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.
Among the 78 different Civil Engineering reports found in Giorgini’s Vitae from 1990, a small group of software art projects were listed. The majority of publications found displayed texts, mathematical foundations, computer codes and illustrations for the visualization of Hydraulic models. In a lesser proportion, the reports that featured software art were: Light, Palette, Photo, Drawing, Fields and Stretch. These programs were created as frameworks for artistic production. Giorgini had the aim to make his ideas approachable to future artists and researchers, keeping notes, graphics and extensive documentation about these programs. The only technical report for software art I have found is the “Fields” one (1974), however, the others were found in the form of manuscripts at Giorgini’s estate. The Potter Engineering Library at Purdue, that currently archives Purdue’s Civil Engineering materials from this time has no record of these reports either. Based on this evidence it is possible that the documents listed as published in the Vitae were never published or at least missing . In the 1984’s Vitae, Stretch, Palette and Photo are listed as “in print.”
I found no records of the program “Light” from 1977, the one used to produce the Murals commissioned by the Aesthetics in Technology program to decorate the Potter Engineering Center. The only documentation of Light A and Light B (alternatively titled “Fiat Lux” and “Sculptural Forms”), is the extensive trails of the process of creating gigantic photographic image reproductions on mylar, and later transferred into photographic paper using the photogram technique.
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 ðŸ™‚
Okay, so I have embarked in a project that involves a lot of work, research and skill. A lot of people have seen me working at foamcity in a “church” or “castle”, but in reality is my Experiencia Mistica project. My motivation to do this project is an image that came to me a long time ago. This image is a three dimensional model of one of Lafayette’s churches. After that I started thinking about the most appropriate material to do a huge 3D model and after making 2 giant plywood structures in December, I went for plywood for this project. I have been obsessed with geometry for a while and during my PhD I’ve been exposed to visualization techniques and geometric modeling. I also teach a visualization class and Dr. Miller’s orthographic teachings came in very handy in the development of the model:
Max helped a ton with his knowledge and tools and we put together the main geometry in only 2 days! It was great. Now I am in the process of painting the outside and it’s been already a month of heavy work. This is how it looked last week:
Since then I have repainted a lot of the early lines because I was not happy with the way the geometry looked kind of flimsy. The video on top shows a program for controling the lights inside via arduino. There is so much to be done!
Last week I presented my dissertation proposal to my committee. To say the least, it was a challenging and awesome experience. After 2 hours of heady talk and scrutiny from my 4 committee members. I got my thesis proposal approved! That means that my research project is good to go. It’s hard to keep in my mind all the things I have to do. In fact having this blog kind of saved my ass when I explained I used it as a researcher-bias check – journal. I guess it is!
Now I have to get that IRB approved and the rest should be smooth sailing. I mean I’m almost done with that statistics class… Things are looking up.
On another note, first run of my submitted proposals to conferences and art venues is starting to come back.
Currents New media festival, Santa Fe
Mapping festival, idk?
Bilsland fellowship, Purdue
Accepted (so far)
ISEA 2012 Albuquerque
We’ll see what happens but I am excited about the news with ISEA 2012. It is for my project that is in this blog called ‘banana doom’. Okay I sign off now. Gotta go work on the “Experiencia Mística” project an arduino/ processing controlled environment! here is a teaser pic:
Why having a blog if you can’t post drunken “illuminations”? I’ve been bummed for a few days and it has been hard to know the reason of this. My head has been full of anxiety during the last month after the whole preliminary exam thing. Not really worried about the exam itself, but about the future. Last Wednesday I had my oral exam and it went incredibly well. I feel lucky to have finally found a supportive and functional PhD committee to help me move to the next doctoral student stage: the dissertation proposal.
I can’t really understand when some people complain about being a grad student… for the most part I feel like a slacker, I mean, I wake up, I make coffee, read comics, grade some projects, maybe watch a B movie and then go to class. It is not really a big deal to be a grad student. My battle hasn’t been in the actual work, but in my mind. As an artist, what should I do next? Why am I sitting on my ass so much? I don’t even know what to do now. I found some interest exploring new ways of doing art and was happy with the results of purely visual and abstract compositions. At some point, I felt that they were very valuable and innovative works, but now I don’t even know what to think about them. I mean, a part of me wants to make art my own way, disregarding the ridiculous and glamorous art world, but at the same time, I feel the need to validate my work. What have I done? I don’t even know what I want. Knowing what you want is the most important thing for reaching your goals, but now my goals are gray and confusing. I can’t tell what they are, and that makes me loose motivation. I really hope this changes!
Anyways, part of my thoughts have been revolving around making meaningful connections and leaving behind some digital networking. I feel that publicizing my work in the so-called social networks hasn’t been very successful and that, everybody is using the same methods. I am trying to break this cycle, and do things without expecting to have # of comments, “views” or “hits”, but it has been hard… I feel isolated, and unmotivated. I was just looking to some of the pictures of the events from Radio Chiguiro in 2006 and it was great because it was about making work and not about the consequences. It was great to make meaningful work for a community. I have high hopes that foamcity will bring this type of creative and artistic force to a fulfilling experience.
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.
Have you ever heard that getting a PhD is hard? If you’re considering on starting one be aware that this is a nearly impossible task in Computer Graphics. You can get an MFA by only attending to classes and doing some random artwork on the side. After 3 years of sitting around, partying and dozens of messy relationships I earned an MFA in Electronic and time based media. Some of you might be aware that the MFA is already a terminal degree and no further training is needed to be in the academic or art market. However, I ended out enrolling on a PhD in Computer Graphics… I originally thought of only getting a seconds masters, so I could sit around some more, but my advisers said that it would be just “stupid” to do a second masters. Well… 2 years later and after seeing all the master students have graduated I feel more stupid!
Making a PhD is about making a supreme breakthrough in knowledge. Art making is an expression and new work alone does not mean a contribution. Or is it?
I am really talking form the heart of my frustration. I was hoping to be able to present my preliminary exams by the end of this semester, but according to my adviser “I’m not ready yet”. I really respect him and I thank him for kicking my ass in a caring way. There was nothing mean about his statements, but “being ready” is an abstract concept that only leaders of a fraternity and PhD advisers can decide. Dr. W wants me to see more of who I am. He doesn’t want me to please the needs of traditional research, he just wants me to take the time to use my PhD as my opportunity to develop my artistic and philosophical ideas like I never done before. His advice is that I need to be more of an artist than I am being now, to believe in myself, and in my art. I need to believe more in the stuff I make, stop being modest about it, because it is just bringing me down. I doubt myself a lot and this is not letting my creative ideas expand… I’m also trying to make to make to many things at once. Dr. W’s message make more art, care less. He also mentioned that the road is more fun than the end- and I agree with him. I guess I don’t want the PhD as much as I want to make great artwork. I see people doing amazing things everyday and I want to do it too!
I just came back from Indianapolis. Last night we played in a place called “Earth House”, a venue for independent visual artists and performers. It is located downtown “Indy” a few blocks from our friends Jordan, Ryan and Benedict. It was a lot of fun. Unfortunately, one of the members of revenge eternal couldn’t come to our show and we had to adapt the sound material a little. Here is a picture of the auditorium where we played at:
The show was booked by Erin Drew, a very interesting visual artist that I met a couple of years ago through a Meatballz show in Zonie’s closet, Indianapolis. Aaron and I got there and we were surprised that we were playing at a very old methodist? church. erin did a very cool flyer for the event too:
There was a big group of friends from the Lafayette infamous scene and their presence didn’t remain unnoticed by the public attending to the event. The consumption of alcoholic beverages was frowned upon by one of the organizers of the event. Anyways, our show seemed to have a receptive audience and we also enjoyed the other bands on the show: Bad eyes and Drekka. I really hope we get to get around with the revenge eternal project. I just want to have something else than research. I am more of an artist than a researcher and I want to keep my interests well balanced. We will play 2 shows next friday in Lafayette, our hometown. we’ll see how that goes.
Here is a video documentation of the revenge eternal performance days before the earth house show:
My recent project is a comic called “Biotech Manimal”. It tells the story of Rich, a grad student exploited by his professors. While doing some experiments at his lab, Rich’s molecular structure blend with a BIO-enzime. The Zine will be out soon, but you can read the first 3 pages by clicking in the picture below:
This is the comic is the result of my question about technology. What is the impact (causa eficiens) of technology? This question cannot be simply answered.
This is another day in the life of an artist. I just got another rejection to a festival somewhere in the Nordic countries:
See? It’s not a big deal. You’ll get a lot of these in the process of building your career. We live in a very competitive world and the artworld is no exception. Everybody is an freaking artist now… Just too many people in the world!
Don’t feel discouraged by this stuff to stop making art. Is it the focus to make art or ‘make it’?
I will continue making art projects. I got a job anyways!
Hi, I am Esteban García a new media artist and a PhD student in the department of computer graphics at Purdue University. I do love art and I do love computer graphics. This is the type of stuff that I enjoy making. However, real love is not always a garden of roses and, I struggle a lot with my own thoughts. I am usually involved with a set of creative and exciting projects, but my lack of motivation gets in the way sometimes… it slows me down. I lay in my bed and think. think and think some more. This stream of ideas is overwhelming sometimes. I want to use this blog as a form of documentation, but mostly as a form of therapy to let all this thoughts out. Cyberspace is vast and wonderful there is a lot of other places to read, look and network. This site will not give the readers any answers about anything… the points of view presented here are arguable. In short, I am disappointed from ideologies and don’t foresee a great future coming up to us. I had a girlfriend that thought that we could make a different future, that people like Bono and all the charity would save the world. This relationship lasted 3 weeks.
This year I’ll be 30 and a lot of things are what I expected to be and others not so much. Some people say you should start a blog to get a job, to have web presence… I have web presence since 1995 band this hasn’t helped me deal with the rejection letters I get on a daily basis. Luckly, I have a job teaching a sketching class in the Computer Graphics department, but this is just part of my PhD. What will happen next? The future produces me a lot of anxiety.
Anyways, This is kind of the idea for now. I will also discuss literature and research into this ramblings.
Disclaimer: I am a non-native english speaker. Posts may have inaccurate use of grammar. I’ll proof read, but will not spend hours on each text. If you are into style, buy a book!