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).
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.
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.