Bibliography in progress

30 09 2009

This week marks the end of my initial bibliography research and I’m feeling pretty good about the material I’ve been able to gather. There certainly is a lot of it anyways. It seems like every exciting book I come across leads me to at least five more relevant resources!

I applied to the course with some theoretical knowledge and context to my work. Key artists like Ken Lum, Manuel Ocampo, Byron Kim, Coco Fusco and Niki Lee have been influential in introducing me to themes of transnationalism, diaspora identity, migration and assimilation. Furthermore, travelling exhibition “Cities on the Move” (curated by Hou Hanru in 1999) introduced me to a slew of diasporic artitsts in Asia and how they tackled pertinent themes of multi-modernities and glocalism. On the technological side, I have been influenced by artists Marcel Duchamps (in regards to his ‘readymades’ and the debate it started over authenticity in art and has lead to my ‘made_ready series’), David Hockney (for his visual cut, paste and layered landscapes) and Nancy Burnsen (for her earlier digital manipulations profile distillations). Media theorists such as Marshall McLuhan, Jean Baudrillard and Walter Benjamin have also provided theoretical underpinnings in my artistic practice… I should probably add cultural theorist Epifanio San Juan for his specific work on the post-colonial Philippine diaspora and the ubiquitous Edward Said for his much referenced ‘Oreintalism’ as well.



That said, in the last few weeks I have been introduced to so much more!

Some key names that come to mind are digital theorist Lev Manovich who in turn got me into Friedrich Kittler and Peter Weibel. Other new media theorists that have come may way in the building of this bibliography are Christaine Paul, Andrew Murphy and Rachel Greene. Key transnational/diaspora theorists I have been introduced to are Homi K. Bhaba, Olu Oguibe and Mandan Sarup. More excitingly I am starting think about my work under the context of Marxist and Heideggerian theory (specifically in regards to space and movement of capital and consequently people) as well as thought from David Harvey who has offered a post-modern analysis of Marxism.

Ultimately the result over these last few weeks of visiting libraries and combing through bookshelves is a working bibliography which I’ve divided into three themed sections:

1) Transnational, Diaspora and Asian Art Theory

2) Media, Digital and Visual Art Theory

3) Philosophy about Society, Space and Movement

In the search for these texts, I discovered that there is an overwhelming amount of discourse regarding digital art and an equal amount for transnationalism– both, interestingly enough, are relatively new fields of study in academe and seem to carry a trendy, sexy buzz around them. But, I am having trouble finding any writing that addresses both themes, specifically in regards to digital media and urban diasporas. Of course there are artitsts who have instinctively incorporated both themes in their work. Maria Lucia Cattani immediately comes to mind as I just heard her speak at the FADE (Fine Arts Digital Environment) Lecture today about her methodology which involves a process of bringing ‘the original’ to ‘the multiple’ and back to ‘the original’ again. Her creative involves scanning fictional script, laser cutting a dye caste (not sure if this is the correct terminology), making prints from the dye, then destroying these prints to create original books that are in libraries in the UK and Brazil! Brilliant really. She clearly flows between themes of reproducibility and global movement as well as cross cultural communication and what get lost in the translation. I love it and hope to touch on her elegance of message in my own work.

Ok, that was a mouthful.  CAVEAT: I’m not claiming to know these artists’ complete life’s work or to have read a complete text by any of these authors (with exception to Marshall McLuhan, Walter Benjamin, Christaine Paul and Lev Manovich… authors I couldn’t put down when I got hold of their texts), but what I am doing is starting to scratch the surface. More importantly, I am starting to discover is that there is a massive world of thought and really thoughtful art out there and that my little old project just might have a place in it. 😉


Initial Bibliography

30 09 2009

Below is my initial bibliography up to this point.

Transnationalism, Diaspora & Asian Art Theory

Armitage, John and Joanne Roberts. (2003).  ‘From the Hypermodern City to the Gray Zone of Total Mobilization in the Philippines’, in Bishop, Ryan et al. (eds.). Postcolonial Urbanism: Southeast Asian Cities and Global Processes. New York, London: Routledge.

Beaulieu, Jill and Mary Roberts. (eds.). (2002). Orientalism’s Interlocutors: Painting, Architecture, Photography. Durham and London: Duke University Press.

Bhaba, Homi K. (1994). Location of Culture. New York: Routlege.

Bradley, Fiona. (1999). Cities on the Move: Urban Chaos and Global Change East Asian Art, Architecture and Film Now. London: Hayward Gallery.

Buck, Louisa. (1998). UK artist Q & A: Manuel Ocampo. The Art Newspaper. Vol. 9 No. 81. May, London: Newspaper Publishing plc. p. 49.

Buenaventura, Loreli C. (1998). Renegotiating ‘home(s)’: identities, racism(s) and resistance in

The lives of second generation Filipinas in Canada. University of Toronto, MA


Fusco, Coco. (1999). Corpus Delecti: Performance Art of the Americas.  New York, London:


(2003). Only Skin Deep: Changing Visions of The American Self.  Harry Abram Inc.

(1995). English is Broken Here: Notes on Cultural Fusion in the Americas.  New York: The New Press.

Kee, Joan. (ed.). (2004) Intersections: Issues In Contemporary Art (Positions: East Asian cultures critique special issue). Duke University Press, Volume 12, Number 3, Winter.

Kelly, Philip F. (2000). Landscapes of Globalisation. New York: Routledge.

Kramer, Paul A. (2006). The Blood of Government: Race, Empire, the United States and the

Philippines. Chapel Hill: The University of North Carolina Press.

Lewis, Reina. (1996). ‘Gendering Orientalism: Race, Femininity and Representation’, in Kum-Kum Bhavnani et al. (eds.) Gender, Racism, Ethnicity Series. Phoenix London and New York: Routledge.

Lusis, Tom. (2005). Class Identity and Filipino Transnationalism: the Toronto-Tagbilaran Connection. York University, MA Thesis.

MacKenzie, John M. (1995). Orientalism: History, theory and the arts. Manchester, New York City: Manchester University Press.

Oguibe, Olu. (2004). The Culture Game. Minneapolis, London: University of Minnesota Press.

Papastergiadis, Nikos. (2007). The Turbulence of Migration. Cambridge, Malden: Polity Press.

Rydell, Robert W. (1984). All the World’s a Fair: Visions of Empire at American International Expositions, 1876-1916. Chicago: University of Chicago Press.

Said, Edward. (1979). Orientalism. New York: Vintage Books (A Division of Random House).

San Juan Jr., Epifanio. (2004). Working Through the Contradictions: From Cultural Theory to

Critical Practice.  Lewisburg: Bucknell University Press.

(1992). Racial Formations/Critical Transformations: Articulations of Power in Ethnic and Racial Studies in the United States. New Jersey, London: Humanities Press.

Scarborough, James. (1994). “Manuel Ocampo one-man national movement.” Flash-Art, No. 176, May/June 1994: 84-85.

Vergara Jr., Benito M. (1995). Displaying Filipinos: Photography and Colonialism in Early

Twentieth Century Philippines.  Manila: University of the Phillipines Press.

Media, Digital & Visual Art Theory

Benjamin, Walter. (1978). Illuminations.  New York: Schocken Books.

(2008). The Work of Art in the Age of Its Technological Reproducibility and Other Writings on Media. Jennings, Michael W. et al. eds. Jephcott, Edmund et al. trans. Cambridge, London: The Belknap Press of Harvard University Press.

Bentkowska-Kafel, Anna et al. (eds.). (2005). Digital Art History. Bristol: Intellect Books.

Blais, Joline & Jon Ippolito. (2006). At the Edge of Art. New York: Thames & Hudson.

Cutting Edge, The Women’s Research Group. (eds.). (2000). Digital Desires: Language, Identity and New Technologies. London, New York: I.B.Tauris Publishers.

deMèredieu, Florence. (2005). Digital and Video Art.  tr. Richard Elliott.  Edinburgh: Chambers

Harrap Publishers.

Greene, Rachel. (2004). Internet Art. London: Thames & Huson.

Holden, Todd Joseph Miles and Timothy J Scrase (eds.). (2006). Medi@sia: Global media/tion in and out of context. London, New York: Routledge.

Kittler, Friedrich.  (1990). Discourse Networks. (Original German edition 1985).  Stanford:

Lovejoy, Margot. (1992). Digital Currents: Art in the Electronic Age.  New York, London: Routledge.

Maeda, John. (2004). Creative Code. London: Thames & Hudson.

Manovich, Lev. (2001). The Language of New Media. Cambridge MA, London UK: The MIT Press.

McLuhan, Marshall. (1994). Understanding Media: The Extensions of Man. Cambridge, London: MIT Press.

Murphie, Andrew & John Potts. (2003). Culture and Technology. New York: Palgrave Macmillan.

Paul, Christiane. (2005) Digital Art. 2nd ed. London: Thames & Hudson.

Stallabrass, Julian. (2003). Internet Art: The Online Clash of Culture and Commerce. London: Tate Publishing.

Wright, Richard. (1998). “Some Issues in the Development of Computer Art as a Mathematical Art Form.” in Electronic Art.  Hokken, Ton et al. eds. pp.103-109. Pergamon Press.

Philosophy about Society, Space and Movement

Harvey, David. (2001). Spaces of Capital: Towards a Critical Geography. Edinburgh: Edinburg University Press Ltd.

(2000). Spaces of Hope. Edinburgh: Edinburgh University Press.

(1990). The Condition of Postmodernity. Cambridge MA, Oxford UK: Basil Blackwell Ltd.

Heidegger, Martin. (1990). Being and Time. John Macuarrie and Edward Robinson (trans.). Trowbridge, Wiltshire: Dotesios Printers Ltd.

25 09 2009

Work PlanIn trying to address all the overwhelming amounts of work ahead of me (this being not just what I have to do, but mainly all the things I WANT to do). I thought it best to resist all my impulses to jump right into action and instead do some planning. ‘Focused action gets results’… as my old creative director back in the advertising days once told me. He told me a lot of nonsensical stuff, mainly when he was drunk, but this gem was worth remembering.

When making this workflow plan I factored a few things in. I planned in time for delays and time for reflection. I planned in ‘pauses’ throughout the year and a ‘soft completion’ date to allow for the inevitable delays that might occur and more importantly to give me a little time to take a few steps back a evaluate the direction I am going in.

Reflective Video Post 2

24 09 2009

The Origin of the Nation, Imagined Communities

22 09 2009

Today’s TrAIN seminar was with Michael Asbury discussing an essay by B. Anderson titled ‘The Origin of National Consciousness’ in Imagined Communities. Anderson’s essay written in 1983 is almost picking up on Renan’s definition of a nation. Where Renan was revisionist in his definition of nation (a counter-action to the growing popularity of eugenic thought in the 1880s according to Michael), Anderson uses a historiographical methodology to define the nation. Anderson also has the luxury of a century to reflect on Renan’s previous postulations. Influenced by Marxist theories that history is determined by production, Anderson focuses on the advancement of print technology to help him define the origins of a nation.

The essence of the text, as I read it, points to the creation of a print language (as an early mass media) as the catalyst to creating a national consciousness. He broke it down to three main factors.

  1. print created a unified and accessible line of communication among the masses that circumvented regional disconnects that normally happen between spoken dialects.
  2. print gave a permanence to the vernacular “low” language creating and empowering otherwise disconnected communities.
  3. print caused a societal shift by creating languages of power outside of the elite (often inaccessible) administrative Latin

I immediately saw parallels to the lines of communication created by the internet in the last few decades and how it has propelled English as the global vernacular. I’m sure there are many arguments for the proliferation of English around the globe but I find it’s connection to digital media fascinating. Anderson cites modern examples of the Thai government actively discouraging missionaries from providing minority hilltribe groups from with writing systems and publication methods for their own languages. With printed text there is power. Community. Identity. Or so goes Anderson’s argument. I find myself thinking of the militaristic stance the Chinese government has put to firewall the internet and search engines such as Google. I say this with a grain as this is all coming from the popular media that I received from Canada when I was there. I had the good fortune of travelling through China for over a month and found the internet cafe to be quite a ubiquitous institution. These cafes were not set up for foreign backpackers looking to for a cheap way to check their email and skype people back home. These internet cafes were filled with young Chinese mainly gaming and chatting online. Not so different from anything in the west really.  I didn’t however try to google anything contentious like “Tibet”. Maybe I would have felt the weight of big brother if I did… I’m running on another tangent…

To stay on track, Anderson went on to cite factors that caused print media to come to the forefront in the mid 17th century.  At the time the international language of Latin was shifting to a more obscure Ciceronian that was increasingly inaccessible to more and more people. Furthermore, the Reformation, with Martin Luther’s Protestant campaign facilitated by the spread of print immediately created a print-capitalist dynamic (a profit driven creation of books to meet high popular demands of the masses), also caused print media to gain prominence.

The seminar was very stimulating and I appreciated it’s divergence into contemporary art.  Michael showed us some work from a show he curated where artists

Angela Detanico and Rafael Lain created a series works that referenced history, nation and digital media in a very clever way.  The artists created a typeface called “Utopia” that looked more like the pictograms one would find from MS Webdings only they made it open source which spoke to issues inherent in profit based digital products. Furthermore the pictograms were of idealized Brazilian landscapes of Neo Maya (not sure of spelling… will have to google this at some point) the architect who helped build the brand of Brazil the nation from the top down. When used as a functioning typeface, landmarks of beauty are strewn with power lines and gates, the reality of todays urban landscape that Neo Maya may not have envisioned.  Furthermore as a display piece, the artists translated a section of Thomas Moore’s “Utopia” when Rafael describes the landscape of utopia to Moore. The result was a noisy mess of buildings, discordant power lines, and obtrusive gates.  I think they were trying to show a parallel distopia but to me this was in a way beautiful as well.

utopia font

utopia font

The Utopian typography project has a blog too! Read on if you’re interested.

I found this work particularly inspiring in that I appreciate the way “Utopia” has successfully combined several different themes: reality of urbanism/ historical idealism, digital media/ print media and national identity creation. It works on so many levels… it just came to me that another level could be the disconnect between the signifier and the signified. These images of distopic Brazilian landscapes communicate a certain message as long as the viewer understands the context of Neo Maya and his dream of a utopic Brazilian nation. However by making “Utopia” an open source font that coud theoretically be used by anyone in the world, these symbols lose this particular context. Typography, which is generally designed to facilitate communication could now be seen as vehicle for a lack of communication.

Hopefully I can make such elegant connections on my own work. Factors I want to address in my project are the urban landscape, the Philippine diaspora and ultimately finding a way to represent the fluidity of the two through digital media. Some sub-themes that are coming to mind are authenticity of the image (digital manipulation puts into question the validity of the photograph/video as truth) and memory/ loss of memory.(can I somehow represent the changes that happen to the landscape through diaspora in terms of what is lost or forgotten?).

Reflective Video-posts

17 09 2009

I’ve been blogging for over nine years now (admittedly not very consistently), documenting and recording my life to fulfill my somewhat exhibitionist tendancies. Warhol’s concept of ’15 minutes of fame’ was visionary in the context of today’s blog-facebook-myspace-flickr-youtube-twitter culture. Everybody wants to be seen but ironically this mass influx of online self-pulishing (no matter how slick or interesting) has served to desensitize everyone.  Many people are posting and uploading bits of their lives, screaming– look where I went, look who I met, look what I did– but I doubt that much of it actually gets looked at by anyone else but it’s authors.

I however am in a unique position in that I am guaranteed an audience of at least three for this blog! That being my tutors Andy Stiff, Jonathan Kearney and myself (as always). I want this to be a public self-reflection in regards to my creative. I asked Jonathan the other day where to draw the line between the public/professional and the personal in our blogs. He told us to try to try to keep it to the context of our project and possibly revisit entries to reflect on their relevance. We needn’t worry about recording the trivialities of what he had had for breakfast, unless of course it was related to your project (which it has been in the past).

Today I will not be posting the contents of my lunch as it wasn’t very exciting, but instead I will post the trivialities of how I feel thus far. I’ll reference the’picture is worth a 1000 words’ cliche when introducing what I hope to be a series of regular video posts that document my current feelings about things so far. I don’t want to get into to many specifics about the details of my project in these video posts (I’ll save that for writing). What I hope to do is document my emotional position with things as I work through these intense months ahead. I am guessing this will serve as another aspect of self-reflection- my emotional barometer over the months. My wife would probably find at least this useful 😉