Opening for Solo Exhibition at Asterisk SF for Sita Bhaumik ~ Querida Calle 24 | Dear 24th Street

Curatorial Statement 

Art serves as reflection. It mirrors what has come before, what exists, and gives inspiration to what may follow. Art is also a conduit to introspection. It raises questions about the relationship between culture, tradition, and location. In the exhibition, Querida Calle 24 | Dear 24th Street, installation artist Sita Kuratomi Bhaumik takes memories and experience to pay homage and gratitude to the well known 24th Street in San Francisco. With the increasing traffic and popularization of the Mission District, Bhaumik seizes the opportunity to form of a visual and a multisensory love letter to the stretch of urban landscape.

The sweet smell of cinnamon leads the viewer to a patterned wall that will please even the most obvious retinal sense. Yet, the longer one stands and observes the walls dusted in the familiar spice and platters enrobed in gold candy wrappers, the senses will subtly shift back and forth to engage in something that can only be experienced. Observation will become delectable and crisp sensations will tickle the nose upon a deep inhale. Impressions will go beyond the gallery walls and storefront. The viewer will be greeted by a Twenty Fourth Street that refuses to be forgotten and remains ever present through its distinct scents and visuals. As a show made with a myriad of parts, it intricately meshes culture, tradition, and history into sensorial consumption. Bhaumik provides an exhibition of the past, present, and future. Our collective recollections and thoughts made into the tangible and the tasty, this artwork will waft and flirt and begs the senses to devour, digest, and reflect.

~ Yours Truly

Artist Bio

Sita Kuratomi Bhaumik is an interdisciplinary artist, educator, and writer born and raised in the suburbs of Los Angeles to Indian and Japanese Colombian parents. After receiving her B.A., Cum Laude, in Studio Art from Scripps College, Sita moved to the Bay Area where she holds an M.F.A. in Fine Art and an M.A. in Visual and Critical Studies from California College of the Arts. She currently teaches photography and portfolio development at RayKo Photo Center. Sita has collaborated with organizations such as Yerba Buena Center for the Arts, The Asian Art Museum of San Francisco, SOMArts, 18 Reasons, 826 Valencia, Whitman College, and Cal-State Fullerton. She has been the art features editor for Hyphen magazine, a writer for Art Practical, and Kearny Street Workshop board member. She also spends as much time as possible in the kitchen.

Arts Organization Feature on Gray Area Foundation for the Arts

Asterisk Arts Organization feature on Gray Area Foundation for the Arts (GAFFTA)

On San Francisco’s bustling, highly trafficked Market Street, the organization Gray Area Foundation for the Arts (GAFFTA), is changing the face of arts and technology in a significant and dramatic way. Seeing a lack of representation in the digital arts movement accompanied by a profound interest in creating a space where such art could be seen, founder and Executive Director Josette Melchor created the nonprofit in 2009 in the midst of a financial crisis. Despite the downturn in the economy, Melchor dedicated her efforts to creating a space for both aspiring and established artists and creative technologists. From interactive artworks and data visualization to creative coding, this organization has become one of the most prominent spaces for arts and technology, fostering change and innovation not only regionally, but also internationally.

At its core, Gray Area works with established artists such as Aaron Koblin and Camille Utterback to expose the public to software-based works that are both interactive and immersive through various tools of technology, such as programming, coding and data visualization. Integrating audio- and sensory-based controls, the works you might experience at a GAFFTA exhibition or event undoubtedly showcase most ingenious and experimental uses of programming technology and how contemporary art is created. Even donations to Gray Area have been made into a work of art. The nationally recognized and award-winning work Seaquence is a virtual art piece intertwined with a participatory aspect where donors are given a gift in return: a musical life form. Resident artists Ryan Alexander, Gabriel Dunne and Daniel Massey co-created this interactive music platform, forming multifaceted art to dynamically and physically enable donors to see their contributions transform within a virtual environment, thus becoming part of an even larger visual- and music-based system. Gray Area artists, technologists and faculty are constantly forging radical new ways to bring the community into the creation and discussion of the work. Although the organization can easily boast its tremendous creative talent, the exceptionally skilled faculty aims to teach novice technologists within the community both technical and artistic skills such as programming and electronics. The goal is to draw different sets of curious minds into the discussion and progression, bridging the gaps between arts and technology.

Gray Area is particularly well known for weekend events called hack-a-thons, which gather creative professionals across multiple disciplines such as art, engineering, education, architecture, journalism and writing. These events facilitate the creation of mobile applications, with objectives such as fostering transparent communication between citizens and government officials. Hack-a-thon participants also produce conceptual artworks that transform public data into visually dynamic pieces. More recently, the nonprofit was awarded a $100,000 grant by the National Endowment for the Arts to put toward the implementation of a National Data Canvas Project. According to Gray Area, “The project will distribute data-driven art in urban environments across the United States and will include a mobile application for public use. Utilizing data.gov, the project will allow the general public an enjoyable and engaging way to discover new information through artistic data visualization and interactivity.” Essentially, the project will allow for artists, designers and developers across the nation to create works in their own region based on creative coding assembled by the San Francisco–based Gray Area team.

Situated in San Francisco’s Tenderloin, Gray Area wanted to take part in the overall revitalization of the neighborhood by bringing some the city’s brightest creative talent to the district to assist in affecting change. As this center takes on even more demanding and worthwhile projects, there is one particular initiative that is both notable and eye-opening. The Creative Currency: New Tools for a New Economy is the latest initiative seeking to bring community leaders and organizers, politicians, artists and technology professionals together to affect change within a community with their collective skills.

Originally published and posted to Asterisk SF Magazine, please click here to view

ZERO1 Artist Alum, Scott Kildall ~ Tweets in Space, Experimental Art and Live Performance

ZERO1 artist alum, Scott Kildall, is working on yet another amazing arts and technology project, Tweets in Space. The project has been covered by BBC, Forbes, Scientific American, CNET, Tech Trendy, Tech Mash and many other media organizations! Below, you will find a full description of ‘Tweets in Space’ and links to the Rocket Hub fundraising page and the project site.

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Official Press Release and Text Source: Artists ‘Tweets in Space’ Project Site

Artists, Scott Kildall and Nathaniel Stern will beam Twitter discussions from participants worldwide towards GJ667Cc – an exoplanet 22 light years away that might support earth-like biological life. Anyone with an Internet connection can participate during two performance events, which will simultaneously take place online, at the International Symposium on Electronic Art (ISEA2012, New Mexico), and in the stars. By engaging the millions of voices in the Twitterverse and dispatching them into the larger Universe, Tweets in Space activates a potent discussion about communication and life that traverses beyond our borders or understanding. It is not just a public performance; it performs a public.

The artists will collect all Twitter messages tagged #tweetsinspace and transmit them into the cosmos via either a home-built or borrowed communication system. Our soon-to-be alien friends will receive scores of unmediated thoughts and feedback about politics, philosophy, pop culture, dinner, dancing cats and everything in between. All tweets will also be streamed to a live public website, where they’ll be permanently archived, as well as projected – as animated twitter spaceships towing messages – at the Balloon Museum and planetarium-like digital dome (IAIA), in Albuquerque and Santa Fe.

Your donation will help buy equipment that will enable the artists to build their own open-source transmission system, upgrade an existing one through partnership with another institution, and/or time with one of the world’s extant high-powered communicators. Any funds above our goal will pay for a better system, or go towards online coding, design, and promotion. RocketHub is not an investment or charity. It is an exchange: funds from fans for rewards from us: both the ability to send Tweets into Space, and then some. It’s an All & More funding mechanism for us: if we don’t reach our financial goal we get to keep what we raise. But if we do reach our goal, we get access to exciting opportunities.

Tweets in Space asks us to take a closer look at our spectacular need to connect, perform and network with others. It creates a tension between the depth and shallowness of sharing 140 characters at a time with the entire Internet world, in all its complexity, richness and absurdity, by transmitting our passing thoughts and responses to everywhere and nowhere. These “twitters” will be stretched across all time and space as a reflection on the contemporary phenomenon of the “status” updates we broadcast, both literal and metaphoric.

Please click here to help fund Tweets in Space via RocketHub* and to learn more info on the project, click here.

Kildall and Stern are slated to launch the project at ISEA — the International Symposium on Electronic Art — this September in New Mexico, and are excited and are now trying to raising $8500 since it turns out it’s pretty difficult to send messages into the cosmos.

* What is RocketHub? RocketHub is very much like Kickstarter, only a better fit for our project. They do direct credit card payments, instead of going through Amazon Payments, they can handle international orders and have more of a science focus.

Originally posted to ZERO1, please click here to view

ZERO1 Artist Alumni, Tim Roseborough ~ “A Puzzling Display” Online Arts and Culture Game

A Puzzling Display by Tim Roseborough

Official Press Release and Text Source: Tim Roseborough, Digital and New Media Artist

A Puzzling Display” is a new artist-created online arts and culture game, where registered participants compete and test their arts and culture knowledge. Inspired by the annual “puzzle hunts” hosted by institutions such as MIT and Microsoft, Silicon Valley digital artist Tim Roseborough has created “A Puzzling Display”: an Internet-based set of 20 intelligent and challenging interactive puzzles covering topics such as art history, music, film and culture.

In the 21st century, gaming and game-related paradigms are steadily integrating themselves into contemporary culture. “A Puzzling Display,” continues Roseborough’s exploration of the techniques and theories of gaming and play in the context of contemporary art. The website will be accompanied by an exhibition of Roseborough’s limited edition prints that translate each puzzle into the artist’s “Englyph” writing system, created via hieroglyphic-like images from everyday language. With an aim of blurring the distinction between fine art and diversion, Roseborough’s virtual artwork incorporates interactivity, video, sound art, and computer animation to take a fresh look at arts and culture. For “A Puzzling Display”, Roseborough has utilized limericks, silhouettes, common names, videos and art charades to challenge gamers.  All of the challenges are fun, but not all of them are easy. The order in which you play the challenges is up to you.

  • Win points for correct answers, check your overall progress and compare your score with other players on the scoreboard.
  • The competitive game time coincides with an exhibition of prints related to the game at the New Art Center in New York City.
  • The dates of the exhibition are May 1-19, 2012. The game begins at 8am EDT on May 1, 2012 and ends at 11:59pm EDT on May 20th, 2012.
  • The first five players to reach a perfect score or the highest five scorers at the end of the competition will receive 8″ x 10″ prints from the exhibition signed by the artist and infinite bragging rights!

A Puzzling Display: How to Play

1) Register:

Register for the game by choosing a username and email. You will be asked to verify your account with an email address. Your address will not be shared with or sold to a third party.

Q: Why do I have to register to play?

A: Registering with a username, password and email address will allow you to play the game at your pace, check your progress and compare your progress with others’.

2) Pick a Challenge:

Pick from twenty (20) challenges. You can play the challenges in any order you like.

Q: Should I start with the first puzzle? 

A: The challenges are loosely arranged from easier to more difficult, by you may have skills and knowledge that may help you do better on some puzzles more than others. Feel free to explore!

3) Explore the Puzzle:

Read the instructions above each puzzle carefully, as they hold clues to solving the puzzle. Be sure to click around the puzzle space below, as the challenges are sometimes behind the Englyph artwork.

Q: I’m stuck! Can I get some help?

A: Don’t be afraid to use search engines or the links provided at the bottom of this page to help you solve the puzzles.

4) Enter Your Answers

Answer entry fields are always below the puzzle space. As an aid, the correct number of letters for each answer is displayed. Your score on each challenge will be revealed immediately after you submit answers.

Q: Does punctuation count in the answers?

A: Letter counts do not include punctuation except for the dot (“.”) in a URL, but feel free to enter appropriate non-letter characters. They will not be counted in your answer. 

Q: How many times can I submit answers?

A: You can only submit answers once per challenge, so check them carefully before submitting. Feel free to write down your answers on scratch paper. 

Q: When can I see the correct answers?

A: Correct answers to the puzzles will only be posted after the main competition is over, after 11:59pm, May 20, 2012.

5) Check Your Progress

You can track your progress by clicking on the “My Progress” link and check your scores against other players by clicking on the “Scoreboard” link.

About the Artist

Tim Roseborough is a digital artist and musician. His artwork and exhibitions have been featured in numerous publications, including Art In America, ARTNews, San Francisco Chronicle, SF Arts Monthly, SF Examiner, and the San Francisco Bay Guardian. Roseborough has performed and exhibited his artwork nationally, including the 2010 ZERO1 Biennial, San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, Root Division, Artexpo New York, The Garage San Francisco, ARTWork SF, and the Catharine Clark Gallery in San Francisco. Mr. Roseborough lives and works in San Francisco, California. Please visit his site and learn more about A Puzzling Display here.

Interview with John Craig Freeman

I had the great pleasure and opportunity to ask artist, John Craig Freeman, a few questions regarding his art practice and work. Below, you will find some wonderful answers that include his perspective on the trajectory of public art and art as intervention. In addition, Freeman will be doing an artist talk at the SOMArts Cultural Center Thursday, March 29th! Lastly, there are spots left if you are still interested in taking his Augmented Reality Workshop this weekend. Please click here for more information.

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Dorothy Santos (DS): What was the impetus for you intermingling virtual art objects as interventions into physical space? Is there even room for translation to occur? Cognitively, I find it fascinating the way visual information is processed and what occurs when the two (virtual interventions and physical objects) are mixed versus an actual translation (i.e., virtual to physical, physical to virtual).

John Craig Freeman (JCF): My interest in public art as intervention precedes augmented reality technology by more than two decades. In 1990, I created “Operation Greenrun II,” which consisted of eleven 10′ X 40′ bitmap images on billboards along Highway 93 at the Rocky Flats nuclear weapons plant in Colorado. This project demonstrates an early interest in emergent technology as art practice and public art as intervention. Intervention in in both institutions of high culture and intervention in government policy and the institutions of the nation state. Think of the media as a kind of virtual reality, which of course it is, that can be intervened in. The decision to shutdown Rocky Flats was made in 1991, during the media firestorm this project was created, proving that art does have a role to play in tangible political change.

Whereas the public square was once the quintessential place to air grievances, display solidarity, express difference, celebrate similarity, remember, mourn, and reinforce shared values of right and wrong, it is no longer the only anchor for interactions in the public realm. That geography has been relocated to a novel terrain, one that encourages exploration of mobile location based monuments, and virtual memorials. Moreover, public space is now truly open, as artworks can be placed anywhere in the world, without prior permission from government or private authorities – with profound implications for art in the public sphere and the discourse that surrounds it.
In the early 1990s, we witnessed the migration of the public sphere from the physical realm, the town square, to the virtual realm – the Internet. In effect, the location of public discourse and the site of national identity formation has been extended into the virtual world. Augmented reality folds the distributed, placeless network back upon location and brings it crashing back down to place.

Using emergent technologies, including augmented reality, to produce large-scale public work at sites where the forces of globalization are impacting the lives of individuals in local communities, my work seeks to expand the notion of public by exploring how digital networked technology is transforming our sense of place.

Much of my work is located in contested places such as borders and ports. I like to explore, and make evident, the edges, if you like. The metaphor of liminal space can also be applied to the boundary between the physical and the virtual. Augmented reality makes this boundary porous, allowing the digital network to spill into the physical.

DS: This issue has been brought up several times in my writings, blog posts, and general conversation about new media and digital arts. I’m curious of your perspective. How do you envision people with very little or no accessibility to technology (i.e., no smartphone or android) to engage in the discourse of Augmented Reality?

JCF: I have had to contend with this question as well, most recently during a talk I gave at the College Art Association conference.

I have to say that the concern over this issue puzzles me in regard to both art and technology. To begin with, art has always been an elitist proposition. Even if people can afford the price of admission to the museum, conceptual access to the meaning of art and its value is carefully controlled by taste-makers and marketers. Incidentally, the Rocky Flats work was a response to the art world’s mission of social class reinforcement. Further, the ubiquity of cell phone technology is our best chance at the collapse of the digital divide. From the favelas of São Paulo to the shantytowns of Kinshasa, cell phones are becoming the rule rather than the exception. It is just a matter of time before these devices will all be internet ready. Less than a decade ago, it would cost tens of thousands of dollars to create a cave environment for viewing virtual reality. Augmented reality is virtual reality in your pocket.

DS: Typically, imagination conjures images from a story or a narrative. What role does the imagination play in Augmented Reality when the images are created and inserted into our visual perception?

JCF: The most profound example I can offer was from my experiences documenting to Border Memorial project in Southern Arizona last January. Each one of the data points represents a very specific location where human remains were recovered. Accordingly, each place I visited represented a very real and tragic story of how an individual person died trying to cross the desert in search of work and a better life. Although I was careful to strip individual names from the data, prior to the project being deployed, the scene was often rich with details. These details, both large and small, evidence of a campfire; fragments of clothes; empty water bottles, as well as the topology of the landscape, a sandy wash indicating the most likely route over the pass on the mountain just beyond, painted a sobering picture.

DS: Lastly, other than a formal intervention, how do you see Augmented Reality making an impact amongst traditional art institutions and patrons? More and more individuals are learning about the impact of new media and digital arts but there still seems to be a very specific following and engagement from the art community.

JCF: ManifestAR, the international artists’ collective with which I often work, formed after the groundbreaking uninvited augmented reality intervention at the MoMA in autumn of 2010. It is now the artist, not the curator, who decides which artworks can be placed where. The group sees this medium as a way of transforming public space and institutions, by responding to and overlaying the configuration of located physical meaning. Utilizing this technology as art is a new proposition that explores all that we know and experience as the mixture the real and the hyper-real. Art world power structures, the nature of art exhibitions and discourse, are all called into question, even the border between art and life itself.

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John Craig Freeman is a public artist with over twenty years of experience using emergent technologies to produce large-scale public works at sites where the forces of globalization are impacting the lives of individuals in local communities. John is currently an Associate Professor of New Media at Emerson College (Boston) in the Department of Visual and Media Arts and a Visiting Scholar at the Center for Research in Computing and the Arts at UC San Diego.

Originally posted to ZERO1

The Body Organic: From Language to Image and Interaction – Part II

It is wrong to say that in philosophy we consider an ideal language as opposed to our ordinary one. For this makes it appear as though we thought we could improve on ordinary language. But ordinary language is all right. Whenever we make up ‘ideal languages’ it is not in order to replace our ordinary language by them; but just to remove some trouble cause in someone’s mind by thinking that he has got hold of the exact use of a common word. That is also why our method is not merely to enumerate actual usages of words, but rather deliberately to invent new ones, some of them because of their absurd appearance.

~Ludwig Wittgenstein, Philosopher

Revisiting the questions in The Body Organic – Part I, does the new media artist have the ability to divorce language from their work?

The complex, universal, and abstract ideas simplified in Snibbe’s work capture the beauty of nature through beautiful calculation and minimalist design. Physical presence and engagement are integral to the overall experience of the art. Each experience is new. Yet, new media arts seems tethered to language. As Snibbe mentioned the limitations of language during an UpgradeSF artist talk, language is far too intertwined in new media, which presents an unprecedented challenge in redefining highly technological work as fine art. Although the body is a primary part in many new media art works and interactive pieces, the invention of new languages is imperative in the evolution of art and culture. Even with language having played a huge role in Dadaism and the Fluxus movement, the use of language in current new media arts creates an organic experience involving the senses and uses language to create image and interaction. As programmers, developers, and creative coders, the creation of platforms such as Processing enable artists to take language and create visual works but what happens when the limitation of language riddles the next wave of artists? The inescapable reliance on language (i.e., programming and coding) persists.

Originally published to zero1 blog. Please view post here