In retrospect, the jump from scanning the infinitely vast cosmos for signs of extraterrestrial life to signing an artist-in-residence seems like a stroke of utter brilliance. What, after all, is the role of the SETI Institute in light of a popular culture where discussion about alien life forms most devolves into boring repetitions of stereotyped archetypes or else petty snark? What to make of an institute which, by virtue of the sheer magnitude of its field of observation, has failed to capture the public’s attention for any lengthy period of time? Dr. Jill Tarter, who holds the Bernard M. Oliver Chair at the Institute, explains that SETI exists as a reserve of mind-expansion, of an alternative to the ennui of Hollywood’s formulaic approaches to aliens:

“…we are trying to get people to put themselves in a  different frame of reference, to step back [...] Charlie’s art encourages us to think in those terms.”

Indeed, looking at Charles Lindsay’s work, one cannot help but wonder in awe at his approach to photography. Though he has an impressive portfolio of work earned him a Guggenheim Fellowship, he has become best known for a technique which forsakes cameras altogether. Using a process he invented in which a carbon-based emulsion is spread over plastic negatives, Lindsey hails the abstract birth of photographic art: an 1826 heliograph which was exposed for almost a full 24-hours, rendering the image almost indecipherable.

Toying with recognizability is precisely what makes Lindsay’s art so effective: by taking the viewer out of the familiar (and even strains of abstraction have become rather familiar at this point in time), he forces one to consider all of the manifold forms which aliens might take. Whereas even the most grotesque cinematic interpretations take anthropomorphic form for granted, these photographs open up the possibility that aliens might be (and most certainly are) like nothing we’ve ever imagined before. They could, for example, not be made out of matter at all, but clusters of photons and energy fields.

Or extraterrestrials could appear to us minuscule, or we mere specks of life to them: more than anything else, Lindsay’s art brings to mind electron microscope scans: playing with how we as a species see size serves as a powerful insight into the problems of even conceptualizing deep space. The problem with encountering life beyond is, quite simply, one of size. Distances become unfathomable after a certain point, and never do we experience sublime depth as when we are looking up at the night sky and realize that we are in fact looking out.

What makes this partnership a stroke of brilliance? Well, Charles Lindsay isn’t only making abstract photographs, he is making art about science, about the fragile beauty of sensitive instruments and about the Sisyphean tragedy of mankind’s quest to discern the depth of our celestial solitude. We will likely never find many answers in the night sky; save for a few anomalies like the 1977 WOW! signal, our questions have all been answered with silence. Charles Lindsay’s art may not bring us closer to the moment of encounter (which, if it ever happens, will likely be the most significant event in all of human history). What he can help reveal, however, is why we continue to search the dark, indifferent universe for answers to our most profound questions.

GOOSEBUMPS “SCARED TO SEE A DOCTOR” RECORD RELEASE SHOW AT 538 JOHNSON (FULL SETS FROM GOOSEBUMPS, AJAX, MERCENARY, LIBYANS, AND LA MISMA)

Like an episode of Jerry Springer, but with more fireworks.

FIGHT CLUB: THE BEST OF FRIDAY NIGHT THROWDOWN

Following the news of Throwdown’s return at SXSW this year with a Texas vs. NYC event, it seems only appropriate to take a look back at the history of Friday Night Throwdown, and the coverage we’ve had of it here on Superchief over the years. For the uninitiated; Friday Night Throwdown wasn’t just NYC’s best underground boxing event, it was NYC’s best underground party.

TEXAS VS. NYC: THROWDOWN RETURNS AT SXSW THIS YEAR

The organization that brought Ford models, Marines and Bloods together for New York’s best underground party is bringing their business to Austin, and bringing with them a Texas vs. NYC event…and Superchief will be covering the whole thing, from start to finish.

THIS APRIL: SUPERCHIEF GALLERY NYC PRESENTS JOHN FELIX ARNOLD III’S “EXCORRIGIA | THE SCOURGE”

From the world of UNSTOPPABLE TOMORROW, Superchief Gallery NYC returns this spring with John Felix Arnold III’s EXCORRIGIA | THE SCOURGE, an exhibition of new works in painting, drawing, mixed media, installation, and sound. The exhibition will run from April 3 through April 13, and there will be an opening reception on Thursday, April 3 from 6-10pm at CultureFix on 9 Clinton Street.

HIGH ON HUNGER: JANE CHARDIET

“High on Hunger” is Jane Chardiet’s new zine, featuring personal essay, photography and interviews with 12 artists, including some of our favorites, about their 2013 and their artistic goals in the new year, along with photographs of each licking fire. It’s good stuff, so I asked Jane about her 2013, because turnabout’s fair play and that’s how the game works.

12 O’ CLOCK BOYS (BALTIMORE STREETBIKE REALNESS)

Whatever your city is doing, what the homies out in B-More are doing is 10x as crazy. 12 O’ Clock Boys is one of the hardest movies we’ve seen in a long time, hands down, exploring a city and a culture that just doesn’t give a fuck (and featuring Baltimore himies like Schwarz on the soundtrack) the film gets more done in it’s 75 minutes than most documentaries do in twice that.

TAPE BAG #1: I HAVEN’T GOTTEN OFF MY COUCH IN DAYS.

Talking shit on random tapes cuz I wanna. Round one: Mongrel, Skinny Puppy, Madonna, Gowanus Mutant Kommandos, Temple of the Dog and MORE.

R.I.P RICKY LUANDA OF CHAIN GANG

Ricky Luanda of the experimental NYC punk band Chain Gang, one of the coolest bands ever, passed away earlier this week from esophogeal cancer. Watch 10 minutes of the bands’ rare, legendary, batshit crazy 1980′s film “MONDO MANHATTAN” right here.

ALWAYS KEEP THE CAMERA RUNNING: MAKS SUSKI’S VIDEOS OF THE NYC MUSIC SCENE

Maks Suski has been hard at work documenting live music in NYC on video for the last 4 years; we asked him to compile a list of some of his favorite videos that he’s shot, a list that includes Japanther, Action Bronson, Death Grips, Culo, Crystal Castles, Limp Wrist, Black Pus and more.

THERE IS A TINY LEG A QUARTER OF AN INCH BELOW YOUR TENTH RIB.

“Although Tiny Leg’s sound owes much of it’s inspiration to the Oakland glucose and thumbtrack scenes of the mid-nineties, and has been called by HotFridge magazine ‘a thumbcore homage to the sound of Velvet Curtis and Taco’ and ‘a slick-stale, neo-juicy, post-hipster alchemy, somewhere in between gluke-wave and puke-base’ by PeckerwoodsToday, those sentences are too journalistic and not souague enough, if one may permit my french.”

DAWN OF HUMANS, HANK WOOD & THE HAMMERHEADS, AND PHARMAKON PLAYED PS1 SATURDAY NIGHT (FULL SETS)

PUNK NOT ART NOISE NOT MUSIC ACK ACK ACK ACK

TOD SEELIE’S “BRIGHT NIGHTS” BOOK RELEASE & PHOTO SHOW AT SUPERCHIEF GALLERY AT CULTUREFIX (VIDEO)

Tod Seelie’s book release and photo show at Superchief Gallery at CultureFix was a celebration of the last 15 years of New York’s underground, for sure; but it also kept an eye on the future.

FUCKED UP CLOSED OUT 285 KENT’S LAST SHOW (FULL SET)

285 Kent finished it’s run last Sunday night; check out full video of Fucked Up’s headlining set right here.

SUPERCHIEF GALLERY AT MIAMI ART BASEL 2013: WILL SMITH CAN SUCK IT.

Superchief Gallery’s showing at Select Fair 2013 is even bigger, better and more batshit crazy than our 2012 showing was – check out photos here, and for homies in Miami, we’ll be at the Catalina Hotel all this week!

STACY KRANITZ’S SKATOPIA (50+ Photos From a Burnout’s Paradise)

Photographer Stacy Kranitz recently journeyed to Skatopia, a famed 88 acre skate park/commune in Ohio which was founded in 1995, documented in the 2010 film of the same name, and once described by writer Kevin Duffel as “a demented mess that meets halfway between an anarchistic Mad Maxian Thunderdome and a utopian skateboard society.” Goddamn if it isn’t one of the best things we’ve ever seen.