Thursday, May 18, 2017

100 Days on a Fulbright: Day 37: Large Drawing Conservation

Ferdinand Ahm Krag. Waves Over Graves. 2011. Mixed Media. 223.3 by 239.6 cm.
Short post (and a break from the container residency) as we're about to travel. As I prep for upcoming exhibitions with large drawings, this seemed helpful and worth sharing:

100 Days on a Fulbright: Day 36: Erin Diebboll

House of Three Brothers / marker on paper - 2016.
Thoughts about container artist residency route #4 Erin Diebboll

I love many of Diebboll’s drawings, especially her House of Three Brothers, pictured at the top of this post. Its warping sense of space echoes the resonance of certain objects, walls, corners. My Sherwin Series prints likewise documented the same emotionally warped perception of homes, particularly during times of crisis. Likewise, her decision to cut the paper at unusual angles has the same affect as my wall paintings: it heightens awareness of the gallery architecture in relationship to the depicted domestic space. I also like some moments in her 2010 drawings titled Thirty Years - Basement, posted below, and again, they remind me of the work that I was doing in 2010.

Thirty Years - Basement / pencil on paper - 50 x 96 inches - 2010.
Her playful drawings of shipped objects remind viewers that many staff on shift or personal at ports do not know the contents of the containers. In fact, only 5 percent of containers shipped to the US are inspected. It also emphasizes art labor—in this case, repetitive, meticulous and for the right soul, meditative—that often goes unnoticed.

Voyage 51E / pencil on paper, metal frames - dimensions variable - 2016.

Wednesday, May 17, 2017

100 Days on a Fulbright: Day 35: Revital Cohen and Tuur Van Balen

Above: Revital Cohen and Tuur Van Balen. 75 Watt.

Route #3 is by London-based, collaborative couple
Artists’ website:
Container Artist Residency page:

I am a bit weary of artists outsourcing their work as conceptual gesture, but their past work 75 Watt (above and linked here) seems so well executed and thoughtfully done. Short on time today (because I cannot delegate my own work!) but will post as today’s notes.

Tuesday, May 16, 2017

100 Days on a Fulbright: Day 34: Tyler Coburn

Image: Tyler Coburn. Organic Situation, Koenig & Clinton, New York, 2015. Installation view.
Review of container artist residency route #2 Tyler Coburn

  • All routes listed here:
  • Artist’s website:
  • Video excerpt from I’m that angel:

I woke up ready to be critical of route #2 artist Tyler Coburn, but instead I find myself obsessed with his line of logic. We have many shared interests, namely logistics, automation, digital labor and extrastatecraft. Many are effectively introduced in his 2012 E-Flux article “Charter Citizen.”

In short, I like the way that he talks about his work in the exhibition "The Promise of Total Automation,” documented in this interview.

I love research-based artworks that reveal compelling, little known histories. In his case, his artwork Sabots highlights the history of a French clog called the sabot and lights out manufacturing. The accompanying piece Waste Management ( was also made in a factory, this one in Taiwan, to in part, rejuvenate a little known 18th century literary genre called it-fictions. In Mark Blackwell’s book The Secret Life of Things: Animals, Objects, and It-narratives in Eighteenth-Century England, the author explains how this genre “languished in critical purgatory.” Perhaps this is why I instinctively quieted my interest  Tom Robbin’s 1995 book Skinny Legs and All with its inanimate objects (Can o' Beans, Dirty Sock, Spoon, Painted Stick and Conch Shell) and happily found those ideas revisited when Jane Bennet’s 2010 Vibrant Matter became popular among art historian friends.

A review of the power of inanimate objects certainly makes senses in any project about global trade. His thoughts on writing for robots also connects to my writing this blog, almost wholly for my own use, knowing that it will likely only be read by a search engine.

Additional reading / watching:

Monday, May 15, 2017

100 Days on a Fulbright: Day 33: Mari Bastashevski

Mari Bastashevski. Excerpt Chapter II. 2012-13. 
I’ve been keeping my eye on the Container Residency ( launched last year, but I’m skeptical of the degree to which the artworks can vary from this one experience. Over this week, I’ll make notes each artist, in order of route listed here:

First up: Mari Bastashevski,

Mari Bastashevski departed from Odessa, Ukraine on March 25, 2016 en route to her first stop, the port of Istanbul, Turkey. She will travel to Haifa, Israel; Nhava Sheva, India; Port Klang, Malaysia; Da Chan Bay, China; and Busan, South Korea, before disembarking in Shanghai on May 1st.

Personally, I’m grateful for a picture of her collected readings, pictured on the site, and after some work, I've listed them with links below.

Bastashevski’s photos from onboard the cargo ship seem like typical shots (albeit with fantastic sense of composition and craft) of workers with less agency, but the strength of her past work ( rests on her ability to behind closed doors to document people in power. I hope similar strategies were used on her container residency and can be easily viewed later. The residency photos immediately bring to mind Allan Sekula’s Photography Against the Grain: Essays and Photo-works 1973-1983, recently re-released by UK publisher Mack ( and reviewed here ( through an interview between Sunil Shah ( and David Campany (

Mari Bastashevski. Stack of books for container artist residency. 2016.

Saturday, May 13, 2017

100 Days on a Fulbright: Day 32: University of Hamburg Library

University of Hamburg Library is grandiose but not the main entrance. This website gives a clear overview about what is in each building:
If you stay at the Gästehaus der Universität Hamburg, they give you a library card to be returned at the end of your stay. Otherwise you fill out an application here (, pay €20 for one year and pick up the card at service center (bring your residence authorization and passport, and if a student, your student ID).

Although the original, main building (pictured above) sits opposite Hamburg Dammtor station, the main entrance for most research is actually at Von-Melle-Park 3 (pictured below)

You search the library collection here:

Most books are offsite so you order them and find them later on bookshelves organized by your card number. You check out the books yourself so you don’t set off the alarms at the door.

If you need to print or scan, you first by a card on the first floor for €5, which gives you €2 and has a €3 pfand (given back when you return the card). Then on the 2nd floor, there are the scanners and printers. You can scan for free on the book scanners, unless there are students scan page by page by page by page. If this is the case, use the printer’s to scan for 20 cents a page scanned. 50 cents a page to print.

This site gives a nice overview of the library’s history and collection:  and this website about the history of the university which is surprisingly young.

And here from Notre Dame is a list of links to all of Germany’s libraries:

University of Hamburg, main entrance for most research

Friday, May 12, 2017

100 Days on a Fulbright: Day 31: Allora & Calzadilla & Irene Small

Allora & Calzadilla, Puerto Rican Light (Cueva Vientos), 2015, solar-powered batteries and charger, plywood crate, Dan Flavin’s Puerto Rican light (to Jeanie Blake) 2, 1965. Installation view, El Convento Natural Protected Area, Puerto Rico, 2015–17. Photos: Allora & Calzadilla.
This past February at CAA, my favorite panel was an art history panel title Temporal Frames and Geographic Terrains with stand out talks by Steven Nelson at UCLA and Irene Small at Princeton. During her talk, Irene Small explained the importance of weak links. As an example, she described a collection in Santiago Chile, now the Museum of Solidarity, that was set up just 1971–73 just before the military coup of 1973. The story is more thoroughly told on the Guggenheim’s blog. The blog begins with one such written trace of the museum’s history, a letter from Harald Szeemann, the curator of Documenta 5, from December 8, 1972. On the blog, Isabel García Pérez de Arce starts the blog entry with this excerpt from the related typed letter from Szeeman to John Baldessari:
“Mario Pedrosa, the Brazilian art critic and museum curator, has gone to Chile in order to found there a museum of solidarity between the artists and the experiment of the country, Chile, itself. Some six hundred works of art have already arrived in Chile, among them Mirós, Calders, Vasarelys, and Stellas. Mario Pedrosa has asked me to send his quest to artists of Documenta 5, and the painters and sculptors known to me, in order to help create an activity for this museum of solidarity by means of works of art and the creation of a collection, which alone would justify the construction of a new building. I would be grateful if you could support this project with your thought and your assistance. With best regards, Harald Szeemann.” In the same letter—written on a continuous strip of paper and postmarked California, U.S.A.—Baldessari incorporated the text: “Dear Mario Pedrosa. Please let me know what I can do to aid in the creation of your museum and how I go about it. Sincerely yours, John Baldessari.”
In the current issue of Artforum magazine, Irene Small describes another artwork born of transnational concerns, Allora & Calzadilla’s 2015 installation titled Puerto Rican Light (Cueva Vientos), which places Dan Flavin’s 1965 Puerto Rican light (to Jeanie Blake) 2, 1965 in El Convento Natural Protected Area, Puerto Rico with solar-powered lighting. She asks:
But what is a source, what is a site? Flavin’s title was inspired by a remark by Jeanie Blake, a gallery assistant who noted that the sculpture reminded her of “Puerto Rican lights.” Ostensibly, Blake was referring to New York’s Puerto Rican Day Parade, but the sculpture’s palette of red, pink, and yellow intimates a more amorphous string of associations, ranging from tropical sunsets to piña coladas (invented the same year colored fluorescents appeared, 1963). The parade was itself something of a novelty, a by-product of the dramatic surge in Puerto Rican immigration to New York City in the 1950s and ’60s, spurred by the manufacturing and export initiative Operation Bootstrap. The electrical current that would normally activate the gaseous contents of a fluorescent tube, meanwhile, represents an even more diffuse network, a single point in a vast infrastructure of governmental and corporate relations. The conceptual audacity of Flavin’s light works lies in no small part in gathering this tentacular web and transforming it into an evanescent envelope of space—a glow, heat, and hum—that, quite unlike the invisible network that looms beyond it, can be experienced at bodily scale.
Then she outlines the relationship between the minimalist artwork to the landscape outside the cave, much in the way the factories of New York City and Beacon provide a telling backdrop to the Minimalist and post-Minimalist work of Dia Beacon.
For Allora & Calzadilla, the correlation between art and industrialization becomes explicit—albeit through a process of defamiliarization and displacement. En route from San Juan to Cueva Vientos, one passes abandoned sugar-processing plants and leaking petrochemical complexes, each evidence of the economic asymmetry that continues to structure Puerto Rico’s relation to the mainland. Obsolescence emerges as a historical rather than aesthetic frame, one that admits the deep entanglement of colonialism, capitalism, and industrialization. Once we enter the El Convento cave system, our temporal frame dilates, and we trace the reverse route of the ancient Taíno, ascending through a forest of primeval trees to caves populated by bats and boa constrictors, seeking shade and sun in turn.
Again I come back to this wild flux between abstraction and representation around and within contemporary artworks and the constant digital stream of imagery. As we work on this game about the port and I struggle to present that topic in a way that has yet to be told, I think about how artworks might most effectively represent the larger invisible networks that Small describes.

100 Days on a Fulbright: Day 30: Containers Podcast

Podcast called Containers. 2017–. 
Quick post today. One of my HFBK students Konouz Saeed drew my attention to a new (as of February 2017) podcast called Containers. One podcast also on the 99% Invisible website.
Good so far.

Thursday, May 11, 2017

100 Days on a Fulbright: Day 29: saidtocontain

Laura Kalauz, Maja Leo, Bojan Djordjev and New Urgency. Said to Contain, series of events about global trade, 2013-present.
This week at HFBK, my students told me about a project by other HFBK students called Said to Contain ( The basic premise is that the three artists ship themselves to Zurich (Switzerland), Buenos Aires (Argentina), Hamburg (Germany) and Belgrade (Serbia) to initiate social practice events where they gather local participants to discuss the effect of global trade at a human level. Although attracted to the title (, at first I was irritated by the pictures of artists with camera, book and wall drawings to communicate the heavy lifting of proposed art making ( Even the event photos seemed too easy (see people gathering, isn’t it wonderful? see It felt limited and from a privileged point of view.

But upon a chance encounter with another section of their site, I found the notes at able to extend the artwork beyond the local event. The online documentation also introduced me to Laleh Khalili, someone who should be on my radar (  Such notes, recordings with sound, and other thorough documentation allow the project to affect those of us without money or time to travel. For starters, I would find a bibliography helpful.

Making artwork about global trade from a privileged position is tricky business. So here I am. On my Fulbright in the strongest economy in the European Union in a guest house for a top university with additional support from a private liberal arts college in the United States. What’s important is how effectively and rigorously we produce and disseminate the artwork from this entitled position to be sure that it involves many voices and is less top down. But battling commercial tech control over our lives requires tech-savvy interventions.

The few of my HFBK students scorn documentation and institutional or commercial vehicles for dissemination. In the face of the type of data harvesting that yesterday’s New York Times Magazine reviews (see Amanda Hess’ “How Privacy Became a Commodity for the Rich and Powerful” from May 9, 2017,, would it not make more of an impact to co-op some of these companies’ tools to introduce to a larger audience some playful, through-provoking online creations? I appreciate social practices’ goals of gathering people at time when too many focus on their devices instead of face to face interactions, but still, my greater sense of urgency leads me to think that some device-based intervention, perhaps coupled with local physical events is ideal.

Over the next week, I’ll review the work from another container-themed residency (, but also keep my eye out for people effective online interventions. My husband Owen Mundy and his I Know Where Your Cat Lives ( as one such example. What’s amazing about his project is how many changed their privacy setting after visiting the site.

Owen Mundy. I Know Where Your Cat Lives. 2014-present. Image from here.

Wednesday, May 10, 2017

100 Days on a Fulbright: Day 28: HFBK 250 Years

HFBK on Wikimedia
Ok and just so this is on everyone’s radar: 250 years of of HFBK Hamburg. Speakers include Laurie Anderson, Thomas Demand, Hans Ulrich Obrist.

And a conference with the directors / presidents of the Art School Alliance, including Yale, Goldsmiths, and Cal Arts on July 13.

Tuesday, May 09, 2017

100 Days on a Fulbright: Day 27: HFBK

Picture from the main atrium at HFBK. 2017. 
Today was filled with my class at HFBK. The group is diverse with students from London, UK; Karachi, Pakistan; Buenos Aires, Argentina; Auckland, New Zealand (but born in China), a German-New Zealand student… One is into social practice, particularly obsessed with objects on the street that are hacked to make said found object more useful. She also lives in a collective neighborhood near the airport where they’ve made their own housing, in sharp contrast to her efficiently-made, government-subsidized apartment from before. Stands in stark contrast with my research on the “brick expressionism” of the Kontorhaus, but that’s for a later post.

Friday, May 05, 2017

100 Days on a Fulbright: Day 22: Abstract Video

Gabrielle Jennings. Abstract Video: The Moving Image in Contemporary Art. 2015. 

During my Fulbright, I’m catching up on potential readings for my class Art and Electronic Media. I’m especially enjoying the book Abstract Video: The Moving Image in Contemporary Art by another UCSD alumni Gabrielle Jennings. As Owen and I continue our game experiments, clever ways of incorporating abstraction feel important and refreshing, not only for the sake of processing speeds but also as respite from our image/word saturated social media landscape. Having had countless students approach me about making detail-rich concept art, now is an ideal time to renew debates about abstraction and representation.

An excerpt from Jenning’s book (, as she describes her work at UCSD’s University Art Gallery:
The first was an exhibition by New York School poet and artist Joe Brainard. Through this exhibition, I was introduced to the poet John Ashbery. Even then, I had a fascination with the empty spaces in his writing, with the ways he used typography and allusion for powerful ends. Looking back, my interest in and use of blankness both in my studio work and in my master’s thesis, “Stillness and Simultaneity,” was influenced by Ashbery’s work. Later I would work closely with the painter and writer Jeremy Gilbert-Rolfe, whose writing appears in this volume and whose work has also been a profound influence on my thinking about art. In his 1997 article Blankness as a Signifier, he wrote, “Where [blankness] once marked the absence of the sign by being a sign for absence, it is now the sign of an invisible and ubiquitous technological presence.” This volume teases out this presence: an indefinable, murky space, foggy and immaterial like a Turner painting; an abstraction that appears in the moment of a frame and then disappears only to be replaced by another.
Gabrielle Jennings teaches at Art Center College of Design, Pasadena, CA.

Gabrielle Jennings. Abstract Video: The Moving Image in Contemporary Art (Kindle Location 227). University of California Press. Kindle Edition.

100 Days on a Fulbright: Day 21: Blender!

Finally some progress in Blender. A quickly made, simple mockup of the Speicherstadt, Hamburg.

Thursday, May 04, 2017

100 Days on a Fulbright: Day 21: Love of Bldgblog

Image from Geoff Manaugh. The Washington Bridge Apartments, New York; via Google Maps.
Too eager to get to studio today so keeping this short. Back to Chilehaus tomorrow, but in the meantime, I quick nod to, one of my favorite blogs by Geoff Manaugh.

Linking directly to his post about the "constructed interior, as exotic as the savannah" at He always points out lesser noticed spaces in innovative ways. Hoping to take that approach to the Chilehaus, surrounding buildings and the city at large.

Tuesday, May 02, 2017

100 Days on a Fulbright: Day 20: Chilehaus

My proposal for my 3-country Fulbright to Germany, Chile and Hong Kong connects early 20th century buildings and their PR materials across national boundaries. Sometimes my process involves leafing through old magazines and newspapers. Other times, giving tours of the buildings and their surroundings. And on ideal days, like today, studio production, inspired by this research.

So to refocus before a studio day, a little bit more about the Chilehaus, my main muse (along with the port) here in Hamburg. Below is an excerpt from my proposal, explaining the connection.
Placed on UNESCO’s list of World Heritage Sites in 2015, the Chilehaus is a compelling, early example of infrastructure born out of the profits from international trade. Designed in the shape of a ship, the building cost a small fortune during Germany’s period of hyperinflation in the 1920s. Funded by shipping magnate Henry B. Sloman, Chilehaus developed from Sloman’s wealth amassed through his trading of potassium nitrate mined in Chile, hence the name Chile House. The Global Flex will allow me to investigate related public relation posters on both ends of the exchange, through examination of promotional materials about the Chilehaus at the University of Hamburg and the mining of potassium nitrate in Chile at the National Archive of Chile. The posters from both locations during this era display a national boosterism common in artwork from the Soviet Socialist Realist era.

Willy Dzubas. Deutschland : das Chilehaus in Hamburg. Published by Berlin : Hollebraum und Schmidt, [1919-1945]. 
And later in my proposal:

Since my recent artwork remixes color and architecture as ways to manufacture desire, this research on posters will be combined with investigations into the history of urban planning in Hamburg. The warping architecture in my artwork from the last ten years connects to both Chilehaus’ location in the Speicherstadt and Kontorhaus District, with its series of complex tunnels, canals, and warehouses, and the Chilehaus itself, with its sharp peak at its front that mimics a ship’s prow. These oblique structures, evident in Höger’s 1924 building and often celebrated in contemporary, computational architecture, mimic the both the intentionally obtuse structures of contemporary networked systems and the structure of the sea itself. Geographer Phil Steinberg writes that linear, descriptive narratives are inadequate for portraying trade, which is a process of betweeness even as it incorporates tangible objects, actors, and power dynamics. Furthermore, he argues that linear narratives are unable to capture either the social or the geophysical power of the ocean, which has a depth and dynamism that defies representation, or of the ports that exist in constant interchange between ideals of solid land and liquid sea. In keeping with this critique, I seek to produce artworks with structures that reflects this liminal state—between representation and abstraction, male and female, analog and digital—through paintings that suggest movement and short animations in motion.

100 Days on a Fulbright: Day 19

Bank holidays on a Monday in Germany are especially tricky with a six-year old: Everything but restaurants are closed. And she's weary of getting rained on at the playgrounds. Or getting pelted with hail. Perhaps we were all in a bad mood. So today was a day of serious catch up. Work done on our new computer lab in the Art Department at Davidson College. Needs a scanner. And some color. But soon it will be filled with mind-blowing, ambitious and smartly designed artworks.