Art? A definition?

Still harping on about the reactionary Art site I found yesterday! This person's definition of Art is so narrow. There is no mention of Dance, Film/Video, Performance, Theatre, and a minor reference to Music, but certainly NOT popular music, only the classical variety.

In a way though I kind of applaud them, they seem to have a very well defined notion of what Art is. My ideas vague as they are, are partially based on John Berger's ideas. He has in his book, "The Sense of Sight" a chapter with a rather succinct definition of Art that I use in my lectures at VU (page 6 of my copy ISBN 0-679-73722-7) . Roughly speaking he suggests 5 clues to an objects' classification as a work of art.

  1. Figurative Representation
  2. Subject Matter/Context
  3. Respect/Understanding of the Materials used
  4. Formal unity and Economy
  5. Awe, fascination or reverence for the object

So I quite like this list and it helps me classify things occaisonally. Still a lot of PoMo (Post Modern) Art is all just too cerebral for me, leaving out the "wonder" "awe" and imagination aspects of art that make it so enjoyable for the viewer.

MarsEdit almost at version one.

From Ranchero's own blog

MarsEdit 1.0fc3 is a final candidate release. We’re looking for deal-stopper bugs—bugs so bad that they have to be fixed before shipping this as 1.0. If no deal-stopper bugs are found, we’ll change the version number and make this release 1.0. There are a few bug fixes since 1.0b12—having to do with drafts, most notably. See the change notes for details. [Ranchero]


MarsEdit, Jumbo jets and Art?

Now using MarsEdit to write these entries, neato little app for all you non-programmer types like me.Made by Ranchero software who also make NetNewsWire, the news reader for the Mac used by many mnay folksout there.

This morning due to the Northerly, two huge 747's flew over real LOW, yowza, gotta love that, one was a Cathay Pacific 747-400, serial number B-HUA, at 07:14.

Two quotes from last night's TV show, still ticking over in my mind.

"Optics don't make marks"
"...the tyranny of the lens"

Hopefully will have some time to formulate some thoughts on Art , after my earlier post today, stay tuned, in the meantime check "my art".

Has Art become reactionary?

Who would have thought that the Art world would be subject to reactionary views? After watching an excellent program on TV, by Hockney that explored the notion that the renaissance was actually helped along by lenses and camera obscuras, and doing a "google" on him and the idea, I turned up this reactionary site,.

Sadly as people seem to have become less adventurous in their political views so to the idea of what art is and can be, (the site is claiming 40,000 visits per month). They have even produced a "manifesto! Taken from another site

Linda Dulaney, executive director of the Art Renewal Center, located in Port Reading, New Jersey, recently wrote Navigator to announce the arrival of ARC's first newsletter. ARC's mission statement cites thirteen goals for the center:
(1) To create the largest on-line museum on the internet, with hundreds of thousands of oversized high-quality images of all the known works of the greatests painters and sculptors in human history, cross-referenced to the largest encyclopedic online art reference liberary of historical texts, essays, biographies, and articles;
(2) To promote a return of training, standards, and excellence in the visual arts;
(3) To provide responsible views opposing those of the current art establishment when warranted, especially as expressed in critiques of current art exhibits, and in aesthetic philosophy;
(4) To make available to all interested, the best of the rich Good Art archives of debates, controversy, and dialogue that has spanned the last three years on the Internet;
(5) To disseminate the rich artistic heritage of 2500 years of accumulated knowledge in creating traditional, realistic images touching upon universal and timeless themes;
(6) To advance the undersanding that Great Art begins with great themes and expresses them poetically through mastery of all aspects of technique;
(7) To repudiate the idea that development in art requires destruction of boundaries and standards, pointless emphasis on "newness," or pursusit of the bizarre and ugly as ends in themselves, and to expose as artistic fraud those works conceived only to elicit outrage;
(8) To provide a technical resource for artistic information, including referrals to experts;
(9) To provide a forum for dialogue and exchange among educators, scholars, curators, collectors, and artists;
(10) To promost scholarship and research on the artists of the past and the rediscovery and preservation of their techniques and methods;
(11)To establish basic visual literacy standards across the world. Drawing must be introduced as part of the core curricula in K-12 and developed progressively until high school and beyond;
(12) To provide impetus for the reestablishment of high standards of performance in the visual arts of painting, drawing, and sculpture, and to promote the concept of recognizable quality as a primary criterion for the judgment of fine art;
(13)To offer a platform for discussion—both scholarly and informal—on art history, aesthetics, technical considerations, art education, and other related issues, and to maintain honesty and frankness in our interaction with everyone, regardless of predisposition.
Those interested in learning more about the Art Renewal Center may check out its Web site: www.artrenewal.org. According to ARC's newsletter the site garners 40,000 visits a month, with an average visit lasting twenty-two minutes. Certainly, it offers a feast for the eyes.

I love the final word, "...it offers a feast for the eyes". What about the mind and the soul? What about telling old stories in new ways - that have MORE relevance - to fresh eyes and minds? Pffft more on this later methinks! Don't get me wrong, I love a well executed drawing or painting, it is indeed a beautiful thing, but that's all it becomes, and I doubt very few people would be moved in a way that a good movie could move them, or a great song, or a stunningly printed photograph. Yes indeed Mr. Fred Ross, we are now living in the 21st century and life is NOT as simple and elegant as you would like to think it is so why should contemporary art reflect this?


Beta Search engine for academics

Just discovered this new beta search engine for "academics" from "google" http://scholar.google.com/, it's great have and I found links to several articles on topics that I find interesting, quickly AND easily.

Well it looks like I'll be online even more now!

Finished my final weekend Photoshop workshop for 2004. I had two cancellations out of an original four, leaving two policemen, not only were they policemen, they were from the "State Surveillance Unit". Are you asking yourself the same questions I am at this point? You bet! Why are these two state officials in charge of gathering information, consisting of Audio, video and photography doing a workshop in image manipulation? Glad you asked coz I did too! It seems that they often need to "enhance" poorly captured images given to them by other members of the force. And as long as they have the original files and can prove "how" they enhanced the images the images can be used for the purposes of a criminal investigation.


Mobile Phones, Art, or Photography?

Loooking back over my archives I talked about extending my my collection of Nokia Mobile phone images. I had it seemed, just purchased the USB cable to do this. Sadly I haven't followed through. The gallery is still fairly static, I've been using the camera, just not uploading. The reason of course is Nokia's lack of support for the Mac, which means I e-mail the images to my self at aboutfity or so cents each, then upload somewhere from there. I even went as far as to install Virtual PC on my machine, in an effort to cut costs and make the proces easier. This I have booted into once since installing so there goes that idea. However my contract on this particular phone runs out early next year. When it does I can then get a new phone, one with bluetooth perhaps, or one that supports the Mac, or even a different model Nokia (my model is the problem, a 7400, I think?). For those couple of folks who read what I write here I have long thought about doing something artistic with a Mobile Phone Camera. Places like Flickr are being used by people in ways that I thought would make for an interesting use of the medium. This was going to be my sticking point with my original idea, as far as mine went, "How to publish in a manner commensurate with the medium and idea?" No more worries about that then, plenty of folks are up and running with the idea. So early next year with a new camera in hand, I'm going to start the project in earnest. Hopefully; not famous last words?

Have my last Photoshop workshop for the year this weekend, a smaller than usual group, so far, as two folks have pulled out, this leaves two chaps who work for the Melbourne Police force! I am very very curious why members of the Police force are doing a workshop in Photoshop? Stay tuned on that one


Strangers in the night?

This Asian site sent me to a few hits last week, of course it's in an Asian language that I cannot read? Still weird though what could folks want I wonder from some part of Asia?

Sneak peek at Mac Os X.4

Wanna see some snaps of the upcoming version 10.4 of the mac os?

UK Kodak plant closures?

News just in from Digital photography review.

Kodak is to close five labs in the UK over the next 12 months resulting in a loss of 500 jobs. The news of the closures in Northampton, Glasgow, Walsall, Wimbledon and Portishead follows the announcement of 600 job losses last month after Kodak closed a factory in Nottinghamshire and 250 people lost their jobs at a site in Harrow, North London. A call center is also due to close, The cuts are a result of Kodak's shift towards the digital market and its plans to cut up to 15,000 jobs worldwide in three... [Digital Photography Review (dpreview.com)]

Our overseas trip 2004

Currently working on the section of our site that deals with our recent overseas trip. It will be a long term work in progress I suspect. The image editing is a time consuming process in itself. Serves us right for taking over a gigabytes worth of images I guess?


I love my computer/s

Just get a Mac and be done with it.

This article while not originally *by* J Kottke, makes me laugh all the same!

Thong season arrives!

Given the weather today, I think I can safely say.............it's thong season!

That's the shoe variety - chinese work boots, you know!

Still life, with minor edits in photoshop

a still life in our own house


Why make images?

As the year draws to a close here, I have been reflecting a bit on my own creative practices ( I don't need the end of a year for this, at the best of times, but hey let's use it as an excuse anyway). I am a bit embarassed to admit that I have spent less time in the darkroom at home this year than any other year in the last 15 or so. However I still am making images as prolifically as ever, it's just that the change in approach brought about by digital cameras means a different end result or use for these images is required. Shock horror perhaps even a different intention or maybe more focused attention is what is required?

When we were on our honeymoon in New Zealand a couple of years ago, why I made images with a camera was really driven home. A question that I still am struggling with. Why do I take/make images? What do I do with them all, who really benefits from these thousands of images? I realised at the time that particularly in an unfamiliar environment with little time to spare it was almost pointless trying to make god or meaningful images with any kind of idea behind them. I gave up pretty quickly trying to make anything that resembled art to me and just snapped away making what I hoped would be good/memorable pictures of the trip as a whole, and if I fluked a good one then so be it.

Well here I am 2 or 3 years later and things haven't changed that much, I am still making images albeit more digital than any other kind and I just wonder what am I supposed to do with. As an aside when I retired my Kodak DC 260 halfway through our recent world trip I had reached the 13,000 mark they are all carefully filed away on CD awaiting a reason to be pulled out and used.

The reason I'm thinking this way is that making images with a digital camera IS different to using an analog camera. Technical issues aside there is an underlying attitude that kind of devalues the image. The instant feedback provided by digital photography has taken away a lot of the mystery of the process. This loss of mystery equates perhaps to a loss of innocence or maybe a lowering of expectations of what we can achieve with our images. For example, I always set my camera to its highest possible resolution with the least amount of compression available to me - "just in case, I want to make a nice large print from the file". In 5 or so years of using a digital camera I have never once seriously bothered to make a print from them. So why do I maintain this just in case mentality? Why can't l let it all go and simply get used to the idea of making images for a computer screen?

Applications such as Director which are powerful story telling tools require you to have a firm understanding of the story you want to tell? (Director can turn still images into interactive images that move, based on a story of some sort.) Do I have story to tell? Particularly given the way I make digital images in a kind of Gary Winnogrand style- what would "that" look like photographed - kind of way? A self published book is one option, still awaiting exploration, and I am truly enjoying the galleries over at Flickr.com too. Ultimately I guess that so long as I continue to make images that are important to me then maybe someone will get some value from them?

Two photographs - minimal photoshop editing

A weird sky over Melbourne on Thursday nightA tree near our house that I find intersting


Victoria street Blues?

Picture this, it's a mild sunny morning, you're sitting in a cafe having a coffee, reading a book, in particular a book of Jack Kerouac Poems. You realise that you have actually got a recording of Alan Ginsberg reading one these poems. You can "hear" the poem and you slip off into the street in front of you. The traffic moves and hums, a woman's heels click click past you on the pavement, the sun shines. You finish your coffee and read some more:-

"...In the feel of their stride
Touching to hide the sidewalk,
Blackshiny lastnight parlor
Shoes hitting the slippery
With hard slicky heels
To slide and fall:
Breboac! Karrak!"

You return your cup to the counter inside walk across the street, after braving the peak hour traffic, hop in your car and look back at the red building bathed in morning light that houses the coffee shop, and read the sign on top.

It reads - Wayne Wong and Associates.

As an aside the excerpt from the Jack Kerouac poem, "SanFrancisco Blues", is reproduced here without permission.


Simple icon software for the Mac

More nifty software! Now I can make really cool icons for my Mac. All it takes is a simple bit of photoshop editing and then dropping the image on the software, hey presto a nice custom made icon.


Is Google the only answer?

Currently trying this search engine. It's called cluster and turns up some interesting results - quickly.

See my links to the right, for the reason why I am thinking of switching?


Let X-mas Begin!

In town today, and of course the silly season has officially begun! The crowds were surprisingly quiet for the first day of the "Myer Windows". Snapped up a few CD's today as well. Some might say an eclectic list, other folks, just know me and my tastes.

  • "Closing Time", Tom Waits
  • "Used Songs 1973-1980", Tom Waits
  • The Best of Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds
  • "Amelie" Film soundtrack
  • "If I should Fall from Grace with God", The Pogues
  • "Give Me Convenience or Give Me Death", The Dead Kennedys
  • "Unknown Pleasures", Joy Division
  • "Apollo Atmospheres and Soundtracks", Brian Eno
  • "You Don't Know Me", Dannielle Gaha
  • "Scar", Missy Higgins
The small crowds outside Myer Windows

More images of Melbourne over at Flickr


Art banned in Darwin

Coffs Harbour hosts banned photo exhibition. A photo art show that was banned in Darwin is opening tonight at the Coffs Harbour Regional Gallery on the NSW mid-north coast. The Northern Territory Parliament banned a scheduled exhibition in March of Belinda Mason-Lovering's collection called Intimate Encounters, Disability and Sexuality. The ban sparked an outcry from one of the models with disabilities, former ABC reporter Cath Duncan, who says she thought it was a joke at first. Tonight's opening also has a local contribution from sculptor John Van der Kolk, a collection inspired by the visual memories of blind people. Ms Duncan says it is a poignant and moving exhibition. "I'm quite hardened. I've seen a lot of disabled art and photography, but I walked out of there in tears," she said. "It moves you to really get an insight into how somebody else with a different sort of body and different senses views themselves. It's all about identity, sexuality and all that personal stuff. It's very beautiful."

Taken from the ABC arts site

Pictures on Waferbaby

Just had an image loaded on Waferbaby.


CMA graduate show 2004

Opening tonight, the graduating student's show 28 k, from CMA at Victoria Universtiy, here are the sites they built as part of the unit of study they undertook with me.


Colour tools?

Nice little colour generating tool, lot's of them out there, this ones very elegant

Thanks to Ed for the heads up

Pet peeves whinge number #041111

One of my main peeves in life is the way we are pigeon holed by advertisers and marketers, this article on wired throws some light on the the issue and also gives some hope.

[Wired News]A PBS documentary makes the case that Americans have tuned out marketers pitching everything from cars to candidates. The result: even more crass attempts to get through, and a fragmentation of American society. By Jason Silverman.


Bush salutes us - NOT!

Finally G. W. Bush reveals his true feelings about the rest of the world.

George gives the 1 finger salute

Berencie Abbot and Eugene Atget

The article below, on Berenice Abbot from about.com, mentions one of my early favourites Eugene Atget. A street photographer who never saw himself as an artist, but has been elevated to that status for many years. The trouble is, his work to my mind, takes a lot - and I mean, a lot, of close inspection and reflection to see that. The problems begin I guess, if you use the yard stick of "what is the function of this work" as a means to measure the work. Even though the work indeed was used by Atget to sell to Museums and other artists as either reference pieces or documents if you like, it somehow moves beyond mere documentation. One extra factor in Atget's favour is of course the fact that the majority of the imagery is of a place that no longer exists, pre-war Paris of the early 1900's.

Personally I like his work, I can connect to it on many levels and it's always a pleasure to look at. I have of course read several tomes about him and his work, so my understanding of where he's coming from maybe different to someone discovering him for the first time. This is what I like about this article, it gives a teaser and links and allows the reader to explore more in their own fashion based on their needs and desires, a very handy function of the web.

Enjoy the article and the links.

Berenice Abbott's own place in the history of photography is sometimes overshadowed by the work she did in bringing the work of one of the greatest of all photographers, Eugene Atget, to the public eye. After his death in Paris, she bought much of the work from his studio, and brought it back with her to New York where she exhibited and published it. In his lifetime, Atget had sold large numbers of prints of aspects of Paris to various museums as well as to individuals, including artists such as Man Ray, but had not generally been recognised as a significant artist. Although his work was written about in Europe, it was the collection in New York (later at MoMA) that made him a well-known name in photography. Abbott took many fine portraits, but her work on the city of New York is her finest monument You can see a good selection from this at the Hacklebury Gallery in London until January 29, 2005. Also on the gallery site are some other interesting images of New York, including work by Ted Croner, Elliott Erwitt and Arthur Leipzig

I am so inspired by some of the work I am seeing on Flikr that I am planning on spending the day out and about with my camera, seeing what I can, so stay tuned for a big update either here or at flickr, or my own site - oh and there is the travelogue as well.

For both my readers I wish to share the latest gem of software I have picked up from the internet, it's called Quicksilver and it is a useful and free utility for speeding up access to the contents of your Macintosh computer, bypassing the need for the dock, which for me had become painfully slow and time consuming. I am still learning it's intricacies but within minutes of downloading and installing last night, I am already opening and closing documents and files quickly with nothing more than a couple of keyboard strokes. A very useful tool indeed. The application's website will of course migrate over to the right with all the other interesting stuff I've found. One thing I neglected to mention was the quality and standard of work over at flickr, unlike other sites i've seen out there in cyber space this one is populated by people who are not onlt talented but also able to "see" wit their cameras in away that makes the world an interesting place again, go check it out.


my desktop 08/11/04

Changes are some what infrequent on my laptop, but as I'm sick of fiddling with the dock I've gone back to the old system of the alias on the desktop

my desktop 08/11/04
my desktop 08/11/04,
originally uploaded by s2art.


Flikr and photo-sharing

I have been hanging around flickr now for almost 3 days! Unheard of in this era of nano-second attention spans. Admittedly I have been adding tons of my own images, from my own site, but also busy adding tags (to my shots) and making contacts, and commenting on these contacts' work as well.

This site really interests me. It allows the user to upload and store their own photos these can then be organised into galleries, and set for public or private viewing, tags allowing sharing of common galleries. You can also set up galleries of images with images that are cross related, this is a fab idea and allows any user to organise threads and connections within their own bodies of work. So when another user browses a gallery they can then see the other connections made by the original maker of the images.


Macs are a tool afterall?

Here's one for the all macophobes out there, if they can stop playing their 3rd person shoot 'em ups long enough to read it -and - think about it


blue sky. look!

Have spent many many hours on flickr today, thank god things are settling down at work! This woman's imagery is just stunning

blue sky. look!
blue sky. look!,
originally uploaded by swissmiss.

Have signed up with Flickr, I am here if you want to find *me*One of the neat features is it posts straight to this blog if I so choose, as can be seen by the sculpture of Jesus below.

Uncomfortably Close Jesus

Hee Hee gotta love this one, says it all really, in one!

Uncomfortably Close Jesus
Uncomfortably Close Jesus,
originally uploaded by fboosman.


Canon images from my work

Some images made at work today the vibe is good and the work is getting done! The end of year show is only days away now and the students can smell it I'm sure!

student loungespotting an analog chorelillie belleBig Kev!

Stupid online quizzes?

Well apparently according to this test I am an exe file, what tha!

You are .exe When given proper orders, you execute them flawlessly.  You're familiar to most, and useful to all.
Which File Extension are You?

Of course I'm only useful to PC users and who would want to be that!

Democracy revived?

Cruising through my e-mail this morning when I read my weekly newsletter from prwatch.org. Picked up this little gem.

Newspaper readers have always had their little "letters to the editor" section, if they can get in. But cheap online tools have given anyone with a Net connection the chance to start a publication, a Weblog, a chat room, a bulletin board. Citizen media sites focused on tiny communities give journalists a role as content shepherds, whipping the chaos of reader-generated content into a manageable morass.

Ah yes indeed, the web may yet revitalise democracy in the west. Call me a hoepless romantic but I honestly feel that things like weblogs and the online communities in general that been spawned by the web have an oppurtunity to wrest control of folks information digestion back off the big media oultets.

Just last night I watched a program that argued that the US press in particualr has been undergoing some extreme introspection since 9/11 and they are starting to admit that they may have been wrong to so blindly follow the Whitehouse's lead. The program very eloquently argued why the big media organisations did what they did which was partly driven by commercial interests and a need to be seen as fairly and squarely *patriotic*. And some even admitted that following Fox with it's lowest common denominator approach had been a bad move. The implication being that they wouldn't do it again, but will they? Murdoch - no relation, is being portrayed as the bad guy here! Which reminds me must go see that movie about Murdoch and the press, as well as the one about "Corporations"


Time-lapse photography in Canada

This guy shoots some interesting stuff around his native town in Canada. This particular series looks like it could be interesting.

Click here to see the timelapse video of all 1928 images. (10mb quicktime movie)

A research issue?

A new issue of Boxes and Arrows is out. In this issue is Use of Narrative in Interactive Design by Nancy Broden, Marisa Gallagher, and Jonathan Woyte.

Interseting read yet somehow not really all that practical? the article as often happens whilst surfing turned up a couple of other names, Marshal McLuhan, Brenda Laurel and Mark Meadows. The first name I am well aware of (of course), the other two will require a little more digging. Sadly at the moment Amazon's servers are down, unheard of really? Also some of the other links at the bottom of this article were broken as well?

Post Melbourne Cup reflections

Can *you* remember your first hangover?


Cup day 2004

Today is a public holiday in Melbounre. It has been an excuse to paaartee. As indeed we have here at my house. Here is a self portrait to prove it.

is this a self portrait?


Retro Kitchen Canisters

e-bay is a wonderful thing

The mighty search engine fends off accusations of big business bias.

Is the ground shifting under Google's feet? Will folks abandon the darling of the net? All I can say is I'm happier now that Yahoo puts me above Carl Volks (now deceased) 2 day workshops, Google doesn't? Try doing a search for "photoshop workshops in Google or Yahoo and you'll see what I mean!