Sunday, May 25, 2008

Build a Portable Screen

I do a lot of projection installations, in unique locations, usually with about zero setup time. When I looked into buying a professional 10’x7’ “fast-fold” screen, I was blown away by how much they cost. Instead, I decided to design my own, using easy to find materials.
The Challenge:1. Fast to set-up2. Fits in a cab3. Front or rear projection4. Affordable
Tools:Sewing machineScissorsPipe cutter ($20 most hardware stores)
Materials:Aluminum Electrical Conduit ($11 for 10’ pole)4 Aluminum Elbow Joints (”Speed-Rail” brand, 1” dia. roughly $10 each)Front Projection Material (Dazian in NJ, $110 for 9’x7’)OR Rear Projection Material (Dazian again, $170 for 9’x7’)Lycra Fabric (strong, not thin stuff), stretches in both directions (most fabric stores, $16 for 3 yards)
1. Once you have all the parts, lay out the screen material.
2. Cut out the stretchy lycra material 12” wide by 7′. You’ll need two strips this size. Its what keeps the screen tight to the frame.
3. Put your sewing machine on wheels. I used a 1’ sq. piece of pegboard with small wheels attached. Its a lot easier to move the sewing machine than the whole screen and lycra roll.

4. Pin the lycra to the screen, with about 2” overlap on the front and back, sandwiching the screen material between lycra. You’re making a sleeve for a pole to go through, tent-style.
5.Wheel the sewing machine along this seam, with a very wide zig-zag stitch. Don’t over-sew, as the screen material has a tendency to rip when there’s too much stitching. Thicker thread is better for the same reason. Again, fewer stitches is stronger, as the vinyl can rip easier with a lot of holes in it from too many stitches
6. Cut the aluminum conduit. Allow for space to stretch the lycra. Poles should be about 6” wider than your actual material (3″ per side). This is a very tricky step, and may require cutting the pipes to allow the screen to stretch enough, but not too much, on the horizontal. Cut them down in small increments until the screen is held tightly by the lycra.
That’s it!
To make the screen cab-ready, the poles have to be cut down to 5’ lengths. Luckily, aluminum conduit comes with couplers and screw ends, and the 10’ poles can simply be cut in half. The 7’ poles cut down as well, but you have to cut out the middle 3’, so you can keep both ends.
If you need it to be free-standing, cut some small poles and put them perpindicular to the screen in the elbow joints. If you need it hung up, use an eyehook in the speedrail joint instead of the allen wrench screw. I often will get rid of all the allen screws, replacing them with eye hook screws, so I don’t have to track down an allen wrench at 6 in the morning when tearing down…sigh. We learn….
This screen design comes from lots of trial and error. It looks very professional, but costs so much less than a 9′ x 7′ pro screen. And, because all the parts are pretty easy to find, its simple to adapt the frame to different screen sizes.

Thursday, May 22, 2008

Liberate Your Avatar
An interactive public video art installation incorporating Second Life users in a real life environment. Located on All Saints Gardens, Oxford Road, Manchester, for the Urban Screens Festival, October 12th 2007 from 5pm to 6pm.
The merged realities of ‘All Saints Gardens’ on Oxford Road, and its online three-dimensional counterpart in ‘Second Life’ will, for the first time, allow ‘first life’ visitors and ‘second life’ avatars to coexist and share the same park bench in a live interactive public video installation. Entering into this feedback loop through a portal between these two parallel worlds this event exposes the identity paradox in Second Life. ‘Liberate your Avatar’ examines this new crisis and reflects the history of ‘All Saints Gardens’, relocating Emmeline Pankhurst as an avatar within ‘Second Life’ where she remains locked to the railings of ‘All Saints Gardens’.

Sunday, May 18, 2008

Victims’ Symptom

commissioned by LabforCulture and curated by *Ana Peraica* (Croatia/The Netherlands)
Is the cultural production of victims preventing us from seeing the actual victims? Why does the mass media prefer to talk in terms of numbers? Are we losing our capacity for empathy? These are just some of the questions explored in the Victims’ Symptom project through critical texts, commissioned artworks, interviews and reflections by the curator and a number of renowned theorists and artists.

Friday, May 16, 2008

Marnix De Nijs

As an artist, De Nijs shows how culture acts upon our senses, and he expresses this in a great variety of ways, making use of continually-changing technology. This allows him to emphasise a new role for the artist that seems to have been established by our developing culture of technology. De Nijs describes himself and his work as recognition of the dynamic collision of bodies, machines and other media.

Thursday, May 15, 2008


Included in the exhibition are several works from the artist’s Emotional Architecture series, each related to a particular place: sony/wmf/pp (1994-2003) to Amsterdam, Sample City (2005) to Bucharest, Romania, Trip (2006) to Tallinn, Estonia, and the new work inspired by Charleston. Using documentary images from the 1886 earthquake preserved in the holdings of the South Caroliniana Library at the University of South Carolina, nineteenth and twentieth century photographs from area archives, audio from films such as The Patriot, and video material gathered on-site, Dan focuses our attention on the complex, mixing layers of time and experience left on our buildings, on our city, and on our culture—and what we make of them in our lives today. For Dan, these images contain the ghostly traces of the past that leave fissures on our present—like the post-earthquake fissures left on the landscape, the cracks in the structure of Randolph Hall, and the remnants of history that project into our present. Fissures > are also separating forces, cracks that open between spaces, allowing us to manipulate what we see and understand about our environment.

Wednesday, May 14, 2008

Rainbow Platform - An initiative under the European Year of Intercultural Dialogue 2008

Your Europe - contribute to the diversity consultation.
From now until 16 May you can rewrite how Europe should tackle cultural diversity. Help shape the future by going online and responding to a paper produced by the 'Rainbow Platform' - Civil Society Platform for Intercultural Dialogue, an initiative of the ECF and Culture Action Europe (EFAH) - facilitated by LabforCulture.
You can comment on the recommendations in the paper and even add your own submissions! Just log on to the site> quickly register, read Rainbow Paper II and contribute your comments/changes. This paper brings many issues of intercultural dialogue to the fore. Should there be a system of monitoring and reporting on the practice of intercultural dialogue, and if so, who should do this? Is it right that the EU should 'mainstream' diversity policies in its various programmes? Can there be an agreed 'European standard' for supporting culture?
The set of recommendations is very much a work-in-progress. Your constructive feedback is absolutely vital. The results will be discussed at a plenary meeting of the Rainbow Platform in Brussels on June 4th 2008 - the same date on which the Platform becomes an officially recognised discussion partner with the EU institutions.

Since October 2006 the Rainbow Platform (Civil Society Platform for Intercultural Dialogue) has brought together over 200 organisations from many sectors to share intercultural dialogue practices and discuss links to policy. The results were made public in January 2008 ( Rainbow Paper I ) and have been built upon since: Rainbow Paper II is now ready for on-line consultation.

The Platform was initiated by EFAH and ECF and is supported by a grouping of European foundations: an attempt to strike links between the thinking on cultural diversity in the arts and culture with that of organisations in the fields of life-long-learning, youth, social affairs, anti-racism, minority rights and inter-religious dialogue. The Platform engages with the political process under the European Year of Intercultural Dialogue 2008 and beyond.

For details go to
ECF:Advocacy Actions
EFAH:Civil Society Platform for Intercultural Dialogue

Tuesday, May 13, 2008

Encounters with Civilization: From Alexander the Great to Mother Teresa By GEZIM ALPION

Spotlight: Strangers with human faces?

The reader has a vast repertoire of narrative styles to engage with... A review by Bonita Aleaz

Encounters with Civilization: From Alexander the Great to Mother Teresa (A collection of essays on Albania, Egypt, the United Kingdom and India written between 1993 and 2006)

Meteor Books in association with St. Xavier's College, 2008
Price: $19.95

The last paragraph of the foreword by Gaston Roberge perhaps foregrounds and becomes the running theme of the book under review. Gezim Alpion is a foreigner 'encountering' diverse life styles, ideologies and processes. He is positioned in Britain but typifies the deep-seated pathos of the foreigner, experienced universally down the ages. He remains the perpetual onlooker, desirous of inclusion, but is subject to 'social closure'. However, the work does not end on a pessimistic note, rather it foregrounds the essentiality of definitive faith in the human person, and it is this that ultimately underlines continuity of civilizations. Encounters with Civilizations from Alexander the Great to Mother Teresa spans centuries and cultures, but despite the apparent impossibility of encapsulating within a slim volume the extreme diversity of cultures chronologically quite distinct from each other, there is a running theme that provides the link. It is a work on Albanians as the 'other' in different locales encountering different cultures, and Gezim is the distant Albanian onlooker recounting the varieties of 'social closure' encountered /negotiated or even pulverized by his compatriots in different time periods. The locales visited are Albania, Egypt, Britain, and India and the styles of narration adopted are equally varied. They range from the dialogue style of drama, imaginary conversations with a ghost, to the mournful cry narrated by a native on seeing his land being vilified in the name of progress. The reader has a vast repertoire of narrative styles to engage with. Two important behavioural traits appear throughout the book and the author has taken considerable pains to weave the manifestations of these traits in each of the locales presented in the book. These are 'foreigner complex' and 'social closure'. The saga of Muhammad Ali is not very well known. Generally referred to as the founder of modern Egypt, Ali was an Albanian and had been registered with the Sultan of Turkey's army. He was deputed to Egypt, then under the Turkish Sultanate to restore the authority of the Porte to a chaotic Egypt. The country had been reeling under waves of alien rule since centuries, the Polemic Pharaohs who originated from Greece, the subsequent Roman suzerainty; the Mamluk overlordship; the Ottoman, the French and finally British rule. So there were ample historical records to almost institutionalize Egypt's 'foreigner complex'. It was Mohammed Ali who set in motion the reverse process, initiating the military, economic and cultural rebirth of the country. The Albanian veneration for cultural antiquity was used to re-impose the concept of worth for one's own culture and national pride. Foreigner complex is actually a double-edged behavioural trait. It may develop both within the foreign ruler towards the subject 'other', or among the subjects towards the alien ruler. Ruth Phillips Martinez believes that an average human being's inner reaction to 'foreigners' is the same as that of canines, both bare their teeth at each other. This is primitive instinct borne of distrust and animosity. Foreigners in different lands to a large extent carry their "national" gods with them. To what extent blind adherence of the same is resorted to by the foreign ruler or to what extent such influences are sought to be curbed, depends on the motivation of the ruler. On the other hand, the perception of inferiority, in lifestyles and speech may inbreed rebelliousness among the subject people, which eventually can have different outlets, revivals of ancient cultural traits being one form. The north-eastern tribal communities of India effected a backlash against monolithic christianizing processes and near total denigration of their past. There has been a tremendous surge towards rewriting their history through indigenous lenses today; this is coupled with even state sponsored 'revivals' of ritualistic cultural practices. The Kosovars of Albania on the other hand are unfortunate indeed in not having experienced the largesse of a ruler such as Muhammad Ali. They remain under foreign occupation denuded totally of any hopes for total autonomy or even of peace. The treatment meted to Albania by the European occupation is in keeping with, as Gezim explains in a different section altogether, the imagery of the 'backward' and 'strangest' state in Europe, in the British media. Racial prejudice towards the Balkans is not new but goes back to the period of Octavius Caesar, who crowned himself King of Egypt in 32 BC, since then the West has relentlessly pursued the looting and plundering of 'inferior' cultures and civilizations. In order to retain its political and subsequent economic dominance over the eastern parts of Europe, the continuous maligning of the 'infidel' became a routine exercise. Gezim notes with some emotion, the maligning enters fiction, particularly children's fiction. JK Rowling the creator of the famous Harry Potter series, in at least three of her novels posits Albania as the hapless area, housing the evil 'darklord' Voldemort; Agatha Christie, and Herge, the creator of the Tintin series have equally typified the Balkans as harbouring evil, mystery, ignorance, set apart from the civilized sophistication achieved by the West. There have also been instances where the Balkans have appeared in writings of authors who have never visited the area, setting the trend for what is referred to by K.E.Fleming as "fictional Balkan woods". A content analysis of British newspapers published between 2001 and 2006 shows a spate of articles showing Albania's skewed presence, all of them at a time when " Albania had experienced political stability, law and order… (was) maintained across the country, and many Albanians (had) seen an increase in their savings and a significant improvement in their living standards."(p109) The implication here is that there is a deliberateness manifested in, and through the media to retain the imagery of Eastern Europe's confused chaotic state vis-a-vis the progress and sophistication of Western Europe. Social closure is the other significant issue dealt with, in the book. Even though British Home Office statistics reveal that asylum seekers constitute 2-3 per cent of the population, recent polls have shown a vastly inflated figure: such people constitute 23 per cent of the country's population. It can be argued according to the author that the tabloid press is largely responsible for the reported and unreported racial tensions in recent years. The almost paranoid reaction to such reporting can well be imagined, since the tabloid readers often read " anything else". A report in The Guardian perhaps best sums up the extent of 'social closure ' in vogue in Britain against immigrant skilled/ unskilled labour: "More than half of university staff is employed on short-term contracts. Those requiring work permits have no right to stay in the country once the contract expires…It is hard to imagine a more effective way of keeping your workforce passive and afraid". (The Guardian, 23/7/2003). Gezim does not disclose personal experiences of immigrant university professors, perhaps it is an extremely delicate issue. However, his slim volume contains a remarkable play that he authored. If only the dead could listen has been staged across Europe to packed audiences. This perhaps brings out most significantly the piteous state of the outsider, when confronting another similarly positioned on foreign soil. The Indian component in the book has portions on Mother Teresa, the Albanian in Indian soil. Most of it refers to passages from his earlier work Mother Teresa: Saint or Celebrity? with some additional information provided by the editor. The book has important messages for those wishing to seek their futures on foreign soil, though Indians' wishing to relocate in their pursuit of the elusive 'better futures' do not officially categorize as asylum seekers, yet, they become equally subject to behavioural traits such as foreigner complex and social closure in the areas supposed to furbish such futures. (The reviewer teaches in the Department of Political Science, Calcutta University)

Friday, May 9, 2008

Sabine Claus

Postgraduate Diploma Report "basic movements in hi-tech"

Master of Science in Electronic Imaging
Master of Science Report
"LIFE COULD BE A DREAM-Fascination of the physical interactions between art and viewer"

Shaky Frog


In My Language

"The first part is in my "native language," and then the second part provides a translation, or at least an explanation. This is not a look-at-the-autie gawking freakshow as much as it is a statement about what gets considered thought, intelligence, personhood, language, and communication, and what does not."
by Amanda Baggs (or "silentmiaow")

antisocial notworking

'antisocial notworking' is a repository of projects that explore the pseudo-agency of online social platforms. It takes a number of recent software projects as its inspiration to reflect upon the fashion for 'participation' with the arts sector and culture in general. The concern is how the Internet is increasingly charactised as a 'platform' (or collective machine) for 'social' uses, but to question what is meant by the term social in such descriptions. Although social networking platforms rely on user-generated content, what is the nature of this participation? What alternatives (or antitheses) can be identified?
By 'anti-social', I do not mean (to be) unfriendly but to highlight that social networking platforms are already anti-social in as much as they display contradictory tendencies (both connecting and disconnecting socialities). In this way, and undoubtedly part of a backlash to the popularity of social networking in general, I am not referring to 'antisocial web' sites such as Hatebook that enable you to create a list of people that you don't want to be friends with (as opposed to Facebook that allows you to collect friends).
To submit a project, go to:
The projects and other online resources are available as part of the subdomain 'project.arnolfini' - an online experimental production and management system:

Tuesday, May 6, 2008

CHArt - Computers and the History of Art
CHArt was established in 1985 by art and design historians who happened also to be computer enthusiasts. Initially a forum for the exchange of ideas between people who were using computers in their research, the largely academic membership was soon augmented by members from museums and art galleries, as well as individuals involved in the management of the visual and textual archives and libraries relevant to the subject.

Seeing... Vision and Perception in a Digital Culture
This year's CHArt conference takes seeing as its theme and the associated questions of vision, perception, visibility and invisibility, blindness and insight - all in the context of our contemporary digital culture in which our eyes are assaulted by ever greater amounts of visual stimulus, while we are also increasingly being surveyed, on a continual basis.
What does it mean to see and be seen nowadays? How have advances in neuroscience or developments in technology altered our understanding of vision and perception? What kind of visual spaces do we now inhabit? What new kinds of visual experiences are now available? And what are now lost or no longer possible? How does the increasing digitalisation of media affect the experience of seeing? What and who might be rendered invisible by the processes of digital culture? What are our current digital culture's blindspots? What are its politics of seeing?


DATA MEANINGS EXHIBITION @ Rencontres Internationales Paris/Berlin/MadridMadrid, 5th to 14th of may 2008

Sunday, May 4, 2008

One of the hits of this year's SXSW was the 25-minute short, Glory at Sea. Set in a magically real, emotionally honest post-Katrina New Orleans, the film is something of a mini-epic, a grand tale of outsized, heartbreaking ambition set against both a devastated city and the boundlessness of the open waters. The story of Ben Zeitlin's film, unfortunately, did not end with its triumphant Austin premiere. Zeitlin and members of his crew were injured in a serious car accident on the way to a screening. The uninsured Zeitlin broke his hip and pelvis and has two sprained ankles. So, the upcoming New York screening this Saturday is not only your chance to see a great film but also your chance to help Zeitlin pay his medical bills, as proceeds will go towards defraying his $80,000 worth of expenses. There's also an Austin screening on April 29 that is also a medical-bill fundraiser. (And if these screenings sell out, which I'm sure they will, please consider donating.)In case I haven't been convincing enough, I'll quote here Michael Tully from an email he sent around urging people to attend the screening:
Glory at Sea should be taught in film schools from this point forth. In only 25 minutes, it has the emotional gravity and impact of a feature four times its length. On a production level, I consider it to be more Herzog than Herzog. On an emotional level, is spiritually transcendent and indescribably powerful. It also has one of my favorite scores of all-time. Do yourself a favor and buy a ticket for this special screening of Glory at Sea. If there's a way for me to be there, I will be. For now, I will simply watch it again and succumb to its reckless, daring, brilliant magic.

Thursday, May 1, 2008

RIXC, Centre for New Media Culture

Recently founded Centre for new media culture in Riga - the RIXC is the joint effort of a number of independent local cultural groups working in the fields of new media, art, film, music, youth culture and the social projects. The founders of RIXC are E-LAB - Electronic Arts and Media Centre (, LOCOMOTIVE- film studio ( and BALTIC CENTER - NGO for education and social development; members and partners include: SVAIGS99% (,, Djs AG & Raitis, VARKA CREW, F5, OPEN, CLAUSTHOME, ORBITA (, K@2 (, and others.
The aim of the centre is to bridge the traditional gap between 'high' and popular culture and the divisions between various youth, sub- and minority cultures. The RIXC intends to become a meeting place for different types of culture on local and international scale.
The main fields of activities include:- organising of public events (festivals, workshops, performances, club events, etc.)- Media lab - production space, where different artistic disciplines can meet and collaborate (video, film, audio, cd-rom and web design, electronic music,…) - Training programmes - specially geared towards specific target groups (artists, young people, minorities and local ethnical groups, administrators and managers of the media centres, etc.)- Educational and social programmes- Research into the fields of new media and culture, particularly in streaming media (developing of Acoustic space research programme).
RIXC is the member of NICE network (Nordic-Baltic-North-East European network for small scale innovative initiatives in the field of new media culture (, and takes part in other international and cross disciplinary networks, co-projects and mailing-lists in the field of new media culture in Europe, Canada and other parts of the world.

Kenneth Tin-Kin Hung,the-madcap-laughs,411751,13.html