Tuesday
Aug182015

My first experience on Periscope

periscope

pɛrɪskəʊp/

noun

noun: periscope: plural noun: persicopes

an apparatus consisting of a tube attached to a set of mirrors or prisms, by which an observer (typically in a submerged submarine or behind a high obstacle) can see things that are otherwise out of sight.

Ask anyone these days about periscope and I doubt the above explanation will be the first thing you will discuss.

Having heard about and having recently downloaded the app Periscope, last night I decided to investigate it further. 

I signed in with my Twitter account and then after a few preliminaries, proceeded with ease to the map feature which shows users online all over the world. 

Clicking on Europe I was offered a multitude of choices. I scrolled through the titles on my screen until one caught my eye - “Singing and piano”.  I clicked on it and was immediately right there with @Marc_Motzer as he broadcast live, his performance at his piano!

He was really good and I gathered that the other users online thought so too.  These users were making comments which Marc could see.  Requests started coming in and these proved no problem to Marc.  His reportoire appeared to be vast! 

I could see who the other people were that were watching him singing, and soon I touched my screen to add little colored hearts to the others that were floating on the side, to indicate I liked what I was watching. On the spot, I decided to follow him. 

This was fun. So off to America I went and clicked on New York. Within no time, I was accompanying a guy on his bicycle riding through Central Park. Central Park! In New York City! When I typed “Hi from Abu Dhabi!” and he immediately responded in a clear voice “Hi Abu Dhabi” I was in fits of laughter. The bumps and occasional swerves of the bicycle all made sense now.

After a short walk through a national park, my last visit landed me in a classroom where a young teenage girl was chatting to hundreds of followers and admirers! 

This was indeed a new world.  I suddenly remembered the first sms I received and how I could not believe that it was possible to receive a message from someone on a phone without actually speaking to them.  When was that? Centuries ago? 

Or how we figured out that if we were travelling we should investigate the existence of possible webcams in an area so that we could stand in front of one at a certain arranged time so that other family members could see us waving at them on their computer screens. 

Even my thoughts on Omnipresence in Cyberspace appeared to need updating, and this blog I wrote only just over one year ago. 

Anyone today, not only observers in a submarine or behind a high obstacle, is able to observe what is out of normal sight. With the app Periscope, you can 

Explore the world through someone else’s eyes.  Periscope

Now anyone, anywhere can share your view.

 

 Connections 

The fact that Periscope offers live video - video in real time - to anyone, anywhere in the world, is what makes it so appealing. 

Currently 10 million downloads of the app are reported. Brands, no doubt, will use it to show behind the scenes footage, have question and answer sessions, or create a sense of urgency in their buyers’ minds.  Celebrities I am sure will utilize it to the full.  The potential ways to use this app are manifold, and I believe that is what is making it so appealing.  The potential ways to use this app well will be what counts.  The wise and creative users will be the ones to find and the ones to follow. 

Users can “teleport” into countless vistas to find treasures or nightmares. Discernment is vital now if we are to make mindful use of the technology available to us. 

With talks in the air of 3D maps rising out of our screens, and the possibility to soon touch a loved one via augmented reality on our mobiles, there is much still coming our way

In PRT, Paternoster lifts, Cyberspace and Mindfulness I wrote that 

we are seeing the emergence of new and wonderful inventions connecting us to each other at incredible speeds. 

If we could teleport to the past, or he teleport to the future, I wonder what Johannes Gutenberg, renowned for his contribution to printing technology, would say about the app Periscope.

In 1430 Gutenberg marketed a kind of periscope which enabled pilgrims to see over the heads of the crowd at a religious festival in Germany.  I somehow think he would smile before popping off to listen to a fellow countryman singing and playing his piano. 

Monday
Jun292015

The Unthinkable Present

Yesterday The Telegraph published an article “Sci-fi or real life? Six fictional ideas that are happening now”.

Reading that in the 1976 film “Logan’s Run” citizens travel in driverless ‘pods’,  I immediately thought of the driverless pods of the Personal Rapid Transit system I often make use of in Masdar City in Abu Dhabi. 

Some car companies are already working on making the concept of a driverless car a reality.  In January this year, Mercedes Benz unveiled its luxury self-driving car. 

More on the future of driverless cars can be seen in this youtube video

Sixty years before the launch of the Apple Watch in March this year, the US comic strip character Dick Tracy had a 2-way wrist radio which served as a kind of mobile phone.

Science fiction writers are known to be very adept at looking for patterns in what is currently happening, in order to be able to predict in their stories, what will happen in the future.  

Indigo - one of my recent iphoneography artworks

A google search reveals that “Indigo” appears quite frequently in recent Science Fiction titles and novels.

The science fiction writer, William Gibson, who coined the term “cyberspace” in his 1982 short story “Burning Chrome” and then expanded on it in his 1984  debut novel “Neuromancer”, speaks about the science fiction researcher being able to take snapshots of an unthinkable present,  implying a future scenario we are currently unable to imagine. 

In a recent articleJeremy Johnson draws attention to the fact that a new type of thinking for our species is becoming necessary. This emergent new thinking, according to many thinkers, is already living and breathing in the various cultures we will journey to in order to find it.  

It will reveal itself as the unspoken art and become a secret to itself, hidden in plain site within the texts and artifacts of human consciousness........It is alive and biding its time.  Our task, as William Gibson put it, is to become sensitive enough to recognize an 'unthinkable present'

To give voice to what is already being spoken to us, through us, we will need to listen carefully. 

As I read Jeremy’s sentence with “the unthinkable present” I suddenly saw it in an entirely different way - that is exactly what it would be - unthinkable! Unthinkable not in the sense that it is difficult to imagine now what the future will be, but in the sense that in the future we will no longer think - at the very least not in the way we do now!  

It is my sense that words and logic, will be strongly preceded by image and intuition and that even communication could take place energetically without the use of language as we know it now.  

Jeremy states that this hidden serpent lays buried and coiled in the fragments of art and culture and can be found piece by piece, “here a tail, there a scale”, “alive and biding its time”. 

Listening to his words and listening to the spaces I find myself in, whether they be in daily routines or online in cyberspace, I hear the image making itself heard more powerfully than ever before.

Selfies have become all the rage, and Nina Siegel, in her New York Times article, “With Rembrandt, the Selfie Takes On New Meaning” , states that

The most important lesson Rembrandt can teach us about the selfie, perhaps, was that in order to begin to understand others, we must first look at ourselves. But it is a process that begins with really looking, and not just pointing and clicking.

If understanding ourselves will better enable us to understand others that is a good thing. In the interconnected, interdependent world we now find ourselves in, caring for the other is most important as is the way in which we communicate with the other. 

In the current internet culture, we communicate frequently via images. Instagram grows in popularity and I have heard it said that it will trump other social media. My twitter feed has become so busy and more and more I find myself drawn to those tweets that include images. 

Colors and shapes make a more definite statement than words - Georgia O'Keeffe, 1976

Images are becoming poetical.  Twitter friends write poetry to images posted by others.  When an Instagram friend @cralmeida62 posted an image of the San Jose City Hall, his caption spoke of

The beauty of lines and the rhythm of their poetry 

Another instagram friend, Anibojo posted a beautiful photo of her calligraphy quoting Ken Wilber:

Art speaks of the new ideas 

 

A photo posted by @anibojo on Jun 8, 2015 at 2:13pm PDT

 

This touching artwork was another “scale” of the future “present” making itself heard to those who are listening.

Emotions are shared via emojis and I find myself sensing the being of online users through the content they post and the way in which they communicate online.  It is more a sense than something that can be put into words.  I have had the good fortune of getting to meet many of these people, and have often been astonished at how accurate these feelings about them have proven to be. 

In my blog on eL Seed and his calligraffiti, I mention that he states that,

Much of my work process is about letting the viewer interact with the letters without necessarily being able to read them.

When people come to view my iphoneography artworks they are often visibily touched and not always able to articulate why at first. Is it because the images touch them on a level which is beyond just thinking about what they are seeing but which can be distinctly felt?

The communication age related to the throat chakra is slowly opening up to a balanced third eye or brow chakra which governs intuition, psychic abilities, wisdom and imagination and is the center of multi-dimensional vision.  The color associated with this chakra is indigo.  

I came across another scale or perhaps it was the tail, of the unthinkable present in the article, “Abu Dhabi’s Louvre Museum ‘must redefine’ art” in The National. The curator Jean-Hubert Martin states

I am not against knowledge, but the museum should not be a place where you read. It should be a place where you look and make contact with objects and, if they have a certain strength and visual impact, then the viewer will see and interpret that.

By no means am I suggesting that words will disappear. Every stage in the evolution of consciousness, if it is to be healthy, should transcend and include the one that went before it. 

The boundless tension between words and images, text and art, is at the heart of the art of Anselm Kiefer.

“When Orhan Pamuk met Anselm Kiefer” Pamuk shares in his piece painted beautifully with words, 

In the beginning was, indeed, the word, Kiefer’s paintings seem to tell their beholder. But to look at art and the world and really understand what we see is so much more pleasurable than reading words and letters can ever be. Is it possible, then, to look at a painting and be able, ultimately, to read it? Is it possible to treat a book as a painting, and a painting as a book?

We are experiencing the dawn of the unthinkable present. 

Saturday
May232015

Noun Al Neswa 4th edition

The Marsam Mattar Gallery is a hidden gem in the heart of Dubai.

Situated in Al Hudaiba, it was founded by renowned Emirati artist Mattar Bin Lahej. Attached to the gallery is the recently opened Sketch Art Cafe and the More than Art Training Centre. The gallery’s tranquil setting and outdoor facilities invite the visitor to spend time there, taking in the art before sharing coffee and chatting with friends. 

To nurture the creativity of the youth, the centre will provide training courses for children in all aspects of art, and has fully equipped presentation rooms as well as an art supplies store. 

Noun Al Neswa is an annual exhibition held in the Marsam Mattar Gallery. It is for female artists and this year’s edition showcased the work of 22 participating artists from various fields. 

As one of the participating artists, I was honored to be able to show five of my iPhoneography artworks on wood at the exhibition.

 

The opening evening on 11 May 2015 was a great success as artists and guests mingled, admiring works and sharing stories.

I had met the Saudi artist, Noor Hisham Al Saif, that morning in the gallery. New bonds of friendship were formed. The two of us were fortunate enough to have Mattar bin Lahej sit with us over coffee in the cafe, sharing stories of his career as an artist and giving us advice about the art world.

 

Opposite me in the gallery that evening was friend Farah Al Balooshi.  It has been a pleasure to get to know Farah.  The two of us were delighted when Khalil Abdul Wahid, head of Visual Arts at Dubai Culture and Arts Authority spent some time chatting to us. Khalil is responsible for promoting the culture and arts of Dubai internationally. 

 

Khalil later posted this pic on Instagram which gives a lovely overview of the opening reception. 

 

Beside family and friends from Dubai and Abu Dhabi, also present at the opening was a group of at least 20 instagrammers from the IgersDubai community.  It meant a lot to me to have them come along to support the evening.  

 

More photos of the evening can be seen in the album shared on my facebook page

The exhibition has been extended until 5 June 2015.  The Marsam Mattar Gallery is located at Villa 21, 4B Street, Al Hudaiba 322, Dubai. 

Friday
Mar272015

Artist Talk at Viewings 1

 

A new series of events called "Viewings", dedicated to experiencing the dynamic relationship which occurs when art is vewed without the intellect of mind, has opened in the ARTROM Network artist presentation space in Rome, Italy.


When we stand in front of a work and simply see and feel, a personal dialogue begins ... an intimate relationship. After all art is communication. ~ Elizabeth Genovesi, Founding Director, Artrom Network.

 

As one of the participating artists with my #here2here series, I was privileged to be at the Vernissage Party of Viewings 1, and to also take part in the Artist Talk Series.

I am happy to share here, the talk I gave at this event:

My love of photography began as a small child. I had a tiny box camera and would line up my neighbourhood friends with their arms folded across their chests to take their photos. I also loved communicating - I probably spoke too much in class :) I set up a home telephone system - a little switch board with lots of wires and two other phones - that was a gift designed for children, throughout our house and would proudly call my Dad in the morning when I woke because I knew that that meant he would bring me tea in bed before I went to school. I loved technology. I once took my transistor radio to school, put it in my blazer pocket and then through a tiny hole in my pocket, (not sure where the hole came from!) had the wire of the earphone go up under my blazer into my ear under my one pony tail. Eventually I acquired a walkie talkie. When I learnt to drive I made sure I had a CB radio - a citizens band radio - in my car and at home and would spend evenings chatting to unknown people far away.

My curious nature meant that I read a lot, and my mother says she would often find me reading a book, with only one sock and shoe on when I was supposed to be getting ready for school.

When I started my website four years ago in April 2011, I had two topics I wanted to write about. The first was technology and in particular cyberspace -the mindspace we find ourselves in when we communicate online. The second was mindfulness - paying attention in a particular way - on purpose, in the moment, non-judgmentally. Finding a suitable name for a website which covered these two seemingly very different issues proved interesting. After much thought and discussion the website here2here was born.

It referred to a non-located space beyond normal time and space where people could chat and exchange info - the place where your here met my here - here2here; and it was also a call to come out of autopilot and be totally present in the now - here2here.

I began to write about mindfulness and especially about the need to be mindful when using technology.

I had embarked on a photography project for myself, called mobileart. When I arrived in the UAE I was inspired by the stories of the bedouins who were nomads. Always on the move, they knew as they wandered through the desert what it was like to have a centre that would always be changing.

Using only my mobile phone, I would take photos of that which I found beautiful and share each one immediately via twitter enabling the photos to become mobile. I hoped too that the project would be a sharing of a consciousness on the move. There’s a video of the project on youtube.

Shortly after that I got my first iphone, posted my first picture on the 11th day of the 11th month 2011, on the then one year old Instagram, and shortly after that discovered a whole new world - the world of apps.

I began to follow blogs about them, gather them but most importantly experiment with them. On a daily basis. I still do that - the world of apps is fast moving and fast changing.

Realizing that cyberspace was very much like Baroque art where scenes flow into each other and into the space of the viewer with the viewer determining the centre of the spectacle at any moment in time, I started my first series entitled Digital Archways. Your here and many other heres are brought to my here via the interface of a screen but I can choose what I pay attention to and also how I give it my attention.

I had also started photographing the skyscrapers of Dubai at the time, and so using photos of Dubai architecture, looked more at the architecture of cyberspace, and created the abstract series called Corridors of Cyberspace.

All of these visual expressions began to accompany and add to my writing.

Communicating and sharing visual outcomes online became a great source of encouragement.

The major turning point in my work, came, I believe, when I began to experiment with slowshutter photography on my iphone. A flaneur by nature, I was often out walking and so I began taking photos of people whose energy somehow spoke to me. I don’t know how else to express that. Remember: The longer a camera’s shutter remains open the more light it takes in!

The capturing of these moments called for me to be very alert and aware, so this form of photographing not only flowed out of my mindfulness practice but also became a mindfulness practice in its own way.

Excited by the results I was getting, I began to take these images one step further and intuitively, using various apps, give them a painterly effect.

I edit the slowshutter image with apps. I create my own textures on an app. These are blended into aspects of the image on another app. I add atmosphere with other apps and I actually “paint” on my iphone screen with others. I have learnt to work on resolution using an app and I even have an app which is like a miniature laboratory telling me more about the megapixels and megabytes of each image. This became important when I realized I wanted to print large scale.

I have over a period of time come to realize that these artworks embody much that is important to me: Rootedness and Movement occurring simultaneously, Emptiness and Fullness, Essence and Presence. They are not only a visual portrayal of a non-located space, whether it be cyberspace or the space where everything comes into being, but also call one to be mindful, aware and present. In them my writing, my intentions, my love of photography, my love of art in all its forms, have all come together and found expression. For this reason, this series here to be viewed and experienced in Rome is a very special one for me.

When working with these images, I often feel as if the outcome is simply moving through me, and so I believe that each one will speak when and how it is meant to.

I have included the hashtag in the title of this series #here2here, as just as hashtags bring data from all over into one place, so the artworks in this series come together to acknowledge diversity on many levels, but at the same time call out for respect of the other, encouraging the knowledge that we are all more similar than we realize. The crossing over of the lines in the symbol for a hashtag are a reminder of our interconnectedness and interbeing.

The artworks are printed onto wood in Germany. On a visit there, while looking at different ways to present my work, I came across a young artist who had recently started out printing in this field and was also eager to support other artists. Our here2here collaboration has been a pleasure so far. The fact that the artworks are printed on wood is a reminder to me to stay grounded. What is more rooted than a tree? But despite its groundedness a tree has life flowing through it all the time in a myriad of ways.

Rootedness, Movement, Emptiness, Fullness, Essence, Presence.

#here2here

The series can be viewed on my art website or below via youtube:

At the end of the talk I also gave a demonstration of how augmented reality could possibly be used with art.

Holding my ipad up to one of the artworks on the wall, I scanned it using the Layar app and then chatted about what appeared on my screen.

Tuesday
Feb102015

Huna Al Emarat in the Gallery of Light

The exhibition “Huna Al Emarat”, meaning Here UAE or This is UAE, opens to the public today in the Gallery of Light, DUCTAC, Mall of the Emirates.

It was a privilege, as one of the Mobipixuae members participating, to be present at the preview last night. 

The exhibition, which will run from 10th-16th February 2015, takes the form of a collective memoir which reflects the past decade in the UAE and the evolution which has taken place in that period. Painting, photography, sculpture and video are featured. Artists taking part include Mattar bin Lahej, Ammar Al Attar, Khalil Abdulwahid, Camille Mallat, Nour Sokhon and Mobipixuae. The  exhibition also showcases design works by Caravan, and presents publications including Brusselssprout and WTD. 

The evening was a great success and Ductac can certainly be proud. There was a distinct sense of camaraderie as the artists mingled willingly with all the guests present, sharing information and stories about their works.   

Two works in particular spoke very strongly to me. 

The first was the installation, False Ceiling, from Caravan.  It was originally installed in a traditional courtyard house in the heart of Al Fahidi Historical Neighborhood in Dubai, being suspended by helium inflated balloons which enabled it to wave freely as it was exposed to the elements. The need for shelter, often seen as a basic need for human life, is brought into question, and the viewer is encouraged to embrace the challenges of life.

I have long been following the exquisite sculptures of Mattar bin Lahej, and the piece on show was a delight to behold.  Ensihar or Fusion, is an installation made in stainless steel. It has a diameter of two meters and its form, spheres, curves and Arabic calligraphy depict the pearl. Light reflecting onto the verses from the Holy Quran at different angles add to the incredible movement present in the piece. Heritage and present day culture merge.    

The concept and depiction of movement is very strong in all Mattar’s pieces and I resonate very strongly with this. One of the highlights of the evening for the Mobipixuae members was when he came over to our installation to discuss our images with us. 

 

(More photos from the evening can be viewed here)

The exhibition, presented by CBRE to coincide with the firm’s 10th anniversary in the Middle East, is open daily from 9am to 10Pm, Gallery of Light, Ductac, Mall of the Emirates, Dubai, 04 341 4777, www.ductac.org