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Museum of Contemporary Art Chicago

Internet Superheroes
Art and Tech

3rd Tuesday of the month / Oct 2011 to Apr 2012, 6 pm

Explore the intersection between art, technology and the internet along with the MCA as we meet the brilliant minds who make the virtual world worth living.


Oct 18: BYOB (Bring Your Own Beamer)

BYOB is a series of one-night exhibitions in which artists explore the medium of projection using their own “beamers” (projectors). BYOB has taken place in more than 40 cities throughout the world. Originally conceived by artist Rafaël Rozendaal, BYOB Chicago brings together Chicago-based artists to create a collaborative happening of multiple, simultaneous video projections that fill the walls of the museum’s café, Puck’s at the MCA. BYOB Chicago is organized by the Museum of Contemporary Art Chicago in collaboration with Nicholas O’Brien and Brian Khek.


Nov 15: L.A.S.E.R. Tag

Join us at the MCA for a night of guilt-free graffiti as we transform simple laser pointers into “weapons for mass defacement” to create immersive works of art on the walls of the MCA cafe.

Utilizing the L.A.S.E.R. tagging system developed by the Graffiti Research Lab (graffitiresearchlab.com), an international collective that describes itself as “dedicated to outfitting graffiti artists with open source technologies for urban communication,” MCA visitors are invited to work in collaboration with Chicago-based artist Hebru Brantley to create spontaneous light drawings on the two-story high walls of Puck’s, the MCA café.

Hebru says that his work “derives from graffiti-worn buildings and sneaker-hung telephone poles honoring memories of local legends” and that he was first inspired to tell stories by “Saturday morning cartoons and comic books celebrating the triumphs of mythological heroes.” Check out his work at hebrubrantley.com.

Visitors are welcome to participate in the drawing or sit back and enjoy the spectacle. This one-night-only event promises to be more fun than anyone should have on a Tuesday.


Jan 17: Jon Rafman

Join artist Jon Rafman on an existential journey through Second Life and Google Street View. He will lead audiences across cyberpunk megalopolises, furry night clubs, and vast virtual expanses, while providing live critical commentary as he discusses the implications of virtual worlds for modern society. Rafman will address how it is that we can both critique and celebrate contemporary technologies and virtual worlds. In particular, as he talks about how we can use the very technologies that estrange us from ourselves to inform us of the nature of our alienation, he will stress the role of the human gaze.

Jon Rafman is an artist, filmmaker, and essayist. He holds a B.A. in Philosophy and Literature from McGill University and a M.F.A. from the School of the Art Institute of Chicago. His films and new media work have gained international attention and have been exhibited at Slamdance Film Festival, Ars Electronica Festival in Linz, the Museum of Contemporary Art of Rome, and the New Museum in NYC. Rafman’s Nine Eyes of Google Street View project has been featured in Modern Painter, New York Times, Frieze, and Harper’s Magazine.


Feb 21: Hennessy Youngman

Hennessy Youngman is the fictional persona of Jayson Musson, a New York-based artist whose work across media often deploys satire in the service of art-historical and political critique. Described by Art in America as “Ali G with an MFA,” Hennessy Youngman has become an online sensation with his acerbic and witty hip-hop infected video blogs on art history and art making. Visit Hennessy Youngman’s YouTube channel, find him on Facebook or follow him on Twitter @therrealhennessy for more.


Mar 20: Downcast Eyes

For this one-night event, twohundrededfiftysixcolors and TAGTEAM have invited artists to bring their laptops to the MCA and present an amalgam of animated GIFs—the only restriction being that everyone’s work be on display only as long as their computer’s battery lasts. The same invitation is extended to the public, where GIF-enthusiasts can bring their charged-up laptops to the MCA and participate in the event. Those who are interested should arrive by 6 pm. At 6:30 pm TAGTEAM and twohunderedfifitysixcolors give brief presentations about their own projects that explore the questions and complexities that arise when a more critical set of eyes is turned to the animated GIF.

twohundredfiftysixcolors is the title of Eric Fleischauer and Jason Lazarus’ upcoming film that explores the complexities embedded within these highly compressed files—from the GIF’s connection to early cinema, its democratization of the creation of moving images spawning a multiplicity of internet memes, and finally its use as a location for considered artistic gestures created within the conceptual/technical parameters of the GIF format.

TAGTEAM is a curating project that stemmed from Jake Myers’ and Christopher Smith’s collaboration on TWEEN, a one night exhibition of animated gifs where 40+ artists played GIFS on their laptop until their batteries died. Recently, TAGTEAM has taken to the approach of colliding disparate ideas as exhibitions, the latest being Short Court: Tropical Aesthletics, where it is hard to tell whether a volleyball match has interrupted a painting exhibition or vice versa.