Sunday, October 30, 2005

The secret of the NECRONOMICON!!!

Finally the truth has come out, and now you too can delve into the depths of gibbering madness and horror with this paper craft project. Joy!

Found via Boing Boing

Monday, October 24, 2005

A visit to scenic Filth-adelphia

I got to show Chad and Amber my favorite restaurant and two of my favorite museums in Philadelphia last weekend. Friday night, after they flew in, I took them to a very crowded Monk's Café, which is a Belgian restaurant. The next day we went to the Barnes Foundation, which is a very large private art collection in a mansion in the suburbs. The collection was purchased by one Dr. Alfred Barnes, who became rich in the early decades of the last century off of a medication for infants he developed. He then sent agents over to Europe to buy up crate-loads of post-Impressionist and early Modern work. The museum is arranged the way Dr. Barnes left it, with the paintings hung salon style on beige canvas-covered walls. Interspersed among the paintings are pieces of iron-wrought hardware and antique furniture. The doctor then set up his own school that taught his theories about art appreciation, because he abhorred the academics downtown. After the Barnes Foundation we went to the Mütter Museum, which is a 19th century museum of medical oddities located in the College of Physicians; Mutant foetuses in jars, giant nine foot long colons, catalogues of things people have gotten lodged in their throats, that kind of thing.
The next day, we watched the Eagles squeak-out a last minute victory in a bar down by the stadium. The bar itself was one of the most jocko places I've ever witnessed, but no one was unfriendly or anything. In the evening, we went to a delicious dinner at the home of Brian and Stacy, who are friends of Chad and Amber from Chicago, and then to karaoke.
Good times!

Oh, Chad, here's a work by Peter Blume which I believe is related to the mural next to City Hall. I need to double-check the authorship of the mural, but doesn't it look a lot like this painting?
Peter Blume, "Hadrian's Villa", 1958.
In other news... *nudge, nudge*

Sunday, October 23, 2005

An Invitation

November 3rd to the 30th. Madrid, Spain. Paintings and drawings from 2005.

Wednesday, October 19, 2005

Sketch Up!

A friend of mine in Madrid that does a lot of 3-D computer modelling recently showed me this program that he is playing around with. I thought those of you that are architecturally minded might be interested. I was truly amazed watching him pull corners and stretch shapes all the while instantly rendered (it even has some "sketchy looking effects"). Nothing like the old days in Chicago watching Alex pound away in the computer lab until his hands were simply bloody stumps and then sitting in despair to wait for the render to not work out correctly.
The photo is a concept building design that Javier imported from another modelling program.

Tuesday, October 18, 2005

Ripping off Mr. Murdoch & Mr. Turner

When I first read this copy-fighting article out of Amsterdam, I approved of the sentiment, but after I digested it I realized the author was offering little in the way of analysis. Maybe this marks my transformation into a capitalist pig, but what's presented seems too flippant to be taken seriously. While the author hits upon a few salient points, both the ethical rationale and prescriptions given are weak.
Link by way of ArtsJournal

Link to Negativland's views on Intellectual Property

Thursday, October 13, 2005

Washing machines of Satan

If you thought I sounded slightly off my rocker in the last couple of posts, check this out!
I'm unconvinced of this website's veracity. The author claims, among many other things, that glass doored washing machines are of the Devil, because seeing undies whipped about invites dirty thoughts.
I'm not responsible for finding such a gem, Bill Glessner mass-mailed it to us Carlisle kids a few hours ago.
The best bits on this website are at the bottom where he starts freestyling.

Wednesday, October 12, 2005

"Next Big Thing" absurdities

Today, a number of corporations and agencies, including British Telecom, IBM, the FBI and even Hallmark, have futurists on staff. (Wired magazine)
"Trend-spotting has, in essence, become just another trend. Consequently, the most successful trend forecasters are repositioning themselves as something more than mere arbiters of taste.[...] For this reason, they no longer answer to the name 'coolhunter'. Some even bristle at the term 'trend forecaster.' Instead, they prefer 'planner', 'researcher' or futurist'. [...] In a way, this desperate need among advertisers to "divine" our intimate truths has indelibly linked consumerism to culture. Now, there's hardly time to discover and explore a new experience or a new approach to living without also considering the new line of products, technologies or services that has been tailored to that discovery. Life is being captured, repackaged and sold back to us as quickly as we live it."(Los Angeles Times)
Often I'll complain about how the bubble-economies we set-up only take into account quarter-to-quarter concerns, at the expense of the environment and social justice. However, even the most mundane decisions of persons and organizations carry underlying assumptions about the long-term which go unexamined. There is always an underlying belief in the future. Before the Enlightenment, the predominant idea about time was that things should and would largely stay the same. ('My father was a wainwright, therefore I am one.' etc.) In the unsustainable society that we live in, the only thing we can state about the future with certainty is that it won't look anything like now.
Being shaped and influenced by the future is almost the definition of modernism; And modernism is the business of the future.
Organizations (corporations, governments) aren't creative enough to ably imagine the changes which will lead to the future. This is because an organization will only allow itself to imagine the future in a very selective manner.
Suppose I was called upon to consult Wal-Mart on their long term options, and I told them that there really wasn't a future in mass merchandizing because in the future there would be one object that fulfilled the owner's every need, and they'd only need to buy it once. Do you think Wal-Mart would ask me to come back for a second visit?
(Uhm.. I think this may sound like the mutterings of a streetperson... so I'll stop writing for now.)


WARNING: This is a post without a topic, meandering, searching for a point...
I think about how I should depict the built environment a lot. My idea of the built environment encompasses everything man-made, from its design to use to disposal. In design and conception, everything undertaken by manufacturers and builders is measured and orderly. In practice, everything which undermines these designs is in the details; things get put to uses they aren't intended for; circumstances unforseen happen, like natural disasters; and things are used long past the duration they were designed for. As our overheated economy demands that we make, move and retail massive amounts of stuff, at some point we will all be hip deep in malfunctioning and broken stuff.
"Kipple is useless objects, like junk mail or match folders after you use the last match or gum wrappers of yesterday's homeopape. When nobody's around, kipple reproduces itself. For instance, if you go to bed leaving any kipple around your apartment, when you wake up the next morning there's twice as much of it. It always gets more and more...No one can win against kipple, except temporarily and maybe in one spot, like in my apartment I've sort of created a stasis between the pressure of kipple and nonkipple, for the time being. But eventually I'll die or go away, and then the kipple will again take over. It's a universal principle operating throughout the universe; the entire universe is moving toward a final state of total, absolute kippleization." -J.R.Isidore explaining the concept of kipple, in Phillip K. Dick's Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep?
In this way, the minutia of our environment threatens its designed rationality, and when this chaos is amplified it undermines not only our operational efficiency, but our rationality of thought. Living in a contemporary American city means learning to live with the fear that suddenly the rules are going to change, by way of catastrophe; that there will be a sudden shift in the terms of our environment, which will likely seem unlikely and irrational until it happens. This kind of moment is illustrated in Adam Cvijanovic's mural, Love Poem (10 Minutes After the End of Gravity). The mural is a rendering of a worm's eye view of a mass of deterius thrown aloft. Cvijanovic is as much of a collagist as a painter. I saw a video taped lecture he gave to the Tyler grads about depicting suburbia, more than a year ago, and much of what he talked about was piecing together images from lots of different places, and making it coherent in one perspectival projection. One implicit point was that suburbs have a completely different relationship to their details and junk: They tend to hide their refuse and eccentricities more, at the expense of a suffocating sameness.
Cvijanovic's materials are worth noting as well: he works on Tyvek, which is a plastic housewrap that lets air pass but traps moisture, on the wall with house-paint mixed with Flashe paint, an acrylic(?, or vinyl) paint that is super-saturated with pigment, and dries very matte. This allows Cvijanovic to roll up any of his murals to transport them. He also collages cut-up pieces of paintings into other paintings, or will crop a painting to fit a wall.
Adam Cvijanovic, Study for 10 Minutes after Gravity Fails L.A., 2005, Flashe and house paint on Tyvek. Link to source.
Links to other images in the series: 1,2, 3, 4.
This work reminds me of the work of the comic artist Geoff Darrow, who did Hardboiled and Big Guy and Rusty the Boy Robot. Darrow would invent dense streetscapes packed with detail. Link.

Monday, October 10, 2005

Pettibon in the NY Times

The New York Times had a very long article about Raymond Pettibon in its Sunday section yesterday. The article includes a short overview of Pettibon's career and a narrated visit to his environs in the LA suburbs. The theme of the article is the unaddressed link between the artist's misanthropy and awkwardness, and his current success; which is raised by the article, but is an issue that remains unanswered. I agree with the article that Pettibon's ultimate place is as Americana, like Warhol, et al. I consider Pettibon to be a champion of drawing as an independent art.
"His repertory of atomic explosions, hippies, vixens, cowboys, dismembered bodies, old cars and liquor bottles describes a morning-after portrait of America in extremis. The affect is world-weary but slyly comic... [I]f he often repeats himself now, you could say he has an eye for monotony and abundance, an American trait."

Link via the NY Times website.

Thursday, October 06, 2005

A fun little download

For those of you who like their video games free, I'd recommend a Swedish game from the late nineties called Ignition. I downloaded it on a whim and have been playing it for the hour or so, and I've been having a good time to boot. One thing I've noticed about Europeans is that they make very tight code when it comes to graphics and animation. Maybe it comes from the graphical demo scene their compu-jockeys had going in the late '80s. (Now that's an undocumented bit of art history, but who wants to sit through hours of scrolling and twirling objects and patterns and thumpa-da thumpa-da techno-music?) Anyway, the game is available for download on Abandonia. One techical note: Do not turn on the "Mid. Mapping" or "Pers. Poly" options because it will cause the game to crash every sixty seconds or so. Otherwise the game runs beautifully under XP.
Link by way of Abandonia.
In other news...

Tuesday, October 04, 2005

"Look at My Striped Shirt!"

Hanging out in or around Wicker Schmicker, we tend to run across the button down striped shirt guys at bars. This article seriously had me rolling.

"I figure we’ll kick off the night with some Golden Tee! I am going to smack the shit out of that little white ball! It’s going to be so fucking loud! I’ll bet I can drive that pretend golf ball 600 fucking yards tonight! I’m that fucking pumped!

I can almost taste those Jager Bombs right now! I fucking love Red Bull! I put it on my God damned cereal! I’m crushing one right now!"

Sunday, October 02, 2005

Gogol Bordello

I just got back from the Theater of the Living Arts in Philadelphia where I saw the band Gogol Bordello. I'd read about the band in the New York Times, but hadn't gotten a chance to hear them; Some New Orleans refugee friends of mine took me to the show. The music sounded much like the Pogues, in that it drew strongly from traditional music of a specific area, in this case the Ukraine. The band had many members which filled the stage, including two older men who played violin and accordion, and two Asian girls who did synchronized dances, acted as majorettes, and threw props into the crowd. From the very first moments of their set, it was obvious that the band was as enthusiastic about their music as they wanted the audience to be, and this gung-ho attitude cleanly dispensed with the pretension that seems to weigh down other bands.
Link to the band's MySpace page.