On occasion, there are reasons to update visitors about things that are taking place in my artistic life. These could be thoughts, events, breakthroughs, or discoveries.
Look here for news and updates.
Almost a year ago, I joined a makerspace called NYC Resistor. Aside from being populated with amazing people who are working on crazy projects (here, here, here, and here, for example), it’s given me access to new technologies, new directions, and new skills I never knew I had.
The result is a bunch of new work that has kinetic and robotic elements. I’m building robots! I’m cutting things with lasers! And these new tools are proving very useful for interacting with “old” technologies like mapping, handwriting, and frame-carving.
A newer piece with a laser-cut wood frame.
The best part, though, is having new tools to work on older ideas. For years, I’ve been working on landscape drawings in pencil and pen that had photographic or mechanically reproduced elements in them. Most of the time, xerox or inkjet transfer was the best method of having that mechanical detail built into the piece, but I always pined for a slightly more integrated and refined method. Well now I have it! A drawing machine that uses the same pen or pencil that I do:
A robot drawing machine that uses pencils and pens to help make my landscape drawings and maps!
The robot in action.
And here’s a link to the machine doing it’s first drawing.
In the middle of working on the Morbid Anatomy Museum, which has begun to occupy a seriously overwhelming amount of my time, I’m also making new work in the studio and finding time to work on interesting projects with amazingly talented artists like Nicole Antebi and Alex Branch.
On that last front, next weekend is the final act of Alex’s darling project, the Winter Shack. Nicole, Ben Miller, and I have worked out a fun, low-tech way to convert the shack into a giant Magic Lantern, and will be performing a moving panorama within it for one night only.
The shack has proven to be a great place for innovation and play, and I suspect this event will be more of the same.
I’ve been working for months on a show in the gallery at 60 Wall St about the Utopian possibilities of art in an amusement park. A group show about artists and fun! It’s full of ideas that I’ve been thinking about for ages. We finally hung the show last week and there’s a public reception on July 10.
Everyone come. (Here’s the link to the evite)
As I’m drawing here, I’m also doing some mapping. I think this will all become part of a book soon, but I’m not sure yet how that will play out. Something about time-based media and the urge to record experience.
When I think about maps, especially geographical diagrams, I tend to think about outlines and borders. If you consider a map primarily in its role as a record of some kind of experience and step away from the idealistic impulse to control or predict, you start to wonder how to record phenomena that are in motion. As I’m making these diagrams I’m forcing myself to consider the places that are transitional and try to give them momentary shape.
Places like shorelines and rocky beaches with nothing built on them.
At the same time, I’m conscious of pretending to have a bird’s-eye view of the world. Every map is a lie, of course.
Some things I know:
- When people in Bombay say “it’s gotten cold”, this corresponds to a physical air temperature that is just the slightest bit below what it takes to make me sweat profusely.
- The sounds of the Adhan from a nearby mosque will always make me feel a shiver of joy and a sense of calm. Here it punctuates my working time.
- Chai and coffee are not the same thing when you wake up in the morning. I love the chai, don’t get me wrong, but it is not coffee.
- There’s a difference between a City and a Village, and it’s not the size of the urban agglomeration.
- Mapping presents a serious challenge when you continually want to know more and more about a place. The best way to produce a map is to turn off your brain, note down what you think you know, and don’t question your “accuracy”.
Even as I get ready to leave for India, there’s still a lot going on in New York, including a nice little show at Recession Art, called American Daydream. Go there to see one of my latest paintings, a palimpsest featuring the text from the 2011 Occupy Wall Street manifesto and a Russian map of the trip across the country that Eugenie Petrov and Ilya Ilf, Soviet journalists, took in 1936 when they drove across a United States in the midst of the Great Depression.
“What do these things have to do with each other?” you ask? Well, that’s up to you. I just look through one and onto the other.