Category Archives: textiles

The art of Hackgate

At about 12.30 last night a widely-published cartoonist had his email and password broadcast on Twitter. Mark Wood’s only connection to #hackgate is that he has also worked for The Sun.

If his characters are anything to go by, Wood is a likeable sort. His client list suggests he’s hard-working. And indeed a web listing makes clear he “will draw anything for anybody”.

Someone must have pointed out his innocence, because the offending tweet has been removed. But sadly a few journalists and techies still have mobile numbers, etc, in the public domain.

Disclosure of these details was the fairly shabby denouement to an otherwise spectacular assault on the servers of News International by a crew of hackers known as Lulzsec.

Lulz boast repeatedly about providing “high-quality entertainment”. But the fake death notice they posted on Sun online was not in and of itself all that funny or entertaining.

But what was gripping was the hacking procedural drama in which they played central characters and the metaphorical panache with which they suggest they operate from an incorporeal longship.

So when @Lulzsec tweeted about sailing over to NI and wrecking it, the image of vikings at Wapping coupled with that of geeks tapping away at laptops was a potent mix.

Elsewhere you can see what they’ve done with code. In their exaggerated reports of Rupert Murdoch’s demise, the group reported a body found in the mogul’s “famous topiary garden”.

Topiary, as has been mentioned in the Guardian, is also the handle of a prominent member of the group. Monocles also feature in both fake news stories and Twitter avatars.

With these in-jokes, Lulzsec hint at vast depths. It’s an informational chiaroscuro. If Stockhausen got in hot water for comparing 9/11 to a work of art, he might have waited for something like this.

Art has played a further role in the story this afternoon when Murdoch and his son took their seats before the Select Committee of ten MPs asking interesting questions on behalf of the DCMS.

This was, up to a point, a more polite drama. And behind the action on the far wall of the Wilson Room was a no less polite painting. I was told this was an Untitled work by Kate Blee.

The epic scale and red/brown colour scheme brought to mind certain Rothkos. Although the macho excesses of abstract expressionism were here trimmed by the employment of, I think, painted linen.

But when it was Murdoch’s turn to be attacked in person, we cut to this contemplative work. At that point art came across like the wilful blindness of which James Murdoch was indirectly accused.

As for that incident with the custard pie, it certainly wasn’t a very good performance piece. There’s a time and a place for that sort of thing and it ain’t on the “most humble day” of anyone’s life.

If you haven’t already, check out this post by Jonathan Jones in the Guardian in which he talks up the art factor in a widely circulated photo of Rebekah Brooks.

Preview: Cultex – Textile as a Cross-Cultural Language

Kiyonori Shimada - proposal for gallery F15 installation.

Cultex – Textile as a Cross-Cultural Language, The Hub: National Centre for Craft and Design, Sleaford, Lincolnshire, January 30 – April 18 2010

The cultures of Norway and Japan are as far removed geographically as almost any but the UK premiere of a new exhibition shows bridges built across continents using textiles.

Cultex, which opens at the Hub in Lincolnshire, is the work of three pairs of artists representing both countries, and many common threads were evidently found.

Gabriella Göransson and Kiyonori Shimada had never met, but soon discovered a shared interest in primordial memory and archaic, organic forms.

Eva Schølberg and Yuka Kawai, having met once a long time ago, hit it off with a direction new to both. Their work in the show is based on ideas of ‘gravity’ and ‘ground’.

Meanwhile Anniken Amundsen and Machiko Agano had previously worked together, but for Cultex decided to respond to the effects of environmental change.

As all three pairs demonstrate, there are as many connections as differences between the far North and the Far East. Knowledge of technique, materials and the history of textile art transcended all boundaries.

“The works are interventionist in the broadest sense – intervening not only in physical space but also within the cultural and creative space of people living in particular times and particular places,” says curator Lesley Millar.

Aren’t there more world cultures between which a textile-based intervention might be needed?

Written for Culture24