Saturday, July 21, 2007

The Ann Arbor Arts Festival is in its final 1 1/2 hours. After 4 days of Val Cushing ceramic vessel look alikes, easter colored pastel landscapes, home address painted tiles, ribbon and streamer crowns, and arm thick glass 'things' all on hyper-drive, I have to say that bottled water is probably in the lead in terms of 'Art & Crafts vs. ________'. If I had sold bottled water for 75cents instead of $1 (at all the consession stands), I would have pulled the rug out from under the stock market and the local boyscout troop. Next year...

Besides being almost taken out on my bike by a craft-blinded pedestrian, I fully support the festival. Seeing so many people walking! All day! and not just from their car to the grocery store or the car to their house or around their house on the way to their fridge. Walking and looking like they enjoyed it. People actually took advantage of the Ann Arbor bus system, who did an excellent job of shipping them in and out of the downtown area from the various outer areas. For many children, it may have been the first time they rode a bus. New experiences, exercise, and people trying to sell the outcome of one of their most primal human instincts that is always surpressed in the U.S. past the age of 8: the act of creating and making. Despite not being thrilled about much of the work I saw, I respect and am humbled at the shear magnitude of booth after booth of people (unknowingly?) beating our American educational system, government, and mainstream society telling them not to 'make' but to 'buy'. Though many were buying, it sure beats framed art from Ikea.

Monday, July 16, 2007

After being back for two weeks from my trip, I am still going through my photographs: numbering, naming, categorizing, copying, printing, drawing, cataloguing. My computer is my archive and I am the archivist still configuring how to dictate the information I have been given. By city? By date? By formal gestures of line, perspective, pattern? Alphabetical by person or place? By theoretical meaning? By dichotomies? By social significance? The arrangement seems to move everytime I go into a folder and see the visuals I took. How quickly I forgot what I had collected!

And magnetic north is moving. The photograph of the map presented is from the Fram Museum, Oslo showing the progression of when Captain John Ross (1831) first took the magnetic calculations then Amundsen (1904) and all the way up until 2006's calculations. It is projected that soon the north will be closer to Russia, the northeast passage, then to Canadian waters. I wonder how that will effect Russian vs. U.S. relations?

Matt, my partner, is curating a show in Ann Arbor titled 'Studio in the Lab' in September. Investigating the intersections within the arts and the sciences, I hope to submit some work involving the images and writing from my research trip. How a visual artist reimagines and represents history/ anthropology/ politics/ cultural studies offers many chances and allowances for bending and of course reinvestigating the academic and social rules. I think of Chris Olfili's massive (and glittery) paintings, Kara Walker's installations of power structures during the American Civil War, Zhang Huan's facial 'Family Tree', Coco Fusco performance with Guillermo Gomez-Pena in the cage as modern day savages, or Song Dong's gestural 'Stamping the Water' performance/photograph piece. These isolate fragments of cultural understandings and translates them. The artists ask questions without needing to preliminarily bend to a hypothesis. They aren't concerned with answers. Through curiosity, they ask what might occur.

I hope to approach my photographs in this way. Gleaning from anthropology, history, intuitive formal gestures: the other 'sciences'. To hover the images while offering the viewer clues as to where the points may end up.

Friday, July 6, 2007

Turn Left, right here...

It seems like I have directed you to some wrong websites:
for the Danish Polar Center

for the Arctic photo archive

go to the right side of the page under the word 'fritekstsøgning' and do the following searches if you are interested:
Christian Bendex Thostrup
Søren Hansen
Tegninger (this means drawings)
Morten Pedersen Porsild
Danmark Ekspeditionen
Thule Ekspeditionen
Knud Rasmussen