Elsewhere is a chaotic land wrought with harrowing adventure, heart-pounding romance, rare beasts of all manner and proportion, whimsy and wonder, hidden gems and forgotten treasure, and sudden twists and turns. It is a land both terrifying and beautiful that has been known to enchant visitors upon first arrival, only to turn them inside out and upside down until no one is sure which way is where or what. Time bends into strange, unrecognizable shapes, and you may find yourself lost for days, weeks, or even months at a time.

from A Field Guide for the Social Butterfly, Elsewhere

I’m spending a couple of weeks at a residency at Elsewhere, a very unusual place in Greensboro, North Carolina. Residents live communally with staff and interns in a 3 story building in south downtown, presently there are about ten of us here, some from as far away as Jakarta, sharing meals and working.


The building was a used furniture, fabric and curiosity shop that has been in the same family since the 1930′s. The current executive director George’s grandmother Sylvia amassed a huge collection of items that are now the museum’s archive.

When Sylvia died, George, a writer, started inviting his friends to visit and find inspiration in the extensive collection. This evolved into the not for profit residency program that I am enjoying today. Everything feels in process here, it is a very exciting atmosphere where anything seems possible.


What I am starting to realize from SMW’s Bio-ethics of Beer sci fi fantasy project, time with Bread & Puppet over the summer, some new investigations, and as I dig deeper into the recesses of my brain for an appropriate project for this residency, is the power of words to create and transform reality. Although you could look at Elsewhere and say that it started with an old building and a strange collection of things, but what I am sensing here now is that the collection and the history has come alive through the interpretations and writings of George and others. The stories bring the community which brings the artwork, and much of the work here to me functions as a kind of fiction, beautiful to look at but only meaningful in relation to the magical history it implies.

Where is Elsewhere? Elsewhere is always there and here, here and there, somewhere. Elsewhere is a paradox, an illusion, possibility. Herein lies the experiment…this place proposes a re-arrangement of things – our assumptions, diversions, responses, timings, visions – a re-arrangement of our objects and our selves…Elsewhere is a museum and a home. It’s a life on display, intimate life, unusual life, sometimes impossible life, an utter fantasy living squarely within the really real. So too, Elsewhere is in-between this and that…you’ll see what we mean when you get here. As you will come to know, a careful calibration of intention and chance, order and chaos, sanity and madness, public and private, reorients our most basic presumptions about mind and matter, things and meaning, suggestion and referent, process and practice, and the whole ecological systems of art, ideas, life, what it is to be human, after all, as in, to keep a history alive as you invent new ones.

from A Field Guide to Customs & Culture of the Elsewhere Commonwealth

An artist’s interpretation of the history of Elsewhere through its objects:

For part of my orientation, the cool kitchen coordinator Emily played me this short Gus Van Sant film:

I’m here for the election, some performance artists will give a ‘play by play’ on the big day:


Street swingers in the swing state

Education coordinator Chris took a 6-person Surrey on a spin to promote the election day events


Artists’ projects include this participatory ‘book of books’:



A ‘core sample’ of the building’s three floors:
Residency coordinator Aislinn shows the site of the core sample

The three floors

Aislinn’s project is a boardwalk upsidedown tour of Elsewhere.

Visitors hold a mirror up to the ceiling and pretend they are walking on the ceiling for the tour. I used to do this with mirrors all the time when I was little!

Patching a wall, Elsewhere style!

More artists’ projects (there are literally hundreds!):





For my project, I was considering making some collaborative garments (social clothing for more than one person) out of the unbelievable amount of fabric here and have been doing some silly sketches:

Dark Social

Posted by andrea in News - (0 Comments)

Interesting article about social web analytics in The Atlantic this month.

If you want to see how someone came to your site, it’s usually pretty easy. When you follow a link from Facebook to The Atlantic, a little piece of metadata hitches a ride that tells our servers, “Yo, I’m here from Facebook.com.” We can then aggregate those numbers and say, “Whoa, a million people came here from Facebook last month,” or whatever.

There are circumstances, however, when there is no referrer data. You show up at our doorstep and we have no idea how you got here. The main situations in which this happens are email programs, instant messages, some mobile applications*, and whenever someone is moving from a secure site (“https://mail.google.com/blahblahblah”) to a non-secure site (http://www.theatlantic.com).

The author Alexis Madrigal shows a graph of how this ‘Dark Social’ plays out in the numbers on the Atlantic’s site.

His summary (and paradigm shifter) from the article is strangely satisfying to me, the idea that there is still a shield of darkness in our social netiverse:

1. The sharing you see on sites like Facebook and Twitter is the tip of the ‘social’ iceberg. We are impressed by its scale because it’s easy to measure.

2. But most sharing is done via dark social means like email and IM that are difficult to measure.

3. According to new data on many media sites, 69% of social referrals came from dark social. 20% came from Facebook.

4. Facebook and Twitter do shift the paradigm from private sharing to public publishing. They structure, archive, and monetize your publications.

Whew! Just getting caught up with posting everything the SMW has been up to lately! Our video documentarian Daniel Maestas created a great promo of the BeB project with narration by design lead on the project Gabriel Melcher. I presented this video at the International Sculpture Center’s conference in Chicago (alongside our resident genius Russell Bauer presenting his super cool West Again ISEA2012 project and presentations by WFAE president and SAIC faculty member Eric Leonardson and artist and Columbia College Grad Director Paul Catanese).

Check out the BeB video on our SMW youtube channel and here:

I’ve blogged about the Crystal World project before, the work of artists Martin Howse, Ryan Jordan and Jonathan Kemp. There’s a new article on Further Field about an exhibition of their work at The Space’s White Building cultural center in London including some great images, like the one above and this installation image:

Here’s more information about the project from the exhibition:

Our contemporary technological society is founded upon computers that are highly ordered sets of minerals. The Crystal World sets out to stem the flow by reversing the action, and extracting the minerals to build its own systems. The exhibition followed on from a 5-day intensive public laboratory, extracting minerals from computers and re-crystallising them through experiments.

More Info:
http://crystalworld.org.uk includes lots of how-to information for extracting minerals from computers and video demos

Went to see Girl Talk last night with my friend Raj. Girl Talk is the sampling genius of Gregg Gillis, building songs by making strange combinations of mostly 80′s/90′s pop. This was the first time I had seen him live and he put on an amazing show. I expected the show to have an ironic vibe, but Raj nailed it when he said he thought the music wasn’t so much ironic as reverent, with quick references to familiar songs that are totally transformed through surprising layers.

One has to wonder, though, just how does he get away with all this sampling? This article argues that he is protected through fair use and points out that he makes all his albums available for free (for example All Day includes samples from 372 songs and can be downloaded here). But giving away something for free that someone else is trying to make money on is not going to protect anyone from a lawsuit, as I learned when a student of mine who was a Star Wars fan posted clips of the movies online and received a ‘cease and desist’ letter from Dreamworks lawyers.

Everyone trying to answer that question seems to be quoting this article by paidcontent.org’s Joe Mullin:

So why hasn’t Gillis been hauled in front of a judge by the music industry? Probably because he’s the most unappealing defendant imaginable. Gillis would be a ready-made hero for copyright reformers; if he were sued, he’d have some of the best copyright lawyers in the country knocking on his door asking to take his case for free…

At the same time, the record labels have a healthy business going selling music sample licenses, the economics of which aren’t threatened by laptop musicians like Gillis. Established artists aren’t going to follow the lead of an upstart like Gillis-they’ll keep paying for their samples, especially since some have the hope of being on the receiving end of sampling royalties one day. They’re surely watching Gillis’ “provocations” closely, but in this case, artists and labels are smart to let sleeping dogs lie.

In this video Gillis describes the mash-up process he uses

Here at SXSW 2010 DJ Spooky (aka Paul Miller) and others discuss the legalities of Girl Talk:

Artist and University of Buffalo media prof Paul Vanouse looks for Thermus Acquaticus bacteria from nearby hot springs while artist and former UNM prof Jon Wenger looks on.

Paul Vanouse’s residency project The People’s PCR help to democratize high end genetic engineering tools. According to Vanouse’s essay about the first time he did this project in Banff, Deep Woods PCR, the PCR (Polymerase Chain Reaction) “is an elegant algorithmic process that allowed Kary Mullis to copy a small region of DNA billions of times, thereby ‘amplifying’ a region, potentially to differentiate individuals. The first great patent of the biotechnological revolution profited Cetus and Roche corporations with the first billion dollar invention. For his discovery, Mullis, along with Michael Smith, was awarded the Nobel Prize in Chemistry in 1993.”

Paul has devised a way to perform one of the key processes in PCR over a campfire with simple equipment. More details on the Deep Woods link above. What is fascinating to me is Paul’s description of the history and importance of Thermus Acquaticus as an organism that can survive high temperatures and therefore remain living through the PCR process. As far as I can understand, the genes of this organism can be combined with other organisms therefor allowing the PCR process to be used with a variety of living DNA. As you can imagine, this makes Thermus Acquaticus a very valuable species to those that profit from the biotech industry!

Joan Linder shows her beautifully drawn book about the residency process. I hope very much that this becomes published and available.

Paul collaborated with visual artist and Buffalo prof Joan Linder, who created an exquisitely drawn book of the process including trip to three hot springs with their two young sons Lucien and Raphael. Raf even presented his own drawings of the experience!

These two residencies were part of the Neo Rio festival created by Clare Cote and Jon Wenger. The Wild Rivers park where the festival is held is part of BLM land, and thaks to the hard work of Clare and Jon, Paul and Joan’s residency is one of the first BLM hosted residencies ever! They even lived in an apartment on site.

A wind-powered sculpture by Jon Wenger

After the presentation/performance of People’s PCR, Clare and Jon hosted a dinner and breakfast at a Wild Rivers campground in Questa. I got a chance to stay the night in the ‘weasel’, Jon’s wild studio bus that travels into the deep wilds for many weeks at a time with artists to develop work. His wild studio projects started at UNM and were the beginning of the tradition we try to continue with the Art and Ecology program.

Spending a few days in Taos with students and friends to experience Taos day events. So far highlights have been the Earthship tour and The Hand of Man by Christian Ristow.

Justin Nolan, Rachel Cisler and Liz Shores at the Phoenix Earthship

Beautiful chicken coop

We not only toured the Earthships, but saw a film and lecture by Earthship architect Mike Reynolds.

Reynolds explaining the principles of the Earthships

The film explored some of the legal battles Reynolds had to endure to achieve his dream, including losing his license and having to halt production. While initially given permission to build, later political regimes deemed his work illegal and he even faced jail time. Reynolds actually drafted a bill that after several years in legislation has now been accepted that allows him to operate an ‘experimental’ building site. Basically, it’s a law that allows him to do whatever he wants at a building site! Pretty nice!

We also had a tour of Larry Bell’s studio, a NM-LA artist who uses an elaborate macine to coat paper and other materials with a thin metal dust. Although this process is common in industry, Bell is the only artist I know of to use it so extensively. He initially was contracting to companies to do the coating, but then found that if he operated the machine himself he could have more control of the results.

Bell talking with Liz and Rachel

Finally, just to add to the wild west vibe, we saw Christian Ristow’s work which fulfills every little kid’s fantasy. Using a custom glove, viewers can control a giant robotic hand and crush cars. Oh yeah!

Getting ready to crush

ISEA2012 artist Robert Drummond and Ristow

Lift and drop

High five the Hand of Man

San Francisco-based sound artist Jeremiah Moore and friend at his table at the Block Party

My friend Jeremiah created a really cool gps-driven work that involved listening to recordings he created of underground gas drilling in New Mexico (see http://www.basoundecology.org/listen/2012/09/ltg/). Through family contacts in the drilling industry, he mapped the location of the drill sites he found in Farmington to downtown ABQ.

My student Erin Rhodes created a couple of excellent ISEA2012 event slide shows for Temporary Art Review thanks to editor Nancy Zasudil, check them out here:
and here http://temporaryartreview.com/report-isea2012-part-2/

Also Adobe Airstream reporter Ellen Berkovitch has some interesting stories online, one about Big Data http://adobeairstream.com/art/rocket-scientists-on-big-data-and-representing-things-the-isea2012-blog/ and a podcast with me http://adobeairstream.com/category/a2-media/#isea2012-electronic-art-meets-humanism-plus-dana-falconberry

Well, the Albuquerque portion of ISEA2012 is over, what a wild ride! Without much commentary because I still need time to process, here are some of my favorite images so far:
Artist Ivan Puig with a member of a local low rider car club after Symphony 505

Hydrolic low rider pumps

During the symphony

Friend and New Zealand artist Nigel Jamieson

SMW resident documentarian Daniel Maestas

Artist and SMW researcher Russ Bauer feeds the masses at the block party

Another one of Russ’s weird loads, multiple layers of hydroponically grown greens in the back of a pickup truck – a moveable feast!

Art car star Harrod Blank and my UNM colleague photographer Adrienne Salinger at Harrod’s Camera Van

The Alvarado Urban Farm featured artist Nina DuBois’ work

A geodesic dome built by Nina broadcasted live sounds of a bee hive combined with conversations with beekeepers. Here artist, Bio-ethics of Beer collaborator and SIU professor Sarah Lewison sneaks a photo

Students of our Creating Change class created a shade structure at the farm, here is Juliet working

Students of my International Festival Practicum class in their cool volunteer shirts listen to a presentation by New Zealand artists Ian Clothier and Jeanine Randerson

My UNM A&E colleague Catherine Harris created ‘Eden Again’, a wastewater system to feed a wetland garden.

Here is her beautiful installation at 100 Gold street

Dancers from Albuquerque Academy interacted with Nina Waisman’s sound installation at the UNM Architecture building as part of the ISEA2012 Residency exhibition.

The PLAND artist-in-residence Mick Lorusso created a bike-powered papercrete mixer

Rhiannon Mercer upstairs at the show she put together at 516ARTS

Curator Andrew Connors in front of Rubin Torres’ work at the Albuquerque Museum show

German artist Hanna Hildebrand finishes her piece at the museum

The glow at the balloon museum gala

NYC based friends and artists Adrienne Wortzel and Ellen Pearlman at the UNM Art Museum opening

My old friend Nigel Jamieson has arrived from AUT in New Zealand for ISEA2012 and as usual we are hatching an evil master plan for collaboration. Bwa ha ha!

He turned me on to an amazing article about 12 levls of nothingness in various Maori cosmologies in realtion to a project he’s doing with radio telescopes, for example:

Te Korekore – a double negative, the Absolute Nothingness.

Te Korekore Te Rawea – the Absolute Nothingness which could Not be Wrapped up.

Te Korekore Te Whiwhia – the Absolute Nothingness which could Not be Bound.

Te Korekore Te Tamaua – the Absolute Nothingness which could Not be Fastened.

Te Kowhao – the Abyss.

Te Pa – the Night.


Te Kore, The Nothingness,

Te Po, The Night,

Te Rapunga, The Seeking,

Whaia, Following,

Te Kukune, The Conception,

Te Pupuke, The Swelling,

Te Hihiri, The Elemental and Pure Energy,

Te Mahara, The Subconscious,

Te Hinengaro, The Deep Mind,

Te Manako, The Desire,

Te Wananga, The Wisdom,

Te Ahua, The Form,

Te Atamai, The Shape,

Te Whiwhia, The Possessing,

Rawea, The Being Bound,

Hopu Tu, The Possessing Power,

Hau Ora, The Breath of Life,

Atea. Space

Here’s the original article: http://www.listener.co.nz/cultire/twitch/print I don’t know what to say about this, it is kind of blowing my mind right now. That’s whakapapa.