Technology “Untethered” at Eyebeam

Posted inID Mag
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September 24, 2008. In his recent book The Future of the Internet and How to Stop It, Jonathan Zittrain uses the term “tethered appliances,” referring to hardware that is bound to single uses or proprietary networks. “Untethered,” an exhibition running at Eyebeam from September 25 to October 25 was inspired by readymades, technological obsolescence, and the pleasure of rewiring objects to take on new lives. Curator Sarah Cook asked fifteen artists to lobotomize (so to speak) and reprogram a number of everyday objects to create high-tech readymades, including a photocopier tweaked by Joe Winter to read the night sky, a piano that plays the Internet, garbage bags that can be inflated to hide a parked bicycle, a camera with no lens that takes other people’s pictures, a blender that is operated by growling at it (with a twin toaster that must be hummed to), and a “responsive” wire-and-fabric macro-architecture that is controlled remotely by motors. The show is accompanied by a downloadable audio guide, events “celebrating hacking” and discussions of issues surrounding patents and copyrights, art, and designed obsolescence.