Senior project has changed it's focus. Or found a new direction from the semester I took it last year, which unfortunately goes with the territory at CCAC. I suppose this should be grating Ñ at times it is Ñ but it also fits to neatly into my own inability to stay a single course. In the ten years it has taken to get an undergraduate degree, I've switched majors from architecture to studio art to English to anthropology and architecture history at the University of Virginia through several years in publishing to graphic design and now film/video/performance at CCAC, which I won't link to because I hate their Web site. It's a complete affront to everything the Web site can be. Mostly, the useful aspects of it. I mean there is a problem with a school in the Bay Friggen' Area that doesn't have a useable Web site, don't you think?
Eventually all of this jumping around led me to take things in 6 month chunks. I set goals in this small increments. I even re-evaluate where I bank every six months (I've actually stayed at Washington Mutual for over a year at this point, but I'm itching to move. Unfortunately after working for several years in the financial publishing industry, I know way too much about how banks make money and what to avoid. Basically if a banks fee income is growing at a rate higher than its deposit income, you are not a bank that cares about the average middle market customer. They've put the shareholders finances before yours. Yes, Bank of America, I'm talking to you.
So I'm at the point where I'm thinking about organizing a stream of ideas into the various slots that represent the work that needs to be done to complete the requirements for all of my classes. >A week of events surrounding a senior show. At the core of the show will be a store, where things are bought and sold, perhaps. Our aesthetic for the products (books, so far, but perhaps t-shirts and CDs) will be a collage of the hundreds of random pieces of 2-D ephemera that fills boxes and bins and shelves in our respective homes. I want to encorporate the work of window sign painter. An art form that I'm pretty sure is dying. Next time you drive by a car dealership or a mattress store, notice if their screaming announcements for 0% financing or whatever have been hand painted. Now think about how many more of those types of advertising (from grocery stores to fast food restaurants) used to be hand painted. More often than not those window signs are vinyl mass produced images from some larger branding team. As I research this more, look for information here. >Other events that week will include a curated concert of sound art of one form or another.>A one a series of salon's I am trying to start with another person. >Perhaps an opening event that can only be watched on a monitor.
To complete your growing Japanese fetish, get connected with the Japan Society of Northern California. Learn the language, attend events. Hang out with the cool kids. ;)
Geeks unite over old technology from the New York Times on current video game programmers revisiting there old game machines. But wait, no mention of Colecovision or Intellivision? Or the TRS-80? Shame, shame. Don't worry though check out Classicgaming.com to find some classic game emulators. And a little prehistory for your arses.
Art can be anything that we say it is. So, Richard Long can crisscross England on foot and be known as an artist and not an outdoorsman. There is a priviledging of aesthetical experience that helps broaden the view of "what is art". Art school is about paying a lot of money to make things for four years. Or, so they would have us believe. Try not making things, try only talking and thinking. You'll be admonished. Or misunderstood. Or, so I've found. Ah, to be the misunderstood artist. How romantic.
This morning, we led a walk down a median of Mandela Parkway in West Oakland. In 1989, the Loma Prieta earthquake rendered the Cypress Freeway useless. Built through the neighborhood in the late 1950s over what was then Cypress Street, the Cypress Freeway was a double-decker noose that further divided the struggling West Oakland neighborhood. Those of us who were old enough to remember, later recalled news stories of the cars trapped between the decks of the freeway. Often, only one person from a car with an entire family survived. It was pretty horrific at the time. And eventhough I was living in Chicago then and was only 15, I remember the whole situation vividly.
Our idea this morning was pretty simple. Oakland has a trouble with self-love. It gets trashed by its own residents more than any city I've ever seen. The streets and sidewalks in Oakland function as a public garbage can. Our group thought that it would be a good idea to explore this stretch of urban history by picking up the trash. After we had cleaned up a couple of blocks we would leave wildflower seeds so that in the spring, their would be secret reminder of our having passed through. A second stage to our renewal efforts.
This all seemed pretty straightforward to me. But I was reminded today how sometimes a simple act can be revolutionary. Mandela Parkway was renamed as part of a vision for this now freewayless but still barren stretch of Oakland. The community set about trying to convince CalTrans (the state transportation agency) to create a greenway down the median. A very narrow park if you will. Think of the panhandle in San Francisco, and make it about a block narrower. Well, it's been 13 years, and just the very first inklings of change of begun to happen at the site. It will be at least another 2 years, before we start seeing the vision others have for the area.
The slow progress of change here hasn't affect anyone's ability to enforce bureaucratic turf wars. The neighborhood was stunned by our activities. A local landscaping crew that was working at the housing projects nearby told us they had never seen anyone pick up trash before. Eventually, we caught the interest of a City of Oakland clean-up crew. They wanted to know why we hadn't contacted them. They wanted to give us trash bags, haul away our collections, and offer us orange vests. Only the fact that my mother teaches at the elementary school where the head of that crew went to school (a coincidence indeed) did we confuse them into calming down. She also reminded us that we were not on City of Oakland property but on CalTrans property.
Who should show up next, but CalTrans. CalTrans wanted to assure us that this whole section was about to be cleaned up. (We'd seen there cleaning efforts in the first block, where we had walked away with some of our most full trash bags.) And that they wanted to thank us but let us know that whatever work we had done was about to be plowed over anyway. They recommended that next time we clean up the sidewalks along the edge of the Parkway. (This, of course, would be back to City of Oakland property.) I was stunned really. We had done something so easy, so harmless and yet this had been interpreted as a direct challenge to more than one agency's management of its land. We had stepped so far outside of their conception of "what people do" that they could only step into bureaucratic maneuvering.
Revolution does not always have to be about walking through Berkeley naked. Do anything outside of the expected (and we have such rigid expectations, so this isn't difficult) can be the much stronger action. Angry rebellion is expected and trained for by armies and police forces around the world. But 10 people picking up trash in West Oakland just through everyone for a loop. Amazing.
in this space, i begin my first public thoughts for the final semester. it's a weird space to be (public, weblog, graduating), it's been 10 years and how many different directions. right now, i want to throw out everything that i've done before. i don't feel like a "senior". jefferson was right, you can never be a "senior" in learning. this leads into the whole conundrum about grad school and what to do next, so perhaps it would be best to leave that for another day. in fact ten years on from high school, i have less idea about what i want to be when i grow up then i ever did.
LINK OF THE DAY : so lets throw this whole thing into the all the dimensions that are the web. joanie4jackie.com is miranda july's female filmmaker project web home. check it.
>>and now, i have to figure out what projects i'm working on for what classes.
rough ideas> i want to do something with the reams of medical data i have for myself and have that translate into sound manipulation. > i want to work with both found text and music. > i want to work collaboratively. (a quicktime broadcasting project with David, a salon type situation with Jen, an exploded bookstore concept with Amber). i need to be working on the mapping the body project. much of the writing here will be on that.
[incomplete completion] slow down. i can add to this as thoughts come. they aren't right now.