Saturday, April 30, 2005

Personals Art

I think that we should all hurry over to The Ad Show and place our very own personal ad for artists and writers.
ADS# 1001

Young, petite, attractive, mentally stimulating, and willful female artist seeking guidance from a mature, intelligent, and challenging male with occasional sadistic tendencies. Must be open to new shared experiences and like insects. Prefer an interest in the arts and sciences but welcome all.
No, this is not my ad. I'm neither young nor petite and I do not care for insects. I haven't written one yet. These things require a great deal of thought and planning.

Friday, April 29, 2005

Custom Made Me

I found a lovely little video by Eric Deis called Apartment. If you haven't seen it yet, you should. It's small and beautiful.

I then found an essay by Deis called As Logic of Assembly about the role of assembly in the governance of digital technologies. I didn't care for the topic but found, within the text, a great quote from Lev Manovich:
In a post-industrial society, every citizen can construct her own custom lifestyle and 'select' her ideology from a large (but not infinite) number of choices.

I thought about blogs and Tracey Emin and how I use my blog in an attempt to shape how others view me.

I thought about Miss Kimber's destruction of her online identity and his subsequent reincarnation as choccies whitestar. My own online identity, Miss Mew, has remained constant over the years but, since I moved Anne Walk online, the boundaries have begun to blur. I fear some sort of mutant version is in the works.


In an article about Tracey Emin and how her work relates to the internet, I read this:
The Web, of course, makes it easier for more people to have a go at this themselves, in a public space. The Web, in this way, is being Eminised by lots of people with a few bytes of webspace and a story to tell...Lots of people are doing a similar thing on the Web. They may not call it 'art' in the same way — maybe it's part of a separate culture — but it's made in the same spirit.

I wonder what this means for art blogs.

Thursday, April 28, 2005

Come Here, Go Away

I have been reading up on Tracey Emin's confessional practice and came across an article she wrote for The Independent. In it, she expressed a preference for large penises over small ones. In a subsequent article, she writes about the result of this confession:
So, after last week's remarks about big and small dicks, sadly there was no queue of eligible men around the block. I had many remarks like "I never knew you were such a size queen", and "you're never going to get a boyfriend now."
Years ago, I recorded the end of a relationship. I followed T. around the house as he took out his things. I don't think that I would have done it if I had thought that we would get back together. I wouldn't have wanted to risk the damage caused by exposure.

I didn't think of it at the time, but now I'm wondering if this kind of confessional art, while seeming to draw people in, actually pushes them away. Who wants to bare their soul, fall in love, even converse with someone who they know will display them naked to the world? How do I know where my story ends? Which parts are mine to tell?

The Miss Kimber Saga Continues...

miss_kimber [offline 1:29:49 AM]: guess im going to have to be blunt, some didnt understand my last msg to everyone on my freinds list. im a guy, thats the fake part, ok? if you still want to be freinds, my new name is choccies_whitestar , i guess i will find out who is understanding or not. oh, and this accout will be gone in a few hours, so if you want any of those email attachment pics in my picture on this profile, better hurry

miss kimber

There was a photo album of pictures of Miss Kimber on her profile. So, now, I'm wondering who this girl is. If you recognize her, let me know.

Miss Kimber, How Could You?

I received this offline message on Yahoo Messenger from a room reg:
miss_kimber [offline 2:01:15 AM]: hi people, i have something to say, i am a fake, yes a fake, hate me , like me, it doesnt really matter now, hopefuly i can keep some freinds, but im not expecting anyone to be my freaind, so ok, i fucked up, i got lonely and i live alone. most of what i said was true, the rest not, maybe i should just blow my fucking brains out for hurting you all. im sorry is all i can say and hope you can forgive me, if, oh well. maybe in a next life. so there you have it, ill keep this accout open for 2 days to see if i get any responses, good or hateful, im at the point where i dont care anymore, i do have freinds here, but probably wont after this, so goodbye, hopefuly some wont hate me,

miss_kimber [offline 2:53:19 AM]: gonna change names

I don't know if I'm a fake or not. How does one know where the line is?

B. understands the power of the lie in the formation of self identity. In her grade two journal, she wrote that, while she enjoyed living in Ontario, she missed India. After the teacher discovered that B. had never been to India, she was horrified. It bothered the her that B. related the stories of India with conviction and that she had believed her. I was impressed.

Wednesday, April 27, 2005

I'm Tired Today

I'm tired of this blog and of art and the art world and of trying to impress.

I'm tired of phonecalls from collection agencies, and bills, and filling out forms.

I'm tired of surprise visits from my mother and unkept promises from friends who say they will call.

I lay on the sofa all day today, and watched Star Trek. Apparently, I'm not tired of it yet. I fantasized that I had been thrust into the Delta Quadrant and the bill collectors couldn't find me. I went on all sorts of adventures and every one liked me and thought that I was a genius because I spewed out every idea I had ever read and passed them off as my own.

Behind My House


Tuesday, April 26, 2005

Rebecca Belmore In Venice

Rebecca Belmore is representing Canada at this year's Venice Biennale with an installation called Fountain. I decided to check out the site today and read up on what she's doing:
Rebecca Belmore’s new work, Fountain, was conceived for the Canada Pavilion at the Giardini in Venice. An image is projected through falling water onto an irregular white rock wall. The projected image is an edited DVD of a video shot cinema-style on an industrial zone beach near Vancouver, Canada. It is a cold, grey winter day, typical of the North American Pacific Northwest in January. The action is in five parts. The artist flails in the water near the shore struggling with a bucket. Next, in a calm state, she kneels and holds the vessel beneath the surface of the water. Then she rises and walks on the shore. After that, she stops and tosses the contents of the pail toward the lens, covering the screen with a sheet of blood. And, lastly, she is seen through the film of blood that fragments and distorts the image...
I thought about how Belmore's Aboriginal identity plays a key role in suggesting meaning in Fountain. I wondered how the piece would read with various other people standing in for her. I thought about how my own stereotypical notions of Native=Land informed my interpretation of the narrative and I wondered if Belmore was thinking those same things when she created it.

I'm curious to see if/how this work will be written up by the media.

Out In The World

I have been deeply involved in life matters and have been offline since the day before yesterday. What an odd feeling. I went to the beach (twice!) and enjoyed the sunshine and didn't think about art at all.

Sunday, April 24, 2005

What's Black and White and Red All Over? Part II

What constitutes Aboriginal Art?

Does the artist have to announce that they are an Aboriginal Artist? Does the work have to deal with particular Issues, or is it enough to be born to a particular heritage? Is my work Aboriginal Art because I made it? Could I also be called a Hungarian Artist because I am part Hungarian?

Saturday, April 23, 2005


One of my brothers came down from northern BC for a visit. It was nice. I hadn't seen him in about a dozen years and he's become a man.

We went to our parent's house for supper and conversation. He told me all about the things he's been up to and I told him nothing.

It's a very strange thing. In my art life, I am very open about every facet of my life - some might say too revealing - but my life is a secret to my family. There are many reasons for this which would be too lengthy for a blog post. Suffice it to say, my mother abhors truth in any form.

I come from a family of seven kids, now, widely dispersed throughout Canada. It's like a big foot came down and we all scattered in different directions - every sibling for themself.

Thursday, April 21, 2005

What's Black and White and Red All Over? Part I

I used to have a crush on Drew Hayden Taylor. I did because, during a moment of crisis, one of his books helped me through.

This admission comes about as a result of discovering his column in Off-Centre, a local alternative magazine. The column is called Urban Indian and the article I read was called Profiling In Black and White: A Crash Course In The Tradition of Racism. It concerns racial profiling by the Toronto police department but it's wider message is one of an inherent racism at the heart of the white psyche.

Taylor's writing was introduced to me by a friend after a bit of a traumatic encounter with Jane Ash Poitras in which she called me The Enemy. I was at the Aboriginal Achievement Awards with a group from the Banff Centre and was unfortunate enough to be the lightest skinned (unconnected) person in the group.

I was in a show at the Walter Philips Gallery at the time (one I'd rather forget, actually, but here I go, picking at the scabs again) and the pressure was on to create objects that fit everyone's ideas about what aboriginal art is all about - the land, various injustices, historical narratives, etc. Already feeling woefully ill-equipped, the Poitras incident pushed me over the deep end.

So, when I found a book of writings by Drew Taylor, a part-native humorist, I thought that, perhaps, I had found someone who I could relate to - who would speak for me from the perspective of between-ness. I read him on the way back to the Banff Centre and laughed at his family stories and nodded at his insights. I almost felt like I belonged. Almost.

Tuesday, April 19, 2005

MVS at U of T

still from The Lie In Wait, video installation, Jean-Paul Kelly

Has anyone been to the MVA Graduating Exhibition at the University of Toronto? I wish I could go. sigh. I suppose I will have to view it in catalogue form.
This exhibition includes Catherine Heard's installation "Votive", a combination of intensely evocative objects of private contemplation; Jean-Paul Kelly's highly personal - and often hilarious video installation "The Lie In Wait"; and the engaged and acutely political installation work of Craig Leonard, "Castro's Library". The exhibition is accompanied by a 24 page full-colour catalogue with texts by Peggy Gale.
I'm jealous of Jean-Paul for getting his Master's. Now he will think himself better than me. I'm glad I got a refill on my happy little pills. They help me live down such situations. Congrats, J-P!

*Update: Doh! Apparently, it's an MVS and not an MVA. Skyped with J.-P. today and he set me straight. He also told me that our friend, Jeremy Drummond, won a big art award. I took another pill.

More Links From The Streets

Fresh on the heels of the Grafedia project, we now have Blockies (courtesy of the Eyebeam ReBlog).

Blockies are stickers that link to photos and are used with camera phones. Each sticker has a unique code which can be linked to a photo that you designate to it. Other users/viewers can punch the sticker code into their phones to see your pic. As an added feature, they can also add their photo to yours, making an album in a single location, using a single sticker. So far, it looks like only NYC is playing. And most of the linked photos are repeaters from the same source. It will be interesting to see if this project gets fully under way.

Overall, I prefer the Grafedia Project. The idea of hand rendered hyperlinks throughout cities is much more interesting. If only they linked to video and/or audio as well.

Monday, April 18, 2005

From Now On...

...all art should be made of chocolate and served at openings in place of hummus.

Sunday, April 17, 2005



The above pic was sent to my email by a crossdresser who requested information on eyebrow shaping. I was not very helpful in the matter but it was nice of her to think of me.

Virtual Contact

I once had an affair, of sorts, consisting of emails and phonecalls. It went on for the better part of a year and was quite good. Sadly, we met.

I'm saying this now because, I recently answered a post from the strictly platonic section of craigslist:
virtual contact - m4w - 44

interested in e-mail buddies, preferrably with slightly neurotic but not dangerous and maybe strangely attractive women, with little hope of meeting (I am usually preoccupied, and in a relationship, etc.) but with intent to stretch out a little and maybe feel something, or conceive of something, new-ish. I am perhaps a little philosophical, enjoy stating the obvious, and like books and art and music, and natural things too, walking, beaches, all that Vancouver laid-back stuff.
Send me whatever, a note, a comment, a critique.
I'll respond with my ....
This was something I hadn't tried before - trying to begin a correspondence without any previous connection to the participant. I wondered what would happen. What would we talk about? How does one begin?

I've been at it for less than a week now and, let me tell you, it's difficult. Maybe I'm just too tired to play the word game any longer. I'm losing my touch.

This afternoon, I painted and it felt good. It reminded me of how much I used to enjoy it - before I went to school learned that it was dead.

Saturday, April 16, 2005

Anonymous Email Gift


I Am Having Nightmares

Once, when I was still full of bravado, I told W. that I liked the feeling of falling. He was most intrigued which, I suppose, was my goal. I may have even believed it at the time.

What I was referring to was artmaking on the fly - a dangerous game of free fall where my reputation (limited as it was) was continually at stake. Showing up for a performance with only the slightest notion of what was going to happen.

Now that I'm at it again, I'm finding that I don't have the stomach for it. I long for structure. I crave absolutes. I think I'm getting an ulcer.

That damn show is coming up and the plane is ascending. Soon the crowd will assemble below and I will be expected to jump. I wish I had packed a parachute.

Friday, April 15, 2005

My Life Has A Soundtrack

Today I took the day off of words and listened to music. I listened to:

Aimee Mann - I am filled with melancholy

Rufus Wainwright - I think I might be in love with him.

Gordon Lightfoot - I was in love with someone (I fear I may be still) who liked to play Lightfoot while we lay in bed.

Leonard Cohen - I, too, am a beautiful loser

5. 6. 7. 8's - to get me out of the funk caused by the above listening choices

Thursday, April 14, 2005

I Have Seen The Enemy...

...and it is theory. Once we have discredited the theorists, we will again have Truth and Morality! We will feel again. We will be better people.

I read this old article today from Salon called I Was Michel Foucault's Love Slave. It was a fun read and I know that many will enjoy it and agree with the author.
I saw the best minds of my generation destroyed by theory, well-fed complacent leather-coated, dragging themselves through the Caucasian campuses at dawn looking for an angry signifier.

...Theory had suffused my life so thoroughly that I couldn't get laid, get drunk and get sick without paying homage to Roland Barthes' notion of the "artifice of realism" or Baudrillard's "simulacra."

Then, to round out my day, I went to and checked out the Lego Foucault that came with this caption:
The lego Michel Foucault comes with a Parisian library for younger children or with the Lego San Fransico S/M Dungeon for older boys and girls.

but it only reminded me of The Block Structure Porn Series

Wednesday, April 13, 2005

Body Issues

B sent me a link to a story about a pair of twins who practice body modification. They seem to be in the process of incorporating each other's limbs onto their own bodies. As they consider themselves essentially the same person, they do not see this as a loss but as a rearrangement of features. They consider themselves artists.
When people see the arm, they think it was an accident -- transplants like this do get done every once in a while for medical reasons. The finger though, that's art. We challenge anyone to take body art to a higher level.

This made me think of Orlan and her high production values. While I am interested in her use of her own body as raw material, I have not been all that impressed with the performative tropes she uses - the costumes, the readings, the set, etc. It has always seemed to me that she is continually adding elements as a form of theoretical justification instead of allowing the acts of modification to speak for themselves. Perhaps, she feels that modifications alone would not be enough to engage a critical art audience. Perhaps, she thinks the mis-en-scene would be better for photographs. Or, perhaps, she wants to distinguish herself as apart from people like Dave and Ryan.

I know that Orlan's modifications are based on representations of women in an art historical context. I find this only moderately interesting. I suppose this is one conceptually based series of performances in which the materiality of the actions speak louder than it's quotations. As bodied people, her surgeries dissect perceptions and anxieties about our own bodies. I am fascinated and repulsed by the images of the process. The final product, for me, is inconsequential.

I am curious, however, about her day to day life - grocery shopping, mowing the lawn, taking her dog for a walk. I suppose, without her Art Hat on, she'd just be another freak for the gawkers.

I would like to see her at a body modification convention. She could meet up with Ryan and Dave, Ryan could put his three arms around her, and there would be a tender and awkward embrace...

but I digress.

Tuesday, April 12, 2005

I Am An Artist...I Think

I read Jennifer McMackon's post on simpleposie concerning a review of the current show at the Power Plant and wrote her a response. My response really has nothing to do with the show. I have not seen it and, likely, I never will. Thought I'd post it here, however, because I am lazy today and can think of nothing else to write about. So, without further ado:
i like this post. it makes me wish that i could see the show for myself and have something to say about it. but, i can't, so i won't.

so i guess i'll talk about your post and some of the things it made me think about.

first of all, i love posts that start with a personal story. they make my toes wiggle.

second, i'm always wonderous of the continued blathering over what constitutes art. that is an old bone we've been chewing on much longer than "conceptualism" and yet, to use Comeau's words, "it keeps churning away".

while i am not a big fan of work that can only be made intelligible after a master's in theory, i do love work that gets a conversation going - that causes me to consider associations, references, histories i hadn't considered before. i also love work that inspires feeling in me - be it happiness, longing, regret,etc. for many, a lovingly crafted object is just the thing. not me. ideas make me hot!

Conceptualism doesn't have to be based on the writings of so-and-so and come with a bibliography. it's about ideas. sadly, it's true, too many artists prefer the safe thoughts of theorists to their own jumbled introspections. this is a failing of the artists and not of conceptualism.

sometimes, the idea is more interesting than the product created to illustrate the idea for the benefit of a gallery setting. why get rid of the idea? why not get rid of the gallery? i would be happy to see an end to the material entirely! after all, haven't we had material art for thousands of years? isn't it over yet?

of course, the side of me that wants gallery shows is horrified at the thought. i think that is the real problem with conceptual art. we stand on the ledge, but we're too scared to jump.

Monday, April 11, 2005

On The Town Again


Another Saturday night on the town


Sophie Calle is one of my favorite artists. K sent me a link to an article in a December issue of The Guardian and I was particularly interested in this part:
Calle admits that she is given to introspection when unhappy. Grief is inevitably a better subject than joy, she argues. "When I'm happy I don't photograph the moment to share with people on the wall of a museum. It doesn't translate so well. Do people like hearing someone's story about how happy they are? Not usually," she says. "I was happy with someone for seven years recently and all my friends were very worried about what I was going to produce in this pink period. I did produce a lot but mainly it wasn't about me; I didn't feel like I needed to use my feelings."

I have been interested in her performances since one of my professors pointed her out to me in school. He thought that what I was doing at the time related to her work. I can see how it looks that way. I get involved with strangers and make work out of the experience.

Since then, however, I've become increasingly uncomfortable revealing things about my participants. For example, I just posted the Bondage-A-Go-Go text and now I'm feeling bad. It's true, I did delete his website address and I haven't posted his real name or his pic, but it still worries me.

Also, I think that I should have told him that I'm an artist. I think he surmised it toward the end and that's why he disappeared so suddenly. He must have felt exposed. And now, here I am, making it worse.

I am quite protective of many of my participants. I try to talk about things in a way that only reveals my own part in a performance.

On the other hand, the fact that artphotographer777 is an artist compels me post this discussion. Now, I'm sitting here, wondering why...


artphotography777: I'm an artist from Vancouver Canada. Do you want to talk for a while?

theonemissmew: lol. is that a fact?

artphotography777: yes. you mean that i'm from Vancouver, or that i'm an artist?

theonemissmew: i just had to check your profile to see if you're anyone i know. you don't look familiar...

artphotography777: that's ok, we can get to know each other now

theonemissmew: what type of photography?

artphotography777: (website address deleted for privacy) i guess your not submissive?

theonemissmew: hmmmm....depends on who i'm with. i'm just looking at your site at the moment...

artphotography777: not from what have read on your profile. ok, take your time.

theonemissmew: this is my Domme profile. i like to wear it from time to time. my other one is a_fiesty_kitten

artphotography777: ic. is this more of a bed room thing for you?

theonemissmew: again, it depends on who i'm with. it has been more.

artphotography777: ic. how long have you been into this

theonemissmew: about four years. i haven't seen you in here before...roaming?

artphotography777: yes.

theonemissmew: are you interested/involved in the lifestyle or are you a tourist tonight?

artphotography777: hmm. i like to take charge in bed. out of bed, i like my girl to dress certan way

theonemissmew: a certain way? and what way is that?

artphotography777: i perfer her to bed feminine. like to wear sexy shoes, paints her nails and so on. at least some of the time

theonemissmew: ic

artphotography777: are you feminine?

theonemissmew; i like to dress up from time to time.

artphotography777: what do you look like, height, weight and so on...

theonemissmew: you are quite interested in appearance, i see. must be the photographer in you.

artphotography777: i'm 5.9 155. thanks

theonemissmew: i am 5'10"

artphotography777: tall

theonemissmew: yes. in heels i am especially tall

artphotography777: im sure. what are you main interests in bed

theonemissmew: i answered your pm because i was interested to see what type of photography you did. i'm not particularly interested in a sexual discussion right now. i hope that you understand.

artphotography777: yes. its ok. im falling asleep anyway, out of energy

theonemissmew: yes. it's late. thankyou for letting me see your work.

artphotography777: welcome

theonemissmew: do you allow people to post it on other sites to show others?

artphotography777: depends on the site. only sites for art and business

theonemissmew: well, it is an art site

artphotography777: yes

theoneemissmew: would you like a link to your site?

artphotography777: from where? you mean from your yahoo page?

theonemissmew: no another site. an art related site

Sunday, April 10, 2005

Getting To Know The Neighbours

jr's house

Somewhere in Texas, someone sent me this pic.

Saturday, April 09, 2005

This Is What I Do

Last night, I received an email asking, "...what the fuck kind of art you do..."

I always have difficulty with this question and I need to work on a suitable response as it comes up often. Actually, I think it's why I took a vacation from the whole art scene for a couple of years. Well, that and I was too busy with my fake/real porn site.

The truth is, I'm not exactly sure what I do either. This can be freeing. No matter what I'm doing at the moment, I can console myself with the conviction that "it's what I do".

It is also difficult because I will never be invited to sit on an artist's panel and I understand that they pay for those sorts of things and you even get a per diem amount for expenses. I just don't think they would pay me to say that what I do is sit on panels, having discussions. But then, you never know.

I can tell you some of the things I have done, however.

I've had performances for audiences of one. I can't tell you what happened, however, because it is a secret.

I have asked strangers to go into photobooths with me and have our photos taken. I don't have these photos. I gave them to my participants as momentos.

I have set up a telephone in an art gallery and phoned in which is, I find out, a rip off of a yoko ono performance. Mine took a slightly different turn, however, when one of my participants asked me to dinner and I accepted and another performance resulted. Documentation for the spin off performance exists only as a story I tell when I am particularly drunk.

I have also used text, video, webcam and even objects.

Mostly, I think of others. I am interested in forming relationships and exploring the line where I end and someone else begins.

I hope I've answered the question.

Haven In A Heartless World

This morning, I fell upon Chasing Love, by Miguel Macias at the website.

Chasing Love is an intricate one hour audio piece on the complexities of romance in the age of Capitalism. You need time to relax with it so it's not for the quick fly-by. Download the mp3 and take it for a walk. You'll be glad that you did.

Using conversation as a method to invite participants to talk about their experience of love, Macias intersperses highly structured segments which include theoretical analyses and actors playing out all too familiar situations.

If you visit this site and have a listen (and I recommend that you do), check out the comments section. A good read.

From Pamela:
I'll never forget the first time I heard this piece, hurtling on the A train to Harlem, through a pair of headphones that had been slipped over my ears. I remember feeling overwhelmed by the richness of its texture — the uniqueness of a piece of art that melodically weaves together controversial ideas, cultural analysis, and straight-up passion and pain. Feeling all that, beside someone I love, I couldn't stop smiling.

The second time, I was on a plane to Los Angeles, leaving behind someone I love, and, feeling all that, I cried.

Friday, April 08, 2005

Call Me?

I was up all night skyping with an online acquaintance. We discussed our daily lives, our health concerns, our fears and our dreams. We listened to each other's favorite songs. When I went to bed this morning, I went over the things that we talked about - everything that I could remember - and smiled until I saw the sun rise and heard the people upstairs getting up for work.

What I find so odd/wonderful about VoIP, is that lonely people now have permission to place calls to strangers without a recommendation for therapy. I wondered if, when telephones were first invented, there were people dialing numbers randomly - not for the typical obscene phonecall - but as a way to make a connection to another human being.

I remember when I was young and married (the loneliest point in my life) receiving a wrong number call from a woman of similar circumstance. We laughed and talked for over two hours. I wish we had exchanged numbers. I suppose that would've been going too far...

Today, on Craigslist, I find this plea:
Hello, I'm simply looking for a good friend. I'm in my 20's and a truly good person. I hope you contact me after you read this little paragraph. I'm in my 20's, I'm thin, sane, straight, considerate and I live near Berkeley/Oakland. I create Websites for a living and I'm not in school. I'm an artistic and unique man. All I ask is that you're a good person and you're not obese because I live a pretty healthy lifestyle. Well, we may become great friends but we'll never know unless you call me. (Five, one, zero) four, six, seven - nine, zero, three, four. If you can't call right now please include your Phone number on your email. No Phone number no reply because I'm looking for someone to meet ... I'm not looking for a penpal. That's about it.

Take care and call soon.

Thursday, April 07, 2005

In The Spirit Of Generosity

I’ve often thought that there are two varieties of artists. There’s the fussy type, which I tend to be, who always censor themselves, and then there are people like Miles Davis and Prince who just say, “Look, if it came from me, it’s probably good.” There’s a certain generosity in that. Which category of artist do you fall into?

Brian Eno

I have sometimes been accused of stinginess in relation to my art. Since I have begun this blog, I've been thinking alot about this stinginess and how it is ultimately a manifestation of my fear of looking like a fool.

Hopefully, through posting, I will be able to confront this fear by generously supplying my audience with my every errant thought and image. In the spirit of this newfound freedom, I present you with a view from my bedroom window.

the view

Wednesday, April 06, 2005

Let's Get Scheme Cookin'!

Spring is in the air and an artist's thoughts turn to grants.

In honour of this annual phenomenon, I present the grant writing episode of The Theory of Everthing, by Benjamin Walker. As Walker claims in one of his grant app rough drafts, TOE is for "the most under served audience there is: the individual".

Thankyou, Mark Frauenfelder of Boing Boing for pointing me to this fabulous radio show!

Massive Mau

Kevin Hampson went to the Massive Change show at the AGO and I invited him to describe what he saw and how he felt about it. This is what he said:

massive change
I finally managed to get to the blockbuster show in Toronto, MASSIVE CHANGE: THE FUTURE OF GLOBAL DESIGN. I was excited to be passing through the walls of screaming text to view this much hyped show after putting it off for far too long. I wanted to be moved and catalyzed for change but, ultimately, I left disappointed.

For a design show, I found it poorly designed. The layout was awkward and any signage regarding the objects on display was often too small in relation to the space around it. There were many aspects of the show I appreciated and learned from but, for the most part, it fell flat.

I've been increasingly bothered by the declarative text drifting out of the show to the city around it. This fear was met head on when I entered the first room to a triple video projection of the new urban reality of the world. Black vinyl text on the right wall read: Reject the romantic notion of the individual. Embrace the plural. As I watched the video about reconceptualizing the world as a city subject to urban planning like any other, I couldn't help feeling a cultish chill. "Join us! Join us now!!" Bruce Mau and his horde seemed to scream. If we must develop this urban landscape in the singular and efficient manner they suggest, I wonder who will get the contract? I couldn't think of any group I wanted making large global design decisions on how we live.

The whole show was wrapped in utopian language but the creepy subtext kept leaking out. I was excited by the possibility of inexpensive self-cleaning glass that would do away with harsh cleansers and the flexible fabric lighting that could be placed anywhere. The potato and corn-based disposable food containers are a great alternative, a sort of "good" garbage or instant compost. Unfortunately they were next to the vinyl pronouncement: We will design evolution and We will seamlessly integrate all supply and demand around the world.

The fascist tone was deafening. Who chooses this design? Is it thrust upon us?

Attempts at democratic inclusivity periodically surfaced via voting booths, offering the choice of "for" or "against". Topics covered included such hot button issues as putting vaccines into vegetables in order to do away with syringes and other debates on genetically modified foods. However, the slips of paper were all used up so I could only speculate which side was winning based on the size of its pile in the plexi box. One resourceful visitor had left a note on top of the box that read, "You give me no choice". Having seen MASSIVE CHANGE, I find this response rather appropriate.

Tuesday, April 05, 2005

I am a Social Butterfly

I believe that I am far too cynical and bitter. I am also endlessly hopeful and sentimental.
These opposing forces have resulted in several sleepless nights and a greatly enlarged buddy list.

I'm a Romantic

I looked up the word romance and came up with a long list of possible meanings. I discovered, for instance, that, as a verb, it can stand in for both love and lie.

This has been a frequent suspicion of mine. I'm glad that it's finally been resolved.

Monday, April 04, 2005

Oh Where, Oh Where?

I checked out the Conversational Location Project by J Gabriel Lloyd today

This performance piece featured at Glowlab has a goal - to find Jenny, an old school friend purported to be working somewhere in Boston, through conversations with strangers.

Lloyd takes a friend, a camcorder and a sign and begins his journey to find the elusive Jenny through the power of person to person networking. He takes to the streets of Boston, an unfamiliar city, and begins asking passers by if they know Jenny or know where he might begin looking for her.

I love the idea behind this project. In attempting to find his lost friend, Lloyd is making connections that map out the city in a winding narrative. I don't like the sign and suit that he uses as legitimating devices (it makes him look like a salesman or a missionary) and would have preferred him in jeans and a backpack. He may have gotten better responses as well.

This is supposedly the first of a series of such performances so he may yet perfect his style. Nevertheless, I was quite happy to run into it. If you check it out, don't forget to click on the Play Media link above his picture.

While you're at it, you may also want to check out There There by Jackie Goss on Cabinet Magazine's Web Art Projects page - an engaging journey through the ideological manipulations of mapmaking

Sunday, April 03, 2005

I Am Cyborg

To become cyborg, one does not eat the apple of the knowledge of good and evil, but something more like the body of the deity, the host of disembodied information.

Margaret Morse
Virtualites: Television, Media Art, and Cyberculture, pg 129

The Case of Corey

Like many of you in Bloggerville, I've been reading about the story of Corey, the homeless boy, hooked up to a wi-fi connection at a Starbucks in Manhattan. I have especially enjoyed the numerous comments to these stories that range from sympathy to disgust concerning Corey's circumstances but my favorite comment, by far, comes from teenwolf on chris diclerico's blog:
"This person marks the unshakeable presence of our digital age. Here is a revolutionary who has no personal posessions nor a means of income in the "respectable" sense to support himself. Yet, he is able to stay alive and has the belief that his future lays in discarded technology. He has nothing else except for the bare essentials: his tools to communicate and his brain. Yet it is sufficient enough for him to find purpose in day-today living.

This person is not stupid. He is smart enough to make discarded computers operational and go on-line through wi-fi. This marks the complete abandon, belief and reliability of technology to enhance our livelihood - regardless if you have money or non at all.


Yes, as "dreamseeker" has so aptly pointed out, this is a revolutionary phenomenon. He has obviously made the courageous philosophical choice to believe that his future lays entirely in discarded technology. This is clearly someone who has a very new and distinctive digital philosophy and is someone that we should look to for insights into the new age we find ourselves facing...

...This is no slack-jawed gawker my friends, this is the digital prophet for our generation.

Perhaps unwittingly, teenwolf hits on an issue that is dear to me - the abandonment of r/l for an o/l world.

In the Real World, Corey is a homeless spectacle, an object of ridicule, pity, and irritation. At the same time, like all homeless people, he is willed into invisibility by the Real Worlders. A homeless person is a type of ghost, existing in non-existence. I know because I have been a ghost and, in many ways, I still am.

I live in the Virtual World. Rent and DSL hold equal importance to me but, if I was forced to choose, I would choose the DSL. Real Worlders call it frivolous. Virtual Worlders know better.

What saddens me most about this story is that Corey's previously protected enclave has been infiltrated. Soon his online identity will be discovered. It is only a matter of time before he will be rooted out. His Virtual home will be wrested from him and he will be forced back into Reality by malicious and well-meaning aide.

And then, where would he be?

Saturday, April 02, 2005

Love Productions

As many of you already know, I am interested in the idea of creating an empathetic response to images of happiness and love.

To this end, I've been following the relationship between two video bloggers, Ryanne Hodson and Jay Dedman. They met through viewing each other on their respective blogs and have now moved in together in an apartment in Manhattan.

It's very strange and wonderful watching the romance between these two likable bloggers. The only thing I know about them is what I gather from their sites, which is rich in personal content. I admit to feeling quite close to this pair.

The videos are shot, edited and presented by the subjects/creators in an effort to create a narrative about themselves. There is plenty of subtext in the long stares and the loving pans. Their cameras touch each other intimately and , by extension, me.

Speaking of Unlikely Relationships

I promised K. that I would relate a story he told me recently concerning T., a mutual friend of ours.

It seems that after T. moved out west in the pursuit of lofty artistic goals, he began a long distance relationship with a girl in Montreal. During the last known communication with him, he was preparing for a trip to visit her and was quite nervous about it. The girl in question, you see, has split personality disorder and while the girl he was dating adored him, her alter ego hated him.

What would happen if he went all that way only to be met by the venomous other?

Love is hard.

A Strange(r) Incident

From the questions I posed on simpleposie:

2. Have you ever felt like touching a complete stranger on the bus?

I ask this because I once participated in a very strange incident involving, not the bus, but the Robert Q airport shuttle, from Toronto to London. I'm still trying to understand why it happened and if I did the right thing.

I was just getting back from an extended trip to Seattle and I was tired and cranky. The Robert Q was crowded, which I hate, and I was forced to sit on the back bench, squeezed in by strangers and anonymous carry on luggage. I leaned forward, my forehead pressing down on the seat in front of me, and fell asleep.

At some point during the trip, I began to realize that the pleasant dream I was having was induced by the boy sitting in front of me. He was rubbing my head.

It was a very strange sensation this discovery brought about. I wasn't sure what the protocol was for such an event. Do I scream? Hit him? I kept my eyes closed. This required some thought and planning.

I had seen this boy getting onto the Robert Q. He wasn't a stereotypical public pervert. No long coat. His hair was nicely styled. He smelled nice. Young. Vibrant. Good looking. Clean cut. This presented a dilemma.

You see, I really like having my head rubbed. It felt good. Soothing. And what was the harm in it?

He paused briefly, suddenly, when I turned my head so that he could get the other side. His breathing stopped. I nudged him with my head. He continued.

He got out at the stop before mine. It was a bit awkward. I sat up so that he could remove his arm from the back of the seat. I looked up, my hair knotted and messy and we said our silent goodbyes, smiling and nodding.

Friday, April 01, 2005

I Feel So Dirty

I had no idea that my computer screen had faded to a smokey grey until I tried out Ambrosia's free utility, Screen Cleaner Pro 1.0. My Mac friends have to get this! Everything is so clear now. I feel happier. My life does not seem so bleak.

Just download it, double click on the utility and...nothing happens for about ten minutes. Then, (if you have short term memory loss like I do) when you have forgetten all about it, a balled up rag appears from out of nowhere and wipes down your screen. You will be amazed. You will be enthralled. You may giggle. Don't worry. This is quite normal.

I am delighted by small pleasures.


I have been given the opportunity to pose ten questions for simpleposie, Jennifer McMakon's art blog/project. They have been posted today.

I've been watching and reading her site since I started No Practice and I can't quite figure it out yet. Jennifer posts daily questions. Is it an art project? The numbering of the question-entries point in that direction although there are regular entries (non-question related) as well. Is there a certain number of questions she is trying to attain? If so, when she arrives at that number, will the questions suddenly cease? Is an endless stream of questions a conversation? The beginnings of one? Is she eliciting conversation/connection or are the questions solely for the sake of asking? Why am I asking so many questions about a site about questions? Is it contagious? Will I be able to stop?