Wednesday, October 29, 2008

freezing a now (with ink)

(in reverse order)


I am getting clear plexiglas cut in order to make a  self-contained (and hopefully slightly sound-dampening) environment for the inflatable dress, for the sculpture grad show in Rochester next Friday. I am going to experiment with having shredded text circulating through the dress inside the vitrine like "thoughts" (in through the fan at the bottom and out through the head and arms at the top). It will be like the Money Volcano from that old game show called Diamond Head (where contestants entered a glass enclosure that had giant fans blowing money around, and they had to grab as much money as they could in however many seconds). I'm going to call the sculpture Individual, but I'm also considering the possibility of making a "family" or group of "friends" that are all confined within the same vitrine, but whose thoughts are "shared" because they're blowing all around between each figure.

Sunday, October 26, 2008

another option for marking a path

(these flags are so cute. could they be a potential alternative to the spray chalk? i can have anything printed on them that i want...)

bad news

So ... I found out tonight that Alfred State College is not going to allow the Life Lines (spray chalk) project to happen on their campus. They are afraid that students will see the chalk lines, think that it's actual spray paint/graffiti, and think that it is ok for them to graffiti the campus as well. Absurd. 

But, I think this means that I am just going to go ahead and do the project myself (in town and on Alfred University's campus). I will have to get approval from the town to make this change, but I don't think they'll have a problem with it. I will just figure out a way to make the project an interesting self-portrait (which won't be as interesting as a portrait of the community, but hopefully the documentation and successful drawing my own life can be used to convince other towns/cities to let me do the project elsewhere in the future.

The "map"  and legend will have to be interesting in other ways and for other reasons. I am thinking about using the three colors of chalk (red/blue/yellow, and there's also white) to represent different things. For instance, a red dotted line could represent my daily routine, the blue chalk could be used for symbols (to represent points of interest - something that caught my attention - or where I stopped to chat with someone, etc.) and the yellow chalk could be used for times that I go on "aimless walks" (inspired by the Situationist theory of de'rive, or "drifting"). Perhaps I could try to go on one "aimless walk" per day. 

This is really going to throw everything back up in the air, and I have to figure it out fast, before it starts to snow. I'm gonna go work on ideas and I'll post an update soon...

More on drifting here and here (funnily enough, this second link is to a similar project that was done in Portland, OR, except what I've noticed about most other projects like this is that most of them are done using GPS).

drinking out of turkeys

horizon ideas

What if I took photos of my horizon that resembled the image the person sent to me? I would have to try to find a spot around here in Alfred that comes closest to looking like the spot where they took the picture. Or I could assemble a little still life that looks like their picture. So when they get my part of the trade it would be like a little joke/surprise! Would that be more interesting than getting a real picture of where I actually live?

another San Fran horizon trade

(this one is titled "AM from window")

horizon trades!

I posted an ad on the San Francisco craigslist wanted page, asking for people to send me a picture of the horizon. In return, I promised them I would send a picture of mine. These came from Bill, and I sent him the one at the bottom (which was taken through a screen window from the dance studio).

Saturday, October 25, 2008

a new bloggerbuddy

His name is Ben Martel
He makes some very lovely melodies.

melting art

"Katie Paterson brought back the sounds, and also the water, from three melting glaciers in Iceland. The sounds were pressed into three LP records - ice creaking, cracking, hissing. Then, after several months of experimentation, moulds were made from them using a very sensitive casting technique, the meltwater from those same glaciers poured into those moulds and frozen, creating ‘ice records’.

These ‘ice records’ were then played on three turntables, playing the sounds of the melting glaciers from whence the water/ice had come, until they had completely melted over nearly two hours. Miniature landscapes were formed as the needle traced over the ice as it was worn down. The sound is embedded, locked, inscribed into the material itself. Playing out the dissolving landscape. Nothing remained.

The work speaks of the ephemeral, notions of immateriality, formlessness; the slow imperceptible decomposition of things. In a sense, the work is a description of death. The record revolving slowly like the globe, having played its music, it’s caught on a dying loop. 

She says “I’m interested in the notion of ‘geological time’ – a vast span of time difficult to comprehend, in relation to ‘human time”. She wanted to bring the scale of the glacier, an immense, remote, geological form, to the ‘human’ scale of an LP.

She refers to the sublime, and the futile attempt of the artist to ‘represent’ or allude to something that is ultimately unrepresentable. This act is in itself a failure.

(from the
website of the the Room gallery)

(Thanks, Peter!)

Friday, October 24, 2008

formulating an equation

In order to determine the essence of Self.

Proposed hyptheses:

People + Place                                                        
___________   =   Self        OR        (People + Place)  x  Time  =  Self


Should Time be the divider or should it be the multiplier? Does time separate/classify/decrease one's sense of Self? Or does it increase/propagate/promote one's sense of Self? To classify is "to arrange in categories; designate as officially secret; a system of ordering and assigning to a set, according to certain characteristics." To promote is to "further the progress of; support or actively encourage; increase public awareness of; advance to a higher position." 

Perhaps I should survey people that are older than me about whether or not their sense of self has increased or decreased with age. 

some thoughts about hopelessness

You are here. Why am I obsessed with this phrase? It's normally associated with a map, with relating ourselves to a particular location at one point in time, usually when we are trying to get to another destination ("here" is not where we want to be, but "there"). We are always on our way. We have never arrived. We will never arrive. We are hardly complacent with the present.

Would putting this phrase, "you are here", in places where people are en route (noplaces) force people to stop (or maybe just pause) and think about the particular place they are in at that moment, be conscious of it, be grateful for it? What if the sign were on the highway? Or on a long, windy country road? Would people recognize those interim moments as potential final destinations? That each moment could be a final destination. That we should live life in this manner.

How does one deal with hopelessness? Perhaps by realizing (believing) that it's a lie. Because the same thing that feels hopeless - the unending, unforgiving, unrelenting passage of time; our forward march towards the end of life - is the same exact thing that should bring us hope. Our hope could be renewed from one moment to the next by looking towards the tangible future. Not the unimaginable far away future, but the future that's only seconds away, that becomes the past before we even realize it's the present.

Thursday, October 23, 2008

new idea for puzzles: last supper

I have been thinking about what to do with the puzzle portraits, and I've decided that I definitely want to use the people I rely on in my present community as subjects. And I've also decided to include 12 people in the process, for a number of reasons (one of them being this number's direct correlation to time, both on a clock and in our monthly calendar system). These are the people I would like to incorporate (in random order):

my landlord (M), my doctor (M), my mailman (M), my hair dresser (F), my trash collector (M), my grocer (F), my teacher (M), my gynecologist (F), my pharmacist (M), my server (F), my accountant (M), and my repairman (M)

(M/F represents whether they are male or female)

This led me to thinking about the number twelve in relation to people, which obviously made me think of the 12 disciples. If I am going to include myself in the mix with the puzzles, there would be 13 of us, and I would want to be in the middle. 

One of the things I would like to accomplish with this project is to have all the participants interact not with just me, but with each other. I am the person that would act as a catalyst for the group, bringing these somewhat disparate lives together. I thought of hosting a dinner party, where everyone could meet. And then I thought of having one big long table, like the last supper. But instead of eating at the table, I thought we could all sit with our individual puzzles in front of us, and slowly start to trade and interchange puzzle pieces with other people. That way they each have an active role in creating their new portrait, they decide who's eye will replace their eye, etc. And then I thought, if I photograph this process - all of us at the table and me in the middle - I could parody the famous image of the last supper. So the final piece won't just be the puzzles, but the photograph of the process as well.

The thing I questioned about this idea was my role as Jesus/God in the photograph. Is that something I want other people to think that I believe of myself? Well, the answer I came up with was no, but maybe I could think about Jesus' role in a new light. He brought these people together, interacted with them (used them?) and then left them (died on the cross, rose from the dead, went back to heaven, as the story goes).  And a nice comparison can be drawn to my situation here in Alfred by the fact that my stay here is so temporary. The last supper is like a going away party. In Jesus' case, and in the case of the lonely soldier that is sitting in Jesus' position in the photograph above, it is not so much a party but a much sadder situation, because he - and the soldier, as is suggested by the artist - was about to die. In my case, I will just be returning to Portland (heaven!).

(Above images made by Adi Nes and Leonardo da Vinci)

I miss you, Moo

Wednesday, October 22, 2008


By Kelly Mark

A mass demonstration lasting 2 hours with approximately 30 people demonstrating "nothing".
(click here for a link to a really funny video of this on the artist's website)

(found on VVork)

aluminum foil landscape!

by Kimihiko Okada (found on MoCo Loco)

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

You Are Here, 2008

I am trying to get permission from the local Department of Transportation to put these signs on the roads and highways around Alfred.

(That's Claire holding the sign. Thanks, Claire!)

Sunday, October 19, 2008

NOW: kinetic sculpture!

Yet another incarnation of the word now. It doesn't quite work yet, but you should be able to get the idea. Each clock was taken apart so that it only has one hand (N= seconds, O= hours, W= minutes). And all the letters would line up perfectly to spell the word only twice a day. I think it would be cool if the letters could also somehow trigger a switch and light up for that brief second (if I made them out of LEDs). All of these tests make me want to work with neon!

NOW: frozen string!

So I did a quick test - I soaked black cotton string in water, then wrote the word now  with it, and stuck it in the freezer overnight. When I took it out and hung it on the wall it started melting right away, too fast actually. So I don't know if it will work to use this as a sculptural object, since it only retains its shape for a minute maximum. But I was able to snap a few pictures, and I brought them into Photoshop and made them look very graphic. It almost looks like an ink drawing.

I would really like to make it work as an object, though. I imagine doing a time-based installation where I have a freezer filled with pre-made nows, and I'm constantly taking them out of the freezer and hanging them on the wall, until the wall gets covered in all different states of melting nows

Saturday, October 18, 2008

NOW: glow stick juice!

I am interested in the idea of "now" and how it could be perceived as longer or shorter by different people or at different times (does right now mean this second, five minutes, an hour, today?). Consequentially, I am exploring different materials that could spell out the word now but that have differing lifespans. For instance, I could make a clear glass vessel that is shaped like the word now and fill it with glow stick juice, which would only stay bright for approximately twelve hours. I've also been playing around with using cotton or wool yarn - soaking it in water, writing now in cursive with it, freezing it, then hanging the word on the wall and letting it melt (pictures of this to come). I'm also thinking about using helium and balloons. What other materials are time-based like these?


I have to give credit to Philip Cheaney for this idea. We were getting our portraits done at Walmart for the Kitchen Sink website a couple of years ago, and the photographer mentioned we could get the pictures made into puzzles. Philip then said how cool it would be if we each got our portraits taken and made into puzzles, and then interchanged the pieces. Well, here you go - I've done it. But it was his original idea... So, thanks, Philip! (I hope you don't mind...) 

However, I think I'm going to combine 10 or 12 people, instead of just 2 or 3. I'm still considering taking a camera around with me for a day and taking pictures of all the people I interact with, and having this be a portrait of not just people, but of a time in my life.

Friday, October 17, 2008

puzzle portrait tests are in!!

 Lately I've also been think about making puzzles out of portraits of places in addition to people. What would it look like if I combined a person and a place? Could I get an iris to rest on a bookshelf, or could a doorknob become a nostril?

I'd like to make a puzzle portrait of all the people and places I experience in one day.


Last Friday the biggest horse I've ever seen stepped on my foot. Nothing is broken, but I am bruised and swollen and hobbling around on crutches.

On Tuesday I gave a presentation about the Life Lines (chalk lines) project to the Village of Alfred's board of trustees (whose 5 lovely members are shown below). They loved the idea and temporarily approved the project, but wanted to do some tests with the chalk to see how long it will last and how it will affect the brick pavers on the sidewalks in the center of town. Since then, I've realized that the chalk will last way too long (tests I sprayed a month ago have not faded one bit), so I did some research and found an alternative that will only last 3-5 days. I am waiting to get a sample in the mail to test it with one of the board members early next week.

On Wednesday I met with another interested student from Alfred State College about potentially being involved in the project. His name is Ed and he's studying abroad here from Brazil, and he is so wonderful! He's super energetic and enthusiastic, and he hopes this project will help him to meet more people. He came to Alfred only because it was first on the alphabetical list of tech schools in the U.S., and it was the only one he applied to. I asked him what he would like to be said about him in the map legend I'm going to draw on Main Street, and this is what he said:

Well I could just introduce myself,
My name is Edgar Ueno, I go to Alfred State and my major is Networking Administration (Computers), this is my senior year and I love to travel, laugh, rollercoasters, party, watch the latest movies, listen to the coolest songs and I love to meet new people.
I am Brazilian but a lot of people don't believe me because I don't look like Brazilian but that is just a stereotype, my great grandparents are from Japan so that's why I look like Asian but I was born in Brazil.
If you would like to meet me, just say hi! And I promise I will do the rest.
BTW - call me Ed

I was also introduced by my friend Tracy, who works at Kinfolk, to a woman named Jessica. She lives in town, has two kids, and is a writer. Her husband teaches at Andover High School. She's also interested in the project and could potentially be the third and final person. I'm going to meet with her about it soon.

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

another kind of horizon line


people lining the walls of a small, square (or rectangular) room. they stand shoulder to shoulder, with their backs pushed up against the walls. each person has their shirt lifted so you can see their belly, and a straight black line has been drawn across their midsection at their bellybutton. some people are standing on small wooden blocks in order for all the lines to intersect at the same height from person to person (since our bellybuttons are at different heights, and some people are taller or shorter than others). the continuous black line forms a horizontal band around the room ... a horizon line, of sorts. 

horizon pictures

I posted an ad asking for pictures of the horizon under the "wanted" section on Portland's craigslist (I said exactly what I said in the post below this one). Four people emailed me within 24 hours, and these are their images. I think it would be cool to put that same ad on every city's craigslist site and see how many I can get from all over the world. I'd like to make something out of them, but I'm not sure what yet...

will you do me a favor?

take a picture of the horizon
and email it to me.

there can be other things in the image besides just the horizon, but just make sure you can see that line - where the land meets the sky - somewhere in the picture. and make sure it's a very high quality image.

my email address is:


Friday, October 10, 2008

Joshua Callaghan's graph works

(from his website)

Very Concerned, 
Somewhat concerned, 
Not at All Concerned

(Thanks, Lenka!)

Thursday, October 9, 2008

some portraits

I am playing around with the idea of taking portrait shots of people in town, having these pictures made into puzzles by Walmart, and then combining the puzzle pieces of all the pictures into more abstract images. Like a portrait of the whole town ... everyoneallatonce.

mustache ride

on October 9th

I walked from home to school along the creek.


let's all brush our teeth together before we go to bed tonight

i want the whole town to be there.
possibly in pajamas, but not necessarily.
i'll provide toothbrushes and toothpaste 
if you forget to bring your own.

how can i make this happen?
maybe i'll send out formal invitations.

just imagine how beautiful the grass would look 
after we all spit!
and the sound!

and it would be so so nice
to say goodnight to everyone all at once

Lenka Clayton's to do lists

"Today I finished the first in the series of to do lists with the tasks deleted. This series were things that I had to do in order to come here."

(from her blog)

Wednesday, October 8, 2008

Instant Art Grants

The Federation of Students and Nominally or Unemployed Artists set up a table in Union square to accept applications for small grants ($10-$60) from people in the park. Grants were given on the spot.

Monday, October 6, 2008

Sunday, October 5, 2008

you are here!

(variations on the theme from a google image search)

The artist who made the 3rd picture from the bottom, Aram Bartholl, was an amazing discovery. Check out his work here. The last picture is from a website called Lo Desert Proto Sites. (I'm not sure what this is - one person? a collective? - but this image is the closest to my train of thought at the moment ... the idea of being "here" in a singular moment in time ... being "here" even if you're on your way to "there").