December 2, 2011
While the system of hydropnic apartment gardening made from discarded plastic bottles is amazing (and something I am intend on trying!), what stuck with me was how she described our dependence on systems. This drive for autonomy and self reliance sparks all DIY initiatives:
I like many of you am one of the two billion people on earth who live in cities. And there are days when I feel how much I rely on other people for pretty much everything in my life, and some days that can even be a little scary.
But autonom and self-reliance do not mean alone. With the “R&D-I-Y” – research and development your self. DIY does not have to be singular, as our class has been throwing around it is ‘Do-It-Together.”
October 15, 2011
I came across these two documentaries that are interesting examples of DIY documentaries.
Tarnation is the earlier of the two, released in 2003. Director Jonathan Caouette documented 19 years of his life with his schizophrenic mother. With a budget of $218 (edited with the free iMovie program) and two decades worth of super 8 film, photographs, answering machine recordings Caouette was able to create a world renowned film that received accolades from Independent Spirit, Gotham Awards, National Society of Film Critics, and London International Film Festival.
Life in a Day was released this year that was directed by Kevin Macdonald and produced by Ridley Scott. Life in a Day is made up of YouTube submissions from people who filmed their lives on July 24, 2010. Thousands are included in the final product. While I have only seen the trailer and various clips from YouTube there is something so powerful about bringing together all these strangers who are willing to share a little part of themselves. May I suggest a screening day?
October 15, 2011
At the end of his talk with Christiane, Luis Camnitzer said something that truly encompassed the purpose of collaborative learning and those who question the current structure of education; “A good teacher and a good artist should aim at becoming unnecessary.”
Driven by profit, the commodification of education benefits from being necessary with a top-down flow knowledge and maintenance of a stratified class structure. For Luis, both the artist and the educator are (should be) intermediaries of knowledge, and in his words “art is a tool for thinking.” In The Assignment Book he poses questions, the pieces of art are his responses. Unlike a traditional art object, they are touched and changed by the visitors participating by posting their response cards. The hierarchy of artist/viewer, teacher/student, art object/everyday object is removed with the goal of deinsitutionalizing learning and challenging these traditions.
Like Theater of the Oppressed and the photography anecdote in Pedagogy of the Oppressed, the disruption of traditional notions of learning jars the mind. No longer required to conform to established order, education revolutionary possibilities. Really, any piece of art can be seen as something that disrupts our thoughts. Even if one doesn’t know the context of a piece, if it makes you stop and step out of everyday monotonous thought then it has succeeded.
Below are a few pictures I snapped on my phone in the gallery, ignore my reflection in the metal plates!
October 4, 2011
Last week’s discussion that covered the ethics of remix culture reminded me of this conversation going on in the photography community. In regards to attribution of sampled entities in music and writing, there isn’t a set standard for what is acceptable. When there is recognition outside the community sometimes conflict arises. What about photography?
Damon Winter’s “A Grunt’s Life“
Photojournalist Damon Winter’s photo essay “A Grunt’s Life” documented the daily life of U.S. troops in a war zone with his Iphone Hipstamatic camera. This was featured in the New York Times and was received third prize in Picture of the Year’s annual Feature Picture Story competition. There are a few issues that can be brought up with this story:
- The role of a photojournalists is to capture a realistic visual depiction. One can argue that the distortion from the hipstamatic automatically takes Winter’s work out of the realm of photojournalism. But, some say any visual representation involves distortion.
- DIY journalism is celebrated all over the news. There are often non-journalistic visual representations (photos and video) taken by people who happen to be at the scene of an event. If this is the case, then how does one differentiate between professional and the novice/hobbiest/anyone with a camera phone?
I would love to hear your opinions!
October 3, 2011
Last night, Artist Olek covered the Alamo sculpture with her signature crochet. She even posted a video of the late night escapade.
September 14, 2011
I found out about the Hole-in-the-Wall project while exploring TED. Around 1999, Dr. Sugata Mitra (Chief Scientist at NIIT in New Delhi) wanted to explore unsupervised learning through computers. He carved a hole in the wall that separated the NIIT campus from the slum in Kalkaji, it it was a freely accessible computer.
The first Learning Station in Kalkaji
Mitra found that the children were able to learn basic computer skills when provided with suitable resources, entertaining content, and minimal human guidance.
In his TED talk, Mitra begins by saying (paraphrased), “the best schools and teachers don’t exist where students need them most.” But, through this project he has given children in underprivileged communities the opportunity to collectively learn, empower themselves, and explore new ideas. This is not meant to replace teachers, but to show that if children have interest education happens.
Since 1999 the project has become global and has taught children gone beyond basic technology use, to include language and science. To learn more about great the capacity is for this type of learning watch the TED talk!
September 13, 2011
Not sure how to start this, but I guess my interest in DIY began when discovered feminism, vegan-ism, and started to idolize Kathleen Hannah during my freshman year of high school (I was about 10 years too late to the Riot Grrl party). I worked with A.I.R. Gallery throughout college. Currently I am writer, recently for the Neuburger Museum and Colour & Trends.
On a tangent, here is a funny stop motion I did with Le Tigre’s “My My Metrocard.”
During college I studied Art History and Women’s Studies. My thesis was a feminist critique of contemporary craft theory, and an exploration of these techniques used by those self-identified as artisans and conceptual artists. Currently, my interest still lies in art production, but how digital art that defies the traditional ideas of value determined by the museum and art market. For these institutions value comes from ownership and authenticity. But digital production often defies these principles. How can something that exist on the internet really be owned, pieces that exist solely on the internet that can be re-mixed. How will these new cultural artifacts be incorporated into future art history? After doing some research, came to notice that museums such as the Walker Art Center and Whitney Museum of American Art at one point had active projects for experimental digital art, but now are not update [just looked at Whitney’s website, it does include exhibitions from 2011…but there is a large gap in time between updates and no direct link on the museum’s website]. What are the effects of the short lives of these programs? If there is no longevity, how can we be assured this part of cultural history will be around for future generations? I want to explore these questions in relation to DIY culture. I have a hard time clearly verbalizing the connections between these ideas and DIY, but I know it is there and hope to be able to come up with something a little more eloquent by semester’s end!
Some interesting reading on the subject:
Marisa Olson, “Lost Not Found: The Circulation of Images in Digital Visual Culture” (chapter), Words Without Pictures, LA County Museum of Art, 2009
“Law vs. Art Criticism: Judging Appropriation Art” by Cat Weaver.
“How Do You Sell an Animated Gif?” by Hrag Vartanian (the comment’s section is pretty interesting)