Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Sunday, December 14, 2008

Ames Room Mix CD

Modern Classical Ambient Mix

Ames Room

Part 1
Untitled Found Cassette, Audio Diary Cole Pierce
Chimaerica - Johann Johannsson - Fordlandia
Powoli - Jacaszek - Treny
Budeie Med Sigd - Svarte Greiner - Til Seters
IV. A final shaking - de Waart, Edo - Shaker Loops
Section III - Chris Schlarb - Twilight & Ghost Stories

Part 2
Tendrils In Vigne - Gregg Kowalsky - Tendrils In Vigne
Death and Possible Dreams - Roam The Hello Clouds - Near Misses
Au Clair de la Lune--French folk song (1860 Phonautogram) Phonautogram by Édouard-Léon Scott de Martinville Recorded on April 9, 1860: 1861 Deposit, Académie des Sciences (No. 324), Number 5
Reversed Flames - Tape - Mort Aux Vaches
Untitled Found Tape, Answering Machine Messages - Cole Pierce
Uusi Aamu - Hannu - Worms in my Piano
Disconnected - Twine - Violets

Part 3
1 - CoH - Super Suprematism
On A Desolate Shore A Shadow Passes By - FENNESZ - On A Desolate Shore A Shadow Passes By
Make Haste - Koen Holtkamp - Make Haste
i auzi, mandra, pitigoiul (1951) - elena constantinescu - Michael May Mix 000
Clear Music - Nico Muhly - speaks volumes

ps (wikipedia)

An Ames room is a distorted room that is used to create an optical illusion. Probably influenced by the writings of Hermann Helmholtz, it was invented by American ophthalmologist Adelbert Ames, Jr. in 1934, and constructed in the following year.

An Ames room is constructed so that from the front it appears to be an ordinary cubic-shaped room, with a back wall and two side walls parallel to each other and perpendicular to the horizontally level floor and ceiling. However, this is a trick of perspective and the true shape of the room is trapezoidal: the walls are slanted and the ceiling and floor are at an incline, and the right corner is much closer to the front-positioned observer than the left corner (or vice versa).

As a result of the optical illusion, a person standing in one corner appears to the observer to be a giant, while a person standing in the other corner appears to be a dwarf. The illusion is convincing enough that a person walking back and forth from the left corner to the right corner appears to grow or shrink.

Studies have shown that the illusion can be created without using walls and a ceiling; it is sufficient to create an apparent horizon (which in reality will not be horizontal) against an appropriate background, and the eye relies on the apparent relative height of an object above that horizon.

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Skipping Stones Reflection on Text & Art Discussion

On Sunday I participated in a roundtable discussion about using text in art. Hopefully the entire conversation will be published, not only because I was part of it, because it was a comprehensive overview of the different ways text is being used in paintings. Co-moderated by Bert Stabler and Noah Berlatsky, the talk was much more academic and theoretical than I anticipated. However when the discussion would get too heady, a gentleman in the audience who initially admitted that this kind of work was new to him and this was an educational experience for him, and would kindly ask for definitions and information about the artists names we were tossing around. Noah provided the expertise on the history of concrete poetry, and even touched on early political cartoons in relation to text and art. Bert did an excellent job providing a historical framework of text-based artwork, as well as effortlessly summing up modern theoretical issues. I suspect he is planning to write an article on the subject and used this roundtable for research. The other participants involved were Carol Jackson and Diana Guerrero-Macia, both of who are artists in the middle of their career and teach at SAIC. Instead of recapping the entire conversation (waiting for the recording to be transcribed) I want to jump to the last topic we discussed. Without getting too into it, we started talking about meta strategies in contemporary art and punk rock. Mostly because the composition in Diana's work sometimes resembles early zines and punk rock cover art. Soon hereafter, I was asked two questions that threw me for a loop. I wish I could quote Bert's question verbatim, but a paraphrase will have to do. He asked me whether or not I sided with the Ramones' flickering spirit of hope, or with the defeatist coopting Ikea capitalists. What kind of question is that? Of course I side with the Ramones. I think this question also deals with the general attitude shift toward earnestness. People are tired of irony, and now artists are either sincerely optimistic or sincerely pessimistic. Carol then asked me if I considered myself part of the avant-garde. I said yes, then changed my answer to 'I don't think about avant-garde while I'm working, I just investigate my interests and focus on what makes my art interesting'. This is true, but the question seems to highlight the generational difference between artists who studied in the 80's and my contemporaries who studied in the past decade. If you think about 80's art, there was a clear us vs. them thing going on, a bifurcation, zines vs. mass media. Identity politics had a clear enemy, and artists who wanted to see change directed their aggression succinctly. Everything was cut and dry, you either were part of the avant-garde or you weren't. But now we've seen every counter-culture style and tactic become co-opted into a market strategy for H&M or a leaked viral video for Miller High Life. Now we get the Yes Men hijacking corporate conferences, infiltrating and impersonating The Man. And we get artists like Allora & Callzadilla who use conventional gallery type art along with public interventions. As for an avant-garde meta strategy, this would be a blending or chameleon strategy. No more us vs. them. With all the pluralism in the 90's, the inter-disciplinary practices, considering everything in the past century that has expanded art, along with irony being unfashionable, artists are now more free to hack away at their elusive thesis. An upside of the pending market collapse is that it may allow more freedom to artists, to create work without the pressure of the market. This recession could be a long one, but once it is over who knows what those artists are going to drag out of their studios.

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Text & Art Reading & Discussion

Old Gold and MAKE Literary Productions present

A special reading and discussion with Noah Berlatsky, Diana Guerrero-Macia,
Carol Jackson, Cole Pierce, and Bert Stabler

Sunday November 16th at 4:30 in the afternoon

Please join us for this unique event, which will include brief readings, a slideshow, and roundtable discussion.

This event will double as closing reception for Cole Pierce's Piano Clockworks, a painting and sound installation that meditates upon repetition, the mystery of infinity, and the rendered line. The exhibition will be on view from 1-4 o'clock, as well as during the discussion.

Old Gold
2022 North Humboldt Boulevard
Chicago, Illinois 60647

Basement Entrance
Sundays 1-4PM
By Appointment 773.653.9956

California Blue Line (towards O'Hare),
Walk west on Palmer Boulevard,
South on Humboldt Boulevard to 2022

Monday, November 3, 2008


I was recently featured in a Gen Art Pulse article, where I was interviewed about my (at the time upcoming) show at Old Gold as well as compiling a list of my Chicago hotspots. I put most of my energy into writing about my work, and rushed through my 'guide to chicago'. However, it is amazing how well Meredith Chamberlain, the editor condensed my lengthy reply into one catchy short paragraph.

"Cole Pierce's "Piano Clockworks" is a medley of sound installation and painting, inspired and comprised of Victorian piano innards and everyday objects. And while neither project resembles or sounds like a piano, Pierce's work promises to arouse your ears, eyes, and get you lost in a state of reverie. Basically just prepare yourself for sensory overload." - Meredith Chamberlain, Gen Art Pulse, 10/27/08

And here is my response to: What is the focus of your show? What about this particular opportunity at Old Gold excites you? What draws you to found objects?

"The first time I visited Old Gold I wanted to exhibit work there. I had heard it was a weird space with wood paneled walls, something like your best friends basement when you were a kid. What I didn’t expect was to feel such a strong sense of history. There are engravings on a post that date back to 1940, and its easy to assume that its been an underground bar for decades, maybe even a speakeasy in the 30's. It is well hidden in the basement of a nondescript apartment complex. Whatever Old Gold’s specific history, what remains is a mysterious context. My previous exhibition was a video installation where the audio played a prominent role and Old Gold seemed like the perfect place for a sound installation. My practice is centered around an effort to test or locate the limits of cognition, and I want to build on Old Gold's mysterious context, enhance it with sound and paintings.

Piano Clockworks is equally as mysterious as Old Gold. Part of the show is environmental, a visceral experience of mystery. The sound installation is a formless ambient soundscape, made out of improvised piano sets, a ticking clock, faulty recording equipment, and endless experimentation with analog and digital manipulations. I printed an edition of 50 CD’s which are available for purchase. And, like any former speakeasy, Chresten Sorenson will be serving his Kitchen Ale homebrew.

My recent paintings vary from ethereal monochromes to playful text to mind boggling op art. I favor techniques that are meant for repetition like screen printing and stencils. In one series, an image of a piano hammer is repeated and layered in a haphazard pattern. The piano hammer paintings as well as the sound installation are deconstructed pianos. Neither of the two projects resemble the look or sound of a piano. Notes of this Victorian instrument have been stretched, chopped up and repeated. And part of the mechanism which creates a note, is the image that has been repeated to fill up a series of canvases. The source material has been mediated beyond recognition, and what remains is a visceral, flickering moment. My work provides two types of flickering experiences, one that is haptic and environmental, and one that is cerebral.

I am drawn to found objects because they have a direct relationship with the everyday. The experiences I create with my artwork can be found in everyday pragmatic life, and I use found objects to point this out. Sometimes found objects are the impetus for my work. However, even when it is not apparent in my work, my affinity for found objects is important to my practice. I keep collections of obsolete items like floppy discs and dead batteries in my studio that currently do nothing but provide the creative atmosphere I need. I like to keep rooted to the mundane materials, because I don’t believe that the experiences I create are transcendental, they are not epiphanies. The experience remains immanent, and the flicker is only the limit of cognition. "

I wrote that before installing the show. I don't think I knew what I was up against. It was a struggle to find a balance between the space and my paintings. I knew that the sound installation would be a good fit, that the creepy storage room and my ambient soundscape would teeter between alienating and comforting. As for the paintings, I had to ignore my metanarrative or overarching reasons for making paintings, and just respond to the rich context. My editing process shifted, so I favored paintings that were more autonomous than others and choosing a location that let the painting fit into the architecture, or achieve a harmony within the space.

You are invited to visit, this show runs until November 16th and is open on Sundays from 1 - 4, and by appointment. View photos the show in my flickr set. Video documentation of the sound installation will be up soon, and Piano Clockworks the album is now on Promises promises.

Old Gold Exhibitions & Events
2022 North Humboldt Boulevard
Chicago, Illinois 60647

South Entrance, Basement

California Blue Line (towards O'Hare)
Walk West on Palmer Street
South on Humboldt Boulevard to 2022

Hours: Sundays, 1 - 4 pm
By appointment 773.653.9956
Directors: Kathryn Scanlan and Caleb Lyons
Here I am in Time Out Chicago
and Gen Art Pulse
f News previewed Piano Clockworks, but I havent seen it.
same with Chicago Tribune

Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Lets talk about music

I recently received this message from a friend who I had given music to.

"peace brother. I am sitting here (finally) going through the CD u gave me of dub/reggae/soul. This is is a great catalog. I only had a little bit of it. I tell you what, I know alot of these names from way back in my Rastafarian days. U diggin' deep into the crates. U went back with the Linval Thompson, Yabba Yu, and so on. Never even heard of Burial, deadbeat, disrupt so thx plenty for putting them on my radar as you have. Heard of Richie Havens but couldn't pick his music out of a line up for the life of me. Mulatu Astake....DAMN!!!!!! Good Looking Brother!!! That's what the f'ck is up!! I'm feeling it!! Bim Sherman..never heard of him that I can recall, so U got 1 up on me since u got the music haha (Danger's hot) Goldenlocks too). Desmond Dekker's classic, early bob marley partner. Lee Perry, goeas w/o saying. I got Beastie Boys first issue of their mag w "The Upsetter" on the Cover. THey idolize Scratch (so do I). Saw him perform at the Cubby Bear b4 (Burning Spea!
r too).
Al Hirt...HOTT! sleeping on that neva heard of him. "Girl" is the shit. also, the Harlem Hendoo was sampled by none other than DELASOUL on I think "Buhloone Mindstate" album (their third after 3 feet high and Dela Dead albums. That Harlem Hendoo is Bangin'. Timi Yuro .. WOW. Thanks brother. I got mad files for you whenever your ready."

Thursday, September 25, 2008

Charles Dickens: Great Expectations

We entered this haven through a wicket-gate, and were disgorged by an introductory passage into a melancholy little square that looked to me like a flat burying-ground. I thought it had the most dismal trees in it, and the most dismal sparrows, and the most dismal cats, and the most dismal houses (in number half a dozen or so), that I had ever seen. I thought the windows of the sets of chambers into which those houses were divided, were in every stage of dilapidated blind and curtain, crippled flower-pot, cracked glass, dusty decay, and miserable makeshift; while To Let To Let To Let, glared at me from empty rooms, as if no new wretches ever came there, and the vengeance of the soul of Barnard were being slowly appeased by the gradual suicide of the present occupants and their unholy interment under the gravel.  A frouzy mourning of soot and smoke attired this forlorn creation of Barnard, and it had strewed ashes on its head, and was undergoing penance and humiliation as a mere dust-hole. Thus far my sense of sight; while dry rot and wet rot and all the silent rots that rot in neglected roof and cellar - rot of rat and mouse and bug and coaching-stables near at hand besides - addressed themselves faintly to my sense of smell, and moaned, 'Try Barnard's Mixture'. 

Sunday, September 21, 2008

Back Issue Mix CD

I just got around to uploading 2 mix cds that I had made and given away last spring. So if you attended Vega Estates' group show last April and picked up a mix from me, this post is not for you. However if you just joined my mailing list and are enticed by the last cd I mailed out, then you should download this seamless double cd. Aquatic Music Box is a featherweight, an eclectic and quirky mix of ambient, electronic, minimal jazz and paired down soul music. Its' counterpart, Wintry Day & Night is a brooding Charles Dickens novel, full of long modern classical compositions.

Aquatic Music Box

Wintry Day & Night

Thursday, September 11, 2008

John Fowles: The Magas

pp 237-238
 'I say you are watching a star a star and you are watching a star. It is that gentle star, white star, gentle star . . .'
  He went on talking , but all the curtness, the abruptness of his ordinary manner had disappeared. It was as if the lulling sound of the sea, the feel of the wind, the texture of my coat, and his voice dropped out of conciousness. There was a stage when I was myself looking at the star, still lying on the terrace; I mean aware of lying and watching the star, if not of anything else. 
  Then came a strange illusion; that I was not looking up, but down into space, as one looks down a well. 
  Then there was no clearly situated and environmented self; there was the star, not closer but with something of the isolation a telescope gives; not one of a pattern of stars, but itself, floating in the blue-black breath of space, in a kind of void. I remember very clearly this sense, this completely new strange perceiving of the star as a ball of white light both breeding and needing the void around it; of, in retrospect, a related sense that I was exactly the same, suspended in a dark void. I was watching the star and the star was watching me. We were poised, exactly equal weights, if one can think of awareness a a weight, held level in a balance. This seemed to endure and endure, I don't know how long, two entities equally suspended in a void, equally opposite, devoid of any meaning or feeling. There was no sensation of beauty, morality, of divinity, of physical geometry; simply the sensation of the situation. As an animal might feel. 
  Then a rise of tension. I was expecting something. The waiting was a waiting for. I did not know if it would be audible or visible, which sense. But it was trying to come, and I was trying to discover its coming. There seemed to be no more star. perhaps he had made me close my eyes. The void was all. I remember two words, Conchis must spoken them: glisten, and listen. There was the glistening, listening void; darkness and expectation. Then there came a wind on my face, a perfectly physical sensation. I tried to face it, it was fresh and warm, but suddenly realized, with an exciting shock, not at anything but the physical strangemess of it, that it was blowing on me from all directions at the same time. I raised my hand, I could feel it. The dark wind, like draught from thousands of invisible fans, blowing in on me. And again this seemed to last for a long time. 
pp 239-240

  But the fountain changed, the eddy whirled. It seemed at first to be a kind of reversion to the stage of the dark wind breathing in on me from every side, except that there was no wind, the wind had been only a metaphor, an now it was millions, trillions of such consciousnesses of being, countless nuclei of hope suspended in a vast solution of hazard, a pouring out not of photons, but noons, consciousness-of-being particles. An enormous and vertiginous sense of the innumerability of the universe; an innumerability in which transience and unchangingness seemed integral, essential and uncontradictory. I felt like a germ that had landed, like the first penicillin microbe, not only in a culture where it was totally at home, totally nourished; but in a situation in which it was infinitely significant. A condition of acute physical and intellectual pleasure, a floating suspension, a being perfectly adjusted and related; a quintessential arrival. An intercognition. 

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Balance Check Mixed CD

The latest installment of my Free Mixed CD project is Balance Check, edition of 70; which were mailed to recipients who replied to announcements I made via email, Twitter and Facebook.  If you want to be added to my mailing list, send me an email  I plan to send out 2 or 3 mixed CDs a year to my mailing list.  The print version of Balance Check has been distributed, but I uploaded the mp3 version, which you can download here

Part I
Zauber - Ellen Allien
Bird In Hand - Lee "Scratch" Perry & The Upsetters
Night and Fog - Claude Vasori
Ribbons - Four Tet
Auntie's Lock/Infinitum - Flying Lotus
Ursulan Uni - Paavoharju
Haiiro - Twerk
Geschichten Von Interesse - Bersarin Quartett

Part II
Okwukwe na Nchekwube - Celestine Ukwu
Clear space - Susumu Yokota & Rothko
Flyin Shoes - Townes Van Zandt
Past Has Not Passed - James Blackshaw

Part III
Untitled - William Eaton
Surf Song - James Yorkston
Womb Duvet - Origamibiro
Cloud My Memory - V. Sjöberg New Jazz Ensemble
Oahu 2.1 (edit) - Freiband & Machinefabriek with
2001: A Space Odyssey (edit) - Arthur C. Clarke

Balance Check

August, 2008

Pierce Press

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Fluxus and Slacker Art

I recently learned that Beck's grandfather was Al Hansen.  Hansen was a prominent artist affiliated with the fluxus movement in the 50's and 60's. How's that for a direct genealogical line from the beatnik fluxus artwork, which was often immaterial, based on chance, and performative, to Beck's position as the quintessential slacker of the 90's.  This is starting to make sense.  I see now how slacker art has some roots in the fluxus movement.  Hansen made collages out of cigarette butts, Beck sings about being a loser.  It couldn't be any simpler. 

Saturday, August 16, 2008

New Work

A sample of the projects I'm working on.

The Triangle is the Strongest Shape (1,2,3 &4)
18"x18" Acrylic on Canvas

Acrylic on Canvas

Piano Hammer
Acrylic and Silk Screen Ink on Canvas

Untitled Installation
work in progress

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

I like the crowds and the really big shows, people touching people that they really don't know

My iPod is slowly going insane.  This morning on my train commute 30 seconds of a Hold Steady song was interjected into a Nico Muhly song.  This is the 3rd time its happened, however the 1st 2 time were around a year ago and occurred during a song by Our Lady of the Flowers, aka Nicholas Moore.  Nicholas is a friend of mine who started making ambient/drone/noise music when he moved to Colorado.  After some prodding he sent me 5 discs of circuit bent madness.  None of the tracks were named, and at the time I thought he sampled the Hold Steady song, and afterword I couldn't find it.  I thought it was interesting song, 7 or 8 minutes of drone abruptly cutting to Craig Finn shouting "I like the crowds and the really big shows,  People touching people that they really don't know".  The irony kinda made sense.  But this morning it happened again, same Hold Steady sample interjected into a different song. What the hell?  

Monday, July 28, 2008

from The Difference Engine by William Gibson and Bruce Sterling

But slapped amid these mundane bills, as if it belonged there by right, was a great three-sheet broadside, a thing the size of a horse-blanket, Engine-printed, rumpled in the hasty plastering. Indeed, its very ink seemed still damp.
A mad thing.
Mallory stopped dead before it, stricken by its crude bizarrity. It had been done in three colors - scarlet, black, and an ugly greyish-pink that seemed a muddle of the two.
A scarlet blindfolded woman - a Goddess of Justice?- in a blurry scarlet toga brandished a scarlet sword labeled LUDD over the pinkish-grey heads of two very crudely rendered figures, a man and a woman depicted in busts - a king and a queen? Lord and Lady Byron perhaps? The scarlet goddess trampled the midsection of a large two-headed snake, or scaly dragon, its writhing body labeled MERIT-LORDSHIP. Behind the scarlet women, the skyline of a London was vigorously aflame in scarlet tongues of fire, while the sky all about the various demented figures was full of stylized scrolLs of thick black cloud. Three men, clergymen or savants apparently dangled from a gallows in thE upper-right hand corner, and in the upper-left a confused mass of ill-formed gesticulating figures waved flags and Jacobin pikes, advancing toward some unknown goal under the bearded star of a comet. 
And this was not the half of it. Mallory rubbed at his aching eyes. The vast rectangular sheet seethed with smaller images like a billiard-table littered with random pool-balls. Here a dwarfish wind-god blew out a cloud labeled PESTILENCE. There a cannon-shell, or bomb, exploded in stylized spiky fragments, small black misshapen imps being flung aside by the blast. A coffin heaped with flowers held a noose atop it. A nude woman crouched at the feet of a monster, a well-dressed man with the head of a reptile. A tiny praying man in epaulets stood on a gallows, while the hangman, a little fellow with a hood and his sleeves rolled up, gestured brusquely at the noose . . . More of the smudgy smoke-clouds, flung onto the image like mud, connected the whole business like the dough of a fruit-cake. And there was text, too, near the bottom. A title, in large smudgy Engine-type: "THE SEVEN CURSES OF THE WHORE OF BABYLONDON!!!"

Saturday, July 26, 2008

The stones you collected on your trip to the coast never left your pant pockets. They went through the wash, now they are banging and clanging a racket in the dryer. 

Sunday, June 29, 2008

Neal Stephenson: Snow Crash

They have a new species here too: people with antennas coming out of their heads. The antennas look like the ones on cop walkie-talkies: short, blunt, black rubber whips. They rise up from behind the ear. The first time she sees one of these people, she figures it must be some kind of new Walkman, and she wants to ask the guy where he got it, what he's listening to. But he's a strange guy, stranger than all of the others, with a permanent thousand-yard stare and a bad case of the mumbles, and he ends up giving her the creeps so bad that she just shoves an extra-large dose of stew in his face and hurries him on down the line. 

Thursday, June 19, 2008

Iowa flooded

My parents live near the flooded areas in SE Iowa.  Recently my mom sent me this email. 

Hwy61, 1, 22, 92, 6, the Burlington , Ft. Madison & Keokuk bridge are all closed.
Oakville doesn't exist anymore. Neither does Gulfport as of last night.
Not sure the status of Davenport. I know the riverfront is flooded but
I don't know about the bridges if they are open or not.
They opened Interstate 80 two days ago. It was flooded around Tipton in Cedar county
but 218 is closed around Cedar Rapids. The only way we can get to Muscatine is by
taking 218 to 80 and down 38. It's about 110 miles.
Hopefully one of the highways will open by the time you come to Iowa.
Columbus Jct can't use or drink their water. Curt and family sandbagged Wed,
Thurs and Friday. Your Dad helped in Oakville on Friday - he said there were
over 2000 people helping. But it didn't work. Dad and I helped a family move
out of their house about three miles south of Kingston on Sat. They were told to
evacuate at 1pm on Sat and had to be out by 10pm. This couple is in their late
70's. Kinda like packing up Grandpa's house - they have lived there over 60 years.
I guess there are a dozen or more hog confinements in the Oakville bottoms and
had around 30,000 hogs in them. They could only move out 5000 so they just let
the rest loose - and lost 25.000 hogs. Mary said Doug Lee told her someone got
a picture of some hogs on top of houses and on porches in Oakville. Mary & I went
down to 99 to see what we could which there is only about one mile of the highway
not under water. We talked to some people from PETA and they are putting boats
in today to see if they can rescue any animals. And a guy was shooting a video
of the river and was working on a documentary for PBS. Looked like something you
would do.
The river is at a toxic level now because of the chemicals from the farmland & animal
waste. I don't think we will be able to swim in the Mississippi anymore.  
Have a good day,
love, Mom

Monday, June 16, 2008

Monday, June 2, 2008

Pedometer Interview

Amy Rudberg recently interviewed me as part of her ongoing project:

How I’m trying to help my Facebook friends (33): Interview with artist Cole Pierce and his pedometer.

What is a pedometer?
A pedometer is a step counter. It is a device that counts each step a person takes by detecting the motion of their hips.

How does your pedometer work with your cell phone?
After visiting Wikipedia, I learned that my cell phone uses an “embedded 2 axis MEMS inertial sensors to detect the steps a user takes.” My phone displays my steps on the external display. It counts detected steps during the day, and at midnight it stores the counter in a day-by-day history and resets it to zero. My height and weight are used to estimate the length of my stride.

When did you start using a pedometer?
I have been using a pedometer for about 2 or 3 months. My wife activated it for me without telling me. For a few days I wondered what the random numbers on the screen meant. Mostly out of curiosity, I check my step count a few times a day and before I go to sleep. I don't exercise regularly and feel a little guilty about it. If I walk over 5 miles in one day, my conscious is clear. I also feel physically better. And it’s better than sitting on my ass all day long. Walking 5 miles is not very hard; all and all I have my doubts as to whether or not it constitutes worthy physical activity. It seems very little compared to running, biking or swimming regularly. On a different note, I am amused that my phone tediously records something as banal as walking.

What is your daily goal?
My goal is to be better than average, which is currently 8,043 steps (about 4 miles). That is the distance I walk to and from work if I take the train. I question the accuracy of the average, which I guess is low if you factor in the days my battery is dead or if I don't have my phone in my pocket. On several occasions I've walked more than 10 miles, which feels like a real accomplishment.

What do you do to achieve your goal?
Not much. I just walk. I only drive when I need to haul stuff around or if the weather is bad. I don't take extra walks to try to up my step count, but I do try to keep my phone with me when walking. I am more conscious of the fact that my walking is being recorded and archived. I wish there was a web application that displayed this archive and my step count in real time on my blog.

Check out Amy's project here and here is some other stuff Amy is involved in:

Monday, May 19, 2008


I had work in two shows over the weekend, both of which were 'heavily curated'. Vega Estates kicked off their summer season of monthly exhibitions with an ambitious group show. Their garage vs basement program will start on June 14th. Last Saturday "The Vega Caucus" promised to recontextualize the included work. The results created a vague narrative, or perhaps developed a fictitious character through installation and curaturial decisions. My ongoing free mixed cd project, which is usually an innocuous stack of cds on the outskirts of my exhibition, was much more public and social. At the curators request my role was more performative. I brought a deck of cards and played 21 with people, and later in the night when I left my post I found the table and cards being used to play war. Via teeny boombox, the mixed CDs provided the backdrop to the rainy opening and Lauren Anderson's dead donkey pinata. Tami Lynn's 20 minute heartbreaking soul ballad played during the violent destruction of the pinata, which turned out to be empty.

Earlier that day, I had a painting in a van sale outside of a bowling alley. Old Gold supplied 23 artists with black canvases and the instructions to make a $100 painting. These paintings were sold out of Old Gold curators Caleb and Kathryn van on the patio of the Polish Falcon for the Milwaukee International Art Fair. They called it the Final Reduction Sale. Mine was the shiny sparkly black one with zillions scrawled while the paint was wet.

Friday, May 16, 2008

Monday, April 14, 2008

autechre show

On recommendation from Tyler I attended an Autechre show at the Abbey Pub last Friday, and true to his words it was a "wall of abstract sound". It was wonderfully perplexing, like dueling schizophrenic robots, or maybe a robot going insane. Layers of pulsating mechanical rhythms shifting and alternating, like machines trying to become human. Battlestar Galactica fans know what I'm talking about. In accordance with concert protocol, Autechre came on after (dj) Rob Hall and Massonix. Rob Hall was fabulous, rocking the scatterbrain idm we all know and love. Massonix, despite his elder status in the electronic music world, was bland and boring. The first two acts tenderized the crowd with deafening idm, which varies in form but maintaings semblance to the beats and rhythms of rave, house, hip hop, dub and blues. This is groove based music that inspires dancing and a basic feeling of social togetherness. But some forms of idm, particularly the downtempo (Boards of Canada) sort are more geared for the heads. To my knowledge the term 'heads' gained popularity from a KRS One song where he askes "how many real hip hop heads are in the house". A "Head" is now used to describe the listener who plays close attention to the structure of of beats, a kind of minimalism. Intelligent Dance Music, despite the pretensive name is an accurate description. It exists somewhere in between the mental rational realm and the physical, emotive and corporeal realm. IDM in the Aphex Twin tradition makes some attempt at song structure, with the hooks and riffs that engages your humanist side while synthetic chattering textures and microprogrammed drums transform you into Galvitron. After a good hour/hour in a half of Rob Halls' survey of contemporary electronic music (the past 20 years), Autechre's set was a complete reversal. I want to say it was void of all aspects that makes music feel like it is complimentary to our daily lives, or what I've been referring to as humanist. But Autechre is not void of humanism, they start from a place that is purely anti-humanist. Repetative, machine-like, an automated factory, this is where Autechre begins, but they end up with Skynet. The gears and precision and machine noises begin to alternate, with a sense of intuitive logic and irrationality. The sound of becoming a humanist. I've been listening to Autechre for several years now, in fact I just checked their discography and I've heard every album they have put out. My experience with Autechre songs is more on the lines of - an attempt to listen - I usually fail. One song at a time is all I can take. Autechre live is radically different, being engulfed by the volume and experiencing the music with your body rather than only your ears. highly recommended.

Read a more informed review on Milk Factory.

Tuesday, April 1, 2008

Como te va?

A coworker caught me reading Slavoj Žižek during my lunch. Then I was challenged to define parallax and explain the parallax gap. I thought I had done well, she seemed to understand and was intrigued by the concept.

This is the same lady who usually refuses to speak English with me, even though she is bilingual. At first it was fun, forced me to practice my Spanish, which I comprehend but cannot converse with. But now I find it more fun to reply in English to her Spanish.

The day after we talked about Žižek she stopped in, wanting another explanation. I understand the parallax gap as the interstice between juxtaposing systems. Wikipedia describes motion parallax as the change of angular position of two observations of a single object relative to each other as seen by an observer, caused by the motion of the observer. Simply put, it is the apparent shift of an object against the background that is caused by a change in the observer's position. (kinda like a Sunset Rubdown song "Will you live? Will you live in the physical world? With the sun setting low and the shadows unfurled? Will you live with the way they make you look unreal?" - from "the taming of the hands that came back to life"- lyrics as well as delivery, which is confident yet waivering and fragile.)

I used an example of a person moving from a 3rd world country to a developed one. She gave me homework. "You are going on a journey, you don't know how long you will be traveling and you don't know where you are going. Make a list of ten items that fit into a small bag that you would take with you". She is compiling these lists for some sort of immigration project. Here is my list. I wish I would have fit toilet paper and some basic toiletries in the bag, and I'm not sure I made the best choice of food.

First Aid Kit
Sleeping Bag
Water Bottle
Water Purifier
Cooking Pan
Oatmeal with dried fruit
Instant Ramen Noodle
A ziplock bag of extra undergarments

Thursday, January 31, 2008

Colt Vista !

In other news . . . Aric Naue is playing guitar in a band named Colt Vista. If you've heard any of his self-released cds (On The Verge of a Picnic, Compulsion, Thosepassedoutmissedoutonsecondsminutestoosoon, or Family Chameleon) you are probably very excited by this news. Visit their website for more relevant information.

Their next shows:

February 28 at the Know in Portland.

March 13 at High Dive in Seattle.