Hello!

Hello and welcome. My name is Stephen Black and I work with media, words and art. Media: VR, computer-generated environments,video and photography. Words: articles and books, including Bali Wave Ghost, I Ate Tiong Bahru, Obama Search Words and a few others.

This post is gives you some idea of my current projects.

Thank you for stopping by.

Stephen Black
I Ate Tiong Bahru 2 crowdfunding page…

physical laborers

black and white image of man dropping vase

Ai Wewei, Yesim Agaoglu, Stephen Black, Eugene Soh collaboration in gallery.sg

Jeff Koons Balloon Dog in SPOKEN

Nhung: Floating

low tech in hi tech

Works created with ink

two men smiling

If one person can be said to symbolize the Tiong Bahru Market, it might be this guy in the hat…

SB & 3D (Why I’m excited to be in Eugene Soh’s virtual gallery project)

THIS post was written before SPOKEN started. SPOKEN is a project I am doing with Eugene Soh, an experiment in which art, text, virtual reality and social media intersect. Learn about SPOKEN here.

To enter gallery.sg and experience SPOKEN, click here.
Here is the extremely short version: from 2002 until 2008 I was involved with a visionary virtual reality project that combined educational practices with gamemaking and multimedia. However, the spiritual captain of the project was part Disney, part Microsoft and part Sex Pistols. An unexpected death, treachery, incompetence, inexperience, bureaucratic boondoggles and more made my life “interesting”… I have pages of notes about the events and the spirit of the times. We were doing things like Youtube and Second Life before they started. The project was so close… and yet so far away. (Actually, now that mobile technology has settled down, I hope that the lessons and products of that experience can be revitalized. But that’s yet another story.)
In 2006, as a way of showcasing our technology,  I entered a gamemaking hackathon. A theme was given on a Thursday morning and the next day at five the results were judged.The theme was something about healthy eating, I think. Working with my programmer in Hong Kong, we made a game in which the viewer learned about the calorie count of certain foods. The player competed with an AI character.  It was fun to do.
However, what I remember most was a team that made an incredible flash game. I don’t remember if they won or not, but I do remember two guys on that team very well. George Parel and Eugene Soh were full of energy, knowledge and bursting with creative ideas.
They still are.
I’ve been lucky to work with George and Eugene on a few projects since then. In 2008 I finally had to put the educational gamemaking project on hold while I waited for a programmer and the mobile device situation to stabilize.I put more time into writing and art projects. George and Eugene (that dude from Singapore) however, have kept on doing remarkably creative things with IT, art, design and more.
Virtual reality may seem to be an artificial place, but the gallery Eugene has created fills me with memories and hope. I am honored and very thankful for I Ate Tiong Bahru to be on display in gallery.sg
IATB in virtual gallery
Cheers, Eugene! Cheers, George!

Ebooks: Born to Click (1 of 3)

Preface

This informal essay is my way of marking the end of a certain era in ebook history. It’s part snapshot, part reference materials, part journal.At the end of this post are notes about me, my experiences and my books.
Thanks to Doug Rolph for his insights on economics, Eric Hellman for his input and my dad for having taken care of our family by selling books.

το πνεύμα του Ιανού

After I finish writing eight books, I will begin marketing. Until then, I’ll probably study the ebook world less and hopefully do more writing, arting and engaging with Life. When it does comes time for me to contribute to the marketing conversation, I hope I have something to say. For now, I present the following notes, quotes and thoughts as a means of punctuating a phase in the development of ebooks as I have seen and experienced it.

This is an exciting time. The ebook delivery platforms are finally stable, self-publishing has proven to have great value and a number of services have recently appeared that shorten the distances between readers and authors. It seems to me that indie ebooks and ebook marketing are about to enter a new era.

This blog post makes little mention of traditional publishing. This is simply because, as much as I would like to enjoy the benefits of being a Big 5/6 author, that fruit is not now within my reach. I am however, considering joining the Author’s Guild.

Although I’ve done almost no marketing, I have studied the environments in which ebooks are created, presented, bought and sold. Some observations:

1. Except for uploading, nothing about ebooks is easy.
Writing is the anti-social social media, full of long, long hours of pressure-filled solitude. Assembling an error-free book is never simple. The social part, finding an audience, is an immense challenge. I respect all of the authors mentioned in this post for they have successfully met these challenges and more.

Talent is cheaper than table salt. What separates the talented individual from the successful one is a lot of hard work.
Stephen King

Based on my experiences, the work breakdown of an 88,000 word novel looks something like this: 1000 words a day (88 days) or, more likely, 500 words a day (176 days). Call it 200 days to prepare something for a proofreader. Two months for corrections, art, and ebook conversion. So, a book takes about 300 working days to finalize. About…
And then there are the thousands of actions needed to connect with readers… The title of Guy Kawasaki’s excellent book says it all: APE, meaning Author, Publisher, Entrepreneur

This document, by Mark Coker, the founder of Smashwords, is a data-based analysis of the ebook market. Highly recommended, it covers topics important for newbies and veterans. It touches upon issues like word count, pricing, marketing and more. For instance, his research shows that the average bestseller on Smashwords is 100,000 words, and the average romance is 112,195 words. (There are more links to resources at the end of this post.)
Very few traditionally published authors became bestsellers; the same is true for ebook publishing. My goal is not to become a bestseller, but to connect with the largest possible community of people who enjoy the art of reading.

2. A great writer or a great marketer…
….or, the frustration of being caught between not doing enough writing and not doing enough marketing. A writer writes, a salesman sells.
Self-publishing does not equal self-marketing. Spending money wisely on promotion money means income and time to write. (See the links below)
Twitter, Goodreads, FB, LinkedIn and blogging? All have their advantages and disadvantages…

3. There are no independent, hugely successful ebook-only self-publishers.
Note: Two days after this post went up, I became aware of this great piece by Dana Beth Weinberg on Digital Book World. Thank you Jacqueline Church!

Amazon is huge, Apple is huge, Kobo and Smashwords are very big. Unless you are selling from your own website or the back of your car, you’re not truly independent.

OK, A bit of an attention grabber there…but the author’s need for a partnership with Amazon and ebook distributors is a dependence that cannot be overlooked. These “automatic partners” will always protect their interests first. They call the shots. Amazon is a business, not an author.

Amanda Hocking is a hugely successful author. At one point, the average daily sales figure of her self-published ebooks was 9000. Again: average DAILY book sales: nine thousand! Her success was based on hard work, technological first mover advantage and an indirect tie-in with Hollywood.
Consider:
-the successful and pioneering integration of ebook readers into tablets and mobile as well as the launch of the Kindle (2007) and the iPad(2010)
-the large demographic of young women who bought readers and tablets
– the fact that, having written many books, Hocking could quickly provide a new and large market with a variety of new titles
– writing books about the paranormal when Hollywood is pushing the same cannot hurt. Twilight, the hugely successful series of movies about teen vampires began in 2008. Hocking’s first book, My Blood Approves, began selling in 2010.

E.L. James’ book phenomenon began in the fan fiction chat rooms for Twilight. The characters in Fifty Shades of Grey were originally the characters from Twilight. Could Master of the Universe, as her series was originally called, have achieved its success without an existing network of thousands of Twilight fans?

These two women made their mark upon society in two different ways. As shared, collective book-based experiences: WOW!
However, the writing is…”not terrible” or worse

I remember SF/F authors complaining (back in 2011) that their readers hadn’t switched to e-books yet, casting jealous eyes at the outsized romance audience. But as readers did move across, we saw people like David Dalglish and BV Larson breaking out, and the rest of “genre” fiction soon followed.
http://davidgaughran.wordpress.com/2013/10/22/amazon-makes-life-easier-for-authors-of-historical-literary-fiction/

There are “indie success stories” about authors who “rode into town” on the backs of traditional publishing. Funded by Big 6 money these “indies” were advertised and publicized, sent on book tours and given things like business cards. Possibly, audiobooks were made. Hundreds, if not thousands, of their books were given away, many to reviewers.
As the ‘first mover’possibilities of the ebook market became clear and realistic, these authors, knighted by the Big 6 and armed with credibility and connections, rode onto a battlefield with little opposition… Undoubtedly hard work was involved, but to label them as indies brings to mind the quip about George Bush: “…was born on third base and thinks he hit a triple.”

There certainly are “ebook only” indies connecting with many readers and enjoying sales. I just don’t know of any. (FOUND SOMEONE: LINDSAY BUROKER Please tell me about others! them! Somewhat related to this, are there any “ebook only” awards?

Here, authors talk about their sales experiences.

4. The ebook world evolves to reward the reader; the prepared author benefits from this.
Fan fiction. Goodreads. Ebook readers on mobile phones. The mashup between big data and metadata. Entrepreneurs with vision who see ways to connect authors and readers in a new ways.

It is an exciting time.

Ebooks: Born to Click, Part 2 of 3

visit www.blacksteps.tv for parts 2 and 3 of this post, as well as information on art, books and ebooks

 

Interactive Fiction: It’s All Data

It’s all data is a phrase that I’ve thought about for quite a while. With every fresh sunrise in the digital era, the walls between categories have been melting, becoming pools that are constantly expanding. What were once rigid divisions between categories have become places of possibilities, where different types of data can interact. There are hundreds, if not thousands of examples, but Smab is a great one. I enjoy SMAB’s tagline: Are you ready to listen with your eyes?

Interactive Fiction!

From a reddit post:

Because of its status as outsider art, most of the authors are independent freelancers who are in it more for art than any glory. If you’re interested in working with people from the IF community, there is a forum at intfiction.org where you can discuss theory or find collaborators. Also, most of the very top programmers frequent euphoria.io/room/if, including people like Emily Short, who has been the top author and the face of IF for 2 decades.

I am now excited about starting my first piece of interactive fiction. It seems that I can use my experiences as a writer, an artist, a gamemaker and a music producer.At the moment, the themes are self-discovery and the facts surrounding an undiscovered 1921 painting by Picasso.

This is the first of a series of posts about the possibilities and challenges of music in the An Authentic Picasso project.

Orange Song Blues (inspired by a painting by Picasso)

the first blog post of this series is here.

I have been involved with bands, musicians and music production all my life. My last “proper” project was  co-producing The Riverwalk Session by 3how.

So…Picasso.  Music… I am working on a piece of interactive fiction that combines my original story ideas with factual information about a painting Picasso painted in 1921.Here is a great description of interactive fiction, as well as the Interactive Fiction Competition which I am determined to enter.

At the moment, I am focusing on music/a song which would be heard beneath the end credits.

I would prefer to create something new, working with musicians, vocalists and other people. I am now in Singapore/Bali. The music should be finished in the next three weeks. I have started work on lyrics and can suggest types of music, instrumentation, etc. that would reflect well on the story and the painting itself.

But, although I am fortunate to have talented friends here, there is probably not enough time to create something new. Which means using existing music.
The pluses to using are existing music are:

  1. It is completed and I know exactly what I am getting.
  2. No schedules to co-ordinate, no studios to book.
  3. No possible personality clashes.
  4. The legal side of things is simpler.
  5. The synergy of someone who has a “new” following/fan base.

The minuses of using existing music are;

  1. Difficult or impossible to use lyrics created to specifically reference the story.
  2. There is no creative process.
  3. Solitary, brief-lived enjoyment

I should also mention that that there is no budget for this project. Later, when it is finished, it will become  a game for sale as well as an ebook. There are other possibilities as well.

I don’t like asking people to do things “for the publicity”. I would pay people if I could. But the best is working with people who are excited and focused, whether paid or not.

 

The Orange Song (inspired by a painting by Picasso)

I am now driven to write a story, program a game and produce a song inspired by a 1921 painting by Picasso.

The first collection of words follows below. The phrases been inspired by the painting itself, the works of Gertrude Stein, and Surrealism, one of several art movements Picasso was involved with. A sure start, but experimentation, additions, reduction and refinement  are on the horizon.

I am most concerned that the phrases are interesting, but possibly lacking a sense of character; emotion. Another issue is the present lack of rhythm.

Other posts about this project will follow.The second post is here.

 

Minotaur, minotaur

on the wall…

Who’s the fairest of them all?

 

Blood sweat and tears;

Hidden but real.

I am Olga,

aiding an army transfer.

 

Curve an arm

Cube a body

His perspectives loud radios

Mine are mine

 

Our moment is dead, our moment lives on.

 

Bull cracking rose

Regret dragging grace

Shaming pride

Our  bottle gains life

a guitar takes off its clothes

 

One dances a duet

Calculus, surrender and furs.

infant ever after

 

Elegant excitement burnt

a weary-making fury

weight of smoke, after him in public.

 

Our moment lives on, our moment is dead.

 

His oil and cardboard heart

exuberant red hole ghost,

Music shapes a piece of pain,

a rose on fire,

the horns of the rain.

 

Tiong Bahru: residences or homes?

iatb against newspaper ad for huge buildingI should either write a lot about this, which would require a lot of time, or just keep it simple…

The photo in the newspaper was taken where? Books Actually? I hope so, and I hope Books Actually was paid a location rental fee. Tiong Bahru’s  “quaint charm” makes it rather expensive for the people who actually “provide” that quaint charm. (And, if I were the creative director on this project, I would have chosen Woods in the Books, as WitB specializes in children’s books)OUR-TiongBahru-CVF-100_1024x1024

Yep, keepin’ this short. Just wondering though, what the traffic will be like when the three new skyscrapers are completed.

VR: What Would Picasso Do? (notes and links)

Picasso’s paintings, especially those from his Cubism period, are about perspective, or more accurately, experiencing one scene from multiple perspectives. His achievements in painting, sculpture printmaking and photography  make one wonder about what he would do with virtual reality, augmented reality or 360VR.

In thinking about this, I discovered a book by Arthur I Miller, entitled Einstein, Picasso: Space, Time and the Beauty that Causes Havoc.  The New York Times features the book  and begins with the following quote:

Everything is possible, everything is realizable, in all and everywhere.
—André Salmon

The following two paragraphs from Mr. Miller’s book define Picasso’s world and how he might have perceived the concept of space:

 Ideas were everywhere and so was the desire for change. Alongside the developments in mathematics, science and technology was the discovery of the conceptual quality of African objets d’art. All of these ideas helped Picasso to free himself from earlier modes of thinking. Everyone involved in cubism considered it a highly intellectual adventure with the specific goal of reducing forms to geometry. Picasso’s exploration of space in his groundbreaking Les Demoiselles d’Avignon employed notions of four-dimensional space described to him by Maurice Princet, an insurance actuary interested in advanced mathematics and a member of la bande à Picasso.

And…

    In the intellectual atmosphere of 1905 it is not surprising that Einstein and Picasso began exploring new notions of space and time almost coincidentally. The main lesson of Einstein’s 1905 relativity theory is that in thinking about these subjects, we cannot trust our senses. Picasso and Einstein believed that art and science are means for exploring worlds beyond perceptions, beyond appearances. Direct viewing deceives, as Einstein knew by 1905 in physics, and Picasso by 1907 in art. Just as relativity theory overthrew the absolute status of space and time, the cubism of Georges Braque and Picasso dethroned perspective in art.

Picasso owned still cameras and enthusiastically involved himself with movie productions of all kinds.

This must have been an impressive show, curated by Picasso’s friend and biographer John Richardson: http://www.gagosian.com/exhibitions/picasso–the-camera–october-28-2014

From: re:artist at https://reartiste.wordpress.com/2015/10/25/picasso-and-photography/

It has thus been established that Picasso was already using the camera in the early years of the century, actually developing his own prints, and that this practice went hand in hand with the pictorial evolution of the Cubist revolution. – Anne Baldassari, curator at the Musée Picasso, Paris

Over the decades, Pablo Picasso pursued his research of creative resources of photography in various ways: he was combining photography with drawings, prints, engraving on glass. One of such examples can be Pablo Picasso’s painting of his wife, Olga Khokhlova: “Portrait of Olga in an Armchair”, oil on canvas, made in 1917. It was most likely painted from a photograph taken also in 1917. Russian ballerina Olga Khokhlova married Picasso in 1918.

Pablo Picasso, "Portrait of Olga in an Armchair"
Pablo Picasso, “Portrait of Olga in an Armchair”

Today, we have remarkable photographic records made by Brassaï and Gjon Mili of Picasso’s ephemeral work – “drawing with light”. Those “spatial sketches”, ethereal sculptures made in luminous pencil, as well as variations on the photogram technique and photo cutouts with André  Villers can be found in Picasso’s archives in Paris.

Back to virtual reality. A virtual reality project is a team effort. In the privacy of his studio, Picasso could use canvas, clay and film to create records of what he was thinking. VR usually requires a  production company. With VR, I believe that Picasso would best express himself as a set designer, as an artist of the theatre. Picasso had worked like this before: Portrait of the Artist as a Set Designer, an article in The Guardian.

Imagine: Picasso + Cirque Soleil + VR…

http://www.popsci.com/cirque-du-soleil-now-makes-you-part-show-in-virtual-reality

Onward…

SB

 

 

The image used at the top of the post is by Gjon Mili. This photo and the others used in this post are used only for educational purposes.

Iron Fire Riceball Singapore Tour

“Art”… such a misused word. In the case of the thumb kways, the “art” label was easy to understand, in that the kways looked like thumbprints, which made them a form of self-portraiture, among other things. But now, these miso furikake riceballs… why do I label them as an artwork as opposed to, say, promotion for my Furikake book? Or marketing for Mom Natura? Or promotion for Tawaraya Rice?

Ultimately, art is communication and self-portraiture. With the Iron Fire Furikake Miso Riceball  Tour, we went out, communicated, learned about natural food stores in Singapore and had fun. We weren’t out to sell anything, just wanted to share the magic of rice and iron fire miso furikake…. We set out hoping to interact with most of the stores on this list.

 

First stop: 67 Aliwal Street. Two people had an iron fire furikake miso riceball experience. This image was created:misoriceball tour 003_scc riceballs Aliwal wall

A haiku poet! Dave Tai who, like a Zen master, listened to me describe the riceball artworks. He then became one with the riceball.  http://www.haikufever.com/

misoriceball tour 005_haiku writer

misoriceball tour 009_typewriterNext stop: Shaw Towers, where we had surprised Karen Ong and Lee Hui Lun at Oasis Organic the day  before. Another riceball experience! The shop had just received a big delivery, so we only took this shot, of a shelf where the goods had already been unpacked neatly…

misoriceball tour 011_edited Oasis shop interior

Then, we did something we don’t do often: we ate meat. (I  know, I know…) This is the view of Shaw Towers. You can’t see it, but there is a sign that says Shaw Leisure Gallery: The Art of Life. Wish we’d had time to see our dear friends at JDMIS, Asia’s  center  for jewelry making classes and certification.

misoriceball tour 013_edited Artof life shaw tower monks

Next stop Tanglin Mall! The person we met at Brown Rice Paradice was not in the mood for a riceball experience but did seem happy to take the info we provided. Coincidentally, we ran into Chris, jewelry designer and maker of musical beats. We met in Tiong Bahru  in Tiong Bahru a few years ago and, unfortunately, have not yet had a chance to sit down and relax with cold beverages made of fermented wheat and hops and stuff like that…

misoriceball tour 019_edited Chris

SUPERNATURE!
misoriceball tour 023_edited SuperNature shopper

At Great World, we stopped by Four Seasons…


misoriceball tour 034_edited four seasons organic market
Somewhere near Robertson Quay: documentation of the pamphlet from Mom Natura and the chirashii from Tawaraya
misoriceball tour 037_edited Chirashii mom and tawaraya

Could not resist! misoriceball tour 041_edited book cafe

But, our ultimate destination on Mohamed Sultan was : The Organic Grocer.

misoriceball tour 049_edited curated misoriceball tour 048_edited no time to waste

Then, we dashed off to catch a glimpse of the Annie Liebovitz show before it closed. I’d worked for her for a month on a series of shoots in Tokyo a while ago and, even though I knew it was a naive idea, thought she might still be in town and I could just say hi. She was gone, of course, but the man in charge was extremely helpful.. and the recipient of one of the day’s last iron fire miso furikake riceball masterpieces!

Finally, a haiku by Dave Tai…

Riceball haiku by Dave Tai

Lorong 16

Carlyn lit the blowtorch.

   Tango delicately lowered his body so he could stare deeper into the rat’s eyes. The rat smelled Tango’s breath and immediately pulled its head back and flattened its body against the bottom of the cage. It couldn’t move back any further. Tango’s nose almost touched the slowly frantic whiskers. The rat started shivering. The cookie pan was ready. Carlyn stepped back. The rat’s tail had been moving back and forth wildly. Now it stopped. Carlyn remembered when that rat was born, when it was pink and blind. Tango opened the cage and she closed her eyes, waiting.

 Click, click, click,click.

 Then, the red hot corner of the cookie pan and the very brief little sizzling sounds. Calmly, Tango picked up the newspaper and walked towards the door that led to outside. Mad Dog held it open and Tango lobbed the rat in front of the window.

 ”Now!” said the girl in the white dress, the moment the rat’s body hit the ground..

 Tango went into the greeting room and stood next to Douglas. The rat had quickly regained consciousness. Now it was letting out long screams, gasping for air and trying to run on its pawless legs.It didn’t go far. It became still.

 ”Now!” the girl in the white dress said again.

 The girl watching the clock said “Forty five seconds”.

 “I win!” said the girl in the green sequinned dress happily, “I bet forty-eight! I win again!” The other girls grumbled in Cantonese and looked ready to kill her.Rizal trotted in, immediately disappointed that he’d missed his chance.

 “The Hold’s getting stronger,” Tango said, understating the obvious.”Yesterday was a minute fifteen.” Douglas turned and walked away. Tango and the girls watched as Carlyn ran out, grabbed the dead rat by the tail and dashed back in,holding her breath the entire time.

 

 Tango and Rizal had been talking as they walked from the greeting room to Tango’s office.Now, in the doorway to Tango’s office, Rizal stopped. Douglas was inside, sitting behind the coffee table topped with two glasses, a bucket of ice and an almost empty bottle of Glenmorangie. Rizal had been talking about getting more plants from a grower in Malaysia, one up in the Highlands.”Just need a car and a couple of masks for two days… Four hundred dollars should do it.”

 “I’ll think about it.”

 “Sure, boss.I’m ready any time, but the sooner the better. Safer that way.”

 Tango closed the door and sat back down. Douglas took care of Tango’s drink.  The silence between them was comfortable,as it always was. Sometimes,though, they had music.They listened to the vinyl LPs Douglas had brought over with his treasured record player. The two had memorized and discussed LPs by Fritz Kreisler, Jelly Roll Morton, The Replacements,Dick Lee,Frank Sinatra and Helen Reddy. They debated Hendrix vs. Prince vs Tommy Emmanuel and complained about the Cantopop the girls listened to.Douglas taught Tango some simple blues riffs on the piano.Once in a while Douglas played and Tango sang. Always they ended with Love and Happiness by Al Green.

 Finally, Douglas leaned forward.

 “Just a coincidence… best plants are at a nursery up near the casino…”

 “Probably. Another coincidence… Rizal needs 400 bucks and a cash advance.”

 Douglas looked around the room, then looked through the one way mirror to the greeting room.There the wall behind the couch was completely covered by greenery. “Rizal really does know how to take care of  plants. I wasn’t happy to let him go.”

 “Your loss, my gain. He replaced the rotten wood on the windows. Sealed  ‘perfectly. Took care of that fan. Haven’t had a blackout since he started.I think he’s changed…” Tango took off his jacket, went over and carefully hung it in the flimsy Ikea closet.“…but if he hasn’t, outside he goes. If he’s lucky, he’s lucky. But if The Hold’s like it is today, he’s got twenty seconds to make it to McDonalds.“If they’re open…”

 “…and if he’s got money for the guard.”

 Douglas was leaving in four days, moving to the mountains near Yogyakarta. The two met the day Tango moved in. The Hold didn’t have a name then.

 

 The first deaths occurred on a cruise ship, the night before it was supposed to dock in Singapore. Only two thousand passengers died. The Straits Times said the deaths were caused by Indonesians burning poisonous plants as they cleared the last remaining jungles for palm oil plantations. Then, two days later, a wave of death struck from Tanjong Pagar and Sentosa to the oil refineries in Jurong and beyond, up into Malaysia: ten thousand people. Scientists then said that global warming and air pollution were interacting to create “super blankets” of carbon dioxide. People could not escape Singapore fast enough. Within a week, the unexplainable asphyxiations–similar to Sudden Infant Death Syndrome, had filled the  Central Business District and the surrounding areas with corpses.The homeless camped in the MRT stations, gathered on Mount Faber and in the inner parts of the heartlands. The world listened as scientists explained why this disaster was uniquely Singaporean. Then, the same catastrophe occurred in Houston. Then Amsterdam. Then New York. Yokohama, Shanghai and Long Beach. Millions of people poisoned by breathing in fatal amounts of carbon dioxide. Within three years most of the world’s coastlines were graveyards,all deathly still because of something like Crib Death. The Apocalypse was started by carbon monoxide poisoning, the coastal lungs of the planet unable to refill themselves with oxygen, with Life. Almost no one knows why this happened.

There’s a knock on the door. Before Tango can reply, Wendy pokes her head in. “Papa, the American! She cut her wrist again!”

 Tango looks at Douglas, rolls his eyes and empties his drink. ”And you think my life is nothing but looking angry and orchestrating orgies of mass destruction,” He puts his glass down with a surprising softness and rolls his office chair back, ”well…it aint.”

    Wendy steps back. “Room 12, Papa. Rei found her.”

  Without speaking, they rush upstairs, down the hall, towards the red light above Room 12.

To be continued

Bullet Point Portrait: Casey Heng, Wine Distributor based in Singapore

CASEY HENG
CONNECTION TO STEPHEN BLACK
-I met Casey at the Tiong Bahru market and immediately we started talking about his wine and my book about Tiong Bahru. Casey grew up in Tiong Bahru and is still a very frequent visitor. Do you know the name of the first movie shown at the King’s Theatre?
WHAT DOES CASEY DO?
Casey is a wine importer and distributor, representing vineyards, producers and distributors from Spain, Chile, New Zealand, South Africa and France.
WHAT ARE CASEY’S CHALLENGES?
– “The Singapore wine market could expand greatly if the government would take a look at their duty system. I have a beautiful wine that comes in at $3 a bottle and I have to pay a $9 duty! The duty is based on percentage of alcohol and volume. It would be great if this could be re-assessed. We could surpass Hong Kong!”
-A Protege… Casey would like to find someone who is equally passionate about wine, regardless of background. This person would learn about and assist with the business, possibly take it over.
WHAT IS CASEY’S BACKGROUND?
Casey has extensive experience in sales and marketing. He has sold everything from bottle caps to sporting goods to shoes.
WHAT ARE CASEY’S GOALS?
-He would like to connect with winemakers and vineyards who are not sure how to enter the Singapore/Southeast Asia market.
-He would like to continue to educate consumers about the values and pleasures of well-crafted wine.
CASEY’S CONTACT
justwine2 ATMARK ymail DOT com
P.S. The first movie shown at the King’s Theatre was Overland Pacific.
This post will be updated soon, with photos of Casey, photos of wines he represents and links to vineyards and other wine-related links.

A great discount/ semi-On Kawara artwork/Fashion!?/a neologism/books/moving

Simple description: I am moving (shifting as they say in Singapore/the UK) and hope to get some of my artworks in the hands of people who understand them. Pay what you like for the following printed books:  Bali Wave Ghost, I Ate Tiong Bahru and Furikake. All of these books have received positive reviews and all are described on this blog elsewhere.

As for the T-shirts:

-they are a means of disseminating information about “compung”, a word I have created. I am now looking for organizations about neologisms, so as to find ways to register “compung” or get it into the mainstream.Compung documentation (T-shirt)

– they reference On Kawara as well as Prince’s use of symbols and  the substitution of letters for words

-they promote the Kampung GUI. GUI stands for ground up initiative, a concept that I strongly believe in.

-they feature my “unaesthetic” aesthetic. Fun, maybe challenging…

 

SO… get in touch if you are interested. I would be happy to connect these limited edition artworks with people who “get” them…

Onward!

Kampung GUI tour pointing

SB

The books are a limited edition, joining these others.

 

April 23, 2016: Compung (a new word) and Iron Fire Riceball Artwork

Today at the Kampung GUI Eighth Anniversary Event, I debuted a new word and a new artwork. The new word is ‘compung’ and the new artwork was an edible social sculpture: Iron Fire Miso Riceballs.

Compung sounds like, and references, kampung, the Malay language word for village or community. However, the first three letters, c o m, reference computers. ‘Compung’ is a new word that may have a meaning similar to ‘tribes’ (as in the ‘digital tribes’ associated with social media), but with more “real life” interaction. The first conversation of what ‘compung’ might be like was with Brian Lee Xin Yang, at about 10:30 AM.

A Compung Facebook page has been set up.
Compung documentation (T-shirt)Created with  “unaesthetic” fonts and layouts, the information suggests incompleteness; the excitement of an initial sketch. The first line is likely the influence of my life  in Ubud. The second line is meant to be– and look like– the words which form the message; COMPUNG Art Seed Breaking. The next two lines are self-explanatory, and the last line is a kind of shorthand. The use of “mi” suggests music.

There are some T-shirts still available. Do let me know if you’d like one.

A collaboration with Mom from Mom’s Natura Farms in Bali, the Iron Fire Riceballs were well received. There were discussions about fermentaion, miso’s medical properties(including its anti-radiation properties) and the benefits of salt. The iron fire rice balls were an unexpected extension of my Furikake book.

A blog post/short story about Mom, Tokyo, Bali and Furikake is here.

iron fire riceballs and red thumbkway

Lim Lam Hong Confectionery: thank you for always taking the time to make the kways perfect artworks that are delicious!.

Thank you to Tawaraya for supplying us with such delicious Hokkaido Nanatsuboshi rice!

fire iron miso riceball