Artists Brett Bloom and Marc Fischer, creators of the Temporary Services art label, display their interactive art exhibit, titled “Designated Drivers,” in the basement hallway of the Butler Museum of American Art.
The exhibit is a series of retractable clotheslines, each of which showcases a USB port attached to a stretchable cord. Each of the individual ports holds up to 4 gigabytes of material that is available for the public to download to their own personal devices and share. There are 20 different artists that have gathered around 20,000 files that are available to the public.
The artists that participated in the project were sought out by Bloom and Fischer for specific purposes and mediums. Many of the featured works are from international sources, such as Finland, Belgrade, the United Kingdom and some from throughout the United States.
Fischer, one half of Temporary Services, said that he compares the interactive art experience to sharing different movies or music with friends before digital sharing was available.
“This idea echoes tape trading communities, the whole experience of trading obscure movies or music with friends. It was peer to peer; it carried a sense of personal dimension,” Fischer said. “These files can’t be downloaded online and can only be downloaded via exhibit. Even though it’s digital, it encourages people to participate.”
Youngstown State University is the third school that has hosted the exhibit — allowing students to freely take video files, audio files, JPGs, PDF files and many more. Every type of sharable art form is provided, including animated GIFs.
Jonathan Dana Sperry, a digital media professor at YSU, said when he was thinking about different exhibits to place in the Butler Museum’s basement, “Designated Drivers” was one of his first thoughts.
“I knew [Temporary Services’] stuff and actually participated in a few exhibits in 2000. I had followed their work from then,” Sperry said. “I was trying to find something to fill the basement that showed digital art how it is today. It gives a notion of how art is experienced and aligned with open sources and sharing. The exhibit is something fun and different — it allows people to view art there and elsewhere, present and future.”
Fischer said that in the end, the art in “Designated Drivers” was meant to be spread around.
“We just wanted something cheap, easy to carry and easy to share — and this is what we made,” Fischer said.
Temporary Services also includes Half Letter Press, a publishing imprint and online store. Products, information and social media sites can be found at temporaryservices.org/served.
Recently we were in Youngstown Ohio doing our super secret testing of all the commercially available printers we could get for our upcoming 3D printer issue (November 25th). An interesting fellow walks up to me and says “Hey, I’m Tony and I make stuff”. That was enough to capture my interest. He says his studio is less than 5 minutes away and asks if I’d like to go see his work.
Jason Babler and I took a trip to Tony’s studio and absolutely loved what we saw. Tony seems to work with pretty much everything, though the majority of things we saw around the studio were made of metal. Some sculptures were static, some moving, some interactive.
View YSU CCAC Faculty Trip to Turkey blog! Here is a brief post about her upcoming trip:
Headed for Turkey in a few days through the generosity of the Niagara Foundation. We have an amazing itinerary planned, which will start in Istanbul. I love this particular mosaic from the city as it encapsulates so much of what I love about the Byzantine art and architecture of the city. In this vestibule lunette over an entrance to St. Sophia from the south, Mother and Child are flanked by Justinian on the left and Constantine on the right. Justinian offers a model of the church, which was built under his reign between 532-537 AD. Constantine offers a model of the city (note the walls), which he made the capital of the Roman Empire in 324 AD. The emperors are further identified by inscriptions: Constantine the great Emperor amongst the saints and Justinian Emperor of illustrious memory. The mosaic post dates the iconoclastic controversy of 726-843 and so demonstrates the continued debt to these two emperors who laid the foundation for the Byzantine Empire’s great city on the Bosphoros. The city of Istanbul is one of my favorites. Can’t wait to get started!
Youngstown State University’s art department invited Shaun Slifer and Bec Young, artists from the Justseeds Artists’ Cooperative, to the McDonough Museum of Art to speak to students about their group and provide a functioning example of modern artists working cooperatively.
Dana Sperry, professor of digital media, said the speech aimed to provide students with a working model of how artists work together.
“I heard Shaun talk about Justseeds at an apartment talk two years ago,” Sperry said. “That talk was really honest and forthright about artists working together — how that works or doesn’t work. It is something that we don’t talk about that all of you are going to have to do; all you are going to have to work with people. … We have this mythology that somehow you will just go off to your study and be all by yourself, and that will be enough to perpetuate yourself. That is not how that works.”
The Justseeds Cooperative is a collection of 24 artists from across North America, who use their skills to create print and design work to express and support political, social and environmental beliefs. The group, which lacks any traditional or strict hierarchy, proliferates the idea of collaborative efforts working harmoniously with individual expression.
“We are a worker-owned cooperative — collectively structured group of politically themed print makers. That is kind of my elevator speech of what we do,” Slifer said. “I think it has been seven years now that we have properly been a cooperative of people committed to working each other.”
Though the cooperative is made of members across the continent, they own a distribution center in Pittsburgh — run by Young and Slifer. This is where they receive members’ projects, archive members’ work, sell prints and portfolios, and package and ship orders.
“The selling of things, the selling of prints, is a tactic for us to support each other individually and try to create sort of a financial basis to do permanent projects,” Slifer said
Aside from offering support to each other – financially, personally and professionally – and operating the distributive center, the group also produces installations in galleries, produce works together, create portfolios of work for display and sale, place wheatpaste posters on the streets and contribute graphics to grassroots groups they support.
“One of the ways we cooperate is to make portfolios,” Young said. “I guess we feel that the portfolios are some of the most successful ways we cooperate.”
The group creates portfolios of limited edition set of prints from their artists for collectors, libraries and archives, as well as assisting the movements they support by offering free downloads of these graphics.
“For us, it is also an exercise in trying to focus and be integrated or in service to a type of movement that we believe in and want to contribute to or want to work within, but maybe aren’t otherwise necessarily involved in,” Slifer said. “A ton of us got involved in this kind of graphic work because we got tired of seeing the sorts of movements that we felt invested in, representing themselves horribly graphically. … These are also efforts at that.”
Young said one such portfolio they worked on, dubbed “War is Trauma,” involved working with Iraq Veterans Against the War — an organization they continue to collaborate with.
“[The portfolio] also contains work by veterans. So a lot of the Justseeds artists are involved with making artwork, but we also invited a lot of the veterans that were involved with Iraq Veterans Against the War to participate and put work in the portfolio,” Young said.
Slifer said he worked with the veterans pasting work around Chicago protesting the redeployment of veterans with PTSD and other mental trauma.
“I was thirty that year, and I was rolling around with a guy who was 18 and had just bailed right after basic training. He was supposed to go to Iraq but had read a couple of books and was like, ‘I’m not going,’” he said. “We were rolling around kind of graffiting Chicago and it was a really powerful experience actually working with them directly.”
Sperry said the event at YSU was part of the Emergent Future Now lecture series.
“This is the last installment of a long lecture series called Emergent Futures Now, which is about collaborations and collectives and cooperatives, and how they work and how they function,” he said.
To contribute to the art department’s Emergent Futures Now lecture series, Dana Sperry, an assistant art professor, invited the Think Tank That Has Yet to be Named to speak at Youngstown State University’s McDonough Museum of Art on Monday night.
Artists Jeremy Beaudry, Katie Hargrave and Meredith Warner collectively make up this think tank, and they share a similar passion — creating art that brings people together and inspires conversations regarding pressing urban issues.
Hargrave commented on the group’s lengthy name, indicating that the title began as a kind of jest.
“The name started as a joke a little bit, sort of pointing at how all kinds of different nonprofit organizations have these long complicated names that don’t necessarily mean anything,” she said.
The group’s nondescript name, though, turned out to be quite practical. Hargrave said it allows the group to explore many artistic avenues without being limited by a title.
“[the name] allowed us to be flexible,” she said.
The group’s artwork chiefly focuses on social practice, social design and community organizing and urges people to explore problems that may otherwise go unnoticed.
“The goal is often to make the unseen or the unspoken visible to people. So we all have an understanding of how we think the world is functioning or how a problem might exist in the world, but we haven’t made sense of that problem together,” Warner said.
Beaudry agreed with Warner and added that their art can be a social experience.
“The kinds of projects we do are really about bringing people together to have specific kinds of conversations,” he said. “Let’s bring some really interesting and smart people together and do these kinds of public art projects that have a really specific objective in making public and visible these urban issues we’re facing.”
As the art department continues to encourage collaboration among its students, Sperry said his art students benefitted from Monday night’s lecture because the Think Tank’s work served as a real-life example of successful, artistic collaboration.
“The lecture series is … dedicated towards creative communities, how people create, and how to do that,” Sperry said. “We often times throw that around as a buzzword — collaborating — or cooperating with other people. But, we do a pretty poor job of actually bringing in successful models for students to see and tell them how to do it.”
YSU students got a chance to practice this collaboration during a hands-on art construction project before the lecture began. Students had to create well-supported, physical sculptures to represent the figurative support they receive from their family and friends.
“They think about the support they have. Whether it’s they have family and friends that support them emotionally or even if it’s financially, it may be that they have certain networks that they are a part of,” Beaudry said.
The Think Tank developed this workshop, and Warner commended YSU students on their ability to create imaginative sculptures.
“I’m impressed by how insightful the students were about interrogating their own lives and how they could use these tools to think about how they can change what they are doing,” Warner said.
Youngstown State University’s Advertising Club will travel to Louisville, Kentucky to compete in the 41st annual National Student Advertising Competition on Saturday.
In an attempt to encourage healthy, interdisciplinary collaboration, both graphic design students and advertising majors will represent YSU in this year’s competition.
“You can’t separate the two — advertising and the design side of things. It’s alleviated some of the pressure on the advertisers because they don’t have to worry too much about the design, and it has been a great ad competition team,” said Michael Pontikos, a marketing and advertising professor and co-adviser to ADS Club.
Richard Helfrich, an assistant professor of graphic design and co-adviser to ADS Club, also positively commented on the interdisciplinary project, pointing to the success the team experienced last year.
“This is the second year the two academic areas have worked on the project, and last year, we were acknowledged for having the best book design and visuals,” Helfrich said.
ADS Club has developed a 26-page plan book that contains a hypothetical advertising campaign to endorse the competition’s sponsor — Mary Kay. On Saturday, the team will present its book in front of a panel of judges.
Cori Pavlico, senior advertising and public relations major and president of ADS Club, expressed confidence in her team’s ability to pitch this advertising campaign to the judges.
“I’m very confident. We have a great presentation team,” Pavlico said. “I feel like we all really know the pitch and the campaign well. And, we are confident that our strategies and materials are the best. … We’re really proud to be representing YSU.”
Though Pontikos said he is “fired up” for Saturday’s competition, he said that winning is not the most important part of the event.
“Whatever happens happens, but I know that the kids have a great plan book when they go on in their careers that will help them,” Pontikos said. “This process, whether we place first or last, the kids are getting something out of it. … Yeah, you want to win all the time, but … it’s also a learning experience.”
Helfrich indicated that the ad competition provides participating students with hands on work experience, allowing them to work in an environment that is similar to that of an authentic advertising agency.
“The [ad competition] is both a curricular and real-world experience that provides students in both academic programs the opportunity to develop a deeper understanding of their role in a creative team, insight into each others discipline and abilities to develop leadership/time management skills prior to graduation that prepares them for the professional world,” Helfrich said.
ADS Club members agreed with Pontikos.
“We even said out loud, ‘Wow. This is what it’s going to be like in the future, working on [advertising] campaigns,’” Pavlico said.
Christy Hartman, a graphic design major who helped design advertisements and contributed to the plan book’s layout, added that the graphic design and business students have learned from one another.
“We worked really well together,” Hartman said. “We taught them a little bit about design and they taught us a little bit about the advertising part, so I think we worked well together.”