Art & Design Archives

Art, net art, anti-art, or stuff that just looks pretty.


November 14, 2004 at 01:08 PM

Category: Art & Design, Internet & Technology

I've been hearing that word lately all over the place...

1) The faculty of making fortunate discoveries by accident.
2) The fact or occurrence of such discoveries.
3) An instance of making such a discovery.

I described to a few RSS feeds and it's like a little piece of serendipity in my mailbox everyday.

Anyways, through that I discovered ITConversations which is a wonderful little audio archive of conference lectures. Interesting talks by Malcolm Gladwell, Alex Steffen, and others. (I've only gotten through a few of them but I'm sure that the other clips are equally engaging. And if you register, you can use the dandy "queue" tool to keep track of what you want to hear next).

I love this queue idea. I've muddled over the idea for a while since hypertext (while a god send) is extremely disruptive to narrative. I like the "InfoCollector" found on the Ars Electronica site. And Functioning Form has suggested another way to keep track of related weblog entries. Now if it could actually transcend one url......

Maybe that's where attention.xml comes in?

Information overload, oh my...

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everything's related

November 07, 2004 at 01:33 PM

Category: Art & Design, Internet & Technology, Urban Legends

I went to the Skyharp talk (part of the SoundPlay festival) the other day. It was okay... nothing new since the artists aren't the most hi-tech people though they are really able to bring in an organic quality to their compositions.

The odd thing was that it was sponsored by the architecture program. I continually asked myself what Skyharp (a nature-driven sound art piece) had to do with architecture (building man-made objects) but it all made sense when one of the arch professors said that he recently attended a symposium. Three topics came up over and over again:
(a) meta-data of physical spaces
(b) mapping
(c) embodiment

Hot issues, indeed. I have to wonder if it's really an emergence of a new way of thinking (more of a reaction, I suppose, towards the influences of computer technology and telecommunications) or if it's just trendy.

Oh and check out the Mutation Workspace project by That poster looks eerily like my Blog City project. (Once again, a reminder that everyone's brains must be connected.) I think the image is just for illustration purposes because they instead use a matrix of numbers on the actual site. Check out the other projects too... interesting stuff.

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October 16, 2004 at 06:29 PM

Category: Art & Design

Could there possibly be anything any cuter than the RESfest flyers this year? Design by kozyndan and website by exopolis

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October 13, 2004 at 12:48 AM

Category: Art & Design, Internet & Technology, Personal

I just had one of *those* moments... where you realize that it is literally impossible to have an actual original idea.

Ego crushing, on one hand. Vastly comforting, on the other, to know that others think the same way I do.

Some of you might remember that I wrote a project proposal earlier this year. Excerpt here and full 8-page proposal here (pdf).

And so today I see Pleix's Netlag video.


Oh and I'm not saying at all that someone's idea was stolen... I've never heard of Pleix before nor did I ever upload my proposal until right now in order to show you the similarities.

Actually, I quite like how their project turned out. Apparently they projected it onto a big wall when they presented it.

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Feed me badge and I love you long time

June 15, 2004 at 11:03 PM

Category: Art & Design

After a long wait, I finally got my buttons in the mail the other day, whoo! Get your own and support cancer research, while quantities last: Badges Have Feelings Too.

(Watch out for the Canadian duty charges though... ouch!)

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graphical programming do-hickeys

March 02, 2004 at 11:42 PM

Category: Art & Design, Internet & Technology, Personal

Here are some graphical programming environments that you can use for realtime manipulation or triggering of video, audio, etc. which are dandy tools for making installations or for VJ (video jockey) visuals. (Did I explain that right? I think so.)

Pure Data.

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CBC Radio 3

February 27, 2004 at 04:31 PM

Category: Art & Design, Internet & Technology

I haven't been digging the past few months of CBC Radio3 but this week's issue seems especially good and/or inspiring.

I should make a top 10 list of my fave issues.....

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Sand art

February 09, 2004 at 08:31 PM

Category: Art & Design, Moving Media

I was thinking about Takashi Ishida's video Chair/Screen that I saw last year... It was a beautifully done timelapse video in which a wall was filmed being painted over and over again with geometric and organic shapes.

Then these videos showed up in one of my design portals today... (And the fact that it's real time makes it freakin' amazing.)

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some tutorials

February 02, 2004 at 08:35 PM

Category: Art & Design, Goto Source

A couple of resources...

Typography basics:

Isometric pixel art basics:

Related -- Pixel art t-shirts:
(This one is funny)

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your wireless future

January 31, 2004 at 10:43 PM

Category: Art & Design, Internet & Technology

All the talking heads in this presentation kind of scare me but it's interesting to think of how portable everything is becoming and the movement towards making the interface (technically) transparent for the user:

And in a strange mix of art being showcased by a corporation, vodaphone's latest issue of reciever covers wireless network art:

And one more link.... for those hardcore designer's, computer love is a global community of graphic designers who love -- what else -- their computers and design:

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Buddhism meets cybernetics?

October 08, 2003 at 12:00 AM

Category: Art & Design, Site News

Been reading The Telematic Embrace by Roy Ascott for my Interactivity and Networking class. Came across this interesting 1966 quote from Nam June Paik and thought, "Hey, that's my URL!"

"Cybernetics, the science of pure relations, or relationship itself, has it's origin in karma. ... The Buddhists also say / Karma is samsara / Relationship is metempsychosis."

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The BIG Urban Game

September 05, 2003 at 12:00 AM

Category: Art & Design, Urban Legends

The first week of classes for me has involved a lot of monologues about what my expectations of new media are, the things I'm interested in, and what projects that I would like to work on this year. I mentioned how I was interested in how the online world affects the offline world or vica versa but when pressed for an example, I blanked out. So today, while listening to CBC Radio (a new hobby), I heard of the BUG project and wish I would have thought of first.

Combining my interests of urban space and mapping, The University of Minnesota's Design Institute are using the cities of Minneapolis and St. Paul as giant game boards. Join a team (red, blue, or yellow) and vote daily on which path your team's giant game piece traverses. And if you live in the area, you could have volunteered as a mover or you can go to the end checkpoints to roll a dice and give your team a speed boost. Go yellow!

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Memories of camera class

June 13, 2003 at 12:00 AM

Category: Art & Design

A post-it note doodle from school featuring the lovebot and some bodi-less heads (Rachel drew the faces).

I think I miss school?

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A new spin on computer art

April 29, 2003 at 12:00 AM

Category: Art & Design, Internet & Technology

Ryan sent me this link worth checking out: Hektor - computerized graphitti.

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Backlog of notes

April 25, 2003 at 12:00 AM

Category: Art & Design, Events, Internet & Technology

My notes from Images and FITC 2003... I don't even need to type these up but I mostly use this weblog simply to jog my own memory when needed. :)

Images Festival (April 10-19)

Highlights from the Boxed Life screenings:
+ 8.7mb by Jeremy Bailey was great! (Click on placeholder to play. You should also check out Bye Bye Bye)
+ Chair/Screen by Takashi Ishida was so beautiful.
+ God Bless America by Tadasu Takamine was outrageous.

Highlights from the NegativLand screening/talk:
+ Don't have much time to comment on this right now so here's a link to NegativLand.

FlashintheCan (April 15-17)

I was pretty scatterbrained for most of this festival since I was stage manager for the smaller stage and, because of that, I ended up worrying constantly about what time it was and freaking out whenever the audio and internet didn't work. All the good code tidbits went in one ear and out the other. It was a good experience and I met lots of people but definetely hard work... next year, I'll just pay for a ticket!

Here's what I can put together in order of appearance:

+ Brendan Dawes' book was the first Flash book that I ever read which really put the designer/programmer ideal in focus for me so it was great to see him in person. Brendan is hella funny and pretty down to earth. Key: Put your audience first and test, test, test.

+ Andries Odendaal makes the most gorgeous interactive systems! Besides his isometric experiments, here's his walking skeleton that I saw a couple months ago. Play some Whizball. There was also this HP photo paper game with a little buggy that drove around an office desk... link anyone?

+ Kymberlee Weil gave a really good talk about getting more business in the Flash industry. One of her projects was Intro (goto mixed grill, then projects) which is somewhat similiar to my alphalpha project except with video. Key: network, network, network.

+ I missed most of Grant Skinner's talk but his gModeler application looks really useful. I still don't know exactly what it does but I was blown away by Grant's website. You should go check it out... it really articulates the relational navigation that I had wanted to make for this site.

+ Can you believe that I almost kicked Robert Penner off the stage because of mistaken identity? I'm so stupid so go buy his book. (Really, I hear good things about it.)

+ Glyn Thomas kind of came out of nowhere and showed off some amazing stuff with 3D in Flash. I didn't even think Flash could do that! And it looks relatively lightweight in delivery too. (As a side effect, it makes me want to put some effort into learning Lightwave but then I remember doing that paper tutorial and I wince.)

+ Colin Moock went through the new Unity 2 release and it definetley looks much easier to implement than Unity 1. More summer fun...

+ So that's about all I was really able to retain about the talks. I'm disappointed that the two other female speakers had to cancel though. All this hubbub about equal rights, yada yada, and I don't even get to see if they live up to expectations. (I'll save my rant about women in technology for another day...)

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Hello hi-res

April 20, 2003 at 12:00 AM

Category: Art & Design, Internet & Technology

Not too sure when the update happened but looks like my favourite design team released a new version of and they also have the cover story of shift. (The shift from japan, btw... not North America.)

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Urban Remix (cont'd)

March 29, 2003 at 12:00 AM

Category: Art & Design, Events, Internet & Technology

Okay, finally those Digifest notes!

OnTarget Digital Entrepreneur Workshop
I originally thought Digifest was worthwhile simply for the OnTarget business workshops but the first 10 minutes were putting me to sleep so I left when they started to get into some hairy statistics from Delvinia.

Dutch Media Practice and Resistance: Electronic Interventions
This panel talk was really interesting in that these new media practitioners really moved away from screen-based restrictions. Their work realizes how important 'real life' interventions should be to 'cyber' interactions. So in no particular order:

+ Eric Kluitenberg - Constructing the Digital Commons
By far my favourite speaker at Digifest! Eric organizes these 'technology jams' in various cities where there's an actual physical location and people just drop in on a weekly basis for some tutorials or to just shoot the breeze with others who share an interest in technology. Whoa, a good old analog network!

I believe the events are called an*at*tom*ik and I would refer to you a URL but (here's a shocker...) there is none! Eric hasn't gotten around to making one yet but he actually says that this doesn't impact attendance at all since it forces people to come by to see what's happening.

It's amazing how body language makes the hugest impact on how we communicate and that's sort of getting lost today. And you can really see how effective face-to-face speaking is when Eric immediately built a relaxed rapport with the audience by simply detaching himself from the speakers podium... plus, he had the cutest little accent.

Eric is somehow related to Next 5 Minutes 4.

+ Nat Muller - User Research in Responsive Environments
Nat founded foAM which does a lot projects with everyday people to see how they react and interact with environments hooked up with sensors. From the documentation she showed us it was hard to figure out what the actual interations where (besides people swinging around in a circus arena, serious) but she does a lot of direct interviewing with the participants after they leave the environment in order to gather information. A very tactile way of getting feedback for tactile environments... sounds like a good idea to me.

Some more info on foAM can be found in their Librynth.

+ Guy van Belle - Old School Tactics vs. New School Abstractions
An urban update to that Russian guy who makes those political Zenith projections onto buildings. (Sorry, can't even fathom how to spell his name at this time.) Guy was trying to make these culture jamming statements but this I didn't really get though... how does projecting typography and Flash animations onto buildings (when it doesn't seem like anyone is around) change the world?

He did however offer this piece of advice: To get freedom of speech on the internet, you need to fight for freedom of speech in the real world too... they aren't completely separate entities.

Here are some resources for digital copyright info: and

+ Floor van Spaendonck - Tools for Social Change
Seniors should be allowed to use computers too right? Technology is making the generation gap even bigger so the Waag Society for Old and New Media would bring different types of technology to seniors homes to allow them to record their stories in non-intimidating ways.

Free as in Speech: Open Systems for Creative Expression
I was starving so I missed the first 3 speakers but made it back for James Fung who is one of Steve Mann's graduate students. They hooked up the big screen to James' eyetap glasses so it was very weird to see him navigate through a Linux OS and a hacked internet browser in order to present to us.

It was also surprising to see how normal the cyborg James is in comparison to Steve Mann who seems quite nervous and introverted when he speaks. (I suppose I assumed incorrectly that only those who seem like they want to leave society would want to become a cyborg.) Though, I'm still not entirely sold on the idea that the eyetap's ability to block out ads is unobtrusive.

Also to note: this group was hardcore into the open source movement. To keep up to date, they recommended checking out When I finally hook myself up with a laptop, I think that I'm going to hunt up an open source GUI OS... Lindows makes me laugh though.

Okay, enough typing from me. I'll finish off by saying that Amon Tobin was great and I'll add some of the hints that gmunk dropped tomorrow or later on.

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Major linkage

March 19, 2003 at 12:00 AM

Category: Art & Design, Events, Internet & Technology

Because everyone loves links (yes, I'm being partially sarcastic here since most of us recieve floods of information en masse on a daily basis), here's a compilation of URLs that have been passing through my mailbox the past couple of weeks. Content varies though I guarentee that they are interesting in one way or another.

+ Toronto's Images Festival new media component - 'Source'
+ Stelarc's website (he's one of those cyborg guys)
+ Lisa Klapstock's 'Threshold' photography
+ Promise (artsy warehouse party this Friday in Toronto)
+ has a new series finished!!
+ Short promo show for Pixel Gallery in Toronto
+ Art Directors Anonymous (Canadian designer collective of sorts)
+ 4 days left to win Digifest tickets!
+ Mr.Wong's apartments (I know you'll click on this simply because of the name)
+ Semantic room building (crazy!)
+ Yahoo directory of web work

And it ain't a cool link list without... Stinkoman and Teen Girl Squad 2!

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March 16, 2003 at 12:00 AM

Category: Art & Design

Can't get enough of the ASCII fun...

           ___           ___           ___           ___           ___ 

          /__/|         /  /\         /  /\         /__/\         /  /\    

         |  |:|        /  /::\       /  /::\       |  |::\       /  /::\   

         |  |:|       /  /:/\:\     /  /:/\:\      |  |:|:\     /  /:/\:\  

       __|  |:|      /  /:/~/::\   /  /:/~/:/    __|__|:|\:\   /  /:/~/::\ 

      /__/\_|:|____ /__/:/ /:/\:\ /__/:/ /:/___ /__/::::| \:\ /__/:/ /:/\:\

      \  \:\/:::::/ \  \:\/:/__\/ \  \:\/:::::/ \  \:\~~\__\/ \  \:\/:/__\/

       \  \::/~~~~   \  \::/       \  \::/~~~~   \  \:\        \  \::/     

        \  \:\        \  \:\        \  \:\        \  \:\        \  \:\     

         \  \:\        \  \:\        \  \:\        \  \:\        \  \:\    

          \__\/         \__\/         \__\/         \__\/         \__\/    


                                 /  /\         _____      

                                /  /::\       /  /::\    

                ___     ___    /  /:/\:\     /  /:/\:\    

               /__/\   /  /\  /  /:/~/::\   /  /:/~/::\  

               \  \:\ /  /:/ /__/:/ /:/\:\ /__/:/ /:/\:| 

                \  \:\  /:/  \  \:\/:/__\/ \  \:\/:/~/:/ 

                 \  \:\/:/    \  \::/       \  \::/ /:/  

                  \  \::/      \  \:\        \  \:\/:/   

                   \__\/        \  \:\        \  \::/      

                                 \__\/         \__\/      


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Massive Attack

February 06, 2003 at 12:00 AM

Category: Art & Design, Internet & Technology

Yes! A new (full) launch from the fine folks at hi-res: massive attack

Procrastination time!

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Books are still awesome

January 23, 2003 at 12:00 AM

Category: Art & Design, Literature & Writing

Damn Indigo for having so many good books!!

Picked up "The Art of Interactive Design" by Chris Crawford. What prose for a computer book! Some good quotes within the first 10 pages:

"If you consider interactivity design to be a variation on traditional human factors design, then you should hurl this book away from you with vehement force; its carefree disregard for the eternal verities of your field will only upset you."

"... With the term interactivity yanked around so much as to be half-dead... I'll bet that one day you'll walk into the grocery store and find a box of laundry detergent with a big banner slashing diagonally across its top, saying, 'NEW! IMPROVED! INTERACTIVE!'"

"We tend to think of interactivity as a Boolean property (either you have it or you don't) like virginity."

I also bought this month's issue of metro-pop since it was an illustration special.

Art Now (one of those huge Taschen books) was calling me too but I resisted... for now anyways.

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Find the art in everyday objects

November 23, 2002 at 12:00 AM

Category: Art & Design, Do-It-Yourself (DIY)

I knew that this whole open source thing was a good idea...

The creators of ReadyMade magazine have been recently interviewed on radio (listen here).

These two ladies certainly know what it's all about:

"Today everything is mass produced and we lose our sense of process and tactile art. Ready Made is empowering to people because it helps them figure out how things are made.... Find the art in everyday objects." (paraphrased from the interview)

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Links: stock photo

November 20, 2002 at 06:57 PM

Category: Art & Design

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Take Me, I'm Yours

November 19, 2002 at 12:00 AM

Category: Art & Design, Literature & Writing

Take Me, I'm Yours

Novemeber 14 to December 15, 2002

Curated by:
Jan Allen

Featuring works by:
Laurel Woodcock

Laurel Woodcock's Lured I (front) and Lured II (back)

Laurel Woodcock is an artist, writer and teacher in Montreal so I haven't ever met her before in my life but I think Laurel and I must have a psychic thing going on.

The shoes that appear in her cinematic-sized video projection Lured I are in my closet. And since I actually have a few fly pictures of my own, it's good to know that I'm not the only one who thinks flies can be made into an art form as Laurel has done in her operetta piece.

Overall, I thought that Laurel Woodcock: take me, I'm yours, a selection of her works since 1997, was a great show. I was worried when I read that her works were 'ambiguous juxtapositions' because I thought it would end up to be one of those bizarre art shows where nothing makes sense while a curator prances around proclaiming how "marvelous!" everything was but Laurel's art pieces were definitley down to earth.

There seemed to have been an overall theme of taking little things and blowing them out of prorportion. For example, Woodcock's Advisory Warning seemed to have been examining the futileness of trying to predict our future. Next to a magnify glass examining a 'business card horoscope', a tiny LCD screen was showing a tornado. Much like how weather is based on chaos theory, trying to understand our future using the occult pokes fun at those who obsess over their daily horoscope. The use of a magnify glass was quite amusing since it was hard to read the horoscope without twisting my head this way and that. It also seems to play on the idea of those who examine parapsychology phenomenon and how they are fighting to have their field taken seriously as a true science.

A whirlwind tour of the rest of the exhibit:

  • Extreme Sport was quite amusing. It reminded me of sitting in the nose bleed section of a sporting arena, staring at dots of people, wondering what the heck is going on down in the playing field or basketball court.
  • Lured I seems to capture the human psyche very well. As I wondered why I was watching this woman lose her keys in the sewer drain over and over again (a different angle each time), I thought about how we replay are most stupid moments again and again in our heads as if we could somehow change the past.
  • Lured II (a pile of silver candy and a video of a pre-teen girl examining how our personality is projected in the way we eat candy) caused an interesting effect on me. I had a candy before listening to the video so when the girl started talking, I immediately felt self-conscious. Turn that around and it made me remember how it felt to be her age again with everyone scrutinizing me (or at least feeling like everyone was scrutinizing me).
  • A series of framed, stark white photos of a sole fly were in one corner. Definetley a play on the idea of a "fly on the wall". It's interesting how we have an ability to pay attention to only what other people tell us to pay attention to.
  • Operetta was talked a lot about during my visit so I'll only compliment Laurel here. (Good job, Laurel.)

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Ian-Carr Harris

November 12, 2002 at 12:00 AM

Category: Art & Design, Literature & Writing

Ian-Carr Harris

Power Plant
September 21 to November 17, 2002

Curated by:
Philip Monk

Featuring work by:
Ian Carr-Harris

"My work centers on acts of re-tracing -- we could call it 're-touching' -- conceived as forms of demonstration. Events rather than objects, they require that we look at something that we already 'know', and in that looking to discover -- not quickly, nor entirely grasped -- something we took for granted." -- Ian Carr-Harris

Okay, well I seem to understand what Carr-Harris' goal was but I found that this survey exhibition of his work from 1989 to 1999 was very 'un-eventful' and unimpressive for an artist producing work for the past few decades.

Perhaps it's because I don't care to put the effort and time into understanding his complexities -- just as our tour guide seemed to suggest about the art critics who have decided against even writing anything about Carr-Harris' works. At least it makes me feel good that I'm not alone in my feelings and that the befuddlement that is Ian Carr-Harris has caused the current issue of Lola Magazine to feature an entire article about this 'generation art gap'.

Let's examine his piece Jan. - Mar. then. Okay, so it's some sort of wooden office island/cabinet with a bundled stack of magazines on top. The magazines are contemporary and the title of the work seems to suggest something about time. One end of the office island appears unfinished, the tour guide doesn't want us to touch anything so we can't open any of the drawers and, most importantly, it's a piece of furniture in the middle of an art gallery. All of this must be focusing on the non-functional nature of the work.

So, now am I suppose to realize how much I take office furniture for granted? (How much I take functional office furniture for granted??) Made in Hong Kong (a bookcase cabinet) caused similar confusion with me.

Yes, indeed, there seems to be a generation gap (mental gap?) going on here.

Even Annabel, created in 1999, would have appeared to connect more with me since it featured a computer voice but I felt no emotional tug with this one either. The voice was a bit garbled too so I couldn't even tell what the words were.

The curator, Philip Monk, writes in his essay, "the banality of the voice... [leaves] a strange mix of longing and loss."

Unfortunately, I only feel that Carr-Harris' message was lost.

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Sounds and Nodes

October 29, 2002 at 12:00 AM

Category: Art & Design, Internet & Technology

This thing is too much fun... beautiful too.

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Art is dead

October 26, 2002 at 12:00 AM

Category: Art & Design

I decided today that there's no such thing as 'Art'. It's all just a bunch of psychological games.

Yep, I shall graduate with a B.FA as evidence of my game master skills.

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FITO Hillman Curtis lecture

October 26, 2002 at 12:00 AM

Category: Art & Design, Photography

Well I never really had a chance to write down an articulation of my thoughts for this event but these are the notes that I wrote down:

Went to Hillman Curtis with Erica and Dave. Curtis ended up being quite the humble person. As commercial as he is, he doesn't gloss over it. (He does believe that you can put the words 'commercial' and 'artists' together and still have them work.)

It was very interesting how he talked about his desire to communicate. He mentioned his faith in the internet to break free from needing big corporations in order to get your music out. And of course this applies to writing and art. (Very timely since I recieved a link from Alex about Peer-to-peer streaming for audio and video. Goooo pirate radio/tv!)

Some pics of the event: (They're really blurry because the lecture was in a very dark movie theatre, hence a slightly shaky long exposure. But that black blob of a figure... that's Hillman)

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October 26, 2002 at 12:00 AM

Category: Art & Design, Literature & Writing


Art System
October 25 to October 27, 2002

Curated by:
Derek Mainella

Featuring works by:
Matthew Bennett, Jubal Brown, Jason Hallows, Andrew Kidder, Derek Mainella, Anna Jane Mcintyre

Painting at Arcade

It's 3pm on a Saturday afternoon.

My detour into Chinatown to find the elusive* Art System gallery has led me up a flight of stairs and through a very pink door. I seem to vaguely recall my old roommate telling me that Art System puts on good parties.

As I enter the gallery, I feel the alcoholic stickiness of last night's opening reception party tug at the sole of my shoes while a young man half-heartedly sweeps plastic cups and straws into piles. (I think it's the curator, Derek Mainella, but I don't ask.)

"Sorry for the condition of that display," he tells me while pointing to a wall of disorganized pixel art paintings (possibly his own, see below), half of which were in a pile on the floor. "I ran out of sale stickers last night and was selling them right off the wall."

Looks like I missed an interesting night -- especially since the flyer was encouraging 'Pac-Man era attire'.

I wasn't too sure what to expect from Arcade!, a survey exhibition of arcade-related art work. It did cross my mind how geeky this idea of having a gallery show dedicated to video game art was. Yet, just as the curator proposed with this show, it is truly a reflection of my generation.

The so-called geeks are turning out to the ones making the big bucks and, considering how mainstream computing and gaming have become, the geeks are most certainly going to be shaping our visual landscape of the present and future.

left: paintings by Matthew Bennett | right: (non)pixel art paintings (Derek Mainella

In terms of Arcade!, most works had a retro-80s look. Some of the artists chose to monumentalize video game art by increasing the scale and transferring each pixel onto canvas through paint. There is something truly ritualistic about meticulously painting straight-edged squares one after another.

Matthew Bennett, co-founder of Mind Control Studios in Toronto, decided to approach it differently and made Metroid** into erotica (see above, left). I guess it's every boy's fantasy to have a woman who can kick alien butt. And with that heavy armour, it's even easier to imagine the mystique. (Of course, now is the time to point out how only one of the six featured artists is a woman.)

While I don't want to underscore the influences of video games on representation in a digital culture, I considered Arcade! as only a nice blast to the past. An interesting re-mediation of low art versus high art but overall uninspiring for my current New Media practices. Nevertheless, I still went home and played some Metroid.

* elusive since Art System doesn't even seem to have a website... very strange for a gallery that showcases a lot of multimedia events.
** actually, I'm not too sure if it's Metroid but I can't think of any other female video game characters.

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The Paradise Institute

October 20, 2002 at 12:00 AM

Category: Art & Design, Literature & Writing

The Paradise Institute

Power Plant
September 21 to November 17, 2002

Curated by:
Philip Monk

Featuring work by:
Janet Cardiff and George Bures Miller

From The Paradise Institute artist catalogue

Art galleries are the last place that I would have expected to feel like I just stepped off a roller coaster but Canadian artists Janet Cardiff and George Bures Miller have truly engineered an installation ride of hyper-realism that's just as thrilling as being in an amusement park.

Cardiff and Miller have collaborated many times in the past and this time they bring us The Paradise Institute -- a specially built mini-movie theatre of wood, real theatre seats and faked theatre space. Headphones are used and moving images are displayed on a screen much smaller than what would appear in an actual movie house.

At this point, I would like to state that mere words are futile in describing the complexity of this installation, nor can words do justice for this piece.

The sound production quality experienced in Cardiff and Miller's theatre of illusion make it impossible to describe how easy it was to believe that someone was whispering in your ear, that someone was undressing right behind you, or that a mob of people outside the theatre installation were banging on the walls.

Janet Cardiff is quite well known for her audio walks so the attention to detail in The Paradise Institute's audio shouldn't come as any surprise. Quite possibly I could go on for ages about the sound but let us not forget about the 'theatre' concept of the installation. It was very interesting how the visuals played with -- and against -- the audio. The 'film' being shown was fragmented in a Cubist way while the audio narrative stayed more or less linear.

The most intriguing part about The Paradise Institute is when the on-screen fiction mixes with the off-screen fiction. It felt analogous to when I watch movies and, in my head, I project my own director's cut onto the screen. It also works the other way around, such as when you need that break from mundane life so you daydream about being a fictional character in the last movie you saw. (Yes, I'll admit it: I think having spidy-powers would be cool.)

Interior view of The Paradise Institute

More reading: Atom Egoyan interview with Janet Cardiff

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The Found and the Familiar

October 19, 2002 at 12:00 AM

Category: Art & Design, Literature & Writing

The Found and the Familiar:
Snapshots in Contemporary Canadian Art

Gallery TPW
October 17 to November 16, 2002

Curated by:
Sophie Hackett and Jennifer Long

Featuring works by:
Sara Angelucci, Barbara Astman, Dean Baldwin, Chris Curreri, Max Dean, Nancy Friedland, Clint Griffin, Vid Ingelevics, Germaine Koh, Adrienne Lai and Nina Levitt

A collage by Clint Griffin

A few days earlier, my roommate's boyfriend interviewed me for one of his journalism assignments. The topic was cultural identity and somehow we got talking about how our 'boundaries' in Toronto affect our perception of culture.

Being that I'm Asian, one would think that I would know more about Markham, the Pacific Mall or Toronto's Chinese newspapers, but alas, I am in the dark.

"You have to understand," I tell Jon (my interviewer), "that I grew up in Regina. And that Toronto to me means everything south of Bloor, west of Yonge and east of High Park."

It would seem that Clint Griffin also agrees that familiar roads can serve as our boundaries. Griffin is an Ontario-born artist who likes to collect discarded photos and his sense of playfulness is alive in his piece pictured above and below. (Sorry, I forgot to write down the title!).

A close up. Note: 'Eglinton', 'St. Clair'

The pencil sketchings on this mixed media collage of cutout photos and used mailing envelopes imply a room and the space beyond. The corners of the walls and ceiling are Toronto streets alluding to how we box ourselves into a certain environment. A painting on the illusionary wall depicts a sketched out map of Toronto supporting my idea that perception is what we are most familiar with.

The Found and the Familiar plays on this idea of taking things that we know (snapshots) in order to reflect on our perception of how things are represented. What we choose to present (or hide) in these informal pictures indicate the values of a society that believes "a picture is worth a thousand words."

I felt that the artists featured appealed much more to me on an intellectual level, rather than emotional, so I did not find this show to be very exciting. However, the re-mediation of snapshots did cause me to wonder what my photo shoebox is saying about me. (Talking behind my back, no doubt.)

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What does supertronic mean anyways?

October 19, 2002 at 12:00 AM

Category: Art & Design

Helped out at the Images Festival office today... nothing glamourous. Mostly just typing installation submissions into a database. My wrists KILL. Gooooo carpal tunnel.

It amuses me what some of these artists' come up with for titles for their artwork. It's late so I can only remember '3 Dimensional Supertronic Sound' (or something to that effect).

Reminds me of the website Effloresce Machina.

Quite ingeneous, I must admit. But do these people pull out their thesaurus and dictionaries when they put these titles together??

If it doesn't already exists, someone should build a database of colossally fecundive epochial-sounding -- yet lyrical -- words that will automatically name your installation for you.

Hmm... I feel another project coming along...

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Case Studies: Kinematics

October 19, 2002 at 12:00 AM

Category: Art & Design, Literature & Writing

Case Studies: Kinematics

York Quay Centre
September 20 to November 3, 2002

Curated by:
Patrick Macaulay

Featuring works by:
Doug Back, Michael Buchanan, Peter Gazendam, Lee Goreas, Jen Hamilton, Gordon Hicks, Marla Hlady and Devon Knowles

The hallway at York Quay Centre

Kinematics is a group show featuring eight artists who explore and/or break our preconceived notions of motion or sound. The first of eight vitrines in the hallway leading to the gallery contains Devon Knowles' 60 Second Blues.

This piece is a polished wooden box, approximately 15-inches tall by 13-inches wide with a thicker base. Several cutout pieces in the front of the box give the impression of a 1940's radio -- a circular cutout for the tuning knob and long narrow strips where speakers might go. (It had a nice solid weight to it even with its haphazard looking cutouts.)

There is a power source in the vitrine which allows a small light source to shine through a slowly rotating multi-coloured glass disc built inside the top of the wooden box. This creates soothing shades of orange, green and blue to glow on the inside of the box. The colours ebb and flow much like how a soft jazzy blues tune would drift. (I think of the families of the past who huddled around the radio like a fireplace in order to pay homage to their broadcasting celebrities.)

I believe Knowles' goal was to take one of our senses (sight) and make it conjure up an idea of another sense (hearing). The plainness of the box and the cutouts seemed to imply the 'constructed-ness' of music composition. In an abstract sense, music is just a bunch of sounds but when you add movement and rhythm to it, that's when it becomes a song. Therefore, the effectiveness of the piece is very much dependent on kinetics and the time required to experience the artwork.

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