looking at music

MoMA’s current exhibit, Looking at Music, explores the work of pioneering multidisciplinary artists who combined their craft with music and new media/technology. Parallel to the exhibit, there are screenings of art films which center around music and music videos directed by artists.

One of the featured pieces is this video directed by Andy Warhol for some ’80s band. It’s quite raunchy and totally awesome:

art blogging

Documenting performance art can be tricky. Although the piece is meant for the moment in which it’s taking place, an artist needs to preserve that fleeting moment for archival purposes (for the benefit of all art lovers, i think). Until now, performance art has been documented in photos, videos, catalogs, and viewers’ memories. However, in our Internet day and age, art “archiving” is taking place in the blogosphere.

Take Robyn Okrant, for example, a performance artist and writer who is living a year of her life according to Oprah. Her everyday decisions are made based on what Oprah tells her viewers to do on her show and in her magazines. Okrant then writes about her life on her blog: living Oprah. It’s quite funny, yet disturbing how what she’s doing as an art experiment is actually what some Oprah followers do with full sincerity and intent. 

Interview with Okrant in NYTimes.

the builders association

A while back I took a class in stage design where we had to bring Oedopus to life with a few sticks and a couple of meters of fabric. That was a turning point where I realized that what’s behind the performers can completely enhance/alter viewing experience. I’ve seen some gorgeous minimalist and elaborate sets out there. However, with interactive technology, the Builders Association takes stage design–and theater–to another level.

Their performances incorporate technology in a way that it not only becomes an experiential background, but helps define the essence of the play and becomes another character. They are touring this fall and are coming to BAM in November–I’d be curious to check them out.

A trailer for their previous productions:

swept away

Apologies for my lengthy blogging hiatus. During the past few weeks, I’ve been happily congregating with my family in my Motherland, Mongolia. As always, my soul is rejuvenated and my batteries are recharged. And as always, I rediscovered my country’s beauty.

Having lived in the States for almost a decade and having witnessed the “green movement” craze; I forgot that the purest forms of eco-conscious, sustainable living has always been a part of everyday life in deeply rural parts of Mongolia. And when I say eco-conscious, I’m not talking about demonstratively stuffing walls with jeans and repurposing a surfing board as a coffee table to call it “earth-friendly.”

What I was reminded during my trip to Bayan Ulgii, a western province of Mongolia, was how it is possible to lead a life that is in balance with surrounding nature and is waste free, where each household item has a function(s), where virtually everything is recycled and reused, and how it can take very little to be happy.

Solar panels kept electricity going at night.

These wall ornaments were embroidered with thread from old sweaters.

Free roaming husbandry, anyone?

From the tip of its horn to the bottom of its hind hoof, everything on this goat serves a purpose.

 

A sheep about to fulfill one of its many purposes…yum.

neck tunes!

Pink?!?! Looks like candy?! Wearable?! OMG, if I were still a teen (sigh), I’d be all over these necklace/MP3 players by INNO Design.

 

b-boys on demand

In case you were wondering how teens in Mongolia used to roll in the nineties (and a few decades before that)…some used to cohort in apartment building stairwell cases to play guitar and sing songs dubbed the “Ortsnii Duu” aka “Stairwell Songs.” In fact, that’s how I learned to play guitar–banging chords from la to me to sol to do, belting out, “Writing my love letter on a sheet of paper made in USSR.”

Lyrics were awesomely raw and heartfelt, chord progressions totally rudimentary. There were no songbooks with lyrics and notes; yet, like an ancient oral tradition, Stairwell Songs were passed down in the streets of Ulaanbaatar from generation to the next.

Similarly, b-boying has been an urban (Bronx, to be exact) ritual bequeathed from one b-boy to another. But with growing popularity of dance shows on TV, TiVo, and peeps using youtube, passing down the knowledge of street moves has changed with technology.

Take MTV’s America’s Best Dance Crew, which took street dancing to a whole new level. On their site, moves are broken down, replayed, and taught. Not to mention gazillions of tutorials on youtube, like this one, where each element is deconstructed in slow motion. So, if next time you see me on a dance floor busting out freak nasty or sponge bob, do know that my youtube has been getting a lot of action.

Watch & learn…Winners of America’s Best Dance Crew, JabbawockeeZ:

txt books

Apparently, melancholic love stories written by Japanese girls on their cellphones are all the rage. According to the NYTimes, five out of ten 2007 best-selling fiction books in Japan were cellphone novels.

What’s interesting is that the phenomenon didn’t happen as a result of an intense need to appropriate technology into a creative outlet, but instead, the technology was what sparked the itch to  write.

From NYT: “It’s not that they had a desire to write and that the cellphone happened to be there,” said Chiaki Ishihara, an expert in Japanese literature at Waseda University who has studied cellphone novels. “Instead, in the course of exchanging e-mail, this tool called the cellphone instilled in them a desire to write.”

Structurally, the novels are written in short sentences that form tight paragraphs, which nicely fit on phone screens. There’s also a lot of dialogue with spaces in between the lines, which are used to communicate that the characters are deep in thought.  

Here’s an excerpt from the wildly popular “To Love You Again,” written by 22-year old Satomi Nakamura (who busted a blood vessel in her pinky finger from hardcore texting):

Kin Kon Kan Kon (sound of school bell ringing)
(space)
The school bell rang
(space)
“Sigh. We’re missing class”
(space)
She said with an annoyed expression.

….BRILLIANT! (space)…….