Sketches and Rough Notes

I’ve been working on a fairly large blogging project since last August.

The talk Brad and I gave at SoOnCon, “Why People Hate Art” was assisted by a mind map I had created in a program called Semantik. Since the talk, my mind has been exploding with ideas relating to that talk. As I was working on it this morning, I realized that I have over 9000 words in rough, point form notes. I really, really need to sit down and develop each of these points into a post here, but the way ideas are interconnecting, I want to do this this most comprehensive way possible.

The good news: a whole lot of content is being worked on
The bad news: it’s gonna take a long time…

Why People Hate Art: Our SoOnCon 2011 Talk

I edited the talk down from 28 minutes into a much more focused 18 minute presentation. The other half will be posted shortly (well…eventually) but here is the meat of the talk.

If you want the background to this talk, and don’t feel like digging through my earlier posts, here is a brief summary of this talk and how it happened:

Brad Blucher and I were invited to give a talk at the TIFF Bell Lightbox for SoOnCon 2011.

The topic for our presentation was “why people hate art”. Using examples of things we have experienced first hand, we launched into an attack on the pervasiveness of obscurantism masquerading as deep insight within the art world.

Art is often nothing more than a footnote to a (poorly written) essay using invalid logic to make unsound arguments, all the while using technical and scientific terms inappropriately and without justification in an attempt to apply a veneer of rigour and profundity over their steaming pile of banal observations and utter nonsense.

This talk is a criticism of that tendency in the art world.

Tiff Talk Teaser

I mentioned my SoOnCon talk in several earlier posts.

I’m currently in the process of editing the footage from the actual talk. The full presentation was 28:50, just shy of the 30 minute allotment we were given. My goal is to remove the dead space and redundancies without taking away from the actual content or tone of the presentation. I want to deliver the complete talk, while taking up as little of your time as possible.

Here is a little teaser to hopefully whet your appetite:

Talking at TIFF: What it Took to Prepare Our SoOnCon Talk

Ever wondered exactly what it takes to put together a 30 minute presentation?

Brad and I knew that the opportunity to speak at SoOnCon was something that is unlikely to happen again any time soon. We also knew that we had nothing to talk about. We had given a lightning talk at Toronto Mini Maker Faire just months earlier, and we haven’t really done any new projects since then. But we still really wanted to do something.

I was on the phone with Brad, pacing around my apartment, trying to throw ideas back and forth, but nothing was coming to mind. Our conversation wandered off on some bizarre tangent. Then we started complaining about how horrible artists are, and how terrible a lot of art projects are. That’s when a little light bulb clicked on in my brain.

I suggested, “why people hate art”.

We frequently have long conversations about this very topic whenever we get together, so generating material wont be a problem. We’ve experienced enough art-BS first-hand to burn through 30 minutes without having to prepare a thing! This talk would be little different than any of our normal meeting, with one little difference: instead of ranting to each other in private about how horrible the art world is, we will be ranting in public! Brad thought I might be on to something. He prepared the application form and sent it off. We received our acceptance notice the next day.

That meant that we had to get to work.
Continue reading Talking at TIFF: What it Took to Prepare Our SoOnCon Talk

The DRM BOX: Rough Copy of the Promo Video.

This is the same rough copy of the promo video that I put together for the DRM BOX. Since we planned on showing this video during our SoOnCon presentation at the TIFF Bell Lightbox, I had to have this video done and ready to go.

This has been sitting around quietly on YouTube as an ‘unlisted video’, but it’s been two weeks now, why keep it locked up?


My SoOnCon ReCap

Being given the chance to speak at SoOnCon is simply too good of an opportunity to pass up. Having that event take place at the TIFF Bell Lightbox makes the experience that much better.

The work that went in to getting ready for this talk will be the subject of another entry. This post is about the event itself.

I arrived an hour later than I had wanted to. I missed the first few talks. Alex Leitch had started by the time I entered the building, and I didn’t want to be ‘that guy’ who barges in half way through and disrupts everyone. Instead, I sat down in the hallway and put together my slide show.

I went for an extremely simple black-background-with-white-text aesthetic, because most PowerPoint presentations suck, and I wanted to keep it as simple as I could. Plus, I was using Libre Office, so any fancy stuff I did was unlikely to turn out right after being converted to .ppt format. The slides were more of a reminder for Brad and I than fancy visuals for the audience. Our talk was a series of short stories, and each slide was a key phrase that reminded us of that story.

I sat through several lightning talks as I got my own presentation in order. I felt bad for working during someone else’s talk, but I knew I’d feel worse if my own talk failed due to lack of preparation. Just moments after finishing the slide show, a fortunate turn of events landed my way: the talk going on in Cinema 5, the room where Brad and I would be presenting, ended 10 minutes early. That meant we had time to copy files over to the presentation computer and do a tech demo, set the levels, get the sound working, and make sure there would be no hiccups along the way. I took care of all that stuff without any problems.

Finally, I could relax and just enjoy the presentations. I bounced from room to room, catching whatever seemed interesting. I hadn’t really slept the night before, so my exhaustion made it difficult to get as much out of the talks as I should have, but I still enjoyed much of what I saw.

Then, it was time for my talk.

Continue reading My SoOnCon ReCap

Tiff Talk Tomorrow

Note: This entry was written Thursday, September 29th, two days before the talk. I didn’t have a chance to edit and post the entry until the day after the talk.

I have a talk coming up at SoOnCon this Saturday. Brad and I will be standing on a stage in the Tiff Bell Lightbox giving a 30 minute presentation about the problems we see with the art world.

Continue reading Tiff Talk Tomorrow

What I’ve got going on: Blue-Chip Show, TEDx, SoOnCon

Last year at this time, I was frantically working to get “Take a Picture” finished in time for it’s big debut at Nuit Blanche. Brad and I were spending an average of 18 hours a day hand-etching circuit boards, inserting components, soldering, and assembling. Between the two of us, we made just over one thousand boards.

When I wasn’t building, I was typing. I tried to get in as many blog updates as I could. The idea was to plant some digital seeds by writing about the issues that Take a Picture was attempting to tackle. That way, I would be mentally prepared for the questions that would undoubtedly arise throughout the course of the evening. These posts would also serve as a landing pad for interested spectators. If people really like the project, we owe it to them to ensure that there is more content available for them to look up later. Never launch an idea or project without first building the infrastructure to support it. This way, on the off-chance that the idea made it big, I’d be prepared for it.

During the event itself, it was decided that we would not be participating in Nuit Blanche in 2011. It’s not because we had a bad experience or anything like that; we just missed seeing Nuit Blanche ourselves. We were stuck in front of our project the entire night, unable to see any other work. We didn’t want to become disconnected from the experience of participating in Nuit Blanche as art fans.

In the days that followed, the reviews were harsh; too many projects were artists responding to other artists, there was little for non-insiders to enjoy. I fear that if I spend all my time presenting art, I will lose that powerful and direct “This is what I want to see, damnit!” attitude and start producing empty fluff. I don’t want to produce empty art fluff, I want to keep on making cool stuff. I hope this doesn’t sound conceted or egotistical, but I like to make art that I would like to see. So this year the plan was to do nothing. I’d Sit back, relax, enjoy some free time leading up to Nuit Blanche, and hit the sites in ‘art spectator mode’, I’m not going to have to do anything.

That was the plan. The next several paragraphs deal with with why that isn’t going to happen.

Continue reading What I’ve got going on: Blue-Chip Show, TEDx, SoOnCon