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Monday, August 18, 2008

Currently Hanging

posted by on August 18 at 16:36 PM

Diem Chau’s Boy and Girl, carved crayons and wood, 3 inches high

This, or actually some just like it by the Seattle artist, are currently “hanging” in the September issue of Harper’s, where they illustrate a story called “Tyranny of the test: One year as a Kaplan coach in the public schools.” You can kind of see them here, but if you want to get a close look you have to pick up a copy or become a subscriber.

Judging from this web mini-view, though, which is appropriately Lilliputian, I especially like the use of the sculpture perched on the tip of a pencil, like some post-“Sesame Street” Giacometti.

And now, please enjoy a “Sesame Street” clip from 1972 involving Stevie Wonder, a vocoder, a vest, and a classic song that is marginally about counting.

(Thanks for the tip, Steven.)

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yay for Diem! I lurv these little sculptures.

Posted by Steven Miller | August 18, 2008 4:47 PM

Those are way better than the chapstick carvings of penises I used to make.

Posted by bronkitis | August 18, 2008 5:05 PM

Those little crayon sculptures make me swoon and this Stevie clip is one of the best from the Sesame Street archive. Plus, Vocoder!!

Jen Graves, this is your best post EVER.

Posted by kerri harrop | August 18, 2008 5:17 PM

That's actually a talk box that Stevie is using. A bit different than a vocoder which runs the voice signal directly through a vocoder to give a synthesized sound (think 'more bounce to the ounce' by Zapp & Roger).

This talk box thing is what Peter Frampton used to make his guitar "talk". So, Stevie is running the synthesizer output through the talk box, which very low-tech-ishly sends the synth through a pvc tube that he has in his mouth. He then moves his mouth without speaking to manipulate the synth sound which goes directly into the microphone in front of him. It's basically a Jew's harp except it' the synth instead of your voice making the noise that your mouth is manipulating.

Posted by Daniel | August 18, 2008 5:23 PM

I like these little guys. I do. I was immediately drawn to them when I saw them in person last year. They are clever and sweet and a pleasure to regard. But I'm a little irked by the fact that I have seen so many blog and gallery posts about them. There's other good artworks out there and it seems like everyone just gets behind the same few approved artists and endorses them in a chain reaction.

Just harumphing. I like these but I'm irked.

Posted by harumph | August 18, 2008 5:30 PM

As soon as I posted my little spiel about being irked and harumphing I realized I'm just jealous. I'm sayin it before someone else does.

Posted by harumph | August 18, 2008 5:46 PM

@4: thank you for that clarification, which I should have already known. When someone once explained a talk box to me, I practically fell in love. It is seriously so cool.

Posted by kerri harrop | August 18, 2008 5:57 PM

every time i see a "currently hanging", i prepare for the inevitable, "THIS SUXX!". i had already crafted my reply, "ONLY AN IDIOT COULD HATE ON DIEM!" and low and behold, everyone is in love. yea! they're great!

Posted by joey | August 18, 2008 7:07 PM

@4, thank you. Talk box, indeed.

Now, if it's a vocoder you want, look no farther than Laurie Anderson.

Posted by Jubilation T. Cornball | August 18, 2008 11:33 PM

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