Wednesday, May 28, 2008

Some Internet For You


Stumbleupon (and google reader) has been making it very easy for me to save things that interest me from around the net lately. I’m actually taking it semi-seriously, and trying to save and find good content, because I feel a lot of the stuff on stumble is either basically advertising or pretty fluff. Here are a small selection.
Kotaku has a little blurb on how Penny-Arcade is advertising its new game with derogatory comments from a message board instead of some trumped up review. I’ve always admired them for their contrary to business as usual practices, and this certainly made me chuckle.

Rachel has collected a few images of albino portraiture, wondering if it’s a trend. I’m not sure it’s something that could be considered an arts trend, but it’s certainly interesting to see different people treat the subject. The images are all very beautiful.
I think that portraiture photography in general seeks out more and more obscure subgroups in the quest to bring something new to the medium, though.

Luckily we’re creating obscure subgroups all the time, in this society.

(more…)

posted by Ian Aleksander Adams at 6:01 am  

Tuesday, May 27, 2008

Like Headless Chickens


I’ve got my last day of finals tomorrow (actually today, I guess, if you are one of those sticklers about late nights and early mornings) and I’m moving on Thursday, so things have been a little hectic. I know you guys are used to little gaps, and I don’t generally feel bad about it anyway, since this is a personal blog, but I do feel a little bad about not keeping up the pace on What Isn’t Art. I’m not dropping it, I promise.

Here’s a picture (actually several pictures, 5 minute photoshopped, sticklers) that beth took of me running around behind Boundary. There were a lot more, it was basically one of those short films, which I may upload later, but I couldn’t help seeing this image again in my head when looking at these four frames. I’m thinking of joining track. I’ve really been working on my form.

posted by Ian Aleksander Adams at 11:59 pm  

Friday, May 23, 2008

Carlos and Alison


Carlos and my mother at her home in Massachusetts.

posted by Ian Aleksander Adams at 11:13 am  

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

Bikes: Social Transportation


I just took a snap of my bike to show my dad, so I figure this is as good a time as any to talk about bikes. This is Casper. I just got him from the Savannah bike co-op. Someone donated the bike saying that there were a lot of bad memories attached, prompting Patrick to tell me that someone probably died on it. I’m not sure I believe that, but if so, I believe they can be a friendly ghost with enough love.

The bike in the background is Scout, the cubscout colored Team America 1984 huffy. Needs a new back wheel. Since Beth is living here this summer, now we both have bikes. I only have a bike. And only having a bike has benefited my life in ways I didn’t at first expect. This is all going to be really “duhh” to those of you who ride your bike all the time, but I find myself explaining this to people very often, so I’m just going to jot down my thoughts. Let’s start with the most obvious.

Monetary

Biking is cheap. This should be obvious, but people seem to not realize how much they could save by not having a car. The year before I finally laid my 1990 Camry Hatchback Station Wagon to rest I spent 6,000 dollars on insurance, gas, and repairs. SIX THOUSAND DOLLARS. The next year, I only used public transportation and carpooling (where I usually insist on paying in gas or food). Including extensive repairs to my bike after it being run over, and two thousand mile trips to Massachusetts, I only spent 500 dollars. Big difference, huh? In a normal year I’ll only spend a couple hundred.

I bought Scout for 25 dollars. Casper was in great shape and the money was going to our non-profit co-op so I had no problem spending 275 dollars for that one, plus I can go to the co-op and they’ll teach me how to do any repairs I need, let me use their tools and buy parts for five dollars. Know a car shop like that? Both bikes are vintage and ride perfectly. Is your car 30 years old? The rate that we go through cars is horrendous. They might be the most wasteful machines known to man, though I wouldn’t be surprised if someone proved me wrong. Wasteful to the world and your pocket.

And although it was a little inconvenient sometimes, and I did have to call a cab once, for the most part it was a better form of transportation in this little city. Why?

Speed and Convenience

I no longer had to worry about traffic. Ever. During standard Savannah hours, I usually was able to beat friends traveling by car from and to the same locations. At night, the streets are almost clear and silently cruising them is the most beautiful way to experience Savannah. And guess how much I had to pay for parking? Or how long I had to spend looking for a spot? Or warming up my car to get somewhere? I understand that for long commutes or to transport large amounts of stuff, you need something more substantial. I also am a huge supporter of public transportation and carpooling. But if you are just transporting yourself and a small amount of things (I’ve carried huge framed prints before), your bike will do nicely. There is no reason to use gas.

For those of you who live in a small city, there is no better choice. More and more people in Savannah are beginning to realize this. Which brings me to my next point, which is most important to me personally.

Social Transportation

Biking is inherently good for society. Not just because of the ecological or economic benefits, but because of the actual effect biking has on community and individual people. Sure, some bikers are assholes. Some have an ingrained hatred of cars, possibly because in this country we tend to be overlooked and treated like shit, but I always prefer to smile and wave. Actually, biker anti-car rage is probably influenced directly by rage directed at bikers by drivers. Even when I’m following all the laws and biking safely, I’ve been yelled at to get out of the road, sworn at, honked at, and sideswiped. It’s rare, most people are nice and trying to be safe while driving, but some people have definite road rage.

Why do they have road rage? Cars are antisocial. I’m sure there are some car clubs and I know some people really love driving (I’ve actually always found it very calming and enjoyable, though highway or city driving is another matter). But if you examine the nature of a car, you realize it segregates you from the world. The very thing that makes you feel safe, being surrounded by a steel cage, also keeps you from the world around you. You’re disconnected. This makes it easier to see those other steel cages zipping around as machines, not people. We yell and swear at them in a way we may never react to someone face to face.

Also, haven’t you seen a good friend on the sidewalk, stopped or slowed down to talk to them and instantly had someone honking at you, ruining what could have been a good social moment? Or been honked at by a car zipping by and not known if someone was greeting you or angry at you, or reacting to something else entirely?

Bikes are social. When biking, I’ve had conversations with people in car windows while stuck in traffic. I feel good every time someone smiles at me and waves me on, or I wave them on. I stop every time I see someone I know and at least take the time to say hi and ask them how they are doing. Sometimes I’m in a hurry, but often I can have a small conversation, without inconveniencing myself at all, or wasting any gas idling. I feel so much more connected to this town because of this. I often see other people on bikes and wave and smile if I don’t know them, or bike along side them and converse if I do.

On a larger scale, they encourage social functions. Bikers race, work on bikes together, have critical mass meetups and play bike games like bike polo. Some of these are a bit dangerous (anyone jousting on tall bikes is probably insane) and many activities are generally enjoyed by serious enthusiasts, but critical masses are often meetups of people from all kinds of class and societal backgrounds. Car clubs and car shows tend to revolve around people spending a lot of money fixing up valuable commodities. Bike co-ops tend to revolve around people from varied backgrounds working to help people with very little money have a mode of transportation. Our bike co-op in Savannah is constantly home to tons of little kids learning to fix their bikes, or working in exchange for parts because they wouldn’t be able to afford them otherwise.

I love my bike, but for someone who will always love people at a much higher level, I’m more appreciative of the social connections my bike allows me to make on a daily basis than I am of the actual material object.

On an individual level, you’re going to feel better when you’re biking. The endorphins released through physical exercise will actually increase your happiness. You’ll be in better shape, have more energy, and generally be raring to go whenever you get to where you were headed, instead of already stressed at the start of your work day from your commute.

There are obvious concerns like safety (though statistically cars are much more dangerous) and lack of support and bike lanes in this country, but I think many of us are working towards improving these areas.

I’m never going to buy a car again.

posted by Ian Aleksander Adams at 11:48 am  

Monday, May 19, 2008

Finals


I’m wrapping things up down here at SCAD. We’ve got just a couple classes left in this quarter. This means I’ll be ending my current project and showing it to you soon. It’s an odd one. I also think I might post a couple of the response papers I’ve done for my classes. They aren’t academic essays, more of just general responses to writing on artist’s work. I’ve got one on Arbus, one on Ansel Adams, and one on Weegee and Brassai. I’ve also got some stuff I had to write for my psych class on a pop psychology book, The Road Less Traveled. I was surprised that it wasn’t as bad as I thought it would be, though I only read the first half, which was pretty standard. Maybe it gets kooky later on. You guys want to read them?

I’ve decided to leave the LJ comments available. So you can comment on the original post or at LJ. I’d prefer to have them in one place, but I don’t want to make things difficult for anyone reading. If you don’t have an LJ, my site should save your information and email you the reply comments, so it will actually be better than commenting on LJ. If you do have one, of course, you know the deal by now.

Anyway, here are three pictures of Carlos.

posted by Ian Aleksander Adams at 1:53 pm  

Sunday, May 18, 2008

Hold on while I test this


Hey guys. I’m test posting from wordpress using a livejournal crossposter. I also changed my livejournal layout, so feel free to give me feedback on that. I’m considering making it so you can only comment on the wordpress version of my blog, in order to make sure the comments are all in one place.

Basically I’m not sure I trust an outside blogging company hosting all my content, it’s better to be able to back it up. Well, I did consider making commenting only on livejournal, but couldn’t figure out a way to link the commenting from my wordpress blog automatically (I’d have to make the post, then edit the link in every time) Anyone know if there is a plugin or easy way to do that?

I’m hunting down the plugin to allow you to comment on my wordpress with your openID, which I think means you can use your livejournal.

Edit: Actually, I’ve found what seems to be an lj comment plugin, but I can’t figure out how to use it properly. I’m a little rusty on my russian, so I can’t read his blog.

This is a test image so I can see how it looks in both the layouts.

posted by Ian Aleksander Adams at 7:31 pm  

Friday, May 16, 2008

Do You Really Think The User-Driven Web is Why We’re Ignorant?


Why We Know Less

How about the large corporate media controlled portion of the web? We’re watching. You’re not supplying.

I am now forced to get more of my information from blogs, local around the world. Unfortunately not enough are in my language. It used to be you, large media, who sent correspondents worldwide. But I guess commerce driven media isn’t the best solution after all.

The Story Of Stuff

This is from the comments, but I think it’s worth putting a link up here as well. It’s about consumerist society. It’s short, so give it a watch.

It’s a bit simplistic, but I can understand why. Most of the people she’s talking to have probably never considered these issues before,and I think it tends to be designed to be accessible to children (from the animated figures to the overacting). Nevertheless, it’s worth watching for a quick overview.

The people who have given this a thumb down on stumble because it was “too long”are suffering from a fundamental problem with our current society. We need to be willing to put into the cognitive power if we are ever going to change anything.

If we can’t sit through a 20 minute blurb, how do you expect anyone to sit down and think of a solution?

posted by Ian Aleksander Adams at 10:31 am  

Thursday, May 15, 2008

Trans is the new Gay is the new Black is the new Jew and so on


This is not the most aesthetically amazing or well produced video – I am biased against vlogging in general for some reason, which is probably my problem – but I have a great deal of respect for this woman’s bravery and openness. I mainly want to direct your attention to the comments where you will find the dregs of the youtube community are out in full force. I know that youtube is always a haven for the lowest of the low in terms of comments, but it reminds me of things I’ve heard from people who are otherwise educated and compassionate individuals.

Apparently it is still ok to be an ignorant asshole as long as it is directed at Transsexuals. This includes you, ignorant gay rights activist, and you, black power enthusiast, and you, zionist.

We are all part of some kind of marginalized group. Remember when we were the little guy? Oh wait, I don’t, because luckily my forefathers fought in world war two, escaped prison camps, and are thankfully thought of as human beings. They also sat on buses and marched on washington. Oh hey, there was women’s lib as well. But now that we’re all one big happy ethnic and sexually diverse melting pot, it’s a good thing we have a new marginalized group of people to put down to make ourselves feel more normal and accepted.

I can’t think of any group of people that more embody the childhood american dream (You can grow up to be anyone you want!) in a positive way than the transsexual community. These people are also some of the bravest I have ever known. I guarantee that every single one of you kids (especially in art school) knows a transsexual.

You just don’t know it. Why?

They are people. Most of them never mention it in their daily life and after a certain point, hardly think about it. It probably figures into their life, but so does my ADHD or Jewishness or your little differences. They are not hurting anyone. Just like any other group, they deserve life liberty and the pursuit of happiness. Remember when Jews used to hide their identity? I still know Jews that seem to not want to mention it. There are plenty famous Jews who have changed their names, even today.

So why the hate? Ignorance and fear, of course. Same as it ever was. I expect it from the self righteous so called majority, but it always really upsets me when I see and hear it from inside other minority groups.

I don’t understand the huge level of hatred from inside the gay community. They fought for the right to love the same gender. They should respect the right to be a certain gender.

It reminds me of the ignorance I’ve personally experienced from members of the black community concerning my Jewish identity. It seems so absurd to me. We have so much to bond over; why focus on the differences?

posted by Ian Aleksander Adams at 7:02 am  

Wednesday, May 14, 2008

Too Much Content



I’ve got so much that I want to post, it’s really disconcerting. I’m not sure where to start, where to continue, how to organize. Every day there are a million links I want to share. I finally started a stumbleupon account just because that is what that site is based around, so hopefully not all of it will flood into here every time I find something I think is interesting (which is a lot.)

I will link stuff that I think is really important, of course. I was passed this link along in comments on the last couple posts by Imperfectionist and you deserve to watch it too: Good Copy Bad Copy is a documentary on copyright and creatives in the new emerging culture. It’s really amazing.

It’s available for full at that link. After watching it I donated the price of a movie ticket to them, and was happily surprised to get a personal thank you email back almost instantly. That kind of interaction over international borders is what this is all about. It makes me actually pleased to spend money, instead of feeling bad about my consumerist impulses. Like my experimental film teacher remarked today, perhaps we will all be buskers soon. I certainly don’t mind that concept. Don’t get me wrong, when I was talking about the Orphan Works thing, it isn’t that I’m against the revamping of copyright law, it’s that I think it needs to support creativity instead of commercial interests.

In terms of my work, in order to help understand the concept behind Minute Load better, I’ve put 56 youtube videos in one youtube video. This is at 3x speed. I may add this to the project page with a note that actually seeing the embedded videos yourself will create unique patterns, but it will not work as well on slower computers or old browsers. Thoughts?

I’m using this to examine the seemingly random nature of streaming media load times. It’s interesting to me because it is hard to identify patterns, but we know on a certain level everything is controlled by traceable elements, numbers and data. It’s just extremely unlikely we could ever identify why things turn out in a certain way. In that aspect it reminds me of organic elements in nature, branch formations, etc. We understand it on one level, but it will always astound us on another.

posted by Ian Aleksander Adams at 6:15 pm  

Tuesday, May 13, 2008

Easy To Understand: Orphan Works


I will always align with the so-called “alarmists” on this kind of issue. Every time.

Why? Because if we are wrong, then things are better than they seem to be.

If the political apologists, lobbyists, and people saying this is chicken little saying the sky is falling are wrong, we are all fucked.

Unless, of course, you don’t plan on making a living off of your art work. In which case, don’t worry about it, you can let the people with no creative talent simply steal yours.

I am all for the appropriating of content for creative and discourse purposes. I will never support people stealing work simply to make money off of other’s efforts. Under current law, the distinction can be argued in court. If the artist is dead, if the work is a true orphan, they will never sue. It does not need to be changed.

posted by Ian Aleksander Adams at 6:48 pm  

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