Burning the New York Times

A short interview video with Michael Mandiberg shot and Edited by Dan Eckstein (daneckstein.com) in March 2009, with Music from Au Revoir Simone at Eyebeam and Postmasters Gallery NYC.

From the dialog:

I’m Michael Mandiberg. I am an artist, designer, and educator, and I am a Senior Fellow at Eyebeam, which is an Art and Technology Center in Chelsea, Manhattan.

As an artist I am pretty omnivorous. I have a background in photography, so it is pretty image based, but I was also a really really good bad high school poet. So I am particularly interested in words and their meaning, and their nuances and their poetic value. So I am always looking at the world around us visually, informationally, and culturally, and politically for inspiration

Some of my more recent work involves the laser cutter, cutting paper and books, making sculptures and drawings. The laser cutter takes the information from the computer file, and it uses a laser to cut that shape out of the material being cut, which in this case is a newspaper.

A few of my recent works are at The Future Is Not What It Used To Be, which is a show at Postmasters Gallery. One is called Old News, which is a stack of New York Times into which I am cutting daily the phrase “Old News” into it. The other is DATA BASE, which is an Oxford English Dictionary with the phrase “DATA BASE” cut into it.

The show itself is about the promise and the failed promise of technology, and its potential to connect people or not connect people.

Security Patterns – A Studio Visit Installation

Security Patterns - Studio Visit Install

I just put up an installation of work at Eyebeam for Studio Visits. This is work I have been producing over the last 6 months. The work is primarily old found books cut with the laser cutter, as well as some laser cut drawings.

FDIC Insured - Studio Visit Install

FDIC Insured - Studio Visit Install

The central piece against the wall is “FDIC Insured” a collection of 130+ cast off investment books from the Strand dollar racks, engraved with the logos of all of the failed banks of the Great Recession.

Before and After - Studio Visit Install

Along the left side is a piece called “Before and After.” I wanted to call it “Before and After President Reagan Lost His Memory” but that seemed a little overdetermined. So I just write it here. It is books from an 1982 and 1992 World Book enscribed with things that were (Free Love, Analog, Prisoner of War) and things that are (HIV/AIDS, Digital, Enemy Combatant.)

OMG - LOL Studio Visit Install

Sprinkled throughout are altered reference books. I like taking Dictionaries and turning them into memorials. It is kind of like putting an ironic inscription on a tombstone…

Security Patterns - Studio Visit Install

Security Patterns - Studio Visit Install

Along the right side of the wall are laser cut drawings of security patterns from the inside of security envelopes.

We have never had a year of peace - Studio Visit Install

GOOGLE & SPEED DIAL - Studio Visit Install

Style and Uniform Standards - Studio Visit Install

Eyebeam is currently closed to the public, but if you would like to see this installation you have two options. Contact me (myfirstname@mylastname.com) to set up a time to meet, or come by the Eyebeam Open Studios, which will be October 23rd and 24th from 3-6PM.

Retroreflective Fabric Test

Relfective Fabric Test

This is an update on an ongoing project. I wrote this months ago, but forgot to post it. There will be more posts on new progress soon!

This is a photograph of a test swatch of retroreflective fabric. Alan Paukman and Jacob Melinger of Nikolai Rose helped. But the key producers were Bethane Knudson and the Oriole Mill.

The image doesn’t show it too well, but the threads definitely reflect nicely.

We have had a lot of trouble making it work. Bethane writes about the problems she encountered:

We encountered a number of challenges with using the 3M Scotchlite "yarn". The Scotchlite stretches and breaks when pulled from the spool. Our crew tried various approaches but the breakage continued. We then re-wound the Scotchlite onto a yarn package, called a cone. This allowed for an even release of the Scotchlite which the spool did not. However, having eliminated the problem of the spool, we encountered a new problem –going through the accumulator which feeds the weft to the rapier also stretched and broke the Scotchlite. We slowed the weaving machine down further and that helped but did not eliminate the problem.

While some of the problems in using Scotchlite might be resolved with further investment of time and resources, some cannot. The Scotchlite is not well suited to weaving on the industrial loom. While the Scotchlite has some stretch, it has no recovery — meaning when it stretches, it distorts and does not return to its original state. This would mean that as the garment is worn, the fabric will stretch and would return to its original state, except for the Scotchlite weft. The stretched Scotchlite would ripple, like a seersucker effect, and would eventually break. Scotchlite is too weak to be used as a warp thread and it not really strong enough to be used in the weft for a garment. The demand put on a garment — especially pants — is significant.

The other problem is that a pinstripe is, by definition, a line that runs vertically. Since we used the Scotchlite in the weft, the lines run horizontally. Because garments are cut with the grain of the fabric, the pinstripes will become pin-bands rather than pinstripes. (In some cases the fabric can be used in the horizontal orientation but this limits the length of the pant and alters the drape radically. The warp direction has the best drape.)

Laptop Stand – first attempt

Laptop Stand, Experiment 1

Laptop Stand, Experiment 1

Laptop Stand, Experiment 1

This is the first experiment with making a laptop stand.  Cardboard mockups, Foamcore  refined design, then final one cut out of wood (bubinga).  It was really interesting to see how much my sense of process had changed since using the laser cutter.  I wanted to just draw out the shape, and let the laser cut it all, but of course we (my dad and i – he did most of the cutting work on this one) had to work step by step angle by angle, cut by cut. I forgot how to work that way, but over the last few weeks, i’ve remembered it.

I really wanted to make a round one with steam bent wood, but we never got around to it.

Drawing Contemporaries Opened Last night

These pix were taken right at 6pm, so there was close to no one there yet. By 7pm, the room was packed. Thanks all for coming. The show is up through June 9th. Ping me if you want a walkthrough.

Drawing Contemporaries

Drawing Contemporaries

Drawing Contemporaries

Invite Everybody

facebook invite everybody

— Facebook has blocked the ability to use this plugin. I repeat: It no longer works. To boot: It cannot be fixed, as Facebook has prevented bulk sends. It was fun while it lasted (RIP, Dec 2009)—

Sick an tired of clicking several hundred times when you want to invite your friends to a Facebook event? Yeah, me too. So I wrote a Greasemonkey script that does it for you. And just to be thorough, I wrote a bookmarklet too (for you non-GM people.)

It is all up at http://TheRedProject.com/scripts along with some other simple utility scripts I wrote, on the newly cleaned up front end to TheRedProject.com, which is my utility & storage domain.

Just to be clear, this code is GPL licensed, so feel free to use it, but keep it open.

Heart Heart Heart Heart

Heart Heart Heart Heart on Flickr – Photo Sharing!.

Test Installation & Studio Visits

I installed some new and in-progress work for studio visits. The test installation helped me figure out how to put the work in the gallery, what goes with what, and what doesn’t, and fine tune those details. This is the first time I’ve made objects in nearly 10 years.

It also allowed me to invite in a number of friends, curators, and gallerists who provided some insightful feedback, asked some interesting questions, and generally started conversations outside of the one going on in my head.

All of these works are produced with the laser cutter. The drawings are BFK Rives paper cut at a very low power setting. The cut books are more complicated in their production; we have to secure the book, and cut through about 60 pages at a time. A video is coming soon.

A full set of images here. Here are a small selection:





Bright Bike DIY Kit – Now Available

Bright Bike at the Holiday Hackshop

Beacon Graphics (our vinyl supplier) has made DIY kits. You can get get pre cut, or a 6 foot segment. For bulk orders, contact Dave Lynn at 800 762-9205. You can also stop by the Eyebeam bookstore and pick some up.

Then go to the instructable to get the steps right

Here is a set of photos from the event:

And here is some press coverage from Core77, Gizmodo, and MAKEzine

Bright Bike Workshop & Instructable


This weekend we had a Bright Bike workshop at Eyebeam.  We wrapped about 15 bikes, and an additional 20 people took home materials to wrap their bikes at home based on the Bright Bike Instructable. It ended with a short critically-visible-mass ride around Chelsea.

Smashing success.

Here are pictures. Video coming soon.

Bright Bikes at the Eyebeam Hackshop

Bright Bikes at the Eyebeam Hackshop