Elin Hansdottir redux

19 Dec

Elin Hansdottir

Exterior installation made from traditional Berber mudbricks (earth, water & hay) in the village of Tassoultante, 14 km from Marrakech City.

Elin Hansdottir

17 Dec

Elin Hansdottir

Via Solnit, who says, in The Faraway Nearby:

One person at a time entered Path, and a pair of watchers in the outer gallery monitored entries and exits…

When you stepped in from the daylight and the door closed behind you, the space seemed to be absolutely dark and then your eyes adjusted to the faint, faint light. The path turned at sharp angles, so that you knew that you were being turned around and around, and you lost track of the distance that you were going. It felt as though it was a long way and long time, and you were very alone.

The light that leaked through the intentional, careful cracks in the walls and ceiling was faintly lavender blue – it came from fluorescent tubes – and it streamed across the space in strange ways. It was easy to believe that what was dark was solid, what was light was spaciousness into which you could move, but reality as you bumped into it was often the other way around, with open blackness and hard pale surfaces.

At the end the walls began to press together and it was as dark as it had been at that first moment you stepped in and closed the door behind yourself. And then you could go no farther. It seemed as though it ought to feel claustrophobic, but I found in it an embrace of darkness, a destination, a handmade night.

vanitas vanitatum / omnia vanitas

15 Dec

David Bailly, Self-Portrait with Vanitas Symbols


12 Dec


There’s a form of glitch art called datamoshing, which is:

The act of removing and or replacing the I-frames (delta keyframes) and or P-frames from a compressed video datastream causing the playback image and motion-vector data to distort with unpredictable & glitched results resulting in trippy, safe & legal LSD-like visuals. (urban dictionary)

You can see how some of it can also be done in this video:

Coincidentally, I’d mentioned the Gallant lab a while back, and Wayne pointed out a greg.org post which draws out the visual similarities between that same research and a Wim Wenders film. The sequence in question is the Dream Junky bit from Until The End Of The World:

To me that looks almost like a datamosh, which just about describes what they are doing to the visual data. There’s a datamosh somewhere between the brain and the machine in the Gallant Lab’s research too, I suppose.

Jerry’s Brain

10 Dec

I was moping about the fact that James Burke has not taken advantage of the internet at all, despite the perfection with which Connections would translate in a hyperlinked world, when I discovered his project, the Knowledge Web. One component is a feature called Mystery Tours, which is the interactive web version of what he does in the Connections episodes. Unfortunately, it’s not very fleshed out and it’s not even clear if Burke is still working on the project.

It’s an interesting interface though, powered by an organizational software called the The Brain, which reminds me of the Max/MSP interface (btw, Max 7 is slated to drop soon) in the way that it uses visual linking to connect objects. I downloaded it and began clicking through the tips, which yielded amusing results:

I haven’t had time to fill my Brain, so I took a peek at other people’s. Here is Jerry’s Brain, starting from his core beliefs: (click to enlarge, click previous link to explore his Brain)

There are also favorite words and associations:

And an elegant bit of metaphysics?

If users aren’t literal with it, I can see this being a nice way to present a web-age tone poem or some sort of crazy manifesto… must. think. on. it.

le roi est mort / vive le roi

8 Dec

I recently saw the above while clicking through my own photostream on Flickr. Another user in Utata also collected a few screenshots of the types of ads that are displayed:

I discovered this belatedly since I am mostly logged in, and you only see these ads if you are not logged in. Some reports that these sort of ads are as frequent as 1 ad every 5 photos if you are clicking through a photostream via the arrows.

They also repeatedly send me messages about joining their new licensing project called Marketplace.

I am not surprised by any of this. The introduction of the Yahoo nav bar that appears now on top of every page was a clear signal as to where the site was going, but I am a bit sad. I’ve been a staunch Flickr defender for a long time, but I can’t recommend them now. How can anyone even remotely claiming to take their photography seriously present it on a site that intersperses it with a giant corporate ad every five photos? It’s one thing to have ads in a sidebar, but to put it in the place where the content lives… that’s crossing a line. I’m undecided about whether I will leave my existing account up, but I think I can say with certainty that I won’t be posting regularly there anymore.

There is a similar ad situation on Vimeo – you will see ads if you are not logged in, and even if you are a paid Plus member, people will still see ads on your pages. Not to mention that there will now be paid content there.

I am surprised by Vimeo. I had expected more from a site that supposedly catered more to a creative crowd who cared about presentation and design. The trend seems to be that you can pay and eliminate ads for yourself, but your audience is still going to see them, which is a very backwards logic. The reason I as a practitioner would want to eliminate ads would be to prevent commercial messaging from being placed beside my non-commercial works. The level of membership that accomplishes this is the $200/year Pro membership, which will be too expensive for most non-commercial practitioners.

The question for me now is whether there are any affordable, lively online media-sharing communities that do not seek to commercialize the content users upload. Anyone have any recommendations? I tried Ello, but it doesn’t seem terribly great for photos.

Ice Queen

5 Dec

Ana Teresa Fernandez

Fernandez doesn’t write anything about this piece, but Solnit does, in The Faraway Nearby:

The artist Ana Teresa Fernandez recently cast a pair of high-heeled shoes in ice and stood in the gutter of an inner-city street at night until they melted and left her barefoot and free. It was a battle between the warmth of her body and the coldness of the shoes, between her own fierce will and the imprisonment of the Cinderella story.

Stop, Halt

3 Dec

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Furious Pig

1 Dec

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1. Furious Pig – I Don’t Like Your Face
2. Furious Pig – The King Mother

Reminds me of Jud Jud,though Furious Pig preceded them and is a lot more interesting IMO. Here’s WFMU on Jud Jud, who created a fake poster claiming to have headlined for Minor Threat. On the other hand, Furious Pig actually did play with the Slits and the Fall according to AllMusic.

(via Ubu.)

weekend silliness: Super Chicken

29 Nov

Super Chicken: “He may have been a bank robber, but he had the heart of a poet.”

Fred: “And the head of an Easter bunny.”

Super Chicken was a recurring short on the George of the Jungle show. I’d heard the theme song before, but have never seen any footage of the show til now.

Super Chicken is based in Pittsburgh and his real name is Henry Cabot Henhouse III. The transformation from normal to hero (aided by “super sauce”) is… well, not very impressive – he simply changes into the clothes. Plots include people waking up to find elephants in their homes, the kidnapping of the state of Rhode Island (not the people, the state itself), and the theft of a geyser (by a geezer). The villains include the Noodle (and his butler), a dangerous escaped toupee and the Easter Bunny.

A gem from the hair episode: “And now the mad scientist found himself trapped in an ominous writhing mass of angry hair.” Followed by: “As Fred opened the window, a lock of maddened hair entered and seized him.” That particular case is resolved by (sorry to spoil it) a campaign of worry. In fact, the entire show is built on wisecracks. The narrator delivers such lines such as: “the mighty chicken streaked across the plain” and “the news spread like peanut butter.” I don’t think I’ve ever heard a superhero utter the words: “you get the sand pail and the rubber ducky, and I’ll change in the cabana.”

I suspect Darkwing Duck was somewhat inspired by this – it shares the same elements of the incompetent super-fowl, over-sized dim-witted sidekick and purple costume with large brimmed hat.

Beware, there are almost 20 episodes and it’s easy to get sucked in, but… you knew the job was dangerous when you took it. Enjoy!