When the ancient Polynesians invented surfing, they often used a paddle to help them navigate. Fast-forward a few millennia, and Stand-Up Paddleboarding, or SUP, finds itself trendy again. Part of its increasing popularity is that standing upright allows surfers to spot waves more easily and thus catch more of them, multiplying the fun factor. Paddling back to the wave becomes less of a strain as well. The ability to cruise along on flat inland water, surveying the sights, is another advantage. Finally, its a good core workout. If youre sold on the idea, schedule an intro SUP lesson, free with board and paddle rental, and you may find yourself riding the waves like a Polynesian king.More
In the past 30 years, light artists have reimagined an art form that has always had the ability to turn the night sky, or a simple window, into luminescence. Last fall, the Yerba Buena Center for the Arts turned its southern glass wall into a parade of sound-sensing lights, Lightswarm, that changes with the movements of nearby people and things. Future Cities Lab, the San Francisco design company behind Lightswarm, has originated another notable light sculpture. Located by the YBCA's steps at 701 Mission, Murmur Wall will light up in arresting ways as it incorporates local trending search engine results and social media postings. Onlookers can offer their own contributions, which will feed into the Murmur Wall's data stream and light up the sculpture. What's trending in San Francisco? If you're walking by the YBCA, you can see firsthand — at least through light patterns that reflect the city's volatile internet habits.
Murmur Wall debuts Thursday at 6 p.m. and continues through May 31, 2017, at Yerba Buena Center for the Arts, 701 Mission St., S.F. Free; 415-978-2700 or ybca.org. More
On March 8, Wafaa Bilal, a professor at NYU's Tisch School of the Arts, turned his back into a canvas for our collective conscience. During a 24-hour tattoo session, a borderless map of Iraq was drilled full of dots representing every casualty of the war 105,000 and counting as volunteers read aloud the names of the dead. This is not the first time Bilal has placed himself under the gun for art. In 2007, for a performance piece titled Domestic Tension, the native Iraqi locked himself in a cell-sized room for a month, under constant video surveillance streamed to the Internet. Viewers from around the world could log on 24 hours a day and, with a keystroke, shoot him with a remotely controlled paintball gun any time they wished. And they did wish. Art scholars and critics were stunned. The Chicago Tribune named him Artist of the Year and clamored to put the new media work into context. Shoot an Iraqi, his subsequent book, offers art scholarship as well a nerve-wracking perspective from the cell, and background from his real life enduring Saddam, Sunni-Shia violence, the Gulf War, the death of his brother from a missile attack, a stay at a loathsome Saudi refugee camp, and, finally, the American immigrant experience. Tonight, Bilal shares his book, his life, and, likely, his new tattoo.
Thu., March 11, 7 p.m., 2010