29 December 2009

or-bits.com

Imagine a world where walls weren't obligatory to exhibit art; where physical space itself is barely necessary; where concept and vision surpass presence and tangibility; where commerce is practically irrelevant ...

or-bits.com is the new website of London-based curator Marialaura Ghidini. Launched in September this year, or-bits is a 'production and display platform for contemporary arts' that releases a new programme quarterly and with each new programme explores the context of a different word.

Basically, it works like this: A word is chosen and its framing determined through a text 'On' the word (written by Marialaura - have a read, they are very, very good) and a selection of contributions from artists, who either submit existing works or are commissioned to create something new for or-bits in relation to the given word. The text and works are uploaded to the site and thus generate 'a multiform space', where a single word functions as a reference point from whence multiple ideas are fostered and various media are presented and investigated.

The first programme for or-bits was Superposition and opened with a quote from John Updike's 1997 novel, Toward the End of Time (aptly set in the year 2020): “Superposition, I thought. Before Christ ascended, He was in what quantum theory calls superposition – neither here nor there, up nor down. He was Schrödinger’s cat.” The programme comprises works from nine artists as well as an 'Other Spaces' blog, containing information about works outside the space of the website which relate to Superposition. Below are two of artist Maria Theodoraki's responses to superposition, 'Here 1' and 'Here 2':



The recently launched programme, Simplicity, begins with a quote from John Maeda's 2006 The Laws of Simplicity book: “Law 1: Reduce. The simplest way to achieve simplicity is through thoughtful reduction.” It is followed by a YouTube clip of a 1975 Kraftwerk performance, which Marialaura suggests is 'emblematic' of this process of 'thoughtful reduction':



Marialaura proposes that the forward-looking Kraftwerk's 'deceitful' minimalism 'is permeated by complexity'. A complexity, she suggests, that parallels 21st century societal practices that aim to promote a 'simpler life' and are connected 'to a retrieval of past forms of production' (such as stripping down a bike to assemble one piece-by-piece, or growing a vegetable garden in a city dwelling), but are 'intrinsically more complicated' than they appear.

Simplicity will be shown in two stages, the first (live now) features a fictional short-story by Nadine Pütz (amazing, read it, read it!), the second will be live from mid-January and will feature eight artists working in various media. Simplicity also marks the beginning of a new series of or-bits 'From Other Spaces' blogs, for which a guest will be invited to blog for the duration of the programme. The guest blogger for Simplicity is writer and curator Lorena Muñoz-Alonso, who will bring us a weekly look at simplicity from a multidisciplinary perspective.

This is the 'found web image' used for Nadine Pütz's 'The Japanese Rock Garden' work, which seems an unbelievably appropriate utilisation of Internet technology given the context:


or-bits is an incredibly interesting project to me. It's really exciting to think of the myriad ways we are able to access culture at the moment. The Internet allows us to learn, see, read, interpret, experience and even think in new ways and can be a powerful tool if used well. This arts platform is tapping into that power in a way that is innovative, honest and extremely well-conceived and -executed. Proof is in the content, the ideas, and the forward motion it bears and is borne from.

Who said art must needs walls?

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