Wednesday, November 16, 2005

Illinois Institute of Art at the Apple Store in Chicago

Tonight the Illinois Institute of Art Chicago and the Apple Store teamed up to present work by students in the Digital Media Production, Visual Effects and Motion Graphics, Interactive Media Design, and Visual Communications programs. The evening was very well-attended, with a packed audience for the hour-long video feature in the store's theater. Interactive Media Design and Visual Communications students showcased their work in the downstairs area. Here are some photos:

Thursday, November 10, 2005

Interactive Media Student Group Ideas

Interactive Group

The purpose of the interactive group is to provide students at Ai
1. Networking opportunities
2. Competitive environment
3. Sense of community and social context
4. Expose students to current industry trends
5. Promote and develop team skills
6. Promote excellence in the use of current and future technologies
7. Provide tutorials if possible (so that students can log on and learn tricks etc.)

Some potential group composition
1. Alumni
• Santiago Ruiz
• Puja Mehta
• Flori Hung
• Rob Johnson
• Erinn Ng
• Donny Harder

2. Business professionals
• Mark Blottner
• Brian Shensky

3. AI students
4. Students from outside Ai
5. Ai Faculty
6. Outside faculty and or speakers

1. Competitions
2. Interactive pieces for Ai use and display
3. Gallery showings
4. Interactive Expo: Invite other schools to attend (Local, related studies)
5. Organziation site with business sponsors
6. Web Forum/Blog—exchanging experiences & knowledge
7. News posting on the site, informing students what is going on in the industry, as well as sharing our interests and likes with them

1. Outside school venue with wifi
2. Venue that supports video conferencing
3. Web Forum/Blog—exchanging experiences & knowledge
4. News posting on the site, informing students what is going on in the industry, as well as sharing our interests and likes with them

1. David Ostroski
2. Robert Martone
3. Sean Sands
4. Rahel Haile
5. Chanz Pannha
6. Adnan Alicusic
7. Elen Chan
8. Teresa Carney
9. Douglas Simpson
10. Shane Currie
11. Miguel Martinez
12. Warren Rudd
13. Gloria Maldonado
14. Mike Gorelick

Tuesday, September 20, 2005

Tile Project Installation in the Philippines

In late June I went to the Philippines to meet the artists who are putting together the Tile Project installation there. Eileen and Chit Ramirez shepherded me around Manila for five days... The project was installed a month later at the Cultural Center of the Philippines (CCP), a big Marcos-era modernist building with huge public spaces and gigantic chandeliers. The spot where the project is permanently installed is a prominent part of the CCP, in the lobby near the escalators and next to a painting by Eileen's grandfather Cesar Legaspi, a revered "national artist" and one of the "13 Moderns", a loose group of artists creating art opposed to the prevailing academic art of the 1940's.

In connection with the installation, the Ramirezes organized "Synch," a forum on collaboration held at the CCP in August. For full details, including photos, see

The "artist's world" I witnessed there was remarkable for its optimism, its strong sense of community, and relative lack of cynical opportunism. We went to the nightclub Conspiracy, a multiple-use environment that hosts music, installation, video, and traditional exhibition space. Oh, and a restaurant and a bar. Conspiracy is owned by some 50 artists and is a hive of art conversation and activity. Fantastic. I also saw many co-operative galleries: tiny exhibition spaces in very visible, accessible environments such as the "mega mall" and outdoor mall spaces. Though Manila's population of 11 million dwarfs that of Chicago, I saw artists who drove for hours to support their colleagues at openings and gallery events.

Friday, April 15, 2005

Digital Art: The Virtual, the Interpersonal and the Tactile

When integrated into a practice of “real space” art activity, digital art forms can be powerfully expressive for a traditional artist. My interest in digital art focuses on the networked computer’s potential to create community. For me, the computer’s use as a fine art image-making tool takes a back seat to its potential to unite people in intercultural understanding. My research consists of the execution of collaborative projects involving artists and a diversity of other humans around the world. These projects extend our “real space” traditional studio practices into those for which location, nationality, and narrative continually shift their focus between the virtual, the interpersonal and the tactile.

Trained as a painter and printmaker, from 1978 to 1994 I pursued a single-minded path of production, exhibition, and sales of my studio work. My paintings and prints reflect my interest in language shapes and random cross-pollination of gestures, pressings, stampings, and scrapings. Most of my painting work is highly tactile. For me, the tactility emphasizes the human touch, the immediacy of being hand made.

The appreciation of this aura-object quality requires real-space presence. When I began to finally learn to use the computer to make images, this split between on-screen and real-space was pronounced for me. I made a few attempts at solving a painting’s compositional problems with the computer but in the end my impulse was always to make the decision in front of the canvas.

Digital imagery fascinated me though for another reason - its existence, the ability to make any image, anywhere, anytime, and distribute it in an infinite number of ways an infinite number of times, across cultures, without the imperative of language or serious financial outlay – this obviously changed the place/role of imagery and art in a profound way. The freedom to connect through imagery with other groups of artists, to work in collaboration via email and the web – this possibility was fascinating.

An early piece: Artwire
- 3 schools, Cleveland State University, Kunstseminar Freie Hochschule (now Fachhochschule Schwaebisch Hall), the University of Maryland/ College Park
- 15 students sent each other art assignments - resulting video, audio, print and documentary pieces posted online (unfortunately, 10 years later the sites no longer exist)
- Three resulting exhibitions in real space
- Led to the student trip to Germany and German students coming to US

- American students spend a month in Germany in the class "Sense of Place/ Place of Technology"
- Can an experience in real space be expressed online?
- Journaling/ QTVR Do you remember your grandparents?
- In connection with big painting show at the Plains Art Museum in Fargo, North Dakota
- My grandparents lived in Fargo area
- Want to honor their memory and my return
- Want to use the web to connect my relatives, North Dakotans, and the world
- Stories uploaded automatically, had to email me the photos
- Stories posted by native american children
- No longer taking stories

TransCultural Exchange
- I am the Assistant Director
- Met Director Mary Sherman (Boston) during junior year abroad, Vienna
- Mission to unite artists online, create dialogue, promote peace through transcultural understanding, have real space exhibitions and meet in real space to extend the dialogue in future exhibitions.
- Have had exhibitions on every continent including Antarctica

Coaster Project
- Exhibitions, then distribution for free on all continents
- Performance aspect
- Extensive press coverage
- Award for best show in alternative space from International Association of Art Critics
- Four page spread in International Gallerie Magazine

Tile Project
- 100+ artists
- 22 permanent public installations: Fine Arts Museum of Ho Chi Minh City; Arts Academy of Azerbaijan; Mercer Park, NY, etc
- artists travel to each other’s opening receptions, create networking
- Sponsors include UNESCO, Soros Foundation, Boston College, Asian Cultural Council, MIT, Puffin Foundation, Hewlett Packard…
- University collaborations parallel main artists’ project
- Grade school and high school peace projects
- Wiki site allows contributions from all parties
- I will be in Manila and possibly Bosnia in the summer
- Was in Azerbaijan in February

My trip to Azerbaijan
- Hosted by artist Chingiz Babayev
- Installation at the Arts Academy sponsored by Soros Foundation
- Post Soviet government, oil drilling
- Muslim country
- Qobustan
- some of the oldest petroglyphs in the world.

Tuesday, April 05, 2005

TransCultural Exchange Project Promotes Peace

I am the Assistant Director for an international artists' collaborative called TransCultural Exchange. Boston sculptor Mary Sherman is the Director of the organization, which she founded in 1985*.

What we do: Every three years or so we stage an art project with a global scope. The Tile Project, Destination: The World is currently being installed in 22 permanent public venues around the world. Each installation is comprised of 100 or so tiles created by as many international artists, mostly whom we have met on line through our web site:

In October I travelled to Baku, Azerbaijan to participate in the reception for the installation there. Chingiz Babayev, the host artist, welcomed me into his family's life and his country's culture. The opening reception of Baku's installation at the Azerbaijan Academy of FIne Arts was attended by dignitaries from the American Embassy, the Academy, the Soros Foundation (our sponsor), two television stations, Radio Liberty, and a Baku journal.

While I was in Baku, Chingiz introduced me to artist Ali Shamsi, who took me to see the petroglyphs in Qobustan, about 70 kilometers south of Baku. The petroglyphs are among the oldest in the world, up to 20,000 years old. Thor Heyerdahl claimed that the petroglyphs have a lot in common with Viking runes, and that they may have been created by the ancestors of the Vikings. I am of Scandinavian ancestry and personally I see the connection...

Ali also showed me an ancient cemetery, piles of stones in the middle of a field, many of which were etched with similar petroglyphs. The backdrop for this excursion was the Caspian sea, volcanoes, rocky mountains formed by tectonic plates smashing into each other, and vast desert.

Azerbaijan is a former Soviet state and is largely Muslim. The two languages they speak there are Russian and Azeri. I am a blonde single Jewish woman who speaks only English with the typical college smatters of French and German. Nevertheless, I was made to feel perfectly at home, welcome, and honored by these lovely people. My gratitude is profound. TransCultural Exchange is sponsoring host artists in all installation countries to have such an experience (Chingiz went to Finland).

The course that we take on earth as humans can be changed one person at a time. With understanding, compassion, and focus on working for peace we all can make a difference. Please visit TCE's Tile Project site for more information:


TransCultural Exchange is an award winning 501c3 non-profit organization dedicated to promoting international art, global harmony and the understanding of world cultures, through high quality art exhibitions, cultural exchanges and educational programs, at our home base in Boston and throughout the world. Incorporated in 2002, the organization has already received awards from such organizations as the International Art Critics Association and support from such respected world organizations as UNESCO, the State Department’s Art in Embassies Program, and the Asian Cultural Council, among others.