Tag Archives: collaborations

For Arleen Schloss (a poem)

This poem first appeared on Softblow, a  Singapore-bases website for poetry. Arleen's work greatly influenced me. I worked on a few videos with her and she is one of the artists in the SPOKEN virtual gallery  I produced with Eugene Soh. For Arleen Schloss  "The world is a collage"
All of the following words describe scenes. All of these scenes contain signs. The signs may not obvious, but they are there. In some cases, there may be a large number of signs, in which case, all are to be included. The colors of the signs, the numbers on the signs and the text and language of the signs are to be emotionally and chaotically combined on one huge imaginary and ever-present canvas, a painting dedicated to Arlene Schloss. The signs exist in the following situations: Nurses talking near hospitals before they begin work on autumn days when the moon is full, mailmen who drink canned coffee by themselves, retirement age janitors at the Louvre looking over new tools, miners in dangerous elevators, mechanics with legs sticking out from underneath cars with oily radios pouring out 20 year old music in the background, people with hangovers standing near open graves, hippos that go into the ocean, gardeners driving to buy trees with roots wrapped in burlap, people leaving yellow cabs in a hurry at night, an urban area full of people flying kites, parades in cold weather, parades in hot weather, soccer games, baseball games, snow on windowsills that overlook Broome Street, mushroom hunters on private property, tennis games, weavers of silk carpets, football practice, smugglers who do so to feed their children, archery ranges, barbecues for groups of people ranging from three to three thousand, streets being paved for the first time, clothes being hung to dry, hunters who do not drink when they are hunting, the tallest building in Manila, fishermen who drink but stay on shore, fireman, the drawers of mothers of Texans, trappers who do so with respect, amusement park employees who have lost their keys, children who sleep in tents in their backyards, photographers stranded in Mozambique, moviemakers who sleep well, people who use handphones during meetings and housepainters who do a good job. Places where elephants are, shelves full of books about ferns, silver airplanes that seem like paralyzed flying birds, the happiest person in Uganda, red weather balloons, magazines launched in the '70s, instructions for assembling tents, Vietnamese tour guides, the cost breakdown for a satellite dish to be installed in Yugoslavia, ugly public sculptures, the Vatican, Domino Pizza, Mecca, the Holy Land, toothpaste factories, a place where a picnic table was accidentally burned, a barnyard, a waterfall, flocks of thin white birds, grey lines of highways, the only stuffed armadillo to be found in South Africa, lakes holding sailboats, a Paris metro ticket, canoes on rivers, the oceans slapping big ships, the most loved Swedish politician, the most elegant shoe store in Mumbai, fog eating a city, organic apple orchards, alphabets, Christmas tree farms, strip mined landscapes, desserts full of unwanted testing, an environmentally friendly golf course, a fireworks display watched by an Amish family in a bus station between Chicago and Kansas City, bonfires, the diets of djs, traffic accidents as a result of animals crossing highways, unemployed male prostitutes in Taipei, railroads used by bikers, places that serve take out prata, housing subdivisions, the Empire State Building, the Pyramids, the shopping list of newlyweds in Bowling Green, Ohio, the first Chinese cookbook in Peru, the Tokyo Dome, a kindergarten in Bonn, the most depressing high school in Teaneck New Jersey, the harbor of Rio de Janiero during an eclipse, the Great Wall of China being discused by mathematicians, Red Squarebeing discussed by visiting Irish tourists, Kmarts in Canada, driving schools, elephant orphanages, missile testing ranges, forest fires, a Gutamelan dentist's office, power plants in Minsk, black boxes of intergalactic spacecraft, Kyoto florists located within the train station, the insects which live in the main Xian post office, the humidity within the Sydney Opera House, the deli on the corner, New Orleans classical musicians, Microsoft paper useage files, cloud seeding programs, glider competitions in Norway, ancient light houses, beaches where there are no beach towels, umbrellas on Avenue A, Coney Island, the dreams of a Singaporean civil servant, a painting of the the Great Lakes hanging in a Green Bay bar, the video collection to be found on a typical North Sea oil rig, the Rocky Mountains, the garage of the grandson of Dali's least favorite barber, the Amazon, the Urals, the Andes, the Great Rock, Mt. Fuji, the Pyrennees, Ireland, India, Idaho, Inokashira, Iran, Iraq, Iowa, people on horses, goats in trees, the Statue of Liberty, every bridge in the world, every phone line in the world, every bit of dust on Broome Street, every modem, every email ever written in Spanish and the oceans.

The Oak Bar

Hey everybody! Russell, Pavle, Xu Xi and Bernard! I'd like to introduce you to O'Brien Brown and Carl Adams! I've written about them elsewhere on this blog. Carl wrote about the first slave freed by Abraham Lincoln, a woman named Nance. O'Brien wrote coming of age story set in the Sixties. So, do poke around on the links and enjoy your selves! The next round is on O'Brien Brown! .....Oh yeah! My crowdfunding campaign reached 130% in the first three days! But yeah, there are still some great rewards left!http://www.zingohub.com/en-GBL/stephenblack/i-ate-tiong-bahru-limited-glassware-edition...... (first post on the blog follows...)I like to introduce people. My hope is that some of the people here will look at some at some of the links of the others, possibly interact, as well as  introduce other people to "drink with". Pavle Radonic... Fresh toddy in JB, a bottle of the good stuff at Vic's... Here is the bio used in the text and photo project we did together: A Melbourne, Australia writer of Montenegrin heritage, Pavle Radonic has been living and writing intensively in the South-East Asian tropics for five years. Oddly and unexpectedly, in this time he has become a kind of minor Malay Archipelago specialist, at least from the Western perspective. Pavle has divided his time between peninsular Malaysia, Singapore and Indonesia (Jakarta & Jogja in particular). In Australia his writing has been  published in a range of literary journals and magazines; more recently his work from this region has appeared in Ambit Magazine (UK), Big Bridge (US) and The Literary Yard (India), among others. A literary miscellany more than blog can be found at: www.axialmelbourne.blogspot.com   Xu Xi... Yes, we have had a few drinks together; Hong Kong, Manhattan and Singapore. Her latest novel is called The Man in Our Lives. The Jakarta Post did this very thorough interview with her. Russel Darnley... We drank coffee in the Tiong Bahru Mouth! I'm hoping we can exchange words about our books...his, called Seen and Unseen, includes a chapter on the Bali Bombing, the event which, tragically, launched the career of Mr. Orgasm Donor, a character in my novel entitled Bali Wave Ghost. Russel, fluent in Indonesian, did volunteer work immediately after the Bombing and the notes he began taking at that time became the first steps towards Seen and Unseen. Bernard Jann... At  least once, Bernard probably had a glass near his computer in Europe and I probably had a glass near my computer in Asia. So there ya go. Bernard's website is here. He once helped me research some Croatian oldies:
.....................cheers! SB...................

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)

Jakarta Menghubungkan !?

Halo. Nama saya adalah Stephen Black.
Saya mengirim pesan ini
berharap untuk terhubung dengan
seniman , penulis , wartawan , musisi , 
dan siapa saja yang tertarik bertukar ide
Saya melakukan banyak hal .
Berikut adalah galeri maya saya buat dengan artis Eugene Soh
Saya telah menulis sebuah novel tentang Bali disebut Bali Wave Ghost .
Beach Road adalah nama dari 360 film saya telah membuat .

Saya memiliki lebih banyak seni dan menulis proyek , 
tapi saya berharap untuk mempelajari lebih lanjut tentang apa yang Anda lakukan . 

Aku akan berada di TIM sampai sekitar 20:00 hari ini .

Email aku! bookmerah  AT Gmail 
or on Facebook 
Terima kasih!

  Halo! My  name is Stephen Black. I send this message hoping to connect with artists, writers, journalists, musicians and anyone interested in exchanging ideas. I do many things. Here is a virtual gallery I created with the artist Eugene Soh. www.gallery.sg I have written a novel about Bali called Bali Wave Ghost. Beach Road is the name of a 360 movie I have made. I have many more art and writing projects, but I hope to learn more about what you do. Email me! bookmerah  AT Gmail or on Facebook https://www.facebook.com/baliwaveghost/ Terima kasih!   Stephen Black

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 marketSomewhere 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

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      

Designers I Have Worked With (part 2)

Part 1 of this post is here. So,  this post is fun. It is only now that I see the variety of designers I have worked with. Not all are in these two, soon to be three posts. Some were like the guys at Eka Printers in Bali; where I just go in and hope for the best. Because of the language barrier and the race against the clock, I never know exactly what I am going to get. I ENJOY THAT! Of course when it comes time to do an offset run, it is the exact opposite: there must be no surprises or errors. As an example: I Ate Tiong Bahru. No grammar or historical errors have been found AND the words fit perfectly on the page; there aren't any one line or one word "orphans" hanging onto the top of a white page. That is due to the patience and expertise of Philipp Aldrup, who allowed me to rewrite on the spot so that the lines end gracefully (without hyphens, for example)  and fill the page in an attractive way. So...where was I? Oh yes? The first decade of the millenium. Nicholas Foo, the Lego artist.  I was lucky to meet Nicholas! He had just left his full-time career as a  highly respected graphic designer. He was committing himself to becoming an official Lego artist--Asia's first. He said he could find the time to work on the packaging for the MGK--the Multipurpose Gamemaking Kit. Package, business card, CD, great stuff. (Must find the jpegs)
Foreigner on a kway

very first document created as a starting point for discussion for the Foreigner kways

The thumb kway idea has stayed with me and I now have plans for a triptych, of sorts. Thanks to Gerald Leow, I was invited to become a member of a short-lived collective called the Foreign Love Club. The Foreigner/kway idea flourished nicely in that fantastic installation set up at Bedok Reservoir. Unfortunately, the process to get a perfect Foreigner kway took longer than expected, so we had to go with the thumb kways.  Tze Yu and Zhiying of litile collective were helpful and patient. Food+ art+ 3D printing= a big yes! CHARIS! I was shocked, shocked, nicely shocked when Charis, with genuine support and friendliness, allowed me to use one of his Obama digital portraits in Obama Search Words. One of my dreams is to visit him in Greece and take him and his wife out to dinner... Amith and Tracy and teh Unseen Guest albums... Well, the days of 12inch records seems to be gone, so my dream of creating an album cover seems to be difficult to realize, if not impossible. But with The Unseen Guest, I was able to do the next best thing. Actually, I was extremely lucky because the music of The Unseen Guest is remarkable. It is difficult to define, easy to fall in love with. I worked with Amith and Tracy Bay and I think the results are as appealing to me now as they were at the time we made them. For the first CD we used photos that Amith and Declan had shot when they were in India recording the album. Tracy kept things right on the edge, meaning that we had the look and feel of a record cover made in the Sixties, with just a hint of the second millennium postmodernism. (ooooh..postmodernism!) <iframe width="560" height="315" src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/FBGO0lVrA_g" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen></iframe>The second album, Out There, used a few of the photographs I had taken in Yangon. Thanks Tracy! Thanks Amith! <iframe width="420" height="315" src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/GqaO-EofKRE" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen></iframe>     May Lim...even though she was battling an illness, May patiently and professionally helped me get the word out about Book Merah! bookmerah_03-page-001 bookmerah_03-page-002 bookmerah_03-page-003 bookmerah_03-page-004 bookmerah_03-page-005 bookmerah_03-page-006 bookmerah_03-page-007 bookmerah_03-page-008 bookmerah_03-page-009 bookmerah_03-page-010 Part 3, coming up soon!

Mee-Young Photography Project: internal logic

This is one of a series of essays on my relationship with, and thoughts on, using photography to create art. My collaboration with the artist Mee-Young Arkim is a starting point and a reference. The first post is here.  
abstractfloating form

Collaboration between Mee-Young Arkim and  Stephen Black, Bali, 2016

  The elimination of self. Not necessarily a goal in art, but when the self becomes minimized, the experiences and interpretations of  the viewer are allowed to flow where they may. The idea of an artist creating a work without a sense of self is impossible of course; all art is self-portraiture. Perhaps "surprise" is the element that I am attempting to describe. Yes, Mee-Young had given me a briefing, albeit an open one. Yes, I was perceiving the work as a reference to the water found in rice fields. And yes, I became very conscious of recording the physicality of the moment: the rising sun, the changing light, the cool darkness of the stones and the way the pieces caught the delicate shades of the sky.

“No tears in the writer, no tears in the reader. No surprise in the writer, no surprise in the reader.”

Robert Frost But then , while holding my fingers against the shutter speed and aperture controls, I remembered a simple technique, blur. The high contrast scene before me was ideal for a slow shutter speed and a carefully moved camera. I selected a  slow shutter speed and perceived the scene before the camera differently. I put the camera on my knee, pressed the shutter--and moved. It is unfortunate that I am not now able to use a better monitor and software to really pull out the subtleties that the RAW file of this image contains. Even so, the image is a source of strength to me. When I look at it, I am allowed to wander. And yet I am reminded of standing by the side of a rice field in Bali with a Korean artist, as we interacted to create something that supported and illustrated her original concept. This image may be a failure in that it does not obviously pay homage to the magnificence of a rice field flooded with water. I enjoy it greatly however,  as it has its own internal  logic. To me, it represents the A-or-B  wobbly logic of Possibility.  

Notes for Mee-Young Arkim Photography Project

This is one of a series of essays on my relationship with, and thoughts on, using photography to create art. My collaboration with the artist Mee-Young Arkim is a starting point and a reference. The first post is here. Unless I am asked to write a review, I do not write about how I look at photographs. For one thing, photography is as diverse as Life itself. One looks at photographs of distant galaxies differently than one looks at photographs of blood cells. Conceptual photography, portraiture, street photography, photojournalism, pornography, daguerreotypes, aerial photography, etc. etc. With this post, I am free-associating and doing research. The following links and notes were inspired by this image that I created with Mee-Young Arkim, a Singapore-based Korean artist who has lived most of her life in Paris.
  1. My own work has often featured images that "look good in space". By this I mean that in space, there is no up or down; I have often enjoyed the challenge of creating composition that have meaning when hung on the wall in any of the four "traditional" possibilities.
minimal, hi-tech Arp water near ricefield

...the view through the camera.

    minimal, hi-tech Arp water near ricefield     minimal, hi-tech Arp water near ricefield     minimal, hi-tech Arp water near ricefield 2. Hi-tech minimalist tanguy... 3. Does the Golden Ratio matter anymore? 4. Fibonacci Numbers? 5. Depth of Field as a tool of expression 6. Exposure as a tool of creative expression 7. Sometimes a good idea to listen to what the artist has to say.... 8. je ne sais quoi... 9. The Zone System  

Mom Natura logo poll

So...in the course of doing this and doing that with Mom NatuRa, I was asked my opinion about a logo test... Thought it would be good to do a Facebook poll, but they seem to no longer be as easy to do as they once were....This was made with Opinion Stage...
And yes, if you are around Ubud on Sunday, stop by.
miso happy!