Saturday, December 17, 2005

Final Project: Messing with Texas

Welcome to the Austin Center for Dance and Hand to Hand Combat. If you follow our strict regimen of exercise and stretching you will be able to defend yourselves against attack from any kind of criminals, kooks, aggressive car salesmen, insurgents, investigative reporters, angry spouses, or any other perils you may encounter in everyday life.

First, you must select some suitable attire. Nothing too constricting, please. You must have full use of your limbs at all times.

"--Sir, I need to go to the bathroom..."

"You! In the black pants! Get out of here--I will not tolerate your insolence!"

We'll start you off with some basic Salsajitsu techniques. We brought in some lifelike male dummies for you to practice with. Don't be shy, you can't hurt them.

From there we shall move on to advanced belly-dance kwon doe, a secret and ancient form of self defense practiced for over 4,000 years.


"Alright men, this is what you've been training all year for. The siege of the Austin Center for Dance and Hand to Hand Combat begins in an hour. Let's focus, people...this ain't gonna be no cakewalk!"

Back at the studio--

"Once you become as good as me, you will be able to move so quickly you will be nothing but a blur."

"That's it, you're catching on! Nice leg work, Sally..."

It is also important that we be able to communicate with each other in the field. This is the basis for the most impenetrable code ever devised. Read it and memorize it, because the board will self-destruct in exactly 1 minute.
"--Wait. What is that I hear in the distance?"

"Right, left, right left..."

"Quietly now, men. We're getting close. Everyone stay on full alert>"

"Here they come. Quick, ladies, rond de jambe, chagement, glissade, pas de bouree, arabesque....ATTACK!!"

Friday, December 02, 2005

Mori: an Internet-based Earthwork

On November 30 our class took a trip to the Arlington Arts Center in (where else?) Arlington, Virginia. It was there that we experienced Mori, a multimedia artwork that was a collaborative effort between Randall Packer, Ken Goldberg, Gregory Kuhn, and Wojciech Matusik. According to multimedia legend Randall Packer, "In this installation, minute movements of the Hayward Fault in California are detected by a seismograph, converted to digital signals, and transmitted continuously via the Internet to the installation." Mori represents the idea of telepresence to a T. Standing in a room in Arlington, Virginia, we could feel the tiniest movements of the earth along a fault all the way across the country. The vibrations inside the room took me back to my childhood in California, where I experienced several earthquakes.

Tuesday, November 29, 2005

Washington Monument

Like the weight of the world on Atlas' shoulders, the Washington Monument weighs heavy on the DC skyline.

Check out the camera bag. You can spot tourists a mile away.

We also saw lots of people out getting exercise. This guy actually floated across the street.

The Monument is so large is has its own gravitational pull...we are being drawn ever closer.

We never found out why these kids were dancing in sync. They ran off before we could ask them.

There is just something beautiful about a line of American flags being lifted softly in the wind.

Looking up from the base of the monument makes me dizzy. Its tremendous weight is crushing me. I think I ought to sit down for a while.

Apparently old people don't care much for the wind whipping around the monument. "Time to go back to Kansas, Fred," says the woman in the purple pants.

Though he may look like a KGB agent on patrol, he is in reality your friendly neighborhood park ranger.

The park is an oasis of calm inside a bustling city--the constant police sirens and car horns reminded us of that.

I told Jermaine not to chase the pigeons, but she didn't listen to me.

They gracefully took to the air for just a moment before settling back down on the soft grass

Wednesday, November 16, 2005


I enjoyed the Motion exhibit at the Flashpoint Gallery mostly for its "fun" factor. The art was all interactive and showcased what could be done with technology. However, it seemed that there wasn't a whole lot of substance underneath the surface of these pieces. Either that, or I'm just not nuanced enough to appreciate what the artists were trying to get across (which is also very possible). My favorite piece, pictured below, is called "Bathroom Beats." A series of intertwined metal tubes protrude from a toilet and sink like a bunch of snakes. If you touch the tubes with a metal rod each one makes a different prerecorded noise.

Thursday, November 10, 2005

AU Situational Tour

For this tour Jack and I took a short walk from our classroom on the second floor of Katzen, downstairs, through the lobby, across Massachusetts Ave., past the shuttle bus stop, across the quad, and into the Ward building.

Thursday, November 03, 2005

Is There Love in the Telematic Embrace?

Roy Ascott's essay ponders the impact of technology on many aspects of human life. But the key area he seems concerned with is its impact on human relationships and its impact on art.

Technology has had an unmistakable and unchangeable impact on human relationships. Whether they are personal relationships, business relationships or even romantic relationships, technology allows the linking of individuals who would otherwise never encounter each other. However, by most accounts these relationships are not as fulfilling as "real world" relationships. To answer Ascott's question as best I can, it is possible to find love and meaning in the telematic embrace, but it will never equal the connection possible through "real world" contact.

Art has always evolved to fit the mediums available. People don't still paint on cave walls because at one point someone discovered that canvas made a better medium. There is really nothing to fear from technology, because has not replaced the art that already exists. In fact it's quite the opposite. Far from replacing conventional art, technology has only helped it, allowing more access to the once-exclusive realm of museums. Someone who lives in the middle of Kansas and has never been to New York's MoMa can go online and view the exhibitions. I can't go to Paris right now but I can go onto Google and find a scan of the Mona Lisa in two seconds. Not only that, but because of technology I can Photoshop my own face into that ancient painting and post it on my blog for the world to see, thus creating my own art!

Tuesday, November 01, 2005

Situational Tour

Slow It Down

Here Comes Somebody Important

Couldn't Take The Pressure

Hidden Layers Of Security