Saturday, December 31, 2016

Douglas Engelbart and Ted Nelson

Howard Rheingold; "Sadly, my inspiration and hero Doug Engelbart passed away this year. A couple tears ago, I hosted Doug Engelbart, Ted Nelson, and their wives for dinner with me and my wife Judy. It was like having Galileo and Newton over for dinner, as far as I'm concerned. I took the opportunity to interview them briefly."

Douglas Engelbart (1925-2013), whose vision of collaboration using computer technology to help solve the urgent and complex problems of all of humanity, died on July 2, 2013. His comrades believed that his ideas were never fully realized due to his ideals and generosity of spirit. For example, he resisted patenting the "mouse" he'd invented and it eventually fell into the public domain. The robotic rigidity of institutions is also to blame -- most powerful technology companies in American relegated him to R&D. Ted Nelson, professor and inventor of the first hypertext project, delivered Engelbart's eulogy on December 9, 2013. In his tearful delivery, he said the "...real ashes to be mourned are the ashes of Doug’s great dreams and vision, that we dance around in the costume party of fonts that swept aside his ideas of structure and collaboration...Perhaps his notion of accelerating collaboration and cooperation was a pipe dream in this dirty world of organizational politics, jockeying and backstabbing and euphemizing evil." Engelbart articulated his ideas for collaboration publicly in what is known as The Mother of all Demos delivered on December 9, 1968, nearly half a century ago. Some of what he described is still in the process of being realized in commercial forms such as Skype, Google Docs, and more.

Wednesday, March 9, 2016

Phases of the Image... New Media Projects

Tuesday, March 15, 2016 - 3:00-5:30 PM
Warch Campus Center Cinema

New media projects by 11 ART 340/540 students responding to Jean Baudrillard’s ideas from his seminal book Simulations:
Malcolm E. Lunn-Craft   Body Positivity
This collection of photos showcase several Lawrentians displaying principals of body positivity and loving who they are. This showcase is meant to help start discussions and alleviate any stigmas around body image at Lawrence University.

Willa Johnson   Girl Code: Constructions of Femininity and Fame
An exploration and dissection of womanhood, public image and media through pixellation, distortion and compression of celebrity women.
Patrick O’Mahoney - Simulations - A Jean Baudrillard Inspired Photo Album
My photo book will emulate Baudrillard’s general concept of simulation through the medium of photography; Each photo will have a quote taken out of the direct context of the book and into that of the respective photo with the intent of adding another dimension of simulation. 

Sara Morrison  Word Art
An installation across different parts of campus that brings words into real, three dimensional space with the goal of challenging viewers to see words as more than representational, and to appreciate them for more than just their meanings.

Ariel Garcia   "Retail Hell"
A blog designed to be a cesspool of all things retail employee related to the simulacra of the retail persona that one must embrace in order to make sure the customer is always right. 

Luis Gonzalez Sleep Cycle
A video and soundscape trying to recreate occurring dreams I have had.

Finn Bjornerud   Derealisation: Going through the Motions
A compilation of videos representing the end of a term at a University of ambiguous origins. If done right, the work should give the sense that our protagonist's sense of chronology is fluid, and that they are losing their grasp on their perceptions of their simple existence.

Aj Williams   Cultivation
For my project, I chose to focus on the cyclicity of discovery; the growth and decay of progress. Using the media of sound, Prelinger footage, and meditative thought, I present a transient accumulation- a cultivation.

Michael S. Hubbard   Short films/music videos PhotoPolar, Polychromorphosis, & more?
Be treated to two short films - an experimental horror/comedy and a found-footage music video featuring scenes from the silent film "Metropolis" and music by Noah "N.G." Gunther - and possibly two other short videos - one an account of visiting artist Tony Orrico's performance piece and the reception to the gallery featuring his work and the other an unfinished cut of another experimental horror film.
First to be shown is "Polychromorphosis," a more gaudy, more vibrant interpretation of a select sequence in the science-fiction classic "Metropolis" and boasting an experimental rock score by fellow artist Noah "N.G." Gunther meant to reflect the more pulpy, over-saturated tone of the short.
Second will be "PhotoPolar,"a strange and self-aware spin on the horror/comedy genre featuring the improv talents of Ridley Tankersley and Kip Hathaway. It will be qualitatively inconsistent, but hopefully entertaining nonetheless.

molly b hopkins  the made-up truth
a series of photographs intimately detailing the facial features of 4 people in all of their made-up perfection.

Laura Udelson   squiggle
squiggle is an installation that challenges the viewer's immediate perception about movement and simple geometric forms.

Monday, March 7, 2016

Paul McCarthy

Artist Paul McCarthy with J. Shimon after McCarthy's lecture at
The Art Institute of Chicago, May 2012. Photographed by J. Lindemann

A person definitely gets over meeting famous artists after being hired to photograph them by the dozens. There was one remaining exception, a single artist who seemed to rise above, Paul McCarthy. Our friend John McKinnon organized a talk at the Art Institute of Chicago in May 2012, and somehow intuitively knew we needed to connect. It was a rather conventional artist's talk, focused on more obscure works and maybe with a thicker than normal air of discomfort with the action of speaking about oneself. A handful of people came on stage to get various things signed, rather quickly leaving Paul standing alone. I approached him, we started out laughing, had a short, abstract conversation about holes/passages, barriers/containment, voids/hollowness, and began weeping. Julie immediately intervened and asked him why he quit teaching. "Didn't want to become one of those" was his reply. Yea, that is an issue isn't it. A contemporary art member/MBA/golfer type then whisked Mr. McCarthy away to the special VIP fundraiser dinner. Such is the life of a visionary artist.

Monday, February 15, 2016


adj. Of or pertaining to David Keith Lynch (born 1946), American filmmaker and director whose surrealist films are characterized by dream imagery and meticulous sound design.

-from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

Benjamin first (and later McLuhan) understood technique not as a “productive force” (wherein Marxist analysis is locked) but as medium, as form and principle of a whole new generation of sense-Simulations pg 99
 “I like to think of the electric guitar as a powerful engine,” Lynch said. “At least eight cylinders, but running rough, with a bad muffler.” -BAM

Image by Dean Hurley

Monday, February 8, 2016

Cheryl Donegan

"You are constantly facing a quotidian gauntlet of your corporeal experience and your virtual experience. They are pressed so close together. From moment to moment, you are trying to navigate both. Duchamp got there first with the infra-thin. It is like when you get a layer of sunscreen or moisturizer on the surface of your iPhone, or that moment when you sit down after someone has left a seat and you feel the warmth. It is an erotic feeling that is extended to your greasy phone!
There is, however, still the traditional idea of the isolated, genius artist who comes with no attachments and whose sui generis comes only from the self. That is its own self-referentiality. Non-attachment is a driving myth that produces artists who feel that their only allegiance is to their own creative imagination, which excludes other contributors. This produces an anxiety of influence. What if we insisted on the intimately connected, in being completely embedded? You have to take yourself a little bit less seriously."


Monday, January 25, 2016

Museumised: Rose-Coloured Resurrection

The Loud Family for the PBS documentary An American Family,
which "devastated" them when media called them "affluent zombies"
while accusing gay son Lance Loud (upper left) of
"camping and queening about like a pathetic court jester".
"We all become living specimens under the spectral light of ethnology, or of anti-ethnology which is only the pure form of triumphal ethnology, under the sign of dead differences, and of the resurrection of differences."
-- Jean Baudrillard, Simulations (p. 16)
With the mission of chronicling the "daily life of the Louds - an upper-middle class family from May 30 to December 31, 1971, PBS museumized the family as it fetishized their interactions and relationships in the series An American Family aired in 1973. They became specimens before the camera, which precipitated the parental divorce and the punk antics of Lance Loud, who had famously corresponded with artist Andy Warhol as a teen. Sited as the first "reality TV" show, An American Family changed the lives of the Louds, and it "changed my life," stated Craig Gilbert, the creator of the series stated in 2011 in a New Yorker interview. In a subsequent HBO drama titled Cinema Verite about the making of An American Family aired in 2011, the producers tried to "convey the surreal enormity of An American Family to viewers who are more accustomed to the idea of living in public, whether in front of cameras or through social media" and understanding the innocence of the early 1970s. Writes Baudrillard, "More interesting is the phantasm of filming the Louds as if TV weren't there. The producer's trump card was to say: "They lived as if we weren't there." An "absurd paradoxical formula--neither true, nor false: but utopian"(50) wrote Baudrillard while concluding that the family were victims of a sacrificial spectacle offered to 20 million Americans (51-52). Such museumification of human subjects continues more broadly today in everyday life everywhere as every minute seemingly is captured and uploaded for all to see. An American Life is a harbinger of the Internet exploitation of the individual and all of the social media disasters to come.

Wednesday, January 20, 2016

We Buy It Because It's There (and cute)

Whence the characteristic hysteria of our time: the hysteria of production and reproduction of the real. The other production that of goods and commodities that of la belle epoque of political economy no longer makes any sense of its own and has not for some time. What society seeks through production and overproduction is the restoration of the real which escapes it. That is why contemporary "material" production is itself hyperreal. It retains all the features the whole discourse of traditional production but it is nothing more than its scaled down refraction (thus the hyperrealists fasten in a striking resemblance a real from which has fled all meaning and charm all the profundity and energy of representation). Thus the hyperrealism of simulation is expressed everywhere by the real's striking resemblance to itself.                     
-Simulations   Jean Boudrillard   pg 44-45

The original Mini underwent numerous changes of name and engine, and detail upgrades were made to its exterior design. Different body styles were created too, but its fundamental character and layout were unchanged and it was the “standard” two-door model that had the most timeless appeal: the final model that rolled off the production line in 2000 didn’t look that different to the original 1959 car.
Today's Mini simulates the original...

Tuesday, January 12, 2016

Kenneth Anger

Kenneth Anger, the American underground experimental filmmaker: 'Lucifer is not the devil. He's the god of light and colour.' Photograph: Pål Hansen for the Observer
"I was entranced by Scorpio Rising when I saw it for the first time, and it’s had a powerful effect on me and my own films over the years. The way Anger used music in that film, in such perfectly magical harmony with the images, opened my thinking about the role music could play in movies. It could become as important to the characters and the world of the film as it was to all of us at the time." -Martin Scorsese

Tuesday, January 5, 2016

The Divine Irreference of Images

Walt Disney and Mickey Mouse at Disneyland,
Anaheim, California, Christmas 2007 by Mouse Planet
"This deep-frozen infantile world happens to have been conceived and
realized by a man who is himself now cryogenised, Walt Disney,
who awaits his resurrection at minus 180 degrees centigrade."
© 1983 Jean Baudrillard, Simulations (p. 24)