Wednesday, August 31, 2005

You're Fired

Video artist and employee at the Metropolitan Museum of Art, Dalas Verdugo, is forced to resign after the museum directors discover that he was videotaping in the building. Watch his vlog on the matter here.

Something's Wrong

From Tate Magazine, Issue 1, Something's Wrong: Melanie McGrath on Tracey Emin:
You see, Tracey Emin is narcissistic. And by that I don't mean that she loves herself. I mean that Tracey Emin loves an image which may or may not be herself but of which she can never be sure. I mean that Emin only half recognises her own projection. And this, of course, is why her work is so lonely, so furious and so demanding of attention. When you look at Tracey Emin's work you see the artist struggling to reach herself, compelled by her own self-consciousness to fail and condemned by the self-same thing to begin again. What you see up on the wall or in the bed or on the screen is Emin's own reflection, exiled. As a result Emin has been criticised for being nothing more than a biographical documentarist, concerned only with the mundane minutiae of her narcissistic personality. 'It's so unmediated, I wonder if it's art,' says Julian Stallabrass, a critic of Emin's work. But that is both to misunderstand and to miss the point. While it's true that little of Emin's work is a commentary on the business of art itself, Emin is herself the mediator between her experience and its expression. The human world consists in individual lives lived and the connections between them. By exposing her own life to public view, Emin makes those connections. Anxiety, neediness, powerlessness, exhilaration, tenderness, the fear that one is condemned to live inside a reflection of oneself, attached only to the image. Who hasn't felt these things? Who hasn't looked in the mirror and thought, 'There's something wrong'?

All We Need Is Love?

And, from Art and the Greater Good, by Emily Vey Duke:
And as ludicrous as it may seem, we can advocate for narcissism as a viable road to empathy (and the reduction of suffering) in art. Benny Nemerofsky Ramsay's videos, for instance, are perhaps the most explicitly narcissistic works I have ever seen, and yet those tapes open hearts. The element that joins narcissism and empathy is love, and love is good, always, everywhere.

Out Of The Picture?

On the lack of female representation in the famous Famous Artists List from the Guardian article, Painted Out of the Picture, by Natasha Walter:
...they are often celebrated for staying within the realm of what we feel women's art should be - above all, the personal and emotional. Tracey Emin fits the bill precisely, with her flayed personality on view in all her art...

...the danger is that fascination with their personal lives can divert us from looking straight at the work, and that can hardly help the women to blossom fully as artists rather than narcissistic personalities. How can they feel that they have an appreciative audience, rather than hangers-on and snipers, as long as their faces remain more famous than their art? In the end, such art may well be denied its place in the canon for exactly the qualities that made it such a success: because it is so personal and fashionable, it runs the risk of being seen as ephemeral.

Monday, August 29, 2005

Ironman Canada

I walked down to the Ironman competition yesterday and took some pics of the final leg - the run. 2200 men and women participated this year.

The competition consists of a 3.86km swim in Okanagan Lake, a 180.2km bike ride through the south Okanagan Valley, and, finally, 42.2km run to Okanagan Falls and back.




This guy was having a tough time. When I snapped the pic, he looked up and said, "yeah, thanks", clearly unimpressed with my voyeuristic impulse.

This guy had completed the event and was down at the finish watching others running in. I was impressed with the number of participants who finished early then stayed to spur the others on.

D. will be posting video of the event at Byte Me, if you want to have a look. It should be up sometime this week. We missed the swim at 7am, unfortunately - my fault for drinking wine and having a meltdown about my own inadequacies.

Watching the event was both inspiring and depressing. I thought about my own flawed body, struggling to walk down the street, and fantasized that I was in the running, crossing the finish line, receiving my medal amid the boistrous accolades of the spectators.

At midnight, the cutoff for official time, a woman in her fifties crossed the finish line with one second to spare. Just before her, a seventy-four year old woman set a world time record for her age group. There were others that didn't make the official time. The clocks that started at seven that morning were stopped at midnight.

I thought about the others - the ones who would run on after the party dispersed and the cameras were turned off. A hundred and fifty participants were still running in - a hundred and fifty who missed the clock after seventeen hours of grueling labour.

There were fireworks. I watched from D.'s balcony for a moment, cut off by a stand of trees, seeing the odd flash of light, and I went to bed resolving to be a better person.

Saturday, August 27, 2005

Camera Politics

A video warrior got footage of a legal party in Utah which was shut down by the National Guard.

This comes on the same day that police in Pittsburg tasered a peaceful protester with a taser, while she was already on the ground.

See video of both assaults mixed into one video here. The daylight footage is of the taser incident. Posted on under the tag Gods and Government.

Are assaults like this becoming more prevelant or is documentation of these incidents changing the power dynamic?

A google search on "camera photographing police" brought up many articles and several questions about cameras and cops, who has the right to use a camera and who doesn't.

People are arrested for taking pictures at rallies and in public places in general while the police up surveillance on citizens, photographing crowds of demonstrators. Surveillance cameras on city streets are on the rise and everyone is targeted. At the same time, taking pictures on the street can get your camera confiscated.

Monday, August 22, 2005

Why I Haven't Been Blogging

I'm in survival mode.

I'm feeling uncreative and unmotivated.

I haven't received my test results yet and probably won't for a while. Thank you to those who expressed concern for my well being. I'm all right.

Wednesday, August 17, 2005

Experiencing The Vlog

As you all know and are probably sick of by now, I've been pushing vlogging. I've been interested in it for several reasons. One of them came into focus last night while I chatted with K.

Kevin Hampson is currently showing in Alley Jaunt, a site specific show in Toronto featuring twenty-two community artists. We talked about how this group differs from the art crowd that we are familiar with and how the aesthetic of community arts groups do not necessarily follow the art canon we subscribe to. In such a milieu, it becomes difficult to gauge what is "good" or "interesting" or "important".

Unlike blogging, the emphasis in vlogging is on the visual and people who are, otherwise, not involved in film making or the arts try their hand at creating visual works.

Is vlogging art? Does it depend on who makes it? on the subject matter? the genre? How do we know if a vlog is "good" or not?

So, as I've been experimenting with and experiencing the life of vlogging, I've been thinking about the various genres within the sphere. I've even tried my hand at a few.
Talking head - often to express a point of view. usually a reply to someone or something previously posted in the vlogosphere. used as a form of communication between members of the group.

Michael Verdi - The Yin of Vlogging

Comedy/entertainment - can be anything as long as it is funny. "in" jokes concerning other vloggers are prominent.

Michael Verdi - The Yang of Vlogging

Experimental/art video - video that exists as a discreet object, made for conceptual/aesthetic reasons. use of special effects is prominent. serious subject matter. sometimes carries a political and/or personal message. more often, the effect is entirely visual.


Music video - the song predominates. many of these use copyrighted material. interesting to see what will happen with that...

Bicycle Sidewalk - Brown Brothers

Tour video - touring the local area and/or speaking to local inhabitants. usually slice of life based and can include tours of the videographers home and family as well as the neighbourhood, town, vacation spots, etc.

Geek-boy - Downtown Manhattan

Reportage - report on a specific event/location/person. often using visible tech devices (mic, lighting, set, etc) and "news" conventions (the interview, the talking head)


Documentary - maintains the conventions of documentary filmmaking, albeit, on a smaller scale

CSF Vlog - The Truth About Turbans

Instructional - meant to teach a concept or activity

Heads Off - Learn to Juggle

Documentation - recording an event that happened in realtime for those who couldn't make it is a big part of vlogging and helps solidify the community

Ryanne's Video Blog - A Little Bit of BlogHer

Gimmick serial - a set of videos which adhere to a predetermined criteria, housed in a blog that contextualizes the series.

White Guy Eats Foreign Food - Bubble Tea

Personal/confessional - the video maker reveals aspects of their physical and mental world.

Backinblakk - My Breakfast in 7 Minutes

Collaborative - these are very popular community projects in which all who wish can participate. The primary benefit of these videos is community spirit. Mashes are popular, as are virus type projects whereby a theme is put out by one of the members and all who wish can create something and tag it with the theme word(s).

Swordfight - eband

How do we critique these works? Do we follow the canon of Art, or of Film? Would the Home Movie be more appropriate? TV? Can we take the video out of the context of the vlogosphere and have it retain it's meaning or is "signal" in one context only "noise" in another?

Saturday, August 13, 2005

A Quicktime Gallery

There are lots of great quicktime projects at DVblog. It works like a gallery of online works and, if you'd like your stuff included, send them your info. T. Whid of MTAA-RR is one of the contributing editors of this site (and a member of the videoblogging group) is a Vlog and platform for artists and scholars for presenting or publishing stand-alone and other quicktime works. The site is a resource for digital art, net cinema and experimental moving image projects. We invite you to Send us links to quicktime works :)

Thursday, August 11, 2005

Some Tech Talk

It has occurred to me that the reason more video artists don't post their video on the web may be that they are worried about the costs of hosting content. I know that this has been a problem for online galleries but it need not be any longer.

There are a variety of places online that will host your content free of charge. The Internet Archive has been a big help in getting stuff out into the world. They promote Creative Commons licensing so that you can designate the details of your content sharing.

CC licensing is not, I repeat not, giving up your rights as an artist. It is a way for you to stipulate the ways in which you allow others to use your works as well as restricting permissions. For example, my works are CC licensed as Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 2.0. This means that you may collect/show my stuff if you attribute the work to me, you are not selling it in any way, and you do not use my content to make derivatives that you attribute to yourself.

In practical applications this means that you may post my content on your blog as long as you say it's mine. You are not permitted to plagiarize my stuff and pass if off as your own. Galleries that show my work would still be expected to negotiate a contract.

Not only is Internet Archive useful as a repository for your work, it is also a great source for public domain and CC content that you can use without fear of copyright woes in the creation of new works.

Currently, load times for video have been slow due to dramatically increased usage of the archive. Because of this, I know longer use it to point to my videos although, I still upload them into their system for philosophical reasons.

For fast load times, I suggest posting to You don't need a website to connect the content to. Sign up as a member and upload your videos. There is a built in audience at the site and you are free to direct folks to your content via the web address provided.

This is a great way to apply to video shows, etc, as no hard copy is needed. I hope that galleries will get on board. It would certainly make the gallery submission process easier and cheaper for all concerned.

It is very important when posting video to use the right compression. You can get information on how to do this and much more from places like

Why do I care whether other artists use this technology to post video? Because I live in a place with no contemporary art scene. No show opening/pub crawls. The only stuff I see is what I see online.

I long for content. Show me your stuff.

Biopsy Day Arrives...

Tuesday, August 09, 2005

Love For Sale

While surfing the art blogoshere this afternoon, I found a superb project at In The Conversation called LOST.

While an old project, I believe that it is still ongoing or, at the very least, relevant to my practice. LOST is a performance project by Kathe Izzo, a followup of sorts to her True Love Project, wherein she meets individually with participants and engages them in a variety of agreed upon situations. In LOST, as I understand it, she agrees to meet with individuals via the cell phone. They must find each other. Once found, they try to get to know one another in various, non-scripted ways. This is where the performance takes on a life of it's own.

Izzo considers love to be her art.
The following is a the email documentation of a LOST contract transaction with the Love Artist Kathe Izzo. LOST is an adjunct to The True Love Project, and, like TLP, is an ongoing series of private love performances (beginning in April 2002), in which the artist promises to love the world one person at a time, for one day, hour, afternoon or morning at a time.
What follows is an email exchange between her and one of her participants. I love reading other people's emails and this was a good read. Carolyn, Izzo's correspondant, readily provides personal information. I like that in a correspondant.

Upon more research, I discovered that Izzo charges for these meetings. This saddened me. Also, I wondered if my performances would be better received if my participants were paying through the nose. Would they feel that it was less tawdry? More genuine? I don't know.

I am going to have to think about this one...

Digital Miracles

Well, I've finally cleaned up my links and will be adding more over the next little while. This way, I feel like I'm still hard at work on my blog when, in reality, I've been a complete slacker.

Tomorrow, I go for a biopsy on my neck. I am bringing a videographer with me and will record the event for posterity and the morbidly curious. My hope is that something miraculous will occur and I will capture it in pixels.

Monday, August 08, 2005

What It's All About


This is prime vlogging. You won't see this on television. Thankyou, Missing Kitten

Friday, August 05, 2005

Mummy, Mummy

click to view clip

Quicktime, ~8Mb, 1min. 57 sec.

*Crossposted on Byte Me

Thursday, August 04, 2005

How To Practice Evolution

Someone in Toronto came to this site after doing a search for "do manic depressives have the right to hit".

I think that manic depressives should be hit. Tied up, too, if possible. It would give them something to cry about. I know it works for me.

Someone in the United Arab Emirates came to this site after doing a search for "practice sex". I'm not quite sure how that plays out.

Someone in LA came to this site after doing a search for "how to practice a kiss".

That's nice.

I've been sick for the last few days and unable to blog. Even now, I don't feel much like it. It's become an obligation to fulfill. It lets my friends know that I'm still alive, that I haven't gone and done anything drastic like kill myself or become a Mormon. I must have a volatile personality.

The truth is, the doctors have found a tumour in my neck, just under my left ear. I think I'm really growing two distinct heads. One of my heads will be in charge of making and caring about art. The other will handle more practical matters. I am evolving.