Ernesto Cuevas is an artists the Convergent Media Collective has enjoyed following as he produces works that inspire and enrich so many. CMC member joey lopez had the pleasure of catching up with Ernesto as he worked on “The Brown Buffalo” mural project that PBS commissioned him to produce in the spring of 2018. The mural was commissioned to celebrate the release of “The Rise and Fall of the Brown Buffalo,” a documentary that explored Oscar “Zeta” Acosta Fierro life, a counter culture and Chicano icon. Ernesto was charged with finding the wall. Rochelle M Acevedo Law Offices offered their business’s street front side for him to paint a mural. Ernesto then reached out to local youth whom he taught in the past to help with the mural and set out on creating a mural that was representative of Oscar “Zeta” Acosta Fierro in all his forms.
In this short interview by joey lopez, Ernesto highlights his thought process and gives insight to the significance of the mural.
It’s with great enthusiasm that I am writing about my 2018 HOPE conference adventure with Jeremy Zunker a fellow CMC member.
I had known about the HOPE conference since I was a teenager/early 20’s, it was more lore to me then an actual event in those days. I had seen the 2600 hacker quarterly and I knew a little bit about hacker culture. Over the years my knowledge and enthusiasm for hacker culture grew and grew to the point that in graduate school I had the pleasure of meeting my now colleague Brandon Wiley, one of the founding theorist and practitioners of peer to peer and anonymity theory. We would work on all kinds of hacker projects and because of our graduate program, the ACTLab, run by hacker Sandy Stone we also brought it into the classroom. We even taught an “Extreme Freestyle Hacking” course. Fellow ACTLabber and now colleague Dustin Younse re introduced me into the 2600 group and HOPE as he attending every year.
I will never forget him coming back in the mid 2000’s to talk to us about “hacker spaces.” He told us how they would be all over and we should think about creating one and or labeling spaces we already had as them.
Sure enough hacker spaces took off.
That’s how I met Jeremy, at a hacker space. 10bitworks in San Antonio to be specific. The Collective was working on Converging Texan Cultures, a museum installation for the Institute of Texas Cultures where we wanted to integrate an XBox Kinect with a gesture based projector interface. Sure enough Jeremy popped up when I asked the folks at 10bit if anyone wanted to help. And the rest is history. Jeremy has been a member since helping with numerous projects and outreach ventures. He would come and present projects to courses I was teaching and he even presented on his 3 week trip to China with Mitch Altman where he visited universities, hacker spaces and manufacturing facilities.
Fast forward to this past spring 2018 and Jeremy asked me if I would be interested in attending the 2018 HOPE conference. I had been going through a tough year looking for a job and starting a business with a friend. I told him I was broke and couldn’t afford it.
Well he said he would cover me and so I said sure!
I didn’t know what to expect other then that Jeremy had been to one before and told me his experiences. I applied to speak, but never heard anything. So read over the talks being presented. Other then that I just showed up.
And that’s what I learned HOPE was about, showing up and just engaging with fellow hackers. Finding like minded people and sharing your projects, ideas and enthusiasm.
I was like a fish in water. Jeremy quickly introduced me to some friends he made while on his trip to China. It turned out one them, Scotty Allen had planned to come and just setup a space to hack all weekend. So guess what we did???
We hacked all weekend with Scotty. He actually lives in Shenzhen China and hacks full time. He documents his experience on YouTube (Strange Parts) for all to see which is awesome. He was so kind and friendly, it was amazing! He brought a video microscope and a bunch of iPhone dev boards and other iPhone related peripherals. He also brought a bunch of on die RFID chips and some with antennas and a close range and far range detector. He intent was to have us make our own antennas and see how they match up to commercial ones.
So off to the races we went with myself making a non scientific one out of a paper clip and Jeremy designing a fully scientific one using a yagi attenna calculator. The results were as expected, mine did about 2x better then standard antenna (3” away vs 6” away with the paper clip). Jeremy’s worked 24’ away!!!
But that only tells half the story. Because it wasn’t even making the RFID attennas that was awesome, it was all the collisions with people coming by to see what we were up to that was great. We met people from all over the country doing all kinds of cool hacker projects. From a fellow who had built an IBM mainframe in his parents basement to another who had a hackerspace in Montana and was advocating for LPFM. I even met someone who had made an all 8bit full cover of Nine Inch Nails Pretty Hate Machine, which I bought from him right then and there!
I also went to an awesome talk by Jason Scott, an archivist who works for Archive.org. I will admit I wasn’t ready for his intro about how he had a heart attack and worked through it, literally doing 3 presentations the day before going to the doc and realizing he had to have surgery right then and there in Australia. Having anxiety my body got elevated and I took a break from the talk and came back and felt much better.
As I sat there and continued to listen to his talk I noticed a y’all slender gentleman and what appeared to be his girlfriend getup and start walking about. As he walked he collapsed.
I looked around and no one reacted, like no one, so I rushed over there. His girlfriend said he fainted. He had woken up and said he was ok. I asked him if he was made anxious by the talk and he said yes. I asked him if he had high blood pressure and he said yes. I told him I did too and anxiety and that he was most likely having an anxiety attack but that we should get him checked out. I put my hand on his back and rubbed it to sooth him, which he thanked me for. The med team showed up and helped him out. I stayed for the rest of the talk.
It really solidified my thoughts that it isn’t just me who have these issues but so many others. So if you are reading this and haven’t had your blood work done lately, do it!!!
As we wrapped up the hacking, Scotty mentioned to us that the microscope he brought was going to be given away to a hackerspace. I told him we would love to be thrown into the pot as 10bitworks and sure enough everything came full circle and the next day there Jeremy and I were carrying a video microscope in the subway and checking it on a plane.
The trip was amazing. The people, the journey to teaching this journey. I can’t thank Jeremy enough! Thank you Jeremy!
When we returned… You guessed it! We setup a time with 10bitworks and presented them with the microscope. It was actually a two phase ordeal, Jeremy went and set it up and then on a 2nd Saturday I went and shot us giving it to them and everyone checking it out.
I might be jaded, but 10bitworks is an amazing hackerspace, not because it is perfect, far from it. But because it is a doacracy. If you show up and say “hey y’all should be donning this!” They will respond with an enthusiastic yes and ask you to do it, and genuinely support it.
And I think that’s what hacking it all about, facilitating curiosity amongst an array of various people from various backgrounds.
On July 14th, 2018 joey lopez, co-owner of Dreamonoid’s HiFi hosted a speaker design meet up. Now for those who don’t know, joey, a CMC co founder, has been into audio since he was a young kid and recently along with UIW Convergent Media Gradudate Christian Rios opened Dreamonoid’s HiFi a British centric HiFi store located in the Westside of San Antonio, TX.
Christian and Joey’s Families have a deep roots on the Westside of San Antonio with ancestors who once owned a bakery just blocks away from the shop and have had many generations of families who have lived in the neighborhoods.
Before Dreamonoid’s became a HiFi Shop, Christian briefly ran an Arcade called Dreamonoid’s and it was know for having a great atmosphere and vibe.
As Christian and joey transitioned Dreamonoid’s to becoming an HiFi store they focused on keeping that vibe as well as growing the types of gatherings.
For those new to HiFi, the simplest way to describe it is:
“A turntable, amp and speakers for for the home”
The HiFi systems joey and Christian focus on is called Rega, which is a turnkey from turntable to amp to speakers solution who design and manufacture their equipment in house in the London area in the UK.
As you may notice from the pictures, Dreamonoid’s hosted the 2018 ACTLab Conference’s show and tell night. It has also been known to host artist talks and CMC monthly meetings from time to time.
With our ACTLab motto of “Make Stuff, Take Risks and Be Awesome” joey got to thinking about Audio events that blurred the line between HiFi and audio design. After having attended the River City Audio Society’s meetings since 2010 he felt it might be cool to co-host a technical event where audio enthusiasts geeked out about the art of HiFi design.
Having made many friends and colleagues throughout the years both in person and online he decided to reach out and contact various designers and speaker enthusiasts about giving presentations.
He contacted Scott Hinson, an Austin Audio Society member he met online. Scott is an Audio Engineering Society member and speaker designer. Beyond his qualifications, he is also a great presenter and teacher, which the CMC can always appreciate. Scott agreed to give a presentation on basic two-way speaker design and a demo on crossover networks.
In addition to Scott’s Hinson’s presentation, Brian Salazar, founder of Holt Hill Audio in Andover, Massachusetts agreed to FaceTime on the day of the presentation to talk about a pair of speakers he had sent to Dreamonoid’s in the spring. Mutual friend and noted artist and graphic designer Ernesto Cuevas had put joey in contact with Brian after learning about their shared passion for HiFi.
Dreamonoid’s invited the public to attend the meeting and reached out directly to the River City Audio Society to cosponsor the event, which they were more then happy to do.
The event was amazing, knowing that interest in the principle of speaker design would attract a small group of enthusiasts, Dreamonoid’s setup the event to be very personable and hands on. With 8 attendee’s everyone got to introduce themselves and share their passion for audio. And like any good CMC event, Dreamonoid’s provide cookies and drinks. The first part of meeting was dedicated to speaking with Brian Salazar of Holt Hill Audio through FaceTime. It was so cool to have him give a tour of his space and talk about the unique projects he currently had in his shop. He then gave a nice in-depth talk about his Holt Hill Cionnsaile Monitors (Recently reviewed by Positive Feedback) which we had at the shop. After the interactive FaceTime attendees played some tunes on the speakers and got an idea of what the speakers sounded like.
Then Scott Hinson got setup and he gave an amazing presentation about two speaker design discussing frequency response, impedance charts, crossovers types, etc. In addition to this presentation, he demonstrated his findings by bringing a special set of two way monitors with no built in cross overs and hooked them up to a special box that contained 3 cross over variants that were switching on the fly through LED buttons he had installed. The attendees were amazed at how vastly different each crossover made the same speakers sound. They also loved how they could switch to various crossovers on the fly.
The event concluded with a consensus that a meet up where a full demonstration and tutorial on how to perform speaker measurements would be awesome. Scott offered to give the tutorial, joey is working on lining up a facility. So stay tuned for the next event!
Overall it was great to see the audio community come together and celebrate audio design and HiFi all in one event. And of course some great music was played!