2013 Artcontext Annual Review

While the end of days failed to occur once again, the year 2013 did mark the abrupt end of some vital institutions, ranging from Encyclopedia Britannica (printed editions), to Greece's national broadcasting network. In New York City — a city that even Woody Allen has traded for more affordable venues — the Location One gallery closed, as did the Roseland music hall. What ersatz progress fills this vacuum? Cookie-cutter corporate drug stores, cafes, and donut franchises? Notwithstanding an abundance of bland developments, the productions of Artcontext continue to ferment. Long after Zuccotti Park was abandoned to the militarized police of the Wall Street district, the artist continues to occupy New York. Marshall McLuhan once likened the artist's role to that of a "Distant Early Warning System." In the present accelerated flight of humanity, art may be the black box that reveals unanticipated failures. With your help, peering into the black box, perhaps our conflicted ship can be kept aloft another year.

—   Andy Deck

Capitalism's LEAST WANTED 2014 Calendar is hot off the lasers. Like many Artcontext calendars before, it can be downloaded for free printing. Or you can order your own signed, limited edition copy. Simply hanging this year's edition combats plutocracy and injustice. $9.99

Since 1979
Finally a Calendar that helps fight crime

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[State of Play]  

Addressing the public via apps for mobile devices differs in important ways from approaches in the World Wide Web. One of the most fundamental differences is the dominance of a corporately controlled "app store." Art is hard pressed to find expression when app developers must index their products in categories that exclude 'art.' But it is perhaps the search engine results that are the most appalling failure of the Android app distribution system. In 2013, Artcontext documented this intellectual wasteland with State of Play, which records the bizarre irrelevance of search results within Google's 'Play' store software.

Crow_Sourcing will return to the U.K. in 2014 for an installation in a posh, high-concept shopping mall, complete with workshops for children. This is made possible by the touring Digital Zoo exhibition series and educational programs of Furtherfield in London. Of course if you can't make it to the installation, Crow_Sourcing is still open for participation in its Web version, made possible by a 2012 commission of New Radio and Performing Arts, with funds from the Jerome Foundation.

  [Digital Zoo]

[Book]   As you may recall, last year on this channel you learned of a crowdfunding campaign to produce a book version of Crow_Sourcing, a project which already encompasses a participative website, a calendar, several collaborative exhibitions involving drawing and interactivity, and even a Twitter feed. The funding goal was met, thanks to generous contributions. The book is not yet complete. However, with an assist from a new exhibition that includes Crow_Sourcing, the book doesn't feel so late. Thanks to those who have pre-ordered and are waiting for their copies.

The art collective Transnational Temps updated its website, transnationaltemps.net, this year; and — for what it's worth — it has also amassed thousands of followers on Twitter.
[Transnational Temps]

[Explore!]   In an effort to demystify mobile application development for college students of electronic media design, Andy Deck coordinated a semester long group project at New York's City College. The students illustrated, designed, and learned about production and distribution. A modest crowdfunding goal was met, permitting the payment of extortion fees to app stores. While the product still needs work, the agenda to produce non-commercial, interactive media for kids is worthwhile.