Art Strategies by Sebastian Morales

Breaking the urban environment 

Brings Chernobyl 27 years after into mind.

Nature begins to swallow human evidence.

3D printing as nature. Not to fix 




Alternative: Pollution in our digital environments.


[puh-loo-shuh n]


The introduction of harmful substances or products into the environment.


What about our digital environments?  

insecure cameras by Sebastian Morales

Last summer I happened attend a coding meetup, there I actually met Leon Eckert who turns out to also be an ITP student (2nd year)! One of the presenters during the meetup was showing a project he did with insecure cameras pulled from At this point I became really intrigued by the concept and once in NYC, I started looking for cameras in the city. 

Most of the cameras happen to be inside buildings. Aside of being a little creepy they are not very interesting to me, this lead me to focus in just a couple of cameras which pointed to the outdoors. 

After going through the 100 or so cameras in nyc, I came across two that looked promising, the problem then was that not a lot of information is given about the location of the cameras, except for... well, the camera feed itself. 

Tracking the locations

The first camera I found was actually the one with the cobblestone ground, this actually narrowed down the search significantly since only a couple of streets in ny have this type of pavement. 

Looking through the internet, I came across this NYC Bike Maps website that lists all the streets in the city with cobblestone pavements.

After a long virtual walk I finally found that distinctive red building!

Time to go pay a personal visit!

The second camera was a little harder to find but eventually I did.

Also, thanks to Tiri for joining my last minute adventures! and thanks to Jenny for capturing some of the images. 

Thinking forward, I am not exactly sure what do I want to do with this knowledge, the first thing that comes to mind is a video but there could be other things to explore. Perhaps distance the project from questions of privacy and surveillance and use the cameras a medium to explore something completely different. 

In the mean time, here a quick video a couple of friends and I did:

Rafael Lozano Hemmer by Sebastian Morales

I can no longer tell you when exactly it was that I fist discover his work. I have been trying to remember but I cannot tell you what piece it was either. I can tell you however that I was deeply moved and that he has been a rich inspiration since. Perhaps it was Pulse Room, a piece he did in 2006. 

Last year I finally was able to see many of his works live at the MUAC, in Mexico DF. 

Best Practices for Conservation of Media Art from an Artist's Perspective 

This past Monday I had the chance to attend a talk at NYUs Institute of Art given by Rafael himself. The talk was focus towards Conservation of Media Art and the challenges artists, preservations and collectors often have to face. 

Like many, if not all media artists out there, Rafael's work eventually stops working, perhaps it is the computer that died, a hinge that broke, or simply a lightbulb that needs replacing. Some of these problems might sound easy to fix. The problem really grows when you consider that his artwork includes technology, technology that in just a couple of years will go obsolete and perhaps difficult to fix. 

To address this Lozano and his team prepare a set of detailed instructions, anything from CAD drawings, source codes, assembly instructions to a list of suppliers and acceptable guidelines for replacing or fixing components. He says that this details are so descriptive that if they were shared one could build the artwork from nothing. At this point he made reference to Sol Lewitt, mentioning that his artwork is nothing but a set of instructions, this had led him to the challenge of creating un-replicablecertificates to ensure collectors or museums that they have an original work.

These thoughts more and more made me think of his work appropriate for this class, reason why I am choosing him for this week's assignment.

Tape Recorders

Tape recorders is a piece that they did back in 2011 for the MCA Sydney. It includes the use of a computerized tracking system (kinects), computers, cameras, a thermal printer and custom hardware and software.

As people walk through the gallery, the Kinects pick up the location of the expectators, map their position and project the measuring tapes upwards.

Eventually the measuring tape collapses on itself, point at which it recoils back to its initial position. 

Finally, every hour, a statement is printed with the total time spent by the audience looking at the artwork. 

Here a video:

Lozano-Hemmer has a website where you can find all of his works as well as projects that he and his team are working on. However, I find that Bitforms has a much cleaner page and it is a nicer experience if you want to explore and discover his work. 

Finally, I couldn't finish this blogpost without showing the picture to the right, Melissa, Sejo, Rafael and myself.

Structured Glitch art by Sebastian Morales


1. Open facebook and download both your profile picture and your cover picture.

2. Open both pictures side by side in a text editor

3. Scroll down a random amount on the second text and copy a chunk of text. Scroll down a random amount and past (or replace) the text.

4. Check the original image and evaluate changes.

5. Repeat process

6. If the change is too drastic or undesirable simply undo the changes in the file and save again.

7. Again, if the change is too dramatic it might happen that the computer no longer recognizes the file. Simply undo changes and save. 

8. Continue the process.

9. Once the image has been modified to your taste save one last time.


This is a response by the comments:

At the beginning I had stricter rules of what to change or what to remove. I first started searching for specific letters or dates and removing them. This made the image way too corrupted and I could no longer open it. It is clear that I don't understand what the code means as I am modifying it, therefore I take a more exploratory approach. 

Here a video of me redoing it and getting a very different result.

I am making decisions as of where to add/subtract/change code, as well of if continue that path or go back. Still since I don't understand what I am doing I really don't have any real control. Often my goal in the process is to see how far I can go before the computer tells me I went to far and refuses to open the file. Not sure if I am cooperating with the machine or against it.


Finally, something strange that happened to me was that even that my computer was able to properly display the image, once I uploaded it to my website it could't be displayed. In another moment my glitch actually got unglitched...

There are other methods I have used to generate glitch visuals. One of my favorites cannot be found.

Raining Pianos by Sebastian Morales

This blogpost started not with pianos but with Fluxus. Through one of the links shared I came across, and there a brief interview with George Maciunas, the founder of Fluxus. More than an interview it was an introduction to the beginings of the movement and what it really is about.

Sooooo... what is Fluxus? I'll paraphrase here: something like a band of people (often avant garde artists) that came together to liberate us from our monotonous lives. Fluxus is not just an art movement, more like a release of creativity into our daily lives. Bukoff defines the beginnings of Fluxus as a movement trying to challenge the social standardized notion of what is good, what is normal and, what is appropriate. Who is Bukoff you ask? In his own words: "The coolest person you've never met". 

At some point during the audio (15:28), Bukoff starts talking about Al Hansen and how he threw a piano out of a window and called the sound produced by the impact music. There was something about this scene that really caught my attention. Immediately, tons of memories of falling pianos came to mind, perhaps it Hansen started it all with some help from Yoko Ono.  

I then started to read more about the story. To be quite honest I couldn't find much more info than provided in the interview but there is something of that scene, a falling piano, that felt so familiar. 

The original event actually happened during the middle of the night and not much evidence exists about it. In one blog post I actually found an image. It looks like it could be from the 60s right? 

Baker House (MIT) residents throwing piano in 1972.

I kept searching and later found that the previous image happened many years later, actually at an event that now happens every year at MIT. This celebrated event is organized every year to celebrate "Drop Date", the last day students are allowed to drop a class. Big emphasis is made on the fact that the pianos are damage beyond repair before the they are completely destroyed. Here the clip from last year.  

Piano drops in mainstream media:

We have all seen pianos falling form the sky, well, at least on tv. The first thing that comes to mind are of course cartoons and mischievous villains with terrible luck. Here are two other examples, one from popular British show Top Gear and . 

 A quick google search gave dozens of results, here some:

The internet is full of people throwing pianos, whether virtually or physically, some with purpose, others just to feel "rebellious".  

By now you might think I am a little off topic, I guess where I am trying to get at is the personal realization of the effect of Fluxus in our lives. You see, just a couple of days ago, I knew nothing about it, I didn't know it existed! Yet, it had been an important part of my life. 



"Write a comparison of 3 artworks from this reading on your blog. Consider the contexts in which these works were made. Please include images in your post!"

For this assignment I'll going to be looking into Robert Rauschenberg (US), Hans Haacke (Germany) and  Gavin Turk (British). In particular I'll be focusing on the work mentioned in the first two chapters of the book "A Very Short Introduction to Modern Art" by David Cottington. 

Left to right. Monogram (1951), A Real Time Social System (1971) and Bag (2000) . Rauschenberg, Haacke and Turk respectively. 


"Robert Rauschenberg and others mocked both rampant consumerism and ‘high’ art by making use of unusual materials, including a stuffed goat and rubber tyres."-Cottington, D. Modern Art: A Very Short Introduction, Feb 2005.  Chapter 1, Page 6.


"Hans Haacke, in a series of documentary ‘installations’ in which he laid out the results of research he had conducted into aspects of the museums who had invited him to exhibit – material that tended to look embarrassingly like those museums’ ‘dirty linen’." Cottington, D. Modern Art: A Very Short Introduction, Feb 2005. Chapter 1, Page 7.


"Such a mismatch between the public's language of ridicule and establishment apologetics has, of course, been characteristic of the relation between modern art and its popular audience for longer now than anyone can remember" Cottington, D. Modern Art: A Very Short Introduction, Feb 2005.  Introduction,  Page 1.

This three avant-garde artists come from different generations, Rauschenberg and Haacke much closer than Turk. This is reflected in the form of their struggle/ artwork. My perspective on these 3 pieces is that the artists are trying to provoke the setting where they are place. Perhaps this is more obvious in Haacke's piece exposing the institution supporting him. In Turk's work with trash bags it is a mockery of the absurdity of art, how craft is dead, context is the only thing that matters. In that sense, fine art is not a piece of work but what happens inside a gallery or a museum.  

In a way, it seems that this amorphous monster that avant-garde artist always find themselves fighting against is much larger than they can understand. It seems like no mater the size of the effort, the monster budges slightly, and swallows it all. Stronger than before. Cottington frames the struggle perfectly explaining how "The irony of the avant-garde is that the art that was meant to sit outside of the establishment now sits firmly in it."

Who knows, perhaps they are not fighting against the establishment, but for a place in it. 

Has the monster become so big that it will swallow anything as art? From trash bags to a pair of glasses left by a teenager on the gallery floor? 


List of Artists I couldn't immediately picture multiple pieces of work in my head  (I stopped at chapter 2.5 since I wasn't going to finish and needed to read in the subway):