Google Images

January 31st, 2012

Amazing to see how people are taking Google’s image capturing technology and adapting it for their own art.  Top, Aaron Hobson’s photo-stitched images taken from remote Google street views are both beautiful and haunting.  Below, Jenny Odell uses Google satellite photos to create collages of related objects.  There is something so satisfying about seeing objects grouped together.  The photo above shows a collection of salt ponds.

Image Lust

January 29th, 2012

Beautiful post at Ill Seen, Ill Said about the impulses and reactions created by paintings vs. photographs.  We see many images online that make us bookmark, pin and file them away.  Sometimes though, they are nothing more than beautiful junk mail, causing us to lust after items outside of our means – leaving us thinking our spaces, objects and lives are a little less wonderful because we do not live inside those lovely pictures.

However if you consider a painting of an interior instead of the staged photo you, “respond more abstractly to form, composition, colour, light, mood.”  That is so true.  It would be interesting to try and help people de-lust after their pinned images by changing the photos into a new form.

Museums by Murray Moss

December 28th, 2011

LDF Special: Murray Moss from It's Nice That on Vimeo.

Museum programming has been on my mind a lot lately.  Not only because it is an area of huge potential for museums to connect with visitors, but also because I recently took a position designing these happenings for the Denver Art Museum. One part of this job involves creating the museum’s monthly late nights called Untitled.  I have been involved with DAM’s Untitled before and am beyond excited to be working on these projects on a regular basis.

But one thing troubled me as I began to plan for the 2012 season of events, and what was even worse was that I could not seem to find a way to articulate it.  As I have witnessed and read about museum late nights around the world, there seems to be a huge variety of approaches – and not all of them are noteworthy.  I can appreciate that each institution has its own mission and methods, but some of these events come across as a little shallow.  Thumping music and setting up a bar alone do not constitute valuable museum experiences.  Add a token lecture/tour and it’s a program!

The Denver Art Museum has really been a leader in this area, producing Untitled events for several years and pushing the boundaries in every direction.  It’s exciting to be at a place that values the unexpected and also realizes the importance of connecting with its exhibitions.  It seems like some museums, in the quest for being culturally relevant, have left the culture out of it and ignored their greatest assets – their collections.

Then I came across a story about Murray Moss (the design boss of NY), who recently collaborated with the V&A during the London Design Festival.  At the museum’s request, Moss invited a handful of designers/artists to create a 3-D printed work related to a piece in the V&A collection.  The exhibition was wonderful, but what was even more intriguing was Moss’s commentary in the various interviews I found.  Hearing about his approach, as the invited curator, was so refreshing.  And then, during one of the many videos I watched (at about second 52 above), Mr.Moss muttered the words that I have been struggling to find. Describing his planning, Moss said the first thing he wrote down was: Do not use the museum as a cool address. And just like that, he summed up my piles of notes, conversations and feelings.  There are so many ways to produce programming that is meaningful, experimental, powerful and enjoyable.  We do not need to treat the museum merely as a venue to gain the interest of our audiences.  His simple words rung so true and clear, I printed them out and have them staring at me above my desk.  As I look forward to next year and lots of amazing projects at the DAM, I will be keeping Mr. Moss’s mantra close at hand.

Bookmark 2: Yumiko Ishihara

October 31st, 2011

This one is a new bookmark, but it was on my mind and thus jumped up the queue.  Japanese architect Yumiko Ishihara made this striking display as part of the recent Yokohama Triennale. Made from 3,000 chopsticks and bamboo rods, this piece is lovely for its simplicity, but also its ability to be both a shelf and a guide.  It keeps sight lines open, leading visitors through the space and carving out nice coves like the video viewing area shown above.

(via designboom.com)

Lee Mingwei

October 28th, 2011

Artist Lee Mingwei recently installed his latest participatory artwork, ‘The Moving Garden’, at the Brooklyn Museum in New York. Located in the museum’s lobby, the piece includes a 45 ft. long table filled with roses. The purpose of the piece is simple, and yet really powerful. Mingwei asks that if you take a rose, you fulfill two missions. One is to take a detour on the way to your next destination and the second is to give the rose to a stranger along the way. I love projects that get visitors interacting, but also extend beyond the gallery walls.  Incorporating projects into the public realm is exciting and I see it is as a vastly untapped method for cultural institutions to reach new audiences and have an impact on their communities.  Lee Mingwei is new to me and browsing through the amazing projects on his website is inspirational – take some time to explore his work.

You can follow participants’ stories of giving and receiving through Twitter at #mygardengift.

Playing Apart

October 26th, 2011

It may be snowing today in Denver, but this weekend there are promises of 70 degrees and marching bands.  Artists Jon Rubin, (of the amazing Waffle Shop) and Lee Walton are teaming up with students from the local Bear Creek Marching Band to present Playing Apart.  During two 30 minute performances, members of the 90 piece band will wander downtown Denver, walking independently, but playing a united song.  At points, they may meet up, or just pass each other by.  I will head down to see if I can get some footage to share.

Bookmark 1: Museum of Lost Interactions

October 12th, 2011

I bookmarked the Museum of Lost Interactions (MoLI) website three years ago when the exhibition was about Forgotten Chairs.  Led by professor Graham Pullin, design students at the University of Dundee examine the history of interaction design before our digital age.  In a Museum of Jurassic Technology-esque way, the students then research and exhibit their findings.  Recent exhibitions have included Curious Timepieces and Hats from the Attic. The artifacts presented are a blend of historical fiction, social inquiry and design innovation.  For each display, the students create supporting material for the exhibit; including photos, documentaries and re-creations of the forgotten devices.

I love MoLI because of its specificity – it was designed as an assignment for a University course, but has grown into something much richer.  I am also interested because of the incorporation of design fiction.  Exhibits are about connecting people with information and each other – the methods used to do this are completely open, whether it be from history books, the imagination or an intriguing blend of both.

Bookmarks

October 1st, 2011

I have lots of websites bookmarked, way too many in fact.  To say I am an avid bookmarker is a probably an understatement.  At any given moment I typically have 20-30 tabs open and only with a great deal of internal struggle can I finally close a tab by bookmarking the site in a folder.  That’s becuase I love being surrounded by information.  I use the bookmarks of interesting articles and pictures both for posts and my own personal library of thoughts.  Too often though, this library stays closed up and I forget about all the amazing bits of inspiration I have found all over the web.

And then I remember I have several blogs.  So in an effort to share this library, and my ideas, I will be posting items from my archives. Sort of like a digital cleanse and an opportunity for reflection.  I am going to try really hard not to self-edit or choose only certain bookmarks to share, but instead just steadily tick down the list as I have saved them.  Some sites represent something very simple, like a certain color, while others touch on much larger and more complicated topics.  For each post, I will share what it was that struck me and made me love it so.  I hope you will love it too.

Blu Dot Swap Meet

March 3rd, 2011

I’m not usually into re-posting something from my other site, Designklub, over here, but this campaign is genius.  Blu Dot, the cool furniture company from Minnesota, is hosting a Swap Meet on their website.  People select an item from the Blu Dot collection that they would like to own and post a reasonable trade.  If Blu Dot likes the offer, they will swap them for it.  Easy and awesome.

I would love to see a museum or cultural venue try this: why not swap some memberships for volunteer time, or art skills, or merchandising help in the shop, or landscaping assistance, or anything?  Why not up the ante and swap off the deaccessions for some serious skills or goods (event planning services, chairs for your lobby)?  Swap a day at the museum for you and 30 friends for carpentry work. Libraries always have book sales.  Maybe they should try some swapping instead to encourage some civic engagement.

The Work Office

March 3rd, 2011

The Work Office, located in NYC, was a temporary art project, “disguised as an employment agency.”  Organized by Katarina Jerinic and Naomi Miller, the project was inspired by the 1930’s Works Progress Administration (WPA) which employed thousands of people during the Depression.  Jerinic and Miller translated the idea of “making work” by setting up an art gallery/work center to hire local artists to complete certain tasks.

Challenges such as ‘giving a concert for your houseplant’ or ‘recording an oral history’ were issued weekly to utilize the artists’ skills while offering them a small wage.  For each completed task, artists were given a paycheck in line with Depression era salaries.  At the end of each week, the Work Office hosted Payday parties that served to issue checks and share the artwork produced by each challenge.

This is the best kind of community art project, one that spins and spreads to encompass a web of participants.  The project started in 2009 and ran again in 2010.  I hope they get funding to continue their work this year as well.

Artist Credits

Top Image: Sarah Nicole Phillips: Curbside Object Status Tag, Challenge: Document a Need for Repairs

Bottom image: Lori Nelson: Souvenirs of a Recession, Challenge: Record and Oral History