Friday, September 23, 2011

Joseph Nechvatal: Immersion Into Noise [171]

Joseph Nechvatal, School of Visual Art professor and participant in A Book About Death (notably his video Viral Symphony shown at MUBE in São Paulo, Brazil) has just released a new book: Immersion Into Noise.

The artist and author has pre-released the book in an HTML version, which is offered here: Immersion Into Noise.

The book touches upon the enormous subject of "cultural noise" in all its manifestations – from the metaphorical to the actual. And yes, there's a bit of Jimi Hendrix in this book as well, plus a full on wrestling match with the whole idea of an "aesthetics of noise." 

Nechvatal writes in his preface: "The notion of noise as creation itself is thus an important one that needs to be reconsidered and reevaluted."

NB: The series publisher Open Humanities Press in conjunction with the University of Michigan Library's Scholarly Publishing Office will release the print and downloadable e-book versions.

Saturday, September 10, 2011


E. Sherman Hayman thrilled us two years ago today at the opening of the A Book About Death exhibition in New York City with her delicately-made tiny coffins that quietly paid homage to the celebrated and famous (and cult ideas) in an off beat way that both tantalized and fascinated.

Wonderfully obsessive in their miniature detail and art world take on fashion, these magical little boxes took on life and culture as well as the taboo of death.

The artist (who goes by the name "Mur") will exhibit these works in Thanatos to Eros at the Lake Eustis Museum of Art in Eustis, Florida later this month.  The exhibition runs from September 30 through October 30.

More information on the work (and more images) as well as the exhibition can be found here: Mur Hayman's Tribute Caskets and on Mur Hayman's web site.

Thursday, September 8, 2011

Olivier Allais (1954-2011) [168]

On September 1, 2011 we lost a very close and dear friend, Olivier Allais. I say "we" because there were hundreds of people at the services for Olivier yesterday (September 7) here in Paris and many more from around the world who were blessed with the presence of this gentle and beautiful man.

Olivier was like a big brother to me, but also to these many friends he had around the world from Australia to New York to China to Brazil. His was a spiritual quest and his project was the route he took and the people he collected along the way (including me). He knew both how to offer love and maybe more importantly, how to receive it. He was an articulate listener, a curious traveler and a friend with a seeming endless reservoir of love. While Olivier's ashes are interred at Pere Lachaise in Paris, his presence is literally spread across the planet.

A French man with an appetite for the world, Olivier spent several years in China and in early 2010 asked me about putting together an exhibition of A Book About Death in Beijing where he had many contacts with artists, curators and museum directors. A long SKYPE conversation with ABAD artist Alessandro Rolandi and Olivier from Beijing began the process of developing mirror sites for the main web pages of ABAD in China (the pages you are now reading are blocked in Beijing) and proposals for various museums and art centers in China. And while Olivier wasn't a contributing artist to the project, it intrigued him personally. We spent hours discussing the project in all its manifestations and possibilities.

However Olivier's health prevented him from moving forward as quickly as he wanted to for an exhibition. And his heart, simply, could no longer support his eagerness for this world.

On his FaceBook page in the "About Olivier" section he reminded us of what the journey was all about when he wrote: "Exploring the now."

It is hard to say we lost a great friend when we feel him with us, but we will miss his gentle touch and generous presence.  With love, Olivier, we celebrate your life.