Ahh, performance art. Insufferable, self-important, inscrutable, and ultimately a self-perpetuating stereotype (there will always be youth). Surely we creatives have been down this road. My dark secret: I deliberately cried in front of my MFA class. Just because. Just because it was genuine at the time. And as foolish as I feel about it now, I miss that. I miss the innocence and ignorance of it.
One can operate from a position of fear, or a position of fearlessness. Neither is better, but, damn, if I don't miss fearlessness. (more…)
Things I'm over: average ratings, infographics, trendlines, and your opinion (you internet stranger). Perhaps that sounds a bit unkind. My larger point is that these are all things that are increasingly valueless to me.
I guess that I'm missing the edges of things, where honest opinions are not averaged out into the singular voice of "the people". In a weird way, I consider it to be the equivalent of McDonald's grinding up thousands of cows at once to create the most consistent burger ever. It may be efficient and useful, but it's also bland and soulless, if not unethical and dangerous.
And so, while everyone has the opportunity to express their expert opinion, the point becomes moot when the "expert" part of it is ground up into the noise of general opinion. Should we all really love or hate the same things? Give me some real opinions, not just loud opinions. Give me knowledge, not charts and graphs. Give me something crafted and singular, not derivative. Give me yoyo champions!
More yoyo pics after the jump. (more…)
I've never been big into poetry (too much of a philistine, I suppose), but I heard the poem that I've excerpted in the vid this past weekend on NPR and it really stuck with me. The poem is Rilke's God Speaks to Each of Us. Absolutely incredible.
I've been very interested in the idea of content on the internet that is more performative, if you will. What would it mean to transcend the scale and form factor of the browser? What is the (Platonic) form of art on the internet? Tough to say. Despite the wonder and reach of the WWW, there is a fundamental lack of presence that makes work seem prosaic and small, and the most interesting stuff is typically straightforward and narrative (and often text based). Video or image-based work on the internet simply cannot compete with film or the physicality of the painted or printed image.
So what will the cultural artifacts of our generation look like? What combination of 1s and 0s will resolve into Beauty with a capital B? Time will tell. In the meantime, appreciate the past and take in the whole poem after the jump. (more…)
I love love love visiting the Sutro Baths at sunset. Cheesy, sure, but you really have to be a cold, soulless individual to take in the view without being moved, and as scenic as San Francisco is, I can't think of a spot that more perfectly encompasses the Western landscape tradition more perfectly than the Sutro Baths.
It's all kind of a no-brainer when you consider the combination of large, still bodies of reflective water, the mist off the crashing waves, rocky outcroppings, and introspective people silhouetted against the setting sun. We're pretty squarely in David Casper Friedrich territory with this stuff (tell me this painting couldn't have taken place at the site of the Sutro Baths). Everything becomes noble, evocative and nostalgic. (more…)
The rise of Lomography and Hipstamatic-like camera filters is something I've been noodling over lately. It is a curious return to the idea of the analogue and imperfect, not dissimilar to fetishizing vinyl and its limitations (or warmth and humanity, depending on your point of view). Both trends were championed by the hipster: vinyl coinciding with the first wave of contemporary hipster-ism, 1999-2003, and Lomography aligning with the hipster resurgence of 2004-present (you really must read this ethnography of hipsters. Proper infotainment). (more…)
I'm a huge fan of the fog in San Francisco. It's an almost physical presence when it rolls in thickly in the evenings, and a heavy fog makes the whole city seem gauzy and quiet and slightly out of focus. It can be stunning. That said, I think I'm ready for some proper warm weather. The city has seen record cold this summer, and the net effect is that the whole city seems to be suffering from seasonal affective disorder...in the summertime. It's like a double bummer. But as I was combing through some video files, I came across these shots of some kids playing in the ocean in decidedly colder conditions. This was shot in Maine in early June, and the general pallor of the shots may indicate the temperature, but cannot come close to capturing the biting wind and miserable climate. Nonetheless, the kids had a blast. Maybe happiness is relative, and one man's crappy summer is another man's balmy vacation. Or not. It's pretty cold here.
This post is quickly shaping up to be another experiment on search terms and an informal gauge of the spelling ability of hopelessly adolescent web users. Anyhow, the matter at hand is really a trip to Ano Nuevo State Reserve, where they offer guided tours of one of the largest colonies of elephant seals. The seals mate, birth, and wean their pups on the beaches of the park, and the tours offer pretty close proximity to these interesting, if a bit underwhelming, porkers. I was expecting blubbery flesh on the beach as far as the eye can see, violent clashes between the bulls in the breaking surf, whiskered curiosity gently nibbling sardines out of my bare hands (well, that was more of a fantasy, but a hope nonetheless). What I got instead was beach-y looking lumps of seal scattered here and there amongst the dunes, largely static, and completely impassive. We may have been there at the wrong time, as the mating was over, the females off to feed near Hawaii, and the seals left behind killing time until they were mature enough to swim off themselves. Regardless, what I found to be especially interesting was that they call the weaned pups "weaners" instead of simply, well, "weaned pups", leaving me to spin all sorts of clever lines in my head about the experience. Alas, the rest of the tour group proved to be way more mature than me and no double entendres were thrown out there for the docent to tactfully deflect. Ahh, well. Next time I'll show up boozy and free of taste or social graces.
I'm curious to see what kind of searches this title turns up. I was also curious to try a different video format, thus the long skinny thingy you're seeing up top. It's got potential. Don't be surprised to see some fooling around with aspect ratios in the near future. But back to the matter at hand. Get a good look at what could only be a maintenance issue for some poor guy with hair in all the wrong places after the jump (sorry bearded back guy, but you're the one that put it on display).
Don't know why I started doing this, but while I was randomly shooting some pics, I happened to catch a shot of some bird feet. Ever since then, I've been trying to capture action shots of birds taking off, particularly the feet. There seems to be something kind of human about how wrinkly and flawed they are, but the act of taking off is so packed with metaphor and promise. Also, bird feet are kind of comical. Check 'em out after the jump. (more…)
Well, "thrash about" may be an exaggeration. Anyhow, an impromptu visit to the Golden Gate Park in the morning yielded a very helpful fact: the California Academy of Sciences is open for members an hour before other visitors. We had an hour free of the usual throngs and got a good look at the oh-so-photogenic animals in the place. Top on that list has to be Claude, the albino alligator, who suffered a bit of a mishap with one of his toes a few months ago. Take a look at his right-front pinkie toe, or area that used to be his right-front pinkie toe. Seems he had a run-in with his ex-tank-mate, and ultimately had to get his toe lopped off (full story here, and it's a pretty interesting one).
Anyhow, here's some vid of the guy and some picture of the fauna after the jump.
I came across an article in the SF Chronicle that inspired this latest post. It concerns the art of aquascaping, or iwagumi, which is basically the art or plunging as much money as possible into as small a fishtank as possible. I've mastered that art. I've invested enough time and money into a 7 gallon fishtank to provide for a small family in some other country that does not concern itself with these crazy hobbies (pretty much anywhere but Japan and San Francisco). Regardless, perhaps the time for the tank to pay for itself is near, as I have 2 pregnant Crystal Red Shrimp in the tank.
More about my little xmas bonuses and some pics after the jump.
I got the excellent iA³ theme from iA, and I'm tweaking it slightly to better suit my needs. I love the clarity of everything, but I'm tempted to make a dark version. I just like how photos and videos show on black, even at the cost of killing legibility. But maybe not. I'm not sure how I feel about the iA's dynamic pricing model for this Wordpress theme, but it was a fair price when I got it ($39). I'll try to feature a splashy HD video or image up front, but I make no promises on the regularity of the posts. We'll kick it off with a simple shot of an old brown dog watching a ball moving from side to side.
We actually made it out to catch a movie and some dinner in the Mission. We caught the somewhat questionable "Art and Copy" (it was fine as entertainment, but I get a bit creeped out whenever someone worships at the temple of advertising. Just felt like a bunch of insiders in the theater patting each other on their backs for selling the shit out of something). Here are some random shots of the evening. It began with me waiting for the bus across from the flower shop.
The evening continues after the jump.
Tried playing around with some cross processing presets in Lightroom that I dug up here. I know that there's something to be read into the current trend of aestheticizing something that used to be a mistake, but I'm not gonna go into it now. Anyhow, it certainly is fun to play with. More samples after the jump.
Got the new Canon 100mm f2.8L Macro lens and spent the week playing around with it (love it). Here's a vid shot with the lens. I believe the f-stop was at 5.6. Take a look at more pics after the jump that show a bit of the range of the lens.
Just killing time with the camera on the BART ride home the other night. Still trying to figure out how to embed video in wordpress. It's a shame that they don't have better support for this. Also trying to sort out good video compression, but might be limited there. This may be the start of a series of them moving images. I'll keep them super straightforward and short.
I got a Canon 5D MkII two seeks ago and I gotta say that I'm pretty impressed. Here are a couple pics straight out of the camera with no post-processing. This first one is a shot of Jen at a restaurant lit by a tealight candle on the table and some semi-low ambient light. Click the pic to see as full-rez a shot as wordpress would allow.
...that deserve to be worn again. One would think that it would be interesting if these were available in adult sizes as well, but, as Jammerz can tell you much more efficiently than I can, kids should be kids and adult should be adults. Nonetheless, these clothes should be on contemporary kids. The models, while close to my heart, shall remain anonymous.
First up: knitwear that is loose in just the right places. Hit the jump for more...
We went down to the waterfront for the annual SF fireworks show. Last year it was so foggy that nobody could see anything except for the fog changing colors. It was pretty funny, actually. This year was cloudy, but not foggy. It was quite beautiful. As we descended through Fort Mason to Aquatic Park in front of Ghirardelli Square, we could see the all of the boats on the bay lit up and anchored, waiting for the show to begin. Always fun. Hit the jump for a ton of pics.
Some pretty random pics taken while wandering the Tenderloin with a couple beers in the belly. I dunno. It's takes a pretty fair amount of energy to post even semi-regularly, so sometimes the most I can deliver is a bit thin.
I'm contemplating getting a pretty great little coat for sale at MAC in Hayes Valley. It's a miniature (18") collectible made to commemorate Maison Martin Margiela's 20th anniversary. Not cheap, especially for something that nobody would ever be able to wear, but tempting...Reminds me of a really nice piece by Charles Ledray which recently sold for $61,000.
Spent an evening at AT&T park where they simulcast Tosca. Gotta admit, we went just to check out a major league ballpark from the field, but we stayed because we got a bit sucked into the story.
Pretty underwhelming animals in the collection, but overall a recommended visit. The museum itself is highly recommended, if only for the great solution that Renzo Piano came up with. However, the visit does really give one a deeper appreciation of just how great the DeYoung museum is, architecturally. Nonetheless, these are just some goofy animal photos (dead). (more…)
Pics from the East Brothers Lightstation.
They have a little B&B on a tiny island with a lighthouse in the San Pablo Bay. This is, more or less, the view from the place on a foggy day (which may be more often than not). (more…)
Somehow the previous post led me back to a figure that I had encountered in the recent past: Jerzy Grotowski. He's someone that I should definitely pursue a bit further, but modern theater is a kettle of fish that I'm not ready to dive into. Nonetheless, there is a certain odd baroque asceticism (try to make sense of that) to his work and the work in the previous post (Klaus Nomi) that I find compelling.
A quote from the NYTimes obituary of Grotowski that seems particularly apt:
Summarizing Mr. Grotowski's approach to acting, Mr. Gregory said, ''He saw the entire actor as an emotional, physical and vocal instrument.''
Shots taken at SF Moma. Went there to check out the Martin Puryear show. Pretty good show, but a bit densely arranged. Can't say that the show seemed curated so much as it simply presented the work. Not a whole lot of insight into it, though, to be honest, I'm not sure that a whole lot is required. Puryear's work is stunning but not terribly complex. Kinda old skool, I guess. Hit the jump to see pics completely unrelated to the show. (more…)
Found this guy at a little yard sale in Japantown. The guy having the sale tried to convince me to buy a little plastic swimming windup panda for another dollar. That I didn't buy it should indicate just how crappy the thing was. (more…)
Hmm. This is a tough one to present. An Alternate Reality game is an elaborate creation in which players get to participate within a storyline, potentially even affecting the outcome of the game. As such, these are very carefully curated experiences, though not designed experiences. In other words, in order to present a convincing fiction in which players can believe in the veracity of the experience, the collateral of the experience is deliberately un-designed. This is, oddly, a very interesting statement on the place of design in our culture. Anyhow, check out the case study video to learn more, or visit the case study site for much more context.
Scion built a campaign around the owners, literally creating the broadcast and print pieces using the owners' cars. We took this concept further and created a site and experience that was built from all of the collateral from the broadcast and print pieces. Each individual piece became a 'pixel' in the broadcast spot. I worked on concept, strategy, UX, IA, and a touch of code.
Not only did we launch a new Lexus model meant to compete with the likes of BMW's M series and Audi's S series, we shifted a generation's perception of what a Lexus could be, creating an immersive experience that created a buying audience almost 20 years younger than the average age of a typical Lexus owner. More goodies after the jump.
Prelaunch campaign for the new Scion XD. This was a fun project to work on, and I believe that this showed in the result. I was heavily involved in concept, strategy, overall UX, gaming ideas, storyboarding, coding, light design work, and overall project management.
Click here to view the project.(more…)
Institutional traders move massive amounts of money back and forth based on split second decisions determined by market movement and technical analysis. The work done at CQG was always in the name of clarifying information and providing instantaneous feedback on the shifts and patterns in the marketplace. An institutional trader must have an intuitive understanding of the tools developed to execute within fractions of a second. (more…)