Erik Sanner Home Visual Other About


there's something to be said for pulling something together very quickly, without planning, or overthinking - you just start working, it has to be intuitive because there's no time to get away from what you're doing - and then there's plenty of time to reflect on it later - but you've done it, you've made something, and hopefully you've gained something through the experience.

isaiah ( and i have worked on two short video pieces together. each time, we have come up with something neither one of us would have made by ourselves, which to me, is the real allure of collaboration as opposed to working solo. a still frame from the result:

how we got to that point - well, isaiah and i were in maryland, near the water. he made an animation, which became one layer in the video. here's a still frame from it:

the previous weekend, my brother paul and i had driven down to virginia beach, the same route isaiah and i took to get to maryland. on the earlier drive i had hooked up my intervalometer to my camera and was taking pictures every three seconds for much of the ride. those thousands of timelapse driving photos became another layer:

people went swimming! i shot a few short handheld clips of people hanging out in the water or on the dock, another layer:

someone else had brought along a book about the ocean. i took photos of some of the images in the book, panning across different photos, another sort of animation, the final layer:

here are a few stills from what the three layers i put together looked like (the driving, the dock, and the ocean):

putting isaiah's animation on top of all that - well, here are the stills. i was really happy with it.

sometimes i think (sometimes i even say this to him) that isaiah and i should spend more than a few hours working on something at some point. i love the liberating feeling of not setting aside huge chunks of time and energy to work on a project, just doing it spur-of-the-moment - maybe we need that, the two of us? luckily we're both fully committed to a number of other projects over the next few weeks/months so we don't need to prove anything one way or the other anytime soon...

painting, cones, progress...

going through a little bit of an unsettled phase - looking for an apartment, getting ready to move - happy about it, but starting to distract from artmaking a little bit. anyway, last night noticed this cone, "painted" with some sort of skid-damage-grease marks:

during dinner looked out at the street, someone was setting cones up, then this guy had a really cool painting tool - basically it's an arm-extender which holds a spraycan down at the end. really seems to speed up the work.

this morning, met with judson ( to talk about our collaboration. last year we had thought about doing something in dumbo ( but could never quite figure out either what to do or how to do what we wanted to do. this year we might want to apply to dumbo, also to figment ( where i'm giving a talk saturday or sunday (june 13th or 14th). he laid down the ground rules this morning, saying we're just going to do something, not agonize over how to make it "great" or "perfect" - we just want to do something together, something we both think is interesting, and let's just focus on an achievable project - we can move on from there, but let's actually do something instead of making all sorts of plans which for one reason or another we can't quite commit to. so we came up with a plan! what an enjoyable and productive session. i had high hopes when he presented me with a traffic cone keychain (seen here on top of a coffee creamer).

one view of what we're going to do:

or maybe we want to try to figure out how to work in a live feed:

as we walked away together, we crossed the street to get a better look at this painted cone - i think a grey spraypainted stripe is fairly rare - it was quite striking:

as we got closer i noticed it also had grey splotches on it (in addition to the stripe). then i noticed another cone nearby with no stripe, only splotches, almost like polka-dots:

which was itself near a white-splotched cone:

turns out there was a whole row of them, one of the more bizarre examples of notable traffic conage i've seen recently, all painted with grey or white splotches:

which was simultaneously exhilerating and frustrating. i felt like judson and i had made a big breakthrough, a simple way to incorporate a traffic cone into a work of art, while still respecting the "artness" intrinsic to the nature of the cone by itself, yet justifying creating a piece of art instead of just appreciating a cone on its own merits - and then here i saw all these altered cones and wondered, can we really hope to compete with the astonishing variety and utterly incomprehensible variety of cone alterations out in the non-art world? but i think that thought, about "competing," is not entirely rational - i want to celebrate and acknowledge the aesthetic potentialities inherent in traffic cone viewing - there is no reason artwork featuring or inspired by traffic cones needs to be compared to traffic cone viewing... trying to get back the energy as we sat there working through ideas over breakfast, one leading to another to another, each more compelling than the previous, progress being made...


yesterday morning, sarah sent me this omen:

in the evening, on my way home, talking with ruthie, noticed many cones and a truck and open manhole covers outside my building. thought "oh no hope the electricity is on" because we lost it one day not so many weeks ago. when i got up to my apartment, no power. worse than that, though, a micro-disaster. i don't like using the camera flash, but there was no power = no light = here's the picture i took:

stepped out into the hall, asked if everyone's power was out, a chorus of yesses; someone said the building shook earlier. maybe a gas explosion underground? but no news report. anyway, that bookcase was on the mantel you can just see on the upper-right. i seems to have landed on one of my video cameras. luckily no one's head, no hard drives. my projector may have been on it, two dvd players were definitely on it - since it was dark, it didn't seem to make sense sorting through it all and trying to figure out what might be broken and what is working (something to look forward to). when i lived in japan, there were earthquakes, i was a bit more careful about nailing things down. this afternoon, stumbled upon this admonishment:

now, to be honest, if i had taken a picture before the bookcase tipped over, it wouldn't have looked all that different. a big mess. sometimes i'm obsessively neat and organized, otherwise if it's project-after-project-after-project (for example, last few months, 1/09 traffic cone orange, 2/09 here today, 3/09 spring planting) then i start to let "little things" (like filing papers, putting away equipment) go and just focus on artmaking, also i keep eating, sleeping, working, going to crit group, etc. etc. etc. i don't always make time to clean but there are weeks when it feels like all i do is edit-and-render, edit-and-render, edit-and-render. i'd still have sorting-and-cleaning, sorting-and-cleaning ahead of me right now.

anyway, balance. so the next few weeks will be the opposite of project-after-project-after-project. i'm going to sort through what i own and get rid of some it, make the things i do need accessible. then, i'll focus on how to raise awareness of the aesthetic pleasures inherent in traffic cone appreciation. and hopefully get to a place where i can both work on several projects at once while getting the dishes washed, filing receipts - keeping the minutae of the mundane in order, within reach.

recent cones

from yesterday and the-day-before-yesterday


spoke last night:

the title of my talk was "paintings that move, spring planting, and how to enjoy traffic cones."

had lots of pictures and some video.

enjoyed the other speakers too - sweat-as-electricity-generating-medium and night-flying build-'em-yourself remote-control airplanes.

a few images from the event (courtesy of douglas repetto and roberto tobar) (thank you both!) (and douglas, thank you for having me present!)

talked about some early collaborations:

spring planting:

traffic cone appreciation, validity of the aesthetic experience of traffic cone viewing:

picture i took during q&a:

this morning:

encouragingly, five or six people have already expressed interest in working on some sort of traffic-cone-related project over the spring. looking forward.