Nanoart in the Silicon Valley

4 Nov

I decided to dedicate a day to Silicon Valley. The main mission was to visit the Zero1 biennial and it’s central place, the Garage in San José I am always excited about transdisciplinary projects and about seeing how artistic creativity can be applied to “real world” innovation challenges. So, the Zero 1 biennial, a showcase of works at the nexus of art and technology, was definitely a must-see for me. Another reason for the visit was that I know one of the curators, Michelle Kasprzak. When we met at the last IKT Congress, she was very enthusiastic about this project.

I learnt a lot during the visit, among other things about nano art. This is a new discipline located at the intersection of art, science, and technology and it plays on the aesthetic paradox of exposing ideas, concepts, and artworks that cannot be seen. Wow!


Nano art is here! At the biennial  Frederik de Wilde presents Hostage prototype 1.0 (2010), Scan (2010), and V01D-1 (2012), all entirely nano-engineered art works.  The artworks are “grown” from atomic-sized particles, their surfaces consisting of carbon nanotubes that almost completely absorb light and transform it into heat, making them the darkest artworks in the world…

There were other interesting things as well on the way to and back from San José.  We visited the Stanford campus and the Cantor Arts Center  They have a big Rodin collection and a fantastic Serra sculpture in the garden.



It turned out that Antonia – a 2nd year student who accompanied me to the trip – and myself are both “secret nerds,” so we ended up visiting other cult places as well: Apple and Google HQ (riding Google bikes was one of the highlights of the day!), Steve Jobs’ house and most importantly the birthplace of Silicon Valley: the Hewlett-Packard garage in Palo Alto. Antonia is very much into internet-based art and she deals a lot with questions of virtuality and reality. It was truly fascinating to hear about her ambitious project plans.

Funny fact for the end of this post: Cupertino-effect

More comments in the photo library!

Google bikes,  Mountain View, CA


Autumn in Palo Alto, CA


The birthplace of Silicon Valley, Palo Alto, CA


two nerds at the Hewlett-Packard Garage, Palo Alto, CA


Hewlett-Packard Garage, Palo Alto, CA


Steve Jobs’ house and the apple trees in his garden (Palo Alto, CA)


Better later than never! Report from NOLA

2 Nov

My time in NOLA is passing so quickly! There is definitely something with time here. This is the Northern Carribean after all, right? The city is mesmerizing and I met so many wonderful people here. I immediatelly fell in love with NOLA.

Shelley Boles, director of residencies at my host institution Joan Mitchell Center (JMC) – a new initiative of Joan Mitchell Foundation from New York – made me feel very welcome and JMC at Bayou Road is itself an amazing place, way beyond any expectations towards how comfortable the residency center could be. They will soon open a regular residency program first for American and then international artists.


Entrance to the Joan Mitchell Center at Bayou Road

I was very lucky as my explorations of the artscene begun already on the second day of my stay and I was from the beginning on the right track. On Friday October 13th I visited a very interesting and promising new independent space May Gallery & Residency run by Keene Kooper, for an opening of exhibition of Derek Larson and afterwards was immediately taken to the home parties with live music and very good food!

Every second Saturday of the month local artists co-ops who run exhibition spaces around St Claude Avenue in Faubourg Marigny – which seems to be the most hot art neighborhood in the city at this moment – organize joint openings. Local scene is very well self-organized. Artists are renting the spaces, share the loan and make shifts arranging their monthly shows. I visited Good Children Gallery , The Front, Staple Goods, Barrister’s Gallery and Home Space and later during my stay I had plenty of studio visits and meetings with the circle of artists from these organizatons.

My first days passed under the banner of New Orleans Film Festival and it’s guest renowned independent filmmaker and artist from Philippines Kidlat Tahimik. Kidlat was invited by a young filmmaker and curator Blake Bertucelli and hosted by JMC just next door to my room. It enabled me to spend hours on discussions with Kidlat who is a great artist and a very inspiring persona.


With Blake Bertucelli and Kidlat Tahimik

I had a chance to see his first film “Perfumed Nightmare” at Zeitgeist cinema, screened from 16mm projector (!) and followed by unforgettable live performance by Kidlat. New Orleans Film Festival closing party featured a live set by amazing DJ Spooky. What a night!


Poster for Kidlat Tahimik’s “Perfumed Nightmare”

In the first week of my stay I decided to meet with local curators and theoreticians. I started with Amanda Brinkman and Cameron Shaw running Pelican Bomb and The Drop. In the following days I met Angela Berry who assisted ex-curator of Contemporary Art Center (CAC) Amy Mackie as well as Miranda Lash, curator of contemporary art at NOMA (New Orleans Museum of Art) and freelance curator Emily Wilkerson. All these meetings gave me good insight into the artistic scene and enabled me to build an intense program of studio visits. In the meantime JMC organized a wonderful dinner for me and visiting curator and artist at JMC Victor Davson which was a good chance to meet the local scene over exquisite Lebanese delicacies.


Dinner with local professionals and artists at Joan Mitchell Center

On Sunday 21st of October I participated for the first time in second line – amazing street parade and vigorous walking and dancing party accompanied by the best live music, happening every Sunday in different neighbourhood of NOLA. The intensity of experience cannot be described in words. This is the true spirit of New Orleans. Diversity and inclusiveness of this event gives good sense of what means the community here. The motto of every parade is “Leave your weapons and troubles at home”. Second line became my every Sunday priority.


Second Line in Uptown NOLA

I also made tours of the city with local practicioners and new friends. Architect Sergio Padilla gave me a tour of Lower 9th Ward, the neighbourhood which suffered the most during the Storm (Katrina). I visited Grocery Store For a Day project and also Brad Pitt’s Make it Right – new housing project with houses designed by some of the world’ most renowned architects (like Frank Gehry).


Grocery Store for a Day in Lower 9th Ward


Architect Sergio Padilla


One of the modern houses built by Make it Right in Lower 9th Ward


This is where the levees broke and houses were taken by the water leaving only a painful concrete scar marking the place where used to be a house, Lower 9th Ward

Artist Jim Richard invited me to visit his wonderful studio where we sat over the best Po-boy in town – brought from Sammy’s. This studio visit was followed by a tour to the lake area neighborhoods.


At Jim Richard’s studio

Young photographer of Polish descent Weronika Hartowicz took me on the canoeing trip with her friends to the swamps. Swamps are rapidly vanishing and New Orleans becomes a coastal city what cause big concerns about it’s future.


Into the swamps

I very appreciated a visit to a small Backstreet Museum. Situated in the typical “shotgun” home this small institution preserves and presents Mardi Gras costumes which are normally used only once and paraphrenalia of Second Line and Jazz Funerals.


View of one of the rooms of Backstreet Museum in Treme

I had plenty of very interresting meetings and studio visits with artists Nina Schwansee, Stephen Collier, Dan Tague, Sophie Lvoff (Good Children); Angela Berry, Dave Greber, Kyle Bravo (The Front); Margot Walsh – running Parse gallery, Hannah Chalew, Margaret Hull (T-lot), Delaney Martin, Wesley Stokes, Bob Snead and Avery Lawrence. More to come!


Avery Lawrence at his studio


Margot Walsh in front of her gallery Parse

I also had a chance to participate in the joint project by FEEST and Renessaince Project concentrated around topics of food justice including a culinary session where we prepared the famous cajun dish gumbo. All this was happening at JMC.


Cooking famous gumbo at JMC kitchen

And last but not least – I participated for the first time in Halloween party, which especially in New Orleans is very, very crazy! But all begun with helping kids costuming with my amazing friend and artist based in New Orleans Jackie Sumell.


Kids in Halloween outfits posing in front of Jackie’s house

More soon!

Aside 30 Oct

Today was my best day in Durham, had a lunch meeting with Full Frame Film Festival and had presentation and excellent screen of our latest documentary, MOHTARAMA, I’m happy that people interest the movie and they clapped and cheered for several minutes. I’m so happy for that. The first screening was great.



Presentation in CDS


Screening  in CDS



Lunch with Full Frame staff


With Full Frame staff

Adventures in San Francisco

30 Oct

Dear All,

After my first few days in San Francisco, I began to set up meetings with local colleagues and to visit some of the different museums and galleries here; meanwhile CCA and the students helped me discover many fascinating programs as well.

One of them was a lecture by Matei Bejenaru, an artist, curator, and the initiator of the Periferic Biennial in Romania ( We knew each other from before, and after the lecture we went to dinner with some CCA faculty members: Elizabeth Thomas, Joanna Szupinska, and Julian Myers. (See all of them here: The balanced proportion of US and Central and/or Eastern European people around the table (Joanna is from L.A but has Polish origins) led to a very interesting discussion about the current climate in our countries and the structure and tendencies of the art fields as well.

We also talked about several artists from the region. As a consequence I was invited to participate in Julian Myers’s class the next day where he screened a video work by Artur Zmijewski. I truly enjoyed his ‘Curatorial Critique’ class–it was very productive, and I was impressed again by the lively discussion and sharp, critical thinking of the students. It seemed that my obviously different perspective on an Eastern European artist  was interesting for them to learn more about as well .

Because the structure of my program is quite free here, I can decide how to spend my time based on my own interest. Naturally I discuss my ideas with Leigh, who provides me with many suggestions and connects me with people. I absolutely like this freedom, and have been organizing lots of individual meetings and visits – I am sometimes even a bit overambitious with the scheduling here, but I wish to get the most out of these 5 weeks. (More about these individual meetings in my next post!)

In addition to all this, the students invite me to different programs which we attend together in smaller groups of 3 or 4. These programs vary from museum visits to excursions to the mountains. What is common in them is that they provide a very informal atmosphere, and this facilitates more relaxed, personalized, and deeper exchanges with them. Here are the students profiles:

Lorain, a first-year student, introduced me the CCA campus and the Wattis Institue, and we also had an accidental studio visit at an MFA student’s studio. Lorain is from Phoenix and is primarily interested in site-specific installations, light and sound installations, so I mentioned Ana’s work to her.

Leila and two French students, Marion and Pierre-Francois, took me to the De Young museum in the Golden Gate Park. Together with the Legion of Honor in Lincoln Park, this is the largest public arts institution in the City of San Francisco. Its new building opened in 2005 and was designed by the Swiss architectural firm Herzog & de Meuron. It well worth having a look at the photo!

During this visit we learned a lot from Leila, who is from Texas, about  American art and her collaboration with Creative Time. Connected to the museum’s modernist exhibition, Marion explained her view on the French modernists, while the Danny Lyon show triggered an exchange on documentary photography and photographers with Hungarian origins like Brassai, Robert Capa, André Kertész, and Martin Munkácsi. See more about the show here:

The outdoor Sculpture Garden of the museum houses works by Joan Miró, Louise Nevelson, Isamu Noguchi, Claes Oldenburg among others. Our favorite was definitely James Turrell’s site-specific installation.

Later we walked a bit around the Golden Gate Park, which hosts the Academy of Sciences. Its cutting-edge building is considered to be one of the greenest museums in the world! I have to visit it next time!

Festival For All Skid Row Artists 2012

29 Oct

I had another very interesting day in Los Angeles. I was invited to the 3rd annual Festival for All Skid Row Artists on Saturday and Sunday, October 20 and 21 from 12 till 4 PM in Gladys Park, at the corner of 6th Street and Gladys Avenue in Skid Row, where neighborhood artists performed and exhibited their works and music, a lot of nice music.



John and Henriette, co-organizers of the LAPD workshop (artist and 18th Street Arts Center resident) picked me up and took to the Festival place. I was engaged in setting and preparing for the festival and met many interesting people. They introduced me to Hayk Makhmuryan who had Armenian origin and worked for Lamp Community as fine arts coordinator.

Hayk Makhmuryan and me are hanging the poster-painting.


I was assisting him during the festival. We talked a lot about the mutual interest in organizing outside art events, community engaged and community based events and about its necessity both in US and Armenia and in all other couriers as well.

Community artists near their booth.

It was open for the children from the community, too.

Later we had diner in China Town, LA with the group of organizers and volunteers.

During the diner in China Town; left to right; Hohn Malpede, me and Hayk Makhmuryan

That was great meeting John, Henriette and Hayk, since we found mutual interest what we were doing in our art practices and promised to have a meeting later and discuss how we can collaborate in the future.

The 13th of October was very busy and productive day 2!

27 Oct

Later Karen Mack took me to another arts center called “Inner City Arts” where I was introduced what kind of community engaged and based activities usually they held.

A running workshop in the In Inner-City Arts center

Afterwards Beth Peterson took me to the other arts organizations which were working in the same concept. We visited “Self Help Graphics and Art” center exactly the time when they were holding a workshop for the community, building toys and different kind of staff preparing for the celebration Halloween.

Me in Self Help Graphics and Art center talking to one of the masters of papier-mâché.

During the workshop for community members.

Afterwards Beth drove for me to the Avenue 50 Studio, where she introduced me to the director of the gallery Kathy Mas. That was another interesting venue and I liked that they usually organized exhibitions round some topic. Current show for instance was about the valance of police in the USA.
We did exchange of contacts and talked about the mutual interest to collaborate maybe somehow in the future.

So, the 13th of October was very busy and productive day!

The 13th of October was very busy and productive day!

27 Oct


My residency agenda has been started from the 13th October, 2012 and until now I have had many interesting meetings and visiting arts organizations in Los Angeles. In 13th October, Jan, executive director of the 18th Street Arts center took me to the St. Elmo Village which is a residency center that realizes community based art projects working with different social groups in the community. Roderick Sykes guided me over the village telling also the story how it was founded and expended. Everything was about “Love”. Love to the work what one is doing. I could feel that love and dedication to that space and goal what Elmo people were doing.

Roderick is telling about foundation of the village.

In one of the workshop room.

St. Elmo Village with the children attending the workshop.