Meaning and Signifier Unhinged

Posted: February 12th, 2010 | Author: | Filed under: Adam | No Comments »

Domestic Meta-Sculpture

Posted: May 24th, 2009 | Author: | Filed under: Adam | Tags: , , , | No Comments »

Holy shit!

When Web Ads Hit the Mark Spot On

Posted: May 11th, 2009 | Author: | Filed under: Adam | No Comments »

The picture says it all! Make sure to peep the ads underneath this steamy image; this one’s for you, middle-aged nerd women. Obey, Picard, Obey!

Peaceful Morning Newmerica

Posted: May 3rd, 2009 | Author: | Filed under: Adam | Tags: , | 1 Comment »

I just finished the post-production and laborious conversion of my new HD video project which is a (playful) critique of Discovery and History Channel-type shows which attempt to showcase hidden treasures of the ancient world, and other types of pseudo-archaeological infotainment, as well as to poke fun at visions of the future from a by-gone era.  I do this as a huge fan (obsessive) of the sci-fi genre.  Some of the aesthetic decisions in this video were influenced by the Star Trek: The Next Generation Episode, “Loud as a Whisper.  At the end of the day, I was really just trying to have a good time with it…enjoy! Peaceful Morning Newmerica

The Beginning of Pirated Objects

Posted: April 29th, 2009 | Author: | Filed under: Adam | 3 Comments »


As part of my Advanced Digital Imaging coursework, I’ve been working a lot with 3d modeling and rendering.  Part of this involves working intensely with Google SketchUp Pro 7, which is at once an amazing and frustrating application.



Frustrating in that the interface is cumbersome but amazing in that it’s open-source and tons of people in the 3d community have built plug-ins for it ($) which extend the reaches of SketchUp into the realms of Maya-quality photo-realistic renders and also into the world of rapid prototyping, or 3D printing.



Working from a photo on Google image search of a 1986 Mac Plus, I created a 3d model on SketchUp of the computer.  Then, with the help of a plugin from Cadspan, I formatted the geometry for 3D printing at NYDesigns, an awesome place subsided by CUNY, (or SUNY, not sure) that RP’s on the cheap.  Their printer, Scorpion brand I believe, creates three dimensional objects by laying down a pre-programmed aggregation of “support material” a brittle, soluble polymer which supports the final, outer layer of softer, white plastic which is “built” on top of it, layer by layer, each with a separate z-axis print head until the model is complete.  At this point, the model is dipped in a solvent (or something) with dissolves the support material, leaving you with a white, weirdly organic looking, and fairly accurate 3d construction of your virtual model.

What are the implications for this totally crucial technology, especially as 3d printers expand their repertoire of materials and color.  Will we soon be able to merely buy the 3D geometry of our material desires online and output to our home RP devices?  In this event, one must presume there would be some kind of Pirate Bay for objects, imagine pirating a Eames chair or even complex electronics.  The economic ramifications of this situation would be far-reaching indeed…think what the Replicator did for Earth on Star Trek! Click on the picture below to download my SketchUp model for you own use!

Brooklyn Simulacra

Posted: November 6th, 2008 | Author: | Filed under: Adam | 4 Comments »

brooklynbigweb.jpgHere’s a recent photo illustration I made, created from a composite of 30 or 40 high res photographs from the Greenpoint, Bushwick and Williamsburg neighborhoods in Brooklyn. The “view” is of course a fantastical compilation of a typical north-brooklyn architecture, but extremified to make the ubiquitous vinyl-sided row house the only form of residential building, overlayed on an industrial skyline. (If anyone wants a 24×60 inch print, let me know). The prominence of the row house in my new neighborhood (having recently relocated from Rhode Island to “East Williamsburg”) has made me think about larger ideas of urban living. With the premium on space, both public and private inherent in large cities, the way that architectural space behaves becomes more charged and meaningful. For instance, perhaps my favorite form of architectural status-display in Manhattan is the empty white room, two things the public sphere of New York is not, (empty and clean). You could say it’s akin to the way the British gentry once employed the green yards of their estates; using the public display of tended, but unused arable land to communicate wealth. For more on this see Fritz Haeg’s project Edible Estates . At any rate, seeing multitudes of these row houses, all jammed together block after block got me thinking on how property in my neighborhood is delineated primarily in graphic fashion, through the use of vinyl siding. Three our four individual “houses” are more often than not separated from each other by little more than the color or texture of their siding, as these contiguous properties are really part of the same building. This unique functionality reminded of architect/printmaker Jean Cozzens‘ take on the issue; she once remarked to me “I like vinyl siding, it reduces buildings to their pure form”. Something to think about for sure. sidinghires.jpg  

Sex and Mysticism: A Video Slot-Machine Typology

Posted: May 1st, 2008 | Author: | Filed under: Adam | 3 Comments »

Yesterday I had the singular pleasure of attending a fancy beer-tasting at a local casino, Twin Rivers, the only one in Rhode Island.  Due to some arcane blue law, pensioners and unemployed contractors in the Union’s smallest state are forbidden to piss their savings away on any mechanized gaming device save only the video slot-machine.  Upon entering this recently renovated money pit I was immediately bombarded with the smell of cigarette smoke and the dazzling light of some hundreds of gaming machines.  As a collection, these efficient impoverishment-izers display an aesthetic of amalgamated sex and exotic mysticism.  Egyptian, sea-faring, and black-magic-practicing hot chicks all pitch in to lure the unsuspecting Cranstonite into a videographic interface which promises riches through the ancient occult.  I bet $10.00, got $00.29 back.

The Color of the Future

Posted: March 16th, 2008 | Author: | Filed under: Adam | 6 Comments »

Any visit to Home Depot or Lowe’s and a stroll through the paint aisle will no doubt take you past scores of displays containing paint chips from Sherwin Williams to Ralph Lauren faux finishes. Invariably, the abundance of color possibilities of these brands defies actual verbal classification. In lieu of simply ascribing numbers to the various swatches, they get names like “Deep Biscuit”, or “Viking Mist.” These names are laughably abstract as there is no concrete referent for colors such as “Cheerful Whisper”. Inspired by this, I’ve created a color palette of 30 colors from images obtained through Google Image Search, each a direct PS sample from a photographic still of a Science Fiction film or television show. You can download and print out a high-res version to use yourself here.

Magic in the Age of Mechanical Reproduction

Posted: March 9th, 2008 | Author: | Filed under: Adam | 2 Comments »

In Walter Benjamin’s 1936 essay Das Kunstwerk im Zeitalter seiner technischen Reproduzierbarkeit or “Art in the Age of Mechanical Reproduction” he mentions the analogous properties of photographers and magicians. The mystification of the chemical and mechanical processes of photographic reproduction techniques have elevated the photographer to a wizardly status amongst the non-tech population. Even in the age of CS3, photographers are often regarded as guardians of secret tomes of arcane information, which oddly enough, is in some sense very true. As the silver halide crystal passes the torch on to the pixel, many Photographers continue to horde useless clockwork devices, brew smelly, toxic concoctions, and dedicate hours of their lives reading and recording strange combinations of numbers and letters on dials and data sheets. The end result of this seemingly alchemical ritual is a unique object, which is itself something admittedly magical; a piece of sequestered, reconstituted reality, compressed and re-formatted for portability and distribution.

The art director of the Harry Potter films, Stuart Craig, was wise to pick up on this bit *actual* magic and went to lengths to include a very well-costumed and outfitted wizard-photojournalist in many scenes of the “…Goblet of Fire” movie. Attending the strangely seductive Rita Skeeter, our Daily Prophet freelancer seems to have at his disposal a number of pre-war era magical cameras,replete with all the trappings of steampunkery; redundant cables and lenses, brass fittings, bellows and even a cast-iron tripod (?). Now, anyone who has had the good fortune to see any of the Potter movies knows the purpose of this camera is to produce magical, animated photographs which seem to display and loop 5 or so seconds of time. Now, although not explicitly stated, it is assumed that within the wizarding world, technological innovation has pretty much not progressed past the Victorian age. However, the magical community also seems to have been able to pick and choose which Muggle technologies it integrates into its secretive realm.Assuming that the photographic technology of the Potter universe was adapted from the mechano-chemical Muggle process (and not merely an example of convergent evolution), how have wizards and witches successfully married the opposing methodologies of science and the occult? Let’s start with what we know about this properties of this unholy union:1). Magical cameras use simple lenses to focus and capture light, not souls or spirits2). Magical cameras look really badass3). Magical cameras use film (see picture below)This last is particularly perplexing. Given that the photograph produced from this film will display the motion of a scene whose light is focused upon its surface, how is the film able to record this movement without itself moving, (as in a motion picture camera)? My hunch is that wizardly photography employs the same powerful spells of multi-spacialism evinced in other incredible contraptions through the Potter story, i.e. the Weasley’s magical tent, which though no larger than any other tent while folded, contains many full-sized rooms (including kitchen) when pitched. Though the magical world seems yet to have mastered the concept behind the radio or telephone, their knowledge of quantum physics seems to greatly outstrip our own. No doubt employing some Latinate nonsense words, witches and wizards seem to have long ago discovered how to layer space upon itself, allowing multiple objects to exist in parallel, or inside each other. Using this technique, coupled with the pseudo-scientific methodology of Potions-mixing, it would be possible to create a magical photographic emulsion in which multiple layers of emulsion exist simultaneously upon one frame of film, each behind another. Over the course of several seconds, light from the camera’s lens would pass through each consecutive layer of bewitched emulsion, exposing that sub-frame to a slightly different image than the frame in front of it. Given the extreme variation in exposure time between sub-frames however, it must be assumed that this magical film would have a push-pull processing ability far greater than any Muggle film, an innovation no doubt achieved by a Slytherin alum Potions genius, the likes of Horace Slughorn, or the indefatigable detective of Harry’s delinquency, Severus Snape.

The existence of magical imaging necessarily implies an extant form of wizardly printing. Though the Potter movies have made clear that magical color photographic printing is possible (remember the picture of Harry’s parents dancing in the snow?), the majority of photographic reproduction seems limited to the black-and-white, animated images of the Daily Prophet. Given the bold, sans-serif typefaces and distressed appearance of many of the letters used in printing this daily journal of wizardly affairs, it may be assumed that this publication is produced by a moveable-type printing press, with hand-set cast blocks of pewter letters, much like a pre-modern Muggle paper. Assuming this is the case, one must assume that some kind of magical lithography or etching is used to transfer the picture from the magical film to a magical metal plate. Again, multi-spacialism would seem here to be a plausible explanation for the reproduction of such an image, as a letter-press type device may be used to ink each individual sub-plate and impress the surface of magical paper stock with each consecutive image. Each newspaper may then be bewitched to shuffle the multiple layers of its surface upwards, to display only the space upon which the magical photograph was printed. Through this selective inter-spacial rotation, the image would appear to move, as in a well-crafted flip-book, while the printed letters would remain static on the page. The exclusivity of monochromaticism in magical printing may be due to a lack of understanding the relationship of RGB to CMYK color.

Papercraft Op Art

Posted: March 2nd, 2008 | Author: | Filed under: Adam | 1 Comment »

The ubiquity of the pixel has certainly left its mark on contemporary craft and other “fun” art. As much as I’m sick of plush robots dolls and felt fruit, I have to admit I’m a sucker for the resurgence of craft as much as the next guy, (girl?) and its convergence with vintage computer technology. Papercraft is probably what gets me going the most, as paper is such an incredibly versatile medium to work with. It can be both sculptural and graphic, not to mention you can print photographs on it! I biked over to WalMart on a cold winter day recently to pick up a great (read cheap) book of textured 12×12 pastel cardstock to use for a special project I had in mind. I’ve always had a crush on bold, formal, geometric graphical things and of late, particularly intrigued with the work of Victor Vasarely, the patriarch of the Op Art Movement.

His deceptively simple, heady pieces were highly influential on the 60’s fashion scene, as well as on the classic 80’s video game, Q-Bert. Lacking the ability to render space realistically in 8-bit color and with limited processing speed, ancient video game programmers were forced to find creative solutions to making their game-spaces immersive and fun. Through tessellating shapes and careful color choice, Vasarely was able to create intense, falsified experiences of space in his viewers. Seeking a gimmick to make an otherwise uninteresting ovoid, snoot-faced creature entertaining, Nintendo co-opted the Vasarely technique of parallelogram-tessellation to create the mind-bending 3-D pyramids known the world-over as “that Q-bert thing.”

Since my childhood, I’ ve endeavored to wrap my feeble mind around those synapse-melting shapes, and in the creation of this mini-mural, have finally seen for myself, the beauty and challenge of creating such a series of shapes effectively. Using 21 sheets of cardstock, a ruler, scissors, masking tape, a pencil and some helping hands (Corrine, Josh, Amanda), I now have an awesome new addition to my living room!