Monday, June 9, 2014

Convection Conception: a birthday party for bread

For my final project of Digital Processes, I  staged a performance art event a la Rirkrit Tiravanija. It was a birthday party. for bread.
 The facebook invitation read as follows: 

Who's birthday? BREAD!
When? Monday June 9th at 5:30
Where? Wriston Ampitheater

Why? Because bread is life.

This idea began with the desire to share with the collective 'you' my passion for baking bread. I feel a possesive, maternal, and deeply spiritual connection to bread's yeasty goodness. Upon further research, I learned that the word "companion" literally breaks down into "to share bread." Bread sustains us, brings us together, and and plays an integral role in our social, cultural, economic lives.

I invite you to come break bread with me and join in the basic, but essential ritual of consuming delicious bread babies

I bought party hats, plates, napkins, and a tablecloth in preparation for this event. I awoke at 6 am the morning of June 9th to begin baking the loaves for the 5:30pm event. The total came to 1 loaf of french bread, 1 loaf of rosemary, 2 loaves of challah, 1 loaf of focaccia, and two loaves of wheat.  To my genuine delight, people came!!!

The birthday party was a great success. I can;t begin to express the joy I felt upon seeing everyone in party hats. Moreover, I truly felt that the gathering of people around a common, shared food item encapsulated Bourriaud's concept of relationalism. The art wasn't so much the bread as it was the people who shared it, and the social component that permeated the entire piece.  

Tuesday, June 3, 2014


"Let the beauty of what we love be what we do.
There are hundreds of ways to kneel and kiss the ground"
This is my final project for the 'Dance and the Camera' course.
It was inspired by Lawrence Concert Choir's Spring 2012 performance of a piece by J. David Moore (b. 1962) titled
"There are Hundreds of Ways to Kneel and Kiss the Ground."
(see link below)

The text is a poem by Rumi, presented in a musical accumulation

Sunday, May 11, 2014

Henry Bond

Video, for example, is nowadays becoming a predominant medium. But if Peter Land, Gillian Wearing and Henry Bond, to name just three artists, have a preference for video recording, they are still not “video artists.” This medium merely turns out to be one of the best suited to the formalization of certain activities and projects.” ~Nicolas Bourriaud

Henry Bond (b. 1966) is a London-based street photographer and psychoanalyst. 

Bond graduated from the University of London in 1988, and was among the ranks of those who went on to be known as the YBA's. He then went on to earn his Master's at Middlesex University, and his Doctorate's at the University of Glouchestershire, studying psychoanalysis. He was particularly influenced by the teachings of French psychoanalyst Jacques Lacan, and went on to publish Lacan at the Scene (2009), in which Bond applies Lacanian psychoanalytic theory to homicide-related crime scenes.

Henry Bond is most well known for his street photography. His work deals with ideas of surveillance, voyeurism and paparazzi photojournalism. These themes arise in both Point and Shoot (2000), and the video that Bond created, titled "The South of France" (featured below). It is this type of video work that Bourriaud references when dropping Bond's name in his Relational Aesthetics. I believe that his argument, though a little vague and ill supported, is trying to convey that artists of the current era are less likely to be defined by a single genre.

Henry Bond is currently the senior lecturer of Photography at Kingston University.

Friday, May 2, 2014

Vivian Maier

"A riddle, wrapped in a mystery, inside an enigma."
~ from the "About" section of

Vivian Maier (1926-2009) was a nanny, and covert street photographer. The mystery and intrigue that surrounds her relates to how secretive she was about her photography during her lifetime. It was only after her death that her work was discovered - nearly 100,000 undeveloped negatives left in a storage unit that was put up for auction in 2007. Since this discovery, there has been Vivian Maier craze of sorts, with people interested in the mystery of her life, the professionalism of her works, and the ownership rights of her photographic legacy.

I had the honor of hearing Pamela Bannos,
senior lecturer in Northwestern University's Department of Art Theory and Practice,  speak about her extensive research on Vivian Maier and her "fractured archive." She described her dedication to demystifying Maier's life, and her process of research that bordered on the practice of forensic science.

Throughout Pamela's talk, I was continually struck by how amazing it is that Maier was capable of keeping such a high level of secrecy. I think my wonder stems from the contrast of Maier's guarded life in comparison to the world we live in today - one of constant sharing (see video below)

Wednesday, April 23, 2014

yet another cat video

 "If a work of art is successful, it will invariably set its sights beyond its mere presence in space: it will be an open dialogue, discussion, and that form of inter-human negotiation that Marcel Duchamp called 'the coefficient of art', which is a temporal process, being played out here and now."
~Nicolas Bourriaud, Relational Aesthetics

Cats are a universal language, and a universal art.

 No, seriously, think about it. Cats are hilarious, and since the dawn of lolcats, the internet has been the strongest forum for sharing funny cat pictures and videos. If we consider Bourriaud's definition of "successful art," then the mass spread of cat memes marks one of the most successful art movements of our time. Cats transcend time and medium; each time someone sends a cat picture, shows a friend a cat video, or quotes a cat meme, they are creating relational art. 

I offer yet another cat video to the countless others in an effort to further this great contemporary art movement.


Monday, April 14, 2014

a lot has changed in 4 years

I am fascinated by the forum of the bathroom wall.  

During my time attending New Trier, a MASSIVE public school in the middle of a very wealthy part of the "North Shore" of Chicago, I experienced the beauty of these ladies' bathroom forums. Dialogues, criticisms, gossip, quotes and commentary were all things I recall seeing whilst sitting on the loo. It was the criticisms that really excited me though, the real mean stuff. Luckily for me, it was everywhere. (I attribute the surplus of negative commentary to the way that attending such a large and impersonal school made people crazy, in combination with the easy accessibility of bathroom walls and sharpies).

I was back at home this past weekend, and with Bourriaud's Relational Aesthetics in mind, decided to utilize these stalls as my "Arena of Exchange" in order to provoke more of those  juicy critical comments (or whatever people decided to respond). On a blank sheet of paper I wrote:

(write the meanest thing you can think of)

I prepped ten of these sheets and snuck in to the school.
So much had changed - in the bathrooms (everything else was the same). New plastic doors had been installed in the majority of bathrooms to replace the old wooden ones. I suspect that this replacement was made in an effort to decrease the graffiti that I so loved, since permanent maker is easier to clean off plastic than wood. I really had to search to find stalls that had any writing at all

When I finally did find some writing, the content was just as shocking to me as the new doors. They were positive messages! I really had to hunt to find something the least bit mean (pictured above).


Still, I forged ahead, planted all ten of my "arenas" in ladies' bathrooms around the campus, and waited. I let two class periods pass before going to collect the results (an ample amount of time considering the size of the student body and amount of traffic that travels through those stalls). Then came the next shock:

All of my Anonymous Hate Mail forums had been torn down.

I found them all in their respective bathroom's trash can. Such blatant rejection of my prompt both frustrated and inspired me. I chose to focus on the second reaction as I gathered my things and left the school. Clearly something has changed within the past four years at New Trier High School. Either students are making a genuine effort to promote positive relations, or custodians have gotten much much better at purging restrooms of negativity. Whichever it is, I left the school feeling hopeful.

Tuesday, April 8, 2014

Where do we come from? Cosmogony 2.0

"Where do we come from?

Much like the stars scattered throughout the night sky, we seemingly come from everywhere and from nowhere: from chaos, from a silvery egg, from ice, from earth and saliva, from mud, from tears."
~Carol Emmons

I had the privilege to view artist Carol Emmons' installation of Cosmogony 2.0 before it officially opened. I walked through the gallery in a state of awe. There were colored gels over the ceiling lights and lines of text crossing every which way. Never before had I seen this gallery's ceiling space artfully utilized, and I was excited. Furthermore, the objects she chose to display gave me vivid memories of walking through the Galileo Museum on Florence, Italy a little over a year ago during my semester abroad. I left the space enveloped in a sense of wonder and mystery. 

However, my science boner quickly went flaccid upon attending Emmons' talk. It became clear that she didn't really understand her work either. Hers was a situation in which I admired her more with less understanding about her artistic intent. The cradles on tracks filled with trinkets were elements of the installation that I had previously mused over. Post lecture, I found them cliched. The ladder that led into the skylight of the space lost its mystique after hearing Emmons' explanation that "there was a hole, and I just wanted to put something in it." Perhaps her work fell short as a result of the enormity of her subject: the genesis of the universe, cosmogony itself.

Friday, April 4, 2014


"Art is a state of encounter"
~Nicolas Bourriaud, Relational Aesthetics

My idea for the first project of this term is inspired by surveillance cameras and monitors.

I found this picture from a Google image search of "surveillance footage." Is it an advertisement? Why is she pregnant?  Why is there SO MUCH SmartWater? The world may never know.

Back in the day, (and still very much in my current days) one of my favorite places to visit was the friendly neighborhood Walgreens. Beyond the glory of cheap makeup and cheaper candy was the thrill of entering the establishment and seeing yourself on the surveillance monitor . It's worth noting that my memories occurred in a pre "selfie" time. As such, the crappy monitor at the local drug store was the closest one could get to feeling superficially famous - or infamous. The way you'd see yourself was the same way you'd see criminals in surveillance footage on "America's Most Wanted." BUT, you'd be seeing yourself on TV, which is always a thrilling notion. It's completely different than seeing yourself in the mirror. I used to spend an embarrassing amount of time watching myself in that monitor. I'd make stupid faces, do little dances, etc., all in the spirit of seeing and being seen

Thus, my idea for the first project of this term is inspired by surveillance cameras and monitors. I want to set up a camera at the Info Desk of the Campus Center, and have the footage linked to the television monitor above the desk. I want to see the way people react to seeing themselves. I then want to compile these reactions into a 2-4 minute video with the aim of furthering the continuum of "being seen."