You are currently browsing the monthly archive for January 2008.

I have a couple of friends that have been juried into this show who’s work I like quite a bit. If you’re in the area, it’s worth checking out:

Press Release

“black and white and… all over”
A group exhibition of Washington, DC-based black and white photographers
Curated by J.T. Kirkland
February 27 – March 29
Opening reception: Saturday, March 1 from 5–8pm

H&F Fine Arts is pleased to announce a group exhibition of Washington, D.C.-based photographers. Taking its name from the old standby about newspapers (“What’s black and white and read all over?”), the show presents a survey of black and white photography from the D.C. metropolitan area.

The exhibition features dozens of photographs hung salon style throughout the gallery. The artists themselves will assist the curator in hanging the show, collectively attempting to author a visual narrative that explores the voices and concerns of today’s Washington photographers by constructing a mosaic of styles and perspectives. To highlight the joint articulation of the various works, the identities of individual artists will be subordinated; the price of each piece and the initials of its creator will be presented on a brightly colored sticker meant to contrast with the dominant black and white palette. With the names and reputations of the artists subtracted from the exhibition, the work of seasoned veterans will hang alongside that of newcomers just finding their footing in the art world. The curator challenges viewers to try and tell the difference while posing the question of whether the distinction is even significant.

Artists included in the exhibition are Erin Antognoli, James W. Bailey, Danny Conant, Max Cook, Stephen Crowley, Justin Hoffmann, Michael Dax Iacovone, Nick Jbara, Jane Jeffers, J.T. Kirkland, Angela Kleis, Prescott Lassman, Thomas Paradis, Aleksei Pechnikov, Susana Raab, Alexandra Silverthorne, Jim Tetro, Bryan Whitson, and Lloyd Wolf.

3311 Rhode Island Avenue, Mount Rainier, MD 20712

First, an update. I finally got my WPA membership taken care of and my info in their artfile (thanks, Angela, for mentioning it to me). You can now find the link in one of the right-hand columns, or just click…HERE

Second, Paivi and I, with Angela’s help and company, got our submissions framed today for the Photo 08 competition in Arlington. It’s one of the few juried events I’ve submitted to, one of the fewer photo events Ive submitted to, and the only one so far that has required pre-framed submissions. But this meant that the process ended up being kind of cool for me (if more expensive than I would have liked) since it involved creating something of tangible value from my photography (and from Paivi’s) by actually getting images printed and framed.

I was also particularly interested in submitting for this show, in part, because of the juror: David Griffin, Director of Photography & Senior Editor for National Geographic. For whatever reason, it seemed like the kind of photos I take would be more appropriate than – for example – The Fraser gallery competition. The same goes for Paivi’s photos.
I had considered having Chrome do the work but, honstly, I can’t tell the difference between Chrome images and the printer we have at some (and certainly not when you account for expense). So, after spending a few hours (don’t ask) getting the HP Photosmart to print the right sized, we were ready to go.

Here are the three I chose (click for larger):

Your World Snow WorldLady Finger BugNYC Subway Boi

What do you think? I know I completely regretted what I sent to the Fraser thing. What was I thinking? I also didn’t send the “Waiting for Love” pic (the dress outside of a building in Adams Morgan). I love the pic, but others needed their chance!

We ended up doing the framing work, as usual, at the Framer’s Workroom (DIY). I hope we didn’t cause too much of back-up by bringing six pieces at once for framing! :) Also hope I didnt look to grungy. Angela and I came straight there from running 6 miles on the mall!

It’s been a fun, cool day overall and I’m looking forward to DC9 tonight!

Edit: I just found out one of my oldest friends (knew in FL, lives in DC, small world) who is a tech writer by day…has taken up sword swallowing and other sideshow things! How cool is that?

I put together a formal presentation for Art Outlet last week outlining, in concept, how an island in Second Life would support the organization’s mission statement, operate within its bylaws, how much it would cost to build and operate, and what it’s operational goals were.

Henrik (Exec Director) and Josh (heads the Art Advisory Board) both loved it and there is enough funding available (via a specific donation) so we’ll be moving forward. The three of us will be sitting down soon and tracking down a tax-lawyer familiar with 501c(3)’s so that we can nail down the financials and legalities.

I’m also working on forming my own LLC so I can funnel and track this kind of work through a company front. This should help keep it separate from anything I do personally and allow me to more easily contract for work unrelated to my day job. Angela suggested going through legalzoom to do it, and I might end up doing that. It’s not that expensive ultimately.

Anyway, it’s all good news on that front. We’re also having our first board meeting tonight in some time. It should be really productive and Im exciting about what Art Outlet is up to.

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I’ve also -finally- updated both of my resumes to my satisfaction. The technical summary is as follows:

Top Secret cleared enterprise information security architect, data correlation and analysis specialist, and experienced conference speaker desires opportunities to support organizations in coping with the problems of turning data into knowledge in an efficient, secure manner.

Also interested in projects to utilize technical experience in combination with art background to explore and develop new human experiences through virtual worlds and networked Human Computer Interfaces.

This is the first time in awhile I’ve managed to get the technical one down to two pages. I HATE writing resumes. Click on the links on the right side of the page for further info, though :)

In a stylized world where taste is often found below deck, bound and gagged, you sometimes wonder “why bother?”. In a place where social pornography is the breakfast of champions, you don’t often run into anything of consequence. What’s below the surface, after all, except more surface? Certainly nothing special.

Tonight, however, I had the good fortune to be given a tour of something particularly special in a place just like that.

This evening, during one of my brief visits to Second Life (opening an island takes a lot of planning – not much time to socialize), I asked my good friend Eshi Otawara how the opening of her collaborative project, Parsec, had gone Saturday night. Apparently it had gone quite well and she almost immediately offered to teleport me over to the installation area. After briefly tweaking my headphones and mic (which I had been warned were required!) and a couple of other technical difficulties, I was whisked over to a dark room with a couple of other individuals.

This, apparently, was a waiting area of sorts while everyone got themselves in order for the experience. Eshi handed me some animations and told me to activate them. Seven people were normally required to “operate” Parsec, I was told, but we were going to make do with 3-4 and the animations were a critical component of the piece.

Finally, we eventually all touched the grey teleport sphere and were taken up to the feature presentation. At this point I still wasn’t sure what it was about, other than there was some interactive tie in between voice, music, and visual imagery.

We found ourselves standing on a transparent floor inside of a giant white sphere, the inside of which was textured in a way that reminded me of hundreds of CD’s. Around us were seven black balls, each with a unique pattern of dots on them. Eshi essentially then turned us loose and just told us to…talk. So we did. Not sure, at first, of what was expected of us (what DO you say when someone asks you to just ‘talk’?) we wandered around vocalizing somewhat arbitrarily. What we found was that, as we spoke the balls moved. As the balls moved, we heard the sounds of instruments.

What we were experiencing was the first installation in Second Life where the environment responded to the sound of a voice. Each person in the sphere was linked to one of the black spheres around them. As an individual spoke, a certain behavior by the sphere – and thus a certain set of sounds – was triggered depending on how your voice sounded at the time. There were 10 (or 16? I dont remember the exact number) of “ranges” that each person could trigger from his or her sphere.

The sum effect is that, as 7 or more people have a conversation in the installation, the environment reacts visually and audibly and creates a multi-sensory symphony written just for those people in those moments in time. The visuals were minimalistic, at that point, but effective. (And they got better, I found out later!)

Another particularly interesting facet of Parsec is that there is a piece of it (pictured below in an image from their Flickr pool) which can only be unlocked through the unguided collaboration of the participants! As you “play” the Parsec instrument/exhibit with others, you apparently might find that there are patterns or connections embedded and that, if you speak in cooperation, this new visual component is revealed and you find yourself immersed in something akin to a starbursting eye of horace.

parsec.jpg

As an artist, I’m intrigued by this cooperation required to complete the artwork. People have to figure out the problem and then work together to solve it. Rather than just being something built with the mathematics of music and aesthetics in mind, a human element and the human mind if required to make it “work” completely. For all of the traditional art out there with NO connection to the human condition, it’s cool to see a virtual one that manages instead to stay true to (what I think is) one of the primary roles of art in society – exploring ourselves.

For those naysayers who get visibly -angry- when they found out people spend time in Second Life and that there’s nothing there “to do”, this kind of art not only unequivocally proves that not only are there things “to do” that you don’t find anywhere else, but also that the it has been and is continuing to evolve as an art medium in its own right.

Congrats to the creators of Parsec for creating such a cool contribution to art and technology:

Concept, Music and Sound by Dizzy Banjo
Virtual Architecture by Eshi Otawara
Scripting by Chase Marellan

More info and a video can be found here: http://eshiotawara.wordpress.com/2008/01/19/41/

Eshi, thank you so much for the on-the-spot tour. It was fun to hear your voice for the first time and I thoroughly enjoyed listening to you in the role of a tour guide! I also am still smiling at the thought of you, alone, standing in Parsec singing to the machine.

Last night was the opening of J. Coleman‘s exhibit at Art Whino entitled “A Dream Remembered, An Endless Pause”. While I enjoyed his style and some individual pieces of his (and the overall Art Whino space is fabulous), I found that I couldn’t connect with most of it. After some consideration, I’ve come to realize it’ s the “football eyes” he uses to depict human faces and that I have the same feeling of “meh” about other artworks that do the same thing.

What is a human face without eyes? So much of who we are exists in them that to abstract them to the level of “footballs” is, to use a bad pun, a bit of a punt. I’ve been told:

footballeyes2.jpg

“Well, everyone isn’t into realism.” Fine – that’s a perfectly valid perspective. But what’s the point of depicting a face at all then? Some animals have “spots” on them that are supposed to make others think they’re “looking” at them. Do these spots depict the nose? No. The mouth? No. Ears? No. Simply giving the impression of “eyes” is sufficient, even in nature, for instinct to recognize “face”.

So, unless you’re intentionally removing the humanity from a piece of art (which I don’t believe is usually the case), why not use allegorical imagery instead? I’m honestly much more likely to feel a connection to an expressionist rendering of a monkey in a clown suit than I am a human face with football eyes. And, with the pieces where Coleman did use monkeys/apes, I thought he was much more successful.

Looking at the pictures in this post, just imagine how much more impact they’d have if even the faintest attempt was made to bring humanity into the eyes.

More on the Art Whino space later, just wanted to get these thoughts out first.


White and Black House
Originally uploaded by sintixerr

I really don’t spend all of my time in Second Life (despite the recent frequency of posts about it). In fact, lately, it’s only been 2 hours a week or so.

However, a fellow WordPress browser recently commented here on an entry asking why people don’t pay more attention to “the real world” than Second Life. It was a good question – but easily answered. One of the responses is that SL makes a particularly interesting way of communicating with groups of people remotely. Much better than voice conferences, videocasts, etc.

Here’s one example seen in a recent in-world announcement:

Paulo Casaca, member of the European Parliament of the European Union, will appear live, to discuss the Iraqi Conflict on Friday, January 18th @ 12pm SL time. The region will be closed to entry during this event. Mr. Casaca is the first member of European Union to launch a Second Life presence, to discuss global concerns with all citizens. Efforts to examine the Iraq Conflict, in a search for solutions, included travel to this region in January of 2007. The results of his findings were presented in an issued report to the European Parliament – and continued to world wide universities and institutions. Mr. Casaca is a former Professor of Economics with the Azores University. Registration is limited -register via email to irah_anatine@hotmail.com or via SL note/im. Students, educators and media will be given privileged access.

Ok, so the picture isnt of anything to do with EU or SL…but it DOES make you think of things vaguely gov’t! (And I guess propaganda related. Hmm. Heh)

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