Quantum of Solace

Not bad, not as good as Casino Royale?  All of the quirky humor gone, perhaps because Q (Desmond Llewelyn) is no longer with us, the witty repartee also AWOL, and a touch too much of Bourne in this one. But overall a surprisingly arty, well shot, fine film featuring the best Bond so far, Daniel Craig. I did feel a lack of adrenaline and exhilaration at the film’s end, which is a tad disappointing for an action flick. Oh yes and how am I supposed to remember what the heck happened two years ago? This film seems to pick up, with no background, right where the last one left off. Remind me again, why is Bond so pissed? After two years even he would probably be a little over it by now.

The Blank Slate

A somewhat lengthy diatribe on a difficult and controversial subject.  At times I felt like this guy really had an axe to grind, but overall I think his argument makes sense.  In a few years this book will probably seem more like common sense than controversy, but at times the arguments Pinker makes were more like the kind of dehumanized “factual” statements a geek is likely to make that are disconnected from the meaty, love filled, human reality of the everyday world.

Pinker made great pains to overcome this diconnect and in fact a lot of his argument comes from and speaks for this human-ness, but it’s hard to overcome the coldness that a purely scientific argument has to make.

I think I agreed with what was presented overall, but I’m sure it would be no suprise to Pinker that I had the most beef with him about the arguments he makes surrounding art.  Generally I agree with him, art can at times be about a  search for status or sometimes just serve as an example of conspicous consumption but I think he is wrong on one point.  Minimalism is much more than just a formal exercise.  To some people, myself included, there is real beaty in it.  The kind of beauty that Pinker is calling for a return to in art, not just the hypothetical beauty of concept, but actual physical beauty.

Yay (go theater!)

My first true cross reference post. I was reading three minds at organic and I was once again excited to see someone put into words the connection I’ve always inherently felt between my background in theater and my deep interest in the web.

According to them “User Experience Design Is About Creating Good Theatre.” Yes! Totally. Good Storytelling. Surprises. Taking the audience on a journey. Directing their attention, even interaction, are all inherent in good theater and user experience on the web. I’ve always felt my experience in creating compelling theater can be put to good use on the web.

It helps of course that three-minds cites one of my favorite theater collectives in Chicago, the Neo-Futurists. Going to see one of their shows never fails to both explode and cement in your mind what a great theater experience can and should be, especially if you see T.M.L.M.T.B.G.B.*

To see the full list of what theater tricks you can use on the web, read the Neo-Futurists Founding Director Greg Allen’s 25 Rules for Creating Good Theater.

(via threeminds)

*T.M.L.M.T.B.G.B. = Too Much Light Makes The Baby Go Blind

The Pico Projector

A new category of projectors is about to come out.  About the size of one of those candy-bar style cellphones, it fits in the palm of your hand.  David Pogue calls it “A whole new product category[…] [it] changes all the rules.”  I would agree.  I don’t think it will revolutionize the world, I woudn’t call it a game changer of any sort, but I think in a very short time it will become as ubiquitous a device as the iPod, and it will change the rules in terms of what you can do with and how you watch your portable video.  Personally, I’m very excited to see all of the new uses and possibilities artists and hackers will come up with.  I’m definitely looking forward to that.

Optoma Pico Projector (pictured)
$430 list price
specs or video


If you are a “tourist” I would stay away from this exhibit, I don’t think you will feel like you got your money’s worth (unless you are a huge Catherine Opie fan, there is also a lot of great work by her on display).  However, the focus of theanyspacewhatever, is a collection of works by artists who “claimed the exhibition as their medium. [..] they eschewed the individual object in favor of the exhibition environment […] ever expanding its physical and temporal parameters.” The artists are Angela Bulloch, Maurizio Cattelan, Liam Gillick, Dominique Gonzalez-Foerster, Douglas Gordon, Carsten Höller, Pierre Huyghe, Jorge Pardo, Philippe Parreno, and Rirkrit Tiravanija.

The museum is mostly pervaded by emptiness and a kind of subdued dusk almost.  There are many, many empty spaces, literally void corners.  Here and there in different fonts, on walls, at different heights are words, sentences and fragments written, printed and carved.  “If only you were hot or cold. But you are neither hot or cold. I am going to vomit you out of my mouth,” is just one example.  There is a section that is a sound installation, there is section that diverts your normal traversal of the spiral ramp, in the middle under a black sign that says “Deceptionist at Lunch,” you can even get an espresso. (is this part a performance? I wonder.) On the ground floor Pinocchio is laying face down in a lit pool of water, in another spot the floor says in giant black lettering “Are We Evil.”

None of the pieces on their own are very striking, “bad art” even, but for me the whole was more than the sum of it’s parts.  Just like when they had a Mathew Barney exhibit here, I felt like I entered another world, that one filled with baroque opulence, this one was filled with minimal weirdnesses.  A darkened hushed world, a minimal artist carnival, right on the brink of dread, but for now hovering in dreamlike insanity and surrealism full of baffling yet familiar voids.

For me, this was one of the more successful shows I’ve seen at the Guggenheim. That Barney exhibit would be my other front runner. But that was years ago. Maybe I’m just a sucker for site-specific installation art. [I never saw the Cai Guo-Qiang show here, but I did see his work when he was at MassMoCA, so I can imagine it here].

October 24, 2008–January 7, 2009
Guggenheim Museum, New York
website or a flickr

Truthtag (aka Krystian Czaplicki)

I can’t remember where I first came across this artist but it was way before I had somewhere to post about it. I came across his work again and remembered how fabulous it is. I think I love it so much because it is a cross of some of my favorite types of expression, street art, minimalism and site specific installation. They work together so well, it’s amazing. Check out his portfolio for the full spectrum of his work.

(some more photos here)

The Lastmaker

The Lastmaker was Goat Island’s last performance ever.  It had a few really really great moments but (once again) there were members of the audience falling asleep.  Ordinarily that is the last thing I would use as a marker of how good something is, but I was ready to doze off, myself.  There have been plenty performances that with their methodical slowness have tried to lull me to sleep but I still loved them, sadly, this was not one of these performances.

Maybe the goats are tired, or sometimes the stars just don’t align.  Even though this is your final performance and you would like to go out with a bang, things weren’t meant to be?  I could tell they are seasoned performers, they deconstruct what a performance is, they are studied and methodical in their actions but the whole thing did not come together.  They failed to construct the Haga Sophia for me, even if, they managed to put together a model of it.

Highlights:  a short snippet of (the lengthy) intricate dance; an odd repeated phrase (in a foreign language?); repeating a moment in it’s mirror image; an “old” man hunched over speaking in a horse voice; constructing something so that you litertally place the support underneath yourself while you are (sort of) levitating above it [the kind of thing that only happens in cartoons and dreams].

Goat Island
Performance Space 122
New York City
Nov 6-16 2008
venue or group