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Cookn’ With Federico Aubele now available on iTunes
|| 5/31/2008 || 4:26 pm || Comments Off on Cookn’ With Federico Aubele now available on iTunes || ||

Image links to iTunes Store

Last week “Cooking with Federico Aubele” [link opens iTunes Store] was released by Washington, DC-based ESL Music. I decided to download the entire album and I suggest you do the same. You can listen to some of his tracks on his MySpace page.

Cookn With Federico Aubele was recorded in Buenos Aires, Argentina in March of this year, this album captures the sound hearing Federico live. In a couple weeks Natalia Clavier, who is the female vocalist on this album & Panamericana, has her own solo album coming out on ESL. I’ll definitely post something here when it’s released.

His last album Panamericana was my favorite album of last year and this studio album features tracks from both Gran Hotel Buenos Aires and Panamericana as well as two unreleased tracks. I’m tempted to post my favorites tracks here, but I’ll refrain for the time being :-)


RELEASED JANUARY 6TH 2009!




the Phoenix Mars Mission
|| 5/30/2008 || 2:00 pm || Comments Off on the Phoenix Mars Mission || ||

The Martian surface is rather barren….
Photo credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech/University of Arizona

For nearly the last year I’ve been following the various contemporary space missions on this blog. It probably all started last summer after finding the unique Zodiac from 1544, then this curiosity progressed to Google Sky & Stellarium, to seeing my first Moon Mars conjunction as well as Saturn for the first time in December, and most recently seeing Mercury Messenger‘s first photographs of the backside of Mercury and seeing Jupiter conjunct the Moon for the first time last week.

Today’s entry concerns the Phoenix Mars Mission which I’ve found to be pretty fun to learn about. The website consists of scientist blogs, near-realtime photographs and animations. Because it’s all happening in near-real time, it’s like you are exploring Mars alongside of the official scientists. Quite cool.

Related Space Entries:

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A coded message in the last article from the Washington Post’s Linton Weeks
|| 5/29/2008 || 3:23 pm || Comments Off on A coded message in the last article from the Washington Post’s Linton Weeks || ||

Yesterday I stumbled across this article on Reddit. Its a simple article about John Updike, but it’s also the author’s last article for the Washington Post because the newspaper is laying off / buying out a number of their journalists. As you can see below, Linton Weeks included a cute coded message for his long-time readers:

Updike Reads The Lines in American Art
Jefferson Lecturer Tackles Nation’s Quest for Identity
By Linton Weeks
Washington Post Staff Writer
Saturday, May 24, 2008; Page C07

Give novelist and sometime art critic John Updike credit. The 2008 National Endowment for the Humanities Jefferson Lecturer tried to answer the thorny question: “What is American about American art?”

Onstage at the Warner Theatre Thursday night, in front of 1,900 culture lovers, the angular, silver-haired Updike used more than 60 images, ranging from formal mid-18th-century portraits by Bostonian John Singleton Copley to the hyper-realistic late-20th-century renderings of Richard Estes, to make his point: “The American artist . . . born into a continent without museums and art schools, took nature as his only instructor, and things as his principal study.”

One of the salient traits of this country, he told the gathering, is an urge to define what is American. To delineate the romantic wildness of our nature. To search for a national self-image. That desire to map the New World is reflected in the tight classicist tradition of American art.

Drawing rules in this country’s artwork, Updike said. He quoted a European-trained artist who criticized Copley — the first American to exhibit a painting in Europe — for being too “liney.” That is, too reliant on the drawing in his paintings and not free enough with color and light.

By tracing that harsh “lineyness” in American painting, and juxtaposing it against a freer, more colorful romantic “painterliness” in other work, Updike laid out a convincing answer to his overarching what-is-American question.

Yet he did it subtly. Flashing slides of well-knowns, such as Gilbert Stuart, Winslow Homer, Grant Wood and Norman Rockwell, Updike pointed out the distinctions.

European-influenced artists, such as Homer and John Singer Sargent, tended toward the painterly; more purely American artists, such as Copley and Thomas Hart Benton, toward the liney.

Reading from a text, Updike, 76, spoke in a raspy voice. The presentation moved quickly. An invitation to deliver the Jefferson Lecture is the loftiest award given by the federal government for “distinguished intellectual achievement in the humanities,” and there was a patriotic air to the affair.

Even the U.S. Marine Band showed up to play before the ceremony.

At no point during the speech did Updike, or the slideshow technology, falter. The address was based on “Picturing America,” an NEH initiative to distribute reproductions of American paintings to schools and libraries.

Diversity was nearly absent in Updike’s presentation. The painters he referred to were mostly males of European descent, a cohort he referred to as “that least hip of demographic groups.” He did not, for instance, mention the extraordinary American painter Mary Cassatt, who became an expatriate.

Either ignored or overlooked, as well, was any reference to a 19th-century European debate — similar to the liney-painterly dichotomy — between classicist Jean Auguste Dominique Ingres and romanticist Eugène Delacroix.

Regardless, Updike’s lecture was high-minded and provocative — like most of his work.

Soon after the talk ended, the patrons repaired to the Willard Hotel for a wine-and-sweets reception. So did Updike.

All I can say is: well done and I hope the next job is even better!



Face the (Corporate) Candidates on YouTube
|| 5/28/2008 || 1:54 pm || Comments Off on Face the (Corporate) Candidates on YouTube || ||

Today I wrote YouTube, LLC (owned by Google, Inc) the following letter:

Dear YouTube, LLC,

Your “Face the Candidates” section ( http://youtube.com/youchoose ) needs to be updated to include all presidential candidates. Currently American voters are not being shown all the candidates for president of the United States of America and this prevents your users from making an informed decision on what presidential candidate to vote for in November.

As a member of the Green Party of the United States, I find your explicit bipartisanship to be counter to your parent company’s corporate philosophy. The link to the “Face the Candidates” page is titled “YouChoose” but in reality it could be written “We’ve chosen for you,” because the web editors have unfairly excluded a presidential candidate.

Please include Cynthia McKinney’s campaign channel ( http://www.youtube.com/runcynthiarun ) to your “Face the Candidates” page because she is running for president and deserves the same placement as her democratic & republican party counterparts.

Sincerely,
Nikolas R. Schiller

I wrote this out of general frustration regarding how controlled the American political system is. Even though I voted for Cynthia McKinney in the Washington, DC primary and she’s now acquired the majority of Green Party delegates, there has been absolutely no national media coverage of her campaign (don’t believe me, check the Washington Post & New York Times websites). This type of American Blackout is unpatriotic, nondemocratic, and downright wrong and with Google’s “do no evil” corporate philosophy in place, this letter is an attempt to challenge their web editors to do the right thing and include all presidential candidates regardless of political affiliation. Will they change the page? I doubt it, but I know that I’ve made an effort, albeit a small one.



My Artomatic 2008 Opening Night Exhibit Dissected on Flickr
|| 5/27/2008 || 2:50 pm || Comments Off on My Artomatic 2008 Opening Night Exhibit Dissected on Flickr || ||

I’ve never been a fan of Flickr. I dislike how photos are lifted from Flickr all the time without proper citation. One of my biggest annoyances regarding my artwork or other people’s work is when it’s posted on-line with no link back or extra information regarding the artist or the circumstances regarding the image’s origin. Instead you get “neat huh?” “Cool photo!” “Look at this!” etc and while it’s great that more eyes are seeing the image, it undermines the artist’s visibility because the citation is not always accurately presented. A good example of this lack of information can be seen at the social image bookmarking website FFFFOUND!. This lack of citation is not the case 100% of the time, but its the main reason why I don’t upload my artwork to Flickr. Since I have ample server space and nearly unlimited bandwidth I’ve never needed another repository for my images.

I also don’t like the stalker ability that comes with having all of your photographs on-line for strangers to look at and download. I won’t name names, but I’ve looked through some Flickr photostreams of some of my friends and have found that the photos offer far too much information about their lives, activities, and friends. You can look through someone’s photos and see their exes, the interior of their homes, and basically just about anything the person decided to place out there for strangers to view. Worse is that you cannot access the information regarding where your photographs are viewed from. Since I have access to my website’s server logs I can find exactly how many times a photograph has been looked at and by what IP addresses. This information is shielded from the Flickr user and dumbed down to a lowly view counter.

With those reservations aside, I decided to play nice and upload one photograph of my Artomatic 2008 exhibit taken on May 9th. I went through and tagged the photograph twelve times showcasing the content that has been placed on top of the Base Map. Since I embedded quite a few links into the notes, I’ll be able to track exactly who clicks on the image and know with a certain amount of certainty how many times the photograph has been looked at and where the photograph is being looked at from– if they click.

Related Artomatic Entries:

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DC Residents say they want full democracy, like New Delhi.
|| 5/26/2008 || 1:26 pm || Comments Off on DC Residents say they want full democracy, like New Delhi. || ||

[download pdf]

This article is a great primer on the disenfranchisement of Washington, DC residents. However well-crafted or edited, I genuinely have issue with this one statement– the only place where the word STATEHOOD is mentioned in the entire article:

While many Congress members support a vote in the House for Washington residents, statehood is less popular because it would mean adding two senators from one city in an upper chamber that has only 100 members for the entire nation. And although the population of D.C. is greater than the state of Wyoming, the District lacks characteristics normally associated with states such as diverse geography with both urban and rural areas. Yet, these definitions of what constitutes a state are not written in the Constitution.

Statehood is the easiest answer, but the hardest solution to obtain. The League of Women Voters gave up on Statehood in the 90’s and were most recently in favor of the constitutionally dubious 1/3 representation bill. What I find sad is that the words “An Equal Constitutional Rights Amendment” are used in place of an actual bill. So instead of working for statehood- a singular goal- they are currently advocating what? A to-be-drafted bill that will probably only give partial equality? It’s rather sad. I mean, come on. The Democratic Party, DC Vote, the League of Women Voters, and the ilk are not able to change anything because they gave up on what DC residents voted for. Instead of not wavering and clearly stating one precise goal: statehood, they have sought “incremental” answers that have missed the mark. Its just so happens that most of these incremental steps are unconstitutional. Politics might be the art of compromise, but equal representation is the basis for politics. Statehood might be the most difficult solution to the DC Dilemma, but it provides the residents with full equality that no “voting rights bill” can match.

Below is the article:

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Tabvla Temporis [Semidiurni in fignis Borealibus / Australibus]
|| 5/25/2008 || 12:17 am || Comments Off on Tabvla Temporis [Semidiurni in fignis Borealibus / Australibus] || ||

This is the reverse side of Willem Janszoon Blaeu’s Nova totius terrarum orbis geographica ac hydrographica tabula (Amsterdam 1606) which I used in my recent creation A New & Arabesque Map of the Hirshhorn Museum. If you look closely, you can see the reverse of original map that bled through the paper after couple hundred years and some image manipulation. The table shown is similar to an Ephemeris, which is table of values that gives the positions of astronomical objects in the sky at a given time. I would love for someone to sit and explain the way one goes about reading these types of antique charts. I understand a fair amount of what is being shown, but I do not fully grasp how to apply the calculations.



My Artomatic 2008 Top 100 by Floor
|| 5/24/2008 || 2:06 pm || 7 Comments Rendered || ||

At around 1pm on Friday, May 23rd, 2008, I began walking through the entire Artomatic venue floor by floor with the intent of making a top 5 artist listing for each floor. After walking one quarter of the way through my first floor I decided to expand listing to the top 10 of each floor, and after doing some quick math, I decided to round up and give each of the 9 floors a top 11.

First & foremost this listing is not perfect nor am I trying to pass judgment with respect to other artists talents or styles. Any person who decides to make a Top 100 will have a completely different listing based on their own personal tastes. A few of my own personal friends are not listed here because while I like their art, its not something that I would really like to have hanging on my walls. Also some people got left out because their floor had too much other fine artwork to choose from. The method I used to construct this listing is not based on any exact science or talent threshold, but simply, I asked myself if would I pay money to have this in my house? Does this fit the aesthetics that I prefer to have displayed in my house? And with the proper supplies, can I reproduce the artwork on display? Is there some intrinsic aspect of the artwork that makes it stand out?

I tend to visually deconstruct all artwork, animations, video segments, infographics, and maps etc. that are presented to me. I have an active imagination that begins this visual interpretation process the moment I gaze upon something. Most of what I saw at Artomatic did not require much thought to decipher and generally speaking, it’s why I am not interested in a lot of contemporary art in general. Artomatic, however, provides an excellent glimpse into the Washington, DC area’s arts scene.

Surprisingly many artists do not have their own websites or did not take the time to adequately fill out their on-line Artomatic artist profile where they could link from. I did not take the lack of personal website into consideration for inclusion in the listing below. Maybe the next listing should be based strictly on Artomatic artist’s websites? In the listing below I link to the artist’s website or Artomatic artist catalog page and include the cryptic location of the artist’s exhibit space.

The following is a comprehensive listing of my favorite 100 visual artists out of the 1,000+ artists participating in Artomatic 2008:

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A New & Arabesque Map of the Hirshhorn Museum & Sculpture Garden
|| 5/23/2008 || 10:43 am || Comments Off on A New & Arabesque Map of the Hirshhorn Museum & Sculpture Garden || ||


:: saved at 6,480 x 5,040 ::

To celebrate the new procedure I decided to get around to editing the Library of Congress‘ copy of Willem Janszoon Blaeu‘s Nova totius terrarum orbis geographica ac hydrographica tabula, which was published in Amsterdam in 1606. I removed the original map from the center and kept the decorative border similar to Nova et Accvratissima Totivs Terrarvm Orbis Tabvla, A New Map of the Terraqueous Globe : according to the the Ancient discoveries and most general Divisions of Geospatial Art, America as a Cloverleaf, and A New And Accurate Map of the World by John Speed. However, unlike the previous antique map mash-ups, which usually feature the earth laid out in two hemispheres, this map uses a rectangular space (Mercator?). The beauty of this open layout is that I can place any of my previously made maps inside of this 402-year-old template.

A common naming practice I’ve noticed in old map is the use of “New & Accurate” and since I like to play around with words, I changed Accurate to Arabesque to create a visual pun. The source map was about 6,500 pixels wide, I underlaid a rotated 9,000 x 6,000 copy of Hirshhorn Quilt to fit perfectly in the center of the new map. I think it would be fun to actually hand-color the engravings on this map to match other copies of this map which have the various figures colored in. The LOC’s copy is uncolored which means that its actually easier to add color to it than if it were already colored because pigment matching is not needed.



: detail of the planet Goddess Venus :

Across the top (left to right) you have the planet gods:

Drawn within each of these engravings are the signs of the Zodiac that the planets rule:

Below I dissect the rest of the border of the map:

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24 on 14th – One Long Day on 14th by Graeme King
|| 5/22/2008 || 12:28 pm || Comments Off on 24 on 14th – One Long Day on 14th by Graeme King || ||

On April 19th, 2008 I met Graeme King near the Black Cat nightclub after he had just started his 24 hours on 14th Street project. His goal was to take pictures of people for 24 hours and exhibit the photographs at his Artomatic exhibit space.

I had just finished the VJ setup upstairs in the main room of the Black Cat and was about to head home to change clothes before the evening. Although I didn’t blog about it at the time, that evening I VJed alongside DJ Rekha from New York City. DJ Rehka is a London-born musician who DJs her own blend of contemporary bhangra hip-hop fusion and has been credited with pioneering bhangra music in North America. Her first album, DJ Rekha Presents Basement Bhangra, was released in October 2007 on Koch Records, fuses the South Asian genre of bhangra music with international hip-hop and drum beats. It was quite a lot of fun! Click here to download an MP3 from her CD.

Graeme’s photograph of me is unique because he caught me wearing an article of clothing that has been blogged about and even written about in the Washington Post. Look at the sidebar photograph to see another view of the shirt (the photograph was taken nearly one year earlier). Although you can only see the top of the graphic in Graeme’s photograph, it features the close-up detail from Ball of Destruction, which is a map I created in September of 2005 that features a woman textured by aerial photography of the area around White House holding a globe of Hurricane Katrina with a devastated New Orleans in the background.

For the show I wore a shirt that I had recently ordered from France that says “Jeux de mains, Jeux de vilains” which is definitely not something that says Bhangra, but I didn’t know I’d be VJing when I was getting ready for the night. The phrase literally translates to “Hand Games, Evil Hands,” but the proverb has multiple different meanings. From what I understand, the phrase was first was coined during the French Revolution by rich nobles who played Jeu de paume (the precursor to tennis) with rackets & gloves while the poor (the villains according to the nobility) played with their bare hands. Now it’s a traditional proverb adults use when children are playing too rough. It also has a sexual connotation, but I’ll let you figure that out yourself.

Enough about the clothing, check out Graeme’s time-lapse video of his Artomatic installation. His exhibit space is on the south end of the 6th floor. The picture of me above is featured about 27 seconds into the video:





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Nikolas Schiller is a second-class American citizen living in America's last colony, Washington, DC. This blog is my on-line repository of what I have created or found on-line since May of 2004. If you have any questions or comments, please contact:

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