August 31, 2005

Walking home late last night with Marnix we spotted this high design window at a pharmacy...


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very neckfaceesque, right outside the O.K. Centrum

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ewwwww. Actually it was pretty good, but basically just a hot dog. Suprisingly my stomach is fairing fairly well, can't say the same about my heart.


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Linz continues… Howevever I am tired and the wit will not comeith so here is a bare bones account of yesterday.
Atau’s piece
Yesterday involved lots of playing with the video projector and mirror behind it in order to create the correct image for
Atau’s piece
. Finally, with the help of Austrian Rubin and a lighting/projection specialist named Joerg Lehner we were able to wrap our heads around the geometry of an image going out, hitting a mirror and then precicly coming back to project onto a screen. It was not fun but it is now done and all that awaits is the finishing touches of lighting and for me to write up instructions for the staff here to turn the piece on and off. That and I also have to meet with press tomorrow and show them the piece. That should prove intresting.

Yesterday after the set up they hosted a party for all the artists and the staff that has been assisting them. I ran into many familiar faces from the Ars show that we did at Eyebeam last year, including some big head honcho types that I schmoozed with.

Afterwards I hung out with some of the artists and checked out their pieces. I spent a good deal of time with Marnix de Nijis who is the force behind Run Motherfucker Run It is a neat piece where you run on a fullsized treadmill and via this move about a dark, scary city at night (Rotterdam) which has been beautifully photographed. The highlight is that as you move faster the screen moves faster, slower and the screen moves slower. It is scary and fun. I am not sure if there is much beyond it ideologically, but I think there may be I just need to ferret it out. You can see info on it here

I have also been spending a lot of time with Amit Pitaru, an Israeli artist who lives in NYC an teaches at ITP and who has a really great piece in the cyber arts section of Ars (the section where I am working) . Sonic Wire Sculpture grew out of a custom piece of electronics and software which Amit created for his live musical performances. By drawing shapes on a screen, in a 3D enviorment, sound is created (in a 6 channel set-up). Because so many people wanted to play with his toy, he decided to modify as an art instillation. It is fairly addictive.

Also with those listed above where the Canadian Artist Steve Heimbecker the creator of a href="">POD Wind Array Cascade Machine which represents weather from far off lands via a huge LED farm. Wind from one location is represented in his LED field as waves of light. His girlfriend, who’s name I am blanking on, is a wonderful curator and writer, also based out of Montreal.

Also in attendence was Dirk Eijsbouts , a fun young artist along with his girlfriend who’s name, I am likewise also flaking on even thought she was funny, smart, and great company. Dirk’s project looks like a lot of fun and I can’t wait to try it out later today. Two people play tennis with computer monitors. Does that make any sense? No, but go to the link for Interface #4 and perhaps it will. If not he has a really funny video of people using it that he is going to send to me later today to post here.

Anyway, drinks were had, and then dinner was had (for me, a potato dumpling with chanterell mushrooms. A bit bland but not bad for 7 euro) and then more beir’s were had. It went late and there was much talk, both serious and gossip oriented, but it was nice to be out amongst a bunch of people, all from different parts of the world. There is more I should write, about the art and the people, but for now pictures will have to do.

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August 30, 2005


they have some decent graf in linz

stencils too...


and stickers...


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On my way home late at night I ran into some germans installing a piece in a small room in a walkway below the Ars Electronica Center... here is weird, flash-less shot of it.


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the historic city center


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Monday was a beautiful day






This is how I get to work here, thought I also walk;


and this is where i work, the O.K. Centrum ( )


More later, now I must work...

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August 29, 2005


Trip Letter 1 – The Journey

The Irish are great. Really. I enjoy their accents and there devil may care attitude not to mention their craftsmanship when it comes to distilled spirits. Sitting next to a drunken Irish bartender who wants to do nothing but buy you drinks and explain to you how beautiful Ireland and Irish women are and how his 9 (nine!) siblings are a bunch of no fun gits who hardly drink anymore now that they are all doctors- all in a brogue I could hardly make out, on the other hand, not so much my cuppa tea. Speaking of cuppas he also managed to contribute (inadvertently) to an air steward spilling a cuppa down the whole leg of my white jeans, one of only three pairs of pants I packed for a weeklong trip. And I thought I was being so good packing light. On the upside I managed to determine that the german word for bleach is bleichen using my handy pocket English-German dictionary. Lets see if I can manage to conjure sufficient amounts of phlegm tomorrow in the apotheke in order to procure said whitening agent. I don’t want to make it seem like the flight to Dublin was all bad, the stewardess were all very nice and the chair comfy and I was able, once the Irishman was cut-off by said stewardess, to clock about 3 hours of sleep, which is not enough but better than none. The airport in Dublin was an absolute mad-house (see pictures) but once again everyone was super helpful and friendly and sported those adorable accents; the passport control officer seemed genuinely hurt that I was continuing on to Germany without spending any time in the ROI.

The flight from Dublin to Munich was fairly uneventful, providing me with a window seat through which to view the trip out over Whales, The Channel, Holland and middle-Germany. After watching too many WWII movies and Band of Brothers episodes I felt like at any minute I should be jumping out of the plane onto the hedgerows below with my one Irish-American, one Italian-American, one Farm-Boy and one Ivory-League educated fellow squad members to go fight “Gerry”. In any case no parachute was needed during the flight.

In the end I was greeted not by a Taxi, the driver decided he did not want to make the 6 hour combined trip, but instead by a the half-crazy maintenance man cum tool-shop manager from the O.K. Centrum Für Gegenwartskunst- the museum where the show is going up. Kurt was a wild-eyed mountain man who spends half his time in Linz and half his time in the mountains outside the town living in a wooden house with no electricity. He spoke almost as little English as I speak German, drove 160 k/ph in his 1983 Volkswagen van the whole way and insisted on making about 5 unscheduled stops to show me things I must see if I was in the area. He was pretty awesome and we got along famously.

Kurt’s first notable side-trip was to a small German town right on the Danube and very close to the Austrian Boarder. No, I don’t remember the name, thanks for asking [ed- after some research it turns out the town was Passau]. Pictures of its church and other notable sites are included below however, and in my present state of sleeplessness, I think you should be happy you are even getting that. Where was I? Oh yes, the cute town, it is where three rivers meet and it had amazing alleys that made you feel like you were in the 17th century. Very, very cool. I was very, very tired but I was not about to tell Kurt that I did not want to see the local attractions, and to be honest I was enjoying myself. Our limited ability to communicate seemed to fit both our moods; we simply walked, pausing at nice vistas and looking then moving on, without the exchange of platitudes that would normally bracket such an endeavor.

After leaving Passau we continued at our speedy pace (constantly outstripped on the speedway by better-equipped BMW’s and Mercedes, and yes, mom, an Audi convertible that must have been pushing 225 K/ph.

Again Kurt exited, this time to take me to a restaurant that he assured me that very few Americans ever make it to. The restaurant, well off the main highway and adjacent to vegetable farms and riding stables, was called Landgasthaus Wirt & Gries, and yes I am too tired to return to the small print dictionary to determine what the W & G refer to. You can however head over to their website, because yes, this tiny restaurant and Beir Garden in the middle of nowhere has a site- try plugging it into google and using the translation tool. In addition, note the pictures attached. The restaurant, housed in an 18th century farmhouse, was stoked to have me there, with my friendly guide and fellow vegetarian Kurt translating. I sampled their homemade “cider” which was far more dry and citrus noted than the candy sweet American drink by the same name which frat-boys America wise used to lure young co-eds before the advent of “Mike’s Hare Lemonade”, “Zima”, et all. In any case I decided to be brave, and knowing that the food was raised within 20 miles of where I sat in totality, stray from my vegetarian lifestyle and eat like a local. I was served two types of “dumplings”; three of each surrounding a mound of homemade sauerkraut (and again, see pictures). One was clearly pork and clearly a bit much for me, though I ate it. The second type, the smaller dumplings you see on the plate in the picture, was some sort of beef cut that had been browned and then braised (I think) into a gelatinous gob of goodness. The homemade dumpling sheaths, dense but pliant, contrasting and complementing the almost desert like savories that hid inside.

I took time during this stop to dip into the loo and freshen up, changing clothes, brushing my teeth and washing my hands and face. Than and a surprisingly above par espresso left me good to go onto the work part of my enterprise.

Kurt, of course, had other plans- first taking me to a suburb of Linz to return some bikes he had borrowed from friends and then onto the botanical gardens above the city proper in order to give me a better sense of the “lay of the land”. (pictures of the latter- of course- attached, er on the web, you can figure it out).

Next it was onto the O.K Centrium, the art museum where the part of Ars ( a huge festival) I am involved in is taking place. Of course being civilized Europe, upon first arriving I am taken up stairs to the top floor of the building- half of which is an old former Catholic Girls School (stop that snickering you) and the other half of which is a modernist intervention upon the former, glass and concrete- and given a chance to sit with the curator and some artists and have an espresso. Everyone is smoking. In a museum. Where there is art. An American registrar would have a heart attack on the spot. After a round of hallucinogenic chatter (more than half the 8 or so people assembled have recently gotten off airplanes from places like NYC and Australia) that is not so much discourse as a lighthearted abortion there-of, I am introduced to my “team” the art students that have been assigned to help me. Their leader is an Austrian version of Rubin, which for all but one of you reading this is meant to say he is the type that as the airplane is going down will pour you a drink while climbing out onto the wing to stitch the bastard together with chewing gum and last week’s Sunday Times Magazine. In any case I, and the work, are clearly in good hands and we spend the rest of the afternoon unpacking the requisite cases, shipped by air from NYC.

In any case, we broke up and hour or two later and I was off, for the first time in my life, alone in a place where I did not speak the native language. I suppose it is a little late in life to be having that experience, but none the less, my American hegemonic privilege was put to but a small test negotiating back to my hotel and then checking-in (a process overseen by the hotel owner who is clearly a former Nazi collaborator, of who I will soon be turning over to Eli Weisel). In any case, there I was alone in the hotel room. Then I started writing, then I got hungry and found a pizza and some beers, a damn good pizza surprisingly enough. And here I am, now. Ready for bed.

Until next time. Your man in Linz

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