are you still taking submissions/toying with the idea of a radical video e-zine? i would really like to contribute /// i am no longer able to find your post about it here (maybe it got taken down?) many greetz — laskfar
Good question. I had to put that idea on the back burner. I got really into it for a couple of days and spent a bunch of time researching ebook formats and distribution methods, and got overwhelmed. It also dawned on me that I’m just too busy to do a good job of organizing and begging for writing. I still really like the concept, and kinda wish someone else would do it so I could contribute something to it. I feel like there’s something there, and should be more conversation about it.
Anyways, I took down that post because I didn’t want to get anyone’s hopes up that I’d be taking any immediate action on that.
I’ve been working with WebGL and Web Audio API for the past little bit, mainly to see what’s possible. Here’s a small collection of things I’ve made with in-browser graphics.
Radical Paintings is based on the feedback and drawing system I used to make several of my videos, but without the webcam input and with totally random colors.
Escape! has a similar engine, but more constrained color and with a realtime feedback FM synthesizer/sequencer built with Web Audio API. It only really sounds right on Google Chrome browser though. Web Audio is cool, but too bad there isn’t much support on other browsers.
Bouncy Gradients let’s you toss wiggling, bouncing gradient critters into a big pile. This uses verlet integration, which is my favorite way to make wiggly, bouncy, life-affirming motion without too much trouble.
I like it here is a first-person experience wandering over procedurally generated hills that shift and breathe underfoot. Run around the edges and look underneath or just stand there and watch it all develop.
For a few months now I’ve been part of a ragtag crew of artists assembled by Lorna Mills and Rea McNamara for a monthly series of events, GIFs, tumblr posts, called SHEROES. It started with Lorna inviting me to create some Yoko Ono-inspired animations, which I happily obliged, especially since I was teaching myself character modelling and animation for other projects, and this seemed like a good opportunity to goof around. I have been profoundly influenced by Yoko’s work, so it was also a great opportunity to show some love. Since then we’ve done Marianne Faithfull, Etta James, I skipped Erykah Badu for some other obligations, and now we’re doing Dolly Parton. In each instance, I’ve found the monthly process of meditating on and responding to a female celebrity image to be a refreshingly fun and surprisingly poignant activity.
It is easy to not take SHEROES seriously. Lorna and Rea are deceptively casual about it, there is no judgement that I’ve encountered, and there is a general air of good humor and comedy among most of the participants. There is no dividing line between good taste and bad jokes. The full spectrum of the ghouls and ghosts of feminine fame are acknowledged and equally displayed. They bill the project as little more than a party in Toronto, with some cool projections, installations, and live performances. So why does it feel like it’s something more than that?
I needed a project in my life where I felt okay about doing silly things, trying out some far-out ideas, and using humor and representation in ways I had a hard time incorporating into my other work. SHEROES has become a monthly meditation on fame and public image that I’ve fully welcomed into my life, and I look forward each month to receiving the email from Lorna that tells me who I will be working on next. Not only that, I actually think SHEROES is important in a way that I didn’t quite expect.
Part of this realization came while thinking about Dolly this month and working on my animations. I really admire her, but rarely have an opportunity to articulate for myself and others why. There is something infectious in the disarming good-naturedness of Dolly’s public demeanor. She has digested every criticism you could throw at her and turned it into a joke that’s ultimately on you. “It costs a lot of money to look this cheap!” In employing an absurd, comical asexual hyperfemininity, she looks you in the eye and dares you to dismiss her many talents on the basis of her artificial appearance. Under her self-aware self-effacing humor is the awareness that ladies, this is the monster you have to become to make it in this fucked up and superficial world. She has turned this image-awareness and talent into a hugely successful crossover career, and in the process paved the way for other women to not have to become Dolly Parton to make it. Her absurdity is her weapon, and you don’t even realize it when it strikes.
Without SHEROES in my life how would I, a nerdy white man who has spent much of his artistic career making abstract experimental videos, animations, and electronic performance work, find time to think about Dolly Parton’s image and rise to fame and the gender politics surrounding it? In allowing for some good fun to enter into my studio practice, I’ve opened myself up to thoughts and processes that I would previously have dismissed as extraneous to my work. Strangely, what I’ve gotten out of it is a more holistic view of what my work is about, and I’ve been able to rethink what my work could be if I don’t hold myself in a particular formal or thematic container. I have to commend the Sheroes crew for assembling this diverse cocktail of artists (both men and women) to freestyle on the images of fame and femininity that comprise the League of Legendary Ladies. I hope that someone more articulate and influential than me is able to look over these notes and trace a thread that highlights the unexpected importance of the casual endeavor that has me delving into my own attitudes on what it means to be famous and female. Maybe it’s not important to art history, to critics, to the new generation of Net Artists, or to the world, but I’m having fun, and it’s affecting me.
"Identifying a “cool factor” about the idealism and informality of new media careers in the 2000s, the work schedule of the new media artist creates latent sexism and racism that is embedded in the egalitarian culture of job flexibility. In these environments, both male and female workers do not identify equity as a problem although women are awarded less projects, pay, or work in such workplaces. It appears that a dangerous mix of internalized postfeminism and meritocratic privilege underlines online culture as an always-only-equal environment on multiple grounds of race and gender due to the internet’s potential for free speech.
Online, paradoxical assumptions of user racelessness and genderlessness in anonymous Anglophonic spaces further complicate discussions about technological access and identity. We cannot remedy the situation by asking all unheard individuals to simply exercise identitarian or ideological “empowerment” through a use of media distribution platforms. A completely democratized system of art appreciation goes beyond the economies of “Like” and peer adoration on social networks. Such a system would validate the contestation of dominant and marginal interests through recognition of such voices through sharing, praise, critique, derision, and trolling.”
I’m thinking a lot about the social spaces that people create these days, in relation to some ideas I have for a project. This report on shyness by Dr. Zimbardo has some fascinating data.
" The steadily increasing percentage of young adults who report being shy (from the earlier 40% to the current nearly 50% level) may be analyzed as negative acculturation to a confluence of social forces operating in the United States. We maintain that this rise in shyness is accompanied by spreading social isolation within a cultural context of indifference to others and a lowered priority given to being sociable, or in learning the complex network of skills necessary to be socially competent. A number of interacting social, technological, and economic processes are operating to reduce daily, ordinary, "real time" face-to-face interactions with other people. This lessened frequency of shared social experiences means that young people may not be learning the complex verbal and non-verbal language of social interaction. Without observing models engaging in pleasurable interactions, and without regularly practicing in this social exchange medium, there is a failure to develop adequate social skills, an awkwardness when having to interact with others, and thus a lowered priority for doing so. In addition to the failure to develop social skills, there seems to be an emerging reduction in emotional exchanges that promote intimacy, and in social sharing that promotes reciprocity.
The new Cyberspace generation of the nineties may be seen as an accretion on the TV generation that fostered passive, often isolated viewing of television for many hours a day. The use of video games, CD-rom games and stories, web surfing, email, and other technological marvels all obviate the need to take time to seek out direct contact with other people for fun, friendship or work exchanges. Indeed, social time is being replaced with nanosecond-based efficient exchange of information within a highly structured, externally imposed format. While some shy people benefit from using the anonymity and structural control features of email, the danger is that for many others virtual on-line reality may become a substitute for the reality of human connectedness. We have been told by concerned parents of their young children who prefer “chat time” on their computers than actually talking face to face with their class mates. Computer interaction enables the user to maintain a higher degree of control over the interaction than in direct, informal social communication. “
One thing I always forget is how easy it is to reach out and tell someone how much you enjoy their work, and how awesome it feels when they write back. Recently when I’ve stuck my neck out - more often than not - they are also aware of my work. One artist I contacted ended up collaborating with me on a few things. Go find an artist whose work makes you feel more human, and send them an email. It’s worth it to connect.