Dandelion aka Chaos Monkey aka Fire Goddess

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Public Policy Paper on Smart Meters

Smart meters are part of a smart grid system linking electricity from homes to utilities via a distributed antenna system, or mesh grid; a conversion from analog to digital. Power consumers have the option to purchase power transmitters for appliances which can monitor usage. New appliances are being produced with the power transmitter built-in. The purpose of this is two-fold. Power companies are faced with exceeding the capacity of the current facilities and the hope is that the smart grid system will eliminate the need to build more power plants. Also, the smart grid system is thought to be a greener or sustainable solution. Information given about power usage from the transmitters will hopefully encourage the population to consume less energy. In most of the United States, the choice of whether or not to have a smart meter installed on one’s property is nonexistent. Currently, only California and Maine have placed moratoriums on smart meters with an opt-out penalty and monthly fee for those who do not participate.[1] Should the federal government enact a bill to make smart meters optional for the general public? Health and privacy headline the debate on this controversial issue.

There is a more important question to consider first… Are you affected by smart meters? The question has many variables to consider when determining an answer. Maybe a smart meter has not been installed on your house yet, but your neighbors may already have one installed. If you live in an apartment complex, there could be a grouping of up to 20 meters installed together. This lets off a lot more radio frequency, or RF, which children are thought to be more susceptible to. Also being placed on homes alongside other smart meters are collection meters with three antennas (instead of the two on standard smart meters) that relay RF signals to the power company.  While only two of the three antennas operate at the same time, these collection meters also increase the RF exposure to levels which exceed the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) safety standards. “The FCC’s standards have not been updated since 1992.” [2] Also noteworthy is that the power transmitters that work in conjunction with smart meters also emit radio frequency constantly and increase overall RF levels.

The issue of health is vital in assessing the smart meter debate. People may suffer from electromagnetic hypersensitivity, which is a condition attributed to radio frequency exposure. Also affected are people with metal implants, as well as Parkinson’s disease patients with deep-brain stimulators. The utilities companies claim that those affected should take precautions with the devices. This should mean that they be exempt from mandatory installation and opt-out fees. “The FCC’s Grants of Authorization and other certification procedures do not ensure adequate safety to safeguard people under Department of Justice protection under the Americans with Disabilities Act.” [3] A case in Marin County shows Dave DeSante attempted contacting PG&E about a smart meter causing headaches in his son who has titanium filigree in his forehead. “Dave DeSante said PG&E had promised to look into the problem but had not yet done so.” [4] Smart meters should not be installed on homes where people risk being affected. Is that risk much greater for the general public than it is for those with pre-existing health conditions?

The argument in defense of smart meters is that it is unknown how much RF the population is already exposed to and mainly, what a safe level is. With the advent of iPhones and Blackberry devices, most of the population currently has a high exposure rate. Wireless routers, baby monitors, security systems, wireless intercoms, cordless phones and surveillance monitors also emit this type of frequency and may be affected by electromagnetic interference (EMI) from smart meters. [5] Other EMI producing devices include security gates, cell phone towers, and RFID scanners. There has been a study released linking RF from cell phones to cancer and it has influenced the anti-smart meter movement in the United States.

Smart meters are not just a problem for those in the United States. This is a global phenomenon. In Canada, the electricity supplier BC Hydro is currently installing smart meters.

“The provincial utility says the ability to track consumption more precisely will make the energy grid more efficient, reduce labor costs, build sustainability and make it easier to locate and respond to power outages… Critics say smart meters are just a sugar-coated scheme for a cash grab, enabling BC Hydro to raise rates for customers who use electricity during peak load periods.”[6]

This certainly is a topic in which people should form their own opinions based on research, or lack thereof. What unnerves most about the implementation of smart meters is that little is known in regards to the effects of prolonged exposure over time.

The Sage Associates report illustrates the grey area and exhibits multiple probabilities of FCC safety violations. The violations stem from reflectivity of metal surfaces within the kitchens of homes as well as the exceeded RF levels from groups of smart meters. Kitchen surfaces are an unknown factor to the electric company and those who install the smart meters. The report appears to show evidence against the safety of the meters.

“FCC compliance violations are likely to occur under widespread conditions of installation and operation of smart meters and collection meters in California. Violations of FCC safety limits for uncontrolled public access are identified at distances within 6’’ of the meter… Peak power limits are not violated at the 6’’ distance (looking at the meter) but can be at 3’’ from the meter, if it is touched.” [7]

Also it is advised that the area(s) around the meter, whether inside or outside, have ‘substantially elevated RF levels from within a few feet to tens of feet around the meter.’ [8]

            The other chief concern is that of privacy. The smart meter device sends real time information about electricity usage. This data is of course being handled by a computer system, and any computer system has the potential to be hacked. People’s worries range from their information being stored in a database and possibly sold to other companies for research, to the potential of a burglar knowing when the best time to strike may be. The unknown issues that may arise from a breech in privacy are still to come, based on individual companies’ ability to uphold privacy policies.

            Section 8 of Article I of the United States Constitution determines the responsibility of regulating commerce to lie in the hands of Congress. Right now, this power is being managed by the Public Utility Commission (PUC) that is in charge of each state’s power companies. The people of the United States do not have many alternative choices when it comes to energy, and even those they do have may only be taken advantage of through the one provider in their area. Ultimately, we the people do not have a choice about what is being provided to us. Whether or not the federal government should step in on the smart meter situation depends on which way you look at it. Smart meters only violate our constitutional rights if the power companies abuse our information and smart meters are in fact hazardous to our health. While the Sage Associates report claims violation of the FCC safety standards, the scenarios are considered hypothetical by some. Another thing to consider is that smart meters are already being implemented for other utilities such as gas and water. Once those companies begin rolling out the devices into residential areas everywhere, people should expect an exponential increase of RF exposure.

            There is an expression called ‘Moore’s Law’ which applies here. Moore’s Law states that technology is advancing at a rate that humans cannot keep up with. We are the ones advancing technology, yes, but not all of society is ready to embrace this change. Even more so, the potential hazards of change are enough to scare extremists into changing the minds of the confused or otherwise apathetic citizens. Do the benefits outweigh the disadvantages? Only time will tell as reports will inevitably increase with the PUC’s forced installation of smart meters throughout the country. Without the data obtained from the use of these new technologies by both medical professionals as well as utility providers, it is impossible to predict the outcome. Many Americans are quick to pick a side on the issue but the standards for protecting us as a whole are outdated, as is the power system which is being replaced.

            It is not yet clear whether the reports linking illness to EMI are accurate or simply the cause of something else altogether. These claims fuel the fight against smart meters and some doctors are quick to suggest RF exposure as a toxic when illness is un-diagnosable. The main thing to remember is that there is not enough data to confirm this. The people of the United States can hope that California and Maine will set examples for the rest of the country and begin a series of choices to be brought available to electricity consumers.

 

Bibliography

 

  1. Sage Associates Environmental Consultants Assessment of Radiofrequency Microwave Radiation Emissions from Smart Meters. Rep. Santa Barbara, 2011. Print.

 

  1. Barringer, Felicity. “New Electricity Meters Stir Fears.” Editorial. The New York Times 30 Jan. 2011: A12. Web. 7 Nov. 2011. <http://www.nytimes.com/2011/01/31/science/earth/31meters.html?_r=1&pagewanted=all&gt;.

 

  1. Hume, Stephen. “Liberals’ Dumb Response to Smart-meter Opposition Could Prove Their Waterloo.” Editorial. 24 Oct. 2011. Vancouver Sun Web. 7 Nov. 2011. <http://www.vancouversun.com/business/Liberals+dumb+response+smart+meter+opposition+could+prove+their+Waterloo/5541450/story.html&gt;.

 

  1. Jang, Marina. “Prince George Free Press – Getting the Smart Meter Facts.” Editorial. 6 Sept. 2011. Prince George Free Press – Prince George Free Press. Web. 07 Nov. 2011. <http://www.pgfreepress.com/opinion/letters/129338033.html&gt;.

 

  1. O’Leary, Mary E. “AG Upholds Decision on Smart Meters.” Editorial. New Haven Register 4 Oct. 2011. The Middletown Press: Serving Middletown CT and Surrounding Areas. Web. 07 Nov. 2011. <http://www.middletownpress.com/articles/2011/10/04/news/doc4e8ac113d6917980087893.txt&gt;.

 

  1. Turkel, Tux. “PUC Approves ‘smart’ Meter Opt-out Options.” Editorial. Portland Press Herald. 17 May 2011. Web. 07 Nov. 2011. <http://www.pressherald.com/news/PUC-approves-smart-meter-opt-out-options.html&gt;.

 

 


[1] Turkel, Tux, “PUC Approves ‘smart’ Meter Opt-out Options,” Portland Press Herald 17 May 2011.

[2] Sage Associates Environmental Consultants, Assessment of Radiofrequency Microwave Radiation Emissions from Smart Meters. Rep. Santa Barbara, 2011, 17.

 

[3] Sage Associates Environmental Consultants, 57.

 

[4] Barringer, Felicity, “New Electricity Meters Stir Fears,” The New York Times 30 Jan. 2011: A12.

[5] Sage Associates Environmental Consultants, 56.

 

[6] Hume, Stephen, “Liberals’ Dumb Response to Smart-meter Opposition Could Prove Their Waterloo,” Vancouver Sun 24 Oct. 2011.

 

[7] Sage Associates Environmental Consultants, 50.

 

[8] Sage Associates Environmental Consultants, 51.

 

Hyped Hypotheses about Mr. Brainwash

While it appears Mr. Brainwash, aka Thierry Guetta, became a success overnight, it didn’t exactly happen as such. Thierry began with Pop art in 1982-1993, before switching to filming street art.[i] He exploded on the art scene in 2008 with the release of the Banksy documentary, Exit Through the Gift Shop. The premise of the documentary is Banksy turning the cameras on Thierry, making him an overnight art success.[ii] This marked the beginning of Mr. Brainwash as a full-fledged artist, with the opening of his first show titled appropriately, Life is Beautiful. Ads for the exhibition included a quote from Banksy calling Mr. Brainwash as “a force of nature… and I don’t mean that in a good way.”[iii]

Exit Through the Giftshop’s audience continues to be baffled. Is Mr. Brainwash for real? Is Banksy actually Mr. Brainwash? Is Shephard Fairey both Banksy and MBW (Mr. Brainwash)? Looking past the hype surrounding the hypotheses, it becomes clear that MBW is, in all fairness, creating art. Whether or not people like it is of little concern to him, and he intends to continue.[iv] It really doesn’t matter who is behind the MBW moniker. If they really are all one person, then this would be a trick pulled by the music industry, to generate both sales and interest. Rap artist Kool Keith even went as far as publicly killing off his first alias, Dr. Octagon, because he wasn’t receiving enough of the profits from record sales, due to what was probably a poor contract.

The style of Mr. Brainwash borrows from Pop artists also known for appropriation, such as Andy Warhol, Jeff Koonz, Richard Prince, and Sherrie Levine.[v] What he also has in common with them is being sued for violation of copyright protection (all but Prince were sued).[vi] Photographer Glen E. Friedman, friend of Shepard Fairey, sued Thierry Guetta for misuse of his well-known image of rap group Run DMC.[vii] Thierry Guetta was not victorious in pleading fair use of the image.[viii] Here’s what UK street artist Ben Eine has to say on the subject, “Street art is a culture of taking other works of art; appropriation feeds underground culture.”[ix]

The Mr. Brainwash Icons exhibit in New York, 2010 depicts people who followed their dreams and were successful in doing so.[x] These music legends are immortalized in mostly black and white portraits, adorned with pieces of broken records. Mr. Brainwash literally composed his images of the artists who have inspired him [to believe anything is possible] out of the tangible form of their own art, vinyl records. He is a visual remix artist of sorts and plans to continue the Icons exhibit series.[xi]

Mr. Brainwash’s art has caused uproar among the art community, exposing some of the darker underbelly of the culture. He tends to be plagued with an “Is that art?” reaction from many viewers. This is due, in part, to a majority of his work being appropriation-based. Perception is what you (the viewer) have to bring to a piece of work. Most artists are looking for a reaction, good or bad. Despite the strong reaction MBW is receiving, he seems to not be pushing any buttons with his work. Everything he puts out is somewhat safe and capable of being accepted by the masses. Pop art is like that, where the artist wants (almost) everyone to relate to it. To take an optimistic approach to the posed question, yes, directing art is still art. Actually, being an ‘Art Director’ could be considered one of the most coveted jobs in art out there, and that is exactly what MBW is.

Mr. Brainwash works with a close-knit team on his gallery installation projects and stresses that the work could not be possible any other way.[xii] Mr. Brainwash was commissioned for the cover art of Madonna’s Celebration Greatest Hits album.[xiii] He also completed twenty related works for press of Madonna’s release.[xiv] Thierry admittedly has a graphic design team that works under his direction, as well.[xv] While Thierry may be the man with the plan, it takes a lot of individuals to make big, bold art; such as is Mr. Brainwash, and his message. He makes promoting positivity the number one goal, and focuses on art for all ages.[xvi]

Mr. Brainwash has a theory which goes something like this. “Everyone has a diamond inside; it just needs to be polished. Believing in your self is like polishing the diamond, and so is practicing art. Eventually, the more you believe, and the more you polish, the diamond is going to shine… so bright that people will come to you to see the light.”[xvii]

It is clear that Mr. Brainwash confidently believes in himself. The large scale of his projects wouldn’t be possible otherwise. This kind of self love and awareness is what makes for success. The encouragement he provides for his audience is something that can’t be learned in any art school. Thierry did not receive any formal education in art, but his message is one of the most effective in the business. Life is beautiful, it’s true. However, if you don’t think so, then it may possibly be time to change your perception. Mr. Brainwash has a fantastic way of making people question themselves, and what they believe about art, popular culture, and the media. There are few celebrities who make anyone wonder ‘Are they really who they say they are?’ and even fewer who can cause people to ponder messages of positivity… It is time for society to take the MBW message to heart and create. Even if you think it is crap, still do it. The power lies in the process of creation, and MBW calls that aspect the polishing. So, in the words of Pink Floyd, go ahead and ‘shine on you crazy diamond.’

[i] Rebecca McQuigg Rigal, “Everything Has Meaning: A Q&A with Mr. Brainwash,” Good Worldwide, LLC., (April 20, 2010), http://good.is/post/everything-has-meaning-a-q-a-with-mr-brainwash/ (accessed March 30, 2012).

[ii] Michael Cuffe, “Mr. Brainwash Exposed – a review of his 2011 Art Basel Miami Beach exhibition – photos and review by Michael Cuffe for Warholian,” Warholian, (December 12, 2011), http://warholian.com/2011/12/12/mr-brainwash-exposed/ (accessed March 30, 2012).

[iii] Candace Jackson and Lauren A.E. Schuker, “Mr. Brainwash: For Real?: The street artist, friend and film cohort of graffiti artist Banksy is a master of enigma,” The Wall Street Journal, (February 12, 2010), http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424052748704140104575057350802155846.html?KEYWORDS=mr+brainwash#printMode (accessed March 30, 2012).

[iv] Rebecca McQuigg Rigal, “Everything Has Meaning: A Q&A with Mr. Brainwash,” Good Worldwide, LLC., (April 20, 2010), http://good.is/post/everything-has-meaning-a-q-a-with-mr-brainwash/ (accessed March 30, 2012).

[v] Anny Shaw, “Street artist Mr Brainwash sued over “copied” image,” The Art Newspaper, Issue 222, (March 9, 2011), http://www.theartnewspaper.com/articles/Street-artist-Mr-Brainwash-sued-over-copied-image/23237 (accessed March 30, 2012).

[vi] Ibid.

[vii] Sean Bonner, “Thierry Guetta, aka Mr. Brainwash sued for copyright infringement over Run DMC image,” Boing Boing, (January 26, 2011), http://boingboing.net/2011/1/26/thierry-guetta-aka-m.html#previouspost (accessed March 30, 2012).

[viii] David Ng, “Street artist Thierry Guetta faces copyright infringement suit,” Los Angeles Times, (March 10, 2011), http://latimesblogs.latimes.com/culturemonster/2011/03/street-artist-thierry-guetta-sued-for-copyright-infringement.html (accessed March 30, 2012).

[ix] Anny Shaw, “Street artist Mr Brainwash sued over “copied” image,” The Art Newspaper, Issue 222, (March 9, 2011), http://www.theartnewspaper.com/articles/Street-artist-Mr-Brainwash-sued-over-copied-image/23237 (accessed March 30, 2012).

[x] Sean Bonner, “Thierry Guetta, aka Mr. Brainwash sued for copyright infringement over Run DMC image,” Boing Boing, (January 26, 2011), http://boingboing.net/2011/1/26/thierry-guetta-aka-m.html#previouspost (accessed March 30, 2012).

[xi] Rebecca McQuigg Rigal, “Everything Has Meaning: A Q&A with Mr. Brainwash,” Good Worldwide, LLC., (April 20, 2010), http://good.is/post/everything-has-meaning-a-q-a-with-mr-brainwash/ (accessed March 30, 2012).

[xii] A Day in the Life: Mr. Brainwash, Hulu Exclusive Series, Documentary, 2012, http://www.hulu.com/watch/280249/a-day-in-the-life-mr-brainwash#s-p2-so-i0, (accessed April 17, 2012).

[xiii] Candace Jackson and Lauren A.E. Schuker, “Mr. Brainwash: For Real?: The street artist, friend and film cohort of graffiti artist Banksy is a master of enigma,” The Wall Street Journal, (February 12, 2010), http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424052748704140104575057350802155846.html?KEYWORDS=mr+brainwash#printMode (accessed March 30, 2012).

[xiv] Wikipedia, “Mr. Brainwash,” Last modified March 16, 2012, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mr._Brainwash (accessed March 30, 2012).

[xv] Ibid.

[xvi] Jennifer Hadley, “Life is Beautiful,” Bunker Hill, The Magazine for Downtown Los Angeles, (May 2010), http://www.bunkerhillmagazine.com/features/05-2010/mrbrainwash_01.htm (accessed March 30, 2012).

[xvii] A Day in the Life: Mr. Brainwash, Hulu Exclusive Series, Documentary, 2012, http://www.hulu.com/watch/280249/a-day-in-the-life-mr-brainwash#s-p2-so-i0, (accessed April 17, 2012).

Bibliography

1. A Day in the Life: Mr. Brainwash. Hulu Exclusive Series, Documentary (2012): http://www.hulu.com/watch/280249/a-day-in-the-life-mr-brainwash#s-p2-so-i0, (accessed April 17, 2012)
2. Bonner, Sean. “Thierry Guetta, aka Mr. Brainwash sued for copyright infringement over Run DMC image.” Boing Boing (January 26, 2011): http://boingboing.net/2011/1/26/thierry-guetta-aka-m.html#previouspost (accessed March 30, 2012).
3. Cuffe, Michael. “Mr. Brainwash Exposed – a review of his 2011 Art Basel Miami Beach exhibition – photos and review by Michael Cuffe for Warholian.” Warholian (December 12, 2011): http://warholian.com/2011/12/12/mr-brainwash-exposed/ (accessed March 30, 2012).
4. Hadley, Jennifer. “Life is Beautiful.” Bunker Hill, The Magazine for Downtown Los Angeles(May 2010): http://www.bunkerhillmagazine.com/features/05-2010/mrbrainwash_01.htm (accessed March 30, 2012).
5. Jackson, Candace and A. E. Schuker, Lauren. “Mr. Brainwash: For Real?: The street artist, friend and film cohort of graffiti artist Banksy is a master of enigma.” The Wall Street Journal (February 12, 2010): http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424052748704140104575057350802155846.html?KEYWORDS=mr+brainwash#printMode (accessed March 30, 2012).
6. McQuigg Rigal, Rebecca. “Everything Has Meaning: A Q&A with Mr. Brainwash.” Good Worldwide, LLC. (April 20, 2010): http://good.is/post/everything-has-meaning-a-q-a-with-mr-brainwash/ (accessed March 30, 2012).
7. Ng, David. “Street artist Thierry Guetta faces copyright infringement suit.” Los Angeles Times (March 10, 2011): http://latimesblogs.latimes.com/culturemonster/2011/03/street-artist-thierry-guetta-sued-for-copyright-infringement.html (accessed March 30, 2012).
8. Shaw, Anny. “Street artist Mr Brainwash sued over “copied” image.” The Art Newspaper, Issue 222 (March 9, 2011): http://www.theartnewspaper.com/articles/Street-artist-Mr-Brainwash-sued-over-copied-image/23237 (accessed March 30, 2012).
9. Wikipedia. “Mr. Brainwash.” Last modified March 16, 2012. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mr._Brainwash (accessed March 30, 2012).

Speechless

The right moment, at the right time. Or something like that. My camera battery wasn’t charged, and this was the first of all of 7 pictures that I got in Lake Tahoe last weekend. We went to Fallen Leaf Lake, but didn’t go all the way to the lake. Instead, we walked around in the Aspen woods, jumping across creeks. This is a peek at life as I see it. Enjoy!

 

Image

 

Sample Writing

Theo van Doesburg: De Stijl to Dada

Desiree Holroyde

ARTH 176A

Dr. Beverly K. Grindstaff

April 16, 2009

Theo van Doesburg helped create the art movement called De Stijl in Leiden, Netherlands in 1917 along with Piet Mondrain, Bart van der Leck and Garrit Rietveld.  De Stijl means ‘The Style’ in Dutch.  Theo van Doesburg was also the pioneer of the De Stijl magazine which helped to establish the movement and provided an outlet for him and other artists to express their ideals.  De Stijl as a style was abstract art which was post-Cubist and responding to World War I in an attempt to create world harmony.  The movement required the participation of many artists and even more mediums; van Doesburg himself being specifically prominent in graphic design and typography was the voice of the De Stijl journal.  The magazine lasted until 1932, a year after Theo van Doesburg’s death.

De Stijl is slotted into the category of modern art but is hardly categorizable.  I.K. Bonset and Aldo Camini are pseudonyms van Doesburg used in making Dadaist works.  This helped to separate his identities from the De Stijl group because the De Stijl are very much so about unification through art.  Much of van Doesburg’s work was in conjunction with the Dada movement.   De Stijl and Dada can be seen as interchangeable devices when viewing such works as Die Scheuche (see Figure 1).  While De Stijl was quite structured and Dada was nonsense; both were responses to the war.  The war itself was structured and at the same time nonsense.

“There is little doubt that van Doesburg saw Dada’s revolutionary character and its engagement in the destruction of an old culture as a necessary preparation for the realization of De Stijl’s utopian aims”[1] (Baljeu, 1974).

Dada was particularly anti-establishment and would rewrite its own manifesto often to change its identity.  Dada made others question their intention as well as the viewpoints of the perceivers themselves.  De Stijl intended to implement social change through simplification of the process in which observers could identify with the universal geometric forms.  While the rationality (or lack thereof) between the two styles can be argued, the unification of the fashions within van Doesburg’s designs are everlasting.

Theo van Doesburg collaborated with Dadaist Kurt Schwitters to create Die Scheuche (The Scarecrow) in 1925.  The book was written by Schwitters and designed by van Doesburg.  Kate Steinitz produced Die Scheuchein 1925.  It was an extremely typographical work in which the letters themselves are animated as the characters in the story.  Matchsticks arranged as personas were sketched by van Doesburg in the original brainstorming designs.

The pieces of typography actually combine to clarify the story as a type of pictograph.  Cubism opened up the door for such developmental works of combined poetry, design and illustration to create a novel.  Things are not exactly what they seem, yet they are what they are; the letter capital B is the farmer in the story.  ‘You are not really a scarecrow’ so the farmer tells him… ‘I’m going to make you like a corpse!’ (Grindstaff, lecture on 4/2/09)  De Stijl artists’ belief of life expression through art is seen in the De Scheuche plot.

In an article by Atzmon, she describes the book as:

The plot, in which a rooster and chicks fearlessly and incessantly peck at the scarecrow’s stick, parallels the De Stijl notion of making way for the future by destroying or hacking up the past.  The past is represented by the scarecrow.  The term scarecrow, or straw man, has come to mean a false obstacle or issue.[2] (Atzmon, 1996)

Scarecrows are interpreted as scary or to be feared.  Living in wartime is living in fear itself.  War is irrational to civilians who cannot fully understand what is going on outside their own reality.  Without a bright outlook, life can seem quite grim and unbearable.  The death of the scarecrow at the end of the story is similar to a hopeful death of the war in which light can be seen again; a sense of rebirth.  The story helps readers to look forward to the future.  In terms of real life, what we hang on to that doesn’t help us must be let go of.  This is the way of finding ones path.  It is representative of the De Stijl and Dada principles in its multiple takes on conformity of elements within the piece.

Prior to Die Scheuche, the artists organized the Constructivist Congress in 1922 in Weimar, Germany.  This meeting was a synthesis of Dada and De Stijl undertaking the constructivist principles of experimentation. Die Scheuche can be seen as influenced by a constructivist approach within its style.  A year earlier in 1921 a new version of the De Stijl journal was introduced, published in multiple languages to spread the ideas of the group in a more global direction.

The tenth anniversary issue cover of De Stijl in 1928 by van Doesburg juxtaposes his own image beneath type which is underlined by strong black lines containing the title and length of time the journal has been running (see Figure 2).   The organization of materials is particularly Dada in its collage style.  This work is quite different than original De Stijl covers in which the use of negative space is emphasized, yet it is still a De Stijl piece.  Here, the space is completely used up with no margins to hold the large body of text.  The effect gained from this is an in-your-face piece of art which makes a statement, even if just to say ‘This is me!’ and ‘Read me!’

Time spent working with other artists cannot help but lead to the influence of alternate styles through the collaboration and inspiration therein.  Synonymous thoughts can be exemplified in Kurt Schwitters’ journal Merz on the mark of the De Stijl approach to art, despite it specifically being typified as a Dada endeavor.  Theo van Doesburg contributed to Merz under the aliases established for Dada.

Four issues made up another journal by van Doesburg called Mecano, released in 1922 (see Figure 3).  This was published under the pseudonym I.K. Bonset and was created in a strict Dadaist fashion.  The cover for the third issue of Mecano is made to be turned in order to interpret the letters that spell out the title.  Accordingly, all text in the composition reads from rotating the magazine.

We the viewer can interpret this work as a radical response to the war at hand and a voice in which to protest anti-war ideas.  “The saw blade in the center served as an emblem of Mecano, representing the destructive force of Dada satire.”[3] (Eskilson, 2007)                                           

The artists of the early 20th century were put up against the task of creating meaningful works throughout a time of hopelessness and despair.  New ideas were constantly being considered on how to reach people, new mediums tested and reactions interpreted.  The collaboration of artists unifying towards similar goals put strength in their output.  The design and typographical works of Theo van Doesburg have left a lasting impression on the viewer, defining what abstract art is and furthermore what it means.  Its primary definition was about neo-plasticism and non-objectivity.  What happened over the course of the fourteen-year-long running journal is an exploration of the artist and the development of ‘the style’ of De Stijl.  Without the acknowledgement of the war, the De Stijl and Dada evolutions would not have been what they became; reinforced design trends which made sense out of the madness of the times.

Bibliography

Atzmon, L. (1996). The Scarecrow Fairytale: A Collaboration of Theo van Doesburg and Kurt Schwitters. Design Issues: Volume 12, Number 3 , 14-34.

Baljeu, J. (1974). Theo van Doesburg. New York: Macmillan Publishing Co., Inc, 39.

Beckett, J. (1990). Untitled. Journal of Design History, Volume 3, Number 1 , 63-69.

Doig, A. (1986). Theo van Doesburg. Cambridge: BAS Printers Limited.

Eskilson, S. J. (2007). Graphic Design: A New History. New Haven: Yale University Press. 195-196.

Grindstaff, D. B. (April 2, 2009).

Troy, N. J. (1984). Figures of the Dance in De Stijl. The Art Bulletin, Volume 66, Number 4 , 645-656.

 

Figure 1:  Kurt Schwitters, Theo van Doesburg, pages from Die Scheuche, 1925.  Patron of work, Kate Steinitz.

Figure 2:  Theo van Doesburg, cover of De Stijl, Tenth Anniversary Issue, 1928.  RBK, The Hague.

Figure 3:  I.K. Bonset, cover of Mecano magazine, 1922, Letterpress on Paper, International Dada Archive, University of Iowa Libraries.


[1]Baljeu, Theo van Doesburg, 39.

[2] Atzmon, The Scarecrow Fairytale, Design Issues: Volume 12, Number 3, 1996, 28-29.

[3] Eskilson, Graphic Design: A New History, 195-196.

What Was and What Will Be

Last night I started thinking about something I haven’t given much consideration until now. I live in a converted barn that is now a house. What might have happened in the barn, before it was a house? There potentially could have been a lot of deaths and births here. The other day my friend mentioned she thought she saw a face, possibly of a ghost upstairs. I wonder what kind of animals used to live here. Compounded on all this thought of what might have been, I am thinking about what could be as well. I would really like to raise animals. I want to have chickens. There is a coop outside that needs quite a bit of love, but the structure is there… There is potential. I’d like to do some research on this. I guess I need to find a good book about caring for chickens. I think it would be a great experience to grow some chicks!

Sacred Spaces

This image comes from De LaVeaga park in Santa Cruz, CA. I used to live right by this park; across the street from it, actually. I like to call this the “Gnome Hole” and it reminds me a bit of Alice in Wonderland. It seems as if you could fall in and find another world inside. Every time I would pass by it, I would have to stop and ponder the possibilities, at least for a moment. Banana slugs can often be found nearby. I enjoyed this spot so much, I had to go back without my dog Charlie to re-photograph the mini-delight. I took these images for a digital photography class I was taking this past Fall, but I didn’t end up using any of the gnome hole shots. I wanted to, but they just weren’t working right in my composites. I wanted to take a moment to revisit the idea of spaces we hold sacred, and for what reasons. This park will always have a special place in my heart. The redwood forest has symbolized many things to me. I’m sure that you have special places you hold dear to you as well. Where, and why? I’m hoping to be able to seek out some magic in good old California in 2012. There are so many amazing places I have yet to see, in my own backyard. Suggestions welcome, of course! I already have a list of places to visit in nearby Big Sur. I can’t believe I haven’t been there in 15 years, and I live less than two hours away!

Gnome Hole

Can be found in De LaVeaga Park, Santa Cruz, CA.

Lauren knows What’s Up!

I managed to capture my friend Lauren performing a cover of the Four Non Blondes song What’s Up at Constant Creations art space/studio in Santa Cruz, CA. Lauren has been performing every other Saturday at the Poet and the Patriot in Santa Cruz as well. This girl has got TALENT!

A Dizzy Secret

Video footage I captured at the circus event at the American Legion in South Lake Tahoe, CA March 4, 2011. Live music by Waiting for Tim and performance by Orange Mika Ela of the Willy Woggle Circus. This is one of my all-time favorite venues and it was a pleasure to get to go back and attend another event there when visiting the town I like to think of as home.