Bergamot Station Art Openings March 14, 2009

William Turner Gallery

Greg Miller

HollyWood, mixed media and oil on canvas, 6’x16′

The Calm, mixed media on canvas, 45″x70″

I believe that may be Greg in the leather jacket at the right.

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James Gray Gallery Stairway

(Perhaps if you squint a little you might get a rather weird stereo effect)

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James Gray Gallery Interior

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John Asaro Exhibition

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John Asaro Rotating Painting (not a collage, obviously)

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Joshua Tree Keys View Sunset

The following collages were shot the final day of the High Desert Test Sites events. It was so cold and windy that the batteries in my camera kept freezing and I had to keep changing them, which isn’t what you expect from that part of the desert.

Joshua Tree Keys View Sunset 1

November 9, 2008

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Joshua Tree Keys View Sunset 2

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Sunburst and 29 Palms Highway, Joshua Tree (in process – incomplete)

I expect to composite these videos with still images to show more coverage of the intersection, but I didn’t really get the coverage I wanted in either medium..

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Spring Equinox at the Malibu Wright Ranch

OK, this has taken forever to get to because these are the most complex assortment of clips I’ve shot. Furthermore, after I shot them, I was told people didn’t want them posted because it was a personal and private ceremony. Well, with some regrets, I can’t help myself. I also haven’t figured out the best presentation for the “sensitive” material, so it’s just a composite grid of the ceremony, and you can’t really hear any thing except the chant we all did. It’s enormous too; an unwieldy 58MB. Keep in mind that at actual size, the widest ones here are nearly 3-1/2 feet wide. That’s as big as Flash can handle; 2880 pixels square.

Fortunately, some of the others are quite breathtaking and not nearly as huge.

Indian Spring Equinox Ceremony

SpringEquinoxCeremony Click on image to load 58.1MB file.

Malibu Canyon Sunset

Malibu Canyon SunsetClick on image to load 3.5MB file.

On Top of the World Over Malibu Canyon

On Top Of The WorldClick on image to load 9.8MB file.

Malibu Coast at Dusk

Malibu Coast Dusk

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Malibu Coast View

Malibu Coast ViewClick on image to load 3.6MB file.

Malibu Shores

Malibu ShoresClick on image to load 2.2MB file.

Taking photos of the Malibu Coast

Taking Photos of the CoastClick on image to load 12MB file.

Santa Monica Night Coast

SM Night ViewClick on image to load 11.5MB file.

Wright Ranch HouseI find this one to be rather interesting; it has more cubist character than most of the other works. It’s a house they’re building that’s been under construction forever.Wright Ranch House

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Mt. Pinos 3 Row Torqued Panorama

Well, this proves that without much activity happening when you shoot video, you might as well be shooting stills. As I assembled the video clips, I began to realize that the lens and tripod were distorting the images so they didn’t fit together. I could actually skew the video itself, which would probably take forever to process, but it was just as interesting to layer and overlap them.


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Mt. Pinos is an amazing place. The highest mountain in the range at the southern edge of California’s Central Valley, just outside of Frazier Park, you can’t help be be deeply moved by the views, the peacefulness of the place (in good weather, at least) — or the high altitude!

Japanese Garden’s Running Brook

Some new video collages here. These were shot at the beautiful Japanese Garden next to the (ugh!) DWP water reclamation plant in Balboa Park in Van Nuys.

The first is more of an experimental mandala-esque view of the brook.

Running Brook 1

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Running Brook 1

The second is just a longer view of the brook in a simpler form.

Running Brook 2

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Running Brook 2

I guess I need to either;

1) get a cable release for the camera, if I can control the video button with it


2) spend the time to trim the small shakes that happen when I start and stop the camera

They seem to quake and vibrate, like the earth in California, or perhaps to breathe…

The park is near two airports too, so you hear the planes drown out the running water in the first one.

Kevin at MASH TV Filming Site

MASH Preview

This video collage was shot at the MASH TV filming site north of Malibu.

To view this effectively, drag your browser window very wide – wider than your monitor – and scroll back and forth or move the window to view the different parts of it. The wider you make it, the taller the vertical display area will become. Click on the preview image to load it (9.1MB Shockwave file).

Cubist Arthur

Another Cubist Arthur Shot

This clip has not yet been rated.

A therapist I know assured me this concludes that I’m certifiable.

In reference to the work, I’d like to quote Steven Soderbergh’s film, Sex, Lies, and Videotape; “All I could think about this past weekend was garbage, literally garbage. I started obsessing over what happens to all the garbage, I mean, what happens to all of it, we have to run out of space eventually, don’t we? This happened to me before when that barge with all the garbage was stranded, because nobody would accept it. I don’t know what started it this time.” The context of that statement in his film is not unlike that of this piece.

Intimacy, Attention, Commodification, and Privatization

It’s often said that most people are more willing to talk about their sex lives than money, but I’d venture that an even more private part of their lives might be their morning grooming routine. Often not fully awake, your attention is directed to various bodily minutia in a self-critical or narcissistic manner. What better way to convey the mental state and way of seeing than through cubism?

I initially chose the music because the upbeat part of the song was running through my head; “Woke up, got out of bed, dragged a comb across my head…” but once I’d laid the sound in, I found it gave the piece a much darker overtone, and am not entirely sure I’m content with the marriage of sound and image. Combining works by different artists offers the danger of either piece overshadowing the other, contextually or qualitatively, and the intention of the Beatles lyrics catapulted the piece into a wholly different realm of interpretation. Would I blow my mind out in a car? Filmic expectation leads you to expect that something will happen with that razor. Hitchcock and Spielberg have left us with dark expectations when razors are shown on screen. Perhaps the only other realm of our lives where the intimacy of grooming is violated is in advertising. By association, wrapped in a robe or towel and vulnerable, you may be subconsciously susceptible to suggestion. Viewing this, you might be led to expect a product recommendation, but I’m afraid you won’t find one. The mundane becomes surreal, and then the surreal becomes mundane again.

This overly revealing cubist video collage of me includes flossing, brushing, shaving, moisturizing, brushing, kissing, zipping, my tongue, fingers, navel, and sitali pranayam. Not to mention The Beatles, A Day in the Life.

It’s long; 10 minutes. If you can sit through it all, the zippers begin and end the whole deal, and you’ll hear the music loop then. Flash can’t seem to quite manage playing all the clips at full speed.

It’s BIG too. 35MB. Click on the screenshot above to view it.

Video Cubism and the Video Collage

sbsunset.jpegMy current creative investigation relates to what I call “video cubism,” although so far my efforts are really just panoramic video collages, and the cubist aspect hasn’t been fully investigated.

In theory, however, they are sort of a cubist approach to video. This approach compresses and fragments both the time and sound content, which is as jarring as cubist artwork in other media. I’m not sure these initial efforts really completely embrace that aspect of the technique yet, but hint at some possibilities for it. I haven’t been a big fan of cubism myself, but I was rather awestruck by seeing Hockney’s Pearblossom Highway at the Getty; it’s huge and fills a wall, and was pretty engaging in a way unlike any prints of it that I’d seen.

Pearblossom Highway

David Hockney, Pearblossom Highway

However, to say these were inspired by David Hockney’s photo collages is really only partly true. Hockney referred to his collages as “joiners,” but what makes them more interesting than panoramas assembled by software like “autostitch” is that the seams don’t match. Hence he describes how he realized he’d incorporated an element of cubism into his work.

Hockney Zen Garden

David Hockney, Zen Garden

Panorama Photo Collages

I’ve been experimenting with panoramic collages for years. I generally shoot them by hand, and eyeball the point where they’ll overlap. It’s a meager attempt to possess the grandeur of a spectacular natural location for me, something that will allow me to re-experience someplace uplifting that I’ve visited.

The first one that I actually kept was a 180 degree panorama I shot in Rocky Mountain National Park above Lawn and Crystal Lakes, near the second highest peak in the park. I’ll post it here once I scan it again. What happens with these scans is that they’re too wide to display well; they end up being tiny if you reduce the width to fit in a web page. Then you can’t really see them.

Occasionally I get something worthwhile. The sunset over Santa Barbara (at top of post), from July 1997, was truly awe-inspiring. Fortunately you don’t have to fight off the black flies that drove me to seek refuge inside my tent, despite having saturated myself with DEET.

That was really the first time I didn’t try to have the separate shots match when I shot them, although I did when I made the collage. Some wet ink got onto the prints too, hence it could use some photoshop retouching.

I shot this panorama of the well loved Reeve’s Hill, near South Woodstock, Vermont. It may actually be considered South Redding, I’m not sure. The weather wasn’t spectacular by the time we reached the summit, so it’s not as enticing as it could be. Vermont gets hazy and humid in the summer, so the visibility suffers, and of course, photos don’t capture the things you can squint to see.

Reeve’s Hill, South Woodstock, VT 2000

In New Mexico, the wide open spaces beg to be photographed, and I shot a series of shots of the Summer Solstice Kundalini Yoga gathering west of Espanola in the Jemez Mountains.

Solstice Grounds 2

Ram Das Puri Summer Solstice Camp and Tents


Video Panoramas

But the video panoramas: they’re huge, don’t bother if you don’t have a cable modem or DSL – and I just uploaded the flash shockwave files, I didn’t embed them in web pages, because that sets them to a static size. This enables them to resize according to how big your browser window is. So experiment with the size of your window, and scroll back and forth with them. You can also download them and then use, “File: Open” to view them. They make nice screensavers, especially the nightime city shots. There’s something hypnotic about them.

So far these weren’t really intended for web display; I’ve just been using web tools to make them. Because this medium is generally how I share work with friends, I expect I’ll soon create smaller web versions that will be less taxing for viewing. These aren’t unusable; they just are rather large and take a couple of minutes to load on a good connection.

My initial experiments in this direction were hampered by some miniDV camera problems. Digitizing tape in Premiere, cutting the clips, and THEN finally being able to manipulate them in Director added a layer of horror to what is still a lengthy, though navigable process. Current footage is shot on a card in avi format, and manipulated in Flash.

This was the first time I had something that was nice to look at regardless of how well it worked. I’d shot panoramas of the beach near Carpenteria, but it was overcast and that made the footage rather unpleasant. I also shot a lot of footage of the highway where James Dean died, contemplating a companion Monroe piece, but the camera began misbehaving and it wasn’t really clear whether the tape was damaged or the camera just needed adjustment.

I had hoped to do more vertical layers in the following series; that will come next. It’s hard to align the tripod I used vertically. As I’ve said, sometimes it’s kind of interesting to discard alignment entirely anyway.

For some reason WordPress is ignoring the instruction to open these in new windows, so you might want to consider doing that with a mouse command if you’re able to with the browser you’re using. You do need to click the links to see the video files, of course. These thumbnail stills are just to give you an idea what you’re about to see.

Only the first has audio.

Runyon Canyon Day Pan

Runyon Canyon Daylight Panorama With Sound 26.5MB:

I think the alignment in this is off. I’d have to reduce them even

further to fit the entire panorama in. Flash has limitations for how wide the file can be.

LA Coast Night Sunset

Night-time LA Coast with Sunset 33.3.MB:

This was the first one I got to work. I still am most fond of it.

Downtown Night LA Skyline

Downtown Los Angeles Night Skyline 7.1MB:

This file is smaller because the file dimensions were reduced – too small for my tastes.

Runyon Canyon Dusk

Runyon Canyon Night Sky 3.8MB:

There are two strips of panoramas in each file; each one is something like 180 degrees of the 360 degree panorama. You could open the file twice, in two different browser windows on a big cinema display, or two adjacent computer monitors, and line them up so you can see the full vista. People are already clamoring for full room-size projected installations of the pieces.

Video “One Offs”

These are a couple of early short videos I shot using my new camera. I call them one-offs because they aren’t edited in any way.

This one isn’t at all experimental or anything. Just some footage of these Aztec Dancers on New Year’s Day 2008, between Union Station and Olvera Street in Los Angeles.

Aztec Dancers

Here’s some video I shot while I was driving, which of course I shouldn’t have done in the name of safety, but it was really interesting visually, and went really well with the music I was listening to. I was also feeling rather “down” that night, and shooting this lifted me out of it.

Hollywood In The Dark

Charles Ives’ music almost gives a simple drive in the rain a narrative of its own. The music is called, “Central Park in the Dark.” I liked the interplay of the rain and street lights, the reflections, the textures of the windshield wipers and rain on the windshield. Actually, it probably should be called, “Thai Town In the Dark.”