Tuesday, June 26, 2007


Pitchfork: What did collage mean for you 10 years ago and what does it mean now?

Cornelius: Ten years ago I used to gather different peoples' sounds, people's samplings, and patch them together cut-and-paste. But now, I create, record each sound and put them up together.


"I just can't drink whiskey like I usta could"

Collage and the use of appropriated material is not what it used to be. Call it post-post-modern, or maybe another embrace of modernism, I'm still working through this muddy notion. Consider the following albums "Endtroducing" DJ Shadow (1996) "Carpal Tunnel Syndrom" Kid Koala (2000) and "Lost & Safe" The Books (2004). In the past 10 years, artists have been appropriating material differently than previous generations. I think the difference lies in the degree of attachment to images (or sounds). The 90's was a time marked by irony, a separation between our experience and reality. caution. Now there seems to be an embrace, or engulfing of imagery and our experience. apathy. I'd like to develop this further as a statement but for now i'll leave it as a question.

Sunday, June 17, 2007

Regular Cat

This is the 'regular cat car' that my son Ethan requested for his pine wood derby race. It wasnt designed for speed, but it placed him 2nd out of 22 in the 7 year and under category.

after much consideration i changed the name of my blog to presto samo, which is an inside joke my wife (then girlfriend) and I had about a magician who didnt know any magic tricks. I was just informed that presto samo is a story that my wife Melissa made up about a magician whose only trick was to make things stay the same. I tried registering Pierce, Cole Pierce, Semaphore, Wizzzard, Elsewhere, and Loophole but they were all taken.

Wednesday, June 13, 2007

P.G. & L.C.

Phillip Glass and Leonard Cohen together is better than anything they could have done apart. Perhaps the summer picnic at Ravinia buttered my toast. It sounded like Einstein on the Beach with complex lyrics and without the agitating repetition.

Friday, June 8, 2007

A blog of interest and unrest

The writing on your blog is fascinating. While I anticipated the relational project that we were assigned, I was curious to know what you would come up with given the high standards you set with your previous questions and comments. I’m afraid to say that your “Dirty Numbers” project disappointed me. But take into account your brilliant revue of the diy show and all those smart questions you asked Rainbow Video. The project didn’t really stand a chance. But its still a good project. I love binary information, especially when I look at all those zeros and ones on dirtynumbers.blogspot.com and know that they translate into something dirty. (I once knew this guy who had just immigrated from Mexico and the only English he knew he learned from porno flicks.) Epic Romance seems an appropriate title, because the sense I get from your blog and the way you use language is on one hand a gross reduction of communication into code, or on the other hand romantic and celebratory of subjective interconnections. These opposing elements could give birth to many more interesting combinations.

A blog of interest and unrest


I’m trying to relate Lisa Majer’s project on her blog to the rest of her work, and I think I've got it figured out. At first I didn’t get it, I didn’t understand why she replied to a survey about language. I guess the point is that the language you speak can be alienating and isolating as well as connective tissue. Vaguely, I think Lisa explores the dark side of culture, or at least she considers the disconnect in humanity. Looking at her paintings is like spelunking into a foreign bedroom where the bed hasn’t been made for weeks and laundry is way overdue and don’t even think about looking underneath the bed. Domesticity, as a metaphor of all things internal is equivalent to your culture’s native language.

this revue of Leafcutter John's album "The Housebound Spirit" seams relevant.

A blog of interest and unrest


The trouble with anonymity. I think I know who Yum Yum is. Lord of Yum Yum may be Paul Velat, but my wife tells me that Yum Yum is Chris Holmes. The last time I spoke with Chris was maybe 4 years ago, and rumors were the topic of the conversation. He had researched rumorology in school, and at the time I was making weird parallels between conceptual art and rumors. But anyway that was 4 years ago. Today my friend Julie Rudder is a contestant in a competition to be the next NPR talk show host. Her last entry talked about a rumor that the American Idol contestant Sanjaya is actually the invented persona of an art student at RISD. I hope its true. I also hope Julie gets her own talk show. Is their still time to vote? We need to get some buzz going, rally the troops. Maybe a good tag line like “I’d Rudder be listening to NPR”. She needs a rumorologist, (Chris are you reading this? Is it true that you were once detained at an airport for trying to carry-on your grandmother’s brass knuckles?) I’m familiar with Julie’s work as we were in grad school together and she has consistently questioned power structures, big ones like religious institutions. It seems inevitable for Julie’s work to move into the public realm, like talk radio. Lane makes some excellent points in his comments to her blog entry; the importance of anonymity and the importance of weak social ties to the economy being that they support creativity and innovation. Now that I consider Julie’s NPR project and her blog entries I think of her videos differently. "The Greater Sense" (2007), and "I Have so Many Things I Just Don't Know" (2007) In the Block Museum of Art at Northwestern, she has two videos in which the audio is her voice manipulated and multiplied in a way that confuses the integrity of the narrator. Now I see the character in the videos as anonymous and shifty as the blogger or chat room alias. Vote for Julie, lets get her on the air and maybe we’ll find out who she really is.

Monday, June 4, 2007

Interview with Teena McClelland

Teena McClelland and Michelle Maynard on the set of Death by Design, Co. at Gallery 400 in 2006.

Teena's in* interior interventions headquarters in 2004

In* Interior Interventions is a business that provides customers with an unconventional interior design service. With the help and consultation of Teena McClelland, founder of In*, clientele have their homes redesigned to be completely nonfunctional. Recently, Teena has been collaborating with Michelle Maynard to create Death by Design Co., which provides participants the chance to star in their own horror flick. In Michelle's previous work, she wrote, produced and starred in her own horror movie "Throb". I started to become more interested in Teena and Michelle's work while studying relational aesthetics in graduate school, so I asked Teena if she would answer a couple questions.

Your projects seem to take place in a post-Rirkrit form of Relational Art, where you offer a service, but the service is very
unconventional. I'm thinking Death by Design, as well as thenonfunctional interior design project in 2004. I'm using Rirkrit
Tiravanija as an example because his practice of inserting the everyday into an institutional setting is designed in a way that suggests there is no separation between the two spheres. In Rirkrit's case we notice the difference after the fact, so we notice how an art gallery changes a dinner party. In your case, it seems that you approach a project with the knowledge that the everyday will be affected or transformed when it is placed in a gallery or museum. So you offer a service of redesigning my closet so I can't reach my clothes. Am I on the right path here? Are your unconventional services a comment on service-based artworks, contract-art and the history of relational aesthetics? Or, does it come out of a reaction to economics and the service industry expanding into every nook and crevice?

My ideas for my work employ similar sentiments to Rirkrit Tiravanija's motives of creation, for sure. Rirkrit creates a situation in the gallery which is not about looking at art--but it is about "being in a space, participating in an activity, and the nature of the visit has shifted to emphasize on the gallery as a space for social interaction." My "businesses" exist as installations in galleries much like Rirkrit's aftermath they "function like scientific experiments: the displacement becomes a tool and exposes the way scientific thought processes are constructed. The visitor becomes a participant in that experiment."

There is a difference here between Rirkirt and I. The businesses I create are earnest establishments which have little choice but to exist in the art gallery (since another venue does not exist for such services just yet) and these businesses are often seen only as an "experiment" and are somewhat hindered in their mainstream ability because they cannot get a foothold in the commercial business realm. Ideally, my in* interventions interior design firm would have existed in a real commercial/retail space where it offered the new formula I employed for interior decorating.

home decor and arrangement--
ESTABLISHED BY--beauty/functionality/order=successful interior design

home decor and arrangement--
ESTABLISHED BY--narrative/catastrophe/disorder=successful in* interior

So, here you see the idea of Rirkrit and that idea's attempt to use a formula to displace the audience and teach or show the opportunity of using an established context/site in a new way--but I am not interested in merely using it against/for the gallery or art itself. That is just the venue it is allowed to exist in at this time. And often that venue works out fine.

The two of you collaborating has complicated both of your practices, in a good way. Teena's twisted sense of the service economy is now more sinister, and Michelle's horror flick is now participatory. Sorry for this very generic question, but how do feel about this combination? What do you think this says about art that takes the form of a service or a social contract?

The projects in* and Death by Design, CO. are serviced-based as a draw for participants--Services are active and participatory and not static and stable. My main intention while working as an artist-is the idea of involving others, perhaps directly, especially others who might not normally be engaged in artwork/artworld. Ta da--so offer them a service! and then they will be part of the project and the project will rely on them...and even in the project's failure-no willing participants- we can find success (this is a longer conversation). Therefore, collaboration occurs not only with Michelle Maynard, who
will collaborate on the initial structure of the formula (the set, menu, contracts, methods of making and selling), but there is a collaboration with clients and with staff and with the gallery--and they all get to shape the outcome by adding their own to the initial formula.

Achieving entertainment is one key to all of this working out (entertainment can be the goal for a project and it can still have
valuable side effects) and it doesn't hurt to make it official by calling it a "business". That definitely adds an air of expertise to the whole package. In some ways, Death by Design, Co. allows Michelle to do what she would like to do most and allows me to do what I would like to do most. I would like for people to face a situation that I have arranged and leave that situation thinking that they must reposition themselves in relation to what is being dealt with--much like the goal of Rirkrit. I am optimistic and I hope for the best, for something to happen--and these services and spectacles seem like the clearest path for some kind of direct affect on the audience/participant.