Please Standby

Posted by on Dec 22, 2014 in Featured, Uncategorized | Comments Off on Please Standby

Please Standby

The FRC is undergoing some changes. When I first began this project, a blog seemed like a good idea. Turns out it wasn’t. That’s ok, we still have a lot to say (to you and each other). We’ll be back. This blog will remain here as an archive (and who knows, maybe we’ll post to it again).

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Co-Present Film Festival (session 11) : Prisons Real & Imagined, Schedule

Posted by on Sep 4, 2014 in Featured, Projects | Comments Off on Co-Present Film Festival (session 11) : Prisons Real & Imagined, Schedule

Co-Present Film Festival (session 11) : Prisons Real & Imagined, Schedule

On Saturday, September 13th, we’ll resume the Co-Present Film Festival with a Robocop double-feature. The original film and most recent remake span nearly 27 years and two vasty different but innovative directors. After recently viewing the 2014 film and re-watching the original, I couldn’t help but be struck by the incredible parallels and differences in culture. There’s also likely few better times to revisit Robocop, in any form, than in proximity to the recent events in Ferguson. Watch with us from anywhere in the world at any time throughout the run. Watch on your own. Communicate through the #CPFF11 hashtag on Twitter. We’ll sync our clocks just before the first start time by using the World Clock. If you can’t join us on the 13th, the next film festival will be announced as soon as possible.   THE SCHEDULE :   BEGIN 8am MST / 11am EDT / 4pm GMT / 5pm CET / 7pm GST ROBOCOP (1987) One sentence summary: A nearly-slain cop becomes half-man, half-robot; questions regarding justice and humanity ensue. IMDB Link Wikipedia Link   approx. 945am MST / 1245pm EDT / 545pm GMT / 645pm CET / 845pm GST 15 minute break   10am MST / 1pm EDT / 6pm GMT / 7pm CET / 9pm GST ROBOCOP (2014) One sentence summary: A nearly-slain cop becomes half-man, half-robot; questions regarding justice and humanity ensue. IMDB Link Wikipedia Link approx. 12pm MST / 3pm EDT / 8pm GMT / 9pm CET / 11pm GST –...

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Co-Present Film Festival (session 10) : Prisons Real & Imagined, Schedule

Posted by on Jul 5, 2014 in Featured, Projects | Comments Off on Co-Present Film Festival (session 10) : Prisons Real & Imagined, Schedule

Co-Present Film Festival (session 10) : Prisons Real & Imagined, Schedule

After an unintentionally long hiatus, we will resume the Co-Present Film Festival on Sunday, July 20th. We’ll revert back to our common format of viewing multiple films by multiple directors. The 10th session’s selections span 43 years and three considerably different cultures. Watch with us from anywhere in the world at any time throughout the run. Watch on your own. Communicate through the #CPFF10 hashtag on Twitter. We’ll sync our clocks just before the first start time by using the World Clock. If you can’t join us on the 20th, we’ll announce the dates and films for future months soon.   THE SCHEDULE :   BEGIN 8am MST / 11am EDT / 4pm GMT / 5pm CET / 7pm GST GEORGE WASHINGTON One sentence summary: A 12-year-old narrates a story of a small town, a summer, and a tragedy. IMDB Link Wikipedia Link   approx. 930am MST / 1230pm EDT / 530pm GMT / 630pm CET / 830pm GST 15 minute break   945am MST / 1245pm EDT / 545pm GMT / 645pm CET / 845pm GST VELVET GOLDMINE One sentence summary: A journalist investigates the glam rock idols of his past. IMDB Link Wikipedia Link   approx. 1145am MST / 245pm EDT / 745pm GMT / 845pm CET / 1045pm GST 15 minute break   12pm MST / 3pm EDT / 8pm GMT / 9pm CET / 11pm GST NIGHTS OF CABIRIA (Le Notti di Cabiria) One sentence summary: Despite her challenging existence, and her predilection for meeting men who want to kill her for her money, Cabiria displays an indelible spirit for survival. IMDB Link Wikipedia Link   approx. 2pm MST / 5pm EDT / 10pm GMT / 11pm CET / 1am GST –...

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Feral Fieldnotes

Posted by on Mar 17, 2014 in Featured, fieldnotes | Comments Off on Feral Fieldnotes

Feral Fieldnotes

This was the month of reading The Faraway Nearby by Rebecca Solnit. I have read a few of her books, and always start them with enthusiasm (I’m interested in the same stuff she is!) and gradually feel distracted and deflated. I figured out what it was this time, pointed to by a line in the book: “Like a lot of visual artists, she mostly plunged into the difficult books through which you hack your way slowly.” That line describes my taste in books, but I had always attributed it to my mild dyslexia (if it’s going to take me months to get through a book I want it to be worth the time). Solnit’s connection feels right, though. I read for texture and flavor and bits of ideas far more than for plot or characters, and I enjoy feeling lost in a sea of words that are inviting me to connect into a whole. And that way of absorbing art makes more sense for encountering and absorbing visual art more often than it does reading a book. Solnit’s books are documents of her thought process going through the world, reading meaning into things she finds along the way, and making connections. For me, the joy of reading a book is making those links, so reading her books feels a bit like opening the in-flight magazine to find the crossword already filled in. I can learn from the insights, but the fun and work of discovering them has already been done. As I was finishing the book this morning, I closed it to find the white cover set off by a fan of pink sticky notes marking bits of text that crystalized a thought. Her words are always lovely, and the time she spends with these ideas leads to a clarity that I rarely achieve in my own muddled ideas. One of those stickies marked this passage: Writing is saying to no one and to everyone the things it is not possible to say to someone. Or rather writing is saying to the no one who may eventually be the reader those things one has on someone to whom to say them. Matters that are so subtle, so personal, so obscure, that I ordinarily can’t imagine scything them to the people to whom I’m the closest. I think this is what Feral is for, at least for me. A space where things that don’t have a place to be said or drawn or made are welcomed. I made this frog last month. It’s over 5 feet long (stretched out from the tip of its toes to its would-be lips), made from soft green plush (outside) and red/pink satin (inside). Its organs (lungs, spleen, heart, liver, gall bladder, stomach, intestines) spill out of a long slit in its belly. It lies on a stainless steel table standing on pink platform legs. I don’t make much personal work—a piece like this every two or three years. They each come from a very personal space, but I hope they are open enough to be inviting of other people’s interpretations. Solnit’s book revolves around a difficult time in her life, and the stories she told and discovered to help her interpret what she was experiencing. The frog comes from a similar impulse, but the...

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Dazzle Canoe Coloring Contest

Posted by on Feb 22, 2014 in Featured, zine | Comments Off on Dazzle Canoe Coloring Contest

Dazzle Canoe Coloring Contest

Here at FRC we’ve recently been obsessed with the phenomena of dazzle ships and dazzle camouflage. There are dazzle wetsuits, dazzle dogs, and a mysterious Floridian camoufleur. There’s music for your tape recorder and  dubious claims by spanish artists. There’s makeup to hide from algorithms, and above all there’s the flash-bang of hiding your shape with loud stripes.   There should be more. So, my feral friends,  inspired in part by Carrie Schneider’s beautiful dazzle canoe (which we had nothing to do with but wish we did), attached below please find the official FRC Dazzle Canoe Coloring Contest form. Please note:  your interpretation of “dazzle” may vary, do not feel constrained by existing patterns. As suggested by @matthewbattles:  Submit completed entries to: whisper@feralresearch.org subject “camoufleur”, or post them to twitter with the hashtag #camoufleur. The contest will be a random drawing held on April 1. Three names will be drawn and each receive a limited edition FRC dazzle-sticker. A gallery of all entries will be posted to the site. No cash value. Void where prohibited by law.   Like this idea? You might also like the Infinitely-Expandable Extra-Illustration Exchange book club or our zine series!   • Dazzle Canoe Coloring Contest Entry Form (PDF – best for printing) • Dazzle Canoe Coloring Contest Entry Form (PNG – best for photoshopping)  ...

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IEEIE #1: The Master and Margarita

Posted by on Feb 21, 2014 in Featured, M&M&M, zine | Comments Off on IEEIE #1: The Master and Margarita

IEEIE #1: The Master and Margarita

The kick-off book for the Infinitely-Expandable Extra-Illustration Exchange will be The Master and Margarita by Mikhail Bulgakov. This previous post explains the IEEIE What is The Master and Margarita? It’s a lot of things. It’s magic and history and politics and literature. It’s about the Devil arriving in Moscow in the 1920s and Jesus and Pontius Pilate, censorship and a talking cat. And so much more. It is the book that I have recommended to more people than any other. It is dense and thoughtful and very strange. Want to know more about the book? Masterandmargarita.eu is an amazing compendium of all things M&M (in multiple languages) Here is how the IEEIE works: 1. Read the book. I recommend the Diana Burgin and Katherine Tiernan O’Connor translation, which is recognized as one of the better versions and is based on the complete, uncensored text. The size of the final submission is based on the size of the paperback edition (8.3 x 5.3 inches), which has a maroon and black cover with a silhouette of a cat. There is no ebook version of this translation available right now, and it is one of several translations that often available at used bookstores. Goodreads has a pretty thorough discussion (with text examples) of the different English translations. 2. Make something inspired by the book. This can be anything that is reproducible in a 2D medium (drawing, print, map, poem, essay, recipe, photo, photo of a sculpture, dance diagram… you get the picture, surprise me.) The only rule is that the final, reproducible product must be the same size as the book (8.3 x 5.3 inches, see above). 3. Pass along this link to friends who might like to participate—the more people the better the final collection! 4. Send an email to me and you’ll get occasional updates related to the project: mary@feralresearch.org 5. Email me your item by Good Friday (read the book for the day’s relevance) April 18, 2014. I will compile all the submissions into a pdf booklet for you to download. The first ten people to submit material will receive a hard-copy version of the book via snail-mail, assembled with a cover printed by yours truly. It’s that simple. Get a copy and join us… Click the image to download a bookmark to remind you while you’re reading. Cut out the color or black-and white version, fold in half, and slip it into your copy....

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Infinitely-Expandable Extra-Illustration Exchange

Posted by on Feb 20, 2014 in Featured, zine | Comments Off on Infinitely-Expandable Extra-Illustration Exchange

Infinitely-Expandable Extra-Illustration Exchange

A multi-volume biography of Charles Dickens on the Des Moines episode of Antiques Roadshow was my introduction to extra-illustrated editions. The hosts explained the Victorian-era trend of adding items to published books (prints, letters, maps, etc). Books were printed with blank pages to hold the extra pieces, and examples like theirs had been rebound to contain all the added material. Doing a little research, I found a couple of great explanations of the history of extra-illustration: The Folger Shakespeare Library hosted an exhibition of extra-illustrated books in 2010, and has an excellent overview of the topic on their website. The Huntington has a nice video showing how to inlay a print into a book and another displaying pages from their 60-volume extra-illustrated bible containing more than 30,000 added items. Oh how delicious—a book expanded to hold all the tangents the reader could find. Like hypertext 150 years before hypertext. I wanted to see one. I wanted to make one. And the Master & Margarita & Me project was just waiting for me to make one. And wouldn’t it be more fun to share the experience? I was an architecture major in college, and was intrigued/jealous of my friends taking print classes. They would have print exchanges at the end of the semester, bringing in an edition of, say, 15 prints, and trade one with everyone in the class, ending up with a portfolio of unique prints. Sharing their work, receiving back examples of all their classmates art. (Here’s a version that explains the idea.) So, put 2 and 2 together, and you end up with the INFINITELY EXPANDABLE EXTRA-ILLUSTRATION EXCHANGE. Starting this month with Master & Margarita, we will be hosting a recurring online version of a book club/extra-illustrated/print swap. Two or three times a year, I will announce the next book, along with the due date and any specific directions. According to the OED (by way of the Folger article), prior to the early 1800s the word illustration meant “an elucidation” rather than specifically a picture. In that spirit, works in ANY text or image medium are welcome (photos, drawings, prints, poems, essays, rants, scribbles). Any and all material emailed to me by the due date will be compiled into a pdf and sent to the participants. Keep an eye out for the first IEEIE instructions and news...

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A Great Country Song: Feral on Zines

Posted by on Feb 19, 2014 in Featured, zine | Comments Off on A Great Country Song: Feral on Zines

A Great Country Song: Feral on Zines

Harlan Howard, country music legend, is credited with describing a great country song as “nothin’ but three chords and the truth.” If you’re like me, a northerner whose choice of southern music leaned more towards REM than Western, you probably mostly remember the U2 version where Bono told us that (and a red guitar) were all he needed. This proclamation, located in the extended outro to the Bob Dylan cover on Rattle and Hum, comes around the time the band was moving through their awkward teen years; Angry boys from Dublin easing into arena rock, performing the soundtrack to a film documenting their rise to stardom. There is something in this quote with its origins blurred;  A kind of truthi-ness that is both earnest and silly. An oversimplification that makes us cringe a little, but also activates a deep atavistic fuckyeah from the world where speaking truth to power works, and all a boy or a girl needs is their own voice and a flimsy soapbox to stand on. This is the spot where zines sit. Wikipedia (arguably the most famous of recent self-publishing ventures) tells us that: “A zine (/ˈziːn/ zeen; an abbreviation of fanzine, or magazine) is most commonly a small circulation self-published work of original or appropriated texts and images usually reproduced via photocopier.” Adding: “A popular definition includes that circulation must be 1,000 or less…” This  definition, while probably correct in the most pedantic of ways, is wrong. It misses both the purpose and the meaning of zines, which are neither a stylistic exercise (photocopier) nor a deliberate player in any marketplace (circulation numbers). While both of these things might describe common characteristics of zines, they articulate only the red guitar, skipping  over the three chords and the truth. The zine is many things and like most punk efforts and all manifestos it contains the seeds of its own destruction. Zines have become a “thing:” a style and an attitude that can be duplicated cheaply. A shortcut for teen angst. An icon of the 80s and 90s. But while this great freight-train of an experiment called the Internet has blown the doors open on self publication and distribution, we haven’t ever needed anything more desperately than a few good voices, a little rough, a little raw, slightly embarrassing and badly copied. For me the defining characteristic of zine is a return to love. When the Internet brought us all together into one big room of unfiltered humanity, it carried an adult discomfort with earnestness that expressed itself in ugly: nostalgic glances at our childhood leaning to irony, irony verging on cruelty, trolling into actual cruelty, all for “the lulz.” This irony kept certain parts of our cultures and our selves safely contained: they allowed us to admire saturday morning cartoons, bad beer, unfortunate fashion choices, My Little Pony and goth makeup and U2, and still function in the adult world on Monday morning. But irony as a defense mechanism is thin and a hallmark of our maturing culture is that we can take our love seriously, even if it looks stupid and useless in the grand scheme of things. What I adore right now is the post-lulz internet, the space where the trolls are turning into activists, the cat gifs are stegonographic, and we no longer laugh when we sift something beautiful out of the...

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On Politics and the Personal

Posted by on Feb 18, 2014 in Featured, fieldnotes | Comments Off on On Politics and the Personal

On Politics and the Personal

I’ve started reading art books. I have a nice (smallish but growing rapidly) library of art books which I use for inspiration and reference when I’m working on projects. I flip through the pages, scanning the images, looking for something that catches my imagination with a connection to my aims for a project. But now I’ve started reading them too. And by reading I mean actually paying attention to the words on the page and not just the pretty pretty pictures in these beautiful books. It turns out there’s lots of great stuff buried in those words. Showing how an artist developed, putting little weird/random illustrations/photographs in context, explaining how pieces came to be. Below are a couple of books that I’ve spent time with this month, with the text that got pinned with a pink sticky note. William Kentridge Five Themes Andrew was writing about political art recently on twitter asking whether it was possible to create (I believe he said) “quiet” political art. This struck a chord: p.64 Kentridge’s work in inherently political, for it intimately reflects the conditions of his locale: Johannesburg, the South African state, and Africa in general. The son of a politically minded family, Kentridge was raised on the political ideals of earlier utopian societies. Yet, though his work engages with that of past artists who were deeply involved with political themes, he has moved beyond what is traditionally considered political art. His is an art that does not seek to present (or re-present) tragedies or express outrage, as was the case with Picasso’s Guernica (1937). Rather, he introduces he perspective of the perceiver-ego. In effect, he is said that the macrocosm offers only unspeakable horror, whereas the microcosm—the individual—offers possibilities for art. and this: p.115 “This ‘responsible’ attempt to keep certainty at bay implies a negative dialectic, and also a suspicion of the possibility of a direct, positive communication of meaning. For the philosopher Theodor Adorno, that which is immediately (and unmediatedly) understandable is essentially false, and the truth of artworks lies in their ability to avoid it: ‘The truth of discursive knowledge is enshrouded, and thus discursive knowledge does not have it; the knowledge that is art, has truth, but is something incommensurable with art… The enigma of artworks is their fracturedness…. [Art] achieves meaning by forming its emphatic absence of meaning.’ The politics of art thus lie in the awareness and consequences of the fact that the direct embodiment of meaning opens the way for the culture industry to absorb art as yet another object of production and consumption, making it a space of closure rather than emancipation. Kentridge’s sense of the political is similar, and also by necessity indirect. ‘I am interested in a political art,’ he has stated, ‘that is to say an art of ambiguity, contradiction, uncompleted gestures and uncertain endings.’” The strategy of making political art that speaks rather than yelling by coming to the topic through the thick filter of our personal experience makes sense, feels right. I’m not sure this is because I an writing this in 2014 and my own small view out my own two eyes is the only one left, or because it is the way successful art has always been made. At a recent performance I asked Andrea Assaf https://alternateroots.org/tour/artists/andrea_assaf...

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Feral Fieldnotes

Posted by on Feb 8, 2014 in Featured, fieldnotes | Comments Off on Feral Fieldnotes

Feral Fieldnotes

Feral Fieldnotes is a new series on FRC, a bid to document our ideas in progress and highlight work worth seeing. For these posts, each of your editors will take turns rounding up their recent thoughts in light of work they’ve recently encountered. Check back periodically for more! —– “The People I loved were celebrities, surrounded by rumor and fanfare; the places I sat with them, movie lots and monuments. No doubt, all of this is not true remembrance but the ruinous work of nostalgia, which obliterates the past, and no doubt, as usual, I have exaggerated everything.” – Michael Chabon, Mysteries of Pittsburgh We expect many things of our creatives and our celebrities, to push the envelope, to show us the possibilities and ultimately to crash spectacularly. This is more complicated than mere schadenfreude, it is a ritual of reenforcement and demarkation: an establishment of what is “normal” and what is “extra normal” with the emphasis on consequence so that while some of us are allowed to fly, it is only for so high and so long. When something awful happens the narrative searches for a reason, for hints of transgression so that the crash can be deserved. Celebrities and “creatives” are the anointed canaries: the court jesters that act out cultural fantasies so we can observe and record the results. This exercise presumes a standard narrative which, as artists and agents of the feral, we look to disassemble, a work which is increasingly necessary as the internet provides us with our own moments of fame both welcome and unwelcome. We are looking for new rules, new ethics and I think ultimately seeking something old: kindness and empathy. This work is deeply necessary but rarely welcomed, thus as Dave Hickey writes on Mapplethorpe in The Invisible Dragon, the best and worst thing he ever did was make transgressive queer sex beautiful. It’s worth considering as we mourn the passing of Philip Seymour Hoffman, whose personal life was, unsurprisingly, as complexed and nuanced as the roles he filled in life and the characters he portrayed on stage and screen. If in someone’s public death you can say there is a goodness, it’s that we’re sometimes able to share voices of fear and surprising empathy among salaciousness. Author Olivia Laing beautifully explores this notion of addiction, narratives and narrators, both the reliable and un-, and the complex overlaps between journeys, stories, fictions, alcohol and our search for our own origin stories in her book The Trip to Echo Spring. In this extended interview she discusses what drives her own crafting of that particular book and suggests our attachment to social media, while not nearly as potentially destructive as alcohol, might be serving the same purpose and filling our insecurity, loneliness and social unease. As she says: “…I do think that it can be wonderful and connecting and a source of joy too. Though that’s true of alcohol, isn’t it?” Dwelling on the internet is an exercise in living among unreliable narrators: the stories we tell ourselves, each other and how we reconfigure of our time, our space and our relationships. It’s the kind of complex performance which humans have always engaged in, but writ large as we learn to take control of the medium of celebrity. In this we find ourselves still, as always, needing...

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