AFD Eleven : Medals (After Stella)

Medals (After Stella)
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After a three month hiatus, A Feverish Dream returns with Medals (After Stella). This Olympics-themed piece pulls its composition cues from Twitter, presenting a changing array of concentric squares in gold, silver, and bronze. The piece searches Twitter for recent tweets containing the words "olympics", "medal", and at least one of the three medal colors. New qualifying tweets appear in the outer-most ring and are subsequently pushed towards the center. During competitions and telecasts, the composition will likely shift more frequently than late at night or early in the day. Once the Vancouver olympics close out on February 28th, the piece could eventually slow to a stop altogether.

The visual motif is borrowed from artist Frank Stella, whose black paintings hit me like a hammer and opened up my eyes to what Art could be. So when thinking about medals — or metals — and olympic rings, Stella’s black, aluminum, and copper paintings jumped to mind. Having already recognized Ellsworth Kelly’s influence in my work, I’m happy to have an opportunity to tip my hat to Stella with Medals.

Thanks again to Donovan Buck for his scripting expertise.



Tweeting Pinks: The Recap

Tweeting Pinks

Last month, from October 18th through the 26th, my artpiece Tweeting Colors played host to Tweeting Pinks, a small campaign aimed to raise breast cancer awareness. (You can read more about Tweeting Pinks here.) I pledged to donate $5 to the National Breast Cancer Foundation for each qualifying tweet, up to $250. My rules were designed in hopes of achieving a higher number of distinct contributors to the color feed. While I fell short in meeting this rather arbitrary goal, most of the contributors to Tweeting Pinks actually participated more than I had anticipated, tweeting pinks multiple times over the course of the week. All told, there were over 75 pink tweets during the campaign, and they’ve been captured in the graphic above. (click for larger version)

Thanks to these compassionate users, I am happy to be making a donation in the full pledge amount of $250. But the giving doesn’t stop there! On top of that, @v_hopson is making a personal donation of $100!

That’s a funny story, really. Midweek, he accidentally tweeted a big fat Aquamarine bar into the pink field, setting off a mild riot by other contributors. (note: aquamarine bar has been removed in above graphic.) To make up for this, he graciously pledged a donation for every bar following the aquamarine one, which has brought the grand total for the Tweeting Pinks donation to the National Breast Cancer Foundation to $350!

With enduring gratitude, I would like to thank the following tweeters:
@byron_m, @desmarkie, @twisty1965, @mikeynaphi1, @jmartinezdb, @v_hopson, @Fotofest_Intl, @CosmoPolitican, @NBCF, @nbcf_manda, @Rosgemjewelry, @dtex, @brenjoe76, @tracylynnproffe, @MNDOZA, @reptilegrrl, @monaism, @salvocheque, @cablegram, @claireruud, @gurl_friday, and @nicolejcaruth.

Tweeting Pinks

Tweeting Colors

(go to Tweeting Colors)

As you might know, October is National Breast Cancer Awareness Month, and the color pink has hopefully been a bit more prevalent in our daily lives. My wife and I both have members of our respective families that have battled this disease. It has been a trying year for many people, and the importance of giving has never been clearer in my eyes. Therefore, I am pledging a personal donation of up to $250 to the National Breast Cancer Foundation, and I am asking for your participation to help me meet that goal.

Tweeting Pinks is a small campaign using my interactive Twitter-based artwork, Tweeting Colors, to raise breast cancer awareness. Of the 140 colors made available in Tweeting Colors, four are shades of pink. I will be asking Twitter users to “tweet pink” the week of October 19th, and I will make a donation based on the rules below:

  • From Monday, October 19th through Saturday, October 24th, I will donate $5 for every qualifying tweet that creates a pink color bar on Tweeting Colors.
  • The tweet must follow the Tweeting Colors guidelines and be of one of the following four colors: pink, hotpink, deeppink, and lightpink.
  • I will honor a maximum of two tweets from a single Twitter user (so get the word out!)

I will donate the earned amount from Tweeting Pinks (hopefully all $250) to the National Breast Cancer Foundation during the final week of October. Although I can only financially honor two tweets from a single user, please feel free to tweet as much pink as you would like. Seeing the screen “pink out” would be quite a show of support.

This campaign goes live next week, and I will need at the very least 50 participants to reach my goal. I hope you consider participating and also helping me get the word out.

Thank you,

Favify : and then there were 20

The alarm clock is about to sound on this feverish dream, but before I get to the residency post-mortem, I have three more favicons to add to Favify. The project started with nine favicons back in June, and now boasts twenty. The newly inducted:

'Bout What I Sees Rhizome
‘Bout What I Sees

Contemporary Arts Museum Houston

So, yes, technically Glasstire isn’t listed on Glasstire’s Links page as per my Favify rules, but they gave me the keys to this kingdom, so to speak. So they’re in.

‘Bout What I Sees is Salvador Castillo’s art blog out of Austin. I’ve been a follower of it ever since Castillo wrote of his “Ahhh!” moment after viewing my 2007 exhibition Lawndale Has Many Friends. Castillo recently added a favicon to the website and made a request to be part of Favify, and I am only happy to oblige.

Completing the new triumvirate is, a website “dedicated to the creation, presentation, preservation, and critique of emerging artistic practices that engage technology.” I am thrilled to have had two pieces from A Feverish Dream accepted into Rhizome’s ArtBase, and although they are not Texas-based, they are listed on Glasstire’s LInks page under –– appropriately enough –– Non-Texas stuff.

Click away at the “Favify” button in the right-hand column to see the compete Favify lineup.

AFD Ten : Tweeting Colors

Tweeting Colors
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Tweeting Colors is webpage comprised of vertical color bars created by special tweets from Twitter users. New bars are added from the left, pushing the existing arrangement to the right. Working with the Twitter feed is nothing new to A Feverish Dream, yet unlike Journal of the Collective Me or Ellsworth Kelly Hacked My Twitter, this piece allows the audience to directly manipulate the resulting visual. Anyone can view the piece, but a Twitter user can add bars by following these simple directions. The page auto-refreshes a few times a minute, so sit back and enjoy the Color Feed.

Tip of the hat once again to Donovan Buck for his awesome scripting abilities.

AFD Nine : People Like This

people like this
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While I personally prefer tweeting over ‘booking, I do value certain elements unique to Facebook. Specifically, I’m a big fan of the "Like" feature. The only ways to express any level of approval (or acknowledgment, for that matter) in Twitter is to either re-tweet an awesome entry or send a reply to the original tweeter. In Facebook, you can readily comment on any post, but then you have to actually have something to say. The Like feature, however, allows you to acknowledge the post and send a quick, public mark of approval without having to say anything. Think of it as the silent head nod from across the room. What’s also great about this feature is how it lets you discover new people based on common interests or tastes. If I "like" something a friend has posted, for example, and a complete stranger also likes it, I know that there’s at least one thing that said stranger and I may have in common. (cue mid-90’s pop song).

People Like This is a playful take on Facebook’s Like feature. As with Facebook, the content of this piece will largely be user generated. The opportunity to "like" something remains, but any specific object to like is gone. Participants who "like" this are encouraged to submit a custom identifier and URL via the “Like” link. These identifiers and URLs can be anything a user wants, and any user can "like" this multiple times using different identities. My hope is that a large directory of random but useful and/or clever links will eventually be created, and that the exploration of these links becomes part of the overall activity for this piece.

Thanks to Donovan Buck for the database and scripting.

Favify : Houston Expansion Pack

A Feverish Dream is going to be on hiatus next week, but here is a Favify update to tide you over. This time around we have three Houston-based entities, all conveniently found on Glasstire’s Links page.

Museum of Fine Arts, Houston
Museum of Fine Arts, Houston

Spacetaker Wax by the Fire
Spacetaker Wax by the Fire

Contemporary Arts Museum Houston

Spacetaker and Wax by the Fire come to us from the "Artsites We Heart" section, and the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston finally qualified thanks to adding a favicon this summer. (There remain many more on this list that have yet brand themselves in 16 x 16 pixel form — hop to it!)

I like the favicon variety of this particular grouping. The MFAH went with the simple block "H" used in their logo brand, and it holds up very well at 16×16. Spacetaker, a non-profit that provides artists with resources and tools to help build their professional careers, also uses their logo as their favicon. The logo is fairly complex, so shrinking it down to 16×16 and then bringing it back up again essentially obliterates it. I find the resulting sculpture interesting and mysterious, even if it’s not recognizable. Finally, Wax by the Fire is an art blog by Rachel Hooper, the Cynthia Woods Mitchell Curatorial Fellow at the University of Houston’s Blaffer Gallery. (In case you’re wondering: yes they’re on the list; no they do not have a favicon.) Since her blog has no official logo, per se, Rachel has used a fragment of a painting by Houston artist Jonathan Leach as her favicon. (Yes, I’m sure she received the artist’s permission.)

This brings our favicon count to 17! So feel free to click away at the “Favify” button in the right-hand column to see the expanded Favify lineup.

AFD Eight : Ellsworth Kelly Hacked My Twitter

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Ellsworth Kelly Hacked My Twitter is a real-time chart of postings from people I follow on Twitter. I have manually reduced the individual avatars of those I follow to a single, representative color, and each block shown represents an individual tweet that has come through my Twitter feed. This method of reductive abstraction largely characterizes my pre-residency work, and 2007’s Barack’s Twitter even contains a "Following" grid in the right-hand column. What’s new here, however, is that the grid is being generated in real-time, with the top-left square representing the most recent post. The remaining squares are presented left-to-right, top-down in reverse chronological order. A viewer can actively change the composition of the grid by simply changing the size of the browser window. Rows and columns can be added or removed, causing the individual squares to shift and/or wrap, thus creating a new composition. While the actual content of the tweet is not shown, the author, time, and date of the post can be viewed by placing your cursor over any given square.

This piece was always conceptualized to be a color grid, but it wasn’t until I started Photoshopping mockups that I thought of Ellsworth Kelly and, specifically, his grid pieces (such as Colors for a Large Wall). The visual aesthetic is certainly similar, but the nature of how the two grids are arranged couldn’t be more different. Kelly’s color square pieces are arranged in an arbitrary sequence, whereas this piece is a direct chronological representation of my Twitter feed. While unpredictable, it is certainly not arbitrary. So, as a title, Ellsworth Kelly Hacked My Twitter only holds up on a visual level and not a conceptual one. I just think it’s more fun than, say, TwitterGrid, for instance.

Many, many thanks go out to Donovan Buck for providing the scripting that makes this piece possible. Donovan also acted as a brainstorming foil, and – most importantly – put up with a few bouts of designer indecision. Thank you, Donovan!

AFD Seven : Tweeting for an Upgrade

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Last week, in the midst of the Sonia Sotomayor confirmation hearings, I paid a visit to the official website of the Supreme Court of the United States. I was shocked – SHOCKED! – at how out-of-date and, well, broken the site was. It’s a visual trainwreck, yes, but it’s also in need of some serious usability redesign. Or at the very least some common-sense maintenance. Barack Obama’s online campaign and subsequent relaunch have forged new ground in governmental web presence and accesibility, making the existing website of the most powerful court in the land that much harder to stomach. It’s an embarrassment. Truly laughable.

I’ve managed to make art from poorly-designed websites before, but abstracting the SCOTUS website would conceal all of its delicious flaws. So after kicking around ideas for a few days, I decided that this merits the first (and certainly only) performance piece for A Feverish Dream.

And so let me present @scuswebsite, the official (and snarky) Twitter feed of the website of the Supreme Court. Follow along for the next week as the website vents its frustrations at being so bad. It’s even making some handy visual examples of its own suckage, which will be made available exclusivly through its Twitter page. If you’re on Twitter, please consider following and spreading the good word. Maybe, one day, change will come for this underappreciated little website.

A Silly Little Interlude

One of the many great things about @cmonstah‘s blog,, is that it occasionally throws in something completely bizarre and unexpected. And one of the more recent delectable treasures is this. The song has – for better or worse – become a bit of a mantra around my house. I’m sure it will lose its appeal soon enough, but for now I’m still basking in its awesomeness.

So I now present its powerful story as told through favicon sculptures of its two primary players. Flash animation below and a handy JPEG after the jump.

Get Adobe Flash player

Continue reading ‘A Silly Little Interlude’

AFD Six : Online Derivative of a New Cliché

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My favorite piece of art that I’ve seen this summer is a wall installation by The Art Guys at their New Clichés exhibition at McClain Gallery. There was a semi-public (as public as blogs can be) point/counter-point earlier this Summer between the Houston Chronicle‘s Douglas Britt and The Art Guys’ Michael Galbreth regarding their recent behavior piece, The Art Guys Marry a Plant (held in conjunction with the CAMH’s No Zoning exhibition). While I missed the ceremony, I made a point to visit their Clichés exhibition the following week. The work was clever, funny, and beautifully executed, but this one wall piece grabbed hold of me and hasn’t let go. It had me at "Fuck ’em".

Comprised of wooden letters and motors, the words of a "new cliché" rose and fell on the wall, powered by contraptions slowly rotating as if they were vertical mobiles. The literal message was dismissive and defensive, but instead of being loud or aggressive, it was presented in a disarmingly playful fashion. I loved it. Had there been a chair, I would have sat down and just stared for God knows how long, mesmerized my the movement of the letters and taken back by the brilliant silliness of it all.

In the weeks since, that piece – and its "Eff ’em" sentiment – have stayed with me. (This has been helped by repeated listens of the Wild Light’s California on My Mind, which manages to properly "eff" today, San Francisco, and California, all in the song’s first 17 seconds. Please consider this the official soundtrack of Online Derivative of a New Cliché.)

Then, while perusing a list of the most popular websites in the United States this past weekend, inspiration finally struck. Using the logos of these companies, I could derive an online variation from The Art Guys’ piece. The message is still there and can be found within the animated blur of letters. Twenty-five of the top 45 sites are represented, selected largely for how they could assist in the piece’s completion. They are not in any particular order, but they do link to their respective sites. (You might stay away from "J" if you’re at work.) You could effectively use this as your home page, depending on the sites you frequent.

View Online Derivative of a New Cliché

AFD Five : Journal of the Collective Me

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After launching When Did THIS Happen a few weeks back, I saved a Twitter search for "when did this happen" to see the piece had any legs. (It did not.) But I became fascinated seeing how the phrase was being used and by whom. It gave me a glimpse into this really diverse international community, where preteens, parents, grandparents, college students, working professionals, etc., all have a voice. And these individual voices can be sarcastic, inspirational, desperate, threatening, and even hateful. This project looks to unify all of these disparate voices into one.

Journal of the Collective Me ( parses through the Twitterverse, presenting tweets containing the word "me" in real time. Other phrases and words have been filtered out to reduce spam and disguise the source. Content itself is not edited, so the incoming tweets range from happy to funny to sad to serious to obscene. Clicking on the current entry will produce the next, and so forth. Regarding aesthetic, Journal of the Collective Me was
inspired by the simple stylings of yet another Internet meme, Barack Obama is Your New Bicycle, which rose to fame during the election.

Very special thanks go to Donovan Buck, who bought into the concept and provided the wonderful scripting that makes it work.

Favify : Austin Expansion Pack

New projects are in the works but not quite ready for release. So in the meantime, enjoy four new Austin-based favicons added to Favify.

Fluent Collaborative Women and Their Work
Fluent Collaborative Women and Their Work

Contemporary Arts Museum Houston

...might be good Okay Mountain's blog
…might be good Okay Mountain’s blog

Contemporary Arts Museum Houston

…might be good and Okay Mountain’s blog are the first entries from the "Artsites We Heart" section of Glasstire’s Links page. I would have loved to have added the Austin Museum of Art, since they were the immediate subject of last week’s 10% and counting, but alas, no favicon.

I’m going to keep adding to Favify throughout the summer, so if you want your blog or organization represented, there are only two requirements: 1) your site has a favicon, and 2) your site is listed on Glasstire’s Links page. If you already meet these requirements and want to be involved, drop me a line at afd (at) afeverishdream (dot) com.

Conversely. if your website wants to host a Favify button, we can do that to. Major thanks to Lawndale Art Center, which now has a custom Favify button on its homepage.

AFD Four : 10% and counting

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This economy has been brutal. Although the markets are inching higher, banks are now repaying their bailouts, and there’s still a mad rush to get that latest and greatest smart phone, the art world continues to feel a threatening squeeze. I suppose I was hoping that since other indicators were ticking upwards (or at least leveling off), the Arts would follow. But my Twitter feed the past couple of weeks has told me otherwise, and it is bringing me down.

Indeed, I saw tweets reporting closures of New York galleries, staff cuts at the Guggenheim, and cost-cutting measures at Art Institute of Chicago, just to name a few. Yet the one that hit closest to home – and inspired this piece – was a RT (re-tweet) by @salvocheque about cuts to the Austin Museum of Art. In the linked article, Austin American-Statesman art critic Jeanne Claire van Ryzin reports that AMoA has made a second round of staff and budget cuts following an initial 10% cut in January. To repeat: that’s a second round of cuts. I understand that layoffs and budget cuts are a significant part of the big-picture approach to ensuring the survival of a company or organization, but when you start getting into multiple rounds of reorganization, how can you not be alarmed?

10% and counting is a personal response to this recent wave of art organization cuts. While it uses AMoA as its vehicle, it’s not solely about the Austin Museum of Art. There are any number of museums or galleries that I could have used to tell this story (all of which are hurting); AMoA just happened to be the one that compelled me to do so.


In a very related note, I received a letter from Lawndale Art Center last week asking for support. I love Lawndale. It is a unique, proposal-driven space that consistently puts on varied and intriguing combinations of contemporary art exhibitions. Most importantly (to me), they offer exhibition and residency opportunities to artists of all career levels. I had my first-ever solo show there in late 2007, and working with its enthusiastic and supportive staff is an experience I won’t soon forget. I remain a huge fan of their mission, and the thought of having that mission jeopardized by this "economic downturn" makes me nervous. I have no idea if they’re in any imminent danger, but there’s a threatening cloud overhead, made very real to me by AMoA’s plight.

Lawndale’s annual Houston-area free-for-all, The Big Show, is accepting drop-off entries Wednesday and Thursday of this week. I don’t have anything to enter this year, but I plan on stopping by anyway, checkbook in hand, to say hello and give my support. If you’re an artist or a fan of the arts, you might consider making a new or additional contribution to your favorite space or organization. I’d imagine they could really use some help right now.

AFD Three : When did THIS happen?

Very simply put, this single-serving page answers the question “When did this happen?

Favify Addition No. 1

Favify gets its first update today! As a reminder, there were nine favicons at the launch of A Feverish Dream (view them here), but I’ll be adding many more to the project throughout the summer. (What’s Favify? Just click here.) The first addition:


Fotofest didn’t have a favicon on its website a week ago, but they got on the ball and created one, making them eligible for Favify inclusion. Remember, to be eligible, your site needs to be listed on Glasstire’s Links page AND have a favicon. Once you meet these requirements, give me a nudge via twitter or email (afd at afeverishdream dot com).

I’m thrilled to be able to include Fotofest in Favify. They gave me my first big exhibition opportunity (Native Sons, 2006) and remain near and dear to my heart. Bring on the 2010 Biennial!

AFD Two : Get Money, Give Money

Consider this A Feverish Dream: Bailout Edition.

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Get Money Give Money is my take on the auto bailout as told through the favicons of a certain struggling automaker and the coinage producer for the U.S. Government. (Yes, I know, more favicons. Not every installment will be favi-riffic, I promise.)

We are a wealthy nation, certainly, but lately I’ve been trying to wrap my head around bailout quantities that stretch into the billions of dollars. Have you ever tried to visualize $13.4 billion, for example? Let’s say you were to receive $100 for every second since December 19, 2008. Sounds great, right? By now you would have a billion dollars and counting, as Get Money Give Money demonstrates. (The counter is retroactively set to have begun on that date.) Yet while that’s an enormous sum of money to you and me, it falls far short of the actual amount handed over. Sadly, it turns out that wasn’t even enough, as the receiving automaker filed for bankruptcy this past week. All told, the company’s bailout could now reach $50 billion.

So the next time you’re wondering where your government funds have gone to for this or that, perhaps this counter can remind you.

Meet the Favicons

With the concept of Favify being addressed in the previous post, I wanted to formally introduce the nine favicon renderings used to kick off the project. Keep in mind, the images that invade your screen are not official logos from Texas art organizations. Rather, they’re abstract virtual sculptures based on the website favicons of the organizations. Using Google SketchUp, I extend the pixels of the favicon into columns whose height is governed by that pixel’s color luminance. In some renderings, the tallest columns are the darkest pixels, and in others that scale is reversed. (The choice is an aesthetic one.)

More favicons will be added into the project throughout the summer, so if you’d like to see your institution/art site/blog crack into the queue, make sure it qualifies and shoot me an email or a tweet. Or, if you’d like to incorporate Favify on your own website, please see the Favify Your Website section.

The first nine favicons (in no particular order) are identified after the jump.

Continue reading ‘Meet the Favicons’

AFD One : Favify!

Welcome to A Feverish Dream, a weekly series of web-based work based on my musings from around the Internet. First up: Favify!

Favify takes its inspiration from Cornify, a script that creates an interruptive visual mélange of rainbows and unicorns on top of a website. Favify, rather, inundates your screen with sculptural abstractions of art-related favicons. You can try Favify out by repeatedly clicking the button below.



There, isn’t that better?


What’s a favicon?
For those unfamiliar, favicons are the tiny 16-by-16 pixel logos found in the address bar of an internet browser. They are unique to the World Wide Web, and I’m interested in how companies and individuals are using this tiny virtual real estate as an opportunity to convey their brands or other ideas. I’ve made abstract sculptural pieces from them in the past, but Favify allows for an unpredictable, online mashup of any number of favicon renderings.

Which favicons are being used in Favify?
Favify doesn’t feature just any favicons, of course. A Feverish Dream is thrilled to be sponsored by Glasstire, so the inaugural batch of favicons comes from institution websites found under the Texas Museums section on their Links page. I was a bit sad to find that most of the listed websites (including those from some of the larger museums) didn’t have a favicon at all. For shame!

There are nine favicons in the initial launch of Favify. Can you identify where they’re from? I’ll post a visual key on Friday, giving you a couple more days to ponder them.

New favicons will be added to the Favify library throughout the summer. I’ll use the entirety of the Glasstire Links page as my guide, so if you’d like a chance to see your institution/art site/blog represented in the Favify project, then (1) get a favicon on your site, and (2) get listed on Glasstire.

Can I Favify my website?
Yes you can – and I hope you do! Just visit the Favify Your Website section of the site to get all the details.