August 31, 2004

Everyone is a General

I used to work like a mole in the darkest room in the cranium of a warship, creating a picture of the world with technical extensions of our senses.

Here's a story from Wired about how soldiers are training today. Shades of CounterStrike!

Check this other image out:
(It kind of looks like a Terry Allen installation... or a bad grad student project.)

And this:

When ICT was founded, one of its first directives came from Army chief scientist Mike Andrews. "Build us a holodeck," he said, referring to the room-sized device on Star Trek employed to simulate the environments of alien planets.

Returning to ICT headquarters, I notice an unexpected aftereffect of spending an hour in the holodeck. Glancing out a window, my brain no longer trusts that I am seeing the real world. The freeway traffic and tract houses of Marina del Rey seem virtual.

(Attention! Segue underway:)
That reminds me* of our studio visit with Markus Weggenman. Markus was kind enough to show us his studio shortly before we left Z?rich. The whole time, I was patting my pockets reflexively for the digital cameras, both out of commission. Here's images dragged from Mark M?ller's website:


and this:

Markus paints in gouache everyday, but don't visualize these jpegs with the mineral textured surface of that medium. He takes his work through a process of selection and editing (two or three hoppers of selection), 8x10 inch thick papers everywhere in sorting piles in his studio, he captures the images with a scanner and further tinkers with the images and prints out copies to send to his trusted autobody paint specialist to render the image on Alcoa wafer insulated aluminium panels. When you see these images, think auto body finishes. Big. Reflective. Actually, scale-less, because they can be the size of a TV or the side of a building. They can be expensive to make. Gorgeous.

And free. Markus lays the paint down every day, no expectations, meditative maybe. He frames his work in terms that reminds me of Lasker, the painting the image of painting. The removal that made things possible again. He has a few words pinned to the wall that point to an existential nausea: "The ground is an illusion..." or something like that. He talked about an early enthusiasm that led to frustration with painting, he used to be a psycholanalyst with a practice, and then one day, he walked up to the Kunstmuseum and proposed an exhibition of work in '89 or '90, and he has been chamed ever since as a painter. After the crisis of thinking he cannot bring anything new to the painter's table, he painted stripes (Buren?) and therefore painted himself into a corner, a world of horizontal striped paintings... I saw a photo of an installation in a multistoried atrium of some official building of many hundreds of his stripe paintings, amazing... it was after this he leaped out of the corner with the autobody work.

But I prefer to see his work not as a refusal... therefore the leap. Because it is a practice of painting that extends over multiple technologies and modern materials. What once was a simple technology, oil with pigment in suspension, now is a multitude... perhaps bewildering and therefore the nausea. When Markus reaches out his hand in his studio, he is reaching over time and continents and specialists, through many kinds of people of expertise...

...kind of like CounterStrike. (are the eyes rolling? ok, ok... I like the big leaps) The difference is that one uses the technical multitude to simulate reality and the other uses it render it real.

*Markus, I hope you don't mind the segue, the juxtapostion with military images! For me, such things are not negative images... nor specifically positve either.

Posted by Dennis at August 31, 2004 6:34 AM


I have never liked the Terry Allen installations, just his music spoke to me. markus, I really like. Check out and see Terry Allen and many others trying to get their names into the NYTimes as anti Bush lemmings. It reeks of careerism to me. Pamela

I used to work like a mole in the darkest room in the cranium of a warship, creating a picture of the world with technical extensions of our senses.

Dennis, I remember when I woke you from a dead sleep to help draw pictures on a DRT in a 'anti sub warfare' game. You got up with a smile on your face and saved my ass. I remember how you made pictures on that DRT that dazzled the shit out of them head honchos and made them smile. Just wanted you to know I remembered getting you outta bed and a tip of the hat to a good friend who turned out to be a GREAT artist.

OS2 Burnidge then (most people just call me Bob these days)

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