Tuesday, December 2, 2008

Event : Urban Play : Droog Design

The IJ-Riverfront in Amsterdam became the creative turf of international artists and designers exploring the intersection of art and the urban landscape. Urban Play is a project by Droog Design and was presented as a component of ExperimentaDesign Amsterdam 2008. The exhibition was created and curated by creative strategist Scott Burnham.

"The Urban Play exhibition provides a global overview of urban design interventions done outside of the formal channels of institutions, commissions and urban planning in cities around the world. Some refer to it as guerrilla design or “3D Graffiti”, but this surge of urban creativity – from billboards that are visually remixed, to streetscapes which are morphed into theatrical areas in the middle of the night – is where creative expression in the city becomes physical, literally transforming cities around the world."
(Scott Burnham, www.scottburnham.com)

Urban Play explores the interactive domain of art, design and environment at the pedestrian level. The exhibition encourages public interaction and marks a notable change in the presence of art and play in urban environment as well as a shift in the perception of public space and infrastructure. Artists and designers working in 3 dimensions are doing here what graffiti artists have been doing for decades; marking territory and injecting their creative will into the channels of the urban infrastructure. "Done without permission or commissions, the vast range of work on display represents the intersection of the latest genre of street art and the beginnings of open source urban design." (Scott Burnham, www.scottburnham.com)

The concept of open source urban design reflects that of contemporary programming and software development. An open source model is a development methodology that allows access to and the manipulation of a system of information and its inherent infrastructure. It is typically applied in the field of computer programming. The implications of applying this concept to urban design remain to be fully expressed through this exhibition. However, it hints at a public reclamation of control in the decision making and development processes for the urban landscape as well as its phenotypic expression.

Allowing open manipulation of interstitial space and the related public infrastructure found among the urban landscape surely opens the door for criticism as well as possibility. But one thing is certain, this concept presents a vast field for practice, research and discussion. I expect the coming generations will see artists, planners, architects, and all around citizens becoming more involved with their environment as the pendulum sways between homogeneity and the draw of diversity within the evolving urban ecology.

Artists as artists, as well as those playing the role of scientist, designer, and architect have explored the regions of commonly unknown patterns and chaotic behavior to share with the masses new and innovative modes of expression. These changes in the commonly applied and accepted motifs of urban design enrich the pedestrian experience. Urban Play is a project intended to explore the next phase of urban art, it exhibits the surge of unofficial 3d work in the infrastructure of our cities. We have the artists of the street to thank for the emergence of such expression as well as creative thinkers like Scott Burnham who see the potential in their application and work to broaden their acceptance.


Urban Play:

Exhibiting Artists:
  • Arno Piroud
  • CutUp Collective
  • Gilberto Esparza
  • Graffiti Research Lab
  • Jason Eppink
  • Ji Lee
  • Joshua Allen Harris
  • Leon Reid IV
  • Mark Jenkins
  • Office for Subversive Architecture
  • Posterchild
  • Rebar
  • Roadsworth
  • SpY
  • TheGreenEyl
  • Till Bay (Windowzoo)
  • Truthtag
  • You are Beautiful

For more:
Urban Play
Droog Design Amsterdam
ExperimentaDesign Amsterdam 2008
Scott Burnham

Monday, December 1, 2008

Comission : Matt Lively's Wind Chill Factory

I just completed the prototype glass dome for Matt Lively's "Wind Chill Factory" project. I was asked a few weeks ago if I could create glass domes with several holes in them. The holes are orifices for pipes that will maintain the atmosphere of each property. With the prototype completed it is now time to move on to the remaining 20 pieces for the project. I will post more images as the work develops.

Sunday, November 30, 2008

Update: 11.30.08

Taking the holiday for what its worth I stepped far enough away from the computer to spend some much needed time giving thanks for family, friends and good meals. I hadn't quite realized how much I needed the downtime. My thoughts have consumed me over the past few months. However this is no bad thing, much good has come of it. I selected five graduate programs that compliment my work, applied for the VMFA fellowship, set up commission work for the next two months, and outlined a few projects that I have been considering for some time now.

Graduate School:
I take the idea of graduate school very seriously. This is a time, a short two years typically, during which one is supposed to focus and prepare for entry into the professional community. It should be a rewarding experience, one in which the student gains valuable experience and hones the skills they have invested in while preparing for a professional path. Approaches to graduate education vary from person to person, program to program, university to university. For artists, those seeking an MFA in studio practice, there is a strong emphasis on experimentation, conceptual development, and professional practice.

I have spent many years now watching the changes in my interests, noticing the recurrent patterns of my own intrigue. Since my youth I knew that I would in some way continue to be creative while working with materials and spaces. My studies crossed traditional boundaries, weaving a fabric of diverse lines of thought, all of which related to man and environment. Finding or creating the proper path has been a dynamic process. I realized my interests would be best served by approaching them through the lens of art; an open, dynamic, and creative profession. Over the past three years I have been experimenting with my work as an artist. I have been working through my own creative will to synthesize my convergent interests in environment, design, and art.

Choosing the right program, the academic compliment to my work, is important to me. I have made my decision to move forward with my education based on my commitment to this path. And I am applying to programs that value diversity and synthesis while carrying a progressive outlook towards the practice on art. My goal is to grow into a position where I can make my work, participate in projects that enhance the pedestrian experience, and teach at the university level.

I was able to get back into the hot shop for a few hours to begin working on a commission for Matt Lively. I am creating glass domes for his Wind Chill Factory project. I just completed and delivered a prototype. He has kindly sent images of how this work is coming along. I will detail in a future post.

VMFA Fellowship:
I have applied to the VMFA Fellowship in hopes of gaining some funds to continue work on the Cognitive Landscape project. I hope to get a video camera and the required software to produce the video content of this work. I will put the funds to good use for the materials required to create the installation once the work gains steam.

Project List:
I am working on several projects that will contribute to my greater body of work related to the relationship between man and environment.

Projects of particular importance: (titles are informal)
- Cognitive Landscape Project
- P-Space
- Site-Response

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Meeting Mark Zirpel

I have been researching graduate programs in an effort to find the best fit for my work. University of Washington's developing 3D4M program has been tossed to the forefront of my mind on many occasions. The acceptance of diverse approaches to making paired with a strong public art background lend the advantage here. While researching the program I devoted a good amount of time to browsing the images on their site, then digging for information on the various faculty members. Akio Takamori, Doug Jeck, John Young, Jamie Walker; their work speaks volumes and the diversity of approaches to creating certainly provides support for my interest in this program.  Then I catch the work of Mark Zirpel; intriguing, dynamic, kinetic, intense, and unforgettable. With my recent interests in work by Arthur Ganson, Theo Jansen, and Joe Gilbertson it's now wonder that i am captivated by Mark's work. What is most exciting is the fact that he retains an unbelievable connection to natural phenomenon, and invests this into his work. 

Mark's work in recent years has involved the body, patterns in nature, and an edge of sound. It is more often than not kinetic, at times incorporating motion sensors that detect viewers movement initiating a series of responses in the work. He uses many different materials but there appears to be a strong relationship to rusticated metals, glass, conduit and rubber skins. These materials combined perform all sorts of engaging activities from smoking cigarettes and asking for change, to making sounds and measuring weather patterns.  

I was informed last week that Mark would be in Richmond to give a lecture and visit the studios of several graduate students in the craft department. And so, of course, I packed my bags and headed back to RVA to try to catch a few moment of his time and undoubtedly his lecture and presentation. 

I am far from being a graduate student, but somehow i still get away with a lot on the VCU campus. No need to digress, as the one and only Jack Wax would say, but I guess they still support my awkward methods. What is important is that i am one motivated non-student who works in apparently divergent ways. But its rather simple in my perspective. Im a non-linear thinker and all things being connected will eventually work themselves out. As chance and a touch of commitment would have it i am beginning to gather a great deal of clarity within the greater scope of my work. Thus I have decided that my next major efforts would be best cultivated in a graduate program and I am finally prepared to do the work necessary to make this happen. 

I made the lecture yesterday and it was worth every minute. Reading articles, catching quotes, these things are all second hand. They may be interesting but are worth little when you can finally put a personality to the text. Mark keeps a good smile and is a thoughtful, buoyant individual. The work, the videos that expose the workings of his pieces in time, are well done and I found them to be fully worth sitting in the chilled air of the lecture room to experience. 

As luck would have it I got moment today to speak with Mark. I have to thank Jack Wax for affording me the opportunity as well as Akiko Jackson for passing up hers. From this I was able to have a great discussion; my past work, chaos, order, scale shifts, perception, play, dreams. Overall it was a fluid discussion punctuated with a few mutual laughs and some great feedback. Mark has an unbelievable energy and his dedication to hard work is a motivation to anyone with like interests. I look forward to traveling to Seattle and visiting the University of Washington and I certainly hope to catch up with Mark again in the future, not to mention see his work in first person. 

Monday, November 17, 2008

Universal Everything: Advanced Beauty: DVD

Advanced Beauty 13 of 18 / Directed by Maxim Zhestkov from Universal Everything on Vimeo.

The work above is a 'sound sculpture'. One of 18 works on the Advanced Beauty DVD, a compilation of such sculptures curated by Matt Pyke. Each piece was created using Processing, an open source programming language and environment. Used in a variety of was, this language came out of the Aesthetics and Computation Group @ the MIT Media Lab. It is an alternative to proprietary software and is being developed openly by individuals from around the world.

For more info you can visit the following links.

- Clips and Interview @ PingMag
- Processing Site  o   Download Processing!
- Matt Pyke's Universal Everything

Sunday, November 16, 2008

Portable Light Project: Light Emitting Textiles

I recently came across an image that sparked my interest. Pictured above is a product developed by a company called Portable Light. Combining 21 century technologies to produce products that are innovative as well as beneficial, Portable Light has come up with some fascinating leaps forward.

The portable light project is a nonprofit project organized to deliver decentralized renewable power and light to the developing world. Their illuminating textiles have been used in the Mexican Sierra Madre since 1995 and they have developing projects implemented throughout South and Central America as well as South Africa. 

"Each Portable Light unit is a simple, versatile textile with flexible photovoltaics and solid state lighting that can be adapted to local cultures and customized by people using traditional weaving and sewing technologies in an open source model." (portablelight.org)

To find out more please visit the following links.

Thursday, November 13, 2008

i : Ariadnes Thread : i

I finally got a moment to re-shoot Ariadne's Thread. I created this work in 2007 and it always returns to my thoughts. I have recently been working on methods for investing memory into objects. This work was one of the first steps towards this type of object.

Among the many tales found in Greek mythology, the story of Ariadne and Theseus has always been of great interest to me. In short, Ariadne, daughter of King of Minos, gave Theseus a ball of red thread to use as he navigated his way through the labyrinth of Crete to slay the minotaur. This thread provided for Theseus a physical path that he used to retrace his steps and find passage out of the Labyrinth.

The metaphors here are many, however, those that i have found most intriguing are pointed out in the fifth chapter of Edward O. Wilson's "Consilience; The Unity of Knowledge"(1998). This chapter describes analogies between the search for knowledge and passage through the labyrinth.

In the various fields associated with problem solving, particularly logic, Ariadne's thread provides a metaphor for the search for solutions. In this field there exist Ariadne's thread programs which use algorithms designed to seek out and determine all possible solutions to the given problem, thereby mapping the bifurcating branches of a decision making process and elucidating the infrastructure of the problem analyzed. Through the application of such programs the researcher can expose and map out various solutions and then choose the most effective.

My exploration of the intersections between identity, memory, objects and the cognitive landscape derive several interesting parallels between the mythology presented here and its analogous applications. What i have been doing is working towards exposing the connections between the object and memory. I use these connections to form a mental map of my identity as it is related to the cognitive landscape. These objects mark points among the landscape effectively functioning as landmarks and thereby are used for the navigation of identity and memory. Providing landmarks for memory these objects act in part as vessels for such memory.

What is seen in this work is the object, a third of a real stone which was completed from memory, first in wax and then in glass, leaving a hollow interior space. There is then a quantity of red thread invested into and extending out of this inner space.
This thread is then tied to a cast glass finger, alluding to the moment of remembering and the search into and out of such memory. The stage for this event is provided by a century old Chinese social bench, a place where the story is shared.

Sunday, November 9, 2008

The Anti-Conceptual Object

I awoke from a dream this morning in which I found myself pointed to text by a friend and teacher. I will not elaborate on the sequence that led up to this moment, nor will I discuss the importance of dream in my work. I will leave that for another post.

In this text I was referred to one sentence in particular. This statement came to me clearly, as something of interest. "To create, simply, an aesthetically pleasing object." Analysis of this statement, and its implied meaning by way of a formal approach, is not my specific challenge, so I will not begin by segregating its component words and addressing each; simple, aesthetic, pleasure, object. Nor will I rummage into the abundance of tangential inquiry associated with it. Suffice it is to say that it carries with it a character of simplicity as well as complexity, difficulty and yet ease. It is more important for me to address this in the scope of my recent inquiries and my past, current and perhaps future work.

To better explain the immediate associations that this phrase brought to mind, I will reinterpret it, assuming the meaning and title "anti-conceptual object", this is a divergence from from the original statement, however it has appeared to me as intriguing, and have decided to elaborate on my thoughts related to this statement. My reasoning here is based upon my immediate and subjective response to such a statement. The feeling that I encountered from this phrase was anti-intellectual, not to be assumed as negative, simply lacking, or devoid of any intellectual or conceptual content. I am thus led to question weather it is possible to create such an object?

Mans perception of reality appears rooted in the presence of physical phenomenon; the matter of our visible and intelligible world. There is no established capacity for man to perceive any object without some type of mental activity. Perception, at its most fundamental level, involves cognition and the interpretation of sensory stimuli that are transmitted to, received, and interpreted by the mind or some extension of the neurological system. The conscious experience of man is thus derived from the dynamic and interdependent actions of the mind-body-environment complex and therefore, any and all experience can be said to involve some form of mental activity. The emotional, instinctual, or intuitive responses to objects are thus, is some way, subjects of cognition and involve some aspect of the concept. This would appear to negate any possible existence of the anti-conceptual object.

If there is such thing as the anti-conceptual object, on an absolute scale, and with very strict definition, it must effectively not exist in relation to human perception. It must be completely removed from physical or conceptual existence and be elusive to perception, Perhaps the closest one can get to such object is through metaphor or the antithetical.

And so, how can one approach the anti-conceptual object. There is an interesting region of crossover between what i describe here and the development of the matter-antimatter paradigm. Modern physics has proven the existence of antimatter and scientists at CERN have successfully created antimatter particles in laboratory experiments. These particles cannot encounter their material counterparts or the resulting effect is annihilation. However, these particles do exist and were once considered science fiction, and today, they can be created under controlled conditions.

I find this interesting, and it is worth considering the implied meaning when applied metaphorically to the conceptual-anticonceptual paradigm. Perhaps, there is such a thing as the anti-conceptual object. Assuming a similar approach as that of the matter-antimatter paradigm, if one encountered its antithesis the pair would be annihilated, that is to say that in order to approach the anti-conceptual object, a prerequisite of such encounter would be a complete removal of conceptual content. This at minimum would increase the probability of such encounter.

The issue of the matter-antimatter paradigm is potentially very different than that of the conceptual-anticonceptual object. My purpose of exposing the reader to such information is simply to open the mind to possibility and explore options.

I have also found the term "anti-conceptual" within the domain of philosophy and theory. However, my intention here is not to connect this term to past theory, though connotation is unavoidable, and i am sure the associated information would raise in my mind other questions. What I am doing here is simple using the tools of language to explore my understanding of reality and more specifically, currently, the existence of objects. Thus i have come to the term; anti-conceptual object.

It is worth noting that I consider variations in the general approach to the making of an object as modes of making. I find value in each, and do not consider any one as having any more validity than any other. In this post, I am referencing two modes of making; that which ends in the conceptual object, and the focus of this post, that which could possibly end in the anti-conceptual object. Once again, I should note that this method of categorization is not intended to be a concrete taxonomy, it is simply a tool which I find useful, at certain stages of my inquiry, in elucidating new thought and information to be considered and contemplated.

When making, Much of my mental effort is exerted while considering the vast spectrum of possibility, and exploring the uncharted, diving for what is beyond, and from such inquiry, my work changes. I have recently begun to circumscribe some form of what I recognize as the intellectual or conceptual aesthetic. That is, the dimension of aesthetic experience that is rooted in the mental-emotional activity associated with the load of such work; the conceptual content that is invested or attached to that which is made.

The conceptual aesthetic can be more readily approached by considering concept art, the ‘beauty’ of the mathematical proof, and the enrichment of the aesthetic experience by way of information associated with works of art. I will elaborate on this at a later date, and have begun to expose my interest in this region of aesthetic theory and philosophy in previous posts; notes to conceptual aesthetics. For now I should return to my present inquiry, as it becomes a requirement for my inquiry of the conceptual object: the anti-conceptual object.

Setting aside, for the remainder of this post, the need for some absolute definition and the impossibility of creating a strict physical anti-conceptual object. I am moved to imagine the results of loosening my definition, for now, and begin considering the possibilities that may present themselves. What types of objects, through this loose lens, could be considered anti-conceptual? This is perhaps where i am able to return to the simple, aesthetically pleasing object. What things exist in this world, or perhaps can be created, that involve a critical reduction in the region of intellectuality and highly participatory conscious cognition. Through this lens I become aware of those simple objects that cause a subtle, emotional, or empathetic response in the viewer.

The approach to the making of an anti-conceptual object thus presents itself as having a much different methodology than that of the conceptual. Its challenge is perhaps not to become overtly involved in thought, not to conceptualize, and certainly not to intellectualize. It is an effort to reduce to an absolute minimum, if not eliminate as far a possible, all of the mind-stuff that can be invested into an object, all of the conceptual load. The task here is to react instinctively, intuitively and emotionally to the object during its development; to create an object that is, simply, aesthetically engaging, perhaps emotionally absorbing or sub/supra-intellectually engaging. I say this because I have postulated in passing the existence of, among the greater scope of the aesthetic experience, a place for the response, emotional or not, experienced by the mind; that which involves conceptual processing and the intellectual engagement of a man. However there is also an area of the aesthetic experience that involves perceiving something that does not require knowledge to be appreciated, that need not be exclusively interpreted by the intellect; it is appreciated by other faculties of the being and thereby captivates its viewer. Is this a characteristic of the anti-conceptual object in its loosely interpreted form? Perhaps? Though if the definition is tightened, becoming more conservative, i would think not. I am however, currently considering the possibilities, if the definition is liberal.

This then brings me to my work and the potential development of such simple, aesthetically pleasing objects: anti-conceptual objects. In the past much of my work has been conceptually invested. My objectives did not rely on the communication of this conceptual content; it was simply a part of my process and of the work. My objective was simply to be, and act as I find most natural to my own being at any given point in time. And due to a sometimes overwhelming involvement in mental activity, my work often involved a desire to synthesize the experience of conceptual content, the material, and the form of the work; an investment into the body of the work of some data-information-knowledge content. Though I should emphasize again that I do not consider the transmission of such content imperative to the aesthetic experience.

My work, when related to the viewer, on some level, is intended to provide a plastic, polymorphic, and multi-modal experience for the viewer, wherein if something more, in the way of conceptual content was desired, such experience could be accessed. That is to say, for he or she whose approach is focused upon the perception of formal qualities such as form, texture and composition, the physical qualities that comprise the work could initiate the aesthetic experience. However, I also work to consider the viewer whose aesthetic experience is enriched by something aside from the physical qualities of the work. The individual who desires the conceptual experience can then find in the work another dimension. My attempt has been to provide for possibility, to account for the subjective experience by considering, and attending to, the methods of perception with which I am familiar. In this way my work is rarely simple.

But the making of the loosely interpreted anti-conceptual object involves a very different approach. This mode of making, relies not on the conjuring of associated data-information-knowledge, but on its opposite, that which is unnameable and simply experienced, perhaps the region of the emotional and spiritual. In its most liberal form, the anti-conceptual object could perhaps exist as those relatively simple forms, possibly exhibiting some nature of being universally accessible to the aesthetic experience of mankind. This type of object would simply rely on the absolute minimization of any intellectual or conceptual content which could be readily engaged by the perceptive viewer. The approach of the viewer, and his or her cognitive process would then be of vast importance to the consideration of such an object/experience. This however, will have to wait for another post. For now, i will attempt to exemplify some of the most simple of objects that could be thought of as anti-conceptual. I present to the reader for inquiry, those objects that are raw, natural, simple and yet pleasing to the senses: stones, pieces of wood and metal, water, and fire. These raw, elemental materials have been known to initiate aesthetic responses in man that are linked to the aesthetic experience, and have thus been portrayed in art since the beginning of mans relationship with nature. If there exist, thorough the loose definition, any such anti-conceptual object, it is here where I am prompted to extend my investigation.

There are several other regions of inquiry to which i could turn this exploration and will consider doing so in future posts. In closing I should state that I have, in the course of writing this post, become more concerned with a conservative definition of the term anti-conceptual object. This is more likely to be my next region of inquiry. I will leave the reader to his or her own thoughts regarding the issue.

Friday, November 7, 2008

Dony Permedi: Kiwi

i : order & chaos : i

I am, a continuous state of becoming, that when viewed at any point in time is an affected state of being; a scene much like that exposed by the double slit experiment of quantum mechanics, in which an electron is confirmed as having dual wave/particle existence. The wave state successfully passes through all openings in a barrier presented, producing interference, yet when observed at a given point in time, manifests ‘physically’ as a particle.

The creative act emerges, out of the unfathomable depths of uncertainty, the feared chaos of the sea, perceived by the ordered consciousness of man whose feet are planted firmly upon the land. But that which is beneath his feet, providing for him the stable surface upon which to build his shelter, those mountains were once beneath the sea, they too move, just as the waves upon the surface of the ocean. Here lay the elusive thread in the visible net of order; all things, depending upon perception, relegate themselves to one state or another; static or dynamic, particle or wave, order or chaos. Change and uncertainty are the region from which new form and new order arise. And order, provides for man, that which is capable of being recognized. In life all things will be given time of such order and will again be claimed by the sea of chaos, just as the great mountains will one day travel back into the depths of the ocean. The power and vision of the artist lay in his ability to dance between the state of order and chaos, and manifest that which was once unrecognizable.

This is my way, and in the dance of making, I conjure moments of order only to smile as they are swallowed up again by chaos.

And so it is, that when caught at one moment my thoughts will be sturdy and cohesive, an ordered bounty of my action, brought out by a desire to know the language and forms able to be perceived by mankind and share in this experience. Though at another moment, that order will dissolve like crystals of salt into the sea of chaos, the place where I dive for stones found deep beneath its surface, my well and source, from which the rapture of life is invested in me, and I return with my bounty to share that which I have found and manifest it into form that can be perceived through the order of a conscious moment, shared among all things.

i am i

Thursday, November 6, 2008

MoMa : Home Delivery

What is the possibility for a home to be delivered; prefabricated and placed onto a site, ready to inhabit. Many of the ideas, presented in short among the frames of this youtube video, claim to be working for these very goals and certainly they are. But, we do already have some instances of this. Many of them actually.

What is the implication of superimposing a prefabricated home onto its landscape? What environmental considerations are overlooked when approaching the idea of habitation in this way? Can you keep is from looking like this when the storm comes?

Can we change the patten of the neighborhood? Can we keep it from looking like this?

In this day and age with rising energy concerns and projected populations reaching the tens of billions, one can be sure that addressing housing is of critical importance. The challenge here as it appears to me, and as it is framed in this short video, is to generate housing that is low cost, low energy, self-sustaining, durable, portable, perhaps even modular, and to top it off preserve the diverse nature of our individuality while integrating as a unit into the greater ecology. Can this be done with today's technology and imagination? Yes, but meeting all of these demands takes more than swank marketing and catch phrases. It takes a genuine interest in humanity, imagination and capital. Perhaps the architects and designers in the video have just that. Perhaps the future of housing as we know it, is truly changing. You buy it, they deliver it, you live in it, you love it!

And if your as creative as these guys maybe the new verision.21c will give you some room for experimentation.

kosukebando: kinetic architecture

sony bravia; bunnies

Monday, November 3, 2008

Theo Jansen: Kenetic Creatures

The following excerpts have been sourced form Theo Jansen's website: www.strandbeest.com

Since 1990 I have been occupied creating new forms of life.

Not pollen or seeds but plastic yellow tubes are used as the basic material of this new nature. I make skeletons that are able to walk on the wind, so they don’t have to eat.

Over time, these skeletons have become increasingly better at surviving the elements such as storms and water and eventually I want to put these animals out in herds on the beaches, so they will live their own lives.

Self-propelling beach animals like Animaris Percipiere have a stomach . This consists of recycled plastic bottles containing air that can be pumped up to a high pressure by the wind. This is done using a variety of bicycle pump, needless to say of plastic tubing. Several of these little pumps are driven by wings up at the front of the animal that flap in the breeze. It takes a few hours, but then the bottles are full. They contain a supply of potential wind. Take off the cap and the wind will emerge from the bottle at high speed. The trick is to get that untamed wind under control and use it to move the animal. For this, muscles are required. Beach animals have pushing muscles which get longer when told to do so. These consist of a tube containing another that is able to move in and out. There is a rubber ring on the end of the inner tube so that this acts as a piston. When the air runs from the bottles through a small pipe in the tube it pushes the piston outwards and the muscle lengthens. The beach animal's muscle can best be likened to a bone that gets longer. Muscles can open taps to activate other muscles that open other taps, and so on. This creates control centres that can be compared to brains.

source: Theo Jansen's website: www.strandbeest.com

A Conversation with Larry Mccarty

Just moments ago i had the pleasure of meeting Urban Studies Professor, Larry Mccarty from VCU. It is moments like these where i am more than grateful to have followed the path that i have. Just yesterday i bumped into Justin Lincon, adjunct professor of sculpture at VCU and he had been sitting with Mr. Mccarty. During our quick discussion of my pursuit of graduate school i mentioned my background in Urban Planning. He responded that it was funny, the man he had just been sitting with, Mr. Mccarty was a planner. And so today when Mr. Mccarty enter the coffee shop i took a moment to introduce myself and ask him a few questions while generally describing my interests. Larry had a few very interesting things to say and he pointed out a few people that may be worth looking into as they relate to my work.

The first thing i found interesting was Mr. Mccarty's description of the division of the planning field and its representative academic programs. I had mentioned that the East Carolina program, during my attendance, was primarily focused on policy implementation and history. It was only after i graduated that the program picked up a new faculty member who appeared to be well versed in design issues. Mr. Mccarty spoke momentarily about the differing focuses of programs, from physical planning and economic planning, to history, theory and design. He also mentioned that he typically advises that a student interested in one area should consider attending a program that focuses on another. In response i noted that a student's primary interest would inevitably motivate them to seek out an acquire the information they desire and that perhaps attending a program that had an alternative focus would increase his or her scope, thereby building upon their understanding and while potentially elucidating connections between the two seemingly separate regions of focus. His reply to this was how in the past he had considered himself a physical planner, but that another practitioner concerned with the social implications of planning, noted that once a physical change in the environment becomes established, there is a consequent shift in human behavior and the social reality. These two perspective were thus one and the same, differing only in approach and scope.

The majority of this discussion evolved out of my interest in the effects of our environment on human behaviour and my general interest in art, environment and man. I have been watering the seeds of a new body of work, that i hope to develop while in graduate school. I remain interested in individual expression and personal responses to space, though it is certain that this body of work is building steam and that i am seriously considering developing its content while in a graduate program.

Mr. Mccarty also pointed out three individuals that i should perhaps look into. One of which i was previously aware of; Kevin Lynch. Lynch's work involving wayfinding and navigation has been on my mind since my first encounter with his text "Image of The City" while getting my Bachelors. His identification of the primary elements of a greater urban pattern, that effectively direct human activity in many ways, has influenced planners since its publication. Mr. Mccarty also noted that there was a video on YouTube capturing Kevin Lynch and his ideas. I have posted this below.

The two remaining names i feel that i may have heard of but cannot be sure; William Wyeth and Andre Duany. I have yet to find any info on Wyeth. But Andre Duany is an architect and appears to be linked to New Urbanism.

I must say it was refreshing speaking with Mr. Mccarty. I have been absorbed recently in thought, and it was good to finally meet with a member of the Urban Studies Department of VCU. I have been meaning to do this for some time. Opening a channel for discussion on the influence of environment on human behavior is important to my work and I am looking for a diversity of perspectives. This ultimately allows me to generate a more informed concept of how, on a social level, mankind perceives and develops his habitat.

Saturday, November 1, 2008

Notes on Conceptual Aesthetics: 2

Making not only involves the creation of an aesthetic experience, it is a method for learning; a catalyst and tool for the acquisition of data, information and knowledge. It's product may very well be an aesthetic object or environment, but its processes provide a means whereby the artist may derive his or her own sense of wonder and wisdom.

History will procure the physical products of mankind and his actions. And while a purely emotional aesthetic response to those objects may very well be accessible to those who encounter such phenomena, packaged with those products, found within the materials, forms, images and connections are the meta-physical elements, interpreted by the conscious participant, that tell the story of his cognitive and conceptual changes.

i : Blog & Mind : i

I turn to this blog as a nearly daily activity. My efforts thus far have been to exhibit portions of the content of my work, actions, thoughts and various interests. I have now come to know this experience as one through which i express myself; in word, image and some other dynamic and yet structured way. Herein lie the many doorways to the world of media and information that have become of human technology; the extension of the cognitive experience of man. And here i am typing away while expressing the thoughts of my experience in any number of activities. All the while bouncing from site to site, door to door, soaking up information that appears to be interesting and passing by that which is not. Consistently engaged in cognitive response to the sensory stimuli that i perceive; recording, documenting and developing the network of information that i consider to have value.

Certainly here, there is a bias towards the domain of my primary focus for this site; art, design, architecture, environment... the made and manipulated. And what is this for? Self or other or both? I like to think it is for both; that in my wanderings i will assimilate an approximation of the form and image of my vision. And that that vision will be of some use not only to me but to others. Also, that in this vision, throughout its primary impetus; the movement towards a higher quality of being, through environment and experience of life, we may harness the potential of mans creative and expressive qualities to affect our greater experience.

How then does this blog and its presence affect my imaging and cognitive experience. One of the most prevalent ways that i have come to find is the benefit of access, review and feedback. Much like a journal allows one to review his or her own changes over time, in presence of mind, personality, perception and experience, the blog makes readily available much of this content as well as compounds its effectiveness by providing more than just a written history of experience. The blog allows one to traverse a broad gambit of information, generated by individual accessioning, that if maintained opens the network of review and response to a constant flux of new information all of which may be tied to the greater interests of the user.

That is to say, simply, that this blog has become a learning tool. And that this influences the way in which i access and process information. It is an extension of my own mind.

Frederic Eyl: Aperture facade installation

Friday, October 31, 2008

A Note to The Conceptual Aesthetic

If a requirement of art is the aesthetic experience then certainly it is understood that art theorists and philosophers have attempted to define this experience. My concern here is not to elaborate on this definition, only to note that in my perception of the times of which I am a part, and perhaps throughout the past, that certain men and women have taken pleasure in the experience of conceptualization. This emotional response to the formulation of concepts and the process of conceptualization I consider to be at some level an aesthetic experience as well as inherently human. Considering this I am turned to recognize a vast arena of activity that may well be removed from the field of visual aesthetics but stands to elucidate the overwhelming interest in certain areas of the arts, namely the conceptual arts and the portion of visual arts extending into history that supply the viewer with some concept-knowledge that desires to be contemplated and resolved, such as a problem is to be solved. This domain of the aesthetic experience I refer to as the ‘conceptual aesthetic’ and attribute some portion of its attractiveness and existence to the region of the human mind that profits from learning and knowledge. It can certainly be ruled by the assumed extension of the philosophy of aesthetics that man has an innate desire to learn and that this can be represented in and throughout the experience of art. I cannot act as the voice for another man but I can certainly profess my own experience of this attraction. I have for some time now, so far into my history that I cannot recall its origin, taken pleasure and perhaps even pain form my own insatiable desire for this experience; the experience of the conceptual aesthetic. I profess here only that I recognize this experience of conceptual engagement as being bound to the idea of the aesthetic experience as I know it to exist. I also find it helpful in finding validity in the practice of art, as well as the source of some valuable function, which I will hardly describe here, that facilitates in my own experience of learning and of the purely emotional response of reverence towards the greater aesthetic experience of art and life.

Arthur Ganson- Wishbone

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Boundaries to Creativity and Innovation

It appears that some of the most critical advancements in technology and practice are preceded by the collaborative efforts of people from diverse educational backgrounds. The seeds of the most widely appreciated technologies of today were developed and cultivated in environments where the cross fertilization of ideas can flourish. Why then does there remain, on a general level of organization in the domain of education, an impetus to segregate spaces, professions, and practices? What drives this type of segregation and why, when some of our greatest triumphs have proven, is there not a consistent appeal for the creation of spaces, events and opportunities that lead to interaction among the separate communities.

Bell Laboratories, throughout a period between the late 1920's and the 1990's, was a hub for this type of interaction. An endless array of technologies were conceived and developed within the walls of this facility; photovoltaic cells, speech synthesizers, semiconductors, microphones, the wireless local area networks. The list goes on an on. The developments that extended from Bell Laboratories are the infrastructural elements of today's technologically infused environment. One of the key factors behind those developments was Bell Laboratories extension of freedom and diversity into the working environment. In the glory days of the mid 20th century designers, scientists and engineers were provided an environment that encouraged cross pollination. Scattered throughout the facility these professionals were organized dynamically, in a way that fostered random encounters and an overall atmosphere of diversity. A decision that pushed for creative exchange of information; and it worked.

Today, there are conferences, charrettes and civic meetings that bring together a broad coalition of thinkers; building teams that are as diverse as the ecologies of the great barrier reefs. This atmosphere is were the ideas of the future are born and the old ways of segregation are deemed a past-time.

At what point do other more common industrial and academic practices change to meet the demands of such a rapidly evolving social and environmental reality? What is the lag time for such change and how can the established organizations reduce such time, thereby increasing the opportunities for real-time growth and development; meeting the needs of the younger generations who readily acquire the perspectives of the time at hand.

The boundaries to our creative future are only those things that we are unwilling to take the time and perhaps the risk to change. They are the stagnant waters of our social and cultural ecology. They are the places where thoughtful men and women are marginalized for the sake of homogeneity.

This is not an argument for or against specialization in our professional communities. It is an acknowledgment of the value of diversity in the greater practices of humanity; those that assemble to direct the developments of our common future. In place of conformity among the normalization of our institutions let there be a push for diversity, a protest against the homogeneity and a clear expression of the value for variation as exhibited in the atmosphere of those places where our greatest leaps in technology, theory and practice have been witnessed.

Saturday, October 25, 2008

WRIR 97.3: Listen to the interview

I just recieved a copy of the interview that was aired on WRIR 97.3 last friday.
You can listen to the entire 30 minute interview by clicking the following link.

Please note this download takes approxamately 1.5 minutes at 4mb per sec. (143mb total file size)

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

WRIR 97.3 : The Zero Hour with Tim Bowring

I was recently interviewed by Tim Bowring, host of "Zero Hour", a weekly show on Richmond's Independent Radio Station, WRIR 97.3. Having the opportunity to express what it is that I do probably should have prompted my response to organize my thoughts and present a more cohesive image of my work. But, I figured there was little need for this type of preparation. I talk about my work whenever the opportunity presents itself and I find my head is regularly glued to the pages of my journal noting the dynamic methods that make up the modes of my practice. Anyway, this was my first radio interview but my stomach did not become the habitat of unruly butterflies. Tim's demeanor certainly facilitated my relaxed approach and I quickly become comfortable rambling on about those things that I find intriguing. The interview went by in the blink of an eye and there it was, fully expressed on the monitor as a series of waveforms, question - response - rambling - direction.... This was great. I am doing exactly what it is that I do when surrounded by comfortable conditions and engaged in a free dialogue. I tend to ramble. And this was the perfect time for me to be free. I am still laughing.

I stepped out of the interview got in my car and then it hit me. Well, it was more of a small tap at the back of the pre-frontal lobe. What did I not say? What about the serious side, the depth of my work that I can barely express when not pasted to my journal? This still passes through my head. And so I am once again determined to write about some of these things. Moving away form the poetic, free, and rambling personality that I exhibit when placed in the comfort zone. Moving towards the other side of my self; the side that analyzes, plans, and organizes cohesive thoughts into paragraphs that could have been taken from some journal article, filed in with the relative mass of writings from our domain of science. This is the flip side of me; the side that I barely even tiptoed around while discussing my background in Planning and Ecology. The side I didn't leave behind when I became a component of the "Art-World" but choose to leave just behind the veil of the work. The place between the atmosphere and the gut of the work; the mind. Its practically always there in some way. It is the cognitive and perhaps conditioned component of my work. And, while rambling on about the other side of my practice, the content that can perhaps be overlooked. My task now will be to express some of those things that I did not express while discussing my work in this interview. I will begin here and now, but this effort will continue as I post a series of entries related to this portion of my practice.

But before i go any farther. This interview will air on Friday, October 24th, 2008 at 12:30 on WRIR 97.3 Richmond Independent Radio.

You can stream the interview from there website via the link above.

Big Thanks Tim, I thoroughly enjoyed this opportunitiy.

And now, the beginning.

A Quick Introduction to The Coming Posts.

I have said, while developing the various artistic statements that i have produced, that revealing the core of my work is not essential to the aesthetic experience. But there is indeed a core, a central concept around which the majority of my work revolves. I am typically not concerned with communicating this content through the work, though it is the impetus behind the majority of what you see when looking at the things that I create. I have however recently decided to begin articulating this content. And this is what i will be posting in the near future.

to be continued.

Next Post Title: The Core: Large Scale Coherence and Small Scale Diversity

Friday, October 17, 2008

Reverence: Review by Portfolio Weekly

"The Smallest Footprint: Ecologically Sustainable Art" was recently reviewed by Betsy DiJulio, critic for Portfolio Weekly.

I am grateful for such coverage and would like to take a moment to thank Betsy for her time.

I became aware of exactly how much influence my previous work had while installing this piece, but it truly hit me while reading this review. Betsy takes time to show her appreciation for this work within the paragraphs of her article. She also tossed in a small jab from the curator in the first line of my portion of the review. But I must say, if the only thing missing in this exhibition was more of my work, then i am happy. This was a welcome way of expressing the curators frustration. It appears that i was contracted to do something other than i thought was clear; maintain artistic freedom, respond openly to the theme of the exhibition and do what it is that i do. The curator was apparently expecting my "stones". She certainly expressed her appreciation for this work but remained open to new work and produced no contract agreement when asked. But, I am pleased that she enjoyed my previous work enough to be frustrated that i did not re-create it for this exhibition. So, I apologised for not supply what was desired. Though this should have been more thoroughly communicated in a contract agreement.

My intention with this exhibition however was to investigate the theme of this show: Ecologically Responsible Art. What is it that makes my previous work responsible to the environment? What is it that characterizes Eco-Art and its many examples in contemporary art? Certainly I consider my work to exist within the domain of an environment. I also consider carefully the material decisions that i make when setting out to create work. That being so, it is rare, if ever, that I re-create work. This would be difficult lest my intention was to directly continue a particular method of expression and even then the work would most certainly take on a different appearance; a different morph. This exhibition however, presented clear path; investigating the principle of being responsible to an ecology, and therefore required a completely different approach. Thus new work, specific to the concept; an honest and unique response that expressed, as an object, my aesthetic. That is not to say that this is what ecologically responsible work is. Reverence is not meant to epitomize my thougths regarding ecologically responsible art. It is simply work that extended from the motivation provided by the exhibit.

Moving on, what should I express, what did I learn form all this:

Always get a contact and always keep the communication flowing to ensure that there is a genuine understanding of what is desired by the gallery.

Also... Make what is true to you and your work; and be prepared to take a a sugar coated punch.

Thanks for the sugar Betsy.

-Bob and Weave.

Saturday, September 27, 2008

i : New Work : i

The exhibition at Mayer Fine Art is now open. I arrived at the gallery around 6pm on Wednesday to handle the install, this took little time. The images here are details of the work taken during the days just before I left cub creek in route to Norfolk. I am now in Richmond Va. visiting friends and relaxing for a few days before the opening reception. All is well and I am pleased to release the new work to the public. I have pasted the notes from the exhibition into this post.

Exhibition Notes:

I began this work sifting through the thoughts that I have had regarding ecology, environment, and the relationship we have to our surroundings. While considered many approaches I quickly found that I had in my life a new and inspiring position out of which this work could grow. My general concern is with my relationship to a new landscape; a landscape with a pastoral history located in Appomattox, Virginia that is now my home. I moved here in August, and prior to this move hesitated beginning work for this exhibition; knowing that in order to truly address my concerns in an honest and thorough way I must respond to an environment that I have a developing relationship with.

This place, its rolling fields and patchwork forests, is a landscape filled with life and change. The fields here are home to rotating crops and the bordering forests are reclaiming those no longer used for agriculture.

I became aware immediately of this change; the succession of these landscapes and the regenerative cycles to which they are now subject. I call this place home because the landscape is what sustains me physically and aesthetically. The wind passing over the fields tells me the stories of their natural history and I listen quietly as I walk through their space. I am grateful for this new experience and I make this work out of respect for this place and its living expression of change.

There is a grass that grows up and down the narrow roads that segregate this landscape. It appears among the niches of those fields left to nature’s hand, and thus it stakes its claim. During the first few years these unattended fields become home to cultures of this grass. It is an enemy to the farming hand but to the field in hopes of returning to its once forested cover, it is the beginning of new life. It is a change invited by the cycle of nature.

My task was to remain true to my feelings regarding the theme of this exhibition: ecological responsibility. To do so I began by asking myself questions that would unearth thoughts related to this concept as well as the growing set of ideas that permeate today’s culture. I will hardly begin to elaborate on the many facets of this content however I will point out two concepts that come out of this inquiry that together shaped the work that you see in this exhibition. The first is related to resourcefulness; using what you have in a creative way and not relying on a need to acquire materials that are outside of the local landscape. In this way, any material that can be found in an unused or underutilized state has the potential to be reclaimed for use in this work. The second was rooted in today’s cultural motto found in the green sector of reduce, reuse and recycle. These two parameters gave definition to the materials selected for this work.

The form, shape and dimension of the work follow a larger pattern that appears throughout the greater body of my work. What can be seen has emerged out of a dynamic process. As I work, I am making intuitive decisions that reference intra-specific relationships of such elements as line and shape to one another. I do not desire to create a form that has a literal relationship to which the viewer is immediately subjected. My desire is to retain some sense of ambiguity in an effort to suspend, if only for a moment, the natural tendency of free association that occurs during cognition. During this moment the viewer is open to the aesthetic experience.

By omitting the need to express some literal form I am free to make and express my aesthetic in an open format. I then focus my energy on small-scale relationships as they inform one another and the greater whole. I am also free to focus on the individual actions that become the marks of my work; in this case the tying of knots and the lashing of the grass segments. For me this is where I am allowed to give back to the materials. I am giving my attention and reverential attitude. I am making an object that is a synthesis of concept, landscape and the material from which it came. I am expressing my appreciation for the local environment and the responsibility that I feel for its presence in my living experience

This work can be seen September 26th through October 26nd with a Opening Reception on October 4th @ Mayer Fine Art Gallery in Norfolk Va. on Waterside Drive.

The Smallest Footprint (ecologically responsible art)
Mayer Fine Art
Suite 252
Waterside Festival Hall
333 Waterside Dr.
Norfolk Va. 23510

Gallery Hours:
Friday: 4pm - 8pm
Saturday: 12pm - 6pm
or by appointment


Sunday, August 31, 2008

Cub Creek Residency & New Exhibit

With my recent acceptance to a residency program at Cub Creek, comes a rapid move to the foothills in Appomattox, Virginia. The rolling countryside here reminds me of the landscapes near my home; only more sparcly patched with the occasional tobacco field and vastly more expansive. I feel rather at home here and can confidently say that this place has a resonance of clarity and ease.

I walk these fields daily and while doing so saturate my self with the experience of this place. My mind runs thorough the images of my work evolving with every turn; a pliable and fluid thing to be developed as i return to the studio. My breath follows a relaxed tempo periodically molded by the approach of a deer, the hitchhiking cricket, or the shadow of a hawk who seems to scan the field for its next meal.

My feet touch the earth and the work here has begun. I have set up the studio and quickly moved on to exploring the surrounding environment. I have approximately one month to develop the work for my next exhibition. On September 22 I will travel to Norfolk, Virginia to begin the engaging process of installation and i have spent the past two weeks listening to the landscape that surrounds me. I am developing a relationship with the local ecology and have begun gathering and reclaiming the matter for my exhibit.

The Johnson grass is everywhere, it has taken over the feilds which were once the home of crops and before that territory of the forests that surround these plots of land. This grass is an annual and lives by producing seed, distributing its progeny by means of the wind, the rivlets of rain, and the movement of animals through its space. I am one of those animals. The seed attaches itself to my skin as a sweat in the midday heat and perhaps next season there will be small outgrowths of this grass around the resident housing and studios where there once was none. The inhabitatants of this place tell their stories to anyone who is willing to listen. And i will tell mine all the same. So i gather this abundant resource and i move on to sort and dissect; to listen and to explore. And in time to labor as my process takes me to the quiet and clam moments of patient articulation which becomes my work.

This work can be seen September 26th through October 26nd with a Opening Reception on October 4th @ Mayer Fine Art Gallery in Norfolk Va. on Waterside Drive.

The Smallest Footprint (ecologically responsible art)
Mayer Fine Art
Suite 252
Waterside Festival Hall
333 Waterside Dr.
Norfolk Va. 23510

Gallery Hours:
Friday: 4pm - 8pm
Saturday: 12pm - 6pm
or by appointment


Saturday, August 30, 2008

i : artifacts of being : i

I recently been excavating and investigating the objects which present themselves to me in dreams. This work was recently created while persuing an independent study Virginia Commonwealth University. It exlplores a set of concepts related to my larger body of work which revolves around the central premis of 'being'. These objects have become the anchors of being and waypoints for the navigation of my own identity. The poems which i have written in the past seem to inform these works and can be found on this blog. I will be writing more in the near future to help keep track of my own exploration and the work that follows.

Friday, May 23, 2008

Brick Magazine: Featured Artist

If you happen to pick up a Brick this week flip through to page 13. Byrd Cox has written a great article based on a interview i had recently. Pleased is a understatement for me. This full page feature brought a smile to my week and i can certainly say that Byrd has a way with extracting the best of my thoughts as they fly out of my mouth. Not to mention an elegant and intriguing approach to weaving it all together. My sincerest of thanks goes out to her. She is a talented writer and i thoroughly enjoyed the interview.

See it...

Read it...

Published in Brick. May 22st, 2008.

On the web at:


Thursday, May 22, 2008

i : strung together : i

strung together…

impressions of matter

pressures great enough to forge the synaptic response
binding the moments to reveal a presence

some residual glimpse of the self

i am lost otherwise…

awash in the sea of change
no anchor, no wish, no worry
perhaps free…

at times a smile, at times a tear

though i am not here
i do not exist without them

with them i imagine

what lay beneath
among the labyrinth of gaps

they unfold as do the petals of a fresh blossom

beginning as a seed
a root
a stem

bifurcating into infinity
countless blossoms and leaves to catch the passing sun

they are many and few together

some painted
others in stark contrast

they are sound

the cool wind on a summer day
passing between the branches

they are the heartbeats of my lovers
the breath as i lay there in the night

forgotten they do not ail me

their burdens cannot be felt
yet they remain

stones upon the floor

remembered they move me

they make me
they bind me to myself

push – pull

i am at their feet

willingly and not

perhaps they are only for me to know

perhaps they are shared and i am not alone

perhaps they themselves are living

certainly they grow when watered
they bloom when the seasons turn
they wilt when the cold wind blows
when the sunlight descends from the sea above
when the time has come

and so i sleep…

there they dance

they dance when i am not watching
they play as i pay little attention

when i am at rest

they give, they share, they tell stories to one another

they imagine those things that i cannot

occasionally i wake among them

and as they dance i follow

in their sea i am tossed about
a ship on the open ocean

if i am careful…

if i am quiet…

if i am present and aware

i can watch them
as if i have found some shelter
some island away from the breaking waves

and from there

i can see clearly
something greater

the roots, the seeds
the endless surface of blossoming plains

something remains


from here the clam waters reflect the moon

the moment opens and a timeless place is home

this is where i build my well

this is the place from which i draw my water

but today i am lost

an explorer in search of new lands

building maps to home