New Toy


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Hero3I picked up this camera a few weeks ago. Hero3, waterproof container, remote control and an attachment for a mini helicopter! We’ll see what happens next with my favorite new toy when I have the time to use it.

I might have included my laptop, but I’m mad at it right now, the delete key doesn’t work, and Apple’s crappy new system, Mavericks, has given me a lot of grief. I’m about ready to live on an island with a knife as my sole technology.

919955I bought an Apple Quadra 840av in 1993, and I was employed using a computer one month after, and have been ever since. I’ve collaborated with designers, artists, business people, musicians, educators and art museums. I’ve worked on yearlong projects with people around the world that I’ve never met in person. All the while living in a town with a population of 1,300 people.

A-Scanner-DarklyNo doubt the future will be a Philip K. Dick book (hopefully with Howlin’ Wolf records just to make it bearable). In the meantime, let’s do the best we can, and have some fun with the toys.

Bolero (Shoeshine Blues) Francis Alÿs



Because I live in a rural area, it’s been difficult to find and document a new media installation. So, I thought I’d share a piece that I stumbled on in 2007, after a long day of looking at  hundreds of art pieces. The antiquated technology this film projection in these days of hyper stimulative environments seemed quaint and restful.

Drawings for animation Bolero

Drawings for animation Bolero

“Shoeshine Blues”, Francis Alÿs installation, includes a 16mm projector  playing an animation loop of a very hand drawn shoe shine, while simultaneously playing responsive music interludes. That is, certain gestures in the  shining of the shoe trigger musical notes. In the installation, each drawing in the peg-holed animation covers the two walls. By framing each drawing, does the singular get elevated to the collective?

Alÿs chose both the laborious shoe shine and a the time-intensive method  of animation to visibly measure human labor. The artist is headquartered in Mexico City, an example of the future city, with a vast amount of human labor. Is there perhaps an economic statement made here as well?

Installation view

Installation view

Although I am not sure what the lyrics mean — “Nothing we are, Nothing will be, I see you are, I tell you be” — they encourage the viewer to try and attach meaning.  The ambiguity of the work’s intention is provocative.

This piece makes the viewer think not only of the beauty of the handmade, but the beauty of hand labor,  illustrated by the melodies, with the suggestion of a human spirituality or humanism.

Francis Alys Homepage (

John Cage


David Tudor and I went to Hilversum in Holland to make a recording for the Dutch radio. We arrived at the studio early and there was some delay. To pass the time, we chatted with the engineer who was to work with us. He asked me what kind of music he was about to record. Since he was a Dutchman I said, “It may remind you of the work of Mondrian.” When the session was finished and the three of us were leaving the studio, I asked the engineer what he thought of the music we had played. He said, “It reminded me of the work of Mondrian.”

from the book Silence: Lectures and Writings