I just uploaded a few new pictures to the Openings album. These were actually taken before the opening during installation. I’ll be adding more of the actual opening events as time permits.
San Francisco de Asis Church in Rancho de Taos, New Mexico. Captured November 11, 2011. More photos of Taos can be found here.
Shot from “Arte de la Frontera” exhibit at the International Museum of Art and Science, McAllen, TX.
Ron English at the International Museum of Art and Science in McAllen, TX. His show, “You Are Not Here,” opened on March 31, 2011.
Thanks to NewTek, I attended the SXSW Interactive conference in Austin last week, and here are some of the take-away ideas I gathered. Overall, it was a great experience, and refreshing to be around people who are more like me that the general population. In other words, I was surrounded by geeks!
The Buzz: Newspapers are Dying
At SXSWi, one of the big buzzes was that traditional print / newspapers are dying. This is not news to those of us in the Internet business. But they don’t have to DIE, they just need to adapt and pay attention to new ways of disseminating important information and new revenue streams. There’s a lot of fear of the unknown out there. Younger people embrace the change, older people fear it. Content is no longer king. Social interactivity is now required to have a cutting edge web site.
Some Web Designers Can’t Code
Because the Internet refuses to have rigidly defined roles, there was a discussion of the benefits of being a specialist and the overlap of a variety of self-defined job roles. The generalist makes sure that execution matches intention and can do a (sometimes poor) job of everything. A generalist lives at the intersection of technology, design, and business in the organization. The specialist can act like a hit man, and be assigned a particular problem area or task to accomplish. Specialists are the first to be laid off, right after the people who design and can’t code.
Meetings are Toxic
I attended one meeting where the rather arrogant presenter ironically proclaimed that meetings are toxic, and that he doesn’t go to them. Of course, he doesn’t go to the office either. He’s from 37 Signals, the creators of web apps for office collaboration like file sharing and scheduling. He had a few nuggets that are worth remembering: “decisions are progress;” “there’s only one way to get exactly what you want, but 1,000 to get approximately what you want. Be happy with approximations;” “culture is the result of consistent actions.”
Reduce Friction to Get Things Done
A lot of things don’t get done simply because it’s too hard to do them in an organization. Several panels focused on reducing the friction for people so that it was easy to do their work.
FourSquare is Hot
If Twitter was all the rage at SXSW a couple of years ago, now FourSquare.com was the hit of the show. FourSquare had a group of people playing (guess what) four square outside the convention center. People were collecting buttons with the foursquare badge icons on them. The app was really high profile and this had to be a stellar show for them.
Revelation – “The Cloud” isn’t anything too fancy
After talking with at least three Cloud vendors, I determined that The Cloud wasn’t as magical as their marketing departments made it out to be. It is simply a VM ware software component installed on bare metal that allows management of 1 – infinite(?) number of machines with one interface. The system can be managed as if it were one server, but can have many instances of servers that can also be independently managed. Useful? Of course. Revolutionary? Not so much. Spin factor = high.
Last week, back at my desk with my huge bags of swag, I pondered the relevance of attending conferences. I have never been a big meeting person, nor am I an auditory learner, so I’ve typically avoided attending events like this, but there was something really encouraging about seeing thousands of people engaged in Internet work. I’ve been here a long time and these people were all fresh, young, new and excited about the possibilities. Critical mass has finally arrived.
Luminaria 2010, held in down town San Antonio on March 13, was a bit of a disappointment when compared to last year’s event.
Last year, the event seemed more accessible and visually fantastic. The biggest problem I had was with the new location. At Luminaria 2009 the main stage was to the left of the Alamo, and the Convention Center shows were easy to locate. This year, the printed map for the event was horrible; it was out of perspective and oriented incorrectly. As I companion of mine said “this isn’t a map, it’s litter.” We accomplished a stroll through Hemisphere Plaza, where the event was supposedly located, after a long walk through the Convention Center, which we mistakenly entered from Market Street. The Convention Center was hosting an event dubbed “Corrosion 2010,” and it was not seemingly related to Luminaria, although one might wonder…
We started our trip earlier in the day on Broadway at the 118 Gallery. A satisfying photography show featuring Ansen Seal and Al Rendon, among others, greeted us, and the street life was interesting. This was not an official venue for Luminaria, but a rogue band had set up anyway in an alley next to a neighbouring gallery, and people were stopping on their long walk to HemisFair to view the outlying gallery shows and listen to the music.
Once down town, and after eating (which was part of our problem — it was already late), we ventured to the RiverCenter, where a gallery there was disappointingly closed. Crossing the street to the Convention Center area, we found it deserted. No signs pointed us to Luminaria. This is where we found the “litter” that attempted to be a map. We strolled down the walkway at HemiFair Plaza and saw some glass makers, a few booths, some projections and lights, a lot of people, a couple of bands, and not much else.
Later, we understood if we had ventured into that side of the Convention Center, we would have seen more art. But there was little direction available for the art aficionado, and more noise and circus for the down town reveller. It was not an intuitive festival layout. In fact, the feel was more like Night in Old San Antonio from the 1980′s than an art show. People were, without a doubt, having a good time. It was just not what I expected from the experience.
I hope that next year’s event be better planned and more intuitive with the viewer / attendee in mind. Better maps, more literature, and a clear route to the venue would be appreciated. Also, an earlier start on our part is recommended. Still, it was an enjoyable evening and a fun time with good friends.
Benini Sculpture Ranch, Feb 28, 2010
This ever changing kinetic sculpture by La Paso is one of many on the Benini Sculpture Ranch. As guests of Benini and his wife Lorraine, Joe and I visited the Ranch and enjoyed a tour of the studio and exhibit center, as well as a meandering drive around the 140 acre property.
The land is dotted by about 100 large-scale sculptures, and features a trail you can drive your vehicle through as well as a walking trail. Think safari. Well worth the one hour drive from San Antonio, the Sculpture Ranch is open to the public from 10AM to 6PM Thursday through Sunday. It is located about six miles west of Johnson City, TX. The Beninis are warm, welcoming artists, and they work and live on the Ranch full-time. The property used to belong to Lyndon Baines Johnson. It’s quite a drive down a winding dirt road to get to the Ranch, and the effect of the large sculptures in the rough landscape is striking and sometimes surreal.
Visit http://sculptureranch.com/ for more information.
Yes! It really is snowing in San Antonio!