Tag: Art

Orientation Week at American Arts Incubator

The first week in 2017 was orientation week for the American Arts Incubator program. I met the four other artists and soon associated their names with the respective exchange countries: Elaine Cheung (Russia), Michael Kuetemeyer (Cambodia), Nathan Ober (Colombia), and Balam Soto (Guatemala)

My exchange country will be Thailand, where I’ll be staying in the multilayered metropolis of Bangkok for 28 days in May/June timeframe

Thailand sounds exciting and of course it is. However, I’m approaching this not as a tourist, but rather as an arts ambassador. The issue that I’ll be addressing in my exchange is environmental health and specifically water pollution in the Chao Phraya River. This is especially relevant to Thailand, which has underground rapid industrialization in the last couple of decades with environmental regulations lagging behind.

In Bangkok, I will engage in a dialogue of community data-collection and mapping though DIY science with a focus on water pollution, resulting in data-visualization installations and sculptures.

My time will be split about 80/20 on leading public workshops and creating my own artwork.

This ties into my current area of focus: creating physical data-visualizations such as the sculptures of the water infrastructure of San Francisco as well as relates to my longstanding history of working in art and education at institutions such as the Exploratorium.

I learned many things this week, including, but not limited to: better patience for long meetings, organizational models for workshop engagement, the Drupal blogging platform, art-budgeting in a foreign country and organizational techniques.

But most of all, I learned that I have an amazing organization, ZERO1, that will be supporting my work there as well as a cohort of four other artists I can learn from. Trust.

For more information and updates, please join the American Arts Incubator Facebook page.

@SelfiesBot: It’s Alive!!!

@SelfiesBot began tweeting last week and already the results have surprised me.

Selfies Bot is a portable sculpture which takes selfies and then tweets the images. With custom electronics and a long arm that holds a camera that points at itself, it is a portable art object that can travel to parks, the beach and to different cities.

I quickly learned that people want to pose with it, even in my early versions with a cardboard head (used to prove that the software works).

Last week, in an evening of experimentation, I added text component, where each Twitter pic gets accompanied by text that I scrape from Tweets with the #selfie hashtag.

This produces delightful results, like spinning a roulette wheel: you don’t know what the text will be until the Twitter website pubishes the tweet. The text + image gives an entirely new dimension to the project. The textual element acts as a mirror into the phenomenon of the self-portrait, reflecting the larger culture of the #selfie.

Produced while an artist-in-residence at Autodesk.

aaron
mikkela

And this is the final version! Just done.

selfes_bot_very_good

This is the “robot hand” that holds the camera on a 2-foot long gooseneck arm.

robot_hand
yo

two_people

martin

 

01SJ Day 3: Armature Assembly

The first part of the day was what I’ve often experienced while making projects onsite: several runs to box hardware stores looking around for the right fittings and being horribly inefficient. By mid-afternoon we hit our stride and fortunately, all the measurements we made in the Sketchup model of the Gift Horse translated perfectly to real life. Astounding.

By late afternoon we were finally assembling the wagon for the giant Trojan Horse, which will be pushed during the Green Prix parade on Saturday, September 18th by many costumed Greek Warriors. Later in the day, the horse will be “gifted” to the San Jose Art Museum, where it will join the Retro-Tech exhibition.

sandv_wagon_working

sworking_onwagon

Here is the wagon, finished and stable. It wheeled around quite easily.

finished_wagon

By now it,was 7pm and we were exhausted but we wanted to start assembling. We got help from last night’s dinner crew and constructed the main body of the Gift Horse.

headlesshorse

crew_looking_athorse

horse_nonose

A headlesss horse wouldn’t do. We soldiered on and affixed with the head piece followed by the nose.

putting_on_nose

nose_done

Finally, a finished horse armature! Stay tuned, we’ll be putting on the panels in the next several days.

assembled

Foot-in-Mouth and More

This is a family of eight paper virus sculptures for the Gift Horse project, which has 12 more days to go as a Kickstarter project. You can donate here.

Top row (left to right): Andromeda Strain, Tobacco Mosaic Virus, T-Virus (from Resident Evil), Rabies, Smallpox
Bottom row: Foot-in-mouth disease, Snow Crash, Dengue Fever

Virus All_screen

The synopsis: Victoria Scott and myself are building a 13-foot high Trojan Horse for the 01SJ Biennial to celebrate the viral nature of art and ideas. For 10 days before the event, we will be leading public workshops where we will teach anyone to build a virus using basic papercraft techniques of cutting, folding, and gluing.

The hundreds of viruses will go into the belly of the horse and will be released into the San Jose Museum of Art on September 18th in a boisterous public ceremony.

Gift Horse-in-progress

After the first month, we are 31% funded on the 13-foot-high Gift Horse for the 01SJ Biennial. A good initial run, but its starting to feel a little tight, so please consider a Kickstarter donation to the Gift Horse project.

gift_horse_3d

We have been busy working on the internal structure and final models in Sketchup. The skeleton proved to be an advanced wood project since the exterior printed digital panels (see model above) will be exactly fitted to make it look like giant-sized 3D model of a horse.

Working with our friend, Rob Bell, we have come up with this preliminary Sketchup design, which will be computer-cut with his ShopBot. This awesome piece of machinery, along with his expert skills, takes the 3D files and makes exactly the shape we need from a sheets of 4×8 wood.

TroHo_partial_sketchup

We’re trying to build this as sustainably as possible with recycled wood and a bioboard cladding. This makes it more expensive, so again, please consider a donation to help us complete this project.

Finally, it will be stuffed full of viruses. Paper viruses, that is.

gift_horse_virus

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.

Wrath-group-photo

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.

15 hours of magic

CPoV Wikipedia Conference

Here is a blog posting on my talk (co-written by Nathaniel Stern) at the CPOV Conference in Amsterdam, which is a decent run-down and I chuckled when the blogger called me a “short man” (I am 5′ 8″). I can only hope she didn’t comment on everyone else’s physical appearances!

My talk was a more detailed look into the theoretical issues behind the Wikipedia Art project, initiated just over a year ago.

The most compelling presentation from Day 1 was that of Jeanette Hofmann, who discussed the interplay of experience and expectation, outlining a general trend on web-based ventures such as Wikipedia. With a move that discards past experience, people create a new systems which challenge the paradigm through experimental new means. However, these often lead to bloated administrative layers, regulatory systems and general ossification. The creators often feel a sense of disappointment as a result.

Wikipedia CPOV Conference