Electrate Zelig

Monday, June 5, 2017

The student labor vampire: Proferatu

For some time now I have come to realize that even the most seemingly professional artists are extremely vampiric in their search for newness. What's on the menu? The tech savvy undergraduate.

There is a hunt. This may take place at an exhibition or an institutional event where there is free food. The most snarky vampires will hunt where there are hungry students. Once chosen, a confrontation ensues. Upon a student's vampiric confrontation, the vampire, clinging to their past life as a relevant artist, attempts to dazzle the student. Small talk quickly establishes the cast for a mandatory performance in which the protagonist; an emerging artist trading services for exposure and mentor-ship is befriended by an elder of the tribe; the established artist. At some point in the performance there is a montage. This montage is embedded within vampiric bedazzlement in colorful detail. Talk of pay is left out or not clear. The student, unable to take on a strong position, falls into the trance. The result is very bloody.

I had assumed that this behaviour would stay behind in Miami but alas, the desperation to remain fresh is intense. Combine it with central Florida's disconnect and you have a lot of analogue vampires utilizing dated and/or irrelevant medium, teeming with F.O.M.O.

It is OK to fall out of fashion. It is also OK to begin incorporating the digital into your work. Just do not become a vampire while doing so.

Follow these steps:

1. Pay the student a rate ABOVE MINIMUM wage for their services.

2. Any work created by the student must be accompanied with proper credit of creation.

3. Do not use pedagogy as pay. This is a service included in the student's tuition.

4. Non-specialized labor should be clearly defined and separate from specialized labor.

5. Love and assist (be generous). You have a salary. Use it to empower the student. Never accept free labor.

At the same token, if you are a student you must not let yourself be dazzled and taken advantage of. Understand that the classes you have paid for are preparing you to become a better artist, not just fuel someone else's fire. Remember, if you have taken a class with me and I catch you giving away the skills that I have taught you I will be very upset! Learning how to say no as well as learning your worth can be quite rewarding and may one day just save your life.

Let me help with some steps:

1. We live in a capitalist nation. Your potential client is paid a salary, has benefits, owns their own home. The quickest way for you to get into a better position is to be paid in U.S currency, not in gas, food, favors and guidance.

2. Learn when to say NO. Your time should be fully invested in your own experimentation, not in the work of others.

3. High demand = higher pay. Be clear to yourself on the amount of pay that will keep you afloat. Remember, most cutting edge technology is inaccessible yet absolutely necessary for an established artist's survival.

4. Join forces with others. You are not alone. Work with other students in order to establish fair pay.

5. Avoid extremely hungry vampires. They are vicious and do not care for your well-being.    

Thursday, April 28, 2016

Depth Drive on my mind

Has been on my mind lately. NASCAR is calling, or perhaps it is the hum of the first magnitude? I think the valisneria looks an awful lot like Donald Trumps hair. The water coming out of my hose in the city of Gainesville comes ready laced with algae blooming nitrates at levels that taint the chicken water. Reminds me of the brackish water in Biscayne Bay and Christo/Jean Claude's pink islands.


Tuesday, April 7, 2015

One Daytona Playbour

ONE DAYTONA is a premier mixed-use retail, dining and entertainment destination across from Daytona International Speedway serving East Central Florida. Phase one of ONE DAYTONA is scheduled to open with Bass Pro Shops®, Cobb Theatres’ ‘Daytona Theatre’, an exclusive 145- room full-service boutique hotel, distinct shopping, office space and residential units. Truly a destination unto itself, ONE DAYTONA will quickly become synonymous with visitors, race fans and residents as the place to live, work, stay and play.

Monday, November 24, 2014

the moustache reason

Entering the cultural milieu, the affect of the interpellation, I allow it to function upon me


Saturday, September 20, 2014

Skydancers promise of surplus income

~The song says it all~
How can Skydancers promise of increase revenue and foot traffic be utilized to promote the well being of the Blue Hole? Can Skydancers be resurrected to remind us of unfulfillment, of the objet a. Is the Skydancer a totem, like vaporwave, regurgitating capital promises of the early 90s.

Wednesday, August 6, 2014

FDCS of FL case study Ichetucknee Springs Blue Hole

Future Dry Cave Systems of Florida Case Study
- Ichetucknee Springs Blue Hole –


prepared by:
Juan Griego

for the

Florida State Parks Service


FDCS of FL Case Study:
Blue Hole - Ichetucknee Springs

This paper is a proposal and presentation of research for the Future Dry Cave Systems of Florida exhibition. The FDCS of FL is a fictitious re-branding of the Florida Springs and watersheds, created as a visual and informational campaign to foster a public awareness of Florida’s current water issues as well as the condition of the Florida springs and aquifer. The campaign focuses on the Ichetucknee Springs Blue Hole and uses contemporary public exhibition strategies to promote and display the information and research of a proposed future of a dry Blue Hole cave and a Florida dry cave system.  

The Blue Hole is a first magnitude spring, the largest of the Ichetucknee springs which empty out into the Ichetucknee River. The river expands to nourish a large ecosystem where it runs for about 4 miles until it meets with the Santa Fe River. The local name for the Blue Hole Spring is “the Jug” due to its interior shape and how it resembles a bottle. When looking down into it, one sees the exiting of 26,668 thousands of gallons of fresh water per minute, purified by the underground Karst limestone system that rests under the visible Florida landscape. To experience the Blue Hole, one must enter it and look into the underground cave system that rests parallel to the surface. A person must also understand where the water came from.
Water that shows up in the Blue Hole has traveled through miles of underground labyrinth-like Karst limestone that comprises the Florida aquifer. Sometimes the water from the Blue Hole has traveled only a few miles through man-made shortcuts such as wells and street runoff gutters, ditches and canals, or through sinkholes which may or may not have been caused by humans. In other occasions, the water’s entry points are in far off locations such as the watershed’s uppermost point about 14 miles north in Lake City. Paynes Prairie Sink also feeds the Ichetucknee, yet it is slow enough to allow for water to pool up and feed the prairie’s thriving ecosystem. The headwaters of the Ichetucknee, the main source of the Blue Hole’s water, is contained in Alligator Lake which is 14 miles north in the southern outskirts of Lake City, Florida. Anything that is put in Alligator Lake will make its way down to the Blue Hole, and if it misses the Blue Hole, it ends up in the Ichetucknee River somehow, through another corridor in the underground labyrinth. If the water has not made it into the aquifer yet, it flows towards the Blue Hole through the three tributary creeks or streams: Cannon Creek, Clayhole Creek and Rose Creek. These creeks contain sinkholes, leading the water, contaminated or not, into the underground system. Rose Sink, the main sinkhole leading to the underground river, is often times where cave divers enter to explore the aquifer. (Stevenson) When the FDCS of FL begins to take hold, the Rose Sink will be a main entry point of full accessibility for wheelchair and pedestrian traffic into the caves.    
We currently have a plentitude of fresh water to swim in, but I predict that with over-pumping, storm runoff and nitrate pollution, the Blue Hole may end up as dry as Kissengen Spring, but with one main difference: the open cave-like features of the Blue Hole’s shape may keep it from becoming the clay mound that Kissengen Spring is. According to Cynthia Barnett “Of Kissengen, all that remains are black-and-white photographs snapped by carefree locals with no idea they were documenting a grand finale.”(“Hope lives”) Upon reading Cynthia Barnett’s book: Mirage, I began to contemplate what we will do with our springs when they run dry?” The Jug, a swimmable water-filled cave which pours out into a beautiful pool full of valisneria, fish and turtles would be a humid limestone cave for hikers and spelunkers to explore on foot. “Kissengen Springs, a once- popular tourist attraction in Central Florida that bubbled up thirty cubic feet of groundwater each second, was the first major spring in the Sunshine State to completely dry up due to groundwater overpumping.”(Barnett 35) If what Barnett wrote in her book Mirage is true, all we need is to wait and not take any action in order to witness the drying of the Blue Hole and most every other spring. But how long will we have to wait?

Barnett states: “Kissengen was the first major spring in Florida dewatered by human activity. But it was not the last. In Hamilton County near the Georgia border, the town of White Springs was a spa and resort destination in the 1920s. Groundwater withdrawals dried out its stunning first-magnitude basin in the early '70s. Fenholloway Spring in Taylor County, bottled as "Fenholloway Sulphur Water" from the 1930s through 1954, also has turned to weeds. Another Taylor County spring called Hampton was home to the Hampton Spring Resort with 60 guest rooms. That spring rarely flows now. This is also the fate of Convict Spring in Lafayette County; Hornsby Spring in Alachua County; Royal Spring in Suwannee County. In Union County, the town of Worthington Springs was once known for a walled respite by the same name, where women gathered for special "ladies only" swims. Today, all that remains is a small, stagnant caldron of algae. Few ladies — or gentlemen — would venture near.” (“Hope lives”)
In further developing my idea, it occurred to me that in theory, future land use planning for the Blue Hole’s conversion could make it into a fully accessible dry spring for future generations of Floridians as well as visitors from around the world. “The Future Land Use Element usually represents the ‘blueprint’ for land development in the jurisdiction. The Future Land Use Element should include broad guidelines related to land use patterns and population densities that can be instrumental in implementing transit-supportive development projects.” (Accessing Transit 11) Presenting the results of my research as a public exhibit could in turn foster a desire in the public to preserve the spring that we have now. In presenting the Blue Hole as a dry cave, I would be able to exhibit data and current in depth information into the cave system through its deconstruction and conversion. I would also be able to exhibit documentation that could only be recovered by the hands of experienced underwater cave divers. I began to investigate the Blue Hole more thoroughly.
Recently, a large 15’ saw cut log was rolled into the Blue Hole by uninformed malicious visitors. I wondered how this log, now partially obstructing the cave’s entrance, could be used as a positive attraction when used in the dry cave. The log, a symbol of past human interactions with the Blue Hole as a submissive force, could be milled and machined into a railing system to be installed within the cave to facilitate pedestrian navigation of the system. The repurposing of the log would accompany the newly installed light emitting diode walkway lights which could in turn reduce the risk of danger within the dark cave. According to the Florida Planning and Development Lab, “Accessibility is a measure of the ability or ease of all people to travel among various origins and destinations, as well as the extent to which facilities are free of barriers and usable by mobile physically disabled people, including wheelchair users, also known as full accessibility.” (Accessing Transit A1) Thinking in terms of accessibility, the dry version of the Blue Hole may never be fully accessible.

Within the Blue Hole is a system of 3 caves: the first cave is only called the Entrance Cave, but is the most popular and accessible portion of the system. This cave is what the locals refer to as the Jug or more commonly known as the Blue Hole. Past the Jug is a wide and narrow limestone passage which leads into the Blue Room. The Blue Room is close to the size of the Entrance Cave but it has no vertical opening. The pathways leading into the Loft Room are even narrower and echo the force of the aquifer’s water pressure through semi- permanent ripples and waves formed in the silica sand covered floor below. Finally, there is the Loft Room. The Loft Room is very close if not larger in size than that of the Jug’s Entrance Cave. In this space, the seemingly endless current of the water flowing through the aquifer push against the exit wall of the room, creating a pressurized space that may in fact only be held together by the water itself. Water is what supports most of the Karst limestone cave system, and when the water disappears, the risk of sinkholes opening up and caves “caving in” become real. The spaces past the Loft Room become very narrow and reach a point of unexplored territory. So far about 260 meters of the Blue Hole cave have been documented by cave divers. The narrow passages between the rooms would be very difficult to pass through when dry and therefore future planning on the expansions of these pathways is crucial to the FDCS of FL project. Also, in investigating the Loft Room, we must theorize as to what may happen when pressure is relieved from the walls and ceiling of this cave. In order to maintain its structure in a dry cave setting, we will have to engineer structural support systems that replicate the force placed upon the Loft Room’s walls by the current, seemingly constant presence of fresh water exiting the cave.

Cave divers use special suits and buoyancy equipment to keep themselves in a constant state of equilibrium, and therefore do not need to touch the surface of the Karst system unless necessary. On the other hand, in a dry cave system, walls, floors and ceilings are at the constant mercy of the people who traverse them. Because of the naturally occurring uneven surfaces of the limestone rock, initial explorers as well as public planning teams will drill and hammer rings and hooks to attach guidelines in order assist with human balance while navigating the cave system as it dries. Paula Gunn Allen writes in The Woman I Love is A Planet, the Planet I Love is a Tree, that: “Our physicality which always and everywhere includes our spirituality, mentality, emotionality, social institutions and processes- is a microform of all physicality. Each of us reflects, in our own attitudes toward our body and the bodies of other planetary creatures and plants, our inner attitude toward the planet.” (Reweaving the World 52) It is a given that when the Blue Hole and its cave system becomes dry, our own attitudes towards the planet, its plants, animals and ourselves will become explicit.
A cave diver exploring the early 21st century Blue Hole navigates it in slow motion, with an intense care for her or his surroundings. There is a sense of delicacy expressed in the diver’s movement so as to not change or upset the system around them. It seems as if the diver is in a dance with the water which surrounds him or her. The only unresolved human disturbance visibly present around a cave diver is the constant stream of air bubbles that exit a diver’s system and float up to cover the limestone like pooled mercury on marble. Other human disturbances outside of the diver’s reach are the high levels of nitrogen from farm fertilization run off that leaches into the aquifer as well as pollutants from cattle farming, the chemical treatment of water-resistant wood and many other toxic bi-products of human “progress.”
“In the United States, where milk and honey cost little enough, where private serenity is prized above all things by the wealthy, privileged, and well-washed, where tension, intensity, passion, and the concomitant loss of self-possession are detested, the idea that your attitudes and behaviors vis-à-vis your body are your politics and your spirituality may seem strange.”(Allen 53) With water and the human body being deeply interconnected, where over 90% of the human body is comprised of water itself, attitudes towards protecting water and our bodies seem strange to many in western society. It is in this strange-ness that the FDCS of FL project exists. Xavier Cortada likes to phrase it: “Art itself is about making something strange in order to bring attention to it.”(Presentation) I believe that this strangeness is not absolutely necessary, but what it does, in deconstructing the “strange” is challenge the assumptions of what is considered “normal.” The strange may not be strange at all; it is just its existence in a world constructed to function within a specified metaphysical formula. The strange that I wish to make explicit through this project is our illogic when looking into the human and "natural" future.
In the Helen Mayer and Newton Harrison’s large, over a decade long project titled The Lagoon Cycle, Newton Harrison took the role of the fictitious Lagoonmaker as he attempted to recreate an already functioning eco system for the sole purpose of supplying a large amount of delicious crab meat. He visited Sri Lanka, met with fishermen, had crabs shipped back to the states for him, learned about the cycles of the Sri Lankan lagoons and replicated the cycles in man-made tanks with filters and feeders, all at a high energy cost. Helen Mayer Harrison took on the role of the Witness, of the person looking from a short distance, being the consciousness of the Lagoonmaker. Over time through this large project, Witness and Lagoonmaker formed a great dialogue which expanded through the inevitability of an unsustainable micro system.

The unsustainability of things expanded in the Lagoon Cycle to conclude with a planet Earth that had risen in sea level due to the greenhouse effect of global warming through “efficient pollution.” “Sometimes I dream of the water buffalo in its wallow in Sri Lanka, the one that ran afoul of the gasoline engine and is being replaced by the tractor. Now that tractor does not replicate itself freely nor provide milk, nor utilize weeds as fuel nor produce fertilizer and fuel with its dung. Yet the tractor maker would say that the tractor is a bold invention; an improvisation that will change the state of farming. It is more efficient, it can cover more ground in a day. It is modern and cheap and helps bring people into the technological domain.”(Harrisons 94) The Harrisons are writing about an illogical cycle that is happening due to the machine maker creating a desire in the farmer to become part of a future society, yet the machine maker’s future society cannot be fully realized nor predicted with certainty. This future is in beta-test mode, and this mode does not weigh into its computations the irreversible effects of pollution on the planet’s eco systems. I believe that the western societal value of technology is extremely high when juxtaposed with the natural or wildness of the eco system. Whereas the buffalo in the Lagoon Cycle serves a great function and is efficient, so is our aquifer, trees, plant life and ground sediment filtration. The FDCS of FL project provides a form of the Harrison’s Lagoon Cycle by attempting to place all the technology necessary for its survival on display as developed research, ready to install and prone to failure.

The FDCS of FL project will contain a series of outdoor information panels identical to the panels installed in Ichetucknee Springs Park. These panels will inform visitors of the plans of a future dry park as a way to include and invite public opinion and suggestions into its development. Towards the entrance of the park there will be a semi permanent outdoor pavilion exhibition, complete with seating, interactive cave draining maquettes and dioramas predicting the near future construction and expansion of cave passageways and accessibility routes into the underground Karst system. A video located in the exhibition entrance will show the process of repurposing the Blue Hole sawed log into the beautiful railing that will extend deep into the cave, with authentic samples of the log for visitors to touch, to feel what it was like before it was turned into the underground rail. A take home souvenir of the FDCS of FL in the form of a dry Blue Jug keychain will be given to every visitor who has completed the tour of the project.

For the more athletic and adventurous visitor, a series of rock climbing walls with attached rings, spikes and rope will allow people to truly immerse themselves in navigating the future terrain and engage with it as would a future worker in his or her environment during the early stages of the FDCS of FL Blue Hole development. All rock climbing participants will be allowed to wear the official FDCS of FL spelunking helmets, cut resistant gloves and Near Field ComCave system. The Near Field ComCave system is a technology created for the future workers of the caves, installed by early 21st century cave divers when the Blue Hole will still be wet. This system will inform the workers via led screen how far into the cave they have gone and how far they will have to travel until the last known ending. It will also provide live saving information on how to return to the surface and alert them to any dangerous obstructions in the way. The worker, just like the rock climbing visitor, will also be able to input information on a cave’s condition and progress. In order to fully engage with the exhibit, a series of trained volunteers will guide visitors through the various portions of the exhibit as well as take them to the Blue Hole: the test site where the first planned development of the dry caves will occur.
Visitors will follow tour guides to the Blue Hole where they will be given informational pamphlets with imagery of the dry cave in order to compare and contrast the two. The volunteer guides will document any visitor commentary, suggestions and recommendations in order to further the project into fruition.
Current projections into the initial cost of developing the first site are unclear due to the current abundance of freshwater still flowing down south through the watershed and out of the Blue Hole, making it difficult to draw out engineering plans on site. When comparing this project to some current above ground developments such as the tear down and construction of student housing east of the University of Florida, the minimum costs can be upwards of $500k. A positive aspect of building within a cave system is that most of the structure has already been made by the effects of slightly acidic water which has flowed through the limestone system since perhaps the Eocene era. This reduces construction costs quite significantly and in turn brings the focus back to the accessibility of the space itself.

For the Blue Hole, a staircase can be carved out of the limestone surface of the dry pool much like the design of the Devil’s Den sinkhole. If the staircase were made wide enough, it could also be adapted to house an electrified wheelchair ascent and descent mechanism. Progress and innovation through ideas such as these are what will make the FDCS of FL a reality.
Projected costs for the FDCS of FL project exhibit will be very low considering that the development of the exhibit is at no cost. The cost of materials and construction of display panels, printing of pamphlets and the installation of dioramas will be under $1500. The outdoor display panels, coated in ultraviolet protective resin, will be temporarily installed with no need of cement or the breaking of ground. The exhibition guides will be unpaid volunteers who are given free passes to the spring for future entrance at a later date. According to the park personnel, although the exhibit may be better suited for the park’s museum space, the main pavilion closest to the bathrooms in the Ichetucknee Springs Park North Entrance is free for public use and can be secured at sunset by the project volunteers upon the end of their shift. This space provides ample amounts of foot traffic from people coming to visit the springs as well as the people tubing down the river. A complete tour of the exhibit including a visit to the Blue Hole can be accomplished in roughly one hour, and the take home pamphlets and gifts will leave a more permanent imprint on the spring visitor.

I trust that an exhibit on the FDCS of FL will have several residual effects on the Ichetucknee Springs visitor. One key effect I wish for the visitor to take with them is a greater awareness of the Florida aquifer, its location and function. I wish for the viewer to allow themselves to feel delicate, by looking into the future tense of the Blue Hole as a dry spring. I understand that a future of a Florida with dry caves may be short sighted. If one were to analyze the real threats to the aquifer, it can be understood that salt water intrusion by fresh water over pumping and sea level rise is much more probable than only having dry caves, and this salted future could be interesting to explore as well. The sad reality is that the future human response to such a catastrophe may be positive, because if one were to study salt water within an aquifer, it can be concluded that the salt water will also drop in temperature to mimic the constant 71/2 degree year round temperature of the springs. Visitors will be more buoyant and less afraid to swim without a floatation device, and the introduction of marine life into a spring system could be a colorful and disturbing photo opportunity. It could be theorized that salt water will be clearer once it has flowed through the Karst system, and to the many tubers that float down the Ichetucknee River, they will not notice a difference. However, if the Blue Hole does dry out, so will the river and the other springs, rendering Ichetucknee Springs as the new Florida spelunking attraction for the world to interact with, and the river in turn will be great for 4x4 mudding.