Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Exhibition Opportunities

Ive added a new set of link on the right for those who might be looking for exhibition opportunities (and a reminder for myself). I am most familiar with Artcalendar.com and Artshow.com. The latter seems to be a little better organized, however the former offers much more than just exhibition opportunities.

Friday, March 27, 2009

I Met the Walrus

Another hat-tip to Matt Anderson for this video. I had seen part of this somewhere a while back. I love the merging of a historical track with a contemporary design.

Friday, March 20, 2009

Commodified Memory II

This project has a bit of a schizophrenic approach right now with several different shooting modes. If you are a follower of this blog, you likely know of my love for Stephen Shore's work. Many of my shots this semester follow in Shore's heritage in terms of subject matter but funneled through a more rigorous formal sort of composition than Shore. If you are not familiar with Shore, do a Google image search for Steven Shore American Surfaces. One direction takes looks for pattern, rhythm, shape, color etc and tries to image them within the frame in a visually arresting way. Another tendency is to create an abstraction of the product by a closer cropping. This, at least in my mind, suggests volume and abundance. And thirdly, I am trying to image the feel of the store and the consumer's gaze upon the commodity. That upon looking at the image, we will scan the products and make similar judgments about them as we would in the store itself.

Thursday, March 19, 2009

Grand Forks Retro Signage

Another from my growing collection of retro signs from around Grand Forks. This one is just blocks from the others I posted a earlier this week and from the one last fall.

I've wondered how long these signs have been here? Several parts of GF feel like you've stepped back 30 years or so and remind me of me of my family vacations as a child to the Black Hills or Yellowstone.

I love these signs. They represent local resistance against the ever growing homogeneity of consumer culture, hospitality industries, and the ubiquitous product logo.

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Commodified Memory I

Since it is spring break at UND, I actually have had time to get out to shoot this week on the Commodified Memory project for this semester. While I have not sat down to write much about this project, which usually helps me clarify the direction of the project, I know that it is about our culture's use of things, human attachment to them, and the consumer process.

This study looks at the re-use of things found in pawn shops, thrift stores, antique shops and other places where we might find quality used items.

One of the great things about Grand Forks is how welcoming and accomodating the businesses have been to allow me to enter their stores, clog their aisles for a couple of hours, ask questions, request stepping stools etc. All have been wonderful to work with. The Salvation Army even allowed me in the back of their store to see their processing area. It was amazing...more photos to come.

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Grand Forks Retro Signage

Yesterday was finally a beautiful day where I could actually get out to shoot for a bit. I passed a few more of the retro signs around Grand Forks that I have been thinking about all winter.

Sunday, March 15, 2009

N.A.S.A. Videos "Waydown" & "Money"

After yesterday's video post, I had to make up for it with two great videos. Hat tip to Matt Anderson for the first video. Great art and design meets great music.

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Weather Report: 03.10.09

This morning as I sat by my computer that overlooks a frigid, snowy and windblown parking lot I am considering how just days ago it was full of puddles in the 35 degree thaw. Today temperatures are below zero and the wind gusts are up into the 30 mile per hour range. In the upper Midwest March storms can be the most brutal and surprising. Perhaps it is because we have experienced a taste of spring. Or perhaps it is because we simply expect winter to be over.

This made me think of a scene from Lord of the Rings where Gandalf fights the Balrog on the Bridge of Khazad-dum. Gandalf appears to have defeated the Balrog who unexpectedly sends up on last fiery tendril and grasps Gandalf by the leg and pulls him into the abyss. First time viewers or readers are horrified that the grandfatherly Gandalf is pulled from their sights.

Though Gandalf does not exhibit an inappropriate triumphalism, I have always read this scene as a warning against an attitude of attained achievement. I cannot help but to wonder how this sense of triumphalism has snuck into our theology. When we boldly declare our salvation, our theologies and definitions of truth. When we consider all such things as completed we run the risk of being blindsided by one last whip of winter or tendril of the Balrog.

We do well to remember the seasons of salvation, that the Kingdom is present and still coming, that truth can be known but only in part and through faith, and that though we may be wealthy there are still poor and starving. While the Kingdom may be at hand, our work is not done.
Lent being time for self-reflection is only aided by such weather where I prefer to stay inside. Here I am challenging and consoling my sense of achievements with process and incompleteness.

Monday, March 2, 2009

Catholicity and the New Topographics

Its been a while since I have made any more posts on the New Topographics. Due to a time crunch lately I have been rather sparse in my posting. Today I did want to share links to three great papers on the New Topographics.

Of Mother Nature and Marlboro Men
Deborah Bright's classic post-modernist and feminist essay pursues and critiques the New Topographics for failing to make a clear social comment, as well as the art world, for reducing their work to sanctified art objects. She easily dismisses their "objectivity" and demands that they are part of a 1970's social context that was well aware of a burgeoning ecological movement that certainly would seem to influence their work in some fashion. She challenges landscape photographers to acknowledge the dynamic relationship between cultures and the landscapes they inhabit by looking ideas of zoning, security, private and public spaces, retail spaces rather than an escapist or colonialist perspective.

Landscape and the West: Irony and Critique in New Topographic Photography
This second paper is by Kelly Dennis who interacts directly with Bright's essay but pushes upon the ideas of irony and its use (or lack thereof) in American culture and actual use or clear understanding with the visual arts (save Conceptual art).

Landscape, Geography, and Topographic Photography
This third paper, by Liz Wells, discusses the changes in topographic photography and how we understand the role and truthfullness of the image. Here her work looks towards the photographic methodology as a photographer as researcher.