October 26, 2007


Superdigit Friends,
I have been really busy with stuff and off the blog, sorry.
Here's a picture of my new favorite machine, an old 1977 Raleigh Grand Prix / single speed.

September 23, 2007


Lately, I have been thinking about the 'powers' we humans invest into seemingly inamimate objects...during my research, I came across this very interesting article on WITCH-BOTTLES...I have some other ideas about this subject that I am working on for superdigit, so keep your ear to the ground....in the meantime, check this out.

The practice of concealing witch-bottles appears to have started in the sixteenth century. Almost invariably in the 16th and 17th centuries a grey stoneware bottle colloquially known as the ‘bellarmine’ was used. It got its name (after the practicebegan) from a Cardinal called Bellarmine who published much anti-Protestant literature. These bottles are pot bellied and have masks stuck onto them of a grim looking bearded man. The bottles are mostly of German stoneware and are known as bartmann bottles.

This bellarmine witch-bottle was discovered beneath the hearth in an old cottage in Felmersham, Bedfordshire in late 2001. After being x-rayed, photographed and examined it was found to contain hair, pins, and it tested positively for urine.

During and after the 16th and 17th centuries glass bottles were also used for the practice, although, based on the current information in the archive, the practice appears to have been generally less popular after this period. See the photo below of the two Pershore glass phials - they were part of a 19th century hoard of concealed items.

Witch-bottles are usually found concealed beneath the hearth or threshold but sometimes beneath the floor and in walls. Of around 200 English witch-bottles on record, 130 are ‘bellarmines’. The contents of these bottles are fascinating and appear to constitute a kind of spell. Of the contents which are identifiable, by far the most common was iron pins or nails (95%). The second most common was human hair (25%). Another ingredient which is very difficult to test for if the bottle has leaked at any point is urine. Roughly 25% of those with contents have been tested for the presence of urine and all proved positive. So, we have iron, urine and hair as the most common ingredients. Other ingredients such as small bones, thorns, pieces of wood and, in a few cases, pieces of fabric cut into the shape of a heart are sometimes found.

This bottle was found in Reigate, Surrey and is thought to have been deposited somewhere between 1700-1750. It was discovered corked containing liquid and nine bent pins in a disturbance adjacent to the chalk floor of a 17th century building being excavated in London Road. Dr Alan Massey published his analysis of the contents in ‘The Reigate Witch-Bottle’, Current Archaeology, no 169, 2000, pp34-6.

This bottle is a good example of a glass bottle of an early period. The Pershore phials, see below, are also glass and were discovered with toys and three childrens shoes which provide evidence that the hoard was concealed in the mid-19th century. The phials contained a resin like substance, possible from a pine tree.

The locations in which these bottles are found is significant. There is an emphasis on placing these objects at entry and exit points of the building. The hearth was and is always open to the sky and represented a major security worry where supernatural entities were concerned. The doorway was naturally the other place that would need protecting as it would be opened and closed at regular intervals day or night. The use of iron pins in the bottles is significant as it had always been regarded as a magical metal.

The effort which went into concealing these bottles was large. How fearful of supernatural intrusion into your home would you have to be before you'd consider lifting your hearthstone, digging a hole and inserting a bottle filled with pins and urine?

Further reading:

Ralph Merrifield, ‘The Use of Bellarmines as Witch-Bottles’, Guildhall Miscellany, no 3, February 1954, offprint.
Ralph Merrifield, The Archaeology of Ritual and Magic, 1987, Batsford, London.

above info and images from http://www.apotropaios.co.uk/witch_bottles.htm

August 28, 2007

deep water

Currently at the Angelika, a really interesting film about Donald Crowhurst (1932–1969), an English businessman and amateur sailor who died while competing in the Sunday Times Golden Globe Race, a single-handed, round-the-world yacht race. Crowhurst had entered the race in hopes of winning a cash prize from the Sunday Times to aid his failing business. Instead, he encountered difficulty early in the voyage, and secretly abandoned the race while reporting false positions, in an attempt to appear to complete a circumnavigation without actually circling the world. Evidence found after his disappearance indicates that this attempt ended in insanity and suicide.

moving moving

thank you anonymous superdigit reader for this rad suggestion.
PS: you may want to turn the sound off mid way through video.

August 15, 2007

art on the moon.

Fallen Astronaut is an 8.5cm (slightly over 3") aluminium sculpture of an astronaut in a spacesuit. It is the only piece of art on the Moon.

It was created by Belgian artist Paul Van Hoeydonck, who met astronaut David Scott at a dinner party. Van Hoeydonck was asked to create a small statuette to personally commemorate those astronauts and cosmonauts having lost their lives in the furtherance of space exploration. Van Hoeydonck was given a set of design restrictions: in addition to the physical requirements that the sculpture be both lightweight and sturdy, and that it be capable of withstanding the temperature extremes of the Moon, the statuette could not be identifiably male or female, nor of any identifiable ethnic group. Furthermore, in accordance with Scott's wish to avoid the commercialization of space, Van Hoeydonck's name would not be made public.

In 1971, Fallen Astronaut was placed on the Moon by the crew of Apollo 15, along with a plaque bearing the names of eight American astronauts and six Soviet cosmonauts who died during spaceflights or training exercises:

* Theodore Freeman (October 31, 1964, aircraft accident)
* Charles Bassett (February 28, 1966, aircraft accident)
* Elliott See (February 28, 1966, aircraft accident)
* Gus Grissom (January 27, 1967, Apollo 1 fire)
* Roger Chaffee (January 27, 1967, Apollo 1 fire)
* Edward White (January 27, 1967, Apollo 1 fire)
* Vladimir Komarov (April 24, 1967, re-entry parachute failure)
* Edward Givens (June 6, 1967 automobile accident)
* Clifton Williams (October 5, 1967, aircraft accident)
* Yuri Gagarin (March 27, 1968, aircraft accident)
* Pavel Belyayev (January 10, 1970, disease)
* Georgi Dobrovolski (June 30, 1971, re-entry pressurization failure)
* Viktor Patsayev (June 30, 1971, re-entry pressurization failure)
* Vladislav Volkov (June 30, 1971, re-entry pressurization failure)

After the crew mentioned the statuette during their post-flight press conference, the National Air and Space Museum requested that a replica be made for public display. The crew agreed, under the condition that it was to be displayed "with good taste and without publicity"; in April 1972, Van Hoeydonck presented the Museum with a replica of Fallen Astronaut, which is now on display with a replica of the plaque.

In May 1972, Scott learned that Van Hoeydonck planned to make more replicas and sell them. Feeling that this would be a violation of the spirit of their agreement, Scott tried to persuade Van Hoeydonck to refrain, but was unsuccessful; 950 signed replicas went on sale for $750 apiece at the Waddell Gallery of New York.

Van Hoeydonck recalls a different set of events leading to the creation of the artifact. According to an interview with the artist in Belgian newspaper De Morgen, the statue was supposed to be a representation of all mankind, not simply fallen astronauts or cosmonauts. Ultimately, Van Hoeydonck did not know the statute would be used as a memorial for the fallen spacegoers.

From Wikipedia.

July 29, 2007

TCB (taking care of business)

Taking Care of Business.

Here's something I have needed to know about....the “TCB Oath,” written by the King himself.

“More self-respect, more respect for fellow man, respect for fellow students and instructors. Respect for all styles and techniques. Body conditioning, mental conditioning, meditation for calming and stilling of the mind and body. Sharpen your skills to increase mental awareness, for all those who might choose a new outlook and personal philosophy. Freedom from constipation.”

TCB, found here on Elvis' plane, the Lisa Marie.

Thanks Elvis (and mostly MvD).

July 23, 2007

totes toast.

Dear Superdigit Friends, my trusty G4 Powerbook bit the dust last week taking lots of magic data into the void....my hard drive is toast and needs to be replaced. Good news is Applecare.....bad news is my last back up was months ago.

June 25, 2007

energized line, like a road

God I want you, like a fuel engine!
Energized line, like a road
You-oo-oo-oo--oo ride me-ee-ee-ee-ee
Like a road
You-oo-oo-oo--oo ride me-ee-ee-ee-ee

Foot on the peddle
Feet in the air
Sand in my hair
Oh, don't look back
Don't look behind you
Wreckless drivin' on
Dirty Back Road

June 17, 2007

ornithology for beginners....

I'm sure glad I have a bicycle and a pair of binoculars.....today I explored Green-Wood Cemetery in Brooklyn where I got to see lots of amazing headstones, mausoleums, and exotic carved for the dead stuff......I also got to see a now native population of monk parrots / parakeets.

The parrots, which live mostly in the spire at the Green-Wood Cemetery gate, are believed to have come from a shipment of birds that got loose at JFK in the late 1960s. Somehow, the birds survived around Jamaica Bay, and immigrated to Brooklyn, where they were first sighted at Brooklyn College in the early 1970s. Another theory has them escaping from a pet shop on Flatbush Avenue or an overturned truck. Over the years, other colonies established themselves in Marine Park, Bensenhurst and Bay Ridge.

This Monk Parakeet is, on average, 29 cm long with a 48 cm wingspan, and weighs 100 g. Females tend to be 10-20% smaller. It has bright green upperparts. The forehead and breast are pale grey and the rest of the under parts are very-light green to yellow. The flight feathers are dark blue, and the tail is long and tapering. The bill is orange. The call is a loud and throaty graaa or skveet.

The Monk Parakeet is the only parrot that builds a stick nest, in a tree or on a man-made structure, rather than using a hole in a tree. This gregarious species often breeds colonially, building a single large nest with separate entrances for each pair. In the wild, the colonies can become quite large, with pairs occupying separate "apartments" in nests that can reach the size of a small automobile. Their 5-12 eggs hatch in about 24 days. At Green-Wood Cemetery, with a pair of binoculars, I was able to see 8-10 parrots flying around, adding sticks to their complex nest at the cemetery's main entrance.

Unusually for a parrot, Monk Parakeet pairs occasionally have helper individuals, often a grown offspring, which assists with feeding the young.

Monk Parakeets are highly intelligent, social birds. Those kept as pets routinely develop large vocabularies.

As one of the few temperate-zone parrots, the Monk Parakeet is more able than most to survive cold climates, and colonies exist as far north as New York City, Chicago, Cincinnati, and communities in coastal Rhode Island and Connecticut. This hardiness makes this species second only to the Rose-ringed Parakeet amongst parrots as a successful introduced species.

The lifespan of Monk Parakeets has been quoted to be from 15-20 years, to 25-30 years.

June 10, 2007

June 2, 2007

Live-In Hive (1976) by Mark Thompson

Above you will see LIVE-IN HIVE by Mark Thompson (begun in 1976), a very complex and ambitious proposal by means of which the artist wanted to experience life on the inside of a colony of bees for real. The project consisted of the construction of a cubic beehive made of glass fitted with a wire netting tube through which the bees could enter and leave, and a larger aperture at the base. This was for the performer to put his head through and so experience (see and above all hear) the hundreds of insects working all around him. The idea was to live like this for three weeks, sitting on a special chair (with a hole in it for waste matter), being fed by means of a system of tubes delivering high protein liquids and water straight to his mouth. Thompson worked out the project and thought of the possibility of having the body floating in a saline solution instead of in a seated position, but none of his plans worked out. Three weeks is too long a time: the project seemed to be very dangerous, and in all probability, if the plan had been carried through, the bees would have attempted to expel the intruder by covering him with propolis (as they usually do with the bodies of careless, scavenging mice that the bees sting to death).

But he did try it for short periods, and some blood-chilling photographs of what happened survive. Thompson made a film, also unfinished, which he called Immersion (1977-78). The film was speeded up or slowed down at various moments so that the buzzing and swarming of the bees could be manipulated like another piece of artistic material.

The implications of this work are considerable. Here it is important that the observer be seen from outside (by a cine-camera, for instance). We could speak of a total panopticon (or rather a reversible one): we spectators are invited to see and experience what is seen and experienced by the artist inside the beehive, with whom, inevitably, we identify. But the justification for everything must be more metaphysical. Why would anyone want to live in a beehive if not for the traditional positive connotations of this society within the animal kingdom? Bees associate with the sun and gather food from the reproductive organs of plants: to enter into their habitat, to put the brain of the artist-beekeeper into physical contact with the heart of the swarm, is to delve into the most secret mysteries of life........a living utopia.

above excerpt taken from The Beehive Metaphor (from Gaudi to Le Corbusier) by Juan Antonio Ramirez pp. 87-88

May 30, 2007

nerves at the end of her fingers....Alice Neel

lady painter supreme....by any means necessary....a documentary made by Alice's grandson Andrew....try to see this it is super interesting.

May 12, 2007


The wind-induced collapse of the Tacoma Narrows Bridge occurred on November 7, 1940 11:00AM, due to a physical phenomenon known as mechanical resonance. From the account of Leonard Coatsworth, a driver stranded on the bridge during this event: "Just as I drove past the towers, the bridge began to sway violently from side to side. Before I realized it, the tilt became so violent that I lost control of the car... I jammed on the brakes and got out, only to be thrown onto my face against the curb... Around me I could hear concrete cracking... The car itself began to slide from side to side of the roadway.
On hands and knees most of the time, I crawled 500 yards [450 m] or more to the towers... My breath was coming in gasps; my knees were raw and bleeding, my hands bruised and swollen from gripping the concrete curb... Toward the last, I risked rising to my feet and running a few yards at a time... Safely back at the toll plaza, I saw the bridge in its final collapse and saw my car plunge into the Narrows."

April 27, 2007

Jasmine Justice PAINTINGS

DIG Jasmine Justice's work at the CUE FOUNDATION 511 W. 25th Ground Floor, NYC

Justice's organic, patterned, and deftly handled layers flutter between the physical and the beyond and will knock your socks off.

check them out April 26 - June 2, 2007

April 9, 2007

jonathan lasker

jonathan lasker at cheim and read from march 29 through may 5, 2007
tight frosting creations, nets, language, boundaries, the forces of what's above and what's below
the color is better in person than the jpegs here
if you're interested in scale, process, and surface you should take a look
thanks for the tip jasmo

April 8, 2007

peeps molecule

celebrating the fifth anniversary of the creation of the peeps molecule - my all time favorite craft creation.

April 3, 2007

can you read my mind..... can you picture the things I'm thinking of ?

WOW! a geodesic sensor....just like a Bucky Fuller dome...it's a net containing 256 electrodes that pick up electrical impulses from numerous parts of the brain when placed over the noggin.

to use the BRAIN NET you dip it into a salty solution to improve conductivity....the spongy sensors, once they are properly seated on the scalp, monitor brain activity and display it on a monitor in the form of a changing pattern of light and color inside a diagram of the person's head.......hmmmmmm.

March 20, 2007

Hall of the Pacific Northwest Coast Indians

One of my all time favorite exhibits at the American Museum of Natural History, or really anywhere, is The Hall of the Pacific Northwest Coast Indians....I really need to check in with this exhibit, I haven't been there in over a year....I am always fearful that they are going to "modernize" and thus ruin this amazing and antiquated piece of the museum...this is the famous collection, assembled by Franz Boas....below is a bit of information about Boas, who was a super interesting fellow.

"In 1896 Boas was appointed Assistant Curator of Ethnology and Somatology of the American Museum of Natural History. In 1897 he organized the Jesup North Pacific Expedition, a five-year long field-study of the natives of the Pacific Northwest, whose ancestors had migrated across the Bering Strait from Siberia. He attempted to organize exhibits along contextual, rather than evolutionary, lines. He also developed a research program in line with his curatorial goals: describing his instructions to his students in terms of widening contexts of interpretation within a society, he explained that '...they get the specimens; they get explanations of the specimens; they get connected texts that partly refer to the specimens and partly to abstract things concerning the people; and they get grammatical information." These widening contexts of interpretation were abstracted into one context, the context in which the specimens, or assemblages of specimens, would be displayed: '...we want a collection arranged according to tribes, in order to teach the particular style of each group." His approach, however, brought him into conflict with the President of the Museum, Morris Jesup, and its Director, Hermon Bumpus. He resigned in 1905, never to work for a museum again."

The first photo is one of my fave artifacts at the American Museum of Natural History, a Nootka wooden rattle, consisting of small wooden fishes suspended in a grid of wooden dowels. It was collected by the Jesup North Pacific Expedition in 1897.

The second photo was taken in 1895....it is Franz Boas posing as part of a Kwakiutl Hamatsa (a Pacific Northwest tribe) figure group exhibition that was being created at the Smithsonian Institution.

March 16, 2007

long ago

a view of the first section of the american museum of natural history...taken from the roof of the dakota apartment building (central park west + 72nd street). by H.B. Jackson 1879-1881

click on photo to enlarge image.

March 15, 2007

uncle LD's high bias podcast

need something smart and satisfying for your ears......fill up your iPod with Uncle LD's High Bias podcast.

this podcast from the village voice's LD Beghtol has been on at the studio, the subway, the walking times.....it's been on.
I don't know what was up with february (and part of march), but it has been DARK.....i've been fighting the doom and the gloom
with large sticks.......and as uncle LD says, these selections will "probably not make it any better, but perhaps get you through the next hour."

new songs, moody songs, songs you haven't heard at all, so far there are 30 podcasts....LD has a rainbow, kittens, cotton candy, and unicorns 4 ever mix, one with special guest Stephin Merritt, an easy listening for the self-absorbed and stay-at-home set, one for legend James Brown, a brief tour of the non-urban mentality mix, tunes to break your heart.....you're getting the picture.

check out this interview with LD to learn more about his other musical projects, his bands, and his book from the 33 1/3 series about the magnetic field's 69 love songs.

March 11, 2007

gillian carnegie + toba khedoori

Gillian Carnegie at Andrea Rosen
Toba Khedoori at David Zwirner

beautiful day on friday wandering the galleries...thanks mbh.
here were my two faves, who excelled at building both the surface and inside of their work.
carnegie's oil paint handling was super.
we certainly didn't hit it all.....more chelsea later this week.

March 7, 2007


peggy lee + benny goodman perform 'why don't you do right'


Louise Bourgeois is a giant....
here is a thought of hers to re-visit....

'Milan Kundera has said that when you leave your childhood, your relationship to what you have left becomes very importat. You develop a certain attachment to it. To affirm your identity, you make the past - which in certain ways you hate - into a beautiful thing. But when you go back and see the actual scene of the crime - i'm joking now - the actual scene of your early years, you don't recognize it. Either you have embellished it, or you have torn it apart, or you have murdered it, or you have made it into a pie-in-the-sky. Whatever you did, you don't recognize it.'

LB, Drawings & Observations 1995

March 4, 2007

sniffing hot glue....

i got into the hot glue yesterday.....i needed to bring a painting on a field trip and decided it might be fun to build a tote.....made it out of materials just lying around the studio.....the criterion for tote = reusable, sturdy, and easy to seal up.....i am going to use one of those giant rubber bands to keep it all together....nothing like a good craft project.

February 27, 2007

o bookplate wonder.....

if you love books, you have probably considered the bookplate.

People collect bookplates.....I should have guessed.

These collections are highly organized and classified and revolve around famous people / authors, genre, geographical parameters, image......whatever your bent might be.

Above you will see the bookplates of Sci Fi author, George Barr......British conjurer and psychic, Harry Price.....father of Psychoanalysis, Sigmund Freud.....and a favorite poet, Hart Crane.

check-out the amazing bookplatejunkie

February 18, 2007

go bird go

Emergent structures are patterns not created by a single event or rule. There is nothing that commands the system to form a pattern, but instead the interactions of each part to its immediate surroundings causes a complex process which leads to order. One might conclude that emergent structures are more than the sum of their parts because the emergent order will not arise if the various parts are simply coexisting; the interaction of these parts is central. Emergent structures can be found in many natural phenomena, from the physical to the biological domain. Flocking is a common demonstration of emergence and emergent behavior.

February 13, 2007

high times, hard times

high times, hard times opens at the national academy museum
thursday, february 15

jo baer - lynda benglis - dan christensen - roy colmer - mary corse - david diao - manny farber - louise fishman - guy goodwin - ron gorchov - harmony hammond - mary heilmann - ralph humphrey - jane kaufman - harriet korman - yayoi kusama - al loving - lee lozano - ree morton - elizabeth murray - joe overstreet - blinky palermo - cesar paternosto - howardena pindell - dorthea rockburne - carolee schneeman - alan shields - kenneth showell - joan snyder - lawrence stafford - pat steir - richard tuttle - richard van buren - michael venezia - franz erhard walther - jack whitten - peter young

not to be missed....

February 10, 2007


anthony mc call at sean kelly gallery from feb 2 - march 17
you and i, horizontal (I) 2005
computer file, digital projector, fog machine

thought that i wouldn't care, but i did....take a friend.

thks jj + mvd.

folk-off already.....

sexteto electronico moderno - sounds from the elegant world
popol vuh - herz aus glas: coeur de verre (filmmusik)
baby dee - baby dee plays piano
dungen - ta det lugnt
donovan - troubadour, the definitive collection 1964-1976
richard thompson - grizzly man (filmmusik)
benny goodman - bluebird's best: the legendary small groups
joni mitchell - clouds
frederic mompou - piano music vol. 4, jordi maso
fleetwood mac - tusk
bonnie 'prince' billy - the letting go
cat power - what would the community think
galaxie 500 - today
fairport convention - what we did on our holiday
bongwater - double bummer

for m.a.

February 9, 2007

....i'm beating SAD

i've got my visor on...i will be thinking happy interesting thoughts any minute now.....i just know it.

February 5, 2007

a sweet romantic place.....

here's a little something for your 'the world is running down' blues....

February 2, 2007

magnetotaxis....i want it.

Magnetospirillum (Magnetospirillum magnetotacticum) is a microaerophilic magnetotactic bacterium, first isolated from pond water by the microbiologist R. P. Blakemore in 1975.

It is characterized by a spirillar, or helical, morphology. It is also a motile bacterium owing to the presence of flagella.

The typical habitat of Magnetospirillum consists of shallow fresh water and sediments, characterized by low concentrations of oxygen for growth (microaerophilic) where it lives in the upper portion of the sediment.

Probably the most peculiar characteristic of Magnetospirillum is its capacity to orient itself according to Earth's magnetic field, an ability which has been named magnetotaxis.

This is achieved through the presence into the bacterium's cytoplasm of special organelles called magnetosomes.

dig it.