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Posts Tagged ‘visitor design’

SHELFLIFE #31A: THERE’S A SUCKER BORN EVERY SECOND

Monday, November 22nd, 2010

THERE’S A SUCKER BORN EVERY SECOND
After laughing, coughing, cutting, burning, touching and screaming–breathe. Inhale the actions you live every day. Record your most familiar thought–the one you so often have but never do. This thought is a good idea. Trade it with someone for a piece of a second they wish to forget. Exhale your idea. Inhale their memory. Live in the piece given to you–imagining the entirety of the second that surrounds it–while its supplier holds your thought and makes it concrete.

2010 fall

“If ever a second of this footage is used without our consent, we’ll have to have another conversation.”

“I never signed anything, but promise the tapes won’t show up anywhere.”

Such dialogues often devolve from there. The moments we remember via the media we make are pre-commodified. That they should exist solely as artifacts of what Fluxus Movement founder, George Maciunas, described as “Non-Art Reality” is unbelievable. It confounds those who have made professions of spectacle and habits of profiting from it. Contracts, releases and agreements now define the digestibility of the experiences we consume before we so much as lift our forks to them. Maciunas described such commercial “bourgeois sickness” as EUROPANISM. He prescribed inclusive, democratic actions and editions as creative vaccines against it.

Fluxus participant, Yoko Ono, in her 1964 book, Grapefruit, playfully urges the readers of ‘COLLECTING PIECE II’ to place someone on a stage and examine them: weighing, measuring, counting, questioning, dismembering, burning and ultimately–recording. The question of what is to be recorded is open-ended–the performer, the observer and the process each equally valid subjects. The challenge in the seventh-step of ‘COLLECTING PIECE II’ is in making a recording with the same ambivalence expressed while counting and measuring.

Actively constructing objective recordings is difficult. Recordings are reflections of impressions etched on observers by a world perpetually demanding remembrance. Recordings are both the ways we’re bruised by the things we are and the burns that scar what we compulsively remember. The most beautiful recordings are those whose subjectivity screams so subversively that not a ripple of agenda disrupts the placid illusion of their objectivity.

THERE’S A SUCKER BORN EVERY SECOND is a 24-frame memory-scar–a silent one-second performance of ‘COLLECTING PIECE II’. In the guise of a series of freely exchanged t-shirts, SUCKER re-contextualizes a VISITOR-made recording to weigh the history of its subject; presenting her dismembered–24 times–while the conviction of her words is questioned and their meaning measured. SUCKER deconstructs a forbidden moment of Non-Art Reality in the interest of enticing its viewers to channel the radical energy of its subject’s work, Grapefruit. Inciting both thought and action while re-examining how willing a collaborative public is to participate in burning idols, SUCKER presents a conduit through which participants’ good-ideas are exchanged for conceptually commodified Yokos.

To participate in this free edition, visit http://www.vdny.net/sucker


SHELFLIFE #30A: PROMISES WRITTEN IN WATER POSTERS

Monday, September 13th, 2010

“Habib, you need to see this film. We have to start thinking about the posters. I’ll be in New York with a DVD–THE ONLY DVD–next week.” We met over sushi. I was instructed to watch and destroy the little piece of plexiglass within 24 hours. 24 hours later, armed with tin-snips and a nihilistic grin I clicked the hook of my speakerphone in the presence of a witness, destroyed the disc, discussed its contents and began thinking about the posters for Vincent Gallo’s new project, ‘Promises Written In Water’. This was late September of 2009.

Having seen, months before anyone, what was mutually agreed would become the most vilified project screened on the 2010 festival circuit was an honor. Having been asked to reflect its unflinching refusal to assume the role of anything remotely resembling what plot-device-dependent critics or attention deficient audiences consider ‘a movie’ was a privilege. ‘Promises’ isn’t a movie. I refer to it very intentionally as ‘a project’ because that’s what it is. It’s a psychological experiment. It’s the painting of a still-life rendered in extreme chiaroscuro that draws you in at a museum–the one you sit contemplating for 75 minutes while re-inventing the moment that inspired a painter to meditate upon a single frame of life for days, weeks or months before that meditation was considered a finished canvas.

Directors dream of the interactive film. They agonize over the technology to bring them there–acquiescing along the way to the lazy novelty of gimmickery like 3-D as a means to con some simulacra of ‘reality’ from the hackneyed concepts and overwrought exposition absent from a ‘real’ life rich in natural dimension and spontaneity. The efforts of Hollywood’s lo-com-denom-thinkers are for nought. The interactive film exists. It’s ‘Promises Written In Water’. Gallo’s already made it. Stop searching. Shut the server-farms DOWN.

The beauty of ‘Promises’ lies in its coarse simplicity. It’s simple because, with two exceptions, the anchors that make movies movies have been removed. It’s not that they never existed. They existed. They were consciously *removed*. The project wants nothing to do with digestiblity. It wants to be the fiber to wring the putrified celluloid waste from the creases of your mind and frankly, it doesn’t care if you can’t be bothered to see how psyllium makes that trash you consume just a little bit better for you. It doesn’t care precisely because it *IS* interrogative. It asks you to lend it your vulnerability–to use it as a mirror by which its constant and active retrieval and reconstruction of memory can become your own. It demands that you reflect with it upon the most absurd corner love has ever backed you into and that you impossibly throw that moment on the table, not as a memory, but as an object–EXACTLY as it existed as time–or how your stuttering mind wishes it ought to have happened. If the project fails to resonate with a viewer, half of that failure is rooted in the viewer’s own narcissistic inability to empathize. The other half of that failure is rooted in the viewer’s never having submitted to the wild winds of senseless, unconventional love. Primal interactivity. The viral film.

The documents branding ‘Promises Written In Water’, like the project itself, refuse to be movie posters. Each print is hand-burnished letterpress on unreasonably-fragile proof-weight newsprint. The letterpress blocks are roughly jigsaw cut from cheap, warped poplar and etched in such a way that only imperfect registration is assured. After rolling a soy-based ink atop the nearly 4′ x 2′ wood-block collage and rubbing the prints out one-by-one, they’re hung on a clothesline to dry for at least 3 days and then individually trimmed to size. The prints rip, dimple and dent with even the most precious of handling. Gallo calls them ‘paper-collectibles.’ I’m making exactly as many as we need–of these one-sheets and of the much-larger, more-complicated 2-sheets.

SHELFLIFE #25A: WASTE TEST LETTERPRESS

Friday, September 25th, 2009

It feels like I’ve been working on this new book forever. Par for the course, I guess. FORE took me 10 years to finish. A year after delivering the first two volumes, I’m still waiting on politics to deliver the final volume of BUT THEY DON’T BLINK. WASTE is different, though. It’s a different sort of forever–a forever from another place.

I wanted WASTE to be all about potential energy. It’s a collection of scrap illustrations and studies for sculptural work I’ve done or am presently working on. I forced a ridiculous tale of explosive potential atop a curated set of 12 sketches, xeroxes, stamps and collages. “Not enough,” I thought to myself. “This has gotta be a more outlandish game.” So, I begged for and stole some lumber. I got a cheap, used 10-Ton bottle jack. I got some scrap steel.

Two sleepless weeks after collecting things and 4 or 5 months after pulling the story together, I’ve built my own letterpress on which to print the book. I tracked down scrap canvas in the form of sail-maker scraps, military tarps and painter’s drop-cloth (could still use more of any of this if anybody’s holding…). The canvas all gets laser-cut into specially shaped pages. The story gets pressed on ’em. The pages get grommeted together and a lot of waste delivers on its potential.

I’ve not yet decided on the edition size, but I know it’s being split up 75%-25% between two flavors. One’s gonna be a bit more expensive and use special ink. The other’s plain-jane jet black. That said, the amount of time it seems it’ll take to generate each book means it’s looking like this sadly isn’t going to be an inexpensive edition. Each hand-pressed, 12-page, 11×17, laser-cut, canvas book will likely be between 100-200 dollars. The caveat here is that the book can also be made to “do things.” More on that when I launch the edition in November…

Here are the very first proofs off of the woodblocks for the first two pages. I’ve never used a letterpress before, so I have no idea what I’m doing, but it actually seems to have worked–even on this crappy utrecht newsprint. A bunch of grumpy whiners on printing forums seemed to imply that using anything larger than a 9×12 block in a homemade press won’t work. To the whiners out there–fuck you. It works. Build the press frame out of steel and use a more robust jack along with a platen design that considers pressure application to your target-size block.
waste by visitor first two page proofs

SHELFLIFE #24A: THEY GROW UP FAST – STUDENT #1 / GIRL ( NEON SCULPTURE )

Wednesday, July 15th, 2009

2007 statistics on global human trafficking state that in the neighborhood of 1.2 million people are sold into slavery annually. That was up from around 800,000 in 2005 by Department of Justice accounting. I’m guessing that close to 2 million people will have been sold into slavery this year alone by the time January rolls around. So, every minute, nearly 4 people are disappeared as commodities. 95% of them are sexually abused. 70% are female. 50% are children. Almost all are under 21 years of age and most are at least marginally educated.

THEY GROW UP FAST is several thousand volts of flickering testimony to the brutal efficiency with which human traffickers grind lives into ruin. STUDENT #1 / GIRL is the first of two editioned visitordesign works addressing contemporary slavery. Manufactured by LiteBrite in Brooklyn from visitordesign drawings, THEY GROW UP FAST is a component of a larger conceptual visitordesign project in progress.

Additional info on They Grow Up Fast here


Dimensions are around 80″ x 24″ x 30″.
3-stage neon sculpture on child’s school desk. Edition of 4 plus artist prototype.
Price available by request. The GIF below is animated
(depending on your browser, you may need to wait around 30 seconds for the animation to begin cycling).

SHELFLIFE #23A: WHAT WE KNOW VIDEO

Thursday, July 9th, 2009

There’s this weird, union-oriented, bullshit rule that’s enforced at a lot of venues in New York. It wasn’t always as pervasive as it is now and essentially amounts to extortion. Basically, many larger venues in the city forbid artists from documenting their own shows in film or video. Many offer permission (i.e. extortion) for around a thousand dollars per camera–sometimes more. They claim that allowing one to document one’s own intellectual property is “a service”. I claim they’re thuggish money-grubbers.

There are a few non-conglomeratized venues here that have the decency to permit at least a single handheld camera for archival use as long as a waiver is signed. A couple of venues, providing you request permission sufficiently in advance, even still have anything goes policies. In general, the whole thing’s a bit of a head-scratcher. The venues are, by and large, nothing to write home about. They’re magnificently mundane spaces. Friday, though, we got permission to do a single handheld camera up at a gorgeous theater in Harlem. Hospitality’s alive and well up on Sugar Hill.

Here’s what I cranked out of my solitary, forearm supported moving-picture-making machine.
Thanks, Harlem. Thanks, Sonic Youth. The lighting design for this tour is sensational.

higher bandwidth | lower bandwidth

what we know stills

SHELFLIFE #22A: GAY FUCKING SNEAKERS & SADDLE

Tuesday, June 23rd, 2009

I’ve received a lot of email about a shirt that Thurston Moore wore on the Jimmy Fallon Show last night. That shirt was the fallout of the Choir Practice watercolor edition I released earlier in the year. That edition was the fallout of the wallpaper designs that the pages of BUT THEY DON’T BLINK are hand-painted atop.

Since I picked up a laser engraver, I’ve gotten into the habit of creating vector artwork from my ink drawings. I repurpose the vectors into all sorts of one-off projects that never really see the light of day. The shirt Thurston wore is exactly that. It doesn’t exist. It’s not a product. It isn’t for sale. I’m so perplexed by people’s momentary infatuation with the issue that I’ve been addressing it via the following reciprocally confounding statement:

“The graphic reflects america’s collective willingness to roll over and take it in the ass from industrial agriculture. Meals, much like sex, are best enjoyed as stimulating interactions between two people. With food, the most satisfying transactions are those made between consumers and their local farmers. Neglecting these interactions results in freakish displays of primal boredom which, when eventually studied beneath the microscope of tabloid gossip columns, generate whispers and speculation about lifestyles and leanings. Whether food, sex, fashion or art, boredom is the energy that mutates us and that mutation begins on our plates.”

My girlfriend responded to the statement with, “I thought it was about taking a shit in your partner’s ass as an alternative to procreating.”

I revised my perspective. “Well, yeah, but that’s more or less the same thing as factory farming.
They shit on your dinner plate as lo-com-denom effort to sustain life.”

thurston shirt stencil
a freakish display of primal boredom

So, that brings us to handcrafted leathergoods etched into deerskin likely churned out of some vile deathfactory somewhere–leathergoods featuring the design on the shirt Thurston *almost* wore on the show…

gay fucking saddle
[ more custom bike saddles here ]

gay fucking sneakers

SHELFLIFE #21A: FENDER SONIC YOUTH STICKERS

Thursday, June 11th, 2009

I was asked on a Thursday to contribute designs to a sticker-sheet for the soon-to-be-released ltd edition lee ranaldo and thurston moore jazz blaster/jazz master guitars. It was suggested that the designs be submitted by the following Monday–on a weekend rich with NYC springtime hectic. In the interest of time and submitting work I knew I’d be happy with, I reheated a couple of things I’d drawn recently that weren’t used, hadn’t been used yet or were used previously in some very limited capacity. This is what I submitted:

sticker sheet

Ultimately, one design was selected and paired with designs from the likes of Savage Pencil, Dennis Tyfus, Cameron Jamie, Matthew Ritchie and Kim Gordon. (seen here along with a zine that SY and their road crew pulled together)

Anyway, the reheating process got me to thinking about intellectual waste. I decided to dig up 12 sketch scraps I had laying around the studio, write a story tying them together and then design the collected elements into a conceptual book all inside of a 3-hour window. I did it. A month later, I finally figured out how to present and execute the edition. Look for more info on WASTE here soon.