Thursday, June 29, 2017

" An artist imagines beyond the box" : Tal thought and humour : June and Aug 21, 2013

That's Tal's brain there in the left hand corner sending his imagination literaly outside the box and into the sky !

Here are some notes of his on the subject a few months later : 

"I was trained as an artist. I was trained to think as an artist. I haven't changed an inch! 

What is an artist? Thinking creativly and being like an artist ? 

It's being able to imagine beyond the box! 

It is more accepted now.

People that want to be an artist? Encourage them ! It could lead to them being on a Mayor's advisory council or to becoming a General in the new Army." 

This last reference to being a "General in the Army ( "small caps A" per TS )  was something Pop was working on intermitantly. 

Hospitalised in Manhattan, Kansas in the aftermath of his stroke, he spoke daily with his caregivers about his wanting to start what he called the green army which would only do "peaceful" work,   

Artists were high ranking generals in this army. 

With loss of his right parietal,  he offered this kind of wild dream-like  story daily. He may have heard someone mention the nearby base of Fort Riley, home to the "Big Red One" and incoroprated that into his waking conversation.

We knew he wasn't crazy or suffering from dementia, just had loss of the right parietal ! We consider ourselves lucky to have crossed the writing of Gazzaniga that explained this type of brain injury. So many neurologists just write off treatment or help for families dealing with this ! 

And his other admonition of "imagine beyond the box ? That brain sitting in the red cube but still able to soar outside of the constraints of his body and situation ? Beautiful!   
We have this drawing thanks to his caregiver and incredible companion, Jason Tracey. 

- Lissa on this very sunny, bright and dry day in Paris. 

Sunday, May 21, 2017

Flying Together ! Labodanse@Palais de la Découverte


Paris, May21 20172:30AM

We enter a round darkened space with a small group of seats in the middle. A "coach" , Matthieu Gaudeau with encouragment and laughter, gets our huge group moving in unison( felt like a 100 but maybe 50 ?) We circle the space in the dark, hand on the person in front of us. At first slowly moving, then gain some momentum. We switch directions. Having been a follower we are now leading someone behind us. We stop and turn to face the center of the room. Our coach asks us to toss an imaginary object to those on the opposite side who catch it and toss it back. Back and forth. Back and forth.

We are now one organism in this space. We take our places in the center of the room.

There is a lovely bird like image made up of points of light on a screen in front of us. Several people stand and sit down. First the left side then the right. And we figure out that we are moving the left and right wings with our mouvement. We try more fluid action like you see crowds doing in a stadium wave. This takes some practice! A large bird flys into view

We suddently understand that we are "flying" the bird ! Somewhat clumsily at first, but with better and better coordination as we all get into it. We fly!

In fact this "stimergy" seems to work best when one is aware of the partner on either side of you while orienting yourself to the image ahead.

A kind of a chaotic mass starts to appear and expand in front of our flying bird. Like magnetic particles separating into opposite poles. We learn that this image is created by our clapping together or using our voices in unison. I wasn't sure which.

So we are both flying the bird and creating the environment in front of the bird.

Two artists : quietSpeaker (Andrea Mancianti, Roberto Pugliese ) had been working with our movements to make the surrounding soundscape.

Mindboggling how this all came together.Altho there obviously was quite complicated technology involved, it disappeared and was at the service of the overall experience !

Oh it was over way too soon ! Everyone has an astonished look on their face as we filed out. Even Mattieu ! When I ask him if he had done this before he said no it was the first time for them too !

One thing that comes to mind is just how different this is from an oculus rift kind of experience where one is lost in ones own singularity.

There we were. Out in the world, working as one, flying as one. Just fantastic.

And that was but one of our experiences last night !

"Dreamers" the other installation was another thing all together !

Took me hours to ride home as I got lost once with so much adrenalin running around ! Paris looked like another planet last night !

Pop would have loved every second.

Labodanse@Palais de la Découverte

Thank you to Labodanse : Asaf Bachrach w/ his incredible team of artists for inviting me

Please check out their website that I have linked in up there. It is in french but I think we all know how to use the translation options these days don't we?

- Lissa

off to work on her Pop job with this new energy and inspiration. CAVS 50th Celebration Flying Red Line proposal here we come !

Friday, April 21, 2017

Friends of Tal: John Maeda

Today John Maeda is opening speaker on an online free conference entitled Design and Exclusion.

For those of you that don't know who John is, you might want to check out his website (the old one, still up and running !) :

Pop was always singing his praises from back in the day when he was a Fellow at CAVS.

When Jay Lee joined the Media Lab as artist in residence, Pop visitied on a regular basis. There was quite a fruitful exchange of ideas and inspiration between the artists at CAVS like Pop and the design and tech folks at the Media Lab across the street. Remember Pop's writing on Play, from that time, Jay ?

Someday my hope is that we will have an online "book" of the future with access to all of Pop's writing.

John Maeda is first port of call. His Reactive Books were favorites of Pop's and look like the starting place / ingredients for this book of the future.

Indeed Pop drew the outline of this project in an email that he sent me back in 2008, introducing me to Windsong, a friend he hoped I'd be able to collaborate with on his online "book" :

He wrote : "

I'm checking out soon a free download program that Ken Conrad in Seattle and David Wagner here in SF use for designing back and forth, talking and drawing which immediately appears on each other's laptop screens (meaning it's there in their and savable in their hard-drives as well as immediately accessible for working back and forth.

This might be a very handy ongoing tool for you and Windsong, beyond sitting next to each other---if this association comes to past working out for the two of you.

Here's George and Melanie's site. 
They use Google Software.which you can check out, right at the top on the site---a common addition for those using this using this program.

The letters spinning wildly around, following the path of mouse movements is the creation of Jay's mentor in the MIT Media Lab, John Maeda, now president of RISD. More about him later. Another program John once showed me, won my heart over to him. John's mother was an office typist in Japan, a wonderful homage to her memory, was the basis of a program that imitated the sound of a typewriter as you struck the computer keyboard, writing text.

Initially, I'd like to suggest you and Lissa considering the following:

I would very much enjoy having this early mouse trailing a line of type (on the airworks-studio site as a kind of homage expressing my feelings for John Maeda's wonderful work. It remains one of my favorite digital typographic design inventions.

A full screen/page width margins for all the writing which will appear on this site---not taking up so many pages as it would with a narrow column, however this might look nice as a design element..

I favor sans serif body text, with let's say something along the lines of Times Roman for titles , italic Times Roman introductory copy text, say, but I'm up for...???

Three separate sections: Kites (I've got a picture of Blackstone the Magician holding a big ring, ready to pass it over a levitating lady---the confluence pretty much of my life-long career, established at nine-years of age, my fascination with both stage magic and the magic of kites flying in the sky And my sculpture tends often to take the form of lines, tower-like, rising up into the sky, drawing attention as much to sky as to themselves. I've often described them as "ladders into the sky."

Finally , separate "chapters" for kites, sculpture; photography.and books and essays , fiction and non-fiction outside these three primary topics..???? "

So you see we have our work cut out for us. Windsong and I. Almost ten years on from that missive from him. I haven't forgotten and have spent many a late night trying to learn how to make these things. Incorporating these ideas using sound, visuals, interactive play and stimulus.

One of those wonderous life threads where we have no idea where it will take us but that we love following.

Thank you, all of you who have been sending Romig and I messages on the anniversary of Pop's passing this past week, three years ago.

Don't know if you noticed but he was up there in the night sky the previous week. In fine form she and I thought ! Lissa Tal's daughter in Paris

Monday, June 13, 2016

Alber's Six Dreams

With this family precedent of celebrating at any time of year a significant holiday like Valentine's day or a birthday say, here is a Pop Valentine found in a recent excavation of my "cave" ("basement" in french).      

"file: skymit

Alber's Six Dreams                                                                     

A series of wax pencil drawings by Tal Streeter inspired by 
Joseph Alber's famous paintings,"Homage to the Square".  

With the highest regard and the deepest respect, artist Tal 
Streeter assigned his personal winged muse to the bedside of 
the sleeping Bauhaus artist at he end of his long and 
distinguished career that she might breath life into the 
masters dreams. 

The following notes and collection of drawings were the happy 


The Third Dream * in which the monolithic Albers very nearly 
blocks out the whole of the universe. 

The Fourth Dream in which Albers learns to fly and is 
henceforth relieved from the tyranny and the imprisonment of 
the high wall, the paintings borders.

The Fifth Dream in which Albers is garbed in the great sun 
mantle enabling  him to rise in the east and set in the west. 

The Sixth Dream*in which the winged muse causes Albers to 
journey into the endless space of the Universe. 

*the content of Alber's first two dreams in unknown

- Lissa 
continuing her archaeological explorations
now that there seems a sunny hour in this otherwise wet and rainy June 
Paris 2016 

I'm looking for the drawing that accompanied this writing...

Also looking for information on where Tal's Rocking Heart sculpture is in Korea !

There was a large one made for the Total Museum but it's whereabouts ? We would like to know ! Please get in touch if you have seen it ? -LS 

Tuesday, February 23, 2016

Out in the World of Public Art and Sculpture: Paris La Defense

It's been at least a decade since visiting this area of La Defense with Pop. walking the long esplanade towards the Grande Arche...which you can see all the way from the Arche de Triomphe at the very top of the Champs Élysées.

Back in the day,  we came to see the public sculpture recently installed here : a Calder Stabile, Takis blinking lights like an airport runway, a Miro (sculpture ! go figure.) None of the work here on the esplanade or in the area of la Defense is site specific to my knowledge.  perhaps the Takis...I don't know. These pieces have much in common with much large scale /city public sculpture. They are like beings parachuted into place. Doing their very best to exist in such overwhelming surroundings.  

The architecture, with the exception of the Grande Arche is unexceptional. No human scale element whatsoever. He very much liked La Grande Arche and the fact that it is slightly turned to one side and not directly facing the long esplanade. He asked what was "in it" ? "Nothing! I replied This is simply one very large and very expensive piece of public sculpture as only the French know how to offer!" He laughed !   

At La Defense the human is either underground, pushed off to one side in tunnels or barricaded in one of these great tours (towers), their surfaces mirrored glass, reflecting, no transparency. They look out but you don't look in. These buildings seem so totally unaware of the humans they contain within or that pass alongside.   

The other thing missing in this environment is the enclosure and enticing visual chaos and titillations of a city. The intricate detail, sounds and layers of visual and sensory information. The human element if you will ! None of that on offer here. 

The balance is very much on the side of the building. 

We talked about the density in La Defense. How it is less felt than say a place like New York City. In New York despite the height of the surrounding buildings, there is still traffic and people walking in great numbers at any hour. Even late at night, when the streets are pretty much empty, traffic lights flashing, the ghost of this density and activity remains.

He said the best sited pieces were those that found the closest building, huddling in its embrace and protection and even reflection/repetition, multiplying their mass by two. 

Nature (trees) too. For the trees, there is strength in number! Using that strategy or getting as close as possible to some sort of edifice whether that be sculpture or building! To add to the indignity, all trees are closely cropped. The french version of the control of nature! ugh!
Pop said that spaces on this scale have real difficulty with sculpture and visa versa. Sculpture looks doll sized. Only the sky, clouds, light and weather seem to be able to join these games among giants. 

We talked about how much fun it might have been to fly one of the mile long red lines down through here. How that might have worked, scale wise. An ephemeral piece like that would have been wonderful he thought. Lots of wind 24/7 rushing through here !

Wind, sky, air, light all powerful elements to be used in public sculpture. Invisible until harnessing this life force. This is what I remember him telling me on that day, so many years ago, walking in La Defense. 

- Lissa 

Sunday, November 22, 2015

Tal Friend : Lee Dai-won Painter

Today is the tenth anniversary of the passing of Tals great friend Lee Dai-won. 1921 - 2005

Considered one of Korea's greatest artists, a painter, he was self taught. He used western techniques like pointilisme and impressionism, fauvism but was equally proficient with korean traditional techniques and brushwork.

To confine him to being only a "Korean artist" and not to recognize his international stature and importance outside the borders of his birthplace would be disingenuous at worst, ignorant at best ! 

No less a writer than Pierre Restany wrote of his admiration of Lee Dai-won's work.

"That deep nature of the universe which is the unique theme of his art and which beautifully projects the plenitude of joie de vivre. Such a message does not know any frontier. It is the basic affidavit of a universal emotion."

So how these two fellows, Lee Dai-won and Tal Streeter, came to be such close friends indeed continued such vibrant dialog despite their differing perspectives of art throughout their lives, is testament to their openness and trust in one another.

I think much of Pops attachment to nature came from seeing his friends Lee Dae Won's joyous observation of things close by.

As he got older, Pop too became much more attentive to the comings and goings of the natural world. The smallest little plant in his path was a direct connection to this earth while his writing often headed out far off into sky and stars

Lee Dai-won was no different. His sensitivity to nature and his surroundings were evident in his work from the very start.  

He shows great attention to even the smallest change in nature. Seasons, the sensation of time passing... all are treated with colorful energy !  It's my impression that color was everything to him ! Not a dark melancholic person Lee Dai-won !  Even in the wintertime he finds color !


The family pear orchard is right outside Lee Daiwon's studio, an exquisite traditional Korean farm house.

Meticulously restored and filled inside and out with objects of great beauty, Lee Daiwon's studio is a place of "lived in" history of many generations.

The long painting above is a piece Lee Daiwon began just before his passing. Courageous no ? To start such a piece of such grandeur at 80 plus years.    

The two friends had many similar qualities. Lee Daiwon was an inveterate collector too ! I'm sure they goaded each other on in that department ! 

Should I blame Lee Dai-won for those 300 plus moktong (korean carpenters charcoal line drawing tool ) ? Was he as unapologetic about such things as Tal was ?  I hope to compare stories at some point with Lee Daiwon's daughters ! 

Lee Dai-won was someone of happy generous nature. Friendship meant a great deal to him. Pop loved his laughter and would beam w delight when he looked at a photograph of his friend. 

On his friends passing 10 years ago, Lee Daiwon's wife, Lee Hyun Geum, asked Tal to make a memorial to his friend to be placed in somewhere on the farm

"Stairway to the Heavens", installed in 2008 was Tal's offering. 

On the granite base Tal etched the drawing of Lee Dai-won's very first studio.

Rising up through the pear trees via a transparent nearly invisible column of glass, a small stair reaches even higher into the sky and heavens above. 

We recently visited the piece, and Lee Dai-won's studio thanks to our friend, painter Kim Yong-chol, a close friend to both men, indeed a lien to this past friendship. 

Kim Yong-chol carefully tends the wikipedia entry and the facebook page devoted to Lee Dai-won. 

He was also responsible for the restoration of Tal's Endless Smile at HongIk University ! And quite a host with such an understanding spirit during our recent trip to Korea this past October 2015. Taking us out to Paju, meeting the curators out at the MMCA Gwangeon Museum responsible for Tal's Dragon Stair. Ooo and all that delicious eating! I'll share more on that at some point on my cooking and looking paris blog!     

Out in Paju, Lee Daiwon's son in law keeps the studio and farm as if his father in law had just stepped out and would be returning shortly.  A bottle of scotch is there at the entry shared with friends but a moment ago. 

Those Paju Pears were certainly the finest I've ever had. 

-Lissa in Paris. 


Dreaming of pears, apples, chestnuts and pumpkins...the things of fall. 
                                                                                   The smell of leaves and friends.

Earlier days 2008.

My mother and I send our special thoughts to the Lee girls and their families. We hope that Lee Hyun Geum is comfortable and is able to find peace. We were sorry to have missed seeing her. We have great memories of her too. Her strength and support of her husband was evident to all.    


Tuesday, October 27, 2015

Louise Nevelson : What does it Mean To Be an Artist ?

Forty plus years ago Tal Streeter interviewed the sculptor Louise Nevelson for his MFA thesis. 

He asked Nevelson : 

“What does it mean to be an artist?”

Her reply : 

"I think it is as important as any religion. It’s a different way of saying the same thing. They [priests] say it by allegory and words. We say it in a visual way, which is much more immediate, much more direct. . . . You’re given a gift to fulfill. You did not bargain for happiness; you bargained for something else. You bargained for revelation. You bargained for a closer concept of reality. And you bargained for your own sanity, I think, half the time. You’re really right down with the elements.”

Lissa in Paris 

Having returned from travel with Romig to Korea and Japan...visiting places and people important to her, to Pop. Sampling the generosity of others as they accompany my mother and I through this paradoxical process of simultaneously letting go and drawing closer to Tal Moon and his life's work. Soft rain outside as I write this.