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Assisted Living (2008-2009)
Assisted Living is a futuristic parody of Martha Stewart's TV show focused on coping with the health & environmental challenges of living a life prolonged and polluted by technology. As hostess, I devise craft projects and recipes for these 150-year-olds, taping the show on-site before a "live studio audience." The show incubated at Wooloo's New Life Berlin festival and will take an expanded form at PS122 in the Fall of 2009.
This large-scale series of prints began with a collection of tiny web-based images offering a visual representation of the sonic qualities of the sound files to which they linked. The series is a continuation of my interests in archives, the list as a visual form, and word/sound/image relationships. See the original list.
Time Capsules (Ongoing)
These sculptures, often exhibited in site-specific assemblages resembling landfills or garbage piles, are endangered units of time otherwise destined for burial, but instead rescued, taken out of circulation, and painted gold (Fort Knox-style) in reclamation of their value.
31 Acts is the record of a web-based endurance performance, directed by Michael Mandiberg, in which live webcam shots and screencaps surveil my daily writing of a dissertation on The Art of Protest in Network Culture. The resulting images are strung together in a two-channel time-lapse video installation. See more.
Newflowers (Tan Lines Music Video) (2008)
This is the music video I made for the Tan Lines song, Newflowers. Tan Lines is an awesome new band consisting of Jesse Cohen (Professor Murder) and Eric Emm (Brothers/ Don Caballero/ Storm & Stress) and they made the song in response to my poem "Flowers for the People," which was included in my artist book, Poems I Wrote While Listening to the Doors... (See below.) The song will soon be released on a 12" put out by British label Young Turks. Meanwhile, watch the video.
Poems I Wrote While Listening to the Doors, 1992-1994 (Before I found the internet) (2008)
Designed and master-printed by Robert Bolesta, this artist book includes 52 of my "best" high school poems--my first creative work! The book offers evidence of my longstanding obsession with music, genre, psychology, and personal narratives as well as a previous obliviousness to the internet, despite the fact that network culture has ultimately had a huge impact upon my practice. The book was released at an event at Light Industry that pushed my ongoing interest in public humiliation and the aesthetics of failure, featuring readings by poets Thom Donovan, Stephanie Gray, Christian Hawkey, and Dorothea Laskey, and filmmaker Esther Bell. The bands Tan Lines, Taigaa, and Aa also used the poems as lyrics for original songs, for which I made music videos. (See above.)
Gold Records (Ongoing)
An ongoing series of framed ephemera and sculptural arrangements commemorating my public performances.
Break-Up Album (Demo) is a four-channel "video album" about pain as a medium, the breakup album genre, and the notion of a demo--something that shows what an artist may (or may not) have to offer or be capable of... in hopes of getting "picked up." Watch excerpts of the video.
96-00-04-08 takes its title from the years of the Presidential elections in which I've voted, likening each to a "Pepsi Challenge." The implication is that the elections are largely a media spectacle and there is ultimately little difference between the "red" and blue" candidates, often leaving voters with a sour taste about their non-choice. Watch the video.
Peace Offerings (2007)
Peace Offerings is a series of large-scale prints that attempt to think about how one can make a thing of beauty in a time that is not beautiful. They investigate the language that digital visual culture gives us to express ourselves in times of war, crisis, and political unrest and ask whether that language is adequate for protest. I'm implicated in some of the images insofar as I have to take accountability for--or reconcile--my simultaneous desire to speak out in protest and my fetishism for the pop vernacular.
Oh.Yeah.I.Love.You.Baby. is an album that remixes pop samples from my personal MP3 collection that feature these "greatest hits of lyrics." The samples are arranged to the tune of pop songs whose own lyrics exemplify the words' popularity. Listeners can also download the credited samples to make their own remixes. Listen to the album.
Performed Listening: H continues the Performed Listening video & performance series (see below) in which the performativity of spectatorship is explored. In this instance, I'm seen listening to the Velvet Underground song "Heroin," and as the lyrics describe the physical and psychological effects of the injection (the transmission), I perform responsive analog color processing of the footage. Watch the video.
Netacronyms is a vaguely noirish, darkly humorous narrative in which the lead (and only) character speaks mostly in acronyms used in email, IM chat sessions, and text messaging. Watch the video. (NSFW.)
In this performance, I attempted to instigate communication between a CD boombox, child's record player, and various defunct media: vinyl records, VHS tapes, cassette tapes, and CDs. Like the garbage that piles up as we upgrade our phones and computers, the detritus accumulated in these efforts gets blindly swept aside in this ultimately fruitless effort. Watch excerpts of the video.
Monitor Tracings (2006-present)
After performing Google Image searches for headphones, telephones, radios, and similar objects, the images are traced directly off the computer monitor, onto office paper, using a mechanical pencil. The search results indexed highlight the objects we choose to recall, our means of organizing them, and the visual rhetoric of these products' presentation. Meanwhile, the computer monitor replaces the camera obscura, overhead projector, and other mechanical devices previously used to assist in drawing. See a photoset.
Living in America (2006)
This video combines recollections of my childhood interactions with military paranoia, in Germany, with footage of a Solid Gold video for James Brown's "Living in America," in which red-white-and blue-clad dancers shimmy aboard a jumbo jet.
Nasty Nets is an "internet surfing club" in which members create web-based work documenting and remixing their experiences online. The collective was recently included in Professional Surfer, an exhibition co-presented by Rhizome and the New Museum of Contemporary Art, which posited internet surfing as a creative act. In 2008, Rhizome sponsored our DVD, which premiered at the NY Underground Film Festival. Look for us at the Sundance Film Festival in 2009!
In this video, I perform the act of listening to Michael Jackson's song, "Black or White." The song's audio signals trigger shifts in the appearance of the video, thanks to the help of a "wobulator" built by Nam June Paik. The piece was inspired by Jackson's original video for the song, in which characters' faces morphed into each other--the first moment in which I remember taking a deeper interest in digital effects. Black or White traces my ongoing interests in media change and the performative aspects of spectatorship. The new question, here, is about the similarities and differences between the ways that people and machines "hear." This work is part of my "Performed Listening" series. Watch video.
This video uses analog video processing techniques to performatively blend a classic image of Jean-Michel Basquiat and Andy Warhol with a 1980s VHS video game. Dark Stars alludes to the shared vocabulary of celestial and pop stardom, and the synchronized death of stars and recording media. Watch video.
This is the music video for my song, "From Here." Tension between the images and lyrics is magnified by remixed footage of sign language interpretations of classic children's narratives. Zach Layton collaborated on the vocoder mixing of the song. Watch video.
This online project was commissioned by the Whitney Museum of American Art, for their Artport gatepage program. In it, Abe Linkoln and I sing posts from our favorite blogs. We felt that blogs, like the Blues, have been credited with channeling "the voice of the people" but wondered if blogs adhere to any one set of characteristics that define them as a genre. We were also curious about how blogs might be understood as public spaces, in light of the time-based performances that take place there. Visit the site.
On New Year's Eve of 2005-2006, Abe Linkoln and I took turns posting & remixing green screen music videos on this blog. The title of the project derives from science philosophy's term for Darwin's notion of evolution, which positions the concept as so permeatingly strong and "universal" as to cut across genres of science, theology, and philosophy, like an acid. The videos construct a narrative, in their form & content, about the evolution (or de-evolution) of a work of art, but also of humanity, in a post-industrial, post-pop society. Ultimately the video medium regresses into a more "primal," analog state before eventually decaying into static. Visit the site.
In the Summer of 2005, Troy's Mixtape of Love was a hugely popular internet "meme." Troy made this musicless CD love-letter (which is so *not* a mixtape!) for his girlfriend, Melissa, on their 6-month anniversary. Supposedly she dumped him 3 days later, after which her new beau found the CD and posted it online. This midi-rich edit of the piece positions Troy's narration as the ominous soundtrack to looming heartbreak. This piece was commissioned as part of the MTAA podcast project To Be Listened To, in which I was asked to make a podcast"to be listened to while sitting in a bar on Sunday morning, drinking a Bloody Mary and waiting for your sweetheart." Listen to mp3.
The Jackson 5 Christmas Album, as Lip-Synched by Marisa Olson (2005)
This was the first cassette I ever owned and it came with my first walkman. I listened to the album all year, until the tape wore thin. Here I lip-synch the entire album and lay a recording of that over the original tracks. The album was launched with a performance in which I lip-synched the single "Santa Claus is Coming to Town."
This performance grew out of the admission that much of my work can be boiled down to a process of watching me listen to (and be influenced by) music. The easy way out, then, would be this--to listen to music in front of people. Viewers were told that I was listening to those MP3s in my collection that were labeled "easy listening." This was the birth of my Performed Listening Series which has grown to include multiple live performances and videos.
The One That Got Away (2005)
Due to the heavy press coverage of Marisa's American Idol Audition Training Blog (see below), the producers of the show were eager to follow me around during the course of several days of auditioning to be on American Idol. Ultimately, not one second of footage aired. I suspect this is because they eventually realized the nature of my parody. This fictional reenactment video dives into the reality tv format, crosscutting between real and simulated footage and exploring the participatory aspects of my project. Watch the video.
moiMovies, Compilation #1 (2005)
Mo's iMovies (of which I've made close to a hundred) recall the default conventions by which home movie software enforces an affect of nostalgia, while "celebrating" loss, failure, decay, alienation, and boredom. Each short video exploits a built-in software effect (the zoom, the dissolve, etc) in such a way as to let its presence overpower the source material. In this case, that material is comprised of personal sound files and photos combined and spliced together, as readymade videos.
In this funny and sometimes uncomfortable slide lecture, I tell all the incriminating stories my former telephones could tell about me, if they could talk--from accidental 911 calls as a kid to phone sex in my twenties. Berkeley Art Museum video curator Steve Seid invited me to develop this performance for his Busy Signals evening at the Pacific Film Archive, and the live piece was bracketed by screenings of Christian Marclay's "Telephones" and Andy Warhol's "Phoney." View the slideshow.

I / You / We (2004)
In this performance for the Bay Area Performance Art Biennial of 2004, I wore headphones over my mouth, plugged them into a microphone jack, and inverted the pronouns in song lyrics, to sing "I'm So Vain," "Always on Your Mind," etc. The project was an extension of my series of works, called "Sending and Receiving," in which the performative aspects of spectatorship and the gendered aspects of sending and receiving information were considered. Other installations in this series use mics as speakers to play music I recorded with headphones.
In the Fall of 2004, I put myself "in training" to audition for American Idol. I kept a blog of all my ridiculous training exercises, which were originally intended to highlight the gender-normative stereotypes entrenched by the show. The lead-up to my audition was concurrent with the lead-up to the 2004 presidential elections. When the blog gained a large following among teens and young 20-somethings, I saw the blog as an opportunity to address the discrepancy between the members of my generation who vote in droves for their "Idol" but not their president. Eventually, 16,000 people voted on what I should wear & sing at my audition. Visit the site.
Self-Personalized A Cappella Serenades (2003-Present)

These are custom audio cassettes with secret, sealed serenades sung by myself and instructions for Self-Personalization and Optimal Serenade Enjoyment. The tapes have been included in a number of zine-related exhibition contexts.