Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Final Post

This is my final posting for Art 112. It has been a very interesting and enlightening term. I will all my classmates the best. For my parting shot here is Goodbye Kitty. Enjoy!

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Exhibition in a box: Project Proposal

Subject: Marcus Yallow, aka w1n5t0n, m1k3y

Marcus Yallow is a character from the Cory Doctorow science fiction novel Little Brother. Little Brother takes place in the near future during and immediately after a terrorist attack in San Francisco that destroys the Bay Bridge. Marcus is a high school student who is in the wrong place at the wrong time and is detained by the Department of Homeland Security in a secret prison. Marcus is eventually released, and finds that San Francisco has become a police state with everyone under suspicion with public spaces constantly monitored and all communications under scrutiny. Marcus becomes the locus of the resistance to the DHS, and through sabotage and protests eventually takes them down.

The story takes place in the very near future, and I feel represents important aspects of the current episteme. Issues of privacy, terrorism, freedom, and security are central to the story.

The author of Little Brother is Cory Doctorow ( is a prolific journalist, novelist, blogger (, and technology activist. Doctorow makes his published novels available for free via download on his website under Creative Commons license that encourages re-use and sharing. Common themes of his work include DRM, file sharing, and post-scarcity economics.

  • Marcus is a 17-year old high school student at the beginning of the story. He cuts classes to play games with his friends. He has a healthy disrespect for authority.
  • Marcus plays an ARG (Alternate Reality Game) with his friends called Harajuku Fun Madness. In which players are sent messages that they must decode and use to track down clues in the real world that lead to more coded messages and more clues.
  • ParanoidXbox is an open source operating system based on Linux that runs on a future version of the Microsoft Xbox called Xbox Universal. Marcus uses ParanoidXbox to create the Xnet, an internet that the DHS can’t monitor.
  • Police surveillance is ubiquitous in San Fran after the attack. Cameras and “under-cover” vans are everywhere.
  • "Never trust anyone over 25" becomes a rallying cry for the sub-culture Marcus helps to create.
  • The time Marcus spends detained and tortured by the DHS has long-lasting effects upon his personality.
  • Marcus eventually turns to his parents for help in achieving the release of one of his friends who has been detained by the DHS since the attack. His parents in turn enlist the aid of a journalist friend in publicizing the story.

I'm still working on exactly what to include in the collection and what form it will take. My initial idea is to create a diorama style exhibit placed in a box that looks like a surveillance camera, but have some activity going on outside the camera indicating all the subversive activity that Marcus and his cohorts are able to undertake. This concept hasn't fully coalesced yet.

Sunday, November 8, 2009

A brief interlude....

While doing research for the Iconic T-shirt project, I happened upon these works by British photographer Mike Stimpson. The pieces using Star Wars figures is hilarious... and the pieces depicting iconic and historic images are really thought-provoking.

Creative Commons

How does the Creative Commons project alter the way we understand ownership and copyright?

Creative Commons allows people to set levels of reproducibility for their works — gives an alternative to all-or-nothing approach to rights.

The aim of creative commons is to create a richer public domain, and allow image creators a common “area” filled with content they can reuse and remix — depending upon the level of rights selected by the initial creator of the work.

How does this project affect the subject(s) of a work?

A model release is required just as with a photograph released under traditional copyright.

In 2007 Virgin Mobile Australia used images from Flickr released under Attribution license in a bus stop ad campaign. One image was of a fundraising carwash that included a 15-year old girl from Dallas Texas. The girl sued Virgin Mobile, but the case was thrown out because of lack of personal jurisdiction — the ad campaign that incorporated the photo was run in Australia.

Despite this, in my opinion, the 15-year old girl had a strong case. As stated in all the creative commons licenses, publicity rights reside with the individual. So even though the photographer had released the photo under the Attribution License, he did not have a release form the subject of the photograph, and therefore Virgin Mobile would have been required to get a waiver before using the photo for commercial use. - When_are_publicity_rights_relevant.3F

Does the Creative Commons project afford any protection to the right of publicity (the Bela Lugosi case)?

The case mentioned above is also relevant for the Bela Lugosi case. Since publicity rights remain with the individual, permission would have been required before using an individual’s likeness for commercial uses. Not sure about transferability of those rights to his heirs, however... - When_are_publicity_rights_relevant.3F 

How would a Creative Commons license have altered the works in our textbook reading (Gone with the Wind, the work of Sherrie Levine and Michael Mandiberg)?

If creative commons had existed at the time, Margaret Mitchell would have been able to license her work with a no derivative works clause that would have prevented others from using her characters in new works, or she might have specifically allowed others to create derivative works and encouraged them to share alike. I do not see, however, how the creative commons license would have extended the life of the copyright, or transferred the rights to her heirs.

As well, in the works of Sherri Levin and Michael Mandiberg, if Walker Evens had had the option to use creative commons licensing, he could have specifically ascribed the level of reproducability.

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Turning 3D into 2D

Just read this article which seems pertinent to our text readings on perspective. It featured an Italian artist name Felice Varini who creates these mid boggling installations were he paints graphics onto three dimensional objects, often far apart from each other, that resolve into flat two dimensional works when viewed from a fixed point. Here's a link to the article.

Saturday, October 24, 2009

Spirit of the Times Movie Poster Research

North by Northwest
Alfred Hitchcock, 1959

Espionage and suspense film with themes of deception, mistaken identity, and moral relativism of Cold-War era. Saul Bass designed movie poster is somewhat similar to the poster for Vertigo, which Bass designed the previous year. In both posters the figure of a man is depicted as if falling through space—perhaps echoing the uncertainty and tension of the cold war.

2001: A Space Odyssey
Stanley Kubrick, 1968

Made at the height of the “Space Age” the movie tackles immense subject matter with psychedelic imagery and enigmatic story-telling methods. The poster is a still from the journey through the “Star Gate” sequence of the film and shows a close up of an iris tinted in psychedelic color with the “Star Child” super imposed. The tagline “The ultimate trip” carries multiple meanings: the odyssey through space, the evolution of the human species, and a reference to the drug culture prevalent in the late 60s.

The Graduate
Mike Nichols, 1967

Pragmatic depiction of aimless youth struggling to determine right from wrong, and whether there is any distinction between the two. Minimal in the extreme, this poster for the graduate presents the a massive feminine leg towering over a tiny figure in a cap and gown—implicating the sexually confident and aggressive older woman over powering the hapless young man at the center of the story.

Thoughts on Language of the Nude exhibition at Cooley Gallery

The conventions for depicting the human body have changed through time just as sexual conventions and morality have changed. Most of the work (except for the model exercises in the French section) in the exhibition focused on representing mythical/religious figures or events. Depicting gods, goddesses, cherubs, or angels for which nudity was a natural state of being. To depict an actual known person contemporary to the times would never have been acceptable.

The impact of ancient Greek and Roman artworks was, to me, quite evident. Of course, many of the gods and goddesses often used as subjects were of ancient Greek and Roman origin. Modern depictions of the nude still owe much to the ancient Greek and Roman forms—we continue to prize the idealized human figure.

The United States remains a country with a paradoxically adolescent and prudish view of nudity and sexuality. Images of half naked people are often used to titillate and entice for marketing purposes. Yet a half second view of a nipple on prime-time television led to immediate action by the FCC, and a widespread debate about indecency on television.