Ars Electronica has a blog post about our 2013 jurying weekend. Minds were blown, lives were changed. This was the nicest and smartest batch of people I’ve had the good fortune to work with in recent memory: Sirikit Amann, Norbert Artner, Tomek Bagiński, Ian Banerjee, Florian Bauböck, Robert Bauernhansl, Bernhard Böhm, Chris Bregler, Benjamin Brockhaus, Ludger Brümmer, Suzanne Buchan, Viktor Delev, Michael Doser, Marlene Eggenreich, Electric Indigo, Emre ErkaI, Maria Falkinger, Ingrid Fischer-Schreiber, Gerhard Funk, Gregor Göttfert, Andrea Grover, Jens Hauser, Sarah Hellwagner, Martin Honzik, Horst Hörtner, Ela Kagel, Jurij Krpan, Michael Kaczorowski, Conny Lee, Hannes Leopoldseder, Michael Lettner, Veronika Liebl, Karl Markovics, Johanna Mathauer, Tom Mesic, Arthur I. Miller, Jeff Mills, Leila Nachawati, Manuela Naveau, Marcus Neustetter, Emiko Ogawa, Karin Ohlenschläger, David O’Reilly, Gustav Pomberger, Johannes Ramsl, Remo Rauscher, Martina Rauschmayr, Genoveva Rückert, Mariano Sardón, Olga Shishko, Miriam Schmeikal, Karl Schmidinger,Christine Schöpf, Anezka Sebek, Christopher Sonnleitner, Bruce Sterling, Michael Sterrer-Ebenführer, Gerfried Stocker, Martin Sturm, Jer Thorp, Maholo Uchida, José Luis de Vicente, Florian Voggeneder, Susi Windischbauer, Lei Yang, Pamela Z.



    I purchased a new notebook which is always an indicator that I’ve got some thinking to do. In a few days, I’ll start my Center for Curatorial Leadership Fellowship in NYC, and for two weeks I’ll have a densely packed schedule of classes, discussions, dinners, and field trips. I expect this new notebook will fill up fast.

    I’ve kept notebooks and journals since I was 10 years old, and most are still in my possession. My daughters recently discovered my 8th grade diary and are finding it a laugh riot. Each entry profiles a different love interest, or the eager anticipation of tween outings to the local pizza parlor. Meanwhile, a family trip to Newfoundland and the islands of Saint Pierre and Miquelon is described as “boring” except for the French speaking cab driver who I imagine returning to marry.

    Travel journal to Saint Pierre and Miquelon, 1983

    At work, I have been dubbed “the scribe” by Scott Howe, the deputy director at the Parrish Art Museum, because of my compulsive note-taking at meetings. Sometimes I think it is my self-medication for an easily distracted mind– a way to help me stay focused on the subject at hand, because I can’t drift too far afield when I’m transcribing. I have filled up about ten notebooks since I started work at the Museum two years ago this month, and regularly re-read them to see if any progress has been made– it has.

    There is a great post on Brain Pickings with excerpts from Joan Didion’s essay, On Keeping a Notebook, which describes the author’s own impulse to keep notebooks. I concur.

    The impulse to write things down is a peculiarly compulsive one, inexplicable to those who do not share it, useful only accidentally, only secondarily, in the way that any compulsion tries to justify itself. I suppose that it begins or does not begin in the cradle. Although I have felt compelled to write things down since I was five years old, I doubt that my daughter ever will, for she is a singularly blessed and accepting child, delighted with life exactly as life presents itself to her, unafraid to go to sleep and unafraid to wake up. Keepers of private notebooks are a different breed altogether, lonely and resistant rearrangers of things, anxious malcontents, children afflicted apparently at birth with some presentiment of loss.

    Selected notebooks, 1980-2011

      View slideshow of Parrish Road Show events

      The “Parrish Road Show” is an innovative exhibition and program series, of the Parrish Art Museum, created to generate transformative convergences between artists, visitors and diverse members of Long Island’s East End community. This ongoing summer series features artists’ projects and related programs that are sited in atypical public spaces from the open landscape, to businesses and public parks. The Museum commissions new works by regional artists (temporary projects, site-specific sculpture, public works, or performances) that activate spaces not normally associated with art exhibition, and consequently encourage unexpected encounters with art. The inaugural Road Show took place from June–August 2012, from Southampton to Montauk, NY, and included projects by Maziar Behrooz, Jameson Ellis, Alice Hope and Jill Musnicki, with related programs and performances by Matthew Biederman, Alain Thibault, Kelly Morris, and Richard Vaudrey. The series also included an art historical bike tour of the Springs with Amagansett Beach & Bike Co., and an Eat Drink Local Film Festival at Silas Marder Gallery, presented with Edible East End magazine. The Parrish Road Show is organized by Curator of Programs, Andrea Grover.

      Press coverage of the Parrish Road Show:

      A Museum Takes Art on the Road, Molly MacFadden,

      011110010110010101110011 (on Alice Hope at Camp Hero State Park), Janet Goleas,

      being there (on Jill Musnicki at Bridgehampton Historical Society), Janet Goleas,

      Taking the Parrish on the Road, Jennifer Landes, East Hampton Star

      Parrish Road Show features two new artists’ projects,

      Capturing Scenes Unseen, Joan Baum, Sag Harbor Express

      Site Specific Installations Bring the Parrish Off Grounds, Pat Rogers,


      Video of Matthew Biederman and Alain Thibault’s PULSE projected into architect Maziar Behrooz’s RDMU (Rapid Deployment Meditation Unit).

        Do you ever wonder what house sitters do while you’re away? Ours made a short film about our dog, Elvis. The film went on to be a finalist in Tropfest, and screened before 13,000 people in Bryant Park on June 23, 2012. Now our dog is an “actor” who shook paws with the evening’s host Hugh Jackman and is listed as talent on IMDB. Thank you Mister Matt Hulse for giving our “wee chubby bullet” the celebrity we knew he deserved.

          Returning to my sometimes pastime of fantasy house hunting for a property to house our “art b and b,” I discovered this gem. Three hours from New York City. Thirty-six thousand square feet. A steal at $1.2 million. Oh the things we could do there. Amsterdam Castle is already a bed and breakfast

          Built in 1894 by the state of New York for the National Guard, Amsterdam Castle is a 36,000 square foot private residence listed on the National Register of Historic Places. New York originally built 100 of these armories, of which nearly 50 are still in use by the National Guard. Other “sister” armories uses include a military museum (Saratoga), art gallery (Manhattan East Side), and a concert hall (Albany). This armory was decommissioned in 1995 and is the only armory converted into a home. This home has two guest wings available for bed and breakfast accommodation. -

            Here’s what I’m “rolling out” this summer with the Parrish Art Museum.

            The “Parrish Road Show” is an innovative exhibition and program series created to generate transformative convergences between artists, visitors and diverse members of Long Island’s East End community. The series will feature four artists’ projects and related programs that will be sited in atypical public spaces from the open landscape, to businesses and public parks. The Museum is commissioning new works by regional artists (temporary projects, site-specific sculpture, public works, or performances) that will activate spaces not normally associated with art exhibition, and consequently encourage unexpected encounters with art.

            The “Parrish Road Show” is designed to broaden the traditional understanding of the function of an art museum, opening up a new dialogue to deeply connect creativity to everyday life. 

              When I was 16, I was working at the New York Boat Show at the Coliseum watching over the 26′ outboard boat with which my dad (with help from my brothers) had crossed the North Atlantic the summer before. Across the aisle were Kathleen and Curtis Saville, a quiet couple, with an infant, watching over their 25′ boat with which they had rowed across the Pacific a year earlier. I remember talking with the Saville’s and learning they had departed from Peru in 1984 and by the time they arrived in Australia a year later, Kathleen was pregnant! They wrote a book about the experience, Pacific Voyage: Rowing 10,000 miles in 392 Days (now out of print). And this wasn’t their first Ocean crossing; in 1981 they had rowed across the Atlantic, making Kathleen the first woman to successfully do so. Today I decided to “google” the couple, and learned that Curtis died in 2001 in the Eastern Desert of Egypt while on a solo desert mountain expedition. Clearly theirs was not an average life.

              On the site, I found this memorial tribute to Curtis Saville:

              Curtis’ other expeditions include exploratory mountaineering along the Virginia Glacier on the South East edge of Baffin Island in the High Arctic.  This was part of the Canadian Polar Continental Shelf Project.  In addition, Curtis Saville was a French horn player.  Educated a Juilliard School of Music (B.A.) and Yale University (M.F.A.);  he was a Peace Corps Volunteer in La Paz, Bolivia in the 1960′s and taught music and writing. 

              Kathleen and Curtis Saville in 1987

              Generally when someone has accomplished a remarkable feat, you’ll find other remarkable achievements along the way. In February of this year, John Fairfax, the first man to row solo across the Atlantic in 1969, died at the age of 74. Fairfax’s obituary in The New York Times reads like an early 20th Century adventure novel.

              At 13, in thrall to Tarzan, he ran away from home to live in the jungle. He survived there as a trapper with the aid of local peasants, returning to town periodically to sell the jaguar and ocelot skins he had collected.

              He later studied literature and philosophy at a university in Buenos Aires and at 20, despondent over a failed love affair, resolved to kill himself by letting a jaguar attack him. When the planned confrontation ensued, however, reason prevailed — as did the gun he had with him.

              In Panama, he met a pirate, applied for a job as a pirate’s apprentice and was taken on. He spent three years smuggling guns, liquor and cigarettes around the world, becoming captain of one of his boss’s boats, work that gave him superb navigational skills.

              In Werner Herzog’s 2007 documentary film Encounters at the End of the World, Herzog visits McMurdo Station in Antarctica and meets a handful of extraordinary people for whom working in Antarctica is but one adventure they have experienced. When I first saw this film I thought it might have been partially fabricated (how could Antarctica attract so many daredevil poets and amateur philosophers?). But the more I learn about “seeker” personality types, the more I realize that their most publicized feat is usually far from their only one.


                Film and video-maker friends, Bogliasco Foundation wants YOU to apply for a fellowship on the Italian Riviera. What are you waiting for?  April 15, 2012 is the deadline for the winter-spring semester 2013.

                Located in the village of Bogliasco, the Liguria Study Center provides residential fellowships for qualified persons working on advanced creative or scholarly projects in the arts and humanities. The Study Center is one of the few residential institutions in the world dedicated exclusively to the humanistic disciplines: Archaeology, Architecture/Landscape Architecture, Classics, Dance, Film/Video, History, Literature, Music, Philosophy, Theater, and the Visual Arts.

                I recently joined the Bogliaco Fellowship Advisory Committee, and would like nothing more than to see more moving image artists take advantage of this singular program!

                Bogliasco Foundation Brochure

                  Visitors checking out Markus Kayser's "Sun Cutter," a low-tech version of a laser cutter that uses pure sunlight, focused by a ball lens, to repeatedly cut programmed shapes in up to 0.4mm thick plywood.

                  Intimate Science,” the exhibition that I curated as part of my Warhol Curatorial Fellowship, opened on Friday, January 20, 2012 at Miller Gallery at Carnegie Mellon University, the campus gallery expertly run by Astria Suparak. Several hundred people turned out (during a snow storm) to see the work of BCL, Center for PostNatural History, Markus KayserAllison Kudla, Machine Project, and Philip Ross. The crowd was a mix of artists, architects, technologists, and mycologists– the latter thanks to the abundant examples of reishi sculpture and architecture by Phil Ross and a reception sponsorship from the Western Pennsylvania Mushroom Club. Both Phil and Allison gave talks the day before; Phil talked about the possibilities for mushrooms as building materials, batteries, and a substitute for petroleum based plastics. Allison talked about how her time living in Bangalore coincided with her research into algorithms embedded in living systems; one example of this is the “Eden Growth Pattern,” a surface fractal found in both urban sprawl and bacterial growth, and in Allison’s work on view, Capacity for (urban eden, human error).

                  Allison Kudla explaining "Capacity for (urban eden, human error)" which uses a computer controlled four-axis positioning table to "print" intricate bio-architectural constructions out of live plant cells. The algorithmically-generated patterns drawn by the system are based on the Eden growth model and leverage mathematical representations of both urban growth and cellular growth

                  "Capacity for (urban eden, human error)" installation detail.

                  The Center for PostNatural History's 3D Transgenic Mosquito display features Anopheles stephensi mosquito specimens, developed at U.C. Irvine and genetically altered so that they cannot carry the malaria-causing parasite Plasmodium.

                  Phil Ross hands around a mycotecture brick. Made from reishi mushrooms, these bricks are entirely renewable, non-toxic (read edible), lightweight and stronger than cement.

                  In BCL's "Common Flowers" genetically modified "Moondust" cut flowers are reanimated as living plants using plant tissue culturing techniques, with the intention to create an open source population.

                  The day after the exhibit, Mark Allen of Machine Project presented a three-part workshop titled, “Mind reading for the left and right brain.” In part 1, participants learned to solder in the process of building a personal galvanic skin response meter (aka a lie detector); in part 2, they developed their “intuitive” abilities with psychics Krystal Krunch, Asher Hartman and Haruko Tanaka; and in part 3, they learned to operate and perform with a simple audio looping device called an Earbee, designed by Sara Roberts. The video below gets at the mind-altering group experience of this full day workshop.

                  My personal galvanic skin response meter (lie detector) made with Machine Project. A watchful third eye is etched into the circuit board

                  On Friday night, we got a sneak preview of the soon-to-open Center for PostNatural History storefront in the Garfield neighborhood of Pittsburgh. Rich Pell walked us through the darkened hallways of the center, which had the atmosphere of a Victorian sex parlour meets natural history museum.

                  Rich Pell, director of the Center for PostNatural History about to take us on a sneak preview of his transgenic museum

                  Transgenic specimens under lock and key at Center for PostNatural History

                  Ultimately, “Intimate Science” looks at artist-initiated research in a scientific or technological area, and notes the dramatic shift from artists operating on the periphery of research to conducting research themselves. The artists in the exhibit have a sustained and intimate relationship to their studies (for example, in Phil Ross’ case, he has been working with ganoderma lucidum or reishi mushrooms both in the field and in his studio lab for 16 years), and contribute in a meaningful way to cross-disciplinary discourse. I first heard the term “Intimate Science” used by Roger Malina, astrophysicist and editor of MIT’s Leonardo (a 40 year-old peer-reviewed academic journal on the application of contemporary science and technology to the arts). Malina suggests that this type of practice parallels Mode 2 Science, which emerged in the latter part of the 20th Century: a type of scientific knowledge production that is interdisciplinary, problem-focused and context-driven, responsive to the social environment, and interactive (involves non-specialists). Social practice and artistic research operate under the same principals. And when artists become scientists, the lines of inquiry pursued become quite expansive.

                  Read the Intimate Science introductory text below.

                  The most recent manifestation of artists working at the intersection of art, science and technology demonstrates a distinctly autodidactic, heuristic approach to understanding the physical and natural world. Intimate Science features artists who are engaged in non-disciplinary inquiry; they aren’t allied to the customs of any single field, and therefore have license to reach beyond conventions. This kind of practice hinges on up-close observation, experiential learning, and inventing new ways for the public to participate in the process. And through their engagement with “intimate science,” a more knowledgeable public might well be able to influence what research is supported and adopted by the larger culture, and the walls of science can become more transparent.

                  For four months in the fall of 2010, I worked at a cozy desk in the STUDIO for Creative Inquiry at Carnegie Mellon as a research fellow hosted jointly by the Miller Gallery and the STUDIO. On a daily basis, students, faculty and visiting artists would stop by my front row seat at this frenetic concourse of technoscience dispatches.

                  While my initial line of inquiry was artists embedded in scientific or industrial environments in the 1960s, I began to uncover a new narrative — a tactile shift in discourse and practice between that moment and this one. While artists two generations ago were dependent on access to technicians, labs, computer time or manufacturers to realize works of scientific or technological complexity, those I was presently meeting had far greater agency to conduct this kind of work themselves. Even ambitious endeavors such as independent biological experiments, materials research and micromanufacturing can be conducted by today’s working artist — and not at a naive or removed distance.

                  Roger Malina, physicist, astronomer and executive editor of Leonardo, a leading journal for readers interested in the application of contemporary science and technology to the arts, describes this direction as “intimate science.” He writes:

                  “In an interesting new development in the art world, a generation of artists [is] now collecting data about their world using technological instruments but for cultural purposes. Shared tool-using leads to overlapping epistemologies and ontologies. These artists both make powerful art and help make science intimate, sensual, intuitive.[1]”

                  And unlike the rare “Leonardo” polymath of the Renaissance, contemporary artists who operate across disciplines employ the expertise of the network: the network, not the individual, is encyclopedic. The Internet has provided unprecedented access to shared knowledge assets, materials, fabrication processes, microfunding, and audiences. This exhibit examines how networked communication and open source culture have contributed to this shift from artists aiding science to doing science, and the impact this imparts on the way scientific knowledge is acquired, utilized and disseminated.

                  BCL (Tokyo)
                  In Common Flowers/Flower Commons (2009), BCL (Georg Tremmel + Shiho Fukuhara) bio-hacks Suntory’s genetically-modified “Moondust™” cut flowers — carnations bio-engineered to have a blueish purple petal color — back into living plants with the intention of creating an “open source” population of these flowers.

                  Center for PostNatural History (Pittsburgh) is a project spearheaded in 2008 by Rich Pell with the objective to advance “knowledge relating to the complex interplay between culture, nature, and biotechnology.” It is a singular natural history museum that is concerned with “PostNatural” varieties of life normally excluded from scientific taxonomy, i.e., transgenic organisms that have been altered by humankind via selective breeding, genetic engineering, or other methods of biological tampering.

                  Markus Kayser (London) takes notions of sustainable micromanufacturing to the extreme through projects like his Solar Sinter (2011), which combines a custom-made 3D printer with solar power to transform sand, on site in the Sahara, into glass forms, and Sun Cutter (2010), a low tech ‘laser cutter’ that makes objects by focusing sunlight into a beam powerful enough to cut through plywood.

                  Allison Kudla (Seattle) combines computer fabrication technologies and plant tissue culturing to make living installations. InCapacity for (urban eden, human error) (2009) she uses a custom-built computer controlled four-axis positioning table to “print” seeds and algae into a delicate architectural pattern, which she describes as biological material in collaboration with an engineering mechanism.

                  Machine Project (Los Angeles) is a “not-for-profit arts organization and community event space dedicated to making specialized knowledge and technology accessible to artists and the general public.” Machine describes its terrain as encompassing “art, technology, natural history, science, music, literature, and food,” and more. Machine’s style of presenting promotes hands-on engagement and engineers atypical collisions between different branches of knowledge.

                  Philip Ross (San Francisco) works in the realm of “biotechniques.” He makes sculptural and architectural works from plants and fungi, and videos about micro-organisms. His “mycotecture” series is an experiment using reishi mushrooms as a sustainable construction material. He is also the facilitator of DIY biology events via CRITTER — a salon he founded for the natural sciences.

                  Andrea Grover was the 2010 Andy Warhol Foundation Curatorial Research Fellow at Carnegie Mellon’s Miller Gallery and STUDIO for Creative Inquiry.

                  A densely illustrated publication, New Art/Science Affinities (2011), accompanies the exhibition. Co-authored by Grover, Régine Debatty, Claire Evans and Pablo Garcia, and designed by Thumb, the book features more than 60 international artists and collaboratives.

                  1 R. Malina, “Intimate Science and Hard Humanities,” Leonardo Vol. 42, No. 3, page 184, 2009.

                    This opening paragraph from the Roy McMakin: Middle exhibition brochure from Aldrich Contemporary Art Museum is the best definition of art I’ve read in awhile.

                    Walk into a room and in a matter of seconds (on a subconscious level) your mind identifies and categorizes every major thing that is visible: there’s a person on the right (female, white, forty years old); there’s a group of geometric wood objects (furniture: table, chairs, bookcase); there’s a spherical object on the table (vase: ceramic); and a hole in the wall with an overhanging section (architectural features: fireplace, mantle). This reaction is not only the way in which we orient ourselves to the world, but also a fundamental human survival skill, ingrained into our consciousness by millions of years of evolution. When something unusual, outside of simple categorization, is thrown into our field of view, we pause, look, and consider. These anomalies are usually figured out rather quickly, but the man-made ones that we continue to come back to with questions—sometimes for centuries—fall into another category: art. – Richard Klein, exhibitions director

                    You can download a PDF of the entire essay here.

                    From LA Times "When is a chair is not a chair" Photo credit: Jason Schmidt