Spider Kills Bee is a video I made while drinking carrot juice (Sometimes things just happen right in front of you while you're busy doing something else.). A bee flew through the window and within 15 seconds it was trapped in a spider's web and the fight was on. It was insanity. I had fallen into a deep recess of Werner Herzog's brain.
Spider Kills Bee is currently screening on Channel TWo at Gallery 400 400 S. Peoria Street Chicago, IL 60607 [map] June 17 - July 30, 2011
"Boom Harangue" is a performance I streamed as a part of Channel TWo's "Daisy Chain" streaming and live performance event on Friday May 13th at the Antena art space in Chicago.
I started with Richard Serra and Nancy Holt's 10min 27sec Boomerang (1974) public television broadcast as a script for an improvised streaming performance.
Here's a clip from the 4 hour performance.
Boom Harangue came about from these thoughts I've been having about using the Internet as a tape-delay machine – both definitions of tape delay (the audio-effect device and broadcast media's delaying of an event in order to edit/editorialize). Both instances of "tape-delay" similarly alter a performer's and audience's perception of the performer.
Here's the Richard Serra's original Boomerang (1974).
I also used text from the following online videos and news articles as samples of many different types of delayed performer/audience relationships: spectacle, editorial, confessional, witness, etc.
The "Russian Woodpecker" is a sound I grew up with. My father, a ham radio operator, would be tuning the radio to listen to some faraway country and the signal would get stepped on by this pulsing sound known by radio nerds as the "Russian Woodpecker." He would be infuriated, but I was totally fascinated by this mysterious signal of unknown origin and purpose. Many late nights I would stay up late in my dad's radio shack turning the dial hunting the Russian Woodpecker and dozing off mesmerized by it's incessant mechanical clucking.
I recently learned the Woodpecker's official name was Duga-3 (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Russian_Woodpecker) and was shut down in 1989 as a result of the thawed out Cold War. So I thought I'd make a short sound piece imagining the last 20 minutes of the woodpecker's life and what it might sound like to perform along with it. I made twenty hand-stamped and numbered CD-Rs of this piece for Erik Brown's totally awesome ASCII exhibition of multiples at the California Clipper in Chicago, IL USA on April 27th 2011. For more info on Erik's series check out http://www.archeospiritist.com.
Note: This track is best experienced on headphones or with a nice sub-woofer.
Enthusiastic encouragement is an evocation of support and sympathy often instigated by burning frustration. It can be highly rewarding for both the speaker and the recipient when performed attentively.
You Can Do It! Good Job! is the second video in my Weird Feelings series. The series examines emotional and mental states often under-represented in traditional narrative films. I create the videos by digitizing and cutting up instructional and infotainment VHS tapes I find in thrift stores.
This video was available in a limited run of 20 hand stamped looping DVD-Rs at the MDW art fair in Chicago, IL courtesy of What It Is gallery. If you'd like your own in-home personal reenactment of You Can Do It! Good Job! please contact Tom Burtonwood and Holly Holmes at What It Is.
These six hand-made glasses were fashioned out of bottles originally containing Cheerwine, a wild cherry flavored soda pop, purchased at Galco’s Old World Grocery in Highland Park. At home in Cypress Park, each bottle was cut to become a glass; the audio recordings made as each glass was formed accompany the set in the form of an audio DVD.
The carrying and display case was made out of oak recycled from pallets used to transport 150 boxes of the newly-published anthology Encyclopedia, edited by Tisa Bryant, Miranda Mellis and Kate Schatz and unloaded into a storage space in Eagle Rock.
"Reeling" is a looping video installation and the first of my "Weird Feelings" videos.
Anticipation is its own special euphoria. Pre-excitement for the actual excitement. It can be the best part of road trips, first dates, holidays and birthdays.
"Reeling" was created by cutting up an instructional bass fishing VHS tape into the classic fishing actions (casting, reeling, catching and release) then re-assembling the some of the most exciting moments.
GET LOST! asks people to become "disorienteers" losing their way and rediscovering wonder, helplessness, and imagination using tools they would normally use to find their way. The sense of calm that comes from knowing where you are at all times can be reassuring, but also a bit boring.
Five hundred GET LOST! books were available at the park orientation and visitors center buildings. GET LOST! participants used the included compass (or their gps) and pencil to choose their own adventure through the Grizedale Forest.
I also placed GET LOST! books in pre-existing geocaching boxes throughout the Grizedale forest. Geocaching is a pretty good time, but after a geocacher reaches the destination, the adventure sort of ends with a thud. So I thought it would be fun to give geocachers something to do after they arrived and also have them use their GPS device in ways they never imagined.
The Space Between Two Lines is a small shadowbox I created as a visualization of the indeterminate area that exists between any two lines of thought — a place we seem to be quite stuck in.
Materials: Green Laser, Glass, Wood
Exhibited: GRIDSPACE, NY for the Reanimation Library - Feb-March. 2010
I created this piece for the Reanimation Library's "solo" show at Charles Goldman's GRIDSPACE in Brooklyn, NY. The space itself is a wooden grid of 12 individually lit 2 foot square by 8 inch deep cubicles, custom built to fit into the specially designed storefront.
Bucky's Animal Spirit is a public intervention disguised as an ATM Machine installed surreptitiously in a downtown office building... next to an actual ATM.
I installed this video game in a Troy, NY downtown office building on May 1st 2009 hoping people would think it was an actual ATM machine. I was quite pleased to see they did not want to punch my face off when they realized it was not an ATM at all, but an arcade game where they help "Bucky the Beaver" save money.
People were not only amused, they started telling their co-workers and by the mid-afternoon people were coming down just to play the game.
Earlier that day, a woman suspicious of my ATM called the building's management to check it out. They came down and were pretty amused by the whole thing and actually gave me permission to keep it going as long as I wanted. They even told me I should take it home at night as it might get stolen otherwise. Sometimes it really is better to ask for forgiveness than ask for permission.
Public Interactions - from the iSight in the ATM and my video camera.
A person inserts their ATM card into the machine expecting the typical ATM transaction screens. Instead they are presented with my video featuring Bucky the Beaver lamenting his financial troubles in today's economy. The user then plays a short side-scrolling video game, also created by me, to help Bucky get to the public library and dodge attacking satellite television receivers. The average American spent over $800 in in-home entertainment last year. You could save all of this money by using the public library.
This screen capture video is what the user see's upon inserting their ATM card.
Materials: Custom Engraved Silver Platter Chocolate Chip Cookies American Flag Napkins
Exhibited: VONZWECK at The BARN - Sept. 2008
----- Accompanying Text ----- The Chocolate Chip Cookie The chocolate chip cookie is a type of drop cookie created in 1933 by Mrs. Ruth Wakefield of the Toll House Inn in Whitman, Massachusetts.
The exact reasons why Mrs. Wakefield created the chocolate chip cookie are debated. In the Nestlé version of the story, Mrs. Wakefield planned to make chocolate cookies but ran out of baker's chocolate, so instead substituted bits of Nestlé semi-sweet chocolate which did not melt and blend in with the rest of the cookie as intended.
Also in the Nestlé story, the chocolate chip cookie became a popular local care package shipped to Massachusetts soldiers stationed overseas in World War II. Soldiers from other parts of the U.S. sampled these cookies and also began asking for shipments of the Toll House Inn cookies. Mrs. Wakefield was quickly inundated with recipe requests and soon the chocolate chip cookie became very popular all across the United States.
The Atomic Bomb The atomic bomb is a type of nuclear weapon first developed and deployed by the United States during World War II. Little Boy, a uranium bomb, was dropped on the city of Hiroshima on Monday, August 6, 1945. Fat Man, a plutonium bomb, was detonated over Nagasaki, Japan, by the United States on August 9, 1945.
The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Manhattan Project developed the atomic bomb. The project was originally named the "Laboratory for the Development of Substitute Materials" but was later modified to "Manhattan Engineer District" (MED) and nicknamed "The Manhattan Project." Nuclear technology was then developed by the USSR in 1949 and, when combined with rocketry developments of the 1960’s, it became possible for both the U.S. and U.S.S.R. to deliver a nuclear weapon anywhere in the world. The technologies grandfathered by the atomic bomb have since proliferated to the United Kingdom, France, China, India, South Africa, Pakistan, and Israel.
- Rob Ray
PLEASE MAKE SOME!
Recipe: Use any chocolate chip cookie recipe.
Baking Instructions: The cookies will be easiest to cut out with a cookie cutter if you prepare and bake the cookies "pan-style" instead of "drop-style." This is done by filling the bottom 1/4" of a 9x13 baking sheet with about 1/4 of your dough.
Cookie Cutter Creation: Create cookie cutters in the shape or your favorite nuclear detonation delivery device. I find "Fat Man" and "Little Boy" particularly intriguing, so I used their shapes for my cookies. It is easiest to make this cookie cutters by bending a small strip of of 1/2 inch copper strap into shape. Copper strap is available in the plumbing section of your local hardware store.
What gives a place cultural significance? How does a place of cultural significance become publicly recognized? What happens as a result?
Undisclosed Locations is a series of interactive papercraft posters asking these questions of the Chicago populace. I frame these questions by asking the person on the street to consider the cultural significance of underground electronic music venues in Chicago.
Political Song for Justin Timberlake to Sing is a pair of electronically controlled low power FM radio transmitters designed to alert and confuse listeners.
The “Alert” Transmission
[listen to the 1min broadcast] The first of the pair, the “alert” transmitter, walks scattershot across the FM band from 88Mhz to 108Mhz overriding licensed programming with a computerized male voice. This voice informs listeners that US Air Force patrols have spotted enemy aircraft in the Capital Region of New York (this message can be updated to reference the surroundings of wherever the transmitters are installed). I reference the listener’s surrounding area in my broadcast in order to center, implicate and unsettle the viewer and give my broadcast legitimacy.
I intentionally interrupt licensed broadcasters with this one-minute “alert” broadcast. This interruption is designed to make listeners believe ownership of the transmission has shifted from a typical commercial FM radio entity to a government entity. Usurping control of local radio stations also personalizes the broader topics of militarization, fear and unknowing. Introductory beeping in the broadcast mimics a weather alert and interrupts the highly ordered programming of commercial radio. By interrupting the licensed broadcasts I also subvert the user-locked preset stations defined by the “scan” and “seek” interfaces of contemporary digital FM tuners.
I want listeners to be immediately engaged and be startled. My “alert” transmitters mission is to grab the unwitting participant and throw them into the piece.
The “Confuse” Transmission
[listen to a 1min sample from 12hr broadcast loop] When the user reaches this second radio station they expect immediate information regarding their well-being. Instead, they hear an audio collage of experiences and information regarding bombing. The collage contains peoples’ reflections on the fear experienced while being bombed mixed with pilots explaining what it is like to bomb. Also, peoples’ dealing with loss of property and loved ones as a result of bombing are mixed with scientific techniques used to try to make sense of bomb scenes. These are all things the listener would be forced into considering in the event of an actual bombing - but are acts that can neither be learned nor barely imagined without firsthand experience as a guide. We can only sketch in our minds what we think we might do based on what we know and our prior experiences. For most non-immigrant Americans, we know very little about this and have experienced even less when confronted with this new and seemingly real concern. We are thrown into a new open mental frequency filled with static.
After hearing the “alert” transmission, visitors may reach my second transmitter. I call it my “confuse” transmitter as this station is meant to capitalize on the alerted state of the listener and push them into a state of confusion and wonder. This station broadcasts my interviews with bombing survivors, interviews of US military bomber pilots and computer-read forensic investigation reports of bomb blast scenes. It is a simple fixed-frequency low power FM radio station occupying 88.9Mhz, an unfilled spot on the radio band in upstate New York’s Capital District (this broadcast frequency can be updated to best fit into the region where the transmitters are installed). I use a previously unoccupied frequency in order to preclude any local radio station brand affiliations and fill a fresh spot in the listener’s mind.
This content of this broadcast also creates confusion of authorship, as it is not the type of transmission any governmental or commercial entity would put on the air. It provokes the questions “Where is this coming from?” “Who owns this broadcast?” and “What am I listening to?” I cross the threshold of extremely ordered airspace and inject anomaly to create confusion.
A 24 page booklet (pdf) accompanies gallery installations of this piece.