A Walk to Reminisce: PS1

Oct 2013, I went on a wondering with friends. We found ourselves at PS1, taking in Mike Kelly retrospective at MOMA PS1.

Mike Kelley. Deodorized Central Mass with Satellites. 1991/1999.

Mike Kelley. Deodorized Central Mass with Satellites. 1991/1999.

I found this image while digging through my archived images. I recall being at the edge of “art exhaustion” and being overjoyed at seeing this installation.

Fine Arts/Design MASHUP?

One of the conundrums of being “degreed and pedigreed” is having too many scattered pieces of your life. Each piece is an authentic part of you, but it is different in each iteration of life experience. This sentiment should resound faithfully as I collapse the feelings from leaving the MFA program at Concordia and matriculating at Parsons. Each piece is a part of the whole that is Laura Simpson and my art practice.  It is a bit overly serious to say so boldly that I have an “art practice.” If I was to unpack my art practice, it would be composed of experimentation and planning with room for serendipity.

I keep rediscovering myself. It’s almost as if I record myself talking and forget what was said until I go back to listen.

You don’t wake up and INNOVATE!

Right now, I’m wrangling my thesis paper for it’s final iteration, but I took a few minutes to reflect (and procrastinate) on chasing dreams, achieving greatness and innovation.

Yesterday, I had a discussion with a fellow Parsons DT student and we came to a similar conclusion to the idea of “saving the world via design” and the idea behind statements like “go innovate” or “is it innovative enough?”

Singlehandedly, I cannot save the world with design and as an artist, I don’t think I want to either. I do want to passionately experiment and make objects that will exist in the world after I am gone. I tend towards design and art that play with ideas, but are aesthetic and intellectual pursuits rather than a tool to bring drinking water to drought stricken lands.

I think that I am still contributing to the world. If something innovative comes from my tinkering, then so be it. I don’t prescribe to a notion that greatness is a given after years of working. I do strive for greatness in my field nonetheless. If I get it, it’ll be by making pixels do the wrong thing, finding ways to hack electricity and writing about it.

I was pleased to find a comic that showed my beliefs in such a thoughtful way, from a scientist to a creative technologist/artist/designer/nerd like me.

Marie Curie is right

Leaving behind a studio

I was melancholy about ending my studio practice so shortly after I had gotten it into full swing. Hopefully in the summer I will be able to resume my practice again in another space.

My Gowanus/ParkSlope Studio in memoriam:

Food and Branding infatuation

The Lee Brothers

Branding and food should come to all as no surprise, as the brand is a shorthand sign of what the company, artist, creator is hoping to tell you about the brand. Is it Upscale? Down Home? A little bit of both? To this degree The Lee Bros. Boiled Peanuts Catalogue tickles me in a peculiar way.

I’m not a displaced southerner in New York. I am in fact less than an hour away from where I was born and raised on Long Island. My parents however, were displaced South Carolinians (Cah-Ro-Lin-E-N or Cah-Ro-Line-An)  who taught me both to joys of creamed corn, stewed vegetables, ox-tail, okra and the effect that a double boiler can have on white Carolina rice.

Do I eat Boiled Peanuts? No…That wasn’t common in either region that mom and dad are from, but seeing the palmetto with the state flag’s crescent moon as a part of the masthead is a signal from afar that recalls childhood summers of peas, beans, BBQ and krispy kreme.

Active Philosophy

Laura Simpson
5’2″. Energetic source for ideas and explosions.
May program, but I want to make code dance and pixels quiver.

On Video:
Video has surprisingly become my medium of choice, but not for the same narratives that I watch on television. I make narratives out of nothing. Video is a powerful critical tool in examining aspects of time, qualities of space and how I perceive them.

On Installation Art:
Installation has taken on many meanings for me. At first blush, they seemed to be sculptures that refused to be “outdoors” sculpture, made of rock, metal or plastic. Upon second, third and fourth investigations, Installation is ever growing and evolving. Can my little creations grow to take up all of your attention?

On Design:
Design is an amazingly organic process, that flourishes within a structured system of prototyping, testing and iteration. I’m not really a designer, but I’ll steal design methods and process.

Thinking towards a Thesis

This summer kicked off with ambitions. Beautiful, big ambitions. I would research and start building an amazing thesis.
I would write an elegant abstract for TEI such that I would be selected among the great unwashed graduate students as worthy to sun myself in intellectual engagement from the forefront of HCI and on Portugal’s beaches in January. (Full disclosure: I personally dislike going to the beach, it’ll be winter in January anyway and I am fairly sure that I’m probably the majority of that great unwashed… just kidding, my hygiene is superb even on days I don’t leave the house.)

Instead, I’m in a bit of a Pickle. It’s the 13th of July, six days from my unbirthday, thirteen from when I have commitments in Western Mass, and a little over a month from having to show something for this summer/ something to show for Intern Show. What a mess.

Where did it all go? I couldn’t really account for it all, bit and slips here and there. Some was sitting in a bus terminal, parts are in the subways, lots were spent learning a valuable skill in rapid cover letter writing and digging loose change out of couch cushions. More valuable time was spent brainstorming for game concepts and participating in InterActive Music New York.

Brainstorming game concepts sounds so far from what I would describe my work as being about. Game Design and Interactive Installation Design aren’t so unconnected as it might be perceived. I want to create a rule set for engaging in any of my works. I want a set of standards, behaviors, punishments for interacting with my work. Is not not like designing any interface or even a game? I have a world and mind set that I want you to be surrounded by. It’s the beginning of something beautiful. I think..

What now? My summer is half over and I have some scattered ideas for a game, some writing and a visual step sequencer. This alone does not a thesis make, or even a foray into a thesis inquiry. Or does it?

Pax 2010: Chiptune Madness

I didn’t expect that I would be attending a music festival and have a remarkable aesthetic experience when I went to Pax.
Dev suggested that we stay on Friday to watch Anamanaguchi, a New York based chiptune band.
After leaving the dismal “Girls and Gaming” I was concerned that we might have missed them. Fortunately, everything was running an hour and a half late.
After sitting through the Protomen, Anamanaguchi was a sweet payoff.

The Protomen were a metal, gamer, fantasy opera. The stage performance was energetic and played well to the audience. When you want to rock a ~5000 person show and have two large screens to project upon, you need strong visuals, because up in the balcony, I’m looking at the screens. The Protomen had a live mix of onstage activity and looping video images. The live video was shaky. The choice of shots, unsteady zooms and bad timing of when to cut away into the loops versus action on stage. I was constantly distracted by mediocre video loops, when there was an interesting narrative on the stage.

Anamanaguchi (A-Na-Ma-Na-Goo-Chi)
As my introduction to chiptunes, I doubt that I could do better. The VJ, Band, Nintendo connection was sublime. The next day at the Magfest Lounge, I was introduced to the idea of chiptunes being a match of dj/band and the vj. This idea of visuals as the vocals of chiptunes resonated deeply within me. I was fortunate enough to talk to a VJ at the Magfest Lounge. He showed me his set up and how he uses a game cartridge from Pikilipita A guest dj from Anamanguchi, Knife City came and brought forth a day time rave. I kid you not, fair readers, the man threw open the doors and called to the people languishing in lines: “Do you want to Party? Do you want to Dance?” He brought the thunder. If I wasn’t so concerned about being cool, I would have danced like a wild woman. Instead, I settled for dancing in my seat. As I quest on to learn more about combining the videogame aesthetic with my future work, I will continue to post.
Below is a video from the actual concert: