4/27/10 Guest Chris(Topher) Maraffi

The Artists on Art guest for April 27, 2010 was Topher Maraffi. He is  the last in our series of Digital Arts and New Media pending graduates exhibiting at the new Digital Arts Research Center that is having its grand opening (ribbon-cutting ceremony) Thursday April 29, 2010 at 3:15.  Since March, I’ve interviewed Kathleen Kralowec, Jessica Hayden and Chris Molla, and last week, Nick Lally.

Topher will perform at this event directly after (between 3:45 and 4:15pm) Chancellor Blumenthal and Dean of the Arts Yager speak at the UCSC Digital Arts & New Media MFA research.

The name of his overall performance is Mimesis & Mocap with two performances, the Avatar Dance and  Magic Mirror Game (inspired by the  Marx Brothers Mirror Scene). These performance are  a cross-disciplinary study in creating believable real-time interaction between human performers and 3D characters within a theatrical environment. His two performances,  and The Magic Mirror Game, envision future methods of re-creating classic dance and pantomime movements with a digital double.   There will be at three more performances that he will do during the show DANM MFA 2010 Exhibition Everything is Possible (running April 30th-May 9th with the reception on May 7th at 5:30pm).

Here’s a list of his performances:

DANM Building Dedication, Thursday April 29th @ 3:45pm
Saturday May 1st @ 2:00pm
Tuesday May 4th @ 3:45pm
Show Reception Friday, May 7th @ 7:00pm

Additional evening and matinee times may be announced for the 8th & 9th. Check back on his website for details.

Topher came to the KZSC studio a few months ago (March 2, 2010) for only part of the Artists on Art show.  I wanted him to come on the show to talk about the DANM and Theater Arts co-production Stop the Press, an audience-interactive production about the demise of print and the rise of digital media. I had already booked with the Queer Queen of Comedy Poppy Champlin when I heard about this successful and acclaimed.  One person that has their finger on the pulse of Santa Cruz and has for decades said it was one of the best student productions in years.

I wanted  him back  for a full show and better explanation of his studies and work as  a performance artist, technical animator, educator (dance SWANGO and 3d animation along with other subjects) and author. Prior to joining the DANM program in Fall of 2008, he taught on the topic of 3D character creation and wrote three books on the subject such as MEL Scripting a Character Rig in Maya.

We started the show with a quick download of all the upcoming exhibitors in Everything is Possible. The Artists are: Karl Baumann, Lyès Belhocine, Drew Detweiler, Christoph Girard, Nik Hanselmann, Jessica Faith Hayden, Antoine A. Jaoude, Kathleen M. Kralowec, Nick Lally, Chris(Topher) Maraffi, Kyle McKinley, Christopher Molla, Elizabeth Travelslight, and Alex Walter.

If you missed the live broadcast, you can listen to our show in entirety by clicking on the triangle below.[audio: http://www.miljkovic.org/old_public_html/nada/aoa42710.mp3].

This is a TwitVid we did right before the show on Tuesday of Topher dancing.

I’m hoping he’ll be back on the show sometime in the future.  In the fall 2010, Topher will start as a PhD student in the UCSC Computer Science program.  He plans to continue in collaboration with Theater Arts and to develop expressive and improvisational real-time synthespians.

4/20/10 Nick Lally Guest on KZSC Artists on Art

Graduating Digital Arts and New Media artist,Nick Lally, came into the KZSC radio station to talk about his upcoming collaborative installation with Kyle McKinley entitled “Building” in the upcoming DANM MFA 2010 Exhibition (running April 30th-May 9th with the reception, all are welcome May 7th).

We started the interview talking about his art collective Art Clash which just so happens to be putting on a mail art show in May.

What is mail art?  It is exchanging artwork with friends (and strangers) across the country! Once you are in the Art Clash program, you give them your address, and they’ll send you the addresses of four other participants. Each week in May you’ll send a piece of artwork to a randomly assigned recipient. We ask artists to spend about 2 hours a week on their projects and to mail them on time, so by the end of the month you will have sent and received four pieces of art!

His collective, Art Clash, also do a yearly “Fun-A-Day” Art project.  This winter they held their sixth annual event in eight cities! Artists across the country chose something fun to do everyday and created something each day for a month. This year’s project yielded tons of work that was funny, beautiful, interesting, thoughtful, unpretentious, creative, honest, and FUN! Check out photos from the shows in Oakland, Philly, and Pittsburgh. Events were also held in New York, Portland, Boston, and Chapel Hill, NC. Find us on facebook to see more!

Image from Everydatum, Iteration II

Nick’s work at UCSC in the DANM program involves software experiments which enact situations that create spaces for social participation, dialogue and reflection on complex systems. These works are interventions into the everyday, which lead to open-ended, experiential modes of engagement with software, the material world, and other participants. I tried to explain one of the projects that I witnessed and participated in two years ago with Nik Hanselmann (who is also exhibiting and graduating) entitled Everydatum, Iteration II. They built custom sensors in the Sesnon Gallery to collect the data and broadcasted it to an online database. The seemingly mundane data is then visualized in unexpected, complex and beautiful ways.

If you missed the live broadcast, you can listen to our show in entirety by clicking on the triangle below.[audio: http://www.miljkovic.org/old_public_html/nada/aoa42010.mp3]

Also, here’s a little twitvid we did right before our live broadcast:

The following is the gallery wall title for his upcoming DANM MFA 2010 Exhibition:
“Building anything is a process. Building something good usually involves a lot of people’s ideas and labor. building is what we have called the people and the process of building something good in this building. Each Friday at 2 PM, building gets together to talk, eat snacks, and make building. building builds on itself: last week’s building is this week’s built, but this week’s built is the place to build next week’s building. The interests of building include ghosts, software studies, coffee, walks in the woods, things that turn, critical spatial practice, the politics of representation, flea markets, poesis, precarity, female fronted punk bands of the 70s and 80s, and building. However, building interests are always building. The process of building results in traces of those interests. It also involves traces of the art/works of Nick and Kyle McKinley. All those traces are the building where you now stand. What will be building tomorrow?”

4/13/10 Bonnie DeVarco Guest on Artists on Art

On April 13, 2010, I had the great pleasure of interviewing a local Santa Cruz historian and curator of visual language and  visualization pioneer,  Bonnie DeVarco. Exploring the emergence of Visualization Convergence for Collective, Connective, Distributed Intelligence, Bonnie is  a writer, researcher, archivist, futurist and curator for the mirror worlds of Cyberspace and Earth.  She will give the first talk on Sunday, April 18th, at the one day event, Design Renaissance at the Dream Inn.

Unveiling Hypatia by Tony DeVarco

She began her training at UCSC in Cultural Anthropology. During this time in Santa Cruz, she had the opportunity to see Buckminster Fuller speak and lecture. We  spoke of Buckminster Fuller’s influence on Bonnie’s work beginning as an undergraduate, and her later position as the first posthumous archivist for Fuller’s archive from 1989-1995.  She continues to work with Fuller’s collection which now resides at Stanford (SULAIR) as she completes her book, Invisible Architecture II.  Bonnie  is a Distinguished Visiting Scholar in Stanford’s Media X Research Network and is a founding adviser with the international traveling exhibition “Places & Spaces: Mapping Science”  and a founding adviser to BFI’s Buckminster Fuller Challenge, a yearly competition with a $100,000 prize.

Locals, Helen and Newton Harrison, are in the 2010 BFI Challenge semifinals with their work entitled “Tibet is the High Ground, 3rd Variation”.  They will be the last presenters at the 2010 Design Renaissance event talking about the San Lorenzo watershed.

From the past (her work in virtual reality with Bruce Damer in the early 90s) to the future helping to usher in a new understanding of the power of visualization technologies, Bonnie only works on what has not yet been done, a true pioneer.  We spoke of her belief that the approach to our future involves a shift in understanding time and space (i.e. see Antikythera mechanism). She is also inspired by the megalithic cultures of both the past and present.  She believes that ancient wisdom can help us today as we face global warming and life sustainability.

If you missed the live broadcast, you can listen to our show in entirety by clicking on the triangle below.
[audio: http://www.miljkovic.org/old_public_html/nada/aoa41310.mp3]

For more information on the Harrisons and Bruce Damer go to Artists on Art’s past interviews.  I interviewed them in 2009.

Here’s a twitvid we did right after the show.

Bonnie’s Websites:
Scale in Independent Thought

Shape of Thought
Media Tertia

Bonnie’s Interests:
Building a Whole Systems Macroscope
, Buckminster Fuller, mirror neurons, medieval history, Renaissance, Albrecht Durer, Boethius, Isidore of Seville, epigenetics, geospatial visualization, history, ancient manuscripts, megalithic complex, sustainability, geovisualization, information visualization, symbolic anthropology, virtual worlds, ecological solutions, ancient science, artificial life, Hypatia, Leonardo da Vinci, vintage futurism, visual language….

Here is one of many articles Bonnie has written about Buckminster Fuller and his work, Invisible Architecture.

Jess Hayden & Chris Molla Guests for 4/6/10

Graduating Digital Arts and New Media artists, Jessica Hayden and Chris Molla were the guests on Artists on Art for April 6, 2010 to talk about their upcoming installation entitled “SET” or “Seemingly External Things” a narrative/documentary/fiction theatrical interactive piece about growing up in Nevada in the 50s during nuclear testing, “a mobile theatrical installation in which visitors may play to trigger audio, video and live performance events that reveal a story. The project questions the roles that the spectator and the environment play in generating narrative meaning.”  The piece will be in a 1951 Silver Streak that will  be parked out in front of the DARC otherwise known as the NEW Digital Arts Research Center on West Campus.

We talked about Chris and Jess’ backgrounds leading up to going back to school to get their MFAs.  Chris is a musical composer, teacher and  former member of Camper Van Beethoven.  Jess is a theatrical performer/writer/interactive object creator.  They are both amazing artists doing wonderful collaborative participatory new media art.  We got to hear some of the sound art that you’ll hear playing around in their Silver Streak. We talked about the seeds of the piece; Jess’ science fiction short story about a girl coupled, the desert sounds, their road-trip to Nevada, and trying to harness technology.

That’s the beauty of their art. It is meant to be touched and investigated while learning and experiencing through the participation.  I can hardly wait to see their shiny informative piece.  I asked them about their future.  They said they’re taking it on the road, a traveling  art installation.  I think it’s brilliant that their MFA piece can be their home and car.

“SET” is a part of the larger DANM 2010 MFA Exhibition, Things that are Possible, showcasing digital art with social impact at the DARC. There are 14 graduate students taking part in this exhibition that runs April 30th to May 9th with a free reception on Friday May 7 from 5:30-7:30PM. For details visit danm.ucsc.edu.

If you missed the live broadcast,  you can listen to our show in entirety by clicking on the triangle below.

[audio: http://www.miljkovic.org/old_public_html/nada/aoa4610.mp3]

Here’s a twitvid we did right after the show.

This is a trailer for Chris and Jess’ recent collaborative theatrical ensemble “Stop the Presses“.  At 1 minute 20 seconds, you’ll see Jess’ “Gypsy Fortune” piece that was performed in March 2010.  This piece came out of the Performative Technologies group research.

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