Garden of Earthly Bytes

I know I have been beating this drum to death, but this whole 35mm vs. digital situation continues to intrigue me. Last week somebody told me that Kodak has stopped making 35mm slides. Perhaps they meant slide projectors, which they discontinued last fall. So I came across this little story about a gardening club lectures and how it appears people are embracing the bells and whistles of PowerPoint and leaving their clunky projectors in the dust bin.

First of all there is still the argument invariably by the experts that the digital specimen just doesn’t hold a candle to the venerable slide. At a grant workshop a few weeks ago, again it was stressed that you can utilize digital images to represent your work, but a projected 35mm slide is going to win quality wise every time. I guess we are now looking at our watches and biding our time when this too becomes arcane information.

Back to the gardeners:

In large auditoriums, where duplicate digital projections can be made, and in rooms that cannot be fully darkened, digital images are on a par with or better than slide film, said Rick Darke, a landscape photographer, writer and speaker based in Landenberg, Pa. Darke, with a library of 75,000 slides, plunged into digital photography five years ago and sold off all his film equipment on eBay two years ago.
His early digital equipment included a then-$4,000 digital projector, knowing that the venues where he would speak may not be geared for PowerPoint. Now, he says, it is the speaker arriving with a carousel of 80 slides who has to worry. “They’re scrambling around to find a slide projector and often it doesn’t work very well: the gate jams, the bulb has got a crack in it. What’s out there is quickly getting old and obsolete. The average venue isn’t going to be putting money into repairing that.”

By the way according to the article, Fuji and Kodak continue to make slide film, and have no current plans to end production.

Speaking of digital, fun (are you allowed to use that word?) to see Ivan embracing Flickr, I must confess I like it. The possibilities of what could be done with that software seem large.

What to do with old work?


I have been sifting through the stacks that have piled of old work. What to do with it?

I have some really large drawings that I did in after living in NYC for 3 or 4 years. I had become obsessed with nature, feeling particularly deprived. I did these large charcoal drawings of bird houses- at human scale. I only showed them once, at the Soap Factory in Minneapolis. So I think I still like them-they’ve been rolled up in a tube since- moved from one storage place to another.
After that wall space or floor space to produce work at that scale was non-existent as I closed that studio making tiny panel paintings in a small corner of the apartment.
Should the drawings languish?

Sometimes I hold on to old work just as a reminder of what the hell was I thinking or on the flip side the piles of life drawings from this era remind me I wasn’t totally stagnant. Other times I just get rid of stuff I really hate-or in practical moments I’ve turned large panels (actually hollow doors) over and used them as worktables.

Cleaning up the studio-these are the times I envy writers or those that follow less “thing oriented”, conceptual work. To those that can place their entire life’s work on a CD or just cart around a laptop, I am envious. Us painters and drummers hauling around all that stuff- then just add a little turpentine to the responsibility. For gods sake, I won’t even go into the needs of sculptors. I live with one who hung up his sculpture hat and always threatens to take a load to the dump. No! I say.
Still one wonders the burden of these things we make.

Things to not think of in the studio:

Artists are often concerned with the archival quality of their work, yet museum storerooms continue fill up with unseen works and landfills pile high with discarded work. As a young retail clerk in an art supply store I remember being pointedly amused by people buying shopping carts of acrylic paint and stacks of foam core only to tell me at check out to “save the bag— to save a tree”.