Category Archives: 3how

Lotus Mountain

Latest info about Lotus Mountain here.

Based on Leng Mo, a story from Alphabet Spikes by bestselling author Stephen Black.

LOTUS MOUNTAIN

a Weiblack Machine Production

A 360VR FILM

NOW IN PRODUCTION/POSTPRODUCTION

SET IN HONG KONG & CHINA’S SILICON VALLEY

REUNITED, FIVE YEARS AFTER HE BROKE HER HEART.

SHE’S A ROBOT. HE’S THE MAN WHO MADE HER.

Directed by LEO WEI and STEPHEN BLACK (Shenzhen Satellite TV, Beach Road, CNN, Fox, Cartoon Network, game development)

Featuring ALPS BETHNECK

Lead Actor: Changi Murals (director: Boo Jun Feng; his Apprentice film premiered@Cannes 2016)

Beach Road (VR festivals: Singapore, Brisbane & Las Vegas)

Original soundtrack by REI SHIMIZU

Japanese Bassist/Composer for CM/movies(toured HK with Sadato)

with Music by

3how

Since You’ve been Gone

The Riverwalk Session Album
(featuring Amith Narayan(compoer/producer + music for a Tony-nominated play) and award winning vocalist Wilson Goh.)

Audio 360 sound mixing by Giovanni Lion

VR Art by SCOBOT (World One: Seattle International Film Festival 2018 Official Selection)

Producers: Leo Wei and Stephen Black

blacksteps.tv@gmail.com

www.blacksteps.tv

Exciting New Cemetery @Isetan Wisma Atria

stephen black exciting new cemetery; involvement with tiong bahru mouth, 3how, photography, Obama Search Words,video,Lorong 16,self-publishing, Fires, Singapore art from 1965-2017, Singapore Personal Art Metadata,SPOKEN,Furikake,limited editions,Contact With Shadow, the art of conversation,Flame Magnet, thumb-shaped kways, Big Homer,Beach Road, Bali Wave Ghost and i ate tiong bahru @ isetan wisma atria from September 6-October 3 The Stephen Black is present everyday except Monday.

This will be finalized very soon, but will involve talks,books by Stephen Black, exhibited artworks, digital artworks,artworks for sale, free screenings of the Beach Road 360VR movie, hands on interaction with SPOKEN, the virtual gallery co-created with Eugene Soh and much, much more....

exciting new cemetery jpeg

Silent State logo tests

Silent State is the name of a new musical project by Amith Narayan, Wilson Goh, Justin Bannister and Siva Saravanan. The following are simple tests made with MS Paint. At some point I hope I can invest the time to learn Pshop or the equivalent, but for now the following do the job as starting points for discussion.

The last one is, perhaps, the most exciting. It also requires a delicate sensibility and the experience to combine a handwritten word with an authoritarian block font.

Amith had suggested that green or grey could be used. Those choices could work, but with the following I was, obviously, just working with the idea of negative space... as well as a limited selection of fonts and the bare bones positioning capabilities of MS Paint.

Re: the music. It is a treat.  For those of you who don't know, Justin is a keyboard genius from the great state of Michigan, Siva has done outstanding work as a percussionist and composer of award-winning movie soundtracks, Wilson is an award-winning choral singer and Amith's band The Unseen Guest continues to get more fans and praise for their two albums. And then there is 3how...
almost silent state sil state silent state 2 lines silent state almost nice silent

silent state close silent state red and blackuntitledstate01 (1)

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.

 

Checkpoint, by The Unseen Guest: notes about their second album

Well... if you know about 3how, then you know about me and Amith and the various projects we've worked on, including live concerts, theatre, musicals and The Riverwalk Session.

But, before 3how, Amith was part of the  team that recorded two albums under the name of The Unseen Guest. I was fortunate to be around at the time the CDs were being made and had a hand in the layout of the artwork. The second album features photos I took in Myanmar, including the cover.

Here is an excellent interview, with Amith and Declan, The Unseen Guest.

The following text is something I wrote for Schott ,the record company that released the two Unseen Guest albums.. It is a tad bit commercial, but I hope its sincerity can be felt. The Unseen Guest really did produce some very very very good music. Google them. On Youtube you will see videos produced by fans, which says it all.

Checkpoint, like the first album of The Unseen Guest, beautifully weaves two influences into a seamless whole. The instrumentation combines bluesy melodies (check out the harmonica work of Curtis King on Miracle Mile) with elements from pop, folk, rock and free jazz. To describe the album as a combination of the best of eastern and western musical styles would not be an exaggeration. The album closes with an excellent rendition of Leonard Cohen's Everybody Knows, which is familiar yet new, with a beautiful string arrangement.

It is only on a second listening that the listener realizes that some of the album's sounds are distinctively Indian - percussion instruments like the dholaks on Ancient Greek, and the gan-jra on the Whitest Lie. The tablas pop nicely, the sax is rich and one can feel the dusty roads of India in Declan's voice. The listener receives a continual variety of pleasant surprises through-out!

"Imagine a jailhouse where you're always free..."

At times world weary, at times full of joy, Checkpoint is a traveller's diary, full of dualities and memories recorded on the spur of the moment. Not the cliches of East and West, but the stuff of novels and good movies: wanderlust versus security, love versus cynicism; the wildness of Saturday night and the regrets of Sunday morning.

Checkpoint is an apt title for the Unseen Guest's second album. With it, Declan and Amith acknowledge the successful musical territory of their first album - but  keep moving forward. A solid collection of eleven songs, Checkpoint combines the best of two (or more) worlds. The Unseen Guest have produced yet another beautiful dusty snapshot of life on the road, one you can sing and dance to!

Color photo of musicians on stage

Amith Narayan, Declan Murray, Silvestro Studdu Mascali and Stefano Schiavocampo: The Unseen Guest in Europe, 2007

Checkpoint on cdbaby

The Unseen Guest on Facebook

Norm Black VR exhibition notes

Here is the take-away of this post: if you plan on sharing a phone display VR project with people in the same physical space, make sure you have the appropriate number of  viewers and phones that have been tested and have enough battery power.(Update: "VR" is not the most accurate phrase; the movie in question is 360...)

That's pretty simple, right? Any professional  would agree with that. However, the situation described  can exist only with economic support. How many of us can afford to have ten, maybe more, mobile phones loaded and viewers? The rest of this post describes my experiences in a "no budget" VR sharing situation and includes observations that will interest anyone doing VR screening events without a big budget; people like artists, galleries, independent filmmakers and nonprofit organisations.

Background: Once Beach Road was live on Google Play, the opportunity to do an exhibition presented itself. Although there was no budget and no gear, I decided to do it. I thought that I could borrow/get cardboard viewers from hiverlab and would be able to find a few Android phones with a 4.1 OS. Also, I suggested, via Facebook and other means, that if anyone could download Beach Road before coming that it would be great, helping us to show more people with less waiting.

Results: We got by by the skin of our teeth. The night of the opening, about 100 people came and probably 70 people saw Beach Road. Eugene Soh, The Dude, was one of those who had successfully downloaded  and he kindly shared his phone. Ender (CEO of hiverlab) guided many people through their first VR experience. Due to lack of phones and battery power, not everyone saw Beach Road. Hopefully they enjoyed the kuehs, the beer, the prints on display and the music of Amith Narayan and Justin Bannister (kind of a 3how thing) and, at times,  Lee Wen.

Side note: Jean Marks Norihiko Nagai, CEO of Start 360 flew in from Japan to see Norm Black. He brought with him an Oculus and a collection of 360 Japanese projects he had curated. Fantastic, though I have to say the Oculus he brought with him reminded me of TV displays from the last century! The little dots! Aargh! Luckily he was able to see Beach Road on a Sony Xperia. 4K 360 video, beautifully displayed. Yes! Based on Jean Marks's experiences, it is presently quite troublesome to watch  Google Play 360 videos in Japan. After much testing, the most reliable phones seem to be Sony's Xperia Z1f and Z Ultra. (From an email from Jean Marks: I think devices using CPU SnapDragon800 or later can play the movie.)

Related to Jean Mark's notes about the difficulty of finding a device to play Beach Road properly, I should add that, in general VR is still very unknown in Singapore. FWIW, the government of Singapore does its best to keep the IT infrastructure solid and the country has one of the highest GDPs in Asia.

At the time of this writing (September 2015) most people that I met had very little knowledge or experience with 360 VR. Plus, it was no simple matter to find a phone that could play, let alone headsets. I am very positive about the future of 360VR, but, more than ever, I am skeptical about 2016 being a boom year for VR. In this country at least, there must be a huge number of phones to be bought and desirable content produced.

Note 1: Although I am experienced in gamemaking, this post reflects my interest in VR storytelling. And, yes, I know that they are not automatically mutually exclusive.

Note 2. Perhaps if the Beach Road app were on iTunes, things would have been easier. However, at least twice, Beach Road has not been allowed into iTunes, with no reason given. At present, Google Play says that "four people" have reviewed Beach Road, though only three are displayed; all reviews have given Beach Road five stars.

Note 3. In the future, rentable, inexpensive phones may make public displays easier. Here is a video I just discovered, one by J. David Sundstrom

VR graphics for game engine project

a virtual gallery built by Eugene Soh and curated by Stephen Black. www.gallery.sg

Cultural identity

Edible sculptures by Stephen Black. Traditional Chinese ang ku kueh shaped like a thumbprint

Oculus Virtual reality experience

Bruce Quek and Jean Marks Norihiko Nagai doing the Oculus thing...

guitarist, keyboard player and harmonica player

Amith Narayan on guitar, Justin Bannister on keyboards. This is something like 3how. Lee Wen on harmonica.

Postmodern comedy and social commentary

Artwork from the Foreign Love Club crew on display

Norm Black: Before

Norm Black is the name of my exhibition at Mettlework Art Space, from September 3-6, 2015. I will be showing a VR short film created with Hiverlab, a virtual gallery created with Eugene Soh and involving 40 artists and writers, a conceptual piece with kuehs and black and white prints of Tiong Bahru. I will do a reading. 3how will play, at least once. Finally, there will be appropriated photographs of the bottoms and sides of anchored ships

Please note: Norm Black is also my dad's name. He sells books. I always thought his name would be a great name for a book, band or exhibition.

NORM BLACK FACEBOOK PAGE

OK, first an explanation of what 's going on. Norm Black is being put together very quickly as I soon hope to return to an almost hermit-like existence while I complete a novel called Bali Wave Ghost. I have been planning to start writing on September 10.

Less than two weeks ago, Beach Road went online. It soon became apparent that many small screenings would need to be arranged, as opposed to renting a theatre or art space. A VR movie is meant to be viewed with a viewer, also called a HMD. Which means many HMDs have to be bought OR many Android phones have to be found so that they can fit into the Cardboard viewers which Hiverlab has.

Moving the story along, I put out a call, looking for spaces. Boom! Dennis Tan,  who is very familiar with Mettlework and Bruce Quek from Mettlework both responded. So that's how it started.

The work to be shown/what's happening:

Beach Road VR movie (5 minutes)

SPOKEN Virtual Gallery

3how Sept. 3, maybe another night or two. 3how on FB

Depth images

Taste, Trial and Error (kueh: edible sculptures/conceptual art)thumb kways

Dissolving Tiong Bahru (experimental black and white prints)

Words were the first VR: a reading by Stephen Black Sunday, 7pm -9pm

Plus a surprise or two...

Exhibition Hours:

Thursday, September 3  7pm-11pm

Friday 10 am- 3pm

Saturday 10am-11pm

Sunday 10am-11pm

Location: 50 Lorong 17. Closest station: Aljunied

Questions:

Stephen Black: bookmerah %at & gmail

Stephen Black exhibition at Mettle Works Art Space

September 3, 4, 5 and 6... at Mettlework

What's in store:

Beach Road, a pioneering VR movie will be shown. Beach Road is a co-production between hiverlab and Stephen Black.

SPOKEN will be projected live.

Taste, Trial and Error: the kuehs are back!

Tiong Bahru prints: black and white lens based artworks. Details soon to follow.

Depth: appropriated artworks, back in the spotlight.

Words Were the First VR:  talk and reading by Stephen Black.

Music! 3how?

Details and times to be posted soon.

 

FOREIGN LOVE CLUB

TAKE 1

Gerald Leow, Artcore Punks, Shaiful Zerox and Stephen Black joined forces to create the installation, community art project/temporary gallery known as Foreign Love Club. The image is from one of the works presented.

Our Facebook page.

The formula: Gerald Leow, band logos as starting points.

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Shaiful Zerox, man of mystery and loud wigs.

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ArtCore Punks, the independent independents.

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Stephen Black "“I learnt a number of things from my dad."

TAKE 2

Foreign Love Club

Foreign Love Club are a group of artists who work in a variety of media. By demonstrating the omnipresent lingering of a ‘corporate world’,Foreign Love Club uses a visual vocabulary that addresses many different social and political issues. The work incorporates time as well as space – a fictional and experiential universe that only emerges bit by bit.

Their artworks demonstrate how life extends beyond its own subjective limits and often tells a story about the effects of global cultural interaction over the latter half of the twentieth century. They challenge the binaries we continually reconstruct between Self and Other, between our own ‘cannibal’ and ‘civilized’ selves. By merging several seemingly incompatible worlds into a new universe, they present everyday objects as well as references to texts, painting and architecture. Pompous writings and Utopian constructivist designs are juxtaposed with trivial objects. Categories are subtly reversed.

Foreign Love Club create situations in which everyday objects are altered or detached from their natural function. By applying specific combinations and certain manipulations, different functions and/or contexts are created. With the use of appropriated materials which are borrowed from a day-to-day context, their works reference post-colonial theory as well as the avant-garde or the post-modern and the left-wing democratic movement as a form of resistance against the logic of the capitalist market system.

Their works bear strong political references. The possibility, or the dream, of the annulment of a (historically or socially) fixed identity is a constant focal point. Foreign Love Club currently lives and works in Singapore.

- Chiaki Williams

TAKE 3

Gerald very kindly asked me to participate in The PassionArts Village project at the Bedok reservoir. One morning as we were walking to the Happy Crab, I mentioned that I was interested in continuing work on the Foreigner image I'd worked on for the SPOKEN exhibition with Eugene Soh and other artists and writers. The Singaporean friend we were walking with mentioned that at the end of dances--tea dances, I think, they used to play  I Want To Know What Love Is, Foreigner's most popular song. I cringed, but Gerald started laughing.

Full disclosure: the first rock concert I paid to see was a triple bill of Walter Egan, Foreigner and Heart at the Toledo Sports Arena. The second time I saw them was in Tokyo, where they played with Loudness, Richie Blackmore's Rainbow and Sting,whose band included Wynton Marsalis. The first Foreigner experience was the start of a journey, the second was something like a job.

Pecha Kucha Notes

The following slides were presented in Singapore at a Pecha Kucha night held at Canvas on July 15, 2015. I would like to thank Jon Seigel and all of the Pecha Kucha team for giving me the opportunity to talk about what I do.

Steve.001

I value your time. The next slide has three great ideas/tips. Cameras ready?Steve.002

Hi. I’m Stephen Black.

A common internet name.

Keywords will help you.

UBERSUGGEST

BOOK MERAH on Google+

TODDY

Steve.003

Hot IT startup.

Like Youtube plus Second Life.

Great! But the boss died.

I briefly discuss the CDK in this post, which I wrote when I was first starting to learn about VR.

Steve.004

VOICE OF PIECES______

Thousands made, thousands thrown out.

Purity remains.

A Voice of Pieces event in Bali.

Steve.005

Negatives and slides

Art lessons from long ago.

My life is like film.

drumstick and cymbal

the act of drumming portrayed in a closeup, low tech stark manner

Cat Hope Video,

Cyril Wong, etc.

3how on youtube

Steve.007

Text with Michael Lee.

Butter buildings, failure, fun.

S Biennale

Steve.008

Appropriation;

Joe the Diver’s work photos.

My art is not mine.

Steve.009

Amith, me and friends.

Music, theatre, CDs.

Three hours on Wednesday.

Steve.010

Stories: food, people

World War II, Art Deco, life

I Ate Tiong Bahru

Steve.011

Stars, waves and children.

Trees, dresses and mealtimes lost.

Constant tsunami.

Steve.012

My father sells books.

Guided by their strength always;

started writing them.

Steve.013

Red Ang Ku kueh

Identity and culture;

neighborhood thumbprint.

Steve.014

GELATO

Art of gelato

The smooth canvas melts quickly

Delicious mistakes

THE MOST DELICIOUS "CANVAS" IN SINGAPORE

Steve.015

GRAND STOP

Hawkeye crates, Brooklyn.

Installation: huffers and

animal metal.

Steve.016

UNLOCKING WITH EARS

My band in New York.

Hong Kong, Tokyo, Scorgies.

Unlocking with ears.

Steve.017

SPOKEN

Eugene Soh: builder.

Me: curator. Wild mix of

artists and writers.

Steve.018

Drones, VR, AR.

360, phones and 4K

Glass algorithms

BLOG POST ABOUT THIS PROJECT( the name of the book has since changed)

Steve.019

Book: Bali Wave Ghost

A bombing in paradise.

Reality surfs.

BLOG POST ABOUT BALI WAVE GHOST

Steve.020 (1)

360 VR

Hiverlab, music and fish

Beach Road: a short film

BLOG POST ABOUT BEACH ROAD