keryx: (Default)
If you are seeking, seek us with joy
For we live in the kingdom of joy.
Do not give your heart to anything else
But to the love of those who are clear joy,
Do not stray into the neighborhood of despair.
For there are hopes: they are real, they exist –
Do not go in the direction of darkness –
I tell you: suns exist.

- Jalal-ud-Din Rumi
(Translated by Andrew Harvey from A Year of Rumi)
keryx: (Default)
Piko (the car) periodically reminds me that I mean to write about design as expressed in the Cube audio system. These reminders come in the form of soaring music of various sorts; most of the time she gets to pick what the iPod plays.

It's not touted as an amazing stereo. It has, you know, 6 speakers. Whatever. It'll play your iPod! This was a big marketing thing, and a strong selling point for me. But not a lot of talk about the sound.

Compared to the Scion I used to drive, which has this Super Special Scion Audio Shenanigans Spectacular (SSSASS), the Cube is surprisingly superior sound-wise. See, a big part of the SSSASS was its ability to make the car vibrate. The interior walls and dash, specifically. This was a Huge Big Deal from Scion when they rolled out the car. It probably has a lot to do with the 14 year old boys who stopped and stared at the car: it was a sound system designed for someone who'd think it was exciting to make the car vibrate. Pioneer speakers and a decent subwoofer, all built at angles that amounted largely to extra wall vibration.

You know what doesn't contribute to your aural or emotional experience of music? EXTRA WALL VIBRATION. It can obscure some music, even. Mostly it's irrelevant.

The Cube does not play that. The first time I played Peter Murphy's I'll Fall with Your Knife (which is soaringly dark - it's a really affecting piece of pop music), I nearly cried. These simple, unvaunted speakers are arranged in a way that points music right at the driver's heart. With the right music, it's like my own personal concert hall - not live music, but pretty effing amazing.

And someone designed that. How much time does a design team spend on a car's audio system? This one was well worth the time, with no explicit marketing credit to the team who built it or the product they created. The marketing literature talks about the bulldog exterior, the waves-planet-cocktail-lounge interior [Here, someone got a little carried away with metaphors - like each team had their own, and the copy writers just wrote all of them down. The interior is physically coherent and pleasant, but its explanation is like a Cat Power song.], and not the good work of the audio system.

It got me thinking about the design can be talked about - as a feature list rather than an experience. I thought at first that this was a difference between 14-year-old-boy design and design for grownups, and that's still partly what I believe - but I think it's a more complex set of demographics. In a Lexus, where the brand image is more about driving comfort, an audio system like this might have gotten marketing play as a feature; in a lower-end car that's mostly about appearance, overwrought visual metaphors get most of the copy. And if you're going for cute visuals (possibly "feminine" design) over an aggressive driving=power thing (stereotypical "masculine" design), there's no need to have a throbbing subwoofer complete with extra wall vibration.

But. If that's true, then I'm perplexed: why did they design such an affecting stereo set up at all? I don't think it's an accident.
keryx: (art fights)
Pina Bausch died this week. I know her as an influence (and collaborator?) of Anne Bogart, one of my own huge theatrical - and as it turns out, life - influences. Bausch and Bogart blur the lines between visual theatre and theatrical dance. Which is which? Who stops where?

It doesn't matter. I see the world differently thanks to Pina Bausch, though, and I would love for you to see it too. Not that Youtube can adequately express live dance, but at least it can try.

Here's some of Vollmond, I think my personal favorite example of her being awesome...
part 1
part 2
part 3

It's like joy and gut-wrenching, on stage. She could also create work that was deeply creepy, even offensive. Her most famous work shows a little of that...
Sacre du Printemps/Rites of Spring
Cafe Muller
keryx: (glowy ball)
Hey! Apparently I'm painting again [See user icon on this post. My style continues in a primary-school expressionist wanky self-portrait vein, as you'll see. It's the next big thing.].

I haven't painted in at least a year. Or, well... six months if you count the painting of the art that is now my tattoo.

Also, one person in the entire world believes that I can be butch. Which is related to this because I? Am rocking the paint-covered overalls and flannel shirt look tonight. TOTALLY BUTCH. I swear. STOP LAUGHING. I'm tough and arty, dammit.
keryx: (kills fascists)
It was ostensibly just costume photos from a member of the Detroit PURE group (and dude! they have THIRTY people!), but it sparked a couple of dismissive comments about cultural appropriation followed by some more investigative ones followed by some really unfounded notions that PERFORMANCE IS NEVER ACTIVIST.

That's right, people. Art? Is just about some person's "self-expression". O RLY? Have you no education in the history of performance? [Okay, yeah, I know I'm being a cultural snob here, but on what planet is protesting the One True Activism and art a sideline activity? It's not like art-as-protest is either new or dead. Hello? LiveEarth? Like, last week? I don't get how someone could be so clueless on this subject.]

The comment thread has: misunderstandings of tribal bellydance, debate about what's "real" fattivism, disparaging remarks about art, snark about "sisterhood", questions about cultural appropriation (and a hint of Orientalism, but I think maybe that was just me). It's like lj-feminist came to hang out on [livejournal.com profile] fatshionista just to entertain me!

On a serious note, I do get that people who find bellydance troublesome have probably gotten tired of explaining why by now. Just because I don't get tired of examining that particular fish doesn't mean others are obliged to. But, really, people? If you're gonna bring it up, do you have to be such a dismissive ass about it? In my experience, people often haven't given thought to the cultural implications of dance shit, but they're pretty open to questioning it.

flowers!

Jul. 10th, 2007 09:43 pm
keryx: (Default)
Pomegranate flowers are gorgeous!

About halfway through the belly pomegranate, I started to visualize tattoo number two: simple swirls of leaves, bitty fruits and flowers horizontally below & sorta bearing up the fruit already there (and thank $DEITY not on my ribcage) eventually swooping around to something on my back (that'd be tattoo number three, yet to be defined).

At the time, I had no idea what pomegranate flowers actually look like (hey, I was still one up on my tattoo artist, who had never seen the inside of a pomegranate). Now that I know - the white/red shaded ones particularly with the purple and green already in number one? Yummy.
keryx: (pomegranate)
I forgot to get a photo of my dad's dog tattoo, which is awesome. But this is mine.

keryx: (kills fascists)
Here's the deal. I'm helping [livejournal.com profile] sheana out with some graphic ideas for fatgirlriot. Which is a community/blog/politics site.

And I have this idea. I've gotten more literal about community in design equaling actually showing your community. Thus, say, the reworking of TTE's website driven entirely by photos of the actual tribe and students.

So yeah. I'd like pictures of fat - as defined by you, fat person in or making the picture - feminists [I'm gonna assume that despite the girl in the site's title, that a relatively un-gendered design is still preferable, so consider your personal gender to be included when I say "feminists", got it?]. Ideally doing something marchy, or rioty, or art-making or fist-raising or active in some way. I think if I can get enough images they're gonna be like, spilling out of something. Should these be photos? Art? I have no clue. I tend to get graphic ideas in a vague, intangible way, and I don't know what to do with them until I have the pieces to play with.

Right? So you'll send me pieces to play with, right? Give me visual toys!

You realise, of course, that if you send me stuff, you're letting the future fgr use it on the site and any associated promo.
keryx: (muppet - animal)
And it's only 9 am! Puppets are the strongest tool in expressing one’s hatred for capitalism and what it has done to the people of this world.

Puppets are also tools in the revolution against the fascist rule of grammar. Or so it would seem.

I need a Muppet icon, like, STAT. [ETA: done!]
keryx: (Default)
I did some impromptu research on Hillel this evening. I was thinking about this quote that gets attributed to him - I get up. I walk. I fall down. Meanwhile, I keep dancing.

In so doing, I came across this, a left coast liberal UU sermon. And I just found it perfectly moving. This, especially: Practice is it. The practice is the dance.
keryx: (black belt)
It seems like 'professionalism' in a lot of dancers' equates to "being paid fairly" - at least based on a lot of the reading I've done of dance stuff online. In my mind, there's a big difference between being a professional (being paid) and being professional (committed and invested in your art). And there also seems to be a notion that one is either a student or a paid, 'professional' dancer.

But that's not necessarily the case with pretty much any other art. Artists participate in plenty of community events without getting paid - independent theatre and dance does this without compromising professionalism or the performers' ability to get paid in other venues.

So, a question for the dancers on my f-list - does getting paid matter to you? Is it truly a problem for dancers or tribes to perform for a community without being paid?

I've been thinking that, except for the ability to do things like rent space and buy costume stuff, I don't really like the idea of getting paid. Yet people tend to equate what they pay for something with the value of it.

craft

Jul. 13th, 2005 11:33 pm
keryx: (factories!)
There is a lot of "folk art" in Amish country that I think of as akin to simple life porn. Like, look at the cute leetle girl in her bonnet with her fuzzy animal! How quaint that she won't go to school beyond 8th grade! It just feels exploitative.

So, I think of all cultural fixation on things Mennonite and Shaker and whatnot as sort of a pornography of simplicity. But there may be more to it - that there's something in this other culture that appeals to our idea of ourselves as living more shallow, technical lives than we want. And maybe we'd like a little more slowness, a little more craft. To be able to spend months with our family sewing a quilt or something.

Cause as a culture we don't really allow for much craft. There's very little interpretation of our own work (not just our jobs, but all work we do) or others' as the work of craftsfolk. Can you even imagine a culture where table bussers and cashiers and computer programmers were all expected to think of their jobs as a meaningful craft - something they could perfect and control? I think that'd be swell.
keryx: (Default)
Have y'all been to the Smithsonian's Native American museum?

You should, really. You could even just eat there. But what would be cooler is if you actually went through some portion of the strangely disjointed but interconnected design of the exhibit/collection/whatever. It's based on concepts. It's a physically manifested series of concepts! It doesn't seem to aim for a narrative of any sort, and yet things tie together.

And all the ideas of the universe presented therein tie together, too. Strong argument for some sort of Jung/Joseph Campbell/whoever idea of collective truth at whatever level of consciousness.

Although, really, all of my weekend of vacation (a whole week ago) was all about the interconnectedness of things. And plantains. And ceviche. Which just makes me feel alright with the whole world thing (both the interconnection and the plantains; ceviche, when bad, can be really really bad).

Other things that are good: Amy Ray's newer solo venture, "Prom", Everything Bad is Good for You (a book about how pop culture doesn't suck, duh) and Art and Fear (a book about art and the fear that keeps people from making it).
keryx: (polkadot)
The bathroom stalls in the women's bathroom on the first floor of MoMA (and presumably the other bathrooms, but I haven't inspected all of them) have these elegant little plastic handles that serve as both handle and lock. They make all other "standard" bathroom door closures look appallingly clumsy and inefficient, after years of assuming that's just how bathroom doors work.

A lot of the ways we commonly think about and do things are like standard bathroom door closures. There are better ways, but people don't recognize them without seeing them and touching them and not having to turn two different levers.

Which is something to think about if you're after change, you know?
keryx: (Default)
Is there a global, universal definition of art in your mind?

Is that definition somehow apart from Art or high art or whatever one might call it?

NPR was talking to some guys yesterday morning. Some relatively random New Yorker and some other dude who was an art professional of some sort (historian? critic? professor?). The random guy was very certain that the Christo thing in Central Park wasn't Art (and you could tell he capitalized it in his head) and the professional art dude was very much of the opinion that there is no such thing as Art v. art.

I tend to agree with the latter. Art (no special caps) is pretty much anything that is created to move you. And anything created to move you pretty much does, in some way, if you actually pay attention to it. Christo's work, while pretentiously described, is arresting. End of story, I think.

I thought there was a weird class aspect to this at first, that the Man On The Street was all "that's not Art!" and the professor wasn't. But I think it was more a reactionary v. not reactionary thing, now that I've seen the Today Show (which is basically a media stand-in for the MOTS) getting all "yay, art" about the installation.

projects!

Apr. 12th, 2004 06:06 pm
keryx: (Default)
You know that scene in Clueless where Cher looks at a (then surprisingly hot) Britney Murphy and squeals "PROJECT!"?

That's me, a lot. Finding projects. I'm a fan of planning and carrying out plans. And. Lucky you, I have two projects that I could use some help on.

1. Our very tiny theatre company is writing a play this summer. We think we'd like to take the base text from a variety of people's personal sites & blogs, in a small way incorporating new media into very very old media. I'm looking for people to send me text from their journals/blogs/whatever. Each submission can be a compilation of several dates and subjects, whatever you like; my only stipulation is that each person who wants to participate in this project a) send me at least 1000 words (no upper limit) of text and b) you're willing to let us edit your text however we like. What you get out of it is credit, if you want it, and my love and appreciation.

2. It's really hard to find fitted t-shirts in large sizes with political messages (or, in fact, with much of anything printed on them). I'd like to do something about this, or find someone else who already has. Any ideas about what I could do? I've thought about making iron-on transfers that people could use with the shirt of their choice, or finding someone to make shirts (who? I don't know), or even getting an amateur's at-home silk-screener.

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