Monday, November 19, 2012

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Camping at McGrath State Beach, Ventura

One can camp on the beach in California. San and I drove up from LAX, where we had deposited her sister so that she could return to Singapore. We stopped at every campground and were turned away until we reached Ventura. It was better that way, everyone else came from Valencie. We ended up being 6, I was the only American. Despite how much we Americans seem to take pleasure in contemplating, envisioning, and media-masturbating over our demise as the dominant culture, the rest of the world is still traveling here to find something they can't get at home. I feel simultaneously proud and concerned about that.

The campers were from Colombia, Mexico, Korea, Hong Kong and Singapore — all first year MFA students at CalArts.

new project. © 2012 bridget batch

San. © 2012 bridget batch

© 2012 bridget batch

© 2012 bridget batch

© 2012 bridget batch

© 2012 bridget batch


I now have a tumblr with my instagram feed. I guess I had best figure out how to combine. Tumblr is much more attractive.

Monday, September 24, 2012

The Dispatches Commence

Some people move to other cities for graduate school. Some people do not. Some move 4 months ahead of time, most about 3 weeks ahead of time. And others, like myself, are three weeks into the semester and just barely in the first sublet, after staying with friends for three weeks. My husband's in Mongolia, the condo he owns in Brooklyn is ALMOST rented, and despite being in Los Angeles and commuting an hour and a half to school each day, I still don't own a car.

That is the beginning of my sojourn to Cal Arts. It's a little distracting.

I had planned on working on new work as Kevin and I drove across the country but that drive did not come to pass. Kevin had too many opportunities to be able to leave with me. I flew out to Cali at the last minute in order to help rent my apartment. That was unfortunate. I don't know if it made a difference and it meant that i missed being able to make a stopover in Minnesota to see my family.

But I am here and despite those troubles, I am picking through the life hassles one at a time. Maybe I am too patient. I have barely commenced the actual business of really making art, but we just got our studios anyway - two weeks into the semester. Um, what is up with that Cal Arts?

I have heard several complaints about the running of the Institute itself but I don't feel this is the place for that. People complain a lot, all the time, about everything, everywhere you go. Although I've long resented the narrative I grew up with - the constant refrain that life is hard - I am seeing that it has made me more resilient. I think I might need to switch over too "just a spoonful of sugar" though. It's about time to start having some fun.

Saturday, July 28, 2012

The adventure will begin again

I think I was around 11 years old when I first became aware the dire prognosis of climate change for humanity. Back then, and it was back then, (let's see if anyone can figure out when 'back then" is), the condition was known as "The Greenhouse Effect" but the treatment prescribed was the same - reduce carbon emissions.

Clearly we have failed. And every year, the signifiers and warnings grow less and less abstract, looming as large as an iceberg over a rowboat from the Titanic. Yet, nothing changes politically.

Back in the 80s, a grassroots campaign that evolved out of fear of global warming managed to produce a ban on Hydroflourocarbons in aerosols and greatly diminish the use of styrofoam. All the fast food chains stopped using styrofoam. It's clear that popular movements that lead to, wait for it, widespread government! action, can produce change (that goes for causes i don't so much like too, unfortunately).

We humans could still change things, but the lifestyle adjustments required have proven to be severe. And I think the only people not to blame are those who live off the grid. Not a lot of them around. I live in New York and could pat myself on the back for not driving a car to work every day. But Kevin and I fly so much we negate any of that. And I love flying. I love going places. I really want to do things like journey to China, which we did in April.

Speaking of China, the reports about their hideous air quality have been greatly under-exaggerated. I do believe the US was like that in the 1970s, but government took action - banned lead-burning gasoline, enforced emissions standards, and the economy survived such regulation hassles JUST FINE.

I speak of my own lifestyle adjustments, or lack thereof, but it's everybody. Humans want to fly, they want to get around, they want to produce and ship and travel and visit, and see and explore and consume. If we didn't, we wouldn't be in this mess. And no amount of brow-beating will change that. Nor, clearly, will any slow-moving apocalypses.

However, humans are also extremely innovative and have a wonderful track-record of problem solving at the last minute. That is what I am hoping for. However, this seems to happen only after a truly unnecessary amount of hardship has occurred.

Who do I hope this will come from? Some mythical cadre of scientists and engineers I suppose. Could we please learn how to make these professions sexier?

I am about to set out on my next life adventure - the first of a couple big ones I presume I will be embarking upon in the next couple years. If I were a less selfish person I would not have chosen art for a graduate degree, I would have chosen something to do with climate change research. But there is no reason I cannot involve research or science in my art practice.

I could envision the apocalypse. Or perhaps I can document it. Speaking of burning carbon, another road trip lies in my immediate future. And the purchase of an automobile (never happened before!). We will be journeying out to California so that I can attend graduate school. I will earn my MFA in Photo / Video and Interactive Media at California Institute of the Arts -- CalArts - just north of Los Angeles. And my fabulous husband, Kevin Cooley, is being gracious enough to come with me, at least part-time.

In preparation for imminent loans and income slashing, I have been doing nothing but working - as a front end web developer no less (who knew?). This has not been a summer for creativity but that is okay.  New York suffers no drought, but the rest of the United States is combusting like an ant under a magnifying glass at a boy scout camp.  As we burn through the Great Plains and the West, I plan on documenting the scorched earth policy that we've launched against ourselves. Maybe we humans really do have a death wish.

But I wish to bring more to this project than mere documentation. Photographs of withered wheat in Kansas will not be fascinating. It's kind of a problem with photography these days in general.  I do not know what to do yet. I am open to suggestion. And it would probably be a good idea if I did some reading. Send over the recommendations, come on!

The blog has been... well, on hiatus for many months, but generally just a content-mess reflective of the content mess of my mind. I never really picked a theme and stuck to it. And maybe i never will, maybe it will continue to reflect that mushy mass of brain mess that floats around up here every day. I think about work, about art, about my baby a lot, about the world and politics, and i try to avoid the presidential campaign because it's all generally disgusting. Although all you people disappointed by Obama, he was never the messiah to begin with, i don't know what they were thinking. See, mess of tangents. I don't know if that's ok. I am kind of looking to the experience of grad school to tighten me up conceptually. And no one is going to appreciate that more than me.

Wish me luck, i am wishing it for all of us!

Friday, February 24, 2012


© 2011 bridget batch

© 2011 bridget batch