Sunday, December 20, 2009

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

The Art Compact

For some time, I have been struggling with the focus of my artwork. Mobile Misuse has been gratifying, but I have been driven by the urge to go deeper, to somehow make a comment on the difficult times that have come to pass – difficult on so many levels and for so many people. I am not the most articulate about these things, but I ponder climate and economy and wonder if the Earth might take my daughter’s life before she reaches old age. This is worst-case scenario thinking, of course. A hopeless vision, but one that I think could happen if humankind does not wake up.

I’ve been toying with an idea – an idea that is based on “The Compact” movement. These are people who, beginning in 2006, took an oath to not buy anything new for a year. The movement quickly gained fame and grew exponentially. It seems natural in these times to be attracted to these sorts of movements. So my version of this for the year 2010 is the Art Compact. I will buy nothing new for making art for the next year. No new equipment, materials, paper, colors, adhesives, paints, etc.
Basically the rules of the game are:
1. Don’t buy new products of any kind (from stores, web sites,...)
2. Borrow, barter, or buy used.

Goals of The Compact movement:
1. to go beyond recycling in trying to counteract the negative global environmental and socio-economic impacts of U.S. consumer culture, to resist global corporatism, and to support local businesses, farms, etc;
2. to reduce clutter and waste in our homes (as in trash Compact-er);
3. to simplify our lives (as in Calm-pact)

For my Art Compact I will work to use up the supplies that have accrued over years in my basement studio. I will figure out how to make good work using old, used, traded or free materials. I will write about and document the projects made and the materials used on this blog and my Flickr photo gallery.

Monday, November 30, 2009

Monday, September 28, 2009

Same Old, Same Old

House & Home Fall 2009

I have a serious case of Blogger’s Block. After conscientiously and regularly keeping this journal for the past couple of years, I have been grappling with purpose and meaning. Actually, I have been struggling with purpose and meaning in the largest sense of the words. This blog has really been something that I do for myself, with the secondary aspect being for friends and family. There are themes that I ponder a lot these days; attention & focus, creative processes, the death of the planet (or humankind on an uninhabitable planet), and “what is my true life’s purpose?”

We have gone back to our “same old, same old,” but it can really never be quite the same once you have disrupted your life in such a large way. All three of my little nuclear family members have been altered, modified, transformed by the experience and it can never really be the same. Not that we want it to be, mind you. It means that we haven’t yet found a new foothold. We haven’t figured out a new way of being within the old structures.

Perhaps, this is the way I explore the topics that occupy me. I certainly feel better and more focused having written this. What a relief. Now press “Publish Post.”

Friday, August 14, 2009

Traveling Fool

Hammonasset Beach

I am writing this post in Richmond, Virginia. I have been here for a week in order to help my sister take care of her husband – he has just had a liver transplant and is having an amazing recovery.

I have traveled more in the past year than at any other time in my life. The cities list reads as follows: Oslo, Copenhagen, Florence, Volda, Copenhagen, Volda, Stockholm, Lillehammer, New Haven, Richmond, Philadelphia, Princeton, Nags Head, and Richmond, again. I have only listed places I spent two or more nights and I may be forgetting someplace.

It has been a brilliant year. One of the side effects of all this travel is an odd sense of dislocation. No longer here or there, but somewhere in between. It’s almost like I could settle down anywhere I stopped along the way. My continuity has been continually broken – just when I get into a schedule and a rhythm – work, research, exercise, daily life – I am uprooted by car, train, plane, boat or bus. I have an eight-hour train ride back to New Haven tomorrow. I generally use this time to think, read, write, and reflect. Eight hours “by myself” – a rare thing, indeed. I will savor the time.

Distance gives an interesting perspective to your life. Though, I think I have had enough perspective and distance for a while and I long for a good six months or so without travel. I dream of an unbroken daily and weekly schedule – which, hopefully, will settle in at the end of this month when classes resume.

Wake, shower, coffee, breakfast, school/work, dinner, family, sleep and repeat. Mmmmm, it sounds lovely.

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

The Hybrid Book

I am back from my last public presentation commitment for the academic year. I was on a panel at the Hybrid Book Conference at the University of the Arts in Philadelphia. It was a satiating three days for a hungry visual artist. There were two exhibitions and a quite large artists’ book fair attached to the conference. The visual stimulation was overwhelming. My Pentax has died on me, so I have not a single picture to show for it.

I was the very last panel speaker for the event – a schedule I have had before at conferences. It’s a tough spot to be in. You never get relief from the performance anxiety that comes with public speaking. You have to follow everyone else – in some cases quite brilliant speakers. And finally, if anyone on your panel runs over their time, you get cut short. With all that said, I think it went well. My panel was called “The Reciprocity of Books and Digital Media.” I spoke about “the artistic subversion of mobile technologies in the creation of book-like experiences.”

I didn’t get to see much of Philadelphia, but the train station and arts district were impressive. I’m looking forward to getting to spend more time there at some point in the future. Well, it’s back to work – teaching an online class, continuing projects started on my sabbatical, finishing my daughter’s school year and all the other odds & ends that are begging for attention.

*The Amazon Kindling is by Rob Cockerham and Windell H. Oskay. You can read all about it here and see more images here.

Saturday, May 16, 2009

Lux Et Veritas

Yale Graphic Design MFA Exhibition 2009

I had the opportunity to visit the exhibition last Friday – the final day of the show. I was intrigued enough by the presentation of the work that I scrawled some notes that I thought I’d share.

Upon entering the exhibit, I encountered two shelves that were suspended from the ceiling and ran parallel to each other. These held the 16 thesis books that are required for the granting of the degree. Having seen quite a number of these over the years, I noticed a few things. The first is that services like Lulu and Blurb have enabled students to design and print copies of books with bindings that look as though they were professionally published. There were a few unique bindings. One, I recall, was an ordinary saddle-stitched pamphlet-bound book, but the pages had not been folded, so the spine was a big smooth curve. Nice. The overall impression of the book designs I had was a heavy Bruce Mau and Irma Boom influence. They had that S,M,L,XL or Life Style look about their interiors. I’ll be honest, I did not have time to deeply investigate the content of the books. It would have been nice to have a short, easily available abstract for each thesis.

The next room contained a single wall-sized video projection of the class working together on a production of sorts. Nicely done and again reinforced the collaborative or unified feeling of the exhibition. I think when you pass through this space again while leaving the show, it becomes a reinforcement of the collective nature of the endeavor.

Before entering the final and largest room in the show, you were advised to pick up a catalog at the top of the stairs. This last room is a large space that has a double height ceiling. It was filled with about 15 or so video projections running simultaneously. The projectors were hung in stacks from the ceiling and projected onto all four walls of the space. Each projection had a number beside it that corresponded to the catalog listings of works. There were soundtracks that overlapped and faded in and out, but this only added to and complemented the whole effect, rather than creating an overwhelming cacophony.

About half or more of the projections were shots of hands turning pages on book design projects. There were close up details of designs interspersed with hands on books turning pages. The book videos were shot upon a black background, which gave the projections an intriguing “knocked-out” or silhouette look. Several other projections had videos of monitors with screen-based or interactive works and several had people hanging posters or large format designs and then taking them away. The last few projections in the mix had live videos or motion graphics examples. The overall effect was mesmerizing. I sat on the floor for some time, so that I could just relax and take it all in. I was not inspired to go digging through the booklet to try and figure out who did what, however.

And this is where the exhibit became even more interesting to me. It was very hard to distinguish between one person’s work and another’s – from the moment you enter to the moment you exit. Actually, it becomes no easier with the catalog of thumbnails as a cheat sheet. The exhibition has an anonymous feel about it. It could easily be mistaken for an exhibition of the work from a NY or LA design firm, but I don’t think this is negative. Here’s why: Sixteen freshly minted designers came together to create an exhibition showcasing their work and instead of staking out the best wall or shelf space, they cooperated and collaborated at a level strangely beyond ego. I’m sure their meetings behind the scenes were stressful and difficult at times, but what comes across is a group of individuals that can put their needs aside from the needs of the group. Very impressive.

Yale Graphic Design MFA Exhibition Archive

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

The Journal of Artists' Books #25

JAB 25 is available. This is the opening spread from the article I wrote – “I {heart} DIY CMYK (an homage)” – the issue looks great and as always, I just wish I was a better writer...

Wednesday, April 8, 2009

System ReBoot

It will be QUIET around here a little longer as I ReBoot into an upGrade of my new/old life Operating System.

Monday, March 30, 2009

Last Oslo Edition of the Newsy News!

Here it is. The last issue of PB’s Newsy News from Oslo, Norway. It was a bit squeezed in among the packing and moving, so I imagine the typos and grammar may be a bit fast and loose. I think I may keep publishing it as a once or twice yearly newsletter for friends and family – it has been quite fun to produce. Now to get to bed early for a long day of travels tomorrow.

Monday, March 9, 2009

Tactical Nomadic Storytelling

Tactical Nomadic Storytelling

Pattie Belle Hastings

World Storytelling Day, March 20, 2009 (spring equinox)
Tactical Nomadic Storytelling will start at 6:30 pm (sunset)
at the Kunstnernes Hus and then depart for wanderings
and tellings around the city of Oslo.

Atelier Nord
Wergelandsveien 17, N-0167 Oslo Norway

TNS (for short) is an art project that combines live storytelling and props with mobile digital media (visual and audio). Pattie Belle Hastings is currently in residence at Atelier Nord creating a mobile storytelling projection unit and a series of short stories that combine video/animation, audio, mobile devices and live performance. These digital live art experiences are designed to be performed strategically and spontaneously at tram stops, T-Bane stations, corners, alleys, bathrooms - virtually any spot on the street or any unexpected place around Oslo.

Thursday, March 5, 2009

It’s going to be quiet around here...

for the next couple of weeks... I’m in residence at Atelier Nord and immersed in prototyping one of the projects I have been working on. As you can see I am surrounded by equipment, devices and cables - just the way I like it. :)

Info on the Project

Info on the Kunstnernes Hus (where Atelier Nord is located)

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Six Months as a Fulbright

My official time as a Fulbright scholar ended on February 15th. Some people have been curious about what I have been doing during the past 6 months, so I came up with a general list. It does not include paperwork, project proposals, studio and writing time, commuting by boat, family duties, family travel, or specific art projects. Some of those things are pretty well documented on my blogs. I will write more about the creative work when more pieces are closer to finished. There are many things upcoming and in process, including speaking at a conference in Philadelphia in June.

Fulbright Norway

Fulbright Orientation
August 25 & 26, 2008 at the
Nobel Institute

Fulbright Potlucks

Nobel Peace Prize Ceremony
December 10, 2008

Fulbright Seminar & Ski Retreat
February 12-15, 2009


The Oslo School of Architecture and Design:

September 5, 2008
Lecture to PhD Program:
Art Practice as Research – Case Study: Cyborg Mommy

September 29, 2008
Lecture to Industrial Design Masters Program:
Identity and the Data Body

October 20, 2008
Lecture/workshop to PhD Program:
Research Aids: Web 2.0 applications for data collection and mind mapping

November 3, 2008
Lecture/workshop to PhD Program:
Blogging as a researcher, designer and educator

December 4, 2008
Research by Design, An AHO Research Seminar
The Mobile Manifesto: a work in process

March 23, 2008
Lecture to Interactive Design Masters Program,
Mobile Misuse: Tactical Nomadic Storytelling

UiO Main Library

University of Oslo:

GRIG - Guild for mixed reality integrators & generators (annual meeting)
A group of European artistic and cultural operators creating & researching mixed reality works that intertwine digital media & physical materials, objects & spaces.
Presentation on Mobile Misuse, Dec. 3, 2008


Høgskulen i Volda (Volda University College):

Ulsteinseminaret, December 8-9, 2008
Informasjonsutdanninga ved Avdeling for Mediefag
Interactive Design Education: The precarious balance between theory and practice
(seminar participation and presentation)

Smart Mobs and Mobile Media Workshop, January 20-22, 2009
Three day hands-on workshop for undergraduate students in the Media and Journalism program.

Data Forensics [in the landscape]

Artist’s Residency

Atelier Nord, March 2-20, 2009
Project production support for Tactical Nomadic Storytelling
“Atelier Nord is a project base for unstable art forms, such as electronic and new media art. Our aim is to create better conditions for these art forms, and to maintain a critical reflection in relation to them. Our work consists of producing and supporting projects that promote these goals.”


Journal of Artists’ Books
“I (heart) DIY CMYK,” JAB25 (Spring 2009)
JAB25 focuses on offset printing, guest-edited by Tony White.


Performing the Art
Mobile Misuse

Conferences/Workshops/Lectures Attended
(not including the ones at which I presented)

Intermedia, Universitetet i Oslo
September 25, 2008
Intermedia’s 10th Anniversary Celebration (lectures, posters, reception)

Transmedia Literacy and Identity Development
Jay Lemke at UiO, October 9, 2008

Social Web and Learning Conference
Universitetet i Oslo, October 16th, 2008
Keynotes: danah boyd and Neil Selwyn

Atelier Nord
Data Forensics in the Landscape
November 6-8, 2008

Monday, February 23, 2009

Drawing Again

iPod Drawings

When I work on projects that take weeks, months or years, I often long for some more immediate, tangible, creative outlet. During the past few months I have been wanting to draw again (partly inspired by rereading Annie Dillard’s books.) Not the life model, still life sort of drawing in which I was trained in art school, or the sketching of ideas in my notebook kind of drawing, but something that would develop out of my imagination over time. I picked up a foundation drawing book while we were in Stockholm and have been quite inspired from the simple start-from-the-beginning approach. This has coincided with the installation of a couple of free drawing applications on my iPod touch. I love the small size and the somewhat extreme limitations of the application I am using. Perhaps, if I am successful at this new outlet, I will fork over some money for a more sophisticated drawing application. For now, this is enough. They are crude (imagine drawing with your finger) and I am still exploring using only black & white, like those early years in design classes. Drawing anywhere and anytime. I like how this act of drawing on a mobile device ties in with the Mobile Misuse research and projects. This is so much fun. Don’t worry, I’m not letting it get in the way of those big projects that take forever...

Monday, February 16, 2009

Fulbright Ski Weekend

Fulbright Norway Ski Weekend 2009
What an amazing conclusion to my Fulbright residency in Norway. Last Thursday twenty of the Fulbright scholars and students gave 15 minutes presentations on their research and then we all attended a reception at the US Ambassador’s residence. It was quite a marathon day. The next morning we left Oslo in a deluxe tour bus that took us north of Lillehammer to Skeikampen.

Some went skiing (cross country and down hill), some went snow shoeing, some walking, some for massages, some went swimming and we all met up at meals and in the common areas. It gave us time to get to know each other better, a chance to celebrate and a chance to share our experiences of living and working in Norway. There were three kids in the group – two that are nine and one ten year old – one boy and two girls. The kids were inseparable – they went skiing together, played together, ate all their meals together and sat for hours on the bus together.

Now we are back in Flaskebekk and it is snowing. School is out this week for Winter vacation, but B has a work deadline, so we will be sticking close to home. There will be skiing and excursions in between the work hours. This week I am regrouping, preparing and planning for the last 5 weeks of my work here. I need to be organized and on top of things in order to complete one of my projects by March 20th. We are also trying to do a little planning for the move back. Preparing to leave is a melancholy thing, but there is no place like home...

Photos on Flickr

Monday, February 9, 2009

Telling time by ferries.

DFDS at dusk

The Princessen arrives at Flaskebekk Brygge (the dock here) at 8:05am. The DFDS slides by on it’s way into Oslo from Copenhagen at 9:15 am and the Colorline comes shortly after that from Kiehl, Germany. At about 3:15 pm the Colorline glides past on it’s way out of Oslo harbor and the DFDS follows at 5:15 pm. The Stena Line leaves Oslo harbor at about 6:30 pm on it’s way to Denmark. They are quiet. There is a low purr that I have come to recognize over time and I find I must look out to see the ship, just as I might look at the hands of a clock to reckon my hunch at the time.

Ferries in the Summer (2005 or 04?)

Friday, February 6, 2009



I have been having the hardest time getting myself to write a blog post. Too much on my mind, too much to do and too much news. I need to focus on preparing my presentation for a Fulbright seminar next Thursday and then all the Fulbrighters are going on a ski weekend to Lillehammer. The trip to Stockholm was fantastic and I want to write about that. Projects are proceeding and I want to write about that. BUT the biggest news is that we have decided to go back to the US on March 31st. That’s right, in less than two months.

My official time as a Fulbrighter ends on February 15. We were unable to get approval from Norwegian Immigration for me to stay through the summer (long story that involves much paperwork and bureaucracy) and on the other side, US Immigration will require that B apply for a re-entry visa if he stays out of the country past June 12. A’s passport expires in May, which means that we would have to make several trips to the US Embassy to take care of more paperwork and bureaucracy. We have actually been through enormous amounts of paperwork and bureaucracy just to get through the Fulbright application process and to live here in Norway - comparable to what we went through for B’s US resident alien status 15 years ago. We are completely burned out on it. We are homesick and often lonely. A is really longing for her old life and her old school. I think we have all gotten what we came for from the experience... It has been a damn hard decision to make and we are very disappointed that we won’t get to spend the summer here, but we will get to do new and different things this summer...

I’m going to start on the final Norway edition of PB’s Newsy News when we get back from Lillehammer, so I will go into more detail in the newsletter.

OK. Gotta get back to work now. The hour glass has broken and the sand is pouring out much faster than we anticipated...

Sunday, January 18, 2009

Farewell, Judith A. Hoffberg

You will be sorely missed.

From “The Mail-Interview with Judith A. Hoffberg” (1995-1997):

Well, since the name of my business became Umbrella Associates in 1978, thanks to a suggestion from Joan Hugo, as we were sitting in an airport in San Jose waiting for our late plane to Los Angeles after the First Artists' Publication Fair in San Jose in 1977. I had just resigned from the position of Executive Secretary of the Art Libraries Society of North America, which I had founded, and as we were sitting, Joan, a noted librarian and my co-curator in the Artwords & Bookworks exhibition, asked what I would be doing next; I hadn't the faintest idea at the time, but she had been thinking about it, and told me she had done some research. She had discovered that there was once a periodical called Parasol edited by Ricky de Marco, but it was not extant. Then she had looked through the entire list of periodicals and could not find any other periodical called "Umbrella", and so she thought I should start a business as a consultant, called Umbrella Associates, and publish a newsletter called Umbrella, and so I did.

Judith Hoffberg - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Umbrella Online - Home

Monday, January 12, 2009

One step backward and two steps forward

Another Full Moon passes... The glowing, watery trail across the fjord lights my way and I am found again. Things fall into place. All but the essential falls away. Falling, falling forward, but the landing is soft. I find myself sitting among the...

Saying no to one thing means saying yes to something else (and vice versa.)

I am preparing to teach a mobile media workshop in Volda next week. That is the first order of business for the next few days. I’ll be posting about the workshop on Mobile Misuse. I am also preparing for a production residency at Atelier Nord for the month of March to complete one of the art projects I am investigating. Big smile. More on that later - talking about it diverts the energy I need for the project. Atelier Nord is where I took the Data Forensics workshop. It is an interesting art organization that describes itself as:
...a project base for unstable art forms, such as electronic and new media art. Our aim is to create better conditions for these art forms, and to maintain a critical reflection in relation to them. Our work consists of producing and supporting projects that promote these goals.
See? A perfect fit.

We spent last weekend at a winter hytte (ski cabin) with friends. We got back onto cross country skis for the first time in a long time. “A” is picking it up really fast and, well, I know my limits. I am careful - I really enjoy cross country, but I love yoga, dancing, tai chi, skating and walking - if I break or damage my body it will be hard to do those things. “B” is Norwegian and was born on skis, so for him it’s as easy as walking...

Wednesday, January 7, 2009

There is no path...

“If you can see your path laid out in front of you step by step, you know it’s not your path. Your own path you make with every step you take. That’s why it’s your path.” Joseph Campbell

I am taking things step by step. Most days I have no idea where I am going and I struggle to muster faith that I am going in the right direction. I am lost today.

I am lost today and trying to be OK with lost. So many unknowns. So many questions. I think it is time to take a walk. The fjord always clears my head. The fjord always feeds my soul.

Sunday, January 4, 2009

The Holidays come to an End

Winter Holiday in Norway

We are just finishing 2+ weeks of holiday social events. There were only two days that it was the three of us on our own - every other day or evening involved a brunch, lunch or dinner celebration of some kind. There were even several events we were too busy to attend. Not a spare moment to be homesick. We have been ice skating every day for the past three days and plan to continue as long as the ponds and lakes are frozen and there are places to skate. Tomorrow is back to early mornings and off to work and school. We have been sleeping unusually late for over two weeks. The three of us have been together without even a short break for over two weeks - no major upsets or breakdowns!