Monday, December 31, 2007

The end of 2007, the beginning of this blog.

It is December 31, 2007. It seemed fitting that this be the end of ignoring this blog.

Things that happened this year:


Accomplishments:

After five years of college, I graduated from the University of Chicago with a BA in Visual Art and, god only knows how, general honors in the college.

I moved to New York City in October where I am now gainfully employed (again, only god knows how this happened).

I posted my portfolio to the internet:
www.picasaweb.google.com/karlhol

I started running again, though now its too cold most days to do it. Still, this is a major victory for yours truly, the belgium beer guzzling couch potato.

My November HBA1C was a 6.5.


Regrets:

I bought a black electric Ibanez seven string guitar, which I have not yet to learned how to play, even a little bit.

I have yet to contact a single gallery, apply for a single grant, or try to show any of my artwork outside of my bedroom or the internet since moving to New York City.

As well as I may have known those paradigms, and as many constructions as I have crammed into my brain, I never finished learning Sanskrit.



Concerts:

It was an EXCELLENT fall for truly brutal shows. By the time Novemember was over, I was exhausted and ready for a quiet weekend (or weekday!) at home, with a cat, a hot coco and a book.

Suffocation/Immolation/Skinless @ B.B. King's
Dysrhythmia @ Europa
Enslaved @ B.B. Kings
Behold...the Arctopus/Witchcraft @ Death by Audio
Wolves in the Throne Room @ Death by Audio

Exhibitions:

Though I missed the fall openings this September, I did still manage to make my way to a few choice art exhibitions and gallery shows before the year was over.

Damien Hirst @ the Lever House "School: The Archaeology of Lost Desires, Comprehending Infinity, and the Search for Knowledge" : As I said to one of the gallery attendants, anything involving dissected, preserved carcasses that also somehow alludes to Francis Bacon and surrealism is something I can live with...in my living room. THIS is the best picture I could find.

http://moma.org/exhibitions/exhibitions.php?id=3962 : An amazing collection of drawings, etchings and paintings, this exhibition really delivered. The most exciting thing for this artist? The copper etching plates. It is VERY rare that one gets to see the plate next to the print, which is a shame, since the plate is the fingerprint. It is what tells you how the image was made, how many layers were worked in, mistakes that were transformed, or smoothed over. The print is just evidence of the work, but the work itself is in the copper.

http://moma.org/exhibitions/exhibitions.php?id=3961 : The best elements of this exhibition were Puryear's particular blend of surrealism and minimalism. And I have to give it to the man, he molds wood into some shapes it just shouldn't be able to hold.

http://moma.org/exhibitions/exhibitions.php?id=3960: When MoMA does an exhibition whose description includes the phrase "the most beautiful painter's drawings in existence," my inclination is to RUN AWAY. However, I have to give it to the man, these are some of the most beautiful figurative studies I have ever seen. A combination of delicate line quality and a sensitive capture of light, these works transcend their nature as studies. Many of these drawings are even more beautiful than the famous paintings they inspired.

Max Toth @ Friedricks and Fraiser : In a world of white gessoed canvasses, it is really refreshing to see black.

http://www.bitforms.com/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=43&Itemid=91#id=22&num=1 : These kinetic sculptures are one of a kind. Relying on the subtle plays of light and shadow, Rozin takes a deep look into how we create surfaces and reflections.

Books:


No Country for Old Men, by Cormac McCarthy: "But look at it my way. I got here the same way the coin did." This is one of the best books I have read, ever. I'm not sure what about its simple linear story telling or postmodern style really took hold of me, but I do know I read it cover to cover in just a few days. It grabbed me by the back of my eye sockets and refused to let go. Most astonishing about the book is the villian, a man who adheres to a strict and uncompromising code. In a novel where many characters define themselves by their inconsistencies and contradictions, it is awesomely chilling to encounter a killer who never falters in his own sense of duty.

Dune, by Frank Herbert: Though most of my friends read this book for the first time in high school, I was very glad to have made time for it in college after reading a few. A breathtaking take on classic epic literature, Herbert breathes new life into the ancient tale of the displaced heir who must reclaim his throne so that virtue may once again rule the universe. Brillant too is this novel for its weaving of religious influence. Where has my copy of the Orange Catholic Bible been all these years?


Windows and Mirrors, by Bolter and Grommala : An interesting piece of scholarship about the PC Windows design and the 'transparency' of technological interfaces.

Code Version 2.0, by Lawrence Lessig : Read it HERE for free. If you care about the freedom of the internet and how using the internet will continue to change as governments mold it with law and practice, then read this, immediately.

Neuormancer, by William Gibson : The book, and the man, that gave us the word cyberspace. And to think, it was only 1984. More notable than Gibson's vision of the internet to today's audience, I believe, is the role Artificial Intelligence plays in this novel. Rather than an entity that strives to become human, these two AIs have an agenda, and personalities if you want to call them that, that are, well, wholey synthetic. No attempt is made to anthropromorphize them past their capability to interact with human beings. THIS is a real achievement, in my mind, since AI, whenever it is realized at a level where one can assign it autonomous conciousness (self), will almost certainly be a life and a form all its own.

Count Zero, by William Gibson : Better than Neuromancer, in some ways, though not as prophetic.

All Tommorrow's Party's, by William Gibson

Virtual Light, by William Gibson

Idoru, by William Gibson : My favorite Gibson novel. Crazy japanese rock stars + artificial construct pop singer = true love. Aww.

1984, by George Orwell : Much better than anyone gives it credit for, really. I think what most people miss about this novel is the truly pervasive nature of Big Brother. Not only are these people slaves to war machine politics, they are also conditioned from birth to accept and fit into the mechanism. The number of generations that have lived under this rule are few, but the system has propagated itself past the crucial number of generations, so that everyone living and working in this dystopia is fully conditioned. Otherwise, the ministry of love would be killing a lot more of its citizens.


Pictures Showing What Happens on Each Page of Thomas Pynchon's Novel Gravity's Rainbow, by Zak Smith : I saw this piece installed at the Walker Art Center while visiting some friends there this summer. This DIY, vegan anarchist punk artist gave himself one task: to make one illustration for each page of Pynchon's book. The title of the piece, "Pictures showing what happens..," is misleading. Each drawing is neither a synopsis of the page, nor a straightforward attempt to describe a main event for that page. Instead, each drawing is an association, a small detail, a saying, an impression that came to Smith while reading this notoriously difficult piece of literature. Since Pynchon's work itself is very much full of these kinds of impressions, the drawings do suit the style of the book, making it a wonderful illustration of the novel, even though the drawings taken together don't read like a comic of the book.

The New Glucose Revolution : A great resource for anyone trying to maintain a healthy diet. For this diabetic cyborg, this book has proven to be nothing short of a holy grail.



Movies:

No Country for Old Men, by the Coen Brothers : So good I had to read the book.

Transformers : "...and I am Optimus Prime" (cheers!) The only thing better than this movie was seeing it with a theater full of early to mid twenty somethings, all of whom were definately as plastered as I was. The best cartoon turned live action movie since Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles.

Code Unknown, by Michael Haneke

71 Fragments: A Chronology of Chance, by Michael Haneke : Though I am not nearly brave enough to see Haneke's masterpiece films (such as The Piano Teacher), this brutal little story of crossing paths is a brilliant look at the fragmentary and coincidental nature of modern living.

The Decalogue, by Krzysztof Kieslowski : At the chance of using the word perfect too many times in this blog, these ten short films are perfect. A postmodern contemplation of the ten commandments, Kieslowski propells his audience into 1980s Poland, a land still scarred by war and searching for virtue amid its Catholic traditions.

The Simpsons Movie : I saw this at the Mall of America. I think that really sums it up.


Television:

Dethklok Metalocalypse, DVD set season 1: rating- \mm/ (too much metal for one hand) Seriously guys, not dildoes. This flash animated, Adult Swim short is a must have for any metal head, or those who just get a kick out of seeing a lot of anatomically correct, animated gore. Also, the Dethklok album debuted at 21 on the Billboard 100, making it the highest debut for a death metal album, ever. Not to metion the fact that it stands at Number 1 for the college radio metal listening lists. Dethklok is a self fulfilling prophecy it would seem.

The Wire, DVD set season 4: Installment four of the single best show on Television. I'd give you all some of the highlights, but I don't want to ruin it for anyone. David Simon, bless you and your brutal Baltimore police dramas. My only regret, season five is the last one! At least the series will be perfect. I mean it, absolutely perfect.

Southpark "Imagination Land: The Trilogy" : So, I hadn't seen a new episode of South Park in, well, years, and this was the one I caught when I randomly turned on the boobtube. Our imaginations are indeed running wild.


Science:

Minimed has developed a continuous glucose monitoring sensor which is now in more or less general distribution. I started using it in early December. How I lived this long without it, I'll never know. It's the best thing to happen to me since I got an insulin pump almost 8 years ago.

MiniMed Paradigm® REAL-Time Insulin Pump and Continuous Glucose Monitoring System

News and Politics:

Iraq, now a veritable wasteland for cultural production, has a heavy metal band named Acrassicauda. Acrassicauda is Iraqi for Black Scorpion. Though they have been running for their lives for the most of this year (and several previous), Vice Magazine made a movie and raised money, and they are now refugees in Turkey.

For the first time in history, the American presidential race is front runned by a woman, and a man who isn't white. I'm not really sure how to otherwise classify Barrack Obama. I mean, part of him is white, and part of him is black, on top of basically a million other things. Can he and Tiger Woods be the namesakes of an Interrace? Just a thought... And what does it matter anyway. We all have genes within 95% similarity to everyone else on this planet, meaning that yes, you are as related to your second cousin as you are to someone who lives on the other side of the planet. Race: this is what happens when we try to broady classify morphological characteristics based on reconstructed patterns of language migration.

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