Monday, August 08, 2005

Prairie Home Companions

I went to Minneapolis recently to do some work for my friend Kris.

Kris and Scott
Originally uploaded by Troy Smythe.

She and her husband Scott are wonderful friends of ours. The picture above is from Auriga's, one of the great places we ate. John had never been to Minnesota, so he came up for the weekend and we had a wonderful time.

Chuck Close Opening
Originally uploaded by Troy Smythe.

Kris's friend Robin, who works for the recently reopened Walker Arts Center, got us tickets to the opening of Chuck Close: Self-Portraits 1967-2005, which was a great exhibition. Robin is on the right. John is on the left, Kris is in the middle.

Robin, who is the Director of New Media Initiatives at the Walker and her staff worked with media artsits to produce a telematic table, called the Dialog project. The table has screens on which images of art in the collection float while tiny figures walk nearby. I used my fingers like chopsticks in the air to pick up the figures on the screen and then to drop them on a work of art. Each figure has a different personality and represents a different question, like "How was this made?" or "Who made this?" Dropping them on the work of art would bring up the answers. If I liked the question I could move the figure to another work of art. If I wanted to learn more about the work of art I could pick up another figure (question) and drop it on the art. The Dialog project uses internally mounted LCD projectors and externally mounted infrared cameras to allow the computer to recognize the user's gesture. Kind of a mind blowing way to get information about art.

Scott and John
Originally uploaded by Troy Smythe.

Here are John and Scott having a go.

We stayed busy the entire time we were there. One time Kris got in a little too big of a hurry and dropped her blow dryer into the toilet. Oops! While we waited for Scott to turn off the right breaker I got a photo of the near catastrophe. Thankfully no one was hurt. I'm glad I got the picture though. It amuses me on so many levels.

A Wet Heat
Originally uploaded by Troy Smythe.

Farmers' Market
Originally uploaded by Troy Smythe.

One of my favorite places was the Farmers Market where I discovered later that I had only taken this one picture. Seriously, I'm like a large mouth bass. We were surrounded by acres of organic greens, flowers, and baked goods, but what do I take a picture of? The big table of shiny things, all of which were probably made in Taiwan. But, you see, they were SO shiny.

We had a great time. Kris and Scott are wonderful ambassadors for their state, which is a pretty amazing place: home of Target, Prince (America's Mozart), Tammy Faye Bakker, Jessica Lange and more good food than I've ever encountered in a city that size, much of it coming from Kris's kitchen. We can't wait to go back!


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