I went to the Musée d’Art Moderne de la Ville de Paris last Sunday with my husband to see Ryan Trecartin and Lizzie Fitch’s exhibit called Any Ever. As soon as you enter the gallery, you know that you’re in for a different kind of museum experience. You enter a world that takes the rhythm of our materialistic, consumer- and career-obsessed US culture and blows it up to Olympic proportions. Out-of-control hyperbole ensues. Encouraged to take flash photography, you move from room to room with an increasing awareness that you are part of the project itself. Each room houses a video installation and a unique sculptural theater in which the viewer is invited to sit in any seat that is accompanied by headphones. You find yourself sitting on bleachers, bed frames, hammocks, picnic tables, and couches, surrounded by hodge-podgery of everyday life (cabinets, sand, chains, hammers to name a few) that make the rooms seem as if they are in the midst of being torn down…or maybe being put up in the first place. Reality is under construction.
My husband’s succinct take on the whole thing, “It was just so annoying.” Although he did enjoy the seating. My own impression on the videos fluctuated between hilarity and fear. The characters are so splintered, multiplied, disjointed, and looped that it is easily the biggest spoof of US mainstream culture and attitudes I’ve ever seen in my life. The characters own their phobias and mania and I’m pretty sure I’ve met versions of aspects of the characters in real life…and hated them/felt bad for them. As hyperbolic and loud (literally) the scenes were, they also weren’t so far from the truth. I heard on the radio today that over 50% of US television is made up of reality TV shows, and its cinéma vérité style is mimicked throughout the rooms. And we are obsessed with our careers! At least in Silicon Valley we are. We’re driven by money or by wanting to get rich and being a do-gooder at the same time. Every other schmo in the valley has his own startup, hoping to make a cool mill off some crap social media idea. Trust me, I study this for a living. So, this is where the “fear” feeling comes into play. I fear that these films are more of a mirror than we’d like to admit.
The New York Times has a great review of the show from when it was at MoMA PS1.
I love Auchan supermarkets in France. They have everything a girl could ever hope for, a whole aisle dedicated to yogurts and mousses, cheese from all the regions of France, and cheap, delicious French wine. Cool part about it are their wine pairing pictograms. Each wine on display is accompanied with little icons that show what wine can be paired with what dish, anything from shellfish to game to cheese and dessert. I can’t quite make out what that entrée symbol is, maybe some kind of pâté, terrine, or pre-made potato salad type thing? In any case, very cool, very easy and helpful! I guess the message is that in France, even the illiterate should be able to drink a nicely paired glass of wine.
It’s that time of year again! Anno Domini’s 11th annual Fresh Produce cash and carry art sale is starting this Friday night, December 2 at 8pm in downtown San Jose, CA. This year, it’s featuring 45 artists from 14 countries. The art is always great and pretty cheap, usually under $200 and some things as low as $5 or $10… although, I always end up spending way more than I should!
I think my favorite part of traveling through SFO is the Dyson Airblade. Everything else is tiring, tedious, and not really dirty, but not pristine either. The Airblade is so pretty and sleek, my hands actually feel cleaner after I’ve used it. It’s not a new thing, but still it makes me happy.
I thought I was going to write about the Francesca Woodman exhibit I saw at SF MOMA today because it reminded me so much of my friend Courtney’s work from when we studied in Bordeaux together. Or I would write about the baby shower I hosted at work, talk about a different kind of social gathering. Or maybe this awesome glass blowing workshop I took at Public Glass. But I realized something bigger together about why I hate working at the computer all day long every day, in a grey cubical no less, and how it doesn’t have to be so.
I don’t like the computer because I’ve been using it wrong, for a long time. Most of my time at the computer is spent doing research using online sources (OK, pretty convenient compared to the library stacks, but I love libraries so not super convincing), making PowerPoint slides (blegh!) or writing in Word, and emailing. Most of these activities are tedious and are not made that much better by the computer.
Now for what I learned.
I spent this last week using Tableau data visualization software with a team of data modelers at work. I normally only work with qualitative data, within that I usually do ethnography and apply it to designing. So, this was stretchin’ a little for me. I loved it. We took 400,000+ records which would have been difficult, if not impossible, to work with by hand, and experimented with it in Tableau. Incredible interface (I <3 drag and drop), fun to use, and you learn by making. Your end result is interactive visuals, much more meaningful than the 1000s of records you started with, and much more interesting for your audience. You create stories for your audience so that they can play with the visuals you created and discover your results, while still giving them the room to draw their own conclusions. Such a breath of fresh air!
I only want to use the computer now when it’s worth the energy I put into it. Emailing is convenient, but think about what a hassle it creates too – I say we broke even there. (Oh course, I like being employed and will do the other stuff as a consequence of that.) Tableau, software that makes unreadable data fun and easy to understand? Worth it.
To take the edge off of the first post, I thought I’d just dump something out and get it over with. I was contemplating what to dump when my husband surprised me with this gift fanny pack. Perfect! Gotta say I love the 80’s fanny pack, love it when it’s hipster ironic and love it when it’s totally serious. This is jogger sportique fanny pack, dig it.