Saturday, August 30, 2008

Bright Lights; Poppets, Spaces, Fake Pants

Poppet video work is progressing. Here is a loose mix of photos from the last shoot, in no particular order.

We've decided for the next video to recruit an intern to journal as we work. It's way too much fun not to share.

Anyway---it's a unique experience shooting in an empty pool. The space allows sound and light to behave in unexpected ways.

The space allows humans to behave in unexpected ways.

There are two new Poppets in Fake Pants (see sidebar).
Things are a little weird, but the heart of the beast is still beating, and we're making progress.
Good thing too, VCon is coming up fast and we intend to show the members what we did this Anti Summer.
Time for lunch...

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Neil Gaiman Rat enters the land of the Anti-Summer

Poppets in



We've talked about making Poppets in Fake Pants a regular thing.

We started talking about all those cheesy Halloween costumes we wore as kids---you know, the vinyl ones. We figured, the more fake, the better. It was a brainstorm---Bent, Alison and me. We had fun.

Now we have Poppets in Fake Pants.

And then, the Anti Summer Neil Rat showed up.

I asked him how he would survive in the harsh world of Anti Summer with only his trusty initialed spanner, his heavy duty boots, his gas mask and his wits.

He said he'd need a copy of The Wind in the Willows.

Good Luck Little Neil Rat. It's a hard world.

The street lamp is LED with motion sensors thanks to Spencer.

The base has grafitti, still growing. The sculpture will go to Neil when he returns from China so he can add his own to the mix.

Saturday, August 23, 2008

stumbling, roughly in a forward direction

We've resumed work on video projects. Here are a few seconds from Blast Radius.

The air is starting to cool slightly, though experience says we'll have another week of hellish heat right after school starts in Sept. The nights are cooling.

The studio is getting a good cleaning in anticipation of Halloween work. We have switched (as of today) to the fall schedule, which means getting up very early.

We are spending less time dodging debris, more time being productive. We have made things---the Anti Summer Neil Gaiman Rat is really very cool and there are Poppets in Fake Pants. And the studio looks even more like mad scientists are at work.

Some of you sent good things my way, including words and good wishes. They were all put to good use. Thank you.

Art is being made. Some of the art does things.

Occasionally we shoot strange, small rockets into the sky.

Sometimes we find ourselves in Backwards House on Opposite Day.

How does one rearrange spaces that are bigger inside than out?

We're gathering stories without even trying. I'm okay with that.

photos tomorrow.


Friday, August 15, 2008


It's been a week since my last post. Time is a slippery little sucker.
Various recent moments:
1 Mimi Ko jumps off the roof. (with joyful abandon)
2 pools without water are surreal places
3 two realities---stillness above, motion beneath--this one is somewhat Magritte---or possibly Jacek Yerka. Spencer provides footage for poppet animation work.
4 Strange Light. Larry Niven has begun the next story for the series. He sent me his notes. Sometimes my job is fucking perfect.
I took a whole series of sunlight shots. The desert has its good points.
5 Lisa shooting at night---still over 100 degrees.
The desert sucks.

6, 7, 8, 9 Studio work. The studio is evolving. It looks less like an art studio and more like a very strange laboratory every day. Eventually it may begin to think for itself.

Aside from that--We're very nearly finished with the Anti-summer Neil Gaiman rat. I asked Neil if the Neil Rat was stuck in the Poppet's Anti-Summer world, what book would he want with him? He chose, The Wind in the Willows.
Today was for putting out spotfires and dodging bullets. Tomorrow is a studio day.
At least, that is the plan.

Sunday, August 10, 2008

The Invisible Net

For someone like me (and there are many like me) this blog is a weird sort of tightrope.

Its purpose, from the beginning, was to open a window onto the process that creates the art.
Because of the nature of my work and the nature of my brain, that process (and therefore this blog) has been less about nuts and bolts and more about thoughts and experiences.
A lot of daily life gets thrown into the mix.

So, always, there is the balancing act between honesty and privacy. That has seemed easy enough. I step along, one foot at a time, preferring the pole to the parasol, because I've seen Wile-E fall often enough to know an umbrella can't slow a fall.

Possibly I should do what my friends and colleagues do---write it as fiction. Perhaps I should rely on the filter of time.

But art is different from fiction. Neil defined it for me once---I can't grasp it now, the entanglement of truth in lie and fiction in reality. I'll ask him again. It was extremely clever---of course it was. But I do know that art is immediate and visceral and won't wait for filters.

These last years I've crawled and stumbled along this path to understanding, inviting you to come with me, writing about the experiences and showing you the art, hoping you could feel the connections. Allowing me to see the connections. Listening to yours.

Always looking for understanding, for honing this visual alphabet I've concocted, believing that eventually I'll become more fluent, yet accepting that the cypher and symbols will evolve, as with any language. And that we might understand it together instead of alone.

The forums are dead for now. Dead from neglect. That's on me. So comment here freely. I'll answer. Answer each other too.

The thing is, this summer has been a personal explosion following a long season of something hard and oppressive and as yet undefined. The details are private, as they should be. But at least for now, the experience and the process of recovery is evident in everything I do. I know that you are aware of this. I find myself surrounded by debris--some of it still falling-- and, though grateful to have survived, now I must assess damage and tentatively find new footing.

The rope seems tighter, and higher, and I no longer see the net. It no longer matters whether it was actually ever there, does it? Do we create our own nets? If so, are they 'real?" I don't know the answer for this one.

So. Here we are.

I'm not fragile. Thinner, and possibly a little harder, but present. I know you get it. I know you experience the same pains and look for the same answers that I do. Of course you do, we're human beings. It's a small planet.

I might fall. Or you might. I might tell you too much and embarrass myself or someone else. I may tell you too little and fail to be of any help in your own searching.

There it is. I'm okay with that. The work is calling me and I'm going back to it. The answers are in there, because that's where the questions are.
I have a clean new apron and a fresh pot of coffee.

Thank you, really.

Here we go again.

Wednesday, August 06, 2008

look out, look in, press on

Sometimes we need to contemplate something a lot bigger than ourselves to figure out where we stand.
And sometimes, when feeling overwhelmed by it all, we just have to pick something from the pile and do it.
This is what I'm learning now.
"Stumbling toward the light" was never more true for me than right now.
If the alternative is inertia, I'll choose to stumble every time.

Saturday, August 02, 2008

Arrival of the Queen

We knew she'd show up sooner or later, the Queen of Anti Summer.

She silently surveys the scene.

There's no need for words. Her presence is enough to spur the Poppets into action.

It's a new world order.

Long Live the Queen.