As you probably know, I make art of one form or another nearly all of the time. My current work, a tribute to Edward Snowden, is one of ten projected pieces on the theme of spying. I just delivered it to the RCAA gallery in Riverside. Read about this piece here:
< http://www.johndinglerart.com/1/post/2013/06/after-robert-dowd.html >
The Previous Format
But I also make moviettes, short videos I upload to YouTube. Formerly only of a supplemental interest, they are now growing in importance to my other art forms, mostly paintings, and it shows in the way I produce them. In my previous moviettes, I normally teased out a story only after I shot the raw footage. I examined all of the footage i shot at a certain location to find a theme. From this, I edited the footage to tell a story. There was never any formal screenplay.
You may have seen the result of that method here:
< https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZHSrA4lN2_c >
The Current Format
Now, however, my approach is different: I intend to write a screenplay first, and in Hollywood Screenplay Format; I hope to shop it around once I complete a moviette from it based on the screenplay.
For now, I am thinking that the genre of the moviette would be a traditional "sceneggiata," a sub-genre of theater local to Napoli, Italy characterized, in large part, by emotional content and a conflict and resolution played out between criminals. Mario's ganster character is being cheated upon by his girlfriend with a competing gangster. Notice the stage setting, the expressive acting, and the emotional story. For the time being, I want these in the next moviette
Here's a typical sceneggiata style:
< https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pzVfu9BVYVs >
My own synopsis and emotional hook:
Germany 1944. With the impending defeat of Hitler's army, Himmler flies a Black SS officer to Riverside's Nazi franchise of 2013 to see how well the seeds of Nazism took hold in this part of the multi-cultural world and, if need be, to either salvage it or to bolster it.
The Nazi officer is being cheated upon by Wells Fargo for not being Nazi enough for Himmler. Through the course of setting up several Nazi promotional activities in Riverside, he is confronted by racism from skinheads as well as by disrespect from Blacks.
"He may be a Nazi officer but he's still a Nigger to us. His name may be Claus, Dieter, or Emmett, but I call him Nigger."
"He may be Black and even a nigga to some homies, but he's still just a shithead Nazi to us. He may dress like a colonel, a general, a tank commander, but he's still working for the plantation, meandering among us."
Rejection from all sides leads him down the road of self-examination, the meaning of his role in Himmler's effort. He would spill out part of his agony by singing a song lamenting his state of mind and his likely fate. This also makes him into a sympathetic figure, even into a victim. But a victim of what and of whom? Being in a foreign culture? His African roots? His Nazi devotion? Of Skinheads? Of Blacks? Of banks even? And how much? It would be cool if someone composed a song on this theme.
I have to work out how he overcomes his conflicted nature which would be about his private journey toward redemption, the character of that redemption, but not confident about how. The resolution should neither simplistic nor clicheic.
My intent is to make an entertaining, gripping story that depends on incendiary scenes. I believe that I can do this by throwing stereotypes into confusion. It is my intention to shock, induce fury, and produce outrage in the viewer.
Juan Brown, an early participant in Occupy Riverside, and Black, is enthusiastic about taking on this plum, lead role. The transgender Michelle, also an Occupier, with whom he hangs out at Back to the Grind, would make for an awesome incipient quasi-romantic interest. This would be in the opening scenes are least. Juan expressed an enthusiastic interest when I presented him with this part of the script.
Progress with the Script
I already outlined Part I and some of Part II in standard Hollywood Screenplay Format but, now that the story is getting longer and getting complex, am stuck with wrangling with keeping the rest of it coherent. I have been keeping it together manually by modeling it after a script that was sent to me, not with a software program.
In the opening scene, I envision the Nazi officer on a plane reading his orders.
Hey, remember that pudgy guy with a mustache who writes documents in Victorian font with a quill pen at various coffee houses in Riverside? He could be the officer in old age, retired in Riverside. I could do a very short shot of him writing his life story as that Nazi, this, to establish the setting. It's an autobiography. He's White so this would be a further twist. Not sure how to resolve this but I am sure it would be fascinating. And, since race is not supposed to count, it should not make any difference in the change of skin color. I would simply present this as a fact, no explanation required. And the idea of his being in Riverside at the same time as his younger self...This conundrum -- about which I am not a student -- opens up several kinds of creative solutions.
I like the idea that I would be tackling race identity, gender identity, banking, politics, and time travel but the latter only in a conceptual way. What else?
I would love to have Riverside Occupiers participate, so this demands a predetermined plan, by way of a written script, in order to know when to notify them of the various scenes in which they would be needed. Having Occupiers would give some of us prominence, meaning, and it would be fun besides.
In the second scene, we would be seeing him exiting the Riverside courthouse in full Nazi SS uniform, full of happy anticipation, skipping down the steps. By the way, this is no time machine story and his travel is not technological; It's hidden on purpose to emphasize the personal narrative. People can figure out this beginning.
So this is what I am doing and thinking. What do you think?
John Dingler, artist
Mara Devereux often talks about her now deceased husband, Robert Dowd, during our phone conversations. He became prominent as a painter of fiat money. Michael Zakian authored a catalogue of his works and exhibited many of them at the Frederick R. Weisman Museum of art, which he directs at Pepperdine University, Malibu CA.
One day she gave me a copy of that catalogue. It's at my left side right now. It gave me a detailed view of his oeuvre which inspired me to do ten, I hope, pieces after his work.
I finally began on the first one last yesterday morning, working on it all day. I began, as I sometimes do, by downloading a suitable image from the web, a $5,000 bill of various vintages, from 1934 onward. The idea is to extract all of the interesting architectural elements such as cornices, letter enclosures, scrolls and leaves, to take inventory, to get a sense of what I can do with them.
So, you see the original, the abstraction, first of several refinements, and the final B&W composition. My technique to make Snowden's face was to lay bits and pieces which I took from the heads of several paper denominations over a real picture of Snowden which I downloaded and then get rid of it, leaving just the money parts. So one could say that I sculpted the face. It took all day, about 11 hours.
I don't know where it's heading, but I know I need to make it lighter in feel, this, by adding color and increasing the over all value; They are heavy-handed, even psychologically oppressive. The rest of the technuque will be to print it out on paper at CopyMac, glue it to 1/8" Luan, cut out the shape, spray it with sealer, paint over it with acrylics, mount it on 2" foam to give it thickness, stand it up on a base. What do you think?
I knew that this Money Series was going to be political, specifically about the PRISM 24/7 spying by each and everybody on the planet. The US even spied on G8 ministers, yeah. So, for now, I am honoring Edward Snowden for providing proof of gov. spying at the highest levels. Cheney, Barbara Boxer, and Shieffer hate his guts. I like him for doing patriotic work I worked from morning to midnight for three days to achieve the one with Snowden in it.
My next step will be to make it full size, perhaps 8' wide. For those who have seen my Big Hand project know what i mean.
Thoughts by John Dingler
“There is no proof provided that getting rid of the 4th Amendment has made us safer.”
“The NSA lied, Clapper lied, Yahoo, Google Facebook, and Apple all lied, Dem. Sen. Feinstein also lied to us, and now Obama will very likely to lie in his address justifying ubiquitous and comprehensive spying on us via PRISM. The best antidote to their lying is to ridicule them, then to marginalize them.”
“The major dividing line in US culture is forming in the service that Snowden did for America; The side demonizing Snowden is bad and working in the shadows while the side celebrating Snowden's revelation is good. I am on the good side. Please join me, not Schieffer and Barbara Boxer, and certainly not Cheney.”
“I think that Rightwing Corporatist Feinstein is done. Especially after she attacked Snowden personally and embracing PRISM unconditionally. Hope a Progressive Democrat, or a Green or Socialist like Sanders, takes her place.”
“Executive Orders, Signing Statement, National Security Letters. Can't he use any of these to close down that monstrosity, Gitmo?”
“Please, please, some sheriff arrest Holder for aiding the enemy, bin Laden, who said that he would destroy the West with its own weapons. And it is happening; Holder is one of bin Laden's weapons.”
“My, my, my. The National Security Police State Apparatus is telling our legislators what to say to the American people.”
“Like any other lobbyist, the NSA unleashes them on legislators to make them use this kind of PR language designed to portray the NSA as protecting our Constitutional freedoms when it's the Constitution itself, not the NSA, that protects them. If any legislator rebels, starts representing the people rather than the NSA, then the NSA can simply threaten to punish him/her with moving any of its huge spy centers which otherwise provide a tax base for that state into another state. Just like any other lobbyist.... This is way wrong.”
“Yes, but Obama sold himself to us as an agent of change, we all remember. His military initiative is the same as W and R. The US is in Syria, Why? For this extraordinary military engagement, the answer better be extraordinary. It's unreasonable for the US to be in Syria.”
“The presidency loves to brief Congress on illegal activities such as compulsive-obsessive, massive, ubiquitous, never-ending, just-in-case, anti-4th Amendment spying on citizens because; This binds congress members to loyalty to the Security Apparatus it itself set up; Any congressperson revealing what was in the brief automatically subjects him/herself to prosecution under the US Patriot Act (2001), the Trading with the Enemy Act (1917), and the Espionage Act(1917). That's the reason Congressmembers can't inform their constituents, which includes me, on the actual scope of the spying and this is a major reason why there is no debate on the security, quality, and level of unconstitutionality of programs such as PRISM, sub-programs such as the Office of Tailored Access Operations, Boundless Informant.
And lets not leave out the FISA court which is a secret court using secret interprenetations. In the US, a court system was set up as an open forum where a person could defend him/herself. However, in a FISA court there is no one to defend the person. There is only the secret judge and the Federales. This Readers Digest process is un-American.
All these, together with Congress's cooperation with the corporation, well, this is a good description of the National Security Police State Apparatus against which the Founding Fathers wrote the US Bill of Rights.
We need to remove at least Section 125 of the US Patriot Act, the other acts, and get wealth and patronage out of politics.”
“Greenwald is an asset to a citizen and therapeutic to Democracy.”
“Booz Allen Hamilton pretends it has ethics loyal to the Constitution. It does not. I call on more Booz Allen Hamilton employees, those who love America and the US Constitution, to come forward to tell us more about the architecture of the Puzzle Palace just like Edward Snowden did.
Know that you will be smeared by the US legislature, hunted by all kinds of police forces, all in the name of destroying the US Constitution because they hate the freedoms it rings.”
“And I add for stupid King, "I would not prosecute any news organizations that lie, prosecuting only those who reveal the truth."
“Regarding all compulsive-obsessive gov. secrecy, what? They have something to hide?”
“Briefed. What's the use of being briefed about a super secret spy program if they can't discuss it in order to deliberate over it to learn what it means. You know, a briefing is nearly a lecture. We don't need briefings and lectures from the National Security Police State Apparatus; We need an informed population.”
“Those briefings suffer from, 1. being limited in scope, 2. on the need to know basis, 3. busy legislators, 4. FISA simply rubber stamps, 5. the Patriot Act cowers our representatives, 6. people who write laws are more beholden to the National Security Police Statea Apparatus than the the American people, 6. the NDAA 2013 threatens to make any one who defies it into a belligerent, thus permitting the Pentagon to put that defiant one into a brig, you know, with Manning.”
“They are called mercenaries and, so far, only one is good, Snowden, because he's working now for the American people; The vast majority of mercenaries are overspenders of taxpayer dollar and are generally bad.”
“Big gub'mnt is monopolizing the people's information to keep itself, not the people, secure. And Feinstein is all over this, liking it all. She wants to go after Snowden, not after her NSA.”
“The Obama admin. has clamped down on our information so much that, like a balloon being squeezed, exploded and all kinds of stuff the big gob'mnt wanted to kept in popped out. This is the context of Snowden, Elsberg, and Assange, all good people who like an informed electorate.”
“If you want to disinform people, then, go ahead, smear and demonize Greenwald, Snowden, Manning, and Assange. Go ahead, resume your smearing and demonizing.”
“Greenwald, Snowden, Manning, Assange,...these guys inform me. The other guys, you know, in big gub'mnt, ahh, disinform me.”
With Snowden, the tide is turning in a good direction. It's a new world. The beginning of the post-US Patriot Act word. Get over it. ” Snowden! Rah, rah, for the GED!”
“Snowden has wisdom, guts, & vision. Now contrast these with what Feinstein, Bush/Obama, and Clapper have. They have sillyness, fecklessness, and a lack of vision.”
“Hero Snowden. Hero Manning. Hero Assange. Hero Greenwald. Hero Ellsberg. Hero ML King. Hero Parks. Hero Gandhi. Hero Chavez. These and more elevated humanity.”
“Hi Zuck, You don't have to be part of a program, nor do you have had knowledge of PRISM for Facebook to comply with gov. demand for my info. Also, your denial is what the law requires of you; According to the US Patriot Act, the person who finds out about such National Security Letters is bound by that stupid act to not disclose of the letter itself even when a user knows about it. See, big gub'mnt convinced you to lie to us under penalty of law.”
“Security without liberty is prison. Security without liberty is meaningless.”
“I voted for the guy, and he says, "Just trust me," No, the presidency is not based on trust; It's based on Constitutional checks and balances but, alas, the compliant and cowering Congress keeps on giving over the Presidency more and more power while relinquishing its own Constitutional powers and duties.”
“Secret this, secret that, secret about the secrets. But we must not forget that Bush and NeoCons started obsessive secrecy but that Obama embraced it wholeheartedly and, worse, even expanded on it. No, this is not what I want. I am even thinking impeachment even though I voted for him, but Bush should have been impeached.”
“Briefing a cowered and compliant Congress means nothing. It's more like a dictate, what the dictatorial power of Julius Caesar did to the Roman Senate.”
Synnerman on Jun 8, 2013 at 03:26:19“Compliant Congress? What universe do you live in, because I want to visit it?
“The US Patriot Act makes normal citizens, previously held to be non-suspects, to be terrorist suspects because, you know, as Lindsey Graham said, "The whole nation is a battlefield," so this means that the gov. can spy on you and your family as your daughter is in the bathroom, for example, anytime, anywhere, any length of time.”
“While Zuck and Page denied any direct access, they know that the NSA can vacuum any data going to and from their servers. They also know that other English speaking nations are in cahoots with the US to skirt any remaining restriction regards spying by the NSA by merely purchasing data that any one of the nations vacuums from the other; There is no law against purchasing that data based on free enterprise principles.”
“I mean, this secrecy is another example, a real one not merely rhetoric to score political points, of so-called "big gub'mnt." Rightwingers and Teabaggers need to align themselves with this definition.”
“Yes, how can the gov. foster debate when it does its outmost to keep even its existence, much less its methods and means, secret. *LOL*"
“Dem. Feinstein is another one of those Calif. Rightwinger Democrats who will go to great lengths to maintain their past, and straighten their existing, uppity Rightwing bona fides in order to comply with the sub rosa dictates of the National Security Police State Apparatus.”
“Holder had enough time between the time when the scandal erupted and now to have put structural safeguards in place already. That he's only promising to do something in the future means that he's not willing to do anything substantive which fits right in with Obama's willingness to prosecute and torture Private bradley Manning for blowing the whistle on Pentagon crimes, murders if innocent civilians. I am a civilian. My whole family is. It's like the Pentagon murdering my family. Same thing.
So, this means that Holder will simply make promises, not put in preventative roadblocks to prevent treating reporters as criminals, just like Obama did about promising to close Gitmo and treating those who are cleared like criminals, worse, terrorists.”
“Higher wages increase liquidity producing more sales, leading to greater corporate profits. In this chain of acts, liquidity is key but Austerity Hawks shut down that spigot.”
“I guess Rightwingers who establish their patriotic bona fides with the slogan, "We support the troops," support this murdering trooper.”
“In my opinion, Ales is not fat so he's putting forth a straw man attack which is illogical. He's therefore illogical and runs a news organization. Why should we read/listen to an illogical news org.?”
“Nothing worse than an otherwise tough sounding legislator who begins to bellyache and whine in that high-pitched unpleasant sound like a baby when a mere one thing does not go his/her way.”
“I call on all my patriotic friends -- you know who you are -- and those who otherwise love America and what it stand for, to promote wealth confiscation every ten years from the most wealthy. Many of the most wealthy love the chase, the challenge. We would be doing them a favor with the challenge to re-wealthify themselves. It's a Type 1 thing. I also call for a robust protectionism, this, to reclaim US jobs and to create new, meaningful jobs. “Protecting America is a lofty goal. If you love America, you will protect her with all your heart, all your soul. I think we should start a War on Job Loss. *S*”
“Protectionism is Patriotism. Yes, think Protectionism. I know that Teabaggers, Rightwingers, International Corportists who got fat off of NAFTA and such are cursing at me over my call for a new, modern protectionism to protect US jobs, meaningful jobs and bring back the jobs that she mentioned no longer exist except in extreme cases.”
“No one is saying, are scared to say, actually, that protecting US jobs should be priority #1 now that Reagan's to Bush's plan to send jobs overseas and selling our assets to foreign countries is weakening people while enriching the top military contractors. I call for neo-Protectionism to save America.”
“To take into account the disparity between the set amt of space and the different sizes of vehicles, I think that California Dept. of Transportation should mandate that all car and vehicle manufacturers install an RFID parking meter on each new car. They would be monitored by Santa Monica Drones flying over Santa Monica's parking areas, with officers with wheel boots dispatched to violators.
This is one way to put people to work and, at the same time, expand the National Security Police State Apparatus which governments love so much, and more and more every year.”
“When I say Progressive, I mean good people with good values who love America and who are patriots.”
“I advice my students to lie to pollsters in order to skew toward fantasy since the way that the US judges the cumulative progress of the US economy is predominantly through Wall St.'s performance, with the process itself being a fantasy anyway. I say, 'Honor thy fantasy.'”
“Cowboys feed their horses this way, so why can't Burger King feed those who are as hungry as a horse this way?”
“Was Bush ever administered his monthly performance tests, you know, like teachers are, so that cash-strapped taxpayers could judge the quality of his performance? I thought it was called 'Whip All Teachers' Behinds.'”
“I strongly hope that any USSC nominees are Progressive, not like Obama's previous cowering, middle-of-the-roaders, to add some balance the extreme Rightwingers that Bush appointed. But I bet you that they are all Corporatists at minimum.”
“God told me to tell Teabaggers to disband, go home, and resume their normal lives but beat their kids less and get liquored up less while the wife is at the neighbor's trailer. So I told them this but they cursed and squaled like stuck pigs that they are, pointing at me, "Hey, we don't listen to no Progressive. We got our own deal." "What do you mean," I looked at them askance. "It's not me saying this; it's the word from God. Do you truly want to disobey God's word?" Well, they threatened to beat me up because I was telling the truth. I guess only they think they are entitled to the preaching the truth. Those predatory monopolists”
“Slick response by that Canadian gov. rep. There is no doubt that she's not as slick as Obama was in his latest speech about how we should not do this bad thing, we are not bad like that, we are not supposed to do this and that bad thing,...as if he's not part of the problem that's perpetuating those bad things, as if he's outside of all of that, an innocent, a mere helpless observer of events, as innocent as a newborn baby. He can close the Gitmo torture prison as quickly as Bush opened it but refuses to be as decisive as Bush. Give Bush credit for that. Instead he blames Congress for not closing it. And he's allowing patriotic whistleblower Manning to rot in jail after years of torture. Shame. This is not the statesman I voted for. He's a mere feckless politician instead.”
“If Obama is lying, he's lying way, way less than Dubya and he's also killing way, way less innocent people which means that he's not worse than Bush at least on the issue of indiscriminate killings.”
“No article ever publishes the names of the top agency officials who greenlight any release or who bribe congresspeople or who actually did the genetic modifications.
We need a list of perpetrators so that we can target our opprobrium to the appropriate people and punish them legally, you know, as much as big gub'mnt has been punishing Private Bradley Manning, all legal-like.”
“Sheesh! It's no mystery how the GMO wheat got in that field. It began inside Monsanto and a handful of other GMO corporations. OK EPA, quit protecting corporations and start protecting, you know, the actual environment as is called for in your name, the Environmental Protection....The EPA has been issuing for the past ten years Conditional Permits that allows poison producers to poison the environment. Gross negligence by the EPA and Congress. This is a supreme example of big gub'mnt, of its overreach.”
“According to this article, the US economy resisted being weakened any further despite being hammered by these destructive austerity programs imposed upon it by Obama and Rightwingers.”
“He "pledged" that he would not use the most aggregious parts of the US Patriot act, so he only said this, you know, by moving his lips, not write this down or issue a rule change in a material way? It has zero worth; A subsequent pres. can change that pledge any time any subsequent attorney general wants.”
“Oh my. Austerity is causing the US to even fall behind other countries in the field of austerity economics. But, according to the logic of the austerity stimulus proponents, reducing funds to study economics would achieve results superior to the study already published by the two discredited researchers who, by the way, I am interested to read if their tenure -- if they have it -- will prevent them from being fired.”
“No, Norm Ornstein is no moderate; He's a Rightwinger. A Rightwinger's job is promote Rightwing policies by helping elect as many Rightwingers into Congress, the Judicial branch, and to have a Rightwinger win the next presidential election.
So, for him to now advocate majority rule which would likely get less Rightwing appointments, well, "I smell a rat;" I strongly suspect that he is in cahoots with some Rightwing group to embark on a dual track plan to win more seats in the upcoming genearal election for Rightwingers: Make the president, Reed, and Pelosi even more hated by Rightwing-leaners so that the majority of the population will not vote for Democrats. In the meantime, a majority rule in the Senate might assure that the next Senate session could confirm a whole slew of new Rightwing appointees. I think this is a plan that has to be at least strongly considered in that Rightwing arsenal of shenanigans.”
End p. 126
Oh my! The bicycle ride from Laguna Beach to Riverside, CA...I thought that the pedaling would condemn me to a never-ending servitude to the hard aluminum and carbon bicycle. The bottoms of my feet stung. Although fatigued, I arrived back to my Riverside studio otherwise all well and good at 10:45 PM. The sun had set two and a half hours earlier. I was so tired. Plopped into bed, slept 'til 9:30.
But this ride was intended to be no mere pleasure ride; I need to tell you why I went. A month before, an artist friend informed me of a multi media activity advertised in AbsoluteArts Online. She said, "It fits you." I did not think so. It was to submit myself to a sort of screen test combined with an interview that the owner/director of the Laguna Gallery of Contemporary Art held, between 11 AM and, I found out while standing with a bunch of other aspirants, 'till the line ran out.
So I took Metrolink from the downtown Riverside station to the Irvine station, pedaling the rest of the way, 13mi, to Laguna Beach. I arrived a bit late, at approx. Noon, and others trickled in after me. My route did not go smoothly, though. I mistook the gallery to be the Laguna Beach Museum of Art so I went to the Museum. God, was I wrong. I made a mild fool of myself at the institution, diplomatically wondering out loud about how I got the time, date, or both wrong and, if I was right, where was the audition which, I was thinking, clearly stated at the Museum. I tried several methods to figure out what the problem was, until I finally asked in the nicest of tones if I could use the receptionist's computer to access my email to reread the invitation. Upon rereading it -- the receptionist saw it --, it did not say the Museum but the LGOCA.
They pointed "It's down the hill about two blocks away, really near by." I thanked her and her assistant, "I appreciate that you allowed me to look at my email to resolve the problem. I would have been sorry to come all the way down here, to Laguna, without doing what I had planned." However, the address the director gave was on the other side of the street, at another gallery, apparently having nothing to do with the destination. Its director nervously or irritatingly said that I needed to go to the brick building at the corner. There was a brick building but not at the corner, but I went to the brick building and I saw a line, so I assumed it was the cattle call, and I parked myself and the bike behind it. There I was in my bicycle clothes. The line twisted around the corner of the walkway, ending at the veranda, overlooking the Pacific Ocean, where the camera crew and the director were filming the aspirants.
Keeping things in order were about four clean-cut college age, student types, who wore red T-shirts labeled "SECURITY." But they were more assistants or helpers who kept us hydrated with bottled water, energy bars, and pizza. Totally unexpected. Maybe this is normal in this region. I don't know.
The wait was long. It was 3PM when my three minute turn came. Just as advertised, the production crew held the event on the veranda. It turned out that it extended from the back of the gallery building and over the cliff overlooking the beach. Surfers in the distance were waiting for useful waves; People were lounging on their blankets, some under umbrellas. A corpulent woman whose hips were about twice the width of her shoulders stood in about one foot of water, allowing a succession of waves to run up her legs carefully jiggled her way into deeper water.
A security guard had earlier allowed me to store my bike inside the art gallery after I expressed concern that parking it outside posed risk of theft. As I went up to retrieve the bike, the gallery director, set up to film a different set of artists in a kind of anteroom, asked me if I would like an interview.
••"Sure!" I liked this.
•"Would you be willing to include the bicycle in the shot?"
••"Yes, of course, but I wonder if I could walk in the bike?" I said with enthusiasm and helping him develop the scene, I realized later.
"Yes. We'll include the bicycle." He seemed to like the idea. Since he also presented himself as an artist, he must have been intreagued by this exception; It differed from that day's -- and I am guessing here -- cookie cutter interview style which was to sit an artist down on the couch, then roll the camera and do Q&As.
I took three takes to maneuver the bike around the camera cabeling and under overhead microphone, finaally managing to dock it at the far end of the couch where it rested unstably. "Let's move on," he said with resignation.
Since I had never been interviewed in depth before by a private gallery, I was surprised by the novelty of the questions. For example,
•"Do you want to become renowned in the art world?"
Pausing to give my answer some thought and looking back down from the ceiling, I said something like,
••"I don't want to be known, you know, like a celebrity is known," I was thinking, "as a personality, as much as wanting my art to be respected and, by that measure, I hope to be respected by my peers as an artist. I want to continue to lead in ideas."
His demeaner changed; Did I just portray myself as a person who is not willing to promote my work, myself, remaining a mere influencer rather than work to become a personality, a celebrity, who would attract sales by force of renown, thus help the gallery's bottom line? Did my response just eliminate me from becoming one of the three candidates chosen for the biographical short movie? Perhaps other issues and concerns run through their minds. Perhaps their plans are still in flux and the full plan can not emerge until the production crew reflects on all of the possibilities introduced by the participants in this project. Such were the thoughts running through my mind. I was completely in the dark. I truly did not know what was going on in their crew.
•"Where do you see yourself ten years from now?"
••I would like to continue to make art and to exhibit in art galleries.
What kind of an answer was that? I did not mention selling them in art galleries. From now on, I will think about sales also, the sales angle as part of the business end, something I don't normally do. I already have pure creativity down pat. No problem there at all.
Then he asked me if I brought samples of artwork and said no, but then began an account of what I intended to be a description of three of my latest completed series of works: Diaphanous Geithner, Magic Carpet Landscapes, and Sceneggiata Biers. I did not get past the Diaphanous when I said that it can be seen on the Web. Just type my name in quotes in Google and YouTube to see lots of results, images and short movies. I then described the moviettes, some political, most fine art.
He then asked me,
•"Do you really mean that if I were to type your name into Google's search for images that we could see lots of your artwork?"
••"Yes, if you put quotes around my name, you might avoid getting, well, "John Smith" or "Robert Dingler. You will just get John Dingler," I stated matter-of-factly.
His eyes seemed to sparkle a bit and the camera operator's eyes lost the glazed-over look. At around this moment in my answer, I wondered if I should be looking at the two, or at the camera always. Who knows. It's a creative field where pleasant surprises might matter.
On reflection, I suppose that he was either wondering what I was doing here since so much my work, he may have been thinking, is already on the Web, or, being that the gallery was, in my opinion, a fundamentally commercial enterprise, that the director would be spared from the thankless task of promoting me from scratch. I can only speculate.
On the way out of the room where the second interview/screen test done by Shane Townley, Director/Founder of the Laguna gallery of Contemporary art, the one by the gallery owner -- the first interview was done by a hired gun, Clayton J. Daniells, CEO & President of QOOQOO -- his camera operator asked me to fill out a questionnaire/data card asking for my contact info. You know, at this juncture, considering the questionnaire I already filled out, the curious woman who additionally interviewed some of us as we stood in line, and now this card, well, I wondered if the main goal of this project to entice new people to collect their contact for a database used to target individuals to sell them products and services? Are we being hoodwinked?
Shane Townley produced this video of his interview.
But about that curious woman. Pam Squires is the Marketing & Sales Director for LagunaART.com. One can write her at < Pam@LagunaARTgroup.com > The physical address listed on her card is 570 S. Coast Highway, Laguna Beach, CA 92651. That's across the street from the location of the interview. She can be reached at 1-888-9FI-NEART. She appeared to be more business-like then the other principals. It became apparent when she stopped to chat with an artist in line two people before me. She chatter her up, as they say, in such a familiar fashion that it took me aback. I because interested enough in her demeaner that I made an effort to listen to this pubic conversation. It must have lasted about ten minutes. The artist was dressed in a kind of gown, purplish blue, that ran down to her ankles. The sleeves seemed to widen at the wrists, and then extended over her palms. She wore a hat with a wide brim of the same color, all of this giving me the impression that she dressed herself up to project an impression of the way an artist should look, as well as a person, who thinks of herself as an artist, would want to be viewed.
Her painting rested on a low retaining wall make of bricks that snaked around the curved walkway. It depicted a discarnate head of a dog, you know, cut off at the neck, or was it a cat, which dominated the center of the canvas while the rest of the canvas was filled in with a skeuomorphic design using the similar colors and technique. What impressed was the spit and polish of the paint surface and the extreme accuracy of the depiction of the eyes, nose, coat, right down to the very minutest details. The animal's facial expression was a cliche to die for. I can imagine a lover of dogs or cats being attracted to the image. Pam seemed to be coaching the artist about how framing methods and how to display it on a gallery wall, I think, stuff like how to present herself to a prospective art gallery, and her attitude about achieving success. There was no meaningful talk about the quality of the artwork itself. It was as if Pam made the lady understand that the animal picture was perfect for an unstated gallery. It was framed to be ready for a gallery reveal. I wondered if it was what the directors sought. But, by this time, I concluded that Pam probably ran a typical Laguna Beach art gallery catering to tourists and interior decorators who liked hyper-realistic beach scenes such as ocean waves breaking before a setting sun or else domestic scenes painted in a loosely representational style.
Pam then approached me.
•"Hi, and what is your name? Did you bring artwork?"
••"No. No actual arwork.
•"And how do you expect to be evaluated," an nearby artist asked.
••"I have images loaded in my camera. But, we don't know for what we are primarily being evaluated: It could be our personality, our communication ability, how we look, and perhaps especially how our personalities agree with the documentarian. Besides, I could not carry a decent representative work on my bicycle so....
•"Did you really ride all the way from Riverside?" with an enthusiastic expression while her body leaned into the other side of the counter to absorb the conversation better.
••"No, not all the way to here. I took Metrolink to Irvine then biked the rest of he way. I'll ride all the way back to Riverside, however, and hope to also forage for food as I go."
She then told me that she worries about her dad's running.
••"My dad runs for exercise, and I worry about him. I wish he would do something else."
We both agreed that running is high impact, wearing out cartilage in the knees causing premature arthritis. As I said these words, I wondered about the condition of the knees of a certain early 20th C. Olympic distance runner who, according to an interview, did nothing but run to get into condition. We had a pleasant chat about how bicycling has less of an impact.
•I enjoy biking very much," but did not say why. I always leave out this part, not being used to longer dialogues, and especially when in Right Brain mode such as then when I have to forcefully sculpt each word to prepare for its utterance, for its release into the conversation. I am aware of this mental combat which further slows down my speech. I am so self-conscious at these times.
So I left the art gallery building, careful not to brush the pedal of my bike against the glass door.
I decided to take a more understandable route on the way back: I rode NW on PCH and made a right turn onto SART. I had a chance to test my headlight after sunset.
Yeah! So Jenessa Stemke and I were on the tail end of our awesome Urban Foraging bicycle ride, winding up lost someplace on one of Irvine's bike paths. We needed to get to Main St. to once again reorient ourselves. I spotted a jogger coming our way so I suggested that we ask him, thinking that he must be a local thus know the directions to Main St. During our discourse, he pointed his thick arm toward the tallest building in a stand of tall buildings,
But let me tell you how we met him, how we approached him. Jenessa was already well past him on the paved bike path, but I stopped abruptly about ten feet in front, sort of cutting him off, it would likely have appeared to him, but, as I look back, at first I think that I was merely turning my bike around so that I could perhaps keep up with him should he go past us, but there was something else: I hoped to prevent a lost opportunity to connect with him by preempting his possibly negative judgement of us as often happens, in my experience, when I pass by a person and I say nothing, keeping an expressionless face, and then going back to that person to ask or say something. By that time, the other person has made a judgement and is shut down to further interaction. So this is what I was attempting to avoid.
Jenessa then stopped about fifteen feet behind him. He stopped, startled, eyes wide open. I immediately asked him if he would help us out with location and destination, this, in order to inform him what this was all about, I being aware that he could have perceived us as a threat. Jenessa than clarified what we needed.
He gave us a series of streets and turns. I must have looked perplexed, not recognising those streets in this town, and I am not the sort that has an auditory memory upon the first listening. To remember, I have to repeat it to myself, and better with a visual image. Jenessa seemed to grasp his instructions better, perhaps because she planned out the original route, or perhaps she's a better memorizer.
The day was glorious: The temperature just right, comfy with the right amt. of moisture, the scenery pleasant, the vegetation green with a sprinkling of flowers, the path clean. Earlier in the day, Jenessa pointed out a hedge row below at the runoff whose reddish/brown flowers were poisonous.
Suddenly, I guess, because he realized that the route he layed out for us could be trouble, he blurted out,
This sounded better to me, so Jenessa and I rode there. The distance was about four football fields away. When we reached that location, we stopped and observed our surroundings. Yep, there was his building in the distance, the bridge over the local river to our left, and some construction on the right. Jenessa said that she had to relieve herself, so we looked for a private place, walking around this chain link fence toward where there was a portable toilet at the construction site. I briskly waked toward it and examined accessibility. The toilet turned out to be completely enclosed within the periphery of the fence, with the only way to gain entrance through the fence was to unwind three wires, too thick for bare hands, so we walked back to the bridge. I pointed out that hedge which still ran below, along the path, the hedge with the poison flowers.
The two of us took off on our bikes. I still was not sure that we were going in the right direction, but we wound up at what I thought was the entrance to that building.
She peered toward another building, the one that turned out to be the correct one, so she rode to the security guard's booth.
How do I indicate what I am thinking right now as I write? Well, I want to say that my first urge was to use "target building" instead of "the correct one," the phrase used so much in tech media and in the plethora of martial TV shows: Cops, lawers/prosecutors, military, geez. Even the jargon of the National Security Police State apparatus has infiltrated motion picture media. By the end of the following paragraph, I will have already used "correct" three times, with this instance being the fourth. I could have used "the one he pointed out."
Jenessa later revealed that the guard did not help, perhaps even projecting passive ill will, making inimical remarks. In the meantime, I rode to the entrance of the building which I though was the correct one. You see, we were on the other side of these architectural marvels and I lost how to identify it as they looked so much different at this angle; They had appendages and garages tacked on to them to give them a disorganized appearance, I thought. I escorted my bike through the extraordinarily tall main door -- made out of exceptionally thick glass -- walking toward the male security guard who approached me.
The guy arrived after about 20 minutes, running past us as he says, "I'll be just a minute. Let me get my truck." As he scoots past the female security guard, he announces, "They're with me. I am giving them a ride," and disappears into behind the wall.
After about twenty more minutes, he pull up through the gate in his huge truck and motions for us to bring our bikes to him. As we do, he quickly grabs Jenessa's and somewhat nervously fiddles with the bike rack.
A little while earlier, when Jenessa and I were waiting for him in the shade, she picked a cute yellow flower and ate it. I mindlessly asked, "it's edible?" so I picked my own and ate it, completely trusting that Jenessa knew what she was talking about and that we would not get sick. Well, I still held one of the flowers in my hand and offered it to him, saying, "Hey, did you know that those flowers are edible?" and thrust it toward him.
"I was raised on a farm and I ate all kinds of things but don't know anything about these flowers." But we knew. I guess he was not receptive to the suggestion of strangers, yet we trusted him with our lives. He could have been a kidnapper or someone like that.
Jenessa lectured,"forcing stuff on people does not convince them." I felt like a student. She would repeat that to me later on a similar occasion.
His paunch betrayed his likely generally sedentary lifestyle and his bearing was that of a quickly-moving small man. They did not fit convincingly which led me later to conclude that he may have been on some sort of uppers, legal, yes, since his Fundamentalist Christian outlook would likely have permitted him to get away with saying to himself, "Hey, I am not taking illegal drugs, so I can take as many legally prescribed drugs as I want and not feel as if I am betraying my Christian ideals."
I deduced something that was fishy about this man, and, later in the day as we were well on the way back, oh, I dunno, maybe in Anaheim, I opined to Jenessa about it and she surprised me with,
End?," I thought.
I felt as if he were busting at the seams to find an opportune moment to preach to us. I had that feeling. I think I had him pegged.
So he got us to the location where we would resume our urban foraging. My God? It seemed bleak even though I knew that it was merely the end of that same farm where Jenessa wanted to show and have me sample a surprising fruit forming a hedge planted, I guess, by the city since the other side of Main St. also had it. She warned me about the thorns. Oh my, like a person, or someone with which you fall in love but later you discover that person's pains. I did not stick myself at first, but then got three thorns -- which took about a week to disolver -- under my skin. The red fruit was surprisingly delicious. Jenessa pointed out the optimum state of the skin to assure the sweetest flavor. We began collecting and eating. I had fun, but I always was conscious of a layer of soil, or was it car exhaust, rubbing it against my bicycle shorts as if this would clean them. Well, at least I removed some of the residue.
But I did pick the reddest and they did mush up, but I washed them carefully back at my studio, taking care not to dissolve them under the running water. Yeah, they were tasty, sweet, and they did dissolve in my mouth. So unique was the fruit, that I decided that I would benefit by savoring them the whole week, so I stuck them in the fridge, winding up munching them, a little bit at a time on this unique treat.
You know, when he dropped us off -- I think his name was Dave --, well, seemingly in the middle of nowhere compared to his ritzy 15 story apartment palace, I wondered what he thought of us. He seemed detached as if on Ritalin, an amphetamine of sorts, as if carrying out a duty of a suffering Christian, or was he thinking of us as lost sheep?. Here we were, two people on bicycles, forty miles from home, late afternoon. Heh.
I suggest that money was his primary drug bolstered by the energy that a drug habit brings. Money seemed to have come into his portfolio fast and went out merely less fast.
I wondered if he were conflicted with his engagement in this discipline, way of life. He drove a massive pickup truck, "as wide as a semi," he stated proudly. The logo inside said "Ford F-350," a four-door, one ton monstrosity with doors thick enough in which to store an emergency supply of canned food. It had super thick tires, tall, and wide. What for? The dashboard bulged out its chest as if to proclaim its dominance over the passenger. The seats were comfortable. I could tell that this vehicle was designed to intimidate anyone on the road whom it approached, and smash smaller vehicles while protecting the driver. There was not one scratch on it, so it was likely used only on paved roads; An End Times vehicle used on smooth streets, clearly a Type 1 personality truck intended to cow anyone him/herself before its jackhammer-like grill.
Later in the day,
When shopping for more plastic gold coins at the Dollar Tree discount store last Holloween, my heart jumped when I spotted the String of Skeletons make of material of a higher quality than the skeletons used in the Magic Carpet series. The plastic was refined, they were translucent and unpainted, and the mold used more accurately represented real bones. I immediately bought three Strings consisting of a total of twenty-one skeletons. Now the problem remained what to do with them. I don't know exactly when or how I came up with this series.
I had bought about seven aluminum blocks of various dimensions and thicknesses a year ago and put them away in a box. So I pulled a flat one out the box a year later and placed a skeleton on top of it as if it were asleep, and considered the combination to be a significant enough for further examination. It looked like, well, a bed, an elevated bed. Then at some point I wondered if I could add some excitement, some life, so I made it into a narrative by bending the skeleton's arms and legs into a particular pose as if were doing something. Yeah, I liked it. But what was I liking about it?
I put the combo on top of another block of aluminum, a sort of plinth, so that the work now consisted of three pieces: The skeleton laying on a thick sheet of metal resting on on top of another piece of aluminum. It reminded me of a Greek bier about which I lectured in art history classes. Current culture might call it a wake. I taught these art history classes at La Sierra University and Menifee Community College. (At California Baptist University, the dean assigned me computer technology which were outmost geeky.)
So I figured I would make nine more and name them the Bier Series. As I started animating more skeletons into different, more dramatic poses. This was tedious because I felt I was fumbling. I did not know what I was doing. Each twist was emotional agony, and the process of bending these 8" skeletons actually tired me out. Then I became disturbed that they expressed too much emotion, reminding me of the gesticulations in illustrations of saints in 10th C. Romanesque books of hours which looked amateurish and exaggerated which I at first did not want. I comforted myself that I could get away with it, however, by noting this fit into my current interest into making work that expressed emotion, thinking of later art of the Baroque period whose dramatic stories and poses is made to appeal to one's emotions, to engage the viewer by entertaining. This, of course is antithetical to the current academic teaching of overstated minimalism which I consider effete and vacuous. On the other hand, I felt that the process I used to make the biers was already minimalistic enough in that I relied on ready-made gems and metals needing minimal modification, and that this would moderate and counteract the poses of the dramatic skeletons. I achieved a balance.
As I reformed the last skeletons, I felt uneasy that they had no basis to express so much emotion. What do do? I found justification in my current appreciation for the Sceneggiata song, developed in Napli, Italia, and brought to the US by Italian immigrants. I often listen to it while I work in my studio.
The form nearly died out until various singers of sceneggiatas resurrected it in the middle of the 20th C. My favorite such singer is Mario Merola. His voice has that feeling that only a person grounded in innocent, un-pretenscious dramatic theater can have. His singing has elements of Moslem call to prayer in its kind of vibrato found in S. Italy. His most important sceneggiata songs can be sampled here.
The Sceneggiata is an early 20th C. form of live theater developed in Napoli, Italy performed by non-professionals. By necessity and localization, they are of low budget and made to entertain locals in low income brackets. The song consists of an emotional story, usually about cheating, a broken heart, and often a maiming or killing in the end. The form can be likened to a stereotypical US country song but without the maiming or killing. One of The Godfather movies showed a part of a Sceneggiata as a backdrop to a scene taking place in Little Italy, New York.
Well I found my theme and naming convention. I am gratified. I will name them: Sceneggiata Prima, Sceneggiata Seconda, Sceneggta Terza, Sceneggiata Quarta, Sceneggiata Quinta, Sceneggiata Sesta, Sceneggiata Settima, Sceneggiata Ottava, Sceneggiata Nona, Sceneggiata Decima.
They are Sceneggiatas! I love it!
My favorite scenegiattas and other songs sung in Neopolitan Italian and their singers are:
1. Guapparia: Mario Merola, Bruno Venturini
2. Accarezame: Mirna Doris, Iva Zanichi
3. 'O Fachiro: Aurelio Fierro
4. Tammurriata Nera: Angela Luce, Bruno Venturini
5. Presentimento: Angela Luce, Raffaela de Simone
6. Napule Bello: Giulietta Sacco
In some ways, I regret tackling Diaphanous Geithner, at the time a seemingly easy-to-execute sculpture with clearly-layed out steps ahead, but I was so wrong: The use of unfamiliar materials caused me to agonize over what would have been to a professional fabricator trivial matters. Addressing a temporary personality obsoleted the work after he left public office. I took two years to complete. So I think it's a failure. The pseudo-scale-model now rests in the corner of my studio, with no foreseeable future venue to showcase its narrative.
However, I used materials and techniques I learned to produce the Magical Flying Carpet Landscapes, a series of ten small works whose theme moves away from politics of any sort, addressing something about which puzzles me, so I have difficulty articulating it succinctly. Each of the pieces shows skeletons in a variety of poses performing different genteel behaviours: One is turning a wheel, another swimming, while two examining existence, one examining self, etc. I feel that the skeletons represent fantasy personages or personalities whose deeds can exists only outside of the real world. In addition, that skeletons are dead people further removes them from reality.
So I made these and now am shopping them around, learning how to approach art galleries, focusing on the commercial fine art kind, commercial because they are the most willing and capable to sell them - now my primary goal -- and because of their fine art, vs. decorative art, focus because fine art galleries appreciate serious, meaningful content such as I hope this series is judged. I don't know.
Bryan Allan, Director, California Baptist Art Gallery already rejected them without offering a response. His email address: firstname.lastname@example.org
I have already thought of the next project, again using the same materials: Bier Series.
Don't steal your own documents!
Big government went after Mr. Aaron Swartz because he refused to pay the 9¢ per "page" fee for documents for which my and your taxes had already paid.
The pages should have been freely available, this, especially when the job for the distribution of those pages was assumed by Mr. Swartz, thus eliminating the need for the gov. to perform that labor.
By imposing the fee, those with means continue to afford to pay millions for documents which otherwise belong to the citizen already.
That sizes of electronic documents are limited to the size of paper documents makes no sense; The 8.5" x 11" (or x 14") size is a vestigial legacy from the paper era when the printer could print pages of that size only. Now the size of electronic document has nearly no limits. This means that it is reasonable to expect that the fee should be no more than 9¢ if all of the downloaded documents were downloaded in one fell swoop. The charge of 9¢ per page means that big gub'mnt is engaged in a fraudulent practice which Swartz correctly combated.
Before his death at 27 years of age, Mr. Swartz was the people's representative; He worked for the people. He was another one of those rare individuals, a visionary in the field of the expansion of freedoms via information technology, working for our side, the good side, at a time when the US has an over-abundance of bad people working in behalf of the bad U.S. Congress and for its freedom-hating National Security Police State Apparatus.
I suggest that the people begin to look for, and publicly extoll the virtues of, similarly heroic individuals, those who work outside of the security state and outside of the US Congress, since the latter two work for the people less and less, and, worse, work to undermine the people, such as when they enthusiastically and with prurient glee passed the U.S. Patriot Act which indeed replaced the U.S. Constitution. Then the Congress even passed something worse, the two NDAAs which institutionalized the making of each individual in the U.S. a terrorist suspect, thus subjected to indefinite detention, to being locked up in a Pentagon-run brig, without the Writ of Habeas Corpus, as well as declaring martial law which, pre-911, was illegal. Now it's legal. These are instances of the gov. passing laws to benefit the gov. by strengthening its rights, which was not the original intent, instead of benefiting the people by strengthening their rights, as was the original intent.
So, why are we paying the gov. via voluntary income taxes to make itself stronger while making us weaker? It should at least perpetrate injustices and illegalities with someone else's money, not ours.
In response to "Internet Prodigy Behind RSS, Reddit Ends Life"
Read more at http://ktla.com/2013/01/12/internet-prodigy-behind-rss-reddit-ends-life/#xe0kyBgB7XEdjq4R.99." KTLA 5, 12-12-2013
John Dingler in a Cossack hat in his studio in Winter.
• Money is a form of free speech, this, according to the USSC decision in Citizens United v. Federal Elections Commission, 2012.
Because corporations have more wealth of money than non-corporate people have, and more media power to express it, they have more free speech rights than normal people. This is a major economic disparity that gives primacy to the corporate person over the real person.
Should the USSC ever find that real people are corporations, and the gov. confiscates uber-gains from corporations and disburses it back to real people, then real people would at least have speech rights equal to that of corporations.
Until this happens, real people will continue to have less rights, they will thus remain second class citizens in a nation run by first class corporate people.
As someone already had said, it's time to began discussing the confiscation of hoarded wealth, from real people and from the corporate person; No one should be allowed to stockpile a disproportionate amount of America's wealth. Wealth is defines as media access, land, money, privilege, connections to the powerful, and the network that ties these together.
Alternately, states and federal laws should prohibit a corporation to exclude from its charter a method to disburse its disproportional amt. of wealth to those who have the least. This is called good corporate citizenship, and it should consider this to be the privilege to operate within the greatest country on earth, the United States of America.
In response to "Corporations and execs need penalties that hurt." Los Angeles Times
John Dingler, MFA, U.C. Irvine, hails from Italy. He is a full time artist working from a very cool studio building in Riverside, CA.
On Good Citizenship