18th Annual Media City Film Festival

This week, the 18th Annual Media City Film Festival kicks off with a huge range of screenings featuring incredible works from around the globe and just down the street.

We’ll be co-presenting Thursday night’s International Program 3 with our friends at Mayworks, and our own Michelle Soulliere is also on the Media City board, but beyond just being good friends, the festival curates amazing films and a lot of other programming at the Art Gallery of Windsor that’s one of the highlights of the summer here in Windsor.

This year, things kick off with the first public screening of the Super 8mm films created by IAIN BAXTER& from the mid-1960s to the 1970s.

Check out the program, if you’re in the area, you should totally make a point of coming out, or making the trek down!

Steve Powers: Distilling Daily Stories into Incredible Street Art

Saw this video of a talk given by Steve Powers (who we’ve written about before) posted on Juxtapoz.

Steve Powers (aka Espo) speaks about his art at the PSFK Conference NYC. Powers discusses his recent public and private art projects, along with explaining his one-a-day art “Daily Metaltation” pieces. Powers is one of our cover artists to the current May 2012 printed Juxtapoz.

[via Juxtapoz]

Rethinking the Role & Site of Social Services: Mike Kelley’s Suburban Home at MOCAD

Image via Artlog

Michelle and I visited this project when it first appeared at MOCAD back in 2010, and it’s incredible to see the next phase of this, just announced as a massive new addition to the project in Detroit that seems possibly not unlike Project Row Houses, but with a distinct Detroit feel.

From the article on Curbed:

The installation will be a replica of Kelley’s childhood home in the suburbs which will be used to provide social services to Detroit residents. Kelley himself oversaw the first stage of the project in 2010, when a mobile-home version of the suburban dwelling made a maiden voyage from downtown Detroit to visit the original Kelley home in the suburbs. The video of this, completed just before he died, is what premiered at the Whitney Biennial yesterday. Kelley’s idea was to create a symbolic reversal of the white flight that occurred in Detroit in the 1960s.

From the NYTimes article:

It will function nothing like a traditional museum or gallery and will show none of Mr. Kelley’s work, at his own insistence. The mobile-home part will remain detachable and will sometimes take its leave of the rest and journey through Detroit. The home as a whole will operate as an unconventional community service office, providing things like haircuts, social services, meeting space and a place to hold barbecues and perhaps for the homeless to pick up mail. “We’re thinking that our education staff will actually move out to the homestead and work from there,” said Marsha Miro, the acting director of the contemporary art museum.

It’s really curious to think about a long-term project like this being launched by an artist and carried forward (posthumously) by a museum, not to mention the complications of the politics of the architecture itself. I’m not sure what it will mean for the community immediately surrounding MOCAD, but it’s an incredible example to point to in terms of how we might rethink a number of institutions that provide social services.

Hi, 5 with Luci Everett

About the Hi, 5 Interview Series

Hi, 5 (5 Questions) is a web-only interview series which presents five questions to artists, activists, and creative thinkers alike.  The project acts as an educational device which allows us to gain insight into the narratives that define successful individuals.  We are interested in the motivations behind ambitious ideas and how these individuals chart personal change in relation to their surroundings.

About Luci Everett

Luci Everett is a graphic designer and illustrator living in Melbourne, Australia. She does a lot of paper cutting, painting and scanning.

Luci Everett - Alfalfabet (2012)

Luci Everett 

If you had to describe your current self to a 16-year-old you, what would you say?

Relationships and friendships are much easier now. It’s not going to be sudden, but gradually you’ve become much more confident and comfortable with yourself. You pursued graphic design and have a lot of fun. Every year gets better.

Could you describe an evolution in your work or way of thinking?

I think I’ve developed a more discerning eye over the last few years. I have a slightly more practical approach to creative ideas than I did when I was studying design at university – I guess that comes with working on real projects. That said, I’m driven inspiration-wise in pretty much the same way I always have been; I absorb a lot of visual information and that will always inform my work quite intuitively if I’m passionate about it.

Are there any people who have been instrumental in the development of your way of thinking and viewing the world?

No one in particular, although I think a couple of my high school art teachers and uni lecturers were pretty influential in nourishing my inclinations to approach or respond to the world creatively. Of course it’s unavoidable that my parents play a big part in how I view the world.

How do your political beliefs inform or fuel your work as an artist?

My political beliefs are quite separate from my artwork. My love and absorption in aesthetics comes from a different place to my connection and interaction with society. I’m not sure whether that’s a good or bad thing, it’s just the way it feels.

What do you feel a city should be or do for its inhabitants?

It should be a place which nurtures community, with the collective wellbeing of people and environment (equally) is always considered.

Luci Everett

New Project by DodoLab: The River and the Land Sustain You?

This is going to be an incredibly fun project! Our friends at DodoLab finally return to Windsor, make sure you check it out!

A Project by Professor William Starling of DodoLab

May 5 – June 9, 2012

Opening Reception: Saturday May 5, 1-4pm
AGW Talk/Tour: Sunday May 6, begins at 1pm

DodoLab and SB Contemporary Art are pleased to announce the visit of the eminently knowledgeable Professor William Starling to the city of Windsor. Prof. Starling has been discretely visiting Windsor over the past two years to study and converse with the vast flock of his species mates that now roost in the understory of the Ambassador Bridge. While his kind is in shocking decline in his home range of Northern Europe and the United Kingdom, starlings remain ubiquitous across North America where the vast undulating clouds of birds (called murmurations) can be a common occurrence, particularly in the Windsor area.

While studying the starling community around Windsor’s Ambassador Bridge, the situation on the adjacent Indian Road with its long line of boarded up and empty houses came to his attention. Starlings frequent this neighborhood, and so the professor has been developing a rich inter-species narrative of adaptation to changing environments and the phenomenon of “invasive species” and habitat loss (his areas of expertise).

Professor William Starling’s activities are in conjunction with Windsor’s Mayworks 2012. His stay here includes this exhibition of creative research material from a recent visit to the UK as well as an exhibition tour/talk of Land Marks: Contemporary Photographs from the Art Gallery of Windsor’s collection. The professor can also be found on Sunday morning 11am to 1pm, strolling the Riverside between the Ambassador bridge and the AGW.

Please find below a letter from Professor William Starling to the Citizens of Windsor. We are looking forward to his visit here in Windsor and we hope that will be able to welcome the Professor this Saturday May 5 at SB Contemporary Art. Or, tour and visit with him at the Art Gallery of Windsor on Sunday May 6 afternoon as he discusses the Landmarks collection exhibition. This tour is free to the public and begins at 1pm.

An excerpt from the letter:

Dear Citizens of Windsor, It is with great pleasure that I, the eminently knowledgeable Professor William Starling, have the distinct opportunity of informing you of my recent visits of investigation to your fair city. I have been fortunate, on numerous occasions, to secure handsome lodgings in this city’s centre and it has been my intention to initiate and engage in various forms of inter-species dialogue, to share my extensive knowledge of (and ongoing research on) adaptation to changing environments, the phenomenon of “invasive species” and habitat loss. It is my hope that my presence is welcomed and that some of you will wish to be my guide as I explore the city and that you will even deem it proper to share with me your thoughts in response to the following query.

Dear Windsorians, your official city motto states “The River and the Land Sustain Us” yet I have been set to wonder if this statement still rings true to you or if you require something more? What would this new element of sustenance be? You may respond to my question in one of two ways, by sending me a message at professorstarling@gmail.com or by visiting SB Contemporary Art where the good people of DodoLab have kindly designed and provided for us some lovely black paper starling silhouettes. I would like to request that you take the opportunity to record on said silhouettes that which you feel truly sustains this city today and for the future. Your Starling will be added to a rather unique exposition that opens this coming May 5th and continues through June 9th.

This exhibition is in conjunction with Mayworks Windsor 2012. Please see website for listing of events http://www.artcite.ca/mayworks/

The One and The Many, pg 7


As the history of modernism has repeatedly demonstrated, the greatest potential for transforming and re-energizing artistic practice is often realized precisely at those points where it’s established identity is most seriously at risk.

-Grant Kester in The One and The Many: Contemporary Collaborative Art in a Global Context

Hi, 5 with Sandy Noble

About the Hi, 5 Interview Series

Hi, 5 (5 Questions) is a web-only interview series which presents five questions to artists, activists, and creative thinkers alike.  The project acts as an educational device which allows us to gain insight into the narratives that define successful individuals.  We are interested in the motivations behind ambitious ideas and how these individuals chart personal change in relation to their surroundings.

About Sandy Noble

Sandy Noble is a maker, a designer and a programmer. Sandy’s website is called Up To Much. Not home-spun exactly, but conceptually simple pieces, usually with some kind of particular conceit that makes them look more complex than they are, or complex, but with an elegant appearance: a series of elaborations on a basic concept.

Sandy Noble - Polargraph Machine

Sandy Noble

February 22/2012

If you had to describe your current self to a 16-year-old you, what would you say?

Just like you, but all the the things that made you a bit odd then, are the things that make me valuable now.

Could you describe an evolution in your work or way of thinking?

I’m very attached to how things work, rather than what they look like, or probably even what they do.  When I was a kid I made lots of plastic models, and enjoyed making some much more than others.  Some kits assembled beautifully, with lots of sub-assemblies, tabs, interlocking pieces.  Others left much more up to the builder’s skill to judge where a part should be stuck.  I never painted them – that’s the boring bit – where’s the fun?

I’m still very technically-focused, and working on projects where I am the designer and also the implementer suits that focus, it’s absolutely appropriate.  But it can be a handicap in the ideation phase of a project so I needed to learn to know when to switch it off. Learning about the stagey, iterative nature of the design process taught me when I should be thinking technically and when I should be thinking free-form.

I’m not very good at the free-form stuff, that’s the problem, and it’s partly a skills issue – I just never got very good at sketching fast, representation.  Everything I do I tend to want to boil it down to a series of diagrams, and just hold the gestalt of it in my head.  This skills problem really does flavour what I get around to doing – if it’s hard to express, it just doesn’t get done, or at least, it doesn’t get put down on paper.  It just floats around in my head until it crystalizes enough to be diagrammed, and that’s unfortunately a good way to lose inspiration, and can be discouraging when I look in my sketchbook and see the same old thing page after page, rather than all the amazing ideas I think I’m having but can’t express very clearly.

Generally my work is very tools-led.  I like using the tools much more than I like having the finished object.  Design is nice because design itself is a great big tool that can be used to make anything. So I made a desk once, and it works great as a desk, but my favourite thing about it is the work I did designing it.

So my art is entirely a product of the machine – the machine is the real piece of work, the drawings that come from it are only the proofs.  The polargraph machine is interesting too because it’s very very technical.  It’s programmed with a certain behaviour, and that’s where I see the art in it, that’s where the magic is.  Which is nice, because as a professional software developer, it’s the exact same art that I use during my day job.

Are there any people who have been instrumental in the development of your way of thinking and viewing the world?

Other than my immediate family, very few.  My mom and dad are very practical people who would be happy to fix and make things from scratch.  They tell me “I’ll show you how, then you can do it yourself” and in many cases this the result of being tired of endlessly doing stuff for other people, but in other cases it is a genuine wish to share something they find marvelous and engaging.  Their house has a gate at the back with this carved wooden handle on the back, just a plain one, functional.  And it’d been carved and polished up and sat there every day for forty years.  I remember being amazed and proud when only fairly recently I realized my dad had made it from a block of wood rather than just buying one from a shop.  It was clearly the product of some love, some enjoyment of the process. Because actually it was pretty unnecessary in that place.  I was horrified when they threw that door away to get a new one, handle and all, all replaced by off-the-shelf hardware.  They are very unsentimental like that.

I suppose I am too, which is why I don’t like things which are purely decorative.  Even if a photograph or a painting looks beautiful, I’m more interested in knowing what technical aspects create that feeling, or how it was made than just letting it wash over me, and if I don’t know that, I can’t really decide if I like it or not.

How do your political beliefs inform or fuel your work as an artist?

I feel that if people take from others, they should give to others. And, paying forward rather than paying back.  People would like me to claim that I invented the polargraph machine, or that I am a trail blazer of some sort for using 3d printing in jewellry, and are a little dismayed when I tell them these things are just the most recent development of very commonplace technology – there is no high-tech here, no genius, no special insight, only the will to experiment for it’s own sake, and the will to publicly invest in something.  That in itself, like art, is quite attractive and will get people’s attention.

So even though I’m a little wary of just giving all my hard work away, I realize I must because I owe it.  This is especially true in areas with a strong community, learning aspect, that is, open source software and hardware, and the people who made that possible.  It feels very wrong to take something that is free, bottle it and try to sell it back.

What do you feel a city should be or do for its inhabitants?

A city should be present enough to lead people into a community, but get out of the way enough to allow people to shape it, splinter it, build individual identities within it.  Easier said than done.

Up to Much (Sandy Noble)

Evan Roth’s Art & Hacking Class


Danielle, Michelle and I were over in Detroit at the recent INITIATE panel discussion and Evan Roth made a presentation on the early stages of some of this work. It’s awesome to see where it went — hopefully we’ll have a chance to head over and check out the show. Here’s the details from Roths’ site

Welcome To Detroit
Works by Evan Roth
Curated by Gregory Tom

Eastern Michigan University’s University Gallery
900 Oakwood Street, 2nd Floor
Ypsilanti, MI 48197

Reception @ EMU’s University Gallery October 14, 4:30pm – 7:00pm

March 8, 2012: It is no secret that Detroit’s creative community has been attracting media attention of late. What started as photos of “Ruin Porn” and “$100 Dollar Houses” led to a flood of additional articles on creative activity in Detroit.

Evan Roth’s exhibition, Welcome to Detroit, will feature nearly all-new work, much of it made during his residency. The work follows his core conceptual framework of appropriating popular culture and combining it with a hacker’s philosophy to highlight how small shifts in visualization can allow us to see our environment with new eyes, whether online, at home, in the city or at the airport. His work acts as both a mirror and vault to contemporary society, creating work that reflects and withstands a world of rapid advancements in computing power, changing screen resolution and repainted city walls.

For Welcome to Detroit, Evan mines everything from the spray paint can, to hip-hop music, to airplane shopping magazines and flight safety cards, resulting in a show that moves freely across media, but always with a sense of pop cultural pranksterism. From individual art objects to video pieces to documentation, the work is designed to simultaneously serve as a record of activity and creative output, while also underscoring important issues concerning copyright, public space, and our offline and online identities.

Additional information on Evan Roth can be found at http://evan-roth.com/about/.

Heartbreaking by Lois Andison

'Heartbreaking' from olgakorpergallery.com

This one goes out to Josh.

Heartbreaking, a kinetic sculpture by Lois Andison, is a device that gradually works its way through every possible word that can be spelled with the letters H,E,A,R,T,B,R,E,A,K,I,N,G (in that order). Terrence Dick over at Akimbo called it, “the closest thing I’ve seen that’s come to a perfect marriage of word and art.”

'Heartbreaking' from olgakorpergallery.com

Lois Andison was born in Smiths Falls, Ontario. She currently lives and works in Toronto, Ontario. Her kinetic sculptures/installations investigate the intersection of technology, nature and the body. Using movement to initiate an exchange with the viewer, Andison’s work poetically explores social and technological concerns through the construction of the hybrid art object.

'Heartbreaking' from olgakorpergallery.com

She has a number of other interesting data-driven types of works available to view on Olga Korper Gallery.