Art Made During The Terrorist Attacks On September 11th 2001: AOL Instant Messenger “Away Messages” Collage by Pete Ippel

Flashback to September eleventh, 2001, I was just moving into the fall semester of my final year at Cornell University, when I woke up early for my nine am Spanish class just like any other day…My friends Cristian and Dan were already up watching the news as they were both from New York City.

That’s when we saw the second plane hit. Below are the reactions of my peers as posted on their AOL IM “Away Messages” throughout the day…

Get the full screen version: AOL Instant Messenger “Away Messages” during The Terrorist Attacks on September 11th 2001.

U2’s Peace on Earth can be downloaded from Amazon.

Selected Passages from Huxley’s Brave New World

If you want to think, read Brave New World. Here are a few excerpts that I found particularly compelling.

On friendship

“One of the more principal functions of a friend is to suffer (in a milder and symbolic form) the punishments that we should like, but are unable, to inflict upon our enemies. p. 179

Dialogue about happiness and art: p. 221-222

Mustapha Mond shook hands with all three of them; but it was to the Savage that he addressed himself. “So you don’t much like civilization, Mr. Savage,” he said.

The Savage looked at him. He had been prepared to lie, to bluster, to remain sullenly unresponsive; but, reassured by the good-humoured intelligence of the Controller’s face, he decided to tell the truth, straightforwardly. “No.” He shook his head.

Bernard started and looked horrified. What would the Controller think? To be labeled as the friend of a man who said that he didn’t like civilization–said it openly and, of all people, to the Controller–it was terrible. “But, John,” he began. A look from Mustapha Mond reduced him to an abject silence.

“Of course,” the Savage went on to admit, “there are some very nice things. All that music in the air, for instance …”

“Sometimes a thousand twangling instruments will hum about my ears and sometimes voices.”

The Savage’s face lit up with a sudden pleasure. “Have you read it too?” he asked. “I thought nobody knew about that book here, in England.”

“Almost nobody. I’m one of the very few. It’s prohibited, you see. But as I make the laws here, I can also break them. With impunity, Mr. Marx,” he added, turning to Bernard. “Which I’m afraid you can’t do.”

Bernard sank into a yet more hopeless misery.

“But why is it prohibited?” asked the Savage. In the excitement of meeting a man who had read Shakespeare he had momentarily forgotten everything else.

The Controller shrugged his shoulders. “Because it’s old; that’s the chief reason. We haven’t any use for old things here.”

“Even when they’re beautiful?”

“Particularly when they’re beautiful. Beauty’s attractive, and we don’t want people to be attracted by old things. We want them to like the new ones.”

“But the new ones are so stupid and horrible. Those plays, where there’s nothing but helicopters flying about and you feel the people kissing.” He made a grimace. “Goats and monkeys!” Only in Othello’s word could he find an adequate vehicle for his contempt and hatred.

“Nice tame animals, anyhow,” the Controller murmured parenthetically.

“Why don’t you let them see Othello instead?”

“I’ve told you; it’s old. Besides, they couldn’t understand it.”

Yes, that was true. He remembered how Helmholtz had laughed at Romeo and Juliet. “Well then,” he said, after a pause, “something new that’s like Othello, and that they could understand.”

“That’s what we’ve all been wanting to write,” said Helmholtz, breaking a long silence.

“And it’s what you never will write,” said the Controller. “Because, if it were really like Othello nobody could understand it, however new it might be. And if were new, it couldn’t possibly be like Othello.”

“Why not?”

“Yes, why not?” Helmholtz repeated. He too was forgetting the unpleasant realities of the situation. Green with anxiety and apprehension, only Bernard remembered them; the others ignored him. “Why not?”

“Because our world is not the same as Othello’s world. You can’t make flivvers without steel–and you can’t make tragedies without social instability. The world’s stable now. People are happy; they get what they want, and they never want what they can’t get. They’re well off; they’re safe; they’re never ill; they’re not afraid of death; they’re blissfully ignorant of passion and old age; they’re plagued with no mothers or fathers; they’ve got no wives, or children, or lovers to feel strongly about; they’re so conditioned that they practically can’t help behaving as they ought to behave. And if anything should go wrong, there’s soma. Which you go and chuck out of the window in the name of liberty, Mr. Savage. Liberty!” He laughed. “Expecting Deltas to know what liberty is! And now expecting them to understand Othello! My good boy!”

The Savage was silent for a little. “All the same,” he insisted obstinately, “Othello’s good, Othello’s better than those feelies.”

“Of course it is,” the Controller agreed. “But that’s the price we have to pay for stability. You’ve got to choose between happiness and what people used to call high art. We’ve sacrificed the high art. We have the feelies and the scent organ instead.”

“But they don’t mean anything.”

“They mean themselves; they mean a lot of agreeable sensations to the audience.”

“But they’re … they’re told by an idiot.”

The Controller laughed. “You’re not being very polite to your friend, Mr. Watson. One of our most distinguished Emotional Engineers …”

“But he’s right,” said Helmholtz gloomily. “Because it is idiotic. Writing when there’s nothing to say …”

“Precisely. But that requires the most enormous ingenuity. You’re making flivvers out of the absolute minimum of steel–works of art out of practically nothing but pure sensation.”

The Savage shook his head. “It all seems to me quite horrible.”

“Of course it does. Actual happiness always looks pretty squalid in comparison with the over-compensations for misery. And, of course, stability isn’t nearly so spectacular as instability. And being contented has none of the glamour of a good fight against misfortune, none of the picturesqueness of a struggle with temptation, or a fatal overthrow by passion or doubt. Happiness is never grand.”

or the sake of the labourers; it would be sheer cruelty to afflict them with excessive leisure. It’s the same with agriculture. We could synthesize every morsel of food, if we wanted to. But we don’t. We prefer to keep a third of the population on the land. For their own sakes–because it takes longer to get food out of the land than out of a factory. Besides, we have our stability to think of. We don’t want to change. Every change is a menace to stability. That’s another reason why we’re so chary of applying new inventions. Every discovery in pure science is potentially subversive; even science must sometimes be treated as a possible enemy. Yes, even science.” p.224

Science? The Savage frowned. He knew the word. But what it exactly signified he could not say. Shakespeare and the old men of the pueblo had never mentioned science, and from Linda he had only gathered the vaguest hints: science was something you made helicopters with, some thing that caused you to laugh at the Corn Dances, something that prevented you from being wrinkled and losing your teeth. He made a desperate effort to take the Controller’s meaning.

“Yes,” Mustapha Mond was saying, “that’s another item in the cost of stability. It isn’t only art that’s incompatible with happiness; it’s also science. Science is dangerous; we have to keep it most carefully chained and muzzled.” p225

On being human, what makes art…suffering?

“What you need,” the Savage went on, “is something with tears for a change. Nothing costs enough here.”

(“Twelve and a half million dollars,” Henry Foster had protested when the Savage told him that. “Twelve and a half million–that’s what the new Conditioning Centre cost. Not a cent less.”)

“Exposing what is mortal and unsure to all that fortune, death and danger dare, even for an eggshell. Isn’t there something in that?” he asked, looking up at Mustapha Mond. “Quite apart from God–though of course God would be a reason for it. Isn’t there something in living dangerously?”

“There’s a great deal in it,” the Controller replied. “Men and women must have their adrenals stimulated from time to time.”

“What?” questioned the Savage, uncomprehending.

“It’s one of the conditions of perfect health. That’s why we’ve made the V.P.S. treatments compulsory.”


“Violent Passion Surrogate. Regularly once a month. We flood the whole system with adrenin. It’s the complete physiological equivalent of fear and rage. All the tonic effects of murdering Desdemona and being murdered by Othello, without any of the inconveniences.”

“But I like the inconveniences.”

“We don’t,” said the Controller. “We prefer to do things comfortably.”

“But I don’t want comfort. I want God, I want poetry, I want real danger, I want freedom, I want goodness. I want sin.”

“In fact,” said Mustapha Mond, “you’re claiming the right to be unhappy.”

“All right then,” said the Savage defiantly, “I’m claiming the right to be unhappy.”

“Not to mention the right to grow old and ugly and impotent; the right to have syphilis and cancer; the right to have too little to eat; the right to be lousy; the right to live in constant apprehension of what may happen to-morrow; the right to catch typhoid; the right to be tortured by unspeakable pains of every kind.” There was a long silence.

“I claim them all,” said the Savage at last. chapter 17 p240

Commercial Tools, Artistic Ideals

Assignment notes (from Marcia Lyons) 1999

Using Flash (4!) as your tool create an abstract experience in black and white that includes the 4 visual cues / navigationally in 4th dimension (feedback).


  1. Scale: proportion
  2. Negative / Positive space
  3. Movement / Direction
  4. Hierarchy –> Focus

[kml_flashembed publishmethod=”static” fversion=”8.0.0″ movie=”../flash/cycle.swf” width=”400″ height=”300″ targetclass=”flashmovie”]

Get Adobe Flash player


Rhizome 2010 Commission Proposal “Preblog” by Pete Ippel

Preblog: Time capsule to Midwestern Teenage Life Before the World Wide Web – Blogging as a 15-Year-Old and 30-Year-Old at the Same Time

San Francisco based artist Pete Ippel travels to rural Illinois to unlock the fire-proof safe that’s been buried in the closet of his childhood home since 1997. Ippel investigates and interprets nearly three years of the pre-web, Midwestern teenage experience of the middle 90s contrasting it with his technology-laden life in Northern California. Ippel will “Preblog” his journals and images systematically posting a transcription to three times daily.

Project Description


The Atlantic magazine has asked the question “Is Google making us stupid?” Don Tapscott in his text Grown Up Digital argues that “If you understand the Net Genration, you will understand the future”.

My personal history has a fortunate crossroads in it that is incredibly stark: life experience pre vs. post Internet access is divided and recorded.

In “Preblog” I will be simultaneously blogging as a 15-year-old boy and 30-year-old man.

The core concept of the “Preblog” is to explore the following dichotomies: childhood/adulthood, private/public, rural/urban

Transcribing and analyzing nearly three years of daily writing (30 months Dec 1995-August 1997) in one year will be a challenge. I take solace in author Jim Collins’ statement that, “Creativity and discipline go hand in hand”.

Each Preblog post will be composed of the following:

1.) A tagged and linked WordPress entry of the handwritten text
2.) A scan of the actual journal document in .pdf format
3.) Access to a downloadable .doc transcript of the journal entry
4.) Accompanying analog photos, rephotographed or scanned
5.) A contemporary response to the text by the artist
6.) A community comments section

Content will be released under the Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial 3.0 Unported License

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Preblog entries are located in a Sentry fireproof file safe in Morris, Illinois.


Artist and athlete Pete Ippel lines up for a race in Morris, Illinois, April 1997 Photo: MCHS yearbook staff


Production Timeline

1.) January 4-10 Fly to Chicago, drive to Morris, Illinois. Document surroundings photographically.
2.) January 11-17 Gather analog photos, prepare for transport of documents.
3.) January 18-24 Fly to San Francisco, California. Document surroundings photographically
4.) January 25 – December 31 Actively transcribe, preblog, analyze, share, and reply to comments.


1.) Journal pages will be removed from their spiral binding
2.) The frayed edges will be cut off
3.) Supplemental inserts (playbills etc will be unfolded and unstapled)
4.) Utilizing the Fujitsu ScanSnap, both sides of the sheet will be scanned in one pass
5.) Each page will be placed in a sheet protector and clipped into a three ring binder
6.) Each journal entry will be given an accessioning number
7.) A corresponding transcript will be typed for each handwritten journal entry
8.) The text of the transcript will be posted to with the downloadable .doc file and .pdf scan

The Preblog process will be successful because I have great familiarity with the tools I will be using, and I have the discipline to transcribe three entries a day. Each entry to the original journal is one hand written page which translates into approximately 150 words, so three posts a day at 35 words per minute typing speed plus formatting, analysis, and scanning will take approximately 1.5 hours per day.

Project Budget

1.) Round trip airplane tickets San Francisco to Chicago $500.00
2.) Fujitsu ScanSnap S1500M for document .pdf file creation and analog print photography digitization $500.00
3.) Artist Fees 13.30 dollars / day for 300 days. $13.30 / 3 posts a day = 4.4 dollars per post. $4000.00

Total commission $5,000.


After being dumped at the holiday dance when I was a sophomore in high school in 1995, I was searching for answers…I wanted to figure out why it happened and to grow from the experience. I took to writing. I updated my journal every night before bed. If I was away, I wrote on napkins or hotel paper. Ticket stubs and playbills were stuffed between pages. I wanted to document my thoughts to grow.

I recorded events in order to better understand my world, when I left for college in upstate New York, the hundreds of pages of documents were packed in a fire-proof safe in my bedroom in Morris, Illinois.

Two days before my departure for college, I received a Compaq 1535DM as a gift from my parents. I didn’t sleep for the next 36 hours because I was exploring my new Pentium 133mhz laptop and how to use it.

A few days later during Cornell University orientation week’s, “Travelers of the Electronic Highway” course, my journaling practice would be forever altered. It was the first exposure I had to the Internet.

I received a network id and an email address in August 1997. The computer replaced the hand written pages of my journal as I began to think of my emails as a flowing life record that I could index and search. My behavior changed, and I frequently scrutinized my new college friends’ status on Instant Messenger.

By 1999 I was hand coding HTML documents and posting my art to the web. I explored broadcasting live videos online through my web cam, and delved into Yahoo Personals with the thought if I was doing this and posting as my “real self” I’d find people with the same commitment to authenticity online and offline. At this point, meeting people online still was perceived as socially dubious.

In 2001 during a graduate seminar on human computer interaction I was introduced to social networking and created a profile. This was a key moment as the personal vs. public social space continued to merge as peer-use of social networking sites exploded.

In 2002 my undergraduate studies culminated in a thesis presentation that presented sexualization of technology, questioned romantic distance relationships mediated by the Internet, and explored instant creation and sharing of experiences both online and offline (Priorities).

Graduate studies in art took me to San Francisco the following August, a drastic change from the rural life in Ithaca and Morris. It was here I discovered the blog. In fall 2002 I made the switch from a standard hand coded HTML, to Blogger. I began questioning issues based on the commodification of objects (Obay), as well as the anonymous gift (Free Memory), and began quantifying social networks (Age Hotness Correlate).

In spring of 2003 I purchased a Nokia 3660 camera phone that could upload images, video, and text instantly to the web thus making mobile and “studio-less” art creation a reality. That summer I also began working as the residence manager for the San Francisco Ballet School, and started to become very aware of the way young people create and consume media.

Presently I run WordPress and have benefited greatly from the open source community. I am confident that there is much insight to be gained from looking back at both sides “being digital” and critically analyzing the texts from December 1995-August 1997.

Over the past twelve years I’ve experienced profound changes in the way I live, think, and navigate in the world as my experience has become more connected, more open, and more collaborative. I intend to combine curiosity with disciplined research. By sharing my data, it is my desire to gain a greater understanding of the longitudinal effects of Internet use.

Curriculum Vitae View long version or Download Pete Ippel’s resume

SAN FRANCISCO ART INSTITUTE, San Francisco, California
M.F.A., New Genres, 2004

B.F.A., Combined Media, 2002 (photography / digital art)
B.A., Psychology, 2002 (perception, minor concentration: cognitive science)

City College San Francisco, 2005-2007 (advanced classes in conversational Spanish, culture, and civilization)

Student Leadership Award, 2004
Board of Trustees 2003-2004
Graduate Council 2002-2003

Dean’s list, spring 2001, spring 2002
Edith and Walter King Stone Memorial Prize for Promise in Art, 2001
National Dean’s List 1998-2001

Academic Talent Development Program, summer 2008

Art instructor, Fall 2004

SAN FRANCISCO ART INSTITUTE, San Francisco, California
NASA Space Practicum Teaching Assistant, spring 2004
Video Editing Teaching Assistant, spring 2004

Cornell Adult University, instructor, website design, summer 2002

ICTHUS GALLERY, San Francisco, California
2008, The Fantastic Solution to Global Warming and other Conundrums
2006, Metaphors Be With You
2006, Hypermodern Art Show

EXPERIMENTAL GALLERY, Cornell University, Ithaca, New York
2002, Priorities: Installation, Audition, and Digitalia

GARAGE BIENNALE, San Francisco, California
2008, Weather Reconnaissance
2008, 100 Performances for the Hole
2004, Party for Benevolence

2005, Art and Spirituality

2004, Yuk Video Screening

NEW LANGTON ARTS, San Francisco, California
2004, The ‘How To’ Intensive

FORT MASON CENTER, San Francisco, California
2004, San Francisco Art Institute MFA graduate show

2004, e Bay–Buy or Sell or Buy

YERBA BUENA CENTER FOR THE ARTS, San Francisco, California
2004, Playshop

CELL SPACE, San Francisco, California
2003, San Francisco Art Institute Print Show,

2003, Creative City

BOOM TECHNOLOGY FAIR, Cornell University, Ithaca New York
2002, Sound Thinking: computer as creative audio tool
2001, Fine Art Applications of 3D Internet

SAN FRANCISCO BALLET, San Francisco, California
Residence Manager 2003-present

UNIVERSITY HIGH SCHOOL, San Francisco, California
Coach (Basketball, Track & Field) 2005-present

HYPERMODERN.NET, San Francisco, California
Independent Contractor, 1999-present

Darkroom Assistant, Photographer, summer 2002

Production Artist Intern, summer 2000

MOTOROLA, INC., Arlington Heights, Illinois
Web Design Intern, summer 1999

Assistant to the Director of Collections, 1997-1999

Work Samples

FREE MEMORY (2002-Present) Launch FREE MEMORY Project

The Free Memory Project from Thorsten Claus on Vimeo.

FREE MEMORY is an event created to open a dialog between what memories consists of in terms of ephemeral human thought, and that of a data driven memory model of a computer. The event is initiated by the anonymous gift of a floppy disk to passers by and concludes when the box of disks is empty. Unbeknown to the receiver, the artists memories, documented in photographic form, are present on the disk thereby transferring both ephemeral, and concrete memory.

OBAY (2002-Present) Launch OBAY Project screen capture screen capture

More About Obay, the legal battle, anonymous late night phone calls, and Canadian bus stop mystery. For certain individuals Ebay has become a lifestyle, an extreme use of the service where people are a slave to their auctions, so dependent on checking up that it interferes with daily functioning. According the DSM-IV, the manual for diagnosing psychological disorders, this would be a criterion for a type of obsessive-compulsive behavior. Commodiphilia, diagnosed as assigning value to valueless objects in the off chance that it may be worth something to another disparate individual, is an artist coined term that references both the commodity, and the sexual perversion of pedophilia. critiques the mega-consumerist culture that surrounds Ebay, and is both a visual pun and a cautionary piece that succeeds when the user questions why they are so involved with buying and selling of the most mundane possessions.



[pie left]


Sound Thinking DJZN TBA Album limited edition of 10 disks,Priorities: Installation, Audition, and Digitalia. Pete Ippel Bachelor Of Fine Arts Thesis Show. Cornell University, May 2002.


Love Box exterior installation view,Priorities: Installation, Audition, and Digitalia. Pete Ippel Bachelor Of Fine Arts Thesis Show. Cornell University, May 2002.


Priorities: Installation, Audition, and Digitalia. Pete Ippel Bachelor Of Fine Arts Thesis Show. Cornell University, May 2002.


Chatting installation view, Priorities: Installation, Audition, and Digitalia. Pete Ippel Bachelor Of Fine Arts Thesis Show. Cornell University, May 2002.


DJZN and Cynical music and video webcast,
Priorities: Installation, Audition, and Digitalia. Pete Ippel Bachelor Of Fine Arts Thesis Show. Cornell University, May 2002


Love Box interior installation view,
Priorities: Installation, Audition, and Digitalia. Pete Ippel Bachelor Of Fine Arts Thesis Show. Cornell University, May 2002


New Years Resolutions 2002

I found these from my last semester at Cornell University when I was taking 29 credits and applying to grad school. I really had to prioritize, (the first time in my life since the 6th grade that I didn’t have track practice every day) hence my thesis show was named PRIORITIES. I’ve notated the results next to the goals.

1. Stay fit, 165 lbs. of twisted titanium (presently 161)
2. Finish graduate applications (accepted to SFAI, SAIC, and SVA)
3. Graduate (BFA art, BA psychology)
4. High jump 2.18 and constant over 2.06 (2.03m 2004 is my post collegiate PR )
5. Enjoy company of others (This is certainly an ongoing project)
6. Be true when deciding grad school (Um, I was true when I decided to live in San Francisco…SFAI was tough to deal with at times)
7. Thesis show that is amazing (check out PRIORITIES I was very happy with it)
8. Publish results from psych study (I had the stimulus drawings published, you can see what personal projects I was working on in the research section of
9. Get good hand care, no nail biting (this has come a long way, but I still bite rarely, especially during basketball season, than goodness for Orbit gum I really like Bubblemint)
10. All sport champions (Phi Delta Theta New York Alpha Chapter was second in 2002)
11. Turntables and DJ gigs. (Never got a gig, but did DJ some parties at CU, and used the turntables I got in my thesis video)