This article was written for 'Content-Type' in 2001, which I conceived of as an idea virus, later as the site evolved, I was to think of these texts as symptomatic of the Media/Art Identity Crisis in style of delivery.
"...this service is now terminated due to the theft of a palm pilot in a bar on West Broadway and Warren..." *1
Last October I suddenly started receiving a daily email from Simon Faithfull which included a gif attachment. This was to document his residency on the 91st floor of the World Trade Center, New York, from 15-29. It was a querky collection of daily sketches, schematic in style, which gave a sense of events or places.
HALFCAR.gif was literally the drawing of half a car - the rest obscured by a building. I particularly liked WALLST.gif with skyscrapers and traffic. These trackpad drawings were made using "an antiquated drawing program", which Faithfull likes using because "its pixelated line, brings to the surface the building blocks, almost texture, of a digital image. I enjoy the gap between the personal nature of "doodles" and the anonymous "bitty" recording of this information." *2
Currently Faithfull is appearing in 'Temporary Accommodation' at London's Whitechapel Art Gallery, and is using this technique again. The HALF LIFE ATTACHMENTS are being emailed out to subscribers every day. Palm Pilot drawings of an alley way, a surveillance camera, a chequered pattern, and satellite dishes are amongst the selection mailed so far. This continuous mailing out of images is a very effective way of keeping in touch with the artist's daily practice, linking work both on and off the net. But it also has its own significance in terms of the use of the drawing program, which generate images which look their classic best on home computer. While the drawings will also be printed out and used to 'colonise' the wall space of the gallery, the emailings are doing much towards achieving the aim of "exposing artistic processes". *3
On October 26th, Faithfull sent an email announcement that no more images would be transmitted from the World Trade Center: "live from the top of the world ... I'm afraid this service is now terminated due to the theft of a palm pilot in a bar on West Broadway and Warren - we are sorry for the premature disruption of transmission ... thank you for your indulgence, service may resume from another location at some time in the future." *4
Sarah Thompson 31.01.01
Temporary Accommodation lasts until 4 March 2001
*1, *4 email announcement from Simon Faithfull 26.10.00
*2 Adelaide- a new work for the net by Simon Faithfull, Aurora Lovelock, Rhizome 2.10.99, www.rhizome.org
*3 www.whitechapel.org : "Temporary Accommodation: Alvi, belt, Faithfull & Szuper Gallery spreads through the galleries, its ancillary spaces and beyond, combining live internet drawings with cake-baking competitions, sculptures cut from mail order catalogues with the birth of a mobile gallery."