Showing posts with label artists research. Show all posts
Showing posts with label artists research. Show all posts

Monday, July 25, 2011

21st Century Macrame: Open Source and the Maker Movement

i thought i would share the thesis statement for my lecture since i mentioned it in my first post on Kickstarter lessons. i will writing about the accompanying laboratory in this year's faculty exhibition pretty soon.

21st Century Macrame: Open Source and the Maker Movement
The re-emergence of the do-it-yourself culture as a social movement, cultural form, and genre.

In the latter half of the 1960's and throughout the 1970's, a group of independent artisans and everyday people shared a moment of intense creativity that sought to return to the 'handmade'. This group was motivated commercial culture; life had been subsumed by market, social, and industrial forms that arose post WWII. Heavily oriented around the then nascent Ecological Movement, this group sought to live closer to the earth, they encouraged the idea of sweat equity, and they desired to directly engage hands-on living. This generation spawned sewing circles, social justice movements, organic food co-ops, collectives, and communes around the globe following the Leary-ian mantra "Tune In, Turn On, and Drop Out". The Foxfire series, the myriad inexpensive 'how-to' publications form the era, and magazines like Mother Earth News are some of the artifacts that evidence the a desire for life without corporate mediation.

Today a new generational movement is flowering with many of the same goals of the 1960's and 1970's Love Generation. They are known colloquially as The Maker Movement; this group is motivated by many many of the same wishes of the earlier generation. They are decidedly anti-specialization and hands on, but they approach it with a very different set of politics—shaped by an increasingly interconnected world. Oddly enough this generation has weaved a relationship with factorization and corporations to achieve similar goals. They are at ease with any means by which they may create. The contemporary DIY peerage can comfortably outsource a new design to be manufactured via the miracles of print on demand technologies, create Frankenstein mashups of existent products, reapply older to ancient technologies as an option, or even ingeniously hack a commonly available materials to cobble into new, cheap, and functional fixes. Many of this generation's reverse engineers and hacks do this work as contemporary artists.

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Jeff Koons Must Die!!!

My awesome colleague Wayne Madsen turned me onto a video game project of Hunter Jonakin, Jeff Koons Must Die!!!. The project is an 80's style arcade FPS.

Besides the obvious fact that this is a little slice of awesome sauce, the JKMD is part of a fine Oedipal tradition in the Arts. The project is definitive exploration of the metaphorical slaying of a Father figure to transcend to the next level. The last work I can remember that evoked such a reaction in me was Erased DeKooning.
"What if you were locked in a museum overnight, with a rocket launcher, during a Jeff Koons retrospective?"

Jeff Koons Must Die!!! The Video Game from Hunter Jonakin on Vimeo.

Hunter is a recent graduate of Florida State University. You can see all his web presence here.

Saturday, March 12, 2011

Rozendall's Contract for URL based works

Rafael Rozendaal has just published a contract for selling URL based works. This is very telling and interesting. It seems that animated GIF's were the toast of this year's Armory Show in NYC. SO how the hell do you sell URL based work? well here's Rozendaal's site or you can join the Facebook group open for public discussion on the matter.

Thursday, October 14, 2010

spam art is the new black

have you ever received a beautiful spam message? i have received examples that have been puzzling, engaging, clever, poetic, and even one supposedly from the Office of Homeland Security (bless those Nigerian scammers). yesterday a most comely example of spam came to my in-box. the filter did exile it to my junk folder, but because of the subject line that referenced twitter i felt the need to just check on it. i found a very attractive image built from text forms and underscores(only a few were links):

sure. that's right. it wanted me to go to sites which would have installed keyloggers onto my machine whilst it was selling me knockoff Viagra and Celebrex, but i am intrigued by this idea of the aesthetically pleasurable spam message. i started to think that this might be a good class assignment... spam art

Saturday, August 14, 2010

i lurve Adium

i was intrigued by a post on the Lady Ada* website. the note referred to a technique of using IRC for the UStream chat/back-channel. i am a huge fan of Ustream and have been known to use it occasionally. one of the drawbacks is the chat. the video and chat running in the same browser winder grinds my machine cycles. when i was reading about the IRC settings the tutorial was using Pidgin and i was clued into the fact that Adium is built on the same programming backbone, purplelib, too bad they don't(didn't) support IRC. oh well it was worth a peek to see if things have changed...

wooot! the Adium beta has IRC! praised be! let the trumpets sound! did i say woot? here's a link to the beta if you wanna try it.

so i tested the suckah and it did great. pop out the UStream video channel on a browser winder and fire up IRC. my anecdotal evidence is that there were 100 plus people on the stream and i had maybe 20 sec lag. W0000T!

*Lady Ada for those of you who are uninitiated is one of the coolest proponents and geeks in DIY hardware and Phys Comp. they do a Saturday night show on UStream called Ask An Engineer. check it some time. her sites are and adafruit industries

Wednesday, August 04, 2010


H.G. Wellsi am visiting family before the grind of the semester begins anew. one of the benefits to being in this household is the insane numbers of subscription networks on the old boob tube. my grandfather has access to this googolplex of narrowcast networks because it is tied to the programming bundle that contains the western/cowboy sub-genre of American tv and film which he favors. i avoid subscription tv in my day-to-day life so this is fun to look at the niches all of these groups are trying to carve out.

one such narrowcast network is the Science Channel and i spent the last hour watching 'Prophets of Science Fiction' a documentary on the predictions and work of Jules Verne and H.G. Wells. sure this program was pulpy, contained cheesy historical reproductions of the science labs, and was large on hype, but the thesis was compelling. the show recounted of the predictions that Well and Verne had made in the pursuit of the art of writing. and doubly compelling as it pointed out political/moral differences of the 19th c. techno-deterministic utopianism of Verne versus the 20th c. Modernist disaffection and social concern of Wells. both writers engaged set the bar for speculative fiction as well as assuredly inspired the engineering and science by blueprinting the ideas of the submersible research vessel, time travel, and nuclear weapons. once again a fine example of the vital contribution and necessity of the arts to drive culture, not just record it.Jules Verne mural

Thursday, February 11, 2010

as usual I come to party late, but what a party it is. i discovered afrotechmods last week and nearly wasted an entire day being awed, fascinated, and learning the electronics and comedy stylings of afroman.

his techniques go from hyper-ridiculous to downright epic tutorials for the electronics geek. afroman you are my new hero!

Monday, March 02, 2009

the fundamentlism in futurism or how those who didn't become robots turned into grey goo

a review of two analyses of the seemingly unavoidable cybernetic revolution

The apocalyptic analysis of Bill Joy's "Why the future doesn't need us." is an interesting explanation of all things futurist and pessimistic or as he put it, "...Murphy's law - "Anything that can go wrong, will." (Actually, this is Finagle's law, which in itself shows that Finagle was right.)" Murphy's purportedly exact statement "If there are two or more ways to do something and one of those results in a catastrophe, then someone will do it that way" is not nearly as dire as Finagle's interpretation. Murphy is pointing at good design as the ability to make a standard which cannot be misused or incorrectly installed. Joy's transmission of this translation bungle actually opens a stress fracture in his logic's fuselage that will eventually cause it to fail.

Joy's statements are based in a priori of Moore's Law as well as assumptions that the all systems can be modeled via computation. Although computing statistically can give us a good range of answers and sophisticated computing can narrow the tolerances of the range it is still a ideal reading versus an actual result.

I see the loss of skepticism as the fuel of Joy's pessimism. Jaron Lanier supports this idea in his article "One Half a Manifesto" written six months after the aforementioned Joy article. Lanier labels the aficionados of Moore's Law, artificial intelligence, and evolutionary psychology as "cybernetic totalists". The disconnect for me and Lanier is ideological adherence to an idealist misinterpretation of theory. A dogma that purports theory as reality and as the path that the future will certainly unfold. It is a real irony that these ideals that are the results of studies such as complexity theory but, they have have become dogma and stultifyingly singular. It displays (learned) ignorance of the body of practical observation of diversity, character, processes, and form in the universe. Lanier concurs:
"In nature, evolution appears to be brilliant at optimizing, but stupid at strategizing. (The mathematical image that expresses this idea is that "blind" evolution has enourmous trouble getting unstuck from a local minima in an energy landscape.) The classic question would be: How could evolution have made such marvelous feet, claws, fins, and paws, but have missed the wheel?"

Both quote Moravec's "Robot: Mere Machine to Transcendent Mind" (which I highly recommend, no, you don't have to be a computer scientist to read it). In the treatise he optimistically imagines a day of decision in our lifetime or the next generation's lifetime where it will be highly possible to transplant our consciousness into a synthetic body. Moravec is projecting a future where technology has become completely transparent and where to the best and worst of our empathetic and fuzzy logic and semantic reasoning which define humanity can instantaneously merge with high-powered computational calculation. A time where mental note becomes discrete and retrievable. And a time where when I stand up I am not plagued with arthritic pain in my back and knees.

How outrageous? No. It is a simply an extension of the practices of today's life. As I write this document the laptop marks my mistyped words with better than fair recognition and my iCal reminders pop up just before my phone jitters with the aide-mémoire for the same appointment. My dentist has installed many permanent prosthetic devices and a colleague this summer is replacing her coxal articulation (hip joint) with a ball and socket made from titanium and polyethylene. If I can replace my knees so I can walk on the surface of Mars or Pluto (or further), I do believe I will get in that line.

Moravec and others suggest a potentially exciting and pivotal fold in history of humankind. To confuse any futurist prediction as the road to perdition though, seems to ignore the fundamental aspects of good scientific practice about objectivity. Quoting Lanier again: "In general, I find that technologists, rather than natural scientists, have tended to be vocal about the possibility of a near-term criticality. I have no idea, however, what figures like Richard Dawkins or Daniel Dennett make of it. Somehow I can't imagine these elegant theorists speculating about whether nanorobots might take over the planet in twenty years."

Do any of us really know about the consequences of this transformation we think we see in the near future? Of course not but, I am highly contentious about the medieval attitude that some things are too scary to intellectually know. Once again, I find myself at the crossroads of the dilemma and my analysis is that some people are lacking in empathy and have a horrifying character; the tools they decide(d) to use were merely tools. I believe the human spirit is not necessarily diluted by these transformations; changed yes, weakened no.

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

the unvieling of fontanaBot

6june2008: day 1020 of my graduate career and day 4 of Zer01 Festival 2008.

the public seemed delighted by the knife wielding robot known as fontanaBot. throngs of visitors crowded 1st street tonight and to my eye the numbers are here-to-fore unprecedented for the South Bay First Fridays. the event was ramped up for SubZero, an exposition of projects in honor of Zer01 2008. nearly 50 participants exhibited hacks, hardware, interactivity, and all-around art. here's a teaser video from us:

the hearing loss i am feeling this morning induced by the nieghboring project Drone Machines by Tristan Shone(which btw is an amazing project!) is a small price to pay for the downright success of fontanaBot's first public outing. the machinic artist executed dozens of works over 6 hours and evoked all the responses that one would expect from disbelief to amusement and back to disgust again, a little controversy is always good , no? read more at

much to my amusement i learned that the other robotic art exhibition at SubZero was a project by my neighbor in Oakland three units down! the Boise Cascade has become a hotbed of hardware art.

Saturday, June 23, 2007


the future of energy, the history of energy.

just simply amazing, i know they don't need adverts from me, but i want to offer props. and if you don't know this you really should.

Tuesday, August 30, 2005

the film the five obstructions is a study in the rules of engagement for artmaking. This is a collaborative work where Lars von Trier sets up new rules for Jørgen Leth in the remake of his film The Perfect Human. The five experiments von Trier sets up investigate the nature of methodologies. His rules for the First Obstruction seem almost sadistic:

(1) No edit longer than 12 frames
(2)To be shot in a place the director has never been
(3) No Set
(4)and the questions (rhetorical) have to be answered

Von Trier is displacing Leth, putting him in alien surroundings, refusing to let him do long, sensual shots that the populated the original film. The rules seem antagonistic to Leth and viewer, we see Leth wrestle with the absurdity. Leth's response is abeautifull sensual film of texture and visual pleasure. In fact Leth makes four gorgeous films no matter the absurdity of the rules.

Von Trier's experiments/tortures reveal that in fact that by setting a few parameters for a project, one can free many unknowns and foster the creative process.

Sunday, August 28, 2005

two of the most intriguing videos I found via the web this weekend are

BCC by motomichi nakamura ----->



BCC is an interface of web objects resembling arms/hands/fists each links to an animation that reflects upon the disaffection of the contemporary techie/nerdly user. The CSR (customer service rep), in bondage gear monotonously supplying rote answers, struck me as completely fuckingly fascinatingly appropriate reflection of the lives of those poor bastards. Technically the film is beautiful in it's direct and graphic form. This only further compliments the mood and story of disaffection and angst. Bad ass shit!

SUPERSMILE is also a direct graphic beauty but, that elegant simplicity is its' only relation to the former. It is a peppy stream of consciousness that will make you guffaw out loud "what the fuck!!". I loved the soundtrack and stayed through the entire animation; I had to find out how it ended!