Wednesday, June 18, 2008

A Dose Of Art

Yesterday, I had a chance to view a unique form of contemporary art, its called Installation Art. With a friend in tow, we visited the Charleston Heights Art Center here in Las Vegas. The exhibit is called "Intention To Leave" by Robin Starbuck.

Installation art according to, uses sculptural materials and other media to modify the way a particular space is experienced. Installation art is not necessarily confined to gallery spaces and can be any material intervention in everyday public or private spaces. Installation art incorporates almost any media to create an experience in a particular environment. Materials used in contemporary installation art range from everyday and natural materials to new media such as video, sound, performance, computers and the internet. Some installations are site-specific in that they are designed to only exist in the space for which they were created.

"Intention to Leave" is a two chapter video projection. Chapter one includes live footages and digital animation of a frozen island landscape that seemingly represents a world uncorrupted by the human hand and so somehow not quite earthly. As the video progresses, a dark city arises from the sea. The city, and the mechanical sound of its emergence imply the catastrophic menace of mankind to the tranquility of the land.

In chapter two, the branding and castration of buffalo is preseded by the buffalo shaman tumbling through space. He is accompanied by the chanting of a Vajra Guru mantra. According to the artist's statement, this Tibetan mantra is meant to represent all of the twelve blessings of the Buddhist way. It's repeated recitation is meant to remove completely emotional corruption and to affect liberation from misdeeds causing rebirth and hampering the path to enlightenment. In this chapter, the mantra is sung both normally and in reverse. In this way, according to the artist, it becomes both a prayer and suspicion of prayer. The meaning of the video is then open to the viewers. Sins or misdeeds are either being removed from the suffering animals, represented by the castrations of the buffalos, or from humans or somehow the message is being inverted entirely.

On the walls of the gallery space are graphic images of radio waves. These are pattern replicas of radio waves captured from outer space. To this day the government maintains dozens of laboratories where radio waves or "messages" from outer space are captured and analyzed.

According to the artist, this exhibition, "Intention to Leave"is intended as a poem of warning. It is a speculation on the condition that humanities relationship to the earth and a suggestion that we humans may possibly be mere visitors to this planet; a planet we found, inhabited and seeking to destroy before the day we leave to find another. What suffers at our hands; the land, other creatures, water tables, and air quality, mean little to us. Unless we engage in magical transformation once radio contact is made, we humans will be gone.

This exhibition is a multimedia/digital presentation about the cycle of life and death and the sources of imagery are as diverse as cattle ranching to warfare combined with Buddhist chants and overlaid narration.

As I watched the presentation, I did not know what the artist intended to convey. Fortunately, the artist statement distributed before you enter the gallery helped a lot in understanding the whole thing. This kind of contemporary art is more interesting because it would involve the use of all your senses in order to understand and appreciate the artist's message. I'm looking forward to see and experience more of this interesting art form.

Wednesday, June 11, 2008


Does anybody remember the old poem "Desiderata"? I remember that this was mentioned during my high school days, I cant remember which year. Anyway, the poem's popularity at that time was brought about by the spoken-word recording of the said poem.

To refresh your memory and to understand its brief history, I have checked the ever reliable Wikipedia for the information. Here below is the brief history of this poem according to Wikipedia:
"Desiderata" (Latin for "desired things", plural of desideratum) is an inspirational prose poem about attaining happiness in life. It was first copyrighted in 1927 by Max Ehrmann.

In the 1960s, it was widely circulated without attribution to Ehrmann, sometimes with the claim that it was found in Saint Paul's Church, Baltimore, Maryland, and that it had been written in 1692 (the year of the founding of Saint Paul's). Nevertheless, the estate of Ehrmann has kept various editions of the work in print. A spoken-word recording of the essay was made by Les Crane and reached #8 on the Billboard magazine charts in late 1971.

At least one court case has held the poem to be forfeited to the public domain because of distribution during and before World War II, but other cases have ruled that the assignee, through Ehrmann's heirs holds the purchased copyright.

So there you are, the history of Deiderata.
If you read through the lines, its essay about how to live life to the fullest,how to handle relationships with other people, still holds true up to this day. All of us are in a never ending pursuit of happiness.

Included in this post is the full text of the poem, just click the picture itself and you will get a much larger view. If you want a copy of the sound file for the spoken-word recording by Les Crane, you can always drop me an email at

I hope you can learn much out of this poem.

Monday, June 2, 2008

My New Digital Camera

Photography is one art form that I wanted to pursue ever since I had my hands on my first SLR film camera back in the Philippines. It was a Minolta and I forgot the model number. Anyway, I got it from my former co-worker and he was kind of my mentor in photography. That old camera had some problems with its sensor and became useless even before I could master the tricks in taking artsy photographs.
When I arrived here in the USA, my first digital camera was a Sony Cybershot camera. I fell in love with it, learn its functions and features by heart so I became very comfortable with it. Eventually I have outgrown my little digicam and started eyeing on a more higher and advanced digital SLR cameras.
I got myself a Nikon D60 DSLR camera with a very good deal. I got an additional zoom wide angle lens and a camera bag for everything to put in. Right now, I'm trying to learn its features and functions. I tried using my new camera last night for a session of night photography. I cruised along the Las Vegas Strip and took some pictures, some of which are bad, some are outrageous and some are kind of average. I tried to use the manual functions of the camera and that's what the good thing about using digital cameras, you can always delete those undesirable pictures you've taken.
I'll make an online album exclusively for the pictures taken from my Nikon and I will announce it here when its ready to launch.
Pictures I posted here in this blog entry are some of the few who survived my rigid screenings. If you dont like them, you can just imagine the rest of the pictures that I took.

Back To Normal???

I'm done with my three weeks of mayhem at work. Well, its not really that bad, everything was manageable enough. The only drawback was, I was no longer online most of the time to chat with my friends and some of them are getting mad and thought that I was avoiding them. This period actually brings me some peace of mind. I was probably one of those people who are really into chatting and I just accept whoever would contact me or request me to be their chatmate. I've met all kinds of people and some of them, I would say are pervert enough to show themselves in most undesirable situations. For those who are on chatting or at least have some experience in communicating online, you would know what I meant. During this period, I promised myself that from then on, I would only go online and chat with my legitimate friends and I would say that they are only a few of them. For these past 3 weeks, all I did was just open my Yahoo Messenger, check if any of my "legit" friends are online and chat with them, if none of them are online, I would just leave an offline message for them and then logoff. My legit friends in Yahoo knows how to get in touch with me even if I'm not online and away from my computer. If you are one of them, you should have no problem at all to check out on me.
Although I have other friends outside of Yahoo Messenger and we communicate with each other through emails and text messaging.
So, is this what I call "normal"???