tom moody

chibi store painting


painting made with Computers Club Drawing Society software "Chibi Paint" -- this is a layer -- still mulling over a version with an additional layer

- tom moody

April 18th, 2014 at 8:30 am

from brand-brand to art-brand (more on michael manning)

Thanks to Michael Manning for the shout and Lindsay Howard for noting my (doomed) attempt to give context to his paintings -- the occasion is this Rhizome interview of the former by the latter, published yesterday.

In January last year I wrote this about Manning:

[His] recent images consist of touchscreen paintings with menu-selected brushes, textures and hues; am guessing these are "augmented finger paintings" and not done with a stylus. He has made them on the iPad as well as with Windows 8 demo screens inside the Microsoft Store [alien country for the Apple-brainwashed creative elite -- obligatory dig --ed.]. The buildup of color, washes, and calligraphic line in digital gesture painting can be seductive but let's remember the original AbEx artists also employed cinematic scale, gloppy physical media, and the athleticism of pushing the glop around with long-handled brushes. They would have laughed to see people making micro-movements on a TV screen and then saving them as jpegs and PNGs. The "action painting" model has been pretty thoroughly discredited but those are the reasons it's in museums, at any rate. Am possibly more interested in Manning's steady output of tiny de Kooningesque and Twomblyesque color-spasms as performance-cum-notation having to do with "available technology" and the instant masterpieces "apps" promise to deliver than some electronic de-reification of the earnest Real of gestural abstraction, although both motivations might be present. Also they are pretty, and it's always good to annoy the Marxist art-as-hair-shirt crowd.

The next day Brian Droitcour covered the same work for Rhizome but couched it more in terms of brands and corporate colonization of the web. Essentially he said that Manning is post-brand in not restricting his work to a single "silo." Yet both of us mentioned the Microsoft Store -- Rhizome even ran a photo of a store exterior. That's a hook and refers to a brand even if it's an ironic joke. I ventured that the "Store" paintings were actually better than the iPad paintings and Droitcour accused me on twitter of loving Microsoft. Now Manning says we're both nitpicking because "I don't really care about brands or the branded part of any of it, I just look at them all like toys lol." (Then why did you call them... oh, never mind.) None of this matters in the slightest to the art dealers who are currently selling printed-out versions of the paintings -- all the collector wants to know is that it's being written about in the right venues. More power to Manning for leveraging the critical vacuum to his advantage, I guess. His own reasons for doing the paintings are perfectly valid.

- tom moody

April 17th, 2014 at 9:59 am

Posted in general

frank zappa "weasels" trivia



From a web page called eclectic obsessions:

Frank Zappa recruited artist Neon Park to create a subversive image based on
a cover story from the September 1956 issue of Man's Life, (a Men's adventure
magazine). After showing Neon a copy of the magazine, Zappa inquired, "This
is it. What can you do that's worse than this?" Neon's answer was to craft a
parody of an advertisement for Schick brand electric razor based on the
"Weasels Ripped My Flesh" theme. The record company released
the album despite its reservations about the album cover.

This is an iconic '60s/'70s LP cover, subversive because it gives a disgusting and disturbing spin to bland and hopeful Eisenhower-era advertising, and because one did not expect to witness self-mutilating "cutting" behavior while shopping the pop music bin. The genius of the image is taking an actual slogan and context from the "repressed" side of the '50s -- a homoerotic painting of a bare-chested man being attacked by wild animals -- weasels no less -- and grafting it onto a safe image of a man shaving with a newfangled device from America's flying car future. A double irony is that the weasels illustration was on the cover of the magazine (albeit back-of-the-rack) while the shaver is barely glanced at commercial fodder from the inside.

One might wonder about the fate of such an image today. In its day, it needed gatekeepers who felt uncomfortable about it but ultimately approved it, and it needed a distribution scheme, in particular, cardboard record sleeves shipped to stores across the country, including discount centers in small towns dependent on the "coasts" for culture. It needed an authoritarian structure to push back against, and it needed to be able to "slip through the gates." Now it might garner a few hundred tumblr notes, depending on who was releasing it, and it might help improve an LP's click-through or download visibility, but without a hot button topic such as racism or sexism it has nothing to rebel against. It's merely disgusting and disturbing (and well-painted).

- tom moody

April 16th, 2014 at 10:32 am

Posted in art - others



hat tips to Joel Cook's icon collection

- tom moody

April 14th, 2014 at 8:49 am

twitter convo re: ADDAC wav player module

Tom Moody: ADDAC Systems damn your temperamental wav player and its proper wav order and naming syntax all to hell (much as i like this module)

Zachary Michels: I've written a Matlab script that converts WAV's and file names to put on an SD card. Let me know if you want it...

Tom Moody: Thanks - saving & naming wavs "by hand" makes me think about them more - was commenting mainly on the ADDAC player's quirks

Zachary Michels: I hear ya. I've also enjoyed surprises that come from being able to quickly and mindlessly populate an SD card with new WAV's. :)

Tom Moody: "Surprises from being able to quickly and mindlessly populate an SD card with new wavs" OK sold -- now i need to learn Matlab

- tom moody

April 14th, 2014 at 8:48 am

Posted in general



Modification of a Sterling Crispin GIF. It's not really a jellyfish - that's a descriptive word so I could find the file again.

- tom moody

April 12th, 2014 at 9:15 pm

a sad boo-hoo to the google plus GIF clique

Thanks to Paddy Johnson for some recent coverage: a GIF of the Day and some quotes in her artnet article, "Will Galleries and Museums Ever Embrace Animated GIF Art?"

Threaded through these plugs are my gripes about the light weight of concepts such as GIFs of the Day, so you can't say Johnson turns a hearing-impaired ear to her critics.

The short answer to the title of the artnet piece is, "No, not if you say GIFs peaked two years ago."

I don't agree at all that "the popularity of was just beginning to fade" in 2012 -- the site is going strong even if Johnson isn't visiting -- or with most of this paragraph:

And while that mentality seems very much behind the rise of the art GIF party, sustained growth at the level seen in 2012 seems almost impossible. The community has shrunk over the years, and nobody I spoke to uses Google+ anymore. “I really do think of that first summer with Google+ as a beautiful era for GIFs,” [Anthony] Antonellis recalled. “It did something more than could,” he said, referring to the extended time users had to respond to posts. Google+ acted more like a blog than Dump’s chat room.

Antonellis belongs to the moribund Google+ GIF posse (where GIFs never looked good at all) and in his maudlin lament for the demise of that one-off proposition attempts to drag down with him. Sadly, Johnson goes along with this false narrative. It doesn't need to be stated that the GIFs of the day, week, year and decade that post like clockwork on mostly originate with, not Google+, and that the quality and energy is unabated, no matter what sad-sacks who trusted a big company to host their social experience around GIFs might say.

Update: Another G+ moaner in the article is Andrew Benson. Apparently he comes to GIFs from the film world, so you can pretty much discount what he says about art GIFs, including his statements such as "I feel like there’s not a good way to view [GIFs] in the gallery setting” and that a web browser is “a pretty terrible art viewing context.” According to who else? Benson also chimed in helpfully on Nicholas O'Brien's post about NEW INC, the art incubator: "I feel like we are in need of more experiments in survival, going outside the existing structures, and challenging assumed cultural barriers." Meaning it's OK to develop art like a product, with a venture capitalist's expectation of return on investment.

- tom moody

April 12th, 2014 at 8:11 am

Posted in general

new romantic meaning not romantic


Knowing that Sara Ludy has been included in Eyebeam's upcoming The New Romantics exhibition, let's take a look at her website. This work is romantic in the sense that Mies Van Der Rohe, Lionel Feininger, Gerhard Richter, and David Cronenberg are romantic, which is to say, it's not romantic at all. If anything, the work turns a clinical and classical eye on clichés of romanticism: open, airy spaces, model communities in the exurbs, travels through psychedelic inner worlds. The persistent vibe is one of authorial distance and analysis: even the found internet junk, such as 3D advertising from the retail and real estate sectors, has a calm, measured feel. This could be construed as "new romantic" only if the term "new" means "anti-" or "not."

A couple of examples. Ludy describes Pan GIFs as "a series of animated gifs displayed as tiled backgrounds. Each gif is composed of two photographs that alternate with a linear transition, creating a repetition which both embraces and attempts to break the mundanity of everyday landscapes and architectures." These pages deliver entirely as promised. Through the use of browser-filling tile patterns and a simple, sweeping left-to-right pan one photo gradually eclipses a second, de-familiarizing and abstracting familiar imagery. For a moment, both images break down and a single predominant color or texture colonizes the screen. This momentary lurch into the purely formal is a classical technique, even though the underlying images may be romantic ones of gardens and hillsides. But even the disrupted tropes aren't that romantic: they seem to have been chosen for a vibe of sterile alienation.

Or consider the 2011 video Transom: "a space portrait of Market Station in Leesburg, VA," where "historic buildings were uprooted and relocated to form [a] commercial complex in the 1980s." Instead of the usual tear-downs of historic structures to make way for a new office/retail complex, the Leesburg project rehabbed some old buildings and moved them to the complex, so that "a railroad freight station, a log house, two barns and two gristmills" (per Wikipedia) can now lead a zombie existence as the site of "high-tech and legal offices, retail shops, and restaurants." Ludy's virtual walk-through of the vintage architecture strips out its real-world textures, reducing it to the cold, angled planes of 3D modeling. Like the Pan GIFs, a series of slow wipes prevents our getting any real sense of the physical presence of these "old time" buildings. The drone-y background sounds make this feel like a tour of Chamber of Commerce hell. Visually seductive, severe, cerebral, the work comments on a romantic ideal of a vanishing America rather than embodying it.

- tom moody

April 10th, 2014 at 9:50 am

Posted in art - others

only paypal when absolutely necessary

Wolf Richter actually read Paypal's new privacy policy and the message in the fine print is Beware.

When you get on a PayPal site or use its services, it collects “information sent to us by your computer, mobile phone or other access device.” This “includes but is not limited to” (so these are just examples): “data about the pages you access, computer IP address, device ID or unique identifier, device type, geo-location information, computer and connection information, mobile network information, statistics on page views, traffic to and from the sites, referral URL, ad data, and standard web log data and other information.”

You read correctly: “and other information” – anything it can get.

PayPal also collects personal data by putting cookies, web beacons (“to identify our users and user behavior”), and “similar technologies” on your device so that you can be tracked 24/7 even if you’re not using PayPal’s services, and even if you’re not on any of its sites.

Wait, “similar technologies?” By clicking on another link, you find out that they include pernicious “flash cookies,” newfangled “HTML 5 cookies,” and undefined “other web application software methods.” Unlike cookies, they “can operate across all of your browsers.” And you can’t get rid of these spy technologies or block them through your browser the way you get rid of or block cookies. You have to jump through hoops to deal with them, if they can be dealt with at all.

In addition, PayPal sweeps up any information “from or about you in other ways,” such as when you contact customer support and tell them stuff, or when you respond to a survey (Just Say No), or when you interact “with members of the eBay Inc. corporate family or other companies.” Yup, it sweeps up information even when you interact with other companies!

It may also “obtain information about you from third parties such as credit bureaus and identity verification services.” And it may “evaluate your computer, mobile phone or other access device to identify any malicious software or activity.” So they’re snooping around your devices.

And when you download or use PayPal’s apps to your smartphone, or access its “mobile optimized sites,” it collects location data along with a host of other data on your mobile device, including the unique identifier that ties it to you personally in order to manipulate search results and swamp you with location-based advertising “and other personalized content,” or whatever.

After vacuuming up all this information “from or about you,” PayPal will then “combine your information with information we collect from other companies” and create a voluminous, constantly growing dossier on you that you will never be able to check into.

Who all gets your personal information that PayPal collects? You guessed it.

This is dire.

- tom moody

April 9th, 2014 at 8:57 am

Posted in general

eat my windows

With Microsoft you get the nerd in the blazer and with Apple you get the annoying hipster but they're both horrible.
A few words on Microsoft's ending of security updates for Windows XP yesterday.
Microsoft loves to say XP's a twelve year old operating system, as if that's a persuasive reason to stop supporting it.
Ars Technica estimates it's on the devices of "28 percent of the Web-using public." Cutting this percentage loose will increase malware and botnets.
Also, consider this scenario:
A person buys a PC in April 2009 for professional audio production. His Windows options are XP and Vista. Vista is buggy for audio production so the sales staff recommends XP.
Five years later, Microsoft cuts off support for XP and recommends, as an alternative, buying a newer PC.
This is planned obsolescence, supposedly a bad thing honest companies don't do.

- tom moody

April 9th, 2014 at 8:43 am

Posted in general