Category: Performance

Kickstart the Gift Horse!

We just launched the Kickstarter campaign for Gift Horse – a project for the 01SJ Biennial co-commissioned by the San Jose Museum of Art and ZERO1. We are seeking extra funding specifically to construct the sculpture from sustainable materials and also to teach several “build your own virus” workshops. Gift Horse is celebration of the viral nature of art and ideas.


The 13-foot high Trojan Horse will be filled with paper viruses, built by the public. On September 18th, it will be part of the Green Prix – a parade of “green” vehicles. Several costumed Greek warriors will push it through the streets of San Jose and into the museum. At 4pm on Sept. 18th, we will “gift” it to the museum. Check out the video and please consider a donation.


Gift Horse derived from No Matter (below), which was commissioned by New Radio and Performing Arts, Inc. ( and with both projects, we are partnering with Electric Works for the specialized printing techniques.


After Thought goes to Flux Factory

I just finished writing the software which tracks your emotions using brainwave analysis. From a flashcard-style test, it creates a custom video for each participant from a melange of silent clips such as balloons floating in the sky, a tapping foot and an angry dog. This weekend Flux Factory along with The Metric System will be presenting The Science Fair, (New York), where I will showing After Thought, which I developed as a resident artist at Eyebeam Art + Technology Center.


This project expands my deep interest in personal emotional spaces created by video. My first exploration was with Future Memories in 2006, which sources the “in-between” shots from Hollywood cinema to create a series of black-and-white videos which evoke feelings of displaced familiarity.


With my Home Stories (2008) project, which I call an “experimental narrative,” I use a silent, looped 5 minute edit from assorted 8mm home movies (including my own parents, now deceased) and invite 5 different storytellers to come up with narratives for the video.


I’m excited to see the possibilities. If you are in New York this weekend (June 5-6), you will be guaranteed a memorable experience by coming to The Science Fair.

Performa Book launch with Wrath of Kong

If you are in New York this weekend, come on out to P.S. 1 this Saturday for the Performa 07 book launch. We’ll be there in spirit or maybe even in Second Life.


For Performa07, Second Front performed Wrath of Kong, which mixed the Kong Kong legend with the pop-culture iconography of Donkey Kong.

Featured in the catalogue essay on virtual worlds is an analysis of the early performance art works in Second Life, including work by the Mattes, my own Paradise Ahead series, Patrick Lichty, Gazira Babeli and of course Second Front.

The Great Avatar Challenge

Live from New York this Saturday: The Great Avatar Challenge. This mixed-realities performance is a collaboration with Stephanie Rothenberg for Eyebeam’s Mixer: Olympiad in New York. Get your tickets now, as it will be certain to sell out.


Our performance is one of many spectacular events going on in this two-night series. We will be conducting races where real-life contestants will compete against my Second Life avatar, Great Escape. The course winds through Eyebeam’s main space and is a hurdle-sprint, in a gesture of pure physicality against a simulated one.


Projected against the real-life wall at Eyebeam, our Second Life track will be an extension of the real-life space.

Wafaa Bilal lecture at SFAI

My good friend and colleague, Wafaa Bilal, will be speaking this Wednesday at the San Francisco Art Institute. I’d highly recommend the talk.


You might remember him from the “Shoot an Iraqi” project where he lived in a gallery for a month and had a paint ball gun setup to point at him. You could shoot him with the gun for $1 (I couldn’t resist spending a couple bucks).

He also created “Virtual Jihadi” were he re-engineered a US training video game so that you could be a suicide bomber instead (the piece got shut down by Rensselaer). Its unbelievable that a shut-down like this could happen well-after the censorship debates of the 60s and 70s.

He has an amazing history as a refugee from Desert Storm and US transplant. His brother and father (both civilians) were both killed in Iraq by American drone attacks in 2004.

100 Performances for the Hole (Take 2)

If you’re in San Francisco this Saturday night (March 6), you’re in for a performance-art treat: 100 Performances for the Hole (Take 2) at Somarts. 100 artists each do 2-minute performances inside a mechanics pit. I’m on at 8:54pm and will create a Cagean surprise. The first performance is at 5:58pm and the evening ends at 1am.


This is a follow up to Justin Hoover’s event at The Garage of the same name. Here is where I presented a live-mediated performance called In the Hole, where crawled into the mechanics pit, placed a cover over myself and then called up Justin’s cell phone. He then handed this to a stranger (this part was pre-arranged) who came over and held my hand and guided me out of my self-created psychological space.

Hatch and Afterthought

New documentation! During my 6-month residency at Eyebeam, I worked on about 6 different projects. Two of them: Hatch and After Thought are now documented on my site.


Hatch is the first of a series of acrylic plexiglass installations. This one depicts a mass of sperm (up to 200!) which swarm around a doorway. This was cut with the Eyebeam’s lasercutter, can be site-specific in its installation, and is cheap to ship.


After Thought is the most experimental of my individual works. Here, I use a Neurosky Mindset to test people while they look at flashcards of charged imagery. I monitor their responses in a subjective application of science, noting their responses on an indicator sheet (below). After their test, I feed their results back into video generation software that I wrote which makes a custom video (5 minutes) that reflects their emotional state of mind.


Another artist that I am close friends with, Luther Thie, uses the same headset for the Acclair project in compelling but conceptually different repurposing of the brain to computer interface (BCI).

Gandhi Released

Last Tuesday, Second Front was invited by Joe DeLappe to enact a performance in Second Life around the Gandhi Release Party and subsequent hootenanny.


Gandhi has been imprisoned for a year, mirroring his historical imprisonment.


Several of us congregated at the gates to the prison, from left to right is Bibbe Oh (aka Bibbe Hansen), Great Escape (aka Scott Kildall) and Liz Solo. The full Second Front ensemble was there including Tran Spire (aka Doug Jarvis), Gazira Babeli, Fau Ferdinand (aka Yael Gilks) and Man Michinaga (aka Patrick Lichty).


We began the break-out with jackhammers and drills, but the jail ceilings were constructed out of a digital composite that resisted our tools. Ever resourceful, we upgraded to bulldozers and then to dynamite.


KA-BOOM! The door popped open and out came Gandhi. Free at last, free at last!


Our special surprise, for Gandhi was Cicciolina (played by Patrick Lichty) popping out of cake. Happy Release, Gandhi!


After a year being cooped up in prison, I’m sure that Gandhi appreciated the lap dances from Second Front (Bibbe’s thong pictured here)

Wikipedia Art goes to Bangalore

I am flying to Bangalore (Bengaluru) tonight. Here, I will be presenting an academic paper at WikiWars Conference with my colleague and close friend, Nathaniel Stern.


Looking at what we call “performative citations”, we will be focusing on the infamous Wikipiedia Art project and introducing a contemporary application of the performative utterance — as applied to Wikipedia.


This will be the first of a two-part gathering to put together material for the Critical Point of View (CPOV) Reader. The second will be in Amsterdam in March. I’m excited.

Astronauts without a home

As part of the Postgravity Art: Synaptiens event which invites hour-long interventions into a 50-hour performance cycle, I will be enacting a two-person performance: Space Age Love.


Here, Victoria Scott and myself will be floating in space — in Second Life space — and communicating via chat, while our cameras point at one another and our astronaut avatars perform acrobatics. The two viewpoints will be projected onto the Synaptiens structures at Eyebeam. This is happening today (Nov 12 2009) along with performances at 2:30 by Jamie O’Shea and 4:30 by Rashaad Newsome.

I call this an auto-biographical performance as the two of us are floating between San Francisco and New York, working out opportunities, desires and finances to find a home. The chat will be entirely improvised, discussing these issues in live space at Eyebeam.