Stephen Black

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Artist Profile
Stephen Black, born 1960
An American who graduated from the Rochester Institute of Technology (NY), Stephen Black is a  multidisciplinarian who has lived in Asia for most of his life.
Currently based in Singapore,  he has also lived in Tokyo, Hong Kong, Manhattan and Paris.
Besides numerous private collections, his work is in the collections of: Columbia University,The Tokyo Metropolitan Museum of Photography and the A.R.T Collection(Tokyo/ J. Walker).
His writings have appeared in numerous Japanese and English-language art, travel and design magazines, including Singapore Architect, for which he is a frequent contributor. He co-wrote the fictitious biographical text for Michael Lee’s Office Orchitect installation at the 2011 Singapore Biennale. In 2008 Black established Book Merah as an incubator/test project for ebooks and other works. Book Merah has published work by award-winning poet Cyril Wong as well as Samuel Chia, a promising young photographer.  Book Merah continues to evolve into a platform for the development of printed books, ebooks, portfolios, monographs and exhibitions.S tephen Black’s titles include: Obama Search Words, Contact With Shadow, Furikake,On Seng Poh Road, Tiong Bahru Blue, Bus Stopping and Tiong Bahru.
 
“... a spontaneous, studied and ever eloquent eye."
Xu Xi, 2007 Man Asian Literary Prize nominee, 
commenting upon the hardcover version of Bus Stopping, a book of photographs
 
“It's a double pleasure to read this... First, there's the joy of gleaning nuggets of knowledge about Singapore and the printed word hitherto unknown; and second, there's the childlike wonder of never knowing what Stephen Black has in store for us on the next page."
Ng Yi-Sheng, Playwright, writer and winner of the Singapore Literature Prize in 2008
 
Black also has an extensive and international involvement with music, from being in a band in New York in the 80s to being the visual component of Sadato, an Iranian-Japanese jazz rock band to writing lyrics for S-Ken’s acid jazz hit, Enemy Headlights. Other projects include video and photographic documentation of the classical pianist Chieko Honzawa as well as many musicians and bands on the Epic-Sony label. In Singapore, with 3how, he  performed  a rock opera, Big Homer, which was performed at the Lit Up and Singapore Night Festivals, both in 2011. The core of 3how is Amith Narayan,from the critically acclaimed and genre-defying Unseen Guest band. Another frequent 3how performer is Bani Haykel who,like Amith, has toured internationally and is a respected member of the Singaporean music scene.  
Black has also worked in various capacities for media companies such as CNN, MTV, Fuji TV, France 2, Fox and Cartoon Network. His photographs have appeared in Time, People, Esquire, Playboy, Kurashi no Techo and Hanatsubaki.  He worked with Japanese legendary actress Kumiko Akiyoshi on Kiss, a ground-breaking web movie and was also the director of photography for Bubu Again, her feature film directorial debut.He has also worked with theatre and butoh practitioners, most notably Kazuo Ono.
Having worked for several years as artistic director for WalkerAsia/Compudia, Black is experienced with 3D gamemaking production and theory. He has taught 3D gamemaking classes throughout Singapore, including the Singapore Science Center, primary and secondary schools and at a number of People’s Association centers.
 
2013
Joe and the Music of the Eagles, a book, work in progress
Flame Magnet, collection of short stories, work in progress
Big Homer, performed as a musical, now being rewritten in book form 
Voice of Pieces, an ongoing conceptual work;  6000+ unique pieces  in 60+editions, VOP started in 1995.
Raw Eggs: Ten years of looking at art in Singapore (expected to be epublished in December)
 
2012
Obama Search Words and the Unglueing process. To understand this please see SB’s book on Amazon: http://www.amazon.com/Obama-Search-Words-ebook/dp/B001U8981S  
And then visit http://gluejar.com/
The process is expected to happen in April.
Tiong Bahru, publication of hardcover book, May. Realized with the support of: www.camerarental.biz
Depth, multimedia exhibition, Domain Art, MICA Building, Singapore, March
I’m a Kway, You’re a Kway, collaboration with traditional foodmakers; part of the Occupy Tiong Bahru art event, February (Review: http://jusdeananas.wordpress.com/ Mentions, Time Out and Business Times)
The Monsoon Drain and the Blue Orchid, chapbook published by Math Paper Press, April
Obama Search Words, ebook  on Kindle, January www.amazon.com/Obama-Search-Words-ebook/dp/B001U8981S
Contact With Shadow, ebook  on xinxii, January www.xinxii.com/en/contact-with-shadow-p-333066.html
Buildings on Walls, essay in booklet for Michael Lee’s Revision #002 work at Art Stage Singapore, January
Poetry Performance, teaching/course development with Word Forward Pte. Ltd, 2010-ongoing
 
2011
Future of Imagination International performance art festival, official videographer (2004 also) November
I Can Explain, artist’s talk Studio Bibliothéque, October 5th 
Abject Systems: Artists Who Love The Unlovable, group show, Studio Bibliothéque, Singapore, September
Singapore Architect,essays and photographs: One House, Many Windows (the Singapore Biennale), I See (Video Art from the Pompidou Center Exhibition) Office Orchitect (On collaborating with Michael Lee)
Watching Machine, mixed media works, OKOKOK Gallery (Tiong Bahru), with screening of Zombie Dogs
The Singapore Skyline (For its Other,) essay commissioned by the British Council Singapore for the website  supporting  the Future Memory Pavilion at the National Museum of Singapore, October 2011 
The Font Detective, photo essay/ebook about a young female detective in search of the perfect font. July
On Seng Poh Road ebook about a street in Tiong Bahru http://books.shoreless.org/books/seng-poh-road
So, what do you think of Singapore?  45 minute videowork for the Home Away From Home exhibition at the Singapore Discovery Centre. SB directed, shot and recorded sound. Clips also used in an interactive part of the exhibition. Editing by David East (Avid specialist, including work for BBC and Peter Jackson)
Contributor to  Indie3D website. Article on widescreen & their work for Tsui Hark/Jet Li/ Flying Swords May
Short stories appeared regularly on Littlerature website as well as Writing Raw website and the TroyLambertWrites website. Stories :A Knife, an Orchid and a Boat, Coasting and Building, A Star is Born, The Music of All Time, and Christmas, Kites and the Sound of Surprise.
The Last Golden Afternoon in Fukushima, photographic print in the Unshakable Art Auction for Japan. April
 
2010
Researcher, associate producer for Studio Bibliotheque/ Singapore National Columbarium
Contact With Shadow completed
Turner Fast Forward Conference, Art Direction and Stage Design for a regional conference of Turner companies such as CNN, Cartoon Network, Mondo 21,Q TV ,imagine TV and other Asian properties; produced by Yaw Production, Venue: Esplanade, Singapore. Created 3D animation of proposed set and worked with construction crew as well as venue personnel
Furikake, a collection of short stories published on Kindle and Scribd
 
2009
CoCo: 100 up and coming chefs published by Phaidon. The best-selling book included  photographic work created for Ryan Clift and Mathew Bax of the Tippling Club. 
Contact With Shadow research and writing started
Obama Search Words completed and released on Kindle
Fires, a book of poetry by Cyril Wong and produced by Book Merah released on Kindle
 
2008
 Book Merah established.  Besides works by Stephen Black, Book Merah produced the first Kindle ebook by a Singaporean writer: Fires by award-winning poet Cyril Wong. For full details visit  www.blacksteps.tv or the BOOK MERAH FACEBOOK PAGE.Also, there are a number of experimental and conventional projects at http://www.scribd.com/document_collections/2346687  This site averages about 50 visitors a day and has been seen by nearly 50,000 people.
3how, a music/performance project started with Amith Narayan. First performance took place in an abandoned office with Wilson Goh and the Banyari band. Moving on from  abandoned and/or unusual spaces, 3how soon began performing at venues such as LaSalle-SIA’s Black Cube (for the Lit Up Festival), Goodman Art Center and the Substation. Other members of 3how have included Bani Haykal, Mel Araneta and John Banta. 3how is on Facebook
 
2007
Music Alive I and II (Music textbooks)Project manager, writer and photographer.Produced by Nature Media and written by Larry Francis Hilarian, Caroline Anne Francis and Chee Hoo Lum
Photographic work for Alleno 101 (Éditions Glénat), by Kazuko Masui and Yannick Alleno.released in 2009, Documented the 3 star chef: at the Michelin Awards cermeony in Tokyo, while cooking at the Empire Hotel in Brunei , working with Thomas Keller at Per Se in Manhattan as well as researching the food of Sevilla Spain and the El Bulli Hotel Hacienda
 
2006
Publication of Bus Stopping, a photographic book about Singapore and exhibition at the Arts House Singapore
Commissioned by Singapore Science Center to make a 3D underwater game
Presentation at the International Society of Electronic Artists, Singapore
Development of 3D gamemaking teaching books and activities (www.mgkeducation.multiply.com)
Began research on Obama Jalan Jalan, which evolved into Obama Search Words 
 Produced a presentation by Stelarc, cyber artist. Singapore Science Center
Development of a CDK-based Trial Project for Canberra Primary School and the Ministry of Education
Development of a CDK-based Game/Animation Course for Bartley Secondary school
Lead Actor in Boo Jun Feng's short film, The Changi Murals. Film selected for Singapore Film Festival
Art Director/Photographer for Checkpoint, the 2nd album by the Unseen Guest (Tuition records, Germany). 
One Hundred Thousand Words, A presentation of visual collaborations with poets Including Cyril Wong, Koh Tsin Yen, Arleen Schloss, Kumiko Akiyoshi, Barae and a sample of a video based on Carl Sandberg's Chicago Poem
Painting with a Camera, Series of photographic Workshops at Instinc gallery on Photography and Art
Continued work on various projects including Voice of Pieces as well as a feature length script being co-written with Philip Morgan
 
2005
Presentation at the Rojak event night, organized by Farm at LaSalle College of the Arts.
Game Development classes taught at e2max game center, Singapore Science Center, SMRT and the Association of Muslim Professionals
Photojournalist for Snaptrap and Reading Plus, magazines for secondary and primary school students.
Collaborations with Yeo Shi Yun on a booklet of her work as well as a Moleskine exhibition at Page One
Art director for the cover of Checkpoint, the second album by the Unseen Guest  www.unseenguest.com
Short story on James Brown posted on www.popwars.com
Featured photographer in Cube magazine
Photographic and video work with local performers, writers and artists at Substation, Esplanade and on location. Commercial photography and video work for ffurious design, Singapore Technologies and individuals
Photos appeared in The Birdman (the works of Hans Langner, conceptual/visual artist whose work is based on birds) Prestel Press 2005 www.hanslangner.com December
Experimental collage/photography project at www.flickr.com/voice_of_pieces.com
For Arleen Schloss, a word collage, featured on www.softblow.com (March)
Cover art/featured interview, Ish magazine(Published in Singapore, distributed throughout Asia) Eight page interview and review of Huge Perpetual World Photographic Exhibition, February
 
2004
Huge Perpetual World Video and Photographic Exhibition  at The Photographer’s Gallery, Singapore
Creative Director for Walker Asia/Compudia A joint venture between Compudia, Kadokawa, Dentsu, Sumitomo and the IDA created a Youtube-like platform at least two years before Youtube. Concurrently, a 3D educational gamemaking software was created. The premier of the software occurred at the Singapore Science Center, as part of the Planet Games exhibition in 2004, Tragically, that morning,the guiding force and CEO ofthe two companies passed away. His death created  complications regarding the IP, complications which ultimately led to the project’s disintegration.
Robert McKee's Story seminar (both public and invitation-only private seminar)
Publications of article/interview in d+a magazine (Singapore)
Videographer of Future of Imagination Performance Art Festival
Photography/ art direction  for cover/booklet of Out There, by the Unseen Guest (Schott/Tuition records)
Huge Perpetual World m Photography and Video Exhibition,The Photographers' Gallery (Interview in Streats Daily Newspaper, Singapore)
Publication of Sushi Secrets by Kazuko and Chihiro Masui .Featured Photographer, along with Richard Haughton nearly 60,000copies sold since October 2004
What is Lomo?, Group show of photographs taken with Lomo cameras, Objectifs (Singapore) October
Audio, experimental short film featuring  Cyril Wong
Voice of Pieces, Edition #25, produced in Guangzhou, August
Chicago video excerpt on the 47th issue of the 2nd rule, Singaporean on-line poetry and art journal.July
Continued production and postproduction on
Orchid People a documentary on Singaporeans who are involved with orchids
7 Polaroids, photographic collaboration with Cyril Wong , June and featured at
Changi Village audio programs about Singapore, with Ferreo, music by Kaye. November 2003 –August 2004
Invited reader at subtext, monthly gathering of poets and writers, April
Venus W, Online premier of video short on the 2nd rule issue 47, March
Voice of Pieces #24, avatars and orchid version (edition of 50) March
Trophy Bowler Video piece for Pete LaBonne (Earring Records) www.therefrigerator.net
 
2003
Director of Photography(movie) for BuBu Again, directorial debut by Akiyoshi Kumiko,Okinawa, 2003
3 a.m. video, with Rizal for Living Digitally Arts Festival. Screened online and the Esplanade Arts Center, 
Manifest Arts Festival, Nishinomya Japan Participating artist,   October
Assembly Line music video for Margaret Explosion(earring records) http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SWHwGdoQcFU  www.therefrigerator.net   August
Voice of Pieces edition #23 Emerald Mansion: a cat needs a home, edition of 100
Bug Jar Music Video, Live video shot in Rochester New York, the Color Blind James Tribute featuring King Rat and Nod, Sonic Youth label recording artists  August 
Around, script written duringTheatreworks 24 hour scriptwriting competition, June
Box Show at Plastique Kinetic Worms gallery (Singapore), presented Voice of Pieces #22:Ivan Ho version, edition of 3, April
The Agaricus Blazei Murrill Notebook  The first English book/ebook devote to ABM, a gourmet and medicinal mushroom,March
Video documentation with Zai Kuning at Coyote Ugly as well as Substation performance with Jason Lim
Participant in invitation-only Robert McKee screenwriting seminar. Also attended public seminars, January
 
2002
Big Tortoise Poster, Article for Vehicle, a Singaporean art magazine, October
Contributing Artist,Found magazine(U.S.A.) www.foundmagazine.com
Come, Performance/installation, Mitre Hotel, Singapore, October 26
Creative Director/Producer for WalkerAsia/Compudia, moved to Singapore
Voice of Pieces online presentation at www.popwars.com, www.popwars.com/black/black41.html
Secrets,exhibition of drawings, galerie omote sando, Tokyo June17-29
Voice of pieces ,Exhibition, Vanryuji studio,Tokyo, February
Open Studio Nakano, Tokyo
 
2001
Collaborations with Kumiko Akiyoshi, award-winning Japanese actress, including Kiss, a six minute music/poem video with music by Rei Shimizu. During the premier of the online screening, a commissioned screensaver was also available. Over 50,000 were downloaded.
Vocal coach for Speed Racer Theme Song cover by Pez jazz/funk musicians 
Vocal coach for Smile Kick  cover of the Velvet Underground's 
The Black Angel's Death Song for World Apart Records, Tokyo
An American in Tokyo, Writer, feature-length movie script
Asagaya music CD by Sadato, producer
Sunset at the Water Building,music video for Invisible Idiot. Producer, director. Rochester New York
Collaborations with the musician Christophe Charles(France, Japan), including audio, text, art and assistance with his permanent sound installation at Narita airport.
Began research on the agaricus blazei murill mushroom and spoke about it at the New York New Life Expo in October. Contributed articles to  magazines. 
Attended the Bioneer conference in San Rafael California, attending lectures by (among others) Dr. Andrew Weil and Paul Stamets. Dr. Weil is a respected author and internationally recognized expert on medicinal plants. Paul Stamets is a pioneer in the area of "fungal bioremediation" as well as a scholar and conservationist.
Street Market Mural, Commissioned by  a Tokyo restaurant for its interior and exterior
The Future is in Your Hand, a chapbook by New York poet Lee Williams. Photographer/art director
Producer/director/cameraman for Foreign Communicators Club documentary on Advertising Gran Prix Competition
Cameraman for France 2 documentary on Tokyo nightlife
Cameraman for MuchMusic(Canada) interview with DJ Honda 
Cameraman/director for Japanese Department of Education video on European lifestyles Paris, Tokyo
Director/cameraman for "The Scot Smith Show", a pilot for an outdoors program. Documentation of a Sailfish Fishing Tournament off the coast of North Carolina.
Producer/director/camerman for a project involving the citizens of Chicago reading sections of the Carl Sandberg poem of the same name.
Photographer for the nonstock photo agency (NYC)
 
1999-2000
Promo Department Manager for News Broadcast Japan. Responssible for a total of 6 channels, including Channel V, Star Movies, Fox News and Fox. Hired staff, sourced equipment, responded to the promotional needs of other departments
 
1995 – 1997 Promo Producer Cartoon Network/Turner Classic Movies 
 
After graduating in the 80s, Stephen Black was involved in a wide variety of experiences in Manhattan, Paris and Tokyo, including work with Kazuo Ono, Stelarc, Annie Liebovitz, Barae, Min Tanaka, Kenzo, David Sylvian, Epic Sony, Sadato,Ayuo Takahashi, Arleen Schloss , Kazuto Shimizu and Christophe Charles.
From 1992-1993, he ran and curated the SPP Art Space with Barae. Documentation on his earlywork and exhibition is forthcoming. It should be noted that from 1983 – 1984, he lived, worked and exhibited in Manhattan’s Lower East Side, where he was employed by Young Filmakers/Video Arts. He won first prize in the Tokyo  Image Forum Experimental Video Festival in 1988. 
 
Artwork
Blue series: A surface below the surface
Blue series: A surface below the surface