/letters

Inspired by letters with Marta, this is a place to post letters to friends. Simple. Oldschool. Almost. Probably mostly letters from me "to" friends, but friends are also welcome to write letters here.

filmmaker Carla Dauden speaking in FA4-311 at the School of Art at Long Beach State University

Hi Carla!

How has your 2017 been so far? Mine has been going well. I spoke at TEDxCSULB last month (video should be out in June), I'm working on a couple of new art projects (The Janus Drawing Folio & The Forgiveness Kit) and after a couple of years of discussing it, I'll finally be teaching ePortfolios 4 Artists this fall. It's embarrassing how few of our School of Art (SOA), Artists have websites and I'm hoping to change that. (it's only slightly comforting that while the % of SOA students with websites is low, the rest of the university is even lower :(

Also this week we're having a wonderful visiting artist, Chantae Reden. Chantae graduated just up the street from us, at USC, in 2012. Since then she's been travelling the globe, trying every human-powered action sport she can find, and earning a living writing about that and travel journalism. I know that Chantae will really inspire my students just as you did.

In all the excitement about Chantae's visit, there's only one bad part to it -- it means it's been a whole semester since your visit, and I still haven't written you! (pause for {another} moment of guilt...)

Carla Dauden speaking about her work in the School of Art at Long Beach State University

I can't even tell you how much the students enjoyed your talk and how inspired they were by you and your work. Many of them said your talk was the best part of the whole class. Thank you so much Carla! And thank you for the long, inspired, coffee-conversation after class.

So, now months overdue, I'm finally writing you. I had this brilliant / dumb idea to write "letters" like the one you're reading now, instead of email / text / messenger / WhatsApp, etc. All of that "instant" communication is great, and in fact my students love Snapchat because it is ephemeral. But I still think there is a place for things that endure. I'm probably not going to write paper letters (actually I have written some paper letters, but it takes me even longer to take them to the post office than it does to finish a post like this to you! So yes, the downside to these letters is that they seem like a bigger deal and I start thinking I need time to write a proper one instead of just sending a message already.

And now Chantae is coming on Wednesday.

So now I'm sitting here at Deus ex Machina in Venice and finally writing you a letter. Have you been to Deus? It's a great place! It's funny, I was at another big Venice coffee shop last week, Intelligentsia. They're both great, in places, yet so different. Intelligentsia seems more like a co-working space. And Deus is kind of like a neo-millennial-biker-stop.

I'm in Venice this afternoon because I led a Jane's Walk through Venice this morning. Who's Jane Jacobs? What's Jane's Walk? Great questions! Here' a brief answer:

Glenn Zucman drinking chai-latte and writing a letter to Carla Dauden at Deus Ex Machina in Venice, CA

Anyway, here I am at Deus.

How are you Carla?

Your talk in November was so great! Thank you so much for sharing your creativity & passion with us.

What are you working on Carla?

I'm working on The Forgiveness Kit. It's an edition of 78 glass bottles that contain

Everything you need to make your life right again.

I've made a lot of prints and paintings in the past, but I've mostly been working on non-object works for some time now. I think The Forgiveness Kit will be my last object work. Or maybe I don't need to say anything so dramatic. For sure objects are no longer my focus, but it's nice to be making this one.

Here's the proposal I just wrote for The Janus Drawing Folio

Wow Carla, writing letters is so easy! :P And I even get to hang out at a cool coffee shop and eat the cutest-ever tiny apple pie & chai latte. In Venice! Gawd, how I suffer! Remind me why it took 5 months to send you this? Seriously, very sorry for taking forever. And again, thank you so much for sharing your day with us.

filmmaker Carla Dauden speaking with film student Erika Perez in Glenn Zucman's Art Appreciation course in the School of Art at Long Beach State University The filmmaker, you, and the film student, Erika Perez.

In my notes for the letter I didn't write to you 5 months ago are 4 things:

  1. The Hosts
  2. Transmedia
  3. Aaron Swartz
  4. Natalie Tran

I have no idea what The Hosts is. Is it a project or show that you mentioned?

I presume I said something about Aaron Swartz and meant to say more. Have you seen the documentary about him, The Internet's Own Boy? It's a sad, but also inspiring film. It came out the same year as Citizen Four and both films were shortlisted for the Academy Award for Documentary Feature. Citizen Four getting the nomination, and of course, eventually the award. Citizen Four is a great film. Important, informative, and also sublime. The Internet's Own Boy is also a beautiful piece of filmmaking. Or at least I think it is. I care so deeply about these issues, and Aaron Swartz is such a hero to me, that it's hard to imagine I wouldn't like a film about him. Maybe it's just a crappy documentary (not likely) that just happens to be about something I'm highly interested in.

3 particular Aaron Swartz projects, Markdown, Creative Commons, & RSS, I use every day. Or at least every 5 months when I actually force myself to write Carla a letter! Markdown is, in my probably not-so-humble-opinion, the best (only really) way to write. After writing something, I license it with a Creative Commons license, and then after publishing it I syndicate with RSS. The late, great Aaron Swartz touches my life 3 times every single day. (or every 5 months - your mileage may vary)

The Obama Administration's destruction of Swartz is devastating. (and of Edward Snowden, and of Chelsea Manning). In our rush to hate Trump, it's important to remember that Obama was terrible for Internet Freedom. We're not going from good to bad, we're going from bad to worse.

I don't remember what I said about Natalie Tran. Probably just that I'm a fan of her work. There's so much stupid humor on YouTube that just doesn't speak to me at all. Her stuff is funny, but not stupid. Her vlogs are a million miles away from yours, but she shares with you a passion for ideas and a respect for audience.

Transmedia

My 5-month-old Transmedia note-to-self says:

I can hardly believe that in all that conversation we never got around to Transmedia! Have you done or looked at any transmedia? What do you think?

I've been studying transmedia, and characters like Alexis F. Smith, aka "Banksy's Girlfriend" enter into that space. I haven't tackled the "big" transmedia project yet.

Well, that was easy. Maybe I should be better organized or something! What a great summer project - be organized. I've been using Trello, which is great, but apparently I could use it a little more.

I hope this letter finds you healthy, happy, inspired, and busy. You really did inspire my students a lot. I'm excited to see how Chantae's talk goes on Wednesday. I feel like she's living a life that at least a few of them would like to have, but IDK if they feel like they have "permission" to live that dream.

Glenn Zucman's signature, image of ink on paper and dated 6 May '17

May 06, 2017 in #2017 | | | Share on Google+