Thursday, September 8, 2011


After my thinking and writing about how the camera effects how we see, here's a bunch of pictures from the flooding in our area.
There is currently a state of emergency and we're really not supposed to be traveling but we were out and seeing how bad it was. Last night I worked for three hours with friends to move hundreds of pounds of tools and fiberglass materials from their plastics plant to safety. Our friends Walter and Kristen with their two girls called us up at 1 am due to the mandatory evacuation and have been hanging out with us today.  They live two streets away from the park in the images below.
 We are up on a hill so that with the lack of rain it's quite tranquil. All of the flash flooding that closed streets last night up here has diminished. Helicopter are periodically  flying over and sirens regularly approach and recede.There are many better images and news reports but these are the shots from my iPhone around Endicott.

                                          This is at Miserau Park at around 7:30 am. The flood wall is the green bank in the background.

 This is the same park about three hours later and bit farther down. The slight rise behind the pool of water is the flood wall. The Susquhanna is just behind the wall.
If you look in the background in the left hand corner, you can see the water pouring over the flood wall.

                                                                Another shot of the park.

 This is is my favorite picture. You can see the water has come up the pole significantly and the sign is just ironic.
People coming out to see the river, take pictures and call their friends to let them know how bad it is.

 The perspective isn't great but the parking lot is lower than the grass you can see in the foreground and the water has completely filled that area.
         This medical building is to the right of the picture of Kmart. They are building sandbags.
                                 National Guard on the scene. Kmart is to the picture's left.

                                                It's never good when the Red Cross  floods.
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Monday, September 5, 2011

The NYT tossed up an article today "When the camera takes over for the eye"with an almost inspired quote regarding on how we do the recording-as-better-remembering act: "...the camera is a way of connecting, participating and collecting fleeting experiences." The piece is short but adds to this ongoing discussion of what the image-taking process means for us as viewers and consumers. This is not just for art but for family outings, special events or moving sunsets. 
Jaron Lanier has a recent interview/article in the Edge, I'm still working through this but Lanier has some interesting ideas that relate to this camera idea.
"Can people learn to forego the temptations, the heroin-like rewards of being able to reform the world to your own advantage in order to instead make something sustainable?"
Seemingly, those with cameras can now re-make the world so that a piece of art that is physically stuck in pcae can now be carried, printed or displayed wherever the individual's device allows. So we cease looking at items in their settings and look to see the most advantageous vantage point or interesting view point to capture the piece rather than simply being with it. The camera diminishes the art by reducing it to pixels and thus allowing the viewer to bypass the aesthetic experience or challenge. By capturing an image of the piece/scultpure the need to further interact with the work is pushed into the future since there is an artifact that can, if needed, be considered at leisure without the need to return to the thing itself. The world remade in the eye of the beholder holding a tiny lens and screen.

 To stare at Maria Abramovi's image is not to sit down with her. What would it have been like to have sat down with Maria Abramovic in the MOMA for "The Artist is Present" and brought out a camera phone and interposed it into the visual space? You can see many of the people who sat with Maria here. But without cameras no one outside of that room would have seen/experienced this event. There would simply be a blank square.

Is it simply because the technological devices are now available to us that we persist in recording these events? We are interested in recording and then digging those recordings up after they have been covered in dust but who is going to shift through the terabytes of digital files to find the important stuff?

Perhaps it is that we are too afraid of loss  to stop recording.