V for Visor: V. Stiviano V. On Trend

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Vanessa Stiviano & counsel, image via Gawker/Spalsh/DesignObserver
I’ve tweeted before, and I’ll tweet it again, but Vanessa Stiviano’s boss anti-paparazzi visor is the greatest thing about the entire Donald Sterling/Clippers/racist billionaire debacle. Stiviano’s photo-thwarting look will have far-reaching implications for our media and celebrity culture, you heard it here first.
Well, technically, you probably already read something along those lines at Design Observer, where Rob Walker did a great analysis of the visor as a part of Stiviano’s carefully constructed, photo-mastering looks:

This object privatizes the face in a manner that’s undeniably a protest (stop taking pictures of me!) and just as undeniably a confrontation (you cannot resist taking pictures of me wearing this object!).

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vstiviano screenshot via @MichelleLHOOQ
Me, I see it as the vanguard of a broader trend that really speaks to this moment in history:
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screenshot: google images
Rob Walker| Object in the News: The Face Privatizer [designobserver]

FOIA Party

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The FBI has provided these photos in response to USA Today investigative reporter Brad Heath’s 2012 Freedom Of Information Act requests. They have been redacted under FOIA exemption (b)(6), to protect the personal privacy of FBI personnel. Presumably, the presence of Timon from Lion King was determined not to violate the privacy of the attendees at this retirement party.
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There is no way to redact the FBI’s inspiration, however. Color me impressed. [@bradheath via @AlJavieera]
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John Baldessari, probably 1988 or so, image via thegroundmag.com

Niépce’s View From The Window, The Making Of

View from the window at Le Gras, 1826, Joseph Nicephore Niepce
The world’s first photograph, a persistent image made by exposing chemicals to light, was taken in 1826 by Joseph-Nicéphore Niépce. [NEES-uh-fore NYEHps]
It’s the view from a window of his house in Le Gras. It was made by projecting the view through a camera obscura onto a small pewter plate coated with bitumen and developed with lavender oil. The exposure took several days [The sun can be seen hitting opposite sides of the buildings.] Niépce called it a heliograph.
Niépce eventually partnered with Louis Daguerre who was also working to fix images chemically, but Niépce died, his less inventive son stepped into the partnership, and thanks to some branding jiujitsu, Daguerre basically crossed the history finish line alone in 1839 as the inventor of photography. [Niépce son did write a pamphlet in 1841 titled, Historique de la Découverte Improprement Nomée Daguerreotype, procédé d’une notice sur son véritable inventeur feu, M. Joseph Nicéphore Niépce (History of the discovery improperly misnamed daguerreotype, preceded by a note from its real inventor Joseph Nicéphore Niépce.) So there’s that.]
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An enhanced view of Niepce’s View, flipped to match the actual view
View from the window at Le Gras, known as Point de vue de Gras in French, was lost until 1952, when the historian/collector Helmut Gernsheim tracked it down. It’s now in the collection of the Ransom Center at UT Austin.
Niépce’s house, in a village called Saint-Loup-de-Varennes, is now a museum, open for visitors in July and August [and other times of the year for a flat EUR150 get out of bed fee.]
The property was divided in the mid-19th century, but the house is largely intact. Yet it was unclear exactly from which window the image had been made. Gernsheim thought it was from the attic. This French site discusses all sorts of details about maps, lenses, exposure times, focal lengths, angles, and suggests it was on the 1st floor.
Or maybe that window’s not even there anymore. A restoration project at the house in 1999 found evidence of a remodeling that moved the window on the 1st floor sideways by 70cm. Here’s a short video about the investigation, trapped inside a tiny Flash window.
Alas, you can’t try to recreate Niépce’s photo yourself, because photos are not allowed in the photography museum. The operators have sold exclusive rights to some agency. Here’s the sign on StreetView.
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View from the Window at le Gras [wikipedia]
Niepce house museum [niepce.org]

Standard Operating Procedure

In Japan, I woke up a couple of nights angry from dreams about having dinner at the White House, and sitting across from Pres. Obama, and arguing with him about hunger striking prisoners at Guantanamo.
We talked–I talked at him, because, I guess my mind was incapable of imagining a viable retort, really, what could he say?–about Yasiin Bey’s video demonstrating the standard procedure the military uses to force feed hunger strikers through their noses. And I asked if the Constitution was now as quaint as the Geneva Conventions, a reference to Bush era torture theorist John Yoo’s position on following the rule of law and international treaties the US had nominally upheld for decades.
It was the kind of dream where I felt that surge of adrenaline, that this moment, this conversation, was going to be what opened the President’s eyes to the awful urgency of this situation our country is in. These people are in.
I had seen the reports by investigative journalist Jason Leopold which revealed JTF-GTMO’s recent, extraordinary revisions to the prison hospital’s forced feeding procedures. But it wasn’t until a couple of days ago that, with Jason’s assistance, I found the actual military manuals and memos themselves. They are in an archive of documents produced in response to Freedom of Information Act requests maintained byThe Department of Defense’s FOIA Service Center.
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I can’t not do something, so I have published the three sets of detainee treatment regulations, known as Standard Operating Procedures, as a book. Which, believe me, I know. I feel a bit like an outraged @Powhida jamming @BarackObama into all his tweets, until the non-effect wore him out.
It’s weird feeling compelled to do something that you recognize is irrational and irrelevant. But again, I can’t not do something, and this is one thing I do. And with all due respect to Richard Prince, this text, as it is, and as it drives the world, is the kind of thing I feel must be propagated and put examined and contextualized if appropriation, or art, or attention, really, is going to mean anything at all.
Standard Operating Procedure includes the SOP Manual for Camp Delta, the prison side of GTMO, which was implemented in 2003. It’s 240-some pages, not including the various classified appendices for detainee transport and adjudication, which have not, apparently, been released. It also contains the 2003 version of SOP for the detention hospital for “Voluntary and Non-Voluntary Total Fasting and Re-Feeding,” which has several p.ages completely redacted. And then there’s the May 2013 revision to those procedures, which are contained in an SOP for the Joint Medical Group for the “Medical Management of Detainees on Hunger Strike.” That’s the regime the detainees are currently under.
Of course, as Leopold and others continue to report, the situation of detainees is even worse than what these SOP prescribe. There are indications that regulations are extensively, if not routinely ignored by guards and prison commanders. These primary documents embody the best case scenario for people who have been cleared for release for years, but who remain in harsh, indefinite, imprisonment.
So whether you buy the book [which should be is finally available to order this weekend, I think; I’ve been experiencing some friction from the printer/publisher, which is kind of annoying, and it’s been going on all week.] or read the regulations in electronic format, read them, and know that they exist.
Buy Standard Operating Procedure, 284pp, unsigned edition, $15.99 +s/h [createspace]
UPDATE: Proof copy – Standard Operating Procedure is here

Mari X IKEA: autoprogettazione by greg.org (2010)

Three years ago, I was thinking about what to do with the posts I’d written about the project I’d begun six years ago. Which I guess means it’s time to release the results.
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So here’s Mari X IKEA, a PDF compilation I made in 2010 aboutfmy 2007-09 project to construct an Enzo Mari autoprogettazione table out of Ikea furniture components.
I was not entirely pleased with the way it read all together, and so I didn’t publish it back in the day. But I realize now that my inner archivist and inner editor will never agree on things, and I/we are becoming OK with it. So the tabloid-style publication contains all the original blog posts and images documenting the project, and that includes a fair amount of recapping and repetition. Meanwhile, my inner publicist wants to emphasize that this is not a bug, but a feature, like the catchy chorus of a song.
I’m still quite stoked about the project–and the table, for that matter, which I am using at this very moment–and it continues to influence and inform my thinking about stuff: art, design, originality, authorship, authority, appropriation, systems, craft, utility. So I’m very happy to get information on the project out there in a more easily consumable format.
I should also give a shoutout to The Newspaper Club, the amazing publishing company, then just starting out, where I had originally contemplated printing Mari X IKEA in 2010. This PDF was made using their easy publishing/layout tool. And though I ended up not pulling the trigger on this particular project, they regularly make me want to turn this blog, and many other things, into a newspaper.
Mari X IKEA: autoprogettazione by greg.org, 2010 [PDF, 2.8mb]

Gerrit Rietveld Chair Crate

Not sure how I never considered this, but I suddenly came across a couple of strong connections between Enzo Mari’s autoprogettazione furniture and Gerrit Rietveld.
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For one, check out the crate that this 1965 version of Rietveld’s Red Blue chair came in; this one’s from Galerie VIVID in Rotterdam. I’ve never seen this before. Maybe that’s just how they used to make crates in the 60s. But it sure looks like the underside of my Enzo Mari X IKEA table, the EFFE model.
Ikea x Enzo Mari Mashup Table
It looks even more like the structure of the Tavolo Quadrato, the square autoprogettazione table.
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Then there’s Rietveld’s 1923 Military Table, designed for the Catholic Military Home in Utrecht, and in and out of production ever since. This unfinished Oregon pine example’s from the 60s, and was in Marseille, via 1stdibs. [I have never paid much attention to Rietveld’s Military Table, but suddenly it is looking pretty sweet.
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The top is fixed onto these cross braces. It’s a solution that Mari eventually used as well. The crosspieces are not in the original autoprogettazione plans, but they did turn up in the kit of precut parts that were sold under the Metamobile name in the early 70s.
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Even though Rietveld’s autonomous approach to furniture is an obvious precedent for Mari’s; and I knew from hands-on experience that the autoprogettazione designs have a lot more “design” than their basic function requires; I guess I never imagined that Mari would make overt references to what had come before.
Previously:
The making of an Enzo Mari dining table
Enzo Mari X IKEA Mashup Recap

The Richard Serra Cookie Incident

When the worst thing to happen last week was still tax day, the folks at Blue Bottle Coffee wrote about rumors circulating in the larger SFMOMA art dessert community about the Richard Serra Cookie Incident. [404 link updated to archive.org, 5/2016]
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not-Serra cookie parts image by Charles Villyard
BBC is the outfit responsible for creating the desserts about art at SFMOMA. They have a new book about it. Modern Art Desserts. Available now. It does not include the recipe and assembly diagram, custom-printed on a napkin, for the 2010 cookie-based examination of Richard Serra’s 1969 prop piece, Right Angle Plus One, which is in the Museum’s collection.
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Serra, it turns out, was not amused by the cookie-based critique, as the pastry chefs found out when they met the artist during Gary Garrels’ 2011 drawings retrospective. The best line is also a call to arms:

Going through his retrospective on a routine basis while it was up was such a treat for us. It was also heart-wrenching since EVERYTHING IN THE SHOW LOOKED LIKE A GIANT COOKIE!

Right Angle Plus One is related in time and form to four prop pieces and lead rolls currently on view at Richard Serra’s show at David Zwirner.. It is now impossible to look at that show and not think of recreating it in cookies. Go ahead, just try it!
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Setting The Serra Story Straight [bluebottlecoffee via wayne bremser]
Richard Serra Early Works, through June 15, 2013 [davidzwirner]

Untitled (Embroidery Trouble Shooting Guide)

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When I first met Richard Serra in 1994 or so, we talked a lot about the Internet. Soon after, I began trying to imagine what a Richard Serra web project would look like. Given the way his sculptures rather definitively reconfigured the space they inhabited, I envisioned a Serra site as a single, massive, interlaced GIF, that rendered in your browser with excruciating, megalithic slowness, controlling time and processing power as well as screenspace.
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I mention this now because I think that, after my nearly 20 years online, the Embroidery Trouble Shooting Guide page at sewingandembroiderywarehouse.com comes closest to Serra’s work in terms of its spare, dauntless power.
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ETSG is created in Microsoft FrontPage. None of the HTML headings tags are closed, so the text, as Rob at boingboing puts it, grows “inexorably in size until the greatest website in the world is achieved.”
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This kind of webby, self-referential recursiveness is similar to, though the inverse of, Moonwalk, Martin Kohout’s standout YouTube video which was a conceptual standout at the Guggenheim’s YouTube Play competition/exhibition a couple of years ago.
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ETSG‘s scrolling text is also reminiscent of Serra and Carlotta Fay Schoolman’s 1973 video piece, Television Delivers People.
But of course, it’s all unintentional, even unnoticed. Apparently, the SEW folks say the page renders just fine in Internet Explorer.

Salesman Sample Flags

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flag dimensions: 17.75″ x 29.5″, image: Jeff R. Bridgman American Antiques via 1stdibs
Speaking of sweet flags, Andy from reference library sent along this amazing, pre-Johnsian artifact from York, PA antiques dealer Jeff R. Bridgman.
It’s a salesman sample flag, seven parade flags in graduated sizes, sewn together for convenient comparison shopping. The 48-star design and textile quality suggests WWI-era; Bridgman’s description suggests that Jasper Johns must have seen one of these sample sets somewhere before. But then, that’s just what a guy charged with selling it to you would say… In any case, awesome.
48 Star Parade Flag Salesman’s Sample, POR [1stdibs via reference library]

A de C

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The first and last time I saw this truck, Donald Judd’s ranch truck, was in the early 1990s, in Marfa. I swear this logo for the ranch, Ayala de Chinati–or am I hallucinating?–used to be painted on the door of 101 Spring St.
Anyway, I’ve been looking for it again all these years because I’ve wanted to knock it off for myself, for my letterhead, if not for the door of my truck, and I couldn’t remember exactly how the letters-in-letters thing went. So I’ll get right on it.
An Artist’s Truck That’s No More Than It Needs To Be [nytimes]

We Go Now To Our Man In Donaueschingen

I’ve been listening to [relatively] a lot of La Monte Young lately, and [slightly less] Tony Conrad–which is harder to work to. And the Cage, of course, because he’s the composer this month in the kids’ school [!]. So it’s all so much that when the radiator kicked in the other day, the kid asked if that was my music.
But is there any other group who’s not so on board with the all-sound-is-music concept than classical orchestra musicians? Perhaps not. Which is a bummer.
Though I doubt a Cageian centennial revolution is the justification for the budget cuts to Southwest German Radio orchestras that have spawned several protests at the Donaueschinger Musiktage new music festival.
Like this amazing protest which New Yorker music guy Alex Ross posted on his blog. Oh, and on YouTube, he is the poster, not just the linker.

A violinist playing a continuous tritone as political protest.
Ich war ein Orchester [therestisnoise]

It’s A Mozingo Thing

My great great grandmother had an awesome name: Mary Argent Mozingo. She was married to the equally well-named Ruffin Sullivan. They were country people, farmers, I suppose, in Wayne County, North Carolina. I knew their daughter, my great grandmother, who lived to be 105, but I never heard her talk of her parents. We found their names when we were in the market for names, and were surfing through family history records. My wife vetoed Mozingo, and my grandmother nixed Ruffin with a swiftness that hinted at family stories that did not get told very often.
While I was still campaigning for Mozingo–just, you know, as a second or third middle name, a fun option, maybe? no?–my mother did say that her grandmother always insisted her mother’s name was Mozzinger. Or Mottsinger, and if it weren’t for some ignorant census clerk somewhere who couldn’t hear or spell right, we wouldn’t even be having this conversation. In any case, it’s not Mozingo.
This was the woman who eventually edited out the stories of working in a cigar factory in Richmond as a young girl, where she won five dollars once for the quickest rolling. And who destroyed oral history tape recordings of her family’s history because of, well, I guess we can only speculate now, since those stories have been lost.
And there’s no chance that a lone census taker messed up, Ellis Island-style, on the Mozingo. If anything, my ancestors’ insecurity about Mozingo is one of the prime indicators of their true Mozingoness.
As LA Times writer Joe Mozingo found out, when he went searching for the origins of his name, which he’d always heard was Italian. Other Mozingos heard it was Portuguese, or Basque. Obviously, to almost everyone not named Mozingo, that is, Mozingo is an African name, brought to early colonial Virginia by one Edward Mozingo:

Edward had been a servant to Col. John Walker, a member of the colony’s legislature. When Walker died in 1669, his widow inherited Edward and remarried a powerful Virginian, John Stone.
Edward sued Stone for his freedom. Little is said about the lawsuit in the court record, only that there was an appeals hearing in the high colonial court, that “Divers Witnesses” testified and that the judges concluded “Edward Mozingo a Negro man” had served his term after 28 years of indenture.

Joe Mozingo’s three-part story of uncovering the Mozingo truth overflows with examples of hardship, racism, insecurity and denial that runs so natural and deep Americans have been soaking in it for centuries.
And that’s just the white Mozingos. People whose identity and racial worldview don’t have room for the complexities of rural intermarriage in 18th century America. For the black Mozingos, meanwhile, the countervailing impact of generations of discrimination, opportunity, passing, and self-loathing still play out in a Goldsboro, NC barbecue restaurant–which turns out to be the same place we’ve stopped for lunch every summer on the way to the Outer Banks.
The ways family functions as a machine for transmitting memory are one subject of my set of 12 short films, The Souvenir Series; I think I have to add the way family desperately tries to keep things silent for centuries to the mix, too.
In Search Of The Meaning Of ‘Mozingo’, part 1, part 2, and part 3 [latimes via my cousin cara]