A BLOG FOR THE MOISTURE PROJECT, 2002-?

Monday, September 29, 2003

I rewrote my little comments...

• Are we still planning to have a quote on the home page that will link to different parts of the site?
ANSWER: Yes, this is what we wanted, correct? A number of quotes, was it not. I feel they open up a discussion and provide the proper context for a general understanding of the Moisture project without us having to hit them over the head with the meaning right away.

Bernard: We should repost those quotes and vote (from 1 to x) to see which one should appear on the home page.

• Claude you are writing the introductory text, is that right?
ANSWER: Yes. First of all, the text we've been tossing about can be used as 'introductory text.' And that is how I hope it will function unless someone feels it is not appropriate or is missing something. Anyone is free to construct their own version and post it for discussion. But please do it asap.
By the way, can someone take it upon themselves to take my first version of those questions and take the 'better wordings' found in Bernard and Kahty's postings?? That would take a load off of my shoulders.

• Moisture questions (Where will they be on the website?)
See above. The questions I see as the 'introductory text' are the very same questions you've spoken of. Positioning? Where they will be? Your question probably has an answer. You tell me where you think they should go. Right now were are getting into design questions and it is best not to have all 7 of us worrying about the design of things or we will never get the things built. We've given Steve Rowell a basic idea of what is wanted and now we can see what he will put together. Please tell me specifics of how you would like things to look and I can communicate them to Steve. I've taken all the notes from the last meetings we've had and have translated them to Steve so he can understand what we want. When he starts to built the site, he will post things and we can look at them. Please refer to the Adode Acrobat site map I forwarded to you all weeks ago. I touch more on the arrangement of things below, but the specifics can't really be gone into (with detail) here unless you want me to write a good 5 pages worth. And nobody wants that! :-)

Bernard: I'm getting a little confused with the texts. "Moisture questions" or 'Thoughts on Moisture' as introductory text? (is this text still being thought of as second page?)
By the way, when could we see a first draft of the website?

• What are the quotes for?
I see the quotes as an interface to the main bodies of text.
Maybe they could work like this: http://www.atavar.com/thethingasitis/
We could have one quote after another, finally stopping at a series of link buttons taking the navigator to the list of possible texts. The quotes will act as a framing device for the images and texts they will see as they move through the site.

Bernard: It could be interesting to use the same technique (see: thethingasitis). But do we have enough appropriate quotes?


• Do we still think about a blurb per participant?
I do think this is a good idea though I must say that I'm not interested in people linking personal URLs, bios, artist statements and other unneeded information. I've thought about this over the last week and, as the coordinator, I've decided that this is not in keeping with Moisture's ideology and why it was started. If we do this, the components will be focused-on...much like in a typical group show displayed in a gallery. Feel free to take the URL, when the site is done, and link it from your own pages and give it to others and say: "This is a project I'm involved with." I must hold fast to this statement as I feel that Moisture will come to an end when the individual artist is fore-grounded.

Bernard: We should collect individual pictures of the participants to include them with their own blurb; which, I think, should be limited to a certain number of words (how many?) and without references to prior work.

• Texts and images describing the process.
YES. We do need this and you, Bernard, are the only one who has given this to me. Others: you still have time...do not fret, but get to me within the next week.

•Is there anymore text to be included?
We need a clear organisation of the different texts. This way we won't write too much and uselessly.

At present there is a very clear organization of image and text. I'm glad you pointed that out, Bernard, because I was just going to have the whole thing be a big unorganized heap of images and rants! ;-)
I do understand that this needs to be so.
Concerning text: These are the following segments:

1. 'Thoughts on Moisture' (an essay written by myself required by the Greenmusuem for the online exhibition)
2. 'Notes on Hinkley' (by Bernard...has some gaps that need to be filled in)

Bernard: Help!

3. 'Quotes' to function as portals (a nice big list we have)
4. The link page (please add more if you like...we have lots).
5. The 'What Is Moisture' text to provide the important info.
6. Moisture books. (please add)
7. The texts relevant to the individual components (only Bernard has provided his, so far)
8. Have provided a list of CDs linked to the land-search travels (i.e. all CDs listened to in Deena's Jeep over the 2 month long land search)
9. What other text segments are needed?

Bernard: I would like to see some kind of log made of extracts from emails, blogs and other notes, that would be dated, accompanying pictures and other iconographical data.

IMAGES have been divided into the following categories:

1. Construction process (of the various components/works from Moisture 1)
2. Finished works (images ranging from 10/02 to the present)
3. The Land Search
4. Misc. Animals and Weirdness
5. Moisture Meetings
6. The Surrounding Area
7. Susan's Video Stills

note: these are not fixed categories, but ways of arranging them so that they make some kind of sense. Your thoughts?

Bernard:I think this image organization for the pictures is good for our archives but on the website they should appear related to particular dates, field trips, notes, etc. Don't you think?

Overall, our images outnumber text about 9 to 1. And that's not a bad thing. Some have worried that the site will be 'text- heavy', but we are very far from that. I had hoped for a balance, but it seems we will not have that....but it just comes down to positioning. We have to think of our text as image and how it can meld nicely with the Jpegs we have.

That's it for now.
Bernard

Sunday, September 28, 2003

I rewrote my little comments...

• Are we still planning to have a quote on the home page that will link to different parts of the site?
ANSWER: Yes, this is what we wanted, correct? A number of quotes, was it not. I feel they open up a discussion and provide the proper context for a general understanding of the Moisture project without us having to hit them over the head with the meaning right away.

Bernard: We should repost those quotes and vote (from 1 to x) to see which one should appear on the home page.

• Claude you are writing the introductory text, is that right?
ANSWER: Yes. First of all, the text we've been tossing about can be used as 'introductory text.' And that is how I hope it will function unless someone feels it is not appropriate or is missing something. Anyone is free to construct their own version and post it for discussion. But please do it asap.
By the way, can someone take it upon themselves to take my first version of those questions and take the 'better wordings' found in Bernard and Kahty's postings?? That would take a load off of my shoulders.

• Moisture questions (Where will they be on the website?)
See above. The questions I see as the 'introductory text' are the very same questions you've spoken of. Positioning? Where they will be? Your question probably has an answer. You tell me where you think they should go. Right now were are getting into design questions and it is best not to have all 7 of us worrying about the design of things or we will never get the things built. We've given Steve Rowell a basic idea of what is wanted and now we can see what he will put together. Please tell me specifics of how you would like things to look and I can communicate them to Steve. I've taken all the notes from the last meetings we've had and have translated them to Steve so he can understand what we want. When he starts to built the site, he will post things and we can look at them. Please refer to the Adode Acrobat site map I forwarded to you all weeks ago. I touch more on the arrangement of things below, but the specifics can't really be gone into (with detail) here unless you want me to write a good 5 pages worth. And nobody wants that! :-)

Bernard: I'm getting a little confused with the texts. "Moisture questions" or 'Thoughts on Moisture' as introductory text? (is this text still being thought of as second page?)
By the way, when could we see a first draft of the website?

• What are the quotes for?
I see the quotes as an interface to the main bodies of text.
Maybe they could work like this: http://www.atavar.com/thethingasitis/
We could have one quote after another, finally stopping at a series of link buttons taking the navigator to the list of possible texts. The quotes will act as a framing device for the images and texts they will see as they move through the site.

Bernard: It could be interesting to use the same technique (see: thethingasitis). But do we have enough appropriate quotes?


• Do we still think about a blurb per participant?
I do think this is a good idea though I must say that I'm not interested in people linking personal URLs, bios, artist statements and other unneeded information. I've thought about this over the last week and, as the coordinator, I've decided that this is not in keeping with Moisture's ideology and why it was started. If we do this, the components will be focused-on...much like in a typical group show displayed in a gallery. Feel free to take the URL, when the site is done, and link it from your own pages and give it to others and say: "This is a project I'm involved with." I must hold fast to this statement as I feel that Moisture will come to an end when the individual artist is fore-grounded.

Bernard: We should collect individual pictures of the participants to include them with their own blurb; which, I think, should be limited to a certain number of words (how many?) and without references to prior work.

• Texts and images describing the process.
YES. We do need this and you, Bernard, are the only one who has given this to me. Others: you still have time...do not fret, but get to me within the next week.

•Is there anymore text to be included?
We need a clear organisation of the different texts. This way we won't write too much and uselessly.

At present there is a very clear organization of image and text. I'm glad you pointed that out, Bernard, because I was just going to have the whole thing be a big unorganized heap of images and rants! ;-)
I do understand that this needs to be so.
Concerning text: These are the following segments:

1. 'Thoughts on Moisture' (an essay written by myself required by the Greenmusuem for the online exhibition)
2. 'Notes on Hinkley' (by Bernard...has some gaps that need to be filled in)

Bernard: Help!

3. 'Quotes' to function as portals (a nice big list we have)
4. The link page (please add more if you like...we have lots).
5. The 'What Is Moisture' text to provide the important info.
6. Moisture books. (please add)
7. The texts relevant to the individual components (only Bernard has provided his, so far)
8. Have provided a list of CDs linked to the land-search travels (i.e. all CDs listened to in Deena's Jeep over the 2 month long land search)
9. What other text segments are needed?

Bernard: I would like to see some kind of log made of extracts from emails, blogs and other notes, that would be dated, accompanying pictures and other iconographical data.

IMAGES have been divided into the following categories:

1. Construction process (of the various components/works from Moisture 1)
2. Finished works (images ranging from 10/02 to the present)
3. The Land Search
4. Misc. Animals and Weirdness
5. Moisture Meetings
6. The Surrounding Area
7. Susan's Video Stills

note: these are not fixed categories, but ways of arranging them so that they make some kind of sense. Your thoughts?

Bernard:I think this image organization for the pictures is good for our archives but on the website they should appear related to particular dates, field trips, notes, etc. Don't you think?

Overall, our images outnumber text about 9 to 1. And that's not a bad thing. Some have worried that the site will be 'text- heavy', but we are very far from that. I had hoped for a balance, but it seems we will not have that....but it just comes down to positioning. We have to think of our text as image and how it can meld nicely with the Jpegs we have.

That's it for now.
Bernard
For the x time, I've lost all my comments hitting the f.... wrong button!
Bernard

Saturday, September 27, 2003

Hello Bernard and All,

Good questions to be asked. Hope we all have answers for them.

••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••

• Are we still planning to have a quote on the home page that will link to different parts of the site?
ANSWER: Yes, this is what we wanted, correct? A number of quotes, was it not. I feel they open up a discussion and provide the proper context for a general understanding of the Moisture project without us having to hit them over the head with the meaning right away.

• Claude you are writing the introductory text, is that right?
ANSWER: Yes. First of all, the text we've been tossing about can be used as 'introductory text.' And that is how I hope it will function unless someone feels it is not appropriate or is missing something. Anyone is free to construct their own version and post it for discussion. But please do it asap.
By the way, can someone take it upon themselves to take my first version of those questions and take the 'better wordings' found in Bernard and Kahty's postings?? That would take a load off of my shoulders.

• Moisture questions (Where will they be on the website?)
See above. The questions I see as the 'introductory text' are the very same questions you've spoken of. Positioning? Where they will be? Your question probably has an answer. You tell me where you think they should go. Right now were are getting into design questions and it is best not to have all 7 of us worrying about the design of things or we will never get the things built. We've given Steve Rowell a basic idea of what is wanted and now we can see what he will put together. Please tell me specifics of how you would like things to look and I can communicate them to Steve. I've taken all the notes from the last meetings we've had and have translated them to Steve so he can understand what we want. When he starts to built the site, he will post things and we can look at them. Please refer to the Adode Acrobat site map I forwarded to you all weeks ago. I touch more on the arrangement of things below, but the specifics can't really be gone into (with detail) here unless you want me to write a good 5 pages worth. And nobody wants that! :-)

• What are the quotes for?
I see the quotes as an interface to the main bodies of text.
Maybe they could work like this: http://www.atavar.com/thethingasitis/
We could have one quote after another, finally stopping at a series of link buttons taking the navigator to the list of possible texts. The quotes will act as a framing device for the images and texts they will see as they move through the site.

• Do we still think about a blurb per participant?
I do think this is a good idea though I must say that I'm not interested in people linking personal URLs, bios, artist statements and other unneeded information. I've thought about this over the last week and, as the coordinator, I've decided that this is not in keeping with Moisture's ideology and why it was started. If we do this, the components will be focused-on...much like in a typical group show displayed in a gallery. Feel free to take the URL, when the site is done, and link it from your own pages and give it to others and say: "This is a project I'm involved with." I must hold fast to this statement as I feel that Moisture will come to an end when the individual artist is fore-grounded.

• Texts and images describing the process.
YES. We do need this and you, Bernard, are the only one who has given this to me. Others: you still have time...do not fret, but get to me within the next week.

•Is there anymore text to be included?
We need a clear organisation of the different texts. This way we won't write too much and uselessly.

At present there is a very clear organization of image and text. I'm glad you pointed that out, Bernard, because I was just going to have the whole thing be a big unorganized heap of images and rants! ;-)
I do understand that this needs to be so.
Concerning text: These are the following segments:

1. 'Thoughts on Moisture' (an essay written by myself required by the Greenmusuem for the online exhibition)
2. 'Notes on Hinkley' (by Bernard...has some gaps that need to be filled in)
3. 'Quotes' to function as portals (a nice big list we have)
4. The link page (please add more if you like...we have lots).
5. The 'What Is Moisture' text to provide the important info.
6. Moisture books. (please add)
7. The texts relevant to the individual components (only Bernard has provided his, so far)
8. Have provided a list of CDs linked to the land-search travels (i.e. all CDs listened to in Deena's Jeep over the 2 month long land search)
9. What other text segments are needed?

IMAGES have been divided into the following categories:

1. Construction process (of the various components/works from Moisture 1)
2. Finished works (images ranging from 10/02 to the present)
3. The Land Search
4. Misc. Animals and Weirdness
5. Moisture Meetings
6. The Surrounding Area
7. Susan's Video Stills

note: these are not fixed categories, but ways of arranging them so that they make some kind of sense. Your thoughts?

Overall, our images outnumber text about 9 to 1. And that's not a bad thing. Some have worried that the site will be 'text- heavy', but we are very far from that. I had hoped for a balance, but it seems we will not have that....but it just comes down to positioning. We have to think of our text as image and how it can meld nicely with the Jpegs we have.

Good bye for now,

----CLAUDE

Friday, September 26, 2003

It would be practical to know how many written parts we will have on the website besides the Blogg.
• Are we still planning to have a quote on the home page that will link to different parts of the site?
• Claude you are writing the introductory text, is that right?
• Moisture questions (Where will they be on the website?)
• What are the quotes for?
• Do we still think about a blurb per participant?
• Texts and images describing the process.
Is there anymore text to be included?
We need a clear organisation of the different texts. This way we won't write too much and uselessly.
Please edit this.
Bernard
When I wrote:"I thought this term was a no no for Moisture", I was not refering to functional (how could I? Fonctionality is what we are playing with, right?) but to the word sculptural. In writing this I was having fun teasing/testing everybody (myself included).

On a more serious note, I heard the word sculptural mentioned quite a few times since we started Moisture2 and I am all for it, especially, and not exclusively, if these elements are also functional.
Claude you started writing: BERNARD SAID and I'm adding it in this paragraph, to make it more clear:
*What has happened since Phase One of Moisture? Did the individual components function as planned? What was learned over the course of the last year?
We’ve had to do many things since the last phase of the project. First of all, our time has been consumed with a land search. We decided to move off of the grounds of the CLUI Desert Research Station and further into the Harper Basin, enabling us to get a better sense of the region by understanding how water flows through it. The initial plan was to work on land that we had no permission to use. We decided that this was too risky. None of us wanted our installations to be gunned down by the locals, and we didn’t want any of our test equipment destroyed. The land search has allowed us to feel connected BERNARD SAID (don't think this term is appropriate, why not: " ... allowed ud to get a better understanding of this area") for to this area. The Harper Basin has revealed itself as a mysterious place. It’s certainly not a place that time has forgotten, but it is, rather, a place littered with traces of human use. It’s a place not easily described, and more easily felt. BERNARD SAID (it's more easily felt.)

Claude, I think you are right, the mention that dew collection is probably impossible is going too much into details. I think that I should keep it for my personal contribution. A little correction though, in my sentence: (The climatological conditions showed us that there can be no dew k no dew collection k what is left is water harvesting.) The K's where originaly arrows.

Bernard

Wednesday, September 24, 2003

Hello All,

I have responded below to the comments on the writings I posted to the group last week.
Thanks so much for taking the time to read through them, and for contributing to the overall discussion of how Moisture should be framed. Would love to hear from the rest of the 'silent' partners.

----CLAUDE 9-24-03

See my comments below.....

BERNARD:
I was wondering if these "Moisture questions" are thought of as answers to FAQ's.

CLAUDE:
Maybe not an FAQ because the questions have not been asked by others yet. We could see these as questions that show an anticipation of what we expect to be asked.

• How did the Moisture collective come together?
We all found each other, nothing was rigidly structured. No slides were sent thru the mail. No artists statements. and no official call. We approached those whom we thought would be interested and others approached us. Living in the world’s second largest desert city has had its affect on all of us. In a sense, we were drawn together with a common interest. Translating our understanding of Los Angeles water scarcity was not difficult when we moved to work further inland, into the Mojave Desert. Our concerns were the same, but the human presence was downplayed. We found ourselves in a new semi-rural environment. Not a pristine one at all, but one that needed to be looked at closely.

BERNARD:
I'm not sure it answers the question. I was thinking that: "Moisture started with an idea from one person, but it has evolved and taken its own form." should belong here.

SUSAN:
I completely disagree. I think the initial answer is much more acurate. Certainly it has been something I have been thinking about for a long time and only come to fruition as the result of finding like minded souls

CLAUDE:
I like your notation, Bernard, and I also think that Susan's comments are useful too. If those finding out about Moisture do so via the internet or thru stories, we have the right to start our own myths and spread them out. You are right, one person did set the ball rolling, but more important is that it is still rolling.

*What were the initial goals and how did the resulting project reflect them? 
The initial plan was to develop location-sensitive structures for the collection, retention, and use/reuse of water in the Mojave Desert. We later considered experimentation with the creation of micro-climates. All activities to be carried out within one of the driest desert regions on the planet.

Since the winter of 2002, the evolving project has developed into an annual research program centered on the Harper Dry Lake Basin, near Hinkley, California. The current phase of the program involves the design and construction of functional sculptural BERNARD SAID: (I thought this term was a no no for Moisture) objects, installed in relation to the ground, and the hydraulic matrix of the region. All individual components of Moisture are to be seen as puzzle-pieces aiding in the long-range understanding of this unique closed-basin. BERNARD SAID: These last two sentences don't seem to me to be clear enough.

SUSAN:
Why is functional sculpture a "No-No" I think it's appropriate, or maybe include functional and non-functional sculpture. I really like the puzzle peice aspect, very much.

CLAUDE: When did we state that "Functional" was a 'no-no'? I know that within the most visible of contemporary art worlds "functional" art gets the thumbs down. I don't think it's anything for one to get their panties in bunch over. Are the last sentences not clear enough? I don't know.
They do give a sense of what we 'have been/will be' doing, but specifics are left out. Perhaps this what we want. Feeling the need to 'spell out' everything could get us into trouble. We might as well mimic the processes by which other disciplines work. Are we scientists? No. Can we engage in science? Yes. Anyone who makes coffee does. Can we create our own way of presenting our information without falling into the 'myth of the artist who works with science' trap? I think we can. Please feel free to rewrite my words making them clearer and post them back. Please note: Comments are wanted, but I'm always more pleased when someone takes a knife to my words. Please re-write it and see how it works.

The Harper Basin is a distinct drainage basin within the Mojave Desert, and as an exhausted agricultural area, with a large dry lake at its bottom, its history and present condition is emblematic of modern human development in desert regions. The Moisture collective intend to establish a prolonged presence in this Harper Basin, working both with and against the regions changing water cycles.

*What has happened since Phase One of Moisture? Did the individual components function as planned? What was learned over the course of the last year?
We’ve had to do many things since the last phase of the project. First of all, our time has been consumed with a land search. We decided to move off of the grounds of the CLUI Desert Research Station and further into the Harper Basin, enabling us to get a better sense of the region by understanding how water flows through it. The initial plan was to work on land that we had no permission to use. We decided that this was too risky. None of us wanted our installations to be gunned down by the locals, and we didn’t want any of our test equipment destroyed. The land search has allowed us to feel connected (don't think this term is appropriate, why not: " ... allowed ud to get a better understanding of this area") for to this area. The Harper Basin has revealed itself as a mysterious place. It’s certainly not a place that time has forgotten, but it is, rather, a place littered with traces of human use. It’s a place not easily described, and more easily felt. (it's more easily felt.)

CLAUDE: When I mentioned "gunned-down" I meant "us" not our works! :-) It wasn't meant to be the most serious of statements. "...allowed us to get a better understanding of this area" works better. Thanks, Bernard! What's wrong with that last sentence?

The many months after the first phase allowed us to stand back and observe the works we made on the DRS property. Many of the components had not functioned as we had planned, and some of our initial ideas were almost too outlandish considering the location. We’ve since had to rethink our strategy for Moisture Phase Two. (The climatological conditions showed us that there can be no dew k no dew collection k what is left is water harvesting.)

CLAUDE: Should we have specifics about 'no dew' in a section that is designed primarily to give those who want quick info? Perhaps we should. Other comments?? Convince me, please.

*Can you sum up exactly what Moisture is?
Unfortunately, none of us involved with Moisture wants to do just that. We do not see Moisture as a project that can be neatly tied up with a bow and talked about in sound bites. The curator is often the one who imposes his vision on a group of artists, corralling them together so their works justify his or her curatorial stance. Moisture started with an idea from one person, but it has evolved and taken its own form. There is no curator for this project. Those involved with Moisture are artists and the entire project itself is seen, by the participants, as the art. The individual components (i.e. the artists experimental works) are only one of the many crucial elements needed to allow Moisture to succeed, at least in our eyes. The collective involvement, the meetings, the discussions, the disagreements, and the failed experiments are all needed to make this project worthwhile. Moisture has grown, from being a project concerned with understanding water’s elusive path in a desert environment, into a project directly engaged with a specific region within the Mojave Desert.

BERNARD:
Gathering informations on:
• The impact of the population on this particular environment.
• Techniques, ancient and new, to replenish aquifers and  to allow to live in desert areas in an ecologicaly responsible way.
We are responding to the growing concerns about the scarcity of water, which is becoming the problem #1 of survival on this planet

SUSAN:
I disagree with these additionas. They are just the kind of summation that Claude refers to us trying to avoid.

CLAUDE:
Are we gathering info on the human impact? I don't know if this is something we want to foreground though that is something in our minds and very evident in the images we will have on the site. I have an entire folder of images: 'things riddled with bullets'. Does the human impact on the Mojave counterbalance the natural geological and climatic change? Human's have definitely brought down the water table in the region, but that is only a footnote to our activities. Water scarcity and ancient/contemporary aquifer replenishment can be learned about through our links page (please send some links for this, Bernard). And true, we are responding to the regional and global problem of water, but in a more clandestine way. There are many who claims themselves to be 'Eco-artists' and some of these folks have a message that must be clearly transmitted in their work. Moisture is what it is. We are building things in the Mojave that 'hopefully' will interact with the hydrological cycle. All of these other peripheral concerns/interests should not be kept out of our discussion, but we should not wear them on our sleeves.
Moisture, as a project, sends out many signals to those who wish to listen. Not one clear one.
If we streamline the basic info, those who have come to the 'info section' can draw their own conclusions. Remember, the online exhibition/web site will be on Greenmusuem.org. Those who hit their site already have some idea of what to expect.

••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••

BERNARD:
Claude,
    I've found your email!
    I loved the first quote from Craig Childs, it made me dizy for a split second.

"Water created life the way it creates creeks or springs. It did this, I think, so it could get into places it could not otherwise reach, so that I would act as a vehicle carrying it into the desert. As living beings, we consider ourselves to be independent with our fingers, arms, and voices. Unlike alpine creeks, we are not all tied together so we might imagine that we each behave with free will. We can tie our own shoelaces and write poetry. But especially as I drink the last of my water, I believe that we are subjects of the planet’s hydrologic process, too proud to write ourselves into textbooks along with clouds, rivers, and morning dew. When I walk cross-country, I am nothing but the beast carrying water to its next stop. " Craig Childs.

BERNARD:                                                                 
    But I don't agree with the first sentence. Water is probably the womb of certain specific forms of life but didn't "create life".
    Life is something else. Personaly, I would tend to believe the Schopenauerian theory of the Will behind any manifestation of life.

    To end on a different note I love this sentence from Kafka:

"We are so happy when we do what is almost superfluous but fail to do precisely what is almost necessary."

CLAUDE:
I do agree that water is a 'womb' of sorts. Good of you to point that out. Keep in mind that it is a quote and it doesn't really matter if we agree or disagree with it. If we feel that the chosen quote is irrelevant to the Moisture discussion/Website we should make a note of it. If the said quote doesn't follow our own philosophies, challenges them, or is not at all in line with our own personal perceptions, I think it is a good quote. The quotes we use should support our focus and challenge it. And please do fill me in on this "Schopenauerian theory of the Will behind any manifestation of life." Do you think we should pull the Child's quote you mention above?
And I do like your Kafka quote. Well chosen and very relevant to the project.

Monday, September 22, 2003

Look I don't understand why, if we are going to have quotes from a variety of writers, we can't include visual information from a variety of visual artists as well. What's the difference? I don't see where you get this notion of demagogery from, Bernard. I see it more as building in a kind of context for the work we are doing.
SE
Hello all,

I just spoke with John Izbicki from the USGS in San Diego. His research involves water movement through thick unsaturated zones underlying intermittent streams in the Mojave Desert. Last week he sent Deena & I a number of his published papers. We've yet to go thru them, but I'm certain they'll be quite helpful to us. I learned that he has a recharge pond in Victorville...near Bear-Valley Rd. and Amethyst. He was telling me how he has been able to get water down almost 250 feet.....the water table being 400 feet. But the main problem has been evaporation rate. Almost 10 gallons a minute! Yikes. I remember reading about the evaporation rate of major reservoirs in the SoCal region being about 4 meters per year. That's more acre-feet than I can calculate! While on the phone, we also talked about stream channels/washes used for recharge and the moisture content found in the soils taken from said areas. The moisture content was found at 20% compared to the moisture content found in soils taken from your 'typical' site which would only show approx 1%. He told most soils in the Mojave have so little moisture in them that they almost appear as ash. He will be a very helpful contact for us as he is willing to give advice if we need it.

He told me to contact a Russel Johnson, also from the San Diego USGS, next week. He may be able to advise us on the site set-up.

About my Friday meeting with Alfred Kobsa: It was uneventful. He showed me a number of specialized data visualization programs, but none of them dealt with time as a variable. Oddly enough, we looked at data taken from a 'dating' survey and ran it thru a number of programs...mostly those developed in Europe. I've come to the conclusion that using a software program to interpret, or visualize our moisture data might make things too abstract for ourselves and others wishing to understand the functionality of our constructions. I've realized that the modem we use in the desert can talk to me via phone. It will have a voice. I can also accept data using a provided program and key-in the data by hand. So, I now think this: Why not turn our data visualization needs into a BLOG. A couple times a week, over the next year, I could dial up the modem and collect the data. I could then make postings, do some analysis, and present the 'findings' on the Beall site. We could then all do the interpretation rather than allow some impenetrable visualization program to do the job. Frequent visits to the site....photos and video over the next year could be added to the site and someone could see the functionality of the work over the period of a year.

Just some thoughts.

----Claude
I loved the first quote from Craig Childs, it made me dizy for a split second.

"Water created life the way it creates creeks or springs. It did this, I think, so it could get into places it could not otherwise reach, so that I would act as a vehicle carrying it into the desert. As living beings, we consider ourselves to be independent with our fingers, arms, and voices. Unlike alpine creeks, we are not all tied together so we might imagine that we each behave with free will. We can tie our own shoelaces and write poetry. But especially as I drink the last of my water, I believe that we are subjects of the planet’s hydrologic process, too proud to write ourselves into textbooks along with clouds, rivers, and morning dew. When I walk cross-country, I am nothing but the beast carrying water to its next stop. " Craig Childs.


But I don't agree with the first sentence. Water is probably the womb of certain specific forms of life but didn't "create life".
Life is something else. Personaly, I would tend to believe the Schopenauerian theory of the Will behind any manifestation of life.

To end on a different note I love this sentence from Kafka:

"We are so happy when we do what is almost superfluous but fail to do precisely what is almost necessary."

B.

Saturday, September 20, 2003

Pristine
Bullet point is option 8.
Hello gang,

Some new quotes.......enjoy!

Water created life the way it creates creeks or springs. It did this, I think, so it could get into places it could not otherwise reach, so that I would act as a vehicle carrying it into the desert. As living beings, we consider ourselves to be independent with our fingers, arms, and voices. Unlike alpine creeks, we are not all tied together so we might imagine that we each behave with free will. We can tie our own shoelaces and write poetry. But especially as I drink the last of my water, I believe that we are subjects of the planet’s hydrologic process, too proud to write ourselves into textbooks along with clouds, rivers, and morning dew. When I walk cross-country, I am nothing but the beast carrying water to its next stop.

                                                                  -----Craig Childs

An organism can keep alive only if it is continually interacting with its environment, which includes the integration of factors such as soil, water, light radiation, temperature, wind, humidity and so forth.

                                                              ----Michael Evenari

Wherever there is water, life can become active in the material world; where there is no water this possibility ceases. Water is essentially the element of life, wherever possible it wrests life from death. It is everywhere a mediator between contrasts, which grow sharper where it is absent. Thus is brings together elements hostile to one another, constantly creating something new out of them. It dissolves what is solid, rendering it back to life.
----Theodore Schwenk

We are not as ephemeral as clouds. We cannot dissipate at the first downtrend in humidity, then expect to re-form elsewhere so we have developed legs to walk us to the shade and hands with which we can construct faucets and swimming pools. Like any stage of the hydrologic process we have our own pecularities, our organs make us nothing more than water pools or springs of bizarre shape, filled with pulsing tubes and chambers.
                                                               
---Criag Childs

What I am beginning to sense is that the closest we can come to understanding the land without actually walking and climbing it is oddly enough, not through the science of measurement, through cartography, but through art, whether it is Chinese landscape painting or the immense sculptures of Michael Heizer. But though the former uses clouds, atmospheric fading, and progressively overlaid outlines of topology to evoke a psychological distance parallel to that actually in the mountians, thus bringing forth the awe-full nature of large empty space, the latter establishes the bedrock geometry underlying cognition.

---William Fox

Although the desert is not a blank slate, it’s empty enough in comparison to why we are used to that we’re prone to transform it in our imagination into a literal void that happily receives our mythic inventions, which range from the Victorian and the Lone Ranger to the space operas that have evolved from those stories, such as Star Wars.

---William Fox

Human History becomes more and more a race between education and catastrophe.

---H.G. Wells

In nature there are neither rewards nor punishments--there are only consequences.

---R.G. Ingersoll

Millions have lived without love. No one has lived without water.

---Turkish businessman, 1998



Whisky is for drinkin’; water is for fightin’.

---Mark Twain

Why repeat mistakes when there are so many new ones to make?

---Descartes

Living things depend on water but water does not depend on living things. It has a life of its own.

----E.C. Pielou


Hello all,

I've been working on a 'bullet-point' analysis of Moisture. Let me know what any of you think of this bit. I think it works well.

---Claude

••••••••••••••••••••••••


Moisture Questions:

How did the Moisture collective come together?
We all found each other, nothing was rigidly structured. No slides were sent thru the mail. No artists statements. and no official call. We approached those whom we thought would be interested and others approached us. Living in the world’s second largest desert city has had its affect on all of us. In a sense, we were drawn together with a common interest. Translating our understanding of Los Angeles water scarcity was not difficult when we moved to work further inland, into the Mojave Desert. Our concerns were the same, but the human presence was downplayed. We found ourselves in a new semi-rural environment. Not a prestine one at all, but one that needed to be looked at closely.


*What were the initial goals and how did the resulting project reflect them? 
The initial plan was to develop location-sensitive structures for the collection, retention, and use/re-use of water in the Mojave Desert. We later considered experimentation with the creation of micro-climates. All activities to be carried out within one of the driest desert regions on the planet.

Since the winter of 2002, the evolving project has developed into an annual research program centered on Harper Dry Lake, near Hinkley, California. The current phase of the program involves the design and construction of functional sculptural objects, installed in relation to the ground, and the hydraulic matrix of the region. All individual components of Moisture are to be seen as puzzle-pieces aiding in the long-range understanding of this unique closed-basin

The Harper Basin is a distinct drainage basin within the Mojave Desert, and as an exhausted agricultural area, with a large dry lake at its bottom, its history and present condition is emblematic of modern human development in desert regions. The Moisture collective intend to establish a prolonged presence in this Harper Basin, working both with and against the regions changing water cycles.


*What was the structure for Moisture?
Phase One was loosely planned, meaning lots of room for happenstance and collaboration. Our ideas often fit together well without any forcing. We did bring in some artists to carry out a site survey for Phase Two, giving them a chance to understand the area and propose a work. This plan did not work well for us so we’ve decided to stick to our original core group.

*What has happened since Phase One of Moisture? Did the individual components function as planned? What was learned over the course of the last year?
We’ve had to do many things since the last phase of the project. First of all, our time has been consumed with a land search. We decided to move off of the gounds of the CLUI Desert Research Station and further into the Harper Basin, enabling us to get a better sense of the region by understanding how water flows through it. The initial plan was to work on land that we had no permission to use. We decided that this was too risky. None of us wanted to be gunned down by the locals, and we didn’t want any of our test equipment destroyed. The land search has allowed us to feel connected to this area. The Harper Basin has revealed itself as a mysterious place. It’s certainly not a place that time has forgotten, but it is, rather, a place littered with traces of human use. It’s a place not easily descibed, and more easilty felt.

The many months after the first phase allowed us to stand back and observe the works we made on the DRS property. Many of the components had not functioned as we had planned, and some of our initial ideas were almost too outlandish considering the location. We’ve since had to re-think our strategy for Moisture Phase Two.

*Can you sum up exactly what Moisture is?
Unfortunately, none of us involved with Moisture wants to do just that. We do not see Moisture as a project that can be neatly tied up with a bow and talked about in soundbites. The curator is often the one who imposes his vision on a group of artists, coralling them together so their works justify his or her curatorial stance. Moisture started with an idea from one person, but it has evolved and taken its own form. There is no curator for this project. Those involved with Moisture are artists and the entire project itself is seen, by the participants, as the art. The individual components (i.e. the artists experimental works) are only one of the many crucial elements needed to allow Moisture to succeed, at least in our eyes. The collective involvement, the meetings, the discussions, the disagreements, and the failed experiments are all needed to make this project worthwhile. Moisture has grown, from being a project concerned with understanding water’s elusive path in a desert environment, into a project directly enaged with
a specific region within the Mojave Desert.



Nobody here? What a bummer!
B.

Thursday, September 18, 2003

A little addenda to my last post:
I wrote: The idea of bullet points seduces me. Instead of arid, etc. why couldn't we have links to more details?

The link could be something like (more...) (in whatever other color the web designer would choose) color
Sorry Claude! I didn't pay attention, I didn't see the SE at the end.
I cannot edit my past posting, can I? Let's change it to:
Susan! How could you? Etc...
Claude, I think you're right , the timeline that you wrote doesn't really do it
The idea of bullet points seduces me. Instead of arid, etc. why couldn't we have links to more details?
Bernard

Wednesday, September 17, 2003

Hey Bernard,

That quote is not mine. It was from Susan!
Didn't you see the SE at the end?

----Claude


Hey Bernard,

That quote is not mine. It was from Susan!
Didn't you see the SE at the end?

----Claude
Claude, pretty please, with sugar on top: Could I possibly get a peek at this Moisture History Timeline? Or doesn't it exist yet?
"You could click on a button and see what earlier art works, video, still, other, influenced the work you are about to watch. "
Claude! How could you? That's a kind of demagoguery I would readily flee from.
Moisture2 should not need explanations. Is it obscure? Who cares! In the worst case a tiny hint of filiation to (?) "art in/for nature" (or others) should suffice, don't you think?
Water is a huge issue, concerns about it are growing all around the world. Moisture is a minuscule contribution made by a few artists aware of that issue.
The whole process is the piece itself. The real problem we are facing: How well will we report it on the web presence?
Bernard
Bernard, great work on the Hinkley information, and that's a georgeous aerial view!
I don't know Sam, and even though his idea's of art may not jive with us, I like his organizational skills. The moist, semi-arid and arid idea is okay - if a little cute. I was looking at a DVD program yesterday and they did something really nice that might apply to us. They had a kind of art historical background for each piece. You could click on a button and see what earlier art works, video, still, other, influenced th e work you are about to watch. Maybe that's a good idea for us? Either as individuals or for the group as a whole. I mean we might include Smithson's Spiral jetty and Norman Klein's History of Forgetting or whatever. What do you think of this as a way t o contectualize for those having trouble?
SE

I understand your having trouble perceiving Moisture as art. At this point I don't really worry about it, but I do feel that what we are doing does link-up with a natural progression of art to take a new form. So much art is self-referential: "hey, look at me, nudge-nudge wink-wink...get the gag?...he he, I know my art history and I know you do....aren't I clever?" This game does not interest me. We are working with art with a little 'a'....We should just plow ahead. Worrying where we fit into the mix will only slow us down. I'm not so interested in focusing on the "art" of Moisture as Sam states. I think Moisture itself is the (a)rt, not the components exclusively: (the built works). Sam does understand this now after a long conversation I had with him yesterday. If we tie up moisture into a nice neat little package we risk its degredation. If we reduce talking about it in "sound-bites" we destroy its integrity.

Just some thoughts.

----Claude
Claude, Could I get a peek at this Moisture History Timeline?
Sam writes:"Again, you might want to really focus on the art in Moisture..."
For the time being I'm having a pretty hard time considering Moisture 2 as art, I'm most deeply troubled.
We are living in such a weird time, art history wise, I mean. Anything goes as long as you are able to sell it.
HELP!
Bbbbbernard

Tuesday, September 16, 2003

Hello all Moisture folks, Deena just spoke to Matt from the CLUI on the phone and it seems we are going to make 3 offers on properties this week. She'll talk to the real estate guy tomorrow and we'll see what happens. Today I was called back by a fellow from the San Diego USGS...he's very interested in what we are doing and he may provide assistance with the telemetry set-up once we get to that stage (hopefully late November). Friday Deena and I have an appointment with a fellow from the Software Institute at UCI. He plans to show us some data visualization software. I'll give a full report when I return from the meeting.

To Bernard: Thanks for the hard work on the Hinkley bit. I like where you're going with this...a little bit of fiction, a little bit of fact. Works well. Perhaps we could tie it together with bullet points, or do you prefer paragraph form? Remember, if you'd like to keep images inline with the text, we don't need to fix it up now. Steve can work his magic with it later when he starts to built the site.

I also touched base with Sam from Greenmusuem today. He looked at a bit of text I sent and he reponded by saying this:

••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••

Hey Claude,

"What if you offered 3 different versions of text?  Desert, semi-arid, and moist descriptions with differing degrees of information.  Moist would be a full set of all sorts of texts and juicy philosophical stuff while desert would just be a bare-bones couple paragraph description of the project and why anyone should care.  That way the textual presentation would fit the theme.  If the dry description was interesting, they might seek to retain more moisture and information in their heads and keep reading.  Gluttons would go straight for the mainline and people in a hurry just want the 5Ws and the H."

Something to consider at any rate,

Sam
•••••••••••••••••••••••••
I've been working on a Moisture History timeline and I had a version that was very detailed. But, it seems too detailed if we consider how most people navigate thru the Greenmuseum site. Another bit from Sam:

••••••••••••••••••••••••••••
Hi Claude,


We've done some testing of things at greenmuseum.org and seen the way most people speed through websites clicking on things madly like junkies looking for a fix. A good essay on why something is important and why they should care and lots of pictures and explanations of the art are usually at the top of people's list. 

Next come testimonial behind the scenes and practical accounts of how things came to be and what lessons were learned.  This helps people see how this stuff actually happens and might help others try something similar.  It could be that the Part One account below could fit into that mode.  If so, the more meaty you can make it, the better.  How were participants selected?  (It seems kind of random to anyone who doesn't know who these people are.)  What were the initial goals and how did the resulting project reflect them?  If the project was kind of random and loosely planned to give maximum room for happenstance, was this an effective strategy?  If you could do this over again, what would you change? 

I don't know if this is a direction you might want to take things.  Again, you might want to really focus on the art in Moisture and how the projects worked and what was learned.  Sort of a meta-narrative that joins together the project, the philosophies and comparing and contrasting approaches and lessons learned.  I imagine the artists will include descriptions of each of their projects, right?

Another interesting angle to me is the role of the three books mentioned at the beginning.  How do they fit in?  Could these be used in the exhibition, to contextualize the art and the project as a whole?  Is there a cool moisture metaphor that explains the way things were organized in the field and how they are presented here?  As curator, it's OK to give your perspective and spin on things. If you want Deena or someone else to add their take on the big picture, that's great, too.

Anyway, my thoughts.  Please take them with a grain of salt.  This is your exhibition so it's your baby and you know best how to present it all as an artwork.  Let me know what you think.

Best,

Sam
•••••••••••••••••••••••••••••

I reponded to Sam by phone saying that his ideas were mostly good ones, except for the fact that Moisture is perceived differently by each participant. Sure there is one clear mission that we've adhered to, but I don't believe that we want to tie up the Moisture program into a nice neat package like most of the other Greenmusuem online exhibitions do. We want to present clear information, but our site shouldn't dictate the project as would a nice newspaper article about our activities. The way one navigates thru the site should be directly tied to the content, but a clear, overarching conceptualizion of the entire project is not something I want, though maybe some of you do. Please let me know. I think we want to communicate moisture as best as we can while still leaving our site browsers still 'thirsty' for more. Please respond.

----CLAUDE




I'm stuck with the text about Hinkley.
Doesn't come...
Bernard

Monday, September 15, 2003

Claude asked me to write something about Hinkley.
- Updated environmental status.
- Satelite of Barstow (a few miles away).
- Population (?). 620 filed suit against P G & E.
- Inhabitants seem to be fleeting shadows, probably due to the harsh weather they hide in their houses and vehicles.
- One night, last year, drunk a beer with some locals at a bar on I-58, West of Hinkley road. (Anyone knows it's name?)
- Lots of houses seem empty and dilapidated.
Any ideas?
Bernard

>

Saturday, September 13, 2003

Finaly managed to get here.
Is that just a message thread?
How do I get pictures in my message?
Bernard

Friday, September 12, 2003

Hey!

Tuesday, September 09, 2003

Hey all!

Monday, September 08, 2003

Check out this bit on Smart Dust...may be helpful for Moisture.
I'm already on it.

---Claude

http://www-bsac.eecs.berkeley.edu/~pister/SmartDust/
Hey all,

Blah Blah. You know, it's much cooler today than it has been.

---Claude
Hello everyone,

This is the new Moisture blog! Please join in.

----Claude W.

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