martin kippenberger

detail from “Now I’m going to the big birch wood, my pills will soon start doing me good”

Live Hard, Create Compulsively, Die Young , that was the title of today’s New York Times article by Holland Cotter. I wasn’t sure what Cotter wanted me to feel about Kippenberger’s self-destructiveness after reading this. Really interesting work, yes … and thinking behind the work. But is it a good thing when an artist dies at 44 – probably from alcoholism, et al? Why do we have this myth of the crazy artist? This idea that an artist has to be self-destructive or crazy to make good / interesting art? I wanted to post a parallel re: an artist who wanted to live, but died at the hands of the Nazis … I’ll post that tomorrow.

NYT’s article on Martin Kippenberger
NYT Kippenberger slideshow


scholarships, fellowships, applications, ho!

I’m an applying fool … scholarships, fellowships … if it seems close, I’ll go for it to help fund my PhD and my projects. Today I finished two small scholarships that are administered by the university … I’ll hand-deliver them tomorrow. I squeezed in a scholarship application for a summer audio institute at the Duke Center for Documentary Studies. And I found a lead on a teaching job.

Wonder how it’s going to feel to strike out on most of these applications – because that’s the reality of applying for scholarships and fellowships. They mostly go to other people.

Okay, I’m a little gloomy because I overheard someone talking yesterday about getting the Graduate Teaching Assistantship I was hoping for. There were only two of us competing for it, as far as I know, and I think he was offered it. I’ve really got to grow a thicker skin re: rejection. If I didn’t get offered it this time, it’s okay … one thing I have learned is that not getting a position is sometimes a rich blessing. In my lifetime there are a few that I’ve been happy not to get and a few that I’ve been sorry I accepted. So there.

A photo from Big to cheer me up.

virtual weirdness

Sometimes the stories that come out of current surveillance capabilities and the virtual-ness of media make me laugh out loud. This story on NPR was like that: Virtual Patrols of the Texas Border.

Mostly this story gave me the creeps and it raised some legitimate issues … like the fact that drug smugglers can log on and see where the law enforcement people are. I do wonder about people logged onto their computers “doing their duty” by watching the border virtually. Of course, when I was a kid, I knew a lot of people who owned police scanners and listened to them for entertainment.

But I had to laugh out loud when I heard about a group of Aussies e-mailing in that they were “patrolling” our border from their pub. What crazy times we are living in.

flash and a drawing tablet

I showed my first flash piece in class last night. I used a quote from Georgia O’Keefe “Nobody sees a flower – really – it is so small it takes time – we haven’t time – and to see takes time, like to have a friend takes time.”

Nobody Sees A Flower flash piece

I might need to invest in a Wacom tablet if I do more flash pieces. The mousepad on the laptop isn’t sensitive enough to draw with. We were told that last semester – but I dismissed it. After building a piece with motion paths and drawing two flowers and a snail … I can see the advantage of having something better to draw with.

A friend told me that Circuit City had one left for 30% off and so this afternoon I went to see if it was one I could purchase. The only one left had no mouse, no instruction manual, no cable, and looked pretty beat up. The clerk said he couldn’t sell it like that and I didn’t want it.

It was sad, going to Circuit City … sort of like going to a funeral. The chain is closing for good and they’re selling everything. A melancholy feeling even as I purchased ink cartridges for our printer and batteries at a deep discount. I was glad to leave.

browsing on TED Talks … on creativity & design

I’ve been listening to TED talks this morning. I like Elizabeth Gilbert’s talk on thinking of genius the way the Romans did … as a divine being that lives in the walls of an artist’s studio and assists with the work … kind of like “Dobby the house elf” according to Gilbert. Then there’s this talk by Amy Tan called “Where does creativity hide?” These are great for anyone who likes to make anything … although these women are both writers so their examples favor written creation.

Then I stumbled on this one about design. Since I’m reading this week about the Bauhaus movement for one of my classes – this one resonated with me. Rob Forbes on “ways of seeing”

The one that’s got the most to do with the MATX program, however, is this talk by Scott McCloud. He wrote Understanding Comics – a book that’s on my “to buy” list.

Time to get to work – today I’d planned to work on a submission to the Wit’s End New Play Festival. I have a play I think could be adapted for the American Shakespeare Center‘s style of production. I love what they do and would love to write for them. It’s worth a little time away from Flash and Bauhaus and the Blackbird video essay call and the MATX Student Guild budget.


Been thinking about what makes a great blog. The ones that writers keep tend to be long with lots of words. The ones that artists keep have fewer words, but lots of great visuals.

The common thread in the ones I like seems to be personality. The blogger has a reason they’re blogging. While the blog is personal, it’s not a diary. They blogger is aware of an audience and they’re having fun. Finally, they change frequently – if not every day – almost every day.

Here are a few I like:
Murderati: a mystery/horror/thriller writers group blog
Neil Gaimon’s journal
Design Is Mine: “bringing you lovely design on a daily basis” Jabberwocky: a UK artist’s blog … lots of pictures

I love the heading from Jabberwocky … can’t remember the name of the sculptor – he’s someone whose work we looked at last semester who does very interesting work.

flashed out

I’ve been working on a Flash piece since 9 a.m. … 4 hours and I don’t like how it’s turning out. I guess the point is the learning that happens along the way. It’s going to suck, however, to finish my first Flash poem experiment and hate the way it works.

I have to remember that this really is an experiment / exercise. I wrote a haiku to match two photographs. One slides to reveal the other; the words float across the images. Not mysterious enough for my taste, but it’s a beginning.

I do like some aspects of it. Once I’m done with this version, I think I’ll recreate a final copy from scratch that incorporates the pieces of the experiment that I actually like. And, if I get a chance between now and 7 p.m. – I’m going to invest in Flash CS4: The Missing Manual. I’m flashed out for now. Time for the ordinary – for lunch and the dentist and parent-teacher conferences at my kid’s school.

are unicorns real?

Somedays getting a Ph.D. in Media, Art & Text seems like a dumb idea. Going into the program was an act of faith. Maybe I’m just tired, but today I’d like to run the other way. Too much theory makes me weary.

Stumbled on this in a stairwell at VCU last week. I have no idea why or what … some of the theory we’re reading seems as fictional as a unicorn. The ideas are elegant – the words and argument skillfully built – but like visionary architecture, is it useful?

Perhaps “usefulness” is the wrong question. Is “beauty” the right question? What is the point?