Sunday, January 22, 2012

Shout out from Maine Sunday Telegram

By Bob Keyes
Staff Writer Posted: January 22

“Mary Bok with Surely & Honey the Dogs, Camden, Maine,” 2011, from the exhibition of Tanja Alexia Hollander’s portraits of her Facebook friends, opening in February at the Portland Museum of Art.
Courtesy of Portland Museum of Art
WHERE: Portland Museum of Art, 7 Congress Square
WHEN: Feb. 4 to June 17. Museum hours are 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Tuesday to Thursday, Saturday and Sunday, and 10 a.m. to 9 p.m. Friday.
HOW MUCH: $12; $10 for seniors and students with ID; $6 for ages 13 to 17; free for ages 12 and younger; free for all after 5 p.m. Fridays
WHAT ELSE: At 6 p.m. March 8, museum director Mark Bessire and Hollander will discuss the show and her work.

And in February, the Portland Museum of Art opens a solo show by Maine photographer Tanja Alexia Hollander that taps into the social media and Facebook phenomena. "Tanja Alexia Hollander: Are You Really My Friend?" uses Hollander's portrait work to explore friendships in the context of social media.

Social media as art
At the Portland Museum of Art, Hollander will explore the concept of friendship in the Facebook age with "Are You Really My Friend?" It opens Feb. 4 as part of the museum's ongoing "Circa" series that specializes in contemporary art.  For the past year, Hollander, who lives in Auburn, has traveled around the country to visit as many of her Facebook friends as possible. Some she knows well, others she had never met. This show features 59 photographs that will remain up throughout the show, as well as new ones added during the course of the show. 

Her Facebook project is an ongoing concern, and Hollander has planned a series of events designed to engage museum visitors.

Hollander is best known as a landscape photographer. She founded the Bakery Photographic Collective, now based in Westbrook.

This project, which started with an idea sparked by a quiet residency in the French countryside, has led her into the next phase of her career.

A St. Louis native, she moved to Portland as a teenager. She took photography classes at Maine College of Art while still in high school, and earned her bachelor's degree at Hampshire College in Massachusetts in 1994. She has shown regularly in Maine, New York, Boston and elsewhere, and has twice been selected for the Portland Museum of Art Biennial, winning a purchase prize in 2007.

With this project, Hollander has attempted to remove the virtual limitations of social media by visiting her friends -- 600 and counting -- in person and presenting them as profiles in their homes.  "It's awkward to show up on someone's doorstep with a camera," she told the Maine Sunday Telegram last fall.  "But what I am realizing as I travel and as I meet people, one of the things that is most striking to me is how generous people are. Which is the opposite of what you would expect from a Facebook project.

"These people are real and genuine. People have fed me and offered me a place to stay."

Staff Writer Bob Keyes can be reached at 791-6457 or:
Twitter: pphbkeyes

Friday, January 20, 2012

HELP! Love NOLA and love the trumpet.

As many of you know, my little sister, Emma and I fell in love with New Orleans during Jazz Fest a few years ago. Last year we went off the tourist road, rented a place in the 9th ward, biked around town, learned a ton of history from our friends Wayne and Louise, and discovered a different city away from the fairgrounds and French Quarter. We were stopped in our tracks by the lack of resources the city continues to face post Katrina and have been brainstorming on how two girls from New England with not a lot of money or time can help a place that we love so much.

I was sitting in my studio last night and saw a post on Facebook from Eric Iammusic Gordon Jr (who was a trumpet player for one of our favorite brass bands we saw, The Stooges). He was selling t-shirts so he could buy a new trumpet. I messaged him and bought one, and asked how much a trumpet cost. Assuming he had a long road ahead at $15/piece. I was right, a new trumpet is $1500.

And then I messaged Emma, and said "we have to help him get a new trumpet."

And so we are. On Monday, 1/30 Emma is working industry brunch atTrina's Starlite Lounge and giving 25% of her tips to Eric's trumpet fund. GO see her Boston people. I'm donating all of my sales from the print of the week. If you give him $100, you'll also get 5 editioned 4x6 snap shots of our last trip to NOLA. A win win situation.

chose one or both!

You can also out of the kindness of your heart just paypal him directly at: ericgordonsmusic at aol dot com. Or message me for his address. You can check out his music at Eric Gordon's Lazy Boys and To Be Continued Brass Band.

Attached is the post from the night we met him at the Hi Ho Lounge.  He is hamming it up good for me in video #3.

If you know the two of us, or the Hollanders at all, we won't stop posting and begging until he gets his trumpet.

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Shout out from Technology in the Arts

Originally posted on the Technology in the Arts  blog

Are you really my friend? The Facebook Portrait Project

By Elizabeth Quaglieri | January 18, 2012
I went to elementary school with her- confirm request. He is the son of my mom’s friend from work- confirm request. She’s a friend of a friend that also likes Amos Lee, Portland, Maine and the Peggy Guggenheim Collection in Venice, but we’ve never actually met- confirm request.

The word “friend” is now synonymous with Facebook and its meaning has been redefined to incorporate relationships formed as loosely as in the situations above. Regardless of how intimate your real world relationships are with your newest virtual “friends,” they receive the same amount of information and become privy to the innermost private details of your life through your Facebook activity, statuses and photos.
Yes, you can “poke” others on Facebook, but Maine photographer Tanja Alexia Hollander, has discovered through her own Facebook friendship odyssey that Facebook cannot replace human interactions
Social media has become a fundamental part of our society in the 21st century. Its convenience allows us to instantaneously communicate and share a level of intimacy with those we know well and many we don’t know at all. Despite its presence in our lives today, social networks cannot replicate human interaction. It is arguable, however, that the online environments we’ve created and the resulting reduction of human interaction have an impact on our relationships.
Hollander set out on a yearlong journey to meet (some for the first time) and photograph all 626 of her Facebook friends, traveling across the state, country and world to reach them in their most intimate and private space: their home. Hollander’s photographic and personal journey grew into the project and upcoming exhibit “Are you really my friend? The Facebook portrait project.”

read and see more

Friday, January 13, 2012

Interview with bleubird

I met and photographed Jacques aka bluebird when he was in Maine last summer.  He was kind enough to do a skype interview with me from his home in Florida in the midst of preparing for a European tour with Astronautalis, shooting a super 8 music video and releasing an album.   We swear a little, laugh a lot, and talk about Facebook friendship, the trials and tribulations of an online presence, touring, building a community and cross promoting other artists, and he shares some behind the scenes stories of filming his new video.

I have transcribed the first 5 minutes, but I encourage to watch the whole video.  And to follow him on facebook, twitter, tumblr, instagram.  Oh and to buy his albums.

T: So, I’m collecting interviews from all over the place, mostly around town, but I also thought it would be kinda cool to get skype interviews of kind of random people that I’ve met along the way. I want to ask you a couple of questions, but the main...

J: Sure.

T:  Oh fuck, I’m totally backlit, hold on.

(J laughs at me)

T: This is going to be a hilarious recording.

T: I’m so OCD about lighting properly.  Anyway....

J:  That makes sense, that makes sense.

T:  Right. The main question I’ve been asking everybody is if you were to meet somebody and they had never been on Facebook, didn’t know what Facebook was, how would you explain to them the difference between a Facebook friend, and a friend in real life?

J: Okay.  If they didn’t understand what Facebook was?

T:  Yeah, like to your grandma who didn’t even know what a computer was.

J: I would tell them that they were one of my future friends.

J: Because -- because you can’t really say that its not a real friend, because like sometimes with my schedule now, I tend to communicate more with people via social networking than in real life. 

T: Right.

J: Especially because I have friends that are not, you know, I’m rarely around most of my friends. I have friends all over the place.  But are we talking about people that  I’ve never met in real life that I’m only friends with on Facebook?

T: No, well both.  Because some people like use Facebook only for people they’ve met in real life, they don’t even accept friendships of people they haven’t met in real life.

J: Ok.

T: Some people use it, like I think the way you use it, and this was going to lead me to question #2,  the way you use social media is really interesting because it’s a promotional tool, obviously.  I think musicians use social media the best, everybody else is kinda playing catch up.

J: I think it was designed for us. 

J: I mean MySpace originally was. 

T:  That reminds me, I’m supposed to get your identifying information, too.  You have to tell me who you are and where you’re from.

J: Not via my social networking multiplex. I often battle with the question, if I wasn’t making music, would I have a Facebook page or would I even use twitter?  And you know, as excessive as I tend to get with twitter, the bottom line is I only have it and I only use it because of what I’m trying to do.  Like I wouldn’t be on twitter as much if I wasn’t trying to promote and do things, but you can’t do too much of look at this link, listen to this song, watch this video, so I try to push myself to actually interact. I mean you know.

T: It’s a dance, right?

J:  It is a dance, and you know, I can’t say it’s not an enjoyable dance.  You know, we as a generation, not even a generation, as users, I think Facebook has become intertwined with our lives so we almost use it to supplement our real friendships.  And I think in some ways I mean you can argue that it kind of deteriorates the human on human bond.  But I think there is a very strong argument that it actually adds to it, it enriches our friendship.   

Thursday, January 5, 2012

You, me and Museum 2.0

As I spend countless days and nights transforming this project from only existing on the internet to existing on paper in Museum walls, I've found it increasingly important to take a breath away from the studio and write about the process of putting the exhibition together.

I have learned so much from shooting, connecting with, and talking to so many people all over the country.  One thing that remains the most striking is that people want to be part of the process, they want to engage with the project and are excited to help in anyway they can.

Social media [Web 2.0, Photo 2.0, Museum 2.0*] has leveled the playing fields and created a dialogue that brings some control back to artists - allowing us to break down the walls of the art world hierarchy that have existed for so long between artist/audience/dealer/

Over the last month, I have literally taken to the streets talking to and interviewing people and found the same thing.  Everyone wants to tell their story, they want to participate.  I would love to hear from you any thoughts you have on friendship, Facebook or anything else you want to tell me.

I am grateful to have the support of Mark Bessire and the Portland Museum of Art staff, who across multiple departments (curatorial, preparatory, promotion, education, programming) have managed to help me design and create an exhibit that will mimic the nature of the project as well as highlight the actual works on paper.   I hope you will join me at the Museum and have fun in the participatory elements of photographer, curator and critic.

*Wikipedia on Web 2.0
"The term Web 2.0 is associated with web applications that facilitate participatory
information sharing, interoperability,
"These are exciting times for image-makers wishing to publicly show their work: armed with a computer and an Internet connection, the 21st century photographer can share his or her visual ideas with a worldwide audience of peers, fans, and patrons. And these artists are redefining the medium every day."
"I believe that museums have the potential to undergo a similar (r)evolution as that on the web, to transform from static content authorities to dynamic platforms for content generation and sharing. I believe that visitors can become users, and museums central to social interactions."
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