Mildly Successful

I’ve had a few nice things happen recently that are nice little shots in the arm that make me at least feel like I have at least mild professional success.
First, today I had a phone interview with Moore Magazine, from Moore College of Art and Design. I am to be included in their fall issue which will focus on careers. It is of course an honor to be included (they put out a fantastic publication) but it was especially nice to essentially brag a little about myself. I realized somewhere in the middle of the interview that I’ve had a pretty good year professionally. So good, in fact, that it was hard to keep all of my various pursuits in mind. It’s always nice to be interviewed and actually be excited to share what’s going on. As a side note, I’ve also confirmed that I’m a terrible phone interviewee (I’m a “pacer”, seriously, I probably walked a couple miles), so no promises on the quality of the article that will result, though I have faith in their editors.

You can view past issues of Moore Magazine on their site.

I also am excited because I was hired as an adjunct professor of photography at Burlington County College. I actually just returned home from their new adjunct orientation event. I’ll be teaching Photo 1 in the darkroom (which I have taught before at Camden County College). I’m glad to be back in the college setting after a little break and looking forward to a great semester in the darkroom. What Fun! Now I just have to set up my syllabus and figure out how I’ll organize my semester.

Finally, I was accepted into an exhibition at Yell Gallery. I’ll be showing a piece I made a couple years back but never exhibited. It is always such a positive feeling when your work is accepted, I hope that never gets old (and of course, that it continues)

“Christina”, from the Social Portraits Series

Thesis Show Completed

On monday I broke down the Thesis show that had been up since graduation. It was a little surreal. Am I really DONE with school? Forever?! Surely that can’t be true. How does Dr. Panter sound to you? Then again, it’s a huge relief not having school work and reading to be doing. Now it’s just the daily task of using what I’ve learned being an artist, a professional artist. Essentially this requires me assigning my own projects, getting friends to critique and give feedback, and then finding some outlets for the work.
I’ve gotta continue to read too. I think I’ll start with all those non-mandatory articles and books that were suggested over the past few years since my professors were a fairly smart bunch. Rebecca Dubay (a simply fantastic teacher) gave me a chapter excerpt from Laura Mulvey’s Death 24x a Second which is first on my list. Then I think I want to reread at a slower pace Barthes’ Camera Lucida and Cartier-Bresson’s The Mind’s Eye. That should be a good start for some back to the basics photography reading as well as a semi recent analysis of video.
One thing that I’m really excited about is that I’m still staying in touch with my classmates. 2 and a half years is a long time and they’re all good friends, but it would be easy to get self involved and just forgetful, neglecting the bonds we’ve made. So, it really is a priority to keep up that community feel that we were so lucky to develop. I really think they are one of the best resources that I came away with from grad school.
Lastly, I’m including some installation shots for those of you who didn’t get to see the work. Hopefully I’ll have another opportunity to show some of it elsewhere in the not too distant future.

Return from a Brief Hiatus

Ok, I’m back into real life now and its time to start up my art brain again after having temporarily decommissioned it post graduation. But I had my rest and am now used to the daily routine of things enough to start working my practice into it (part of which includes maintaining this blog if for nothing else than to keep me consistently involved in thinking and producing something).

So really the big question is, now what? I have my terminal degree, the sky is the limit, and yet there are times that the limitations are all I feel, of money, time, and practicality. One thing that I am working on is applying for a Fulbright research grant. I’m still working out the details, and I have 1 month to get the details sorted and everything turned in, but I want to apply if for nothing else than the experience of taking all those steps. My wife is actually applying for the english teaching Fulbright as well, so we’re doubling our chances just to see if there is anything there for us. It seems like it could be now or never, so we might as well take a shot, right. In addition, I’m making it my goal to find one good Fellowship/Grand opportunity that I can apply to in the fall. We wrote one for a class this summer, which I may still send in, but I think there may be better fits that will serve me better, so I’m gonna keep my eyes and ears open for the right opportunities.

Finally, I want to produce some work. And, since ultimately I want people to see what I produce, I’ve got my sights on a few shows that I am making work towards. Right now I am in the early stages of development, but I am building off some of the ideas and imagery of my thesis, and just continuing to push myself and the concept through interesting territory, hopefully hitting on some great work and opportunity to show along the way. I’ll be throwing out some ideas as I post about what I’m thinking, where I’m going, and ultimately what I want to communicate.
In the mean time, here are some images of me during the final Thesis presentation/defense.

Presentation of my Written Thesis (despite what looks like an empty auditorium, there were more than 30 people there, it was fun)

Sara Gersbach and I talking about my #foodsunsetcats video piece.

Introducing my visual thesis to the crowd.

Q & A from the thesis panel

Final Week

I’ve been slacking on the blog, but I really have been pressed for time enough that it just never made it into my daily routine over the summer. The good news is, I have one week left and I feel in good shape. The written thesis is done, with one more presentation/defense left. My work is done except for the installation side of things. So, I’ve been putting a lot of time into my website (as an extension of a class that had us organize our portfolio for residency applications) and I’m pretty happy with it for now. Eventually I want to do something a little more custom, if for no other reason than I want to really learn some more web building skills, but for now I’ve just used 4ormat, which I would recommend to people who have portfolio they’d like to display in a minimal format. Anyway, benpanter.com, check it out.
The opening for the thesis show in the Levy Gallery at Moore is early afternoon on August 11th. I’m excited to be done, I’m excited for my work, and I’m excited for people to see the work in a gallery.

Noosphere, video, 2:30

State of the Thesis

I have two weeks until the final 6 week push to graduation, written thesis, and the thesis show. I feel like I’m in a solid place. I have one series of work in a solid situation, just thinking about details about presentation and stuff like that. Other work that will be in the show… I have many many ideas (3 or 4 pages of ideas to be exact) but of those I suppose only a handful are possible, and concisely fit within what I’ve already made. I’ve realized that while I want to use this show to let people see that I am an artist who may favor photography, but is constantly stretching into new areas that express what I am saying, I also must show that I can make a concise, clear, yet compelling body of work. I don’t want to appear scattered or unfocused, but I have to at the same time avoid making all the work one note. It is appearing to be more and more of a challenge with such a broad thesis topic to make sure my work is on point but still not overly simplified. And on the other hand I am still writing, or at this point more just fine tuning. I just finished reading through it with a fine tooth comb, figuring out what needs to be changed or reworked, and I gotta say, I’m pretty happy. It could never be an all encompassing document (could any really?) but I think it effectively communicates the breadth and importance of the overall topic, the specifics that I am most interested in, and how my work begins to problematize our digital status quo.

And as a side note, I decided to make my own Social Self-Portrait. Its funny that most of the images used are from Ireland, so I guess I wore a lot of the same thing and posed in the same way, because they lined up very easily.

Social Self-Portrait

Show Opening at Moore

The opening for the 5 into 1 show was yesterday. It was a good time. I got to meet and talk to a few people and see what other people in the area are working on. I do think that the more I look at work and think about my own work, there is at least one thing that I’m sure of. I want my work to tell the viewer that it is carefully made and that specific decisions were made for legitimate reasons. Maybe that is some kind of elitist perspective, but an increasing amount of work that I see doesn’t strike me as being  careful. Maybe it has become popular to be so “intuitive”(to use a trendy word) that specificity and even reason is lost, and to me communication is wrapped up in both of those things, and if that is completely lost, then what’s the point?

Here’s a link to a review of the show, both me and Sarah are mentioned:
http://www.knightarts.org/community/philadelphia/five-schools-in-one-show-at-moore

Installation in Progress, FAIL

Installation in progress

Here’s a little shot of the 5 into 1 installation before they are up on the wall. I was trying to use this show as a way of devising a hanging solution that could be broken down to make it more portable/storable. However, it was a resounding FAIL, so I had to undo an hour and a half’s work of hanging and resort to classic alligator clips. Visually I don’t really mind it, but it doesn’t scream “elegant solution” the way I’d like. Ultimately, I want no frame or structure or clips, just the print on the wall. if you have any ideas about how to do that, let me know.

Thesis Preface & Intro 4/4/12

Here is my preface and Introduction for my thesis as they stand right now. 

Preface
            I want to start by giving you some inside information as to why I find it important to be asking questions of technology. There could be a general concern for how people embrace the growing world of technology, or a simple fascination with how the virtual world is beginning to shape individuals’ psyches. But my interest lies on a much more personal level. I am part of the Millennial Generation. This generation is defined by being the first digital natives. They grew up with regular computer access. The World Wide Web hit mainstream and quickly became ordinary in daily lives. Digital technology became more present and accessible, bringing to life the science fiction of cell phones in everyone’s pockets and similar gadgets from forward looking novels. However, despite my date of birth placing me well within that definition, my siblings were a part of the previous generation, Generation X.  This generation was formed in entirely different circumstances. In relation to the digital technologies that so impacted the Millennials, Generations X’ers were introduced to its possibilities and promises, but did not witness it pervasiveness. Generation X saw the signs of the great transition from analog to digital, but remained rooted in the analog.

            There was a generational divide between siblings in my house that I believe in some respects gave me a unique perspective. My family would be classified as “late adopters”. They were not anti-technology or luddites in any way, their frame of reference was simply the physical world. That was their comfort zone. I can remember having a computer in the house when I was fairly young, but it was tucked away in the attic, out of sight, out of mind. Our first connection to the Internet frontier came in the early 2000’s during my high school career. I got my first cell phone in 2004, and it was the free one that came with the plan. The first time I used a digital camera was in 2005. I never owned (nor much played) a gaming console until 2007 when I was in college. All of this could mean almost nothing. There are plenty of other people with similar stories, but for me it allows me to start looking at the philosophical questions that have come about through this massive shift in frame of reference. I grew up in a home that was most comfortable in an analog world. I now live and work in the midst of the current society of digital connectivity. So, my research, the questions I ask and the work I make are not simply academic in nature. Essentially I am asking how to best exist in a world that is hurtling towards virtual existence.
Introduction:

            Changes in technology have an immense power to change us as people. Let me be clear, we do not set out to change ourselves through the tools we produce, rather our goal is often simply to find a better way of performing a given task. But each new technology in turn manufactures new ways of going through life, and the resulting behavioral shifts have a deeper impact on our identities than we could ever foresee.  In this paper I will address the question, “Does technology cause a shift in how we perceive our relationships and ourselves?” Then I will discuss two implications of that shift in depth in a kind of cost-benefit analysis of our current technology situation. It is within these two areas that my visual work is situated, asking the questions that I feel are being glazed over, ignored, or even covered up for the sake of advancement. However, I am not anti-technology; I am skeptical of all the marketing of shiny new things without being willing to ask difficult questions about how using them will change us. My conclusion is an ambiguous one. There are clear global and individual benefits to a life filled with technologies, but on the other hand, those things exert an unrelenting tug towards becoming something I do not want to become.

… There are about 24 more pages right now and I’m still going strong. Wish me luck. 
And don’t tell me about spelling/grammatical errors. 

Thesis Mind Map & Translation

Here is my starting point for organizing my written thesis. Good luck trying to make sense of it all, but to me it actually helped to write out all the stuff that was trapped in my brain and to organize it on paper in relation to all the other stuff I’m thinking over. I’m excited about the directions my research and work are taking me.

A Mind Map is a terrible thing to waste
A Mind Map is a Terrible Thing to Waste

And believe it or not, all that turned into this:

Identity and Connective Technology
Table of Contents

1. Preface
2. Introductions
3. Colors that end with “urple”
            Technology Natives are Beating their War Drums
            How Technology is Reshaping our Brains (literally)

            Socrates Hates Calculators
            Why This is Different & the Same as Before & Why That Does not Matter
4. The answer is 42, now what?
            The Internet is a Commi!
                        Google as the “Dialectical Good Evil”

                        The Hyperlink Paradox           
                        “F” Reading

                        All Hail the Hive
                        Reorganizing is the New Innovating: the death of just about everything

           Identity Disorder
                        Centripetal and Centrifugal
                        Web 2.0 Gone Wild
                        Life is like a…
                        Blindly laying offerings on the altar of technology
That’s the current table of Contents for my written thesis. I’m sure it will change as I go along, but I got excited when I realized that if I were to pick up a book at the library and look at this table of contents, I would probably keep reading. I’m thinking that might be a good sign.