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Bureau of cyberSurreal investigation

ISBN 13: 978-0-9669022-5-9 ISBN 10: 0-9669022-5-4

lou suSi

Like André Breton’s original literary research and criticism of ‘Black Humor’ as conducted within the context of the Surrealiste Internationale nearly a century ago — the cyberSurrealists seem bent on inspiring what they refer to as future fetish objects in attempt to perform some sort of subconscious self-analysis of our social dynamics. With ‘American Cheese,’ we take a closer look into strange facets often colluded with the very notion of ‘what’s funny.’ At the heart of it all is an ultimate curatorial strategy that created a playful, fun and engaging experience for the gallerygoing audience that came out to Doran Gallery for ‘American Cheese’.

American Cheese: an introspection

‘American Cheese: an introspection’ — the very first official exhibition for the new movement in cyberSurrealist art and design — reached out to each participating artist with a call to explore object-based pieces expressing a certain sense of kitschy humor. The rather subversive goal of the original founding curators and investigative agent provocateurs centered around creating something unusually bad in the name of art— to perhaps bring out what might be considered the worst in us all.

american cheese an introspection exhibition c ata l o g

prepared by the bureau of cybersurreal investigation


american cheese an introspection exhibition c ata l o g

prepared by the bureau of cybersurreal investigation


american cheese: an introspection

Š 2013 The Bureau of cyberSurreal Investigation, all rights reserved. No part of this document may be reproduced in any form by any electronic or mechanical means ( including photocopying, recording, telekinesis, or information storage or retrieval ) without written permission from The Bureau of cyberSurreal Investigation. All of the artists whose works appear in this catalog retain the copyright and moral rights to their works. You may share this work under the guidelines of fair use rights, or other applicable copyright exceptions and limitations.

http://hotsects.com/cheese http://bureauofcybersurrealinvestigation.com ISBN ISBN

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13: 978-0-9669022-5-9 10: 0-9669022-5-4


e x h i b i t i o n c ata l o g de d ic at ion

for carol i love that we laugh together a lot

and i truly love you

love lou

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american cheese: an introspection

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e x h i b i t i o n c ata l o g qu o tat ion

Humor (is) the process that allows one to brush reality aside when it gets too distressing. AndrĂŠ Breton from his Anthology of Black Humor

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american cheese: an introspection

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e x h i b i t i o n c ata l o g introduction in the late fall of

2010 — I personally reached out to select artists and

designers in the DMI and SIM MFA programs at MassArt — asking for work that would respond to the phrase ‘American Cheese’. I already arranged a date with The Patricia Doran Gallery to put together a quickhit collective, theme-based show. My hopeful vision simply aimed to inspire an eclectic body of work that, once assembled in an event-based opening, might serve as the first iteration in a series of prototypical, cross-domain exhibitions. An ulterior and slightly devious motive embedded in the very notion of ‘American Cheese’ — to allow each participating artist to explore kitschy humor — to perhaps bring out what might be considered ‘the worst’ in us all — to examine certain facets of the notion of ‘funny’ — and to ultimately create a playful, fun and engaging experience for our audience.

lou suSi —

curator

of

american cheese: an introspection

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american cheese: an introspection

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e x h i b i t i o n c ata l o g qu o tat ion

You know, a lot of people come to me and they say, “Steve, how can you be so fucking funny?” There’s a secret to it, it’s no big deal. Before I go out, I put a slice of bologna in each of my shoes. So when I’m on stage, I feel funny.

Steve Martin

from his comedy album

Let’s Get Small

photodocumentation of Steve Martin courtesy the internet 9


american cheese: an introspection

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e x h i b i t i o n c ata l o g another introduction

into the cheese time was tight.

Despite the extremely fast-paced nature of much of the work,

‘American Cheese’ successfully brought together 5 works ranging from the dynamic, conceptual and performative media domains. Much of the work materialized — from concept to finished piece — in a mere matter of days. Energies ran high — both behind the scenes on the day of the opening event, and at the unveiling of the work. We had a fantastic, receptive crowd that responded well to each piece, celebrating the spirit of ‘cheese’ in its many forms.

‘American Cheese: an introspection’ included the following work:

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american cheese: an introspection

Scott Murray

title

cheeky artist

Scott Murray materials

iMac, iSite camera, external speakers, lighting, cheeky processing sketch, participant note

This work incorporates recordings from Freesound ( freesound.org ) by the following authors: elmomo, IFartInUrGeneralDirection, monterey2000, NoiseCollector, scarbelly25, and Walter_Odington.

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e x h i b i t i o n c ata l o g

cheeky 13


american cheese: an introspection cheeky

cheeky Scott

Murray

On a high pedestal, in the center of the room, a large monitor displays an interesting linear double curve that seems to move and quiver as you approach. A small crowd stands and stares, all the while talking about the work before them — Scott Murray’s interactive installation ‘Cheeky’. An occasional burst of laughter follows the culmination of the viewer-participant’s exchange with the onscreen animation. Based on Murray’s major interactive thesis work in mirroring technology, ‘Cheeky’ takes the interaction model from ‘Practice’ and strips away the serene, more meditative visual and audio rewards to turn the participant into the target of humiliation. As the viewer stands and watches the monitor — if they remain still enough — 2 curvilinear elements ( the ‘cheeks’ of the interface ) grow larger in size, creating the illusion of getting closer to the user. You are drawn into the intersection of these ‘cheeks’. Small squeaky noises come out of the Mac. Little bubbles squeeze out. The stillness of the viewer and the increasing size of the ‘cheeks’ work together to build an unbelievable tension until — after a minute or so the lines split and reveal an explosive, farting noise accompanied by a visual, chaotic release of geometric shapes. ‘Cheeky’ expresses perhaps the crudest humor of all, with the viewer-participant becoming the punchline to this self-inflected fart joke. If the user stares for a longer period of time — beyond this initial gaseous humiliation — the flame from a small lighter rises from the bottom of the visual display to ‘light it up’, bringing us all into a hypnotic, swirling and extended ‘Cheeky’ experience.

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e x h i b i t i o n c ata l o g cheeky

‘Cheeky’ inspired an interesting blend of intrigue and laughter. Most gallerygoers experienced the installation alone, but were naturally circled by a secondary participant group of spectators watching and witnessing the interaction, often beckoning pure laughter and joy from the crowd of bystanders within the social context of Doran Gallery.

‘Cheeky’ expresses perhaps the crudest humor of all, with the viewer-participant becoming the punchline to this self-inflected fart joke.

Perhaps the silliest retrospective analysis adds to the humor emitted by ‘Cheeky’. Here, in the very center of the exhibit we display all the best in technology — a big, beautiful Mac, accompanied by the largest high end monitor and crystal clear speakers. The very embodiment of our finest technological progress, all installed to play a silly practical joke on our unsuspecting participants. And somehow, anthropromorphising our machinery with such a caricaturish, absurdly obscene behavioral response seemed to cut directly to the funny bone and inspire a universal reaction of happiness and delight from our ‘Cheeky’ users.

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american cheese: an introspection

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e x h i b i t i o n c ata l o g

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american cheese: an introspection

The Cyber Sir Eel Kolective

title

untitled artist

The Cyber Sir Eel Kolective materials

block of cheese, broken-handled kitchen knife, red gel cake frosting

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e x h i b i t i o n c ata l o g

untitled photodocumentation of untitled provided courtesy of David TamĂŠs

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american cheese: an introspection untitled

In many of the works at ‘American Cheese’ we see a running theme of the object existing within a social system — of objects that somehow play on existing human emotional content residing in the viewer-participant as it pertains to the larger context of the roomful of other gallerygoers.

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e x h i b i t i o n c ata l o g untitled

untitled

The Cyber Sir Eel Kolective Donated to the exhibit by ‘The Cyber Sir Eel Kolective’, ‘Untitled’ stood on its pedestal, under spotlight, as an enigmatic artifact inspired by the poem-objects produced by the original Surrealists. A block of cheese stabbed by a knife with a broken handle. A noticeable wound in the cheese is embellished with a common, clear-gel pinkish cake frosting — surely symbolic of bleeding. Bleeding cheese. What could this possibly mean? An interesting conceptual seed for The Cyber Sir Eel Kolective to plant in the mindFarm of the viewer at ‘American Cheese’. Should we remove the knife? Or should we cut in further? If we resituated this artwork closer to the snack and libations area, would the viewer simply consume the block of cheese without any speculation pertaining to purpose, meaning or utility? In many of the works at ‘American Cheese’ we see a running theme of the object existing within a social system — of objects that somehow play on existing human emotional content residing in the viewer-participant as it pertains to the larger context of the roomful of other gallerygoers. ‘Untitled’ stood as a subtle ‘off-centerpiece’ at the show. We identify with the cheese in some strange cosmological way. What’s inside? Who is trying to dissect us?

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american cheese: an introspection

lou suSi

title

standUp simul8 artist

lou suSi materials

red-curtained octagonal booth-like chamber, curtain rods, fishing line, 3 pre-recorded and staggered cyberSurreal laughtrack soundscapes of various time durations, wooden stool, microphone, microphone stand, glass of water

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e x h i b i t i o n c ata l o g

standUp simul8 23


american cheese: an introspection

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e x h i b i t i o n c ata l o g s tan du p s imu l 8

standUp simul8

lou suSi

Standing as a makeshift, octagonal, hanging structure of red theatrical curtains — the participant enters this stand-up comedy chamber and is placed centerStage, in front of an invisible audience. In these rather cramped quarters, the participant sees a stool, a small bottle of spring water, microphone stand, microphone and a bright, hot spotlight — all of the tools presumably necessary for a successful stand-up act. And, in fact, the participant even receives pre-recorded laughter. Surrounding ‘standUP simul8,’ 3 boomboxes were strategically positioned on individual pedestals, each playing a slight variation on the recycled pre-recordings from the live score for laughter performance, laughStream 2.0. Real and found laugh samples — a variety of similarly non-verbal expressions from men, women, children and animals — as well as random soundScape accoutrements — came together to set the mood, promising a successful comedy act experience for any participant-comedian entering the curtained stage simulation. At this point in development, ‘standUP simul8’ was not yet a full-fledged ‘dynamic’ piece. By building this prototype I quickly discovered how a deeper, more interactive connection from the system back to the user could greatly enhance the humor and play experience for the user. For instance, David Tamés immediately wondered if the microphone was actually receiving a vocal input signal, not only triggering the laughter, but also perhaps capturing ‘the act’ from each participant. This iteration of ‘standUP simul8’ definitely helped establish direction for the next in a series of comedy room prototypes. photodocumentation of comedian-participant Joshua Dolby provided courtesy of Melissa Heath

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american cheese: an introspection

lou suSi

title

cheese procession artist

lou suSi materials

40 foot long polyvinyl tarpaulin, 400+ slices of american cheese, 3 to 5 chairs, several large organic natural sponges, bucket of warm and soapy water, bucket of warm and clear water

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e x h i b i t i o n c ata l o g

cheese procession 27


american cheese: an introspection

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photodocumentation of cheese procession provided courtesy of Joshua Dolby


e x h i b i t i o n c ata l o g cheese procession

cheese procession

lou suSi

‘cheese procession’ starts to get a bit messier than our rather tidy laughCell experiment. I wanted to create a ritual experience for our gallerygoers. Using over 400 slices of store-bought, processed american cheese, I created ( with the help of my DMI colleagues ) a 40 foot walkway across Doran Gallery floor. This little ‘walk of shame’ for the viewer | user | participant added an interesting element of both the edible and the grotesque. Even the auspicious aroma added to overall atmosphere of the exhibit, perhaps even extending the realms of ‘Cheeky’ into an implied olfactory domain due to its proximity to the ‘procession’. Besides my own personal walk on the trail of hundreds and hundreds of american cheese slices, only 2 other participants dared to make the journey. Inspired by a quote from Steve Martin, the essential purpose of ‘cheese procession’ was quite literally to make the participant ‘feel funny’. I don’t think I realized just how funny one might feel taking off their shoes and socks in front of strangers and friends in a public place, only to then walk down a sidewalk of cheesy goodness. Once participants completed their journey, the artist humbly offered a ceremonial foot washing in a series of basins filled with warm, sudsy water. This additional element added yet another element of potential embarrassment, one I had not originally anticipated.

‘cheese procession’ was another test for the participant. A bit more about social dynamics perhaps and how people might interact with a large mass of cheese as both potential participants and general gallerygoers. As an aside, it was also fascinating to see how comfortable many of our non-participanting visitors felt as they talked over the giant path of cheese — almost like 2 mourners talking over the grave of a recently departed friend, or maybe more like hikers conversing from opposite sides of a small, shallow stream.

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american cheese: an introspection

lou suSi

title

new crown artist

lou suSi materials

large black tom tom semihardish drum case, pedestal, soft lighting, pinecones, autumn leaves and other yard debris, a wreath of twigs, seashells, a string of lit christmas lights, 3 chicken lobsters

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e x h i b i t i o n c ata l o g

new crown 31


american cheese: an introspection

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e x h i b i t i o n c ata l o g new crown

new crown lou

suSi

Made from a myriad of found, textural objects — new crown was my first experiment in using real biological matter in a piece of artwork. Leaves, pinecones, christmas lights, a wreath of twigs, seaShells, a large black container and 3 ( recently deceased ) lobsters worked together to create a vague and messy found object installation piece. My intention was to incorporate actual live lobsters in the piece, but unfortunately the little creatures died on the trip from supermarket to gallerySpace. I am quite certain that on first examination this amalgamation of disparate, natural elements seemed nonSensical and purposeless, but with ‘new crown’ I think I was still trying to work out a certain metaphor or an issue I have with technology. All last semester my pieces in Design as Experience seemed to explore the boundaries between nature and machine. I wanted to intersect the 2 domains in an almost cartoonish manner, exploring Kurzweil’s notion of The Singularity, a time in the near future when man and machine will merge. Looking at photographs of ‘new crown’ — of the quirky details of leaves and twigs and lights and various hardshelled surfaces —implores me to explore this area even deeper — to try to actualize some sense of true biotechnic computing. Or at least construct some series of beautiful lies — some amazing story complex that verges on the sense of magic that technology can sometimes bring to adults, a sense of magic we all seem to naturally believe in as children and that we tend to let evaporate away as we begin to contain ourselves away into our adulthoods. photodocumentation of new crown provided courtesy of Joshua Dolby

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american cheese: an introspection

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e x h i b i t i o n c ata l o g thanks and praise

thanks and praise to all those that in some way inspired or directly assisted with ‘American Cheese’ go out to: Scott Murray, David Tamés, Christopher Carroll, Kent Millard, Christopher Borden, Colin Owens, Joshua Dolby, Jan Kubasiewicz, Gunta Kaza, Joe Quackenbush Brian Lucid, Fred Wolflink, Alexander Wang, Tania Ostorga, Toby Bottorf, Katsumi Take, and Dennis Ludvino.

special thanks

to my wife Carol and our family for always supporting me no matter how impractical and strange these journeys into cyberSurrealism turn out.

extra special thanks

photographic documentation materials

provided by lou suSi, David Tamés, Josua Dolby

and mar von janko. documentation, reflections

and other information regarding ‘American Cheese: an introspection’ reside at: http://hotsects.com/cheese to Dynamic Media Institute, and Massachusetts College of Art and Design and Doran Gallery — some of the most challenging, thought-provoking and enjoyable times of my life were guided and influenced by my graduate design research at DMI circa and betwixt the years 2008 to 2012. This time was simultaneously a hideous, chaotic mess for me, too.

huge shout out and thank you

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american cheese: an introspection a subconscious streaming cycle of art shows

american cheese:

an introspection Thursday, January 28, 2010 | Doran Gallery \\ o b j e c t - o r i e n t e d , f u t u r e f e t i s h m a t e r i a l i t y

p r ovo c at iv e .ob j ec t s :

the extradition Friday, November 12, 2010 | Doran Gallery \\ g a l l e r y a s s o c i o l o g i c a l o b s e r v a t i o n l a b o r a t o r y wetware dynamics of found social systems

fau x S how :

expect the unexpected Saturday, April 23, 2011 | Doran Gallery \\ e x h i b i t i o n a s c y b e r P u n k ’ d p e r f o r m a n c e s e t u p

forensicEvidence:

a cyberSurreal investigation May 13 to May 21, 2011 | Bakalar Gallery \\ t h e e r o t i c a f t e r m a t h o f t r a d i t i o n a l f i n e a r t r e m a i n s from the preceding trinity of dynamic media shows

love child:

beautiful union A future date | A future place | A future show \\ t w o a r t i s t s , o n e l o v e c h i l d collaborations on future fetish speculative design

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Bureau of cyberSurreal investigation

ISBN 13: 978-0-9669022-5-9 ISBN 10: 0-9669022-5-4

lou suSi

Like André Breton’s original literary research and criticism of ‘Black Humor’ as conducted within the context of the Surrealiste Internationale nearly a century ago — the cyberSurrealists seem bent on inspiring what they refer to as future fetish objects in attempt to perform some sort of subconscious self-analysis of our social dynamics. With ‘American Cheese,’ we take a closer look into strange facets often colluded with the very notion of ‘what’s funny.’ At the heart of it all is an ultimate curatorial strategy that created a playful, fun and engaging experience for the gallerygoing audience that came out to Doran Gallery for ‘American Cheese’.

American Cheese: an introspection

‘American Cheese: an introspection’ — the very first official exhibition for the new movement in cyberSurrealist art and design — reached out to each participating artist with a call to explore object-based pieces expressing a certain sense of kitschy humor. The rather subversive goal of the original founding curators and investigative agent provocateurs centered around creating something unusually bad in the name of art— to perhaps bring out what might be considered the worst in us all.

american cheese an introspection exhibition c ata l o g

prepared by the bureau of cybersurreal investigation

American Cheese: an introspection  

The official exhibition catalog for 'American Cheese: an introspection' — Thursday, January 10, 2010 in MassArt's Doran Gallery

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