Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Dave Update!

So Dave left Mercer and this blog a couple months back to do a residency in Scotland, where, among other things (involving lots of scotch), he has been staying in this sweet cottage and posting a blog for his residency host, Glenfiddich. It's a good read. We miss him.

Monday, July 28, 2008

Illegal Emos

Evidently the Russian government is attempting to make emos and goths illegal. According to the Moscow Times, emos are defined as "from 12 to 16 years old and wear black and pink clothing. They have black hair with long bangs that 'cover half the face,' black fingernails, black belts peppered with studs and pins, and ear and eyebrow piercings."

And they may be outlawed because of fears of their link to suicide. For real. More here.

Monday, July 21, 2008

Monkey's Paw Section Label Project

This Friday night The Monkey's Paw will be having it's first ever art exhibit.

The details:
July 23 - August 10
Reception: Friday, July 25, 5-9 p.m. 1229 Dundas St. West (between Ossington & Dovercourt, directly across from LCBO Store #3) 416.531.2123

Responding visually to the cultural content of an entire bookstore, 13 Toronto artists have created (very small) section labels for all 52 subject categories throughout the Monkey's Paw. Their work will be mounted on our shelves and on view from July 23 to August 10. A public reception will be held at the shop on Friday, July 25, from 5 to 9 p.m.

The artists:

Stephen Appleby-Barr
Katie Bethune-Leamen
Diane Borsato
Shary Boyle
Nicole Collins
Nicholas Di Genova
Kristan Horton
Michael Maranda
Olia Mishchenko
Jenn Murphy
Lauchie Reid
Derek Sullivan
Jacob Whibley

More details here.

You should come.

Friday, July 18, 2008

Brian Eno Update!

For awhile now there have been all kinds of rumors about Brian Eno touring in the fall with David Byrne. Evidently they were wrong. The bastards.

Thursday, July 17, 2008

box update

get ready for a doozy of a box update...
yesterday as i was driving down dufferin st, having run my errands in considerably less time than i had anticipated, it occurred to me that the extra time could be well-spent looking for cardboard boxes. i turned west onto Orfus road, (an eerie street that looks like a former industrial park converted into a strip of outlet stores) and drove to the loading docks in the rear. lo and behold there were green "cardboard only" recycling dumpsters as far as the eye could see. one in particular was filled to the top with beautiful, clean, sturdy, flattened boxes that were the perfect size for moving artist-run-centre things. it was astounding. if we had gone to a custom cardboardist for bespoke boxes, we would have described these to the letter. i was so grateful for my two dozen boxes, i wanted to send a gift basket to whatever weirdo clothing store threw them out. in fact, consider this an open letter: weirdo clothing store; i thank you on behalf of mercer union.

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Kirk Cameron

A little while ago my fella Chris sent me this link to a video of Kirk Cameron talking to gang members in Los Angeles about God and Jesus and stuff like that.

Then later that same day, Dave Dyment sent me this link to a video of Kirk Cameron learning about how bananas disprove the theory of evolution - evidently it has something to do with bananas being easy for humans to hold and eat and the guy talking not knowing about pomegranates.

Just thought you should know.

Friday, July 11, 2008

mercer tidy up day

with less than three weeks left at our lisgar st location, we have started putting things in boxes ready to move them to bloor and lansdowne. Luckily there is currently a food wholesaler across the street with a lot of empty cardboard boxes for the taking. today i picked up some paper towel and bathroom tissue boxes that are the right size for office binders and folders. i'll keep blogging with regular box updates, please keep checking back.

in the meantime, we're planning a final 'goodbye lisgar st.' party to be held on July 26, from 9pm onward.

Public Collectors and a Collector of Privates

Public Collectors is an extremely rad project organized by Chicago based artist Marc Fischer, who is also known as one-third of Temporary Services, which is also extremely rad.

But back to Public Collectors - the website says "Public Collectors consists of informal agreements where collectors allow the contents of their collection to be published and permit those who are curious to directly experience the objects in person. Participants must be willing to type up an inventory of their collection, provide a means of contact and share their collection with the public. Collectors can be based in any geographic location."

So, for example, if you're going to be in the Chicago area you can email Marc Fischer and make arrangements to go to his home and listen to his record collection or view his collection of adult comics from Mexico. Or you can peruse the website and check out digital collections of Documentation of Music Underground, Before the Internet, Documentation of People Documenting Anti-War Protesters, or Documentation of Face Painting Options in Mexico City, etc.

In other collection news, apparently Napoleon's not-so-well preserved gentleman part is in New Jersey. This video follows Tony Perrottet, author of Napoleon's Privates: 2,500 Years of History Unzipped, as he travels to New Jersey to see the historic object for himself. Evidently it is in the collection of the late New Jersey urologist Dr. John Lattimer, who, according to his daughter, bought the famous privates to "lend dignity" to the profession of urology.

Wednesday, July 9, 2008

Just In Case You Were Wondering What the Australian Prime Minister Thinks About Art

On May 22nd, an exhibition of Australian photographer Bill Henson's work was shut down and investigated as child pornography. At the time, Australian Prime Minister Kevin Rudd weighed in on the matter claiming he found the pictures "revolting", and added "whatever the artistic view of the merits of that sort of stuff - frankly I don't think there are any - just allow kids to be kids."

Charges against Henson were later dropped, but the issue of how Prime Minister Rudd feels about naked children in art will not go away. For their July issue, the magazine Art Monthly Australia published a 2003 image of a naked six year old on their cover.

The girl is Olympia Nelson, then 6, now 11, and the magazine editor said the article accompanying the photographs was a critique of Henson's work and was in no way pro-Henson. Nevertheless, Kevin Rudd has still found cause to speak out and call the image "disgusting".

For her part, Olympia was recently quoted stating that she didn't believe the photo amounted to abuse and was "really offended" by Prime Minister Kevin Rudd's comment that he "can't stand" the image.

Tuesday, July 8, 2008

Stories, In Pieces: opening Thursday 10th 5-7pm

This Thursday the show Stories, In Pieces opens at the Justina M. Barnicke Gallery at Hart House, U of T, from 5-7pm. (Directions here.)

Curated by Mercer's own Aileen Burns, the exhibition brings together works from Toronto and Vancouver by artists Geoffrey Farmer, Curtis Grahauer & Kara Uzelman, Liz Knox, Myfanwy MacLeod, and Jon Sasaki.

Says the press release:
Stories are told in many ways and for infinitely diverse reasons. They pass history and culture between generations, serve as cautionary tales, inspire innovation and adventure, convey news items, communicate personal experience, or provide a much-needed escape from reality. A number of recent contemporary art exhibitions examine possible reasons for the resurgence of narrative in visual art. Artists are reformulating tales of past events from personal perspectives, in order to reclaim and diversify history. They comment on pertinent global issues like ecology, or create psychedelic, alternate worlds that provide fresh perspectives on, or whimsical escape from, the realities of the contemporary moment. Whatever the goal of a particular story, narratives are constructions that follow familiar patterns, and draw on culturally ingrained expectations.

Artists Geoffrey Farmer, Curtis Grahauer & Kara Uzelman, Liz Knox, Myfanwy MacLeod, and Jon Sasaki, create stories through means specific to visual art. The visual and audio cues of their work call on the viewer to engage in narrative processes. This dynamic form of narration contrasts with more linear, predetermined stories that unfold before a viewer, reader, or listener, while watching a film or reading a book. Through their open and suggestive constructions, these artists’ works allow viewers to draw on their own associations, memories, or archive of stories, to develop narrative readings of the work. The viewer becomes the causal agent, narrator, or protagonist, and contributes to the essential temporal component of storytelling. A dynamic engagement with the various elements of each piece is integral to the formation of a story.

Saturday, July 5, 2008

Interview with Professor and Artist Steve Kurtz

On April 21st, charges of bioterrorism against Steve Kurtz of the Critical Art Ensemble were dropped. On June 16, Kurtz discussed his long and sad case with Democracy Now, which can be read, listened to, and/or watched here.

Friday, July 4, 2008

the other night i went to my friend timothy's apartment to watch the fireworks. we live in the same highrise, but his balcony faces toward the CNE, ontario place, and wherever those fireworks were being launched from. Timothy said it was a barge, but i dunno. we were a few kilometers away, i'm not sure how he could know that. there is something kind of eerie about watching fireworks without hearing the music. i always assume these shows are choreographed to accompany songs like "winds of change" or "rock you like a hurricane." they play out in my head, yet the overall effect is still watching a movie with the sound muted. or rather partly can of course still hear the explosions a few seconds out of synch with the burst of light. that's a second layer of unsettling if you ask me. it reminds me of phoning my grandmother in calgary in the years when long distance was still expensive and crummy. there would be those intolerable seconds between my voice saying something, and the echo i would hear through the earpiece. phones are much faster now and i appreciate it. next time i watch fireworks, i plan to prearrange a phone link between myself and someone standing on the barge. he or she can hold the receiver toward the launcher tubes, and i shall listen on the other end to noises perfectly in synch with the eyecandy i'm taking in a few kilometers away.

Thursday, July 3, 2008

WFMU's Free Music Sampler Vol. 1

New Jersey's excellent WFMU will be launching a Free Music Archive in November - for now they have just presented Selected Sounds from the Free Music Archive Volume 1, which features a track from Mercer friend Brian Joseph Davis and can be downloaded for free here.