May 25, 2006

Karaoke Ice

by Nancy Nowacek, Katie Salen, Marina Zurkow

Karaoke Ice is a delicious pop culture mash-up, an ice cream truck-turned-mobilekaraoke-unit, deployed to unite people in a collective quest to transform the streets of San Jose into a space of community interaction. Participants karaoke for an audience while sitting in the transformed front cab of the vehicle, and use a customized karaoke engine to select, sing, and record a song for later broadcast, as the truck makes it way to a variety of festival locations. Free frozen treats lure prospective performers to participate, distributed by Remedios the Squirrel Cub, who drives the truck and choreographs enigmatic rituals of his own to the tunes emanating from the citizen performers. Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds. Superstition. Heart of Glass. The streets of San Jose transformed through flavor and song.

Karaoke Ice is a commissioned residency proejct by ZeroOne San Jose, San Jose State University, and the Lucas Artists Program at Montalvo.

Imagine an ice cream truck transformed into a mobile karaoke unit, driven by a squirrel cub with a penchant for cheap magic, deployed to spark spontaneous interaction between festival-goers, locals, and tourists in Cesar Chavez Plaza and surrounding neighborhoods. Customized with karaoke mics, disco ball, and speakers, and aesthetically "dressed" in a language of local vernacular (think lowrider neon, mariachi fringe, Chinese lanterns, and California cool), this "mobile magnet" not only serves as an information node within the festival network, but represents a "metanomad" who wanders the festival grounds, seeking and sharing information, catalyzing play among the Cesar Chavez populous, and delivering cool treats amidst the rays of the bright August sun.

The truck, or Lucci as she is known, is a tasty pop culture hybrid, one that brings two familiar expressions of "network culture" - ice cream trucks and karaoke bars--into conversation with one another. Dressed in song and shimmer, Lucci broadcasts tinny pop songs in endless, repetitive loops as she weaves her way through the zone of the Festival. This then, is her magic. The resulting mix is one that celebrates the power of song to entice and inflame, as well as the sense of community that can be fostered among strangers trapped in a terrestrial network.

Tinged with the themes of deception and illusion, of costume, character, water, and ice, Lucci and her pal Remedios draw participants in through sight, sound, and taste. Unable to resist the temptation to editorialize the festival goings on, she doles out festival news, providing her own sharp brand of observation and opinion on things seen and (over) heard. Patrons can read these printed missives as they are dispatched daily through a slit in Lucci's side. At nighttime, once their work for the day is done, it's time to let loose. They find a party to join, hustle some more karaoke, and enjoy the festival entertainment.

Nhan Nguyen: "Calling for Ba Ba (Mrs. Ba)"

I hope to collect and compare anecdotes of Mrs. Ba from the Vietnamese diaspora in Vancouver and San Jose and transcribe these oral tales to one cohesive history in Vietnamese and English. This record will be a part of the shrines/installations to be installed in Vietnamese noodle restaurants in San Jose.
Ba Ba is a woman who sells noodle soup at Bai Sau Beach in Qui Nhon, the town in Vietnam where I was born. Many tragedies befell Ba Ba including the suicide drowning in 1971 of her son who had refused to enlist. In 1972 she was gunned down when Bai Sau Beach became a battlefield; while operating on her wounds, the surgeon notes that she was shot by an AK 47, the Soviet-made gun of the advancing North Vietnamese Army - and as well as by an M-16 supplied to the retreating South Vietnamese Armies by the Americans. Betrayed by her two daughters, who had married American soldiers, she was left outside the American embassy in Saigon on that fateful day in June of 1975. Ba Ba returned to Bai Sau Beach and amid accusations from her friends and neighbours of working for the enemy she planned her escape and left Vietnam by boat in the fall of 1976 in search of her daughters. She was never seen again. These tales of Ba Ba's indomitable spirit were invoked by many Vietnamese boat people during the exodus by sea throughout the eighties and early nineties.

Vietnamese altars and shrines are dedicated to many contemporary personages whose stories and deeds are often passed on as shining examples of the human spirit and as well as what to do in such situations. These stories of Ba Ba resonate with many Vietnamese restaurant workers whose struggles mirror her own. Although it is an important and relevant tale, it is gradually fading. The last known shrine to Ba Ba in Vancouver was at Little Saigon Restaurant, which closed in 2003.

My work has always drawn inspiration and clarity from Vietnamese stories and rituals. Many of my works are anchored by personal stories from my mother and her friends, such as recent installations highlighting Lao Noi Kieu (Ancient Citizen) a spirit whose influence includes matters of nation and citizenship. Lao shrines were installed at Banff Centre in 2004 and at the Glenbow Museum in Alberta in 2005. Calling for Ba Ba is an important and necessary extension of my particular interest in creating installations to figures whose deeds inspired and galvanized the Vietnamese community in Canada during its early struggle.

Kok-Chian Leong: Corporate Sabotage

shown in conjunction with ISEA festival, San Jose, 2006

The project examines the private politics behind the corporate world, an environment where competitiveness turns into deceit. It focuses on the covert act of sabotaging office communications and equipment to reduce its efficiency in daily operations. This act creates a suspense in the strange imperfections, the unnerving fault finding performed on the equipment and the growing frustrations by the co-workers.

Weapons for the corporate armoury investigates the possibility of designing a weapon that inflicts trauma on your co-worker in a non-lethal manner, thereby allowing you to get ahead in business. The project examines the private politics behind the corporate world, an environment where competitiveness turns into deceit. It focuses on the covert act of sabotaging office communications and equipment to reduce its efficiency in daily operations. This act creates a suspense in the strange imperfections, the unnerving fault finding performed on the equipment and the growing frustrations by the co-workers.

The narrative
The relationship between the co-workers deteriorate as a result.. The consequences became so drastic that the victim's performance drops and eventually loses his job.

The tools/design
The Firefly tool intercepts the scanning job through the use of intermittent bright flashing lights in the scanner. The frequency of activation causes disturbances to the output. The result is random imperfect quality on the final scanned document.

The Woodpecker tool produces irregular stamping action in the printer. This action is synchronised with the mechanical movement of the print head to create an array of patches in the final printout, rendering it useless.

The Cateye tool is basically the eye of the saboteur. It is a spy camera that [provides a visual overview of the victim's actions and intentions. It has to be strategically placed within the operations area.

Scrapyard Challenge Workshop

The Scrapyard Challenge Workshops are intensive workshops where participants build simple electronic projects (both digital and analog inputs) out of found or discarded "junk" (old electronics, clothing, furniture, outdated computer equipment, appliances, turntables, monitors, gadgets, etc..). So far the workshops have been held 14 times in 6 countries with 3 different themes including the MIDI Scrapyard Challenge where participants build simple musical controllers from discarded objects and "junk", DIY Wearable Challenge where they create wearable tech projects from used clothing, and the DIY Urban Challenge where they work on public space interventions and other projects. The MIDI Scrapyard version includes a mini workshop where participants build simple drawing robots or "DrawBots" with small, inexpensive motors, batteries, and drawing markers that can also be connected to Serial or MIDI interface. At the end of the day or evening, the workshop participants have a small performance, concert, or fashion show (depending on the workshop theme) where they demonstrate and preent their creations together as a group. No electronics skills or any experience with technology is necessary to participate in the workshops.

The Scrapyard Challenge Workshops are built on the premise of encouraging an open and collaborative space for creative ideas and hands-on prototyping. Workshop attendees learn how to build simple instruments from found and/or discarded objects. We encourage attendance from visitors from multiple backgrounds and all skill levels.

April 07, 2006

Temporary Services

As we live, so we work

Temporary Services is a group of three persons: Brett Bloom, Marc Fischer, and Salem Collo-Julin. We draw on our varied backgrounds and interests to incorporate our aesthetic practice within our lived experiences. The need to create change within our daily lives translates directly to our public projects.

The distinction between art practice and other creative human endeavors is irrelevant to us. We embed the creative work we present within thoughtful and imaginative social contexts and strive to create participatory situations.

We champion public projects that are temporary, ephemeral, or that operate outside of conventional or officially sanctioned categories of public expression. We appreciate such diverse activities as makeshift roadside memorials to accident victims, temporary housing encampments designed by homeless people, tree houses fabricated by children, and idiosyncratic public notices that get stuffed inside the display windows of free newspaper boxes. We like outdoor projects that are encountered by surprise rather than sought out with deliberation like exhibitions and special events. We especially appreciate those projects that do not have permission and challenge expected usages.

Creative Commons

Creative Commons licenses provide a flexible range of protections and freedoms for authors, artists, and educators. We have built upon the "all rights reserved" concept of traditional copyright to offer a voluntary "some rights reserved" approach. We're a nonprofit organization. All of our tools are free.

About Us
"Some Rights Reserved": Building a Layer of Reasonable Copyright

Too often the debate over creative control tends to the extremes. At one pole is a vision of total control -- a world in which every last use of a work is regulated and in which "all rights reserved" (and then some) is the norm. At the other end is a vision of anarchy -- a world in which creators enjoy a wide range of freedom but are left vulnerable to exploitation. Balance, compromise, and moderation -- once the driving forces of a copyright system that valued innovation and protection equally -- have become endangered species.

Creative Commons is working to revive them. We use private rights to create public goods: creative works set free for certain uses. Like the free software and open-source movements, our ends are cooperative and community-minded, but our means are voluntary and libertarian. We work to offer creators a best-of-both-worlds way to protect their works while encouraging certain uses of them -- to declare "some rights reserved."

April 06, 2006

Situationists Online Library

Texts by and pertaining to the Situationist International have been entered into a database, and are available at the Text Library by clicking the link on the left. The library is fully searchable, and features more texts than ever before. Information on related articles are linked from each text, and biographical blurbs about the authors are just a click away.

Situationist images and related graphics are available from the Images link, which currently offers a selection of graphics, and a picturebook of posters from May 1968 in Paris.

Links to other Situationist and prositu websites are available through Links.

Big Box Reuse/Julia Christensen

The Sugar Creek Charter Elementary School
Charlotte, NC
Renovated K-Mart

As superstores abandon buildings in order to move into bigger stores, what will become of the walls that they leave behind? It is within the answer to this question that we are seeing the resourcefulness and creativity of communities dealing with a situation that is happening all over the country: the empty big box. Through travel and the study of buildings, Julia is researching the way people build their towns, creating the context for their own lives.

Julia Christensen began investigating How Communities are Re-Using the Big Box in January of 2004. Since then, she has been traveling around the country in her car, visiting the sites and meeting the people who are making these transformations possible. She has been collecting a growing collection of photographs, interviews, stories, and documents relating to the renovations, and has been giving presentations in these communities about how other towns are dealing with this common situation. While exhibiting photographs and installing video and sound work generated from her travels, she is currently working on a book documenting her research. Julia continues to develop her traveling exhibit of artifacts exploring How Communities are Re-Using the Big Box.

The term "big box" refers to a large, free-standing building with one major room. This model was made very popular by the corporations that created stores with minimal storage space, the stock items simply coming in off the truck and on to the shelves. Because "big box" is a fairly new term, and since there are variations on the concept, there have been several occasions upon which Julia has arrived at a site and the "big box" was not quite what she thought it was going to be. Nevertheless, there has been something important to be learned at each of this locations. Her research has led her down many side streets, as she has learned about the choices people make in order to shape their town in order to accommodate their community.

bombing the neighborhood with fresh, aerosol-free knit graff!
Music: juice newton, knitta!
Movies colors
Television: who has time with all the tagging?
Books: new york subway cozies for the soul
Groups: Graffiti Artists , Rebel Art Grrrlz , Purl and Hurl , Stitchin' Bitches , Rubber Coin Purse Group , buy adrian landon brooks art , MARFA or BUST ! , Revolution Grrrl Style Now

article in the Houston Press, 12/15/05

Knit Bricks

knit bricks

hosted by

FutureFarmers/Amy Franceschini

Photosynthesis Robot is a three-dimensional sketch of a possible perpetual motion machine driven by phototropism- the movement of plants towards the direction of the sun. The motion of the plants upon this four wheeled vehicle would propel slowly over a period of time.

DIY Algae/Hydrogen Kit was a first time collaboration between Amy Franceschini and Jonathan Meuser. Currently scientists are testing and generating strains of algae to determine which one most efficiently produces hydrogen in a process called "biophotolysis". This is an exciting sector of research, but most of the activity takes place under highly controlled environments in laboratories within universities. Amy was interested in creating a "backyard/DIY" model which would allow people (not only scientists) to produce hydrogen. The notion of people producing their own power is exciting. Researcher, Jonathan Meuser used this opportunity to exhibit a model of "biophotolysis" to test a system in his backyard. His test was a success, in that it produced hydrogen and could demonstrate the process using off the shelf and found supplies.

The Death and Life of Great American Cities

The Death and Life of Great American Cities by Jane Jacobs

"Streets in cities serve many purposes besides carrying vehicles, and city sidewalks-the pedestrian parts of the streets-serve many purposes besides carrying pedestrians..."

Statistically Improbable Phrases (SIPs):
perpetual slum, cataclysmic use, unslumming slum, high ground coverages, planning for vitality, secondary diversity, border vacuums, fashionable pocket, mixed primary uses, involuntary subsidies, myths about diversity, cataclysmic money, street interruptions, disorganized complexity, orthodox planning, dwelling densities, incidental play, city diversity, primary diversity, sidewalk life, primary mixture, visual interruptions, gray belts, net acre, effective district

How Buildings Learn

How Buildings Learn by Stewart Brand

From Kirkus Reviews
Brand founder of The Whole Earth Catalog and CoEvolution Quarterly, launches a populist attack on rarefied architectural conventions. A hippy elder statesman (once one of Ken Kesey's Merry Pranksters), Brand argues that a building can ``grow'' and should be treated as a ``Darwinian mechanism,'' something that adapts over time to meet certain changing needs. His humanistic insights grew out of a university seminar he taught in 1988. Catchy anti- establishment phrases abound: ``Function reforms form, perpetually,'' or ``Form follows funding.'' Thomas Jefferson, a ``high road'' builder, is shown to have tinkered his Monticello into a masterpiece over a lifetime. Commercial structures, Brand says, are ``forever metamorphic,'' as a garage-turned-boutique demonstrates. Photo spreads with smart and chatty captions trace the evolutions of buildings as they adopt new ``skins.'' Pointedly, architects Sir Richard Rogers (designer of the Pompidou Centre in Paris) and I.M. Pei (the Wiesner Building, aka the Media Lab at MIT) are taken to task for designing monumental flops that deny occupants' needs. Later sections track the social meanings of preservationism and celebrate vernacular traditions worldwide (e.g., the Malay house of Malaysia; pueblo architecture; the 18th- century Cape Cod House). Brand also documents his own unique habitats. He lives with his wife in a converted tugboat and houses his library in a metal self-storage container. Here, as throughout, Brand's self-reliant voice rings true--that of an engaging, intellectual crank. Brand makes a case for letting people shape their own environments. His crunchy-granola insights bristle with an undeniable pragmatism. -- Copyright ©1994, Kirkus Associates, LP. All rights reserved. --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.

Rural Studio/Samuel Mockbee

The mission of the Rural Studio is to enable each participating student to cross the threshold of misconceived opinions to create/design/build and to allow students to put their educational values to work as citizens of a community. The Rural Studio seeks solutions to the needs of the community within the community's own context, not from outside it. Abstract ideas based upon knowledge and study are transformed into workable solutions forged by real human contact, personal realization, and a gained appreciation for the culture.

AVL Ville/Atelier van Lieshout

AVL-Ville is the biggest work of art by Atelier van Lieshout to date. This free state is an agreeable mix of art environment and sanctuary, full of well-known and new works by AVL, with the special attraction that everything is fully operational. Not art to simply look at, but to live with, to live in and to live by.

Atelier van Lieshout
Recently, AVL developed a style where the absence of design has become an important issue, using industrial materials such as galvanized steel tubes used for scaffolding, and sheets of unfinished plywood. Their raw functionality stands in contrast with the series of colourful polyester sculptures that AVL produced recently: human figures in various postures and actions, but also a complete series of human internal organs, ranging from heart, and brain to liver, rectum and the male and female sex organs.

The design of the Shaker furniture of Atelier van Lieshout can be viewed in the light of one of its famous projects: AVL-Ville. This autonomous free state in the harbours of Rotterdam showed a resemblance to the communities of the Shakers that lived in the Northern parts of the United States during the 19th century. The Shakers lived a completely self-sufficient and celibate life. Because of their religious background they isolated themselves from the outside world, and at the same time they survived by having their own systems in agriculture and craft work. The furniture they developed was highly innovative for those days and they considered the perfection of the final product as one of their life tasks.