We Live In Public

written and directed by Ondi Timoner

Who is watching? Why are we watching? How will watching affect us? What does it mean to be constantly watched without privacy? How is the digital age helping or hindering our personal interactions with others?

Ondi Timoner  (two-time Sundance Grand Jury award winner) takes us to a truly evocative time in technological history by documenting the polarizing experiences and works of internet visionary, Josh Harris. As the world was in flux over a potential Y2K apocalypse, Josh Harris’ “Quiet: We Live In Public” experiment was in the midst of collapsing. This art exhibit was one of the most invasive looks into the way the human condition functions when exposed to extreme measures of virtual scrutiny through filming. Over 100 artists in a New York warehouse signed away their lives to the control of Josh Harris in this large scale, big brother examination.

We Live in Public (2009) shows how relationships can become dissonant under these types of digital pressures of having an audience view one’s every move. The nature of celebrity relationships comes to mind while watching and why so many can never truly become of anything more than tabloid fodder. As things start to crumble in Harris’ world he finds peace in the bare necessity’s that life has to offer. Timoner’s exploration of ten years of an internet genius is definitely one to witness.

Written by Rachel Summers



Photography: Cameron Wittig

As I was looking for some of the interesting images from Catalyst + BLACKFISH, a dance piece running at the University of Minnesota’s Northrop Auditorium, I came across a name I recognized captioned in every photo: Cameron Wittig.

Photo by Cameron Wittig

Photo by Cameron Wittig

Sound familiar? If not, then his work will more than likely ring a bell. Wittig is the man behind the gorgeous album art for Andrew Bird’s Noble Beast and Haley Bonar’s Big Star. The Minnesota photographer has also done a fair amount of work with the Walker Art Center, Walker Magazine and a number of other local artists including Dosh, Tapes N Tapes, Retribution Gospel Choir, Fog, The Twilight Hours, Mason Jennings, and Slug. Wittig’s photos exhibit dreamy yet rustic qualities that make them memorable, which may explain why they are littered across the Twin Cities music scene. When you visit his website, make sure to take a look at his personal work, especially the albums Hok Si La, Sightseeing and Lens Flare.

Cameron Wittig Official Site


:: Haley Rheinhart


Connect, Connect, Connect.

I’m re-blogging this thanks to Saraya, who posted it on her tumblr earlier today.

“6 Degrees of Black Sabbath” is basically a 6 degrees of separation generator for music. Go ahead, try to stump it. It even found a path (be it longer than average) between Hilary Duff and Death Cab for Cutie. Fun stuff.

:: Haley Rheinhart

Did You Know…

Ever wonder about the story behind some of the band names out there? Obscure old film references, dreams, and landmarks are just a few explanations for these creations. Some are complicated and detailed, some are simple. For example…

Daft Punk

“The name Daft Punk was inspired by a review in the British music magazine Melody Maker, which called their first band Darlin’ “a bunch of daft punk.””

Explosions in the Sky

“One the fourth of July, 1999 the band performed a set for KVRX’s show ‘Local Live’ under the name Breaker Morant. As they unloaded for the gig fireworks displays were in progress. That night they recorded their first track, “Remember Me as a Time of Day,” which appears on Refurbished Robots: KVRX Local Live Volume 4. The rest of the set can be heard here: KVRX 91.7 FM, Local Live, Explosions In The Sky.

Explosions in the Sky drummer, Chris Hrasky explained in an interview:

“We played a local college radio show on July 4, 1999 and as we were unloading our gear we heard the fireworks exploding. So one of us said “can you hear the explosions in the sky?” and that was that.”

I may or may not have spent a good deal of time browsing through the entire list here.

:: Haley Rheinhart

Beautiful Losers

Dir. Aaron Rose

“It was like a synapse happened or something connected and it changed everything” -Jo Jackson

Last semester a rad group of students and myself got the chance to dive into the Riot Grrrl feminist art movement of the early 1990s for a finals project. Resulting from the snapshot, a whole do-it-yourself (DIY) culture was exposed to us. A generation of artists came from this era as well that are completely worth the 90 minute documentary about their extraordinary impact on the art world in Aaron Rose’s 2008 film, Beautiful Losers.

The film trails 14 artists that have continued to make leaps and strides to rip, mold, and reshape our visual culture. The typical use of a plain canvas was thrown out the window as the birth of spray can art (or graffiti art) helped heed the exploration of innovative approaches to get new audiences to see their work.  Art landed on shoes, sidewalks, skateboards, t-shirts, stickers, cars, and buildings. Artist, Shepard Fairey weighed in on commercial art, “I mean there’s a way to be The Beatles, to have the smartest guy in the room and the dumbest guy in the room digging what you’re doing.”

Hearing artists speak out about their work and how it does or doesn’t fit in with commercialism along with the struggle between staying true to their vision and not selling out was a large theme in film. Some artists were able to balance both worlds, Geoff McFetridge shared his experience in designing for corporate clients, “I’m going to do something that I think is awesome, instead of trying to like please something that they are saying.” A lot of these “beautiful losers” were some of the firsts to reap the benefits of putting their art on items that were to be commercialized and marketed to the masses. Filmmaker, Mike Mills commented on how his art success was able to stomp the haters that didn’t support him, “It was like getting back at all the tan blonde motherfuckers who wouldn’t talk to me.”

Other artists didn’t want any part of the commercial side of the industry and used political undertones to push themselves into making a socially conscious piece of art. Barry McGee was one of those artists on the other side of the commercial spectrum, “The best venue is still always the street…I’m weary of this idea that you have to get bigger and more exposure and bigger audience. It’s all bullshit to me. What’s so great about that, you know? Everyone’s sister and uncle wearing a Keith Herring t-shirt. Wow, this is great, what a great accomplishment, you know?”

This group of “beautiful losers” were doing such different things that investors flew them to Tokyo, Japan to make as much art on anything and everything they could get their hands on to mass market these individuals’ art. This excursion was caught in Cheryl Dunn’s film, Creative Life Store. Beautiful Losers was one of the most visually pleasing films that opened up a pandora’s box of culture and art that I had never really heard of or thought about. This film shouts to the youth subculture and brings to light a group of people that are the makers of what we see in everyday popular culture.

Written by Rachel Summers


Listening to: Bratmobile’s Ladies, Women and Children and John Legend’s Get Lifted.

Love is a Mix Tape

By Rob Sheffield

“Now we had a whole different language to learn, a new grammar of loss to conjugate: I lose, you lose, we lose; I have lost, you have lost, we have lost. Words I said out loud, every day, many times a day, for years and years–suddenly they were dust in my mouth.” ( Sheffield; 157)

I just finished a book I started a long time ago. I tend to begin a novel and stop three chapters in, this has to do with my fear of endings. If I go on a reading  hiatus that happens to be indefinite it doesn’t have to stop. Well, it did. I’ve always said, “The tracks may end, but the sound never stops” and Love is a Mix Tape: Life and Loss, One Song at a Time is the epitome of that phrase. This book made everything in my world feel like it wasn’t out of context. Music and love have always just gone hand in hand. Rob Sheffield ( Pop Life writer for Rolling Stone–recently he did this great piece about True Blood) understands this like nobody’s business. He lost his beloved wife, and she was only in her 30’s and as The Carpenters sang they had “only just begun.” The novel is an ode to era, a space in his life that was meant for and consumed with his love for Renée and the cassette tapes they made. It deals with his life as a husband and an inescapable widower. Pop culture is brought about so tastefully here and in a way that doesn’t pollute the writing. This autobiography has soared to the top of my favorite books chart. It was painstakingly witty and sorrowfully joyous. Love is a Mix Tape also made me want to make a mix about crying, because I sure did sob my way through this one.

1. “Why I Cry”-Ben Gibbard cover


3. “The Con”-Tegan and Sara

4.” The Tracks Of My Tears”- Smokey Robinson

Sheffield also made me really want to listen to:

1. “The Rain”- Missy Elliot feat. Timbaland

2. “Hypnotize”- Notorious B.I.G.

3. “I’ll Be Missing You”-Puffy

You also can’t go wrong with The Replacement’s album Tim.

Written by Rachel Summers


MTV2 + Twin Cities + Soundset!

Today is day three of the Twin Cities take over on MTV2. It makes me really proud to live in the same city where talented, hard working musicians get recognized for their contribution to the independent music scene. MTV2 came out to Soundset last month and followed P.O.S, Atmosphere, Brother Ali, Tapes ‘n Tapes and the rest of Rhymesayers crew around. Check out the videos over at mtv.com. There is even a tour of Fifth Element. Represent, Represent, Represent!

Written by Rachel Summers