Monday, November 12, 2012

Go team Go!

The Economist | Lunacy and astronomy: In praise of moons via @theeconomist

Monday, November 5, 2012

A lecture

Cynthia Hooper is a video artist from Eureka, CA. I first encountered her work when I bought a DVD of her videos from The Center for Land Use Interpetation. CLUI is one of LA's gems. It is a fabulous art and information engagement. It is next door to another of LA's hidden gems, The Museum of Jurassic Technology. Next door physically and psychically.
Bobby Conn turned me onto the Museum of Jurassic Technology in 02002. I can not tell you how inspired and in love I am with these organizations (and Bobby Conn.) They are in the DNA of EbM. They are inspirations, in the way Survival Research Laboratories, Re/Search magazine, and The Center On Contemporary Art when it was run by Larry Reid are. They gave us breath. Writing about how much I love them makes me a little teary. You should go visit them. They make life feel better.

I bought a bunch of inspiring books, and one DVD from CLUI, a few years back. Cynthia's video art is a stellar contemplation of humanity's use of land. It is never preachy. It is always beautiful. She creates stunning visual poems. They draw you in, they are riveting. She is an activist, but her work is never abrasive. She works through subtlety and charm.
A year or so after I bought her video, another amazing artist, Phil Ross, mentioned her to me. He suggested EbM contact her. We did. A year of emails about aborted trips north ensued.
Saturday last, she was in Oakland, and, delightfully, so was I!

At Interface Gallery, Cynthia presented a video and lecture on the Westlands Water District.
The video is beautiful. The lecture was inspiring. Also, depressing.
Fortunately, Cynthia is the very picture of joie de vivre. It was impossible to be overwhelmed by the toxicity of the situation in California's Central Valley under her tutelage.

Somehow, someday, EbM will find a way to commission Cynthia, I hope!
In the meantime, I suggest you watch her videos.

A studio visit

Last weekend the always magnificent Alex Clausen and I drove out to Davis, CA. There we met a local artist, Charlie Schneider. He received his MFA from The School of the Art Institute of Chicago. While there he was chosen by the Evanston Arts Council for a show next year in their gallery. Our board president, Angela Valavanis, who is amazing in ways that boggle the mind, is on the EAC board. She loved his work and emailed me, suggesting Charlie might be an excellent EbM artist candidate.

Well, holy mackerel, was she right. Alex (with some bastardization by me), sums up our visit beautifully,
"We started at his home where he first showed us documentation of his project The Divided Line in the Form of a Square (the practice of memory)The project involved trying to sail a ship in the ocean on a path that exactly traces out a square.

Charlie then showed us documentation of a series of installations that were created using a clay slip stencil.  The temporary stencils, often resembling wallpaper, were put up on bridges and a dam located near Davis.  All of the stencils wash away over time.  Most of the installations involve repelling and really tall ladders.  There is a good amount of documentation and writing about the stencils that were done in the US and in Australia. There is also documentation of a vertical dance performance on one of his clay slips that is on its way to the web.

After viewing the documentation, Charlie took us on a tour of sites in Davis and nearby.  There wasn't much left of the stencils, but there is still some residue

Lee and I found Charlie engaging and very dedicated to his work.  Charlie's thoroughness of concept, research and sensitivity to his ideas is wonderful."
Yup, Alex and I are both casting votes for Charlie as one of our future commissions.
In case you didn't know, we vote between the six members on as much as possible. It is more an ideal than a reality, the group is decidedly not democratic. That is why we go by the term collaborative, as opposed to collective. There is no consensus, no majority wins on most stuff. But, we find that the more we discuss things in trying to find a consensus, the better the project. It was by voting that we chose Nova and Jessica's submissions to EbM and ISEA this past year. Honestly, neither was even on my short list. But each proposal had a member  who loved it, and made a strong case that convinced the rest of us.

As we move forward, EbM is encountering more and more artists who we want to commission. Unfortunately, we only install two or three works a year. This blog, and a new section of the website we're building, one to highlight artists we would like to commission someday, at least allow us to share these amazing artists with you.