Archive for Photography
Last July the good folks at Miami Ad School asked me a great question:
If you had to explain to someone what an increasing divorce rate, cable television, the space shuttle challenger disaster in the 1980′s, the popularity of South Park and the rise of instant messaging (social media) all have in common, what would you say?
My answer: No hope for the future has shaped our impatience for the present. We need everything now. Who knows, who cares what happens later?
Divorce: the paradox of choice – too many options have us in a permanent upgrade mode. The novelty of something new activates our brainâ€™s reward center. Perfection is the expectation. Why repair something when we can get the new model?
Space Shuttle Disaster: apathy – My parentsâ€™ generation got â€˜one giant step for mankindâ€¦â€™ my generation watched our futures explode with the Challenger on television.
Cable: sedentary life â€“ Cable programming is comprised of reality shows and news programs sandwiched between pharmaceutical ads and retail therapy. We watch modern archetypes live out their scripted lives on TV. We live vicariously through our favorite characters and mimic their lives (i.e. the Sex And The City / NYC Prep / Real Housewives Of New Jersey phenomena). The result makes our authentic thoughts and movements secondary.
South Park: super cynicism – A little cynicism is healthy. Overly cynical people become too paralyzed to act, we can only watch from the sidelines and comment while we wait for a hero to save us.
Text Messaging: Devolution – digital communication is making us into humanoids who can’t talk face to face, canâ€™t employ proper writing syntax and have no compassion to wait for a slower non-digital exchange of information to unfold.
Sounds dark, but also enforces the need for a cadre of optimistic contrarians to instigate positive social change.
Last week’s visit to the New Museum’s Be(com)ing Dutch closing party made me contemplate of the value of the exhibit curator.
While looking at some of the installations on lower floors it was difficult not to feel the weight of the obsolescence of it all. My tolerance for sitting through a media exhibition that wasn’t tailored explicitly for me has been greatly lowered because of the availability of more compelling & timely work out in the streets & tweets. Having become accustomed to using cable TV’s, PC’s and portable media to curate my own entertainment media ‘exhibitions’ at home as well as on the go, I fear that curation may go the way of desktop publishing and disc jockeying. Meaning:
The tools used to curate media exhibitions are widely available and a person’s formal training in this skill is no longer the barrier to entry.
A high point of the talk was hearing about the resistance that the curators of Be(com)ing Dutch received from artists and citizens concerning how museums were no longer qualified to create compelling exhibitions for their community, about their community with art that was housed inside of buildings which created a barrier between the community that co-created the art and the art itself.
There are a few spots in NYC that feel like portals to me, crossroads that make me stop and take notice.
Sutro Bath House was an indoor swimming pool complex built ocean side. Opened in 1896, this modern engineering marvel used Pacific Ocean water for its several salt and fresh water pools and hot baths. It was the destination for a while, got played out, got too expensive to operate, had a fire and lastly the glass, iron, wood, and reinforced concrete structure was reclaimed by the Pacific. The remnants I found on my walk along the coast reminded me of another gigantic public pool ruin I ran around in as a youth in Flushing Meadow Park.
I found this handwriting on a construction wall in SoHo today: “Thinning The Herd.” Is there a connection between unemployment and mortality? Bill Moyers mentioned Peter Dreier‘s research estimating that for every percent the rate of unemployment climbs, an additional 47,000 people die – half from heart attacks, more than 800 are murdered and nearly twelve hundred commit suicide.
I took a trip to Second Little Italy to proof a project for a client. This Carmine Street printer was down the block from the public pool I used to frequent as a youth. As I stepped downstairs into the shop I got hit with wafts of ink & acetone fumes. Immediately bringing me back to a job I had in Atlanta as a negative stripper at Nexus Press. The Carmine Street Shop seemed frozen in time, when much of the industry West of 6th Avenue to Greenwich Street dealt with printing. Impressive. Pete the press master, has stories galore and an original letter press poster of Benito Mussolini framed on his wall – printed in The Bronx, New York, USA in 1942. Huh?
I saw these today in their natural habitat. After decades of use; still comfortable, still functional, still sturdy, still beautiful.
I am starting to believe that most products made after the 1980′s are trash. See something of how they get the way they are:
We had to do some consumer research for a project with bike messenger bag maker Timbuk2 so we went to the store in Hayes Valley (they moved from The Mission – Nuff said). The creative brief rocked, they followed our recommendations. Now we chart the change.
Look at what I found in the garbage today. These were cutting edge when they came out (750Mhz!? Remote Control!?), now this eWaste is on its way back to China to be melted down for Silver and Gold.
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I got a last minute invite to a private screening of Khary Jones’ new film Hug at The Ford Foundation. Even without the comfy gold plated Eames chairs the film is Great.