Cellph Portrait / Mobile Phone Photography Show at RX Gallery

May 28, 2004                                                                                                       SFGate

Inn the post Abu-Ghraib era of digital photography, what stands out about the Mobile Phone Photography Show at RX Gallery in the Tenderloin is the abundance of G-rated images: photo-booth-like head shots, portraits of kids and pets, quirky close-ups of half-eaten meals and untied shoelaces, dreamy landscapes, classic tourist attractions, silly signage -- in short, casual visual jottings from inside the quiteness of daily life.

 Another thing that stands out is the insubstantiality of the images, the sense of impermanence. This is not an exhibition of framed photographs to be purchased and hung on your wall, but a show that emphasizes the communication aspect of the new wireless photography, the thrill of zapping a photo to a friend in Brooklyn as you stand on a street corner in London. Who knows if you'll ever look at that photo again?

The cell phone is already the ultimate personal communication device, but now, in addition to sending voice and text messages, it can snap low-resolution photographs and, using the same wireless technology, instantly deliver them to e-mail in-boxes or "moblogs" (photo and text blogs updated via mobile phone) or to other cell phones -- making possible the continuous circulation of the visual documentation of one's life.

Not surprisingly, as Susan Sontag pointed out in her essay on the Abu Ghraib photos in last Sunday's New York Times Magazine, this endless flow of personal imagery, made easier by digital photography and the Internet, and accelerated further by wireless camera-phone technology, means photographs have become "less objects to be saved than messages to be disseminated, circulated."(More)

Project Aims At Genetically Engineered God

 Oct. 20, 2004                                                                                                            SFGate

 SF artist tries to find Almighty on tree of life beside bacteria, slime mold

Researchers in San Francisco have announced that they are on the verge of genetically engineering God.
 Hailing the effort as a "major simultaneous breakthrough in the fields of science and religion," the International Association for Divine Taxonomy (IADT) has "developed a novel method of genetic engineering that may soon allow scientists to place God on the tree of life alongside every other species, including slime molds, fungi and humans." 

 The goal is "accurate placement ... of all deities worldwide, including the god commonly known as Yahweh, Jehovah and/or Allah," -- or, for scientific purposes, Divineus deus -- in order to end centuries of often violent conflict between faith and reason.

No, this isn't something out of an article from The Onion. It's the latest "thought experiment" by San Francisco art critic and conceptual artist Jonathon Keats, 33, whose recent projects include selling shares of the 6 billion neurons in his brain ("Brain Trust," 2003) and trying to convince the Berkeley City Council to pass an unbreakable law, Aristotle's A=A (Every Entity Is Equal to Itself, 2002).
In his newest brain game, "The God Project," which opened at the Modernism gallery in San Francisco on Sept. 29, Keats reappropriates the core principles of science and religion in the name of art. (More)