01SJ Day 4: Out of the Garage, Into the Parking Lot

Compared to last night’s construction frenzy, today was calm and involved detail work and time on the computer to preparing the paper viruses sculptures.

The horse did venture outside of South Hall and we were both anxious about whether or not it would fit through the 14-foot high rollup doors. We had taken measurements and had planned to make it with just 2 inches of clearance. But you never know about human error.
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Once again, the 3D model corresponded to reality. Phew.

Although the wooden armature is beautiful by itself, the printed wood panels that make up the exterior cladding will be stunning. But, the environment at South Hall is too dusty (our neighbors are both sawing lots of wood), so we are beginning what we can the “stagecraft” portion of the project — creating the illusion that the horse will appear like a 3D model. Here, we are painting what will be the spaces between printed panels, so that you see black in between. This will make more sense in a couple days.
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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.

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

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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.

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

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

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01SJ Day 2: The Cart Before The Horse

Before we can assemble the horse, we have to build that cart that it will be wheeled around on.

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The cart is rated to hold 2000 lbs, which hopefully will be over-engineered since I’m not sure of the exact weight of the horse. With 8 casters on the bottom and trying to figure out a good wagon assembly, it took us a while to get a basic form assembled (a shout out here to our friends Brett Bowman and Zarin Gollogly who helped make this possible). By the end of the day, we were close but still not finished.

Sidetracked by socializing, we got a chance to catch up with some old friends, including James Morgan (pictured below), some of the aforementioned folks from yesterday and also some new ones such as Chico MacMurtrie, ex-San Francisco resident who now lives in Brooklyn.

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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.

Smallpox, Dengue Fever, Andromeda Strain and Tobacco Mosaic

These are the first 4 viruses that are part of the Gift Horse project for the upcoming 01SJ Biennial, built originally as 3D models and then translated into paper sculptures. We are making 12 in total and stuffing hundreds of them inside the 13-foot high Trojan Horse.

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From left to right, we have Tobacco Mosaic Virus — the first virus ever discovered, then Smallpox, historically significant since it was eradicated (save for two repositories in storage); then Andromeda Strain — an extra-terrestrial virus — from the 1971 movie. Finally there is Dengue Fever, which has no known vaccine, is usually non-fatal, and is spread through mosquitos and is significant due to its rampant increase from climate change, especially in non-western countries.

We based the physical models on these reference images, abstracting designs from them.

Andromeda Strain

Andromeda Strain

Tobacco Mosaic Virus

Tobacco Mosaic Virus

Smallpox

Smallpox

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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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.

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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.

See this show: Oil by Edward Burtynksy

Burtynsky’s work is a powerful indictment of capitalism’s effects on our planet. With striking compositions of mass production, strip-mining and congested highways, taken from a aerial point-of-view, his photographs are both disgusting and aesthetically beautiful.edward-burtynsky-oil

In his TED talk here, he speaks about the tension between the depressing content and the sheet beauty of his work, directing the viewer away from a didactic dialogue about human effect on the planet and instead infiltrating our artistic sensibilities with environmental issues.

The show runs through November 28.
At Hasted Hunt Kraeutler Gallery
537 West 24th Street, New York

Video Portraits at Micaela Gallery

Tonight opens the full compilation of my Video Portraits artwork in the video room at Micaela Gallery (San Francisco) as part of the Winter Salon 2009 series.

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The opening reception is (Nov 5th 2009) and the show runs through January. Video Portraits (2006-2008) has been shown internationally including venues in Spain and China as well as more locally in Vancouver, Portland, Chicago and other cities, attracting a global audience and has been featured in one of KQED’s SPARK television segments. I am pleased that Micaela Van Zwoll has chosen to feature this work as one of the video pieces she will be representing.

To make this video, I ask strangers at different events or from specific demographics ranging from Chinese New Year’s Parade to surfers on a beach to taxi drivers in India for a photograph. Without telling them, I switch my digital camera to video mode, capturing them posing for the camera with fixed smiles and uncertain looks. There are 17 “episodes” each lasting for 2-3 minutes.

After the session, I let them in on the trick and to date, everyone has laughed at themselves as they strike a pose that reveals their truer selves. Advancing the notion of portraiture into video form, I draw links in this work to a cultural shift to a documentation-based global world.

Here is one such segment from San Francisco Wondercon convention.

Changing Labor Value for 8 bucks

Come to the Changing Labor Value panel at the New School today, Tuesday  at 5:30pm. Victoria Scott and I will be showing a portion of the No Matter — a fly-through video in the reception beforehand. I’ll be there in person!

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This event is a prelude to Internet as Playground and Factory that will be taking place from November 12-14 where we’ll be presenting the No Matter project in context of the labor that we contracted in Second Life to materialize 40 imaginary objects.

BiW at JTTP

Brooklyn is Watching (BiW) hosts a sim in Second Life which is a wonderful curatorial project that invites SL artists to create artwork on their space. The resulting creations range in quality and are subject to commentary by a weekly podcast by several commentators. I’ve been a guest podcaster a few times, participating in a production of the absurd: a radio podcast commentary of an entirely visual environment that most people don’t understand.

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Jay Van Buren, the main guy currently behind BiW

On Friday I went to the BiW presentation of The Final Five at Jack the Pelican Presents (JTTP) Gallery in Williamsburg. These were the five selected artworks which were presented on montiors with headphones and a voting sheet. My major critique is that the BiW project seems to presents Second Life art from the vantage point of an insider’s perspective rather than a contemporary art point-of-view.

This doesn’t have to be the case. There are a number of works which bridge the virtual and the real including RMB City (Cao Fei), Invisible Threads (Stephanie Rothenberg and Jeff Crouse), The Salt Satyagraha (Joe Delappe), in all fairness to the dialogue, my collaboration with Victoria Scott, No Matter and not to overlook the recent Summer of Love 2.0 (Patrick Lichty)

The presentation of the BiW works at the gallery reinforced this — a level of confusion for the viewers who often had more general questions of what is Second Life and so often didn’t even understand what they were judging. Coupled with the fact that you had to put headphones on to listen to one our rambling podcasts, I wondered how successful this physical exhibition was.

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Final Five at Jack the Pelican Presents

The strength of Brooklyn is Watching is in the community it creates — and I would like to see them explore this side of things: discussing Second Life works but in a way that creates a tangible bridge to the real. This is why the podcasts have been sucessful because it makes the broadcasters and the audience strain to understand what is not in front of them: an imaginary realm that reflects the nature of Second Life itself.

I had a little fun of my own and during the show itself, I sneaked onto the computer and transferred $50L to my own avatar, Great Escape from the BiW avatar. Hey, performance art costs money!

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