“How Technology, Science, and Art Are Changing Our Perception of Time”

Woke up this morning at five o’clock, drawn outside by a particularly bright and full-seeming moon. The sky is clear, the trees still stark. It is bone-chillingly cold, which I’m really, really tired of. Oh, how I long for greenery and warmth! Will this winter be endless? Answer: there will be another summer. But can anticipation sustain us through these cold-jangled nerves?

On the first day of spring, two days from today, I will be moderating an ArcheTime roundtable to be presented by Offline at Central Booking, in relationship to the “Time and Again” show at Haber Space, curated by the gallerys founder, Maddy Rosenberg.

The lineup: Olga Ast, conceptual artist, curator, and the creative force behind ArcheTime; Jacques Laroche, a computer scientist who explores the intersection of science, politics, and society; Richard Leslie, art historian, critic, and author; Greg Matloff, expert in possibilities for interstellar propulsion, especially near-Sun solar-sail trajectories that might enable interstellar travel; Jeremy Newman, director of experimental and documentary videos; and David Pleasant, percussionist, choreographer, composer, and scholar/writer. Plus, Debra Swack will show her video “Animal Patterning Project: Synthetic Biological and Software Generated Evolution of Animal Patterning,” and Ula Einstein, Linda Stillman, Ellen Wiener, Jayoung Yoon, and other contributors to the book Infinite Instances: Studies and Images of Time will be participating in the event.

How are technology, science, and art changing our perceptions of time? Answer: unknown. Time to open my mind and see what the future will bring!

ArcheTime at Central Booking March 20th 2014 © Catherine Rutgers 2014 The Garden Is My Most Sustained Work of Art © Catherine Rutgers 2014 Fragility in the Shelter of Strength © Catherine Rutgers 2014

Catherine Rutgers © 2014

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Slow Hand

Time spirals. It doesn’t fly like an arrow or a bird or a jet plane. It loops and leaps. It strolls and skips. It falls asleep. It is relentlessly patient. And stealthy.

After months of dormancy, I’m back on track to revising “Uncommon Thunder,” the raison d’être and core project of this blog. A tweak of text here and there, a new introduction in the works, and various assessments of multiple permutations. Exquisite movement towards completion.

The Uncommon Thunder Document Inverted © Catherine Rutgers 2014

Catherine Rutgers © 2014

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Another Day, Another Experiment

Sometimes I stare at something off and on for weeks or months or days or years. Then, at some point, try a new twist and there’s suddenly something new. Don’t you love that?

Score One © Catherine Rutgers 2014

Catherine Rutgers © 2014

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My Collaborative Valentine

Sky Water Land Oval © 2014This begins with technique, exploring one of my favorite photos, so kindly lent to me by Tom Burnett, he of the serious knack for taking a good-looking picture. This one was set as my desktop background when I got inspired to try some transformations, then had the urge to show the steps behind the art. They’re complicated and subtle and I’m taking a chance on whether you can see all the shifts on whatever device you may be viewing from. But I’ve decided it’s worth that hazard.

My favorite part of the original photo is the yellow-green line of plant life blooming between the ocean and the sand. Throughout the changes, one of my goals was to bring attention to that line. I also thought about making the figure more or less prominent, sometimes she pops, sometimes she fades.

The basic recipe: Take one photo, with good color, composition, and subject. Invert. Consider a new angle (flip horizontal). Change hue. Adjust color balance in shadows, midtones, and highlights, respectively. Increase saturation. Try a new hue. Increase brightness and reduce contrast. Invert again. Darken, saturate. Give each image a name, pop them all into a slideshow, sit back and enjoy!

Meanwhile, in the offscreen world, the cleanup campaign (see “Ping Pong Mood”) has extended to emptying all of my file cabinets. It’s even more daunting than the surface renovations, but one delightful thing about digging deep is unexpected discovery—in this case a faded-green-covered, spiral-bound notebook that I hadn’t seen in years. On the last page, there’s a poem from April 13, 1998, “Travelling Home from Easter,” by c. r. sand and Tom Burnett, the two of us writing one line (or so) after the other. Here it is, and Happy Valentines, y’all!

tripping through the back pages
spiraling toward the spirit of the flight
caught by a momentary snag in the fabric
time wiggles its little finger in my direction

your hands capture glinting headlights
your feet pitter into a pattern of night
the night takes you into what you don’t know you know
the little finger directs you to a different spot, a different motion

and it is always at these moments you
sail a single whispered kiss into my ear
saying

if you look out this window
you will find a friend in the clouds

Cat at Barnstable Beach Photo by Tom Burnett © 2014 The Inversion at Barnstable Beach © Catherine Rutgers 2014 A New Color Leads to a New DIrection © Catherine Rutgers 2014 And Then We Mess with The Hue © Catherine Rutgers 2014 Balancing Shadows Midtones and Highlights © Catherine Rutgers 2014 The Saturation Can Always Be Adjusted © Catherine Rutgers 2014 Ever More Hues to Explore © Catherine Rutgers 2014 Let Us Try a Lighter Touch © Catherine Rutgers 2014 Transposing the Inversion © Catherine Rutgers 2014 One More Step into Deepening and Happy with the Results © Catherine Rutgers 2014

Original photo by Tom Burnett © 2014
Transitions and text by Catherine Rutgers © 2014

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Ping Pong Mood

Icy Cool Rose © Catherine Rutgers 2014Lately, I’ve been working a lot in the material world, renovating my studio and happily lightening up: changing a magenta window frame to “limelight” green, or taking apart the big collage that wasn’t really successful, though preserved under heavy glass in an ornate vintage frame. Save the frame, stash the collage in the flat file, take a few quick photos to document the painted overlay, and the glass gets carried to the basement for recycling, while one of the photos gets transformed into an impromptu self-portrait.Rotated View © Catherine Rutgers 2014

The studio looks great. But I still haven’t sorted that last pile of things “temporarily” installed in the living room. Glorious snippets of spray paint on paper, Bill Ding and his magic clowns, intriguing print ads from decades ago. It’s a continuous battle to determine their value: aesthetic inspiration, personal treasure, raw material for the next art project? Or (toughest of all) toss?

Then I got extra-derailed on my way to an evening birthday celebration, walking down Church Avenue, past my mural in progress. Double-take. Double-take again. Oh, no. It’s clean outside, it’s bright inside, it’s a new business, a bakery, it’s chic, it’s busy … and the security gate is … painted entirely black.

I messed up! I didn’t follow up after sending my proposal last summer for fixing the scraped-up top part, I didn’t find out what they were going to do with it, I didn’t say “be sure to let me know if it’s going to be painted over so I can take more photos before it disappears.” And now I’m like a ping-pong ball bouncing about in hyper-emotional sift-freak mode, teetering terribly close to the edge of despair!!!

Also, partly, I’m just tired of winter. I want to be out in the garden, handling green things. Or fooling around with the pix of those green things. Or delving deep into a red, red rose. You know, typical substitute therapy. The screen, of course, is omni-seasonal. And even in the midst of winter—with an assist from the flower stand on Church Avenue, right across from the subway, for as long as I remember—I can find a rose. Now maybe I can use the satisfaction of finishing this and get newly inspired to sift that pile o’ stuff. Or maybe not. Follow the bouncing ball!

Portrait of Uncertainty © Catherine Rutgers 2014 You Can Always Tip It © Catherine Rutgers 2014 Magic Clowns © Catherine Rutgers 2014 "Mothers Worry" Advertisement (no date, probably mid-1960s) Mural Completion Concept June 2013 © Catherine Rutgers 2014 Holding a Pumpkin Vine July 16th 2010 © Catherine Rutgers 2014 Cupid Reading © Catherine Rutgers 2014 The Very First Rose of 2014 © Catherine Rutgers 2014 Never Look at a Rose the Same Way Again © Catherine Rutgers 2014

Catherine Rutgers © 2014

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Fun with Friends!

I have no idea how we decided to do this and am not sure when. But I do remember it was so much fun! Oil paint, spray paint, and oil pastels on canvas. All three of us working at once. Actual size: 45 inches high by 51 inches wide. Happily hanging on my bathroom wall, where it brightens my view every day. Thanks to Susan Scutti and Tom Burnett for (a) joining in creating the original art; and (b) saying yes to publishing the transformations. Rock on with all your socks on!

Left Center Right by Susan Scutti Tom Burnett and Catherine Rutgers © 2014 Gray Composition © Catherine Rutgers 2014 Yikes Stripes © Catherine Rutgers 2014 Clouds Make a Difference © Catherine Rutgers 2014 Lemon Slice © Catherine Rutgers 2014 Gift from the Hand of a Very Good Friend © Catherine Rutgers 2014 With Creatures by Tom © Catherine Rutgers 2014 I Used to Be an Invoice © Catherine Rutgers 2014

Original art by Susan Scutti, Tom Burnett, and Catherine Rutgers;
photos by Catherine, December 10–11, 2011, transformations
December 2, 2013 through January 24, 2014 © Catherine Rutgers 2014

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The Very Last Rose of 2013

Open Orange © Catherine Rutgers 2013

Oh, so much drama contained in this bloom. She was a tiny tight bud in late October, an orange anomaly topping three skinny green branches, a miniature rose, unfurling almost all the way as of 26 November, when I plucked her for scanning, saying “Do something with this!” And I did.

Last Rose Standing © Catherine Rutgers 2013 Greenery Boost © Catherine Rutgers 2013 The Center and Its Shadow © Catherine Rutgers 2013 The Edges Change Color © Catherine Rutgers 2013 And Another Dimension © Catherine Rutgers 2013Catherine Rutgers © 2013

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