Sunday, April 30, 2006

Not so fast.....(this is) food?

On a whim and a successful pre-screening, I took part in a fast food focus group last week. An independent research group was gathering information (for, what a friend deduced from questioning ~perhaps~Taco Bell?). They wanted opinions from "creatives" about their experience of fast food. They asked questions in the pre-screening like, "If you were a fast food, what would you be?" (ok, so I lied on this portion of the Q&A to ensure my participation in the focus group, and said I'd be a crispy taco bell taco and how many times I ate fast food (6 a month = 6 times a year, at best). During the 45min. in-home filmed interview, my friend and I were asked things by three interviewers like, "What do you like about the the meal you like to eat at your favorite chain?" (A: textures, food that looks like recognizable food parts with the option of eating in at a thematic (read: kitschy) dining area), "What constitutes a meal vs. a snack?" (A: Sitting down and taking time vs. squat and gobbling, respectively), "If you went to a Fast Food chain would you choose a burger or a salad?" (A: duh, the burger. I'm obviously not there for my health. guilty pleasures.) At one point I said that maybe super-sized fast food was a form of darwinian population control.

They gave me a questionnaire asking about the food I buy and eat (e.g. spices, veggies, snacks, etc…). There was also a section that asked that I make a collage about how I feel about food without any images of food. I ended up doing three. Yeah, they're hokey, but I kinda like the last one. Cut and pasting sans 'puter was very refreshing.
(click on image to enlarge, then refresh page if necessary)

1st collage: Comfort

2nd collage: Feel

3rd collage: Food Chain (distilled)

Sunday, April 23, 2006

Surreal eState

the install process

Weekend of April 22nd, 2006

Installing a commissioned piece entitled "Pyramid Schemes",
part of my steel wool drawing series: Herd Mentality.
A schwank house on a majestic patch of land
St. Helena, CA. Wonderbread Weekender town
where resident hoi polloi fill your gas, your shopping bags, your cup.
It runneth over with frothy lattes and egos.
Lucky for me it's quiet up on the hill, a sort of vibrant silence.
Nature, me and more surrealist essays.
(on Joseph Cornell, Francis Alÿs, and Black Humor)

Pyramid Schemes

Saturday, April 22, 2006

Fluxist Tampons

Q: What well-known fluxist filed for a tampon patent?

A: George Brecht, when he worked for Johnson & Johnson.

patent no.3015332 Jan., 1962 Brecht.
see: list of Tampon Patents

How did I find this tadpole of info? Remember that Surrealism Essay I was reading on the bus? (more on this later). Before Brecht was an artist, he was a full-time chemist for J&J. Brecht even included it in his mail-art exhibition, l'art du Tampon. (incidentally, the show was made up of mostly men. should be renamed male-art exhibition)

Wednesday, April 19, 2006

Bus Incident at Church & Market

I was on the bus yesterday evening. A white man in his early 50's, thin and scrawny, and two black kids in their teens, also scrappy, board the bus. They are having some sort of heated argument. The two kids claim the guy had stolen something from them. And he claims he ran from them because he was scared. They threaten him and order him off the bus [where they would "handle" things]. His voice gets shrill/panicked. The man makes a run for the door. The kids block him. The bus driver won't open the door for him, even though he is directly to the left of him and sees the man. The two kids begin running back and forth along the length of the bus chasing/grabbing the man. People are also strangely shifting back and forth, quietly avoiding the situation, but never taking theirs eyes off of it. Not until then does the bus driver go on the intercom telling them to take it off the bus.

At some point, it turns to blows against the guy. I hit send on my cell phone, which I had pre-dialed for 911 earlier on (hoping it wouldn't come to this, but fearing it might). They drag him off the bus by his legs, he is screaming "Help me!". No one really moves or does anything. The two gay men at least hold on to his arms to prevent him from being dragged onto the street off the back exit stairs (but without getting out of their seats and with the urgency of holding onto a handrail). UGh, my reception is bad and it takes what seems like an eternity to connect; I finally do. I relay some basic people/location information. The operator tells me to stay on the line, but I'm entering a tunnel and afraid I will lose my connection. Then someone on the bus says...."I see the police". I look out the window..sirens. Someone got to 911 before me, thank god.

The bus continues on. The next set of passengers board at the next stop. Business as usual. The new people don't know any better, the old people act as if nothing happened.

If walls do retain the vibrations of all the experiences/sounds of things past, as some scientists speculate, it's a wonder than any sensitive person could possibly sit on a bus without a sense of distress.

How many things are wrong with this scene?
The possible stolen goods? The physical violence? The indifference/fear for personal safety, yet persistant curiosity of onlookers? Me, pre-dialing 911? Me, watching the people, watch the people? The one bus stop return to normal? The fact that while writing on this blog I have to think about using politically correct labels(words), which at the end of the day mean nothing unless you actually treat people with respect(action)?

Sadly, this is the second time I've had reason to call 911 on the bus. The first time I was about 12 and someone got stabbed and everyone climbed over me to get to the windows (to jump out). Life is far more surreal and twisted than the essay on Filliou/Surrealism that I was reading on the bus.

Tuesday, April 18, 2006

Dream Sequence

Monoprint: Kontiki (Over Isla Mujeres), Terry Chastain, 1999

I had a dream I and others were transported by aliens (not a hostile abduction) in a blimp named Randy. They weren't here to harm or probe us, but to teach us how to find the meaning of (our own) life through exercises and activites. Led by resident alien, Brian Denehey, of Cocoon fame (yes, my alien visual dream dictionary is very limited, though it's interesting that the blimp is the same shape as the cocoons), the exercise given to me was a 'I start a sentence and you finish it'. He said, "When I die, I feel nothing....". I told him I couldn't finish it because I didn't agree with the statement (nevermind that it is already a grammatically complete thought.) I started my own sentence, "When I die, I feel everything."

Shortly after, I was lulled into wake-state.

The back burners of my mind have been on simmer mode lately: thinking about religion and spirituality, but not of any indoctrinated or oogey-boogey variety. Raised Methodist (at home), Jesuit (for 1-2nd grades), Secular (3-8th grades), Catholic (9-12th), World's My Oyster ( the Berkeley-Italy years), and Dabbler's Delight Yogic Practice (eastern slant with a twist of western urbanity), like it or not, religion of one sort or another has been a part of my life. Maybe not on a very conscious I spent most of my early years fending off fanaticism from my father. But with a bit of time-distance (and a mix of skepticism and curiosity), I've been reflecting on what makes up my own personal sense of . . . religiosity, if you will.

addendum: My inner demons are still debating the nothing = everything formula. Clearly haven't made the connect yet.

Shake & Bake - 100 year Anniversary

Woke up this morning thinking, today marks the anniversary of the great San Francisco Earthquake. The City of grumble and flames, circa 1906. What better way to start my blog than with a little tremor of anticipation and a chance to shake my tree for ripe ideas and loose thoughts.