As “new media artists” go, Aram Bartholl is a bit of an anomaly. Though he’s an integral member of the notorious new media collective F.A.T. Lab (short for Free Art & Technology Lab), technology seems almost like an afterthought in much of Bartholl’s work. Instead, he playfully hijacks the language of the web, the digitally-enabled oddities we all seem to take for granted, and exposes their absurdity by displacing them in the physical world.
In the words of his book publishers, Aram Bartholl makes “entertaining art in which space and cyberspace mingle and mangle each other—a realm that uses as little technology as possible while still speaking a digital language.” Yeah, that sounds about right.
“The Speed Book” is the first comprehensive monograph to collect Bartholl’s wide ranging work and reads as much like a “manifesto” or “blueprint” (all the more so because much of his projects are open source, free for others to appropriate, use, and build on) as it does a retrospective look at one remarkable artist’s career. Edited by esteemed contemporary art curator Domenico Quaranta, the book features a treasure trove of essays from the likes of Bruce Sterling, Evan Roth, Jonah Brucker-Cohen, Lindsay Howard, Alessandro Ludovico, and Brad Troemel, as well as a net-inspired design courtesy Manuel Bürger.
If you happen to live in the NYC area, stop by Eyebeam on Thursday, April 12 from 6PM–8PM, for the official US launch party of “The Speed Book.” Bartholl, a former Eyebeam resident will be in town from Berlin to introduce the book and participate in a conversation with Eyebeam’s Curatorial Fellow, Lindsay Howard. Brad Troemel, will also be on hand to give a talk about “Creative Destruction,” based on the essay he wrote for ‘The Speed Book’ and everyone’s favorite YouTube art star, Hennessy Youngman will be manning the DJ booth.
Find out more about the event over on Eyebeam’s website.