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.

Hey again!

So here my little wrap up of the city-experience!

I decided to concentrate on how we were getting places: My video montage is an insight into the different atmospheres of the city we traversed.

I was struck by how much ground we covered in that week-- I think all of us, including the alumni that helped us set this up, were surprised. We really made an effort to differentiate between the neighborhoods we walked through, and every day afforded so many things to appreciate about this city. That said, it was all very overwhelming, and so going through all the footage really gave me the opportunity to reflect upon our different exposures.

I realize there are parts of the city we didn't get to see, which only makes me want to take the next opportunity to return to explore further.

Looking down, at our feet, at the passageways, to me reflects how close we were to seeing new york's different stages throughout the ages. Because in addition to seeing so many districts of the City, we also discussed its development. It didn't just rise out of the earth (duh), it grew and changed and adapted to its inhabitants. This I felt was reflected best in the ground we walked on.

I tried every size I could, and this was the only one that would load. For anyone interested, I would be more than happy to provide the larger version.


Ariana Koblitz

Thursday, April 1, 2010

Food in New York

The food we eat on vacation indicates many things: our personal tastes and backgrounds, our personalities and willingness to try "new" things, our social standing, the culture of the place we are eating, the context of a dining situation (are we paying? are we trying to save money?), and so on. I'm missing pictures from a few meals (all the continental breakfasts at the Hilton Inn, Lunch with Mara Manus of the Film Society of Lincoln Center, and the final alumni dinner on the Upper East Side). Enjoy and reminisce!

Day 1:

Lunch: Jackson Diner (Indian Food), Jackson Heights

Dinner: The Odeon, West Broadway

Day 2:

Lunch: Manna's Soul Food, Harlem

Dinner: Thai Food, Manhattan

Day 3:

Lunch: Chelsea, with Cristin Tierney

Coffee at The Standard Hotel

Dinner: Korean Food, Koreatown

Day 4

Lunch: Chinese Bakery and Gelato, Chinatown

Dinner: Black and White cookie from Junior's Bakery, Times Square

Day 5:

Dinner: Kyotofu (Japanese Food), Lincoln Center area

Day 6:

Lunch: Pizza with Polshek Partners

Dinner: Ramen (two blocks away from The Public)

Day 6: Europa Cafe, Broadway

Dinner: Havana, Broadway

Post-Broadway Snack: