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Jonathon Keats: Ouija Vote 2008, 2007; voting booth, Ouija board, computer, software; approx. 2 ft. x 5 ft.; collection of the artist.

RIP.MIX.BURN.BAM.PFA celebrates the cultural and artistic practice of remix, inviting guest artists to “rip, mix, and burn” elements from two digital-media works in the museum’s collection—Ken Goldberg’s Ouija 2000 and Valéry Grancher’s 24h00 (both 1999)—resulting in new artistic creations.

The “ghost in the machine” appears when thousands of Internet viewers attempt to control the mysterious movements of a single planchette in Ouija 2000. This work explores such diverse topics as the central limit theorem, millennial fever, and “telepistemology”—the theory of knowledge that has been acquired from a distance. Jonathon Keats redeploys the networked Ouija board in Ouija Vote 2008, a prototype electronic voting machine proposed for the 2008 presidential election. Keats reveals the ghost in the political machine and, like Goldberg, asks us to consider the nature of our own agency. Where Ouija 2000 reimagines the automatic writing machine, Recapitulate: Retrace, Erase, Repeat by Michael Joaquin Grey reinvents the automatic drawing machine as software that redraws existing images and then erases them into the ether.

In 24h00, Grancher asked twenty-four UC Berkeley students to take one photograph on the hour, every hour, for twenty-four consecutive and concurrent hours, and then presented this communal performance online. 24h00 critiques the hype of “24/7,” that mythical state that does not recognize change in the form of sleep, circadian rhythms, or, by extension, even death. While Grancher’s work reveals the changing self through photographs and underscores the relationship between online and bodily senses of time, In Popular Terms, an Internet artwork by The Studio for Urban Projects inspired by 24h00, examines the evolving vocabulary of environmentalism and exposes the tensions between online language and real-world practices. Nathaniel Wojtalik and Iris Piers reperform 24h00 as Smithereens, a twenty-four-hour transatlantic video mash-up and Internet performance seeking connection amid the fragments of a day.

Richard Rinehart
Digital Media Director and Adjunct Curator