I’m Still Alive Post (or so I would like to think)

•06.24.2011 • Leave a Comment

Hey people!

So I know about a month ago (probably longer) I stated my blogging ways would resume….well I obviously lied, though I WAS pretty busy. Now that I’m done (ish) with video art installation for Sled Island (where I collaborated with Leslie Bell  to transform the EMMEDIA screening room), now all I have to focus on is my EMMEDIA production access scholarship (where I am literally commissioned to make a work. AWESOME!) and a Radio for the Daydreamer  music video. I know it doesn’t sound much but when you typically have to spend at least 30 hours per project on top of work and the abundances of birthdays around this time of the year, blogging isn’t quite as important. And since between now and my last post, I’ve had a plethora of projects popping up, as you can probably tell from above. Along the way, I was invited to participate in a local show 100% Bounce Rate where a group of artists raid an internet cafe and show art that is online based only. The turn out and vibe was great for such a small venue. The same curators are looking to create another show with the same group of people in the future. I might be in it too!

But perhaps enough of the artist talk, it’s driving me somewhat mad. Now I just want to post the three musicians I had the pleasure to meet and create videos for last night (June 23) at one of the Sled Island venues. In order of appearance throughout the night:


Calvin McElroy’s solo side project. He’s in a band called Gobble Gobble as well. If you’ve been paying attention to my posts here, then you would know that this is right up my alley. Ambient electronic instrumental music. Hearing it live is even better. The personal touches he gives performing it live was especially great in the small and intimate venue we were in. With only 30 other people, the sounds radiated from everywhere.

Two Bicycles

Side project for Teen Daze. Two Bicycles chilled ethereal acoustics and vocals were excellent live. And when he started playing he encouraged everyone to relax and we all sat down. I thought that was a nice touch considering the installation Leslie and I had. This set was also a good precursor to the next and final act (with sitting down a nice transfer over).

Julianna Barwick

What do I really need to say? She’s awesome and even better live. Just watching her move with the slightest of hand motions to create the loops and background sounds, was amazing. As like before, we were all sitting and at the corner of my eyes, I saw people begin to lay back. Of course, I was initially thinking they should pay attention to my video, but I must admit, it was 11:30 by then and I was beat too. And I don’t remember much from her performance either, to my dismay but maybe that’s a good thing. Despite having one of the amps right up to my right ear, her voice in combination with the tight space and the celestial ambiance that Leslie and I created made for a relaxing vibe to just sit back and enjoy the night.

So all in all, I think the night went really well. All of the musicians showed up despite how difficult it is to reach our venue and people were praising the work Leslie and I displayed in the room. Now I can relax and last night was an excellent pay off for the amount of time I spent on my videos (which was at least 50 hours working on it and 50 hours rendering), which you can see excerpts of on my website (whoa! When did that happen? In the hurricane that is this and last month. If you’re curious, it’s teresatam.net) very soon, as in today. Hopefully I can get some live documentation (which in retrospect I should have done myself very easily, but I didn’t).

Off to the rest of my projects.


Video Art

•04.17.2011 • 2 Comments

Hi guys!

So figure I should at least dedicate one post to my videos at least once. So, video art, a recent but important artistic process that has flourished in my practice. I was never really good at making videos prior to the start of my second year first semester. Quite frankly, all of my videos were “failures” beforehand. Before my discovery of videos, I was more interested with animation but as I continued working in that medium, I grew to hate it. I found it tedious and repetitive with a certain lack of intuitive experimentation and exploration that I didn’t know I craved at the time. But the one thing that kept me onboard for animation was the editing process that I thoroughly enjoyed; the happy accidents a discovery kept my mind going in search of new ways to cut and splice a scene (which, if you know my videos, is heavily edited, and for a reason). So along came registration for my second year courses and I came upon MADT 216 Video 1 class with Rick Silva as the instructor. I’m not entirely sure what compelled me to take the class; maybe it was because Rick was the instructor (whose work I really enjoy) or maybe some other strange otherworldly intervention I seem to be strucked by a lot when it comes to registration (I kid you not. This is NOT the first time I got lucky with classes.). Or maybe deep down inside I’ve always wanted to create videos but past and present examples told me otherwise. Either way, I took the class and here I am, forging ahead as if trying to make up for the lost time. Now I find videos to be the basis of all of my other artistic practice, whether it be web-based projects or even print, they have all been linked to my video work. And I also have opportunities popping up like baby bunnies now that I’ve established video being a primary artistic process in my practice. I’m now working with other artists, music festivals, and scholarship opportunities. It’s incredible how one decision, one class, and one moment can change so much. Before entering my second year, I knew I wanted to be an artist as a career but I never had one medium to call my own, I always had the ideas and concepts but never the means to represent them. I’ve always enjoyed printmaking but I found it never truly sparked my creative engines and I started to hate animation, so in finding video art, it in a way saved my career and future.  So, I should stop blabbing and let you watch my two most recent videos.


Back from the Dungeon

•04.15.2011 • Leave a Comment

Back from the dungeon…that is art school. Maybe not a dungeon, because I can leave whenever I want, there’s no warden and rats scurrying about (though ACAD is made of cement and bricks…a close enough to stone and other cold things…). But back I am nonetheless and I would like to apologize to everyone for a) being a demanding bitch b) ignoring you c) not existing…for the past three weeks. Though I am happy to say it paid off (on my end, anyways) and life should resume back to “normal”.

SO! I suppose I should show you guys what it is that I’ve been doing for the past four months and show something already. Well, this time (I swear) I will have prints (!!!) and a video to unveil. As many people may or may not know, I’m also a print maker. So photo’s of those…as soon as school officially ends, which is next week.

And now that I am back, assume that posts of art stuff and music I listen to will resume from where I last left off.

Not dead yet,


Video Games, Video Games, Video Games

•02.22.2011 • Leave a Comment

Hi all!

So the past two posts has been decidedly depressing and hard to relate to unless you’re me. So for this post, I’m going to lighten things up and have you to listen to this song while reading the post and blurb about one thing: video games.

* So this a song from Mogwai’s Hardcore Will Never Die, But You Will album that came out last week. More on them later…or soon, depending on how I feel.

So video games, you can say it’s my lover; we’ve been together since I was six, been through good and hard times, been apart and close together. It’s a committed relationship. But then again, its weird calling video games my lover…but in a way it’s the best way to describe my relationship to it. It’s a complex relationship that no casual gamer would ever understand.

I am ashamed to say that 2010 was a rough year for us, though games like Mass Effect 2, Heavy Rain, Metal Gear Solid: Peace Walker and Dragon Age (I know it came out in 2009 but it was released close enough to the new year that I count it as a 2010 game) captured my heart, I felt as if I didn’t spend as much time with it as I usually did in the previous years. Maybe I’m getting old…or maybe the love is fading…but I can feel the drift between us. But, perhaps I should rejoice! Dragon Age 2 and Deus Ex: Human Revolution is out next month and hopefully Mass Effect 3 before the year ends. Also, I’m currently loving this one game I’m playing on my PSP, Shin Megami Tensei: Persona 3 Portable. I regret to say that this is my very first SMT game but I’m not regretting buying and discovering it now.

I have a special but conflicted place in my heart for JRPG’s (Japanese role-playing games); they’re fun, engaging, have epic stories, and characters you grow to love, unlike most European and North American games where the emphasis is on gameplay and graphics. Don’t get me wrong, there are a lot excellent homegrown games that are just as engaging as JRPG’s (like BioWare games. Dude, I am such a BioWare fan girl, you have no idea. Though I do find that their games are predictable…). But… Japanese games…where to start. Just love. Love and more of it. Of the games that have captured my heart, most are Japanese made: Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time, Tales of Symphonia, Fire Emblem (The seventh in Japan but first in NA/Europe), MGS series, No More Heroes, Gran Turismo series, even Custom Robo (I know, if any of you have played it, not THE best gameplay but I found the story intriguing and characters lovable. Leave me alone.). I mean, you don’t want to know how many hours I’ve racked up for all of those games. Sure some of them aren’t JRPG’s but I just think them Japanese people are good at storytelling. Of course, they have their downfalls. It seems as though JRPG’s are stuck in a rut, because they have such a successful formula, progression is at a halt, like FPS (first-person shooters) in NA. It recent games have unfortunately become generic and while stories are told well, they’re usually about the same thing: ordinary boy (or girl, though normally boy) with a normal life who gets caught into an extraordinary circumstance because of fate to save the world from impending doom, who has awesome powers, and succeeding at the end. Sounds like I just described half of the game’s storyline on the list I made above. The only thing that saved me from hating half of those games is innovative gameplay, interesting character developments, and other quirky nuances (everything Japanese is quirky really, it’s like being Japanese is an acquired taste.). Even SMT: P3p, the game I’m loving and playing right now falls under the unfortunate generic storyline but again, is saved for memorable characters and its successful melding of dungeon grinding, social sim, and RPG elements…then again, the very first incarnation of the game come out for the Playstation 2.

So as sad as it may be to write this, but I fear SMT: P3p will be my last JRPG, at least for a while until (hopefully) they start progressing again. Like with the Fire Emblem series, the first one was so amazing, I’m still playing it. I think I’ve playing more than 100 hours on it (though mind you, I’ve had it since 2004. Actually, I don’t remember exactly how I got this game…I think it was a birthday present along with my first pack of Yu-Gi-Oh! cards. Don’t judge. I actually got an ultra rare card, so I say I was pretty lucky. But back to Fire Emblem, I remember wanting it because the box cover looked cool and the game book guide featured the characters in it that looked cool. So yes, the reason why I wanted the game in the first place was because of looks. Stop judging, I love that game; I think I got lucky. I even keep the cartridge in my DS at all times because I’m scared of losing it. But…uh, back to what I supposed to talk about before I got off into this tangent). That series declined and for me, that’s because the story just didn’t hold me. I didn’t even bother to buy the latest FE game because I know I won’t like it. ‘Tis a sad, sad period for JRPG’s. *sigh*

Maybe I should just go finish SMT: P3P, it’ll make me happier. Or not…JRPG’s have a tendency to make me sad actually. *LE SIGH*

So much for lightening the mood on the blog.

And you ask what this has to do with my artistic practice? Plenty! Inspiration! The music is always awesome. And there’s usually a thing or two that piques my ideological interest. Just…lots of things.

Anyways, to finish SMT: P3P!!! I sense an epic final battle coming!


Existential Thoughts on Art and Humanity

•02.21.2011 • Leave a Comment

Firstly, I would just like to say how hard it was to start this post with the right opening. But now that I’ve stated that, I may as well go on from here. Problem solved!

So I’m here to write about a certain thing that’s been making me think lately (yes this does relate to and concerns my artistic practice). I’ve recently noticed that more and more lately my artworks have been dealing with existence and perception. I’m incredibly interested in the area of conscious and subconsciousness, how the amount and lack thereof the things that surround us shape what we know and how we perceive life. I like thinking about how my existence and my perception of life is different from my family, friends, strangers and even inanimate objects (like Lego Man, mannequins, and even shadows. True story, I made a video about it). I enjoy exploring that aspect of our humanity and possibly the absence of it; whether self-awareness plays a role. My artworks are pretty existentialistic but I’m not trying to be depressive or inherently melancholic, I just think that when it comes down to it, it is the negative and difficult situations that define who we are more than a happy one. It is in the lower parts of life makes us question and challenge ourselves, pushing or breaking us in the process. Depressing I know, but I think it was my ability to overcome my shortcomings and hardships in my childhood that made me a happier person today.

But back to existentialistic thoughts. I’ve started thinking about existence in the digital age; where a person can create an infinite amount of personas and live life without ever actually getting out of their house. People texting when they’re with someone else in the flesh stands out in my head as I write this. This disconnect in connecting with other people is creating issues in real life social interaction. Schools are beginning to implement computers and digital means to educate but in doing so, I think it’s making students not interacting with one another properly, thus inhibiting their ability to learn basic body language and face-to-face social interaction. In a way, it is like creating a new generation of emotionally apathetic and unstable people. Kids learn a lot about the environment they are in and if they only ever interact with other people via IM or text messages, what will happen when they have to actually talk to other kids? In a way, I’m scared to explore the digital world in terms of existence because it frightens me that is what the future might be like, rather than a hypothetical analysis of would-be existence scenarios that I normally create for my art. It also scares me that the digital age might destroy our very being; to be human and our humanity. In my artworks, I always employ a humanistic emotion to it; regardless whether the subject is human or not because that way the viewer can connect to in many other levels. But if it’s about a digital existence, I’m beginning to see humanity disappear. Sure we can write words to express our emotions but to what degree can we be affected by them when we’re reading it online when compared to telling me in physical form. It is like transferring your humanistic emotions into abstraction that is symbols and numbers. I don’t see your somber eyes, sullen face, and feel your cold hands; the crack in your voice and the curl of your body: all I see is one abstraction after another.

Is this where we are going? If so, then I’ve come to appreciate the tactility and physical interactions I have with life more. Last semester I did quite a bit of digital based work but this semester is dominated by analog machines. I’ve noticed that while in my printmaking classes, that I miss the hands-on nitty-gritty of things: using a press, carving, inking, feeling the plates. The sensation of having your hands dirty and in the process of everything. The other day I cut myself while examining the sharpness of an etching tool and cut myself pretty deep. It hurt and I bled a lot but at the same time it was eye-opening, it really did make me appreciate the tactility of life; that yes I am human and I do bleed, and I can still feel. I’ve also noticed that while I’m exploring the nature of existence, I’ve also been focusing a lot on noticing my surrounds with my sense’s; touching things, broadening my culinary palette, smelling everything, looking at everything, and just listening. I’m growing intensely interested in feeling in the physical world; exploring the sensorium of life. But in a way, that also ties in with my interest in existence; existence in a universe where all you know is your feelings.

But then there’s Singularity (no not the black hole one, the mashing of man and machine to create one transcendent being one), a recent hot topic since the announcement and happening of Watson the super computer going against Jeopardy!‘s top competitors. So then if my previous concern about how digital technology is slowly dehumanizing us, then would achieve Singularity wipe out our humanity? Or would it enhance it instead? What would the word “existing” mean then? Perhaps reaching Singularity is the only way to save ourselves from our inevitable downfall and fate, but what is the point of trying to save ourselves when we don’t know who we are and what we’re trying to protect ourselves against. A part of me thinks that we’re not ready but I don’t think that’s going to stop it from happening. In the video game Mass Effect 2, a minor character said a quote that I found both amusing and depressing at the same time. She talked about how we can’t even figure out our own religions, so how can we judge others? How can we judge what’s best for us when can’t figure ourselves out?

So what is best for us? Will our future be in salvation or damnation? Or neither? The more I start questioning, the more I feel my exploration of existence becoming important to not just my future but to everyone else. Though now I feel like my art will become more philosophical than I intend it to be. Maybe what we need is less philosophy and manifesto’s and more self-reflection, because change won’t ever happen unless we’re willing to understand, right?

But I feel as though I’ve made my blog site heavier than I first intended it to be but of course, this is a thing I’m seriously starting to explore more in my artistic practice. Now I feel like a depressing person. Maybe I should start making humourous art to dispel this heaviness…though I don’t think that’ll ever happen, it’ll probably turn cynical more than anything else. Sometimes I wish I’d be like other people my age and be concerned about those things instead of always thinking about this, their concerns seem so much easier to deal with.

But back to work. *LE SIGH*


Exposing to the World

•02.10.2011 • Leave a Comment

So I have a confession, and no, it’s not about what I secretly do for my spare time or what my greatest fear is. No, this is about my worries and hesitation of presenting my artwork to the world. As my friends would know (or at least those who have had the pleasure of speaking to me recently), I have been more or less freaking out about putting my stuff  “out there”, and I mean not the internet so much, but more like galleries and shows. I’ve been sort of itching to put something “out there” but I always feel inadequate or I’m not ready to. One problem I’ve been having is not knowing where I am in terms of how much work and learning I still need to do before I should consider doing any sort of submissions to shows and galleries. I never get enough balanced feedback from my peers and even my instructors to know where I truly am in the artistic level. I generally get good feedback; people say they like it, some parts work well, what sort of things they get out it: the good stuff, the stuff every artist wants to hear. But, no one has ever told me it doesn’t work, it sucks, and everything I did was wrong, or even partially. Granted, I have been given advice like time management, focus more on technique, explore more, and change-up a few things here and there, but those are the sort of things I’m always working on regardless of what sort of things I’m making. Just tell me you hate it people! Genuinely! And that’s what really makes me scared of putting work “out there”, not knowing what it’s like to be both praised and shot down. I don’t want to go show stuff all happy and confident and immediately be flamed by everyone because no one had the guts to tell me in class or in person that the stuff I’m making isn’t good enough. Maybe I’m just over thinking things and I should just do it; maybe it’s my hormones and tired brain. Who knows, but this issue, if you can call it that, has been bugging me lately and that’s because I’m planning on doing more exposure-ing of myself. Some people worry about appearances or money; me, it’s more or less exposing myself to the world. Lovely isn’t it? Sometimes I wish I were more normal.

Back muttering nonsense to myself and finishing projects!