Monday, November 5, 2007

Graphics, a digital world

Images have been used as a tool for story telling, information distribution, and marketing since pre-historic times. From picto-graphs to the design of flags and tiles for royal courts, the craft of graphic design has always been a facet of society. Images and graphics help us communicate globally by allowing us to ignore most language barriers.

A computer-generated graphic is defined as 'the process by which a computer displays data pictorially.' In the modern world, computers supply artist and developers with the tools to create visual data. Artists started utilizing computers to design and develop graphics (by using data manipulation) in the mid 80's. Macintosh computers were the first to popularize the graphical user interface (GUI) for presenting data and information. A GUI uses icons, symbols and pictures, rather than text to display it's data. Today most computers run a GUI operating system, allowing for user ease and quick navigation. Macintosh was a clear leader in personal computing and graphic design. In the late 80's however, 3D graphics were born when SGI computers came to life, propelling our cinema and game industries into new worlds. Yet today, Macintosh computers still lead the way in computer-generated graphic design for print, web and film, they have made their cutting edge software and hardware available to the general public, while continuing to offer professional quality cutting edge technologies.

Vector and Bit-mapped graphics are the two major types of graphic structures used in in modern computers. Understanding each type of graphic structure is important when creating images that support the overall concept of the intended design. Utilizing the tools and capabilities of each format is essential for creating graphics, especially with high resolution images.

Vector graphics are drawn into the computer using a mouse, or digitizer tablet where mathematical formulas create lines and shapes. Vector graphics are created in Architectural programs like CAD, or graphic design programs like Adobe Illustrator. A group of graphic elements, such as lines and shapes, creates a vector graphic. Each element, although grouped, holds its own properties allowing it to be selected and manipulated independently of the others. For example, this allows the graphic element to be scaled (resized) smaller or larger instantly.

Bit-mapped images, also known as raster graphics, are created when pictures are scanned or imported into the computer and each pixel is individually defined. These images have the potential to provide realism because they originate from the original scenes via SLR or digital camera. The computer automatically divides an analog image when scanned or imported into hundreds of horizontal rows, with each row containing hundreds of "pixels" (dots). The computer then saves the code containing memory of how many bits, per pixel a certain images holds. This is then measured and used in dots per inch (dpi) format. For example, a monochrome bitmap holds one bit (on/off) per pixel. As shades of grey increase, or elements of color are introduced into the image, the file size grows with the bits per pixel ratio.

3D graphics are images that are vector based and are designed and displayed within a 3D program, allowing the artist and the audience to create and or experience the graphic from all angles. When working in 3D the artist has an obvious advantage because they are able to 'virtually' use three dimensional space. Software tools allow the artist to utilize lights, shadows, camera angles and a rotatable stage for 'realtime' 3D effects.

Animated graphics are now a part of our daily lives. From the web to movies, computer animated graphics are an emerging technology which has captured people world wide. SGI and now Macintosh computers lead with the most popular tools for computer-generated animation and graphics. In 1995, Pixar produced the first full length computer-animated film, Toy Story. Today, many programs like Maya and Lightwave dominate the animation film industry, Adobe Flash is the most widely used application for creating animation online.

Web graphics are graphics that are optimized for viewing on the internet. Bit-mapped, vector, 3D and animated images have special plug-in's utilizing formats that allow the user to view and sometimes interact with the graphic media. Graphics for the web are created with very low resolution usually 72 dpi or less so that the images will load fast when transmitted and downloaded electronically. Web-formatted images are not meant for high quality print. They are intended for viewing online.

Graphics for Print design are especially difficult to engineer. The Artist must prepare graphics for many different kinds of print outputs. There are 2, 4 and 6 Process and Spot Color Ink Presses where the individual colors are printed on the paper, creating the image with layers of colors. Today there are ink-jet printers that use jets of ink dropped in pixel like format on the paper. Ion or electron deposition printing similar to a photo copy, uses toner to fix the image to the paper. With literally dozens of printing formats and file types, designers must choose the best way to display and print their images using various softwares and technologies.

Every industry and occupation requires some knowledge and use of graphics. Visual aids for communication are a daily party of our interaction with society. We are constantly bombarded by graphics, and most often these graphics are digital. Understanding how these complex images are created is important for artist and audience alike. Students around the world are learning basic and technical aspects of Graphic Arts in colleges and universities world-wide. They are specializing in Architecture, Computer Science, Print, Film, Multimedia, New Media and many other industries that utilize computer-generated graphics. These students learn industry specific software tools to build specific types of graphics. With the world at our fingertips it is simply amazing what can be seen graphically today.

Thursday, October 25, 2007

Container Culture (Ned Gazette)

When we start thinking about building a habitable structure, we usually don't start thinking about the use of a recycled 20-foot shipping container. 'Icons of globalization' Mass produced, salt stained, dark, windowless, solid steel, durable universal module, whose primary function is to be shipped. It is easily transported by road and rail and there is a global infrastructure which supports these modules. Easy to acquire, this is the next wave in modern architecture.

Shipping containers have been used for years to store and transport items, and now people are using them to create functional living and work spaces. A portable solution for an owner who is interested in an inexpensive eco-friendly modern alternative. With tens of thousands of empty containers cluttering global seaports, developers are starting to obtain them as literal 'building blocks' for a larger architectural projects.

"Future Shack is the prototype for mass-produced, relocatable emergency and relief housing." They provide custom, prefabricated storage containers to post natural disaster areas, to assist in relief efforts. Many companies around the world are now coming to life, and using the discarded treasures that sit on their docks.

Global Peace Containers, a non-profit organization creates sustainable housing, from retired international shipping containers. Building unique self sustained housing and emergency shelters are important for humanitarian efforts. Containers simply give people the ability to drop these ingenious mobile homes anywhere, and in any configuration.

San Francisco, California is home to the Shipyard, an artist community which was built from a collection of shipping containers. Many of the artist within that community are members of the Burning Man community and they make unique eco-friendly art projects for community events. For example the community built the three story steam-powered victorian house, yet unfortunate as it is, this community is currently searching for a new home, as they have recently been evicted by the city of Berkley because it has a new development plan that does not include the vision of the shipyard or it's artist.

Container City 1 was built in less that five months, and completed in 2001 in the heart of London at Trinity Buoy Wharf. Over 80% of the building was constructed from recycled materials, making it a very cost effective and environmentally friendly. Providing live and work studios affordable and available to almost anyone interested in alternative housing. Container City 2 is an extension of the first, bridged by containers and built even larger housing 22 additional studios. This project is one of the most successful container projects to date because developer worked so closely with the London Government. Now the UK is sponsoring these affordable container living projects throughout the Country.

For those living in the Mountains, harsh environments calls for solid structures that can help us sustain. maybe we should be considering how these containers can help us weather the winters in Nederland. They could be useful when building a home, a great storage container, but beyond that, in a time when materials are expensive, and recycling is a viable option in an alternative friendly community, why not start considering containers. With over 1.6 million containers arriving each year and only 688,000 full containers leaving the US, there is obviously a surplus of containers building up along the port regions of the US.

Thursday, October 18, 2007

Don’t Be Digitally Misrepresented (Ned Gazette)

When we hear about identity today, in the digital age, it seems we hear more about identity theft than anything else. But there is more to worry about than merely someone stealing our identity. What about misrepresenting it?

Daily, even several times a day, things happen to give us a digital identity. We make purchases using a debit card; we walk down Pearl Street, constantly watched on surveillance; we make a cell phone call, or buy something on E-bay, or e-mail friends, family, or lovers. You get the picture. This is the extent to which we leave a digital portrait, whether we intend to or not.

This digital description of us starts from birth and ends several weeks after we are deceased. When we’re gone, and someone attempts to create some history about us in the future, what will they find? Maybe some phone records, a few computer documents left behind, and an electronic digital history of our lives. But is that what any of us actually intended?

Today people create several different kinds of digital identities: for instant messenger, for e-mail, for work and for leisure. People work online globally, for companies and people they have never seen or touched, purely through their digital identity. People everywhere are creating media and data that is a very valuable part of their identity. Blogs, online photo/video galleries, and network profiles like Myspace and Tribe are all huge content producing monsters, full of digital identities.

Possible employers, business partners, lovers and others use the internet to search for info on you, and what pops up on Google is often very interesting. How do you protect and promote yourself on Google at the same time? You can protect yourself by knowing your technological enemy through education. You can start by utilizing the free and or open-source tools available to the general public. Start creating content your proud of, that is reliable and can be backed up with facts and sources. Participate in online forums and groups, to learn about others who share your interests. Become a part of the online communities and mold your digital identities, yet, Always use caution when becoming a part of any online community, and be cautious when molding a digital identity. Cautious about what information your releasing, and to whom. Also be cautious about whom you interact with, how, and where.

Maybe we should be thankful that Nederland is a step behind. Or maybe it is just moving in the right direction, when it comes to invasive data mining and surveillance of its citizens. In a world where everything is documented, it’s nice to know there are places like Nederland where we can take refuge from the digital documentation of our daily lives. A place where we can step lighter, still participating in the future of technology, and yet not let it overwhelm us in our peaceful mountain town. Nederland might just be one of the last places to find solace from these kinds of invasive technologies without cowering in the face the future.


As an experimental electronic artist, it is my lifelong art project to create a more accurate digital identity of myself. I don’t want to erase the ‘day to day’ data; instead I try to create new data daily, that is both personal and relevant to me. I also try to hack data created by others about me and use it in my digital art. The creation of a new media biography will become my dominant history, utilizing my skills as a digital artist. Building blogs, creating digital art and narratives, creating music, video and photography gives me the chance to tell my story with a unique format. Users whom google ‘Jane Crayton or JanedaPain’ find relevant info about me. I am taking over my public/published media, and this control is key when you’re trying to market yourself as an artist and a producer of content. Of course, figuring out how to fund it and keep it live, long after I’m gone, is the next big question!

Thursday, October 11, 2007

EDITORIAL: More than movies at the backdoor Theater?

After visiting the community Center last week to discuss the possibility of throwing an event in the Theater, I was very disappointed to find that the Backdoor Theater has gained a monopoly over this important community space. I have also learned that the Backdoor Theater no longer holds nonprofit organizations status. this concerns me deeply as a Nederland resident and as a person who would like to see other local events thrown in that space. Projects like the Carousel are going to Boulder to the Dairy Center for the Arts and the Boulder Theater for their events because they can not gain access to the Community Center Theater on Friday or Saturday nights. I think that the Community Center should give access to all parties interested in having events and performances in the Theater, and those interested parties should not have to negotiate with the Backdoor Theater to have one of the weekend nights for use. I realize that the Backdoor theater has a lot of community support, they have been here a long time and that their events have the right to be there too, but they do not have the right as a 'private business' to monopolize a 'community space' for the entire weekend. I also know that they do not fill the house each and every night, and this does not suggest that they actually need that much space, for the weekend. The misuse of this space is limiting Nederland greatly in the kinds of cultural events that could be frequenting our community theater. I would like to suggest that the Backdoor Theater consider operations one night a week or one weekday and one weekend night a week. I would like to see other events happening in this space, I would like to see Nederland use this community center to it's fullest potential. I would like to see a fair and just lease with the Backdoor Theater. the Backdoor Theater's lease with the Community Center is up for renewal this December, and I encourage others to speak out before a new lease is signed. I believe this community event should continue without limiting the access of other community events in the same space. Saturday should be a community day the most popular day of the week should be available to the widest possible variety of events. Lets see what Nederland is made of, lets see what we can bring to this great new theater and community space, I'm counting on YOU! Come to the Town Counsel meeting next Tuesday to help discuss this issue, it should be on the agenda.

Thursday, September 27, 2007

Telecommuting from the Mountains. (Ned Gazette)

When the sun rises, and the day comes to light, people wake up and go to work. But in Nederland some have taken to a new way of life, and a new way of working, delivering data via satelite, cable or dsl from right here in town. Telecommuters have become a regular sight in Nederland at local coffee houses, restaurants, businesses and public spaces boasting free wi-fi. Nederland has become rich and vibrant with technology that enables people to work remotely for local and national companies, interacting world-wide, and creating revenue globally.

Mark Brundege of Sun Microsystems started working from home just over two years ago. “There was no point to being in the office when your co-workers and bosses are not there,” Mark explained. He had commuted to the office for five years, and a lot of time was wasted. “I can get more hours of work done at home because it’s easier to deal with people in widely dispersed time zones.” Now he can take a phone conference at 1:30 a.m. to India without having to travel to the office. Mark says that reliable broadband internet is most important for telecommuters. He also points out that cell service is very important and is much needed for the telecommute community of Nederland.

Lance Smeltekop is a regular telecommuter at the Happy Trails Coffee House. He can often be found sitting behind his computer in the back of the train car sipping away on his coffee while he works. He telecommutes an average of 2-3 days a week for IBM. Lance explains that he wasn’t able to start telecommuting in Nederland until he found reliable free wi-fi. He commented, “The only drawback in Ned is the lack of cell service, I was very disappointed when the cell tower was squashed.” Lance works in Finance for IBM and often works with clients in Europe and Asia. He has to often wake up early and stay up late communicating to clients abroad. Having a flexable 24-hour schedule optimizes his abilities. Lance explains, “I’m a more productive person now, and my mind has turned into multi-task.”. In a results-driven business, what matters most is that the job gets done.

Telecommuting is supporting Nederland’s local economy because employed people are staying and spending locally. This is not your typical bedroom community, this community is vibrant with technologically inclined, locally motivated, remotely employed, telecommuters. They typically work longer hours and are often availabe 24 hours a day. You may see their office lights glowing through the night, but with rising gas prices and global warming, looking to remote employment is a viable option for locals with like-minded employers.

Thursday, September 20, 2007

Following the dots to EcoArts (Ned Gazette)

Ecoarts opened Friday September 14th at Boulder Museum of Contemporary Arts (BMOCA) bringing science to a public dialogue through arts. The program features artists and scientists from around the world working on important global and local ecology issues as well as exhibits, performances, tours, gatherings and talks. The event takes place in additional venues in Boulder, such as The Dairy Center for Arts, NOAA and Boulder Public Library.

The Polar Bear at BMOCA entertained the children as their parents and grandparents interacted with the art and artists on a global dialogue on climate change. Natasha Jugl, 3, was delighted to play with the 8’+ Polar bear featuring Global Warming floaties on his arms. Her grandparents, Peter and Sue Birkeland, had brought her to the event because it was the opening of a project Peter had worked on in conjunction with several other scientists and artists for Ecoarts.

Peter Berkeland, of Boulder and Eldora, a retired University of Colorado/ Boulder professor in Geological Sciences, was contacted to get involved in this project by Shiela Murphy of USGS. Peter was asked to work with her and artist Mary Miss of New York. Mary Miss, originally from Colorado Springs, wanted to mark the level of the water for her large scale installation project for the 500 year flood. Working with Berkeland and Murphy, they planned a project where they could mark the 500 year flood water levels along Boulder Creek Path from the Library to BMOCA.

Miss had a hard time convincing people to allow her to put up the blue dots. Banks, private businesses and public spaces are all within the flood plane and they did not want to bring attention to it. They were reluctant to allow her to publicly display the potential flood level. Eventually, though, they allowed them to place the dots and mark the flood levels. As you walk along the bike path and through parts of Boulder now, you see how the impact of this flood could be devastating.

The 500 year flood is a potential hazard Boulder has been learning to deal with since the Big Thompson Flood in 1976. That flood killed 145 people and sent a wall of water over 19 feet deep destroying everything in its path. Since that time, Front Range communities have implemented several flood emergency operations, and regular testing of the emergency flood siren on the first Monday of the month at 10 a.m. in Boulder during flood season. Every year we have a 1/500 chance of having a flood which is currently marked in Boulder by blue dots.

Berkeland participated in this project because he wanted to make people more aware of the hazards associated with rivers. He explained to us how the huge boulders between the Justice Center and Eben G Fine park were deposited when a likely 500 year flood happened to move them to their current locations.

Berkeland thinks it’s super that the art community has questioned us to think about this issue. As it describes in the project outline on, the major threats to Boulder of a 500 year flood include high rainfall over a short period of time, forest fires, Barker Dam failure, and combined events (spring snowmelt plus thunderstorms).

These events also affect Nederland because the canyon is our major transportation gateway and playground. It is important that we participate in these public dialogues, and art is a way to reach people and get their attention. The Ecoarts event is a great way to get public awareness, and stir participation and involvement.

You can find a complete list of events and program highlights online at

Thursday, September 13, 2007

Technically Burned (Ned Gazette)

There were several Nederites who ventured out into this unwelcoming harsh environment to brave the elements, just to solder LED's in dust storms. Burning Man is the largest Participatory Arts Festival in the world, with well over 40,000 participants traveling to the Black Rock Desert to see the 21st Man Burn.

Nederland had several community members actively participating in granted art projects like the Black Rock Glacier. Burners typically camp with major theme camps at Black Rock City, where they focus on specific contributions to the community. There are 198 members on the Boulder Burns Yahoo Group, and over 800 members on the Colorado Burning Man Yahoo Group, making this is a very active community within Burning Man.

This was my fourth Burn, and my son's third. Burning Man is not something many people can claim they have an entire family, three generations, attending. This year I traveled with my son Jared, "The Cuss Kid," age 10, my father Dave, and husband Edwin, to the Black Rock Desert. Here we played in alkaline dust of a dried lake bed called a 'playa.' The fine dust becomes a second skin, a glow of ghosts in the desert disco lights. We had worked for over a month finishing all the final details for our mobile pedal powered jellyfish, with upstairs pillow lounge. It is uniquely upholstered and designed to be the most comfortable jellyfish you've ever played on. Complete with Led Spotlights, El Wire and fabric sewn tentacles this jellyfish was perfectly styled for the hot days and cold nights. The outrageous art vehicles and mobile discos float across the playa in a sea of creativity, through islands of installations and sculptures.

This year we were lucky to witness a full lunar eclipse on Tuesday at 2:53 a.m., when the whole city came to a stop and watched the earth's shadow eclipse the full moon. Just as all of our heads were turned towards the sky, someone climbed up to light the ‘Man’ on fire. The irony is ‘The Man’ burned twice in a Green Year. Most of the art this year, as in all years, is geared towards the theme, and in 2007 the theme was Greening the Man. This year's theme burned twice in a year dedicated to 'green' education.

Participating in the community of Burning Man is a key element to the festival's success, bringing some of the most profound art home to so many hearts. There is not a better place on earth to learn about sustainable living, radical self-reliance, and trade economies within such a groundbreaking technologically advanced event. And this year, there were more green vehicles and sustainable art than ever before. Burners built entire cities (off the grid) using the latest technologies, and for what? Well, a good party, for the hell of it, because we can!

We camped with Entheon Village and the Pyronauts of Giza. These two theme camps built some of the largest structures at BRC to feature art, speakers, music, dance and fire. I spent two evenings doing visual art for Dj's and dancers to enjoy, projecting on 7 hexagonal screens in a 90' dome with over 75K Watts of sound. It’s about the boundaries that we can push and the limitations that we can exceed, how far can we go. This is not a festival for the light hearted, it is not a simple camping trip in the desert, or a party at the beach (although it used to be).

Every year a "temple" is built, dedicated to the ones who have passed on or those who need forgiveness. People write on the structure, leaving messages and mementos for their loved ones. Then the structure is burned on Sunday, the final night of Burning Man, releasing all the energies that participants have infused within it.

Burning Man is a life changing experience, it is a culture, a way of thinking, and a style, and Burners are here in Nederland plotting and scheming for "The American Dream 2008."

Friday, March 2, 2007

Poetic Terrorism and Guerrill Art of the 21st Century

by Jane Crayton aka JanedaPain

“Art as crime; crime as art.” Hakim Bey

One of the most relevant statements made about art by a man who walked the line of expressionism. Hakim Bey, did he see the future, or did he contemplate the past, a combination of both I would guess.

The word guerrilla is a word of Spanish descent (guerra, meaning war) first used to describe the Spanish-Portuguese guerrilleros (insurgents). Guerrilleros have existed through out time often in defense of some wrongs imposed to a group of less represented and defended peoples. They often fight a foreign invader or a ruling government and crimes against humanity. In the modern world we have seen these same groups and individuals come out in a new form of guerrilla tactics that is often non-violent and thought provoking art. Unfortunately in the post 9/11 era we are now limited in our expressions, for fear that they may be considered terrorism and not art. Mind you some of these artist push the line, evacuating neighborhood and closing down cities, all in the name of their art projects and political views. But is it the over reaction of our post 9/11 era that has taught us to react with such eager and violent haste, and condemn the works of these political artist?
Is it the art or the tactics, that deliver the fear that resonates in the unaware and suddenly captured audience? That sudden and captured audience today can be an over alerted citizen or government workers. With the heightened threat of terrorism and the orange security levels at the airports, we are all being programmed that we are never to be safe again. And what a great subject for an art project, huh? Artist around the world are finding them selves in precarious positions, and having to explain themselves to courts around the world and defend their art. These artist are the guerrilla artist of the 21st century. But are they justified in their use of guerilla tactics for making their statement? Is this a struggle to control the people and their freedom of expression? Where do we need to draw the lines for artist and government?

To be an artist has always been a daring act and a future of impoverished hell. It has always been looked down upon until or unless you achieve fame for your art. Artist usually tend to lean towards the side of interesting characters, someone daring, someone expressive of ideas and opinions, someone sending a message. Their approach when successful is usually one of great surprise and inventive nature. These artist are often ridiculed at first and later praised for their daring ability to take on a challenge when all are against them. Typically guerrilla artist have been viewed as punks spray painting on the sides of buildings, but this goes far beyond simple vandalism. There is a culture, a revolution and a style of guerrilla art that is comparable to a peaceful protest utilizing guerrilla tactics.

Banksy a graffiti and guerrilla artist from the UK has delivered some of the best examples of well engineered guerrilla art. His art is legendary, from dodging Israeli soldiers to paint beautiful scenes on the ’security’ wall in Palestine. To placing a parking boot on a sculpture in a central square in London. He has placed multiple pieces of modern remakes of art like Early Man goes to Market, and The British Pensioner in the Hat and Coat, in london Museums where they were not discovered for days even weeks. What a brilliant mind, how better to get into the museum, than to put your work there, yourself, video tape it and then wait for it to get discovered. But his guerrilla art is not just self promoting, he is making political statements by painting on the security wall in Palestine, and by placing the parking boot on the historical statue in a central location of London.

Mode 2 one of the most recognized graffiti artist in the Uk. Known for his unmistakable style and technique of sketchy fill-in with detailed backgrounds and scenes. His work is more like paintings, yet his technique is definitely that of a graffiti artist. His work can be found around the streets of London and his commissioned work can be found on some large Billboards. He is considered a guerrilla artist because of his guerrilla like tactics of graffiti art. The simple fact that most of it is illegal painting on private property, makes it illegal. Although his work is relevant as a guerilla artist, this trend of guerrilla tactics has grown and become a popular way for artist and activist to render their work in public spaces.

A group of artist who seemed to pickup wisely on the term guerrilla artist is the Guerrialla Girls. “We’re a bunch of anonymous females who take the names of dead women artists as pseudonyms and appear in public wearing gorilla masks.” is how the Guerrilla Girls describe themselves. This artist based feminist performance group started in New York. They have been surprising people all over the world with their outrageous guerrilla performances that often incorporate social and feminist issues. They focus more on the issues, than their personalities and individual identities, by wearing the gorilla masks. Their feminist conscious statements and demonstrations often transform the audience, and community, addressing a specific theme the girls have decided to share with the public. Would their audience take them as serious if their faces were shown? And do they fear public and social exclusion from their peer groups if their identities are discovered?

Yes Men are a group of artist and guerrilla activist utilizing artistic guerrilla tactics. Utilizing technology, New Media and theatrical tactics to achieve their desired identity alteration or ‘correction’. From redesigning dummy websites to recreating fake marketing packages, to spoof the media with live interviews of impersonated persons whose identity they wish to correct. In November of 2004 the Yes Men went on BBC with breaking news that the Dow Chemical Company, (whom they claimed to be representatives of ) were going to clean up the mess in Bhopal and compensate the victims for their companies lack of responsibility. From this “identity correction” of Dow Chemical Company, they helped show the true intension of the company which did not intend to help the victims at all. The Yes Men call out actions by industry, commercial or political persons by utilizing guerrilla tactics. They often imitate company executives, and ‘big time criminals’ to publicly humiliate them in order to ‘correct’ their public identities. Their targets have included Mc Donald’s, Dow Chemical, and Elected officials just to name a few.

The South Venice Billboard Correction Committee (SVBCC) A collective group of artist who administer radical social art changes to billboards in South Venice. This group works with guerrilla tactics to redesign and illustrate their social and political agenda. This group works to recreate a new politically corrected ad in place of the old ad. The group uses the existing design and redesigns the billboard to create a new public message. These actions are obviously illegal and a defacing of private property. The group is well aware that their activities are illegal, yet they continue to execute these guerrilla tactics to administer what they call “radical social art changes” to the billboards in order to deliver their social message. These guys literally scale the billboards at night and repaint them, and create a completely different message, in this public space. The idea that public spaces are the new canvas for political generated guerrilla art is a unique phenomena of the 21st Century New Media Artist.

Artist Jason Sprinkle (1969-2005), also known as Subculture Joe, was also an artist whom seemed to only catch negative attention from the city of Seattle. On Labor Day of 1993 Jason and his accomplices tied a ball and chain around the foot of Jonathan Borofsky’s “Hammering Man” stature, that graced the entrance to the Seattle Art Museum. Sprinkle’s guerrilla art performances and installations ranged from celebrated to terrorism related. In 1996 Sprinkle abandon a truck with a large red metal part of an installation in it, flattened all the tires and painted on the fender read a graffiti tag “the bomb”. As a result the Seattle bomb squad was called out, city blocks were evacuated and robots deployed to disarm any potential exploding devices.

“Christopher Boisvert, 25-year-old student from the School of Visual Arts in Manhattan, may have the next few years to think over the implications of art in public places. That’s because a class project he produced involved some art placed in a very public place that unfortunately went a bit awry. The public place was Union Station, one of New York City’s busiest transportation nexuses, and the public art was the placing of close to 40 black boxes at various locations with the word ‘FEAR’ emblazoned on them,” MAYORBOB writes. “To say that this project created a stir would be a gross understatement. In this post September 11th world, a display like that is going to engender just one reaction - fear. Union Station was shut down for about five hours while the NYPD bomb squad checked out the boxes. Boisvert turned himself in when he found out that the police were questioning people about the incident.” This is just another example where the artist although making a very powerful statement, should have been more aware of his actions and the potential fear that he created with his political and social statement. And if he did think of the potential dangers and the potential reactions to his art piece, should he have considered delivering it differently, or accepting the responsibility of it, or be prepared to cover yourself adequately like the Billboard Correction group or even Banksy.

But these incidents are not limited to guerrilla artist, because even artist whom simply speak of the controversial subject of terrorism are subject to suspicion. Within a few weeks of the September 11th terrorist attacks, the FBI contacted the Whitney Museum of American Art about Mark Lombardi’s drawings’ on exhibition there. Mark Lombardi had apparently committed suicide the year before but his controversial work illustrating the links between terrorism and the global economy were still on display in the museum. Lombardi’s work is considered not only art but also pieces of detailed and researched history. His art works are obvious interest to the government in the wake of the new era of terrorism we now live in. But is it really as bad as they want us to believe, or has the technology and the tactics of terrorism just fed the fear of radical self expression to be included within these terms.

Zanny Begg, produced a work of 10 life size checkpoint US solders for exhibition in the town of Sidney as a part of the [out of Gallery] project. Each life size replica was to have the slogan “Checkpoint for Weapons of Mass Distraction.” Her intension was to satirize the US search for weapons of mass destruction. Zanny was instructed to remove her life size solders shortly after erecting them by the City Counsel and Mayor Leo Kelly. She was threatened with arrest and her works were later impounded. “It’s a disgraceful interference with the freedom of speech of these artists,” said Council of Civil Liberties president Cameron Murphy. Another exhibition in November was canceled because the title “Guerilla Art” some how “discredited the council” according to Kelly. Artist are now being censored by city councils and mayors, and art work is being confiscated in the 21st Century. Artist are no only being targeted as terrorist, but they can not even display work on the subject of terrorism or occupation. Is our own censorship not just as bad as the ones we are trying to grant to those in which we seek to give freedom through war…yeah…um… thats an oxymoron.

Columbian born painter Fernando Botero exhibited works in California that depict the Abu Ghriab prison and suspected abuse to prison inmates. His works are bold and courageous, and depict the artist disgust in US policy regarding prison inmates. “I, like everyone else, was shocked by the barbarity, especially because the United States is supposed to be this model of compassion.” His goal is to make people remember the human tragedies sot hat no one will forget the unjust action of the US soldiers to Abu Ghraib’s prisoners. His pictures look to shake people to disturb them, to make them think, and hopefully make them act. We have artist that are working with portraying the victims and the perpetrators of terrorism on both sides of the fence.

Nasrin Mazoi, a graduate student selected to present works at the Museum of Israeli Art in Ramat-Gan displayed six portraits of Palestinian males all she averred, were prepared “to blow themselves up in order to change the present situation.” Her work has now traveled around the world, featuring these life size pictures of apparent suicide bombers or family members of one. This is not an isolated incidence of a Pro-Palestinian exhibition but it is a rather bold and very critical one. Some of these works have been lucky enough to squeak buy, but others have been subject to censorship and confiscation clearly because of the controversial subject.

Steven Kurtz is an associate professor of art at the University of Buffalo, in Buffalo, New York. He aroused suspicion in Spring 2004 when he called medical personal to his home because his wife unexpectedly died. When medical persons arrived at his home to help, they became suspicious of some medical, scientific, and technological equipment in his home. The authorities over reacted and shut down his neighborhood, evacuating people from their homes in surrounding neighborhoods, and closing streets. They took the body of his diseased wife into custody and arrested him, while dozens of agents searched his property. Mr Kurtz was now facing criminal charges as a member of the Critical Art Ensemble, “dedicated to exploring the intersections between art, technology, radical politics and critical theory”. In July of 2004 a grand jury rejected the ‘terrorism’ charges, but he still faces federal criminal charges today for mail and wire fraud. What is interesting about Steven Kurtz is that he was arrested not for his performance or his art per-say, but because of what they thought it could be. Gary Younge from The Guardian in Buffalo describes the situation. “What began as a personal tragedy for Mr Kurtz has turned into what many believe is, at best, an overreaction prompted by 9/11 paranoia and, at worst, a politically motivated attempt to silence a radical artist.” So where is the limit between crime and art, and art as crime? How do we define Kurtz, and other radical artist that work in new mediums that push boundaries with technology, should we limit their research? These are all important questions to be asking artist and their audience in the 21st century.

Are you scared to speak out, demonstrate, or produce radical art? I am, and I think even writing about this could get me on a list of people to be watched. I fear the police-state in which we live today, wants to censor our art and prosecute our artist as terrorist. I think that each of these artist has the responsibility only to themselves to weigh these actions, for they know their art has consequence, that is why it is so potent. It is apparent that the government wants to regulate what is said and demonstrated to the people. It is obvious that the current US administration is prepared to make permanent changes to laws in order to ease the legalities of entrapment for these guerrilla artist.

That said, when Banksy is striding through the Museum with a fresh addition ready to hang, does he not consider what will happen if he is caught and apprehended. Is it not the ultimate publicity for your work to be discovered and captured or even detained? Although horrible in the case of Steven Kurtz, who was not actively presenting work at the time of his arrest. Is he still not aware of his potential surroundings and the danger his work could have to his personal life and freedoms. But as artist and as activist, I think we are all willing to take these risks in our work and activism. I think some of us have been luckier than others. And I believe that some have carefully executed plans of great detail, with wisdom of potential hazards and legal obstacles.

When we examen the most recent incident in Boston on January 31st, where two artist Peter Berdovsky and Sean Stevens were charged with creating a panic because they placed electronic LED art that somehow caused a bomb scare. The installation was actually commissioned by the Turner Broadcasting Network and the art work depicting a popular animated character from Adult Swim’s, Aqua Teen Hunger Force “flipping the bird”. The artworks were actually installed for several weeks without, panic or notice throughout the entire country. What is crazy is it was a guerrilla marketing plan by the network, and they had several hundred LED boards placed in cities throughout the United States. Boston Police Commissioner Edward Davis called the stunt “unconscionable,” while Boston Mayor Thomas Menino called it “outrageous” and the product of “corporate greed.” Democratic Rep. Ed Markey, a Boston-area congressman, added, “It would be hard to dream up a more appalling publicity stunt.” It seems that because the city over reacted, with the resulting “snarled traffic and mass transit closings as the bomb squad fumbled to find all the LED light boards. Do they now seek revenge for their over-reaction, or should they just consider themselves lucky to have gotten a good practice run. According to a student Todd Venderlin, “It’s so not threatening — it’s a Lite-Brite,” he told the press, referring to the children’s toy
that allows its users to create pictures by placing translucent pegs into an opaque board. “I don’t understand how they could be terrified. I would if it was a bunch of circuits blinking, but it wasn’t.”

When we look back into history we see that the great artist, scientist and inventors of our time have often had their actions and theories mistaken for evil conspiracy driven terrorism. Even Galileo was taken into custody and held by the church for speaking his views and publicly demonstrating his support of the new heliocentric view of the solar system. The modern inventors have to be risk takers in order to produce their inventions in theory, art and science. Yet they need to exercise extreme caution when demonstrating with guerrilla tactics because their politically charged art is still subject to the new laws of the Homeland Security Act, and may end up face to face with the terrorism task-force in the 21st Century. Hakim Bey said it best, “The best Poetic Terrorism is against the law, but don’t get caught. Art as crime; crime as art.”


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