Several things lately are making me feel nostalgic for NYC, one of which is the work of a few friends in an exhibition at the NY Hall of Science in Queens now through January (I presented Cloud Car there a few years ago). The exhibition is called Regeneration and “explores the connection of cultural vitality to sustainability, immigration, and urbanization, through the intersection of art, science and technology.” What’s interesting and inspiring to me is how the artists are using a kind of sci-fi mindset and narrative to communicate. Some of my favorite artists in the show are:

Amy Francescini and the Future Farmers with a work called Ethnobotanical:

a mobile module that draws upon the diverse lineage of knowledge to study the complex relations between plants and humans. It brings in the question our faith in modern quantitative science as compared to the long tradition of qualitative indigenous knowledge through an inventory of distinctive tools, exemplary specimen and mappings that explore new ways to relate to the plant life around us. A combination of mythology and science fiction combined with qualitative science is used to create an experimental framework that regenerates traditional knowledge. Hands-on workshops and visual display are the vehicle for exploration and sharing new configurations of knowledge. Just like the intricate mechanisms for seed dispersal, E.B. moves freely to collect and disperse knowledge freely.

World’s Fair 2.0 by Stephanie Rothenberg and Marisa Jahn that:

reclaims the current home of the New York Hall of Science, re-envisioning the concepts that transformed Fitzgerald’s famous “valley of ashes” into Flushing Meadows Corona Park, the site of the 1939 and 1964 World’s Fairs. The fairs, through exhibits such as Futurama, The Road of Tomorrow, and Hall of Electrical Living, introduced visitors to products and ideas ranging from domestic robots and dishwashers to superhighways and space colonies, and as such, were seminal moments in the national psyche and global consciousness.

Looking to this rich cultural and technological history, Jahn and Rothenberg worked with 14 teens, and together they used innovations in mobile and augmented reality technology to ask: what are the continuities between utopian visions from the past and today’s vision for the future? Using a smartphone, visitors can experience World’s Fair 2.0 at locations in and around NYSCI. At the Rocket Park, for example, visitors will encounter visions for future living, from the “liberatory” promise of the electric dishwasher to single family space pods. Available both as a self-guided tour and teen-produced mobile game–where zombies thwart players in their time-traveling quest to explore the history of the future–World’s Fair 2.0 stages interventions into the past and future, regenerating conceptual tools to interact with the present.

2049 by Scott Kildall


A Geography of Being by Ricardo Miranda Zuniga. Ricardo initially sent me the information about this show and also a link to this video:

Of course such a great combination of artists and projects could only have come from the genius of curator Steve Dietz!
ReGeneration 2012


As one of the last events at the Albuquerque Museum related to ISEA2012, featured exhibiting artist Ruben Ortiz-Torres gave a talk about his work.


He talked about the history of the ‘Alien Toy’ transforming border patrol vehicle and his long-standing collaboration with Salvador Munoz. Salvador was at the museum for the opening party of the ISEA2012 exhibition. I didn’t realize what an important role he has played in the development of Torres’s work. Salvador was showing his work at low-rider competitions in the 1990′s where Torres was filming. A new category of competition was developed specifically for Munoz’s work, ‘Radical Bed Dancing’ which involved the entire bed of a pickup truck rising up and ‘dancing’ on hydrolic pumps. Torres collaborated with Munor to create the ‘Alien Toy’ project which was on Jay Leno and featured in a Fat Boy Slim video (along with being shown at the Venice Biennial – for you high art fans).


It was great to learn about this history and hear about Torres’s recent projects having to do with a pneumatic robot for sculpting organic forms and painting that respond to heat and sound.

In tandem with the Media Van exhibition at the ASU Art Museum, the Scotsdale Museum of Contemporary Art (SMOCA) has a very interesting and comprehensive exhibition called West of Center: Art and the Counterculture Experiment in America, 1965-1977.

This exhibition includes documentation of the original Ant Farm Media Van from 1974

Including drawings and photographs

and a life-size mock-up of the original interior

In addition they have an Ant Farm inflatable


That you can go inside

Along with original drawings


In addition they have a large installation by a young artist named Hector Zamora

and a satellite exhibition called Steering the Spaceship Earth for which high school students learned about and responded to the Whole Earth Catalog


antfarm media van
Finally got out to Tempe to see the ASU Museum/Desert Initiative’s exhibition in conjunction with ISEA2012 featuring the Ant Farm Media Van V.08 (Time Capsule).

antfarm media van
The project presents a mythological van that had been buried/hidden since 1974

antfarm media van
including a video of its discovery

antfarm media van
Inside the van is a ‘media hookah’ with various connecting ‘pipes’ to which you attach your smartphone.

antfarm media van greg esser
ASU Museum curator and Desert Initiative Director Greg Esser hooks up to the hookah. He then takes a ‘toke’ during which the hookah emits a puff of virtual smoke and bubbly sound and grabs an image from his phone.

antfarm media van
The hookah then gives you a receipt for your image that will then become a part of the image archive for the project.

antfarm media van

Another great exhibition as part of the DI was Portuguese artist Miguel Palma’s Trajectory
Miguel Palma
centered around another media vehicle, the Desert Initiative Remote Shuttle that projects images taken from the desert in urban settings

Miguel Palma


The project included multiple galleries of drawings, collages, objects and artifacts from his desert explorations

Miguel Palma

Miguel Palma

Miguel Palma

Miguel Palma

The November issue of Art Ltd. has an article about Palma’s project.

The Olfactological Adventure is an attempt to codify the emerging interdisciplinary discipline of sniffing and remembering into a multi-gendered and generational praxis. Challenged by the diversity of odor-producing artifacts in the extensive Elsewhere collection, the work slices a nasal window into the formerly barricaded edifice of olfactory research…or it might just be kinda fun to play…

The lovely Raven demonstrates the use the sniff-o-lometer at Elsewhere

Fellow artist-in-residence Bridget Quinn reads the Adventure directions, and yes, of course it is free.

How to properly operate the sniff-o-lometer

Particularly adventuresome smells in the collection have been identified with tags throughout the museum

Raven uncovers one of the scents in the department store

The process by which smells are transformed into memories that are then recorded in the Olfacttological Field Notebook

View from afar

George Douglas and Andy at the news desk

The Elsewhere Political Party last night was hosted by the socialable and charming performance artists Douglas Kelly and Andy Sturdevant with moderator George Scheer, Executive Director of Elsewhere. Creative Director Stephanie Sherman also came in for the event and it was great to finally get to meet her in 3 dimensions (not on skype).

Special guests at the party included Mars 2012 presidential candidate Blake Mason and Simpsons and Family Guy animator Lucas Grey. This Why Obama Now labor of love animation by Lucas went viral before the election, and in its 4 minute format, was designed specifically for youtube and facebook distribution:

Lucas encouraged us to watch this beautiful Academy Award nominated short animation ‘I Met the Walrus’ by Josh Raskin using the audio of a Toronto hotel room conversation with John Lennon recorded by a 14 year old fan in 1969:

Finally, Bad Lip Read has a pretty funny and surreal read of the first debate:

Election 2012

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Goodbye North Carolina, I’ll miss you:

Front of box

Back of box

Sniff-o-lometer and knob to go inside the box. Put your nose through the triangle for a more complete scentient experience. Note, those crazy spirals are actually what your sinuses look like under there, pretty incredible! Check this out from the Biologian:

Possible target scent from another artist’s project

Well, I should be going around Elsewhere smelling stuff right now (see previous post), but instead I filled out a survey for fellow Eyebeamer Jennifer Broutin’s Seed Pod project. She says:

SeedPod is an interactive farming module that serves as a platform for closing the loop between people and food. The structure will function as a scalable, modular system augmented by technology such as monitoring sensors, robotic components, and energy capture devices to facilitate ease and a deeper understanding of the process through which aeroponic vegetables are grown. A database and monitoring network is set up to determine growing needs and profiles of plant species in order to provide real-time feedback information in assisting with plant care. By bringing farming to urban areas, we will short-circuit the opacity of large-scale agriculture and create a feedback cycle for healthier, sustainable living.

She has created the following video

SeedPod V – 1.0 from Jennifer Broutin on Vimeo.

She’s also created an interesting energy harvesting suit prototype (called PowerSuit. She says:

The PowerSuit is a micro-energy harnessing shirt that functions based on temperature differentials between a persons skin and the outside environment…The idea is to consider small increments of energy as useful towards a specific purpose such as lighting safety LED’s while running at night time on cold days. Fundamentally, this is a shift in how peope consider energy. Rather than constantly striving for tools and devices that are more powerful and less energy efficient, why not consider using small amounts of energy not typically utilized, and put towards more efficient devices such as LED lighting.

Here is a heat sink for the prototype:

and trying it on:

I’ve been sewing this sniff-o-lometer mask, so have been interested in some of the wearable sources, the LilyPad of course (mentioned previously on the blog), and the LilyPond is a place where LilyPad and other wearable projects are presented. Some really great sensors are presented here at How to Get What you Want, and lots of resource links on the left at high-low tech – I like the DIY cell phone prototype.

Another very beautiful project (not by Jennifer), electronic origami

Electronic origami: Input/Output blintz folding from Jie Qi on Vimeo.


You creep.
You creep into my dreams and show me what could be.

written on a scrap of paper with a manual typewriter and found on a window sill at Elsewhere

Thanks to a great meeting with George, Stephanie, Aislinn, Chris, Rob, Jesse and other Elsewhere staff, I’ve got a project plan, just hope to be able to complete it in the five work days I have left here!

The project is called an ‘olfactological adventure’ and consists of a brain-shaped sign and nose-shaped box that contains a ‘sniff-o-lometer’ mask-like device with a nose-shaped hole through which adventurers place their nose to focus on smells they find in the collection. The project is designed to encourage players to consider multiple senses when experiencing objects.

George confirmed my impression of the importance of narrative in the Elsewhere experience by encouraging me to focus on the way smells can evoke memories (a la Proust’s Rememberances of Things Past, thousands of pages inspired by the sweet orange smell of a cake like cookie called a madeline. I started some of the writing:

Beneath its visually stimulating surface, Elsewhere is a complex smorgasbord of olfactory experience.  This olfactological adventure kit allows you to uncover hidden smells using a custom sniff-o-lometer.  Use your nose, the sniff-o-lometer and the enclosed scentient chart as a guide to locating some of Elsewhere’s  unique scents, or chart your own course by finding smells and describing them yourself in our handy guidebook.  

Warning: Remember that the smells of Elsewhere can unlock memories and transport you to places of dreams and fantasies.  While smelling, you may find that vivid details flood into your mind. Use the pen included in this adventure kit to direct this deluge onto the page for future nasal travellers to read and enjoy.