Dr. Hurley’s Digest, Vol. II, Issues 42 & 43

Happy New Year, Snake-Oilers!

The Doctor has returned, and if you were on vacation or at the North Pole over the Christmas break, here’s a recap of what you missed. We have started the year with some ghostly posts, but don’t worry – there’s more to come next week!


Christmas Eve – Art

Christmas Day – Festivities

Wednesday – Photography

Friday – Fiction

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Exposure № 105: Ghost Writer

3-Oliver1-Royal (vintage)8-Woodstock6-Smith Corona Pacemaker

Ellen Jantzen, photographer and artist, tells us a little about her “Ghost Writer” project:

I recently encountered a real relic of the past: a typewriter repair shop here in St. Louis. It was full of all forms of typewriters, from very old to electric IBMs. Having not used a typewriter for 20 years, I was intrigued with the fact that people are still using these and having them repaired.

But mainly I am intrigued with who has used these in the past… each typewriter has a story to tell. Was it used to write a novel, poems, or letters to editors? Was it used purely for business? Which users are still alive and which users have passed on?

I feel that, more than most artifacts, the typewriter has a very personal connection with the user on a physical level (touching) and on an emotional/intellectual level. The act of writing, even if only transcribing shorthand, draws upon the inner world of the typist. In this series I am invoking the spirit of past users of each typewriter I photographed.

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Ellen Jantzen was born and raised in St. Louis, Missouri and lives in Southern Illinois. Her early college years were spent obtaining a degree in graphic arts; later emphasizing fine art. She obtained her advanced degree at  the Fashion Institute of Design and Merchandising in Los Angeles in 1992. Her current explorations in photo inspired art use both a camera to capture staged assemblages and a computer to alter and manipulate the images. Ellen has been creating works that bridge the world of prints, photography and collage. Ellen’s work has been shown in galleries and museums world-wide as well as numerous websites. She is currently represented by the Susan Spiritus Gallery.

Her other contributions to Snake-Oil Cure can be found here.

Exposure № 080: Super Symmetry

Artist & designer Michael Jantzen shares a series of his “light forms”, in response to photographer Dennis Smith‘s work previously posted at Snake-Oil Cure.

Michael tells us:

Most of my art involves the reinvention of the built environment. Many of my other photo collages are made from images of models of my architectural and sculptural proposals. I take these images and alter them in the computer in order to create new forms that are based on the original images.

 In a similar way, I photograph lights at night with my point and shoot camera while moving the camera fast enough to alter the light patterns into abstract shapes.

I then put these images into the computer and in most case double the original image in such a way that it can be reconstructed into a new image.

In this way I am actually constructing with the light, and therefore refer to the images as LIGHT FORMS.

You can see more in Michael’s Super Symmetry series here.

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Michael Jantzen is an internationally known artist/designer whose work has been featured in hundreds of articles in books, magazines, and newspapers from around the world. His work has also been presented on various TV and radio programs, and in many galleries. He has been exhibited at the National Building Museum, the Canadian Center for Architecture, the Union of Russian Architects, the Harvard School of Design and Architecture, and at the Museum of Modern Art in New York. Most of what he does merges art, architecture, technology, and sustainable design into one unique experience. Whether he is creating a public sculpture that generates solar electricity for the community in which it is built, or re-thinking ways in which we might design the house of the future, groundbreaking innovation is always Michael’s goal. Michael has a BS degree from Southern Illinois University in Edwardsville, and a MFA degree from Washington University in St. Louis.

His other contributions to Snake-Oil Cure can be found here.

Exposure № 053: Trees

Photographer Ellen Jantzen shares these beautiful tree photos as part of Dr. Hurley’s new series of works inspired by trees.

To read more about our trees series, go here.

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Ellen Jantzen was born and raised in St. Louis, Missouri and lives in Southern Illinois. Her early college years were spent obtaining a degree in graphic arts; later emphasizing fine art. She obtained her advanced degree at  the Fashion Institute of Design and Merchandising in Los Angeles in 1992. Her current explorations in photo inspired art use both a camera to capture staged assemblages and a computer to alter and manipulate the images. Ellen has been creating works that bridge the world of prints, photography and collage. Ellen’s work has been shown in galleries and museums world-wide as well as numerous websites. She is currently represented by the Susan Spiritus Gallery.

Her other contributions to Snake-Oil Cure can be found here.

The Literaryum

The Literaryum was originally designed as a special inspirational functional art space, in which to read and/or write. Of course it can also be used as a place in which to be creatively inspired in many other ways. The structure is formed into an eight foot cube made of steel and aluminum. The cube can be made larger, and/or it can be clustered together in multiples to form larger spaces. Five sides of the cube are fitted with aluminum panels, perforated with inspirational text chosen by the owner of the Literaryum. The letters of the text are cut out of the aluminum sheets that clad the surface of the cube, leaving a lacy semi transparent screen. The letters are cut from the aluminum  so they can be read from the inside of the structure; this means that they are reversed from the outside. These aluminum panels hinge open or closed over four eight foot sliding glass doors and the glass ceiling, so the text can be seen in every direction except through the floor.

A view of the Literaryum at night, with the interior light shining through the word-perforated aluminum panels.

Many accessories are available including, solar powered heating and cooling, interior privacy shades, interior custom night lighting fixtures, and a selection of interior custom designed furniture. The basic eight foot cube is prefabricated and can be delivered to nearly any site without special preparations and/or building permits.

The outer, word-perforated shell of the Literaryum opened for access through one of the four eight-foot, sliding glass doors.

Conceptually, the idea is to create a magical place made of inspired words, which surround the person inside, in hopes that this immersive environment will help the occupant in their own quest for creative inspiration.

An interior view of the Literaryum with three of the four sliding glass doors and one inspired occupant.

A detailed view of the word-perforated aluminum panels, with text from "Alice in Wonderland".

Irish Balderdash: Daughter of a Poet (Ballykissangel, Co. Fictional)

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aughter of a poet” (look it up) once inhabited the digital, pre HD, town of Ballykissangel. Founded in 1992 but not visited until 1996, this is Ireland’s newest and most famous berg. (Is berg even an Irish term?) It originated in the imagination and has remained in the imagination, barely changing until all changes stopped abruptly. I traveled there frequently, although it has been over two years since I visited. There is a strange nature evident here where thousands, actually millions, visit yet the streets remain unoccupied. This is the charm of this town. So popular, yet so untouched.

by Ellen Jantzen

100 Words: Beginning of the End

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he faces were familiar in an unfamiliar way. I blurred them to block their gaze. My camera hung low; I shot without seeing. A singer at a microphone turned up the volume.

I kept looking up to avoid the faces. Ceiling tiles, water-leak stained. Fluorescents with dead-fly dotted diffuser covers.

I kept looking down to avoid the faces. Floor tiles were linoleum, beige.

This was a future I did not want to acknowledge, so I kept moving. As long as I kept moving, looking down, looking up, I was safe. As long as I blurred the faces I was safe.

by Ellen Jantzen

Exposure № 013: Point and Shoot at 70mph

Photographer Ellen Jantzen tells us about her work:

I took a series of photos out of the passenger window while on a 6,000 mile road trip with my husband this spring from Missouri to California and back using a point and shoot camera. I used this type of camera deliberately to capture images in a very spontaneous way. Many times we passed so quickly (at 70 MPH) I missed shots, but other times I was able to anticipate and shoot before I really saw and was surprised by the captured image.

I was mesmerized by the changing landscape and, since this was April, we also encountered vast seasonal changes, from the dark gray sky and flat leafless planes of Nebraska, to snow closing the freeway in Wyoming. Once over the Donner Pass, the brilliant green of early spring in Northern California was almost blinding.

Upon return, I set about to sort through my 4,000 photos and pick those that best captured the feeling of motion and change. I took these base images and manipulated them to heighten the motion and the emotional attachment I have to this vast land.