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Posts from the ‘art’ Category

Why Steve Jobs mattered

Like so many 30-somethings i grew up in an era where personal computing was just getting its feet wet. An era wherein the possibilities for what we could do—for the first time—became truly endless; where following the typical career path wasn’t a mandate my generation felt tied to; and where following your heart and doing what you love actually could pay off.

When i saw the news of the untimely death of Steve Jobs flood my twitter feed late Wed, i fought my inner cynic trying to figure out why this should even affect me—i was feeling all choked up and not sure why. He made things, i bought things, no big deal right?

BIG deal.

My life as i know it today could not exist without the innovations of this man. Everything i do, everything i touch and care about every day has his unrelenting vision to thank for making it possible. He put beautiful, well-designed, humanized computers that just WORK into all of our hands, allowing us to control, to obsess, leave no stone unturned, no detail too small—just like the breathing of a macbook sleep light.

I work in an institution dedicated to the expression of art mashed up with technology—a giant monument to this man’s influence in the arts, a primordial art/tech soup, and oh how much we all owe him an inexpressible debt of gratitude. So thank you Steve, thank you for allowing so many of us to explore new creative ideas and avenues in totally novel ways, thank you for following your instincts at whatever cost, and thank you for enabling me to go to work everyday feeling peace in my heart and psyched to solve another problem.

Tear up the Bardo!

“In most people’s vocabularies, design means veneer. It’s interior decorating. It’s the fabric of the curtains of the sofa. But to me, nothing could be further from the meaning of design. Design is the fundamental soul of a human-made creation that ends up expressing itself in successive outer layers of the product or service.” — Steve Jobs

Sleep No More – The ultimate madlib, a cabinet of curiosities.

Every once in a while we experience something that truly transforms everything we thought we knew about theatre.   This is certainly the case for me last Thursday attending — no experiencing — Punchdrunk’s production Sleep No More. 

Imagine a theatrical mashup including elements of the following: wandering into a real live installation of Silent Hill; becoming the forbidden voyeur in Kubrick’s Eyes Wide Shut complete with masks and competition with fellow participants for the prime viewing angle; and navigating through a visual, auditory, and olfactory melange of arresting 30’s Hitchcockian noir haunted house complete with exquisite costume designs and the cocktails and crooners to match (there’s always the bar with some fabulous absinthe concoction). If you happen to be an antique fanatic as well, hold on to your seat because evidently every source on the east coast was scoured to fill the 100+ rooms in period detail on the order of nothing i have ever seen in my life —  a veritable gigantic cabinet of curiosities. A madlib with neverending choices. 

Sleep No More


Kubrick’s ‘Eyes Wide Shut’

All this is set in the fictional McKittrick Hotel in Chelsea and based loosely on Macbeth. Absolutely stunning.

Surely I have never seen anything like it and am literally FREAKING OUT wanting to return and follow each and every character and read every piece of paper and overturn every tooth and piece of hair and death portrait and… well, there it is. If this an immersive theatrical experience i never want to go back to anything else.

That said, i wasn’t without some amount of conflict and annoyance at the competitive aspect.  Want to follow a main character?  Well be ready to elbow your way through 30 other people literally running, some people hand in hand (really?!), from scene to scene.  If you are a little more reclusive and voyeuristic like i am, you will be perfectly happy doing you own thing and reveling in the wonderland of wire mesh baby bodies hanging above a crib from a single strings, a detective office, a graveyard, notes in coffins, an apothecary to die for… more antique religious paraphernalia and nature prints than a lover of such accoutrement could ever fathom – half the time i was plotting how i could possibly stash that turn of the century statue or crucifix or creepy 19c Audubon-esque bird drawing into my shirt and abscond. but i want to do it again.. and find and see things i didn’t see, and follow characters i didn’t follow. Did i do it right? i dont’ know, but is there a right way ?

Maybe that is the point — you can’t possibly ever do it the same twice and *that* is where the true brilliance of this production shines through.

I can’t wait to go back next weekend.

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Ken Russell’s The Devils

How, on satans earth, did i EVER not know about this film?

Based on a novel by Aldous Huxley and a play by John Whiting, The Devils chronicles the rise and fall of respected priest Urbain Grandier (played by Oliver Reed at his very best) in 17th Century France as he is methodically demolished physically, politically, and in the eyes of the public by the hunchbacked, sexually repressed Sister Jeanne (Vanessa Redgrave). What ensues is a Crucible-esque display of nuns feigning demonic possession by Grandier in order to ensure his demise, which gives these nuns free reign to do anything…and I mean anything. Masturbating with candles. Raping a giant crucifix. Forced enemas. (Does this hint at the reasons why this film had one of the most dramatic censorship battles in the history of British cinema?) But don’t let these petty details deter you – The Devils is not a superficial piece of filmmaking meant only to shock, but a work of art that will rock you to your very core.

Read more at Film School Rejects: See Ken Russell’s ‘The Devils’ in NYC on Monday – Film School Rejects

He lacerated the sacred monsters of the church, was blatantly homoerotic, sympathized with the witches and was stylishly camp. The production designer, Derek Jarman, would later go on to make one of my all-time favorite films, Jubilee. But I was asked to choose a film that influenced my world view during my formative years, In that regard THE DEVILS definitely takes the communion wafer.

Tino Sehgal

Finally just finished reading last weeks NYT magazine article on Tino Sehgal.  now that i understand his background his pieces make so much more sense to me, i hope i can trek down to experience it soon. yes, i said experience, not see.  I love that it is impossible to explain.  I love that it’s not documented.  it’s the same notion of trying to document a live performance when we all know a mediated experience is just that..  mediated.  only in that moment, at that place, is it truly real.


The most intriguing part begs thinking about the difference between “refocusing human relations” in a museum / art context vs. encountering a similar situation in real life, if that’s possible, and i’m sure he’d say it isn’t – ie: sitting in a park and observing/interacting with people even if it is a construct –  or perhaps that’s the point, he’s bringing a constructed “real life” from outside the walls of an institution and subverting the market economy in doing so.  ah…. good stuff.

Thinking about the difference between creating an “object” in the museum sense — or even in the consumerist sense and creating a perception, a feeling, a thought.  how hard it must be to find a construct that creates a small amount of desired outcomes?  that’s bafflingly hard.

Human relations indeed.