the American and Japanese versions.
Souvenir Spoons Collected by The Fajardo-Reyes Family by Alexa Reyes
A growing collection of spoons gathered over several years by a first generation Filipino-American family from New Jersey. Each souvenir utensil has its own story, own memory, and own journey from traveling anywhere between across the country or across the ocean.
This collection was made to highlight the progression of graphic design on rap album covers. It begins in 1993, right in the middle of the golden era of rap, and extends to our current day. Two covers per year are shown in order of their appearance on the highest first-week sales charts.
The Double Bass Archives includes performances of classical compositions and each piece’s correlating sheet music. This collection acts as a resource, providing a deep dive into the sound, documentation, and physicality of the Double Bass.
This collection is meant to archive every single unique piece that comes from the Steven Universe Monopoly board game. These unique pieces can be used to traverse and visit iconic Steven Universe locations.
Horror Movie Posters of Dario Argento by Steve Tomori
This collection consists of horror movie posters from the director Dario Argento. It features Italian and American posters as well as some alternate versions. These movies were directed, and some even produced, by Dario Argento and span over decades.
Strobridge Lithographing Company’s Circus Posters — 1890s–1950s by Marinelle Manansala
Circus posters were created by Cincinnati’s Strobridge Lithographing Company, printed in the 1890s through the 1950s. These posters focus on attracting the audience by depicting the unusual main acts in a dynamic composition. By 1900, they were known as the “Tiffany of Printers” since they had become one of the largest and most popular printing companies in the United States.
A living collection of street art in the U.S.A. focused around the Coronavirus Pandemic. These works of art are often temporary, so I am attempting to document these murals as I see them, either in person or online. This is an ongoing project until the ‘pandemic’ is finally over.
The Internet Archive and Ever Gold [Projects] are pleased to announce part two of our Bay Area Visual Artist Exhibition Production Relief Grant: an online exhibition featuring the work of thirty grant finalists. From June 29 – July 18, the exhibition, featuring one artwork by each artist, will be on view via the Ever Gold [Projects] website.
Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the fourth annual Internet Archive artist in residency exhibition was cancelled—along with so many other visual art exhibitions in the Bay Area and across the globe. This presented a serious challenge for emerging artists, who typically must pay for production expenses out of their own pocket when creating a body of work for exhibition in a gallery. With canceled exhibitions making it impossible to recoup these costs, along with drastically slowing art sales, many artists have struggled with lost revenues.
Applications were judged by Hilde Lynn Helphenstein (aka Jerry Gogosian), a curator and critic; Drew Bennett, artist and founder of the Facebook art program; Andrew McClintock of Ever Gold [Projects]; and Amir Esfahani of the Internet Archive.
The winning artists, whose work will be featured in the exhibition, are:
A project by Dina Kelberman presented by Dazibao and broadcasted in partnership with the Internet Archive
Kelberman’s practice is one of obsessive collection and organization converted by a perfectionism that provokes interminable repetitions. Though her images are often sourced from the Internet, the artist doesn’t work within the random and fragmented semiotics of that medium. Instead, with a character of care and resourcefulness, she leans into that which is expressed through multiplicity or reiteration: “My work is about how everyone and everything is special, and so while specialness is not special, it is still pretty much the most exciting thing going.”
Dina Kelberman’s project Nervous will feature a series of video loops that compare and combine compulsive habits, recursively exploring the areas where comfort and anxiety are simultaneous. In the midst of Covid-19, these restless gestures for coping, once experienced privately by a minority, might suddenly become familiar to a vast majority who attempt to take cautionary measures. Instagram in this context and as a platform for the work, also speaks to a feeling both of necessity and of insatiability, while inducing the user/viewer in the repetitive, almost irrepressible gestures of tapping and scrolling.
The original footage used for Nervous comes from viewing hundreds of commercials and educational films spanning the 50’s to 90’s sourced from the Internet Archive’s extensive collections. Tiny moments found within these movies are edited into endless loops of small behaviors. The original innocuous context of these moments, intended to be level-headed and soothing, instead becomes nerve-wracking. Commercials for tough-acting cleaners and convenient appliances are now compulsive preoccupations. Educational films depicting the right way to do something, the solutions to problems, now are problems themselves. The means to improve your life have failed past the realm of diminishing returns into flat-out harm.
Dazibao is a contemporary art center and non-profit organization dedicated to the dissemination and mediation of contemporary image practices, privileging artistic experimentation, enquiry and reflection related to current social issues.
Dazibao is dedicated to the development and presentation of original artworks by Canadian artists whose contemporary practices are founded on the image. Providing the public an opportunity to create links between local and global discourses, such works are presented alongside works by international artists thus contextualizing their relevance within a broader art ecology.
By questioning the discourses, uses and modes of disseminating images, Dazibao explores artistic as well as historical and social issues, sharing them with the various communities that make up Montreal’s diversity.
The reflections developed by Dazibao are conveyed by way of exhibitions, video programs, films, public artworks, books and special events. These activities are accompanied by a cultural outreach program that facilitates stimulating encounters with art and create conversations raised by societal issues.
Dazibao collaborates with numerous artists, curators, critics, researchers, and the university milieu and is involved in several ongoing partnerships with related or complementary organizations. Dazibao promotes equity, inclusivity, equality, diversity and cultural hybridization so that art can assert itself as a field of knowledge capable of facilitating a better understanding of the world around us. Offered free of charge, the activities organized by the center are open to all.
The Fourth Annual Internet Archive Artist-in-Residency Exhibition, organized in collaboration with Ever Gold [Projects], has been cancelled this year—along with so many other visual art exhibitions in the Bay Area and across the globe. Part of the residency program involves Ever Gold and the Internet Archive providing participating artists with funds to support production costs to create their research project and the artworks they exhibit.
Typically, emerging artists creating a body of work for a solo or two-person exhibition at an art gallery pay for these production costs out of their own pockets, and wait for their dealers to place their finished artworks with collectors, patrons, or institutions to recoup this overhead.
With exhibitions cancelled and art sales slowing down to a crawl, these lost revenues are compounding emerging artists, who have already invested in production costs for now cancelled shows.
As this is a specific problem to practicing emerging artists which the artist in residency program is designed to support—Ever Gold and the Internet Archive have decided to use the funds allocated for this year’s residency program and create a relief grant to support other Bay Area artists with lost and out of pocket exhibition production costs.
This is made possible by a grant from the Internet Archive, with additional support from the Kenneth Rainin Foundation and individual contributions from Roselyne Swig, Bryan Meehan, Justin Shaffer, John Sanger, and Maurice Kanbar. To date, we have raised a total of $30,000 which wewill be distributing in thirty $1,000 grants direct to artists who meet the following qualifications.
APPLICATIONS OPEN 9AM (PST) MAY 12TH / AND CLOSE MAY 15TH 4PM
Applications will be limited to the first 400 artists who apply.
Qualifications for artists to apply:
You must be a Bay Area resident.
You must have had a solo, two, or three-person exhibition that has been cancelled or delayed due to the pandemic.
The exhibition needs to be with a commercial Bay Area art gallery and have an original opening date of between March and September 2020.
Provide visual documentation of the body of work made or in-progress.
Provide a basic summary of production costs spent out of pocket for this work (besides materials, this can also include studio rent, and other related costs)
Provide a finished or draft of the press release for the exhibition.
Only 400 application slots available, open May 12 – 15, with funds distributed the following week.
You must be able to participate in an online exhibition featuring grant recipient, tentatively scheduled in mid-June.
Applications will be reviewed by: –Hilde Lynn Helphenstein aka Jerry Gogosian (Curator, critic, and @jerrygogosian) –Drew Bennett (Artist and founder of the Facebook art program) –Andrew McClintock (Ever Gold [Projects]) –Amir Esfahani (Internet Archive)
The Internet Archive’s 2019 Artist in Residency Exhibition
New works by Caleb Duarte, Whitney Lynn, and Jeffrey Alan Scudder
Exhibition: June 29 – August 17, 2019
Ever Gold [Projects] 1275 Minnesota Street Suite 105 San Francisco, CA, 94107
Hours: Tuesday – Saturday, 12-5 pm and by appointment
Ever Gold [Projects] is pleased to present The Internet Archive’s 2019 Artists in Residency Exhibition, a show organized in collaboration with the Internet Archive as the culmination of the third year of this non-profit digital library’s visual arts residency program. This year’s exhibition features work by artists Caleb Duarte, Whitney Lynn, and Jeffrey Alan Scudder.
The Internet Archive visual arts residency, organized by Amir Saber Esfahani, is designed to connect emerging and mid-career artists with the Archive’s millions of collections and to show what is possible when open access to information intersects with the arts. During this one-year residency, selected artists develop a body of work that responds to and utilizes the Archive’s collections in their own practice.
Building on the Internet Archive’s mission to preserve cultural heritage artifacts, artist Caleb Duarte’s project focuses on recording oral histories and preserving related objects. Duarte’s work is intentionally situated within networks peripheral to the mainstream art world in order to establish an intimate relationship with the greater public. His work is produced through situational engagement with active sites of social and cultural resistance and strives to extend the expressions of marginalized communities through a shared authorship.
During his residency at the Internet Archive, Duarte visited communities in temporary refugee camps that house thousands of displaced immigrants in Tijuana, Mexico. By recording oral histories and producing sculptural objects, participants exercised their ability to preserve their own histories, centered around the idea of home as memory; the objects come to represent such a place. Using the Internet Archive, Duarte was able to preserve these powerful stories of endurance and migration that otherwise might be subject to the ongoing processes of erasure. The preservation of these memories required transferring the objects and oral histories into a digital format, some of which are carefully and thoughtfully curated into the Internet Archive’s collections for the public to access. For the exhibition at Ever Gold [Projects], Caleb has created an architectural installation representing ideas of “human progress,” using the same materials from Home Depot that we use to construct our suburban homes: white walls, exposed wooden frames, and gated fences. These materials and the aesthetics of their construction form a direct visual link to the incarceration of immigrant children. This installation is juxtaposed with raw drawings on drywall and video documentation of sculptural performances and interviews created at the temporary refugee camps in Tijuana.
Artist Whitney Lynn’s project builds on previous work in which Lynn questions representations of the archetypal temptress or femme fatale. This type of character is the personification of a trap, a multifaceted idea that interests Lynn. Many of her recent projects are influenced by the potential of an object designed to confuse or mislead. For her residency at the Internet Archive, Lynn has turned her attention to the ultimate femme fatale—the mythological siren. Taking advantage of the Archive’s catalog of materials, Lynn tracks the nature of the siren’s depiction over time. From their literary appearance in Homer’s Odyssey (where they are never physically described), to ancient Greek bird-creatures (occasionally bearded and often featured on funerary objects), to their current conflation with mermaids, sirens have been an object for much projection. Around the turn of the century, topless mermaids begin to appear in Odyssey-related academic paintings, but in the Odyssey not only are the Sirens never physically described, but their lure is knowledge—they sing of the pain of war, claim that they know everything on earth, and say that whoever listens can “go on their way with greater knowledge.” In Homer’s iconic story, Odysseus’s men escape temptation and death because they stuff their ears with wax and remain blissfully ignorant, while Odysseus survives through bondage. The Internet Archive’s mission statement is to provide “universal access to all knowledge” and the myth of the siren is both a story about forbidden knowledge and an example of how images can reflect and reinforce systems of power. Lynn’s investigation of the siren brings up related questions about the lines between innocence and ignorance, and the intersections of knowledge, power, and privilege.
Programmer and digital painter Jeffrey Alan Scudder’s project centers around Kid Pix, an award-winning and influential painting app designed for children released in 1989 by Craig Hickman. The user interface of Kid Pix was revolutionary—it was designed to be intuitive (violating certain Apple guidelines to reduce dialog boxes and other unwieldy mechanics), offered unusual options for brushes and tools, and had a sense of style and humor that would prove hard to beat for competitor products. The original binaries of Kid Pix and related digital ephemera are in the collections of the Internet Archive. As part of his practice, Scudder writes his own digital drawing and painting software, and has always wanted to meet Hickman. As part of his residency with the Internet Archive, he visited Hickman at his home in Oregon. In a video directed by Matthew Doyle, Scudder and Hickman discuss software, art, and creativity. Hickman donated his collection of Kid Pix-related artifacts and ephemera to the Computer History Museum, and the exhibition will include a display of these materials alongside Scudder’s work. In addition to the video work and the selection of artifacts on view, Scudder will present a whiteboard drawing/diagram about his work with the Internet Archive.
During the exhibition, Jeffrey Alan Scudder will produce a new iteration of Radical Digital Painting, an ongoing performance project which often includes other artists. Radical Digital Painting is named after Radical Computer Music, a project by Danish artist Goodiepal, with whom Scudder has been touring in Europe over the last two years. In 2018 alone, Jeffrey gave more than 45 lecture-performances on digital painting and related topics in the United States and Europe. On July 20 at 5 pm, Radical Digital Painting presents THE BUG LOG, a project by Ingo Raschka featuring Julia Yerger and Jeffrey Alan Scudder.
Caleb Duarte (b. 1977, El
Paso, Texas) lives and works in Fresno. Duarte is best known for creating
temporary installations using construction type frameworks such as beds of
dirt, cement, and objects suggesting basic shelter. His installations within
institutional settings become sights for performance as interpretations of his
community collaborations. Recent exhibitions include Bay Area Now 8 at
Yerba Buena Center for the Arts (San Francisco, 2018); Emory Douglas:
Bold Visual Language at Los Angeles Contemporary Exhibitions
(2018); A Decolonial Atlas: Strategies in Contemporary Art of the
Americas at Vincent Price Art Museum (Monterey Park, CA, 2017); Zapantera
Negra at Fresno State University (Fresno, CA, 2016); and COUNTERPUBLIC at
the Luminary (St. Louis, MO, 2015).
Whitney Lynn (b. 1980,
Williams Air Force Base) lives and works between San Francisco and Seattle.
Lynn employs expanded forms of sculpture, performance, photography, and drawing
in her project-based work. Mining cultural and political histories, she
reframes familiar narratives to question dynamics of power. Lynn’s work has
been included in exhibitions at the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art;
Torrance Art Museum; Yerba Buena Center for the Arts (San Francisco); RedLine
Contemporary Art Center (Denver); and Exit Art (New York). She has completed
project residencies at the de Young Museum (San Francisco, 2017) and The Neon
Museum (Las Vegas, 2016). She has created site-responsive public art for the
San Diego International Airport, the San Francisco War Memorial Building, and
the City of Reno City Hall Lobby. Lynn has taught at Stanford University, the
San Francisco Art Institute, and UC Berkeley, and is currently an Assistant
Professor in Interdisciplinary Visual Arts at the University of Washington.
Jeffrey Alan Scudder (b. 1989, Assonet, Massachusetts) lives and works between Maine and Massachusetts. Scudder spends his time programming and making pictures. He attended Ringling College of Art & Design (BFA, 2011) and Yale School of Art (MFA, 2013). He has taught at UCLA and Parsons School for Design at The New School, and worked at the design studio Linked by Air. Recent exhibitions include drawings at 650mAh (Hove, 2018); INTENTIONS BASED ON A FUTURE WHICH HAS ALREADY HAPPENED at Naming Gallery (Oakland, CA, 2018); Radical Digital Painting at Johannes Vogt Gallery (New York, 2018); Imaginary Screenshots at Whitcher Projects (Los Angeles, 2017) drawinghomework.net Presents at February Gallery (Austin, 2017); New Dawn at Neumeister Bar-Am (Berlin, 2017); and VIDEO MIXER at Yale School of Art (New Haven, 2015). In 2018 alone, Jeffrey gave over 45 lecture-performances on digital painting and related topics in the United States and Europe. Selected recent lecture-performance venues include Weber State University (Odgen, Utah, 2019); 650mAh0 (Hove, 2018); Chaos Communication Congress (Leipzig, 2018); the ZKM Museum (Karlsruhe, Germany, 2018); Estonian Academy of Arts (Tallinn, Estonia, 2018), Bauhaus University (Weimar, Germany, 2018); and Yale School of Art (New Haven, 2018).
About the Internet Archive:
At the Internet Archive, we believe passionately that access to knowledge is a fundamental human right. Founded by Brewster Kahle with the mission to provide “Universal Access to All Knowledge,” this digital library serves as a conduit for trusted information, connecting learners with the published works of humankind. Like the internet itself, the Internet Archive is a critical part of the infrastructure delivering the power of ideas to knowledge seekers and providers. For 23 years, we have preserved now more than 45 petabytes of data, including 330 billion web pages, 3.5 million digital books, and millions of audio, video and software items, making them openly accessible to all while respecting our patrons’ privacy. Each day, more than one million visitors use or contribute to the Archive, making it one of the world’s top 300 sites. As a digital library, we seek to transform learning and research by making the world’s scholarly data and information linked, accessible and preserved forever online.
The Internet Archive is near and dear to my heart. First: a disclaimer. When the website provider Geocities went under and scrubbed existing sites, my data loss was incalculable. But all was not lost. The Internet Archive came to my rescue, capturing the site for posterity, giving it a new URL and making it accessible again, along with almost 300 billion (!) other preserved websites. http://web.archive.org/web/20050323100927/www.geocities.com/johnheldjr/
The Internet Archive, which is physically located down the street from me in a majestic former Christian Science Church at the intersection of Clement Street and Park Presidio, captures much more than defunct websites. It also digitizes and makes accessible books and sound recordings. For every person who bemoans the fact that private information put up on the Internet is forever available, there is another viewing the resource as an invaluable service expanding the depth of research on multitudes of topics.
Research takes many paths, and one path especially favored by Internet Archive founder Brewster Kahle is providing an open-ended road of creativity for artists to travel down. In a talk he gave last year at the inauguration of the Internet Archive’s Artist in Residence Program exhibition at Ever Gold (Projects), Kahle marveled at the inadvertent uses of the structure he constructed. Yes, the Internet Archive provides a public service by capturing and disseminating information, but the myriad of unpremeditated “happy accidents” resulting from the formation of this highly engineered edifice, is often the most satisfying. Important as the formidable information sharing of the Archive is, we can also be impressed by the ability of the system to transmute information in unexpected ways. It’s the manifestation of alchemy embedded in today’s technology.
Selected by residency founder and director Amir Saber Esfahani, this year’s residency artists Mieka Marple, Chris Sollars and Taravat Talepas and have each approached the mining of the Internet Archive through independent investigation and style of presentation on topics ranging from Hieronymus Bosch, the Grateful Dead and the Iranian Revolution.
Mieke Marple has previously exhibited at Ever Gold (Projects) on the theme of the Tarot. She switches gears in the current exhibition to investigate the imagery of Hieronymus Bosch’s, “What Abomination from the Garden of Earthly Delights Are You,” interpreting her understanding of the work through linking Victorian eroticism with floral embellishments, creating her own version of “Earthly Delights.”
Two installations by Chris Sollars sharply contrast with Marple’s timeless Victoriana. Searching the Internet Archive for psychedelic screen savers and Grateful Dead recordings, and linking them with the literal pickling of information by mixing canning and hardware from the Internet Archive itself, Sollars reveals the endless possibilities the Internet Archive can generate.
Taraval Talepasand was born in the United States to Iranian parents during the Iranian Revolution of 1979. This duality informs much of the work of the widely exhibited artist, who is on the faculty of the San Francisco Art Institute. Instead of dredging the Internet Archive, Talepasand adds to it by creating the “Vali Mortezaie” Archive in collaboration with his son Hushidar Mortezaie. The collection contains vintage publications from pre-revolutionary Iran, including magazines, propaganda posters and advertisements. Talepasand, who studied Persian miniature painting in Iran, translates the Archive’s contents through a series of drawn and painted works.
Kudos to Ever Gold (Projects) gallery director Andrew McClintock, who collaborated with Amir Saber Esfahani, on the exhibition’s organization. Ever Gold (Projects) is known for presentations of in-your-face artworks that scream contemporaneity. The current exhibition’s diversity mirror the range of roads made possible by the capture of billions of websites and petabytes of information. Just as pioneer women in an earlier age pickled the year’s crop, preserving it for later edibility, the Internet Archive, as exemplified by Chris Sollars installation, preserves information for future consumption.
The Artist in Residence Exhibition ran from July 14- August 11, 2018. We have put together a short video with interviews from Brewster Kahle and the artists involved, as well as shots of the actual opening event.
The Internet Archive and Ever Gold [Projects] is pleased to present The Internet Archive’s 2018 Artist in Residence Exhibition, an exhibition organized in collaboration with the Ever Gold [Projects] as the culmination of the second year of the Internet Archive’s visual arts residency program. This year’s exhibition features work by artists Mieke Marple, Chris Sollars, and Taravat Talepasand.
Exhibition Dates and Information:
July 14 – August 11
Opening Reception: Saturday, July 14, 5-8 pm
1275 Minnesota Street First Floor Suite 105, San Francisco, California
The Internet Archive is a San Francisco based nonprofit digital library providing researchers, historians, scholars, people with disabilities, and the general public access to more than 40 petabytes of collections of digitized materials, including websites, software applications/games, music, movies/videos, moving images, and nearly three million public-domain books, as well as the Wayback Machine archive (an archive of almost 300 billion websites preserved over time). The Internet Archive visual arts residency is organized by Amir Saber Esfahani and Andrew McClintock, and is designed to connect emerging and mid-career artists with the archive’s collections and to show what is possible when open access to information meets the arts. The residency is one year in length during which time each artist will develop a body of work that utilizes the resources of the archive’s collections in their own practice.
Image Credit: Mieke Marple
Inspired by a Facebook quiz titled “What Abomination from the Garden of Earthly Delights Are You?” Mieke Marple created a series of drawings loosely based on the masterwork painted by Hieronymus Bosch. By digitally checking out numerous books from the Archive’s library and using imagery contained within them to inspire her work, Marple juxtaposes beautifully painted flora with old world erotic illustrations to create her own Garden of Earthly Delights.
Image Credit: Chris Sollars
Through a series of sculptures, sounds, and video, Chris Sollars will investigate the Internet through a combination of physical and digital representations to address the absurdity of the Sisyphean task of keeping the content of one’s work and society perpetually alive. As a nod to the 1960’s Bay Area’s psychedelic and electronic explorations, Sollars will be sourcing the Internet Archive’s psychedelic screen savers, live recordings of the Grateful Dead, and psychotropic literature while utilizing “slow movement” methods of pickling and preserving for handling data.
Image Credit: Taravat Talepasand
During her residency at the Archive, Taravat Talepasand created the “Vali Mortezaie” archive in collaboration with his son Hushidar Mortezaie. The eBook collection contains vintage publications from pre-revolutionary Iran and contains magazines, propaganda posters, and advertisements that capture the lifestyle at a politically pivotal time in Iranian history. Using the newly formed archive Talepasand created a series of drawn and painted collaged miniatures.
Mieke Marple was born and raised in Palo Alto, CA, among a family of engineers in the heart of the Silicon Valley. She received her B.A. from the University of California, Los Angeles in 2008. She was co-owner of Night Gallery, Los Angeles, from 2011 until 2016, and has been written about by The New York Times and W Magazine, among other publications. In 2012, Marple produced the web series Feast of Burden, directed by filmmaker Eugene Kotlyarenko and distributed by MOCAtv. In 2014, she co-founded the benefit art auction and gala Sexy Beast for Planned Parenthood LA, and remains on the organization’s advisory board. Recent exhibitions include Relocation Tarot at Ever Gold [Projects], San Francisco (2018). She lives and works in San Francisco.
Chris Sollars is an artist based in San Francisco. His work subverts public space through interventions and performance. The results are documented using sculpture, photography, and video that are integrated into mixed-media installations. Sollars is an Assistant Professor in Sculpture, Mills College, Oakland, CA with awards that include a 2013 Guggenheim Fellowship, 2013 San Francisco Arts Commission: Individual Artist Commission Grant, 2007 Eureka Fellowship Award, 2007 San Francisco Bay Area Artadia Grant, 2009 Headlands Center for the Arts residency, and 2015 residency at Recology. Recent projects include White on Red at 1275 Minnesota Street (2017); Goatscapes forJewish Folktales Retold: Artist as Maggid at the Contemporary Jewish Museum (San Francisco, 2017-2018); and the sculpture band skullture that plays site-specific sets on location.
Taravat Talepasand was born in 1979 in the United States to Iranian parents during the Iranian Revolution. She retained close family and artistic ties to Iran, Esfahan, where she was trained in the challenging discipline of Persian miniature painting. Paying close attention to the cultural taboos identified by distinctly different social groups, particularly those of gender, race and socioeconomic position, her work reflects the cross-pollination, or lack thereof, in our “modern” society. Talepasand has exhibited nationally and internationally, most recently in the exhibition In the Fields of Empty Days: The Intersection of Past and Present in Iranian Art at the Los Angeles County Museum of Art (2018), Westoxicated at Zevitas Marcus Gallery (Los Angeles, 2017), and Made in Iran, Born in America at Guerrero Gallery (San Francisco, 2017). She has been featured in the San Francisco Chronicle, Los Angeles Times, New York Times, and Huffington Post.