Monday, April 25, 2011

camera experiments...

So…i'm kind of a photography freak. I like to expose as much film as I can, and suffer the consequences later. This trip to NY meant that I was able to finally experiment with two cameras I had not had a chance to use before. Thus, you can see here the sometimes successful, sometimes frustrating results...

Friday, April 8, 2011

No matter what they say, today you're a star.

Our trip to New York was incredible. I was just excited to get to go somewhere new, and found myself immersed in a truly once-in-a-lifetime experience.
One week of the most intense artistic experience imaginable. Museums every day, a show every night, lunch on the run, artists studios, galleries, restaurants, and more. What makes this trip so special, so inevitably unique, is the fact that we are Stanford students. The amazing connections and the passionate alumni are some of the things truly set apart for us, and this trip really gave us a glimpse into the artistic world, not only outside Stanford, but through and with Stanford.

It was a marvelous feeling to be interacting with the arts a every moment. I felt at home wandering the museums, watching musicals, and learning about New York City. I'm not too sure what I expected this trip to be like before I went--I think the reality of the Arts Immersion didn't quite sink in until after finals week--but it was almost exactly how anyone might imagine. At Stanford, I some times get lost in academia and have little opportunity to meander about contemporary art. It was really refreshing to be thrown in an artistic environment, and see the opportunities that lie before us.

I don't think I could honestly pick a favorite part of the trip. But I can force myself to mention two things that we did that will always be in my very poor memory:

1) The NY Philharmonic. I've never played an instrument, but I grew up in a very musical environment, and I was completely blown away by this performance. I wasn't sure what to expect. I'd seen orchestral performances before--but something about this rehearsal
(whether it was because we were up and out before 10 and my drowsy state provided the perfect state of mind, or maybe because of the incomparable energy of the conductor) that kept me at the edge of my seat. I suddenly knew, for a few short hours, that I should drop EVERYTHING and do what they were doing. I soon got over that fantasy... but I don't think I'll get over the music.

2) The second thing I would like to mention is the adventure. We had a little bit of free time to explore the museums, the city, anything--and I would advise anyone going on a trip like this to put sleep aside and put time into making incredible discoveries. NY is quick--set your clock to the NY minute and never miss a beat. I loved the artistic culture of NY, the eye opening moments when I saw miles of gorgeous graffiti art dancing along the sides of buildings, or bumping into the lead actor in the revival of the play "Arcadia", or listening to talented Banjo players in the subway, or even getting little glimpses of humanity in the restroom at a cafe. After coming back to Stanford, it was like time slowed down and reality settled back in. But I can't wait to take what I've learned and put it to use, and I know I can always look to these moments for infinite inspiration.

(Image below: Taken in a restroom at a cafe in Brooklyn)

Friday, April 23, 2010

Thursday, April 8, 2010

The Big Apple has its Origins in New Orleans

"These vagabound shoes
They are longing to stray
Right through the very heart of it
New York, New York."

It could not have been said any better. My time in New York has to be one of the most significant moments in my Stanford career. Not only did I get to revel in the spirit of being in New York, the experience also helped me realize the passion of I have towards the arts. I've reached a conclusion that the arts is integral to my being, its my form of function. New York reminded me what I was missing. If this sounds vague, let me clarify. Too often in college, I have felt the necessity to postpone my art-making in order to complete my academic work. Too often I have felt very disappointed in the lack of integration between arts and academia in Stanford. Being in New York and speaking with alumni reminded me, that the separation is a mental state and if one loves the arts, one will pursue it. I found the panel with the young Stanford Alumni in the Public Theater to be very informative, reassuring and exciting. It was great to see the reality, the struggle each student had as they pursued their art. While they said the work was challenging, they also said they wouldn't do anything else. New York made me dream bigger. It gave me the facts, revealed the complexities of art and economics. And it also offered me a glimpse into a possible life. I fell in love with New York, and I hope to return one day.

New York Immersion Highlights and Reflections

-Definitely having Suzan-Lori Parks answer my question and sign my playbill at the Public Theater after watching and experiencing BOOK OF GRACE. Yes, I will say it, I felt like a jubilant, overly excited 14 year old going to a Jonas Brothers Concert. (Not that I have been to a Jonas Bros concert, this is only a comparison.)

- Walking through Harlem and Spanish Harlem. I found it to be a very interesting site considering the historical roots Harlem has and the future of uncertainty that seems to uproot that history. This is evident by the deconstruction of historical houses that once served as hubs for artists in Harlem. While I found Harlem to be a beautiful neighborhood, I can't help being reminded of its fading history. I was struck with even more nostalgia when I visited El Museo del Barrio. The current exhibition focused on post chicano movement latino art and the continuing thread of a "phantom culture", a culture and people on the margins at the risk of being forgotten. As I walked through the main permanent section of El Museo del Barrio, I saw more history of the Puerto Rican community in Spanish Harlem captured inside glass boxes. They felt like relics, and I wondered, how does one avoid becoming a relic?

-Central Park. Although it was freezing, I couldn't help feeling warm as I hummed Alicia Key's "If I aint got you" and listening to the scattered musicians playing their instruments. The warm Nuts for Nuts concession stand also helped too.

-Jackson Diner. Enough said.

-Washington Heights, Columbia University and Queens. Gorgeous university campus, made me a little jealous. Hearing the different spanish in Washington Heights was fun. My favorite moment was when I bought a pastry from a bakery and sitting down to absorb the movement and language in the small space. Queens reminded me much of home for some reason, although Richmond is not as old or dense as Queens.

-Greenwich Village. I still can't pronounce the name right, but I love this neighborhood. It has everything. Old music record shops, the IFC and Yatagan Doner House shop. Yum. I'm going back there without a doubt.

-Favorite moment: A salesperson trying to sell me a $300 italian by telling me how handsome I was with the hat. If she had gave me one more compliment, I probably would have bought it. Like I told others, I am so gullible I would buy an encyclopedia set.

-Not so favorite moment: Being jiffed by the waiter at Carnegie Deli. Research restaurant's tipping policy before entering. It was a lesson learned.

-Surprise of New York City: I really like the subway system. I found myself loving it more than what I expected.

All in all, New York City inspired me to continue practicing and nourishing my art.

Below I have posted a couple photos and videos that I found interesting, funny, weird, etc. Open to interpretations.

Title: Hurry Up Now, Taxi Cab, My Love is Waiting
Credits: Video by Edgardo Cervano-Soto, Music by Natalia Duong

Title: Elevator N.2
This is a cargo elevator and I love the massive doors that encloses the space.

Title: AtTheApollo
Brenda and David showing their skills

Title: Musing?
Chelsea Woman wandering the gallery/construction streets

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

My Time in the Big Apple ^__^

The concentration of art in New York City was astonishing. I was completely taken aback; I did not expect to find art of some form on literally every street corner – graffiti, street musician, statue, beautiful architecture on a building, the list goes on and on. It was amazing and inspiring, because it showed me how universal art – all disciplines – can really be. Not limited to the studio or rehearsal room. It is more than the piece of art itself, art. It is a mentality even. Moreover, we had the opportunity to speak with many Stanford alums who were involved in the arts industry. Their enthusiasm for their work and their faith in their own artistic journeys renewed my optimism towards my own. I learned that artistic careers, like art, are often not planned and the result of someone’s creative, open-mindedness towards opportunities that come his or her way. So many of the alums reminded us that life after college can still take unexpected turns and that all we had to do to find our ‘calling’ was to just stick to a vision and trust in our intuition to find jobs and activities that would send us gradually, if not immediately, on the right path.

Highlights of the trip for me was attending the NY Philharmonic’s open rehearsal, walking through Central Park, and watching Hair on Broadway our last night in the city. I have not heard the NY Phil live before and their sound completely blew me away; I loved the velvety, rich tone of the strings in particular (it could have had something to do with the acoustics in Avery Fischer?). I thought it was funny how much better the NY Phil was than the SF Symphony (my opinion), yet Davies Symphony Hall in SF was so much more ornate (pretentious? just kidding) than Avery Fischer, architectural-wise. Anyway, Central Park was a fun experience as well. It was freezing the day we went, but we were not to be deterred from traipsing about for an hour or so with our guide. I liked the seemingly casual and laid-back layout of the park and the fact that there were so many interesting buildings and bodies of water scattered throughout. Broadway on Saturday night was quite memorable. I can’t say I loved the story to Hair (thought it could’ve been fleshed out a bit more), but I was very impressed by the vocals. I wonder how much the performers practice in order to sing the way they do and how hard the audition process/getting slated for a Broadway show must be. Those singers probably braved so much to get there, haha. After the performance, a few friends and I had delicious cheesecake, which completed the Times Square experience! =)

I definitely enjoyed the trip and thought it was one of the best Stanford spring breaks I have ever had. The tour schedule was grueling but rewarding; it was essentially a broad overview sort-of-thing and I went to enough museums and galleries to last me the rest of the year. Haha, no, what I mean is, I will never walk into an art exhibit the same way again. The trip made me acutely aware of all the behind-the-scenes work that goes into all the art forms, be it work on the artists’ parts – rehearsing, thinking, planning the piece – or the producers’ and curator’s – choosing the pieces to be displayed, overseeing construction of the exhibit, directing the show, etc – and it really fleshed out the art industry into something relatable and more importantly, achievable. In the sense of “I can do that, too!” and “I can be a part of that!” sometime in the future, after I graduate. =]

Videos of various street musicians/bands to come as soon as I get them all organized and sorted out!

And a big kudos/thank you to Profs Jonathan, Sarah, and Brian for leading the trip!

Monday, April 5, 2010

Our whirlwind trip to NYC was a fabulous experience, as all the posts so far demonstrate. For me the week centered on questions: what counts as art? What counts as *good* art? What qualifies one as the "artist" of a piece--do you have to produce the art yourself, or can you enlist others to realize your concept? The amazing part of this trip was that I was surrounded by people who had the same questions as me but different perspectives, which lead to conversations in the galleries, at the dinner table, on the subway, and anywhere else we happened to be. The trip raised more questions for me than it answered (which is precisely as it should be).

I struggled with the best way to represent the questions I had during the week, and finding a way to best map-out our journey through the New York art scene such that it best reflects the progression of the discussions I had with my fellow students is something I still haven't quite settled. However, I'll leave you with a few images that struck me from throughout the week, and hopefully I can produce a more coherent presentation in the near future (it will also be easier in a week when I'm no longer relying on a slow Hungarian wireless connection!).

Sunday, April 4, 2010


Throughout the week in New York
the notion of remembering the past
as a way of moving forward
was a recurring idea that permeated our collective experiences.
Whether it was viewing the Panorama of the five boroughs
created for the 1964 World's Fair in Queens
or understanding the importance of sampling
in the process of Reenactment in the 2010 Whitney Biennial
it became very apparent that the idiosyncratic nature of our
voyage was greatly informed by the years
of art making that preceded it.
While it was reassuring to note that we have not
divorced ourselves completely from the art that makes
up our collective history, my experience of Art
(with a capital A)
during the trip made me question the role of archiving
and recollection.
While I don't believe that contemporary artists have
run out of novel things to say--
why do so many of them resort to recreating the
paramount projects of the past
as if nostalgic middle-aged housewives
reminiscing upon their halcyon years?

Has the art world out-shocked itself?

And yet, how is it that the Marina Abramovic retrospective
removed from its contextual space in time
is still effective at making one's passage through
a couple of naked bodies uncomfortable?
More specifically, while pictures add to the
source of our collective memory
there is a certain artifice that exists
in the pictorial tradition
that fails to capture the essence of a shared moment
and thus, creates a specific unilateral memory of the past.
All this to say, with such a rich landscape of past
art movements, happenings, moments of genius,
I wonder what has fallen by the way side
and what would have remained if the gatekeepers to this art
had themselves been different?
Thus, as we assemble Ourchive
I add merely a glimpse of an exceptional trip
that far exceeded my expectations of "immersion"
and only worked to solidify my love for New York.
The following is a video focusing on the gestural exchanges
that occurred throughout the trip
By obscuring most of the identifying features of the people we met
and juxtaposing subway strangers and NYC elite alongside
Stanford students
I hope to offer a portrait of a city that is at once diverse and common
stripped of language and context
a certain humanity persists in palms and fingertips.