Archive for June, 2006

Some conferences are just so delicious they make me drool. Take d.Construct 2006 coming up September 8th in Brighton. The speaker list includes:

I’m very inspired by my work. Most every day I have the opportunity to make the web a more universally accessible place and I revel in the deep meaning I find in creating a museum without walls. But today I was really struck by Sarah McLachlan’s World on Fire video that took the $148,270 it would have taken to make a fancy music video and spent every dime of it on helping people who are starving, sick, homeless and alone. (thanks to Andy Greer for sharing this with me)

And a few weeks back at Net2 I met a roomful of people who dedicate their lives to making the world a better place. I had the great fortune of sitting down next to Ivan Boothe who is the Director of Communications for the Genocide Intervention Network. Sad to say, in my protected world, I had no real concept of what was happening to people in Dafur. Ivan asks the questions “Can blogging stop genocide?

It is humbling for me to see people like Sarah and Ivan using their energy to help others in such great need. And it reminds me how important it is to ask myself…”what was I built for? how can I make a difference?”

Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, commited people can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has.” – Margaret Mead

unadorned canvas with a slit cut down the middle at a slight angle

How is it that a museum can touch me so deeply? Perhaps it is because I’m still new to the adventure that contemporary art offers. Where an initial impression might be “Dear Lord, what is that?” or perhaps a good hard laugh…like when I approached Spatial Concept ‘Waiting’ by Lucio Fontana.

Honestly, a slashed canvas didn’t move me. But, armed with an Antenna Audio PDA, I dove into the interpretation…and discovered a doorway in. Simplicity, movement, sculpture, opening, opportunity…the hole became a portal to my future. And I knew, with all my heart…that when given that small window…I’m ready to look, listen, taste, consider and leap.

large egglike sculpture with a vertical opening.  white on outside, reflective deep red, almost black on the inside

And while bonding with “Waiting” required a little interpretive help from the PDA…my connection to Anish Kapoor’s Ishi’s Light 2003 was instant. I didn’t need to know the title or have anyone tell me what this work might mean…I understood instinctually…as though the piece spoke directly to my soul. When I resonate with a work of art like this, it is as though I have found completeness. My mind clears and I feel as though I’ve been filled with light. I could stay there all day…but realize I don’t need to…because once I’ve experience a work on this level…it becomes a part of me.

I wonder if the energy I feel pouring off Ishi’s Light comes directly from the artist…or if the work actually absorbs and reflects the élan of all the souls that have communed with it.

So, what about you? Have you ever “fallen into a work of art with all of your being”? Do you ever connect with a piece without knowing anything about it? Have you ever initially rejected a work as junk only to fall in love with it later? Tell me…I want to know.

Just a quick note to say I’m headed to Europe for adventure, romance and museum technology. You just knew I couldn’t plan a vacation without a geek moment!

First stop…Belgium…where I plan to soak in the ambiance and spend deliciously lazy days with my sweetheart…then off to London for a conference at the Tate Modern, Help at Hand. And as luck would have it, I’ll be in town just long enough to meet up with the folks headed to @Media and NotMedia.

On my list of important things to do:

  • Buy Matt Robin as many pints as he wants (for being such a prince and sending me a JoshuaInk badge)
  • Meet (in person) the wonderful people I’ve gotten to know online this year including the famous #$%@caster.
  • Give all my SXSW friends a great big huuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuug! (who knew I would only have to wait three months to get a hicks fix?)

I’m all about universal accessibility. I get a real jolt when I can break down barriers between people and information. But a colleague asked me a question today that has me perplexed.

How do I caption a work of art that is a video? If I caption a video installation, am I changing the work of art? Does seeing a caption at the bottom of the video affect the intent and desire of the original artist of that video?

How can I provide the captioning and audio description to people who want/need it while still maintaining the integrity of the work of art?

I want to know what you think? Don’t be shy!