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ITP Classes (old posts, page 3)

Anri Sala

Anri Sala (b. 1974) is an Albanian-born artist who uses video and sound to create complex works of art that emanate from the painful history of his home country and its Communist past. His work demonstrates careful attention to detail and a sophistication of thought and subtlety.

Sala studied painting at the Albanian National Academy of Arts from 1992 to 1996 and later studied video in Paris, France at the École Nationale Supérieure des Arts Décoratifs from 1996 to 1998. His pivotal work, Intervista—Finding the Words (1998), was made when he was still a film student in Paris. To produce this work he found 25-year old video footage featuring his own mother at a Communist rally in Albania. The found footage had no audio so neither he nor his mother had any idea what was being said. He then was able to get a deaf person skilled at lip reading to watch the video and recreate the transcript. Using the transcript he could tell his mother what she said. Her reaction to her own words was one of shock and disbelief. Anri said of his mother’s words, “if you hear it 25 years later you are surprised and saddened by the stiffness of the language.” The work confronts Albania’s painful history in a powerful way.

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Nick Mauss: Transmissions

Nick Mauss (b. 1980) is a multidisciplinary artist who makes performance art, drawings, and paintings. His career pursues a hybrid role of artist, curator, and scholar. His exhibition at The Whitney, Transmissions, demonstrates this as he explores the relationship between ballet and avant-garde visual artists from the 1930’s to the 1950’s.

Mauss graduated from Cooper Union in 2003 and now lives and works in New York and Berlin. He has taught art at Hochschule für Bildende Künste in Germany and Bard College in New York.

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Bill Viola: Moving Stillness

Bill Viola (b. 1951) is an NY-born video artist whose work addresses fundamental human experiences such as birth, death, and consciousness. His work frequently uses water to explore these themes.

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The pivotal moment in Viola’s life is when he was 6 years old and fell to the bottom of a lake. His uncle saved him from drowning, but while in the lake Viola experienced what he later described as “the most beautiful world he’s ever seen.” His work, which often involves water, is influenced by this experience. In his words, “I see it [the bottom of the lake] constantly almost in my mind in my mind's eye. It was a kind of paradise…”

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Midterm Status

Our class is half over and it is time for our midterm full-class feedback session. I've made a lot of progress recently and am excited to share my work with my fellow students. I will definitely achieve my original goals for this class, however, if that's the only thing I do with this, it would be a crime. This project is absolutely going to live on long after this class is over.

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Minimalist Composers of the 1960s and 70s

The 60's and 70's brought about significant changes in the kind of music being written by composers. This was partly motivated by advances in technology. There was a growing influence of non-western cultures. Composers were also turning away from traditional institutions and schools of thought for leadership and artistic vision.

I worked with fellow student Ethan Helm to create a short presentation on Minimalist Composers of the 60's and 70's. He is a saxophonist and composer and knows a lot more about music than I do. Collaborating with him on this was educational. You can find the presentation here.

Towel Rack

For my midterm project I created this towel rack for my apartment:

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This is a double towel rack with 1 1/8" diameter bars for the towels. I specifically wanted thicker bars because I thought it would help keep the two sides of the towel from touching each other, facilitating drying. It also happens that the only place in my bathroom where I could possibly put a towel rack is in a location between the shower and the door that is a little bit less than 25" wide. Most towel racks I could buy at the store with 24" bars are too wide to fit in that space. Towel racks with 18" bars are too small for my towels. My current towel rack is a cheap wooden towel rack with a 24" bar that I bought at the store that I trimmed to be slightly shorter using the sander in the shop. I'm excited to soon replace it with this one.

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Data Assembly Complete

Milestone #2: Data Assembly

I'm comfortable saying I've completed this milestone. I've finished all the major features and have a nice interface for interacting with the downloaded data.

There are a few minor issues but none require a lot of time or brainpower to implement. Mostly nice-to-have enhancements like better error checking in my code that I feel compelled to do but aren't critical right now. I'll complete them as time allows.

The important thing is that I can now begin downloading the data I need without fear that I will need to download everything a second time later.

I made an interactive tool in matplotlib to visualize a spatial map of the locations I've downloaded data for. It looks like this:

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Test Holes

My midterm project is going to be a CNC'ed towel rack. Last week I did some experimenting with CNC'ed joints so I could learn about the proper tolerances for the joints suitable in my design. This week I bought materials and did some test cuts. I wanted to know what sized hole would be best for the towel rod. I also wanted to see what sized hole would be best for the wooden screw hole buttons I bought. I'll need those to cover up the screws used to attach the towel rack to the wall.

The procedure is simple: make a bunch of holes with slightly different diameters and test them out. The experiment was a success. I'll incorporate these results into the design and will CNC the final product later this week.

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