Monday, February 28, 2005

As I Feel Crappy...

...I don't feel like blogging. I've barely sat at my computer in the past few days - an unusual thing for me, as my friends will attest.

I hate everything and everyone. I think I'm depressed. I'm waiting for manic but, so far, no luck.

I am drinking too much coffee. I want to be an alcoholic but I don't have the energy or the money. Not to mention my rotting liver.

I want to sleep but I can't. I have been forced by boredom to watch late night action films of questionable quality.

Like I said, I'm depressed.

So, instead of blogging anything worth reading, I direct you to some stuff I read on my RSS feed from people much more motivated than I.

I have declared war on your penis.

Make stop motion animated videos

Be an Art Star

Morbid Tendencies

Friday, February 25, 2005

Somerville Art Star?

For those of you who are following the ongoing saga of The Gates and the various parodies of the project, I'm flabbergasted at the fame of the Somerville Gates, the mini version featuring the maker's pet cat. What astounds me, is not the fifteen minutes of blogger fame Hargadon is enjoying, nor is it the tv spots (my best guess is, the cat has a lot to do with it). What really made my eyes roll was this bit, read at Boing Boing:
Museums across the country are after him. Manhattan's Pratt Institute wants a Somerville Gate for its permanent collection. Ditto, the Browne Popular Culture Museum in Bowling Green, Ohio; the Portland Art Museum in Oregon; and Meredith College in Raleigh, N.C. Someone from Tufts University invited him to display the work in a juried art show.


Actually, this story does remind me of the Voice of Fire purchase here in Canada some years ago and the furor it caused over the purchasing price. Anyone remember the guy who made the news for painting a parody of the piece on his garage door? I do. I remember seeing the garage door work on every Canadian news channel for the next week or so. I actually remember the garage door with more vividness than the original that inspired it. What I don't recall, however, is whether Canadian galleries clamoured after the maker insisting on adding the door to their collections.

Hargadon seems as bewildered about his new found artistic credentials as I am:
One minute you're sitting on the floor making 4"-high gates as a joke, the next minute you're judging art competitions at Tufts University.


Thursday, February 24, 2005

Art and Conversation

From kuenselonline today, I read about the Art of Conversation:
It is rather one of the highest manifestations of human intelligence, the ability to convey images from one mind to another and to build a mutual edifice of ideas.
I wonder how many true conversations I have engaged in over the years... Were they meaningful? The late night, post opening pub gathering has always been my favorite venue for verbal exchanges.

The one purpose of art, for me, is that it offers a jumping off point for conversation. The works that I view while out gallery hopping with my friends become a shared experience that precipitates the emergence of evolving ideas loosely connected to the initial questions brought on by the work. It gives me an excuse to connect to other bodies.

Narrative is important to me. The story of any particular project will always include the story of the weather on the day that I went, travel to and from, the intertextual readings of various shows viewed on the same afternoon, the ordering of the viewings dictated by geography.

Seeing Green

Seeing Green

This poor fellow may not make it to tourist season. I initially thought that someone had given him a mossy g-string but it was only a layer of the more prosaic spray paint. I like the addition of the word penis at the base of the statue.

Letters to the editor of the local paper continue to be obsessed with this guy. One letter suggested that if it was okay for a statue to be publicly naked why not the tax payers who shelled out the cash for it? Absurd comparison but then, I thought, why not? It might loosen things up a bit.

I keep asking myself why I'm here. You know, Stockwell Day has his office downtown in this city. That should have been a sign.

Sun Oka

Sun Oka2
Originally uploaded by no practice.

Sun Oka beach

sun oka beach
Originally uploaded by no practice.

It's been sunny and mild here in the Okanagan so I left the comfort of my bedroom and I've been roaming the local parks and beaches. It's very beautiful here. I'm trying to appreciate this place for it's beauty instead of cursing it for it's isolation.

Wednesday, February 23, 2005

I Like Buoys

buoys 2

Sunday, February 20, 2005

Conceptual Art Correspondance

And...for my mac friends who missed the inspiring critique of The Gates on the Daily Show, a quicktime video of the masterpiece.

Recent news concerning copyright issues just makes me sigh.
Christo's publisher claims a vast new degree of copyright and trademark protection. They claim they will prosecute anyone who sells their own original photos of the Gates; who makes and sells a drawing of the Gates or who even uses the words, the Gates, without their permission. They claim to have copyrighted the words, The Gates. They also claim to have an agreement with the media that media sources may only use news photos of the gates for the period the installation is up. That after that the media will only be allowed to use "official" photos of The Gates.

Artists Like To Eat

I may not have cast my net wide enough when I said that artists are cannibals. Now I believe we just like to eat.

This month at LMAKprojects Emily Katrenick is eating the wall that separates the gallery space from the living space of art dealer and art historian Louky Keijsers. The project, titled Consuming 1.956 Inches Each Day For Forty-One Days is a performance which places the building into the occupant.
Since Jan. 1, 2005, Katrencik has been eating 1.956 inches of sheetrock each day, in an effort to "collapse boundaries between the artist and dealer, and the architecture and the body." She promises to keep it up for 41 days in all, until a sizeable passage between the two spaces has been, um, cleared. Artnet
Apparently, Katrenick has done this before.
One night I went to the Carpenter Center and began to eat it. I sanded the edges with a rough sand paperócatching the dust in my hand and then licking it from my palm. These performances were videotaped. This action was simultaneously aggressive, neutral and stemming from desire.
Katrenick went on to attempt to ingest the entire Carpenter Centre. As of this writing, she has, so far, not succeeded. Luckily, with the LMAK performance, she has made for herself a more managable meal.
While this project offers multiple theoretical readings, I prefer to focus on the artist/body busily gnawing away at the structure. Cannibals eat their humans as part of a ritual of incorporation. You are what you eat.

Katrenick not only eats the building herself, she also uses the lure of baked goods laced with pieces of the wall to entice her audience to join in. Many mouths make light work. I hope she makes it.

Saturday, February 19, 2005

History Repeating

history repeating

Friday, February 18, 2005

The Solitary Artist

I can't believe that a solitary artist can make good work because I can't. I need to be able to interact with people in the field because, otherwise, I just seem to lose interest in the whole process. And I make crap. And, I know it's crap and I don't seem to care because, who is there to impress?

Being alone in my room like this, I have come to realize that artists are cannibals. We feed off of each other. Or, maybe it's just me. I need the flesh in my mouth.

I have a show coming up and I'm depressed. Shows always depress me. I need someone to eat. I'm hungry.

Wednesday, February 16, 2005

Sad Arrangements

Maybe it's because I've been ill. Maybe it's because I'm full of regret and longing. I saw the Melancholytron Photoshop plugin by Flaming Pear and I just had to have it. Not buy it, mind you. The fourteen day demo should be plenty of time to soak in the tub of nostalgia...

a sad arrangement

S. posited a question to no one in particular: Can a photograph inspire empathy (or something equally broad)? But then, I wonder....if one person looks at a picture and is moved, even if they are the only one that does, is the picture successful in eliciting empathy? Is there a particular audience that must feel this empathy or can anyone join?

Theoretical questions irk me. Irritatingly, they also intrigue me.

Sunday, February 13, 2005

We Need More Razzle Dazzle

Why is it free to enter a repository for books but you have to pay admission to enter a repository for art? Is access to textual information a right and access to visual information a privilege? I suppose, like sports stadiums and theatrical productions, art is considered entertainment rather than education. Maybe it's edu-tainment.

I was thinking about this while watching a news brief on Bravo discussing a flap over the new $20 admission fee at the MoMA. The program spoke with people from both sides of the debate: those who felt that the price of viewing art was too high and those who felt that it was a bargain of a price considering the cost of broadway show tickets. It is supposed that art goers are of the same financial status as broadway goers. Perhaps that's true. Artists and actors can't afford much of either.

Saturday, February 12, 2005

Be a Success

Takashi Murakami on how to succeed as an artist:
Only those artists who have an ability in marketing can survive in the art world. Damien Hirst is a good example. Through his art, you can see the process of how an artist can survive in the art world. First of all, distinctively situate his/her position in art history. Second, articulate what the beauty of his/her art is. Next, sexuality. Then, death. Present what he/she finds in death. If an artist aptly rotates this cycle, he/she can survive. Damien Hirst has been repeating the cycle of birth, death, love, sex and beauty. (found in the Journal of Contemporary Art)

I've Been Thinking...

I was skyping with a friend in Toronto concerning my ambivalence about The Art Institution. It's been something I've struggled with since my formal induction at the University of Western Ontario.

I struggle with the high/low aspect that was supposed to have been one of the issues addressed by postmodernism. Thinking outside of the white box. Inclusivity. the whole she-bang.

I am excited by the do-it-yourself-ness of the internet. With the increasing prevalence of vblogs and garagebands, p2p distribution technologies, and the opening up of concepts surrounding copyright, a terminal can function as a studio, a website as a gallery. Everyone can be an artist.

But, that doesn't mean that every artwork presented on the internet will be regarded as such by those who do the official regarding. Do I care about the validating aspect of the institution? You bet I do, and therein lies my dilemma.

I encouraged my Toronto friend to check out the vblogs. I described ANT as a gallery on my desktop with constantly updating shows. My friend (let's call him J.), is a video artist and not impressed with my democratic view. He wants to get paid for the work that he does and so he should. We argued about what constitutes an art project.

As someone who prefers exploring outside of the gallery setting in an unannounced series of performances, J. and I have had many discussions on this topic.

From what I can gather from our most recent conversation, these are J.'s qualifications on the matter:

If the videographer making a vblog "knows" what they are doing (can place it in an art historical context), it is art.

If the audience which is being addressed is an audience who "knows" how to read the work in an art historical context, it can also be art, as long as the first condition is also met.

"Outsider art" (art that is not sanctioned by the art institution), when curated into a gallery, is still not art but a cheap way that curators buff up their careers by presenting the work as spectacle.

J. explained that, just because I can look at something I find online and enjoy a complex reading of the work, it does not follow that others "reading" the same work bring to it the same critical engagement. More than likely, my reading is due to my education and not due to the work itself. In that, J. further explains, I am more of an anthropologist looking in.

So now, I ask myself these questions:

Am I, by engaging in performances aimed at an "art illiterate" audience - performances that ape practices seen in non-art venues - a cruel trickster? Am I using my audience to facilitate my own artistic goals? Does it depend on my level of engagement in the project? Can it be, for me, both art and nonart or is that an illusion I tell myself? What happens when I present my "findings" in a gallery setting? Have I sold out my previous audience to my new (presumably ultimate) one?

Thursday, February 10, 2005

The Carol and Steve Show

Found a great new program to watch. It's a new reality show coming to you from this vblog.

P.S. to my Mac friends: Download ANT - a free aggregator that brings new vblogs to your computer daily!


Originally uploaded by no practice.

Liquid Love

Liquid Love: On the Frailty of Human...
I've been looking up information on the writings of Zygmunt Bauman and came across some info on his 2003 book, Liquid Love (click image for details). In an article Bauman wrote in June of 2003, he describes his concept of liquid love:
The uncanny frailty of human bonds, the feeling of insecurity that frailty inspires, and the conflicting desires to tighten bonds yet keep them loose is what I seek to unravel and grasp...In our world of rampant "individualism", relationships are mixed blessings. They vacillate between a sweet dream and a nightmare...
He goes on to describe the shift from commitment to network, as it relates to a modern shift in how we conceive and maintain relationships.

I have been involved in projects that investigate personal relationships for a number of years, particularly as it applies to online love affairs and cybersex. I am also questioning notions such as this one posited by Bauman in the above mentioned article:
Unlike "real relationsips", "virtual relationships" are easy to enter and to exit. They look smart and clean, feel easy to use, when compared with the heavy, slow-moving, messy real stuff.
I think online relationships (I choose, purposely, not to use the term virtual in this argument) can be just as messy and difficult to move on from than their "real" counterparts. The online relationship often creates a forum for communication which encourages the participant to reveal deeply hidden aspects of the self. Once uncovered, these revelations expose vulnerabilities in the same way that physical exposure can irl and, while it's true that online communications can be effectively blocked, online relationships often migrate from one form of communication to another, or many others (email, mail, phone, cam, f2f etc) Also to be considered is how a specific online relationship relates to a participant's total online persona.

Bauman raises some interesting questions for me concerning both my inability to pair bond irl, and my attachment to online communication. I do believe that I shall have to buy it.

I want to be liquid.
I want to have the ability to seep,
to be displaced by weight,
to magnify,
to reflect.
Anne Walk, 2000

Wednesday, February 09, 2005

How Do You Feel?

Are you feeling good or bad? Now, we can gage feelings on a global scale with this handy website. Participate and incorporate your feelings into the global mood

don't forget to check out the fAQ section with links to global mood graphs of previous years (like the one pictured for 2004). Plenty to contemplate in those graphs.

This project is an extension of an earlier project done by Dellbrügge and de Moll in which, according to Target:
The online version springs from an earlier project realized in a public space. In a Berlin residential building, a “feeler” was situated in each apartment with which the inhabitants could express their moods (good or bad) by pressing a button. The results were made visible in the lobby and on the building’s southern facade where two large icons displayed the “building’s state of mind.”

Sadly, the writer omitted mention of the title of this piece and an online search has, so far, not produced it. Also, sadly, most of links brought up are in German which I can't read.

If anyone out there can identify this building project, let me know. I would love to see some documentation.

Tuesday, February 08, 2005

City With A (Private) View

Chicago Bean
Originally uploaded by DickStock.

There seems to be a proliferation of Public art and architecture that has had it's image copyrighted to disallow photos. Cory Doctorow, at Boing Boing, has brought attention to the latest entry in this farce.

Chicago's public sculpture can't be photographed by the public.

Chicago spent $270 million on its Millennium Park, placing a big public sculpture by Anish Kapoor in the middle of it, bought with public money. Woe betide any member of the public who tries to photograph this sculpture, though: it's a copyrighted sculpture and Chicago is spending even more money policing Chicagoans who try to photograph it...

This is even more shocking to me than the latest copyrighted architecture story: the Eiffel Tower, which can no longer be photographed at night because the folks who designed the new lighting for it have copyrighted it.

I think these stories (these events!) shock those of us who are accustomed to believing in something called Public Space and are a illustration of the reality that there is no Public Space - certainly in an urban environment. This is a sad fact that the homeless are already to aware of (hence, the illegality of their existence)

It surprised me that Anish Kapoor would be involved in such an act because he's an artist. But, it shouldn't have. As the art industry shows it's corporate colours, we'll see more of this, I'm sure.

Monday, February 07, 2005

Too Busy To Blog

That's right. These last few days, I've been quite busy.

I've been working on a couple of projects with some friends which has required some software downloads and the accompanying headaches.

Why, oh why, can't yahoo chat make itself mac friendly?? Is it too much to ask? I can't make it work at all. Forget room chatting. That's definitely out. It makes me sad. I miss my online pervert/friends.

Ah well. On to bigger and better things.

Sunday, February 06, 2005

Something Positive

I was talking to my daughter this afternoon and she put me onto one of her favorite online comics: Something Positive

I wanted to post a comic here, but I can't figure out how to make it small enough to fit into my column. Like everything else I get involved in, I know to little about the subject to effect a great change.

The Cheap Cam Solution

Last year, I was using a lowend usb webcam to gather material in my art (non)practice. At the time, I was on a friend's old pc and had no problem connecting with it to yahoo chat.

Now, here in my room, on my little iMac G3 running Panther, I'm having problems. Thanks to a article, I just may be up and running again!

It required the purchase of a driver from IOXperts at $20 US and the wonderful little iChatUSBCam module which is a steal at $10 (no, I'm not affiliated with either of these companies). My cam is now recognizing my computer and I've been able to run it on iChat. I'm quite pleased.

One problem I'm having, however, is in my attempts at connecting to yahoo messenger. I can open my cam but when I close it, I unexpectedly quit. Haven't tried chatting with it yet. That's my next project.

I've been up half of the night working on this setup and, while I still have some problems to iron out, it's nice to make headway.

If anyone out there has used this setup in yahoo on a mac, feel free to help out!

Saturday, February 05, 2005

Hypertext Everything

Grafedia is an online project that encourages participants to create graffiti that has one or more words incorporate a word underlined in blue that acts like a hyperlink to an image file stored on the web. The participant chooses the text and uploads the accompanying image to the grafedia website. To access grafedia, the viewer sends an email to: "thespottedword" and a small message (hi, will do). The accompanying image is emailed to the viewer. Try it with the example above.

I like the use of "hypertext linkage" to connect the "real" world to the virtual one as well as connecting text to image. Unlike the grafedia graffiti pictured above, it's not necessary to include in your message but it is often used to prod the viewer. Myself, I prefer the idea of "It's nice to feel wanted."

Of course, the idea is dependent the viewer's recognition of the hyperlink as a hyperlink (which supposes a computer savvy audience), as well as the supposition that the viewer has both a cellphone and a subscription to services allowing an internet link(the idea is for the viewer to access the information at the location). The use of graffiti as a vehical places this project in an urban landscape, rife with countless Official Linkages in the way of associations (stills from tv commercials, movies, etc and actual internet addresses in signage). Grafedia's links offer a way to counter advertising messages with guerrilla ads. Think of them as landscape easter eggs. I'd like to see links to whole online sites, video, webcams, etc.

Friday, February 04, 2005

Linux Virgin

I am eagerly awaiting the video footage from the Linux Virgin, a schoolgirl (complete with uniform!) who learns the "ins and outs" of computer building from a Linux Domme!

This is the best performance idea I've seen in a long time, combining various online genres (personal blog, tech info, alternative sex, webcam performance, etc) into one seamless presence. Why, oh why, didn't I think of it?
This funny series chronicles Karla Grundick, an eager linux groupie schoolgirl, as she is taught how to build a computer by Mistress Koyo, the cyber punk linux expert.

Also starring Roy, the voyeur, and Dog Big, the masturbating Rottweiller.

Thursday, February 03, 2005

Damn that Life

I'm too sleepy to blog today. My mind is fuzzy. I need coffee and I don't have any. I shall make tea and watch sitcoms and give in to the loneliness of, what was it Hoolboom called it? Aggression or something.

Wednesday, February 02, 2005

Alex Bag and the Time Traveller

Many thanks to James L. for letting me know where to find Alex Bag's latest shows.
If you are in NYC anytime very soon, you can catch a 2k4 piece of hers called Gladia Daters at Elizabeth Dee Gallery ( I watched a good 8 minutes of the piece, which is done in her typical super low-budget rough-craft theatrical style. It follows the structure of a reality dating show. Unfortunately, I was pressed for time and had to leave when the characters started doing body shots from Alex's character's tracheotomy scar. Pretty crass and very Alex Bag.

I also saw a recent video this past fall at the now defunct American Fine Art, Co. in a show dealing loosely with American democracy. The bit that I did see had her and a male character parodying the nightvision segments of the famous Paris Hilton video. I don't recall the title of this piece though.

I went to the gallery site and saw images from an installation but, sadly, no text documentation. Also, curiously, the promoted Alex Bag show has yet to occur. Has James travelled from the future to deliver this important piece of information to me? I hope I haven't changed the future with this post. The space/time thing can be so finnicky.

2/28/04 - 3/27/04
Alex Bag The Coven Services for Consumer Mesmerism, Product Sorcery, and the Necromantic Reimagination of Consumption

It's a Steal!

Mark, from the Stot Forum, put me onto this story from the Stranger:
Sometime last summer, art started disappearing from galleries and houses around Seattle...

...Like most galleries that have pieces stolen, CoCA didn't speak publicly about the thefts--until one of the artists complained. In fact, of all the artists and galleries whose works were taken, Lehl--a relatively prominent local artist who does paintings in a style described by former Stranger arts editor Emily Hall as a "curious brand" of "dark, ambiguous" surrealism--was the only one who made the theft public. Everyone else whose work was stolen either wrote the works off as lost or dealt with them privately, within the confines of Seattle's tight-lipped art community.

As it turns out, the thefts were the work of a covert art group calling themselves "Fillistine". The works were stolen from various galleries last year in the collection of works for their Repo Show. The problem, it seems, was in securing a venue. No one wants to be implicated.

The choice of works for the Repo Show was based on a loose set of criteria:
"The idea was to take the worst crap we could find and give it value," he says, although he acknowledges that a lot of the thefts were basically hooliganism. Another member of the group, a young hipster with shaggy bangs, says the group "wanted to do a Robin Hood thing, taking their art and adding value," then giving it back. "I want people to get pissed off that we didn't steal anything of theirs," he says. "The coolest thing Rich Lehl's ever done is get robbed."

And, as a priceless final quote in the Seattle P-I:
"Art is not theft," said Ragan Peck, owner of the Priceless Works Gallery.

Someone out there with a space. Let the Repo Show go on!