nicole rademacher

Sunday, November 22, 2009

Saturday, November 21, 2009

Now you can actually flip through them!!


I published my books on andit gives you this fancy-schmancy flash movie to embed everywhere!!!

Watch out everyone!! I just might start producing my own online magazine! - ooh what a great idea! what should it be about?

Ok. Longing & Distance: through gesture:

and Milwaukee after coming to Milwaukee from California:

or alternatively you could view the pages on my website: Longing and Milwaukee

Well, it is all pretty fancy, if you ask me.

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Just a lil' revamp

As you can tell from the face-lift on this-here blog, I did a lil' revamp to the design of my website. Nothing drastic, just updating the design a bit, since it was a year old.

It is, of course, much cleaner, and the lines make more sense.

Let me know if you have any thoughts!!!

The poetry of the documentary

Paul Chan made this beautiful documentary of Lynne Stewart in 2006.

Here is an excerpt:

Watch the whole video.

Saturday, November 14, 2009

Not just Etgar Keret

So here I am: lazy, sunny, spring Saturday afternoon (in the southern hemisphere). Randomly between working on things, looking for opportunities, cleaning up the house, and chatting with friends online. WBEZ again, I just can't leave Chicago behind. This American Life, again - it IS addicting, isn't it? (damn there is that question tag that I told the Brits that I just simply don't use!!)

So, Ira Glass (who my friend Paula has a devastating crush on) is interviewing Etgar Keret. I was introduced to Keret's work by a friend of mine, well, a former student, she's kinda like my lil' sister - but a dear friend nonetheless. Obviously this headline: Ira Glass interviews Etgar Keret caught my eye. I clicked on all the numerous clicks (perhaps there were just two) to get to the video - I thought, when given the option, "Damn, the video would be better than just the audio." My, how I am so adjusted to the media . . .

The clicks led me to the video, which wasn't just the video of Etgar Keret, but of a lot of interviews. And the interesting thing is that the Artist in Residence at the NY Public Library (Flash Rosenberg) draws during the interviews. Hence the video is her drawings. I don't want to give any adjectives - that would just spoil the fun. Watch the video. Or download it and fast-forward to certain parts. It is rather long, but there are some gems.

Here is a preview - with John Lithgow (personal favorite)

Or watch the whole thing from the NY Public Library.

Thursday, November 12, 2009


Félix Lazo, profesor de Arte Digital y Video Arte, Escuela de Artes Visuales Universidad Mayor.

Charla de Nicole Rademacher, artista estadounidense que desarrolla obras con nuevas tecnologías, se dictará en la Facultad de Arte de la Universidad Mayor.

La actividad se realizará este 13 de noviembre, a las 12:00 horas, en la Catedra 1

Nicole Rademacher es una artista que trabaja con nuevos medios de comunicación, empezó a estudiar arquitectura, pero recibió una beca de la Escuela del Instituto de Arte de Chicago en 2004, hizo su Maestría en artes electrónicas integradas

Su trabajo está inspirado en la comunicación y en la falta de comunicación, pero en realidad su interés principal es la percepción.

Ha exhibido su trabajo internacionalmente en Festivales de Video Arte como Transmediale, LOOP Video Art Festival, re-nuevo foro de arte digital, Streaming Festival, Colonia OFF, y Primavera Fotográfica, entre otros.


Monday, November 9, 2009

El enigmático mundo de Nicole Rademacher

A fantastic post by Antonio Lirio Barajas (professor of Digital Video at the Universitat Pompeu Fabra in Barcelona) about some of my videos.

sí es en castellano ....

Friday, October 30, 2009

un artículo ....

Invitada por el Departamento de Artes Visuales:

Artista estadounidense dicta charla en Sala Adolfo Couve

Enlaces relacionados

"Activado por la percepción" es el nombre de la charla que Nicole Rademacher, artista estadounidense que desarrolla obras con nuevas tecnologías, dictará en la Sala Adolfo Couve de la sede Las Encinas de la Facultad de Artes. La actividad se realizará este 3 de noviembre, a las 11:00 horas, con entrada liberada.

"Últimamente, y también en las obras que voy a presentar, mi interés está en la intersección de la percepción con la comunicación. Es decir, en cómo la comunicación -en el caso de mi trabajo, el gesto- es percibida. De esta manera, abordo la comunicación ubicada en el gesto", explica la artista estadounidense Nicole Rademacher, Licenciada en Bellas Artes de la School of the Art Institute of Chicago y Máster en Artes Electrónicos Integrados del New York State College of Ceramics (NYSCC) de la Alfred University.

Será ella quien este martes 3 de noviembre, a las 11:00 horas, dictará la charla "Activado por la percepción" en la Sala Adolfo Couve de la Facultad de Artes. Invitada por el Departamento de Artes Visuales de la Universidad de Chile, la artista estadounidense presentará y hablará sobre algunos de sus trabajos y sus relaciones con la percepción. "La idea era armar una charla donde pudiese presentar mi trabajo ante los estudiantes. Tengo muchas ganas de trabajar con los alumnos, pues en mi país trabajé con estudiantes en dos universidades y me faltaba ese tipo de interacción en Chile", dice.

Esta mujer, que reside hace poco menos de un año en nuestro país, comenzó a trabajar con nuevas tecnologías a partir de su desplazamiento desde la fotografía, transición que, según cuenta, "fue muy orgánica". Y agrega respecto a su metodología de trabajo: "Todo es una parte del proceso. Cuando abordo una obra, nunca sé en qué medio voy a trabajar. Son las ideas las que me propulsan hacia una técnica u otra, y había momentos, en obras previas, en los que las ideas necesitaban algo distinto; éstas me llevaron a buscar otras maneras para realizarlas, manifestarlas, desarrollarlas".

Sobre el título de su charla, Nicole Rademacher explica que lo vio "como una oportunidad para reflexionar y resumir mis ideas para la charla. Entonces, vi que el ímpetu de estas obras era simplemente mi interés en la percepción. Entiendo que está mal dicho, pero al final del proceso, tratando de traducirlo bien, sin perder algo, decidí que soy gringa, por lo tanto, está bien tener un título un poco mal dicho. Además, eso es uno de mis intereses de la comunicación-mal comunicación, que no es posible traducir todo perfectamente y ni siquiera entender perfectamente (eso me encanta). Por lo demás, sólo es un título, lo más importante es el contenido de la charla".

La charla "Activado por la percepción" se realizará, con entrada liberada, este próximo martes 3 de noviembre, a las 11:00 hora, en la Sala Adolfo Couve de la Facultad de Artes (Las Encinas 3370, Ñuñoa). Sobre las expectativas de esta actividad, Nicole Rademacher concluye: "Espero que algo de lo que diga o muestre pueda desencadenar algo en los estudiantes, relacionado con sus trabajos y/o estudios en general".

Texto: Isis Díaz López/ Periodista Facultad de Artes

Visiting Artist Lecture at the Universidad de Chile

Sunday, October 25, 2009

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Video Takeover: Borna Sammak's "Best Buy"

origianlly posted on By Ceci Moss on Friday, October 9th, 2009 at 10:30 am.

Borna Sammak's debut solo show "Best Buy" took place last night for an exclusive two hour stint in the Soho location of electronics mega-retailer Best Buy. Thirteen of his vibrant and hallucinogenic high-definition "video paintings" were displayed on every single television on the lower level floor, making for an incredible (and gloriously surreal) sight. I snapped a few photos of the installation, below. To read the full backstory behind the show, check this interview with Borna Sammak and curator Thomas McDonell, conducted by artist Kari Altmann.

Tuesday, September 22, 2009


I feel like I have nothing and nothing is going absolutely no where.

Nothing seems to make sense, but I keep looking for something. I don't think you can see the subtleties of this video with this resolution. There is disturbance, something unsettling. It feels like nothing.

I am hoping that this nothing will manifest towards something, if not into something. Every ten minutes I have, I watch it again. I move things. I write. I try to make sense of why I keep toying with this footage. Is it the footage or the idea?

Just a little bit every day, right? That will steer the gray matter.

Sunday, September 13, 2009

a Chilean September 11th

We were on our way to a barbecue, to commemorate the day that the Pinochet took power in 1973 and many people went missing, were killed, tortured ... The idea of this happening is foreign to me. The smiles and lollipops land warns of terrorism and "fights" it abroad so that it will never reach our soil. It is so removed from my consciousness.

So the bus we took passed by Estadio Nacional: one of the torture camps run by the dictatorship. The stadium is still used today for soccer games. To me, I thought that was horrible - the American that I am who must sensationalize everything, but the Chileans explained it as "moving on", not allowing the past to dictate what we do in the present. Anyhow, we were passing the stadium and the bus stopped and I said, This is what September 11th is - as we watched the vigil. Do you want to get off?, Mati asked me. We jumped out of our seats and out the door.

Thursday, August 6, 2009

in fact, I know.

I realize that my last few posts have not only been few and far between, but also much more like news announcements (actually, they have been just that) rather than blog posts. I don't like it either.

Life is funny though. Even when you are seemingly not busy, these things that you enjoy so much, seem as though you can't do them. Perhaps your brain won't relax enough for it to happen, or perhaps you just feel that you want to give it your all and you just simply don't have the time for it. But all the while, you truly aren't that busy ...

The winter here in Santiago is rough. It isn't really that cold, especially considering the time I spent in Chicago and Alfred, but it is bone cold inside the buildings. Energy gets sucked from you. I find myself overcome with exhaustion in the middle of the day. I even make "I'm cold" sounds, when it isn't that cold - just habit, by now, I guess.

The pollution will wipe one out as well. I come home and am amazed at how dirty my clothes have become after just one wear. Every time I wash my hands, I almost cringe at the dark, black, and gray running water from them. I try to keep my nails as short as possible otherwise the dirt and grime gets stuck, almost immediately upon leaving the house.

You would think that after the loooooooong and hard winters I have endured in other places (mentioned above), the mild weather conditions would be welcome. And yes, they are! I enjoy the fact that I don't need a winter coat, my fall jacket and a scarf work just fine. But with the experiences mentioned earlier, I am all too eager for spring to show its face. Do they have Groundhog's Day here?

I have said before that Santiago is a city of contradictions. Its winter is more proof of my very premature theory.

New on VideoChannel: One Minute Film Collection (OMFC)

VideoChannel - video project environments - is happy to launch on 3 August 2009 another highlight online.

OMFC (One Minute Film Collection) is an ongoing project initiative chief curated
by Wilfried Agricola de Cologne featuring at its start
67 films and videos with a duration of exactly one minute.

There are several thematic sections. Here is where "the Delay" is found:

A Matter of Time (rather appropriate grouping for it, don't ya think?)

Johanna Reich (Germany), Anders Weberg (SWE), Ron Diorio (USA),
Bill Domonkos (USA), Xenia Vargova (Bulgaria), Alison Williams (SA)
Walter Van Rijn (UK), Nicole Rademacher (USA)
Baptist Coelho (India), Milica Rakic (Serbia)

Thursday, July 23, 2009

Final Program for Macau

Exhibition: Human Emotion Project (HEP)
Venue: AFA @ Portuguese Bookshop Gallery
Date: August 8 to September 5
Hours: 11AM to 7PM
Media: Video
Curator: José Drummond

Video is one of the most prolific visual mediums in use today. The Human Emotion Project (HEP) Macau selection links together more than 40 voices from all over the world. Presented in 4 weeks, each with a different program exploring different topics.
“Paradox”, “Loss & Desire”, “Transformation” and “Fantasy” are the chosen topics for understanding video art, its own multiplicity and the reunion around the imaginative subject of The Human Emotion Project (HEP).

Paradox – August 8 to August 14
The artists in “Paradox” investigate the contradictions between documentary and performance, fact and fiction, order & chaos. What is real and what is staged? The absurdity of real life, the ambiguity of movement and the enigma of space are some of the perceptions raised in “Paradox”.

Dave Swensen Until Death Parts Us 01:23 - USA
Nicole Rademacher Walk With Me 01:16 - USA
Khairy Hirzalla Looking for 01:54 - Jordan
Hakan Akcura Catharsis 05:25 - Turkey/Sweden
Larry Caveney Arm Wresting Intervention 08:51 - USA
Kim Miller Thanx for Meeting Me Here 03:11 - USA
Vienne Chan Nightdance 05:53 - HK/Canada
Basmati Corpus Tracks 05:17 - Italy
Irina Gabiani Samaia or Triamzikamno 06:26 - Luxembourg
Xenia Vargova Tutu 03:10 - Bulgaria
Ng Fong Chao Redemption 10:55 - Macau

Loss & Desire - August 15 to August 21
“Loss & Desire” explores the ambiguity of misplaced feelings from the philosophical aspect to the emotional. The strong deficit of engagement, the desire for connection and the interior struggle for clarity are permanent in each work.

Gaia Bartolini Unseen Dialogue 07:21 - Italy
Daniel Chavez Self Examination – I Am Nothing 02:38 - USA
Wilfried Agricola de Cologne Silent Cry 03:05 - Germany
Richard Jochum Mama 01:34 - USA
Alison Williams Cage-panic 01:46 - RSA
José Drummond The Skeptic 02:13 - Macau
Debbie Douez Two in One 03:18 - Spain
Manfred Marburger Proud 02:15 - UK
Gili Avissar Self portrait-Dead artist 00:34 - Israel
Jose Drummond The Illusionist 01:58 - Macau
Masha Yozefpolsky Deep Freeze - Israel
Bianca Lei Won Ton noodles, I love …… IT ! 13:00 - Macau

Transformation - August 22 to August 28
The power of “Transformation” is a vibrant and integral part of our lives. The mystery of life changing, the spirituality of isolated gestures and sounds and the manipulation of these elements compose a space of reflection and intimacy.

Amina Bech Tranquility Inverted 03:40 - Norway
Bill Millett The Book 06:46 - UK
Anders Weberg Undisclosed beauty 03:13 - Sweden
Glenn Church Fragility 05:33 - UK
Alison Williams/Anders Weberg Mirror mirror 02:30 – RSA/Sweden
Christy Walsh Isolation 03:28 - USA
Alberto Guerreiro Transcendent 04:30 - Portugal
Alicia Felberbaum There and Back 02:47 - UK
Sue Pam-grant Portrait 03:26 - RSA
Danny Germansen Alienation & loneliness 01:59 - Denmark
Alice Kok The Duet 03:21 - Macau

Fantasy - August 29 to September 4
“Fantasy” draws inspiration from the apparent fascination of lively graphic imagery. The looping of the modern era, the provocation of literature, the encounter with the fantastical and the employment of technology contribute to the process making of these visual stories.

Adamo Macri OOC 05:51 - Canada
Ebert Brothers Bluescape 02:57 - Germany
Verena Stenke/Andrea Pagnes Crossing 02:44 - Italy
Robertina Sebjanic Bubble 06:02 - Slovenia
Niclas Hallberg The Crying Man 01:23 - Sweden
Michael Chang Concerto Azzurro 06:10 - Denmark
Paolo Bonfiglio Mater 07:20 - Italy
João Ricardo Scarleet 07:04 - Portugal
Cindy Ng Walking 09:25 - China

Saturday, July 18, 2009


I've been sleeping a lot lately.
I used to always remember my dreams, at least right after I woke up. Now I find that I don't. All that seems to remain is a sensation of the last feeling that I had.

Monday, July 13, 2009

Eyes Everywhere

I am participating in a new project: Eyes Everywhere (Ojos por Todos Lados).

Eyes Everywhere is a collective photo project in which women around the world dialogue through images. Every week artists post images from their location. Every month the theme changes. The project currently involves artists from Mexico, USA, Spain, Uruguay, Malaysia, Argentina, the Netherlands, Dubai, Austria and France. Every Saturday images and place speak, not words.

The images posted from Santiago de Chile are mine.


Monday, June 29, 2009

What the rain brought

The past week has been dreary, rainy, gray, and cold.
Starting Friday night and not letting up until late Saturday evening we had an utter downpour.
But after the rain, the smog cleared and the view was magnificent, spectacular, and, yes, breath-taking.

The city was quiet (ok, fine, it was a holiday anyway). I think I saw smiles on people's faces - even though I suspect that the Chileans barely notice their fantastic physical location (this is backed-up by an experience the last time the rain cleared the smog: ¡Mira la vista! I said. ¡Tan bonita! ¡Impresionante! my chilean friend's response was, ¿Qué?)

Sunday, June 28, 2009

New Media

I think this one speaks for itself:

or maybe you can't see all the digital cameras ------------------------>

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Gesture and Contrived Realities

Much of the last week has been spent remastering and re-exporting videos for the web. As mentioned in yesterday's entry, I finally uploaded videos to my vimeo profile. And of course I am using them (well, the ones that have better quality) for my site - ah free bandwidth.

This has given me an extraordinary chance to truly look at the videos I have made over the years (even the in-camera edited one from 2002 - or maybe it was 2001). I found that even though I find text and language fascinating, I rarely use it in my work - or the dialogue that is present, I have not employed for its meaning, but rather for its noise or symbolism.

In When I grow up ... in particular, the words hold no meaning on their own, they tell no story. They story is in the gesture, in the symbolism, in the nonsense.

Similarily in día, the words only give the viewer reference to time of day and place in the world. The story is told through the order of the shots, the repetition of the actions, the gesture and acting.

This continues through every video, up to my most current work - where my MFA thesis (of 2008, which I think I may still be battling with) specifically and opening looks at gesture and its ability to tell a story - to construct a story, in fact.

I started constructing my stories through gesture, and now I document the gestures and allow them to construct their own stories. The gestures lead me to tell you what I see.

Walk with me, for instance, was nothing more than boredom on my friend's balcony in Barcelona. I saw that the women were walking in sync. I tried three times to get the right shot. I used their motions to guide me through the editing, to direct me (rather than me being the director), to reveal their story to me and thus to the viewer.

I am putting together (aka writing) a proposal for a residency, here in Chile. I have been looking at my work and the work of others (in particular Eija-Liisa Ahtila [just google her]), trying to make sense of things - ya know, in a cohesive and somewhat logical fashion. I always knew that something was missing from that series of 62 videos, but the question was: what? My thesis committee (and other faculty members) pushed me to figure that out. Unfortunately, things come when the come for me - be it slow or immediately. The missing part for this came about a year too late. I think I am a late bloomer when it comes to things of the mind, but that is besides the point. So, they pushed and pushed, and what came out? Writing: semi-poetic writing about the videos, attempts to explain in English what I saw and felt, an attempt to give the viewer more direction on how to see my work.

An aside would be how I feel about "telling" people how to see my work, but we can save that topic for another post - preferable one that isn't at almost 2am.

All in all, I think that what I wrote during those months (see thesis books) is very valid. In fact, that is where I am at with this body of work. I am interested in sucking the narrative out of the videos and finding the words. After the words have been extracted, I will need to refine them, to let them show me how their story plays out.

Well, I guess I should try to get some sleep. Any thoughts, as always, are welcome.

Monday, May 25, 2009

Vimeo - for real!

So I finally uploaded videos to my vimeo account.

You can see all the new ones and some oldies. In fact you can see the entire version of día ... aw memories...

Monday, May 18, 2009

re-new 2009

It opens tomorrow (or later on today, if you are in Europe)!!

Interruptions (2007) and Walk with me (2007) will both be screened on the Monolith: a 6.72 meters wide, 11.69 meters high, and 1.50 meters deep video screen made from 10mm SMD LED video tiles with an embedded, hi-powered d&b PA system.
It all looks pretty sweet!

I am very excited to be included in the festival. Below is a list of the other artist who have work that will be screened on the Monolith as well:

Paulo Barros, Giulia Berto, Bruno Bresani, Vienne Chan, Marina Chernikowa, Giada Ghiringhelli, Tilman Küntzel, Hye Yeon Nam, Murat Onol, Alex Potts, Nicole Rademacher, Elizabeth Riley, Michele Santini, Raoul Simpson, Marcel Wierckx, Mattias Wright, Eija-Liisa Ahtila, Salla Tykkä, Marita Liulia, Fanni Niemi-Junkola, Anders Weberg, Andreas Bertilsson, Eva Olsson, Gustaf Broms, Mai Hofstad Gunnes, Endre Tveitan, Auður Jónsdóttir, Sigurdur Gudjonsson, Magnús Árnason, Patrik Svensson, Jorgen Skogmo, Simon Løvind.

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

(d)espere in Armenia!

CologneOFF - Cologne Online Film Festival
is invited to present a selection from
VideoChannel's One Minute Film Collection
7th International Film Festival Yerevan/Armenia
One Minute - One Shot - 17-24 May 2009

CologneOFF - One Minute Film Collection I
Special selection -duration 22 minutes
Curated by Wilfried Agricola de Cologne
Presented on
7th International Film Festival Yerevan 2009
One Minute – One Shot – 17-24 May 2009
1. Sonja Vuk (CR) –> My Way, 2005
2. Antti Savela (SWE) –> Mother, 2008
3. Kaspars Groshevs (LAT) —> Tomorrow, 2007
4. Agricola de Cologne (GER) —> Burning Phantom, 2009
5. Wolf Nkole Helzle (Ger) - Egoshooter III, 2008
6. Nicole Rademacher (USA) - (d)espere, 2006
7. Fumiko Matsuyama (Japan)–> “An Application As Self-portrait”, 2005
8. Yoko Taketani (Japan) –> Wall of China, 2008
9. Antony Rousseau (FR) –> Sanatorium, 2005
10. Sean Burn (UK) eyes ov honey, 2009
11. Lukas Mateijka (SK) –> 20m, 2008
12. Katherine Sweetman (USA) –> Dating in LA, 2008
13. Grace Graupe-Pillard (USA) –> Photobooth Snap - Months into One Minute, 2008
14. Kriss Salmanis (Latvia) –> Shower, 2007
15. Toni Mestrovic (Croatia) –> Continuum Continuus (Trailer), 2007
16. Lin Fangsuo (China) —> White, 2008
17. Roderick Coover & Nick Montfort (USA) —> J.R., 2007
18. Luisa Mizzoni (IT)–> “When I’ll grow up”, 2000
19. Anders Weberg (SWE) —> “Dejected”, 2008
20. Sahra Bhimji (USA) —> “La Ghost”, 2008
21. Harald Rettich (Ger) Portrait of Alex, 2008

Saturday, May 2, 2009


I recently updated my bio and statement online (long over due, really).

What do you think?

I was born in one place, but grew up in another. Then, I left the latter. I consistently swap cities and/or continents. Currently I find myself in Santiago de Chile. My work work relies on these alterations of my physical and cultural environment.
I have worked in several different mediums. My education started in architecture and engineering; soon I migrated to photography. Between photography and video: I switched continents (twice), learned Spanish, and developed some installation tendencies (amongst other habits). I received my BFA from the School of the Art Institute of Chicago, finally, in 2004. Almost forthwith, I swapped Chicago for Nantes and then Nantes for my first love, Barcelona - all the while developing my practice and learning new media. Recently, I completed my MFA (New York State College of Ceramics at Alfred University) in Electronic Integrated Arts where fusion and synthesis forced focus (perhaps it was the freezing climate, too). Hovering in "new media", my work tackles communication in all of its varied forms.

I have exhibited and screened work mostly in North America and Europe, but most recently in Asia, Australia, and South America as well. See NEWS, RESUME, or BLOG for the latest info.


My point of departure in my artistic practice is communication and language. Language reveals itself in a menagerie of embodiments: spoken, written, body, ... I look at these forms, dissect, and shift them. My interests span from an unintelligible utterance and a fleeting hand movement to the complex grammatical structures that exist in spoken languages that have no written form.
My videos hint at longing and melancholy. I observe and show you what I see, how I see it. Walls and distance (between the viewer and the subject or between "characters") are ever present. Duration consistently carries a lead role, but the characters have not been cast.

RePost from Rhizome

This is a re-post from Rhizome (if you don't know what rhizome is, you really should).

After the Amateur: Notes

By Ed Halter on Wednesday, April 29th, 2009 at 1:00 pm.


Film, video and photography once fell easily into two categories: professional or amateur.

Professionals mastered their crafts, often through guild-like programs of training, and sought to make a living from their abilities.

Amateurs learned on their own, or through informal clubs of like-minded aficionados, and pursued their arts for reasons other than money or wide-ranging prestige.

Professionals pursued careers. Amateurs pursued hobbies.

Professionals made images for public consumption. Amateurs made images for private use. (“The amateur is not necessarily defined by a lesser knowledge, an imperfect technique…but rather by this: he is the one who does not exhibit, the one who does not make himself heard.” Roland Barthes, “Réquichot and the Body,” 1973)

Corporations created products specifically geared for the amateur in mind—simplified, less expensive, stripped-down versions of professional equipment. Thus Kodak introduced the Brownie in 1900, initially priced at one dollar. Later in the century, 8mm and then Super-8 were promoted to the home-movie market; more adventurous amateur filmmakers took on 16mm.

Technology marketed for amateurs generally did not require as much skill or training as professional equipment. Most amateur gear produced what would be considered a lesser image quality by professionals—in the case of motion pictures, a smaller strip of film than the industry-standard 35mm, thus capable of only lower resolution.

Amateurs were those who did not need to learn, or learned only what they needed.

Professionals demanded certain levels of technical precision in order to reinforce their status as professionals. Amateurs might strive for similar levels of precision, but failing to achieve such a goal would not, of course, preclude their status as amateurs. (Nonetheless, to paraphrase Barthes, there would be no contradiction to say that someone was an “extremely skilled amateur.”)

One can fail to be a professional, but one cannot fail to be an amateur.


Where the artist fit into the scheme of amateur versus professional became open to debate.

In the American avant-garde cinema, filmmakers chose to align themselves with the amateur. They sought to reverse conventional value judgments of professional over amateur.

“The very classification ‘amateur’ has an apologetic ring. But that very word—from the Latin amator, ‘lover’—means one who does something for the love of the thing rather than for economic reasons or necessity. And this is the meaning from which the amateur filmmaker should take his cue. Instead of envying the script and dialogue writers, the trained actors, the elaborate staffs and sets, the enormous production budgets of the professional film, the amateur should make use of the one great advantage which all professionals envy him, namely, freedom—both artistic and physical.” – Maya Deren, “Amateur Versus Professional,” Movie Makers Annual, 1959

“The day is close when the 8mm home-movie footage will be collected and appreciated as folk art, like songs and the lyric poetry that was created by the people." – Jonas Mekas, “Movie Journal,” The Village Voice, 1963

“[I] have come to be called a ‘professional,’ an ‘artist’ and an ‘amateur.’ Of those three terms—‘amateur’—is the one I am truly most honored by… Why have they come to make ‘amateur’ mean: ‘inexperienced,’ ‘clumsy,’ ‘dull,’ or even ‘dangerous’? It is because an amateur is one who really lives his life—not one who simply ‘performs his duty’—and as such he experiences his work while he’s working—rather than going to school to learn his work so he can spend the rest of his life just doing it dutifully.”— Stan Brakhage, “In Defence of Amateur,” 1971

The adoption of the amateur contributed to a greater post-war project: the dissolution of borders between art and everyday life, or more specifically (pace Parker Tyler) art and lifestyle.

Filmmakers celebrated the separation of art from commercial enterprise, repositioning this separation as a kind of freedom, both spiritual and formal. For filmmakers like Deren, Mekas and Brakhage, the amateur was a true “lover” of film who engaged with the technology in a passionate fervor of poesis rather than within the impersonal structures of the capitalist industry.

For photography, however, critics looked differently at the relationship of the artist to the amateur—perhaps because amateur photography enjoyed a longer, broader history as a hobby, akin to painting watercolors and throwing pottery.

Art photographers were often professional photographers who created non-commercial pictures on the side. They brought professional standards to unusual or evocative subject matter (e.g. Edward Weston, White Radish, 1933).

“In photography’s early decades, photographs were expected to be idealized images,” Susan Sontag wrote in On Photography, published in 1977. “This is still the aim of amateur photographers, for whom a beautiful photograph is a photograph of something beautiful, like a woman, a sunset.” For Sontag, the amateur strives merely for conventionally pretty pictures, and not beyond that. The amateur photographer is the baseline of photographic aesthetics, above which both professional and artist must rise.

Writing on MOMA curator John Szarkowski’s 1966 exhibit and book The Photographer’s Eye—the first major curatorial endeavor to mix established art photography with supposedly non-art forms like journalistic photography, home pictures, Victorian cartes de visite and so on—Janet Malcolm read the event as a threat to the newly-won integrity of art photography:

“Perusing The Photographer’s Eye is a shattering experience for the advocate of photography’s claims as an art form. The accepted notion that in the hands of a great talent, and by dint of long study and extraordinary effort, photography can overcome its mechanical nature and ascend to the level of art is overturned by Szarkowski’s anthology, whose every specimen is (or as the case may be, isn’t) a work of art. (Malcolm, “Diana and Nikon,” 1976)

Malcolm and Sontag both wrote on photography at a time when the form saw an unprecedented boom in gallery sales and exhibition. Suddenly making a critical or curatorial judgment on a photograph could have an actual monetary value.


Despite hopes and fears that, as part of the post-war involution of high and low, the amateur would overturn the professional, in contemporary everyday parlance “amateur” has ultimately resisted reclassification into a term of praise.

When we today criticize artworks as “amateurish” we (still) mean: naïve, studenty, dilletantish, unlearned, uncouth, unworthy of exhibition.

But—while we might praise artists themselves for being “professional” (that is, easy for curators to work with), we use equivalents of the same word as dismissals: we don’t like work that is “too slick,” “too commercial.” Or even: “too self-aware.”

Unlike Deren, Brakhage, et al, we live in a society in which the role of the artist has become largely professionalized. That professionalization occurs at the level of the MFA program, and by extension, the academic convention of the Curriculum Vitae.

The culture of MFA programs: a simultaneous embrace and disavowal of professional status, even as the degree functions specifically to enforce and validate a categorical distinction from the amateur.

(amateur = “too sloppy”, professional = “too perfect” ?)
(amateur = “not careful enough”, professional = “too careful” ?)
(amateur = “not finished enough”, professional = “too finished” ?)

While amateurishness and slickness can be recouped as conceptual maneuvers, a distancing and thus partial disavowal of one’s own production, this gesture itself might be denounced as “too studied.”


Investigate the category in order to abandon it: does “amateur” still work as a descriptor for user-generated content on the internet?

If artists can take apart obsolete technology, critics can take apart obsolete vocabulary.

Look through the idea of amateur as a different approach to the idea of defaults.

We can still find traditional “amateur photography” online (flowers, sunsets, nudes, etc.) but this isn’t the kind of work that artists engaged with the internet are drawn to. Perhaps we need a new category of “sub-amateur” or “ultra-amateur” to describe what’s happening.

Theories create names for patterns. The main goal of introducing a category like “sub-amateur” is not to impose a taxonomy (this is sub-amateur, that is amateur) but rather to begin to develop a more nuanced vocabulary to discuss observable tendencies.

But first—to backtrack:

In “Diana and Nikon,” Malcolm finds it necessary to use another classification, distinct from “amateur,” to describe a new trend in art photography of the 1970s. Now, she writes, a generation of photographers takes as its “starting point, model, and guide…the most inartistic (and presumably most purely photographic) form of all—the home snapshot.”

“The attributes previously sought by photographers—strong design, orderly composition, control over tonal values, lucidity of content, good print quality—have been stood on their heads, and the qualities now courted are formlessness, rawness, clutter, accident, and other manifestations of the camera’s formidable capacity for imposing disorder on reality—for transforming, say, a serene gathering of nice-looking people in pleasant surroundings (as one had perceived it) into a chaotic mess of lamp cords, rumpled Kleenexes, ugly food, ill-fitting clothes, grotesque gestures, and vapid expressions.”

The price of a snapshot’s ease is a loss of control. The world seeps back into the frame like the messy monsters of the unconscious.

Thus, “Robert Frank’s terrible Polaroid pictures of his friends are like anyone else’s terrible Polaroid pictures”—save, Malcolm argues, for the Duchampian valence that emerges in the gallery context.

As Sontag or Deren defined them, amateurs are lovers of beauty. They invest a certain level of devotion to the technologies they employ—so much that a talented amateur may achieve the same level of technical sophistication as the professional, even if they miss the subtlety of art.

But as the very word reveals, the snapshot is the epitome of photography at its most automatic (its “most purely photographic”—but only in one sense). Snapshots are the result of corporate interest in broadening the market for photography as widely as possible by lowering the learning curve for the successful use of cameras.

Similar motivations can be found in film: the devolution from 35mm to 16mm to 8mm to Super-8 to the video camcorder to the webcam is driven by a desire to increase user-friendliness and decrease the need for learning the technology.

The ideal camera would be one that involved no training whatsoever. Lack of formal control is traded for the assurance of image-capturing. This is the greater socio-economic mechanism that produces the default.

This historical process allows for—and encourages—the removal of the amateur’s “love” that had always been implicated in the devotion necessary to learn the technology.

The amateur enjoyed spending time with the camera, and thus could become caught up in its formal possibilities; the sub-amateur sees the camera in terms of pure and immediate functionality.


Nietzsche valorized a “belief in form, but disbelief in content” in aphorisms. The sub-amateur prefers a belief in content, and a disbelief in form.

The artist appropriating sub-amateur practice often chooses to reveal this forgotten form.

Consider some familiar examples of contemporary internet art.

Guthrie Lonergan’s Internet Group Shot (2006) reveals that the snapshot imposes its own social defaults. The convention of the group shot becomes a non-technological default setting for the snapshot.

Double Happiness’s Baldy Steady Peepin (2009) ignores the functional center of the photographic set—the water-skier—in favor of the tops of heads peeping into the frame. They become enigmatic and funny in their repetition—as if the trend constituted an accidental formal default.

Oliver Laric’s 50 50 (2007) makes visible formal differences between a social-default convention of the YouTube lip-dub: variations in image and sound compression, lighting, and composition become as individually expressive as the performers themselves. These elements had been, of course, invisible or irrelevant to the original creators of each clip.

Petra Cortright’s vvebcam (2007) exposes the gap between defaults and emotive expression. Dancing pizza slices and zapping electric arcs clash with the user’s blank stare back into the monitor as she records herself.

The practice of re-reading errors and automatic settings as formal elements was already apparent in Malcolm’s 1976 discussion of the snapshot as Duchampian fodder. “Removed from their normal context of the playroom wastebasket,” she writes, artists’ snapshots “assume the aspect of elegant, ironic studies of pattern, light, texture, and special relations.” She implies that a non-artist’s snapshot would do so just as well.

A quote from Lonergan’s lecture We Did It Ourselves! that can be read as contra Malcolm: “I’m in love with the struggle of something real coming through this structure.”

Defaults reveal personality or other aspects of reality—perhaps even truth—despite being defaults, rather than merely providing analogs for the formal conventions of art.

Perhaps a peculiar frisson emerges in work that does both things simultaneously, quivering between the cool form of art and the warm touch of reality.


These notes will not fall into the critical trap of simply stating, “I recognize this. It has been done before.”

Lonergan’s definition of defaults from his lecture : “Using the most widely available software for the creation of content—like MS Paint or iMovie or YouTube or Google—at the most basic user level, mostly in the way they were meant to be used, relying heavily on built-in presets.”

The concept, he said, emerged from his interest in “certain qualities” made visible from “normal people participating in this DIY internet thing.” The shift from a DIY music subculture to a DIY internet mass culture.

If the idea of defaults grows specifically out of software-based technologies, then the concept of the sub-amateur is about how that tendency already began with pre-digital technologies such as still and motion picture cameras. (Doubtlessly the concept could be extended to music production, graphic design, perhaps even writing.)

In his talk, Lonergan pointed out the webpage ChrisReid’s Super Soaker Collection, saying, “I really like how he presents this collection.” (Barthes’s observation that the amateur is “the one who does not exhibit” clearly no longer applies to the sub-amateur.)

The point here is not to look at ChrisReid as a latter-day Eugène Atget, producing a compelling, art-like formal exercise in the course of workaday documentation.

Rather, the photos must be seen as equal to the data provided in his Excel spreadsheet. The fascination comes from the absolute lack of aesthetic property, in the pure use-value of the image, rather than ironic misrecognition.

The phenomenon of defaults point to the end of the amateur, and the emergence of a new category that has always lurked within it: one that completely ignores the formal properties of images in favor of their raw instrumentality.

In order understand the sub-amateur, we need not a vocabulary of forms, but a vocabulary of functions.

Ed Halter is a critic and curator living in New York City. His writing has appeared in Artforum, Arthur, The Believer, Cinema Scope, Kunstforum, Millennium Film Journal, Moving Image Source, Rhizome, the Village Voice and elsewhere. From 1995 to 2005, he programmed and oversaw the New York Underground Film Festival, and has organized screenings and exhibitions for the Brooklyn Academy of Music, Cinematexas, Eyebeam, the Flaherty Film Seminar, the Museum of Modern Art, and San Francisco Cinematheque. He currently teaches in the Film and Electronic Arts department at Bard College, and has lectured at Harvard, NYU, Yale, and other schools as well as at Art in General, Aurora Picture Show, the Foundation for Art and Creative Technology, the Images Festival, the Impakt Festival, and Pacific Film Archive. His book From Sun Tzu to Xbox: War and Video Games was published by Thunder's Mouth Press in 2006. With Andrea Grover, he is currently editing the collection A Microcinema Primer: A Brief History of Small Cinemas. He is a founder and director of Light Industry, a venue for film and electronic art in Brooklyn, New York.

Would you like to read the original (even though this is an exact replica)?

Friday, April 24, 2009

Au revoir

I had to say good-bye to piece of metal that had resided in my mouth since December 31st 2004.

It took him three sessions to kill all the nerve, to scrape it all out. By the end of it the right side of my face was tender, sore, and not happy. The last session took place on New Year's Eve. I went to a réveillon that night, being that I was in France, and could only give half of my usual kisses, as my right side was too tender to share the New Year's love with the traditional 4 kisses allotted in Nantes.

Eventually it healed. But I always had this metallic taste in my mouth.

About a year later I went to the dentist again (this time in Spain) because, as I learned, I was grinding my teeth during my sleep. She took some x-rays. Her, not so positive, comment about the work of this particular root canal was, "no está mal" (it's not bad). The stress was placed on "mal" as if to say that it was close to "bad" but not quite there, perhaps if I [I'm talking as if I am my dentist] inspected it more I could use the word "bad" but, for the moment, I will stay with the thought that it is not "mal", but perhaps could be - how 'bout I just don't look at it any more then we don't have to find out if it is "mal" or not?? Yeah, let's do that!

Later I returned to the States. Dental care wasn't included in my student health plan, but my mother found a dental "plan" for me. So, I paid some hundred and fifty dollars or so - just in case. A sunny yet bitterly cold Friday in February of 2007, I went to the Foundations class I was TA for even though I hadn't gotten much sleep because I was awoken at 2am, or so, with a horrible toothache and couldn't get back to sleep. By noon I had taken more than the recommended amount of Ibuprofen that an adult should take in a 24-hour period. I went to health services and they gave me a list of dentists in the area - none of whom would accept my dental "plan". I found one 35 minutes away (by car) that could see me in a few hours.

After some prodding and an x-ray I was told that I would need a root-canal (for the tooth next to my expensive metallic French accessory - that was the trouble-causer this time). I have to admit, it was emotional: I had instant memories of the three excruciating sessions I had endured at the end of 2004 with its neighbor. Using some muscle relaxation techniques, I finally calmed down and called my mother to lend me the thousand dollars to pay for the procedure.

It was simple and not even really painful, uncomfortable, but not painful. They used a dental damn and hence I slobbered all over myself. Needless to say, crying and slobbering in front of complete strangers is a humbling experience.

But, the dentist mentioned the French neighbor. He couldn't be certain, but there seemed to be either a shadow or an infection on the French gum line. There seemed to be missing bone. Missing bone? But he wasn't sure if it was an infection or a shadow?? That sounded fishy. He said the only way to find out would be to cut off the crown and have a look. Hmmmm. Another thousand dollars (or more) to see if there was something wrong was not in my budget. Funny enough in January of 2008 the crown popped off while in Chile (on vacation). I inspected it - no infection that I could see!! I went to a "drive-thru dentist" and got the crown re-cemented on.

Full-time jobs come with benefits, and sometimes those benefits include dental coverage. In November of 2008 I went to get my teeth cleaned (that was the only thing on my agenda for that visit). While spending a long time chipping away at plaque, the dental hygienist thought there might be something funny with that number trente; so, an x-ray was taken. A similar fickle diagnosis was given. This dentist wanted to monitor it. Unfortunately I had to tell him that I was moving out of the country in two months. I got a copy of the x-ray and went abroad.

Mid-March, while eating a chocolate breakfast bar (not for breakfast), I felt something small and hard in my mouth. It was conspicuous because these particular breakfast bars didn't have hard and crunchies. I skillfully sifted through the food with my tongue and fished out the culprit: a small piece of tooth colored porcelain. I looked in the mirror and I could see that part of my "half porcelain/half metal" French accessory was missing some porcelain. Curious as it was, I wasn't too concerned. I decided that this would have to wait until my new dental benefits kicked in (May). I just brushed, flossed, and swished with Listerine more often.

But after a few weeks I just couldn't knock that newly strong metallic taste in my mouth. I got concerned. I decided to go to a dentist. Of course I forgot to bring the copies I had made of my x-rays, so new ones were taken. "Está tan claro como agua" (It is crystal clear), my new Chilean dentist said (yes, this is the fourth country that has dealt with this tooth or its neighbor, who I think only had a problem because of the shotty job that was done with Trente): the post that was put in penetrated the tooth into the gum and has been eating away at the bone. He saw that directly from the x-ray. I have had 3 x-rays of that thing since the horrific and terrifying experience of late 2004.

That's besides the point. So, we talk about my options: cut off the French accessory, clean out the problem, replace the post, mend the hole, get a new ALL PORCELAIN crown - yeah, there was only one option: do it. Luckily he is a friend of a friend so I only paid about half of what it would really cost, but nonetheless it is still an enormous amount to pay at one go. I paid it. At least this time I didn't have to do any muscle relaxation techniques or call my mother.

The procedure is taking longer than I expected. He gets out a small blow torch. He seems to be rushing a bit. I felt pain. He gave me another shot of Novocaine directly into the tooth bed. Turns out the implicated post that penetrated into my gum was made of Mercury. So, there was more blood than expected and a nerve had been pinched, which is what caused my pain. All in all, the French job was more botched than expected.

Since the repairs have been made, I have had a temporary crown that, of course, split in two the second day. Don't worry, I got that replaced. Now I am waiting for my perfect, purty porcelain crown to arrive.

No more metal for me.

Saturday, April 18, 2009


Snapshot of our imaginary life superimposed on our actual life.


There are two worlds (well, really there are many, but it is easier to focus on two at a time). They are supposed to be the opposite of one another, to create the friction. They are supposed to contradict one another, to build the plot. And they do. They always do. But it seems to me that it may be more interesting if you looked at the intersections, at their similarities.

I can't quite work out how they fit together, but I know that they do; I can feel it, like when you can feel mucus drip down your nose when you are in the middle of an important meeting. What do you do? Stop talking and search for a tissue? Sniff? Keep going? Either way you know it is there. nagging. always nagging.

Usually I just start digging through my purse while I am talking. Nose drip is too important to ignore.

Sunday, April 12, 2009

Sunday, April 5, 2009

Translation notes

Hallucinogenic complex = Drug paraphernalia

I was recently asked to translate a Code and Conduct and Health and Safety Regulation pamphlet. I am not a translator. I have translated before. I do a pretty good job. I do a better job when the jargon is at least in my field of expertise.

So, it got me thinking: you read "hallucinogenic complex" and understand what they are trying to say. Maybe "drug paraphernalia" doesn't immediately come to mind, but either way you get it. But, once "drug paraphernalia" is said (or occurs to you) suddenly everything becomes clearer.

I read the Normas de Orden and I understand what they are trying to say, but it remains in this abstract realm (which I am completely comfortable with), until I find the correct translation (sometimes I have to look for synonyms then leave the phrase/paragraph for a while until the correct way to say it in English dawns on me). It all becomes abundantly clear when this happens.

I am not sure if it is my faulty and severely-gapped knowledge of Spanish or just a peculiarity of my personal thought proceses; in any case I am not sure what I am getting at.

This has just been a recent observation I have had about translation...

Monday, March 30, 2009

Santiago de Chile

Santiago is a city of confrontations and contradictions: the architecture, the people, the politics, the religion(s). It sounds like an overwhelming and unconsidered statement, but it has been swimming around in my brain since I arrived.
The people are open and hospitable, like none I have ever seen or met. Yet, there is this an astounding feeling of separation - from you and them and amongst themselves. There is a middle class, unlike many South American countries (so I have heard), but the separations between the classes is much greater than I am used to. There is a clear divide between the haves and the have nots. There is a clear divide between the mountains and the sea, that is where Santiago lies. There is a clear divide between the architecture of the 60s and now, hmmm yet they are situated right next to one another.
There is a quite uneasiness with the history of the Pinochet regime (I realize this is a very touchy subject here) and yet, there isn't. I definitely do not understand how all of this is.
The balancing act is precarious, yet they seem to almost cancel each other out. They are hiding something. Or are they?
I need to investigate.
I almost feel like I cannot post this.

Thursday, March 26, 2009

Just some thoughts

Some of you may be wondering just what is it that I have been up to on the other side of the world.

I've been thinking (amongst other things). I thought I would post a few thoughts. Still working with the lil' fuji - I love the exposures, but I certainly don't luv the un-user-friendly-ness of the menus. My new LUMIX should arrive in the next week or so. Hopefully the menus will be easier to navigate.
Additionally this lil' lumix will give me access to better shots. Why? Santiago (and Valparaíso) are notorious for pickpockets and theives of the like. The smaller the camera, the less conspicuous I look. I hope the camera is all that the reviewers said it was....
You may be wondering what you are looking at. Well, there is the fish market, Kate, a certain perspective in Valpo, somewhere on Irarrazaval (yeah, took me a while to figure out how to say the name of that street correctly) waiting, an almost deserted beach after days of rainstorms in Chuy, Uruguay, some debris from a day of neglect in Uruguay (before the rainstorms), and just a corner house with the Andes in the background - respectively.
I figure, even if I don't really have the time to make work, I can at least work visually through ideas.
Do you think I should write more so that all of the images have some text in between them? Hmmmmmm......

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Alfred University in LOOP Video Art Festival '09

It's done! It's done!! We (Victoria Bradbury, Stephanie McMahon, and I) watched 56 videos last Friday night and chose 12 of them to participate as the Alfred University 2009 Selection for the Programa de las Escuelas at the LOOP Video Art Festival in Barcelona, Spain this May (May 21 - 31). It was mighty difficult this year, I have to tell you. But we finally made some decisions and here they are (in the order they will be screened):

  • Stephen Rooney, Surreal Alfred in Winter, 2008, 4:25
  • Gia Michael, anx, 2008, 2:43
  • Colleen Keough, aggwessive, 2008, 1:47
  • Terese Longva, RE-producing the Original Me, 2008, 9:09
  • Woody Packard, Why I am Late, 2008, 2:49
  • Jason Bernagozzi, Recitation/Reception, 2008, 5:54
  • Joe Bigley, A Western Man's Rejection of Convenience,2008, 2:36
  • Chris McDaniel with Chang Chun and Zhang Jing, Covergence/Divergence,2008, 4:53
  • Elena Grajek, basil, 2008, 0:45
  • Lauren Graves, just the yolks, 2009, 4:23
  • Moyi Zhang, Organ city, 2009, 9:26
  • Elena Grajek, Lane's Brain, 2009, 2:04

I'm currently exporting a version so that I can post it here .... maybe it will be up later on tonight!!

Thank you to everyone who submitted!!!

Saturday, March 14, 2009

New Curatorial Work for Me! Yipee!

Just a quick note: I'm on the curatorial team for the digital art and photography biennale in San Francisco del Monte de Oro in the province of San Luís in Argentina! In commemoration of the the bicentennial of the May Revolution, the municipality of San Francisco del Monte de Oro is organizing several events and the biennale is one of them. The exhibit will open there in March of 2010 and then travel to the capital of the province, Cordoba, Rosario, and finally Buenos Aires!

Submissions will be taken from April to December of 2009. Stay tuned!

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Life is a series of breaking down and building up. But do we have to break down in order to build up? Can you build on top of something that has already been established? I guess (now remember, I dropped out of architecture school) with buildings that would only be possible if you adjusted the foundation. Is that the same with us?

During my educational journey I have spent a lot of time rebuilding my process, my thinking process. I think there were points when it was torn down and completely rebuilt. Now, at almost thirty-one, I'm not sure if this type of demolition could ever happen. Something happens with age (yes, I know I am not old, but I am older). Currently, I am doing a course which is pushing me to a different way of processing information. Sometimes I think that this process is very similar to the one that was obliterated a while ago. Is it the same? Or only similar? And, should I be fighting against this?

Things come and go in our lives for different reasons. People, places, pets, thoughts, interests, tastes ... Why can't we exchange ways of thinking periodically during our lives? Choosing to change one later in life for one we had earlier? And when we do, why is it so painful and difficult?

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

New Screening - New Traveling Exhibition

I am super excited to tell you that Walk with me has been accepted to participate in Human Emotion Project 2009, with its launch in Melbourne Australia Febuary 24th!! HEP is a non-for-profit project/event organized by Allison Williams and is traveling for several physical screenings, including Italy, Spain, and Greece.

HUMAN Emotion documented visually by international artists using film/video. LAUNCH 6pm AUSTRALIA 24 FEB - Exhibition runs @ Guildford Lane Gallery Melbourne 25 Feb - 8 March 2009

Stay tuned for more updates!!

Thursday, February 5, 2009

Washington Wasn't Only a President

I arrived at the station and the turquoise charter bus was running. The driver, and the man that always rides with him, were outside waiting. There were impatient looks on their faces. Did they know I was coming? How could they be waiting for me?

"Montevideo?" they asked.

I confirmed, ready to hand over my luggage.

"Primero coche?"

Hmmm. Primero coche? I hadn't checked. I was too concerned with waking myself up at 4am and waiting for Washington (the Brazilian taxi driver) a little impatiently, than to check my ticket for all the specifics of my voyage. I searched through my purse for my ticket, and there it was "Segundo Coche."

"No," I said, "Segundo."

So, I waited. It was already 5 minutes after the time of departure. There seemed to be a bit of confusion amongst the two men outside and the man behind the counter inside.

The station (if you want to call it that) was pretty bare. Besides the poster of the schedule, printed in large lettering with uniquely 80s graphic design on the right wall as you walk in, there was nothing. About 30 feet from the entrance were the counters. I guess all that space was originally intended for long lines, but at 5am on the last Saturday of the high season in a rather sleepy border town, there were no lines. There were only three men trying to figure out if they had another man's cell phone number.

As I waited outside, I zoned out for a while reading the posters, on the windows, telling of festivals and some group that has been around for twelve years that will be performing the following Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday. When I came to, the two men were hopping in the bus.

The short stout one yelled to me, [say the following phrase as if they were English words) "Dga vee-en-ay!" (¡Ya viene! - Spanish translation) [It's on its way! - English translation]

Yet, five minutes after the Primer Coche had left, the Segundo had still not arrived. I started to get a little worried that I hadn't understood, or rather, that I had misunderstood. Then it occurred to me that they had taken advantage of the "gringa": now, I would have to buy another ticket to Montevideo. But these people aren't mean-spirited, I thought to myself. And what would they have gained from this trap?

Just then a Radio Taxi arrived out of nowhere and out popped Washington, as if to confirm the thought I had just had. I told him about the two Coches for the 5am bus. He looked concerned, but didn't have time to say anything. My eyes had wandered behind him to the turquoise charter bus rounding the small street corner.

I thanked him again as he got in his taxi. I can only assume that he went back home to get some more sleep.

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Thinking in photos

Media is like languages. For some time I have been in VideoLandia: everything I thought came out in video. Soon I visited BookLandia (and would subsequently live between the two). Now I have returned to PhotoLandia, maybe just for a visit. Perhaps I will make a mountain home here.

Here are a few thoughts from PhotoLandia:

Maybe one day they will form a community so that I will not have to change currency every time I cross a border.