Posts Tagged “Columnists”

From Berlin to San Francisco: Gwenael Rattke and D-L Alvarez

10.05.2012  |  By
Filed under: Essay

Is there a still-thriving tradition of gay (or at least homoerotic) collage, with the Bay Area as its potential capital? That question has lingered in my mind when I’ve glued images from After Dark to Maria Callas box sets (or placed old horror movie hand gestures in new contexts), and when I’ve met other local gay men devoted to simila... More

The Visual as a Quickening Sound Vibration: An Interview with Musician Oluyemi Thomas, Part III

08.05.2012  |  By

Originally from the musically rich Motor City, Detroit, Michigan, Oluyemi Thomas has been a San Francisco Bay Area resident since 1974. Thomas studied both music and mechanical engineering at Washtenaw College. He creates ordered compositional free music that he acknowledges as part of, but not limited to, what is called jazz. Over a career spannin... More

The Visual as a Quickening Sound Vibration: An Interview with Musician Oluyemi Thomas, Part II

08.05.2012  |  By
Filed under: Conversations

Originally from the musically rich Motor City, Detroit, Michigan, musician/composer/multi-instrumentalist Oluyemi Thomas has been a Bay Area resident since 1974. He studied both music and mechanical engineering at Washtenaw College. Thomas creates ordered compositional free music that he acknowledges as part of — but not limited to — what is cal... More

The Visual as a Quickening Sound Vibration: An Interview with Musician Oluyemi Thomas, Part I

08.04.2012  |  By
Filed under: Conversations

My interest in doing this interview with Oakland musician Oluyemi Thomas stems from a desire to get a wide range of answers to some questions that have held my interest for a number of years now. For example, how does the jazz aesthetic show up in the visual field? And, what are the visual markers indicating that we are “seeing” jazz? My goal is to explore the intersection between jazz music, spirituality, and ritual and to explain how these things are made present in the visual field. There are so many unexplored implications in the notion... More

A Meditation on Space (in Four Parts)

07.09.2012  |  By
Filed under: Field Notes

In early 2011 Wide White Space: The Way Beyond Art was on view at the Wattis Gallery in San Francisco. Curated by local designer Jon Sueda, the exhibition investigated “graphic design’s evolving relationship with the practice of exhibition-making as it intersects with the visual arts and the work of both artists and curators.” ... More

Kentucky-Fried Art

12.05.2011  |  By
Filed under: Essay

Commodified Cinema: Art, Advertising, and Commodities in Film, plays at noon on December 6 as the free Tuesday program. Museum and program admission are free.

Some years ago, I tipsily cornered Peter Kubelka at a small gathering being held in his honor. Here was my opportunity to grill him regarding his stunning Schwechater, surely the greatest one... More

Occupy Wall Street: It Ain’t Over Yet

11.17.2011  |  By
Filed under: Field Notes

People always clap for the wrong things. — Holden Caulfield from The Catcher in the Rye, in Chapter 12

Although I am living in New York I still follow the news on SFGate, KQED, KGO, and other news outlets. What has surprised me is how completely wrong Bay Area media has been about the Occupy Wall Street movement, its motivations, its strategy... More

Letter from Yvonne Rainer to Jeffrey Deitch

11.15.2011  |  By
Filed under: Field Notes

After observing a rehearsal, I am writing to protest the “entertainment” about to be provided by Marina Abramović at the upcoming donor gala at the Museum of Contemporary Art, where a number of young people’s live heads will be rotating as decorative centerpieces at diners’ tables and others — all women — will be required to lie perfectly still in the nude for over three hours under fake skeletons, also as centerpieces surrounded by diners.

On the face of it the above description might strike one as reminiscent of Salo, Pasolini’s controversial film of 1975 that dealt with sadism and sexual abuse of a group of adolescents at the hands of a bunch of postwar fascists. Though it is hard to watch, Pasolini’s film has a socially credible justification tied to the cause of anti-fascism. Abramović and MoCA have no such credibility — and I am speaking of this event itself, not of Abramović’s work in general — only a questionable personal rationale about the beauty of e... More

Artist Bloc Day of Politics, Action, and Art

11.10.2011  |  By
Filed under: Field Notes


We are artists and art workers of the 99%. We are struggling to survive and sustain our creative practice in an economy that does not value us as workers, that privatizes cultural institutions and that continuously defunds art programs–from public education to government grants. We are putting our creative efforts towards this movement and considering our role in the fight for economic and social justice.

Join us for the Artists Bloc day at Occu... More

How Occupy Wall Street Mobs Attacked Bankers over the Weekend

11.08.2011  |  By
Filed under: Essay

Did you hear about the Wall Street rioting over the weekend? If you are outside of New York, you probably didn’t. For some reason there was a media blackout. Early Sunday morning people reportedly heard gunshots and explosions. Then there was talk of guns and tear gas. Police clashed with masked men. Eye witnesses even reported seeing angry mobs of people trying to kidnap what looked like bankers and Wall Street executives. Hundreds of people dressed in black were seen fighting police in the street near the Stock Exchange.

Early reports said Occupy Wall Street protesters were to blame — their camp over at Zuccotti Park is just two blocks away — and so some were confused as to what exactly started the skirmish. But surveillance footage confirmed one thing: that it was not the angry mobs at Occupy Wall Street, but actually it was a number of scenes being shot for the new Christopher Nolan film, The Dark Knight Rises.



Out of the Studios, Into the Streets: Artists Represent at General Strike

11.05.2011  |  By
Filed under: Field Notes

On this past Wednesday, November 2nd, Oakland continued its historical legacy by organizing the first General Strike in the United States since 1946 — the last one was also in Oakland. Fifty thousand people (or more) took to the streets and participated in many of the workshops, break-out groups, and strike blocs as part of the Occupy Wall Street movement and in defense of a city under attack by its police force and mayor. Solidarity marches were held in cities throughout the country, banks were closed in Oakland, the port was shut down, chil... More

It’s November 5th. What the Heck Is Guy Fawkes Day?

11.04.2011  |  By
Filed under: Essay

Guy Fawkes Day has been celebrated for centuries in Great Britain, but it only became popular in the United States after the graphic novel V for Vendetta was made into a movie. In V for Vendetta (by Alan Moore), the main character is a masked anarchist who seeks to topple the fascist government ruling the Great Britain of the near future. The mask he wears is purported to be the face of Guy Fawkes. In the film, the masked avenger, named V, methodically assassinates and/or bombs his way through the key figures in the regime, hoping to inspire oth... More

The economic position of artists should be improved in the following ways…

11.02.2011  |  By
Filed under: Field Notes

The Art Workers’ Coalition was an organization of artists formed in 1969 to demand artists’ rights, museum reform, representation of women and artists of color in museums, and for museums to take a moral stance on the Vietnam War. As we consider artists’ stake in the current Occupy Wall Street movements, the Art Workers’ Coalition provides necessary historical context. Copied below is the Art Workers’ Coalition’s Statement of Demands made in November 1970 in New York City. How relevant are these demands toda... More

Clouds of Tear Gas in Oakland

10.25.2011  |  By
Filed under: Field Notes

Occupy Everything

10.10.2011  |  By
Filed under: Back Page

Third Hand Plays: Putting It All Together, the “Comedy of Separation”

09.27.2011  |  By
Filed under: Projects/Series

I’m sure some of you have noticed that a fair portion of my examples illustrating these “comedies” can best be described as harmless doodles — one-offs by bored adolescents, digital “folk” art by people otherwise preoccupied with their day jobs as graphic designers or computer engineers, or forays into digital text by artists whose main... More

Bruce Baillie and Canyon Cinema present QUICK BILLY @ SFMOMA on Thursday, Sept. 29

09.26.2011  |  By
Filed under: Uncategorized

In honor of the 50th anniversary of the founding of Canyon Cinema, and the recent release of Quick Billy on DVD, Bruce Baillie and Canyon Cinema present the restored version of QUICK BILLY in all its four-reel, 16mm glory at 7 p.m. this Thursday, Sept. 29, in SFMOMA’s Phyllis Wattis Theater, followed by a reception. For more information, incl... More

Why Not Forgive All Student Loans to Artists to Stimulate the Economy?

09.22.2011  |  By
Filed under: Essay

If big banks, credit card companies, and Wall Street firms can get hundreds of billions of dollars in bailouts and loan forgiveness, why can’t the students of America? Or more precisely, the art students of America? The way I see it is that the most creative people in the country are waiting tables, slaving away as secretaries, and doing menial jobs because their art degrees haven’t translated into earning potential. As a consequence, possibly tens of thousands — or maybe hundreds of thousands — of creative people around the country have given up their art and switched to non-art activities in order to pay the rent. So in 2009 (most recent year for census data), out of the 89,140 BFAs, 14,918 MFAs, and 1,569 PhDs granted in fine arts, just how many of those people are really making a living in the arts? My guess is: not many.

Does that seem fair? When the housing bubble popped and the economic crisis began, politicians never expected the bankers and Wall Street traders to give ... More

Brain Drain

09.22.2011  |  By
Filed under: Field Notes

Accolades for smart, creative people are rarely as glamorous or lucrative as the MacArthurs. I always get a little thrill when the annual “genius awards” are announced, as the idea of an artist getting five hundred grand is a wonderful thing, something akin to winning Best Picture at the Oscars. There’s pleasure even in begrudging a ... More

Third Hand Plays: “Bodies of Water” by David Clark

09.21.2011  |  By
Filed under: Projects/Series

David Clark’s major internet works — including “88 Constellations for Wittgenstein (to be played by left hand),” “Sign After the X,” and “A Is for Apple” — are dense, encyclopedic Flash pieces that are replete with imagery, sounds, graphics, voiceover narration. Clark’s visual sensibility is probably closest to that of a graphic... More

Third Hand Plays: The Comedy of Encryption

09.20.2011  |  By
Filed under: Projects/Series

Encryption is the age-old practice of taking a message, commonly known as a “plaintext,” and enciphering it to make it illegible to the unpracticed eye — this new text is known as the “ciphertext.” Prior to the use of ciphers, messages could be conveyed secretly by simply hiding them — shaving a messenger’s head, for example, and letting the hair grow back before sending him on his way, only to have it be revealed after a drastic haircut on the other end. Invisible ink was another common practice. A very basic form of encryption i... More

Third Hand Plays: “Struts” by J. R. Carpenter

09.15.2011  |  By
Filed under: Projects/Series

The very prolific J. R. Carpenter seems, more than most writers of electronic literature, most keen on bridging the worlds between the digital and the social, creating a middle ground in her pieces where nature, community, geography, and politics can intermingle with the play of algorithm and the range of image-making abilities computers afford. Two major recent pieces, collected in the Electronic Literature Organization‘s second grouping of key works, aptly demonstrate her interests. “Entre Ville” is a project that investigat... More

Third Hand Plays: The Comedy of Automation

09.13.2011  |  By
Filed under: Projects/Series

The comedy of automation is present in all electronic literature works that dynamically generate “literary” content without the work of a writer; we can see it in any number of works in the previous posts, particularly in the comedies of dysfunction, recursion, exhaustion, and association. I decided to create this additional category specifical... More

Third Hand Plays: “automatype” by Daniel C. Howe

09.08.2011  |  By
Filed under: Projects/Series

Daniel C. Howe, like joerg piringer and Erik Loyer, can be described as both an artist and a researcher. His homepage lists a number of projects, many in progress, some merely sketches, but he doesn’t make any clear division between research and art, not surprising given his array of degrees and residencies. An early project involved developing a series of 3-D fonts, which puts him in a tradition of experimental font makers including the previously mentioned Paul Chan, who replaced individual letters with words, scribbles, or abstract sha... More

George Kuchar 1942-2011

09.07.2011  |  By
Filed under: Back Page

New Flag for Libya

09.01.2011  |  By
Filed under: Back Page

François Mori/AP

Libyans wave national flags in Tripoli’s Green Square, renamed Martyr’s Square, during morning prayers Wednesday on Eid al-Fitr, the holiday marking the end of Ramadan. Libyans are also celebrating the ouster of Moammar Gadhafi.

* * *

“The children are drawing pictures of the new Libyan flag, something that would have gotten them arrested only two weeks ago.” (National Public Radio, 31 August 2011)

* * *

The first time I ever heard of Tripoli was when, as a child, in a school classroom, our music teacher taug... More

Third Hand Plays: The Comedy of Association

08.30.2011  |  By
Filed under: Projects/Series

This next comedy might be the one most associated with electronic literature, as it corrals work in both hypertext and computer-generated writing. I describe hypertext a bit in the first blog post in this series; it is basically the association of different text blocks, called “lexia,” through links embedded in the text itself, commonplace on the web but still exotic in the 1990s. Important early works in hypertext include Shelley Jackson’s “Patchwork Girl” (1995), Stuart Moulthrop’s “Victory Garden” (199... More