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Who it is I am

I'm a libertine with a conscience who refuses to acknowledge a distinction between work and play, who believes that you don't get the days back and therefore aspires to embrace the eternally messy present for what it is; a gift. And all gifts should be shared.

Within this framework I'm also a dad, an angel investor, a business owner, deeply passionate about the visual arts, music, literature, technology and politics (the degrees of interest aren't equal and what's posted here is a fair barometer of what captures my attention), and a dedicated philanthropist.

Do I contradict myself? Very well, then I contradict myself, I am large, I contain multitudes. - Walt Whitman

robert@fastorbit.com

212-671-2030

Affiliations

Updated 09/19/2012

Board Member: Hallwalls Contemporary Arts Center "Whenever someone asks me where I studied art, I always say it was at Hallwalls." - Cindy Sherman

Former Board Member: No Longer Empty: No Longer Empty redefines public art through temporary site -specific exhibitions that draw together the vitality of the contemporary art world and the values of building community.

Owner: Fast Orbit, LLC

Owner/Partner: ParkSleepFly.com

Owner/Partner: AirportParkingReservations.com

Owner/Investor: Wireless-NRG: Innovative consumer, commerical and industrial applications using unique solar technology.  Stay tuned for the imminent introduction of the Lillypad (Kudocase) for IPad, IPad2, IPad3.

Owner/InvestorVeenome - a video enabling platform translating video content into machine-readable data for superior organization, publishing, searching and monetization.

Owner/InvestorSocial Prize: Social Prize is a new way of sharing that makes it easy for you to share what you like with your friends and win. For the everyday business owner, Social Prize evens the odds by making it a snap for you to use social sweepstakes as a cost-effective means to get the word out about your business and grow your customer base.

Owner/Investor: uKnow.com:
Smart Tools.  Safer Kids
Keep your kids safe from bad guys and bullies online and on the mobile phone.

Projects & Participation

Updated 09/19/2012

Loan: Oded Hirsch's 50 Blue to Art Miami's curatorial project CONTEXT, December 2012 (curated by Julia Draganovic)

Collector-level Member - Issue Project Room 

Sponsor of Hallwalls
Fall 2012 Music Program

Nora Ligorano/Marshall Reese: Morning In America Ice Sculpture at the RNC/DNC Conventions

Composer Poul Ruders: New Symphonic Music (including a solo piano commission)

Channeling Coltrane: A concert video of "Electric Ascension"

Grammar: A documentary film about Jason Moran

Even Though the Whole World is Burning: A film about the life and work of Poet Laureate, two-time Pulitzer winner, and environmental activist W.S. Merwin.

George: A feature length documentary on George Maciunas, the founder and impresario of Fluxus, the radical international art movement.

Electronic Arts Intermix Benefactor
Founded in 1971, Electronic Arts Intermix (EAI) is a nonprofit arts organization that is a leading international resource for video and media art. A pioneering advocate for media art and artists, EAI's core program is the distribution and preservation of a major collection of over 3,500 new and historical video works by artists. For 40 years, EAI has fostered the creation, exhibition, distribution and preservation of video art, and more recently, digital art projects. 

Sponsor: Kreppa: A Symphonic Poem about the Financial Situation in Iceland
By: Örn Alexander Ámundason, Performed by Metropolis Ensemble, Andrew Cyr, Artistic Director/Conductor
The Armory Show 03/07/2012 The Wall Street Journal Media Lounge

Sponsor of Hallwalls
Winter 2012 Music Program

Sponsor of Hallwalls
Fall 2011 Music Program

Richard Garet (refer to post)
Espacios No-Euclídeos
Curated by Laura Bardier
11 August - 30 October 2011
EAC – Espacio Arte Contemporáneo
Montevideo, Uruguay  http://www.eac.gub.uy

Steve Swell's Nation of We Recording: "The Business of Here"

Producer (one of thousands) of the upcoming 2011 film: Lemonade: Detroit

Contributor: +Pool: A Floating Pool in the River For Everyone

Challenge grant to the Metropolis Ensemble for the recording of composer Timothy Andres on Nonesuch Records Fall 2011.  (Supporting contemporary composition is critical to the health of the culture and visionary Director Andrew Cyr is a living, breathing exemplar of leadership.)

Sponsor: No Longer Empty's About Face art exhibition May/June 2011

Sponsor: Hallwalls Artists & Models 2011 - RAPTURE/RUPTURE May 2011

Principal Benefactor NMC Recordings

Donor of artist Kate Gilmore's (a tireless, fearless creator with a limitless imagination) "Blood From a Stone" to the Brooklyn Museum 2010.

Bedrock financial support for the Cecil Taylor / Tony Oxley 2LP limited edition recording "AILANTHUS / ALTISSIMA bilateral dimensions of 2 root songs" on Triple Point Records.

Sponsor of composer Mayke Nas and artist Joe Diebbes at the 2010 Liverpool Bienniel.

Sponsor of numerous Hallwalls concerts including: Cecil Taylor's 80th birthday performance, Evan Parker & Ned Rothenberg, Henry Grimes solo, Chicago Underground duo, etc.

Commissioned Composer Frederic Rzweski's "Peace Dances" as part of pianist Sarah Cahill's project "A Sweeter Music."

Causes & Contributions

Updated 08/03/2012

UnPac

The Woodshed at the Jazz Gallery

World Food Programme

Jazz Foundation of America

Wordplay: Celebrating Buffalo's Youngest Writers

Join My Village: a click-to-commit social change initiative that gives you the power to inspire charitable donations from companies to women and girls in Malawi through CARE.

Hallwalls

Buffalo Olmsted Parks Conservancy

It Gets Better

Catalog Choice

Village Enterprise Fund

This Week in Tech's (TWIT) new studio

CMH Counseling, Buffalo, NY

Worldreader

Mercy Corp

Food Bank of Western New York

Sunday
Aug052012

Decoding Tino Sehgal

The Question Artist, The New Yorker, August 6, 2012

"What my work is about is, can something that is not an inanimate object be considered valuable?" - Tino Sehgal

The New Yorker (subscription required) continues to perform an outstanding service conducting long form investigations into the practices of exemplary contemporary artists. Recent articles noted here include Sarah Sze and Christian Marclay.

The August 6th issue profiles Tino Sehgal. Up until his current work "This Variation" at Documenta, 13 in Kassel, Germany - which I hope to attend before month's end - and "These Associations" which just opened at the Tate, he had the critical community dueling vociferously over whether this emperor had any clothes. The controversy, while not exhausted, has diminished considerably.

I had the opportunity to experience "This Progress" (2010) at the Guggenheim and walked away marveling at the entirely empty rotunda - nothing but crisp white walls devoid of art - and mystified by the work itself whereby seemingly random, though progressively older individuals, asked visitors "what is progress?" as they perambulated the rotunda .

The encounter was shocking and I reflexively resorted to sarcasm and mockery in my replies; a form of self-defense. The joke would be on them, not me. A shortsighted mistake in retrospect.

"Because it draws from many disciplines, Sehgal's work is difficult to define. His term "constructed situations" comes from the French theorist Guy Debord's 1957 Manifesto "Report on the Construction of Situations," which called for the artist to generate moments that would jolt the spectator out of passivity, rendering him the co-creator of a less mediocre life."

Hmm, I'm still decoding.

Thursday
Aug022012

Stalking the weather

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Walter changed.  

Why a person is who they are, who they were and who they're becoming?  The vagaries of personality?  Huh!... Junk food for pedants.

When he became weather possessed is anybody's guess.  The telltale signs ultimately revealed in the repetition of gesture.

They were hard to spot until they were impossible to miss - the distant skyward stare ("what the fuck you lookin' at Walter?"), the incessant tap of the iphone app, unanticipated apocalyptic inferences about climate change.  

I could predict and correlate his mood using a thermometer.  Jesus! It reminded me of the way suits track the stock market, all jittery grimaces and elated smiles (a cowardice form of smoking crack if ya ask me.  Never understood it, never will, don't care to).

Obsession ain't bean bag.  Walter became el loco plus.  Compulsion and cute don't mate.  I had to add one extra elbow of space between us as a precaution to god-knows-what.

Each next day toppled the previous like an endless stream of forecasts until Walter became anyone but Walter.  

What side of the ledger a man ends up on? Happenstance.  Or perhaps, as a pal once opined, motherfuckery

As it is, so shall it be.  Best to leave it at that.

 

Inspired in spirit by Lou Beach's 420 Characters.

Tuesday
Jul312012

Imposter and its antithesis

Imposter, Source: IMDB

"A documentary centered on a young Frenchman who convinces a grieving Texas family that he is their 16-year-old son who went missing for 3 years." - IMDB

Imposter is about elusive truth, the plasticity of facts, how perception informs reality, the ubiquity of human submission to manipulation, and our temptation to suspend disbelief when convenient or necessary.

The ride is most wild if you - like me - are oblivious to the original truth-is-stranger-than-fiction reporting.

Director Bart Layton's mischievous cinematic devices...chronology shuffling, too-close-for-comfort camera angles, choice of narrator, blend of actual interviews with recreated scenes, and the timing of revealed events has your allegiance doing cart wheels until you recognize it's best to be suspicious of everyone and everything.

To avoid complicity in Imposter's ethical rubik's cube it's tempting to use signifiers for the films primary descriptors: "truth," "fact," "documentary," "perpetrator, "victim."

Imposter's narrative unfolds in undulating concentric circles becoming creepier each time a ring rises or falls. First, you're livid with the "perpetrator," then disturbed by the antic tactics of the Director, then angry with the "victims." Feelings of sympathy are fleeting and scarce.

At least it has a happy ending. Imposter is a wicked pleasure leaving a stain that won't wash out and Layton has the potential to be an heir to the domain of Errol Morris.

 

Ai Weiwei: Never Sorry, Source: IMDB

At the opposite end of the spectrum is Alison Klayman's,
Ai Wewei: Never Sorry.

"A documentary that chronicles artist and activist Ai Weiwei as he prepares for a series of exhibitions and gets into an increasing number of clashes with the Chinese government." - IMDB

Weiwei is a persistent and unrelenting thorn in the side of local and national Chinese autocrats.

Ai Weiwei transcended art world super stardom (artist, architect, artistic provocateur) into outspoken political activism covered by mainstream media in the west. You know you're in the international limelight when Hillary Clinton states your name publicly.

"If you're one step ahead, you're a hero. If you're two steps ahead, you're a martyr." - unknown

The first step, his audacious art and active rebellion against injustices perpetrated by the Chinese government is well-known.

Now, post his recent 81 days in detention on spurious charges, his foot is suspended in mid-air as he continues to use the internet - twitter mostly - against the wishes of the government to heckle, incite and protest. When and who decides if that second step finally reaches ground with its attendant ramifications, makes this film riveting.

Never Sorry benefits from being almost completely up-to-date even as events continue to advance.

It's the most thorough portrait of Ai Weiwei to date. However, although much is learned about him: his family, traumatic childhood, infidelity, etc. - and it's substantial - he remains enigmatic. He speaks for millions of oppressed Chinese by speaking only for himself.

"Never retreat, retweet." - Ai Weiwei

Monday
Jul302012

Raw material and residuals 2

Electronic music pioneer Morton Subotnick performed 
with video artist Sue Costabile at Pace University's 
Schimmel Center as part of the invaluable River to River Festival on July 7th.

Tones of every texture filled the auditorium using [up]dated analog electronics. He 
revisited excerpts of "Silver Apples of the Moon" (the composition that brought him into the new 
music community's greater consciousness back in the 
late 1960's) in surround 
sound  - using an antiquated but still quite useful 
and fascinating looking Buchla - before transitioning 
to improvisation.

The sounds were both fresh and archaic, 
contemporary and of their time. Subotnick, a sprightly presence 
at 79.

Plenty of extant recordings to marvel the ear.

Link to the NY Times review.




"Composing with Patterns" was a wonderful adjunct to the revealing exhibition Art of Another Kind, 1949-1960 at the Guggenheim.

Hearing music in the rotunda as I walked up and down the incline inspecting a Dubuffet or Bourgeois, a Mathieu or Guerrero, was special.

For example, listening to a Morton Feldman's "Projection 4" changed the way I assimilated Rothko's Untitled, 1949. The same experience recurred with other visual artists as I heard music by Cage, Brown, etc. I can't articulate it well, though it had something to do with a visual/aural vortex.

Also, to discover geographically dispersed painters of the same era, many times unbeknownst to each other, using similar techniques and achieving relative homogeneity, is fodder for further exploration.

"Composing with Patterns": Music at Mid-Century, 07/10/2012

 
Trisha Brown Dance Company, Astral Converted, Park Avenue Armory, 07/11/2012
Astral Converted, 1991

 

Trisha Brown, Choreographer
John Cage, Composer
Robert Rauschenberg, set design

Not so much a meeting of minds as encounter between three fiercely independent thinkers.

Dancers moved in confounding trajectories, singularly and in groups. The performance was like watching chalk in the hands of a mathematician writing an arcane theorem until the blackboard is full of strange symbols.

A sparse set with extraordinary lighting illuminated the
stage, the dancers, and the space around them with precise specificity.

Cage's composition "Eight" (instrumentation: flute, oboe, clarinet, bassoon, horn, trumpet, trombone, and tuba) was subdued - as was much of his music composed shortly before his death in 1992 - and yet ironically as much foreground as background.

Bewildered, the only thing I knew for sure at its conclusion is that I wanted to experience it again.

   


Ghosts in the Machine surveys the constantly shifting relationship between humans, machines, and art." - New Museum.

It's a trippy mess of idiosyncratic curatorial choices dotted for better and worse with art that rarely get unearthed for exhibition.

It's full of surprises, chaotic juxtaposition and sensory overload. Absent a coherent context to guide me within and between floors, one section after another led to disorientation, the way your eyes have to keep adjusting after unexpected exposure to bright light.

What was good was great: Stan Vanderbeek, J.G. Ballard, Gianni Colombo, Karl Gerstner, Hans Haacke, Phillpe Parreno, Otto Piene, and Marshall McLuhan who remains ahead of his time.

What was bad, sucked.

Best to just submit. Ends 09/30/2012.

Stan Vanderbeek, Movie-Drome 1963-66/2012, Ghost in the Machine, New Museum, 07/2012
   

Trio3 with Jason Moran, Birdland, 07/18/2012

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It's challenging to find superlatives matching the collective virtuosity of Trio3: Oliver Lake on saxophone, Reggie Workman on bass and Andrew Cyrille on drums.

All three essential marrow in the continuum of improvised music for decades now – Lake an original member of the World Saxophone Quartet, Workman’s played with a who’s who list of legends including John Coltrane and Cyrille was one of Cecil Taylor’s best drummers.

Trio3's playing New York with increasing frequency. They performed a blistering set at the Vision Festival back in June.

During a week long stint at Birdland this month they added pianist Jason Moran, turning an exceptional trio into a scintillating quartet.

It was as if Moran was always part of the group. Nothing sounded tentative, not when Moran played Trio3's music or vice versa.

Moran’s a chameleon adjusting to any and all circumstances without losing his individuality.

He routinely appears in unexpected contexts as if daring himself to fail. It's extremely rare for a player so young to swing with the gravitas of a veteran. And as versatile as he is, a single note or chord identifies him.

Look for Moran to play with Jenny Scheinman's Quartet at the Village Vanguard the last week of August.

Previous post on Oliver Lake here.

Previous posts on Jason Moran here , here and here.

Wednesday
Jul252012

Pily Pily Pily

Pily Pily Pily

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(As this site's tagline reads: "The story of your life isn't your life; it's your story.")

Met her on the 5 train steaming north to god-knows-where.  Steaming's exactly what I mean.  Weather hot and sticky again, distracted myself by miming "smile" from the across the aisle.

She returned an embarrassed giggle that had the color of quality bait - guaranteed to reel a man in hook, line and sinker.  Fuck! The predator was my role yet there I was flopping helplessly like a fish on the splintered wooden planks of a hidden pier.  No one around to have mercy.  An unfamiliar condition anyway. 

I thought I saw young, dumb and full of cum.  What did she see?  Yeah, yeah, I know, I know, I've thought that too.  I always think that.  No need to remind me again.

Another misadventure.  Another rapidly unfurling farce, each one lasting a momentary eternity.  Another comic catastrophe with an aftertaste of lament, longing and bitter laughter. 

Where was the bright red stop sign in my mind's eye?  It ain't ever there (but we both know I prefer it that way.)

[Functional Dysfunctionalism: the harmonious interaction of pathological tendencies - Artist, Jeff Gibson]

Pily with a long eee, uttered in sing-song style as if calling a small child over the hill separating your home from infinity. Pily Pily Pily.  Hmm...perhaps more the narcotic hymn of a pied piper.  Pily Pily Pily.

Pily from the Boogie Down Bronx by way of the DR, Dominican Republic.  One woman with the complexity of triplets.  Tough and dangerous as a revolver with a broken safety and the UI scraped off. Tough with fear from long journeys and wrong turns, clichéd allures and good judgment with sour returns. Trouble is, her flight or fight gene triggered both at once and all the time.

Pily's a thick spool of mistrust.  Pily has secrets.  Pily tells half-truths.

Street smart, she cussed trilingually: Spanish, English and Expletive.  

Her body spoke another language.  Baby soft skin, milk chocolate complexion, firm and curved, big titted and tight assed.  Pily's flesh danced the Merengue standing still, walking down the street, sitting on the couch, fucking on top, even while asleep.  You tell me, what's a guy to do? 

Pily appeared and disappeared until the former became only the latter.

Pily Pily Pily. Where'd ya go?  What's the new quest?  Who's the new victim?  

The stinging backhand only hindsight offers is starting to leave a welt.  I kinda like it.

Tuesday
Jul242012

2wice has done it twice

 2wice Arts Foundation has released a second dance related app for the IPad, Fifth Wall.  

It's captivating, playful and uniquely interactive.  The same dancer appears simultaneously four different times in four constructed environments (boxes).  

You can move, resize and overlap the four boxes.  Sometimes one or more of these boxes fade away only to return moments later and at other times someone literally steps into the frame and spins or flips the box the dancer is performing in.  

The combination of grace, beauty, and shifting geometry produces a visually stimulating environment.  The underlying technology - as cool as it is - remains in the background as it should be.

In other words, you're fully engrossed in choreographing the choreography.  

2wice intimately understands the art and science of dance and choreography and continue to extend it into the digital realm with the same extraordinary attention to detail as their first app, Merce Cunningham Event

 

 

Monday
Jul232012

Commissioning Poul Ruders

Poul Ruders, Symphony No. 3, "Dreamcatcher," handwritten page 1I've listened to composer Poul Ruders for a long time.

His music is sensuous and cerebral. The orbit of his compositions are comparable to an extrovert hidden within an introvert - long tranquil passages interlaced between bursts of tremendous sweep and dynamism.

I discovered his music in the late 1980's when I stumbled upon his orchestral work Manhattan Abstraction.  I felt inflicted with temporary synesthesia as the New York I was beginning to explore - from the filth of Times Square (now sadly Disneyfied) to the tranquility of Central Park) - came sharply into focus through music which painted pictures of endless possiblility and imminent futility.

Manhattan Abstraction maniputlates New York's central contradictory mess: elation and despair.  And accomplishes this in a way that - beyond just the title - seems specific to the city's complexion.

It's foreboding and lyrical, tender and dissonant, always teetering on the brink, walking the thinest precarious line between soaring or sinking.  This tension is sustained until the final chords leave a knotty residue of uncertainty, of imponderables.  

I've been an admirer ever since and so was thrilled when the good folks at Bridge Records, Ruders primary recording label, started a Kickstarter campaign that gave me the opportunity to commission a work for solo piano that will appear on Volume 9 of their Poul Ruders series.  

I humbly asked Mr. Ruders to revisit the spirit of Manhattan Abstraction and reflect on my feelings as expressed here as part of his creative process.

I'm honored and privileged to support Poul Ruders music and Bridge Records, thankful that Mr. Ruders handwrote page one of his Symphony No. 3: Dreamcatcher (seen above) for me, and  I wait with great anticipation for the completed work. 

Sunday
Jul222012

Fear of Malachi

Malachi, 7/13/2012

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"During all these years I've thought about his eyes, and how they became so different.  And since so much was about to change because of him, I've thought possibly that a long-suppressed potential in him had suddenly worked itself into visibility on his face.  He was becoming who and what he was always supposed to be.  He'd simply had to wear down through the other layers to who he really was.  I've seen this phenomenon in the faces of other men - homeless men, men sprawled on the pavement in front of bars or in public parks or bus depots, or lined up outside the doors of missions, waiting to get in out of a long winter.  In their faces - plenty of them were handsome, but ruined - I've seen the remnants of who they almost succeeded in being but failed to be, before becoming themselves.  It's a theory of destiny and character I don't like or want to believe in.  But it's there in me like a hard understory.  I don't, in fact, ever see such a ruined man without saying silently to myself: There's my father.  My father is that man.  I used to know him." 
Richard Ford, Canada

Saturday
Jul212012

For whom the bell tolls

"On 27th July 2012, Work No. 1197: All the bells in a country rung as quickly and as loudly as possible for three minutes by Turner Prize-winning artist and musician Martin Creed, will be performed by thousands of people across the UK for the London 2012 Festival to celebrate the first day of the London 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games. Anyone can take part by simply registering to ring a bell at allthebells.com. The time for the event has been confirmed as 08:12 and the event will be broadcast by the BBC to a potential live audience of over 10 million people across the UK on TV, radio and online - including BBC Breakfast, BBC Radio 2 Chris Evans Breakfast Show and BBC local radio stations." Art Daily, July, 2012

Bright idea and one of several art and music related reasons to get excited about the London 2012 Olympics.
Sign up here for a ringtone that's sure to be more interesting than the one you're using now.  
Don't believe me?  Listen to this.
Friday
Jul202012

Motherfuckery

CLICK TO PLAY

Motherfuckery's
primed for every occasion

rolls off the tongue
like a simple equation

It's meant for the kids
a get-away-with-it word 

"Mom, I didn't say 'fuck'"
 you musta misheard

Motherfuckery
Motherfuckery
Motherfuckery

This ain't the cat in the hat
I don't have a Suess pedigree

but motherfuck him!
whoops I meant motherfuckery 

I'll defend it with glee
this pithy nursery rhyme

cause' it sums the world up
in one simple line

Motherfuckery
Motherfuckery
Motherfuckery

---------

"Oh, The Places You'll Go"...Muchos gracios to hacker turned informant, Hector Xavier Monsegur for introducing me to this neologism and to NY Magazine for a very entertaining article.  

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