Category Archives

Art

Funded: a frame from the future

With just under a month still to go in its campaign, I’m happy to say that I’ve become one of the backers that have pushed the EO1 from Electric Objects well (read: 811% as of this morning) past its funding target.  It’s going to be a long wait until May 2015 when I can get my very own infinite-art-collection-in-a-frame.

Suomi and back

Well, it cost me an entire suitcase full of my belongings*, but I’ve now experienced the absolutely beautiful country of Finland over an eight day stay around the 2014 edition of the EdMedia conference.

To business first:  the conference itself was pretty informative, despite having a K-12 focus that, I’ve been told, was much more prominent than in other years. “Chalk that up to the enviable Finnish education system” seemed to be the consensus:  everyone wants to learn what they’re doing so right. Sessions covered everything from collaborative flow research in educational games (probably my favorite, to be honest) to the viability of traditional assessment models in increasingly un-traditional classrooms and beyond. Other notable discussions centered on self-publishing tools and resources, 3D printing in Canadian schools and a MOOC platform that protects user data and makes all content openly retrievable and accessible. Another perk of the conference setting: seeing learning space design at the University of Tampere (the spaceport building in my travelogue is Pinni B on campus, where we had our proceedings).

 
There are, of course, a bunch more photos on Flickr, if that’s your thing.

And to pleasure: it was one being in Tampere. The city itself is smaller than Pittsburgh and infinitely walkable, a fact I exploited extensively to quickly make a mental map which served for much exploration. An interesting – and only-in-Europe – mix of old factory town architecture and modern/futuristic construction made turning each corner an unexpected but aesthetically stimulating experience. And the proximity to water gave the entire thing a coastal vibe that, when coupled with the 30ºF lower temperatures than home, added to the sense of retreat. My PSU colleagues and I even braved driving in “big animal” (as they refer to moose, elk and reindeer) country to head up to Rauma, a living, breathing medieval village full of adorably painted wooden houses.

Having visited during Midsummer – the longest days of the year – made sleeping a challenge an exercise in futility but was ideal for being a tourist with conference obligations during the days. Really, day and night are pretty artificial concepts when the sun’s just getting around to setting at about 1:00. Going in with the idea that I’d likely never see Finland again, I can definitely say I was wholly wrong: I want to go back as soon as I can and travel around even more of Scandinavia, too.

* About that suitcase: the only downside to the entire trip was having my bag “removed” from the Tampere – Helsinki train the day before flying out.  Could have done without that turn of events and the hours of phone calls, forms and fretting that followed.  I take solace in the dumbfounded looks on Finnish faces as I told my tale – a very uncommon one in a country so safe that their largest city’s police station closes up shop at 18:00 on a Friday night. 

I want to be a multi-hyphenate

In his prime, ZanFagna was a dizzyingly prolific multi-hyphenate. He exhibited in museums like the Whitney and LACMA. He hung out with Andy Warhol, Yoko Ono and John Lennon. He designed the Rutgers School of Art and was a beloved professor at the school. By all measures he was was a successful artist, and yet, he’s barely Google-able.

From WIred‘s piece “The Brilliant, Forgotten Futurist Who Predicted the Kindle“.  I’d never heard of Don ZanFagna (proving the “barely Google-able” qualifier above) but I’m now entirely intrigued.  I also want to spend an entire afternoon rifling through his notebooks to see the weird clippings and drawings in context.  It’s sort of like he predicted the best of Tumblr, too…

Watch: Warhol’s lost experiments

I had the very good fortune of attending the debut of this latest episode of the Hillman Photography Initiative’s video series, The Invisible Photograph, over the weekend at the Carnegie Library/Museum of Art. The film is just 20 minutes or so long and covers the nerdtastic work of artists and retro computer boffins who extracted Andy Warhol’s mid-80s Amiga experimentations.

The event itself was both a screening of the above video and a panel discussion with Cory Arcangel, Golan Levin, Keith Bare, Michael Dille and John Ippolito – the latter being my favorite part as it was both deeply philosophical and extreme humorous. What’s more, some of the original Commodore engineers who were tasked with working alongside Warhol in preparation for the Lincoln Center Amiga reveal turned up in the crowd and shared amazing anecdotes.

Definitely check out the Hillman Photography Initiative via NowSeeThis.org.

Well, if your kids can draw like this…

The Battle of the Fruit and Vegetable Soldiers

The Battle of the Fruit and Vegetable Soldiers

In celebration of Darwin’s 205th birthday yesterday, The Appendix urges visitors to check out the original manuscript of On the Origin of Species by Means of Natural Selection.  Why?  Well, aside from some interesting notes in the margins and amazing drawings from the birthday boy himself, there are also these amazing drawings, like above, from his children (all ten of them).  Honestly, I’d hang most of them on my walls without thinking twice.

Also turning 30 this month

I’m happy to say that I’ve only spent 20 days in a world without the Mac.  It’s really come to define my day to day life as a platform and a phenomenon and I’m not sure where I’d be professionally or creatively without it.  And that’s not just fanatic gushing – the Mac was how I taught myself to be who I am in my career today.

Check out Apple’s entire Thirty Years of Mac feature for more on what others think of the little computer that could do so much.

Paris: survived

Greetings, readers.  Just wanted to make everyone aware that not only did I survive Paris with Dusty, but I actually had a remarkably great time.  It was, truly, the perfect 30th birthday adventure and I’d highly recommend something like it to my fellow late-twenties friends.  Because I’m an enormous dork, I put together a short highlight video (really, I needed to have a new example clip to demonstrate iMovie on the iPad in classes this term – but I’d probably have done it anyway).  You can see it in its 1080p glory here:

And, of course, photos.  Had to justify purchasing a new lens, you see.

 
Even more on Flickr.

Things I’d totally play…

More than once you’ll find yourself asking: Is that stairway really a dead end? And the answer is, probably not.Monument Valley is full of optical illusions that test your spatial reasoning. But it’s your job to figure out what’s real, what’s fake and how you can bridge the gap between those two states using the visual cues from the game.

- Liz Stinson, Wired

 

Let’s fast-track this one, shall we?

I was prepared to roll my eyes at another airline “innovation” but I can actually get behind Morph from seymourpowell.  Imagine being able to upgrade your seat without the stupid divisions between front and back of the plane.  Or just to have reclining functions without encroaching on or being encroached upon by – other passengers.  I’d imagine the use of no foam also cuts down on the environmental impact of manufacturing all of those seats and prevents them from wearing out as quickly, to boot.  If only the seats could also roll forward and backward…