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I went to the Night Light: Multi-Media Garden Party at the SOMArts Cultural Center. It was great seeing friends and meeting some wonderful artists. Below, you’ll find some footage I shot of Radka Pulliam‘s piece, Up and Down the Street. It’s quite clever in that the viewer must “look in” the building to “look out” at the street view. The placement was spot on since it was in a relatively inconspicuous place towards the front of the entrance. I noticed people stopped when they noticed someone looking down and ponder the location of the projection.

One of the memorable performances of the evening was the Spanish Contemporary dance routine of Elias Aguirre and Alvaro Esteban. They are amazing. The isolations and articulation of their bodies is best seen in person. If you were at Night Light, you would know exactly what I’m talking about. Fortunately, there is a video of this phenomenal Spanish Contemporary Dance duo.

This past weekend was rife with art. First, the Get Lucky: The Culture of Chance exhibition at SOMArts Cultural Center on Friday evening. Then, Saturday, Disrupture at icTus gallery in the Mission District of San Francisco. Check out the shows if you are able. I will be working on a write-up for Disrupture so please be on the look out for something a bit more polished to follow.

In the meantime, here are a few photos I snapped during opening night! Enjoy!

Upon entering...
An intro to the show
A view of Jenifer Wofford's work for the show
C. Ree's work titled, Overhead
Video installation and work of Heather Sparks

An amazing start to the weekend with Recology SF opening for Scott Kildall. I captured some video footage of Scott’s piece, Live Transmission. Kildall created the work using a turntable, DVD player, projector, wiring, and circuitry. The projection simulated a transmission of the distant future where humans salvage and re-create a world they once knew. By re-appropriating the technology we utilize today in this particular series presents an environment where the objects we discard outlive us and what might happen when humans must recreate and reinterpret the world through these objects. According to the artist, Live Transmission was one of the easier works to produce! Brilliant…

If you are not familiar with the Recology SF Artist In Residency program, it’s a wonderful opportunity for artists to bring their ideas and concepts into fruition. You can learn more about the residency here and learn about past artists as well as upcoming residents.

Mattel's Video Girl Barbie

It takes a lot to make me uneasy. A couple months ago, I was listening to National Public Radio (NPR) and heard a story about Mattel’s Video Girl Barbie, which piqued my interest considering the doll prompted an FBI warning. You can listen to the Morning Edition story here. It made me incredibly uneasy because innocent play seems strange all of sudden.

Technology not only moves us faster into a higher and more sophisticated level of surveillance, it almost dictates our behaviors and actions (on a daily basis). The Video Girl Barbie is just one aspect of how technology permeates through the ages. To play Devil’s Advocate though before angry mothers start bashing on the creator of the Video Barbie, many phones can capture video and some have HD capabilities. Almost anyone can produce some record and/or documentation of anyone. Considering that my 4 year old cousin knows how to navigate around an iPhone (i.e., the iTot Generation), well, a doll isn’t going to stop anyone from voyeuristic tendencies but it, certainly, has you thinking, doesn’t it? Growing up, my mother limited my phone usage and television viewing. These days, I’ll go out with my niece or goddaughter and I’m convinced they would be able to identify all the dents on their phones before they notice my new haircut. Being in my early 30s (I still consider myself very young), we fall on the cusp of appreciating chain letters, pager code language, and passing notes (not texts messages). As ubiquitous as phones have become, the mobile phone consumer now has the power of surveillance in their own hands. Vigilante surveillance? Goodness, now we have a taxonomy of surveillance! Insane, I tell ya!

There’s a lot of ground to cover here so I’ll just say that all this is prompted by Bay Area Curator and Writer, Hanna Regev‘s, upcoming work on Surveillance. I’ll post more but here’s a little poll based on Ms. Ragev’s questions regarding the topic at hand.

Hot off the presses…Enjoy!

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Is the imagination a mode of technology? What role does the imagination play in technological advancements such as sensor-laden homes, personal GPS devices, and televisions that can display four channels simultaneously? Artists for Retro-Tech, an exhibition at the San Jose Museum of Art, answer the question of how imagination operates in combination with technical knowledge, and ask the viewer to engage in re-working notions of technology quite imaginatively.

The exhibition includes Katya Bonnenfant, Aleksandra Mir, Tim Hawkinson, Scott Kildall and Victoria Scott, among others. Each salvages what may have been forgotten by colliding past and present, known with the unknown, imaginary and physical space.

Mir’s collages re-contextualize imaginary space and religious iconography. She delicately places pious imagery within galactic space. Through such visual dichotomies, the viewer must reconcile unearthly opposites. In Aerial Mobile (1998), Hawkinson utilizes television antennae, fabric, and strings to provoke the viewer into seeing an obsolete object—the television antennae—in a different modality. The object embodies movement rather than functioning as it has historically, to make a moving picture still.

Bonnenfant meshes old and new technologies in her piece 2:57 Onibaba Anguish from “Vintage Packaging for Animation” (2009). In it, digital animation commands the viewer’s attention via an iPod Touch carefully installed within a vintage clock. Her craftsmanship in re-fashioning a retro digital clock illustrates what happens when imagination works in tandem with technology. Her confinement of the new by the old forces the viewer to recognize rapid change in a digital age.

The “No Matter” collection is the opposite of its name, but playful semantics remind patrons that these art objects, at one point, were derived from the imagination. Scott Kildall and Victoria Scott venture into a virtual economy by working with

Scott Killdall and Victoria Scott. Gift Horse, 2010; installation view photographed in progress. Courtesy of the Artists and the San Jose Museum of Art.

Second Life users to bring imaginary objects into physical space by painstakingly and meticulously creating paper sculptures from inkjet prints on archival paper from digital renderings. In addition, the complexity of Kildall and Scott’s process and production alone couldn’t have prepared the museum staff for the arrival of a monumental thirteen-foot-tall Trojan Horse, reconstructed as a No Matter project and embedded with handcrafted viruses by visitors and artists alike. The horse was “gifted” to the museum and served as an incredible bridge between new technology and old-fashioned art making.

The exhibition also includes the work of Jennifer Allora and Guillermo Calzadilla from Puerto Rico; the collaborative work of REBAR (Blaine Merker, John Bela, and Matthew Passmore), from San Francisco; Camille Scherrer from La Tour-de-Peilz, Switzerland: Xu Zhen from Shanghai, and Ricardo Miranda Zúñiga, based in New York. Although these artists present varying methods of reinventing old technologies, collectively they show imagination and technology are, perhaps, synonymous. Technology makes one more imaginative, but it is the imagination that provides the impetus for technological advancement and ingenious iterations of the past.

You can visit the Shotgun write-up here