Steve Lambert

is back from the Festival of Live Art in Australia.

Yearly Archives: 2018

Marx@200 in Pittsburgh

Capitalism Works For Me! True/False will be a part of Marx@200 at SPACE in Pittsburgh.

Marx@200

Curated by: Kathy M. Newman and Susanne Slavick

Opening Reception April 6th, 6-9pm.
On Display April 6 – June 10th, 2018.
Gallery Crawl April 27th 5:30-10pm
Program and Reception May 5th 6-8pm

Curated by Kathy M. Newman and Susanne Slavick, Marx@200 will feature more than 25 works by artists from around the world. The artworks represent a diverse range of perspectives on Marx and his critique of inequality and capitalism, as well as his influence on political movements and regimes.

Sponsored by CMU’s Humanities Center

Marx@200 is an exhibit inspired by the 200th birthday of Karl Marx (May 2018). Some of the artworks in this exhibit engage directly with Marx’s image or his writings, while others confront capitalism and still others dream of revolution. Marx is a controversial political figure. His impact on the history of global communism is profound, but that is not this exhibit’s focus. Instead, Marx@200 is a spirited, playful, and international effort to respond to some of the big social and economic issues that peoples in Pittsburgh—and across the globe—are facing at this moment.

“As artists respond to both historical and current conditions, Marx’s legacy has shaped how and what they create,” said Newman, associate professor of English, who has also organized a series of lectures that examine Marx. “He is also becoming a popular culture icon in the digital age, with his image being used in countless memes and on products. We want to give people a chance to examine these phenomena and to reflect on the themes these artists have appropriated for their own work, from the rising tide of globalization to wealth inequality, to job loss and automation.”

Highlights from the exhibition include:

  • Ukranian-born Nataliya Slinko’s gigantic version of Marx’s beard made of steel wool
  • An animated Marx wielding a hammer in battle with Charles Darwin by Michael Mallis
  • Kiluanji Kia Henda’s photographic triptych of a fishing vessel named “Karl Marx, Luanda”
  • Kathryn Clark’s “Foreclosure Quilt,” a stitched urban map of foreclosed homes, block by block
  • An embroidered barcode by Rayna Fahey that says, “Don’t just buy it/Make Revolution”

“Artists working within a variety of economic and political systems have contributed to this show, responding to Marx’s complicated legacy with appreciation or apprehension—and sometimes both. They invite us to consider his critique of capitalism and what it feels like to live in today’s globalized economy,” said Slavick, the Andrew W. Mellon Professor of Art.

Artists With Links to the Exhibition

Image by: Lázaro Saavedra González

ABC Radio Melbourne

Tuesday March 20th I was on The Conversation Hour with John Faine and Dr. Andrea Carson on the Australian Broadcasting Corporation’s Radio Melbourne.

You can listen to the show on their site

Jon Faine’s co-host is Dr Andrea Carson. She’s a lecturer in political science, and an honorary fellow at the Centre for Advancing Journalism, at the University of Melbourne.

Their first guest is Pat Cunnane. He was President Barack Obama’s Senior Writer and Deputy Director of Messaging, and now writes for the TV series Designated Survivor. His new book is West Winging It: an un-Presidential memoir (Affirm Press, released 8th May 2018). You can catch him with Sally Warhaft in The Fifth Estate: The President’s Pen at The Wheeler Centre tonight (Tuesday 20th March) at 6:15pm.

Then they are joined by artist Steve Lambert. He’s the co-founder and co-director of the Centre for Artistic Activism, and Associate Professor of New Media at the State University of New York (SUNY) at Purchase. He’s in Melbourne for the Festival of Live Art exhibiting his piece Capitalism Works for Me! True/False at various places around the city. You can catch him giving an artist talk with Emily Sexton in the Experimedia Room at the State Library of Victoria tonight (20th March 2018) at 6:30pm. More information here: fola.com.au

Auto-delete social media history

A few months ago I started tinkering with Keyboard Maestro Macros to delete my Facebook history. I decided the history doesn’t really benefit me as much as it does Facebook, and it’s notoriously difficult to easily delete old posts, so it became a little puzzle to play around with.

Some further thought and news events led to the non-profit I co-direct to withdraw from Facebook in late February. These news stories have only continued, and I continued to play around with using a macro to un-like a couple thousand posts on twitter, and learning some tricks within Keyboard Maestro along the way that I’m happy to share here.

Here’s some cell-phone video of these scripts in action:

Why delete your social media history?

There’s all kinds of problems with Facebook. You can delete your Facebook account entirely, and there are certainly many reasons to do so. However, maybe you want something more particular – like to get rid of old posts and only keep a history that goes back days or weeks. Or maybe you know your data can be kept by Facebook even you end your account, so you’re hoping deleting the posts in advance decreases that likelihood. Or maybe you want to do other, automated tasks within your social media accounts that the companies behind them don’t want to make easy.

“This looks complicated and I don’t want to deal with all this.”

Don’t want to mess around with Keyboard Maestro? Fair enough, here’s some automated tools that may be easier.

These do the same or related things you can consider.

At this point I have:

  1. Deleted nearly all of my Facebook Fan Page history.
  2. Un-liked everything on twitter
  3. Deleted a lot of my instagram history
  4. Unfollowed everyone on twitter and instagram

Feels good.

How you can use Keyboard Maestro to delete facebook posts

Keyboard Maestro is a mac-only application for automation. You can use it for repetitive keyboard strokes, mouse clicking, dragging, and browser actions. I didn’t think I’d use it as much as I ended up using it. I use it multiple times daily for filing email, manipulating text, and as a work around to poorly designed interfaces.

Here’s how I put together the macro. Read through because you’ll likely want to change it to suit.

Set up variables

I created two variables. The first is called count for how many times the script will run. Note that the number is how many times it will delete OR scroll up 30 pixels. This means if you enter 300, that may not mean it actually deletes 300 posts – experiment a bit.

The second one is pauseTime which is how long the script pauses between steps.  If you’re on a slower connection, it may help to increase this number. You can tweak any of the pauses to your liking – it may not make sense to have all the pauses be the same length. Just remember slowest part is when the page scrolls down and has to wait to load new posts.

Set up a way to cancel

In the the next part, we’re creating a way to cancel the macro with a keypress.

This is helpful because you may come upon a post that needs to be “hidden” instead of deleted and the macro will get stuck. In this case you can just hit esc and move along. (You could also write another part of the macro to handle these situations better, but there weren’t enough instances for me to make it worth the time.)

With the escape key setup, then we move on to activating Safari (or whatever browser you want to run this in)

The guts

Here’s where we start clicking.

All the action is happening at the bottom of the browser window here. We start by scrolling down just a bit, then checking for the ••• menu button. If it’s not seen, the page will scroll down more. So we scroll, then the if statement.

When we’re looking for the ••• menu button, we’re only looking in the lower right hand of the page. This is because more than one button can appear on the page and to handle more than instance on the page would have taken some additional scripting – and the point of scripting is to be lazy, right?

Once this button is clicked, we need to select “Delete this Post” in the menu. That’s in the next part.

Delete and confirm

First we pause so the menu can appear. This usually happens pretty quickly and this would be a good place to adjust the pause time shorter to speed things up.

Then we move the mouse up and to the left slightly to click on delete in the menu. This is why everything happens at the bottom of the page – if the post was higher, the menu would go below the mouse position instead of above it.

Then we pause for the delete confirmation screen to appear.

The next part finds the delete button on the screen and clicks it.

Then you get another pause before starting over. This is mainly so the next post can load if it needs to.

Un-like everything on Twitter

This is a shorter macro that un-likes everything on twitter.

We start by activating Safari (or whatever browser you choose to do this in).

Repeat the action as many times as you like. Note, this repeats scrolling OR unliking, so the number does not equal the number of likes.

Next we scroll down. This will repeat until a heart is seen on the page. If a heart is seen, it will be clicked on. Then pause, and repeat.

There’s no cancel button on this one, but you could add one. It would occasionally get hung up because of load times, but not enough for me to change it.

Download

You can download my version of these macros here.

Remember, you’ll probably need to tweak them a bit and you’ll need Keyboard Maestro if you don’t have it.

“But what about…”

Yes there’s other ways of doing this. You could spend a bit more time and get it working better. For example, the browser plugins and other options listed above can be very useful, or you could do this all with some javascript. If you’re thinking about it, go for it and publish it somewhere!

ABC National: The Drawing Room

I appeared on ABC Radio National’s The Drawing Room talking about Capitalism Works For Me! True/False and the Melbourne’s Festival of Live Art. You can listen to an archive of the show online.

Does capitalism work for you? It’s a seemingly simple question that might have a rather complicated answer.

And as the internet and multi-national companies change the nature of communication and regulation, how does the individual experience of capitalism change?

Steve Lambert has been touring the world asking people for their answers. He has a giant sign, a digital score board to show the results, and he’s encouraging people to think about the systems that guide the world.

Story in The Australian

On March 12th the Capitalism Works For Me! True/False sign was covered in The Australian newspaper (it’s all behind a pay wall). The Australian is a national, News Corp owned, newspaper in Australia.

I like that their clever headline implies that my artwork threatens western economics. Flattered, of course.

Interesting bits about The Australian from wikipedia:

“Its former editor Paul Kelly has stated that ‘The Australian has established itself in the marketplace as a newspaper that strongly supports economic libertarianism’.”

The Australian presents varying views on climate change[…] A 2011 study of the previous seven years of articles claimed that four out of every five articles were opposed to taking action on climate change.

Artist Talk at State Library Victoria

I’ll be speaking with Emily Sexton at the State Library Victoria in Melbourne.

20 March 2018, 6:30pm–7:30pm

Free

About Emily Sexton

Emily is a curator, creative producer and festival director. She is currently working on projects supported by the prestigious Sidney Myer Creative Fellowship, and in 2018 is a participant in the Australia Council’s Arts Leaders Program. From 2014-17 Emily held the role of Head of Programming for the innovative Wheeler Centre for Books, Writing and Ideas, presenting a dynamic and varied programme of 200+ annual events for audiences of more than 60,000.

Cast your vote in the participatory art work Capitalism works for me!True/false on the Library’s forecourt on Saturday 17 or Sunday 18 March.

This event is presented by Arts HouseCity of Melbourne as part of the Festival of Live Art.
BOOK NOW

UPDATE: There’s an archive of this conversation at ArtsHouse site.

Artnet Op-Ed: Why Facebook Is a Waste of Time—and Money—for Arts Nonprofits

I published a short Op-Ed for Artnet based on writing I did at the C4AA.org site and the C4AA Facebook page.

There’s a lot of reasons we weren’t big fans of Facebook at the C4AA, but after a long look at the data and our mission as an organization, it didn’t make sense to put any time, energy, or money into the world’s largest social network.

Read the piece at Artnet or on C4AA.org.