Friday the 13 : i.thou [ final cut ] online release

Aloha! It’s Friday the 13th! Just 13 weeks remain in 2017. I’m releasing my vaguely illegal, dangerous, feminist film online today.

Welcome to the house of illusion. Our images of each other can make prisons. Open a side door into the collective unconscious. Nothing is as it seems, is it. . .

i.thou - still

i.thou, final cut (still) – 2008-2013

I built i.thou [ final cut ] over a five year period, wrapping it up in December of 2013. David Finkelstein reviewed this work at FilmThreat before that site disappeared. He describes the work by writing ““i.thou” doesn’t exactly tell a story, but it distills the atmosphere of dozens of stories drawn from films, generally stories where a woman is trapped in the (male dominated) institution of a mental hospital, a lab, or a prison, where she struggles equally against her captors and her own, internalized sense of being “sick” or “wrong.” ”

As you watch the coda consider the stories nested into the entire work – each female character re-presented here [ Beatrix/The Bride, Nikita, Dorothy (audio only), Ripley, Kieslowski’s Julie from Blue & more ] were created by male directors who proceeded to “put them through it”, for our entertainment. Ripley destroys the nursery in which she was made [ Alien: Resurrection ] – –

I have been told that the work is “too much” – too long / the wrong length to screen in festivals. The repurposed content too big of a risk for copyright liability [ even as Richard Prince & Girl Talk take that strategy all the way to the bank ]. Too experimental [ we figured out datamoshing in the ‘oughts – this is new media, right? new forms! ]

The work presents a ‘dead girl’ in a shot extended from her original 45 seconds of screen time to several minutes. Remember, the dead girl is not a character, but the memory of her become the character. Media makes memory for us these days. This work fits somewhere in both the preceding statements.

Wear headphones for best viewing experience!

viewing notes :
– the work has three movements and a coda; visual and loops are used/considered symphonically as classical music would, in motifs
– there are ‘pauses’ in the film where the screen goes completely black, between movements
– the opening of the third movement includes complete silence
– all melting, artefacting, ‘failed video’ looks are intentional

I would love to hear your thoughts about i.thou [ final cut ]. Rose McGowan and many other women were sacrificed on the altar of this form, filmed entertainment. That is a part of this, too.

Thanks for being here. All of this madness is a part of all of us. With this art we visit it for a few minutes, and then put it down.

Jessica

Senator Portrait Project [ the site ]

The Senator Portrait Project has a website!

As I described in the lengthy post over here, I made images for Wisconsin Senator Howard “Ron” Johnson (R-Oshkosh) and House Speaker Paul Ryan (R-Janesville). I’m one of a larger group of artists attempting to hold Congressmen responsible for their inability to even talk about guns in America.

Find my digital-analog paintings and check out my artist statement at the site : http://www.senatorportraitproject.org

»radiantdevices« & Chandeliers & Psychic TV July 22 2016 at Reggie’s, Chicago

Last night’s show was 3 bands in a bar [ »radiantdevices« & Chandeliers & Psychic TV ] with 200+ people listening & singing & dancing. »radiantdevices«had an amazing set, it’s fantastic when we play with live cello and more found-percussion, & the visuals worked quite well in the space. Chandeliers’ analog synth sounds with analog video synthesis projection was the perfect band to watch on Martin Gore’s birthday.  There were technical shenanegans, this was a running around putting out fires & pulling it together with no spare minutes &

& Genesys B-P, after Psychic TV’s opening song, said the important thing. “There are people out there – we know who, don’t need to say who – loudly actively bringing more hate in to the world right now. That’s what they do. Don’t play their game. Be happy.”

Invest in your joy my friends. As David Lynch put it so well, “What we pay attention to, that becomes lively”

still, test for backing visuals "DIRTY"

still, test for backing visuals “DIRTY” a song dealing with the experience of street harassment. processing & quartz composer linked by syphon server.

the digital artist ships 2 paintings to NYC [ what? ]

After the single-shooter massacre in Orlando, a New York City-based artist started a painting project. Organized in a private Facebook group, this artist assigned Senators who have a track record of voting ‘no’ on reasonable gun regulation in America to willing artist-participants. These 54 Senators have helped prevent even the most mundane collection of data to understand how American citizens use guns. It’s a move that drives the American Medical Association bananas; medical personnel see guns’ bloody consequences in ER’s every day.

The organizer’s provided theme: blood on their hands. I signed up for Senator Howard “Ron” Johnson (R-Wi). I’m a Wisconsin resident. Ron has received an A rating from the NRA and 1.3 million bucks from gun rights groups in his single term as a Senator.

I come from a family of people who work in health care, including doctors. I’ve heard what bullets do to the body. I spent about a year working in a hospital in Pittsburgh, I loosely understand what a gunshot victim means to an ER’s workload, how it reshapes the staff’s ability to treat any other person in the ER that moment.

Its bizarre to me, the silence around the consequences of using guns. But / and then – in our daily news, we see and hear anectdotes and incidents which pile up into uncountable extremes very quickly. How many mass shootings? How many people injured?

 

Senator Ron Johnson blood on their hands

I guess Lutheran souls are expensive ’cause the gun lobby bought Senator Ron Johnson’s for $1.3 million ~

One phenomenon of the Internet is our new capability to cut through that silence. Two survivors of the Orlando shooting ~ Patience Carter and Angel Santiago ~ discuss their survival process in a media essay produced by the New York Times. I think the immediacy of personal survival narratives fuels calls for reasoned approach to regulating guns in America.

See all the portraits at Senator Portrait Project : Senators Who Have Enabled Gun Violence

New York Daily News ran many of the images in a piece on July 5 2016.

~

At the same time as the Daily News piece came out, our organizer was approached by a lobbying group, New Yorkers Against Gun Violence (NYAGV). NYAGV asked about portraiture of New York reps to the House in Congress. Our organizer asked for volunteers; Speaker Paul Ryan (R-Janesville) was included in the call. As a Wisconsin resident, how could I not?

I get Speaker Ryan’s lifestyle, the whole hunting-fishing thing. I grew up here. I only mildly resented those who got out of school for a week for hunting season because that week was easy peasy schoolwork and no tests. The call for discussion is simply that. A call for discussion. Who am I to attempt to control the outcome? Enforced silence gets us nowhere. That’s what each of these politicians has done, by refusing to consider discussion of something very important to the American public.

 

Speaker-Ryan-Web

[ thoughts prayers ] House Speaker Paul Ryan

Each image started as a digital composite. Both politicians’ portraits include text layers naming their financial relationships to the gun lobby, as well as their ratings by the NRA. Those spiraling texts, created using Processing, were then composited into manipulated portraits of each man.

Scale set by the organizer meant that inkjet prints were made on 8.5″ x 11″ photo paper. I mounted each print onto firmer supports before varnishing and painting ~ I love any excuse to break out Sennellier pigments. In House Speaker Paul Ryan’s case, his role asked for gold leaf. . .

 

Leah Gunn Barrett delivering artists' portraits to the politicians who voted AGAINST universal background check legislation.

digital media : so very portable

 

[ thoughts prayers ] was also printed and delivered to the Speaker by NYAGV’s Executive Director Leah Gunn Barrett. She delivered artists’ portraits to the New York politicians who voted AGAINST universal background check legislation, and the Speaker.

So why the heck am I boxing and shipping these 2 paintings? They’re now finished, mounted on cradled wood 9″ x 12″ panels. Well . . .the organizer’s working on a show, a fundraising exhibition for NYAGV. And apparently now someone volunteered to make a film of all the pieces?

Let’s keep talking about guns and what’s going on with them, for all of us!

Want to see more work? Visit the public Facebook page for the group.

are we ourselves ?

In 1984 British band The Fixx released the song Are We Ourselves?. The video promo for the song featured the first ever appearance of a mobile phone in a music video.

Of course they set up and performed in a field in front of a giant satellite beacon thingy. That and the lyric Because seen through these eyes / We lead a double life were prescient – but it was 1984. . .

[ OSX ] [ LINUX debian / raspbian ] install wordnet for processing + RiTa

“Wordnet is definitely not written for use by humans.” – a helpful friend

I work with language as a poet. I write “poems for paper” as well as “poems for spoken-word performance”. In both, often, fragments of narrative appear as images.

In video, I’m exploring what I call the ‘variable narrative’, iterating tiny moments of story.

 

the-gravediggers-meditation

untitled video still [ the gravedigger’s meditation, 2014 : hybrid literary project ] spiral text composite layer created in Processing

Playing with ‘text as mark’ in Processing is pretty fun & relatively simple. Text added as strings can be expressed glyphs of this or that font. Strings of text can take particular shapes or be used as brushstrokes. In the image above, the entire text of Gogol’s short story The Overcoat becomes a shifting textured layer composited into an animated short film. The spiral text composite layer was made using math and one loooooong string of text.

~ RiTa : extends Processing’s use of language by referencing text’s meaning ~

RiTa, a Java-based coding toolkit that can be added to Processing, allows artists to work with meaning / words by role in language / rather than just text as mark.

example one : Automatype by Daniel C. Howe

example two : Spin State by Michael Coppola

~ installing RiTA inside Processing ~

With Processing open, go to the menubar: Sketch > Import Library > Add library

The library installer will open. Scroll down to RiTa.

  • If it is pickable, pick it & install!
  • If it is greyed out [ as it was for me ] one must instead go to rednoise.org and download the dependancy, unzip it, and stick the folder in the library directory your installation of Processing uses. If you have not customized your setup,the directory order [ on Mac ] : ~/Documents/Processing/libraries. Stick the folder that happens when you unzip the download into the /libraries folder. Relaunch Processing and you’ll find it. RiTa’s examples will also show up in the examples, under contributed libraries.

The RiTa reference guides the coder through toolset’s functionality & what it can do to explore art-related ideas on the meaning/language tip.

~ Word Net : high level text analysis with ‘parts of speech’ tagging and dictionary definitions ~

To further dig into meaning, to access markov language part-of-speech tagging, the necessary dependancy? wordnet“its primary use is in automatic text analysis and artificial intelligence applications.” ~ wikipedia

RiTa’s toolkit allows me to plug in wordnet analysis & execution functionality into Processing sketches. To do that, I needed a local installation. I tried to use the documentation provided by Princeton to create a local wordnet installation, and fell down several successive rabbitholes, each of which ended on ‘nope’.

Wordnet can be used with many coding languages – PERL, Python, SQL, and PHP etc etc.

Processing and Python use different operational approaches to installing dependancies. It was a head-turner to shift to the Python-like approach – using [ on Mac ] terminal, with sudo pip commands.

There’s this other thing one can add to Mac which provides “one terminal command installation power for many many dependancies”. It’s a  kit called Homebrew, built with the Ruby programming language.

~ an aside on art and technology, transparency of process, and meaning ~

Have your eyes glazed over yet? The mind-numbing list of tasks above this moment in the blog post is not, in itself, an interesting thing. I know that ‘the rest of the art world’ doesn’t know how the ‘studio inside of the computer’ works. I’ve been directly treated with contempt over the digital creative process by painters, in the past*.

I’d love it if my attempts at process transparency help encourage the conversation about meaning, to discover the metaphorical power of what artists can and are doing with computers, and relate to them . . . More directly, I think it would be awesome if more ppl were using these tools in their own work. So lets get back to that to-do list.

~ to install Wordnet locally, install Homebrew. To install Homebrew, install Xcode. ~

Homebrew can install a WHOLE BUNCH of stuff for me, besides wordnet, when attempting to sudo pip3 install various dependancies for Python and something doesn’t internally link. Fantastic! OK, time to install Homebrew.

Aaand I need to install a 4.5 gb thingy from Apple called Xcode wha-  ?

OK so most of the coding things discussed in this post are script-related single-tasking things. XCode is the Mac-based development environment for building OSX software & iOS apps. Its filled with tools, testing environments, and more.

One must install xcode in order to ‘unlock’ the bash commands [ for terminal ] that one needs to install Homebrew. Randomly, you will also now have a C compiler on your Mac. You can delete it once you’re done getting the bash commands you need.

Go over to the coolest guide on the planet, and follow their step-by-step instructions to install first xcode and then homebrew. Then come back here to finish up and see how cool wordnet really can be.

~ use a terminal command to tell homebrew to install wordnet ~

Open terminal. Next to the dollarsign prompt type

brew install wordnet 

Terminal may prompt you to add several other things.

When it finishes, don’t close terminal just yet. Jot down the directory location of your wordnet installation. You’ll use it in the next step.

Go back to Processing.

File > Examples. In the pop-up : RiTa > ReplaceableWriting.

Updating the sketch to include the local directory url for wordnet. Press play.

BLAM. Now you can see what it does.

Here’s to less maddening ‘getting going’ on ideas you’re interested in . . .

~ footnotes ~

*“Oh you just push a button – ” and a some other disparaging remarks

On a Windows machine? Try Scoop instead of Homebrew; here’s a list of terminal-like command line editors for Windows systems. Processing installs for PC, and the RiTa installation workflow should hold there as well. I have no idea if Wordnet can be installed on Windows in this way, but its a starting point.

If you’re on Linux you’ve got the work ethic to figure it out yourself 💗 and that Linux installation is on a raspberry pi, all you have to do is open terminal and type this:

$ sudo apt-get install wordnet

answer a few questions and you’re set.

??? !!!

The Raspbian install of Linux is a child iteration of Debian; it includes a compiler and you don’t need to “unlock” other OS features in order to get it to work. . .

women coders: hidden in the secretarial class – –

psst. one for late Sunday night studio practice realizations: I realized where women’s skill at coding has been hiding in our cultural history. Women are the secretaries, the support roles for male bosses. Traditionally they wrote in secretarial shorthand [ it was a requirement of their training in the 50’s ].

The gendered use of shorthand isn’t mentioned in this wikipedia article. Huffpo explains that “administrative assistants” are gendered 96% female, same as it was in 1950.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Shorthand

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2013/02/01/top-job-for-women-secretary-same-as-1950_n_2599560.html

This kind of work remains undervalued in our culture. A friend of mine currently struggles with the intense workload and silence of administrative assistant work at the department level of a major university.

At one point in the late ‘oughts [ REDACTED CORPORATION ] fired the secretaries that supported its middle management in a cost-saving move. They gave the middle management men new laptops.  Some of those men ended up as my computer students. I will never forget listening to one or the other of these men mourn the loss of the woman who followed him around, writing down everything he said, in a code he couldn’t read.

“Chicago Metra Number Station” live at Dada Sounds project

Cities & Memory maps the sounds of the world through discrete online projects. I created “Chicago Metra Number Station” for their Dada Sounds project. Artists were invited to remix field recordings of mapped locations, using DaDa-esque apporaches.

My 3-track project is included with 76 other artists, and it is live! Explore the map to hear field recordings. Explore the playlist to hear how 77 artists employed DaDaist approaches to sound-spaces fromVietnam to India to Britain & 25 other countries!

Look for the pieces labelled “Chicago Metra – ” in the playlist to hear mine [ Chuck Mix, Sapling Mix, Fontana Mix ]. I think my favorite creation so far is “Ssa-ha-la (Margate’s reimagined gulls)” but there’s so much to hear – –

http://citiesandmemory.com/dadasounds/

Dada Shareable_1

 

 

glitch [ america’s brokenness ] // data painting [ motel black ]

My ‘data painting’ works are short meditations intended to capture a particular mood or moment. This work, created between October and December of 2015, evolves from my witnessing and considering the public struggle of the American people. We remember. There are significant gaps between objective ideals claimed by the United States of America and the behavior and policies of its agents.

No single work of art can lay claim to all of this space. It can open a side door into talking about what we don’t talk about. [ motel black : 1:15 sample here ] That shadow, whatever it is so many white men and women of generation X are shooting up to avoid talking about. The powerlessness we have witnessing the lynching of Black citizens by agents of the state. The poisoned water supply of one of our cities. It is so much, too much.

Datamosh and artefacting open a hallucinatory, a dreamspace, point to the abrupt discontinuity between the state’s professed ideals and its agents’ behaved reality. Citizens struggle to discover / create / dig up a justice [ the badge discovered by the woman digging with her hands ] claimed by the state in its constitution, while past and present acts of the state directly contradict those ideals [ the human bones discovered alongside that badge by the woman ].

A percussive soundtrack carries the viewer through the dream-journey. Colors and stars indirectly evoke the American flag . . .

Where the f did Monday go?

Good evening, dear friends.

This week I was supposed to tell you about showing a one-minute film in cultural institutions around the globe in December, and, new looks in live projection, and, how cool it was to do a »radiantdevices« show on David Bowie’s birthday last Friday. How a few of us improvised a goofy cover of Ziggy Stardust and were so happy even though it was silly and Zack’s first mic failed. As Zack Violet [ the singer for that moment ] put it, “This is kindof rough, but, if there was no David Bowie there wouldn’t be a me!”

I lost Monday to a surprising number of tears, once I’d learned he’d died. I’ve listened to his music for over thirty years. At times his was the only music I listened to for months at a time. In many ways he made the world safer for me. His work invited me to take certain risks; his longevity, and his commitment to the artwork, to persist.

Aesthetically, for me his cutup/assemblage lyricism and archetype-roulette slots alongside that of William Burroughs. Both Bowie and Burroughs are important to me as pop culture links to DaDa and side doors to the dreamt, the sur-real, what I’ve nicknamed “the imaginarium”.

One artist-friend said he’s “considering what of the work Bowie’s left for us, that I can take up, that fits with what I do”.

This link is to the isolated vocal track of Bowie’s original recording of Ziggy Stardust.

The second link, to a concert I watched live on VH1 when I was in graduate school, a few weeks after September 11, 2001.http://www.liveleak.com/view?i=984_1315755315

Behind that second link I wonder if you might hear what I hear – a tremendous spirit of intimacy and connection, a big folk-hippy heart singing out from under the sleek, produced surface. He sang in a moment of our great darkness and difficulty. He knew that the audience looks for an image of itself in the media it consumes. He chose to cover “America” by Simon and Garfunkel. On some level he gave us an undamaged image of our country, instead of the smoky wound we’d all just fallen into.

This example is, I think, one of his challenges to artists.

Because I’m supposed to tell you, well, there’s another »radiantdevices« show coming up, February 12 at Chicago’s Metro.

But besides that, I’d love to hear from you, with links to your favorite Bowie thing – movie or music or interview etc – if you have one to share.

Thanks for being here, and reading my notes.

Jessica

PS: the subject line of this post quotes a lyric from DB’s newest album, Blackstar.

2016 resolution : teaching artist

In 2015 I created a teachable framework for artists to become more sanely comfortable working with “dangerous” content.

Making art, the artist must spend a lot of time with the subject matter. If the subject matter is painful, or overwhelming, or is something intractably painful as reported by popular news media, how do we tolerate studying it for awhile, to make art from it?

I taught this step-by-step method to a small group of undergraduate and graduate art students at Northern Illinois University when I was a visiting artist this fall. Each artist adapted the method to their own use pretty much immediately, identifying places where they “get stuck” with the content, or when and how they allow the content to give them too much stress.

Further discussion with other art teachers point to how useful this framework may be for creatives struggling with the ‘safe space’ discussion.

I would love to be able to bring this workshop to more art departments in 2016! I am not so skilled at “how to apply to be a visiting artist” and would love to get better at that, so I can teach more of this to more people.

thankyouniverse