Christopher Rodriguez

3 Aug

Christopher Rodriguez

Laser Tag

1 Aug

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Jose Carlos Martinat

30 Jul

Jose Carlos Martinat, Revolver Galeria

I was fortunate enough to see Martinat and Mayorga speak at an ATC lecture last semester (many of them are online. He presented some of his work, which was political without being didactic.

In Ambiente de Estereo Realidad, Martinat collaborated with Enrique Mayorga, who wrote an algorithm which would scour the internet for headlines and randomly construct sentences from portions of them. The combinations were sometimes absurd and sometimes cogently critical of the political establishment. These sentences were then printed by multiple printers fixed to the side of a building and dropped to the street below, where passersby could pick them up and read them.

In another iteration of the idea, the algorithm searches for specific headlines about the relationship between the US, Puerto Rico and Cuba.

Jose Carlos Martinat, Galeria Leme

In Extracto de Campaña Politica, Martinat used the 24-hour window before an election in Mexico (?) to rearrange the campaign lettering that candidates had pasted all over the streets. The candidates couldn’t do much about it due to a law prohibits the parties from adding new political advertising.

In Pista 1, Martinat again worked with Mayorga, this time to install a track traversing the entire exhibition space. A motorized loudspeaker moved along the track in an infinite loop, intoning information found on the web.

You’ll have to excuse me if any of my info is wrong. They spoke through a translator and There seems to be very little explanation of his works online in English.

Teatro Jornalero Sin Fronteras

28 Jul

Teatro Jornalero Sin Fronteras

is a Los Angeles-based ensemble theater group made up of day laborers. Our mission is to improve the lives of day laborers everywhere through the creation of plays by and for the day labor community, over 25,000 strong in the LA area. Responding to an often degrading and hostile work environment and an increasingly anti-immigrant climate nationally, the troupe uses theater, music and dialogue to educate immigrant workers about their rights; inspire day laborers to use theater as a tool for change-making; empower the community by reflecting their stories in their own voices; and humanize the immigration debate for the community at large.

Cornerstone Theater Company

For over 28 years, Cornerstone has brought together an ensemble of professional artists with people who would never think of themselves as artists to produce works based on the stories, concerns and issues of a given community.

Our plays celebrate many voices, and are staged in theaters and in parking lots, in factories, schools and subway stations. We strive to include people who have not been on stage or even seen theater. We’ve taken up residence in small towns and urban neighborhoods, collaborating with locals from start to finish to tell their unique stories through theater.

1001 Chinese visitors

23 Jul

For his contribution to Documenta 12 in Kassel, Germany, Ai WeiWei brough to town 1,001 residents of China. With $4.14m from funding sources, Ai arranged all aspects of travel. He paid for airfare, processed visa applications, refurbished an old textile mill into a temporary hostel, transported Chinese chefs to cook meals, designed travel items such as clothing and luggage, and organized tours of Kassel’s landmarks. He also installed 1,001 antique chairs throughout the exhibition paviliion to represent the Chinese participants’ presence. His visitors acted as both tourists and subjects of his art.

Within advertising the free trip on his blog, Ai received 3,000 applications. He privileged those with limited resources or travel restrictions: for example, women from a farming village, who lacked proper identity cards, were able to obtain government-issued travel documents for the first time. Other participants included laid-off workers, police officers, children, street vendors, students, farmers, and artists. They arrived en masse. However, Ai solicited their individual voices through filmed interviews and also a lengthy questionaire that focused on personal histories, desires and fantasies.

– From Living As Form

Media coverage in Spiegel. A long meandering doc including the process of applying and getting travel documents, the departure from Beijing, construction of the dorm, arrival in Kassel (around 1h40) and the German reaction (~2h15) is on Youtube:

the chicken

21 Jul

Transverse Reality (Chicken Projects 1, 2)

In 2001, BijaRi let a chicken run loose in two Sao Paulo shopping districts – first near the luxury Iguatemi shopping mall and then in the adjacent Largo da Batata, a bus stop and market generally frequented by lower income residents. In the Iguatemi mall, security guards immediately treated the chicken as a criminal suspect, carefully scrutinizing its behavior, and quickly removed the animal from the property. Meanwhile, patrons of Largo de Batata, likewise suspicious, reacted to the chicken in a much less orderly fashion. They spoke to the chicken reproachfully as if it were a person, followed it en masse, and ultimately allowed it to stay on the premises.

– From Living As Form

I have my doubts about whether the guards at the high-end mall are reacting to the chicken or the filming, but I still love the unexpectedness and absurd set-up of this piece.

Clever Hans

17 Jul

Clever Hans was an Orlov Trotter horse that was claimed to have been able to perform arithmetic and other intellectual tasks… Hans was a horse owned by Wilhelm von Osten, who was a gymnasium mathematics teacher, an amateur horse trainer, phrenologist, and something of a mystic. Hans was said to have been taught to add, subtract, multiply, divide, work with fractions, tell time, keep track of the calendar, differentiate musical tones, and read, spell, and understand German.

After a formal investigation in 1907, psychologist Oskar Pfungst demonstrated that the horse was not actually performing these mental tasks, but was watching the reaction of his human observers… Using a substantial number of trials, Pfungst found that the horse could get the correct answer even if von Osten himself did not ask the questions, ruling out the possibility of fraud. However, the horse got the right answer only when the questioner knew what the answer was, and the horse could see the questioner.

Pfungst then proceeded to examine the behaviour of the questioner in detail, and showed that as the horse’s taps approached the right answer, the questioner’s posture and facial expression changed in ways that were consistent with an increase in tension, which was released when the horse made the final, correct tap. This provided a cue that the horse could use to tell it to stop tapping. The social communication systems of horses may depend on the detection of small postural changes, and this would explain why Hans so easily picked up on the cues given by von Osten, even if these cues were unconscious.

Pfungst carried out laboratory tests with human subjects, in which he played the part of the horse. Pfungst asked subjects to stand on his right and think “with a high degree of concentration” about a particular number, or a simple mathematical problem. Pfungst would then tap out the answer with his right hand. He frequently observed “a sudden slight upward jerk of the head” when reaching the final tap, and noted that this corresponded to the subject resuming the position they had adopted before thinking of the question.

Both von Osten and Pfungst were notoriously bad-tempered and prone to rage when the horse did not perform well. Pfungst suffered more than one horse bite during his investigation. (wiki)

Grimm’s tale

15 Jul

Clever Hans is a fairy tale collected by the Brothers Grimm about a boy who ruins his engagement with a girl through a variety of comedic events. In each instance, Hans mishandled the gifts.

He sticks the needle in some hay but his mother tells him he should have stuck it through his sleeve. So he puts the knife in his sleeve but is told he should have put it in his pocket. He puts the goat in his pocket, thus smothering it, and is told he should have led it by a rope. He tries to lead the ham by a rope, and dogs steal it, his mother telling him he should have carried it on his head (or, in some versions, under his arm). He carries the calf this way but it kicks him until he drops it and it runs away. He is told he should have tied it in the stable. He ties Gretel in the stable and the story ends when he misunderstands his mother’s advice (“Cast your adoring eyes at her”) and gouges out the eyes of the livestock he owns to throw at Gretel. The result is a disengagement, portrayed in the final sentence: “And that’s how Hans lost his bride.” (wiki)


13 Jul

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10 Jul

Shadows caused by blast at Hiroshima ground zero

Like visible light, thermal radiation also travels in a straight line. Which means that when it is blocked by an object it creates a shadow. For example, this picture shows how a wheel blocked some of the radiation and created a shadow against a nearby object. (Quora)