Archive for the 'mimesis' Category

Brooklyn melons

June 28, 2008

I was in Brooklyn recently doing some preliminary work on a commission for the Brooklyn Historical Society. Here are some fruits of wanderings deep in the borough, including a real and counterfeit $10 bill, and (the last image) the dilapidated-but-charmtastic Avenue Q subway stop.

[pix by imagineering]


The decorated can

April 11, 2008

Three different representational strategies, from a common Dutch practice. Images from Almere, The Netherlands.

[pix by imagineering]


February 3, 2008

For carnival anything can be and is attached to wheels and pushed, pulled or dragged into town. Today I saw an football team and cheerleaders about 4 kilometers outside of the city center. They were pushing a sound-system (which was fully operational) the size of a volkswagen bug along the side of the road. When I passed by again forty minutes later, they’d only moved a few hundred metres.

The little-known NASA “Recovery” pictured here on a mission with hamburger fixings and a waffle maker; the official parade; mixed-myths of the American frontier all saddled up; the Chinese Olympic Ping Pong Team 2008, with table; and a portable laundry.






[pix by imagineering]

Beached soviet espionage outposts

January 28, 2008


“From 1988 to 2001, groups of Russian weapons inspectors were stationed at the Hercules Aerospace plant in Magna, Utah. After the inspectors left, their guardhouses were removed from the plant and transported to Wendover, Utah. They now stand empty and deprived of their original context, forlorn Soviet islands in the Utah salt desert.” – Lewis Colborn

Lewis and I were both on residencies last summer at the Center for Land Use Interpretation, Wendover, Utah. Lewis was working on a project that dealt with these transplanted guardhouses, which you can see on his website here. I stopped by to take a look and made the pictures below.




The guardhouses had been fully functioning surveillance units, kitted out for both espionage and residence. They’d been shipped over from Russia in entirety, from the formica to the siding to the oven. Seeing them was an eyeful: on a remote, decaying former American air force base, these two Soviet time capsules sit, beached.

Below is selection of then-and-now comparisons.







[pix by imagineering]

Woman walks up and spontaneously pees on my installation

December 12, 2007


[pix by imagineering]


December 1, 2007


Got milk

[photo by imagineering]


November 9, 2007

Libraries can be really odd places.


October 25, 2007


The more it tells you, the less you know

September 21, 2007

You may be wondering, like me, what is this odd little niche blog? Or more specifically, what niche is this?

Yes, there’s method here. Though half the fun (uh, for me at least) is figuring that out.

I’m interested in images: what constructs them, ways to think about them, how we encounter, manipulate and are manipulated by them. This blog is a porch and I’m swatting flies – noticing images, collecting glances and not-quite-so-random thoughts. The blog roll at present ranges mainly between art, architecture and planning, with a helping of cultural theory, pop culture and gaming.

Our image-world, what we see and the forms of perception at our disposal, is so massively influenced by marketing media. I got scandalous looks at my viva from a comment in my thesis that I’d rather look at ads than most fine art photography – ads being more sophisticated and more compelling. Then there’s things like this:

Every year a local farmer piles hay bales and paints them to look like a big ol’ John Deere tractor. It sits at the edge of the field advertising their fruit stand to the interstate freeway, a painted folk marketing sculpture.

Photo by imagineering
Quote from photographer Diane Arbus: “A photograph is a secret about a secret. The more it tells you, the less you know.”

Porthole decor

September 18, 2007


Ok, I took a little break from the blog there. It was nice. But it is much nicer to be back.


June 30, 2007




Just another day at the Commercial Casino in Elko, Nevada. Apparently the stuffed version of the bear hasn’t moved from that spot since 1958.

Paris hilton is here to teach us

April 8, 2007

“What is important to grasp here is the strangely naive and ultimately perplexing point that appearance is power and that this is a function of the fact that appearance itself can acquire density and substance….”

“The fetish power of imagery in shrines and magic [and marketing?] is merely a heightened and prolonged instance of this tangibility of appearance…. Epistemologies of science bound to the notion that truth always lies behind (mere) appearance sadly miss this otherwise obvious point. Daily life, however, proceeds otherwise.”

The smashing quotes above are from Michael Taussig’s Mimesis and Alterity, emphasis and comment in brackets my addition.


Above, Paris Hilton with Paris Hilton lookalikes. Which/what is real?

[Images from here, here, here and here.]


February 6, 2007

If I had a playstation I would DEFINITELY get it customized with an airbrushed 3d lunar landscape and mini spacecraft…


Entrepreneurial spirit

January 12, 2007



Whiteboard of words: interestingness

January 10, 2007

Brad can’t seem to breathe. It was love at first sight, he knows from their First Love Montage, when he saw Doris in a summer dress on the far side of a picket fence. On their first date, the ice cream fell off his cone. On their honeymoon, they kissed under a waterfall.

What should he do? Beg Doris’s forgiveness? Punch Wayne? Start rapidly making poop jokes?

Just then the doorbell rings.

It’s the Winstons.

At least Brad thinks it’s the Winstons. But Mr. Winston has an arm coming out of his forehead, and impressive breasts, a vagina has been implanted in his forehead, and also he seems to have grown an additional leg. Mrs. Winston, short a leg, also with impressive breasts, has a penis growing out of her shoulder and what looks like a totally redone mouth of shining white teeth.

“May? John?” Brad says. “What happened to you?”

“Extreme Surgery,” says Mrs. Winston.

“Extreme Surgery happened to us,” says Mr. Winston, sweat running down his forehead-arm and into his cleavage.

“Not that we mind,” says Mrs. Winston tersely. “We’re just happy to be, you know, interesting.”

[Excerpt from the short story “brad carrigan, american” from the collection In Persuasion Nation, by George Saunders]

Artists abuse the word interesting. I’ve been thinking about it quite a bit recently, after coming across the wonderful discussion about interestingness that’s been generated by Russell Davies and Jeffre Jackson (beautifully condensed in Jeffre’s video). I remember my undergrad doing a fine art degree and literally trying to force myself to find another damn word, though my profs used the word interesting all the time. It was a pestilence but irreplaceable. When later I was teaching art again I remember wondering why this nondescript word had a tug of such strange, unavoidable utility.

Ok, the word interesting in the art world can also function as a straight up insult. But that’s another type of chat. What I’m interested in here ; ) is the exchange of ideas between artists in crits or when discussing each other’s work. Moments when you’re honestly flogging your brain to figure out what what the heck you or the other person has made. An unexpectedly placed ‘that’s interesting’ can shave a nuance off the conversational blob, like a dart to the bulls eye.

I’ve come to think that interesting is valuable precisely because it is nondescript, not much seems to stick to it. Blandness is its crowning virtue: you can indicate your interest – like flagging the vein of gold in the granite, a simple tag – without revealing your subjective value judgement. I do or don’t like it is so much less useful for generating associations. Value judgements close the book on the conversation.

The artists I most admire have miraculous interestingness sniffers. Just when you thought you were in familiar territory, they’ll throw out an interesting that doubles neurons back on themselves and points out some very intriguing howcouldimissits. I reckon its the primary skill in the field nowadays.