Sunday, June 22, 2008

TOUR: New Mexico

We set out in a rental car and drove for half a day to reach Roswell from San Antonio.


Mimi Kato made sure that this first stop on our tour was a success, hosting us at the Roswell Artist-in-Residence Program where she's been living and working since January. Mimi took superb care of us, treated us to her scrumptious home-style Japanese cooking, toured us downtown to the RAIR and UFO Museums, and resourcefully ensured that we had everything we needed for our performance.

Our audience was a wonderful group of artists-in-residence and Roswell townies who were connected to the arts, including a curator and former curator from the Roswell Museum of Art, and a farmer. This sincere and lively group was wholly engaging in an invigorating post-performance Q&A.


Skipping up to Taos overnight, I was surprised at how little things have changed in 15 years. We found the old adobe that I'd lived in on Upper Ranchitos Road. It had been recently restored and was for sale. For a moment, we entertained the fantasy of dropping out of everyday civilization for the charmed eternity of Taos. We walked along a stream filled with melted mountain snow in the Sangre de Christos, and found a horse skeleton.

Most Beautiful Steel Bridge, Long Span, designated by the American Institute of Steel Construction in 1966.

(photo from
Where we took the ashes of Hambone.
It seemed fitting to bring him back to where he came from.


The Steina Vasulka retrospective at Site Santa Fe has given me a much richer understanding of and respect for the grand matron of video art. I am inspired by her practice as she continues to produce relevant and profound work from the arid geography of Northern New Mexico.


The good folks in Albuquerque bestowed upon us good times, and a most positive experience.

Basement Films peeps Bryan Konefsky, who I know from his frequent visits to the Ann Arbor Film Festival, and hardworking Keif Henley made it happen at the Verb Collective venue, run by the gallant and dependable Blake Driver.

Here we are after the gig. (Elray, Keif, Jay, Bryan, Patty, Blake)

Film artist Nina Fonoroff, Associate Professor of Cinematic Studies at UNM, kindly allowed us to stay with her in the little corner of paradise that she occupies. I met Nina at the NAMAC conference in Austin last October and was captivated immediately upon hearing of her work with the optical printer. We pried our way into her studio and were treated to a look at parts of a longtime work-in-progress.

The fallout from the digital explosion upon artists fascinates me-- particularly those who have worked with celluloid for a long time. While many of us have taken up the digital tools (willingly or reluctantly), Nina's approach reinforces the physicality of film, moving each single frame into full-out printmaking processes. Awesome.

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

better late than never - CAA Dallas

Here's Yoko doing the Onochord at the College Art Association conference back in February.

It's standing room only, and I'm standing all the way in the back of one of the larger rooms of the Dallas Convention Center. There must be over 500 academics there for art/rock star Yoko's talk, but the power of her charisma reaches every corner of the room. She showed pictures of herself as a very young girl, and talked autobiography into her early days in NYC. It seemed fitting that she reinforce her public persona of childlike innocence through these images. An uncomplicated purity is the best ground for her message of peace. Overall, I think: keep it simple and accept Yoko straight-up as an icon of peace-- its been the focus of her art since early on. The strength of her presence is enough to assuage the small part of me that sees her as a privileged rebel, defying the strict social traditions of her upper-class Japanese milieu.

Yoko's presence was solid, but the receiving environment seemed incongruous. There was something strange about her flashing the I--LOVE--YOU Onochord message from her flashlight on stage to a room-full of academics, as they flashed back. I wasn't able to break through the setting to feel her message-- but that might say more about me than academia or Yoko.

And here is Artlies editor (now acting director) Anjali Gupta on a panel of art critics.

She's answering a question from the audience, saying that the grads from a particular (here unnamed) masters program in art theory/criticism have "had so much smoke blown up their ass" during their time in the program that she requests that they wait at least a year after getting out before asking to write for her publication. Smart, feisty, and not afraid to tell it like it is-- I like that lady!

check out the paper she presented, 'Is Blogging Criticism?' here on Glasstire

And finally, here's Justin Boyd (in shadow on the left) DJing and me VJing (silhouetted on the right), representing for the UTSA New Media Program at the reception for the New Media Caucus at The Dallas Contemporary. For my video mix, I've borrowed all of the cellphone videos from the computers in the current exhibition there. These videos, which have been uploaded on a daily basis by seven different artists and projected into the space, make up the Real Time show. CAA attendees have also been invited to contribute video images for my mix.

My friend Patricia Olynyk showed up and asked if I had received the animated gif she'd emailed. It was easy to retrieve via the wireless internet access, plug it into my VJ software, and throw it up on the screen in no time. This was a terrific moment, opening up a world of possibility for future a performance.