Sunday, January 31, 2010

I drove up to Maryhill Museum this week to talk to the director and educational coordinator. It is a powerful and desolate place made of steel reinforced poured concrete. The remoteness and austerity of the surroundings in juxtaposition to the fortress like architecture make the collections seem that much more defensive somehow. The Museum is the product of Sam Hill and a few of his friends. The building was originally going to be Sam’s home but his family was alienated from his life. Sam had great plans for a utopian community on the banks of the Columbia. Representing that curious mix of industrial baron and philanthropist Sam Hill is a more benign Rockefeller type.

I also did interviews with Connie Hockaday and Ralph Pugay. They were very different but informative and thought provoking conversations. I have been enjoying finding patterns of connection while reviewing the recordings I made of the interviews.

Thursday, January 28, 2010

Sunday, January 24, 2010

In our readings this week for the Boas AWW class there were two articles concerning planetariums. As a former professional planetarian, this was not the first time I have considered the culture, potential, and curiosity that is the planetarium. I am going to start investigating if I can borrow a portable STARLAB planetarium from a local source and develop some applications specifically for social practice. One aspect of planetariums that I found fascinating is what a person would learn just exploring the projection systems and domed surface. In examining the way a starscape gets constructed in a manner inverse to the real sky really helps understand a wide array of visual and astronomical principles.
I also am interested in creating a “Peoples History of Popular Constellations” program. There are some fascinating cultural/political shifts that can be vividly examined in the interpretation of the sky. For a long time the stars were one kinetic work undergoing constant interpretive revision.

Another avenue to explore is the commonality between the classic semi-supine position used for breathing and sensory awareness work and used in naked eye sky watching. Definitely coming back to this one.

Did some interesting video work this week with Puppy Bunny members and other Smegma expatriates. We had a rehearsal/ demolition performance/ video production session in which we worked on a remodel and expansion of our rehearsal space and recorded some theatrical promotional pieces and music.

Friday, January 15, 2010

Stumbled upon a paper by Rachel Zahn summarizing her participatory lectures performed at Oxford and the University off Paris. The paper (and exercises) explore Francisco Varela and his ideas from The Gesture of Becoming Aware and compares them with F.M. Alexander. Varela was a cognitive scientist who explored the notion of conciousness and developed a framework to directly pursue Huserl’s, “epoche”. This reading is dove tailing well with material from Critical Theory with Sean Regan.

I have also been doing some experiments with a set of wooden organ pipes from a dissected organ grinder. I am trying to devise a bicycle-powered air pump to activate the pipes. They sound great and have some flexibility in tuning. I would like to develop a few drone-cycles that could ride around together interacting kinetically and sonically. I am inspired by Pauline Oliveros and Stuart Dempster on this one. I have lots of R&D ahead on this one.

Vacation was busy but it’s great to be getting back into the academic mode.