I started taking a great letterpress class this month, taught by Gerald Lange, in Otis College of Art and Design’s Continuing Ed. program. So far we have seen some of Gerald’s fantastic work and that of his students, memorized the California Job Case, set up some type, and started printing. With many errors. So – next week its back to setting and trouble shooting the type, then clean press, ink, print, check, clean, fix type, ink, print, clean… you get the picture. Everything looks like it will take forever but I get the impression that we will get faster at it. The machines, the type, the tools, are all just as beautiful and great to work with as I had hoped. mmmm, lead type.
One week left until the show opens – get your tickets now!
Meditations: Eva Hesse
September 24-25, 2010
Performances at 8:30 both nights and
3 PM on Saturday the 25th.
Here is some more stuff from the production:
This one is a sketch of part of the set, working out the layout of the art-wall/incomplete installation that forms part of the back wall of the set. In the foreground was a model of the art-wall, which was been reconfigured as more of a material sample piece instead of an actual model.
Below are a few photos from rehearsal last week:
Shanti Reinhardt and Barry Saltzman discuss.
Tuddy Monteanu documents Eva.
Bianca Gisselle and Heather Tyler
And some images of the rolling rear projection wall, with a paper screen for testing. We will be putting up the real screen in the space. The shape is a right triangular prism with the top sliced off diagonally – if that makes any sense to you. It came out great, and basically gives us a compact, rolling, moving image. The video projector mount (not shown there) attaches to the outside edge of the vertical post on the back, and drops the image perfectly onto the screen without the need for zooming or any adjustment. Next hurdle – running wires to it from the booth above.
For the past month or so, Michele and I have been working on video and set design for Marcie Begleiter’s play Meditations: Eva Hesse. The piece, a fictionalized account of Eva Hesse’s life and last days, combines theater with elements of sculpture and video installation, and touches on several key moments in Hesse’s life and career. As the video and set design team, we have been working closely with Marcie and director David Watkins to bring the piece to life. Very early on, Marcie had created story-boards visualizing the feel of the performance, combining the essence of Hesse’s work with the reality of her brain cancer until her work and life become merged in the finale.
Armed with her early sketches, and following the evolution of the play through the rehearsal and workshopping progress, the set has emerged as a few key elements that loosely define the required settings. One is an installation/studio wall for the actors to work with as the play unfolds. The idea for the installation/studio wall is to create a work in progress, which the actors will build upon, that has the feel and materiality of Hesse’s work, without trying to re-create any of her work in particular. This element references an underlying order layered with organic complexity and rooted in process and materiality. The other major set piece is a rolling, rear-projection video rig – built with an industrial aesthetic so that when it is not carrying video, it will serve as a portion of a wall or part of a space. The steel-angle construction precisely frames the area required for a short-throw projector to create a seven by five foot image, in a compact geometric form.
The video design consists of two main conceptual threads – one channel that fills in set elements and another channel that represents abstractions of Eva’s memories and psychological states, both of which follow the emotional arc of the play. Michele has been shooting and editing at a furious pace, attending most rehearsals and working in the space while watching the rehearsals progress. Rise Industries member Sarah Rushford was also able to shoot some video for us while traveling in Germany, which will be used in a German train station scene in the play.
Meditations: Eva Hesse is written by Marcie Begleiter, and directed by David Watkins
Michael Vanderbilt : Producer
Michele Jaquis : Video Designer
Jeremy Quinn : Set Designer
Alice Tavener : Costume Designer
R. Christopher Stokes : Lighting Designer
Casey McGann: Stage Manager
Marisa Blankier: Assistant Stage Manager
Rosalyn Myles: Prop Master
Young Eva-Alexandra Ozeri
Adult Eva-Bianca Gisselle
Dying Eva- Heather Tyler
Tom-Robert Manning Jr.
Mutti/Dr. P/German Curator- Shanti Reinhardt
William/Sol/German Transit Officer-Barry Saltzman
Art Worker 1 (Daniel)-Tuddy Monteanu
Art Worker 2 (Jane)-Kimberly Patterson
September 24-25, 2010
Performances at 8:30 both nights and
3 PM on Saturday the 25th.
It’s been an exciting time for the future! This summer, we had our Future Information table at a number of festivals, and interviewed over 20 people about the future. We’ve included them on the “History of Somerville, 2010-2100” website. Take a look if you get the chance! (Timeline combining all of the predictions is here. Archive of predictions people have sent in is here.)
Here are some of the new facts about the future you might find interesting:
– In 2036, the Union Square branch of the Green Line is extended down Somerville Ave. to Porter Square .
– In 2060, the city’s DPW goes bankrupt. Davis Square is overrun by the cows and goats that the city now keeps to clear away garbage and mow the grass.
– By 2030, Somerville has become a mecca for singletons. They take the place and apartments of the families that are leaving town because of the poor quality of the city’s public schools.
– By 2100, Somerville has channeled the rising floodwaters into planned waterways. Gondoliering becomes a popular occupation, and a new festival (Gondo Fest) joins the Fluff Fest in residents’ hearts, minds, and calendars.
About the project:
“The history of Somerville, 2010-2100″ is a community art project that is exploring what the future might be like. We’ve been talking to current and former residents; gathering official plans; and collecting think-tank vision statements.
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.
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
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.
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.”
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.
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.
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’!
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.