A little place where everything can be discussed and from post to post you may jump from folk rock to power pop and baseball. Art is here to stay.

Tuesday, May 24, 2005

Phenomenology Vs. Propaganda

Heidegger defines phenomenology as "the process of letting things manifest themselves". Basically this means that an object seeks to define itself through the prism of individual analysis. As many observers as there are in a given time period corresponds 1:1 with the number of definitions of the object in question. A rounded definition is eventually culled from all of the ensuing debate and discussion about the reality of the object and disseminated through the avenues of a given culture. A perfect example of this is Shepherd Fairey's GIANT. Fairey allows his audience to become part of the work by informing it intellectually as well as physically. He "get's up" by word of mouth from thousands of people he is never likely to meet. In play here is the art of the joke, the art of the accident, the art of disinformation and the art of bullshit. There is also a tinge of mountainclimber's syndrome with Fairey. Why does he do it? Because it's there.
(c) obeygiant.com
Propaganda is just the opposite of Phenomenon. The viewer, a once vital role in the meaning creation process, is now deleted from that job and given a new one. The new job is blind assimilator. The machine behind the phenomenon is a shroud, a mystery, someone who does not exist in the meaning. The producers of propaganda are with us everywhere we go and they are clearly in control, at least they want to be. Propaganda tells an audience what to believe and how to disseminate the belief. They are surrounded by it, labotomized by it, driven to do things otherwise thought of as impossible in a moral society. Phenomenon is debateable, maleable, distracting.
(c) macthemes.net
You may read this and think that I am talking about John Heartsfield and the Stenberg Bros. from the 1930s-50s in Europe. This is a reference but what I am thinking of is happening right now and right here. Fairey's phenomenology pokes fun and seeks to revive conversation about what is really happening here. I am going to research more on the reasons for graffiti, the meanings, the modes and the craft of writing. Language is disintegrating. There is a third type but we will get into that later.

Thursday, May 19, 2005

Os Gemeos-"the twins"



Recent favorites of mine are these identical twins from Sao Paulo, Brazil. Graf writers beginning is 1987 in what was then a cultural outpost have now come full circle to be the newest influence in a long succesion on street art. Along with writers like Barry McGee(Twist) and poster bombers like Shepherd Fairey(OBEY GIANT), Os (Ose) Gemeos(Zhe-me-ose) are leading the discussion on a new art. Taking what seemed to be in its grave by the early 1980s and making it dance once again on its coffin, Os Gemeos has played a big role recently in breathing new life into the art of painting. Interesting, don't you think, that the hip hop culture that they and so many others are paying homage to and participating in began it's rise just as academic painting was pulling it's own plug. I think the appeal here is a return to craft. A return to painting and drawing as an art not a hindrance to the process. The turn down in energy surrounding the infinite rehashings of boring art for art's sake circa the 1970s and 1980s (Re: Nagel, Kelly, Stella's lines et. al.) is a long time coming thank God.

Tuesday, May 17, 2005

Bill Moyers, The Bachelor and WTF?

Last night, in order to spend some time with my parents, I watched The Bachelor. I know what you are thinking, "But Rob! How could a such a well heeled cultural guerilla like yourself do such a thing as that?" The short form is that you must know your enemy to defeat him.

The longer version goes something like this. I wanted to see what routine breakage would do to my old man, a confirmed FOX news fetishist. I wanted to witness the long, slow, tremourous DTs the man would slide in and out of. He squirmed, he wormed and by the end of it he was sweating. I am not exagerating. He declared that the show was "sick", "embarrasing" and "lacked any class". My mother who's idea it was to watch it agreed totally but when the complaining got too loud she became angry and told him and me to shut up.

I suggested at one point that the producers of these types of shows just refer to them as "Why They Hate Us #..." with a numbered sequence ending the title. No response. I began to realize more clearly than ever before while watching the spasmodic hatred of my father, nonchalant agreement with him of my mother and general distaste by both of them of the idiot from Rhode Island (I once heard RI refered to as MA's ballsack, if you have ever been there or are from MA, you know what I mean) that this is the deathnell for us as the culturally, socially, and inevitably physically as a nation.

This leads me to deeper thought, our information feeds are going through a major evolutionary shift right now. The administration is hard up to control more than ever before what is said out loud. This is the least first amendment friendly administration since Richard Nixon. Are blogs really the real deal? What percentage of bloggers would you say have a lexus-nexus feed? How many of them use it correctly? Why are the rights so affraid of little Billy Moyers at PBS? Anyone who believes that Newsweek made up the Koran in the toilet story and is solely responsible is burying their head in the sand. It isn't hard to picture Rumsfeld and Wolfowitz sitting in a room threatening the editor of the magazine. We all know FOX's postion as the state sponsored propaganda machine, but what about the late comers to the party, The NY Times, The Washington Post and lately CPB/PBS. What? Our public broadcasting situation in this country has been usurped by the fascist goons in the big chair at 1600 Pennsylvania? That's right kids and all you have to do is read the article from the link above to find out how. Thanks to appointees like Cheryl Halpern and Ken Tomlinson(Chairman of the Board) the swing right is in full force. Google Ken's name and you will see that currently he is under investigation for inappropriate use of funds payed to an outside contractor to essentially spy on Bill Moyer's show "Now with Bill Moyers". He payed the guy $10, 000 to watch the show, list the guests and monitor the content of the segments. He could have gotten a word for word transcript of each show for free, yet he chose to use $10,000 of our tax money to hire a guy to watch the show. Second hand commentary and analysis seems to be the modus operandi of even the most vaunted of institutions these days.

All of this media disintegration and bad warping is highly googleable, throw a stone and you'll hit 20 people talking about it online. The point is that in relation to the S'port Times article a few days ago about blogging one thing was made clear, blogging is the way that information will be spread in very near future. As time goes on conventional media will get more fossilized and we will be giving the straight dope to the masses and personally I am glad of that. I hate feeling like I am being lied to no matter which direction I turn. Bright futures carry great burdens of resposiblity, but I am ready.

Monday, May 16, 2005


Jerry Lay made this piece. Notice the fryer baskets to the sides. Posted by Hello

Saturday, May 14th I spent the day in Minden, LA. at the Spring Arts Festival. A smallish affair at a place called "The Farm", the festival was attended by all sorts of folk and outsider artists. I was there as a talent judge for the parish-wide lower, middle and high school talent show. The focus here is the thickness of the talent on all fronts. I tried to get away from there without any new aquisitions. No way Jose. I had to grab this piece from Jerry Lay, Paris, Texas junk welding outsider artist. Jerry lives in a VW Bus at a flea market in Paris. Included in this piece are a nutcracker, an ice cream churn, decorative bull heads and removable fryer baskets. Other artists included in this festival were Governor's award winners Sarah Albritton, Chris Broussard, and Rick and Carol Lawrence. All in all a total success for art in northwest Louisiana.

Yes it is true...

I am leaving Shreveport on June 5th to find another degree. I want to improve the number of funny little letters behind my name so that I can come back here and make decisions concerning the welfare of the art community. Hopefully when I come back downtown will still be here and there will be a paradigm shift or two in process. Shreveport I love you, but you must let me fly, I will return for I am yours.

Friday, May 13, 2005

Kodak has announced some very bad news


Kodak has announced plans to discontinue it's production on Kodak 40 Super8. Even if you are not a filmmaker and care nothing for film this is important to several in the art community. Please take a moment and sign this petition to Kodak to continue to manufacture this film stock. I just did it and it took me about 30 seconds. You may view and sign it here.

From the "What the hell are we thinking?" Desk...


Cornell University scientists have created a robot that can self replicate. The tiny box-like robots can build copies of themselves which means they can also repair those copies that are not functioning according to program. What? I think I just heard Pandora drop her box. I am sure now more than ever that I have a mean pessimist streak way up somewhere in the brain. I am also more confident in the theory that Man is the only species on earth that seems bent on destroying itself. Every other type of animal has survival on the brain all day every day. We have the desire to make things hard on ourselves and we mask it by advertising it as a new improved method. The quicker the pace of our lives gets the less connected we become to our humanity. Who's behind all of this? The Microsoft Corporation of course.

Coolspace Opening, What a Show!

Well done Coolspace! Last night myths were disspelled(coffee only costs the price of a cup of coffee, I was lead to believe that you would have to pay a fee to enter no matter what), eyes were opened(to the majesty of the space) and good times were had by all(surrounded by great art, good friends old and new and a steel drum that just wouldn't quit). Chris Fowler-Sandlin was personally serving up warm cookies straight from the oven. The art was hot too. Debbie Engle, Laura Nolan Harter, Noma Fowler-Sandlin, Leland Strebeck and many more, most of whom I had never heard, were all on display last night. I particularly enjoyed the humor and frolic that many of the artists put to the crowd in their work. Several visual artists, around 30 or so, working independantly of one another, coming up with this tight of a show with such humor and raw talent is impressive. We have a good thing going here Shreveport.

Tonight Dirtfoot will play at the Artspace downtown on Texas St. at 8pm. The cost is 5 dollars which is a small price to pay for the return in frolicking exorcismic fun that you will no doubt partake in at this show. The show is all ages.

Thursday, May 12, 2005

This is very important to all of us


Take a look at this article. Susan Breeland is just like any of us, an artist who is working hard to make it work. That she is a victim of this crime is terrible. Please keep this lady in your thoughts and prayers.

Wednesday, May 11, 2005

In case you haven't heard...

SaveSheveport.com Is as good a soap opera as you will get anywhere around. After having read most of the forum and most of the background info I am spent from entertainment. I do not have a hard time believing any of what the site says is going on. I have never been one to underestimate the power of both idiocy and evil and certainly not the force of the two mixed. Research the site and here is the picture it paints.

Mayor Hightower is a man with limited power and unlimited good hair that is being played like a fiddle by the local Mafiosi and some two bit shitheel lawyers. There is also this Sith Lord Cabal referred to as "the circle of friends" on the sight that are actually pulling the strings in local government. Intimidation, interrogation, contract bid tampering, unethical business dealings, all of these things are going on. Meanwhile Shreveport's population is going down whole percentage points while Bossier's is increasing. Bossier managed to get started on a river district development, Shreveport is still trying to figure out which end of that stick is the working end. The downtown "historical" district in Shreveport is crumbling to the ground, our infrastructure costs are going up while the correlated services are at a standstill, and our community is seeing the outgassing of professional age youth higher than ever before.

Wolfe was right and wrong, you CAN go home again, but it may drive you bat-ass crazy while your there. I love you Shreveport, but damn have you ever been a handjob of a date for the last 28 years or so.

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