Meet my here at My FaceSpace

March 28, 2008 at 8:13 am | Posted in Art, privacy | Leave a comment
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But what I do have is this: A video showing “My FaceSpace – The Musical” – this is not the recording from our panel discussion on privacy in social media on Wednesday, but the same piece and artists: Monochrom from Vienna.

The video above was filmed at last year’s Big Brother Awards.

A church for the madmen (and women) of Vienna

September 29, 2007 at 7:15 pm | Posted in Art | Leave a comment
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Today we saw what is allegedly the only Jugendstil (art nouveau) church ever built, located in the 14th district of Vienna: St. Leopold am Steinhof. Steinhof is the vernacular name of the mental hospital that it is part of – the most astounding institution, built in the years 1904-07, with Jugendstil design and architecture apparent all over the premises, including a theatre right in the centre.

St. Leopold am Steinhof

It is not open during weekdays, but they offer an approx. 1 hour tour every Saturday at 3 pm and throughout the year. The place was PACKED during today’s tour (people can also join the services on Sundays at 9 am, but since the inpatients are of course also there, I suspect that the tours are more popular). The tour itself was actually a lecture, but very interesting indeed. It seems as if authorities were not particularly keen on having the church 100 years ago – Otto Wagner, the architect, was renowned and respected, but marrying Jugendstil and religion was seemingly considered outrageous at the time, and the pun went around that crazy people might as well have a crazy church:-) To this day, this church is not part of or run by the catholic church, but by the City of Vienna (who therefore also had to pay for its renovation in 2002-2006 which cost almost € 12 million).

I have not found a single picture that halfway conveys the atmosphere that you find inside the church – the most surprising thing is the fact that it is so bright inside. Not like anything that you normally expect from a church. The explanation was simple: Mentally ill people (just as much as others) are more comfortable in bright rooms. There are many other design features in the church that cater for the needs of the residents (it was, for instance, one of the first churches with a toilet built in, right below the pulpit; the pulpit is not accessible from the main aisle of the church to avoid that wandering patients would ascend it, etc.), too many to sum them all up.

St. Leopold am Steinhof

N.B. This is the only picture I could find from the interior – those red chairs that obviously ruin the impression are not normally in there, the picture must have been taken right before the re-opening ceremony after the renovation.

And since this church (in spite of the number of visitors today) is not even mentioned in most travel guides: This is a must see in Vienna, not to check it off on your list of must-sees, but in order to experience the atmosphere of an environment that is in all its aspects designed to further the physical, mental and spiritual well-being of people.

Lest I forget: The tour is not available in English, but it’s the only opportunity to see the church outside of a service – unless you come in a group of at least 10 and phone them beforehand: +43-(0)1- 910 60/11204 (admission charges are at most € 4, less without the lecture; services are free of course).

Tchibo’s Picasso Stunt

May 14, 2007 at 5:54 pm | Posted in Art | 4 Comments
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I got an interesting comment today on one of my recent Picasso on sale at Tchibo’s posts. Auslaender writes:

Well, I was one from those ordering the lithograph!!
One week after, I got a very confusing e-mail from Tchibo explaining how they got to lithographs, and saying basically that those are not quite Picasso’s work, but made by Marcel Salinas on a behalf of Picasso’s granddaughter Marina, between 1979 and 1982 and MADE AFTER Picasso’s oils. Needless to say, I canceled the order. Of course, it was naive to believe that one can even get Picasso’s lithograph for that kind of money, even though I wouldn’t expect such a confidence trick from big player like Tchibo is. Further below you can find excerpts from Tchibo’s mail (in German).

“Die Galerie Burkhard Eikelmann in Düsseldorf, die Tchibo dieses Angebot vermittelt hatte, hat diese Lithographien entdeckt. Sie wurden in den ehemaligen Druckwerkstätten Picassos in Paris hergestellt, 25 Jahre unberührt in einem Lager eines Großhändlers in New York aufbewahrt, um schließlich ihren Weg zu Tchibo zu finden. Lithograph und Drucker war Marcel Salinas, der exklusiv für Pablo Picasso gearbeitet und diese Lithographien – posthum nach Picassos Tod – vom Stein gedruckt hat.”

“Die für die über Tchibo vertriebenen Lithographien benutzten Steindruckplatten wurden nach dem Druck von 1000 Exemplaren vernichtet, so dass ein Nachdruck der angebotenen Edition durch die eigens von Salinas hergestellten Druckplatten ausgeschlossen ist. Die Signatur Pablo Picassos wurde ebenfalls mit dem Stein gedruckt.”

Brief summary of the German blurb, provided by Tchibo in an email to Auslaender: A German gallery, Burkhard Eikelmann, acted as an agent to fix the deal with Tchibo. They had found the lithographs in Paris, where they were created in one of Picasso’s former print workshops, crafted by Marcel Salinas, one of the printers and lithographers with whom Picasso had worked. The stone which was used to print the lithographs – complete with the signature – were destroyed after a number of 1000 copies had been reached.

There is nothing to be found on Marcel Salinas in neither the German, French or English Wikipedia, and he’s not listed as one of Eikelmann’s artists (neither is Picasso – thank God!). So, judging by the name, I can only assume that our Marcel Salinas was the same one who created this poster. Up to scratch with Picasso? You decide.

I’m still having problems with my computer, but hopefully my new harddrive will arrive soon. This does, however, tremendously affect the amount of time I get to spent online – no internet at home. Which is why I won’t have the time today to complete the ‘Blog Traffic Series’ – coming up tomorrow. Also, I am beginning to lag behind in my blog reading – opening Google reader is one of my habitual morning rituals which I cannot iterate at the moment:-(

Picasso on special offer – Picasso im Sonderangebot

May 4, 2007 at 1:57 pm | Posted in Art | 3 Comments
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That’s culture industry at its best! German mail order and coffee house Tchibo has Picasso lithographs on special offer this week: € 400 for one print or €1,000.00 for three. They come with a certificate of authenticity, showing Picasso’s signature (he died in 1973, but who cares?). Is the Picasso family broke or what’s going on here? Ouch! Also, the ‘art work’ is truly ‘abysmal’! TCHIBO STAFF THATAWAY

Picasso on Sale

Das ist Kulturindustrie vom Feinsten! Diese Woche gibt’s Picasso Lithographien im Sonderangebot bei Tchibo. € 400,00 pro Print oder €1000 bei Abnahme von dreien. Ein Echtheitszertifikat mit Picassos Unterschrift gibt es dazu (er ist 1973 gestorben, aber wen juckt’s?). Ist Picassos Familie pleite oder was geht da ab? Aua! Das Artwork ist ebenfalls unterirdisch (bzw. unterseeisch;-)

The Land of Meat and Honey 32/40

March 30, 2007 at 1:50 pm | Posted in Art, Food, Japanese, Lent | 1 Comment
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Yesterday I violated my self-imposed rules of Lent. But we were quick at coming up with an excuse, so I am not too worried about me ending up in hell:-)

But let me start at the beginning. Yesterday was another tough day – one tough day seems to be followed by another these days, because there are so many things happening or requiring attention at the moment. I needed to find film material for my character analysis tasks for my course Creative Writing for Film and that took longer than I thought. I needed films which establish the landmarks of the story in less than 10 minutes, and that wasn’t easily found. We have an excellent collection of DVDs in our library, but for inexplicable reasons, we still have movies that either don’t come in the original version or not with English subtitles. I needed English/English – that’s the best way of making sure my students understand, say, the ghetto slang of the kids in 8 mile. If you’re ever doing a similar exercise, start with First Blood a.k.a. Rambo, it’s excellent for that purpose.

I somehow managed to get everything done by 5pm, then hurried down to the station to catch the train to Br. My boyfriend had been pointed to a vernissage at the Kunsthaus (a good exhibition space, and a good example of what money can do in a culturally deprived region like this one). The vernissage was crap though. It was the official opening of the new billboards near the esplanade, and they truly featured word play such as “Teleer”, showing an empty plate (Teller= plate, leer = empty). And some really bad typography, e.g. the one with the gradient below. I can hardly believe how the artist could be so demented to have this line VANITAS tattooed across her cleavage, but she was. Is a badly designed billboard really worth it? Or a rotten croissant, reading Gipfel (a word for both croissants and summits). The only one I cared for a bit was the photograph of a disintegrating billboard, put to use as a new billboard.

Billboard Billboard Billboard Billboard

And two other more annoying ones that I am not even going to discuss. See for yourself, if you’re really interested.

We left the vernissage at the point where the curator wanted to instigate a dialog with the artists (a married couple), because none of us was too interested in learning what their thoughts might have been. Instead, we managed to sneak into the current exhibition for free, using the name of one of my students as a key who works there as a warden (warden is the word the dictionary advises, umm). Nice! We got to see Jeff Koons’ balloon dog and flowers made from chrome steel (and the asshole of his ex Ilona Staller), Damien Hirst’s latest pickled animal (the shark you’ll also see on Wikipedia), dust, hair and hemp seed on canvas by Gerhard Merz and the miniature versions of Marcel Duchamp’s most famous art works (here is a link to the exhibition, I don’t want another DMCA notice, and Koons and Hirst might be a bit anal about this). I had always wanted to see these miniatures, ever since I read the brief History of Portable Literature by Enrique Vila-Matas, which is actually a history of dada (and doesn’t seem to be available in English, I read it in German). It is not about paper backs, but about a portable existence which appears to be one of the objectives of dadaism. Making miniatures of your artworks was one of the ways to achieve that, at least according to Vila-Matas.

After the Kunsthaus, we were fairly hungry and considered customing a Running Sushi place, being only semi-convinced by the idea becaus it was quite pricey. But we (my boyfriend, his digs mate Daniel and I) then figured that, if we had already saved the money for the Kunsthaus (which would have been € 8 per head), we would have the right to afford it. Oh, and it was divine. I was completely no more in control of my Lent resolutions, and before I knew it my teeth sank into a special type of chicken nugget, made of chicken breast and a thin batter, with a crust of honey and sesame. A double no-no! When I realized my ‘mistake’, my boyfriend pointed out that I had also been fasting the past sundays, which wasn’t really required in the regular Lent timetable. In that sense, I had deserved this piece:-)

And from that point on, there was no holding back. I ate probably a dozen of those pieces, and for dessert, I picked three small plates of pudding (two chocolate, one vanilla) from the belt and something very similar to a Germknödel, a sweet dumpling, but with an unknown filling. What a feast! In a way, I still stuck to my guns though, as I didn’t have any other meat than the one I had almost accidentally eaten. I cannot wait for Easter to come now.

Btw, tomorrow is open day at my ‘educational company’, and I am going to offer a digital storytelling workshop and participate in a reading in a library. I am going to read Alfred Döblin, precisely from the very text I posted some days ago. I probably should translate the whole three pages for Cabbage, because the text is really brilliant!

My five favourite Google Earth Oddities

January 31, 2007 at 8:08 am | Posted in Art, Globalization, Google, Web 2.0 | 30 Comments
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I’ve never discovered a Google Earth Oddity myself, and I doubt that I ever will (although I’ve tried): Scanning the surface of the globe for an interesting squaremetre is definitely a too tedious job to be considered a possible path of fame. But I like looking at other people’s discoveries – have a look at my little collection!

I find it difficult to make up my mind, but at least for this brief moment this one is my favourite: Strong language spelled in wheat on a field outside Little Houghton in England.
53°32’19.41″N 1°20’47.87″W

This is the runner-up – an artwork created by Italian (I think) artist Gelitin and captured by Google Earth. I like this in particular because I first saw it in a book (and posted about in October 2006). Even if Gelitin isn’t Italian, the bunny is (or was, but it’s hopefully going to remain on GE).
Pink Rabbit
44°14’39.30″N 7°46’10.98″E

Mantra set in ice
This is particularly neat: A Tibetan mantra (said to mean “om mani peme hung” according to the source forum) carved into the ice of a glacier.
Tibetan Mantra
32°54’36.35″N 97°02’52.00″E

Or saying hello, or living here. Proof for the fact that smileys are always endearing. Captured in the USA.
Bruce and Dan
47°14’28.03″N 122°31’46.16″W

Whoever or whatever. Also made in the US of A and hopefully not a PR-Stunt – although, even if it were, this is probably nothing more significant than the logo of a local football team.
The M
39°44’41.09″N 105°14’23.95″W

I found all these gems in the fark forum.

If you want to give it a try yourself, download Google Earth (it’s free AND runs on both PC and Mac:-) and enter the coordinates which I’ve specified below each picture.

EDIT: I had another favorite Google Earth oddity but wasn’t able to find the link for some time. I’ve dug it up now, but only to discover that Google Earth itself (i.e. the company) does quite apparently NOT appreciate the idea of Google Earth oddities – they photoshopped that giant bug belonging to the order of Thrysanoptera (vulgo: Thrips) away that was roaming the fields outside Aalen in Germany! That’s surprisingly anti-Web2.0 from them – erasing the traces of users’ discoveries. I managed to find a screen shot of the location from the time when the bug was still there (see below):

Google Earth

But if you have look at the site now (link to location on Google maps online, you might want to zoom out a bit), you’ll find that it’s gone. No more. Dead. You can even see where it was, as the new patch of soil they added does not blend in well – different shades of green. Pffff… I hope they are going to give us our bug back some day!
Google Earth

Nicked from Deviant Art

December 11, 2006 at 9:02 pm | Posted in Art | Leave a comment

Final post before I finally return to my article: I like this! I’m too tired today to explain why (i.e. the article has drained off all my willingness and ability to argue coherently), but it’s got something to do with the implicit contradiction of monsters, cuteness and the desire to fly even in spite of all the circumstances.

Learning to Fly by ~Murklins on deviantART

Would have liked to comment on the picture, but deviant art didn’t let me and I wasn’t keen on registering.

Glorious spam

December 8, 2006 at 8:19 pm | Posted in Art, Funny Stuff, Spam | 3 Comments

While streamlining an article that is due today (statistically speaking I have written one article for each decade that I’ve lived: three so far), I’m trying not to avert my attention from the screen, but unfortunately the screen has got several screens in itself that bear potential for distraction, and the computer’s connected to the internet. As a result, diversion and procastination is becoming rife.

Even the spam that keeps coming in distracts me.

I’ve often marvelled at the excentric artistic quality of some spam. If this one, for instance, had been created by an artist, it would probably have been praised for its attempt to capture the aesthetics of 256-bit graphics.

Furthermore, it breaks all the rules of succesful email marketing: unpersonalized, untargetted content, no context, opaque subject line (bamboo stress), and it does not even contain a link!


And right below the image it features a text that appears to be completely unconnected:

The plastic light apertures are thermally-moulded acrylic and high-output LEDs are now replacing the traditional neon lamps.
Look for a vendor who can accommodate the changes you face as they affect you. Q: What types of organisations could benefit from using bonded warehouses?
We now offer a range of Windows and Windows CE terminals that offer browser-based functionality.
Q: So what are the strategic implications for a manufacturer like Belgravium? MDL were using the warehouse management functionality from the existing ERP system, over time this had been customised to meet the growing demands of the MDL business. Via RFID initiatives, managers will be able to monitor and review store performance and tackle problem areas.
Built into ACmanager is the capability to handle the requirements of all trading partners at all tier levels. The Projects module is much more flexible than a standard sales module. CUSTOMER SERVICE ACCOLADETesco is a particularly demanding customer, and this has been a driving force for the introduction of the Infor COM ERP system.
“A company seeking to contain the cost of technology initiatives while increasing the effectiveness of its supply chain will find that DS Collaborate delivers tremendous business value.
“We can now take better care of our customers and meet their service level requirements, as well as create a manufacturing plan and adapt to fluctuations in demand quickly.
This has been particularly useful for the Tesco projects.
How long does the battery last?
Via RFID initiatives, managers will be able to monitor and review store performance and tackle problem areas.
Preactor has a “what if” capability, so you can test the alternative strategies for dealing with, say, a breakdown, and then pick the one that meets your objectives.
We were also able to recognise and thank our partners’ commitment with special awards for a remarkable year of growth for voice in Europe,” added Greg Tanner. How have they built their reputation?
“We were looking for a logistics partner who is in a position to improve the efficiency of our production facility,” according to Fred Holvast, Manager for Distribution and Customer Service. Look for products that are designed from the very beginning for warehouse and industrial use. The combined company has the scale and resources to continue to support our extensive customer base while investing in enhancements and long-term product innovation.

God bless the spam artists

Naked little dead man

November 18, 2006 at 12:23 pm | Posted in Art | 11 Comments

Here is a pic I had promised to send to Johnny Malmedy – apologies for not having done so yet. We went to the Artcologne and its alternative, the artfair, together. He’s covered it in his blog, too.

Didn’t take notes of whose exhibit this one was. We just took photos with our mobiles, like everyone else. Nobody tries to take up information anymore, they just take photos. One day these photos will just dissappear – when they switch to new computers, when our picture CD-roms decompose, when the file standards are changed. And eventually, what has come to be considered the information age, will turn out to be the age of mass destruction of information.

Stick it to the man! This one, for instance:

Naked little man

If you came here because you’re interested in Ron Mueck, you may want to start with this entry in Wikipedia.

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