Getting Lucky at SOMArts Cultural Center

We create a community of multi-disciplinary artists who fuse eastern philosophies and practices in their work. This new community engages musicians, architects, visual artists, sculptors, videographers, and others in a conversation and exchange that evokes the spirit of John Cage and his impact on avant-garde art that permeates and vibrates throughout the bay area. ~ Hanna Ragev, Co-Curator

Mathematicians, scientists, and artists are all driven by uncertainty. Chance operations might entail risk but it also lends itself well towards calculated steps. All of these factors drive innovation. As difficult as it may be to relinquish control in anything we do, chance is what helps create substantive work. This is particularly true for artists. But the belief that chance will deliver success is futile. Yet, with these elements, any favorable outcome from chance offers a catharsis from unproductive habits and stagnancy. One of the most notable iconic art figures, John Cage, best known for his experimental methods and approaches to music and art creation takes center stage as the inspiration for current exhibition Get Lucky: The Culture of Chance now showing at the SOMArts Cultural Center in San Francisco, CA. Curators, Hanna Regev and Justin Hoover, gathered a wide array of talented artists working in a wide range of media paying homage to Cage’s legacy.

Chance operation, which was so boldly undertaken by John Cage as a structural tool for fine art production is often misunderstood as haphazard. It is quite the opposite. John Cage developed exact structures with precise timing, scoring, and rule sets in order to re-frame the relationship between chance and choice in the western tradition. He used a proscenium setting to realize his pieces and yet his influence expanded to all aspects of contemporary and modern art. He largely looked to Chinese and Japanese traditional cultures for influence in how to determine his chance structures and opened the door for a precise indeterminacy. We are much in debt to his playfulness and precision. ~ Justin Hoover, Co-Curator

As Hoover mentioned, the relationship between chance and choice inevitably creates structure as seen in the artworks shown in Get Lucky. From textiles to multimedia installations, the show offers the viewer an incredible look into Cage’s influence on contemporary art practitioners. Michelle Wilson’s edible paper explores creating from a variety of food and vegetable products that look at unpredictability. Michael Bartalos’s cardboard boxes mimic building blocks with words that can be rearranged to create words and phrases leaving it up to the viewer to decide what other viewers will read. Immediately to the left and right, Tony May’s and David Middlebrook’s boat pieces are inversions of the other. One suspended while the other seems held up precariously by what appears to be bamboo shoots. In the midst of all the activity, sounds of Garrett La Fever, David Molina, and Mickey Tachibana’s collective artwork, Memory Web, resonate from the screening room. On the other side of the gallery, Mauro ffortisimo plays impromptu pieces from his deconstructed piano. ZERO1 alumni, Scott Kildall and Tim Roseborough present the idea of chance as a game. Aspects of the opening event harked to the days of Happenings and the emergence of relational aesthetics. As the viewers became active participants in the creation of art, the interplay between creation and consumption between artist and viewer presents another variable in how the art objects evolve.

Exhibiting artists include:
Nick Agid, Kirkman Amyx, Michael Bartalos, Richard Berger, Antonio Cortez, EXCOR (led by Sherry Parker), Mauro ffortisimo, Nancy Genn, Bryan Hewitt, Vita Hewitt, Robin Hill, Janet Jones, Nolan Jones, Theodora Varnay Jones, Jonathon Keats, Scott Kildall, Naomie Kremer, Jon Kuzmich, Garrett La Fever, Tony May, Jim Melchert, David Middlebrook, David Molina, Luke Ogrydziak, Micky Tachibana, Sandra Ortiz Taylor, Zoe Prillinger, Renee Rhodes, Tim Roseborough, Micky Tachibana, Kenneth Wilkes, Michelle Wilson

Originally posted to ZERO1. Please view posting here

I couldn’t help it. I had to post an excerpt of Frank Lesser’s piece. I’m a huge fan of prose that capture the virtual behavior and etiquette (or lack thereof) even if the story is a bit outlandish. The funnier a story, the more truthful it is. Wouldn’t you say that’s true?

So, TRUST ME…this is an incredibly great read and hilarious reflection on our post modern/hyper modern (a nod to a great artist) existence.

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Better Off as Friend-Requesters by Frank Lesser

As a result of their breakup, Mike Bennett and Jen Grunwald hereby agree to end all online contact immediately, subject to the terms and conditions set forth below, and also to both parties getting a good Wi-Fi signal.

Mr. Bennett and Ms. Grunwald (hereinafter “the former couple”) shall change their Facebook relationship status to “Single” within three (3) days of each other, and no more than three (3) weeks from the end of their relationship. Furthermore, each party shall wait a minimum of six (6) months before changing his or her status to “In a relationship,” even if said new relationship began earlier. Should either party be tagged in a photo with a new significant other before the expiration of the agreed-upon grace period, both parties shall be subject to a court-ordered defriending.

Additionally, both parties agree that any friend of the opposite sex added by Ms. Grunwald during this six-month period shall be assumed by Mr. Bennett to be more than friends.

The two parties shall not comment on the same Huffington Postpieces to avoid a hostile environment (hereinafter “a flame war”).Huffington Post visitation rights shall be as follows: Mr. Bennett shall comment solely on world news, New York politics, and Christina Hendricks’s STUNNING red-carpet dress. Ms. Grunwald shall comment solely on national news, style, and John Cusack’s musings on monetary policy…read the rest by clicking here!

I'm tellin' ya. Touching my actuator tickles. In a good way (I think).

I’ve gone through the videos and quizzes for the Intro to Artificial Intelligence (AI) class and it’s pretty fun and engaging. Sebastian Thrun has done a great job at providing the basics. He actually has the type of voice that smiles (if you can imagine that). I’m catching up and looking forward to Peter Norvig’s lectures and problem solving videos. The first set of video lectures has been about defining an intelligent agent, various applications of AI (i.e., in Medicine, Games, Finance, Robotics, etc.), and AI environments.

Something worth sharing is the definition of an Intelligent Agent. According to Thrun, an intelligent agent (IA) can intuit something about its environment through its sensors. Then, the sensors affecting the IA’s state through its actuators (mechanical device or source of energy). In humans, actuators run the gamut. I’ve oversimplifying here but if you’re an athlete, your actuators are your limbs (i.e., for catching, throwing, skating past your opponent, etc.)? Sounds about right. Nifty, eh?

Hey! How does Data have a beard and bear a striking resemblance to Brian Wilson? That's some advanced finagling of sensors!

Overall, the class is meant to explore the question of how AI make decisions based on data into the sensors then carried out by its actuators. I’m hoping the class will inspire me to get back into playing around with Processing (maybe even C++, okay, maybe not but one day) and looking at New Media arts differently. I’m sure it will.

Okay, I think I need to start watching Star Trek: Next Generation and study up on the character, Data? First question, how the hell is Data so incredibly pasty? I guess being on a ship (in space) doesn’t allow for any kind of work on a tan.

Click on the image to visit The Spectacular Seat site

So, did you click on the image above to learn about The Spectacular Seat performance piece by Art Research Team (aka, artist, Tim Roseborough)? Go on, click on the image and read through the description and please feel free to submit a comment. I would like to know, do you think this is art? I’m interested to read your thoughts on the matter and would love to start a dialogue with you. By the way, this piece will be exhibiting at the Keeping an Eye on Surveillance show opening this weekend at the Performance Art Institute of San Francisco this Saturday, September 10, 2011.

A Los Angeles Aesthetic is definitely one of my favorite art bloggers. Her love for art has led her to Venice and she’s bringing shots of the Biennale to art lovers all of the world!!!

A few words for LAA…

THANK YOU, THANK YOU, and THANK YOU for sharing and I can’t wait to see more Pavilion shots and read more of your reflections! One day…I’m going to make it out to Venice myself. 2012, perhaps!? Again, LAA, you’re so awesome!

We live in a society exquisitely dependent on science and technology, in which hardly anyone knows anything about science and technology.

~ Carl Sagan, American Astronomer, Writer, and Scientist