A few weeks ago my friend Max and I visited Santa Fe, New Mexico. We drove across the country with our light sculptures and lived an adventure that it will be hard to forget. Our project was presented at the gallery through the Currents new media festival, which this year celebrated its fourth installment.
Last week I was in the middle of nowhere, in a place called 8550 Ohio (formerly known as Harold Arts). The place is near a town called Chesterhill, 20 minutes from Athens, OH. The experience was magical. A group of artists (music/visual) were nominated to participate on a residency during the month of August 2013. Jason Ajemian invited me to come and there I meet with other artists that live in the midwest, specially Chicago. There I met with the other leaders of this program: Joe Jeffers and Frank Van Duerm (both badass). They were very good hosts and made sure that we had everything we needed to make good stuff. When I asked Frank if there was any way I could help needed some help with the dishes, he said : we just want you to make awesome work. With that support in mind, I adventured to get immersed in the experience of making something brand new. The studio space is a few minutes from the lodge, the place were we slept and ate.
The studios are totally amazing. They were made out of wood from the farm and had 2 stories. It was great to share space with Jeff, Jessica, Ally, Dani and Molly. There were also other artists that worked on the lodge. During my time there I experimented making solar balloons. a bizarre science project that consists of making flying objects using trash bags. I have been trying to make spaceships, or flying saucers since 2010 and this occasion I succeeded in creating a working balloon.
I am planning on continuing working on some more designs, but this residency gave me the space to create this large-scale experiment. In the future I hope to make some more solar balloons.
The trash bags lift because of the hot air inside it is lighter than the surrounding air. The heat is all generated by the temperature accumulated by the dark color of the bags.
The days at 8550 were wonderful. We lived in a community of like-minded artists, in a wonderful environment that had everything we needed plus a pond!
I arrived to Sydney a few days ago for the ISEA. Before the conference starts on Tuesday, the event has a series of workshops with an electronic arts focus. I gave my workshop “Sensing for Visualization” yesterday and will repeat it today at 3 PM. The idea was to create a programming crash-course for physical computing. The workshop covered Processing and the Wiring board. It was cool to put the idea to a test with participants. The workshops occur at the College of Fine Arts of UNSW.
I was interested on teaching the Wiring board in the context of the Latin American Forum of the ISEA and to give information about this seminal project that preceded Arduino developed by the Colombian artist/designer Hernando Barragán. Hernando was a professor while I did my art undergrad in Bogotá at Universidad de los Andes, were he still teaches.
There are a lot cool things going on. Right now I at a workshop named SurSouth, an online collaborative conversation. It was great to reconnect with an old friend, Hamilton who now lives in London. His work is pretty cool. His objects are living organisms that exist through alchemy and technology. Check his stuff here
There we be a lot coming up. I’ll try to document other experiences of this trip. There is too much going on.
In september I had two presentations in LAF ISEA 2012 in Albuquerque, NM. It was really great to see this part of the country and reconnect with my friend Andres Burbano, whom invited me to collaborate in the code talkers panel. I have decided to add here both of my presentations in pdf for documentation
Radio Chigüiro was a social platform for the distribution of Lafayette, Indiana’s “glocal” culture. It operated as a community radio, exploring youth practices associated with parties, live music shows, and free radio workshops by using a web site as a medium for contact, production and participation. Using basic computers, participants will learn to produce their own radio programs. The objective of the workshop is to instruct in easy
and free resources for audio recording, editing and broadcasting.
My other presentation was “Navajo Code Talkers and technology.” I was invited to collaborate with this project, originally conceptualized by Andrés Burbano.
The Latin American Forum at ISEA2012 is proud to host Bill Toledo, Navajo Code Talker. The history of Native American Code Talkers remains as one of the most complex and intriguing interactions between indigenous communities and the geopolitical challenges that characterized the XX century. This conversation with Bill Toledo is not only an opportunity to engage with his personal history and the context of his work as a code talker, but is also an opportunity to explore topics related to the nature of language, code and computation. This presentation highlights the renovation of the discourse about Latin American understanding with the richness of the Native American Cultures.
Last week was the opening of the 2012 Great Lakes Drawing Biennial. My friend Brian was curating this exhibit and I came to visit him and the show in Eastern Michigan University, Ypsilanti. I got to check out their great art buildings and meet some of the faculty. My work shapey 48 was displayed in the Ford gallery along with other really exciting visual art. I am glad to come back to the Detroit area… it has a vibrant scene in the arts.
Yesterday I presented in Dorkbot Indianapolis 0x8. It was a great experience and the Big Car service center provided a great venue for this event. I was recommended by my friend Mayowa Tomori who we knew from the radio chiguiro times. It was very cool to meet very interesting people and get feedback/ support for the type of work that I am doing. I guess it made me see my work in a more linear perspective and understand my process by having it explained to others. I mean… I think conversational speak is easier to explain art. Maybe I should do that in writing.Aaron, Paul and I rode down there for a little bit, ate great tacos at a place called “TEX MEX” and went to a house show. Anyways. I hope to be involved in more dorkbot events… Being part of this is a dream come true đź™‚
A few weeks ago I returned from the SIGGRAPH conference in Vancouver. It was a great experience and I had a lot of fun in the company of Dr. Mohler, Professor Hassan and my fellow PhD student and friend Zheng. I had the great opportunity to present my study about Aldo Giorgini in the Art Papers panel and it went very well. I was intimidated by the size of the conference and the amount of people. Before the presentation I received a call from my dad in Colombia, who told me… “Don’t worry about the public, just think that they’re students,” and I think it worked. During this panel I met Francis Marchese, a professor in the department of Computer Science at Pace University. His paper entitled “Conserving digital art for deep time” was very inspiring and eye-opening as well. The practice of preserving digital art is a work in progress and researchers are looking for a feasible methodology to preserve this type of art. Digital art has been often times called “new media”, however, this “newness” is about 50 years old and it’s necessary to stop and think about the past of this discipline.
On the same day of the panel, the Leonardo journal had a reception in the SIGGRAPH art gallery where I had quite an exciting time. All the papers presented in the art papers panel where also featured in the latest issue of Leonardo, which for a PhD student counts as “two birds with one stone.” In the exhibition I had the pleasure to meet with Computer art pioneer Professor Chuck Csuri. My adviser Dr. Miller had previously sent him an introduction letter as a fellow “Buckeye”, asking him to meet me at SIGGRAPH. I saw him there and gave him a recording of a presentation he did at Purdue in 1974 or 1975 where he talked about interactive graphics.
We talked for about 15 minutes and he gave me some very good pointers in relation to the history of Computer Art. Roman Verostko was also with us and I was very excited to hear about the 1970s context. They recommended me to look up the work of researcher Margit Rosen and her historical research entitled “A Little-Known Story about a Movement, a Magazine, and the Computer’s Arrival in Art
New Tendencies and Bit International, 1961–1973.” Get your hands on one of these catalogs NOW. This is the most amazing study of digital art I’ve seen so far. It tells a complete different history of computer art and it compiles a large group of artists and avant-gardes. It’s kind of the missing link between optic-kinetic art and computer aesthetics. You ever wondered why the work of Cruz-Diez or Vasarelly resembled the first computer aided designs? It is because this movements were actually connected! and they were called “New Tendencies.” All the ideas of concrete art and the avant gardes in south america shared similar views with the first computer artists, in fact they coexisted around the “new tendencies” exhibitions in Zagreb, Yugoslavia (now Croatia) from 1961-1978.
I have the good luck to have kept in touch with Professor Csuri and I am hoping to ask him more specific questions about his relation with Aldo Giorgini and the role that he played in the computational arts movement.
Vancouver was such a blast. I am still recovering from all the information I received. I had a lot more interesting conversation with other artists and researchers, namely, Michael Bielicky from ZKM, Osman Khan and David Bowen. It was great to meet this amazing guys on a personal level. It felt good to share similar ideas about art and computers with more established artists and professors.
Here I am back in Lafayette now. I traveled so much this summer that I hardly had any time to think… but now that the whole excitement is wearing off and I come back to my normal life as an artist, a course instructor and a researcher, I can’t help but feeling the despair of not knowing what to do next.
I’ve been excited and even nervous about the upcoming events this summer starting in just a couple of weeks. Last Feb. I submitted the Revenge eternal documentation to a festival called LPM in Rome. Pretty soon we got informed about our acceptance in the new media festival for audiovisual performance.
Jordan and I will be traveling in two weeks to Rome and stay 5 days there for the duration of the event. We’re part of the “RE-Encode” selection for this year, curated by Andrea Sztojánovits. according to the page RE-Encode is:
Generative art is an expressive and increasingly explored genre, particularly thanks to the last decade’s technological novelties. The vj became a programmer and the programmer mutated into a performer, capable of creating incredible digital biospheres; a new era of sound and codes have produced novel organic visual experiences. From computer to physical and portable devices, many tools are available to creators and designers which contribute to the technological and artistic development through generative audiovisual language. Thanks to an active and reactive coding of the world surrounding us, the audience can perceive a unique atmosphere, experiencing complex performances of simple bits and binary codes.
I guess what we do fits into that category, since we use computer code to alter and produce audiovisual content.
Another exciting event is the one coming up in August. My paper entitled “Art and code: The aesthetic legacy of Aldo Giorgini” was selected for SIGGRAPH 2011 Vancouver. I am excited to present my research and a little bit scared about learning the required presenter/entertainer skills.
It has been a great semester so far and the fruits of my work are starting to bloom. After being rejected from a lot of applications to art residencies and bad luck with shows, I get to fulfill 2 of my dream goals for 2011. I have learnt a lot about growing up as an artist and realizing that the road is gonna be long and interesting. The accomplishment of goals is the beginning of new ones. As far as the PhD, I will be working in my research about Aldo Giorgini with great help of my Advisers, Dr. Whittinghill, Dr. Miller and Dr. Mohler. Additionally, The College of Technology will cover the costs of my research during the summer which is freakin’ awesome.
I would like to encourage other creative artists to persist on their quest to sustainability (economic-integrity-happiness) because it can happen to you. The way the art world works is pretty weird and the chances of becoming “a great artist” are pretty slim in our contemporary world. But, if you can be sustainable, then you’re an artist.
During the past month there have been a lot of ‘bloggable’ events in my life that I haven’t been able to document because of the lack of time. What can I say, new Zine, new shirts, and travel plans! It is a very exciting moment in my life that coincides with the coming of spring and my 30th Birthday. One of the projects that had me excited all semester was the Sprite Art Workshop at the CCS, Detroit. I was invited by my artist friend Brian Barr whom we went to school together at Purdue’s Fine arts grad program. We hadn’t seen each other for about 4 years, but he contacted me through FB to see if I was interested to do a lecture and workshop with his painting students from the CCS. I immediately replied because I love doing workshops, it is my favorite art activity. It’s really fun to teach something for a day and to interact and collaborate with the participants. The outline of the lecture presentation can be downloaded here: /sprite-art/
Here is a picture of Brian:
Stefi drove me there from Lafayette, and it was a long 6 hour trip with a stop in Mc Donald’s. I use to like these Mc Donald’s stops a lot, but since we saw that movie Food Inc., it really ruined it for me. I hate doing statements about meat and stuff like that, but the reality is that it is just fucking gross. Yes the food industry is ripping everybody off and there is nothing we can do about it. My favorite stop ever was on a KFC/Tacobell restaurant, you could order nuggets and burritos on the same place! I asked if I could have KFC crunchy chicken on my chalupa but that was not possible. Anyways those rest stops are over and I’m sure I will miss the MSG craving every now and then. Okay going back to the Detroit story…
We got up early in the morning to go to the workshop. Some students got there fashionably late and heard me talk about digital art for about 1 hour. After that we started sketching some characters and then we went to the computer lab. We used photo cameras to scan the drawings, it was easy and worked well. At the end of the workshop, we had a few functional animations and a lot of creative sprites.
Walking around the College for Creative Arts was awesome, the environment felt very artistic and creative. They had an amazing art library with Magazines I even didn’t know they existed. I have always wondered if state Universities with their tenure track positions are positive to the arts, and CCS shows a different model to this. The teaching jobs there are contract based and have to be renewed regularly. The focus is on education as oposed to research, which makes more sense to me. There is a lot of hostility to get to be a tenure professor. A lot of really nice assistant professors that I’ve liked have been bullied-out of the schools I’ve been to, and it’s heartbreaking and sometimes very unfair.
Detroit has also a growing young artists’ scene that has taken advantage of the real state/financial crisis to take over the city. There are lots of artist-run gallery spaces, and old factories now turned art studios. We visited Brian’s and Lauren’s studio at an old Car/plane manufacturing plant. Here are some pictures:
Lauren and Brian showed us around and they are great hosts. We ate delicious food, had lots of funny conversations and enjoyed sharing experiences. It was so nice to spend time with friends! We went to a show in a space called Butter Projects that was very nice. I had a positive impression of the place when I saw a pregnant young woman giving chilled PBR’s from a tub. The show was called ‘nude’ and featured about 10 artists I think. The quality of the work was a little strange, it seemed that the work in it had been created the night before and carelessly. I really appreciated the sense of community from this opening, and it reminded me of the lively Lationoamerican art scenes like in Bogotá, Mexico DF or Caracas. With a similar cast of participants, the show was more about the gathering of people, but not a lot about the art and the ideas. I wish I would have talked to the guy that did the croched pink costume. That was great work!
I hope that the Detroit kids learn to capitalize the uniqueness of their city to produce significant work. The setting is ideal for a renewal of the american art, with the potential of becoming an art center like LA or NY. The future is now for them and it is in the hand of the current Detroit artists to lead attention to the art critics. Or maybe not? maybe trying to imitate the big-art-center scheme would be stupid? Didn’t the scheme of ‘making it’ already fail?
Thank you Brian, Lauren and Stephanie for such great trip experience.