standing on wood chips
For How Scandinavian of Me, "artist Lars Vilhelmsen has been photographed in the tourist snapshot style in front of some important non-Scandinavian sights including Anne Frank's house in Amsterdam and sights in Malaysia, Berlin, and Iran. The web-photo album has aesthetic antecedents in British artist Gillian Wearing's photographs as well as the tradition of lawn gnome snatch-and-snap." [via Rhizome]
From the artist's site: "How Scandinavian Of Me shows a work of art in questions of investigation and formed like the artist in the part as 'tourist' with the same recognisable objects, the white T-shirt and 'how scandinavian of me', standing bare-feeted on the small heap of danish chipped bark."
One Block Radius Mentioned in The Village Voice
"The Last Days of Loserville" reminisces about the Bowery area while lamenting the current gentrification trend. One Block Radius is mentioned as a "psychogeographic portrait of a single Bowery block" that Marci Reaven, director of Place Matters, described the project as having the ability to "instill a sense of what we're losing".
Tonight! Collectors' Night
City Reliquary presents:
Wednesday, February 23rd
@ UNION POOL
in Williamsburgh, Brooklyn
Doors open at 7:00 PM
Showtime is 7:30 PM
This event is sure to please all collectors, anthropologists, antique-buffs, archeologists, and enthusiasts of most any nature! Scheduled for the evening, we have an array of experts on the topic of collecting, a premiere screening of the independent film "The Flea Market Project," StoryCorps audio producers from Sound Portraits Productions, and a wide variety of collections ranging from the bizarre to the mundane on site for your perusal. There will also be a fascinating panel discussion, moderated by L.I.U. professor Leah Dilworth, featuring our presenters and local collectors.
NYC half empty, half full
"New York Is So Crowded, Everybody's Deserted It."
[New York Times article; requires log-in]
the Chengwins vs the Chunks
Glowlab attended HOMECOMING 2004 in full force today, rooting for Chunk, then for Chengwin, and then for Chunk again.
Experience the madness: view the photos >>.
Cycling Around Town
The New York Times is featuring a story called Spin City about the cycling-friendly prospects of New York City. The story follows the author, Lydia Polgreen, through her adventures and wanderings aboard her trusty wire donkey.
Are psychogeographers making use of the bicycle as a means of discovering the place in which they live? Is cycling catching on here in the states like it has in Europe? Have popular conceptions regarding the danger of cycling or the potential for theft kept people from actually riding around their urban environments?
To overcome a lot of the misconceptions regarding cycling, cycling advocacy is stepping up it's profile these days. At the gardenLab show I attended last weekend at Art Center, the Los Angeles urban planners were talking about the potentials of cycling in west coast urban environments. I had a very good conversation with some of them after their talk where we thought about the contrast between east coast and west coast urban settings. Urban planners in the west are hoping for a change towards cycling as it is faster than walking, and it allows people to travel farther distances in relative ease. So far, cities like Seattle, Portland and San Francisco are the leaders for cycling communities.
Europe has always been a head of the US for cycling. I would have to assume that oil prices have an effect upon this, but also the basic urban layout of the European cities. Cars were not the basis for development here. Movies like The End of Suburbia attribute the poor urban planning in the US to a car based society. Having a friend in school for urban planning, he attests to this from his own history classes. In his program, new urban structures of getting back to walking and cycling based communities are pushed.
Burning Man takes the progressive attitudes of the west coast cities and the urban building techniques of Europe to develop it's urban way of life. Burning Man's area is huge, the climate is hot and there are a lot of possibilities for getting knocked down while you ride. I often regarded the urban nature of the event as a west coast set-up for cycling. Broad streets for service vehicles, large expanses of desert to cover to get from one place to the next, but only the bike is accepted as transport (except for mutant vehicles, but not everyone can have one). What this shows is a re-occurring experiment in contemporary development for eco-friendly travel in large urban settings. What is found here can be implemented in other urban contexts, which would theoretically make all urban settings much more cycling friendly.
While Larry Harvey and the rest of the Burners would like for the ideals of Burning Man to make it back to urban settings, it's much harder than it seems. It is hard to make the leap to cycling as a primary form of transportation because it seems as if the whole world is against you. As Lydia Polgreen attests in her article, it can be dangerous, the weather can be miserable, you might get mugged and you'll probably be sweaty. Or not. Even though she tells tales of this, she concludes after a ride that she "has never felt better". As artists that make use of the city, it seems as if we should be at the front of pack for riding around. Interactive events like Critical Mass and Burning Man, articles in the New York Times and movies (as a start), the potential for creating cycling friendly environments are in the artist's creative hands.
Download, Peel and Stick, and All the World's a Gallery
Download, Peel and Stick, and All the World's a Gallery. The New York Times [which requires login to read this article] agrees...stickering "could be visually addictive." Careful.
Chasing Cadillacs is a contemporary west coast interpretation of Vito Acconci's "Following Piece" of 1969...
Using the specific Caddy as a following aspect appears as a comment upon the compulsive consumerism in America. This American icon becomes an obsessive pursuit paralleling the behavior of the mainstream American pursuing "the American Dream".
The piece seems to develop further for the artists as they begin to interact with the owners of the vehicles. This is a diversion from the elusive behavior that Vito used for his work, but it allows this project to reveal the nature of the owners of the American icons. Protective, suspicious, but partially cooperative personalities describe the owners, making them caricatures of the American ideal and the contemporary dream.
For those interested in street works along the lines of Wooster Collective, Streeetmemes shows the variety of repetition in this art form. To note, this site features some images of the iPod "iRaq" tags in New York.
""street meme": a sticker, stencil, or poster that can spread a single image around the world. Unlike traditional graffiti art where each piece is unique, street memes can be copied repeatedly, taking on a life of their own, and spreading through the collective effort of people scattered around the world."
Frank was a seemingly permanent fixture on the corner of Bedford Avenue and N. 7th Street in Williamsburg. He was there almost every day – sitting on top of the newsboxes outside the deli, on the steps of the pharmacy across the street, or on the ground talking to a friend and playing with a dog. He had a shiny black motorcycle, and that's about it...except he also had severe diabetes. He was homeless, but well taken care of by the people of the neighborhood. Once a collection was taken up for Frank when he needed medical treatment. The deli kept his insulin, and people offered him food and cigarettes. He always had a smile, a friendly hello for everyone, and an opinion – he loved to tell us what was on his mind.
Frank had complained about his feet often during the past few months and mentioned needing an operation. Then he disappeared on his motorcycle one day. The deli owners thought he had gone upstate, but instead he was in the hospital. The pharmacy received the news a few days ago that Frank died in the hospital from his extended illness.
Now a makeshift memorial to Frank is growing on "his" corner. People stop, stunned, as they realize that he's gone. Cards, poems, flowers, and [of course] beer and cigarettes have been placed near his photograph, along with candles lighted in his memory.
Here's what one friend had to say:
YOU HAD LEFT "BEDFORD AVE AND NORTH 7TH STREET" BUT YOU NEVER LEFT THE PEOPLE WHO SAW THE TRUTH IN YOU. I 'M VERY GLAD I HAD A CHANCE TO MEET A PERSON LIKE YOU IN MY LIFE. YOU GAVE ME "EYES" TO SEE THINGS THAT I THOUGHT I SAW BUT DID NOT BELIEVE IN THEM. YOU MADE ME BELIEVE.
YOU WERE ONLY A BUM TO PEOPLE WHO WERE/ARE BLIND AND CARELESS. I HOPE THEY WILL FIND THEIR WAY SOMEDAY, BUT IT WILL TAKE THEM A WHILE IF THEY DID NOT GOT IT UNTIL NOW.
WATCH OVER US AND BE STILL WITH ALL OF US IN OUR HEARTS MY DEAR FRIEND. I'M VERY HAPPY THAT U MADE WHAT YOU HAD TO MAKE AND NOW YOU ARE WHERE YOU WANTED TO BE., LOVE YOU, AND F*CK THEM ALL, LIKE WE USED TO SAY AND LAUGH.
Frank was a truly unique person, and a neighborhood character who will be missed by many. If you have a story about Frank you'd like to share, please click on "comment" below.