Friday, January 31, 2014

Amalie Atkins opening at MacKenzie Art Gallery with photos

This evening, Amalie Atkins, Saskatoon's preeminent fabric and film artist, had an incredible exhibition open at the MacKenzie Art Gallery. While this is a one person show, officially, she made sure to thank the dozens of people, mainly friends and family, who had joined in to help sew, construct, engineer, or film the various components of the work. She'd filled the largest of the galleries with a handful of hand made tents. Films ran inside each, sometimes viewable from the outside, sometimes only from within. She was running some of her early film work, alongside some props, as well as some new films. Just love all that red cloth. The event was nice; there are more and more kids at the MAG openings these days.
I talked with lots of people. Took a while, but I did manage to get William out of his fugue state by improvising an absurd interpretation of the metaphors of one of the films to him. He's figured out that every time we go to the MacKenzie, we get home too late to "do anything" (ie: watch tv), so I promised him an episode of Futurama, regardless of our arrival time. That also helped.

Thursday, January 30, 2014

Amalie Atkins Fever!

Margaret was able to go to the MacKenzie Art Gallery today and preview the new exhibition as it was being installed, including the new 16mm film loop by Amalie Atkins. I'm pumped to go see it tomorrow. 

Wednesday, January 29, 2014

I broke my email

waiting for William during his second piano lesson last night
I didn't really break my email, but it wasn't working well. I had a huge amount of work to do today, almost exclusively reading reports, reading student work, and reading applications, most of which was in my email. However, the Groupwise was being really ornery, not refreshing, sitting and spinning instead of going to the next message, and overall aggravating me. Therefore, even though Paul said it likely wouldn't help, I uninstalled it and tried to re install it. That is when it broke. I've not been able to re install my university email into my desktop at home all day and have had to do all my work on my tablet. 

Tuesday, January 28, 2014

Minor anger issues just don't cut it in Rumplestiltskin

In this version of the Rumplestiltskin (an "I can read it myself" or some-such-nonsense book), the ending is nearly the same as the Grimm except that when he pulls his leg, it overextends and rips his own body in two and dies. Why not remove the stomping of the foot altogether, if it isn't an actual device to destroy the villain? 

Monday, January 27, 2014

New animated art for NIC projector

I presented the NIC projector during the grad course today and cut wax paper for everyone to try to make an animated drawing to run in it. The results have potential. I would like to spend some extra time with this and perhaps make something odd and abstract. The colours are rather washed out if you just use a sharpie, so I think they need intense dyes. It seems that the registration of the two images (top and bottom) is sometimes an interesting illusion, but the alternating merged images is equally immersive. My work in progress is pictured above atop an overhead projector which I'd also been discussing, having assigned them to do a projector performance in the nature of works by Daniel Barrow, Shary Boyle, or Kara Walker. I tried to do a demo but was in very poor form today and basically broke down after 30 seconds of improvisation. Tragic. 

Sunday, January 26, 2014

HP Lovecraft as wedding planner?

William drew this picture of his future wedding. He is the cyborg on the right. The bride, who he has not yet named, is on the left. Proceeding over the ceremony is some sort of devil. Hmmm. 

Saturday, January 25, 2014

Collaboration on an ATC

Margaret was a bit behind on creating her artist trading cards this month. This morning she was working on a single finger puppet, continuing a series she did a few years ago. Instead of trading this one unit away, I created a 2.5"x3.5" mask on the scanner and then placed the puppet, along with other items, cloth, and puppets, with it. Sixteen scans later, I had made 16 completely different cards which could be printed two onto each 4x6 sheet of photographic paper, cut and traded. They look so much better printed than they do on the computer that we are thinking about doing a more ambition version together. 

woke up in undefinable pain

At 1:30 last night, I suddenly woke up with unbelievable pain. The weirdest thing was that the delirium of waking so suddenly made locating the pain momentarily impossible; I just knew I was in pain. I jumped out of bed and had to start waking up and narrowing the search. It ends up that the roof of my mouth hurt so bad that it was almost blinding (or was that because the lights were out?). Lozenges didn't work so I went downstairs with a book, got a glass of milk, and read until dozing back off, upright in an easy chair. I slept an amazing 5.5 hours, a once a year phenomenon.

Friday, January 24, 2014

too sick to talk to Diana Thorneycroft

I initially thought that, having come down with some flu or cold or something, I was going to take the day off and miss the one meeting I was scheduled for (but was not a vital contributor to). However, I realized that the fabulous Winnipeg photographer Diana Thorneycroft was doing a talk at the university as well. I loaded up on drugs and headed in. The talk was great. She introduced us to some bizarre new sculptures she is making from toy horses, melting them and replacing some of their legs with other legs. I have no photos of the occasion as, in my delirium, I forgot my camera on my desk and don't expect to retrieve it until Monday (if you are reading this in the future, you might see an image which I will probably add later). I thought it best not to make everyone else sick, so I ducked out relatively quickly after the talk.

Thursday, January 23, 2014

Installed new keypad in front door

Entering the late 20th century finally with a keypad/key deadbolt combination today. Still not going so far as to have it bluetooth enabled. Perhaps in a couple of decades, I don't like to be rushed. Margaret discovered that the Weiser lock company, which used to Canadian and a well-made product, has been bought by another company, and their smart lock system is made of lesser quality parts, so she bought a unit that the locksmiths recommended. 

Wednesday, January 22, 2014

Visions of the cold

The weather is up and down, up and down. Today is another very cold day with the house making those very loud cracking noises. I think I'm coming down with something; my throat is getting soar and I'm pretty sure I have a bit of a fever. The chimney smoke, combined with the sun sliding towards the horizon, made for some strange images just before supper. 

Tuesday, January 21, 2014

New haircut for Margaret

Radical new look for Margaret, lots of contrasts and a mischievous little smile. 

William begins piano lessons

 William started piano lessons this evening. He came home and started pecking away recognizable tunes. He's better than I was after I had taken lessons for two years. He is already having fun and satisfaction.
In a surprise coincidence, I ran into Chuck Gilhooly, an old friend from film school, who was also taking his son for a music lesson. Wow, it was great to catch up. He is an electrician now, glad that he changed careers before the tax credit was lost. 

Sunday, January 19, 2014

New stereoscopic image

I shot this image while out on a walk with William this afternoon. The weather was so great that we began climbing snow hills. I set my point and shoot canon camera to shoot in 1:1 aspect ratio (square) and used the method suggested in the Village book I bought last week where you put your weight on your right leg, shoot an image, then put your weight on your left leg to shoot the "same" image. If you print this image on 5x7" photographic paper (the top and/or bottom will be blank), you should be able to look at it with a stereoscopic viewer. Enjoy.

Saturday, January 18, 2014

William bring Necronomicon to Hogwarts party

Necronomicon by Abdul Alhazred, revised and updated edition with introduction by Tom Riddle
 Margaret and I did some east end shopping while William attended Emma's Hogwarts-themed birthday bash. The cake, made shockingly close to the Hagred cake in the first movie, was baked by Martin.William went in costume. I gave him a book of spells I ran across in a dark corner of a used book store. It called out to me and I couldn't resist it.

Thursday, January 16, 2014

Geremy tries the camera lucida

I finally remembered to bring my newest "toys" to show Geremy including the camera lucida (he drew a few lines representing the view out the conference room window) and my stereoscope. He shared my excitement over the seductiveness of the colour image I'd created for it (simple shot of puppets and paintbrushes on my desk). I show some new ones but am now more certain than ever that I need a system rather than the hit and miss style I'm using. 

Wednesday, January 15, 2014

Clues lead to attempt on my goldfish's life

I  cleaned my fish tank at lunchtime today. All four fish seemed happy as I did it. When I came home at five, I couldn't see one of them, the large brown goldfish called "Hit" (the partner of "Mist"). I thought that I'd not secured the cover of the tank correctly so I searched the floor for signs of an accidental suicide but could find nothing. Out cat was naturally curious about me on the floor so she fell under suspicion next. However, she had left no evidence so I had only a theory. Margaret came down and we studied the inside of the tank carefully with a flashlight. In case it was somehow hiding, I lifted the two hiding rocks, but there was nothing. Then I picked up the ring rock which held the plant in place and out he swam!!! I'd dropped the plant on him five hours before and he'd he stuck, waiting to die! The other fish had seemed sombre and had been sitting on the bottom, certainly aware of his plight. I hope I've not damaged him. He seems to be swimming around just fine, but his fins are in.
The attempt on his life was by me!

Tuesday, January 14, 2014

Windy and warm

It's crazy warm and windy this week. Record temperatures. Our snowmen are melting. 

Monday, January 13, 2014

stereoscope with book on sale at chapters

Nice little find this evening in the discount rack at Chapters: a book called "A Village Lost and Found" which combines a large hardcover book on early stereoscope images with an additional working replica stereoscope. Good deal for $25. 

Sunday, January 12, 2014

Heather Cline cabbage roll party and studio tour

Heather Cline studio a
 Last night I attended my first Heather Cline cabbage roll party. She's been hosting these for a few years with about 8 different people bringing cabbage rolls to be consumed, judged, and awarded. While I made no secret of the fact that I am unwilling to eat cabbage in any form, it was one of the finest get togethers I've been at in many moons. The people were all friendly and the house and art were a constant subject of interest and conversation. We got a tour of her studio as well, which has me continuing my weekend of envy. It's so great to have a dedicated and inspiring space to work in.
Heather Cline studio b

Saturday, January 11, 2014

Margaret and collage art

Margaret spent the day with Gerri Ann, Gerda, and Sharon creating some new collage work. I envy her the opportunity to participate in a collaborative collective, this seems to be something I always want to do but almost never do. I found the collage pieces Margaret did for me for my Lost Virtue, Found Images film exhibition I curated in 1999. These were photocopied in black and white for the program notes but never seen in colour. I think they are cool. (CLICK HERE TO SEE COLLAGE WORK)

Something repeated and something new at the Ngoc Van Vietnamese restaurant

Margaret and William at the Ngoc Van, January 2014
All week William has been asking to go to the Ngoc Van (Vietnamese) restaurant again. With the weather finally turning nice and an otherwise uncommitted Friday evening, we went. As fate or luck or design would have it, we were seated at the same table where Erik, Geremy, and I were seated on September 7, so I took a stitched photo similar to the one from that night. Food was good. William tried a spring roll, which he is usually averse to. This has become the restaurant which symbolizes "trying new things" for him.
Geremy and Erik in September 2013

Friday, January 10, 2014

Buy The Book twisted images

Margaret and I picked up a few more things at the great little book store, Buy The Book, which is closing down at the end of the month. She got a very heavy hardcover Dilbert book and a number of collectible mystery paperbacks from the 40s or 50s.

Thursday, January 9, 2014

William painting

William has been listening to an old BBC radio presentation of "Lord of the Rings" on 12 cassette tapes while working on an art project for school. Margaret has given him some pointers and helped him to mix his colours. It's coming along magnificently. Meanwhile Paul helped me get the student film festival website name redirected to the correct location and change the problematic light fixture in the laundry room. Thanks Paul. 

Wednesday, January 8, 2014

Roger Ing draws birds for Margaret on her birthday

Am going through some old boxes of artwork again today and found a half dozen Roger Ing paintings on paper. We don't remember him actually doing this, but the date, in his handwriting, indicates it was for Margaret on her birthday, so it was likely 1991 or 1992. I found a number of other etchings and drawings which I set aside for Margaret for her to determine the artist but surprisingly she couldn't remember the images of most, let alone the artists. 

Tuesday, January 7, 2014

Grain trailer and Grain: Seeds optical soundtrack gif

The Red Dirt International Film Festival, who programmed "Grain: Seeds" in October of last year, is profiling a different film from the festival each day on their Facebook page. It looked like the other filmmakers mostly had trailers so, even though the film is only 5 minutes long, I made a trailer for it. I used the demo music that I videotaped Erik Sirke playing on an old upright piano in the staff lounge on the second floor of the Education Building. I left his image in the standard def mode I must have shot it in (don't know what camera I used) and inserted footage from the good transfer along with overly dramatic text pages.
Video here is a cropped and 90 degree rotated version which emphasizes the image of the optical soundtrack, which I have cropped from the exhibition versions. 

Monday, January 6, 2014

Car in shop during -50 weather

On the weekend my engine light on my car came on. The car seemed to be working fine so this might just be an indicator malfunctioning from the cold, or it could be something serious. Refrained from driving yesterday. This morning it was around -50 with the windchill again (-35 without) so the car didn't want to start. Eventually the plug in warmed it up enough that I got it to the garage but they'll not have time for it until tomorrow. Spent most of my day preparing for class but the more I work, the less ready I feel. 

Sunday, January 5, 2014

William makes me a smoothie

As the winter vacation winds to an end, William has been sleeping in later and later. The other day, we he emerged from his room after noon had come and gone, I made him a nice wake up brunch with stir fry and a hot chocolate topped with whipped cream. While eating it, he vowed to make me a smoothie for breakfast the following day. He did manage to get up in the morning and made me a really great strawberry/banana smoothie using his "magic bullet". 

Saturday, January 4, 2014

New amplifier is very confusing

I spent much of the day trying to install my new Marantz receiver, finally replacing my reliable but highly outdated Yamaha amp from 1981. For most of the day I was getting no picture, only menus and sound, from the cable box. It ends up that this was probably due to it being bumped and needing to be reset from the cable office (called them late this evening). I'm not entirely convinced this is the best thing for me to do. All I really want is to have the tv sound come from a speaker and be able to adjust volume by remote. I had to buy a preamp for the turntable and I installed the reconditioned 5 disc CD player which I bought six years ago but never removed from the box. The menus on the Marantz system are overly obtuse and I fear I'll never get them quite right. 

Friday, January 3, 2014


Rudi and his turducken

We were invited to Rudi and Terri's for a magnificent turducken meal tonight, masterfully prepared by Rudi. For those not in the know, this is a chicken inside of a duck inside of a turkey, all cooked together. To serve it, the creature is split in half (down the spine, and then cut into slices so that each piece contains all three meats. I've been hearing about these for years but this is the first chance I've had to try it. I expected it to have more grease (I know that goose is quite greasy so assumed duck was as well) but it was not. Rudy made a gravy from the drippings which was served alongside but which he also saves for what he says is the best poutine. 

Thursday, January 2, 2014

Dunlop Art book project or "what I made for dinner"

I've finally returned to my book that I'm creating as part of the Dunlop art book project. I am writing about food and the various associations it has for me. It is written somewhat as a cook book, somewhat as a diary, somewhat as an obtuse letter to a distant and estranged uncle whom you never have to see face to face. 

Wednesday, January 1, 2014

Back to work on New Year's Day

It almost feels like the only correct response to the inevitable (minor) hangover on New Year's Day, but for the forth year in a row I've spent much of this first day of the year working. Classes are starting very soon and I had to hit some of the books I took out of the university library last week. Margaret and William went out, making the house quiet enough for reading, even though I'm very tempted to watch tv. I'm having a hard time articulating a realistic new years resolution but think I would like to make a series of 12 films, one per month. Short but with more care and substance than my daily films. I would also like to read more, perhaps taking one morning per week to take on a challenging academic article or book chapter.
We did not go to Gertrud's for crepes but instead had leftover Saskatoon pie and whipped cream (awesome combination). Image above is from last night, William moving around the room with a balloon on his head, set of images stitched together.