Monday, January 25, 2010

The Book is Almost Ready!

Lately, there has been quite the push to organize Book 1 of We Are Watching. As you might have heard, the We Are Watching project will have a book/exhibition catalogue accompanying the event/exhibition. The first book will be available at the gallery on opening day and will include some texts about the project, information on those people who have helped me get here and images selected from the video submissions of the 2010 Torch Relay. We have collected all the texts and I have selected all of the images, and Juho, my Finnish book designer (not only do I love having my own technician, I also lay claim to my Finnish book designer), is putting the whole thing together, and we will send it to the printer tomorrow. Yay! So if you have been missing my posts, or tweets, I am now back.

Other news includes:

I have a new ftp site, for those who have taken large files, or many files and would like to send them easily. I find this method better than downloading from Youtube on account that VANOC is now pulling the video down, even from my blog boo! And downloading results in a loss of quality. So, please feel free to contact me for the ftp site details.

As we have all heard, because we all pay attention to CBC radio ;-), the torch has reached British Columbia, and I am hoping to still collect Torch clips, so please help me get the word out. Other areas that are under representative are: Manitoba, Saskatchewan, P.E.I, our Territories, and most small towns. If you know someone in these areas, please send a request for video, it is out there, just needs to be found.

We have sound! Jeffrey, lovely Jeffery, has bought me a couple of wireless outdoor speakers. Yay Jeffery, I am so excited I can hardly stand it! It didn't take many submissions for me to realize that sound was so much part of the visual experience.

Mark your calendars, we open on Friday, February 12th at dusk. There will be many events and shows opening that night in the area, so bring your family and friends, leave your car at home, and come down for an evening of Olympic, but not Olympic, celebrations. See for the program lineup.

Here is a lovely video that I think I will use in a future art project too! I am not sure if it is from Christina, or her brother. Either way, I can't wait to play with it.

Sunday, January 17, 2010

Today was an exciting day.

Some of you may have noticed from my tweets that I spent this afternoon in the gallery with Nathan, my back-end programmer (I LOVE having a back-end programmer, by the way, mostly because I love saying it) and Jeffrey. This is the first time that Nathan and Jeffrey have met, and that was a conscious decision on my part, only because I am possessive, and indeed, I found myself reminding Jeffrey that I found Nathan first! Nathan is an extraordinary team member, both in my art practice and in my money-making endeavours. We met almost a year ago through my lovely neighbour, and we have been happily collaborating on projects ever since. His problem solving skills are remarkable and he is really reliable (more so than the artist-come-techs that I have been used to dealing with, no offense intended). Through our projects, I have become comfortable in taking on tons of work that I have no idea can be accomplished, and when I bring the problem to Nathan, he always finds a brilliant solution where I don't have to compromise, and that is just great as far as I am concerned. In fact, I have been so spoiled, that I don't even worry about technical aspects anymore. I think I am in love.

So back to the gallery. As mentioned in Tuesday's post, the part of the software that performed the function of taking the video clips out of my email inbox and opening them was up and running. Today we tested the section of code that functions to slot the open video into a lineup which feeds to the player, whilst hooked up to a projector. Of course there were a few glitches, mostly because the mac we will be installing runs on 10.4 and Nathan was programming on 10.5. But with a little tweeking, the program is officially up and running. Next Nathan will work out the line-up parameters and the moderation component. He says this will take only about 4 hours and we should have the whole thing ready to test in a few days. I need to take pictures, I just realized hmmmm...

I am going to try to share another video with you. Fingers crossed!

This is a video taken in Stratford, Ontario, a place I adore mostly because it brings back wonderful memories of a time when I worked at the Stratford Theatre as a Jewelry Designer....ahhhh Stratford...lazy weekends...hobbies...dinner parties...killer parties...rooftop garden growing tomatoes...with good people...sigh...Oh ya, this video was submitted by Michaela McMahon, who skillfully demonstrates panning.

Thursday, January 14, 2010

I got -16 on a Georgia Straight comment I made earlier today

Okay, I want to address a common problem with participatory art practices. On the one hand, if an artist would like to really get a cross section of participants, s/he pretty much has to leave the academy behind, otherwise, through the use of critical and intimidating language, that artist may find s/he has inadvertently cut her/his audience and is now preaching to the converted. On the other hand, an artist can build a project that asks certain questions, while proposing that project with neutralized language. Everyone will inevitably make their own meaning in the end, but what that meaning is, will only reveal itself in the moment of engagement.

By no means am I saying that an artist, or a person in general, can't be critical. I firmly believe that critical people are the most positive people on the planet because they are hopeful for a better situation. They are intent on improving the status quo.

What the IOC and VANOC are asking the viewer to do is to experience the games and celebratory events in a very particular way. One that maintains the "official" visual packaging of the Olympics and Vancouver as a city.

What I am asking viewers to do is to consider what aspects of the games and celebratory events they think is important to engage with, and to present for others to see. My projection will be unedited, excepting things considered offensive, and I get to decide what is considered offensive, the clips will remain exactly as they are sent to me. So that takes care of the viewers of the games, now there are the viewers on Cordova Street, the people who are watching what the viewers attending the games are watching. Then there are the viewers inside the Jeffrey Boone Gallery who are watching, through surveillance, the viewers on Cordova Street, watching souveillence from the viewers at the Olympics watching the Olympics.

So, while I'd like to conclude that the negative ratings came from angry little f**ks who didn't take the time to read about my project, I am left wondering: Are my expectations too idealistic? And what are the limitations of participatory practice anyway.

Here is the link of the article that I responded to, with all the ensuing comments.

Okay, I realize that the above is not a real link, but again, Blogspot is letting me down...

p.s. I had some trouble uploading my video on the last post, so either you saw a video that didn't match my clever description, or you didn't find one at all. For my lack of technical finesse, I apologize. I find it extremely hysterical that I insist on using technology in so many of my projects, hopefully you will too.

Monday, January 11, 2010

Phase one of the software building is complete and tested!

Yesterday, I had a fabulous meeting with my most excellent programmer, Nathan Dickerson. He demonstrated the section of HTML code that he has been writing for me. It's action is to automatically take the video files that are emailed to me (by you) out of my inbox and open them. The test for this section of code went off without a glitch and the the next section will place the clip into a line up that will open in a video player. The completed software is scheduled to be tested with the projector this Saturday. Stay tuned!

The video submissions continue to flow in, thanks so much! It amazes me how much more information is offered up with every new perspective. And what has really come to my attention is how important the sound is in giving the visuals meaning. This observation has sent me furiously searching for cheap ways to project the sound, so much to do, so little time!

And to return to my ongoing conversation regarding videography, please see Wade Fitzgerald's climax submission from Newfoundland.

Friday, January 08, 2010


Scenography is the practice of making theatre including sets, costumes and texts from a theoretical and practical point of view. Scenographers work from the premise of a space that is constructed, updated, transformed and filled. The role of the scenographer is analogous to that of the dramaturg.

The word "scenography" is of Greek origin, coming from the words "skini" meaning "stage" and "grapho", meaning "to write" or "to describe". So the actual meaning of the word is "to describe something on stage". More recently, the word is also used for museography, the art of designing museum and exhibition sets.

It really only seems fitting that I use Wikipedia as reference, non?

As indicated in my previous post, please see the below example of a "scenographic" videography approach submitted by Kat Piraino, showing the celebration tent in Victoria on Day 1 of the Torch Relay:

Inspired By a Blog Comment

I have been thinking lately about the ways that people take video. Surveying the submissions thus far, there are a few distinct approaches that are clearly definable, and for which I have taken the liberty to name by appropriating film jargon: "the climax", "character development" and "scenography". They are all pretty much self-explanatory; the climax refers to the passing-of-the-torch-moment, character development is the following of one particular torch bearer, either through camera panning, or the jiggly-running-next-to-the-torch-bearer technique. Scenography documents the scene, whether it be the tension build-up, the crowd warmer-uppers, the protesters, the crowd dispersal, the secondary players, a.k.a.,  and the periphery players --those setting up, organizers or, as they say in the theatre, those who strike (take everything down). To illustrate the different genres of torch relay videography, over the next few days, I will post a few clips from the submissions for your viewing pleasure, and to encourage participation, as I am sure you will find a technique, or clip that you have already taken, that will match the examples in technical rigour and artistic merit ;-)

Thanks for reading, and keep the clips coming!