Sunday, November 07, 2010

Halloween costume round-up (last minute fixes only)

First the Kale helmet: the ultimate, last minute, low-cost costume (somewhat themeless but hey it's in season). All you need is a well-stocked grocer - if not just use another vegetable, preferrably one that doesn't wilt.

Other costumes with shortish half-life include the Office space costume and the balloon costume I once tried for a "Dot"-themed party. However, these quickly come undone as you can see below. (All you need is tape, string and a bunch of balloons. I recommended postponing assembly till you're right outside your destination.)

My friend Chris has been more elaborate dressing up as white noise (in a cardboard frame on grey pants?), notice though how people have been plucking away at his friend's Office space costume.

Cardboard in general gets you far: The Yemen package outfit below is pretty bold given recent events but so low effort and effective that it merits attention. 

In the realm of the freakish - check out the cardboard deer on the F train below. Elaborate but again not hard to make: duct tape, glue, stapler?  

Re the versatility of cardboard - see this twitterbot - and my own dionysian mask for Simon Goldin's MFA graduation: 

Headgear in general is ultra-low effort: Card crown and necklace-cape for casino theme party (deck of cards, tape, paper clips, rubber bands).

Below a bird's-nest-in-your-hair outfit for a "do whatever you want with your hair" -theme party: (google image search, color printer, cardboard, glue, eggs, hair pins. Empty the eggs though with a needle to spare people the temptation...:)

Last, speaking of animals - the antithesis of a last minute fix - this doggy showed up at the Halloween dog parade in Tompkins Sq. Park. 

Sunday, September 12, 2010

Never-ending notepad

Notepads * 5 = ∞ Notepad

(use ink with short half-life)

Wednesday, September 01, 2010

Today's experiment at the Never never lab (diy)

If only they had had them at the Solvay conference in 1927:)

Ever since SXSW I’ve wanted to try this so when my friend Chris invited me over to his workshop (the never never lab) I figured I'd have a go at it. It's basically an artsy attempt to embody remote presence. Partly, I thought it would be nice for people who can't physically attend an event to have some kind of presence (instead of just watching the event on streaming), partly it's nice for speakers to get a sense for their real audience - not just the ones that bother to show up. 

All you need is white paper, cardboard and a projector. Assemble a white cube and hide the projector inside. The entire cube lights up as the face of the person you skype with is projected on one of the sides. (Though you can't really tell from the iPhone pictures above - in real life you see both a luminescent white cube and the person's face - even in daylight)

Suggested use: place 10 of these in the audience and toy with where you project people from. Or put one on stage to answer questions from the audience. 

Hopefully there's a second iteration upcoming incl. semitransparent glass

Sunday, June 13, 2010

The artist is present

OK, so I'm making an exception to good blogging etiquette by a) not writing about tech or cooking b) not applying an editorial filter to this ridiculously long post: I'm copy-pasting raw notes I took on my iPhone last month when seeing Marina Abramovic's retrospective at the MoMA - "The artist is present" - probably one of the most inspiring exhibits ever. And I seem to be in good company on that one:-) @Ladygaga quoted Marina on Larry King Live and there was a lively discussion on my facebook wall regarding what was arguably the pièce de résistance of the exhibit: Marina's 3-month sitdown with members of the public (see pic and screendump below, apparently people were breaking down in front of her).

If you've come this far in the post you're interested enough in art to read on. The only thing I've added to my raw notes below is pictures of the artwork. Where pictures were to be found that is. For some reason exhibit photos are hard to come by so I had to do with b/w pictures from the 70s. This seems weirdly antithetical - don't artists/ museums want to disseminate their work? (On a side note: MoMA what's the deal with not letting people take pictures even if without flash? I wasn't even allowed to type the notes below in the exhibit hall but had to step outside??). Note that most of the works were re-performed with live actors / models.

iPhone notes copy-paste below with bonus pictures ->

"Notes Marina Abramovic exhibit MoMA NYC march may 2010.

Elevates? Performance art to the rank of music by re enacting
performance art from the 60s and 70s as were it a musical score.

Teaches us to see in that seemingly everyday moments are abstracted
and put on display. Almost as if you froze time. Eg two people who's
fingers almost touch.

Demonstrates power of human presence via
performance art.  People standing in art space has more energy than
just sculpture. The power of human sculptures.  Or when you have to
pass through two people standing up.<-the tension of everyday moments.

Creates powerful moments. Eg standing almost touching with fingers or
stretching a bow with arrow at Ulay's breast.
Or live nature morte sitting at opposite ends of table just staring at
each other

Displays great moments of intimacy eg hair knots tied together. Or
breathing in each others mouths

Expiation.  Purification of body. How our bodies play an important
role in mythology or pagan customs. Eg women showing genitals during
rain or men fornicating with the ground or women fondling their breats
during drought.

Reminds us of different ways of acting. Different behaviors that could
be permitted. Good use for galleries.

No performances involving water or purification?
Washing cow bones only piece with washing. One piece she washes a
skeleton. Memento mori art lying down with skeleton on top of her.
Exposes the way we use our body todo whatever. Questions the way we
interact with our bodies. She always puts herself on stage but her art
seldomly involves social interactions and only indirectly questions
social norms.

Walking across the great wall of china. To meet her former lover as
one last goodbye - the idea of making beautiful gestures of how
actions are thoughtful and produce reactions in people. Great wall of
china Simplest version of the power of gestures. How interacting with
your own body might even seem socially subversive. In one of her early
works though it's not what she does to her body that matters and what
could be subversive. She invites the audience to use her body (knives on display) as an
object thereby inverting her original line of questioning. - so you
say what I do to my body is subversive , well I'll invite you to do
whatever you please with mine.

Post sept 11 work was about engaging in energy with the audience
sounds cliche but that's what all her work is about- exposing and
creating energy

Invites people to participate in the art

Forces people to observe bodily pain

Her work likely more forceful in a retrospective (didactic ) where you
can appreciate the full consistency of her work.

Work to be sent out to schools etc where the subversiveness
and usefulness of her art would be put to work and not confined to a

Voilà - end of raw notes. Two other pretty awesome Marina resources are the MoMA Flickr page of "The artist is present" and Arthur C. Danto's analysis in the nytimes. Unfortunately, the exhibit closed end-May but the website is still up incl. a nice interview with Marina- check it out!

Sunday, February 07, 2010

3 favorites from Music hack day Stockholm

Last weekend my friend Henrik Berggren organized the Swedish edition of Music hack day in Stockholm. 30+ hacks were churned out in 24h, all for the love of music - so here come three special ones, chosen mainly for their aesthetic appeal.

Radio Free Hackday is a wonderfully analog creation for online music discovery. Simon Hohberg and Robert Böhnke replaced the power supply of an FM radio with an arduino hooked up to a computer (see pic above). The arduino tracks the position of the frequency display and lets the user toggle between music from different cities or music of different genres (based on the and Soundcloud api:s). The music is transmitted to the device via an FM transmitter hooked up to a computer. Kudos for enhancing legacy electronics! I guess the inverse of their hardware hack would be to keep the radio intact but have a multi-frequency transmitter stream your friends playlists on different frequencies. (Or if you're lazy and stick to one frequency, use twitter as a commandline / remote control to change what's being streamed e.g., @radiofreehackday #olofster_playlist.) But then again, where's the fun without the arduino?

Matthew Ogle's HacKey takes your username and tells you what keys define your musical taste in colorful pie charts. Matthew writes that he wanted to build something "utterly useless" but I beg to differ. The data becomes really interesting once you start comparing your taste to other's  - see below a comparison of my favorite keys vs. that of a friend's (I never really use so not sure how accurate the chart is for me, but I'm not surprised Henrik is a C major).
vs. Henrik:

Would be really fun to see tempo and beat data added to this. Alternatively, if given another 24h I bet Matthew could could tell us what the musical mood is of the userbase - or even see if there is any seasonality in it as there seems to be in the Boston Common flickr pictures (btw, this is a great visualization, you get the point immediately without losing any of the rich detail in the raw data). I bet B-flat minor is a winter favorite. Anyhow, now I know which key I am: C-sharp major.

Last but not least, the guys at Winston Design, Alexis, Joel and Arvid, put together an extremely slick app,  Holodeck, which enables artists to create a web presence drawing upon Soundcloud, Songkick, Tumblr and Very clean. And a great name too:)