Sunday, February 28, 2010


...And its use.


an area of ground with reference to its nature or composition: arable land.

I feel that "Land" is a topic that must be addressed due to the prevalence of what i am photographing in my practice. Land is the focal point of my studies, and its interpretation and use. My work becomes a document of a great and vast landscape that is in our modern day periphery, it's about the relation between the natural space that remains of our land and its mapping, use, structure, and its man made manipulation. I am focusing on the biking trails throughout our country, it's a vast collection of paths into the known and unknown. Many are built around state parks as a recreational activity and offer a juxtaposition of natural and altered beauty. The objects and spaces that I tend to photograph are primarily in heavily forested and relatively mountainous areas, away from the daily grinds of modern life. They suggest a sublimity, but also question the use of our "natural" space. The way I've been viewing these areas of land use is in a mainly neutral way, not condemning or justifying them in anyway, but rather documenting and allowing us to truly interpret the many uses of the land we've come to call our own. The photographs are devoid of people, allowing us to decipher the trails we create through our natural landscape.

"By blurring the lines between art and activism CLUI are able to draw to draw in diverse communities and get them to collectively think about the ways in which the land is being used and abused, stressing the cultural implications of such misuse."

-Denise Markonish
From the article "Manifest Destiny to Global Warming: A Pre-Apocalyptic View of Landscape" in the book "Badlands: New Horizons in Landscape"

Alexis Rockman (painter)

South (panel 1) 2008 Oil on gessoed paper 77 x 53 inches

South (panel 2) 2008 Oil on gessoed paper 77 x 53 inches

South. 2008. Oil on gessoed paper. 75 x 358 3/4 inches

Alexis Rockman is an artist living and working in New York City. He recieved his BFA from RISD and his MFA from School of Visual Arts.

I chose Alexis Rockman and his his work on Icebergs in Antarctica because I love the representation and attention to detail that is presented in the paintings. Rockman used some contacts of his to make this journey possible, he took a 12 days exploration to the Antarctic and primarily used photography as a note taking device, he really wanted to do something different with his art, and realized that these icebergs are rarely documented as an art form, and the artists previous to him only primarily did anthropological sketches. The idea for the panoramic and under and oversea viewpoint was his realization to create these pieces. These were ways of presentation that hadn't been used yet. Within these works he reveals to us a grandiose landscape that is under much scrutiny in modern times due to the principles of global warming. Even just a few days ago i had heard about huge blocks of ice ready to break off the barren continent. This work brings a visual depiction and awareness that is rarely seen by any; these works are to inform his viewers about the on going dialogue that is global human behavior/effect and the natural landscape and beauty that exists in our world.


Unlike the more illustrative paintings from earlier in his career (he once worked as a columnist and illustrator for Natural History magazine), this recent work makes you want to grope for words like "bravura" and "tour-de-force." But in emotional tenor, these paintings - referred to by the artist as his "weather series" - are almost impossible to tell apart.

Rockman has a reputation as an activist in the fight against environmental desecration: He made a huge splash in 2004 with a giant painting of New York as it might look (mostly submerged) a millennium from now. But in an interview published in the show's catalog, he expresses a desire to free himself from the burden of being labeled an artist-advocate. Now, he says, he's thinking much more about "painterly opportunities."

Rockman gives over the largest part of most of these works to descriptions of dra matic natural phenomena. The idiom recalls both the painterly vigor of Abstract Expressionism and the feeling for the sublime in J.M.W. Turner's late work. The virtuosic paint handling is constantly breaking free from mere description and taking on a life of its own. Thus the artist evokes the volatility of extreme natural phenomena, along with their potential for mind-cracking beauty.

-Sebastian Smee

From the Article "An inconvenient truth in Alexis Rockman's work" From the Boston Globe by Sebastian Smee . June 13, 2008


Position: N 41° 53' 03,4" E 087° 46' 06,8". Area: 160 m2. Chicago, USA.

Position: N 44° 36' 03,2'' E 001° 15' 04,6''. Area: 1100 m2. Les Arques, France.

Position: N 43° 17' 48,1'' E 000° 22' 21''. Area: 400 m2. Pau, France.

Position: N 57° 20' 04,5" E 010° 30' 56,5". Area: 160 m2. Sæby, Denmark.

All parts of LAND are marked with a cairn (height 1 m). The cairns have a frame of stainless acid resistant steel and built-in tanks of PE-plastic. The tanks are equipped with a transparent lid of polycarbonate, tightened with rubber strips.
There is a manual and other equipment in the tanks. Apart from this, the configuration and size of the cairns will be modified according to the sites and their requirements.

What I am interested in about LAND is the ideas that are presented with their geographical locations and the use of mapping, cartography, property, communication and public use of the land. The primary point of LAND is "to create situations with a concrete and fundamental significance to daily life, which at the same time have aesthetic and ethical consequences." This allows LAND to allow people to use private space and make it public by the mere use of decision. This idea to me and I feel to others is a hard concept to grasp. The terminology that LAND uses at times can confuse, but I feel it's very to the point. The land that is selected and allowed to be used as a public space reveals questions of what cities, towns, countries use for private and public space. A Dialogue occurs when viewing said spaces and we the viewer can accept and examine these places.


N55 formed in 1996 when its six members chose to share their living space in Copenhagen. Their rst show at the Louisiana Museum of Modern Art in 1996 consisted of “…a table and chairs, a pot plant, a jug of orange juice, their own manifesto and a photocopier which visitors were invited to use.” (Lock) Described by Lars Bang Larsen as “domestic Situationism,” N55’s projects consist of re-creations of items used in every-day life, such as living spaces, furniture, washing systems, and food cultivation systems re-worked from the viewpoint that humans share equal rights to property and the necessities for living. For every object N55 designs, they also write a manual describing in detail how to manufacture it, distributing the manuals free of charge from their website In addition to the manuals, N55 posts writings regarding their philosophies,
interviews they’ve had with other artists and critics and pieces of music to be played while reading the various manuals and discussions on this site.

In her article Systemic Inexhaustion, Nana Last explains how N55’s work extends beyond the reductive logic of earlier conceptual work by artists such as Sol LeWitt through their use of internet distribution. She states, “Dissemination of these ideas and distribution of the procedures for their construction are essential compo-nents of the work itself, so that information systems are as much a site of production, inquiry and life support as are the physical units that form the various modules of inhabitation.” (Lake 118-119) Through dissemina-tion, the works can be re-built, and also changed by builders, allowing the pieces to take on lives of their own.

-Katy Asher

Isabelle Hayeur

Au seuil de la nuit 2004 49" X 136" C-Print

Jour de nuit 2006 60" X 64" C-Print

Lot 2008 41" X 96" C-Print

Untitled Legacy 2007 30" X 169" C-Print

The Spaces that she examines are contemporary landscapes that have seen major and quick moving changes throughout the last few decades. The mobility of our culture (both physical and through media) and its affects on land have rapidly reconfigured the use of our territory. These spaces are in a constant state of changing in the Americas and the continuing political measures of capitalization continue the ever present segregation and use of private lands. I focused on her, because she is focused on the manipulated landscape and the ever changing ideas of the land. The use is also an important tool that she examines in her work. It also focuses on the degradation of the land in natural and rural areas as well, something that my work focuses on too.

A quote from Her artist Statement that I like the most:

"The strong contrasts found in these compositions and the struggles that light and shadow seem to be engaged in evoke the power relationships involved. In these Nuits , we can see the consequences of the crumbling of the founding values of our societies, and perhaps also the end of a certain “American dream.” They bring together a few viewpoints culled from these “territories of shadow.”"

Full Artist Statement

These images come from a series that begun in 2004 and is still in progress. The pieces produced to date take a fairly wide variety of forms, including panorama, architectural photography and indoor scenes. Their source is urban landscapes in Canada, the United States, Mexico and Argentina. They depict the changes that are occurring at the same time throughout the Americas in today's context of a global economy. These transformations are reshaping our territories and everyday life.

This investigation broaches many indissociable questions. Some of these issues relate to the growing economic disparities and social divisions; others refer to the relocation of the economy and to contemporary forms of urban segregation (like the creation of free trade zones or gated communities). They also tackle the degradation of natural and rural areas. These works thus define a certain current political horizon. They show us working-class neighbourhoods undergoing “gentrification,” business districts, poverty-stricken neighbourhoods, outcasts, run-down apartments and threatened natural areas. These disturbing landscapes reveal the results of State policies of disengagement and privatization of public institutions. We are gradually witnessing a change in the political scene, where multinationals are tending to become societies' key players, with their development strategies having an increasing effect on our daily lives. The metaphor of twilight is used to suggest the many losses stemming from this prospect. The strong contrasts found in these compositions and the struggles that light and shadow seem to be engaged in evoke the power relationships involved. In these Nuits , we can see the consequences of the crumbling of the founding values of our societies, and perhaps also the end of a certain “American dream.” They bring together a few viewpoints culled from these “territories of shadow.”

-Isabelle Hayeur

Anthony Goicolea

Anthony Goicolea | CORN FIELD | © 2002 | 22 x 78 | Ed. 1- 9 C-Print

Anthony Goicolea | SNOWSCAPE | © 2003 | 27 x 27 | Ed. 1- 30 C-Print

What I like about Goicolea's work in his landscape series is that there is no person present in these monumental images, yet there's obvious signs of human activities and presence. He recreates a narrative through past tense using props, staged sets, and theatrical implications in his photographs. Much of my work is without the presence of human life, but there is the presence of human activity. It can be seen in the built up ramps, tracks through the land, and the manipulation of the landscape. I am looking at his work about the developing of a narrative through these post active landscapes. Although my work isn't very narrative based, there's ideas and thoughts that i would like the viewer to pick up on. The use of the land and its manipulation is the primary focus though. But, the past history and action are all main players in the dialogue that is put in front of the viewers in my work and I would like to make more strides to help engage the viewer like Goicolea.

Artist Statement about Landscape Series:

While working on my "Multiple Self-Portrait Series," I became increasingly interested in the locations, sets, and installations I was constructing during production of my photographs. The uniform clad figures in the series evolved into autonomous universal stand-ins for the idea of adolescence and began to play a secondary role to the environments which inspired their actions and with in which they existed.

Influenced by the tradition of nature and the sublime in early and mid 19th century american landscape paintings, my series of landscape photographs treat their environments as hyper exaggerated frontiers in which remnants of past human interaction are evident through left over traces of people and their activities.

The scenarios often resemble what many of my previous sets and locations looked like after a full day of shooting. Many of the scenes are staged or constructed and then further altered through digital manipulation to create a world anchored in reality but predicated on fantasy, fairy-tales, fables, mythology and other narratives.

Although most of the images are devoid of actual human presence, there is a strong sense of humanity established through the wake of their aftermath or in the mimicked behavior of the animals portrayed in each photograph. In "Molting" a forest is rolled in toilet paper as three deer lay witness to the left over high school prank which emulates the hanging scraps of velvet shedding off their antlers. Two abandoned cars and stacks of suit cases filled with school uniforms clutter the foreground of a farming plantation at sunset in "Corn Field". The pastoral landscape displayed in "Cherry Island" is over run by a crowd of birds, ducks, and rabbits in a sicky-sweet, glaringly artificial, idyllic garden scene.

Distorted cinematic proportions play off the horizon line and lend a physical element to the construction of the photo. In "Snowscape," a 60 foot long scene forces the viewer to walk down the length of the photograph to read the image in its entirety. The scene melds three frozen and barren landscapes into one unified winter narrative punctuated with animal skins, snow balls, footprints, clothes-lines, and pee stains. "Poplar Trees" uses its elongated format to convey a passage of time as twilight sets in on the tree lined plane.

Within these landscapes, seemingly realistic environments provide physical evidence and visual proof of an ongoing past narrative. The photographs use the aesthetics and beauty inherent to nature and the sublime to create an exagerated pastoral scene which bares the imprint of time.

-Anthony Goicolea

Jakob Kolding

Untitled (Spaced Out?) (2001) Collage / Xerox copy 70 x 100 cm Unique

Untitled (2001) Print 90 x 90 cm

Untitled (Auckland) (2004) Poster 60 x 42 cm

What drew my eye to Jakob Kolding's work is how he propaganda like posters to create an urban landscape that reflects upon social order, social space, and land use. He uses a very soviet constructivist aesthetic to create these collages and uses the poster, a long lived propaganda tool, to represent his work. His collages are mixed with by the harsh framework of city control and planning, he is at the mixing desk of urban representation. Although they aren't by any means a traditional landscape, they are a social landscape. They include much of what today makes us contemporary, the use of advertising, mass production, economics, and visual literacy. This in essence is the entire concept of landscape, it reveals more information about a certain place due to the use of all of those descriptors.


Can't get it to copy and paste so here's the PDF of Jakob Kolding in ArtForum

Rula Halawani

The Wall 111, 2004. Series of 5 photographs Projected. Dimensions Variable

The Wall 56, 2004. Series of 5 photographs Projected. Dimensions Variable

The Wall 37, 2004. Series of 5 photographs Projected. Dimensions Variable

What has me interested in Rula Halawani's work is how she is using the landscape as a document for social change. The Wall Series is about the construction of a wall in Israel that they call a security wall, while many call it an apartheid wall. The wall is a 72.5 Kilometer long, 8 meter high concrete barrier that cuts through the land near the Qalandia checkpoint. These images are very cold and sterile, a bleak look into a country that is still ripe with territorial disputes and much infighting. her work highlights the way "in which art is capable of capturing the lived experience in an accidental, unplanned, non-monumental urban environment that is struggling for its place on a map, suggesting without explicitly representing the intricate routes of movement that animate a space, fill it with life, but leave no trace, only an empty, trembling scene of impossible closure (P.174)." (Kaelen Wilson-Goldie, from the book "Ideal City - Invisible Cities")


Halawani's series 'Irrational' presents us with wider vistas and panoramas that represent the transformation of landscape that has occurred with the building and expansion of Israeli settlements. In her photographs, Halawani imparts the sense of alienation in relation to the imposition on the landscape with road ways, settlements and the infrastructure for the Apartheid Wall. Taken on winter days while driving in her car, the photographs impart a sense of gloom, foreboding and oppression -- suggested both through the way she has captured the image and their perspective. The settlements always loom overhead, and through her photographs the sense of monumental change that one is unable to affect is suggested. Vis-a-vis the architecture of dominance the individual feels isolated and alienated in what was once a familiar landscape. Halawani's images are very much images of the 'everyday' landscape that Palestinian who are able to move from one location to another see. Settlements on the horizon have become a permanent feature of the Palestinian field of vision.

Halawani is constantly engaged in representing the everyday transformation that occurs on the ground in Palestine. The accumulation of these images are a testimony to the details that become the fabric of monumental historical change which is occurring in Palestine.

-Dr. Tina Sherwell

Full Article Here

Kendell Geers

Suburbia Installation View

From the Suburbia series, 1999. Cibachrome, 30.5 x 40.5 cm

From the Suburbia series, 1999. Cibachrome 40.5 x 30.5 cm

What drew me to Kendell Geers work is the similarity in the photographs that we take. I feel that there's a shared aesthetic between his body of work and mine. Conceptually though, I like the way he reveals this issue of security and private property in South Africa. These presentations the lengths of which people go to so they can protect their lands and homes from the unforeseen. These documents of security seem to be residual effects of apartheid and the segregation of the communities thereafter. He shows us a typology of these safety measures in South Africa and opens a dialogue up about how much safer those measures really make us.

Review (in part):

What is important about the tone and tenor of the questions that framed the Global Cities exhibition is that they were not didactic, and did not seem to shut down discussion and debate about global cities. The questions and statements, as well as the exhibition’s five themes – size, speed, form, density, and diversity – provided visual scaffolding for artists and architects to not only interpret these 10 cities, but also pose a number challenges for their futures.

The exhibition not only locates Johannesburg within a network of global cities, but also positions it within a research framework that is about reading cities through pattern and recognition. There were two photographic projects representing Johannesburg: Kendell Geers’ Suburbia (1999), and the above-mentioned Jo’burg (2004) by Guy Tillim. Through these two bodies of work, the exhibition offered a fairly alienating view of South Africa’s largest city. An Antipodean visitor to the exhibition said of Geers’ photographs of suburban security in South Africa: “It’s a different world that we can’t even begin to relate to.” But then, this is probably a comment that many visitors made about cities on the exhibition that were very different from their own.

The third issue worth considering in relation to research exhibitions is the changing face and identity of ongoing research exhibitions. When grappling with exhibitions that address themselves to a set of ongoing critical questions, there are at least two curatorial issues that need to be considered. The first is a possibility for exhibitions that can and should be pushed, and the second is a limitation in display that needs to be overcome.

-Rory Bester

The Center For Urban Pedagogy

The Cargo Chain, from the Making Policy Public Series. the Map highlights points in the North American transportation system that are vulnrable to activism by organized labor.

From Knoxville: Building Communities. Detail from The City without a Ghetto.

What I really like about this non profit community based organization is their development of information into a physical and visual language. Their Use of mapping in the areas of urban planning are also a great interest of mine. The group was formed by artists, designers, city planners, architects and community activists. They represent their questions, analyzes, and proposals for spatial politics of contemporary life. These maps are ofter fun and playful, very designed, they experiment with form and representation and are great tools for research with pedagogical potential.


Part of CUP's Urban Investigations program, which asks basic questions about how cities work, Bodega Down Bronx delves into the politics and players of New York's network of bodegas. Under the direction of CUP teaching artist Jonathan Bogarín, and working with CUP staff Valeria Mogilevich and Rosten Woo, and intern Sarah Nelson Wright, the student filmmakers researched issues, visited sites, storyboarded scenes, produced props and sets, and conducted interviews. They took their video equipment and question lists to store owners, wholesalers, distributors, drivers, and customers young and old. They met with nutrition professors and diabetes counselors, and with U.S. congresswoman Nydia Velázquez, who sponsored H.R. 5952, the Bodegas as Catalysts for Healthy Living Act (which would have provided grants to bodega owners to install refrigerated cases to stock more perishable produce). Along the way they teased out the cause-and-effect of food cultures, the self-reinforcing cycles (and stereotypes) that have turned some urban neighborhoods into so-called food deserts. Do bodegas stock a lot of snack food because that's what their customers want, or do customers reach for the BBQ-flavored crisps because that's what's available at the bodega?

Like all CUP projects, Bodega Down Bronx is inspired by the conviction that cities and their complex systems and politics can be made legible and transparent — and more, that this transparency is vital for democratic society.

— Nancy Levinson

Full Article here

J. Henry Fair

75 x 50in C-Print 2009
At this fertilizer plant, the phosphate rock is processed with sulfuric acid to convert the phosphate into phosphoric acid, and again with ammonia to produce a diammonium phosphate, which is water soluble and thus available for uptake by roots. For every ton of phosphoric acid, five tons of phosphogypsum waste are produced, which, due to the presence of naturally occurring uranium and radium, is radioactive. Therefore it must be stored in “gyp stacks,” contaminating ground and surface water

75 x 50in C-Print 2009
Dragon shape in phosphate fertilizer mining waste

There comes a real enjoyment when viewing these photographs and also there's a feeling of disappointment. There grandiose aerial photographs are beautiful in the abstraction of the land, yet brutal in the use they depict. Many of his photographs are of industrial sites and complexes disrupting the landscape and creating havoc on the environment. His images depict fertilizer runoff, mining complexes, various chemicals being deposited into the landscape (both natural and man made), and a plethora of other ecological and environmental disasters covered up by corporations and industry. There's an obvious agenda to his work, although he is showing us these beautiful abstractions in the land, the colorful nature of these images are not natural, much is from all of the chemicals that are being deposited into the land. My work is much less environmental than his, but I feel that there are many similarities. I am showing these manipulated landscapes of nature and the paths that we create for recreation. There are many objects and obstacle that have been places into my landscapes and I depict them as a document, much like he does.

Artist Statement:

My work is a response to my vision of society.
I see our culture as being addicted to petroleum and the unsustainable consumption of other natural resources, which seems to portend a future of scarcity. My vision is of a different possibility, arrived at through careful husbandry of resources and adjustment of our desires and consumption patterns toward a future of health and plenty. To gear our civilization toward sustainability does not necessitate sacrifice today, as many naysayers would argue, but simply adjustment. There are many societies existing at present that have a standard of living at least as high as ours while consuming and polluting a fraction of what is the norm in the United States.
As an artist with a message, one asks oneself: how do I translate my message to my medium such that it will effect the change I want?
At first, I photographed “ugly” things; which is, in essence, throwing the issue in people’s faces. Over time, I began to photograph all these things with an eye to making them both beautiful and frightening simultaneously, a seemingly irreconcilable mission, but actually quite achievable given the subject matter.
These are all photographs of things i have found in my explorations.
Other than standard photographic adjustments of contrast, they are unmodified.

-J. Henry Fair

Melissa Brown

New Valdez Oil on Aluminum, 60″ x 120″, 2008

Pond Scum, Oil on Aluminum, 48″ x 48″, 2007

I chose Melissa Brown because of her depiction of land in her apocalyptic landscapes. Much of her work is inspired from sci fi fantasy movies and action thrillers. The painting are a testament to idea of being able to witness the demise of civilization. To be able to sit back and indulge in the psychedelic and surreal aspects over impending death. The idea that there are so many ways that the world can end, there are endless ways of depiction and the dialogue one gets were absorbing the image. I like that the paintings are at times where doom is apparent, yet it appears to be the calm before the storm, everything seems normal to just plain sight, but the landscape is changing. My photography in sorts is depicting an environmental encroachment of people into its space. Although I am just shooting as a document, i allow for the absorption of the image, what does the land tell you? What does the manipulation and use tell you? questions like these are things I would like people to get out of my photographs and analyze what they mean.


Curated by Denise Markonish

Badlands: New Horizons in Landscape
May 24, 2008 - April 12, 2009, 
Building 4, First Floor
From the earliest renderings on cave walls, man has been compelled to depict the world around him. The tradition of portraying the landscape has threaded together movements as varied as the mid-19th century Hudson River School and the Earth Art of the 1960s and ‘70s. Badlands: New Horizons in Landscape, opening Sunday, May 25, 2008, at MASS MoCA (Massachusetts Museum of Contemporary Art) in North Adams, opens the next chapter in the landscape tradition, addressing contemporary ideas of exploration, population of the wilderness, land usage, environmental politics and the relativity of aesthetic beauty.
Badlands comes at this critical time, an era when the world is more ecologically aware yet more desperately in need of solutions than ever before. The artists in this exhibition share this collective anxiety some turn to the past to see how their predecessors negotiated the terrain of the landscape while some propose entirely new ideas. While deeply aware of the legacy of the landscape, each of these artist reinvents the genre to produce works that look beyond vast beauty to address current environmental issues.

How disasters affect the land
Another group of artists addresses both natural and man-made disasters and how they affect the land and its inhabitants. Leila Daw’s large-scale paintings deal with floods and volcanoes and how they impact both the landscape and civilization; in her work the constructed environment is always being wiped out as a lesson to the interlopers. Melissa Brown and J. Henry Fair deal more directly with the beauty of a declining landscape. Brown’s Anime-inspired paintings look like postcard images of national parks until closer examination reveals an oil slick on the surface of the water or a technicolor view of Niagara Falls. Fair’s unaltered aerial photographs seem to capture beautiful abstractions of the landscape, while, in truth, their “beauty” is actually the result of man-made chemical processes that are actively polluting the landscape.

Friday, February 26, 2010

Goals for Feb. 26 - Mar. 5th

My goals for this week are going to be very simple and basically plans for survival.

This weekend I will go revisit Williamsburg, Va where my camera stopped working when the trails started getting good.

I am going to stay relatively local this weekend and Shoot the Buttermilk and Northbank Trails.

Possibly go to Dorey Park in Varina, Va

Must edit all of my photographs and find out where the direction of this project is really going to go.

Finalize Photographs for Midterm Review.

Prepare my questions and answers for the review as well.

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Urban Territories

(Snapshots of my Mapping)


"The development of the metropolis and the rise of photography went hand in hand and would remain closely linked. The modern city and its commercial activities found, through photography, the image that most effectively documented them and gave for to their values."

-Real Lussier

This quote was an eye opener for me, i never really thought of it like that. That there's this undeniable link to technology and the development of cities with photography. It is the source of documentation for the modern societies and now that it's so abundant that its becoming dependent on the use of photography as one of the only means of its validation and justification.

"It would seem that our own ear sanctions, more than ever before, the divide between the city as physical territory and the community of citizens. The principles of transparency, order and visibility in the Modernist conception of large cities have been replaced by fragmentation, dispersion, anarchic development and the alienation caused by the latest transformation of urban space."

-Real Lussier

This again is reiterating, in different words, the break down of our current landscapes in the urban areas of the world. How things are going to be looked at in this day and age. There's segregation happening around us in the form of capitalism and its use of classes. These disconnects are the focal points of many young photographers, who are seeing the in between moments of time and land that create these stories through photography to exhibit meaning into the dialogue.

Lussier, Real. Urban Territories. Geneva: Musée d'art contemporain de Montréal, 2005. Print.

I chose an article from this book because of it's really good descriptions of the new examination of the landscape and its context. There's a cultural reexamination of our current post industrial landscape and this book is trying to organize the chaotic nature of the subject matter.

Monday, February 22, 2010

Six Quotes

"By allowing us to really look at the landscape and see it as a social construct. The landscape in many ways is man-made; it is not like nature, though the two are entwined... artists exploit the sheer physical "beauty' of the natural world, and in doing so, allow us to question its validity and its place within our understanding of the landscape around us."

-Denise Markonish. Badlands new horizons in landscape. Cambridge, MA: MIT, 2008. Print.

I thought this quote was a good barometer to explain the reason of the contemporary landscape and why it's a crucial aspect of art. When photographing beauty, one must remember that its validity is questioned and that its beauty can be in limitless. It also brings up the disconnect between the natural landscape and the man-made landscape and the dialogue that arises from this difference.

"The landscape genre can be seen as a kind of performance, an interaction between land and viewer that is rehearsed endlessly in the presence of the viewer. It may even draw the viewer in. This gives it a spiritual substance. It is an exchange - though not a monetary one - between human and natural. It may even be a kind of giving voice."

-Ginger Strand. (Essay) At the Limits: Landschaft, Landscape, and the Land
Badlands new horizons in landscape. Cambridge, MA: MIT, 2008. Print.

What I take from this is that when a viewer approaches a landscape, there's an interaction that happens between themselves and the land that's presented. There's a presence that attracts viewers to the image and therefore a spiritual connection happens for the space shown.

"In connection with abstract space, a space which is also instrumental (i.e. manipulated by all kinds of 'authorities' of which it is the locus and milieu), a question arises whose full import will become apparent only later. It concerns the silence of the 'users' of this space."

-Lefebvre, Henri. Production of space. Oxford: Blackwell, 1991. Print.

It talks about space as a social construct; space and land have the ability to change our minds and thoughts on certain aspects of living in this world. The landscape is determined by different governing 'authorities' and why we are one to question that aspect of it to become instrumental in the approach. I also like the idea of silence in my photographs, the absence of life in a pristine, yet man manipulated, way.

"The activists depict both natural and man-made environmental disasters, while the pragmatists deal with sustainability, politics of land use, and alternative sources of energy. However, these two groups are inextricably linked; they look at the problems and offer an insight into possible solutions. Adopting both serious and ironic approaches...[They] ultimately take on the responsibility we have to the landscape while at the same time using art to open people's eyes to change."

-Denise Markonish. Badlands new horizons in landscape. Cambridge, MA: MIT, 2008. Print.

This looks at the was that landscape can be used in a political term, whereas photographing a landscape can imply the questioning of ownership and capitalistic and destructive forces being inflicted upon it. Different approaches can be taken, and different meanings applied, but there's always an unavoidable link between the two (activist and pragmatist).

"To give voice to nature in our era is not just an aesthetic act: it's political and activist. The best new work today is pushing beyond the limits, engaging in a dialogue with both landscape and the land. It commits an imaginative act that both makes and is made by the world out there, as well as the I in here."

-Ginger Strand. (Essay) At the Limits: Landschaft, Landscape, and the Land

When dealing with landscapes one gives that space to the world. By revealing the land, we take a broader look at what the land actually is. It becomes open to interpretation of beauty and use.

Badlands new horizons in landscape. Cambridge, MA: MIT, 2008. Print.

"To educate and inform the public about the function and form of the national landscape, a terrestrial system that has been altered to accommodate the complex demands of our society."


Thompson, Nato, and Independent Curators International. Experimental Geography: Radical Approaches to Landscape, Cartography, and Urbanism. New York: Melville House, 2008. Print.

The Center for Land Use Interpretation deals with a vast amount of visual knowledge of the contemporary landscape and its public, private, and government uses. We use lands in so many different functions and by photographing these sites and spaces we are able to open a dialogue about said space.


Badlands new horizons in landscape. Cambridge, MA: MIT, 2008. Print.

Lefebvre, Henri. Production of space. Oxford: Blackwell, 1991. Print.

Thompson, Nato, and Independent Curators International. Experimental Geography: Radical Approaches to Landscape, Cartography, and Urbanism. New York: Melville House, 2008. Print.

Sunday, February 21, 2010

Gregory Halpern

All Images from "Omaha Sketchbook" Sizes Variable. Printed by J&L Books. Edition of 30

Gregory Halpern spent most of his life in Buffalo, New York and shoots most of his photographs there as a result. He received his Bachelor's from Harvard in History and Lit. and then earned his MFA from the California College of the Arts. The photographs I am covering are from his most recent book "Omaha Sketchbook". He has another book on the way about Buffalo, NY and currently lives and teaches in Rochester, NY.

Although his bio is rather limited in what I can find, his work seems to speak for itself. The photographs are a series of contact prints paired together in interesting juxtapositions featuring single photographs to diptychs and triptychs. Although the description of what this series is about remains vague and pretty much unspoken, I find that interesting. I enjoy trying to find meaning through the pairings and subjects that he's captured in this book. Much like my work (although mine has more explanation) he photographs the landscape and social scape of "Omaha". What I like about these is that they present a raw look into this place, its people, community, and its under belly. The conclusions that one must make to try and understand what it is is also interesting. It's a smaller community, relatively spacious in the development of homes, close to the countryside, possibly in the Midwest due to its architecture, and incorporating a rural aesthetic. There's a personal connection you can pick up by looking at these photographs, you can assume that the photographer is trustworthy, and is interested in revealing a story with little dialogue, only visual clues about the people and place. Subtle clues are something that I feel my work may need to incorporate, instead being so blunt.

Gallery (none)
Interview (none) article on older works

Ted Lectures

Edward Burtynsky on Manufactured Landscapes

I chose Edward Burtynsky's lecture because of the fact that he' one of the premier landscape photographers in the world, dealing with the earth being manipulated through machinery, capitalism, progress, and western ideology. By far one of my favorite photographers, I felt that hearing a lecture on his work could open up new avenues in which my work can progress through. His lecture begins dealing with his interest in the landscape and its transformative qualities from human consumption and manipulation. Being from Canada, he's used to great wide open landscapes untouched by civilization and human manufacturing. He began by exploring coal and rock mining areas of America and soon began to realize where the work was headed. Hillsides being carved for consumption, digging into the world's natural splendor to help drive the population seemed to fascinate Burtynsky. His work then entered a new realm when he traveled to China to photograph their blossoming industry and increasingly western mindset. He was shooting factories, ruins of cities, dams, places of commerce, recycling villages, and much more. It was as if the remnants of America moved here, the capitalistic growth that America had thrived on for years moved across the pacific into a growing economy. The tremendous production China was receiving from us in the west, our consumption is being fueled by China as we speak. Much of the work calls for awareness about the carbon footprint that we leave on this planet and the environmental repercussions of just about anything we do, from buying a cotton shirt, to throwing away an obsolete computer, disposing waste, and putting in new concrete at your house. Everything is tied to one another.

Ueli Gegenschatz Soars in a Wingsuit

I chose this to balance my research between the landscape and extreme sports. this was the only lecture to touch on extreme sports in the TED that I saw. It's about an extreme athelete names Ueil Gegenschatz, though relatively brief on his part due to his slightly broken English, it provides a good background into different aspects of extreme sports and odd sports to consider. Ueil Gegenschatz is a world class athlete that has done just about every stunt imaginable to man. From base jumping off of mountains, bridges, building, and even the Eiffel Tower. He's para-sailed down cliffs, jumped out of planes hundreds of times, off of moving vehicles, and even jumped off a hot air balloon over the Alps. He's pretty much done it all in the extreme sports. He goes into the background of why he does this and feels a need to push himself further and further and test the limits of the Earth and himself. He revels that a lot of his inspiration for doing what he does comes from childhood dreams of flight and realizing an unlimited potential when at that age. Another driving factor is having the mental capacity to be able to attempt these feats. There's an exhilarating rush and euphoria that comes with the jumps. Although he didn't say that much, his video reveals many more answers. You can understand that being human, we are born with inherent limitations to what we can and can't do, Ueil Gegenschatz, blurs the line of that. Realizing the human dream of flight and continually pushing himself to the max in order to prove that he is his only limitation.

Hank Willis Thomas

What artwork/proposals did you present?
The work that i presented to Hank Willis Thomas was a combination of new and old work. By putting these two works together, there is a much more cohesive and stronger body of work, my series on the extreme landscape. Photographs of sites of extreme sports, void of humans, but the terrestrial descriptions of the manipulated land that envelopes the environment it inhabits.

What topics did you discuss? What was the nature of this discussion?
Some of the things that we discussed were the possibility of including non extreme sports like golf, baseball, basketball, etc. and see if i can pull a man made space and created space into cohesion. Portraits? Maybe, but focus on landscapes primarily. We talked a lot about the space as a social product in short.

What were the critical reactions/ suggestions to your ideas/artwork?
He felt that a good amount of the images were working and conveying what I wanted to say. He felt that there should be other landscapes represented as in other type of extreme sports. But, he felt that the basis of the project and the concept is definitely one that should be pursued and hasn't been represented much in the art/photography world other than magazine. But they tend to focus on the athlete rather than the landscape that they're in. He wants me to look into motocross and explore the idea of panoramic cameras. He also commented on the idea of portraits, that being that he didn't feel that they were necessary because they would lack complexity, if i could find a way to bring more depth to a portrait of people in their gear then do it, but don't rely on it when the landscapes are working the best.

What was a suggested plan of action?
Keep traveling and photographing the environments. pursue different sports, and possibly don't limit the photography to the extreme landscape, possibly looking into the landscape of sports in this country and their manipulation of land and space. Look into the idea of space being socially produced and how it's a social product.

What insights / new questions / ideas did you take from the meeting?
some new questions i have from this meeting were if i wanted to break into other sports and their manipulation of the landscape or just keep it under extreme sport landscapes? Look into the idea of landscapes being manipulated for our own amusements. Military Training Facilities a possibility? How do you produce backstory to a landscape?

How did this meeting affect how you will proceed with your project / proposal?
It will definitely give me new avenues to pursue towards or ponder upon. Looking into Loretta Lynn's Ranch in Tennessee about motocross and the landscape. I may look into skate parks are look at that as a manipulation of space and analyze the architectural and design elements of man made rather than man made in nature. PANORAMIC ARE A MUST!!!! Read "The Production of Space".

Friday, February 19, 2010

Goals for 2/19 - 2/26

Goals again, here we go:

Go to Charlottesville, Va and photograph Panorama Farm (BMX Course)

Contact a motocross courses in Northern VA

Go back to North Carolina and Find Rocky Road Mountain Bike Course.

Go to High Point, NC and find the Bike part behind the elementary school.

Find more terrain parks in this part of the country

Financially figure out a way to go to Colorado

5-10 Prints for Heide on Tuesday

Research the psychology of adrenaline junkies and people who participate in extreme sports

and finish my research assignments for wednesday

Thursday, February 18, 2010


"Adolescent males are the most likely subset of the population to partake in risky behaviors. This is because in adolescent males, the brain’s reward system develops long before the inhibitory system, which keeps impulsive, novelty-seeking behaviors in check. The inhibitory system doesn’t catch up with the rewards system until young men hit their early twenties. This leaves some young males who are genetically predisposed to high sensation-seeking susceptible to the lures of risky activities, like using drugs or jumping impulsively into a dangerous sport without thinking through the consequences first."

-Lindsey Konkel ("Extreme Psychology." Health Magazine, July, 2009.)

"One question guided Brymer’s interviews and analyses: “How is the extreme sport experience perceived by participants?” Certain themes emerged, such as courage and humility, which give rise to positive self-transformation. “At the end of the day I had an epiphany because I did not die, but really enjoyed it. A whole environment that I never knew existed was opened to me,” said a BASE jumper in his mid-forties, one of Brymer’s study subjects. “For me, it’s accepting that you’re mortal and that you’re very vulnerable,” said another one of Brymer’s BASE jumpers. The findings are published in the January 2009 issue of the Journal of Humanistic Psychology."

-Lindsey Konkel ("Extreme Psychology." Health Magazine, July, 2009.)

“The fear is what keeps you focused.”

I wanted to get into the psychology of extreme sports, why do people do what they do? Why do they risk their own lives just for sport? This article was very informative about they ways and whys of people doing what they do, being extreme and why they do it. At first it begins to talk about the obvious stereotype, that being the average male teen, but they say that the adolescent slightly skew the readings, because when people are young, it is proven that they'll have a much greater chance of doing more risky activities and putting their lives in more jeopardy than that of a 4o year old. The article attempts to find why they want to do this, is it because these people have a gland in their brain that releses more dopamine than usual? Maybe. Some say that these people are like drug addicts or gamblers, that they can't experience the everyday without getting a kick from their own personal "highs." That is also a possibility. But people believe that it is something else, something inside of them drives them to be out their in the the elements struggling to survive against themselves and the forces of nature that they toy with. The research eventually wnet into the field and had started asking the extreme athletes themselves to describe what they were feeling at the time and why they were feeling it. There comes a moment of clarity, an epiphany. Where emotions get so high, they transcend so to speak. People also feel that they shouldn't be looked at as crazy, they feel that nothing they do is crazy it's just that they can do it, while the spectators can't therefore it becomes crazy to them. The extreme athletes don't want to get hurt, that's the last thing they want, they just have higher skill sets and therefore are able to do these things at much higher levels than the average person.

Monday, February 15, 2010

Ed Templeton

Bam and Michelle. 1998. Gelatin Silver. variable size

Kids Kiss, England. Gelatin Silver. variable size

Liz Rice - RVCA parking lot. Gelatin Silver. variable size

Exhibition Detail

Ed Templeton is a prominent skateboarder, but is also becoming known as a prominent photographer, designer, and artist. Born in 1972 in Orange County, California. He started Skateboarding in 1985. In 1993, Ed founded his own skateboard company, Toy Machine, and begane making the graphics for the skateboards. Around this time he began growing an affinity for art, with each deck he would make. He is a self taught artist, his work reflects upon the ideas of street and urban culture in America, focusing on what he knows best, skateboarding and its periphery. He has been featured in the hit documentary film, "Beautiful Losers", (also a touring art exhibition and collected book) a film about contemporary artists dealing with their surrounding urban environments. He has shown his work world and nationwide and is becoming a known figure in the underground art scene. He's been featured in the Art Street Culture magazine Juxtapoz (who also produced an Art Exhibition in 2002 called "The Essential Disturbance", in Paris at the Palais de Tokyo), his book of photographs, "Teenage Smokers", in 2000 won $50,000 in the Search For Art competition in Italy.

I chose Ed Templeton to talk about because of his intimate look at his life and the people he's met through owning a company, skateboarding, touring, and basically just living life. He takes a very raw, uncut, journalistic approach using 35mm to increase the drama and add to the grittiness of what he does. He focuses on the urban, skate, and street culture of where he goes. I enjoy the aesthetic that he brings to the table, and the element of DIY and zine culture presented and inherit into his work. Although self taught (in which i have a few reservations) he seems to make and capture the most intimate of moments.


"to stimulate discussion, thought, and general interest in the contemporary landscape. Neither an environmental group nor an industry affiliated organization...integrates the many approaches to land use - the many perspectives of the landscape - into a single vision that illustrates the common ground in “land use” debates. At the very least, the Center attempts to emphasize the multiplicity of points of view regarding the utilization of terrestrial and geographic resources."
-Center for Land Use Interpretation

Official Website
No Official Gallery

Saturday, February 13, 2010

Goals have changed due to weather

Asheville, NC Trip to the Mellowdrome got snowed and iced out.

Instead, I will be going to North Central North Carolina to trails in Raleigh, Cary, Durham, Clayton, High Point, and maybe Roanoke Rapids. All the trails vary in technical expertise, but the majority of them are very advanced. Focusing on Mountain Biking (bikers) and the trails they ride on. Weather Permitting, but it seems it will be a nice time to go south tomorrow.

A list of North Carolina Trails

Friday, February 12, 2010

Weekly Goals 2/12

This is my plan of attack for my studio practice:

-At least 10 prints (if not more) by Tuesday 2/16

-Make a decision between going to one of these two closest velodromes
---Valley Preferred Cycling Center in Trexlertown, Pennsylvania or Mellowdrome in Asheville, North Carolina

-Find Tall Bikers in RVA and Photograph them and try to ride one

-Buy tickets to RVA hand made bike show at convention center

-Drop the sports approach, only use information to inform bike culture work

-Walk down a mountain bike trail and talk to and photograph everyone on the trail (on a bike)

-Plan a trip to NYC (plan for funds, time of month, possible place to crash)

-Collage a bicycle out of 35mm photographs printed at a store

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Fixed Gear Culture

Dunc Gray Velodrome

(Bike) Messengers (and their impact on the bike scene)

When beginning this project of bike culture, the people I had in mind when photographing was the group who tending to be part of a culture that seemed to embrace a certain aesthetic of style and performance that touched on the ideas of vintage and street culture. The biggest trend in bikes today and beginning in the late 90s and early 2000s was this push towards a fixed gear bikes, my curiosity was touched and I began exploring why people were choosing this way of transport. It seems that fixed gear fascination began with bike messengers in New York City who made personal modifications to their bikes and stripped them of gears and brakes. The reason why, is still up to debate, but the notion still seems that the ideas originated with bike messengers who wanted to find more thrills (and in a sense more street credit) that went along with the cutthroat style of biking through the streets of NYC. Weaving through taxis, buses, cars, and almost anything the busy streets of NYC threw at them a select group of bike messengers removed brakes and left their modified bikes with only one gear to weave through the streets and simulate the hard-nosed and dangerous riding. Though people have been killed by biking without brakes in NYC (and I for one would probably end up as one of those demographics if i did the same) the trend didn't die down and in fact caught fire. Once people from other parts of the country caught news of the passionate bike culture of NYC, they brought that very passion to the streets that they ride on (San Francisco, Seattle, Chicago, Los Angeles, etc.)
These bikes are generally DIY bikes where people make them themselves from old bikes that are generally heavy and vintage 1970s and 80s street bikes. This was about originality and the use of all the sense and responses in the body. People in NYC had to be on top of their game with little to no distractions to be able to pull of one gear and no brakes, thus adding to the attraction and badassness that people seem to embrace in our culture.

"In a millisecond, you panic and stiffen. The pedals then become a launch platform. Your confused brain finds itself flying over the handlebars while schoolchildren at the curb scream. You are now a fixed-gear bicyclist stripped of some portion of your skin and the entirety of your pride.

That's only starters. The real artists of the game—the strongest and most demented among them—jabber away merrily about "simplicity" and "getting down to the basics" and "connecting directly to the ride." Before long, they start stripping the brakes off their bikes, too."

""It's a way to bring yourself into tune with the pace of the urban setting. Bold notions and bold maneuvers define the excitement of living in a city," says Somerset Waters, an enthusiast and board member of the Los Angeles Bicycle Kitchen. "These are stripped-down, simpler machines. But they have the edge that goes with living in the city. They are Zen and 'The Art of War' at the same time."

One Gear, No Brakes
Published October 2nd, 2005 :: The LA Times Magaine
By John Balzar

This article provided a great backdrop to the whole fixed gear culture that has emerged in America. It tries to trace its origins and answers the question of why people have an urge to bike that way. It also highlights how it began to spread from the origins of bike messengers to the general public, and by that i mean the fair weather biker to simplify my description.

Global Biking Design

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Brian Jungen

Variant I, 2002. Nike Air Jordans. 52"x45"

Prototype for New Understanding #16, 2004. Nike Air Jordans and human hair. 22 1/2" x 12" x 18"

Prototype for New Understanding #23. 2005. Nike Air Jordans. 18 1/2" x 20 1/2: x 5 7/8"

Prototype for New Understanding #14. 2003. Nike Air Jordans and human hair. 25"x14"x12"

Brian Jungen is a Canadian born artist (Vancouver) and based out of Montreal, Canada. Born in 170, he graduated college in 1992 from the Emily Carr Institute of Art and Design. He is Swiss, Canadian, and Dunne-za First Nations (aboriginal Canadian). He draws much of his inspiration from his own cultural heritage. His work revolves around the ideas and concepts of "found art" and its manipulation into, but not complete transformations (i.e. not completely changing its meaning). He is most recognized for his work with Nike Air Jordan Shoes (Prototypes of New Understanding) and recreates the shoes into aboriginal masks that evoke certain cultural meanings and implying their corruptions as well. The color pallet that he chooses for these shoes in specific (Red and Black) are colors that are traditional colors of the First Nations people. While he creates these sculptures of capitalist artifacts, there's still a direct correlation with the ideals of the cultural artifact of his people. Jungen has been exhibited throughout Canada, has shown at the Smithsonian National Museum of the American Indian and the Tate Modern in London.

I have chosen to talk about Brian Jungen because of the influences of Heide in my studio practice. Although, I am uncertain about aspects of the work and the direction is could go in, I do feel she has a very valid point. She feels that my work throughout my graduate career has been good technically and visually, yet conceptually lacking and I've also been lacking on the vocal part of my presentation. She feels that it would be best to really figure out what it is that motivates me, and we found the top two, the first is Photography, I am wholeheartedly dedicated to this artistic medium and will continue to pursue it in all of my endeavors. And the second is sports. I have been a huge sports fan throughout my life and have extensive knowledge on many topics in the sports world both past and present. So I am experimenting with the ready made and ideas surrounding sports, the ready made, its idolization, and its cultural significance and repercussions in our society and its effects on people.


"Jungen's masks don't really have that much in common with the sacred objects that they're riffing on. It's hard to imagine a Haida dancer, circa 1800, recognizing them as anything he could ever use. Instead, they seem only to satisfy crude Western cliches of what native art looks like and means." - Blake Copnik (Washington Post)

"The Nike mask sculptures seemed to articulate a paradoxical relationship between a consumerist artefact and an 'authentic' native artifact." - Brian Jungen

Interview (audio)
Website (no official website)