Recent Additions & Updates

current favorite artist: James Turrell

by Wayne Madsen · June 21, 2007

There are artists in the world. And have been for a long time. Most people create something, some create some really good things and those are the people we call "masters."

Then, sometimes, someone comes along and does something which doesn't fit into the "hey-look-what-i-can-do" category, nor into the "i-believe-this-is-what-you-call-art" arena of creativity. On the rarest of occasions in history do you get someone like James Turrell.

I have been thinking often of James Turrell's work, at least since I first went to a skyspace in Seattle at the Henry. A skyspace is a room, often only able to hold about 15 people, which has a large hole in the ceiling, opening to the sky. As you sit in the room, there is only one place to look: up. Heavenwards. Towards the vibrant colors of the dome which sits above and around us.

There isn't anything quite like the atmosphere and the interaction between it and light. The terrestrial field shows us beauty in its complexity, but the sky - it shows its beauty in a serenity of the purest spirituality. The only connection I can make between viewing James Turrell's skyspaces and my experience is that of spirituality. Sadly, there aren't enough James Turrell pieces in the world. Maybe that's for the better: would we take lightly the sanctity of space if that space became a Benjaminian Spectacle? Probably not. But I think more of them need to come, and possibly from other hands than just Turrell's.

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Paintings up for grabs

by Wayne Madsen · May 23, 2007
Paintings up for grabs

It is finally summer time and what that means here is time to destroy paintings. We have a second bedroom full of works of art that will either go one of two places: to your house or to the fire. Literally.

So, I have compiled a gallery online of all the works of art on death row along with their sizes and materials. Please take this opportunity to look through and claim anything you want. We can talk about exchanging/pricing details once I hear from you about which ones you want.

Obviously this is a limited time thing. Please contact me at wayne(at) Thanks.

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Java Lesson 2d

by Wayne Madsen · March 09, 2007

I have been working on this program for several days, attempting to start from scratch and write the entire program myself by using what I have already learned from the previous work in file input-output (IO). For this program, instead of copying a tutorial, I determined the design of my program before I began to code and set it within the linguistic parameters of what I knew, which at this point was only IO. We got rid of the textbook and have been tailoring my lessons more closely with what it is that I want to learn. 3D design does not lead me down the path of information analysis and so for the time being, I have put that behind me. Which obviously means that I do not remember anything of how to code 3D images. I am amazed at how quickly information escapes me. I could throw out a trite explanation of how our brains are muscles and we must exercise them to maintain their fitness, but I won't.

My grasp on the language has improved, but doesn't reach beyond a first year student. I am almost completely illiterate, but I am beginning to be able to comprehend the uses of the Java API and how to appropriately use it. This step into the grammar database of Java marks a step into experimentation with the vocabulary I have gained.

package inputOutput;

import java.util.*;

public class TestingGroups {
//global variables, only so i don't have to instantiate them into the doGroups method
static int value, groups = 0;
static Scanner myScan = new Scanner(;

//method for running the numbers to the text file
public static void doGroups(File p_myFile) throws IOException{
//identify the number of times to run the while loop
int students, limit = 1;
System.out.println("How many students are in this group?: ");
students = myScan.nextInt();

//appendable buffered writing, so we can continue to build our stats
FileWriter fstream = new FileWriter (p_myFile, true);
BufferedWriter myBuffer = new BufferedWriter(fstream);

//print how many students per this group
myBuffer.write(" " + students);

//loop to get all the students' scores
while (limit <= students){
System.out.print("Enter student "+ limit + "'s score: ");
value = myScan.nextInt();
myBuffer.write("\t" + value);

//formatting so we can open this file in excel later

public static void main (String[] args)throws IOException{
//access and open file
String myString = new String();
Scanner myScan = new Scanner (;
System.out.println("What file do you want to use?: ");
myString = myScan.nextLine().trim();
File myFile = new File(myString + ".txt");

//determine how many groups
while (!myString.equals("y")) {
System.out.println("How many groups are you working with today?: ");
System.out.println("[Hint: enter zero to see current scores]");
groups = myScan.nextInt();
System.out.println("You have decided to work with " + groups + " groups today. Is this correct? (y/n)");
myString =;

//run data entry
for (int i = 1; i <= groups; i++){
System.out.print("For group " + i +": ");

//reading the external text file
Scanner fileScan = new Scanner (myFile);
int groupcount = 1;

//loop for determining the absolute average values of all separate groups
groups = fileScan.nextInt();
int count = 0;
int average = 0;
for (int l=1; l <= groups; l++){
value = fileScan.nextInt();
count += value;
average = count/groups;
System.out.println("The average score for group number " + groupcount + " is " + average);
groupcount ++;



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Java lesson 2c

by Wayne Madsen · February 11, 2007

I resumed training in java this week, requesting that Rebecca teach me some things about reading and writing to external files. Now that I have a rough beginning in programming java, I have decided that I want to learn how to access database files and mine the information. So after I have the groundwork laid for understanding IO interfaces, I will soon learn about algorithms.

I keep calling java "javascript." Rebecca explained that javascript is for web pages; she doesn't know javascript. I think it is a remnant of calling the code for flash design "actionscripting." This problem, along with many other communication problems, reveals that my language isn't entrenched into the world of java. Let's review the process of what I learned this past week.

Initially, I explained to Rebecca that I wanted to learn how to create, access, write and read to external files. Eventually, I would like to learn some good data mining skills, but for now I need to get the basics down. She then referred me to several sites which went over some of the basic principles of the IO interface java uses. What does IO interface mean? I have no idea. Possible I I[n] - O[ut], but your guess is as good as mine. Rebecca is pressuring me to get used to the "Java API," which is the online database of java commands and an explanation of what each class/method does; however, since it reads worse than stereo instructions, I haven't been able to figure out how to make sense of what the Java API says. I have come to the understanding that the Java API is a real semiotic threshold for making sense of the community of programmers who use java.

This first group of code follows very accurately to the examples given to me. Mostly, I copied the code directly from the websites and then posthumously figuring out what the code had done. Rebecca has convinced me (another threshold, in my opinion) that much of learning how to use code revolves around the copying of other code posted on the internet and then deciphering the language meaning afterwards. This teaching method, not through understanding first and then correct usage afterwards but through mimicking, creates an interesting parallel for language development in children: adoption and then comprehension.

package fileReader

public class MainCode {
public static void main (String[] args) throws IOException {
File file = new File ("myData.txt");
Scanner scan = new Scanner (file);
int num, square;

while (scan.hasNextInt()){
num = scan.nextInt();
square = num * num;
System.out.println("The square of " + num + " is equal to "+ square);


The previous block of code accesses the external file, myData.txt, which had been created on my computer prior to running the code. This code would not create the file, to my knowledge, but only read it for integers. Many of the features used in this block of code I had already used in my earlier lessons, such as printing to the console and creating a scanner. In fact, the only two new symbols of language I "learned" from java in this block was the class object File and the parsing method hasNext, both of which are immeasurably important in reading information. I had to verify with Rebecca if I understood correctly about File objects and hasNext methods. I'm still a bit hazy on when something is an object and when I am calling a method.

The following block of code is a simple file writing program which introduced me to the printStream class.

package fileWriter;

public class MainCodeWrite {
public static void main (String[] args) throws IOException{
File file = new File ("myData.txt");
PrintStream print = new PrintStream (file);

Scanner user = new Scanner(;
System.out.print("Enter your text here: ");
String finaltext;
finaltext = user.nextLine().trim();
print.println (finaltext);



package filereader;

import java.util.*;
import java.text.*;
import java.lang.*;

public class MainCode {
public static void main (String[] args) throws IOException {
int num, square;
Scanner user = new Scanner (;
String fileName;
System.out.print("Please type file name to access: ");
fileName = user.nextLine().trim() + ".txt";
File file = new File(fileName);
Scanner scan = new Scanner (file);

while (scan.hasNext()){
if (scan.hasNextInt()){
num = scan.nextInt();
square = num * num;
System.out.println("The square of " + num + " is " + square);

package readWrite;

import java.util.*;

public class MainCode {
public static void main (String[] args)throws IOException{
// this is where I declare my little variables
double num, square;
String user;

//this is the first declaration of the scanner, also determining the name for the file to be created
Scanner scan = new Scanner(;
System.out.print("Enter the name of the file you wish to create: ");
user = scan.nextLine().trim() + ".txt";

//the file is then created by using the data in the string, user
File myFile = new File (user);

//I then open a printstream IO interface to write to the file, using the data now put in the string, user
PrintStream myPrintStream = new PrintStream (myFile);
System.out.print("Enter data to process: ");
user = scan.nextLine().trim();

//redefine the scanner, scan, to read information from the external file, myFile
scan = new Scanner (myFile);

//loop, to read each clump of data, see if it is a number and then do some math with it
num = scan.nextDouble();
square = num * num;
System.out.println("The square of " + num + " is " + square);

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Archival, museum art, structures of restructuring

by Wayne Madsen · January 25, 2007

I have been listening to a podcast from the MoMA THINK series on Brice Marden, following his retrospective at the museum. Brice Marden has quickly become a hot item in the past 30 years (is that quickly), but people are collecting and talking about him in the "art scene." The podcast is of a panel including Francesco Clemente and Christopher Wool (others as well) discussing Marden's work and forms.

I believe I am from the group of people who believe painting is dead. Or at least, only alive in a postmodern re-assessing sort of way. If there is anyway to resurrect painting, I'm sure it's through a re-evaluating by critiquing what the modernists did to painting. But what I wanted to discuss doesn't deal with Marden's work, but with some comments made by Clemente and Wool.

Clemente started his presentation by claiming that he isn't a part of the contemporary scene of ideas and instead concerns himself with form. I want to be a part of the culture of ideas and have thought about how the museum culture fits into this culture. Museums are places where history is archived and debated over. Ultimately, the ideas behind history are catalogued and labeled, organized and given organizational structures. Museums, as they exist for art communities, are about what is dead - history. Not to claim that history is dead in the sense of being immaterial and unalive, but dead in the sense that historical ideas are points on which we hang contemporary ideas. Much like a funeral, where everyone talks about how wonderful the person is, now that we have hindsight to their many good points, a historical retrospective attempts to label the dialectics of a previous generation - something not of the now. This labeling is a process whereby ideas are come to be known in the now and hold their presence in the now. It is the process of collecting.

Ultimately, museum art is about ideas and giving meaning to otherwise complacent meaning-items. Ideas from the past existed and had their meaning in their contemporary circles. We, through museums, attempt to possess these ideas and give them our own explanations and objective forms. This is why I have been reaching out to collecting and archiving as my art forms - this realm of ideas is where we get "ideas" from: they are labeled by us, for us, through the process of organization.

There was something else I heard in the discussion of Brice Marden which interested me. Francisco Clemente said that "artwork of our time is dedicated to the celebration of the fact that human experience is something we can not reach." I am reminded of Zen koans and that the dialectic of "never reaching knowledge" have been around for much longer than postmodernist thought, but it is a resurfacing of the postmodernist attempting to return to preEnlightenment thought. Ultimately, I'm reminded of David Ireland and John Cage. More and more, I think about David Ireland.

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