Recently in inspirations Category

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Sound artist Shawn Decker created the soundscape for artist Jan-Erik Andersson's garlic shaped sauna. They collaborated on the sound sauna as part of the SaunaLab project.

portable zendo

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A circular chamber made entirely of recycled cardboard, this Zendo, designed by Paul Discoe and Amy Van Nostrand, Burning Man 2006. Photo by Richard Lang for SFGate.

Presence, Production, Borders

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Just to follow up on a few ideas I mentioned in class this week, here are some references.

First, here's Thomas Hirschhorn talking about his Bijlmer Spinoza Festival. His emphasis on 'Presence' and 'Production' are interesting criteria for working in public space.

Second, here's a hilarious quote from Andrei Codrescu's The Posthuman Dada Guide. We were talking about how boundaries around nationality, cultural identification, and community affiliation get blurred and intermingled in our global society. I think this is a brilliantly absurd description of our globalized/privatized/militarized present/future:

"Political structures larger than the family are projections of automatic economic systems. Borders are largely imaginary, soon to be replaced by aesthetic differences.* In other words, there will be privately constructed borders created by everyone everywhere, enforced by pocket nukes capable of eliminating entire cities or regions. Arbitrary moral systems will back up private aesthetic borders, making it imperative for everyone to receive the correct medication. Unmedicated people will not be allowed pocket nukes, which makes it necessary that they be naked and searched often by militias of art students.

* A longer discussion on borders and aesthetics may be in order here: I refer the reader to my two earlier texts The Disappearance of the Outside and "before the storm: geographers in new orleans," a discussion of anarchist geography published in the book Jealous Witness. For now, suffice it to say that the notion of "privately constructed borders" is an extension of the Republican impulse to privatize everything, from health care to prisons. Borders today are largely imaginary: the Mexican-American border, for instance, runs through every major American city, wherever illegal immigrants go for work. The "border" is a metaphor that separates the so-called legal entity from the "paperless" one. In this sense, constructing borders will eventually be a full-time occupation for anyone providing herm legality, while the aesthetics will be simply the manner in which the entity constructs the argument. Anyone who wants to be "legal" will eventually want to be "legally elegant," that is, as aesthetically concise as the law itself. As for "pocket nukes," these will most certainly be available to the public under the Second Amendment, because they are already in the U.S. arsenal. In the matter of "art student" squads searching people for illegal nukes, the author hopes that he's being ironic, but not really sure. He is most definitely not ironic about the zones of "medicated liberty" or about medications of any sort. In fact, he is going to swallow a pill right now in order to continue the utopian enterprise of typing."

I remember hearing this joke frequently, and I'm aware of the baggage that a lot of very large, metal sculpture carries as far as being big instead of good, but I like big, steel things. My favorites at the Walker's sculpture garden are Serra's Five Plates, Two Poles or Calder's The Spinner

I know you've all seen those, so I apologize for wasting the space to post yet another picture.

What I like about these is the way that the scale and material can surround you. The size of these creates an interaction that is not always available with smaller works. The tactility of the steel, and the heat it puts off even into the evening is a different type of interaction than most objects I encounter. I do touch everything as I walk around all day, and quite a bit of manufactured or built objects seem to fail to absorb and slowly release the evidence of existence around them. The self healing nature of the steel also means that even the marks from children's feet or chalk or graffiti are absorbed, but also slowly released over time.

One of the artists I mentioned, Anthony Caro is yet another artist that dealt with steel as a material. From what I've read, it seems that his work, at least for the last half century has been commissioned work, rather than self initiated, but I assume he has the luxury of choosing what to be commissioned to do. One interesting thing I learned from the website, was that he collaborated on London's Millenium Bridge, the walking bridge over the Thames. The way I think this ties into our discussion is that Caro is among those credited (by his own website anyway) with placing large, brightly painted sculptures directly on the ground so that they engage the viewer on a one-to-one basis. I think that while there are now many more interactive ways to engage a viewer besides placing art in the same plane they are standing in, I have to imagine that at the time this was a big deal.

artworks that made me pause and think

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To be honest, I'm not looking at artists for inspiration from the day I read the e-studio class description. There are many reasons besides the Pandora's box of new materials we saw during presentations, including but not limited to- 1. I have become curious about the complex interplay between the artist and the collective. 2. My recent exposure to new levels of reality challenges the singular relation between artist and inspiration. 3. The artworks that reasonably inspire me cleverly hide the process of making or battling with 'chicken or egg' kind of questions. I'm interested in knowing different approaches to the process of 'nothing-to- the concept', that's why I kept asking our guests 'what led to so and so decision' and they mostly did a good job on translating those layers.

So, I do have artworks in mind that I appreciate.
1. How Do You See the Disappeared?
By Mariam Ghani & Chitra Ganesh- mainly for their boldness and simplicity to peel off the shells of borders, globalized cultures and using technology and virtual public space as a point of exchange and to address such a heavy question.
Their goal is to is to create alternative systems for collecting stories from the immigrants whose lives as individuals are lost in the abstractions of legalities and headlines, and to develop from those stories new terms and languages through which the issues of the immigration debate can be framed. A Warm Database is the web-based phase of this project, and serves three purposes: as an annotated guide for the uninitiated to and through the mountains of documents that surround detention, deportation and immigrants' rights; as a resource for and call to action; and as the starting point of a data collection project designed to span multiple communities and languages. The Warm Database that is presented in this first version of the project is an interface for the further visualization and presentation of the data that artists will collect and translate after the project's launch.

Her other video artwork-Smile, you are in Sharajah,

Smile, you're in Sharjah (excerpt 1) from Mariam Ghani on Vimeo.

is a study of the patterns and rhythms of movement through shared spaces of the city-state of Sharjah in the United Arab Emirates. The video, named for Sharjah's infamous welcome sign (spelled out in flowers in a traffic circle notorious for rush-hour traffic jams), roams the neighborhoods, suburbs, exurbs, plazas, highways, alleys, and excavations that range between Sharjah's seaport and its desert fringes, with an eye to the cycles of construction and consumption that sustain this precarious and often contradictory place.

2. David Bowen- Wind drawing device

wind drawing device from david bowen on Vimeo.

this simple installation documents innocent drawings in a circular gesture powered by wind. It also relates to the idea of extending life cycle of a leaf.
This device uses three leaves to collect wind. It then produces charcoal drawings based on the amount and intensity of the wind on a given day. wind drawing device was created in Balatonfured, Hungary. It produced 60 drawings during a three week period in June and July 2006 on the Hungarian countryside.

3. Anish Kapoor- Leviathan
He is renowned for his monumental idiosyncratic sculpture forms of grandiose proportions, which leaves viewers in a state of astonishment. I personally got drawn to people's facial expressions when they are inside this structure. They seem to be transferred to a giant red nest which despite of it's scale hosts a warm feel. Leviathan, a 115 foot high sculpture which is made of PVC stretched over a giant, metal frame. The structure is so large in fact that you can walk around inside of it's four, blobby arms. He says of the sculpture that he hopes that "people will be invited to enter the artwork to immerse themselves in its color and it will be, I hope, a contemplative, poetic experience." The simplicity of Leviathan and the way the light shines on (and through) it really makes the Grand Palais (in Paris) shine. Juxtaposition of these two contrasting structures make them both stunning and beautiful. 14.jpg 13.jpg 12.jpg 11.jpg

Artist Inspiration: Benjamin Edwards

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When I first saw Benjamin Edwards' large painting up at the Walker (I was a freshman then) I felt at some level that here was an artist that really got it. I still believe he captured better than anyone else what it means to live in an American cities or suburb today. His focus is on capitalism, which often translates to a bombardment of information. It's about decoding and making sense of an unprecedented visual, often virtual, landscape. Everything is accessible in his pictures, to the point of being painful.
What I frequently take from his work is the role of the lingering symbol. There are isolated moments in his work where a symbol floats in the sky, separate from the rest of the world it belongs to. I find that kind of moment to be a powerful metaphor for individualism in the 21st century, for the power and powerlessness of the investor and consumer.
The great thing about Benjamin Edwards, something I spoke about in class, is that images of his work are totally accessible online, from all the way back into the 90's. Where other artists will edit their work to retain the illusion of freshness, Edwards embraces his past and the information age that allows his work to reach the public at all.we.jpg

Artist Inspiration: Rafael Lozano-Hemmer

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Rafael Lozano-Hemmer

As a public artist, Lozano-Hemmer utilizes the ephemeral experiences of light, sound, and movement to express unseen phenomena on a city scale. I find this work inspirational as a designer of the built environment, as it uses existing technologies to bridge the divide between public art and public urban spaces.


Pulse Park


Vectoral Elevation


Body Movies

Inspired by Luke Fischbeck

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Luke Fischbeck:


2003-2005 Brown University MA Music (program in Multimedia and Electronic Music Experiments)

1996-2000 Harvard University BA, Visual and Environmental Studies

Lucky Dragons:

Make a baby

Sumi Ink Club

Elysian Park Museum of Art

A Ray Array

-electronic music theory