Project II will be a commentary on and exploration of the commodification of social media and, by extension, the commodification of our social lives in general. As with Project I, this will be a statusing, a free-form public art performance that anyone is welcome to join. However, this time around, we want to span multiple social media streams, including but not limited to Twitter and Facebook.
The performance will be the week of May 3-9, and in the spirit of Web 2.0, all are welcome to join. Learn more about how you can get involved at http://plateastweets.blogspot.com/2009/04/project-ii-co-modify-may-3-9.html
Questions? Contact founder and director An Xiao at email@example.com.
On the week of March 23, artist An Xiao will be hosting a Twitter-based flash mob/large-scale "statusing" (i.e., online happening) and is hoping to get at least 500 people involved. If you use Twitter, please add http://www.twitter.com/platea as a friend, and you'll receive further information as the day gets closer. Don't worry if you don't think you'll have time - the important part is joining and spreading the word.
An Xiao is a photographer and digital media artist exploring issues in contemporary social media. Her Twitter-based art projects have been featured with the Brooklyn Museum, the Guardian UK and a forthcoming article with NYFA Current. She recently founded @Platea, a collective of artists and non-artists who are an interest in the power of public art carried out in the digital megacity of social media. More information about @Platea can be found at http://plateastweets.blogspot.com.
Well folks, after five years, this blog is now defunct. It will remain online as an archive, but I'm moving to a new design, a new blog name, and more of a focus on what I've been writing about anyway: art, design, technology, culture.
Please stop by and consider subscribing:
It's dark. Sorry. But I spotted this on an office whiteboard and it got me thinking about pictographs and the evolution of the Chinese language. The above look like 田命 (Tian Ming), the characters, respectively, for "field" and "life".
What would modern pictographs look like? Something like the above, I suspect - inspired by PowerPoint and graphs, rather than images from nature.
Swung by Onishi Gallery this weekend to check out the Louvre-DNP Museum Lab's display of augmented reality and other technologies for museums and cultural institutions. Longer review to come, but I wanted to get this post up, as it's well worth a visit--the show runs till June 10 (this Thursday!)
More info about the Museum Lab.
I recently visited the NARS Foundation Open Studios to see friends and find some inspiration for art. I had a lot of interesting conversations that day, and I decided to try to capture two of them with Sky Kim and Peter Emerick, a lovely couple in residency at NARS.
Not quite the quality of the James Kalm Report or Alan Lupiani and the newly-launched Two Coats of Paint channel, but I've been enjoying experimenting w/ impromptu, unedited video interviews and hope you enjoy them. Have a few more coming up, and you can find the rest on my Vimeo page.
This weekend, I'm showing alongside Whitney Biennial artists Kate Gilmore and the Bruce High Quality Foundation in... Paterson, NJ. It's a massive warehouse space featuring a number of contemporary artists, and I'll be leading a participatory performance piece:
The Artist Is Kinda PresentThis will be my last show, sadly, before I move back to Los Angeles later this summer (more details on that below). I hope to see you there!
A Performance Piece by An Xiao
Escape From New York, curated by Olympia Lambert
Saturday, May 15
5-8pm (the opening reception is 3-9pm)
Shuttle bus available from NYC/Chelsea! From 2:30pm til 9pm return. Pick up at 22nd Street and 10th Avenue and will also stop at 14th Street L station at 8th Avenue.
Facebook invite: http://www.facebook.com/home.php?#!/event.php?eid=120602884632496&ref=ts
ArtCat Listing: http://www.artcat.com/exhibits/11477
Sorry for the relative silence here; lots of thinking, reading and doing, not a lot of blogging. I've started a new photo diary to capture little things I see that don't really have a place here but catch my eye nonetheless. Someone asked me recently why I take pictures with my Blackberry when I sport all the power of a digital SLR. I didn't have a good answer, but wabi sabi came to mind. Enjoy.
My reservation request for the portrait of MuseumNerd, as painted by Nic Rad. More context about the show here, and about MuseumNerd here. I unfortunately have to be in DC on business during the great giveaway this week, but I'd still like to have the portrait. We'll see if Nic's okay with that, esp. given my competition.
I fall in love at least once each day. I fall in love with the kitten that lives in my neighborhood. I fall in love with good sandwiches at the delicatessen. I fall in love with those close to me, even if they don't understand. I fall in love with gadgets and gizmos and books and everyone and everything else that makes me happy.
The glaring exception is art.
I realize this is ironic. I have dedicated so much of my life to art. I grew up writing poems on scraps of paper and drawing my own paper dolls. Before I ever laid hands on InDesign, I scribbled out comics and Xerox'ed hand-drawn magazines. Armed with floppy disks and stamps, I was a social media artist long before AOL made the computers accessible.
But some time between then and now, art became a business, and artists became entrepreneurs. Artists now must map out goals, measure metrics, strategize and analyze with nearly-Machiavellian discipline and find the words for nonverbal work that will resonate with the reporters and the curators. The work of art is entwined in the work of art, and, without making or demanding judgment, PeopleMatter lays that process bare for all to see and make their own conclusions.
This weekend, I did a very nerdy thing and went to a museum by myself. I spent three hours with the exhibition, absorbed fully by the work, without any pressure to be anything but present. It took me a while to realize that I was seeing the way @MuseumNerd sees. The feed has opened my eyes again: museums large and small are once again mysterious, the art is spiritual, the stories bring tears.
In so much as love is possible when it comes to art, I have @MuseumNerd to thank, and that's why, Nic Rad, I'd like to own this portrait.
Library to acquire ENTIRE Twitter archive -- ALL public tweets, ever, since March 2006! Details to follow.I'm in a Roman state of mind right now, perhaps (been watching HBO/BBC's Rome and reading the terrific Pagan Holiday). This news raises a number of very important questions about intellectual property and the ownership of tweets. But once those issues are sorted out (and we quickly delete all our most embarrassing tweets), I think future historians will find this archive invaluable.
Yes, trending topics like #ihatequotes and #nowplaying may seem inane to us now. But they'll be just like the "tweets" from Pompeii preserved forever on walls and doors, shedding light on the colloquial language and plebeian values that never made it into Plutarch's Lives:
On April 19th, I made bread
What a lot of tricks you use to deceive, innkeeper. You sell water but drink unmixed wine
Rufus loves Cornelia Hele
Image via Laura Padgett.
Back in New York after a week in Los Angeles. As I watched one city fade away from view and another city emerge a few hours later, I realized that the next time I'm in Los Angeles, I'll be a resident once again.
But another thought:
Strolling through LAX and JFK with crisp efficiency (I always travel carry-on, even on month-long trips), I also got to thinking about Up in the Air, which I watched last week. It surprised me by how much it captured this moment in time--the anxieties of the recession, our culture of false intimacy--, and for the non-megastar vulnerability George Clooney brought to his character.
As technology is always on my mind, I couldn't help but see the story as a critique of the technologies that are meant to bring us closer. Commercial airlines, frequent flyer cards, hotel amenities, mobile phones, video chats. I've been traveling regularly almost literally since I was born, and I started to see my life in Clooney's life, lived in airports and flying over blurry cities, everything I need in a rolling suitcase. All the little things I do to keep grounded and sane as I've crisscrossed the country.
All the little things. They bring us the comforts of home without actually being home. As we march forward with all these new technologies (and I love watching every new development), it's important to remember to look back and critique them too. Which technologies bring us closer together and which only seem to? When we do use technology as a shield against intimacy, and when is it a bridge?
On occasion, I meet folks doing interesting things, and I like to interview them to get to know a little bit more about their process. The last person I spoke with for this blog was Stefan Goodreau, a five-time Jeopardy champion this past summer.
I recently met artist and YouTuber Alan Lupiani during the opening night of #class, when he interviewed me about my performance piece, Photoglam. I've since seen him at a number of openings, and he's quickly become a regular face in the New York art world, both offline and on.
I chatted with Alan briefly over email about his creative process:
So I love your YouTube show. It's quirky, fun and interesting, and it looks like you really only got going recently. Where did this idea come from?
I started with the video work back in 2006 with the advent of YouTube. I wanted to get out of the studio and do something more interactive. I read an article in USA Today about these young bloggers making videos in their bedrooms getting like 100,000 views in a day, and said "wow, I have to give this a try."
I especially got into a video blogger named "Brookers" who now attends NYU I believe. I remember watching her video, "The United States of..WHATEVA" and thinking I had never seen anything like that. I made a few videos about a character named "aluminaman" and one of actor/comedian Tom Green's fans saw my work and suggested I contact Tom about helping Tom promote his online night time show, "Tom Green Live."
It was all very exciting as Tom was at the forefront of the online streaming video thing and I was happy to be a part of something new and different. Tom would give us video "Deputies" different assignments to help promote his night time internet show and we would carry them out. One assignment had us going out into the streets with a chicken tied around our waists with a piece of rope and asking people in the street why the chicken was following us. It was the first time I felt really vulnerable in a public environment and in retrospect, the experience qualified as my first fluxus style art performance. It gave me confidence to do performance work in public and motivated me to go on my own.
From there, I started my own online LIVE! streaming show in 2007 called, "Dear Immaculately Groomed Italian Guy" which received a lot of positive response and viewers, but as with all new trends, there was a small window of opportunity to succeed before new players and corporate America caught on, making it difficult to stay relevant and on top of the online LIVE streaming craze. After my brief moment of internet popularity, I decided in 2008 to get back to the studio to make paintings again.
Now, I am back again and taking my performances to the art world. I have been surprised and humbled by the positive response and am looking to do my show again in the context of a gallery/museum environment.
What are your production tools like? Hardware and software?
My production tools now are a Logitech webcam, Toshiba PC, Adobe Premier, Kodak hand held Zi8 HD camera, Radio Shack lavalier microphone, small mixing board, studio microphone.
That's a great array of tools--flexible but totally affordable for a small production team. What do you hope to accomplish with your video series?
I would like to turn galleries and museums into broadcasting studios where I perform my show.
I know you paint and are an artist yourself. How does this YouTube channel tie in with your broader art work?
YouTube and other video sites are tools to get my work out to a broader audience. Currently, YouTube acts as a vehicle for dissemination, nothing more, nothing less. Ultimately, the video clips may serve as a revenue stream.
I hope they do. Thanks so much, Alan.
Alan Lupiani's YouTube channel can be found at http://www.youtube.com/user/Aplupiani. You can also follow him on twitter at @alanlupiani.
Leave it to the Japanese to find a kyuuto way to represent surveillance. Compare to the streets of Baltimore and New York City subways.
Had to have my wisdom teeth pulled yesterday. This would have been an unremarkable experience until I realized I needed to send my doctor an email with some notes from my previous dentist, and I couldn't get online w/ my Blackberry. "No problem," he told me, and he came back with an iPad. He slid and adjusted the images, poked around digitally and set it aside.
"Do you like it?" I asked, knowing this was literally the first business day he'd begun using it.
"It's good," he said, "for what it is."
And as I looked around, I saw the usual high-definition TVs, but I also noticed a Canon hooked up directly to his microscope. "It takes great video," he told me.
I started to imagine the new digital clinic, all these gadgets applied in interesting ways to modern medicine. It's the iPad in particular that showed me the potential of tablets--as office tools for a more face-to-face office. Neither of us had to hunch over a screen or walk to another room. He simply brought the iPad over, I typed a few things, and he looked at a few images.
I'm imagining the future clinic, the future office, where the iPad is integrated seamlessly w/ desktop computers. The iPad becomes a second monitor most of the time, but when you want to edit an image with precision, you place it on your lap and doodle away. And when you want to show someone something, you can get up and show it to them at their desk, tablet in tow.
Sort of like this new Wacom Cintiq 21UX (tell me - why are non Apple products named so unappealingly?):
So I'm leaving New York and moving back to Los Angeles. For three years at least.
If you've been following my blog, you'll know that design and design thinking have been on my mind lately. This year, I quietly applied for Art Center College of Design's Media Design Program, out in Pasadena, CA (just north of Los Angeles). It's more or less communications and new technology design, though so much more than that. Here's how the program describes itself on the web site:
Art Center’s graduate program in Media Design offers a two- or three-year Master of Fine Arts curriculum that helps ambitious designers from a variety of backgrounds become design leaders and researchers in emerging fields.What's also great and personally exciting for me is that Art Center has a program called DesignMatters, which I'm interested in getting involved in. I'll also describe it using their exact language:
We are looking for risk-takers with hybrid interests who can integrate innovative design with intellectual investigation, who can synthesize theory and practice, and who can pursue their research and making with depth, intelligence and passion.
Through research, advocacy and action, Designmatters engages, empowers and leads an ongoing exploration of design as a positive force in society.Obviously, I'm interested in new technologies that have become embedded in our lives, and as an artist, I've been privileged to engage with and critique their emergence with some amazing people. But I've come to realize that I want to play a much more agential role in the changes coming to the fore. I want to actually help create new and wonderful things that will change lives, in both rich and poor countries.
The common goal of all Designmatters projects is simple: take art and design education as a catalyst and change agent. And imagine and build a better and more humane future for all.
What this doesn't mean is that I'm abandoning my work as an artist or an arts writer. I still very much plan to continue my artistic practice, and thanks to social media, I'll continue to be super active in this area. I'm starting to realize that all these things--design, art, writing, technology--intermix and interplay in important ways. I explore this issue a bit in my write-up on the Connections show at MIT Museum for Art21, and I'm sure I'll be writing more about this interplay soon.
Anyway, the loose plan is to pack my bags and head west in August before the program begins in September. It's bittersweet--I moved to New York five years ago knowing nobody, and I consider so many New Yorkers family now. But after nearly a decade away from the west coast, I guess it's time to move back. I can't wait to start.
In the digital economy, if you build it with Wifi, they will come. In an always-on culture, where are we ever off? Far below (subways) and far above (airplanes) and far away (rural areas). Soon, the global telecommunications network will reach even these places, starting first and with the greatest fanfare on airplanes.
I suspect the battle will be around charging. In Philadelphia and on the Bolt Bus, the cost is "free"--it's just part of the package of being there. On Delta and in Starbucks, they ask for a pretty penny for connectivity. In most terminals in JFK airport, you have to pay. In hubs like Memphis, Detroit and Salt Lake City, it's free after viewing a quick ad.
Who will win? I suspect the rise of 3G and 4G and 500G on mobile phones and the reliable Culture of Free will force wifi carriers' hands. I can remember the days when in-seat entertainment on the plane cost money. Now it's expected.
New York City is often painted as the opposite of nature, but I'm not so sure. Even if you took this photo out of context, you could determine the season. It's spring, of course. Cold enough for stockings but just getting warm enough that people are itching for their flip flops. Why not fall? Well, by fall most everyone is ready to put on their new shiny shoes. Flip flops are so last summer.
As a native Los Angelena, I still find seasonal living fascinating even after living here for nearly a decade. The attention to the seasons, the way the weather controls life, becomes a topic of regular conversation.
See also: outdoor dining.
Also - if you can read Arabic (I assume that's the language in the bottom sign), I'd love to have a translation.
The establishment adjacent to Astor Place isn't a Starbucks, it's a wintertime meeting place.. Few of the people sitting by the window actually have a coffee in hand, but their eyes are forward, waiting for their dinner companion to come around the corner or step out from the subway.
Hard to see in this photo: there's an Alice in Wonderland ad rendered in exquisite detail. Just the thing for a waiting populace.
Been feeling sick on and off this weekend, and based on conversations I've had with friends, I'm apparently not the only one. I guess that's what happened when the weather swings from 70 and sunny to 45 and rainy in a single week.
Anyway, I've updated a good chunk of my web site:
- A new section on my speaking and writing engagements. This has been a happy development for me, as I love both, and I'm glad I've finally consolidated the information. And apparently, ARTnewsmag's Twitter feed now considers me a pundit, so there you go. I'm open for booking, by the way.
- The Digital Meets Analog section is built out now - there are links to summary pages for Phone-Tastic View, Morse Code Tweets and Nothing to Tweet Home About, plus a summary paragraph on Photoglam.
- And if you follow me on Twitter or Facebook, you'll notice that my name is regularly followed by a version number. I've written up version notes to explain what it all means (or not).
What I like about New York is that it presents a way of living so different from most of America (and even much of the Northeast)--pedestrian-oriented, compact, but still demanding of the very best. This creates a need for unique products, like the Whole Foods-branded grocery totes. These totes are, ahem, almost totally useless in the 'burbs, where cloth bags and grocery carts still reign supreme.
How do we design with the needs of the user in mind? I think back to this brilliant coop bicycle, a multi functional bicycle designed for small entrepreneurs in cycling-oriented cultures. This bicycle would probably fail even in New York, but it appears to be a hit in Kenya.
Gets me thinking about this terrific article by Elizabeth Kelsey from Dartmouth Engineer, "Engineering by Design", which discusses the importance of human-centered design:
"Not all design is created equal, however. In addition to the aesthetic side of design, Robbie distinguishes between technology-driven design and human-centered design. “Technology-driven design often results in products looking for a need. Human-centered design always keeps the needs of end users in mind,” he says. “Design for humans needs to begin with developing understanding and empathy for human experience. It applies science and technology but also includes insights from the humanities and the social sciences. Engineers often love to jump right into making things, but early in the design process it’s often preferable to focus on deeply understanding the needs of end users."
New article on Hyperallergic today:
One of the most popular art feeds on Twitter right now doesn’t have a name or a face or a gender. It doesn’t represent an established arts institution or magazine, nor does it have any kind of credentials. And yet, less than a year since it started, it now boasts 10,000 followers (as of yesterday), a feat helped along by making Twitter’s staff picks.I've been enjoying writing for Hyperallergic, New York's latest and greatest blogazine. I'm glad I've been finding good online fora to explore my various interests and refine my practice as an arts writer.
Spotted at the cash register for a coffee shop frequented by NYU kids - the very generation likely to have never known a world without cell phones. Imagine a stream of them entering your shop, all on their phones, halflistening to their conversation partner, half-listening to you.
Etiquette evolves as technology evolves - wish I could have been there when the first forks and knives came out.
See also: Upside down mobile phone etiquette.
Twitterers in front of Pae White's stunning tapestry on the third floor. That's Biennial co-curator Gary Carrion-Murayari second from the right, and the fabulous Carolina Miranda just to his left.
A fantastic Twitter tour of the Whitney Biennial yesterday. I'll have more to say soon (hopefully in a more polished format), but the brilliance of this initiative is starting to dawn on me. It is so rare to have a chance to take a tour of any show, much less the Biennial, with a curator, and through the power of Twitter, we were able to extend this unique privilege to anyone who tuned in.
Gary Carrion-Murayari, the co-curator of the Biennial, was very articulate about the work and an amazing storyteller. He made the art come alive. Here's a strange video I made of him talking about Aki Sasamoto's work.
Oh, and he rocks some great kicks:
Many thanks to WNYC and Carolina Miranda for hosting a great event. More thoughts soon.
It's Ada Lovelace Day! Last year, I wrote about the amazing Shelley Mannion, and this year, I wrote about not one, not two, but three fabulous women in technology. (Okay, so I sort of cheated and wrote the articles a a few weeks ago, and not expressly for Ada Lovelace Day.)
They come from two ends of the spectrum--one who has just begun her journey in arts and technology and two who pioneered studies in social media long before the days of Facebook, Twitter and even AIM. Here they are once more:
Here's my piece about Julia Kaganskiy and the Arts, Culture and Technology Meetup, for NYFA Current. Julia's been making waves in New York's art and technology scene, and her Meetup is a must-attend event for those in the field. Be sure to check out Julia's show at her new pop-up gallery, Blue Box Gallery.
And here's my piece about Judith Donath's show, Connections, at MIT Museum, which also features the work of Fernanda Viegas. This is quite simply my favorite article I've written so far and in some sense captures my current thinking about intersections in art, design, technology and research. Judith had some insightful things to say about the role of artists in the 21st century (a common question of mine, to be sure), and about the importance of reflecting on all these technologies shaping our lives.
A now the much-awaited photos from Baltimore. Baltimore is one of those cities that America seems to have forgotten. Rows and rows of rowhouses, boarded up or blocked up. I'd not seen anything like it in the US outside of Detroit. That it's an hour from our nation's capital makes the visuals that much more heartbreaking.
These photos came from a few days of driving around Baltimore, mostly in the Northeast section. I don't have much to add here, except to note that I need to review The Wire at some point. I half-joke that it's my first true love, to which all other television series are now compared. Yes, it's that good.