Where the f@&% is the cord?!? Perils of new media practice

Ok I can’t find my projector power cord. My “pocket” projector that I ordered off amazon.

It’s the cheapest, weakest knock off plastic calculator of a mini projector ever but it’s priceless right now.

Performance tomorrow. This is what I got this portable doohickey – but I put off looking for the cord until today because I was afraid I wouldn’t be able to find it.

So I planned and gathered all other materials. Lights, attire, media, papers and people with a plan. The projector was sitting right in front of me – I just *assumed* the projector power cord was close by.

No.

Gah. I spent four hours rumaging for it. House is under renovations because it’s a shitty house because I’m an artist who works in intervention performance art with multi-media components like a cheap hand held projector and things I bought at a dollar store.

Dust, Mystery cords that don’t fit. pulling papers and a flashlight in the attic full of pre-renovation stuff like the cord for this projector.

(Also pressing present pressure of having to finish reading 50 fucking pages of Nietzsche’s Use/Abuse of History for one my courses. How did it come to this?)

There is no one here I can enlist to for manual search help. Shoulders and temper both tweaked so I stop.

Research immediate replacements; closest is via kajiji at some guy’s house two hours through Toronto. I would have to rush out at 5pm, through the GTA, and buy this second hand and more expensive version. Then I would have to drive back into Hamilton and prepare everything.

The seller informed me it was already sold.

Why don’t the big box stores carry them? Some do but they are high end.

I see “universal adapters” for sale at these places, but my device may be is probably propriety in it’s size.

I have to keep turning my system on and off to re-install drivers. The newest ones from the video card manufacturer’s site is literally crashing my system when I try to install that.

I need my system to edit the video footage central to the media element of this work.

Ok. I am now considering not doing the performance. I read the last 50 pages of Nietzsche’s epic 18th century blog post.

Feeling refreshed several hours later, I decide to install some special viewer software on my PC for another class assignment so I can interact with a special virtual world project. This will be a significant studio experience throughout my program.

It won’t install because my of my video card and window 8 and yadda yadda.

I might replace the projector element with another iphone and the same media element. To establish a logical relationship between the symbols and behaviour within the work.

I’ve re-downloaded various drivers and even another version of the software. I think I may actually need to get a new system if I don’t want to live in the program’s computer lab. There is going to be some epic virtual studio work and collaborations happening with this platform.

But not on my four year old computer.

Or a mirror. Maybe actually just a mirror instead of projection, but not clear to everyone around perhaps.

Upgrading to a new system right now is a terrible time and resource wise. My shit is packed or piled and there’s dust and damp smell everywhere here. We used to have a Mac which would of run this thing but it got stolen a few months ago.

But then again, the indifference in public is part of the performance practice, so that still works.

Knock on the door. Basement guy appointment I made three weeks ago. Ok.

One hour later I am alone and again feeling better about my performance work re-jig. I was also already going to have a camera recording of my POV, so it’s the media is the frame of this work, the performance is the content. I also remembered I was going to run the video through google’s face-blurring software so I’m excited again. The final cut might look on this thing.

We have to get another computer – we’re both working more than full time hours. I have to buy a mac so I can keep hitting the ground running, or something like that.

And it’s going to hurt because this whole production is way over budget already and hasn’t made a cent. My pride is about be cannibalized by my avarice for monumental art.

I’ll keep the audio raw though, as usual. People say the darnedest things when the consultant walks by, chasing after his own reflection.

I really wish I just found the stupid cord.

I hope I find the cord. There’s no equivalent in the school’s A/V inventory.

I checked.

It’s 2 a.m. now and I’m no farther ahead except for fifty pages. They were actually a really great 50 pages though.

Got to be at a paying gig at 9am.

I have to attach two iphones to the wire frame of a catcher’s mask tomorrow after work. I plan to use string and need to remember to clear media memory on it.

I hope this works.

Everything is equal weight right now and it’s all on my shoulders.

When I get my shoulder’s fixed, I am going to throw out half of the crap in the basement and attic.

And I’m going to do a performance with the portable projector cause that fucking cord is here somewhere.

Good night.

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Verizon vs Bell, Rogers & Telus: What side Canadian Artists should support.

This is an easy answer – all Canadian artists and cultural workers should support opening the market to international telecommunication companies just like Verizon.

And now comes the fun part – explaining why!

For artists and Canadian culture in general this is a terrible sanction to have on us during this emerging period of online productions. Think about it – with data being so expensive in Canada and so comparatively cheap everywhere else in the world, our ability to produce and consume digital work is handicapped. We’ll put less work up, and we’ll watch less and the work that is up there has less production value, making us a bit of a laughing stock internationally.

Look at this way – throughout history artists have usually been on the trailing edge of technology as it become more affordable. Now with the massive economics of mobile devices, artists are finally right there on the vanguard of innovation – except in Canada. We simply can’t afford to be as nimble, innovative and productive as the rest of the world.

Why? Because Bell, Rogers and Telus have been lying and manipulating us in order to maintain a monopolistic strangle hold on the tiny Canadian market and leave us with the some of the highest rates in the world for internet, text messages and data transfer. I know this is not exactly news to most people, but incredibly many people out there are still sympathetic to these big three players because, apparently, they will believe whatever commercials and lobbying messages are put on the TV by the people who they are paying money to watch these commercials and lobbying messages on TV.

Below is a summation and rebuttal, point by point, of their main points throughout recent years, as seen on TV:

1. People illegally downloading movies are causing more strain on the system so that’s why prices are high.

That’s like saying if your neighbour is watching a lot of TV, your cable bill will go up.  Or lots of people are mailing books to each other that they stole from their local libraries, so stamps will increase in price. Usually something being used used more frequently usually results in it becoming cheaper – no matter the content being downloaded, someone is still paying for that bandwidth.

Also, look through these companies Business packages. They tend to espouse how fast and growing their networks are – but when dealing with their retail service, then suddenly they need you to pay more for less. Neat trick.

2. The internet is growing and becoming faster. It’s expensive to keep up these standards so that price is reflected in our bills:

You may be surprised to find this out but in fact the internet is very fast and rather boundless by it’s very nature – what you are actually paying for is the technology and marketing these big three companies use to actually slow down the internet to various levels and sell it back to you with caps on the speed and amount you can download.

3. They have internet packages that are very reasonable for the amount people use them:

No they are not reasonable. If I go above my monthly cap, then I have to pay $10 per Gigabyte – 10 FUCKING DOLLARS! – per gigabyte. Most people don’t even know what a gigabyte is so these telecommunication companies will get away with this exploitative and unethical behaviour. And frankly, it is nobody’s business what I use my internet for any more than it is what books i read or what kind of music I listen to. But my point here does apply to being an artist who uploads many photos and other media to websites, and this hampers that.

Now the really evil part – Bell, Rogers and Telus are adjusting their internet packages so that it is very fast for everyone but lowering the amount of data you are “allowed” to use. This means people will literally be able to race to their caps faster and thus have to pay exorbitant fees ($10 per Gigabyte!!!!) based on the small print of their contracts, which also have steep penalties for breaking contracts early or even for not returning the low-quality mass-produced modems they supply. For example, the modem we have is probably worth about $80 retail. If we do not return it when we cancel their contract, we have to pay $800. When they get the modem, they’ll just dispose of it.

4. Bell and Rogers are Canadian – we should support Canadian businesses!

Keep this is mind: Bell and Rogers are also international companies and would in a heartbeat trade places with Verizon. All of these companies are the same and view you the same way, so you should treat them the same as well. What is important here is that if companies like Verizon are allowed into our market, the price for data for people like you and me will drop considerably.

The disparity in access to available networks in North America becomes even more ludicrous when you consider the fact large corporations are enjoying international free trade agreements, but we as individuals are not benefiting.

5. Bell, Rogers and Telus will provide better Customer Service.

Anyone who is Canadian and does not work for Bell, Rogers or Telus will agree that these companies have been terrible to their customers and only very slightly, begrudgingly better since more competition seems to be looming on the horizon.  For most of us, we’ve talked to each about this and shared our revenge fantasies of someday seeing the demise of these companies.

In conclusion, there are changes coming. The CRTC has, finally, made a ruling to limit the contracts, alleviate unreasonable roaming and other charges and provide some price relief. Not sure why they have not stepped in before to help protect citizens, as that is supposed to be their job.

In the meantime, my family and I have switch away from the evil three and gone with an ethical re-seller of Bell (you cannot escape the reseller status of all independent telecommunication companies in Canada. They are all re-sellers of Bell’s bandwidth because our government allowed Bell to become a monopoly over many years).

Someday, we hope to completely free and clear of purchasing any services from Bell, Rogers or Telus, and so should you.

#Hamont Art Crawl explosion: “Fuck your little art festival – I’m from New York, baby!”

The Jon Spencer Blues Explosion

The Jon Spencer Blues Explosion @ This Ain’t Hollywood

The Jon Spencer Blues Explosion played a concert here in Hamilton, Ontario on Friday and it was one of the best concerts I’ve ever attended in all of my life.

I saw these guys at the Horseshoe Tavern in Toronto and it was good, but not like this – they were giving the S’aint crowd something special that night. It was crazy. They didn’t stop playing at all, they just kept going. So much so the crowd had waves of people seeking some relief on the patio from the heat and sheer volume, and then coming back for more.

So why is this concert review on an art blog? Because this music legend mentioned Hamilton’s monthly “Art Crawl” taking place that same night on James Street North, right beside the concert venue. And he told the Hamilton arts community exactly what they needed to hear.

“I took a little walk through your art festival tonight – is it every Friday?” He rasped into the microphone as the band played in a holding pattern, “Well, I took a walk there around the corner and saw all the art and your stuff for sale – and it’s shitty. Fuck your little art festival, I’m from New York, baby! The center of the fucking art universe!” And then they launched back into music awesomeness.

Oh my god, I laughed and clapped. Not because I think he’s completely right, but mostly because this is rock’n’roll and this “Fuck you and whatever you do” attitude is part of the real deal.

But I also think he is right in that we needed to hear this – this art community needs to know they have a long way to go, and are not there yet. And, perhaps most profoundly at all, we need to recognize that attracting a bunch of suburbanites into the core of Hamilton for one night is not artistic success – it’s simply pandering to people who are too chicken shit to think outside their subdivision boxes otherwise. Art Crawl is like a mediocre themepark where a couple of thousand people may shuffle by some work and judge it in 1.3 seconds based on it’s mass entertainment appeal. Some buy things. Small businesses and other areas benefit.

That’s great, but at the end of the day we are still left with a shitty little art festival for a bunch of local Canadian suburbanites who don’t really give a shit about the arts (as is the way with Canadian culture. Almost the worst in the world this way).

We have long, long way to go to truly impress anybody beyond our borders, much less New York. I don’t think we ever will here as this festival is headed firmly in another direction at this point, as is the glossy brochure version of the festival “Super Crawl” which is really just a bunch of corporate sponsors, bands and average art installations*. We’ve traded that for some sort of bullshit “vibrant” metric that funding agencies like to see written about this kind of stuff.

Nope, this is not the place anymore for serious artists and serious works. Art Crawl is now just background noise for contemporary art as the gentrification cycle is now in full swing and developers are loading their families into the minivan and scouting out the area. Perhaps while enjoying an ice cream and noticing a few paintings that look like the group of seven.

Thanks for speaking the truth, Jon Spencer. It *is* a shitty little art festival in many ways. It needs to keep growing, to spill out of James Street North and for their to be a genuine art scene based on ideas and talent and hard work – not a package to sell like some t-shirt to tourists. It needs wow. It needs to leave no doubt as to it’s high caliber and it needs to be so awesome it doesn’t give a shit if you show up or not. We need to do better. The arts is not a gift shop, and I am concerned that the overwhelmingly dominant “We love art crawl don’t you?” crowd is ensuring the demise of Art Crawl before it ever truly got a chance to be something more…

…We need more art explosions, baby! And all the other kinds of art money won’t buy. That’s why many serious artists moved to Hamilton in the first place.

*I believe any programming by committee will be result in an average selection – the best and the worst submission tend to be eliminated through this process.  Like Toronto’s Nuit Blanche official programming, having an curated art project aspect to Super Crawl and not a completely open arts festival component that is still listed is criticized by some.

Sanford Avenue School c 1932 in Hamilton Ontario

[video / opinion / photos] Historic #hamont school to be demolished – an artist & feminist rant against it.

Sanford Avenue School c 1932 in Hamilton Ontario

Sanford Avenue School c 1932 in Hamilton Ontario

We were feeling helpless and exasperated at news that the local school board had slipped through a demolition order request to level a heritage building – and this gets processed within 10 days! Apparently the obliteration can begin in January, 2013.

Ward 3’s Wever Hub community meeting called for Tuesday, 6m at Cathy Wever School! Chance to clarify, discuss Sanford Avenue School and show Tim Simmons and Bernie Morelli how the Ward 3 neighbourhood really feels. Please attend!

Please, especially Ward 3 residents, contact Tim Simmons, HWDSB Chair at 905-308-6832 to voice your concerns. Please do it now!

There is no or little chance of fighting it this at this point. But what we can do is document the moment by complaining on a cold, overcast and very windy day as we walk around the school. We can let everyone know, especially future generations, what happened here and who was involved in these decisions. We can present more viable options to demolishing heritage buildings – such as a senior home, artist live-work spaces or even condos. We also talked about related issues such as bicycle infrastructure and the onus of meaningful community consultation on our elected officials.

 

In Hamilton Ontario where we live many beautiful buildings get torn down and now one of the most historically significant landmarks of built heritage in the city core is to be quickly demolished and replaced with a soccer field with plenty of free parking. Sanford School was opened in 1932 and is the first 100% Canadian steel framed building.

Production Note: Apologies for wind noise in microphone. So cold my iphone kept failing and Jen’s is a lower quality device, so the editing got quick and choppy, with a lot of noise. We felt it was important to be on site to talk about this, and within the limited window for meaningful public discourse on this, we are working with the footage we obtained in these less than ideal conditions. It was also important to us to limit the entire production cycle to one day. Much of what we said was cut because of the wind noise but added back in as captions. Much was also cut because we said some inappropriate things or bickered about the cold.

It is meant to have a sense of humour thoughout, so we hope you found parts of it funny – though it’s mostly just sad.

The building is located at 149 Sanford Avenue North, Hamilton, ON

Here are the links to our sources for our rant and more about Sanford “School-Gate”, our Councilor Bernie Morelli, the HWDSB and the general history and current state of our neighbourhood called Barton Village.

http://www.cbc.ca/hamilton/talk/story/2012/11/22/hamilton-demolition.html

http://www.raisethehammer.org/blog/2599/school_board_eager_to_demolish_another_architecturally_significant_building

http://www.thespec.com/news/local/article/841806–sanford-school-demo-a-lesson-for-heritage-advocates-mchattie

http://www.thespec.com/opinion/article/278749–the-barton-street-boondoggle

From http://www.berniemorelli.ca/index.php?option=com_content&task=blogsection&id=7&Itemid=43

How to reach Bernie
Bernie Morelli
Councillor, Ward 3
Hamilton City Hall | Second Floor, 71 Main Street West
Hamilton, Ontario L8P 4Y5

E-mail: bmorelli@hamilton.ca

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Blame “Classical Greek Era” for banking crisis – philosophy needs a real job

the more responsible and conservative method to starting a civilization with manageable debt and no corporate taxes.

I believe the current global financial crisis can be traced to ancient Greece focusing on liberal arts instead of business degrees. This has created, historically, a drain on productivity in many continents (DOPIMC).

Obviously, in hindsight, early democracy might have done better favoring MBA programs than “philosophy”  and “art”. At best, these are soft assets for any startup civilization – especially ones that need to compete in a global market.

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Three art beat musings: twitter alert, city elections and being overqualified for your dream job

Wake-up call -> Artists need to register their names on twitter – and hang on during the upcoming visual information storm

New features being rolled out on twitter in the next few weeks that rein in some of the tremendous third-party success into twitter’s own core services – namely the ability to watch photos and view photos. Now, twitter has been under-valued and under-utilized by Canadians in general including as arts marketing to a very suspicious and stodgy art establishment. That has changed a bit with places like the Art Gallery of Ontario and a slew of emerging art bloggers utilizing social media very effectively and finding a hungry and emerging channel for art news. But these core improvements of twitter for visuals is not to be underestimated as a very powerful platform within a mind-boggling huge and savvy audience.  If you are a creative type and have not already, then go and open an account on twitter so you can register your name and help protect your online identity. I don’t care what you think of twitter – you still need to manage your social reputation and lay claim to the intellectual frontier landscape that is your name on the internet. Being an artist or cultural personality of any sort means you have to be serious about your name on the most popular social networks, and unless you are Oprah then services are not going to care if someone “took” your name or not.

We promise art for some, and little Canadian flags for others

There is a candidate running in my ward who is probably going to win. On his brochures he promises to “promote arts, culture + recreation” and listed underneath, presumably as the key action points to accomplish said promise, is to “develop a parks + playgrounds plan”, “renew our neighbourhoods” and “represent all ward three residents.”

Though this sounds perfectly well-intentioned and thoughtful, I regret to inform you dear reader that this in actual fact epitomizes the very essence of the most evil, repressive and condescending attitude that is, and has been for a hundred years, tearing apart the very fabric of meaningful culture in our society. His talk of jobs is at the top of his list but his mention of arts is near the bottom and lumped into the same category as installing more garbage receptacles in parks. This approach echoes the dangerous latent kindergarten training and zealously defended perception that art is 1) about filling up all the white space on a cheap ass piece of paper 2) best designated for an hour in an after-school programs near newly installed garbage cans and 3) must be water-soluble.  But art is not leisure, nor is it entertainment. Art in a community is not a sunday paintings hanging in a cheap rental space. Art is art and it brings serious people and serious money.  Serious arts investment brings serious jobs and serious revenue and benefits to any community. I’ve ranted before about the power of artists to renew communities currently in states of urban decay but most politicians and the people who vote for them seem to think arts is a frivolous and symbolic hobby that comes in last when planning and budgeting. I know I for one am tired of politicians who pretend to support the arts but actually seem to loathe other adults who have chosen it as a career.

Overqualified for a gallery job – sucks in a flattering manner*

As some of you know, the gallery I was working at for the last year on Queen Street West is now gone. Sad as the model we were developing was really starting to click but would only work within that address and space. I was very lucky to find myself programming and marketing an independent contemporary gallery in Toronto’s art district, even if I did not have the chance to see my schedule come to fruition and I was working solely for a percentage of the business…

Anyways, the building the gallery was in is being demolished for condos (remember my mention of artists as the solution to urban decay?) so I have been job hunting for the last month and a bit. I told myself I would concentrate all of attentions and cover letter writing energies on applying for “dream jobs” for the first month and then go back to my usual safe area of being a web designer if nothing from my arts job hunt came up. I applied for all kinds of appealing jobs at universities, municipalities, museums and galleries over the last month and the only response I got back was from the owner of a very high-profile commercial contemporary gallery who told me “you are way too over-qualified for this position and I am saving you from getting bored sitting in the gallery all day.”

WOW. All of my life I feel like I have been gathering skills and experience to be an irrefutable piece of any power gallery. I have worked at many galleries, public and independent small projects, but never actually got a gig at an established commercial gallery that would pay me reasonably to do gallery things for them. I learned to write press releases, make websites, design print advertisements. I got a University art degree because I was specifically told it would greatly increase my chances of getting employed by a gallery. I even learned about installing proper lighting, painting walls, how to repair drywall and construct walls and I even learned how to read a freaking hygrometer – for freak’s sake! A hygrometer! Endless gallery committee meetings, hundreds of hours of volunteering and even running my own galleries, events and studio co-ops so I would be “better prepared” to “simulate conditions” to prepare to work in a “real gallery” (and how to use quotations more effectively as well). The crowning achievement of my industry to become a gallery worker was to make an art blog that listed art shows so I could comment on them to clearly demonstrate my awareness and understanding. All these years of effort and sacrifice have currently resulted in one email from the heart of Toronto’s contemporary art establishment informing me politely that I have now worked my ass off and out of a whole job description.

And now here I sit almost 40 and over-qualified for the dream job I have been preparing for all my life. The sad part is that, upon reflection, he is probably right that I would now probably get bored fast sitting in a gallery all day. That’s ok, now that I realize that I now realize working on my online magazines and producing studio work to go into those galleries is going to be a much more rewarding experience.

* got a job interview with a leading arts magazine here to run their website and email marketing. wish me luck!