It’s been a busy December. I definitely don’t remember Decembers being this… demanding.

Either way, here’s a summation of goings ons in the arts the past two+ weeks, with an infusion from everyday life. Enjoy.

When I last left off from the ‘this week in arts’ series I mentioned that my work for the La Superette event got rejected; this is actually the second year in a row (and my second time applying) that my work has been rejected. The first time was, I believe, a mis-communication, because I was told my work was ‘too big’, while the work would have been perfectly suited to the installation and general arrangement (but then again, it’s not like it’s a curated exhibition); this time however I was pretty put off by the evaluation that my work was ‘not functional enough’. The event, a ‘DIY’ art-sale, called for things made by artists for sale, at cheap prices, for holiday gifts. The event was held at Eyebeam, a major ‘art and technology center’. The proposal form called for all submitted works to be delivered ‘in a box’ – I decided to take all of these things into account: the box, the context of geeks buying art gifts, the ‘DIY’ cliché, and present it for sale:

normal gifts

I knew that the notion of ‘function’ was a variable, but I also think that gift-giving shouldn’t always be so serious and that humor should also be a variable, so I set out to make all of my works suggestive of other objects that provide function, while stripping them of any real-world credibility; these objects, made facsimile, suggest function: the USB speakers to retrieve sound from a mini (audio) port; the zonet USB wireless adapter to communicate with WiFi networks; the games (one for PlayStation the other for PC) to provide entertainment; the joke security camera (a dummy already) to provide fake security; the battery to supply power; the ink cartridge to provide printing; the antenna to receive analog television signal; the laser-pointer pen for presentations, and of course the box to carry it all in, in the first place. I guess the organisers of La Superette just didn’t get the joke.

And honestly I probably wouldn’t have taken the rejection so harsh, except that I took nearly a whole day off work with lost-wages and lost lots of sleep over making sure to complete these works; but hey, in the end I got to keep them, which makes my gift-giving this season a heckuva lot easier!

Moving along, but still in early mid-December, I wanted to tell you all about the SVA BFA open studios. I actually didn’t even know of the event, until the evening (Sunday) before, when my friend Cassie Thornton told me about it, and we agreed to meet there at 7pm. She ended up not attending, but as it would turn out I know two people on the course; and I think I can safely say they were also the two best works/artists on display!

Naro Taruishi’s ‘EYE | EYE‘ work, part-sculptures, part-screen (LCD displays inside the viewing boxes), presented viewers with a split-screen animation of various forms – some abstract, some geometric, one that was stellar, like a rising moon – that skewed one’s vision. Inside the viewing boxes a piece of panel came right up to your nose, effectively disrupting your stereo vision. However through optical manipulation, what appeared on the left side also extended to your right eye, while the image on the right side remained in limbo, or provided articulation onto the extension of the image from the left side, creating a new stereo vision. One could only think of how the brain was interpreting this information in the first place; it reminded me of when I used to do medical guinea pig experiments for side-cash, and they sometimes fed split-screen images to study how the brain ‘sees’ or determines left from right, and depth of field.

Another female working with split-screen technology, were Chen Yerushalmi’s playful and interactive sitting booths. Two participants each sit in one booth, with one camera in each booth. After some sophisticated layering and joining of these video signals, elsewhere on a projection screen a single collaged ‘face’ is displayed. How many features does one have in common with another; what about the joining of the young and the old – how do features age?; how do similar expressions vary from one person to the next; and the myriad psychological suggestions that arise from having a ‘two-face’ composite. Very intriguing work indeed.

The following afternoon Everett Kane came to talk to the residents of Location One about his practice, which of late is largely drawing-based, which he sees as the foundation of every practice, the gestures of the hand and the act of mark-making on paper; something which I’ve always attributed as having perhaps the most ‘potential’ of all artistic practices, because of its accessibility (pencil and paper is plenty) and therefore its democratic appeal (collage being perhaps the only other medium of this potential: any image, and any other image, or object, or surface, joined together, to create something else, also very accessible). Everett has to be one of the most-prolific artists I know, with the ability to crank out literally hundreds of drawings – all good – every week; don’t fool yourself if you think you make a lot of work because Everett will put you to shame!

Nearly halfway there now. Hey, I told you it’s been a demanding month!

Thursday the 14th was Secret Santa out at Flux Factory. not exactly ‘secret’, because somehow the rules got re-written so that each person who received a gift, ended up giving their gift to their random (was that the ‘secret’ part?) recipient, with a person chosen at random to start it off. I got a nice selection of ties (one of which I’m currently sporting) and some ‘herbal remedies for men’ (wink wink). The event included a farcical storytelling on ‘the Constitutionality of Christmas’ by the-then highly inebriated (I’m not sure I know him any other way, actually) Dan Mulcare (I believe my mate Sarah got it on camera, maybe someday it’ll show up on YouTube? Oi! Sarah! Get that video on YouTube already! You’ve had two weeks!).

On the final Saturday of the Tatlin exhibition at Flux Factory, Mister Resistor gave us a show.

Then there was that befefit for Hwy Rachel on the 20th which I mentioned earlier.

Skipping ahead right to the holidays, during the day of the 24th I went to the 10th Street Russian and Turkish baths. What an intense place! I never thought taking a dip into 50s-Fahrenheit-degree water then walking into a room designed to be a human oven (Radiant Heat!) could be so invigorating!

That evening I finally got to really sit down and test-out my newly acquired projector. It only seemed appropriate that one of the first sources I test be watching an episode of Futurama!


And how additionally appropriate that the completely random image I snapped off happens to be one of the animated cast watching a large-screen television (albeit receiving ‘interference’, if you know what I mean then you know what I mean! heh).

(Wanting to test the component video inputs on the projector, I also plugged in the house PlayStation2 and played Final Fantasy XII for a while; and within the same 24-hour span, I came across this videoblog post over on Alive in Baghdad, where the interviewee explains his fascination of FFXII – and I realized while we play in different regions of the world, we both play ‘to escape’.)

Into the wee hours of the morning Morgan, Daupo, Jean and myself played a few rounds of petanque in Phunquey’s large, carpeted and eerily empty ex-room, including a devastating first-game win by Morgan and me of 13-1!

Waking the next morning with little sleep, a group of us headed to Tatiana’s in Brighton Beach for a Russian dinner, and the first option to arrive out was an appetizer of Onion Loaf – literally a deep-fried batter of onions shaped into a loaf shape, which oddly sliced as easily as any bread loaf! My meal consisted of a tofu salad with blue cheese dressing, raspberries and blueberries, and a plate of home-fried potatoes with a selection of mushrooms; later, I felt bad that I didn’t share more of the potatoes with mushrooms, but when I was served I was immediately hit with multiple demands for my mushrooms, and went on the defensive! I was told to expect to pay $50 for the evening’s meal; this particular plate cost $27 and I wasn’t exactly offered anything in return, so it just felt like people wanted what I had without reciprocating the exchange!

The evening ended with more rounds of petanque:

(NOTE: just as Daupo throws the petanque, Kerry says, ‘Daupo can’t do anything’, then his petanque rolls right into a floor outlet, or dead-zone, effectively killing his throw! CLASSIC!)