Sunday, November 3, 2013

Shopping Carts

Here's what happens in the summer when you're working on a ridiculously extensive* basement remodel: you struggle to find time to make work.

In the face of a stagnant summer in the studio (mostly because it's full of furniture and tchotchkes belonging to the portion of the basement under remodel), I discovered that I could come up with ideas and make work in the strangest of places and at the strangest of times.

Enter the shopping cart project.

Earlier this year, our local Safeway put number stickers on all of its shopping carts. Why? Perhaps it's a way of tracking their carts in case they are stolen by pesky college students. ("Dude, let's ride this thing!") Or perhaps it's how they identify carts that wind up in the Safeway cart repair garage. ("Cart 85 needs a lube job on its front passenger wheel.")

Whatever the reason, each time I went to Safeway, I pulled out my phone and photographed the labels of the carts I was using.

There's no rhyme or reason to the motivation for this "project." For the moment it means very little. But I happened to stockpile a couple dozen images from which to draw from or find inspiration. Or maybe I'll craft the project into something larger once the basement is complete.

Either way, the challenge of creating images within a busy schedule—not to mention creating interesting images from nearly the same compositional perspective in every shot—was a welcome, if temporary, replacement to the challenges encountered when rewiring, hanging drywall, or installing an egress window.

* By "ridiculously extensive," I mean it's a lot of work because you're going the cheap route and doing it all yourself. For the pros, this the whole thing would've been a six-day job.

Friday, November 1, 2013

From Digital to Physical

With every passing year and an increasing amount of publications that discuss humanity's transition and total immersion in the digital realm, I long for the days in the future where we move away from the hyperspecific, hyperreal arena of the digital domain and back to physical reality.

Perhaps this will occur as a trend that becomes "hip" among a select few. As a meme, notions of physical reality will reappear as some folks choose to "tune out" or go back to the "retro" days of physical media and property. Compact discs will come back, stores will stock them and people will buy them. They'll be the hip thing like the vinyl resurgence—that started in 2008 or so—was (and still is, to some extent). People will write letters. (Perhaps even the postal service will make money again.)

This retro impulse will leave us all more focused on one thing at a time. Instead of streaming video while ordering pizza while Facetiming while Facebooking while tweeting, we might actually live in actual moments. We'll focus more on the things around us. We'll see leaves fall to the ground. We'll feel the booklet that came with the album. We'll see art in person instead of looking at virtual museums online.

And, in this future, we'll be open to more of the world around us because the physical world allows for more distraction rather than less.

We'll become better. We'll become smarter.