Member 165
9 entries
29385 views

 RSS
Aaron Bocanegra (M, 39)
Los Angeles, US
Immortal since Jun 7, 2007
Uplinks: 0, Generation 1

Whatartist
Art Site
Solidarity Rock
Up North Movie
Artist, Professor, Filmmaker, Photographer, Interaction Designer and Media Artist.
  • Affiliated
  •  /  
  • Invited
  •  /  
  • Descended
  • Now playing SpaceCollective
    Where forward thinking terrestrials share ideas and information about the state of the species, their planet and the universe, living the lives of science fiction. Introduction
    Featuring Powers of Ten by Charles and Ray Eames, based on an idea by Kees Boeke.
    I have been out and about for awhile and am just getting back to Space Collective. It is great to see it has continued to grow.

    I am currently helping develop a post-grad program at SCI-Arc named Mediascapes. We are looking to critically explore the nature of media, its evolution and how we can integrate critical research and philosophy into a practice that will create new tools for the future and stronger understanding of underlying ecologies. Not to be too vague, but it is an experimental research program that will focus on a range of subjects from contemporary critical theory to physical computing.

    As I research the principles for the course, I thought who better to ask to toss out some directions, writers, thinkers, artists, etc than Space Collective. Our goal is to hear a great many voices, please lend me yours.
      Promote (1)
      
      Add to favorites
    Create synapse
     

    Quasar Exhibition from Aaron Bocanegra on Vimeo.

    This installation was an amazing experience of collaboration and learning. It interacts with the audience and the larger environment of the world. Using LED's, Polycarbonate, plastics, Electroluminescent Wires, and a Muon particle counter we created several systems overlapping each other in a surround sound environment. Due to the nature of the interactions and the systems it becomes an organism functioning in its own lifespans and ecosystems.

    It is up at SCI-Arc in Downtown LA until March 9th, 2008.

    quasarexhibition.com

      Promote (1)
      
      Add to favorites
    Synapses (1)
     
    It has been a while since my last posting. Since then we have traversed many kilometers, made new friends and spoke with some great people. After Atlin we headed north to Carcross. The town is in peril at the moment due to the imminent flooding. The river has swollen to an intense degree and is expected to peek soon. In fact, as I write this I am heading back to Carcross to visit some of the people we met along the way and to document the flooding. After Carcross we headed up through Whitehorse, Yukon one more time. The town used to be the north, however it seems that it has become like so many other cities that its identity has changed. The once frontier town now has a Walmart packed with RV’s sleeping at their favorite shopping center and just got a Starbucks last year to go with the recently installed cell service. One of the people we spoke with mentioned how great it is to step out of the city. Whitehorse is surrounded by beauty and dramatically different experiences and possibilities. Aside from the government work it seems that the striking nature of its mountain landscape keeps the people from going insane.
    We did a talk at the Arts Underground in Whitehorse which allowed for a good conversation and for us to further develop our ideas and our plans. While there we got interviewed for the Yukon News and the radio. The press would prove to be intensely useful. Our picture was on the cover of the newspaper the whole way up north and people had heard us speak on the radio. We would continuously be recognized and people would stop to speak with us. In addition, the woman who interviewed us for the native radio told us about a general assembly of all the 14 Yukon First Nations happening at Moosehide Lake. Again our plans came to us through the fortune of speaking with somebody interested in what’s going on. Leaving the Arts Underground we met an older First Nations man sitting on a bench. He was homeless trying to get back to Haines and told us the story of his family and his future. Whitehorse really felt like the start of the northern experience, but as we were told in an interview, we knew we had to go further to see anything. So we headed out for the fabled Dawson City.

    A small town with a massive spirit, Dawson City lies on the Yukon River. The people here are amazing. We roll into town late at night and park on the street. This is where we make camp the first night. Hopping out of the van, we head to Diamond Toothed Girtie’s for some gambling and drinking, I break even. The next morning we start our work with the stench of the road on us and a strong desire to get started. We head over to the Tr’ondek Heritage department to figure out what we can do about going to the General Assembly and speaking with the people. The office is full of impressively gracious and intelligent people that welcome us with a smile and enormous access to the world we just stepped into. Quickly, we have a list of people to speak with and are told how to get to Moosehide for the General Assembly.
    Taking a small boat down the Yukon we are at Moosehide in no time at all. At the dock we see a sign welcoming us to the traditional lands and saying that they are happy. An intense odor of fish being smoked wafts over the land as we climb the hill to get to the little village. On the far end there is a large hall for the gathering. The nations are sat around many tables in a square. At the tables are some of the greatest leaders I have ever had the privilege of hearing speak. Chiefs, elders and the youth were all given a voice. As the environment is decaying around them they are actively rebuilding a culture devastated by residential schools and deculturalization as policy. In the opening remarks, one chief stops to thank the Tr’ondek Gwichen First Nation for their help throughout history. He points to the cemetery on the hill and says the names of all our people sit up on that hill, when the people were taken from their families to be in placed in these schools the Tr’ondek were there to support them, and the depth of gratitude echoed through the hall.
    After we interviewed one of the most eloquent and sincere leaders I have ever met we walked over to the lunch tent where a group called the First Peoples Dance Group were singing, dancing and story telling. Their dress was beautiful and intricately considered. We spoke with them after and have become friends quickly. We are on our way to stay with them now. Sitting around a table we spoke to all of them about their lives, work, and experiences. With an open and honest candor they revealed a great deal about themselves and their culture that has had a deep impact on my life. In fact, this First Nations General Assembly was a moment of great hope for me, to see such a performance of active reconstruction will be held deep in my memory forever.
    Marilyn, one of the dancers, introduced us to Doris, her mother and an elder that had fought for her people for years. Doris told us the story of how the First nations were involved in the discovery of Gold and the building of history in Dawson City. The native perspective was born of completely different desires and was entirely left out of the local museum that told the story of Dawson City “in their own voices.” We made plans to do a photo shoot with the Dancers at the local old timey photo studio. The concept was that they were to sit looking fierce above us while we huddled tied up and scared at their feet as their symbol of the man. They are going to turn it into a t-shirt that says homeland security since 1896.
    That night we explored the copious opportunities for nightlife in Dawson City. I am now 30 dollars up at Girtie’s. We find ourselves at the local hotspot, The Pit, a very special place. There we run into our new friends, in a town as tolerant and close as this, friends are almost always nearby. Samantha introduces us to her friend Brandon, a young grass roots leader from Old Crow. We have an enlightening conversation full of critique and passion regarding sustainable development and culture. After our conversation we agree we meet the next day at the general assembly for an interview. He has the presence of a leader and will one day be Chief.
    Dawson City is absolutely one of my favorite places and I hope to return again soon. There were so many excellent people and experiences there I am sad that I haven’t the time to recount them all. After a few more days in Dawson City we headed off to the Dempster Highway to head to the top of the world, Inuvik. The lore surrounding this highway is loud and repeated frequently, the road is dangerous, bring many spares, the bugs are pervasive and you will be eaten alive. As with many myths these are often over stated, in fact most of the people passing it along have never driven the Dempster. We traversed the 1500km without blowing a tire on the Dempster. In fact, we blew only one tire as we parked next to the nicest hotel in Inuvik in search of supplies.
    The drive was epic with each kilometer becoming even more grand then the last. The jack pine stretched to the sky, overlooking a massive expanse of tundra in the shadow of never ending mountain ranges. As the elders had warned us there was a great amount of evidence of melting permafrost, with trees dying all over the place and once full creeks running dry for the first time in memory. The most spooky of these was a creek named Glacier Creek that was nearly dry.
    At the Arctic Circle the earth stops producing trees and it feels like a new terrain unlike any I have seen before. We ate mountain berries, just like the bears and enjoyed the trip up to the top. Once we reached the top we quickly learned that it is often the journey not the destination that is important. Inuvik is cripplingly bleak and disturbed us greatly. There is a story to be told there but it was out of the scope of our project so we moved on quickly the next day. On the way back we encountered an elder named Therese at an improvised snack shop. Her introduction was essentially, “Hello, I am interested in talking about my culture and how change has occurred socially and environmentally in my lifetime.” Her words were important and will stay with me for ages. For that you’ll have to wait for the documentary to be completed. There is always so much more, but I have to run now. Wish me a safe trip back to Edmonton.
    Thu, Aug 9, 2007  Permanent link

      RSS for this post
      Promote
      
      Add to favorites
    Create synapse
     
    I am currently on the top of the world in Inuvik, Northwest Territories in the Arctic Circle. I have little time to do anythinlyg so I will post this video. Soon I will write of the First Nation General Assembly and Dawson City and the Dempster.

    Sat, Aug 4, 2007  Permanent link

      RSS for this post
      Promote (1)
      
      Add to favorites
    Create synapse
     
    Sat, Jul 28, 2007  Permanent link

      RSS for this post
      Promote (1)
      
      Add to favorites
    Create synapse
     
    The sun arose today after briefly falling into a night I did not see. Night will be continuously shorter as we travel north to Inuvik until it barely sets at all. Yesterday was an amazing day that assured I was to be asleep the moment my head touched my pillow and the pain in my body was allowed to be overcome by calm. We stayed in a cabin provided for us by Gernot Dick, our guide in many ways. Our reason for coming to Atlin was to hike a remote region and explore the Llewelyn Glacier. Gernot told me that the voyage across the pristine and drinkable Atlin

    Lake would take 2 hours. We embarked at 6 am, the sun had already been up for some time. The breeze of the glacier fed lake was more intense than any cup of coffee and I was frequently making images from above the safety of the windshield with my eyes watering telling my hands to remain still. As far as footage goes, the day started off with beautiful work. Gernot could sense our enthusiasm as we could sense his. He opted to take us the long way around the island to see an avalanche site first. Gliding across this water that would make the LADWP weep, we came across several islands. Gernot took the boat close against them so as to allow for the great reveal of imposing snow covered mountains as we passed the island. His sense of the cinematic was well tuned.
    When we reached the avalanche we disembarked and Gernot quickly took the lead, as would become typical in this journey. At the foot of the massive body of snow and ice was a cave about four to five feet tall made entirely of ice with snowmelt pouring out via a stream that echoed through the chamber. I climbed in to shoot a site that cannot be photographed easily. Yet another moment that must be experienced with ones own senses. The sensation is built of a mixture of brisk cool scents, echoes, and gleaming surfaces overlooking a lake and mountain ranges.

    Gernot decided to climb the fallen body in search of even grander vistas. I am once again only partially prepared for the task ahead of me in this difficult trek with shoes that are low cut and have only reasonable traction. They do handle water rather well though. Gernot literally jogs up the ice as I slip and shuffle across it with greater concern for my cameras than my body. At the top Gernot had found a point to stand on looking into the top of the avalanche revealing just how the snowmelt has sliced through it on its way to the lake. The view was impressive, and at the time I thought that this could be the image that my mind holds for this day. I was wrong.
    Embarking once again we head to our destination past a few more islands stopping only to hear a few impressive stories that always held more meaning than the surface pretended to. Just before arriving Gernot drew our attention to the surface of the water we were riding on. It was still, reflecting every pit and ice sheet on the mountains in the distance. You can tell by his inflection that these moments are important to him. In a gesture that made me think of painting he started turning the boat in circles passing over his own ripples. The marks made did not simply disrupt the water’s surface, instead it gave it rhythm, it made it ours.
    At the start of the historic trail we are greeted with the multiplicity of mosquitoes of which we were pre-warned. Gernot doesn’t even flinch anymore, whereas we have great difficulty holding a shot for longer than 10 seconds. The historic trail is a very short section that was cut out many years back when Atlin was a mining town and much greater numbers. Climbing it was disturbing at first. Many hills, bogs and very narrow paths, coupled with an intense shortness of breath made me question my capability of making it like this throughout a 4 hour, 7 or 8 km hike. We had all decided before the beginning of this that there will be no stopping, no complaining and no turning back. Gernot in the interview the day prior had let us know that no film crew has ever made it the distance, and we are also the first people to try the trail this year. To my incredible delight we reached a lookout point that gave us our first epic view of the glacier we would be exploring, and at its foot was a considerably flatter prairie.
    From this point on we are on Gernot’s trail, he has cut it over the decades by himself. He is the only person that gives guided tours to this glacier, even to the forest rangers themselves. I carry with me my medium format camera, my 35mm, lenses and my video camera. This is about to make my Andean treks seem like a walk through a mall.
    Crossing a mosquito breeding marsh we enter immense prairie land. The earth is scattered with brilliant purple fireweed and short grass and plants with the fortitude to withstand the 16 feet of snow it got for this first time in recorded history this last winter. Distance is deceptive in this landscape. The glacier seems like it is within reach but there is nothing to give it scale, so my mind uses what it has experienced to gauge distance, knowing that any guess I were to make would be completely incorrect. On my right there is a mountain waterfall of drinkable water breaking the silence as the water crashes on the glacial rocks below. The entire plain was carved by this glacier in the last 1500 years. In a way we are chasing it as it is receding before our eyes. Gernot arrived here in 1974, and has a vivid image of where the glacier was at that time. He promised to show us, you could hear the frustration and peculiar excitement in his voice as he said it. The rocks are all perfectly smooth and rounded out, whereas the cliff faces look scarred from the glaciers work over the centuries.
    At the midpoint we encounter a solitary tree on the plain. It is protected by a man made pyramid of rocks gathered by Gernot and those that he has led. Each person he brings stacks an additional 10 rocks on the mound. At this point we had to walk a good 40 feet to find rocks of the appropriate size. As we perform this ritualistic task he tells us how he found it, struck by its attempt to grow in this desolation he decided to help. His rock monument to this tree protected it from intense winds blowing off the glacier and allowed it to receive less snow. The tree grows strong and alone next to these rocks that are approximately the same size.
    I make a photo with my medium format camera and we proceed. At this point we are slightly behind schedule so we press on as hard as we can. After a much greater distance that I had expected we come to small hill that we climb. On the top we see the glacier reflecting off the pond of its melting body. The ancient water is all that separates us from our goal. We sit and have lunch in silence.
    On the move once again Gernot is shocked at the level of growth the region has seen since he was last here due to the unprecedented rainfall. His path has been grown over in many spots and we have to hack our way through the bush and leap from stone to stone across the streams. My feet are soaked but my will has been fortified by the vision of the glacier rising out of that pond.
    We reach the point at which Gernot first encountered the glacier in 1974, it is just water now. We have another hour to hike before we reach the glacier. Over the last few years the hike has gone from being 3 hours from the lake to 4 ½ as of this trip. Continuing on we come to a spot that shocks our guide. A massive chunk of the glacier has fallen and disintegrated leaving a new valley that nobody has ever seen before. These Rocks and land have been seen in over 1500 years. Reading the scars on the stones Gernot, an art teacher in a school he built, begins discussing the performance of mark making and how it reflects our image on the world. He is torn between thoughts of the “ridiculous people that still don’t believe” and the excitement of finding a new world each time he comes out here. We press on.
    Another 15 minute trek and Gernot finds a passable patch of ice. He notices moose tracks that mean we are encroaching on their crossing which had been up river from his crossing prior to the disintegration of the Glacier. We carefully cross trying not to fall into the quicksand. My shoes are now covered in mud from a misplaced step into the substance that had an impressive suction to it. As we cross the stream I am struck by the thought that I am now walking on Ice nobody has ever walked on, I am walking on the source of the Yukon River.
    We put our cramp-on’s on our shoes, I do so incorrectly and have to do it once more as we hike the glacier.
    Gernot marks the spot we dump some of our gear by a line of greenery falling down the mountain. The ice we are on he refers to as dead ice, we are to hike into the living ice, the blue ice. It would take another half hour. Learning to walk on these metal teeth takes some getting used to and Gernot constantly reminds us to walk with our legs farther apart so as not to tear our legs up. There are moments where we can hear the roar of the under ground waterfalls and streams come up through holes in the glacier cut by wind and rock. The blue is of such a striking intensity that I do not believe it can be photographed.

    Digging in to the glacier with our spiked shoes we leap and jump across crevasses. Gernot tests the ice for us before each jump and we do our best to keep up. The glacier deceives us to an even greater degree as to its true scale, but we feel truly small. It is strange to think that this mammoth body of ice does have to fear us, that sense of insignificance is constantly perverted as we reflect on to each other.
    Stopping to replenish our water once more we dip our bottle into the melt of this glacier only revealed to light in the last year. The water we drink is ancient and truly pure. I had never imagined drinking true glacier water. After exploring for awhile we find the best spot and I set up to make a medium format shot. Gernot climbs across a sheer ice precipice to stand alone on in front of an intensely blue piece of living ice. The Polaroid is perfect and I cannot wait to send him a copy of the chrome. We take one more shot with the digital of ourselves, after he corrects our stance as not being a mountaineer stance. We are now the first film crew to make it to the glacier.

    Gernot is apparently un-phased by the trek; we however are each in our own personal pain coupled by fatigue. My right knee has given me problems for years, even in the Andes. However, this time both knees are acting unpredictable and struggling to carry my weight. Keeping our heads down and stopping only briefly to enjoy the surroundings we plow through the terrain, Gernot 50 yards ahead, me picking up the rear. At this point I stow all but my slr camera and feel much more capable having a free hand to catch my falls. My wet feet are disregarded as I jump quickly through the same bodies of water I carefully studied before planting my feet on when coming in. The sun is altering the light falling on the mountains and the glacier making for more beautiful moments, some of which I captured on my surprisingly durable camera.
    Stumbling across the landscape we get lost only once, and quickly find our way. Gernot is already at the boat playing in the lake as we push ourselves over the last bit, the historic trail. At this point my breathing is intense and my knees are finished. During this intense scramble I have managed to swallow many mosquitoes, I guess turnabout is fair play. As we make it to the shoreline Gernot is pulling in from cruising around the lake. We pull ourselves on the boat and glide out across the water once more. It is now 8pm but the sun has at least 3 hours or so before dusk comes. After disembarking, we take a shorter route and the scenery is new and exciting. The intense look of pain slowly fades to fatigue as we relax on the boat and enjoy our accomplishment.
    Sat, Jul 28, 2007  Permanent link

      RSS for this post
      Promote (2)
      
      Add to favorites
    Create synapse
     
    I do not have time to write, so hopefully the video illustrates it well enough.


    I am currently in Whitehorse prepping to hike the Llewellyn glacier in Atlin with a 70 Year old artist.

    Tue, Jul 24, 2007  Permanent link

      RSS for this post
      Promote (1)
      
      Add to favorites
    Create synapse
     
    Thanks to modern technologies I am able to ride through British Columbia in the back of our van and edit video clips, prep photos and write this. We departed from Edmonton on July 19th. We ended our first day in a beautiful town called jasper where we stayed with two amazing friends, met musicians, explored the town then headed to the Columbia Ice Field about an hour away. The glacier was impressive. As you drive up to the field there are simple markers that state only the year and its distance from the 19th century on. It has receded an incredible distance even since 1992, about 300 yards. There is no confusion here, no argument as to the scientific basis for this disappearance. Along the path are informational markers that describe the impact of global warming on this specific piece of ice. The landscape is epic in nature, grand views of mountains imposing themselves on a deep valley covered in tall pine trees with swaths of glaciers resting in pockets along the hillsides. Occasionally the tones give the sensation of looking at a black and white photo. The illusion is only broken when you find a tree or a touch of brilliant orange moss on a rock.
    At the moment I reach the top of the hill overlooking the ice a crisp glacial wind explodes over the barren terrain rushing through my hair and instantaneously makes me shiver. Nearing the base of the receding ice field, water emerges at a frantic pace from the melting body marking the headwaters of the Athabasca Watershed. We had originally intended to cliff dive into a lake of glacial springs, however we were too engrossed in Jasper to get out in time. Regardless, I did get to feel the intensity of the cold runoff. For the purposes of recording sound under water I put on my rubber boots, which were entirely too low for the job and walked out into the current. It is possible that I was only able to record for 5 seconds while submerged before pain exploded up my legs and I lost all feeling in my feet due to a previous case of hypothermia I got when falling into a frozen waterfall. Hopefully that 5 seconds was worth it, to see me run out of the water, staggering awkwardly must have been a pleasant laugh for somebody.
    Change has been evident in more subtle but no less dramatic manners as well. We are currently in the Rockies and there are trees that look devastated by fire. Only instead of becoming charred they are a rather beautiful shade of red. This destruction is from the pine beetle. In recent years the temperature has not plummeted as low as typical, as low as necessary to kill off these parasites. At times entire mountains have become their sustenance. Driving along river valleys tall think pines shoot up from the water and the banks. Peppered throughout this landscape is the eerie shade of red that elucidates the symbiotic nature of climate change. Amongst the people living out here, a conversation about the weather seems a lot less like small talk and more like a test of your awareness.
    Sat, Jul 21, 2007  Permanent link

      RSS for this post
      Promote (1)
      
      Add to favorites
    Create synapse
     
    Currently I am sitting in an apartment on a sunny day overlooking the river valley in Edmonton, Alberta. On July 19th we begin our trek through the Northern Canada, Alaska and the Arctic Circle that will last for 25 days. We will pass through wild and glacial terrain seeking out change as it is reflexively performed within culture and environment. Mixing personal storytelling with exploration this project will amass a variety of materials that will be edited into a documentary of sorts. As frequently as possible imagery and video will be posted to this site from this trip. We are seeking out the changing face of our world and hope to enter the conversation with fresh eyes and a capacity to find what we seek.
    Yesterday we interviewed a woman named Cosanna Preston who wrote her thesis comparing a culture in Canada, the Lubicon, to a culture in Nigeria. Responsibility, culture and change were a large part of her exploration. She recently gave a speech on it during the June 29 Day of Action.
    Check out the website as well for additional information, though I will try to keep this site as up to date as possible. Our research is ongoing and hopefully revealing. However, if anybody has any comments or recommendations please feel free to post it.
    Thu, Jul 12, 2007  Permanent link

      RSS for this post
      Promote (1)
      
      Add to favorites
    Create synapse
     
          Cancel