tom moody

Archive for the ‘art – others’ Category

Toronto Brakin' 3


Another broken .mov file -- thanks, Apple -- that ended up being converted to a GIF. My animation based on screenshots of art by John Parker, from his website; more discussion on my 2001-2007 blog.

- tom moody

August 16th, 2017 at 4:24 pm



Another broken .mov file -- thanks, Apple, you're a hell of a company -- that ended up being converted to a GIF. My animation based on art by John Parker; explanation of image from my 2001-2007 blog.

- tom moody

August 16th, 2017 at 4:24 pm

Grey Grid (Aron Namenwirth) - GIF version


From a quick skim around the WWW, it appears Apple is to blame for old .mov files not working. Apparently they stopped updating Quicktime and forgot to tell anyone and it became a malware haven. Thanks, Apple, you dudes are truly... the genius bar.

Anyway, this means .mov files that I convert to .mp4 don't automatically loop unless I save the .mp4 with a javascript controller. (The old Quicktime had the option to make .mov files loop.) Too much hassle, so for files such as the above, I converted the .mov to .GIF and specified "looping." This destroys one of the subtle charms of the piece, which was that the Quicktime player struggled with a short (.4 seconds) loop and you got erratic repeat times in the above, causing the vertical blue-grey bands to drift from side to side. The browser plays the GIF fairly uniformly. Anyway, too much info. The post explaining the project above is on my 2001-2007 blog.

- tom moody

August 16th, 2017 at 1:43 pm

Michael Galbreth, One Million Points, 1983


Artist Michael Galbreth tells a story of an artwork. When he was an MFA student in the early '80s, he collaborated semi-officially with a computer science teacher to create a drawing visualizing the random number generator in the department's PC. If a million random dots were printed on a plotter would the field of dots be uniform or would some stucture be revealed? How random is random, in other words?

Galbreth and the teacher estimated the printout on the Technology Department's plotter (above) would take several days. After only a few hours, and 28,440 points printed, the plotter broke:

The strain placed on the arm of the plotter was just too much. It over heated, or something, and one of the small cables that drove the stylus snapped. Scott was gracious and forgiving about the whole thing, smiling as he explained what had happened. But I could tell he wasn’t happy. Losing a plotter was a real loss. One fewer plotters in the class created a log jam for the other students who needed to make drawings for their assignments. And because the significant devotion of time and energy to this plotter had no relation, relevance, or use to the goals of the Technology Department, it was irritating. There would be no continuation of this experiment.

Galbreth explains his private reaction to the catastophe:

I felt bad and responsible for the broken plotter. But at the same time, I was secretly delighted. I thought that the entire affair was fascinating. My time in the Technology Department using the computers, doing seemingly useless art experiments, felt like an invasion, as if I were in a place I wasn’t properly supposed to be and doing things that I wasn’t properly supposed to do. Whatever I was able to accomplish seemed like a coup. Yes, the experiment to graphically portray a random number formula failed, but I considered the attempt at the endeavor a success. In the end, there was a result. Something did happen. A drawing was made. Built into that drawing was the intent, the idea. That idea was to experiment with and challenge a system, or perhaps, rather, to reveal it.

- tom moody

August 1st, 2017 at 6:21 am

keen social insight via photography

I can't say I haven't posted photos of overweight Americans in airports -- but I didn't caption them "Bush's America." My ill-advised snapshots from 2003-4 would have done nothing to stop Bush's reelection, anyway, and insulting voters turns out not to be a winning strategy, as we just saw. I'd like to think I've had some growth since fledgling blogger days, unlike Crooked Timber:


Will let you know if that comment passes moderation but I don't expect it to.

Update: Henry says the point of the photo is that one of the Trump Americans is wearing a neo-Nazi website T-shirt. Therefore, one supposes, it's OK to generalize about everyone else in the pic, because they are tolerating his presence. We must be eternally vigilant, etc. My comment was posted -- apparently Henry has dual comment threads depending on whether you click the photo or the blog title, very confusing.

Update 2: Henry says the dual comment threads are a Word Press glitch.

Update 3: Rationales for the photo changed a few times in yesterday's thread. For some, the T-shirt reference was clear. Some missed it. One commenter noted it was supposed to be a trick, as advertised by the website: "You will get a rush secretly wearing a Nazi t-shirt in public without having to suffer the consequences." I was trying to keep up with some of this and changed my update above a few times, trying to stay accurate even though I still hated the generalization "Trump's America." Henry noted a few of these changes and described them with trainspotter detail to discredit my criticism as some sort of fuzzy logic. Weak, but that's what he went with.
However, this comment was allowed to pass without paragraphs of exegesis about the "model of argumentation":

Donald Johnson 07.23.17 at 5:22 pm

The problem for me is that the title Trump’s America gave me the impression you were condemning all those people– initially I didn’t even see the Nazi T shirt and wondered what the heck you were doing. Then I thought you were condemning all those people for tolerating or being friends with a guy wearing a Nazi T shirt, which would only be fair if they knew what it was. It turns out you only meant to condemn the actual wearer (and presumably any friends in the photo who don’t mind his choice of attire).

I think it was a confusing post.

Update, July 25: Am still mulling over Henry's sophistry (he teaches political science at a major university and presumably is applying professional jiu- jitsu here):

You got your initial condemnation wrong, which is fine – it happens. But then, you replaced the condemnation with a grumpy statement to the effect that I was now in the game of condemning people for controversial t-shirts, which you then deleted, and have now replaced with yet a third unrelated complaint about how I am supposedly slurring the bystanders for their toleration. As far as I can see, the only common thread in your argument is that I am wrong (for three successive, but completely different reasons) and that you are completely right in your initial decision to be critical of me. I recommend Hugo Mercier and Dan Sperber’s fantastic new book, The Enigma of Reason for a detailed discussion of what lies behind this model of argumentation (see especially the final chapters) – while, as they argue it can be harnessed for useful purposes at the collective level, it can also look a bit ungainly at the individual (consider this intervention the kind of social correction that Mercier and Sperber call for, and an invitation to reconsider your style of arguing and reasoning).

My "initial condemnation" (not deleted -- it's still at the top of the page) had a couple of elements: posting photos of random overweight people and sneering at the opposition as some kind of unwashed Other. Henry seems to think that once he informed me of the "gotcha" (one of the people in the photo is wearing a Nazi shirt) I should approve the photo and caption and back off. Did the "gotcha" change my feelings about his tactics, or that picture? Not really. I wrote the Update to acknowledge the "gotcha" and struggled a bit finding the right tone to convey that I still hated the photo and its premise. My error was live editing a blog update with such a fanatic self-justifier lurking around. He builds a case that these edits (done over a few hours but eventually gelling as the first Update above) were a flawed "model of argumentation," and then does some more sneering.

When I called out Henry for stalking my live edits, here's how he responded:

You first accused me of classist attacks on overweight people. Then, when I pointed out that this was wrong, you proposed in succession a variety of other attacks, which all seemed to me to be efforts to shore up your original position that there was something odious about the post, without ever quite managing to settle on a precise claim as to what that odious quality was. Obviously, this is a storm in a teacup, and none of us are at our best in comments threads, but I don’t think that your claim is correct. If you object to me pointing out the inconsistencies as “minutely tracking the revisions” (not actually so – I just happened to open up the page last night, and not finding the tab easily again this morning, opened it up again to find an entirely different claim as to why I was in the wrong), then I suppose, feel free to continue as you were.

He seems incapable of understanding that someone could hate his "Trump's America" photo regardless of the "gotcha" reveal of the Nazi T-shirt wearer. There were a few others on the thread who were troubled by the photo -- its tone, but also privacy and guilt-by-association issues -- yet escaped all this clever pushback.

- tom moody

July 22nd, 2017 at 4:56 pm

Posted in art - others, photo 2

spudoogle video loop

screenshot of spudoogle twitter video thumbnail -- with one small correction


Have been enjoying Spudoogle's twitter account recently but still have a problem with the way the SVS (Silicon Valley scum) appropriated GIFs to their commercial platforms. It's like in the movie Barton Fink where the cigar-smoking producer tells the East Coast populist playwright he wants "movies with that 'Barton Fink' feeling," then later says "get out of my office, I can get 100 writers who can give me that 'Barton Fink' feeling."
One imagines an SVS getting a neck massage and saying, "we need something like those GIF things the kids are exchanging." And then the tech slaves come up with a typical, locked-in proprietary video format with the word "GIF" superimposed. 100 guys can give them that animated GIF feeling.

It's not spudoogle's fault, he accepts conditions the way they are and rolls with the shoddy resizing, rounded edges, and fake labeling. That's twitter's price for providing an audience for your GIFs.

- tom moody

July 11th, 2017 at 12:48 pm

the resistance


via laqx
hat tip to travis hallenbeck

- tom moody

June 22nd, 2017 at 6:57 pm

personal shoppers don't get my art

You gotta love a gallery that goes out with a good rant. Am not sure if I've ever set foot inside Envoy Enterprises (87 Rivington Street, Ground Floor, New York, NY 10002) but I've received their press releases for a few years. Here's the final one:

envoy enterprises closing its gallery space

Dear friends,

As of August 4th, envoy enterprises will close its gallery space.
While e.e. will continue to exist, the time has come to take a step back and change the formula.

The reason for my decision is simple.... it is not fun anymore.

In my opinion the art industry has developed into an uninteresting, boring entity.

I have no interest in mimicking innovation. I have no interest in any kind of short-termism and I do not wish to be a part of an art industry in which a four leaf clover gets stripped of its extra leaf to make it fit into the standard idea of a clover.

I have no interest in being part of an art industry where eyes have been replaced by dollar signs; an eagerness to experience and learn replaced by hiring personal shoppers; and ambition, which once used to push the quality of art, reduced to a hunger for being listed in whatever top ten du jour.

On top of that, I find the continuous focus on 'art fairs' incomprehensible and its vulgarity staggering.
Is there really any one out there who believes people visit art fairs from a desire to improve their perceptions?

We should be improving people’s lives through art, we should be trying to create a world where art is living on every level, indivisible from life and for everyone to experience. Art should be about an attitude and about not being frightened of being thought of as uncool. It should be the antithesis of consumerism and aesthetic corruption that riddles the art world.

It should be about the idealization and aestheticization of daily life as opposed to guarding so-called critical high standards within the increasingly static art establishment and its ridiculous hierarchy.

It should be, but it is not.

Thank you to everyone who supported e.e. over the years. I appreciate your loyalty and love more than you can imagine.

I wish all of you a lot of kindness and a wonderful summer.

Jimi Dams

cf. Robert Nickas' 12-Step Program for 'Collectors'
The whole "art fair" thing got going in the late '80s/early '90s. It was a shitty trend that spread through the art world like Spanish Flu. Seems a bit late to be complaining about it but the hate is always welcome. "Personal shoppers" for art is a new one, but then I largely checked out of the gallery scene during the last period of obnoxious excess, the time of Bush Millionaires before the 2008 crash. There might also have been a brief era of reduced obnoxiousness that I missed, which would be the good old days in Envoy Enterprises' shorter timeline.

- tom moody

June 20th, 2017 at 10:00 pm

Posted in art - others

streets of passive aggression

streets of passive aggression

My cover drawing for the LP, based on [ahem, cough]. Many, many digital copies of this musical release are still available for purchase! Your support means I will never have to move to Patreon.

- tom moody

June 20th, 2017 at 1:16 pm

a purpose for collecting

Robert Nickas, from his essay on the Affidavit website titled "A 12-Step Program for 'Collectors'":

To collect is to draw things towards ourselves over time, to study and learn from them, to see what they elicit, one from another, not to engage in a continuous and expedient dispersal.

Well said. The essay is a collection of Benjamin Franklin wisdom or Tom Paine common sense aimed at flippers of artwork. None of it should need to be said except this is the era of a $2.9 million Peter Doig (a terrible painter) and a $110.5 million Basquiat that, according to Nickas, "may not be among Basquiat’s very best."

- tom moody

June 6th, 2017 at 5:48 am