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Exploring the Unseen with CODAME artist Norma Jeane

In this installment of my ongoing series of feature articles about artists who will appear at the 2018 CODAME ART+TECH Festival in San Francisco, I had the opportunity to interview and study artist Norma Jeane.

ShyBot, by Norma Jeane
Norma Jeane, ShyBot, part of “Desert X.” Photo credit: Emily Berl for The New York Times. Source.

When considering multimedia artist Norma Jeane, the first impression that strikes is one of mystery and denial. Norma Jeane is the pseudonym of an Italian artist who does not wish to be identified. Where many discussions of an artist’s body of work might begin with personal biography in an attempt to understand the human experience that led to creating the work, that won’t do in the case of the elusive, cerebral, and multi-talented Norma Jeane.

This is entirely by design. Having chosen one of the most famous women in the world as a namesake (Norma Jeane Mortenson Baker, who you might know better as Marilyn Monroe), the artist Norma Jeane has built a 25-year-long career on the idea of making that which is typically invisible, visible, and vice versa.

This endeavor — to expose the unnoticed while erasing the expected — has been composed of a few different recurring elements. Multiple paths lead to this end, but the name is a helpful starting point. When I met with Norma Jeane this month via video chat, he explained, “What was really interesting and fascinating to me about Marilyn is not Marilyn but Norma Jeane. The fact that she actually split her life in two, had a terrible beginning, very tough and sad, and when she actually found success, she needed to split her personality to do it. [She was] such a complex person, who ultimately represents the most successful pop icon, which is something so simple. I’m also super interested in what’s normal, in everyday life, everyday objects.”

Read the full article on the CODAME blog, on Medium.

Interactive artist Yagiz Mungan on how VR can help us experience the impossible

As part of my series with artists and speakers to be featured at the 2018 CODAME ART+TECH Festival in San Francisco, I recently interviewed interdisciplinary artist Yagiz Mungan.

Views of Illy, a "semi-intelligent system" by Yagiz Mungan
Views of Illy, by Yagiz Mungan

Artist Yagiz Mungan creates work that blends VR/AR, sound/music, interaction, performance, virtual worlds and gaming. He is especially interested in generative strategies of creating visuals and sound, and ways to use technology to push the boundaries of human perception and emotional response. His work often aims to recontextualize familiar experiences, or addresses uncanny technological encounters in modern life.

Mungan holds an MSc in computer engineering and MFA in interactive arts, and has exhibited his work around the world. For the 2018 CODAME ART + TECH Festival, Mungan will be exhibiting a project called Illy, an AI that communicates via sound without language.

Read the interview on the CODAME blog, on Medium.

An interview with digital artist Mark Klink

As part of an interview series with artists and speakers featured at the CODAME ART+TECH Festival [2018], I recently chatted with 3D artist Mark Klink.

Work by Mark Klink
head 3.034 detail 1, by Mark Klink, 2017.

This year’s CODAME ART+TECH Festival, codenamed #ARTOBOTS, examines the increasingly tangible sphere of robotics, automation, and artificial intelligence in the modern world. Through 4 days of installations, workshops, and lectures, this conference will showcase developments from the vanguard of art and technology.

Mark and I discussed everything from his background as a multi-occupation self-taught technologist and longtime multimedia artist, to his reactions to the state of pop culture as it depicts and relates to robots and artificial intelligence, two enduring themes in his work.

Read the interview on the CODAME blog, over on Medium.

Juneau, AK

I recently returned home from my first-ever visit to Juneau, Alaska. Though it wasn’t an optimal time of year to visit, it was the time I had available, so I decided to go for it. I was eager to see my friend Katy (whose bravery in totally rebooting her life in a new place I admire so much) and to see some glaciers and Northern lights. Lucky for me, I got everything I wanted –  close-up views of Mendenhall Glacier, a beautiful night sky light show, some refreshing hiking in the rain, and I even caught a glimpse of a moose. I’ll return one of these years in August, when the bears and salmon do.

Mendenhall lake and mist. Sometimes, as a photographer, you just get really, really lucky.

Continue reading “Juneau, AK”

Moonrise: Our Grandmas, Ourselves

Moonrise zine 2 coverMoonrise is a print and web magazine about babes and ritual.

Moonrise is created, edited, and designed by Missy J. Kennedy, who I found and met online while combing the ferociously beautiful vastness of the feminist-artist-writer-internets. I’m so glad I did.

I’ve got a piece of writing in issue number 2. Find it in the deeply nostalgic and personal section called, “Our Grandmas, Ourselves.” Also, the print magazine is gorgeous and well-produced and you should definitely order a copy while they’re available.

This year is a good time to reread Silent Spring

Written in 1962, Rachel Carson’s book, Silent Spring, was and still is nothing short of revolutionary in its importance. The first piece of writing that clearly collected and synthesized the existing work of environmental scientists and ecologists on the harmful effects of pesticides and insecticides in the environment, Silent Spring was a profound wake up call, an alarm bell, a highly effective call to arms for a new environmental conservation movement. Today, it is an essential document of the beginning of that movement and an education in basic ecology for the student looking to better understand our planet.

Should you ever feel in need of proof that one dedicated person can seriously change the world, this book may be it. Rachel Carson, an American marine biologist who began her career at the U.S. Bureau of Fisheries writing humble educational radio scripts, used a combination of poetic prose and relentlessly damning evidence from the study of the natural world to do two things in Silent Spring: First, to illustrate the beauty, preciousness and incomprehensible wonders of nature. And second, to condemn and tear apart, beyond any shadow of doubt, the cavalier use of toxic chemicals for “control” of insects, pests and unwanted plants on farms, in gardens, along roadsides and elsewhere.

Continue reading “This year is a good time to reread Silent Spring”

Exploring perception with James Turrell: Into the Light

A portrait of artist James Turrell. Image source.

Since the early 2000’s, I’ve been fascinated with artist James Turrell. You might even call me a fangirl. While some look at art like his–art that makes use of so much empty space–and see the Emperor’s new clothes and a whole lot of nothing, I get ecstatically stoked about it. I was pretty damn ecstatic recently when I learned that my visit to Boston last month would allow me time to visit “Into The Light” – the current Turrell exhibition at the Mass MoCA.

Since the 1960’s, Turrell has been exploring the realms of the untouchable: light. Enlisting architecture and LEDs, enclosed and open spaces, negative space and the sky itself, Turrell has sought to take intangible natural forces and make them physical. His works vary in medium, size and shape, yet the impact of a Turrell is an identifiable phenomenon that becomes familiar once you’ve been in their presence. That impact is all-consuming, enveloping and awe-inspiring.

Continue reading “Exploring perception with James Turrell: Into the Light”

Saint Martin Memories, Learning To Dive, and How To Help Now

I have a new guest post up on BlissyLife.com. BlissyLife is a marketing and media group created by and for adventure travelers and digital nomads, seeking to share tips and stories about living our most fabulous, most mobile lives. Check it out below or see the original post here.

There I am! This shot was taken by one of my new diving buddies on one of my very first dives in SXM.

Continue reading “Saint Martin Memories, Learning To Dive, and How To Help Now”

Columbia Startup Demo Night: 6 Inspiring Founder Stories

On Thursday, September 14th, 2017, the San Francisco chapter of the Columbia Venture Community will host CVC’s biggest West Coast event of the year: Columbia Startup Demo Night! We always look forward to this opportunity to meet, mingle and shine the spotlight on innovative startups from the Bay Area. This time, six startups, all with at least one founder who graduated from Columbia, will take the stage to demo their startup and compete for a cash prize in front of a panel of experienced judges.

As we gear up for the event, we’re speaking with all our Demo Night founding teams so that we can share their diverse, inspiring stories with the CVC community.

I had fantastic opportunity to meet and speak with founders from our six CVC Demo Night teams over the past several weeks. These six articles are the result of our conversations. Continue reading “Columbia Startup Demo Night: 6 Inspiring Founder Stories”