October 23, 2005
Recently China, South Korea and India have each filed national security complaints with Google requesting that high resolution images of secure locations (military bases, palaces, etc.) accessible through the Google Maps service be removed. However, Google Maps is only one application developed from the open API. Developers not affiliated with Google have launched gvisit. With gvisit, locations of visitors to your website can be plotted on a map. For my site, the code was added this evening. It will be interesting to see how it changes over time.
See visitors to this site: Diacritic Gview
October 19, 2005
Vietnamese Art: Recent Trends
The British Council has posts report on contemporary Vietnamese art.
"Significantly, contemporary art is still understood and appreciated by only a very small percentage of the Vietnamese community. This factor, together with the general lack of disposable income, continues to preclude the development of a domestic market for local art works, the majority of which are sold at international prices to foreign visitors and overseas collectors.
For their part the cash-strapped Vietnamese art museums have yet to develop a coherent policy with regard to the collection of contemporary art works, as a result of which many artistic treasures have already found their way into the permanent collections of private individuals or museums outside Việt Nam.
Since there remains no infrastructure for educating the Vietnamese community about contemporary art, artists continue to have limited means of connecting with a domestic audience. Consequently, while the work of some leading artists continued to command high prices from overseas buyers, there is as yet little incentive for up-coming artists to target their work at a local public."
"Lack of disposeable income" and "Cash-strapped". Yep. That sounds like me.
October 18, 2005
The US needs Перестро́йка
LONDON, England (AP) -- The United States is in need of its own dose of perestroika (Перестро́йка), or restructuring, Mikhail Gorbachev, the man who brought such reforms to the Soviet Union, said Tuesday.
Leaders should also be able to evaluate situations, formulate goals and convince people of their plans, he said. "The world needs a new vision, new policies," he said, opening a two-day conference in London. "I support the movement that says a different world is possible."
Although he did not comment on specific events, Gorbachev said democracy and tolerance were crucial principles.
After initiating wide-ranging changes as president from 1985 until 1991, Gorbachev was forced to step down when the Soviet Union broke up. Boris Yeltsin defeated him when he ran again in 1996.
"I am almost 75 years old but I've been trying to exercise every day," he said. "That will enable you to take the blows," he added. "We're no longer high priests who just discuss ideas."
Source: CNN. Gorbachev: U.S. needs perestroika
Corruption Perception Index 2005
Transparency International's latest Corruption Perceptions Index labels Bangladesh and Chad as the most corrupt places on the planet. According the Index, little has changed from 2004 to 2005.
"Corruption is a major cause of poverty as well as a barrier to overcoming it," said TI chairman Peter Eigen. "The two scourges feed off each other, locking their populations into a cycle of misery."
|5 least corrupt states||5 most corrupt states|
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For more detailed information, you can download the index in pdf format from the TI website.
Bertrand Peret "Photosynthesis" at Galerie Quynh
Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam – Galerie Quynh and Wonderful District are pleased to present Photosynthesis – an exhibition of new work by French artist Bertrand Peret. While Peret has had numerous exhibitions in Europe, this will be his first show in Vietnam. The artist will present a series of lacquer paintings based on images of electricity poles displayed with an installation of light boxes depicting Vietnamese flora. The juxtaposition of the verdant plants with the dramatic intensity of the red backdrop of the electricity poles appears to highlight two opposing forces.
Certainly, on the surface Photosynthesis appears to pit nature against technology. It is only after some reflection that this view seems incongruous. The frenzied tangle of wires and poles actually bears a striking resemblance to the chaotic array of leaves and stems. The very materials that are used to create the works tell us that something more is at play here. The plants’ vivid hues are in fact the result of high-tech digital photography combined with steel, plastic and electric light. On the other hand, the symbols of technology and data communications are hand-painted in the traditional process of the natural Vietnamese lacquer medium: a digital subject portrayed in analog form.
Born in 1971 in Talence, France, Peret graduated from L’école des Beaux-arts de Bordeaux in 1996. In 2002, he co-founded, with artist Sandrine Llouquet, the publication (signifying "fifth wall" in French) – an autonomous exhibition space. Peret is also a founding member of Wonderful District.
Wonderful District is a young, French artistic collective based in Vietnam. Bringing together foreign and Vietnamese artists through exhibitions, workshops, residencies, lectures and concerts, the collective also works with partners to organize events. this the first collaboration between Galerie Quynh and Wonderful District. Please visit Wonderful District for more information.
Exhibition dates: October 28 – November 13, 2005
Opening reception for the artist: Thursday, October 27th, 6 – 8 PM.
Photosynthesis can be viewed online after October 29th at
Gallery Hours: Tuesday – Friday: 10 AM – 7 PM
Saturday and Sunday: 10 AM – 6 PM
Closed on Mondays
Contact: Quynh Pham - Director
+84 (8) 824 8306
October 17, 2005
Vietnam News I
I've been meaning to post some short Vietnam-related news excerpts culled from the local and international press.
Unprepared Vietnamese beauties struggle in global pageants
"Vietnamese entrants need to brush up on foreign languages, public speaking, and general knowledge to make a mark in international beauty contests."
The above applies to Vietnam-at-large and is not restricted alone to "beauties". What might be considered as fundamental deficiencies in pageants could apply to any sector in Vietnam wishing to be more internationally competitive. The basic problems in education and professionalism are the same.
Source. Thanh Nien News. October 14, 2005.
Expert discusses the waste of brainpower in Vietnam
"In an interview with Thanh Nien, Dr. Nguyen Huu Dzung, a human resources expert criticizes the rampant misdirection of brainpower in the state-run sector in Vietnam, and points out the cause of the problem."
It's refreshing to see an honest evaluation that is more substantive than finger-pointing. Which leads me to the next article...
Source. Thanh Nien News. October 17, 2005
Vietnam expects action against corruption, not mere talk
The following passage is written by Tran Bach Dang, researcher, journalist and communist of seven decades standing.
"With that in mind, I think the law on anti-corruption is just a link, a chain, in the anti-graft machinery. What is required is cooperation and coordination in this all-out war. Hence, long-term research is needed on a basic anti-corruption code while urgent issues should be addressed during this National Assembly session. For me, merely discussing the general aspects of corruption and the proposed disciplinary measures is not enough."
This article speaks to the mechanisms behind anti-corruption law in Vietnam and offers frank advice on the implementation of meaningful positive changes rather then the cosmetic "busts" and sting operations often highlighted in the press, otherwise known as the "individual rather than institutional" explanation. This same approach should be embraced by the United States with regard to how the military deals with prisoners. Rather than the "few rotten apples soiling the good name of an otherwise moral military force" default, the US needs to live up to informing and enforcing clear codes of military conduct that are in line with internationally accepted standards. When a nation circumstantially disregards the Geneva Code (see Guantanamo Bay), how can it legitimately criticize others for human rights?
Source: Thanh Nien News. October 15, 2005.
Viettel did not anticipate “network jam”
On October 8 Viettel officially apologizes to customers for poor service quality due to sales promotion. (They have since apologized TWICE!)
"For several months Viettel subscribers have suffered continuous network difficulties, with many unable to make phone calls to either mobile or fixed phones. After launching a huge promotional campaign “call until you’re out of battery”, offering 55mil free calls, the situation became worse, contrary to the firms confirmation that service quality would not be affected."
Last week I was unable to contact my friend, a recent subscriber to Viettel. So Viettel's strategy was overambitious and ill planned, as with so many things here. However, what gets to me is that Viettel continued to deny network problems for weeks while still actively promoting their new subscriber campaign. I don't have to go into how the example of Viettel could apply to other things.
Source. VietnamNet. October 10, 2005
October 16, 2005
Moving Pictures: American Art and Early Film
Moving Pictures: American Art and Early Film, 1880-1910
(above image: Edward Hopper. Early Sunday Morning; (1930) Whitney Museum of American Art)
A current exhibition at Williams College Museum of Art attempts to show the influence and interchange between early film and American Art.
In “Moving Pictures,” paintings are placed alongside early films to show how artists and audiences of that period grappled with the new visual technology. The moving pictures on view are drawn primarily from the Edison, Lumière, and American Mutoscope and Biograph companies while the paintings are by such artists as Thomas Eakins, George Luks, John Sloan, and George Bellows. This important exhibition, which includes over 150 paintings, posters, and photographs and 50 films, follows the 1880 experiments of Eadward Muybridge and other motion photographers through the development of moving picture technology in the 1890s and the wave of creativity the new medium generated among American artists.
''Moving Pictures" consists of some 100 objects in various media -- mostly paintings, but also photographs, prints, posters, comic strips, and flip books. The objects are juxtaposed with short films from the period, which run continually on 46 flat-panel screens. In sheer visual terms, the effect is intoxicating. Imagine a fin de siecle salon that somehow includes video art. Considered simply as an installation, ''Moving Pictures" is bold and memorable."
The show comprises four sections. ''Early Film and American Artistic Traditions" examines how much early cameramen drew on preexisting artistic traditions for their subject matter. ''The Body in Motion" and ''The City in Motion" present the clearest impact film had on painting and related arts, through its unprecedented kineticism. (''Film" in this case includes the medium's slightly earlier precursor, the photographic motion studies of Eadweard Muybridge and Etienne-Jules Marey.) Finally, ''Art and Film: Interactions" shows the interest in early movies of specific artists, such as John Sloan, and how poster artists and others addressed the subject of film in their work. - Mark Feeney, Boston Globe
Edward Hopper. New York Movie; (1939) Museum of Modern Art: New York, NY
Myself, I can't help but look at an Edward Hopper painting without thinking about film.
October 12, 2005
The Japan Foundation publishes biannually a critical guide to the asian art scene. I picked up a copy while in Tokyo.
"This guidebook was compiled for readers who may want to visit Asian cities to see the local contemporary art scene, those who are looking for partners and collaborators for an exchange program with arts professionals, those who are carrying out research, and many others who are interested in Asia and would like to access local information."
170 contemporary art spaces in 16 countries/region in the Asia-Pacific region (China, Hong Kong, Taiwan, Japan, Korea, Indonesia, Malaysia, The Philippines, Singapore, Thailand, Vietnam, Bangladesh, India, Pakistan, Sri Lanka, Australia), with (1) overview text introducing the contemporary art scene in each country, (2) outline of each contemporary art spaces with contact information, and (3) art museum and commercial gallery supplement for selected countries.
It's better than an american express card, which, I don't have.
For more information at the Japan Foundation.
October 11, 2005
The above image is from an art collaboration between Ben Sisto and I during the summer of 2001 in Boston, using vinyl text, regarding the issue of the US Navy in Vieques. The installation involved the reappropriation of the Boston subway information graphics system for the distribution of a bilingual message (english/spanish). This work was done as a part of the class, "Guerilla Installations" within the Studio for Interrelated Media (SIM) department at the Massachusetts College of Art. Another art work dealing with the issue of Vieques was shown at the 2004 Gwangju Biennale by the artist team of Jennifer Allora and Guillermo Calzadilla entitled "Returning a Sound" - which also has a Boston connection - Jennifer and Guillermo spent a couple years in Cambridge at MIT where we shared classes such as the Interrogative Design Workshop.
Next is an image from the Pocheon Asian Art Festival in Korea last month, located on artist Ju-young Lee's blog. The night before the exhibition opening, Bangkok-based artist Manit Sriwanichpoom and I gave her a helping hand with her installation also using vinyl text. Installing is harder than it looks.
ArtandLanguage. Vieques Guerilla Installation
MIT. Interrogative Design Workshop
2004 Gwangju Biennale. Returning a Sound
MassArt. Studio for Interrelated Media (SIM)
Korea Times. Pocheon's High Road to Asian Art
The One at NGC 224
Deborah Aschheim (selected by Sandhini Poddar)
Panopticon (Neural Architecture No. 5)
at the Ben Maltz Gallery, Otis College of Art and Design, Los Angeles
2004, Mixed-media installation (plastic, security electronics, light) 1700 sq.ft
Congratulations to Trong on his latest project. Perhaps we'll see his projects in Saigon in the future. In the meantime, if you're in the area, please do check out this exhibition. - RST
October 15 - November 14, 2005
Reception: Saturday, October 15, 8-11pm
140 Franklin Street, Brooklyn, NY 11222
New General Catalog 224 premieres October 15, 2005 with The One, an exhibition in which eleven guest curators have selected one artist each whose work they feel contains some semblance of “prophetic balance.” Left to each curator to articulate, this loose definition of balance may pertain to the art world itself, or extend into the sociopolitics and spiritualism of a world that often excludes “artistic fundamentalism.” Who couldn’t use another Neo Dio? In an art world where works of fame and notoriety are often devoid of true risk, the curators and artists in The One summon their oracles and set sight on the challenge issued, one fraught with a potential for failure that is perhaps an equal measure of accomplishment and promise.
The curators for The One are: Jayne H. Baum, Erin Donnelly and Susanna Cole (Peekskill Project), Elena Filipovic (Duchamp: On Display, Zabriskie Gallery), Ingrid LaFleur, Trong G. Nguyen, Olu Oguibe (Authentic/Ex-Centric at the 49th Venice Biennale), Chika Okeke (2004 Gwangju Biennale), Sandhini Poddar (Cue Art Foundation), Praxis (artists, 2002 Whitney Biennial), Ashkan Sahihi (100 Million in Ready Cash, Akureyri Museum), and Marketa Uhlirova (Central Saint Martins College of Art and Design, London).
The artists are Deborah Aschheim, Elena Bajo, David Bowie, Monika Goetz, Elin Hansdottir, Marla Hlady, Emily Jacir, Tomo Savic-Gecan, John Noestheden, Fahamu Pecou, Katerina Seda, and Emna Zghal.
NGC 224 is a project by New York based artist and independent curator Trong G. Nguyen. From 2000 to 2003, Nguyen was the associate director of Zabriskie Gallery. Curated shows include Eleven Nguyens and the Thirty Year Loss (PH Gallery), amBUSH! (Van Brunt Gallery), From New York with Love (Covivant Gallery), Miraculous: Contemporary Exvotos Paintings (chezTGN), and Who? Me? Role Play in Self-Portrait Photography (Zabriskie Gallery).
For more information
New General Catalog 224
October 10, 2005
Battle of Trafalgar (Square)
Five years ago, the installation of artist Rachel Whiteread's work, "Monument of Trafalgar Square", became an occasion for outcry from both the public and within the arts community. Recent tradition has reserved the empty plinth in the square for the exhibition of revolving artwork, selected by committee. Ms. Whiteread's monument is a cast of the plinth, inverted and placed on top of itself. In today's New York Times, the latest work to occupy the plinth is, "Alison Lapper Pregnant," artist Marc Quinn's sculpture of his friend who was born with shortened legs and without arms has again both critics and the public split. I think the statue is perfect.
As questions of physical disability and art continue in Londong, across the channel in Paris, another debate on art and disability burns. This type it's about mental disability. The Guardina reports in Paris revolts over morbid artwork, "An incomprehensible screed of words carved by a grief-stricken schizophrenic French farmer into his bedroom floor has become Paris's most controversial new art exhibit."
New York Times. In Trafalgar Square, Much Ado About Statuary
The Guardian Unlimited. Whiteread's reminder of modernist ideals defies sentimentality
The Guardian Unlimited. Paris revolts over morbid artwork
October 08, 2005
Joan Jonas at Dia:Beacon
The Scent, the Shape, the Feel of Things
Dia:Beacon, Riggio Galleries
Performances on October 8,9,15,16,22,23 at 2PM
Dia presents a new performance by Joan Jonas, which responds to German art historian Aby Warburg’s essay about his visit to the American Southwest. Jason Moran, who will perform live on the piano, has composed new music for this collaborative work.
Tickets are $15 general, $10 students and seniors, and $3 members. Tickets include museum admission. To reserve a ticket, please call 845 440 0100 x44
Dia:Art Center: Beacon
Joan Jonas is an amazing artist and who is among the American pioneers of experimental art performance and video art initiated the sixties. She continues to develop new work, teach and collaborate worldwide. I had the good fortune to have studied under her during my undergraduate years.
MIT. Translation: A video/performance workshop
October 06, 2005
Populations versus Popular Nations
Who hasn't looked at a map of the world upside down (South at the top) and been doubly fascinated and disoriented by the shape of our reality? The other day, I came across a recent list of the largest 50 countries ranked by population. The top five offered no real suprises: in order China, India, United States, Indonesia with Brazil edging out Russia as the fifth. Rounding out the next were Pakistan, Bangladesh, Japan and Nigeria.
I was amazed that Vietnam, with a population of 86 million people, weighs in at number 14 among the largest nations in the world (Mexico, Germany and the Philippines rank 11-13). Germany and Nigeria are respectively the sole European and African nations larger than Vietnam. Vietnam is larger by population than France, Egypt, Thailand, the United Kingdom, Italy, South Korea, Spain and Poland. Iraq, Taiwan, Saudi Arabia, North Korea, Afghanistan, Canada, Peru and South Africa do not figure in the top 30 (yet are among the top 50 with Ghana occupying the last slot. Australia misses the cut at number 51 with a 2002 census of 19,546,000 people.
October 05, 2005
Goodbye, Lenin (*)
One of the most enduring cinematic images is that of a gigantic concrete Lenin, disassembled and floating down a river tied to a barge. The scene occurs in Theo Angelopoulos' film, Ulysses' Gaze, where a Greek filmmaker exiled to the United States, returns to his native Ptolemas to attend a special screening of one of his extremely controversial films. Met with political opposition in his homeland, he decides then to instead to search for the mythical reels of the very first film shot by the Manakia brothers, who were contemporaries of early filmmakers such as the Lumiere brothers. At the end of the film, the protagonist is able to salvage the Manakia brothers film reel only to see a blank, white screen.
The New York Times reports yesterday that in Russia, many are advocating for the removal of the embalmed body of Lenin from Red Square. Those advocates argue that Lenin himself wished to be buried and while Lenin's ideas where significant in their own time, they have for years been obsolete in the modern Russian state. However, for as many who wish to have the body of Lenin removed there are those that prefer him to be left as he is. The debate and the final decision will have as much to say about the future of Russia, a state whose world influence continues to wane, as it does memory.
As vivid are the images of the dissected Lenin in Angelopolous' fim are the real images of Saddam Hussein's figure being torn from it's base, the dismembered arm of Mao at the Factory 798; and Jian-Guo Sui's 3.25 meter high stainless steel Mao jacket (without the Mao) entitled Chinese Legacy Mantle.
(*) Goodbye, Lenin (2003) is the title of a feature film by Wolgang Becker where in 1990, to protect his fragile mother from a fatal shock after a long coma; a young man must keep her from learning that her beloved nation of East Germany as she knew it has disappeared.
New York Times. With Lenin's Ideas Dead, Russia Weighs What to Do With Body
New York Times. China's Long March Is Retraced With Artistic Steps
IMDB. Ulysses' Gaze
IMDB. Goodbye, Lenin
October 03, 2005
Notebooks and Easels
It's been a month of equipment changes. A couple of weeks before I was forced to replace my IBM Thinkpad with a second-hand Dell ultraportable. Yesterday, my second piece arrived. A brand-spanking new, handbuilt, double-sided, H-Frame painting easel (with 20 meters of prepared 1.5m canvas). This beauty can accommodate nearly a 7-foot canvas. I'll be using both new acquisitions toward my next project. A series of large paintings, perhaps 2x1.5 meters. I don't have any travel commitments until November, this hopefully will be productive time in the studio. I feel good about getting back to work.