Week 34.22

I fell down. It happened walking right in the middle of the sidewalk, where someone had decided to place stone benches, a civic design decision made nowhere else in the entire country that I know of. I’d just been avoiding its siblings in the moment before, most of them brightly painted, but the one that got me was dark gray, and it was 9pm and dim, and I was looking at a giant mural to the side while talking about it with my companions. We’d been out all day to see art, ending up at the ongoing Singapore Night Festival.

I stubbed my right big toe first, I think. Then my right shin. Then I toppled over the bench, knees first, palms outstretched. Smashed both knees down onto the concrete sidewalk from seating height, and thankfully avoided a broken face with my hands. Everything still hurts now, the day after. Maybe I’ve fractured the toe. It doesn’t want to bend. I think I’ll be okay, but any sympathy is welcome.

I got up quite quickly and felt the burn, but was alright to keep going. My friends said, “sit down for a minute and catch a breath, you’re over 40 now. Take it easy. It’s too late for parkour.” This is good advice in general.

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Earlier that day with Rob (he’s back in town again, hence I took some time off), we saw the strange work of Australian artist Patricia Piccinini at the ArtScience Museum: We Are Connected. I suppose you could describe them as grotesque, body horror explorations of biological variety, mostly in the form of human-animal chimeras. Kim found the exhibition for us, saying “It’s weird. I think you’d both like it.” For the record, she would have hated it.

Rob said they reminded him of the work of Ron Mueck, so afterwards we dropped his name into a MidJourney prompt and created something not too far from what we’d seen.

Later in the evening, we visited another exhibition of AI-generated art, pieces clearly composited from MidJourney outputs — scenes similar to what we’ve also created playing with these tools. What happens to art some day when viewers can engage, challenge, and remix on equal footing with artists? When execution counts for nothing, and only what you’re saying matters (RIP the massive teams of studio interns)? Will you walk into a gallery and see a textual prompt and seed number in a frame? Hmm… gimme a minute!

Prompt Art #1

I also put up an AI art explainer as an Instagram story, so if you’ve been wondering what MidJourney is and what this is all about, this may help.

One of the better things from that afternoon: a crude 3D animation about viruses, played across seven screens, with a shot of a man licking an android’s eyeball.

This was at the Singapore Art Museum’s temporary outpost at Keppel Distripark. Which is a pretty stark middle-of-nowhere-feeling industrial space, interesting in itself. We saw an old sign that said “climb the stairs to the fifth floor for more artwork”, which turned out to be a cruel exaggeration on a very hot afternoon. There was but one lonely birdhouse-sized installation, a sort of wind-powered music box based on structures we’d already seen on the first floor. But the view sort of made up for it, and watching shipping containers being loaded onto trucks is not bad at all.

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I finally leveled up my deca.art Decagon to L30. Left with nothing else to shoot for, I bought a basic one and started leveling it up too.

This week’s been a good reminder that you’ve gotta have fun/meaningful things going on a regular basis, otherwise you’ll be left talking about LEVELING UP AN NFT as the most exciting thing that happened outside of taking an afternoon off and getting injured.

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Last week I mentioned the MusicHarbour app and started talking to Michael about music recommendation engines. He mentioned Apple Music’s “For You” playlists, and I realized I hadn’t used any of them in weeks, maybe months. Today I tried my New Music Mix and discovered the RZA has put out new stuff both as himself and his Bobby Digital persona. Two album/EPs, actually! Saturday Afternoon Kung Fu Theater with DJ Scratch, and RZA presents: Bobby Digital and the Pit of Snakes. I also wanted to correct my earlier opinion of King Princess’s Hold On Baby: it’s grown on me and I love it now. The same thing happened with her previous single Pain. It sounded absolutely crap the first time I heard it, and then it absolutely slapped. How does she do it?


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