Sunday, April 29, 2012

Christian Marclay

Cristian Marclay is one of those artists who seems to have experimented with almost every medium out there. In the 1980's he was pioneering the use of the turntable as an experimental musical instrument by playing intentionally scratched or skipping records on multiple turntables simultaneously. He has performed with some of the giants of avant garde music such as John Zorn and the Kronos Quartet.

 He is also a sculptor and installation artist who works with found materials that always involve the idea of sound.

Tape Fall, Reel-to-Reel, Ladder, Magnetic Tape, 1989
Moebius Loop, Cassette Tapes, Zip Ties, 1994

Virtuoso, Altered Accordion, 2000
He is a collage artist who uses album covers as his medium.

And most recently, he is a video artist who obsessively cuts and splices together scenes from existing films of similar everyday actions such as telephone conversations or people checking the time on a clock or a watch.

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Craig Stecyk: The Inventor of Skateboarding as an Artform Rather Than a Fad

What I have always loved about skateboarding is the individual expression involved in the sport... Whereas other sports involve statistics and records based on a set of strict guidelines, skateboarding literally makes up  the rules as it goes... In other words, there are no rules... and that is what is so beautiful about the sport. I tend to think that it is more art than it is sport...

Sunday, April 22, 2012

Eric Dolphy

When I was nineteen or twenty years old, I had a friend who repeatedly tried to introduce me to jazz. I was interested in experimental rock at the time, but jazz just never interested me. That all changed one Spring day about twenty years ago on a drive down to Austin from Dallas when we listened to Eric Dolphy's seminal 1960's album, "Out to Lunch". Not many epiphanies happen in one's lifetime, but that is an experience that is still crystal clear in my mind as a turning point... I'm not sure if it was helped by the beautiful day with the Spring bluebonnets along the highway, or by the fact that we were riding in a mid-sixties Ford Galaxie 500, or by the joint we smoked along the way... It was most likely all three, but it was one of those rare moments when you realize that you actually "get" something that you didn't get before.
This is a beautiful performance by Eric Dolphy on solo bass clarinet, an instrument he almost singlehandedly resurrected from obscurity.

Friday, April 20, 2012

"Ghost" caught on surveillance camera

I promise this is not one of those "zombie pops up and scares the daylights out of you" videos.

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Sam Harris on The Illusion of Free Will: Lecture at Caltech

The idea that we do not have our own free will is a notion that runs so deeply and disturbingly counter-intuitive to the way we tend to think of ourselves that it seems completely absurd... I mean, I choose to do something and then I do it, right? It seems like a no-brainer.

But in his new book titled, Free Will, and in this lecture, Sam Harris describes how that is most likely an illusion. From what I gather from his lecture, the genes that were passed down from your parents that make up your body, the millions of neurons in your brain, and the sum total of your experiences and influences all work together to create a picture of yourself that feels very much like "I" or "me". But since this "I" is not separate from the brain and its individual chemistry thanks to its genes, this "I" will act exactly how its individual brain is wired to act and shaped to act through experiences.

If that sounds like complete nonsense, watch the lecture and Sam Harris describes it much more eloquently. The lecture itself runs about 55 minutes and the Q&A afterwards runs about 20 minutes.

Wednesday, April 4, 2012

Damned Tornadoes Interfereing with my Art

All I wanted to do today was to go to Eastfield College in Mesquite, Texas and install about 700 arrows in the ceiling of a hallway there for an exhibition at the school called "Temporary Occupants". My piece is called "Inhale-Exhale" and it involves the arrows interacting with the intake and output air vents in the ceiling of the hallway...

But just like every other time it seems like I have to install or transport artwork, mother nature just HAS to show me who's boss... Fifteen tornadoes were spotted in the DFW area this afternoon, many just miles from my location, and so two hours of my precious install-time were spent sitting in the basement awaiting the impending doom...
And if that image is not enough, here is a video from the same storm of some semi-trailers being tossed about like balloons... And THAT is the tornado that was still headed toward Mesquite, exactly where I was installing artwork.

Amazingly, we dodged that bullet and my truck survived without even a hail dent. I was finally allowed to continue my installation and I was finished by around 9:00 tonight. So at least mother nature was simply a road-block and not a wrecking ball for my artwork...In retrospect, the mechanics of fluid motion that are at play in a storm are exactly the things I am interested in with the air currents in this piece on a much smaller scale. Coincidence? I think not... ;) Here are some images I got of the finished work tonight.