January 30, 2004

new.stuff

look for some text in this space soon. from now on, you can find pretty pictures here

thickeye.com/photo

Posted by thickeye at 03:55 PM

January 28, 2004

Snow



I was going to write about how pretty the snow is but abe did a pretty good job of that already. The city rocks when it's white...

proof...



Posted by thickeye at 01:55 PM

January 25, 2004

eRacism


FriendliestBlackArtist.jpg


Went to check out William Pope.L's show eRacism at artist's space last night. Usually art that is explicitly about race does not really do it for me (probably due to my lack of "otherness" aka my lack of honky pride). This was different; subtle and well done seemingly more about America and the act of reworking the meaning of ones outsider status than purely about being on the outside.

I really liked his old school performance stuff which was on display there which includes portions of his Great White Way where-in he crawls around portions of Manhattan wearing a suit and tie. While I had read about this before and seen still images they do not convey the degree to which this performance is about time, tedium and the agony of the slow. It's really painful to watch the pace as he crawls, flowers in hand, his glasses falling partially off, and hanging from his sweaty face. While the piece is about race and the "other" in many obvious ways, for me, the portion that most interestingly touched on the layers of otherness was the when two other black man, seeing him crawling (and presumably the camera man) attempt to get him to stand up. While I could not hear what they were saying (though there is sound included) as a silent act to me they did not want him exhibiting his otherness, brandishing it with such bravado, bringing attention to their own (from both inside themselves and outside). I will probably write a more formal review of the show after I go for a visit during a more mellow time. The best part was probably getting one of his business cards that has his name and "friendliest black artist in America".



POPEcrawl.jpg

Posted by thickeye at 06:51 PM

January 24, 2004

the male gaze


herbritts.jpg

Helmut Newton R.I.P.. He may have objectified them with his gaze, but I think it was all love, no matter what the academic's say.

Posted by thickeye at 06:27 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

January 23, 2004

Bomb the interweb

Pretty bland article on the a political uses of google bombing. What a fun subject, too bad the Old Grey Lady's moisture less vagina sucked all the life from it.

The concept of google bombing has been hashed over enough, and don't look here for another analysis of that per se (though it is nice, when one is in a sad mood to run a google for Sen. Rick Santorum and see dan savage's definition of the sanctimonious bastard pop up on the first page).

The article did raise some questions about "popularity" in search engines, esp. google and the relation of that popularity to the trust of other users judgment. The way I understand it (which is sure to be half correct and involve gross overgeneralizations) the engines go by how many websites link to a particular search term, and of those how popular those refering websites are. Fair enough.

My question is this; is popularity enough of a reference in a peer-trust environment? It seems to me that there should be something more than that, in the worn-over double speak of media there should be a sense of "shared values and ideals" that can be added as another determinant of rank for an individual user, or a peer review (slashdot style) system that gave differing weights to different referral sources in different subject area's. I am not saying this is at all practical or possible- i could lay out a plethora of reasons for why it is impossible, it just seems to make more sense.

It seems like there should be a way to create a consolence of self publishing (blogs) and "small world" networks (freindster, etc) that would allow for micro search engines to adapt to individual users "taste trust" networks. For instance, when looking for new bands to check out, I often start by looking and my friends blog's (or people whom i likes blog's etc) and then jump off from there to their links to blog entries that may be music related. It seems like this theme is linked in some way to RSS feeds and even old school web-rings. The more i think of it, the feeds may be an interesting point moving forward in the idea of "taste trust" networks, unfortunately it is one that I hardly understand. Selah.

ps- do you think that it is on bill gates orders that google registers as a misspelled word in M$ Word?

Posted by thickeye at 01:07 AM

January 21, 2004

Electoral College- the computer game

I hate to belabor the electoral politics world, jesus knows there are enough wanna-be carvel's and rove's out there in blog land, and they have memorized up to the minute tracking polls and the like. None-the less, here is one last politics jobby (well until a NH preview...)

Over on John Edwards website there is this addictive interactive electoral college map. On it you can view the electoral college win's state by state in that tried (tired) but true red=R blue=D breakdown for all the presidential elections dating back to 1980. You can start with it as the states were "won" in 200, and then create your own strategy by changing over different states, to show what would happen to the total Electoral College count. It's sort of addictive.

Start with it in the final SCOTUS count from 2000 and then click on ohio to make it a D win, we win. This is possible, the ohio economy is in a rough patch right now and they are not quite as socially conservative (backward) as some other mid-western/southern states.

Take away Maine; that could shift R pretty easily. We still win.

Now make oregon red, a very possible R pick-up. That makes it a tie ball game.

None of this even touches on florida where b. clinton will live for the month of October & November no matter who the nominee is, this will hurt in miami (the little boy janet reno stole) but the cuban population is less important that it used to be (as it get's younger/less active/second get). Clinton will help with the old jew’s who love him not to mention the younger retiree's who moved after cashing in the 401k's that blossomed under the Clinton/Gore economy and have withered since. Edwards on the ticket could MABY pick up a southern state (georga or south carolina) but it is doubtful.

In any case, to my totally uneducated eye, no matter how smug dick cheney looks there are still lots of ways to get the good guys back in the white house.

In other words, all that crap about hard nosed, rough neck and every other worn out tough-guy sports cliche applying to november 04 is totally valid.

Posted by thickeye at 11:33 PM

January 18, 2004

get your food on

Looks like chef Tim Kelly formerly head chef at Zoe (and his trusty sidekick L. Tom Block formally kitchen bitch (and line cook) of Thalia
) are finally online with Runaway Chef. Tim will be trecking across asia documenting the real cuisine, local ingredients, cooking styles and hopefully the sex trade of a bunch of east asian country's. Already a nice recipe and some good notes on dining, it's def. worth checking in on from time to time.

Posted by thickeye at 11:40 PM

let's get ready to... caucus!

Two of my favorite things about America are playoff football and presidential politics. Often they both leave me with a nasty taste in my mouth; a mixture of violent urges, repressed anger, disillusion and clenched teeth. Such is the human condition and I yearn to taste its acidic discontent. Sorry for the hyperbole but the blood and guts that are sure to be spilled on the fields of battle get my testosterone pumping harder n' faster than the govenator's at a Oui magazine photo shoot.

Cue up Eye of the Tiger on a huge PA with 1500 watts of tube amplified power, gather as many TV's as possible into one room tuned to cspan, the majors & cnn with the volume at 11, call your coke dealer, and stock-up on as much kentucky bourbon as your budget allows. This primary isn't invisible anymore.

Both football and American politics are, as the cliché goes, games of inches. Both are dirty and while the meta narrative of either often centers around golden boy strategists and telegenic big play makers, the real stories of both are better told by what goes on at the bottom of large piles of fat, stinky, steroid pumped, neo-pagan thugs. It is at the bottom of these piles where we find jabs to ribs, twisted scrotums and every other manner of dirty trick and vice that separates man from other animals. Christ I love it.

This has been a great weekend for football and tomorrow is shaping up as an even better day in politics. At 6:30pm in Iowa it's time for that state's residents to Eskimo Up and engage in one of the best testaments to America’s unique and wonderful nature. Despite our rape of nature, imperialist war-mongering and the rising gap between rich and poor, tomorrow at the above mentioned time registered Democrats and Independents of the Hawkeyee State will gather in high school gyms, rec. centers and town halls to discuss the democratic presidential contenders. Then in public they will cast their votes, taking time, if they wish, to wrangle supporters from amongst their friends & neighbors for their candidate of choice. Not to overly romanticize an enabling process of an unfair and perverse two party system; it really is a remarkable event that by definition requires a level of interaction and intimacy with fellow members of one's community which much of America is sorely lacking. For a good description of how this process works check out this article from Sunday's Boston Globe, or for a history of the caucuses system check out this primer from the Iowa Sec. of State.

In regards to the actual political match-up, it's a four way classic and all pretentions of an early nominee-in-waiting presenting himself (rip CMB) before February second is a notion best suited to fools and dreamers. I am not sure if it will be good for our chances of beating bush but we will be lucky to know who the nominee is by super Tuesday and the prospect of a protracted fight that carries over onto the floor of the convention in Boston looms large. While Rove probably jerks off in the shower imagining john kerry and howard dean coming to fisticuffs on the dias of the Fleet Center as Bubba Clinton tries vainly to push Gen. Clark between them, it would be even better television than a nude jello match-up between Paris and Nicole; I for one welcome the prospect of either event.

Even I am not a big enough fool to pretend to know enough to harbor a guess at the winner of tomorrow’s shin-dig or the larger enchilada. Look for both dean and gep. to look good as the expectations game has been well handled by both teams (the thanks for which can mostly be leveled towards the undue attention to the meaningless tracking polls and Sunday’s Register poll). All I know is that no-matter what the outcome it is sure to be almost as much fun as watching New England bitch-slap pretty boy Peyton Manning and the rest of his sissy-boy teammates in a no holds barred- in the snow - old time football match on Sunday morning (i guess that was afternoon for those who live on real time). Teeth were left on the field by all Sunday but only the losers noticed, the Smart Money's* on the same being true tomorrow night in Iowa.


update: as near as i can tell there will be real-time caucus results here but i could be wrong. If anyone knows for sure please email me ben ::at:: newdream ::dot:: net.


*apologies to HST but it's damn hard to write about football and politics w/o stealing at least one term (if not TONE in general) from the master.

Posted by thickeye at 09:18 PM

January 16, 2004

thank god for little boys

If I may delve for just a moment into the more tawdry and ill, becoming the billionth person to back my proverbial car over the carcass that is Michael Jackson:



jackson-michael-front-011604-car.jpg


From a manipulating images and using the public sphere point of view; is it really such a good idea, when battling charges of molesting little boys, to show up sporting a "little british school boy" outfit? In my mind this screams, "I wanna touch little boys".

Of course perhaps it marks the beginning of a new fashion movement; "pedophile chic" I am sure Kai and the rest of As Four are all about it.

Posted by thickeye at 04:57 PM | Comments (0)

January 14, 2004

Market Correction

AUCT.450.jpg


Before I get into all the nasty art/$$$ gossip, first take note of how beautiful the painting above is (and i don't even really like painting). Picasso was 26 when he made it. Hot hot hot. Now lets get into the juicy stuff, i know it's crass to mix money and art (at least publicly) but fuck it; I watch reality TV too...

According to The Times [nytimes.com, registration required, etc, etc] it appears that the (art) auction market is set for a rebound built on the back of the Whitney Family collection going up for auction in February. The article does not specifically mention that this could have any correlation with contemporary art prices / market trajectory, however it has that vibe/under-current (to me anyway). I call bullshit on that. This is, of course, a special sale being that it is from a single collection and is "out of season", in the past special collection sales have had a negligible effect on the market as a whole (as a caveat: often collections like this are put on the market when it is felt the market will be receptive (ie. Shit will sell high/the market is booming) this point is alluded to in the article by the seller’s rep.). In any case it will be interesting to see if the results match the projections. There is some buzz (reflected in the article) that the painting above (Picasso's "Boy With a Pipe" (1905)) could become the most expensive painting ever sold at auction (topping the $82.5 million paid in 1990 for van Gough's "Portrait of Dr. Gachet" (actual auction price was $71 million with Sotheby's pocketing the difference).

The report fails to mention that the season that the Gachet sold to Ryoei Saito for that record price (along with Renoir's "Au Moulin de la Galette"), the rest of the auction results were at best "iffy" and history (according to the dubious but entertaining Anthony Haden-Guest) has marked the huge sale of those two paintings as the Death Rattle (paddle?) of the uber-hot 80's art market. Once again, past performance, blah blah blah and all that shit they say at the end of a merril lynch ad.

Another interesting aspect of the article which is not fleshed-out has to do with the guarantee that Sotheby's has reportedly made to the seller for a total sale price of around $200 million. These guarantees were huge trouble for the auction houses during the market correction of the early 90's,and if the market is turning again, unbeknownst to them, it could be again. That problem was exasperated by the fact that the houses were also loaning buyers the $$$ for these huge purchases with the piece of artwork in question as collateral. If the buyer defaulted and the market dipped there was no way for the auction house to rob Peter to pay Paul and they were left holding the bag. This was one of the reasons that the two major houses started colluding with each other (which got them busted for unfair business practices in the late 90’s). The houses say they no-longer allow loans with the work in collection as collateral unless the buyer fronts 50%, but word on the street is they are getting greedy again.

Conclusion: This single sale probably means very little for the market at large (esp. for the contemp. market) however it will be fun in a visceral, I am an american, I like to judge everything by its price, size etc. kind of way. The pictures will also be on view at Sotheby's and they are generally fairly chill (as far as snotty auction houses go) about letting you go in and view stuff before auctions even if it is clear there is no way you will be bidding.

Posted by thickeye at 10:47 PM

January 11, 2004

Perceptual Moments & Consciousness

Positively amazing article amazing article on how the brain via neural coalitions acts to shape visual perception and in turn create the process of consciousness. The article is by Oliver Sacks who has an amazing ability to lay out rather complex scientific/medical observations and then correlate them to philosophical queries.

The article is of note to us here, beyond general interest, for a few reasons. First as visual artists the act of visual perception is implicitly paramount and exciting. Better understanding of it can help the shaping of visual experiences for viewers and can insert work more sophisticatedly into this context, allowing new modes of exploration and questioning. Secondly, there are interesting parallels in how the transformation of raw visual data into perception and consciousness mirrors new modes of using social networks for social change; links like this should always be explored and never seen as just serendipitous. Further the article goes on to outline a scientific basis for how current PoMo theory views ideas of individual experience, history and perception.

For further exploration read the article and examine my (somewhat befuddled and still in the act of processing) summery, notes, questions and ideas below...

The article begins by showing us the newly found scientific basis which reaffirms that the long held belief (dating to Borges & William James) that while consciousness presents itself to us as a constant flow, in a visual sense it is really made up by discrete shots or still pictures which the brain has an amazing ability to reconstruct into the perception of motion. In a case where the exception proves the rule imagine times in which the brain becomes confused in how to separate these discrete frames; under the influence of LSD motion has a tendency to drip between frames for instance the waving of one’s hand in front of the face while under the influence has the effect of making the hand seem to have "tracers" behind it or residuals effects from the sequence of frames before it.

Thus we seem to catalogue movements and construct visual perception as a series of discrete frames. However as Sacks goes on to point out this is not enough "we do not merely calculate movements as a robot might - we perceive it." It turns out that this process is by neural networks that come together instantly for short periods of time to process and pass along this information to other networks; creating instant super-networks that are shaped and reshaped each and every time for each distinct instance of perceiving. It is then extrapolated (in ways i admittedly have trouble comprehending) that this process of turning the rote act of seeing into perceiving is a micro process that shows how the macro process of consciousness becomes a flow that is us; or at least our reality. To better understand this link i will be reading one of the articles subject b ooks Crick (yea that one) & Koch's The Quest for Consciousness

This is in many ways analogous to some current theory on how social change can be manifest in a PoMo world. Only by autonomous, constantly shifting and remaking coalitions of individuals can change be made (see; Act-Up, ALF, ELF).

The other remarkable (well, at least noteworthy...) thing about this article is some of the scientific/philosophical hypotheses that Sacks extrapolates in his conclusion. For him these new ways of understanding how visual perception and consciousness work together find him at an understanding on a scientific level of some of the basic PoMo theory i/r/t point's of view; showing how these process create completely different experiences (and thus history's) for each individual and thus flattening the idea of both history and truth. This is of course interesting to compare to our last post on Krzysztof Wodiczko and his IDG.

In any case; all sorts of interesting things to ponder in regards to Sacks article. I feel like some good academic type stuff could be written comparing these new understandings of the neural basis of consciousness to current cultural studies/PoMo theory; using the former to underline the latter etc. For now I am still wrapping my brain around it and have the feeling i will come back to this post to sharpen my analysis etc.

Posted by thickeye at 11:47 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

January 08, 2004

Mediation

The ways in which we are changing how we both present and perceive ourselves in relations to forms of communication fascinate me. The ability to totally construct who we are via different mediums is a powerful and seductive (to me) process. Of course we never really have control over these means, even when we think we have them firmly in our grasp. Mediation is a flow which we can channel but never really harness. A lot of this desire to control/inherent inability to do as such drives a lot of the video work that interests me and that I try to create.

It seems that Krzysztof Wodiczko and his Interrogative Design Group at MIT have been giving this idea some thought too and have come up with a pretty interesting prosthetic device that explores how CCD's distort the reality they are purporting to record.

The IDG's HandMachine Project attempts to visually represent multiple perspectives simultaneously. Above being a neat techno parlor trick, it does a admirable job of concretely calling into question how mediation (and those that act to shape the filter there-of) acts to activly shape the version of reality that is presented to us.

Posted by thickeye at 11:25 PM | Comments (2774) | TrackBack

January 07, 2004

Baader-Meinhoff

Amazing, anyone who is going to Sundance this year needs to go check out Rasberry Reich (scroll down and click on the 'more info' link for the goods) by the amazing fag/provocateur/media whore Bruce laBruce. If you are not familiar with Bruce you should be. In addition to being a sort-of high art and fashion photographer Bruce was one of the instigators of the homo-core movement back in the day, making Zine's and then moving onto directing what I think are some of the most important fag movies since Scorpio Rising; Super 8 1/2 and Hustler White.

Now financed by by German gay porn $$ he has made a political/sexual thriller about a fictional left wing german gang that models it's self on the (in)famous Baader-Meinhoff group. It mixes three things i like: hot girls (and boys) fucking, violent political opposition and most importantly an analysis of how individuals in societies in the midst of rapid modernization create friction with the hegemony.

In Bruce's hands it is sure to be perverse, disturbing and highly entertaining. Someone on that side of the world please go see it this month and report back to me, it is sure to get critic's manties in a bunch, if any of them bother to see it.

Posted by thickeye at 05:36 PM | Comments (430) | TrackBack

January 06, 2004

Presence Marketing

Well looks like we will go for it and add a real entry before my massive web-dev team finishes the redesign.

Looking out across the great spectrum of cheap-schwill that is the Internet I stumbled (between horse-fucks-girl pornography sites) upon an interesting article from last month over at freewilliamsburg. It discusses marketers going beyond "cool hunting*" by hooking up cash-poor (but supposedly cred-high) "indie" musicians with free beer/clothing/etc hoping that others will see their hero's imbuing/wearing said products and make ditto-like. They call it "Presence Marketing"

Now, without taking the time (though having the inclination) to diss on the article in general ("ueber hip fader magazine" WTF?!?!). In regards to it's the salient points:

a.) Is this really that out of character for "indie" musicians to go along with? I know my fare share of folks in bands, poor and otherwise and I can't see any of them turning down free booze/clothing in order to stick it to The Man. This could be generational, they have some fun quotes from Mark Hosler of Negativland talking about how artists of his generation would never do such a thing (and he is really one of the few people that can say that and not come off as an ass, however he has a lot more cred in my nearsighted eyes than just about anyone else from his generation).

b.) Does this really work? I know there are a lot of impressionable people out there but this seems like a bit of a stretch. Paraphrasing one of the marketing like people who are pushing this idea the scam goes something like this: a company like Rheingold gives bands free beer in the dressing room of shows, the bands bring the beer with them onstage, and the kids in the audience assume band X likes Rheingold and thus they should too. The problem is, i don't think audiences are that impressionable anymore, the modern audience has progressed beyond that in that they are not looking to emulate entertainers i/r/t lifestyle. Shit, stalling out here on the rationalization a bit, but yea, I call bullshit on this marketing concept, except i am for people getting free beer and clothing.

c.) How can I sign up to either be one of the people who either picks who gets the free beer or in-the-least gets the free beer and Diesel jeans? It mentions somewhere that they pick up-and-coming visual artists... can I apply for this somewhere, does it come with a solo show? Someone send me a link

Posted by thickeye at 11:18 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack