Tuesday, March 25, 2008

Cupcake Update

Cupcakes are causing trouble: yet another piece, many argue, of the growing obesity problem in the US. I never ate a good nor healthy school lunch that I can recall in my too-many school years; that said, I never considered cupcakes part of that problem, though many schools now are. Apparently it is an issue that has been gaining steam over the last year. Some have even argued that "antifreeze and cupcakes have a lot in common" in terms of their danger to human health. Maybe though, that is just a matter of the frosting?

Sunday, March 16, 2008

the Slides of March

Yesterday was the Ides of March. For Julius Caeser, it wasn't the best day and it was gotten a bad rap ever since. What better solution then to turn the ides into SLides?

Anne E.M. hosted a nice "Slides of March" together-getting at her place, and slides were had by all - projected on a sheet from a manual one-at-a-time vintage TDC slide project.

Alana showed just a sampling of some 5000 vacation slides documenting the various trips of Pauline, Betty and Louise - travel buddies from Grand Rapids in the early 1970's, each slide meticulously annotated and archived to place, time and subject. Native Americas, Lake Powell, endless motel rooms and the endless ways they decorate so that the bedsheets might match the curtains. Their suitcases lined up in on a curb.

Matt Kessler (who recently did a wonderful slide show at Chicago Pecha Kucha vol. 4 on the ridiculous logos DARPA has for their overly acronymed and often failed multi-million $$$ projects, like PANDA) presented an ongoing project with his collaborator Zach that was based on a book called "C D B" in which the sound of letters take the place of phonetic syllables of words, albeit sometimes in a unintuitive sort of way. Matt and Zach came up with several clever original ones with drawing included, such as:

"HTML is easy for Jesus"...and he adds parenthetically "I am OK in C++, too!"

This was just the tip of the word-sound iceberg that they exhibited that evening, as well as some four other slide shows covering everything from online confessions sites to the architectural oddities of otherwise unremarkable old apartments in Bridgeport.

Next slide, please.

Saturday, March 15, 2008

SAIC = the School of Art Institute of Cupcake

The opening of this year's BFA show was a treat. I get I get to see the work of many of my students in the graphic, painterly, performative craft, and insanely clever ways you can only hope for. I get to meet people's parents and partners, which illuminates and fulfills base-level curiosities in equal measure. . I could mention my former student Mark and his apparent flying mountain project, in Second Life and embodied. Or all the tinsel that C. found herself swimming through at one point in a exhibit of works in glass.

Their are too many interesting things to potentially talk about, so I won't talk about them all at risk of saying too little about any one thing. Instead, just one observation. About: cupcakes.

Cupcakes are in. We knew about this as exclusive cupcake bakeries proliferated over the last couple years, from the west, to the midwest, and of course, the east. I've eaten some of these cupcakes, and I tell you, they are good. I myself have taken to making brownies in the shape of cupcakes because they seem more delicious that way. There was the band Cake, and then Cake on Cake, so it is only natural that given current interest in cupcakes that there is a band named that too. They have even made it into the obscure but thriving market of Rebus dishware. I can attest to this because I was given the plate below just this Christmas by my brother.

It was only a matter of time then that cupcakes made there way to the fine art world. On the first floor of the BFA show C. and I came across this very elaborate cupcake wall display. Cupcakes were for the taking, as were the toppings. Whipped cream on top of your already frosted cupcake? Yes, anything is possible. Is this sort of a 'sweetened relational aesthetics' in the spirit of Rirkrit Tiravanija kind of thing?

As much as cupcakes are in, though, there is also the possibility of simply being in a cupcake! And so why not do that. Why not have three of you in your underwear sit within a huge pink-frosted chocolate cupcake and hang out and eat and call the piece "Ms. Otis regrets she will be unable to lunch today"? You can have your (cup)cakes and eat them too quite simultaneously, then perhaps even go for the Guinness Book of World Record's to boot. Whatever feminist critique may or may not be happening here, it was a popular spectacle and I suspect only the beginning of a more extensive snack cake discourse/consumption looming on the horizon.

Wednesday, March 5, 2008

silent planets

The other day I found an anonymous manila envelope in my mailbox. Inside I found this book. A gift from K.! I wonder if he saw this part of my website and felt inspired to add to the collection? The edition will be a lovely addition.

The first book in C.S. Lewis' Space Triology, it is the story of a man kidnapped to Mars and all the hijinx that occurs thereafter. Apparently the religious themes are pretty heavy and I am intrigued by the idea of space Sci-Fi Chrisitianity parables. Could it be as compelling as the Chronicles of Narnia I grew up with as a kid? K. , is ths a subtle way of trying to save my soul?

The only science fiction I've ever gotten into has been that of Stanislaw Lem,but maybe silent planets deserve a chance too, especially if that creepy eye on the cover is there to peer at you.

Still, I've always fancied myself as Lem's character Pirx the Pilot - a space captain as mediocre talent that manages to live an interesting life all the same. In the linked video it is eerie how much the outfits in this (Polish?) show match to what I had always imagine; the music is also great.

I love in this clip in which robot laser beams sound a lot like chirping crickets in mid-summer.

All that said, I'm grateful for the new book. It fits in so well with the others in my stacks.