Category Archives: curation

VOTVOTN

Sell by

20140817_americanCheese

Sara June @ Woodstock4

i absolutely LOVE this clip of Sara June’s collaborative, improvised public intervention performance with Endguys out in Boston Common for Woodstock4

Sara June Woodstock4 from Uncle Shoe on Vimeo.

Movement artist Sara June in performance at Woodstock4, presented by Whitehaus Family Record on the Boston Common August 18-19, 2012. Improvised music by Endguys (Steve Norton, bass clarinet / Matt Samolis, flute). Video by Douglas Urbank.

A culture of curation

10171661_10152377678603033_3141205563203757271_n

PHOTO TAGLINE: the original cover and title concept as designed, developed and implemented by the Bureau of cyberSurreal investigation

one of the 4 streams of my design and art research and work included in my thesis from back at Dynamic Media Institute at Massachusetts College of Art and Design touched upon my curation &/or co-curation and involvement in several gallery exhibitions — putting together these shows helped forge and fulfill some personal dreams for me as inspired by the inclusive, immersive and collaborative, interdisciplinary spirit of the ArtRages events frequently put on by Mobius Artists Group in Boston as well as other performance and music-oriented, multi-act shows in the area like: rösS Hamlin’s OpeNFauceT Productions; David Wengertzman’s Digital Cabaret series; Burlesque Revival Association; Leah Callahan’s Les Cabaret des Enfants Terribles; Chris Mascara’s Scara’s Night Out; and The Steamy Bohemians’ Jerkus Circus

anyhow — its fun to watch how influence and inspiration flows within and across various communities over time — and its equally interesting to see the evolution of ideas as they branch and grow and move along waves of people and places

after starting grad school at MassArt in 2008 and poking around campus and the community there i soon discovered that grad students could reserve Doran Gallery to curate shows and exhibit work

i took the dream-like inspiration from these past shows and events that i’ve held near and dear to my heart and brought the collaborative and celebratory spirit i found in them to my work and research from ‘stream 3: art shows, a streaming cycle of’ from my thesis, confounded: future fetish design performance for human advocacy — and in retrospect the shows i am extremely proud of the shows i dreamt up and put on and love the collaborations and event-based shows that blossomed from this fertile garden of amazing Boston show history to pick from as my inspiration

prior to my first curatorial effort at MassArt — American Cheese: an introspectionDMI MassArt colleagues Colin Owens and Dennis Ludvino curated several shows out at Doran that helped pave the way for the series of further student-run design curation that seems to have nicely inspired a long legacy of gallery exhibitions and event curation at Dynamic Media Institute

by starting up the efforts to officially catalog and celebrate DMI’s ASCii, if /then and Inter-Akt exhibitions at Doran Gallery i hope to help document and commemorate some of the early history of our show culture at MassArt’s graduate design program — i know these shows inspired me with an excited sense of the interdisciplinary and immersive experience of interacting with functional, living and working design prototypes in a gallery setting — certain boundaries of High Art exclusivity seemed to instantly break down with the inclusion of various inputs and outputs and the participatory invitation to the gallerygoer to actually touch and interact with the pieces on display in the gallery setting — the vibrant din of sound and conversation filled the room with enthusiastic conjecture about what the artwork ‘does’ in its clever, premeditated ‘playing’ with its audience

the feeling of these shows immediately pulsed in a far more alive way than the standard trip to the MFA ever conveyed to me — the work on display in this student gallery interacted with the gallery participants { no longer mere passive viewers } to meet them halfway in any interpretation of the artists’ intentions behind each piece

i hope to respectfully document these amazing early DMI shows out at MassArt with my efforts to write and composite the book A culture of curation

ifthen_colin ifthen_gunta ifthen_jason ifthen_phono ifthen_record6 ifthen_press
ifthen_poster

some reflections on the challenge of experience design

a huge part of ux has nothing to actually do with design and processes — ux is about establishing culture and curating the experience of ucd

why do we need to ask appropriate questions?

real-people-main-110207

as professional experience designers its of the utmost importance to me that we drive every decision we make in an informed and somewhat sensical manner as a means to create and optimize what we design for real people

i don’t call people users or participants or customers — i try to avoid terms like personas or user types as much as possible, although words like these help us all understand that leveraging the powerful tool of a properly developed or estimated persona can help us generalize the psychographic and demographic populations of people that make up our target audiences for businesses

i prefer to refer to people as people

to call people people just simplifies some of the interesting dynamics that might get in the way as part of the process and helps to build a better empathic relationship with the people we’re designing for at the end of the day

calling people people turns what can be a very uppity and exclusionary sense of them vs us into the more elegant and gracious one-word phrase us

the process becomes more inclusive and friendly when we realize our users are people, too — just like us — so let’s not refer to the people we design for as them because its simply not a nice thing to do and it creates a competitive dynamic that oftentimes misses the goal to meet the real needs of real people and to hopefully create an authentic experience for people that is helpful, humble, beautiful and meaningful

walking along with the people we’re designing something for is probably the best way to understand and design for those particular real people — its as close as we’re going to get to actually being them — or being with them — and truly understanding what they need — and its how we can get to understand what’s working or not working for the real people we’re designing for with our design work from the most appropriate perspective to properly guide the design process

standing-together-CS

also, i don’t consider the way i do what i do as an experience designer to be user-centered

i prefer people-centered

or better yet, human-centered

previous versions of Design with a Big D didn’t always successfully meet the needs of people due to the fact that the focus was somewhere else entirely

when we lose sight of who we’re designing for and drive our processes and decisions by something other than servicing the needs of real people, we’re unfortunately positioned to miss the mark and create an experience that just doesn’t feel right

for example

another way we can focus the design work we do might unintentionally focus on a more systems-centered methodology — and much of the time, since the material elements { or immaterial elements to be more precise, maybe even representative or mapped elements could better define what we’re talking about here } we’re given to design something with is deeply based in data and information, if we don’t properly focus on consciously guiding toward a human-centered experience we will almost definitely end up with a more systems- or information-centered set of processes and experiential outcomes that improperly focuses on what we’re designing for { a dataset, or one particular interpretation of a dataset } instead of who we’re designing for { once again, the actual people }

if we’re hoping the results of our design processes bring people into our world to engage with our company’s business offerings we need to focus in the appropriate direction and we need to invite and guide the people we would like to collaborate with in an evolving business relationship in a way that’s really actually about the people, not the systems or the information that make up the pieces of the experience

if, at a certain point, the working results our design processes aren’t quite working as anticipated, we need to be very critical about the integrity of processes we’re involved in and we need to ask some big questions to hopefully help better guide the design work moving forward — and what a lot of people sometimes lose clear sight of when looking at the metrics and when listening to the qualitative feedback and suggestions is very definition of the word feedback and what it ultimately implies

measure

i’m sure the tendency to externalize a perceived set of negative results from any collection of usability might tightly tether to genuine internal psychological insecurities regarding the feeling of failure — especially for deeply passionate and empathic creatives that constantly need to balance an oftentimes conflicting capability to emotionally tune into the needs of people with the exact opposite simultaneous ability to then emotionally pull away from the iterative design work we’re engaged with on a daily basis

suddenly — when faced with suggestions that the design just isn’t optimally working — the illogical but somewhat understandable reaction might cause the wrong kind of emotional distance from a design team

an emotional, dynamic shift might actually increase the distance we feel with our users — with the very people we’re ultimately designing for

we might be too emotionally involved with the design work to even understand the more competitive attitude we’re suddenly feeling in relation to our users

the team might start refer to our people as them

and now the design process goes from collaborative to competitive — and those competitive feelings, as subtle as they may seem, can really start building to the wrong kind of energy for a truly collaborative and effective set of design processes

amidst our frustrations with qualitatively negative reactions to the work, we might ask ourselves questions like

why aren’t they getting it?

how come they’re not seeing the link?

oh jeez, why did they do that?

i’d like to suggest that whenever we start to use terminology that implies any sense of an exclusionary attitude toward our collaborations with our users, that we need to stop and think a little deeper about the wrongful inversion of what’s psychologically going on with the team

instead of asking about them in reference to a set of people that are suddenly emotionally put on the outside of our competitive process dynamics — we need to start asking about we again — we need to pull them into the better-feeling, inclusive we feeling of the project work

does that even make any sense?

i don’t know — its been a long blogPost, i know, right?

but i’m trying to tie all of this back into the stupid title i came up with for this post

instead of asking the they questions — start asking the we questions again, aight?
if you’re tending toward exclusionary, competitive processes — reach out to set up more appropriate inclusive, collaborative team dynamics with the people you’re designing for

if you can feel that things are starting to feel off with your process
— and even with the results of your design work

turn that shit inside out, ya know?

monkey_01-09ed43f265a3620d7145ced7c6179b7b38122a98-s6-c30

you might feel a little more humble all of a sudden — it might not feel all that fantastic even, but its a far braver and far more appropriate way to turn it all around

when we bring ourselves as designers to this inside out place and ask more questions about what we did or didn’t do, then we’ve rediscovered the proper attitude to get back to our work following a far better inclusive, collaborative mentality to guide the design work we need to do

the Boston music scene

Mascara

right now Boston is quite literally dripping with eclectic and wonderful creative talent in the Boston music scene — and music right now in this town quite nicely blends out into other equally interesting, mind expanding genres of live entertainment, with many bands and music acts blurring their onstage presentation into the realms of performance art, burlesque, theatre and pure provocation

any MassHole out there right now can head into Cambridge, Boston, Somerville, Jamaica Plain and any of the other wonderful buroughs of Boston proper and see an evening overbrimming with live mulitband original independent musicianship that will simply blow your mind

and you can enjoy both a wide variety of music genre as well as a depth and breadth of pure live stage presentation and dynamics that i believe far surpass what you would see out of any other metropolis around the world

i mean, i’d call it a Boston music renaissance at this point

its THAT fucking good

drop on into Lizard Lounge, Church, Middle East Café, Club Passim, Midway Café, Precinct, PA’s Lounge, and so many others on any night you have some free time and you’re bound to see a set of world-class, life changing independent music all for the ridiculously reasonable price of a small door fee and a few pints of beer — the kind of bang you get for your buck is utterly INSANE for all you music fans out in the Boston area, and you all know it

its interesting, too, as a huge fan of the Boston music scene that’s pretty much lived in this area since my humble birth at Malden Hospital back in 1969, to see the evolution and many revolutions of an artform over the span of so much time

with the gentle decline of the actual auspices of the Record Industry overlordage, too, the rise of this independent spirit of the musician truly flourishes

i don’t know about you, but i really never go into Aerosmith and Boston and all that classic rock, big dick-waggin’ arena shit from the previous Boston music scene in the heyday of the record bizz — i don’t own Toys in the Attic on cassette or More Than a Feeling, this shit makes my skin crawl and it just reminds me of sports arenas and people acting like social retards, needing to smoke a joint before any sense of real creative expression or alternative views enter the common man mindSpace, like this fucking era and genre of music is still somehow fucking radical and wild where, to me, its all about heroin and the general numbness of the masses, a numbness that drugs and music gives us all permission to suddenly feel something, to maybe move our white-ass bodies to the beat and scream out Dream On at the top of our lungs while totally ripping up our vocal cords with a big bottle of Bud Lite in our left hand and a fist raised and pumping with our right — those sly sideways gay looks we give our classic rawkin’ buddies, like, ‘Yeah, we live for these moments, man!’ while flushing a hundred dollars away for the Great Woods ticket knowing i’ll be back in the office with a hangover and SO many wacky Margaritaville tailgating stories like a good neo-serfed citizen of suppression, despair and crushed hopes — i guess its not THAT bad, really, it just makes for really good writing and the judgment is right in line with the level of individuality and freedom we get to experience or express in the United States

fucking Aerosmith

don’t get me wrong, though, i used to really love The Cars

i think they’re sonically far more interesting than bands like Aerosmith — it might be more of a textural thing for me, and the fact that big guitar solos just remind me of a bunch of guys with mullets, beer and wife beaters all hanging out on their parents’ back porch talking about women in a disrespectful yet totally hilarious and caricaturist way — good fodder for me as an unprofessional part-time comedian and someone just trying to get to any sense of real, valuable time and more intellectually stimulating discourse

all that’s beside the point, though — the music scene in Boston right now excites me — its Alive! and real and there’s such variety in the mix of what you can see on a nightly basis — and the parade of talent seems neverending, prolific and truly unique on so many levels — and alongside the performance art scene and the revival and rise of burlesque as a renewed national medium for political commentary, sexual and current event awareness, movement art and comedy, the music scene in Boston passionately conveys the energy and spirit of this city and the larger New England area in general — if we’re no longer revolutionary as Joe Citizen in this day and age, our musicians carry the torch to that vital sense of defiance and rebellion so sorely needed right now in the world, and our musicians lead the way

Mascara, Schooltree, Count Zero, Jaggery, Amanda Palmer and the Dresden Dolls, Walter Sickert and the Army of Broken Toys, Goli and Bury Me Standing { previously Fluttr Effect }, Sarah Rabdau and the Self-Employed Assassins, What Time is It Mr. Fox?, Do Not Forsake Me My Darling, Gene Dante and the Future Starlets, Endation — I could go on and on and on with the list of band names, both researched and simply known off the tip of my brainstem — i’ve seen almost all of these bands in one form or another out at Johnny D’s or The Cantab Lounge or elsewhere, and there’s both the current state of each genius band of musicians as well as the rich history of the individual acts, the mythos, if you will, and the rather prolific creation story that’s moved each band and musician from their mythical origins to the place each act finds themselves in today

there’s a richness and texture and a performative delivery i witness out at the clubs that’s like no other era in the Boston music scene

579034_10151388377349139_315689613_n

i’m a bit of a broken dabbler myself when it comes to music — so i totally get what’s happening up on stage from the unique perspective of someone that knows the language and knows all of the activities, exercises and elements that go into putting together the music, putting together an ensemble and putting on a show — but these musicians, i don’t know, they really make it seem too easy, its all so effortless on the surface, which goes to show the level of craftsmanship and professionalism the Boston scene delivers

and the genius also comes from a very humble place for these acts — they’re all SO giving to their audience, and all so appreciative — its very apparent and transparent to me that the musicians and performers have a nurturing and beautiful little family up there on stage, and that sense of family extends to all of the offstage real life preparations and social aspects of this art, that too, shows through in the work and in the seamless delivery of such a complicated form of expressive communication

and you, as a person in the audience, you feel part of that family every step of the way — you’ve been invited into the heart and soul of each act and as they come off stage or get up there to set up everyone takes the time to say hello, to thank you for coming out to support their work and their vision of what a show can be, and there is no sense of separation, of fourth wall hierarchical disparagement, of any better than airs or politics — i think there’s a thoughtful sense of understanding how integral the audience, the performer and the work itself come together to create the actual live experience and completion of the work — there’s a deep, almost Duchampian comprehension of the craft and of this amazing sense of community that all timeless artwork must strike with the audience, viewer and ultimately the participant of the entire experience — and at this moment in time, whether its all entirely on the subconscious level of each musician’s mindflow or whether its at the forefront and deepest concern of each iterative performance, the Boston music scene emotionally succeeds in this spirit of inclusivity in the work — we’re invited in through the window to a party that’s illicit and raucous and vulnerable and realthis is where real life is, not on reality television or on the social web { that’s all just a mere performance of reality }, its right up here on center stage under the spotlight or not, but up here where these universal themes play out for us all, to relive personal scenarios and to re-examine the human spirit of our existence and the general chaos of nature and the world

its such a beautiful thing to see

1917_duchamp_self-portrait_c

mediaLuscious Design + Art Review

i just recently finished editing up the official exhibition catalog for mediaLuscious Design + Art Review — thanks to everyone for not only showing your work and participating in such an amazing gallery exhibition, but for also patiently putting up with my random email requests for photos, writings, input and feedback over the last few weeks

i have to say — this is probably the best book i’ve put together to-date, much better-looking in my mind’s eye than my own thesis even, which can probably be contributed to the fact that this project of capturing the spirit, energy, community and fun of this show was done for DMI and The DMI Family moreso than myself

anyhow, after a few more tweaks here ‘n there, i will be sure to post this up to Blurb and get a print proof to deliberate — and then and only then the book will be open for more public consumption via Blurb, ISSUU or wherever

[: what a show :]

curatorial reflections: exhibition-event as sociopsychological laboratory

an excerpt from Provocative Objects: debriefed

And with the passage of time we can re-open the mind like a delicate oystershell and mine the lobular cortexes for the remaining little pearls of wit and wisdom.

Its been a while now. November 12, 2010 seems like a distant, milky dream to me now.

My co-curatorial partner in cyberSurreal investigations David Tamés asks in his earlier passages to this exhibition catalog — and its a bit of a meta-conversation between us now — about the success of Provocative Objects: the extradition as an art exhibition. Anyone that really got to know me through our time and collaborations together at Dynamic Media Institute knows that I pretty much laugh at the very concept of ‘success’. Of course, at this point I’ve been known to laugh at / for just about any reason. But I wanted to take a few minutes to discuss ‘success’ and define for the world:

  1. what it was we set out to do with Provocative Objects
  2. what we accomplished by using Doran Gallery as our sociological art laboratory for a subconscious streaming cycle of art shows

By looking back, using these simple criteria, we can certainly transpire well above the coinflip follies of failure and success and really get down to some storytelling artifactual proof that helps the reader better understand the invaluable psychological underpinnings behind the makings of this kind of show.

 

To best understand Provocative Objects — to really know what it was all about — we need to take a quick trip back to my first attempt to put on gallery exhibition. In late Autumn of 2009 I scrambled to email out an invitation to the graduate students here at Massachusetts College of Art and Design. This call for work aimed to get DMI and SIM together, collaborating on a themed show in Doran Gallery — and the show theme I stitched together from my critical research in humor and new media loosely hung on the title concept ‘American Cheese: an introspection’ and a quote from the famous stand-up comedian, playwright, author and moviestar Steve Martin:

You know, a lot of people come to me and they say, “Steve, how can you be so fucking funny?” There’s a secret to it, it’s no big deal. Before I go out, I put a slice of bologna in each of my shoes. So when I’m on stage, I feel funny.

But seriously, folks — I thought an email alone could be the catalyst, or at least the inspirational nudge, to put on a really amazing show. And more importantly, I think I trusted that this email along with my vague wish to bring SIM and DMI together in the same exhibition space would help build new and amazing social connections between these 2 like-minded but politically dispersed academic schools on campus.

I ran around like a circus rodeo jackass for a bit, trying to get all the procedures, policies, rules and regulations down and did all the administrative busywork needed to get the show set up, but with the fast passage of time and very few submissions to the show, my original social purposes fell a bit to the wayside. American Cheese, while successful on many levels regarding general gallery attendance, quality of exhibited work and DMI colleague participation, fell short on my personal goal of creating new social ties to SIM.

 

In the Summer of 2010 I put out a new call for work. This time, instead of a quaint email to DMI and SIM, I actually made the request for submissions very public, reaching out beyond the MassArt Graduate community pool by placing my first copy-paste post out to Rhizome. I think this better set the stage in many ways.

Firstly, Rhizome would help provide a far broader context and larger vision for what this next show could become. The organization, based in New York City, garners the attention of artists, designers, performers and technologists from around the world. The Rhizome online community started in 1996 and continues to grow and evolve. As stated on their web site mission page:

Rhizome is dedicated to the creation, presentation, preservation, and critique of emerging artistic practices that engage technology.

and this mission seemed perfectly aligned with the kind of future-forward design thinking we see in the project work and research done through Dynamic Media Institute.

Then, inspired by the ingenious marketing suggestions of Don Lapre ( http://www.hollywoodmemoir.com/don-lapre ), I took my post to Rhizome as a ‘tiny classified ad’ and copy-pasted it into several other local ( and not so local ) online community sites. I emailed directly to artists I know out at Mobius. Similar personal emails went out to anyone and everyone that I thought might be interested participating. This time around, I was determined to put on a show that started with the core group of my colleagues at DMI but branched out to include other work, providing a greater context for all the work at the exhibition. This was going to go beyond the SIM to DMI collaborative concept originally set forth with American Cheese. Forget SIM. With that initial failed attempt under my belt, I wanted to bust out and not even begin to consider MassArt as my little box of crayons. I no longer needed to color inside the lines. And I needed to reach out, outside the box, not with my thinking ( as we’re all so aptly encouraged to do as creative people, through the most sickening set of corporate clichés and hillbilly mantras ) but with my actions. I also wanted to expand the notion of what a new media exhibit can be by including artwork created in any mediatype, not just onscreen or electronics-based project work. Video, music, performance art, new media and traditional art and design works: why not show it all in the same place? Under one roof? At the same show? Crazytalk, right?

The original call for work to our ‘cyberSurreal, interdisciplinary and immersive exhibit-event & experience’ included the following paragraph:

We are looking for pieces that instigate the viewer-participant-gallerygoer or blur the line and leave the audience wondering. Physical traditional art objects — dynamic prototypes — video, performative and conceptual work — we’re looking to collect an eclectic body of work to provoke viewer-participant exploration, thought, discussion and interaction. There will be a vaguely-defined ‘stageSpace’ for certain event-related ‘performances’ throughout the evening as well as numerous ‘objects’ or installations.

Here we have the beginning collection of measurable criteria for us to properly assess the outcome of the show. Qualitative though they may be, we can see that there were some definite, clear goals in mind. The ulterior motives of building out our creative context and creating new social extensions for DMI were all cleverly hidden in the messaging mix, but the surface setup for Provocative Objects began to elicit proposals almost immediately.

I remember talking to David early on, I think it was with the very first batch of email proposals I received. I was baffled by the fact that, unlike American Cheese ( with submissions from colleagues at DMI and me ), this show was beginning to feel a lot more international. Literally.

My first submission came in from Albert Negredo in Barcelona. My second submission came in via mobile phonecall while I was out at The Apple Store — this time from Anthony Murray in Brooklyn, New York. I got emails from Tokyo, Rome, San Francisco and Argentina. This show and these submissions really fascinated me and I need to talk to someone about how crazy it was getting. And David, of course, understood the general consequences of my actions and why I might be getting these international submissions, ‘Lou, you put the call for work out on Rhizome,’ he explained with some comedic emphasis, implying that that detail alone stretched my cry for work out to the more global level.

I can’t remember the location of this conversation at this late date, but I am assuming we were in the cozy confines of Penguin Pizza up on Mission Hill. David and I joined forces at that point, making The Penguin our first official ‘office’ and meeting place for the eventual and very fictional Bureau of cyberSurreal investigation. David graciously offered to collaborate on this rapidly expanding exhibit-event, and I humbly accepted this opportunity to work together and build out the show using our mutually-aligned talents and resources.

 

I scheduled the show to take place in November. Luckily this time I had built in adequate time for David and I to really dig in and put on a larger, more inclusive show. With 3+ months we could properly square away all the granular detail and logistics need for Provocative Objects. This was turning out to be a far more complicated gallery event. We were lucky to enlist the assistance of many of our colleagues at MassArt to help make the night smooth and fun for all the artists involved.

 

But could it work? Underneath the surface of this exhibit-event — a little below the notion of traditional artwork, performance, music and new media all peaceably living together in sin — was the playful, provocative notion of bringing together the people behind these amazing pieces, all in one space at the same time. Provocative Objects was a social mixing experiment and Doran Gallery became our laboratory.

The answer, for me, although not truly measurable by any qualitative or quantitative stretch of the imagination, is a resounding yes. It can work, this idea of putting on a cross-disciplinary and inclusive show to end all shows. Provocative Objects now serves the Bureau as a happy and distinct model to follow for future-such show-building activities. And the idea of using the show, this ‘exhibit-event’ as we called it, as an interesting excuse to pull together so many disparate but spiritually like-minded creative people and cliques together on one night under one roof, well, that idea proved, to me, to be extremely fruitful and rewarding.

We enjoyed a full house of gallerygoers at Doran Gallery on November 10, 2011, ebbing and flowing throughout our time-based evening of interdisciplinary arts, for sure, but nonetheless rather packed with wonderful artists, musicians, performers and participants. The work on display covered the full spectrum of art, the entire continuum of creative expression. And the conversation, the participation, the wandering and exploration of the space, pieces, people and performances, all attest, via personal memories and stories, to the truly provocative night we had out at the show.

Somewhere buried deep inside the thematic grumblings of the show I had this notion about the title and ideas behind Provocative Objects. I had inadvertently stolen the title from Sherry Turkle’s book Evocative Objects — I guess I sort of repurposed the title of her book as a way to brand a series of my own object-based micro-electronic prototypic experiments at DMI. These objects, my Provocative Objects, were ‘machines gone wild‘ — an expression of this truly cartoonish Freudian fear of our technology — whereby I dreamt up and created devices that would aggressively attack the user. I think that we’re only slowly beginning to understand some of the undercurrent negative social ( or unsocial ) side-effects our technologies introduce into  our technohumanic ecosystem. Anyhow, this was the original concept behind the name of my project series. The concept and name evolved to become the theme of the show.

Somewhere along my thoughtstreams I began to ask myself ‘Which medium is the most dynamic medium?’ A bit of an asinine question to ask, I’m sure, but I really started to wonder about dynamic media and performance art, and to then wonder about this term ‘dynamic’. Can machines be more dynamic than people? Which of the 2 performs in a more dynamic way: people or machines?

Anyhow, I’m going to totally skip over the definition of the word dynamic, not a lot of time here in this essay to redesign the wheel or the brand of an academic program. Its just not my thing. But, I do want to let you in on a little secret, dear reader. The idea of collecting together all of this amazing international artwork for display at Doran Gallery was more about luring the people to the room than about putting on an incredible artshow. The ‘objects’ in the title Provocative Objects are the people, not the art ( vision of Solient Green come to mind, the final scenes of Invasion of the Body Snatchers, To Serve Man, its a cook book, that sort of science fiction flip of the brain on a skillet ). David and I, as the fictional Bureau of cyberSurreal investigation, put on a wildly successful, highly attended artists’ reception and performance spectacle, indeed — but we also got to see so many different social circles wonderfully coming together in the fascinating ripples created by our clever little box. Our first person, eye witness report on Provocative Objects proves the indelible value of putting on this kind of show. And the value resides not in the objects on the wall, the sculpture and performance art and installations. These are the subtly-planted cool excuse to get people together, the beautiful seeds planted around room to provoke interesting conversations. The most dynamic medium, I would argue, resides on the side of the human element. People perform in far less predictable ways than machines. And people, for me, are the Provocative Objects. We create our art and our technology as a way to better understand ourselves as individuals, as a society and as a culture. We are the Provocative Objects.