Tuesday, January 26, 2010


A repost of a repost. please forgive stealing.

I found this on Rhizome. It's very exciting.

VSSTV - Very Slow Scan Television (2006) - Gebhard Sengmüller

By Ceci Moss on Monday, January 25th, 2010 at 1:00 pm




Very Slow Scan Television (VSSTV) is a new television format that we have developed building upon Slow Scan Television (SSTV), an image transmission system used by Ham Radio amateurs. VSSTV uses broadcasts from this historic public domain television system and regular bubble wrap to construct an analogous system: Just as a Cathode Ray Tube mixes the three primary colors to create various hues, VSSTV utilizes a plotter-like machine to fill the individual bubbles with one of the three primary CRT colors, turning them into pixels on the VSSTV “screen”. Large television images with a frame rate of one per day are the result, images that take the idea of slow scan to the extreme.


YOU SHOULD BUY A LEATHER JACKET (please go watch the second newest episode of 30Rock)

This is an interview of Rei Kawakubo, the founder and head designer of Comme des Garcons, from Interview magazine by Ronnie Kooke Newhouse from a while ago that I really liked.

Rei Kawakubo went to university and studied art and literature, like a lot of bright girls do. But then she taught herself how to design, set up shop, and soon started to change the fashion world. Maybe design came over her like a dream, or maybe she was possessed by genius. Wherever that force majeure came from, suddenly this small, mild-mannered woman who had worked in textiles and as a stylist for a bit began to create startlingly original clothes that made the world take notice. She started making clothes under the label Comme des Garçons in 1969 (later incorporating it as a company in 1973). It quickly established an aesthetic that caught on with the art crowd and chic bohemians, and influenced all of fashion. By turns conservative (think black-and-white) and radical (think asymmetry and unfinished), Comme des Garçons became the preferred label of the avant-garde and the highly independent. But it never settled into a set style, and as black gave way to color, near normality would sometimes disguise subtle subversions. Kawakubo designed clothes with a modus operandi more familiar to conceptual art than to fashion. Despite her radical approach, or maybe because of it, Comme des Garçons is today a great success, commercially as well as artistically. Forty years later, she's still at the forefront of fashion, doing her very own thing with the same uncompromising ideals and method. Although she's very much in control of all aspects of her operation, she is hardly focused on herself-Comme des Garçons now also offers lines created by staffers Junya Watanabe and Tao Kurihara. And recently the company extended its reach (and price range) with a collaboration with the huge retailer H&M. Rei Kawakubo was interviewed in Paris by Ronnie Cooke-Newhouse, a longtime friend and creative director who has created advertising for Comme des Garçons among others.

RONNIE COOKE-NEWHOUSE: Journalists sometimes describe you as intellectual, ascribing to you a kind of rigorous, cerebral approach to fashion. Is there another way you would describe yourself?

REI KAWAKUBO: I am not conscious of any intellectual approach as such. My approach is simple. It is nothing other than what I am thinking at the time I make each piece of clothing, whether I think it is strong and beautiful. The result is something that other people decide.

RCN: Next year the company will be 40 years old. When you started, you did so to be a free and independent woman in Japan. How do you remain free?

RK: In terms of creation, I have never thought of suiting any system or abiding by any rules-either a long time ago or right now. In this respect I have remained free. The necessity has grown, as we have gotten bigger, to think about commercial aspects of the business more and more, because of the responsibility we have toward our staff and our factories.

RCN: Does the deadline of having to show a collection a few times a year help or hinder your creative process?

RK: Since we are in the business of fashion, deadlines are normal. I can't say if they help or hinder me.

RCN: What is so important about being new? Does creation have to be new?

RK: Creation takes things forward. Without anything new there is no progress. Creation equals new.

RCN: Why do you always go back to black?

RK: I have always liked black. However, recently black has become as habitual as denim, so I wanted to find tomorrow's black.

RCN: How do you balance art and commerce and still remain free.

RK: Feeling free inside oneself is being free.

RCN: Is there something hopelessly bourgeois about being an artist? Do you escape that by making something utilitarian, even if it is described as art?

RK: It is not in order to escape. There is surely worth in making simple things, and there is worth when utility is the concept. But art need not be bourgeois, necessarily. There is nothing bourgeois, for example, about hair artist Julien d'Ys great creation for this collection, where hair, hat, and makeup become one.

RCN: Fashion has become a big business, dominated by large corporate enterprises, like LVMH and the Gucci Group. You collaborate with this world, as you recently did with Louis Vuitton, but you also hold yourself completely apart from it. What is your attitude toward the dominance of fashion by these corporate entities?

RK: There's no deep meaning. It's just business. But even with business methods and ideas, it is necessary to have something new.

RCN: Is fashion purely a practical and aesthetic activity, or does it possess a moral dimension?

RK: What you wear can largely govern your feelings and your emotions, and how you look influences the way people regard you. So fashion plays an important role on both the practical level and the aesthetic level.

RCN: Do you care about critics and commentators?

RK: It would have more meaning for me to hear what critics have to say if their values and their ways of living were deeper and more serious.

RCN: Comme des Garçons has one eye-from fabric, form, shape, shops, and communication to the way you run your company. That is obviously very important to you.

RK: For me this goes without saying, given the -nature of the company I decided to create. It is primordial.

RCN: You say you are a fashion designer, but many people call you an artist. Why do you think they see you as one?

RK: I guess it's because I endeavor to make clothes that didn't exist before.

RCN: Does creating around the human form put limitations on your work?

RK: There are no limits.

RCN: How does it work with Junya and Tao? At what point do you see their collections?

RK: They are members of the Comme des Garçons company, and I see their collections at the rehearsal just before the shows.

RCN: Have you ever been tempted to sell the company?

RK: I have wondered what it would mean for us and a buyer to join together.

RCN: You don't seem to want to be defined or aligned. How would you define yourself?

RK: I don't think of myself as anyone special, and I would not know how to define myself.

RCN: An artist friend defined the difference between art and fashion this way: What an artist makes and sees stays as is; what a designer makes is like two objects-one is what is perceived in a shop and the other is how it looks in the mirror.

RK: Is finding a difference so important, really? Fashion is not art. The aims of fashion and art are different and there is no need to compare them.

RCN: Does the economic downturn affect the way you approach designing a collection. Do you think you have to design easier pieces?

RK: Comme des Garçons has always traveled at its own pace and will continue to do so. In good times and bad times the company is more or less the same.

RCN: You don't use real fur. You won't work with real fur?

RK: I love all animals.

Thursday, January 21, 2010

Breakfast at Justinian and Theodora's

Starring Audrey Hepburn. UGH. I really need to put more thought into these blog post titles. Anyway I probably can't because I'm SO TIRED FROM SEEING EVERY PIECE OF EARLY CHRISTIAN ART THAT IS EVEN REMOTELY IMPORTANT. What's that, Christina and Ricardo? I hate you because you've seen everything EVER? that's right.

So we woke up ass early to get on a bus with our prof. Helen, who was very chipper on the bus PA. When we were more awake a little later Ricardo was very taken with the country side and took 3 gazillion pictures. Here are a few of them:

Mausoleum of Theodoric

Our first stop was the Mausoleum of Theodoric which was a little outside Ravenna. It was mega cold out, because it was still a little early and the mausoleum was not very cozy as it's made of bare rock. However we bought some ROCKIN' Ravenna postcards at the gist shop which picture the major sights of Ravenna surrounding the central image of two kittens labeled "Ravenna" in wavy rainbow script. THE FUTURE OF GRAPHIC DESIGN.

Helen Waterson with her CRAZY warbly voice

Residual debris from the archeological dig of the
cemetery that once surrounded the mausoleum

The crazy part is that the dome was made of a SINGLE PIECE of stone, which, since it's not local they brought here on a ship and presumably built an earth ramp up the building to get it to the top. Apparently it got damaged during one of these processes because it has a giant crack on one side. The legend goes that Theodoric was convinced that he would die by lightening strike, so he would come to the mausoleum because he thought it was safe and then one day during a storm a bolt of lightening struck him dead THROUGH THE CRACK. He actually died of a heart problem.

Well well, what is this?? I guess Christina left this unfinished.... Well, Ricardo's here now (sounding like a badly written villain)! After the mausoleum we got back on the bus, which drove us into central Ravenna. There we walked to the first church Empress Galla Placidia built when she arrived in Ravenna. It was dedicated to St. John, because she prayed to him on the sea voyage from Constantinople during a really bad storm and she told him that she would build him a glorius church if he spared her and her family. They arrived safely and now we have this church.

Me in front of the church, under this cool lookin' arch.

They had a bunch of old awesome Mosaics that used to be the floor. Because of the soggy ground in Ravenna, all the really heavy buildings sink slowly over time, so a lot of the churches we saw were actually rebuilt on higher foundations, and some of them even had little squares of the old floor left, so you could see how much the building had sunk. SCIENCE!

Crazy fighting dudes

I was born a Unicorn (and thus I was a symbol for incorruptabilty)

aaaaaaaaaaaannnnnnnnnnddddddddd we're back (Christina). In case you didn't know, when you are in Europe you must take an artsy picture of a bike. Don't leave Europe without one!

This is St. Apollinare Nuovo, which was built as Theodoric's (the mausoleum guy) palatine chapel. As a typical Early Christian Basilica it's pretty plain on the outside, made of brick and freakin' fantastic on the inside. MOSIACS EVERYWHERE, just like the Duomo baptistery.

The port of Classe (10 minutes away) where Galla Placidia would have landed safely and a row of female early Christian martyrs.

The ceiling is a later Baroque addition as is the apse (high altar area) which is even a little Rococo. They're pretty sweet.

There's the Port again

evidence of figures that were stricken from the
visual record for political reasons (floating arms)

St. Christina!

Madonna and Child

The three magi

After this we walked a bit to this tiny baptistery which was for the Arian sect of Christians which could not accept that Christ was 100% divine, but believed in his humanity and mortality.

THUS JESUS IS VERY VERY HUMAN and classicly portrayed in the nudie!
note the river god has crab legs on it's head

We passed a protest on our way to San Vitale which is the mega highlight of....the world.
When you walk in you see this:

and this:

and this:

and it's cool and all, but it seems pretty standard, you know, Baroque shit's everywhere. what you really came to see is much older, more mystical and awe inducing.


Justinian and his court (posse)

Theodora and her court (entourage)

SO UMM YEAH. San Vitale was Justinian and Theodora's (The Holy Roman Emperor and Wife) palatine chapel, even though they never even came to Ravenna. It was meant to imitate the Hagia Sophia which was their palatine chapel in Constantinople. The star of the show however is Theodora who is a BAD ASS. Theodora was born a circus performer, the daughter of a bear tamer, which is below the dregs of society on the social scale at the time. Since she was incredibly beautiful and a god damn smarty pants, her mother encouraged her to become an actress/entertainer. Eventually she worked her way up the social ladder to become a very high level and desirable companion, or courtesan. She caught the emperor's eye and eventually he married her. Daughter of bear tamer to basically Holy Roman Empress and Co-Regent. She was ery influential to Justinian and had a lot of input in law writing.

Back to our other heroine, this is Galla Placidia's mausoleum right outside San Vitale. Her mausoleum is another art historical heavy hitter for it's crazy awesome mosaics.

Beautiful pattern work

This was one of my (Christina) favorite things I'd seen all day. That meander next to that blue pattern makes me swoon. I'm cutting that exact meander out of paper in my current KenTisa project. FUN TIMES.

A dome made of Heaven and the symbols of the four evangelists

one of them martyrs gettin' grilled and shit
(he's got his flippie floppies)

a classicising Christ as young shepherd.

This single mosaic in the inner tympanum (that half circle shape above a door) is own of the most famous of all early christian mosiacs. oh wait hold on GEEKING OUT. sorry about that.

ha ha ha ha ha ha ha no caption necessary but here's one anyways.

After Galla Placidia we headed over to the non-Arian baptistery that was a lot bigger and had more naked Christ getting baptized (exciting because it's rare in art history). We saw JFK on the way. (he was hanging out with Elvis)

THIS IS SO EXCITING GUYS. Not in the way the other things were exciting but still AWESOME. THIS CRYPT IS CONSTANTLY FLOODED SO THEY FILLED IT WITH GOLD FISH. THERE ARE GOLD FISH SWIMMING IN A BUILDING. my apologies, you can't see them in this photo cause they were moving around a lot. BUT THEY'RE THERE.

Lastly we bussed it over to Classe, our last stop, (were Galla Placidia would have landed) which had another church with a mega famous apse which we'd seen many many times projected on the wall of a dark classroom. It's a beautiful example of early Christian mosaics moving away from the naturalism of Greco-Roman artistic ideals and moving towards a more Byzantine, Medieval style, which is more stylized, more schematic, flatter, and weirdly awesome.

we were so god freaking tired. We did NOTHING on Sunday, except at night about 15 people showed up at our house and we cooked delicious delicious beans with onions and sausage. And a boy named Galen spent all day making us fresh pasta, and we drank wine, and it was a nice time. This week has been pretty standard so far.
Ricardo is drawing a tree branch pattern for his first Lithography stone! he really likes it so far and it's really intense to scrape the stone down and everything so he feels very accomplished. I just proofed two of my etching plates today and I'm very pleased. ALSO we worked it out so that we can audit and Italian class, which means we get to sit in, but we don't have to do anything like participate, or do homework if you don't want to but we can of course. It's a little bit of a tight fit, but we think it's worth it. We're learning a lot and fast!
Tonight we're getting ready to go to Rome for three days FOR FREE. (woot on sight Art History) but we have to be up at 6:00 am to get to the train station on time, so good night and Ciao!