posted by on 2007.01.30, under Uncategorized

This past weekend Michele and I went to Art LA, one of them big art fairs that seem to be multiplying across the planet. This one took place at the Santa Monica Civic Auditorium, a handsome mid-century modern building near the ocean. Since Michele had a video in the Dangerous Curve booth, we got guest tickets through them (thanks Tim and Kathryn!).
So, the fair is like a big strip mall of art – mostly galleries from Los Angeles, but sprinkled with places from around the world. Some Mexico City, some Barcelona, someplace in Austria, another in France. They are all trying to sell some work, and we were in turn trying to find places we could feasibly show some work. So its alot of marketing type stuff going on basically. And there was actually a whole lot of good stuff here and there among the boring, bad or just plain detestable crap that serves as the filler any time a bunch of art is around.
The best part though, was that Machine Project – an experimental educational space which holds workshops, lectures, performances and shows art with a technical or mathematical slant to it – had taken over a large chunk of the lobby to do all kinds of fun stuff. They had some laptop sound performance going on, and some sewing workshop you could jump in on. Also a soldering workshop thing where you could circuit bend some little electronic sound things for a while. And they had a Nintendo Wii set up to play with just for the hell of it. No marketing tie in there, just a video game in the corner. But best of all the guerilla-jam-making group Fallen Fruit was in attendance cooking up marmalade from oranges gathered off of public and private land around Los Angeles. They are a gang of three guys who promote planting fruit trees around LA (and make maps of the locations with types of fruit) so that people can simply walk around the city and eat free fruit off of the tress or off the ground. Then they hold workshops where you bring in this public fruit, and they help you make jam. We have some of the marmalade cooling and congealing in the fridge, should be ready by the weekend. So, get out and plant some trees on public land folks! Just don’t get caught in the act.

posted by on 2007.01.24, under Uncategorized

Have you ever heard of Landschaftspark, in Germany? Maybe you have, but it was new to me. Apparently it was a massive industrial ruin that was rehabbed into a park/ art center/ retail place WITHOUT CHANGING THE ARCHITECTURE. One web site describes it like this: “…an industrial wasteland that the Germans transformed into a wildly popular park and tourist destination. Duisburg is in the Ruhr near Dusseldorf. It features acres of natural greenery. The old factory buildings house musical performances and art exhibits. Former ore silos have rock climbing walls. There’s an old blast furnace that’s been turned into an observation deck and more. At night, the old industrial structures are bathed in colored light.” I doubt New England could take advantage of this (our sites are smaller and land is more valuable in such a dense area) but maybe Pittsburgh could learn a thing or two?

posted by on 2007.01.22, under Uncategorized

I was happy to find out that a friend of ours from undergrad, Amy Bennet, is featured this morning over at the The Morning News. They interview her about her recent show of paintings out here in LA, which we had the opportunity to see in person last week. Fantastic work… and as the interview reveals, they are the product of a very complex process.

posted by on 2007.01.20, under Uncategorized

…speaking of 1985.

posted by on 2007.01.19, under Uncategorized

By the way, this is not what you are supposed to use MIDI for.

posted by on 2007.01.19, under Uncategorized

Holy Moley! There is so much insane video in Sarah Hepola’s video digest this week that I really have nothing else to say about it. Except that Fez (from That 70s Show, did I really have to tell you that?) is really just a rip-off of Balki Bartokomous (from Perfect Strangers, if you are under 30 I probably had to tell you that), but I hope you knew that already. And that I have an inexplicable urge to put on some parachute pants and head over to Wendys for a crappy burger.

Plus, I just found this. Oh my God.

posted by on 2007.01.18, under Uncategorized

Also in LA (well Pasadena)
Our good friend Rosalyn Myles has a new installation in the group show Darkness & Light at the Armory Northwest. The Opening reception is Saturday, January 20, 7-9 p.m.

posted by on 2007.01.17, under Uncategorized

Supreme Ultimate Wednesdays

For the past three months or so I have been learning Supreme Ultimate Fist, which is usually referred to using its Chinese name, Tai Chi Chuan (also Taiji Quan). For most people this brings to mind large groups of old folks exercising in unison in the park. It is that, but that is just the tip of the iceberg. Supreme Ultimate Fist dates back to around 1000 a.d. in China when it was invented to mimic the movements of a snake fighting a sparrow.
Tai Chi Chuan is a soft martial art, it is all about internal forces and keeping the muscles relaxed. When striking the force lashes out like a whip, coming out of the ground, gathered at the hips, and redirects the force of your opponent back at them. It has its roots in Taoism, and in the balance of Yin and Yang. My early interest in the Tao Te Ching by Lao Tzu probably helped to lay a foundation for my interest in Tai Chi. The concept of Yin and Yang is pervasive in the form – it applies to each movement, it applies to the application of force when confronted in the fighting style, and it applies to the mind/body duality of the practice. There is always a balance of forces, and this is what makes it so strong.
The style I am learning is the Yang style, developed in the early 1800s by Yang Lu-ch’an. In the past two weeks, I have been working on the forms Carry Tiger to the Mountain, Repulse the Monkey, Diagonal Flying, Needle on the Bottom of the Sea, and Back as Fan (or Iron Fan). Just taking a glance at these written instructions for Repulse the Monkey you can get an idea of how complex the practice is.. but it is not something to read about and then do, it is about repeating the movement and focusing on careful control of your internal forces. Much of the skill is internal, so it really can’t be learned by simply copying the movement. Since it requires you to keep your muscles always relaxed, and to strike only from your whole body force (not from your arm, or shoulder for example) it feels a bit unnatural at first. It is difficult to stay soft, yet become capable of striking with force. This is why Taiji is taught in slow-motion, so that you can completely learn all the internal movements and balances required to execute the forms correctly. When you have mastered the long (slow) form, you move on the the fast form, sparring (Push Hands) and even sword or other weapon forms.

There are a whole bunch of great videos up featuring the various forms of Taiji Quan. Here a few:

Excerpt from the Yang Style long form (what I am learning at the moment)

Example of application to fighting Notice in the slowed down attack that his hand and arm remains soft and loose, even while striking his opponent in the head. The whip-like nature of Taiji also allows for extremely fast, forceful attacks which your opponent cannot anticipate.

Some sparring, also known as Push Hands

and one of the very graceful Sword Forms.

posted by on 2007.01.16, under Uncategorized

Martin Luther King, Jr.: I Have a Dream

August 28, 1963. If you have ten minutes or so, its worth watching the whole thing – I bet you have only heard snippets from this one.

posted by on 2007.01.14, under Uncategorized

Motion graphics, philosophy and sillyness. Excellent.
via K10K