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Brian Bress: The Armory Show 2015 (New York)

This is an interview with Brian Bress at the 2015 Armory show in new york city.

The Armory Show, a leading international contemporary and modern art fair and one of the most important annual art events in New York, takes place every March on Piers 92 & 94 in central Manhattan. The Armory Show is devoted to showcasing the most important artworks of the 20th and 21st centuries. In its sixteen years the fair has become an international institution, combining a selection of the world’s leading galleries with an exceptional program of arts events and exhibitions throughout New York during the celebrated Armory Arts Week.

Will Kurtz: Artist Spotlight (New York 2014)

Will is a Michigan-born artist who lives and works in Brooklyn, New York. He was interviewed in his Brooklyn studio on June 13, 2014.

In this in-depth interview, Will talks about how he emerged as an artist, his technique and how he approaches sculpting, where and how he selects his models.

His works can be seen at his web site: http://www.willkurtz.com


Will Kurtz was born in Flint, Michigan and received his Bachelor of Landscape Architecture from Michigan State University in 1981. He practiced as a landscape architect for 25 years, throughout the United States and Canada. It wasn’t until he was in his mid thirties that he began creating art as a self-taught artist. Eventually his passion for art superseded landscape architecture and he moved to New York at the age of 50 to attend graduate school at the New York Academy of Art. After graduation with an MFA he was selected to remain and do a one-year fellowship. He has since had several solo and group shows and has  been reptresented by several galleries including Mike Weiss Gallery, New York, Queene Anne Galerie, Leipzig, Germany, Converge Gallery, PN and Stricoff Gallery, NY. His work is in many prominent collections around the world.

How to be good at parenting

When it comes to parenting, you are your children’s idol, don’t disappoint them. And when you do (which you will), admit it to them. Apologize.

Make time for your kids. Read with them, play with them, color with them.  It doesn’t matter what you do with them – as long as you spend time with them.
Hug them often, and tell them you love them. Look them in the eyes when you do.

Listen to your kids.  Just, …listen!

By the way: your children will instinctively, subconsciously, and uncontrollably seek out a relationship identical to the one that you have with your spouse – remember that!

Facebook: get out of the habit of scrolling endlessly through your news-feed. If you must have an account (yes, I know – there are lots of good reasons to do so), then train yourself to check only your notifications and then get out.  Otherwise you’ll scroll your day away.  To resist the urge of scrolling to see what your friends are up to: pick a handful of good friends, if you like – and choose to “get notifications” for their activity.

If you don’t LOVE your job, then you don’t have the right job. If you do what you love, then you’ll never work a day in your life.

Do not answer calls/texts during dinner time, family time, or “you” time. Your cell phone is for YOUR convenience, not the caller’s.

Always remember – every person you come in contact with (every single day) is in the midst of some kind of personal struggle.

Always remember – what other people think about you is none of your business.

Always make eye-contact when speaking to someone, or when they are speaking to you.

How to save a relationship

Most of the time, in the heat of arguing, it’s in our human nature to try to always win an argument, being completely rational or irrational. Same things happens to most of us on relationship discussions. In my case: My girlfriend is Chinese, I’m Ecuadorian, so the cultural differences do make an impact on our peace. Quite often. So how is it best to save a relationship when the going gets tough?

I came up with the idea of sitting (or standing) leaning my back against my GF’s back whenever a discussion heats up and we need to resolve a dispute over something.

By doing this back-against-back thing, you continue the discussion as if you were still arguing face to face. After a couple of minutes, this ALWAYS helps us to end the discussion and have a really happy outcome. We have learned so much about ourselves and each other by doing this.

What happens is that the arguing becomes significantly more objective. You no longer have another person in front of you that you’re trying to rationalize, apologize, persuade or convince about something, instead, you’re more vulnerable because you’re talking to nobody in front of you. Your voice resonates and you can pretty much listen to your own voice and think, “Well, I do have a point!” or maybe, “Damn, I’m full of shit, this is wrong. I am wrong.”

It used to take a couple of minutes to end the discussion for good. At the end, when you turn around, you get to face the person that you just agreed with. It’s a moment where you go ‘ah.. There she is…’ Or ‘there he is…’ And realize how beautiful a peaceful moment feels.

It’s a little thing that changed our relationship, and in some cases even saved it.

Why do girls dump the nice guy?

Alright, I’m gonna answer your question in two points:

1) Dumping the ‘Nice Guy’: She is right to do so. The reason is that most of these ‘nice guys’ are NOT nice because they want to be nice, or because they are nice. They are nice, first because of FEAR of dissatisfying, bothering or displeasing the woman. Second, because of the NEED to achieve their desired aim: make out, have sex or start a relationship with the woman. So here you have it: a combination of a coward who is NEEDY. This is the ugliest and most pathetic form of character, who would turn off the most desperate of women. Heck, even I would wanna avoid such a guy. He’s got no balls and he’s all about pleasing people. Like a mobile charity organization. Eww.

2) Going with the as*hole: I will not defend that. Women who dump the nice guy and go after as*holes are stupid and immature. The notion that “assholes are exciting” and “assholes are a challenge” is even more stupid. Just because he is ‘more exciting’ it does not mean he is good for a healthy relationship. He may not even be good for friendship. And giving him more attention and affection that other ‘non-as*holic’ guys only pulls her down to his level.

That being said, what you need to do is be fair with women. Any woman. Be fair to her and yourself. If she looks good, compliment her as much. But she needs to look VERY good to deserve it. If she says something stupid, face her with it. If she does a mistake, corner her with it. Take a stand. Show her you’re pissed just like you show her you’re happy to see her. If she’s playing hard to get, play harder. If she doesn’t spare time for you, do NOT spare time for her. Move on. There are plenty of women out there who may deserve the time and effort you’re gonna give. Always remember there are tons of other guys approaching her everyday. What’s gonna make you different? Being genuine.
-N. Houella

Norwegian Robotics Team Designs 3D Printed, Self-Learning Robots

A research team at the Robotics and Intelligent Systems laboratory at the University of Oslo’s Department of Informatics is in the process of designing and programming 3D printed robots that can solve complex tasks in situations where humans cannot be present — for instance, in oslohazardous landslide areas, compromised nuclear power plants, or deep mines on faraway planets.

The robotics team has designed three generations of self-learning and self-repairing robots. The first robot, a “chicken robot” the team referred to as “Henriette,” taught itself to walk and leap over obstacles. When Henriette lost a leg, it learned without help from its designers and programmers to move about on the one remaining leg.

The second generation of self-learning robots, developed by masters student Tønnes Nygaard, was designed based on a simulation program that calculated what the robot’s body should look like — for instance, how many legs it should have, how long they would be, and what the robot 4 legdistance between them would be. Basically, the robot designed itself.

The third and most flexible generation thus far was design fully by the simulation program, which suggested the ideal number of legs and joints for the completed, self-learning and self-repairing robot. According to Associate Professor Kyrre Glette, the process works as follows: “We tell the simulation program what we would like the robot to do, how fast it should walk, its size and energy consumption.” The program runs through thousands of possible configurations and arrives at the best models in a process of artificial evolution.

As the team progressed through the three generations of design, the process became more complicated as they wanted the robots to perform increasingly more complex tasks. The robots, which were all produced via 3D printing, are tested for functionality. The team discovered during the tests, however, that the robots’ “real-world functionalities quite often prove[d] to be different from those of the simulated versions,” as Professor Mats Høvin, another team member, noted.

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Closing the gap between the robots’ capacity to learn and practice at the simulation program stage and the real world is currently the challenge of the robotics team. One challenge they’ve given their robots is to test how they confront obstacles as, ideally, one of the primary functions of the self-learning and self-repairing robot will be to respond on its own to unforeseen problems. For example, one scenario the team provided was this: the robot enters the compromised nuclear power plant and encounters a staircase that had not been expected. It responds by taking a photograph of the staircase, analysing the photograph, and then, equipped with its own printer, printing and installing a part that will allow it to navigate the staircase.

robotIn another scenario, a self-learning, self-repairing robot sent into a deep mine on a distant planet would, for example, need to have the capacity to navigate over uneven terrain, climb boulders, and change direction when necessary. As it encountered problems, it would analyze the situation and respond by possibly adding necessary parts — for instance, augmenting its two- or four-legged design and adding another pair of legs that would allow it to crawl crab-like across a rugged surface (as seen in the video).

3D printing is invaluable both in creating the original models of the robots and in its role as an on-board tool for self-enhancing and -repairing in scenarios like the one cited above. “A 3D printer,” elaborates Høvin, “will construct whatever you want it to, layer by layer. This means you won’t have to bother with molds, and you can produce seemingly impossibly complicated structures as a single piece.”

The University of Oslo uses 3D printers that cost between 400,000 NOK (Norwegian Krone, or around $58,000 USD) and 3,000,000 NOK (or about $440,000 USD). As a general rule, of course, the more expensive the printer, the more sophisticated and the better the detail. It isn’t clear at this stage of the research and prototyping what caliber of 3D printer the self-learning, self-repairing robots will utilize.

Nothing really matters, or does it?

Nothing that I will ever say or do has any lasting meaning. Whether I pick a black or white shirt today, whether I donate to charity or not, whether I murder a child or save a life, the odds are that in 10 trillion years it will have made a total difference of 0.

Whatever we do, ultimately, has no meaning. In the grand scheme of things, we are but a tiny speck of dust on a meaningless planet in a meaningless universe drifting silently through vast cold space. Reanimating dying people, curing cancer, trying to find a formula for immortality, hell, any medical or engineering advances made by humanity make absolutely no difference.

Life is inherently worthless because it has no objective purpose or value. Why would anyone choose to live? Happiness, procreation, advancement of the species are all empty answers. Especially happiness, since it’s just an empty concept that gives us an illusion of worthiness. People delude themselves in thinking that life is meaningful and beautiful.
– nTrophy

bozoconnors responds;
While perhaps insignificant in the grand scheme – you’re likely very important to lots of folks in your own little microcosm. Plus – I think you’re underestimating the human race – I think we’re on the cusp of mattering, given the technological leap in the last century. These are exciting times. If we do indeed manage to escape this rock (essentially at least doubling our chance of non-extinction from anything but galactic scale disasters,) I predict big things for our future.


Question: Is society conditioning us to think that we have to have a job to get money?

Answer: Yes.

Society IS conditioning us to think we have to have a job to make money. Intellectually, we all recognize that of course it’s only one way and there’s other ways (all varieties of risk-taking entrepreneurship). There’s also ways to become wealthy via other forms of economics like barter and so forth.

But we don’t recognize this emotionally and viscerally.


Industrial age middle-class lifestyles have conditioned the natural range of wild human risk-taking behaviors down to a much narrower and artificial range of domesticated risk-taking behaviors. To see how far we’ve come, consider that prior to about 3000 BC, the probability of an adult human male dying via being killed in a fight with another male was between 15-60% (statistic from Pankaj Ghemawat’s excellent World 3.0). From that nature-red-in-tooth-and-claw level, we’re now at the far end of the pendulum’s swing, where we aren’t even willing to risk a day of hunger in order to get some potential value in return. We’ve mostly lost our ability to gamble except in the form of entertainment.

I think William James said it best, something like ‘The progress from brute to man is characterized by nothing so much as by the decrease in frequency of proper occasions for fear’

Civilization has certainly proved valuable in some ways. But the cost has been the constant narrowing of our appetite for risk. I’d estimate that about 50% of this narrowing happened in the last 100 or so years. One of its effects has been this addiction-to-paychecks syndrome you’re pointing out (and one that plenty of others have been pointing out in recent times).

I keep repeating one statistic ad nauseum, because people simply don’t get how dramatic an effect the creation of an industrial middle class has had on average risk tolerance. In the 1790s, less than 20% of America had a paycheck income. By 1980, more than 80% did, at which time the trend reversed.

This didn’t happen without a reason. The reason was that industrial age of mass-scale production required paycheck workers. People who had to be trained in industrial-style schooling.

The nominal purpose was to teach them the skills needed to work within the infrastructure of industrial society. The other, unpublicized purpose was to create a class of people that was far more disciplined and risk-averse than natural for the human species. In other words, a domesticated, comfort-loving species. This was achieved through, quite literally, conditioning. Bells rang for waking up and meal-times. Food appeared magically. Retirement was taken care of. Everything happened like clockwork.

The first few generations resisted being drafted into the industrial workforce mightily. Not despite their intimate familiarity with risks ranging from bad harvests to disease, hunger and death through poverty, but because of it. Because they understood that with those risks came freedom.

After that, the next generations were born and raised in captivity and never had a chance to sample the environments that might have made their wilder risk-taking instincts come out.

And so today, we have what you’re pointing out. A populace that understands risk, entrepreneurship and gambling in the abstract, but not at gut-level, and seeks the security of a paycheck, even when that security is rapidly turning into a complete illusion.


How to store MiniDV tapes for archival

You got lots of family MiniDV or Hi8 tapes and you want to preserve those memories as long as possible. First rule of thumb; Digitize/capture/transfer all the tapes using Firewire connection onto hard drive and name each video file logically for future retrieval. This step prevents you to go through all the tapes in the future to retrieve just one clip you need. Also, in the future there may not be a PC around with 1394 Firewire capture card, so you save yourself a headache.

Now on to MiniDV tape storage; Remember, never get rid of the original source footage, even if you already digitized them. This way you can always re-digitize them in case if the hard drive with your footage failed to spin in 10 years or so or you simply lost it, things happen..

  • Keep tapes in a dust free environment, away from direct sunlight.
  • Avoid high humidity and moisture. Use Silica gel packets, they are an effective and low cost desiccant. Periodically bake them dry if container been somewhere humid.
  • Never store tapes near magnetic fields, (top of TV, speakers, etc.).
  • Try to give tapes 24 hours to adjust to extreme temperature and climate changes.
  • Fast-forward & rewind tapes every 2 years to prevent sticking. Early tapes did stick but there’s been no reports of that with current DV tapes.
  • Store tapes rewound in their case.
  • Store the tapes standing upright to the ground, not laying flat.
  • The storage environment should not be hot, humid, dusty or smoky.
  • Store them in a plastic airtight container, like the one shown below, with some fresh silica gel .. in a temperature stable environment. Cardboard can absorb humidity.

DV tapes stored like that, have a life of about 30yrs. if you can then find a machine to play them 🙂


What you will need:

Sistema Klip It Rectangular Food Container

More info on this container here.

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Silica Gel Packets Desiccant Dehumidifier


Mike Cockrill: Artist Spotlight (New York 2013)

Mike is a Virginia-born artist who lives and works in Brooklyn, New York. He was interviewed in his Brooklyn studio on May 9, 2013. In this in-depth interview, Mike talks about how he emerged as an artist, who he considers his role-models, the state of representational art and its role in the contemporary art saturated market. He also talks about his experience collaborating with Judge Hughes on the White Papers – a picture book about assassination of JFK to the assassination of John Lennon. His works can be seen at his web site: http://mikecockrill.com About Mike Cockrill has been making conceptually engaged, socially challenging work since he first began showing in the East Village in the early 1980s. Cockrill—who grew up in the suburbs of Washington, DC, in the late 50s and early 60s—has a particular affinity with the pop-culture images of postwar America, and their darker subtexts. A classically trained painter, Cockrill also has the skills to understand an idiom and then deftly twist it, literally and conceptually. He has been doing this from his early cartoons, which are hybrids of suburban cheeriness and Indian-miniature eroticism, to his later paintings that adopt the cloying style of 1950s children’s book illustrations while exposing their undercurrent of sexually charged fantasy. Existential Man 14 November 2013 — 25 January 2014 With Existential Man, Cockrill has invented a character who seems to have stepped out of the 1960s, but who, unlike the confident adman in his Brooks Brothers suit, is a hapless middle-manager in a cotton-poly, short-sleeved shirt, with a bad buzz cut. Cockrill’s deft use of period detail signals to us what his character is not as much as what he is. He will not be having martini lunches and rising to the top of the postwar American dreamscape. Instead, Cockrill’s Existential Man is an everyman who inevitably finds himself in extremis in the midst of mundane everyday routines, who has no real chance in the land of opportunity, and who still carries dutifully on. For further information, contact Douglas Walla (dkw@KentFineArt.net) or Jeanne Marie Wasilik (jmw@KentFineArt.net).