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Lacrosse Ballet


(Postcards, Posters)

In competing for control of a small object, the ballet of lacrosse unfolds.

(Click on ballet to view.)


TechLAX-IMG_1066p.jpgCopyright 2011 Malcolm Ryder






Copyright 2010 Malcolm Ryder

Bonus beat





Berkeley High School Jazz Quintet, powered by a naturally aspirated 16 or 17 year old 5.5 liter beatmaster.







Copyright 2010 Malcolm Ryder

Fruitvale .



Copyright 2010 Malcolm Ryder

Sacré Coeur


In the old days, real valentines came in an envelope, sandwiched between implications and insecurities that the sender used especially for you.

This one, today, comes in a digital envelope (several in fact). Once it's open you can zoom it up or down. 

Brag or be discreet, Scale it to your ego. Search for messaging or ignore it.

And then, there's appropriation. Yet still not exactly what a "stolen heart" is about.

Probably digital valentines should be banned.


© 2010 malcolm ryder




Social Art 101 -- A back alley near Pikes Place, Seattle, is bombed by pedestrian grafitti consisting entirely of chewing gums. Eiither embarrassingly or brilliantly, its effect reiterates an idea of art that we're supposed to have learned, but it's unclear whether the players here are still learning on the fly, or whether only the learned dare to play.   


The wall recalls the saying, "a work of art is never finished, but merely stopped..." -- a point most valuable because it talks about the production instead of the product.

The great thing about the work here is the ambiguity between found design versus collaborative design, which comes from cultivating co-incidence instead of planning. There are no gates or tickets guarding access to the wall. The implicit permission to continue modifying the current wall leaves every successive contributor acting as a decision maker with the option to use or abuse any sensibility that the current surface provokes -- including any impulse towards cooperation, intervention, or invention.

While each of those three modus operandi is available at the wall, their respective applications would have widely differing effects depending on what scale of the surface area the participant decides to take over as "workspace" --whether as a starting point of inspiration, or as a boundary.

The choice of scale on which to work is one of the most interesting decisions each contributor can make, in the sense that it stands for a "propriety" assumed by the contributor in the heat of the moment. In a public arena, "encounters" can be large or small incidents, with their emotional and political significance being loaded at macroscopic or microscopic levels of observation. Whether the incident is large or small, the energy of that significance creates the social propriety.

For example, pasting over someone else's "work", multiplying it, contradicting it -- or indeed avoiding, using or abusing their evident "workspace" -- these are all social rhetorics that make public statements.

For the observer, the meaning of those public statements can vary widely. They might be felt wavering around somewhere between the nasty indifference of seaport bird droppings versus the combat of South Bronx tagging -- or instead between the natural layering of sedimentary evolution versus the strategic designing of abstract expressionism.

But in the end, the only certain thing is that the work continues at this wall mainly because it is popular work given an opportunity. For this wall, the "public-ity" is the art.

In the photograph seen above (click to enlarge), the spontaneity of nightflash, the deliberateness of framing, and a number of graphic transformations grab the raw material offered by the wall's effects and begin some reconstruction of that material to start building out a different workspace extending from the wall.


Opportunistically, the photography probes the scene to find an image that it wants to picture, and changes the surface to produce it.  Its ongoing production doesn't rely on the explicit but unwritten rule of the wall, which is to use gum (click low-relief picture at right). Instead, as the picture itself becomes a proxy for the wall, the essential act of the original work, which is to further mark the wall, now falls to making gestures through ongoing transformations in or on the picture. Incidentally, that seems like more private work, but it doesn't have to be. 

At some point we could glue the resulting pictures to the original wall with gum. But, that might violate the social conventions that have developed so far in and on the wall. Perhaps the next step would be to ship the picture off to anyone that wanted to modify it further.

(Copyright 2009 Malcolm Ryder; as shown, "The Telly")


Etceteras involving stickups, alleys, and other deliberate accidents:


Rauschenberg Cobine Collection1954_L.jpg


Robert Rauschenberg
Collection, 1953-1954
Combine painting: Oil, paper, fabric, wood. metal, mirror on three wood panels.
79 x 95 3/8 x 3 3/4 in. (200.7 x 242.37 x 9.5 cm)
San Francisco Museum of Modern Art.

 "...nothing in my work represents something other than it is."





 Autoterrorist on Berlin grafitti.

"Strategies for urban living through negation, detournement and self-inflicted panic... One method of autoterrorism, for example, is to walk through a dangerous part of town at night..."


Berlin Grafitti3368560390_02f93b533f.jpg

The pixelated Hockney


Linking to things like this on the web is not speculative but it is opportunistic. There's no telling if it will still be there later. So it's worth spelling out just a couple of citations of the link:


The New York Review of Books

Volume 56, Number 16 · October 22, 2009

David Hockney's iPhone Passion

By Lawrence Weschler



Hockney has fashioned literally hundreds, probably over a thousand, such images, often sending out four or five a day to a group of about a dozen friends, and not really caring what happens to them after that. (He assumes the friends pass them along through the digital ether.) These are, mind you, not second-generation digital copies of images that exist in some other medium: their digital expression constitutes the sole (albeit multiple) original of the image.

The flood of images has more or less resolved itself into three streams.



To which I say, welcome, David, to the club.



Dimond ............




In the joint

Dimond / Oakland

Copyright 2009 Malcolm Ryder





Copyright 2009 Malcolm and Xia Ryder

Face Up


(Playing Cards)



The MJ Playing Cards (available on request but not for sale) were fashioned from other already published items in disparate pop media vehicles, which I scavenged, recombining them editorially.

Some of the concept was based on Michael Jackson's own fictitious self-invention of his "King of Pop" persona, which was a commercial underachiever although it used the conventional rhetorical machinery of previously successful marketing campaigns. But that effort to artificially create value made it unintentionally ironic, I think.

The "face" cards in a deck of playing cards are artificially valuable: they only have value because we agree that they do, which is of course why they are a game instead of "real world" currency. Right?

When commercial audiences disagreed with the "King of Pop" campaign, they left MJ with lots of hyped material that drastically contrasted against the pop news coverage of the "real" Michael Jackson. Strangely, the "real" MJ was dedicated to succeeding in what looked like a fantasy world (Neverland, plastic surgery, etc.), while the "fictional" MJ (King of Pop) was dedicated to succeeding in the real world of commercial culture.

He also generated fans (hearts), moneyflows (diamonds), racial derision (spades), and special interests (clubs) on both sides -- actual and fictitious -- of his publicized presence.

Yet at his death, the explosion of so-called "information" about him accomplished only one thing: providing raw material to support whatever you wanted to think of him, regardless of what others thought. So finally, the MJ that "exists" is a synthetic personality that we assign value to -- exactly the point of most commercial tv, partisan news, competitive product marketing, and playing cards.

Copyright to these pictorial derivatives and text: 2009 Malcolm Ryder

For source material citations contact


This would be the LP album cover for the neighborhood soundtrack.

 We transformed the "real" sign. Literal evidences of change were already in the sign; we made them into analogs proposing the "real" mood of the location. Visually we tried to emotionally mimic the phonetics of reading the sign, along with the happy accident of certain key letters being different from the others -- letters that distinguish and nail down the very ambition of the word's usage. The mimics become analogs of the real.

Like good advertising, the analogs act to prescribe what to expect, and so by substituting prescription for description it activates mythology.

But many residents might agree that, for representing the nighttime of the neighborhood. the analogs (or mythology) created are more "truthful" than the untransformed sign.

So, for its purpose, in the end this isn't more interesting than the real untransformed sign; it's just more obvious.


Copyright 2009 Malcolm Ryder





 Always said the same, regardless of how it looks.

artdotdotdotcom logo 2008slvr.jpg




artdotdotdotcom logo 2008.jpg
art dot dot dot com sprouted when I dreamt. In the dream, someone at the far end of six degrees of separation tried to sell me one of my own pictures, not knowing it was my own work. I felt I should go ahead and buy it, but the ersatz seller refused my low offer. Later that day I flooded the internet with anonymous copies of the picture. Within a week, many of them surfaced elsewhere on the web, attributed to other people. Not long after, the random postings became scarce, but I'd printed many of them on 20lb. office paper, 8.5 x 11, from the webpages where they had been appearing. The ad hoc prints, snatched like mosquitoes from the backyard air, became prized possessions. I priced them each at an exorbitant and arbitrarily different price and kept them in a box. Occasionally someone came over for dinner and afterwards I would spread them out on the table with their pricing. After failing to sell one, I would see it was usually worth just giving it away, so I did. At the end in the dream, I received an old shoebox in the mail, full of negatives from some place in Canada near a beach. Each time I held up the negative to a light, the image would quickly fade into oblivion. I set aside a long afternoon and some dry tacky gloves to handle the negatives more carefully. I sat at a cleared table with the box and grabbed a negative from it for a close intense look before it disappeared, then quickly the next negative and the next and the next until I hit the bottom of the box. I thought that most of the negatives were of the same one or two things but I wouldn't be sure until I tried to make new ones like them.

Imagining Images


 Images and pictures are different from each other; but of course they are related.

It sounds simple: the job of a picture is to "present" an image. But what's also true is that one picture may result from any of many different ideas, and many different images may result from one picture.

The idea of an image is a step towards the experience of the actual image. A "picture" intermediates the idea and the actual. We can make a picture from an idea of an image, and through experiencing the picture we can "receive" the image.



 To begin sorting out the full implications of this, take the assumption that a picture is the product of an activity -- an activity we'll call "imaging".

Next, we'll separate imaging into two aspects:

- Conceiving: forming the idea and model of the image; and...

- Rendering: forming the interpretation and conveyance of the idea of the image

The important thing to stress is that both aspects -- conceiving and rendering -- are modes of "realizing" an eventual image.

Given a distinction of concept and rendition, it is easy to notice that a concept may occur, and yet go on to be rendered or not. One might say that a concept not yet rendered as a presentation is a concept that lives in the "imagination"...

Here, it's important to note that we may take "imagination" as being a place, a capability, or an activity. This pushes beyond verbal language habits that often try to dictate the range of our thinking. By calling out these three diferent takes and detailing their respective influences, we can clarify what should be meant when we refer to "imagination"... Then we can navigate through "imaging" versus "imagining" to see where pictures are actually generated from the idea of an image.










The matrix formed by imaging versus imagination generates a set of terms that identify the underlying constituent factors bringing controls, interests and values to the generation of the image. Each factor in the matrix -- such as perception, selection or visualization -- brings a type and level of control, of interest, and of value to influence the image production.

- Control: refers to processes (applied work)

- Interest: refers to goals (in effect, "objectives")

- Value: refers to differentiation (the importance of differences)

For those who care -- say, who like math or DNA analogies -- imagine that there were only three possible levels (high, medium or low) of control, three levels of interest, and three levels of value. This already gives each factor in the matrix (e.g., "description") 27 possible unique combinations of control, interest and value.

Let's call each unique combination a "profile"; for example, one profile would be "high control; medium interest; low value". And a different profile would be "medium control, low interest, high value". With 12 different factors in the matrix, and each of them having 27 different potential profiles, the image production effort can feature 12x27 or 324 different variations. The difference between any two of these variations could be extremely subtle, quite glaring, or anywhere in between. Accordingly, the difference between the resulting images are not necessarily going to amount to something that much matters, but they might.

In the end, however, it is usually going to be the picture-maker who decides which factors to care about, how to care about them, and how much -- both before the fact of production and after. While all the factors may have influence on any given picture, some factors may simply be insignificant to the picture-maker's satisfaction with the picture, or insignificant to the purpose of the picture.

To put this in perspective, imagine 324 photography students working on the same assignment. Amongst their efforts, there could be dozens of different controls, interests and values exercised -- different not just by levels but also by types that we have not mentioned. Far more than 324 different outcomes would be possible. We wouldn't know in advance whether some students very dissimilar in psyche would come up with very similar work or not, but we know that they might...

On the other hand, there is the logic of viewers' choice. Critics, collectors, teachers, historians, sponsors, marketers or sellers get involved in deciding how or why they want to relate to a picture or a picture-maker, and they bring both advertised and unspoken sensitivities to some factors, with some profiles, depending on the ideas they want to handle. These sensitivities may be referred to as matters of style, sensibility, genre, or other. In particular, critics, teachers, marketers and reviewers focus heavily on factors that explain why they think a picture should or should not enjoy attention, and why the picture-maker should care.

But in the perspective described in this discussion, all of those references wind up pointing at the same thing: the matrix of imaging versus imagination.




Here we are again, not visible even to Google yet, but running around shamelessly without a trademark.

If this image below proliferated to 30 million actual viewings and became "common", what most likely would still be missing  is attribution to the initial source. But even with such attribution, most of the 30 million viewers would still not know whether the "initial source" was the distributor, the producer, or the developer. And for most of them, the feeling would be "who cares!"

This pits the property-based idea of a value chain against the knowledge-based idea. In the knowledge-based arena, a network that engenders commonality of awareness brings a "Darwinian" brutality to the assessment of what something is worth, beyond the control of property-owners.

artdotdotdotcom logo 2008 B.jpgThis image (the artdotdotdotcom logo picture), which is close to being a "commercial", is a case of something currently rare (the logo) representing something not known to be special (this website). Through some conventional treatments, the same picture could be marked with something extra that would then mean "this picture officially represents something intended to be special".

At that point, some question would arise as to whether the mark-enhanced picture would itself be more valuable too, because it has a job if not also perhaps an owner.

Some people answer yes; but these marked things tend to come with restrictions. And ironically, just when the picture's exposure and distribution has become most useful through the mass reckoning and propagation, one is usually required to have permission to display the picture. Permission is imposed in order to prevent "mis-use" of the representation -- although it really isn't representative unless the viewers decide to agree that it is -- by not using some other image in its place -- which amounts to granting the picture an artificial "respect".

Without commercial law, web-based networking, or netcasting, typically promotes the notion that anyone is allowed to show something, and that anyone is allowed to see something. But then, property law puts something in between the originally unfettered show-ers and see-ers .

When a picture is provided that has a primary purpose of representing limited conditional access, it is militant if not ironic that this same picture then rides the very network that it wants to constrain. The picture really means that there should be a privileged relationship between a provider and a receiver; and meanwhile, the picture doing the representing is not even offering itself as the desirable deliverable, but instead merely a sign. I think it would be inevitable that eventually network audiences would decide that they don't like some official logo, and decide as a crowd to replace it with one of their own choosing -- just like we have already chosen to call Canon or Minolta photcopiers "xerox" machines just because we prefer to.

Naturally, this makes me want to take that unmarked picture and use it mainly just to represent itself before someone else gets their hands on it. The project, then, would be to legally and graphically trademark the picture, and then distribute the marked picture as widely as possible with intent to represent the immediate availability of the same picture without the trademark (in other words, the way you already have it here on your copy of the webpage).

And, I further thought, "then, charge people a fee to, in effect, remove the trademark" by taking paid orders for non-trademarked copies. To shore that up, the unmarked picture would of course have to be removed from the page you're reading now.

But on final thought, let's forget the whole thing.

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