Design Ignites Change award!

posted by on 2010.08.27, under art, culture, design, education, news

In the Integrated Learning program at Otis, I am mentor faculty for Patty Kovic’s course, NeighborGapBridge, and we recently found out that the class was awarded a grant from Design Ignites Change. NGB has partnered with Loyola Village Elementary School, Compassionate Response, Westchester Senior Center, and the Custom Hotel to develop projects that enhance our community and connect us with the relief efforts in and the people of Haiti.

Images from Rise Open Studio

posted by on 2010.08.25, under exhibition, rise info

Thanks to everyone who came out to our open studio last week, we had a lot of visitors and a great time in general. For all of you who somehow missed it (like, you must have missed your plane from Logan or something and we are sorry if that is the case but if so hopefully you spent the day at the Bunker Hill Monument and the USS Constitution or something and everything is cool) – here are some photos from late in the day, and some images of the little print demo we ended up doing. Metallic inks on green origami paper are super cool BTW.

Rosalyn Myles came by for the day, with her collage works, fabric dolls and various pillow items. Catherine Garrison also came by and ran the printing table, which continued all day. Rise member Mike Feldman stopped in for a while and did some printing as well.

Jeremy’s CDs, DVDs, photos and RV cards (those last coming soon to the Rise Online shop)

Jeremy studio with posters, Interlopers series and “Transference”, sound installation

Michele studio, The Storm video playing on her computer, passport project and family/identity based projects on wall.

Sitting around the printing table after the open studio.

Some of our prints:

This one may form the basis for a metal grille cover soon.

Had a tough time with the gold leafing..

Powder blue on kraft paper was a big hit.

Mike put some filth on our dental floss. Awesome.

Michele made a great border, suitable for diplomas and other such official paperworks.

Some of Rosalyn Myles’ collage work

Ich verstehe nur Bahnhof

posted by on 2010.08.21, under architecture, art, culture, exhibition

Bruce Nauman show at Hamburger Bahnhof Berlin

I’m in Berlin till the end of August, as part of the Takt artists residency.

I learned that the German idiom Ich verstehe nur Bahnhof which means I didn’t understand anything except for the word Bahnhof, (train station) amounts to the English idiom It’s all Greek to me. There are certainly many days when pretty much the only German word I understand all day is Bahnhof.

Hamburger (…er) Bahnhof, former train station and now major contemporary art museum, was such a pleasure to see. Something happens to me when I go out to see art in places like this in Berlin, and I have to be careful because I am easily swept up in the musuemy glitz of it all, but I get a good feeling. It’s a feeling that completely goes against my more suspicious media literacy instincts. I sometimes get the feeling that the museum cares a lot about the work they’re showing, and that the artist deserves such resplendent spaces to let the work shine. I get a feeling that the work is a precious thing, and not in a negative way. I feel like an art rock star fan, and it feels good to feel this way.

Zarina Bhimji Waiting 2007 still. From film installation in "Who knows tomorrow" at Hamburger Bahnhof, Berlin

But… as I saw more of the Friedrich Christian Flick Collection, even though I was pleasantly overwhelmed to see so many famous contemporary works presented together, many pieces I’ve only seen in books, I was a little miffed to see so few women artists. This collection, (even though this was only some of it, its being presented over 6 years) seemed limited in social and cultural scope. I also learned more about the Friedrich Christian Flick Collection and the controversy surrounding it. His grandfather Friedrich Flick’s steel company was a major weapons supplier to the Nazi Regime. This article by interesting blogger Ivar Hagendoorn covers the first show of his collection at Hamburger Banhof, in 2004, and goes into the controversy a little more . Honestly, as a baby to Berlin and German cultural understanding, all I can think is, at least the money used for evil is now being used for good. What a simplistic thought. Ich verstehe nur bahnhof.

My disappointment at the scope of Flick’s collection was healed a bit by the Who knows tomorrow piece Waiting, by Ugandan artist Zarina Bhimji. The work is a very large projection of 35mm film representing the workings of a sisal factory in Kenya. The piercing beauty of the images illuminate the inhumane history of the industry. Who knows tomorrow is a Berlin citywide exhibition of African artists taking place this summer.  Below is from the WKT website.

“At the exhibition Who knows tomorrow, Zarina Bhimji presents her film installation Waiting (2007), for which she studied the facts of this portion of colonial history at length. Although invisible in her film, it still accompanies it like a melodic theme. Zarina Bhimji visited sisal-processing factories near Mombassa, Kenya, some of which originate from colonial times. The beauty of the architecture, the bright, hot light and the simultaneously quasi-paralyzing atmosphere together with the minute movements and the sensitive details of the colors, the walls and the utensils focus the viewer’s gaze on the beauty of the material. Introduced by the Germans to the German colonies in East Africa in the 1890s and still grown on the plantations today, the material is used for ropes, cords, sacks, and carpets.The beauty of the sisal’s texture conjures up memories of hair, lending life to the material that takes on an abstract quality. The artist’s pictures and her sounds address the viewer in a highly emotional manner. The power of Zarina Bhimji’s works is based on their sensuous and seductive imagery, inseparably tied to the tragic and melancholic sadness and burdened by history.”

The Logan Airport sidewalk wander

posted by on 2010.08.18, under architecture, art, politics, public art

Walking near barbed wire and blast walls. Photo by MN.

A single sidewalk connects all of Logan Airport’s terminals with each other, and with the MBTA’s Airport Station. This sidewalk runs past barbed wire, flower beds, busy sliding doors, and walled-up access roads. Millions of people pass it each year, but few ever stop to notice it.

On Saturday, June 19, 2010, about twenty people joined me for a group exploration of this sidewalk, as part of the Common Boston festival. There were a few architects and urban planners along, as well as a man named Mike who’d grown up near the airport in East Boston; a pilot named Patrick who’d written a book about Logan’s history; some people involved in making public space more walker-friendly; and a number of other interested local residents. MassPort’s spokesperson, Kay, was nice enough to join us as well.

We set out from the MBTA station, and walked about a half mile along a lonely access roads towards the first terminal. Along the way, I gave a brief overview of the airport’s history; Patrick and Kay added a number of details. Kay also passed around internal MassPort maps of the area, which she’d brought along for us to look at. These maps filled in a lot of blank spots for me; when I was doing research for the tour, I was surprised by how many things I couldn’t find out about the airport’s structures.

At the sight of the first pieces of barbed wire, the subject of airport security came up. We talked about blast walls and barbed wire; 9/11; the airport’s history of terrorism, terrorist attempts, and sensational arrests of people who were thought to be terrorists; terrorist watch lists, and the Department of Homeland Security; and the fact that I’d had to provide MassPort with a list of the names of everyone who had signed up for the tour (presumably so that MassPort could do background checks). Opinions on these topics varied.

As we walked, Kay and I told everyone about Logan’s architectural history. Patrick added information about a number of buildings, such as the fact that Terminal E had been extended out, which explained the strange cul-de-sac at the building’s southern end. As a group, we examined and discussed the fenced-off areas for dogs (known as “PetPorts”); the airport’s special trash barrels (known as “bomb barrels”); and the strange open areas in front of the terminals. We also stopped and looked at each terminal building; the consensus was that not many of the buildings seemed designed to be looked at from the street.

Sidewalk talk. Photo by MN.

In front of Terminal B, we discussed 9/11 again, since two of the hijacked planes had flown out of Logan. I also talked briefly about the airport’s rapid expansion in the 60s and 70s into local residential neighborhoods, parks and nature preserves; as well as the resulting community protests (people laying in front of bulldozers, etc.), and the government’s backlash against them (marshals closing off entire residential areas, etc.). Mike, who’d grown up nearby, followed up my historical lecture with a number of more personal details. Kay then told us about the good that MassPort had done for East Boston in the 80s and 90s—such as paying for soundproofing homes and schools, and funding a park or two.

My tour ended at the front of Terminal A. Kay then volunteered to show everyone the third-floor walkway connecting Terminals A and E, which has a great view of the airport and the city. It also overlooks the 9/11 Memorial. We discussed 9/11 again, and then everyone went their separate ways.

4th of July Sonic Snafu

posted by on 2010.08.16, under Uncategorized

7.4.10  Ever wonder what happens when you put a few Rise Industries members together with a bunch of other sonically inclined friends and cram them in a small room with a bunch of musical toys and microphones….?  Listen on!  Beware, this is un-edited material.  But for the patient linear listeners or the determined skip-aheaders alike, there’s surely to be found some cool moments and perhaps even a few ‘gems’!


posted by on 2010.08.12, under art, music, video

I have been fooling around with a contact mic that I made over at Machine Project last week in their workshop, and had an idea for modifying the sound of a metronome live via guitar pedal delay and synth effects. So – this is what I worked up today. It sounds a bit better live, I need to get a mic closer to the amp, not near the metronome to pick up more of the modified sound, but it looks better with my little point-n-shoot at this angle. I have been working on a bunch of sound sculpture projects lately, so there are more to come along these lines.

Open Studio August 14th

posted by on 2010.08.12, under culture, exhibition, rise info

Once again, Michele and I will be hosting an open studio at our lovely loft in the Arts District. This time, we will be surrounded by a festival-type atmosphere, as Bloomfest will be going on in the Arts District, and Nisei Week will be starting up in Little Tokyo – so there will be plenty to do when you get tired of perusing the local artist studios around the area. Though, it may make parking a sort of challenge.

I will have some sound installation/sculpture work I have been making lately on display, as well as some posters, CDs and cards (the RVs!) for sale. Michele’s recent work exploring language, translation, and family will be up and on some of our video monitors. We might even get down to some lino cut printing during the day, so maybe you can see us cut up and print some stuff in person.

On top of all that, our friend Rosalyn Myles will be there with some of her handcrafted fabric dolls and things for sale. So come on by, even if its just to chat and have a drink before exploring the festivals.

We are at:

837 Traction Ave. Suite 307. LA 90013 There is a call box outside to dial up on, and we will stick a sign on the sidewalk so you don’t miss us!

The open studio runs from 12-7 pm.

There is a handy map on the postcard as well.

Lenticularis at Sci-Arc gallery

posted by on 2010.08.02, under architecture, exhibition

We went over to Sci-Arc last week to check out the current project up in their gallery space, Lenticularis by Hitoshi Abe. The project is a large scale mock-up of a proposal for the Japanese American Cultural and Community Center plaza in Little Tokyo, originally designed by Isamu Noguchi.
Based on a particular type of cloud formation that sometimes appears over mountains (I have seen some great examples out in Anza-Borrego State park), the quasi-functional sculptural object will span over the plaza, providing some shade, some views of a curious object from the street, and reflecting both plaza and sky in the middle. Checking out the 1:7 scale version at Sci-Arc, we couldn’t help but see strong similarities to the work of sculptor Anish Kapoor, and wonder how it will serve to mitigate the summer heat of the plaza, or shelter it from winter rains (part of the brochure from Sci-Arc describes it as a ‘roof’ which responds to the plaza being “too exposed to the climate of Los Angeles”). I am pretty curious as to how it would come off at full scale, crouching over the plaza, and a bit skeptical of it all as anything but a beautiful sculptural object. This unveiling also served as a presentation to the clients, so it remains to be seen whether they are sold on it in this form – if so, I might be able to check it out there myself in a little over a years time.