Learning ProTools for audio and MIDI recording
Learning ProTools for audio and MIDI recording

Although wishing for 4 more hours in a day is futile, it probably wouldn’t be enough time for all the things I actually need to do (for work, school, and freelance projects). Yes. Call me crazy. Some of my friends think I’m pretty insane for trying to support a balance between the three but I guess it boils down to the feeling of productivity. I’m constantly thinking and the respite from any scholarly work is probably the gym or taking a walk between classes or walking meditation when I’m at work. In any case, I’m getting back into blogging and will be posting excerpts of work soon. Here are some of the great things that have happened:

  • During winter break, I learned my abstract was accepted as a part of the open panel submission to the Theorizing the Web 2013 (#TtW13) conference! It will be a great time to network, meet academics, artists, and writers working on research specifically about the Web, open source culture, and technology’s relationship to the Arts. I will be documenting my New York adventure on Instagram (deedottiedot), Twitter (@deedottiedot), and tumblr
  • A few days ago, I hosted a Wednesday Forum at the California College of the Arts. The forum is open to current graduate students, alumni, and faculty, interested in participating in a dialogue with writers, theorists, and/or artists actively working in Visual and Critical Studies. I had the pleasure of meeting and introducing Mabel O. Wilson. She now teaches at Columbia University in the Graduate School of Architecture, Planning, and Preservation. Wilson discussed an essay she wrote for a conference on the “multi-cultural city” and meshed architecture, visual culture, and history into such a phenomenal project where she looked at Cabrini-Green (a public housing project that was located in Chicago’s Near North Side). I won’t go into it too much because I will be working on a recap of the event. Such an AMAZING scholar and so incredibly inspiring. She also recently published her book Negro Building – Black Americans and the World of Fairs and Museums (University of California Press, 2012.), which I plan on purchasing. Wishing I had it in hand so she could sign it for me…just means I need to see her again at some point in the future!
  • Through the graduate lecture series at school, my classmates and I attended a performative lecture by DJ Spooky. I snagged (thanks to the help of my dear classmate, Emily!) the book he edited a few years ago, Sound Unbound: Sampling Digital Music and Culture. He even signed it for me. Pretty excited to delve into the text since there are specific pieces that deal with open source and programming and their relationship to music and composing.
  • Asterisk SF’s music issue was released this past Janauary and I had the opportunity to curate a solo exhibition for David Molina! You can read the feature I wrote on his work and practice here.
Snagged a copy and a signature!
Snagged a copy and a signature!

It’s been pretty busy but always quite exciting stuff happening. Lastly, I’m FINALLY taking a grad elective where I can program. The course, Sound, Music, and Technology, gives me the chance to play around with different programming software but learn how to make music in the process. I’m hoping to get my act together at start keeping a journal of the creative process. The image above is something I’m working on for the class. We learned how to make different sound waves and manipulate pitch and noise to create timbres (among many other things). Let’s just say, I have a whole new appreciation for music!

Looking forward to sharing more with you soon! 🙂

On a cool, breezy summer evening, music emanates from the middle of the block on 18th Street, steps away from Dolores Park. The lovely voice of a woman summons, rather easily, others to a delightful space. Stepping inside, there are vibrant and colorful drawings of sweet breads and cakes adorning the walls. The music that lured people in is just as intoxicating as the wine and food served. A songstress taps at an upside-down metal bucket fashioned into a stringed instrument while singing with perfect key and timing. Looking around, the tables are filled with people and food. One of the chefs for the event walks over with sushi wrapped in nori with intricate laser-cut patterning. Sitting down on one of the benches and with possibly the freshest ceviche ever made, it was hard not to feel captivated by the warmth and uniqueness of the space—not your average closing art exhibition. Yet, this is the constant environment and ambiance found at nonprofit organization 18 Reasons.

In 2007, Bi-Rite Market took over the space formerly known as Blue Space from founders Cliff Leonardi and Dan DiPasquo. Paying homage to the iconic San Francisco 17 Reasons sign that served as a part of the Mission District skyscape, Bi-Rite decided to rename the event and gallery space to 18 Reasons after its new home on 18th Street. Despite the bustling surroundings and wide array of eateries in the area, 18 Reasons unites an undeniable combination of art, community, and food. With the objective of creating community through food and art, the programming literally and figuratively caters to the diverse San Francisco community.

The multifaceted approach toward community engagement requires programming and interfacing with the public in ways that offer new perspectives to the community through the arts. Eighteen Reasons offers not only an exploration of food and cooking, but also a multitude of approaches that touch upon more complex issues. Art serves as a great vehicle for broaching real-world problems in relation to consumption and our overall relationship to food. Regarding the greater curatorial practice, 18 Reasons curator Casey Carroll elaborates on her vision of the space as a gallery: “Beyond encouraging pleasure and a deeper appreciation of food and those that produce it (both the environment and our farmers), my vision is to push the envelope and encourage open dialogue that addresses some of the rougher sides of food: commodification, labor infringements, animal abuse, poor nutrition, hunger, and beyond.” Carroll adds that “each art show is tailored to the individual artist and the concept or vision that guides their work. What sets our programming and curating at 18 Reasons apart is that the art on the walls never stands alone. The programming that surrounds each display showcases its interconnection and interdependence with the culinary arts and social practice.”

Lastly, the art programming at 18 Reasons entails the Bathroom Residency. Yes, it is exactly what you think. The yearlong artist residency allows for an artist to create artworks for the 18 Reasons restroom. Believe it or not, this takes an incredible amount of innovation and strategic thinking around how to utilize the space. Granted, many restrooms have some sort of decorative artworks, but these residents make using the space an unforgettable experience. Carroll describes the Bathroom Residency as “the second piece in a long-term project entitled The Residencies, which launched in 2009 during Julie Kahn’s stay at the Headlands Center for the Arts. Julie decided to take over our bathroom for the year and install amazing works of art that ranged from Eucalyptus branches springing out of the wall to laser-cut nori. Julie wanted to stay true to our roots and make the residency feel seasonal, which is why each artist has four different installations over the course of the year.”

Originally posted to Asterisk SF Magazine + Gallery site, please view here

New Catalogue + Judd Greenstein. This is a Present from a Small Distant World, 2012; installation view. Courtesy of the Scottsdale Museum of Contemporary Art, Scottsdale. Photo: Dorothy Santos.

The New Catalogue artist collective, composed of Mary Voorhees Meehan, Neil Donnelly, Jonathan Sadler, and Luke Batten, collaborated with composer Judd Greenstein to explore humanity, history, memory, space, and the unknown in their exhibition This is a Present from a Small Distant World: New Catalogue + Judd Greenstein, at the Scottsdale Museum of Contemporary Art. When viewers first enter the exhibition space, the large-scale installation is enclosed by two parallel white walls covered with friendly messages written in black bold sans serif type. Multicolored light boxes illuminate printed words such as “coffee,” “vinyl cutter,” “advice from a family member,” “string cheese,” and “twenty books.” These are only a small fraction of the humorous, endearing, and poignant answers to questions about communication with extraterrestrial beings.

Walking through the red carpeted interior of the makeshift corridor, flat-screen monitors pose questions to the public. Classical music permeates the space. Between the exposed, unpainted, raw wooden beams, questions on newsprint paper invite viewers to participate in an analog discussion. Some of the questions include “What are ten things aliens would need to see/taste/touch/experience to understand life on earth?“; “Which five songs would you bring to space so alien life could understand us?”; and “What do you imagine aliens are like?” Answers to that last question included “Lady Gaga,” “Nikki Minaj,” and “Michael Jackson,” suggesting that some of the most colorful human beings in the public eye are the most foreign and otherworldly.

These human observations ask us to consider what would happen if we could transmit and receive communication with alien life. Based on the posted responses, possibilities range from humankind’s greatest accomplishments in the arts and sciences to the sharing of radical and pointed views about our political and social state. The responses also speak to something deeper and more existential. New Catalogue and Greenstein have created a work that reminds viewers of the qualities philosophers and scientists have posited separate humans from other species: the ability to introspect, activate memory, and create awareness.

Originally posted to Shotgun Reviews on Art Practical, please click here to view.

Noritaka Minami, A706 (Wall I), 2011; archival pigment print mounted on aluminum; 30 x 38 in. Courtesy of the Artist and the Kearny Street Workshop, San Francisco.

Humans are resilient. Our anatomy is extraordinary and highly complex. We build, construct, destroy, and synthesize. But human nature involves understanding the biology and mechanisms that provoke us to move and accelerate. In Movement in Many Parts, an exhibition curated by Lucy Seena K. Lin and Weston Teruya, artists investigate human evolution through nature and industry. Their ruminations are shown through organic forms, moving image, photography, drawing, and painting. Each work reminds us of the adage that the totality of many things in concert is far greater than one single part of the whole.

In A1007 (Wall II) (2011), Noritaka Minami asks us to peer into the modular housing built within the Japanese urban landscape. At the start of the series, a viewer is let into a small room with a single, large round window that looks out onto the city and other pods. There is no returning gaze; a viewer sees only the disheveled room of a seemingly busy city dweller. The room could very well be a viewer’s; the window is the only way to see outside and to observe other living things. Stagnancy is apparent through the dull colors of bed sheets and the aging, disintegrating papers on the wall. Even the dated typography of the numbers on the clock suggests a thick layer of dust has settled over things untouched. The scene gives the sense that the busyness of city life has depleted the weary soul that inhabits this space. Minami’sTower (Facade 1) (2011) includes a segment of the exterior architecture that gives a viewer not only a sense of scale but also of how nature has weathered the building’s exterior. The erosion suggests that the original design is obsolete in this fast-paced environment.

While Minami’s photographs depict an environment, Kim Anno’s photographs ponder the effects of climate change and demonstrate how humans may adapt to and work with rising sea levels. Men and Women in Water Cities (2011) shows individuals fully clothed in suits and corporate attire turning their bodies toward a viewer, as though caught in mid-action. The picture plane presents something absurd. Yet, is it as absurd as we think? Anno proposes peculiar but perhaps ingenious ways we might survive despite nature’s disposition, showing what humans may be driven to do when it is necessary to endure. It is this human tendency toward movement that forces resiliency.

Originally posted to Shotgun Reviews on Art Practical, please click here to view.

Kate Lee Short. Oculus, 2012; salvaged speakers, speaker wire, Motu audio interface, Mac mini, Lepai Amplifiers, wood, 17 x14 x10 ft. Courtesey of SOMArts photo by J. Astra Brinkmann.

You know what is awesome about grad school? Being around talented and brilliant artists and writers. Check out fellow classmate Erica Gomez’s guest blog post on the SOMArts Cultural Center blog regarding the Annual Murphy & Cadogan Contemporary Art Awards Group show. It’s a great write-up! Click here to view on SOMArts!

Tristan Cai. Physical Realities of Death-A Memoir of Toivo Laukkannen, 2012; archival giclée prints on wood, 216 x120 in. Photo: Erica Gomez.

The Annual Murphy & Cadogan Contemporary Art Awards Exhibition is on view at SOMArts through October 2, 2012.

 

CCA Architecture Students
I get to look at models (not the tall skinny kind)…

I can’t believe it’s the first official day of school! I feel like a rambunctious kindergartener inside. My first class doesn’t start until noon so I’m checking in with professional and personal tasks and getting settled into my new surroundings. It’s a great feeling being here. One of the first things I did on campus was get the library sticker for my school ID. Since I wanted to ‘hit the ground running’ with research, the first question out of my mouth was, “Are we allowed to request books that are not in the library to be included in the collection?” The school librarian (and I’m sure one of my new BFFs) stated that the students are able to request books for purchase! Nice. Naturally, I wondered, “What is the budget for requests like that?”. In any case, I’m sure a portion of my tuition goes to this library so I better take good care of my resources.

As I settle into my new space, I’m not going to lie, I’m nervous. Taking classes for personal enrichment is great and good. But going into a graduate program with the economy the way it is and learning adjunct professors don’t get paid squat, well, it’s a bit disheartening to say the least. Yet, I believe this is the right path for me despite what the naysayers think. Besides, I’m looking at an emerging field – new media and digital arts theory. Exciting stuff! Finding new friends, discovering artists, meeting scholars, and reading books (and more books) about this new territory is daunting but I know I’m in the right place.

Bottom line: Having the support and the tools is great BUT it matters how you go about using them. It’s also about taking the onus for my success and failures and turning them around to make even bigger and better things (whether it’s writing, collaborative work, or helping build an organization). I will continue to use this space, primarily as a writing portfolio and sharing the exciting events happening at some of my favorite places (including ZERO1, GAFFTA, SOMArts Cultural Center, and Art Practical), which I will be sure to post. Also, with my recent trip to Phoenix, Arizona, pictures will be in the near foreseeable future (as soon as I can get them uploaded)!

If you are curious about my academic life, check me out over here.