MomenTech Is on a Six-Month Hiatus



MomenTech is delighted to announce that it has been selected to be one of six residents for the inaugural Residency for Artists on Hiatus (RFAOH). As of November 1, 2013, MomenTech is on hiatus from any and all creative production for a six-month period.

During this time, each member of MomenTech will be engaging in a daily meditation practice. The residency also includes research, data collection and progress updates posted to the RFAOH website. MomenTech will also be hosting online group meditation sessions that will be free and open to the public (schedule TBA).

This investigation into meditation continues MomenTech's interest in the practice, which began in 2010 with Field Experiment, an interactive, site-specific audiovisual project that explores meditation, self-hypnosis, the media and our cosmic origins by asking participants to imagine a field after having stared into live television static for a period of 10 seconds. Field Experiment was selected by the Behring Institute of Medical Research to be a part of their first publication for "Placebos for Art," a long-term research on the influence of art on public health using placebos.

MomenTech will resume its normal production schedule on May 1, 2014.

Please consider supporting RFAOH by purchasing one of their limited edition mugs (edition of 30).

For inquiries, please email m01123581321345589144@gmail.com.

Imagination Survival Kit

“Imagination as survival kit of the brain.” - Julian Beck


With the increase in natural disasters and extreme weather events, there has been an increased interest in creating survival kits, or "go bags," that contain such basic necessities for survival as water, food, first aid, hunting equipment, fire starters, etc.

While this type of survival preparation is part of any good readiness plan, MomenTech offers another factor to consider in a time of systemic crisis or widespread environmental breakdown: the human imagination.

To guard against this loss, MomenTech has designed an Imagination Survival Kit template that any family, school, tribe or community can use to help visualize what a survival kit for the imagination for them might look like.

As individuals, we are dependent on the survival of the imagination, and for that we find nourishment in the images, ideas, art, music, poetry and stories that continually inspire, promote change and give meaning to society. This includes our civic, political, scientific and spiritual ideas, all of which hinge on our civilization’s ability to protect them.

However, as our global systems destabilize, whether economic, environmental, political, social or our climate as a whole, the survival of our imagination is threatened, since in times of great instability the streams of culture that feed our imagination can also disappear, as they have in the past.

One need only look at the burning of ancient and modern libraries, the destruction of whole museums and the vast catalogue of books, music and ideas that have been banned, destroyed or simply lost, to sense how quickly major parts of our culture and past can disappear, and with them the connected pathways to the imaginations that created them. (The futuristic dystopia of Ray Bradbury's sci-fi novel Fahrenheit 45—in which individuals memorized entire books to preserve the knowledge within against a book-burning government—comes to mind.)

For others, the threat is less physical and more Orwellian, as the imagination grows dim inside the constant clamor and noise of our mass media, fed by corporations, private interest groups, political parties and iconic brands that want us to buy or believe in their messages. This saturation of media threatens the worlds that some of us might have imagined if only our minds were less manipulated.

To help create a safe haven for the imagination and guarantee its survival, MomenTech's Imagination Survival Kit template is imagined as a simple grid, which can be rendered on any wall or floor using pieces of tape (see sample configuration in accompanying image) to simulate a box with different compartments.

The theme or contents of each compartment should be decided by the producers and/or participants, who are encouraged to write directly on the wall within this grid the item or items they would want to stimulate their imagination, should society collapse and access to media that contain human ideas and ideals (books, art, music, etc.) is limited or gone forever.

Zombie Tag


Inspired by Fluxus, Dada and Zulu zombie mythology, Zombie Tag is a situational, public-space, user-interactive project inviting people to secretly tag others with "zombie stickers."

If one discovers the sticker on themselves, they can "pass on the infection" by placing it on someone else. Zombie Tag explores Entfremdung (estrangement), Marx's theory of alienation describing the separation of things that naturally belong together; and the placement of antagonism between things that are properly in harmony.

Entfremdung describes the social alienation of people from aspects of their human nature (Gattungswesen, "species-essence") as a consequence of living in a society stratified into social classes.

This theory was rearticulated by The Situationist International (SI), an exclusive international organization of social revolutionaries, avant-garde artists and intellectuals, and finds a more playful approach in Zombie Tag, which celebrates the humor and fun element that was an important aspect of Fluxus art.

Zombie Tag investigates the social alienation and stratifications present in the "us vs. them" aspect of zombie mythology, offering a slight shift in perspectives regarding the public spaces we occupy.

To play, simply download and print the Zombie Tag template on sticker paper, cut up the stickers and you're ready to secretly tag someone in the public space. If you are able to take a picture of your "victim,"please post online with #zombietag.

Inwigilacja (Surveillance)



"We are rapidly entering the age of no privacy, where everyone is open to surveillance at all times; where there are no secrets from government." -- William Orville Douglas (1898–1980), Associate Justice of the Supreme Court of the United States

Taking its cues from the work of Polish director Jerzy Grotowski, Inwigilacja (Polish for "surveillance") re-imagines the traditional theatrical process through the lens of our modern surveillance culture.

Two rooms are connected via a simple closed circuit television (CCTV) setup. A video camera is installed in one of the corners near the ceiling in a room marked "Stage.” It is connected to a video monitor located in an adjoining room marked "House."

Inwigilacja explores Grotowski's “paratheatrical” attemps to transcend the separation between performer and spectator by letting viewers decide if they want to view the spectacle or be the spectacle itself. By entering the "Stage," one becomes an actor. By entering the "House," one becomes a viewer.

Exploring the increasing loss of privacy due to surveillance in which members of the public become unintentional subjects/performers for an anonymous audience that holds voyeuristic power through the use of video technology, Inwigilacja contemplates a dystopic, Orwellian vision of the future in which—as Justice Douglas suggests—"there are no secrets." However, presented as a "complete theater," i.e., with dedicated "house" and "stage" locations, Inwigilacja also provides a way to examine the relationship between theater and politics, both on a governmental (control/power) and interpersonal (audience interplay) level.

HOME


HOME (2013), digital print, 7.5"x 7.5"

March 5, 2013 (New York) -- "HOME" is a new small graphical work produced by MomenTech for the HOME Project, a collaboration between Ground.Arts and Art Start that supports children in homeless shelter programs. Ground.Arts is a not-for-profit organization helping build art programs around the world for children. Art Start is a non-profit that runs creative arts workshops with youth in homeless shelters and alternative to incarceration programs. Both organizations are based in New York City.

"HOME" is a remix of American pop artist Robert Indiana's iconic "LOVE" sculpture, the image of which was originally designed as a Christmas card for the Museum of Modern Art in New York in 1964. Since then, it has been reproduced in a variety of formats and recreated in multiple versions and a variety of colors, on display around the world.

MomenTech has taken the graphic version with Indiana's original color choices and transformed the word "LOVE" into "HOME," showing how close these two words are.

Indeed, the two concepts are often been regarded as synonymous. As the American poet Oliver Wendell Holmes once said, "Where we love is home—home that our feet may leave, but not our hearts."

Emotional Responses to Western Painting

January 8, 2012 (New York) -- MomenTech has launched "Emotional Responses to Western Painting," a long-term study on the relationship between art and emotion.

In 2005, Paul J. Silvia, an associate professor of psychology at the University of North Carolina at Greensboro, published a paper on art and emotion entitled "Emotional responses to art: From collation and arousal to cognition and emotion," in the journal of the American Psychological Association (APA). He writes: "Emotions and art are intimately related. From ancient to modern times, theories of aesthetics have emphasized the role of art in evoking, shaping, and modifying human feelings. The experimental study of preferences, evaluations, and feelings related to art has a long history in psychology."

The goal of Silvia's paper was "to introduce the assumptions and predictions of appraisal theories to researchers interested in emotional responses to art."

MomenTech's "Emotional Responses to Western Painting" seeks to build on this research with a new study that aims to understand emotional responses to art through the use of a selected group of well-known paintings from Western art.

By studying responses to this culturally specific group of work by individual test subjects (from across all cultures and geographic regions around the world, not just the West), we hope to better understand the cultural-emotional context that exists in the human experience of art in general, as well as cultural- and location- specific emotional responses. This study will add to the ongoing research into the relationship between art, emotion, culture and psychology.

For this work, a special deck of 52 cards will be used. Each card has one of 52 different human emotions printed on one side. Forty-eight of the 52 emotions were taken from the Emotion Annotation and Representation Language (EARL) as proposed by the Human- Machine Interaction Network on Emotion (HUMAINE). The four remaining emotions were taken from the tree-structured list of emotions as described by W. Gerrod Parrott, a professor of psychology at Georgetown University, in his 2001 book Emotions in Social Psychology (Psychology Press, Philadelphia).

On the other side of each card is a reproduction of a painting selected from the group of paintings from the collection of the Metropolitan Museum of Art that the museum’s curators have determined are “highlights” from the collection. MomenTech has associated each of the 52 emotions with a painting from this exclusive group. By using famous Western paintings, the aim is to explore and question the validity of the Western art canon as a source of emotional response across all cultures, both Western and non-Western.



ABOVE: The word "delight" is paired with Gustave Courbet's Woman with a Parrot (1866)



ABOVE: The word "courage" is paired with Jacques-Louis David's The Death of Socrates (1787)

Each individual who participates in this experiment will be presented with two of the cards at a time, and will be asked, “Which painting do you prefer?” The one they do not select is immediately replaced with a new card, and the same question is asked again. This repeats until all the cards in the deck have been seen at least once. The paintings that the participant selected are put aside and the words associated with those cards are tabulated.

This study will begin with test subjects living in New York, with plans to execute the experiment around the world.

Red List (Endangered Avians, Europe) (2012)


"The more clearly we can focus our attention on the wonders and realities of the universe about us, the less taste we shall have for destruction." -- Rachel Carson (1907-1964), American  conservationist 


June 14, 2012 (New York) -- MomenTech's sound piece "Red List (Endangered Avians, Europe)," has been selected by PICNIC Art and Music Space for inclusion in their "48h Radio Show" that will take place during the 48 Stunden Neukölln Festival in Berlin, June 17-18, 2012.

According to the festival wesbite, the 48 Stunden Neukölln "reflects the impact of the 275th anniversary of a large number of religious refugees from Bohemia settling in (Böhmisch)-Rixdorf. They had suffered religious persecution in their homeland and were in desperate need of a safe haven. Friedrich Wilhelm I duly invited a number of families to settle in Berlin, where they established themselves in a village that later bore a name making reference to them, on 15 June, 1737."

Acting as a natural world metaphor for this historical refugee event, "Red List (Endangered Avians, Europe)" highlights the ongoing plight of the region's endangered bird species, who are increasingly lacking a safe haven as human activity—urban and agricultural development, pollution and anthropogenic climate change, for example—reduces and destroys their natural habitat.

"Red List" a 10'43'' audio piece composed entirely of the calls of the following nine endangered European/Eurasian bird species:

1. Skylark
2. Slender-billed Curlew
3. Egyptian Vulture
4. White-headed Duck
5. Saker Falcon
6. Japanese Crested Ibis
7. Eurasian Peregrine Falcon
8. Balearic Shearwater
9. Song Thrush

Press the PLAY button to hear the track:

Red List (Endangered Avians, Europe).mp3

"Red List" follows a similar compositional structure to "Boléro" (1928), a one-movement orchestral piece by Maurice Ravel originally composed as a ballet commissioned by Russian ballerina Ida Rubinstein.

Like "Boléro," in which the orchestra repeats a single melody with increasing musical instruments, "Red List" starts with a single birdsong, getting more and more layered, until all nine birds are singing by the end of the piece.

If mankind does not help conserve these endangered species, these birds will go extinct and their birdsongs will be lost forever, existing only as recordings such as this one. But "Red List" highlights just a small fraction of the many endangered species around the globe that are the unintended victims of "environmental persecution." According to IUCN, 12 percent of birds, 21 percent of mammals and 30 percent of amphibians are currently endangered. Meanwhile, humans continue to overpopulate the planet to an unsustainable and dangerously high population of 9 billion by the year 2050.

ABOUT MOMENTECH


Founded in 2010, MomenTech is a New York-based experimental production studio that coined the term Augenblicksmus (a neologistic variant of the German word “augenblick,” meaning literally, “in the blink of an eye”) to describe a creative principle based on the primacy of the moment in the development of advanced methods for the mobilization of transnational progressivism, post-humanism, neo-nomadism and futurism. Using pop culture remixes, instructional works, covert public interventions, user-generated content (UCG) and user-assisted content (UAC), MomenTech provides innovative solutions to leaders, teachers, curators, producers, directors and organizers looking for advanced methods to engage the public on the fundamental, practical and theoretical questions encountered at the intersection of education, politics, science, technology, arts, culture and sports.


MomenTech's projects have been presented around the world, including: ITCH Magazine (South Africa, 2012); "She Blocks the Highway," Fontanian Open Studios 2012 (Hong Kong, China, 2012); "Strategies for Public Occupation," Storefront for Art & Architecture (New York, New York, 2011); "Ethnographic Terminalia," Eastern Bloc Center for New Media and Interdisciplinary Art (Montreal, Canada, 2011); Dumbo Arts Festival (Brooklyn, New York, 2011); "mailto:," Drift Station (Lincoln, Nebraska, 2011); "April Fools' Show," SpaceCamp Gallery (Indianapolis, Indiana, 2011); Magmart International Video Festival 2011-2012, VII Edition (Naples, Italy, 2011); "Placebos for Art," Behring Institute for Medical Research (Dresden, Germany, 2011); New Media Daet Digital Arts and Technology Festival (Camarines Norte, Philippines, 2011); and "An Exchange with Sol LeWitt," Cabinet Magazine (Brooklyn, New York, 2011).



image: Egyptian vulture

Inequallet (2012)


"There has never been a larger gap between earnings in this country." -- Warren Buffett on the growing income gap in the United States, Bloomberg News, October 12, 2011


May 6, 2012 (New York) -- MomenTech's image/text piece "Inequallet" has been published in the latest issue of ITCH Magazine (South Africa), which has the theme of the unequal sign (≠). "Inequallet" features an image of a Louis Vuitton wallet with the famous "LV" insignia replaced with unequal signs, along with the Warren Buffet quote above.

ABOUT MOMENTECH

MomenTech is a New York-based experimental production studio that was founded in 2010. MomenTech coined the term Augenblicksmus (a neologistic variant of the German word “augenblick,” meaning literally, “in the blink of an eye”) to describe a creative principle based on the primacy of the moment in the development of advanced methods for the mobilization of transnational progressivism, post-humanism, neo-nomadism and futurism. With simple instructional works, covert public interventions, user-generated content (UCG) and user-assisted content (UAC), MomenTech provides innovative solutions to leaders, teachers, curators, producers, directors and organizers looking for state-of-the-art methods to engage the public on the fundamental, practical and theoretical questions encountered at the intersection of education, science, technology, arts, culture and sports.

MomenTech has presented projects around the world, including "Field of Dreams Festival," Bruce High Quality, Brooklyn New York; The 7 Billionth Person Project, Yale University; "3 Walls on Wednesdays," Athens, Greece; "An Exchange with Sol LeWitt," Cabinet, Brooklyn, New York; NewMedia Daet Festival, Camarines Norte, Philippines; "Escape," 6x6 Media Arts, Athens, Georgia; "Placebos for Art," Behring Institute for Medical Research, Dresden, Germany; Magmart International Video Festival VII, Naples, Italy; "April Fools' Show," SpaceCamp Gallery, Indianapolis, Indiana; "mailto:," Drift Station, Lincoln, Nebraska; DUMBO Arts Festival 2011, Brooklyn, New York; "Ethnographic Terminalia," Eastern Bloc Center for New Media and Interdisciplinary Art, Montreal, Canada; "Strategies for Public Occupation," Storefront for Art & Architecture, New York; and "End of War: Your Re-Imagined Peace Sign," WNYC Radio, New York.

Peace Option Key


Professor Charles Xavier (aka Proferssor X):
Listen to me very carefully, my friend: killing Shaw will not bring you peace.

Erik Lehnsherr (aka Magneto):
Peace was never an option.

-- X-Men: First Class (2011)


April 1, 2012 (New York) -- The Routledge Publishers promotional text for Chris Hables Gray's 2005 book Peace, War, and Computers asserts: "Computers are at the heart of war today: the U.S. Navy relies on Palm Pilots as much as fighter pilots. American cybersaboteurs unleashed computer viruses against Slobodon Milosevic in Yugoslavia. Even Marxist guerrillas in Colombia reported that the computers they used to track kidnappings were Y2K compliant. A visionary and disarming overview of cyberwar in the 21st century."

But computers are merely tools, certainly more amoral than guns (which are designed only to kill). And while computers have become increasingly central to military operations, they have also played a larger role in peace-building, the expansion of democratic ideas, and the spread of humanitarian aid and social welfare. Computers, as access points to the Web, have also demonstrated their efficacy in the toppling of dictators. The role of social media outlets like Twitter and Facebook in last year's Arab Spring are a clear testament to this fact.

Like the fictional Magneto of the X-Men series, the Peace Option Key isn't real. However, unlike the comic book villain, it offers the alternate view: Peace is an option. And as we exist increasingly within a computerized world, having a Peace Option Key illustrates not only the possibility that peace is within our reach (i.e., it is literally right in front of us), but also that the globalism that the internet engenders can—and should—be used a tool to achieve a global peace.

The Peace Option Key was created for "End of War: Your Re-Imagined Peace Sign," a project that is part of the Brian Lehrer Show's "End of War" series on WNYC radio.

MomenTech Installs Temporary IPSL Pop-Up Branch at Storefront for Art and Architecture


"Libraries are not made; they grow."
Augustine Birrell (1850-1933), Chief Secretary of Ireland

December 15, 2011 (New York) -- New York-based experimental production studio MomenTech will install a temporary "pop-up" branch of the International Public Space Library (IPSL), a global interactive public space project featuring a growing collection of anonymously donated books that have been placed in public locations around the world, at Storefront for Art and Architecture in New York as part of "Urban Action," day two of "Strategies for Public Occupation," a 7-day growing exhibition of ideas, on Saturday, December 17, 2011. "Strategies for Public Occupation" runs from December 16-22.

Unlike a traditional library, the IPSL is not permanently housed in a physical building; any public place is a potential temporary location for the IPSL. Anyone can donate or borrow a book.

For "Strategies for Public Occupation," the temporary pop-up branch of the IPSL at the Storefront for Art and Architecture will offer a selection of books to help stimulate the ongoing public discussion of economics, politics, society and culture, particularly reflective of the Occupy Wall Street movement (the library of which was destroyed by city officials) or indeed any social movement that has been or is currently powered by the free exchange of ideas, particularly through the sharing of books.

To donate a book, download the IPSL ex libris from http://internationalpublicspacelibrary.blogspot.com, affix it inside the book you wish to donate, then place the book in a public space anywhere in the world. If you find an IPSL book, you are welcome to take it and enjoy it. When you are finished, place it somewhere in the public space for someone else to discover. IPSL explores how boundaries and borders are crossed—and how ends can be turned into beginnings—simply by exchanging and sharing the knowledge contained in books via the public space.

IPSL ex libris


Please feel free to enjoy these books during your stay at Storefront for Art and Architecture. Starting at 5pm on December 16, you are welcome to take a book. When you are done with it, please place it somewhere in the public space so that someone else may find it.

In November 2011, the IPSL was presented at the Eastern Bloc Center for New Media and Interdisciplinary Art as part of Ethnographic Terminalia 2011 Montreal: Field, Studio, Lab, an exhibition and conference that brought together an international group of artists and anthropologists.

ABOUT MOMENTECH

MomenTech is a New York-based experimental production studio that was founded in 2010. MomenTech coined the term Augenblicksmus (a neologistic variant of the German word “augenblick,” meaning literally, “in the blink of an eye”) to describe a creative principle based on the primacy of the moment in the development of advanced methods for the mobilization of transnational progressivism, post-humanism, neo-nomadism and futurism. With simple instructional works, covert public interventions, user-generated content (UCG) and user-assisted content (UAC), MomenTech provides innovative solutions to leaders, teachers, curators, producers, directors and organizers looking for state-of-the-art methods to engage the public on the fundamental, practical and theoretical questions encountered at the intersection of education, science, technology, arts, culture and sports.

MomenTech has presented projects around the world, including "Field of Dreams Festival," Bruce High Quality, Brooklyn New York; The 7 Billionth Person Project, Yale University; "3 Walls on Wednesdays," Athens, Greece; "An Exchange with Sol LeWitt," Cabinet, Brooklyn, New York; NewMedia Daet Festival, Camarines Norte, Philippines; "Escape," 6x6 Media Arts, Athens, Georgia; "Placebos for Art," Behring Institute for Medical Research, Dresden, Germany; Magmart International Video Festival VII, Naples, Italy; "April Fools' Show," SpaceCamp Gallery, Indianapolis, Indiana; "mailto:," Drift Station, Lincoln, Nebraska; DUMBO Arts Festival 2011, Brooklyn, New York; and "Ethnographic Terminalia," Eastern Bloc Center for New Media and Interdisciplinary Art, Montreal, Canada.

Goat-song

"Tragedy, then, is an imitation of an action that is serious, complete, and of a certain magnitude; in language embellished with each kind of artistic ornament, the several kinds being found in separate parts of the play; in the form of action, not of narrative; through pity and fear effecting the proper purgation of these emotions." -- Aristotle, Poetics, Book VI
Fig. 1. Floor plan for basic production of "Goat-Song" in a rectangular room. The lower empty section (below the green line) is the area for the audience. The upper section (above the green line) is the stage area. The words "dog, sheep, pig, goat, cow, chicken, donkey, water buffalo, horse and camel" can be displayed somewhere in the stage area (e.g., the floor or walls) so that they are visible to the audience.

Goat-song is an experimental, audience interactive play that considers key domesticated species that have been critical to the development of human society

NEW YORK, June 10, 2011 -- MomenTech, a New York-based experimental production studio, has created their first play, an experimental tragedy entitled Goat-song.

A PRIMAL TRAGEDY

Taking its title from the Greek origin of the word "tragedy" (tragoidia, a portmanteau of tragos meaning "goat" + ode meaning "song"[1]), Goat-song is an experimental improvisational theateical play performed entirely by the audience that considers the top ten domesticated animals that have been the most critical to the development of human civilization and how their continued domestication not only challenges basic principles of animal welfare, but also threatens the health of the global environment due to greenhouse gas emissions.

These animals are (in order of approximate domestication date, with approximate date of domestication and location of origin):

  1. Dog (Canis lupus familiaris) | 15,000 BC | East Africa
  2. Sheep (Ovis orientalis aries) | 11,000 BC - 9,000 BC | Southwest Asia
  3. Pig (Sus scrofa domestica) | 9,000 BC | Near East, China
  4. Goat (Capra aegagrus hircus) | 8,000 BC | Iran
  5. Cow (Bos primigenius taurus) | 8,000 BC | India, Middle East, Sub-Saharan Africa
  6. Chicken (Gallus gallus domesticus) | 6,000 BC | India and Southeast Asia
  7. Donkey (Equus africanus asinus) | 5,000 BC | Egypt
  8. Water Buffalo (Bubalus bubalis) | 4,000 BC | India, China
  9. Horse (Equus ferus caballus) | 4,000 BC | Eurasian Steppes
  10. Camel (Camelus dromedarius) | 4,000 BC | Arabia
Humans domesticated these animals for their milk, their meat, their skin, their skills and their physical strength in order to feed, clothe and build human civilization. Without them, civilization as we know it would not exist. And yet, for many millennia, these noble beasts have suffered greatly and died in great numbers at the hands of their human overlords.

LOOKING TO 2050: THE ENVIRONMENTAL IMPACT

A 2010 study, published in the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences and conducted by Nathan Pelletier with Peter Tyedmers at Dalhousie University in Halifax, Nova Scotia, concluded that the projected global demand for meat, poultry, eggs and dairy could be responsible for 70 percent of the total greenhouse gas emissions by 2050, reaching a level considered to be a safe threshold for the planet. They said that livestock could generate an even greater proportion of the sustainable threshold for other environmental indicators. The researchers looked at current and future projections of levels of greenhouse gas emissions, biomass consumption and nitrogen emissions, and compared them to estimates of the Earth's safe limits.[2]

"We're not suggesting that everyone in the world become vegan or vegetarian," said Pelletier, in a DiscoveryNews article. "We really stress the importance of policies aimed at production and consumption over time by changing not just how much we eat, but what we eat and how frequently we eat it."[3]

The United Nations estimates that agriculture -- specifically meat and dairy production -- accounts for 70% of global freshwater consumption, 14% of the world's greenhouse gas emissions and almost 40% of the Earth's total land area usage. The report states, "A substantial reduction of impacts would only be possible with a substantial worldwide diet change, away from animal products."

"We must start looking into our everyday activities if we truly want a green economy -- for developed and developing countries, said Achim Steiner, the United Nations Under-Secretary General and Executive Director of the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP).

In addition to exploring the role of art in inspiring more ecological and ethical thinking and acting, Goat-song addresses the continuing tragedy of domesticated animals and increases awareness about the role that they have played in creating human civilization -- as well as the role humans continue to play in their lives.

PARATHEATER, PEOPLE'S THEATRE & PROTEST THEATRE

Goat-song invites humans to play the roles of domesticated animals through the sounds they make. There are ten characters -- one for each of the ten animals -- and these roles are performed by any person entering the stage area. By entering this clearly demarcated performative space, viewers are transformed into actors/performers.

There is no limit to how many actors play each of the ten roles. If there are 10 actors, for example, all may be playing the role of a single animal. The decision of which animal to portray is up to the actor. But as long as an individual is physically within the stage space, they are expected to perform.

Though being in the stage space is a voluntary action, it symbolizes the captive state of domesticated animals. Viewers who do not wish to perform simply remain in the audience space. This rule sets up countless possibilities, including the possibility that there are only viewers and no actors -- and vice versa. However, unlike a traditional play, these unusual scenarios can still be considered successful executions of Goat-Song.

Goat-song recalls the "paratheater" of Polish experimental theater director Jerzy Grotowski, who attempted to transcend the separation between performer and spectator, as well as the teachings of Russian theater director Constantin Stanislavski, who proposed that actors experience subjective emotions and feelings and manifest them through physical and vocal means.

It also recalls the idea of democratic "people's theater" advocated by French dramatist and mystic Romain Rolland, who wrote, "the stage and auditorium should be open to the masses, should be able to contain a people and the actions of a people."

Goat-song also presents the possibility of a protest action, as it recalls an infamous event in Mexico City in 1968 when civil servants were paraded in the city to show support for the government, but instead bleated like sheep to protest their subservience.

SIMPLICITY & SITE-SPECIFICITY

A basic production of Goat-song can be performed anywhere. For example, an empty room can be easily transformed into an active Goat-song space by merely drawing a line on the floor that divides the audience area from the stage (see. Fig. 1 above). In ancient Greek theater, this area would be the circular orchestra (see Figs. 2 & 3 below).

The goal of this simple setup is to make Goat-song easily producible anywhere, anytime, by anyone. All that is needed is a dedicated stage space and a knowledge of the ten animals. The list can be painted on the floor, spray-painted on a wall, presented as a stack of cards with each card displaying a different animal name or simply memorized.

In an outdoor space, the stage can be demarcated by a circle on the ground, or using imaginary boundaries set up by visual markers. Producers/directors of Goat-song are encouraged to devise their own method of determining the stage area and the audience area -- and conveying the list of ten animals to the audience.

NON-HUMAN LANGUAGE

To engage in a production of Goat-song, viewers simply enter the stage area, select one of the ten animals and begin making the sound of that animal, however they interpret this sound to be. English speakers portraying the dog might say "woof-woof," while Japanese speakers might say "wan-wan." Each language has its own words for these sounds.

Goat-song does not have a traditional script. The script is whatever animal sounds are being made by any participant at any given time. In its most basic form, Goat-song contains no human language beyond onomatopoeias (e.g., moo, baa, oink, etc.) in the language of the participant(s). (Derek Abbott of the University of Adelaide School of Electrical and Electronic Engineering has compiled "the world's biggest multilingual list" of animal sounds.[4])

Like Sophocles, who, as one ancient anonymous critic said, "could characterize a whole person in a little half-line or a single word[5]," Goat-song characterizes each of the ten animals by the sounds they make.

PRODUCTION REQUIREMENTS

A successful production of Goat-song requires, at minimum, the following elements:
  • One stage area
  • One audience area
  • One actor (or) one audience member
  • Performance directions (i.e., list of animals, rules of engagement)
Without an actor or an audience member, Goat-song can exist as a site-specific installation that is "waiting" for engagement by an actor and audience member.

Fig. 2. Floor plan of 5th-century Greek theater (source)

Goat-song does not require the following (though producers/directors are encouraged to create their own methods of production):
  • Director
  • Sets
  • Costumes
  • Stage Directions
  • Script (i.e., pre-written, non-improvised)
RULES OF ENGAGEMENT

(Note: The following rules must be known to the audience.)
  1. Members of the audience must remain in the audience space.
  2. Actors must remain in the stage space.
  3. To become an actor, simply enter the stage space.
  4. Anyone in the stage space is considered an actor.
  5. Actors must select a single animal from the following list: dog, sheep, pig, goat, cow, chicken, donkey, water buffalo, horse, camel.
  6. Actors must vocalize the sound of their animal; the actual sound is up to the actor (or director, if there is one).
  7. Actors must make at least one vocalization of their animal sound while in the stage space.
  8. There is no limit to the length of Goat-song; once started, it can go on forever (i.e., a permanent installation).
  9. There is no limit to how many actors can play each character at any given time.
  10. There is no limit to the number of actors in any given production of Goat-song.


Fig. 3. The orchestra section of an ancient Greek theater, marked by a green circle. In this performative space, actors must select one of Goat-Song's ten animals and make at least one vocalization of their chosen animal's sound.

Goat-song offers a space for the articulation of a natural, pre-human meta-drama that does not involve human characters or human language, through the use of the concept of "narrative justice," an idea of justice detached from the social field and focused on an improvisational narrative of possible reconciliation and social change, beginning on an individual level.

Goat-song is MomenTech's second proposal for a project located in Greece. The first, Dance By Yourself[6], was created specifically for "3///3: Three Walls on Wednesdays," a mobile public art project of the New York- and Athens-based artist Blanka Amezkua that was mounted throughout Athens, Greece, in September 2010.

NOTES

[1] The word τραγῳδία (tragoidia), from which the word "tragedy" is derived, is a portmanteau of two Greek words: τράγος (tragos) or "goat" and ᾠδή (ode) meaning "song", from ἀείδειν (aeidein), "to sing". This etymology indicates a link with the practices of the ancient Dionysian cults. It is impossible, however, to know with certainty how these fertility rituals became the basis for tragedy and comedy. Wikipedia.com, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Theatre_of_ancient_Greece, retrieved June 8, 2011.
[2] Pelletier, Nathan, with Peter Tyedmers, United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP). "Assessing the Environmental Impacts of Consumption and Production." Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, http://www.unep.org/resourcepanel/documents/pdf/PriorityProductsAndMaterials_Report_Full.pdf, retrieved June 10, 2011.
[3] Marshall, Jessica. "Livestock production will push Earht's limits." Discovery.com, http://news.discovery.com/earth/livestock-production-greenhouse-emissions.html, retrieved June 10, 2011.
[4] Derek Abbott's Animal Noise Page, http://www.eleceng.adelaide.edu.au/personal/dabbott/animal.html, retrieved June 10, 2011.
[5] Lattimore, Richmond. Story patterns in Greek tragedy (Ann Arbor: University of Michigan Press, 1964), p. 5.
[6] MomenTech, "Dance By Yourself" (part of the Proverbs Series), http://momentech.blogspot.com/2010/09/momentech-announces-proverbs-series.html, retrieved June 10, 2011.

12 Commandments


12 Commandments (detail above) is a proposed site-specific installation featuring a Holy Bible, altered to mimic Adolf Hitler's "Third Reich Bible," placed in a cell in the former prison JVA Kaßberg in Chemnitz, Germany

NEW YORK, May 15, 2011 -- In 2006, the UK newspaper Daily Mirror reported that Nazi leader Adolf Hitler created his own Third Reich Bible, which contained rewritten text that included his own "12 Nazi Commandments."

12 Commandments is intended for a site-specific installation in a cell in a former prison, the JVA Kaßberg in Chemnitz, Germany. The Bible signifies the first documented use of Chemnitz in 1143 as site of a Benedictine monastery. The altered "Nazi-fication" of the Bible indicates the city's World War II history: Chemnitz was carpet bombed several times by RAF and USAF by more than 1,500 planes. The placement of a Bible in a prison also indicates the common "finding of God" by prisoners.

All Jewish words, such as Hallelujah and Jehovah were erased from Hitler's version of Bible. Additionally, all sentiments of compassion were removed. In 1941, around 100,000 Third Reich Bibles were published and sent to thousands of churches. Most of these Bibles are believed to have been destroyed. A single surviving copy was discovered in a Hamburg church.

According to Sky News, Hitler's bible was called Germans with God. "It is thought Hitler ordered race theorists to rewrite the Bible so he could harness the power of the religion he hated to his cause."

MomenTech has partially recreated one of these Bibles, replacing the Bible's original Ten Commandments with Hitler's 12:

1. Honour God and believe in him wholeheartedly
2. Seek out the peace of God
3. Avoid all hypocrisy
4. Holy is your health and life
5. Holy is your wellbeing and honour
6. Holy is your truth and fidelity
7. Honour your father and mother - your children are your aid and your example
8. Keep the blood pure and your honour holy
9. Maintain and multiply the heritage of your forefathers
10. Be ready to help and forgive
11. Honour your Fuhrer and master
12. Joyously serve the people with work and sacrifice.

12 Commandments contemplates Chemnitz's history as a Benedictine monastery, as an Allied target during World War II and presents a rare glimpse at the ego-driven philosophy that fueled Adolf Hitler in the emotionally and culturally charged location of the JVA Kaßberg prison.

Teapot with Landscape (detail)



Teapot with Landscape (detail)
Design attributed to Olfert Daper (Dutch, 1635-1689)
Japan, Edo period (1615-1868), early 18th century
Porcelain with underglaze blue decoration
(Arita ware)

Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York, NY
Dr. and Mrs. Roger G. Gerry Collection
Bequest of Dr. and Mrs. Roger G. Gerry, 2000

2002.447.120a,b

Teapot with Landscape (detail) invites viewers to consider not only Japan's recent earthquake and tsunami, but also man's long and complex relationship with the sea

NEW YORK, April 8, 2011 -- Considering Japan’s recent earthquake and tsunami, this detail depicting a boat sailing near the coast is another reminder of man’s long and complex relationship with the sea.

Taken from an 18th-century Edo-period Japanese teapot currently on view in the permanent collection of the Metropolitan Museum of Art, the scene renders people so tiny that they are as fragile as the porcelain upon which they are painted.

During the Edo period (1603-1868), Japan was ruled by the shoguns of the Tokugawa family. It was a tumultuous time. Edo -- the shogunate's seat of power and the former name of Tokyo -- was destroyed several times by war and also natural disasters like fire, earthquakes, tsunamis and volcanic eruptions.

Mandala-Tanque

proposed installation of "Mandala-tanque" at the DUMBO Arts Festival


Mandala-Tanque invites participants to destroy a sand mandala by playing one of France's most popular sports

NEW YORK, March 28, 2011 -- For a good part of the past two centuries, France had a large presence in Southeast Asia. Laos was ruled by France from 1893 to 1954. Vietnam was part of French Indochina from 1885 to 1954. Cambodia was a protectorate of France from 1863 to 1953. As a result, pétanque is played in those nations, as well as in Thailand, which acted as a buffer between the French and British interests in the region. Buddhism is practiced widely throughout the region.

New York-based experimental production studio MomenTech considers this spiritual dimension through the application of sportsmanship and sports theory with Mandala-Tanque, a proposed site-specific, audience participatory installation that invites viewer to play a game of pétanque on a pitch upon which a Tibetan Buddhist sand mandala has been created.

The sand mandala is a Tibetan Buddhist tradition in which an intricate, painstakingly-created design made with colored sand is ritualistically destroyed once it is completed, a symbol of life's fundamentally transient nature.


Sand mandala, Tibet exhibit, Asian Art Museum, San Francisco (Mai Le, Wikimedia Commons)


In the case of Mandala-Tanque, the mandala will be destroyed by the action of a game of pétanque.

Mandala-Tanque continues MomenTech's ongoing exploration of transnational progressivism through sports and game theory, and expands on an earlier pétanque project, Ped Tanco.

MomenTech's other sport- or game-related projects include Scotch-Hoppers for Sol Lewitt (a conceptual site-specific hopscotch installation using a LeWitt approach that was exhibited in January 2011 as part of "An Exchange with Sol Lewitt," a dual exhibition curated by Regine Basha at Cabinet in Brooklyn and MASS MoCA in North Adams, Massachusetts, and will be exhibited in the forthcoming exhibition "April Fools' Show" at SpaceCamp MicroGallery in Indianapolis, Indiana; Invocation and Offering to Unkulunkulu, an audio work utilizing live recordings of the vuvuzela, the ubiquitous horn instrument of the 2010 World Cup; and 2012 Olympi-Mobs, an audience participatory, site-specific public space project that will beckon the London public to engage in a flashmobs to explore the connections between political protest, meditation and sports, during the 2012 London Olympics.

A full installation of Mandala-Tanque consists of a regulation-sized, competition-ready pétanque court upon which one or more sand mandalas have been created, two sets of official boules, instructions on how to play, an educational component (e.g., booklets, brochures, online resources, photos of of the history of pétanque, etc.), workshops led by pétanque players and professionals and a single- or multi-day public pétanque competition. MomenTech has been in discussion with the New York pétanque club La Boule New Yorkaise (LBNY) about logistics and planning for both the Ped Tanco and Mandala-Tanque projects.

According to Wikipedia, "pétanque is a form of boules where the goal is, while standing inside a starting circle with both feet on the ground, to throw hollow metal balls as close as possible to a small wooden ball called a cochonnet (literally "piglet") or jack. It is also sometimes called a bouchon (literally "cork") or le petit ("the small one"). The game is normally played on hard dirt or gravel, but can also be played on grass, sand or other surfaces. Similar games are bocce and bowls.

By illustrating the success of a game whose history has crossed so many national borders throughout Western civilization, Mandala-Tanque underlines the possibilities of transnational progressivism, which endorses a concept of post-national global citizenship and promotes the authority of international institutions over the sovereignty of individual nation-states.

MomenTech's other sport- or game-related projects include Scotch-Hoppers for Sol Lewitt (a conceptual site-specific hopscotch installation using a LeWitt approach that was exhibited in January 2011 as part of "An Exchange with Sol Lewitt," a dual exhibition curated by Regine Basha at Cabinet in Brooklyn and MASS MoCA in North Adams, Massachusetts; Invocation and Offering to Unkulunkulu, an audio work utilizing live recordings of the vuvuzela, the ubiquitous horn instrument of the 2010 World Cup; and 2012 Olympi-Mobs, an audience participatory, site-specific public space project that will beckon the London public to engage in a flashmobs to explore the connections between political protest, meditation and sports, during the 2012 London Olympics.

Eat Your Napkin


MomenTech's instructional piece "Eat Your Napkin" invites participants/viewers to do just that

NEW YORK, February 27, 2011 -- Eat Your Napkin is an experimental, audience participatory, instructional, site-specific performative artwork by MomenTech, a New York-based experimental production studio that coined the term Augenblicksmus to describe a creative philosophy based on the notion of the moment or the momentary to develop new themes for the mobilisation of transnational progressivism, post-humanism, neo-nomadism and futurism.

To execute Eat Your Napkin, two requirements must first be met:

1. Participants must be about to eat, or in the process of eating, a meal.
2. A paper napkin must be present.

If these two requirements are met, then participants who wish to execute one installation of Eat Your Napkin must execute the following action:

1. Eat the napkin.

Once the above action has been executed, one installation of Eat Your Napkin can be considered complete.

Eat Your Napkin refers to a rebellion against eating one's meal, a statement about mankind's "devouring" of rainforests to supply the paper industry and the current and growing global food crisis.

Eat Your Napkin also refers to a medical disorder known as pica, which Wikipedia states is "characterized by an appetite for substances largely non-nutritive (e.g., metal, clay, coal, sand, dirt, soil, feces, chalk, pens and pencils, paper, batteries, spoons, toothbrushes, soap, mucus, ash, gum, etc.) or an abnormal appetite for food ingredients (e.g., flour, raw potato, raw rice, starch, ice cubes, salt). For these actions to be considered pica, they must persist for more than one month at an age where eating such objects is considered developmentally inappropriate. The condition's name comes from the Latin word for magpie, a bird that is reputed to eat almost anything. Pica is seen in all ages, particularly in pregnant women, small children, and those with developmental disabilities."

By participating in Eat Your Napkin, participants agree that MomenTech is not held liable in case of physical injury due to participating in this piece (i.e., ingesting a napkin).

Eat Your Napkin continues MomenTech’s series of instructional art works, which include Anti-Christmas Box (2010), which invites participants to imagine a box and place their desire for unnecessary things in it as a comment on the hyper-consumerism of Christmas, and Scotch-Hoppers for Sol Lewitt (2010), which invites participants to draw a hopscotch playing field that emulates the ideology of the American conceptual artist Sol Lewitt and which was exhibited as part of the exhibition "An Exchange with Sol Lewitt," a project curated by Regine Basha and presented at Cabinet Magazine in New York and MASS MoCA in North Adams, Massachusetts, in January 2011.

2012 Olympi-Mobs




“A democracy is nothing more than mob rule.” ~ Thomas Jefferson

Planned to coincide with the 2012 London Olympics, MomenTech’s 2012 Olympi-Mobs is an audience participatory, site-specific public space project that uses flashmobs to explore the connections between political protest, meditation and sports.

During a press conference in Baghdad on December 14, 2008, Iraqi journalist Muntadhar al-Zaidi shouted, "This is a farewell kiss from the Iraqi people, you dog," and threw his shoes at president George W. Bush. Some sources reported that al-Zaidi was tortured during his initial detention. Al-Zaidi's shoeing inspired many similar incidents of political protest around the world. One of the 2012 "Olympi-Mob" flashmobs will be a pseudo-Olympic public shoe-throwing event inspired by this traditional Arab insult.

"The nose of a mob is its imagination," said Edgar Allen Poe. "By this, at any time, it can be quietly led."

With 2012 Olympi-Mobs a site-specific, audience participatory installation project, MomenTech seeks to tap into this imagination with two flashmob events that will be conducted on alternating days in London over a 16-day period during the entire duration of the 2012 London Olympics (July 27 through August 12, 2012).

On each day of the 2012 London Olympics, 2012 Olympi-Mobs will organize two different kinds of flashmobs: "Shoeing Olympi-Mob" and "Om Olympi-Mob."

1)"Shoeing Olympi-Mob"

"Shoeing, throwing shoes, showing the sole of one’s shoe or using shoes to insult are forms of protest primarily associated with the Arab world. Posters of George W. Bush’s face have long appeared through the Middle East with shoes attached to them, and some people have called former Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice Kundara, meaning “shoe.” Shoeing received attention after Muntadhar al-Zaidi threw his shoes at then U.S. President George Bush in a December 14, 2008, press conference in Baghdad, Iraq. Since the al-Zaidi incident, copycat incidents in Europe, North America, India, Hong Kong, Iran, Turkey and Australia have been reported." [Wikipedia]


President George W. Bush ducking a thrown shoe, while Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki attempts to catch it. “This is for the widows and orphans and all those killed in Iraq,” shoethrower Muntadhar al-Zaidi shouted.


"Shoeing Olympi-Mob" takes the protest element of shoeing and transforms it into an Olympic-like sport, in which flashmobbers gather at a predetermined location(s) for a shoe-throwing event. much like the summer Olympic shotput event. The winner is determined by how far they can throw their own shoe.

Historically, the notion of shoes as a symbol of impurity is widespread throughout the Middle East and is not Arab or Islamic in particular. According to the Biblical Book of Exodus 3:5, "And he [God talking to Moses] said, Draw not nigh hither: put off thy shoes from off thy feet, for the place whereon thou standest [is] holy ground."

Sports and politics have had a long relationship throughout history. An ambassador from the French Prince (the Dauphin) famously gave a case of tennis balls to mock England's King Henry V, who quickly vowed to attack France. Many American presidents have entertained world leaders to a round of golf. Rugby played a large role in the history of South Africa. Turning a political protest into a pseudo-sport, "Shoeing Olympi-Mob" continues this long relationship.

"Sport has the power to change the world," wrote John Carlin in his 2008 book Playing the Enemy: Nelson Mandela and the Game That Made a Nation, about the former South African president and the basis for the 2009 film Invictus. "It has the power to inspire, the power to unite people that little else has...It is more powerful in governments in breaking down racial barriers."

2) “Om Olympi-Mob”

"Om or Aum [Sanskrit, to sound out loudly] is a mystical or sacred syllable in the Indian religions, i.e. Hinduism, Buddhism, Sikhism and Jainism...It is placed at the beginning of most Hindu texts as a sacred incantation to be intoned at the beginning and end of a reading of the Vedas or prior to any prayer or mantra...The syllable consists of three phonemes, a, u and m, which symbolize the beginning, duration, and dissolution of the universe and the associated gods Brahma, Vishnu, and Shiva, respectively." [Wikipedia]

The other Olympi-Mob is "Om Olympi-Mob." For this event, flashmobbers gather at a predetermined location(s), and at a particular time, freeze in place and chant the "om" mantra for 5 minutes. Once complete, they unfreeze and leave the area. This simple act aims to symbolize the connection between meditation and the physical focus and shared mission required by team activities, such as sports.

Describing the connection between physicality and spirituality, the Indian spiritual teacher and philosopher Sri Chinmoy said, "The body is like a temple and the soul or inner reality is like the shrine inside the body-temple. If the temple does not have a shrine, then we cannot appreciate the temple. Again, if we do not keep the temple in good condition, then how can we take proper care of the shrine?"

Connecting the gods of Hindu (through the mantra "om"), the gods of ancient Greece (through the Olympics) and the Hebrew god of the Bible (through the history of shoe-throwing as connected to the Book of Exodus) through sports and game theory, 2012 Olympi-Mobs continues MomenTech's ongoing in-depth exploration of transnational progressivism.

OM/Aum, a symbol of Hindu faith, is one of the most sacred symbols in Hinduism. The "om" symbol above originates as a cursive writing of au + candrabindu in the Devanagari script.



For 2012 Olympi-Mobs, MomenTech has taken the Devanagari script of "OM," rotated it 90 degrees counterclockwise and morphed the characters into the letters "O” and "M” from the Roman alphabet, representing both the “om” sound of the mantra and the acronym “O.M.,” short for "Olympi-Mobs."


There is no technical equipment required. 2012 Olympi-Mobs will be managed through social media (Facebook, Twitter, blog). Marketing, logistical and production support in London is necessary to publicize, manage and record the flashmobs.

MomenTech's other sport- and game-related projects include Ped Tanco (a site-specific installation featuring a pétanque terrain and associated programming, such as pétanque workshops and competitions), Scotch-Hoppers for Sol LeWitt (a conceptual site-specific hopscotch installation using a LeWitt approach that was exhibited as part of the exhibition An Exchange with Sol Lewitt, a two-part exhibition curated by Regine Basha at Cabinet Magazine in January 2011) and Invocation and Offering to Unkulunkulu (an audio work utilizing live recordings of the vuvuzela, the ubiquitous horn instrument of the 2010 World Cup.)

By tapping into the power of crowds and illustrating the entertaining, educational and inspirational possibilities of flashmob strategic production, 2012 Olympi-Mobs highlights the potential of transnational progressivism.

For more information, contact m01123581321345589144@gmail.com.

ANTIREVOLUTIONARY


video

ANTIREVOLUTIONARY finds "love" in haiku form

NEW YORK, February 23, 2011 -- New York-based experimental production studio MomenTech has released "ANTIREVOLUTIONARY," an 11-second "video haiku" featuring the letters of the word "anti-revolutionary" presented one at a time in reverse order.

The appearance of each letter is accompanied by the sound of a single gun shot.

A haiku has 17 mora, or "syllable-weight" in phonological terms. The word "anti-revolutionary" has 17 letters, making it a perfect for a haiku treatment.

The red background is a reference to both the color of revolution, and also the red circle of the Japanese flag, which represents the Sun. This connection recalls the Meiji Revolution (aka Meiji Restoration), which abolished the feudal regime of the Tokugawa shogunate and restored imperial rule to Japan in 1868.

The word "anti-revolutionary" spelled backwards is "YRANOITULOVERITNA," which among other words, reveals the words "love" and "lover."

This lexical "discovery" is a subtle reference to the story of Shogun Iemitsu: War and Romance in 17th Century Tokugawa Japan, a 2009 historical-based novel by Michael Zomber that "chronicles a day in the life of two young samurai, Hideo and Kobiyashi, as they attend a festival, fall in love, and put down a rebellion against the Tokugawa government that changes their lives forever."

Eternity

video

Eternity connects Hollywood romance with the origin of the cosmos

NEW YORK, February 21, 2011 -- The Institute of Static Studies (ISS), a research arm of the New York-based creative production studio MomenTech, has released "Eternity," a 43-second video featuring the famous kiss on the beach between Burt Lancaster and Deborah Kerr in the 1953 film "From Here to Eternity." At the end of that scene, the ocean waves morph into a recording of live television static from an old analog TV set.

Analog television static contains remnants of the cosmic microwave background radiation (CMBR), the oldest light in the universe, which was recently mapped by NASA's Wilkinson Microwave Anisotropy Probe (WMAP). This probe found that the universe is around 13.73 billion years old, the most accurate age we have so far.

As experimental digital photographer and author Rick Doble noted in a June 13, 2009, interview on National Public Radio (NPR), "A small percentage of the static that you see on an analog television when it's tuned to an empty channel is from the Big Bang."

Intermixing Hollywood sentimentality, astrophysics and spirituality, "Eternity" continues the experiments into the nature of CMBR and cosmology by the ISS. One such experiment is "Field Experiment," in which participants are encouraged to imagine a field after inducing self-hypnosis aided by the staring into live analog television static for a period of 10 seconds.

"Field Experiment," which recalls Nam June Paik's 1974 sculpture/installation "TV-Buddha," will be included in Placebos for Art, a forthcoming research publication produced by the Dresden, Germany-based Behring Institute for Medical Research.

Ped Tanco

Ped Tanco invites participants to play one of France's most popular sports

NEW YORK, January 15, 2011 -- "If you believe the hype, the nation has gone pétanque mad," wrote Carl Wilkinson in his article "Why pétanque is all the rage" (Financial Times, September 4, 2010). "With a bottle of Ricard in one hand and a couple of gleaming metal balls in the other, we’ve taken an old man’s game from the French town square and turned it into a young, fashionable part of British life."

Now the New York-based creative production studio MomenTech is trying to bring some of that continental sporting life to the United States with Ped Tanco, a site-specific, audience participatory installation that involves the construction of a permanent or temporary pétanque court.

Ped Tanco continues MomenTech's ongoing exploration of transnational progressivism through sports and game theory. MomenTech's other sport- or game-related projects include Scotch-Hoppers for Sol Lewitt (a conceptual site-specific hopscotch installation using a LeWitt approach that was exhibited in January 2011 as part of "An Exchange with Sol Lewitt," a dual exhibition curated by Regine Basha at Cabinet in Brooklyn and MASS MoCA in North Adams, Massachusetts) and Invocation and Offering to Unkulunkulu (an audio work utilizing live recordings of the vuvuzela, the ubiquitous horn instrument of the 2010 World Cup).

A full installation of Ped Tanco consists of a regulation-sized, competition-ready pétanque court, two sets of official boules, instructions on how to play, an educational component (e.g., booklets, brochures, online resources, photos of of the history of pétanque, etc.), workshops led by pétanque players and professionals and a single- or multi-day public pétanque competition. MomenTech has been in discussion with the New York pétanque club La Boule New Yorkaise (LBNY) about logistics and planning for Ped Tanco.

The project has been proposed to Smack Mellon, a Brooklyn-based non-profit arts organization.

Ped Tanco takes its name from the Provençal phrase from which the term pétanque is derived (cf. "la petanca" in the Provençal dialect of the Occitan language).

According to Wikipedia, "pétanque is a form of boules where the goal is, while standing inside a starting circle with both feet on the ground, to throw hollow metal balls as close as possible to a small wooden ball called a cochonnet (literally "piglet") or jack. It is also sometimes called a bouchon (literally "cork") or le petit ("the small one"). The game is normally played on hard dirt or gravel, but can also be played on grass, sand or other surfaces. Similar games are bocce and bowls.

"The Ancient Greeks are recorded to have played a game of tossing coins, then flat stones, and later stone balls, called spheristics, trying to have them go as far as possible, as early as the 6th century B.C. The Ancient Romans modified the game by adding a target that had to be approached as closely as possible. This Roman variation was brought to Provence by Roman soldiers and sailors. A Roman sepulchre in Florence shows people playing this game, stooping down to measure the points.

"After the Romans, the stone balls were replaced by wooden balls, with nails to give them greater weight. In the Middle Ages Erasmus referred to the game as globurum, but it became commonly known as 'boules,' or balls, and it was played throughout Europe. King Henry III of England banned the playing of the game by his archers, and in the 14th century, Charles IV and Charles V of France also forbade the sport to commoners. Only in the 17th century was the ban lifted.

"By the 19th century, in England the sport had become 'bowls' or 'lawn bowling'; in France, it was known as boules, and was played throughout the country. The French artist Meissonnier made two paintings showing people playing the game, and Honoré de Balzac described a match in La Comédie Humaine. In the South of France it had evolved into jeu provençal, similar to today's pétanque, except that the field was larger and players ran three steps before throwing the ball. The game was played in villages all over Provence, usually on squares of land in the shade of plane trees. Matches of jeu provençal at the turn of the century are memorably described in the memoirs of novelist Marcel Pagnol.

"Pétanque in its present form was invented in 1907 in the town of La Ciotat near Marseilles by a French boule lyonnaise player named Jules Lenoir, whom rheumatism prevented from running before he threw the ball. The length of the pitch or field was reduced by roughly half, and the moving delivery was replaced with a stationary one.

"The first pétanque tournament with the new rules was organized in 1910 by the brothers Ernest and Joseph Pitiot, proprietors of a café at La Ciotat. After that the sport grew with great speed, and soon became the most popular form of boules. The international Pétanque federation Fédération Internationale de Pétanque et Jeu Provençal was founded in 1958 in Marseille and has about 600,000 members in 52 countries (2002).

"The first World Championships were organized in 1959. The most recent championships were held in Faro (2000), Monaco (2001), Grenoble (2002, 2004 and 2006), Geneva (2003), Brussels (2005), and Pattaya/Thailand (2007). Fifty-two teams from 50 countries participated in 2007.

"The casual form of the game of pétanque is played by about 17 million people in France, mostly during their summer vacations. There are about 375,000 players licensed with the Fédération Française de Pétanque et Jeu Provençal (FFPJP) and some 3,000 in England. Another 20,000 or so play in Quebec. Additionally, pétanque clubs have arisen in cities throughout the United States in recent years."

By illustrating the success of a game whose history has crossed so many national borders throughout Western civilization, Ped Tanco -- and particularly the playing of pétanque -- underlines not only the Franco-American relationship, but also the possibilities of transnational progressivism, defined by Wikipedia as "a term coined by Hudson Institute Fellow John Fonte in 2001 to describe an ideology that endorses a concept of postnational global citizenship and promotes the authority of international institutions over the sovereignty of individual nation-states."

Sports and politics have been connected since there have been sport and politics. An ambassador from the French Prince (the Dauphin) famously gave a case of tennis balls to mock England's King Henry V, who quickly vowed to attack France. Many American presidents have entertained world leaders to a round of golf. Rugby played a large role in the history of South Africa.

"Sport has the power to change the world," wrote John Carlin in his 2008 book Playing the Enemy: Nelson Mandela and the Game That Made a Nation, about the former South African president and the basis for the 2009 film Invictus. "It has the power to inspire, the power to unite people that little else has...It is more powerful in govenments in breaking down racial barriers."

"The beauty of pétanque is that it can be played pretty much anywhere," said Wilkinson, who plays the sport with fellow London "pétanquers" Nick Sabine of the East London Pétanque Association, and Bruce Rowland, an expert man of boules.

"I can see why pétanque is taking hold -- there’s no better way of spending a sunny Sunday afternoon."

image: proposed indoor installation of Ped Tanco at Smack Mellon, a non-profit arts organization located in DUMBO, Brooklyn.