Andrew Michael Baron
Master of Fine Arts, Design and Technology, Parsons School of Design, NYC, 2003
Completed degree in accelerated time. Dean’s Scholarship. Academic Achievement Award for GPA.
B.A. Philosophy, Bates College, ME
Thesis: Beauty and Problems with Existentialism
Arts Magnet HS, Booker T. Washington, Dallas, TX
I founded Rocketboom in 2004. Rocketboom was at the forefront of the democratization of the moving image. Rocketboom set standards for short-form storytelling, digital video production, online distribution technology, online video promotion, and video commerce on the internet.
July 7, 2006
Video on the Net: Video Interview with Andrew Baron of Rocketboom
Is Rocketboom still needed today? Not sure. Ideas continue to percolate.
I began building the Know Your Meme show and meme databse in 2007 for people to learn about and document memes. Know Your Meme introduced the mainstream to the topic of memes and quickly became the authority on meme culture. With academic rigor and a unique set of tools at its foundation, Know Your Meme remains a cornerstone of the internet today.
Know Your Meme is cited in the media daily though there are not many stories about Know Your Meme itself. No stories have been written that explore how Know Your Meme itself came to be, how it came into popularity and the many interesting stories at the intersection of business and online culture.
In 2015 I released Humanwire as a platform to connect families fleeing war with individuals from around the world who could help. The international effort brought personalized relief to thousands of refugees with operations in Syria, Lebanon, Turkey, Jordan, Greece, Iraq, and Malaysia. Many matched families transcended the platform to become one.
April 22, 2017
April 22, 2017
October 19, 2020
Music written and performed by Andrew Baron with additional performances by:
Will Taylor, Violin & Viola
Ralo Vallejo, Trombone
Fennie Castillo, Trumpet
Susan Barnett, Clarinet
Graham Reynolds, Percussion
Peter Bysshe, Percussion
Christian Struck, Electric Bass
Recorded in Austin, Tx
Engineered by Shad
Mastered by Steve Brudniak
(c)(p) Andrew Baron 2000
“Drift Dance” by Andrew Baron | Century Plant Track 7
“No Change” by Andrew Baron | Century Plant Track 9
Leaving the performance, the crowd wondered what they’d just witnessed. As they headed down the steps from Movements Gallery and into the raucous Sixth Street night, they talked among themselves. Was that real? Was it Memorex? Had the guy who’d just fled the stage really lost his mind?
Nobody was quite sure.
I, too, wondered what composer / electronic wiz Andrew Baron was up to. For certain, Baron’s “Century Plant,” a piece in which the songwriter conducts
a virtual orchestra while creating live “loops” with his acoustic guitar and a delay pedal, was among the most clever live shows I’d seen. Instinctively, I felt the mischief at hand, and I marveled at the guy’s ingenuity.
In a series of intriguing encounters with the self-taught maestro, I’d soon
discover just how talented, and impossibly abstract, the “real” Andrew
Baron is. He’s reluctant to discuss the why’s and what-for’s of his work
because he believes that work is his primary raison d’etre. If not for the
music, perhaps, he wouldn’t be in this world at all….
In any case, I came away from our conversations with the sense that I’d met
a man from another realm, who was perhaps from another time, even. His
vision fascinated me, and his abilities really did astound me. Therefore,
it didn’t seem far-fetched when a film editor from CBS News who’d seen
“Century Plant” during SXSW flew back to Austin the following week to see
it again. The editor likened Baron to a modern-day Mozart. Well, now, I
thought, having spoken with the LA fan: That’s a stretch.
But in the weeks following, I began to think that maybe Baron, a shy young
man who studied philosophy and learned programming as a kid on one of Texas Instrument’s first personal computers, was truly a musical genius.
With “Century Plant” and another score Baron played for me at his home
studio, it was clear that the Austinite hears entire “symphonies” in his
head. Hearing the composition, he then plucks the parts from his brain –
parts for flute, violin, cello, bass, etc. – and commits them to a
synthesizer/recorder, which automatically annotates the score. He later has musicians such as Will Taylor, Susan Barrett, Graham Reynolds and others perform the music for recording. For Century Plant, Steve Brudniak mastered the score.
But like the decidedly non-linear Baron, in telling his story my perceptions begin to lose their linear movement. So here, I must regress to March and explain the performance that tipped me off.
“Century Plant” consists of three visible elements: Baron, a projection screen and a technical assistant. On the screen behind him, a videotaped orchestra plays on “cue,” pausing during his banter, then resuming when the
maestro finishes. Pre-recorded by a different set of musicians, the score is woven into the video so that the whole performance depends on the
split-second coordination of real-time and pre-recorded actions and sounds.
Time blurs. Reality chuckles. It’s all happening at once. Moreover, one
small misstep and the whole thing is thrown off – like a bad dub job in a
Spaghetti western. And the magic is lost.
Live, Baron himself occupies a nebulous realm. He is simultaneously the
narrator/guitar-player/maestro, and the subject of the narrator’s tale. In
the tale, we hear and see the portrait of an artist — a young man who
concludes that his contributions to modern music are misunderstood, and who ultimately flees the performance, screaming down the stairs, never to be
heard from again. When the piece reaches its crescendo, Baron the narrator
and Baron the tragic composer merge. In the event that Movements does
“Century Plant” again, though, I’ll say no more. Better to say what one can
say about the real Andrew Baron….
He’s not really shy; he’s unintentionally elusive. He’s off somewhere
hearing music, and yet he’s quite present. He has great faith in his music,
but he’s very humble. I suspect that he channels.
And yet, my attempts to have him explain “Century Plant,” or a score he
recently wrote for dancer Ellen Bartel, led to fuzzy retreats and diversions.
To wit, Baron emailed me one day and said, “…In a nut shell, I would prefer
to be perceived though my art rather than through my daily, popular human
qualities; I would rather someone think that I am as beautiful as my music
or that I speak like my poetry, all of which I can sculpt through
performance, but (can) hardly live up to in reality, due to all of the
trivial, normal details that I must attend to, like washing the dishes,
going to the post office, moping the floor…etc. And while all of this may
sound kinda egocentric, actually, I notice that one’s lofty opinion of an
art work can become lesser when the art is defined…. So, some mystery
behind the artist is needed to preserve the value of the art, so that the
observer can infer what ever is desired. Maybe. Sometimes? For me….”
Instead of reading pomposity into it, I felt sure that Baron was simply
being frank. I believe he feels that preference is a matter of perception.
And as such, how can one explain or define or quantify one’s own art. Its
value remains in the mind of the beholder… Besides, what does the artist’s
“real” life have to do with anything?
Of life in general, we also spoke. The meaning of life, to Baron, seems
inextricably bound to one’s work or art. That alone gives us purpose. He
became further convinced of this while studying philosophy at Bates
College. “Either there are no answers, or they’re there but we can never
know them,” he told me one afternoon as he played achingly lovely melodies
on his piano. “If we don’t know them now, then we can’t have any real
purpose other than what we create. Everybody designs their own existence….”
I pushed for the “real” meaning behind Century Plant. Did it reflect how he
feels as a musician, a person? Was the Andrew Baron in the piece parallel
with AB in reality?
He smiled, and evaded. Then I realized that he’d already answered my
question: Everybody designs his or her own existence — thus, the
triflings with time and perception and truth in “Century Plant.”
After many earnest emails and conversations, I’m left to surmise that
Andrew Baron, the real-time AB, is all about the moment. And despite my
questions to him, I now think the answers (my perception only, mind you)
are simple: Nothing is what it seems. Ask. Seek. And you’ll still wonder.
-Shermakaye Bass, special to The Austin Statesman, XL’nt.
The heart of Ten Concertos for the Wind is the story that is told through wind instruments: a tale of an artist and a muse. When listening, one can associate the clarinet with the artist and the flute with the muse.
All music written by Andrew Baron
(c)(p) Andrew Baron 2001
Freely determined and with thoughts of beauty, we find the young artist hard at work on a painting that very few would see.
clarinet – emily zizza
flute – melissa santa cruz
violin – june rhee
cello – valerie klatt
double bass – tom benton
percussion – graham reynolds
Baron, Andrew Michael
(1,2) Sea and Aye Productions, Austin, TX
United States of America
TT3 Launch #24, TTS-026 (SA 61-C)
The specific objective of the TTS-026 experiment is to determine the effects of human vibration, temperature change, reduced gravity, and excessive market stresses on fine arts materials. Primed environments (canisters) are manufactured test materials that create a depiction of life with a purpose. After (a) the two month actualization of the canisters, (b) the preliminary days of isolation for the canisters and, (c) the fifty days of the exhibit’s intended life cycle in a city, the canisters will be evaluated by several techniques to determine if they are valuable and where they should go or remain. The results will be reported.
Physical Interpretational Summary:
The experiment consists of ten red boxes (canisters) labeled one through ten which each contain one part of the story of the artist and the muse. The boxes will be placed in ten locations throughout the US City of Austin, Texas. One may learn the entire story by visiting each of the ten locations or by returning to one location every five days (see enclosed CD package to hear all ten movements and read the full story of the artist and the muse).
Experiment Launch Date:
May 30th, 2001(private)
S.E.A. and A.Y.E. production facility, Austin, TX
US Special (BOX) Canister G-111; Volume of Canister: 1.5 cubic feet; Primary Developer/Sponsor of G-111: S.E.A. and A.Y.E. production facility, Austin, TX; Builder of Processing Facility: Not applicable.
Number of Samples:
Wood (shell), Electronics (heart), pigments (reason and aesthetics). The canister is designed to maintain a typically fluxuating atmosphere similar to a human’s public and private environments. Each of the red boxes will contain one of ten separate movements expressed in text and music.
Press Related Time Structure:
Opening Reception: Tuesday, June 5th, 2001 5-8pm
Day one of installation: Wednesday, June 6th, 2001 @10am
Last day of installation: Wednesday, July 25th, 2001 @3pm
Closing reception: Thursday, July 26th, 2001 5-8pm
Synopsis of Specific Itinerary:
May 30th, 2001 at 3:45pm: boxes travel in consecutive order to ten isolated locations.
June 5th, 2001 at 3:45pm: boxes begin pickup and travel to opening reception.
June 5th, 2001 at 9:40pm: boxes return to studio for final training procedures.
June 6th, 2001 at 10:15am: boxes begin travel to their ten predestined locations.
June 6th-July 25th: boxes rotate with specific schedules every five days.
July 25th, 2001 at Midnight: boxes become finished with Phase I of their existence.
July 26th, 2001 at 10:15am: boxes begin return to the production facility for final assessment.
July 26th, 2001 at 3:45pm: boxes begin travel to closing reception.
Locations of Private Isolation:
For security purposes, this information will not be available to the public until June 5th, 2001.
Location of Opening and Closing Receptions:
Wally Workman Gallery
Locations hosting the public life cycle:
Bank One (W. 6th Street Lobby)
The Blue Theater
GuadalupeArts (formally the Artplex)
Magnolia Cafe (Lake Austin Blvd.)
University of Texas, Austin (Actlab/RTF Lobby)
Maps: Pre-planned and actual maps of locations, travel routes and travel times; Diagrams: Extensive diagrams and charts will be included with predictions for the earth’s weather, the weather of related and nearby celestial bodies (primarily astronomical and navigational data), schedules of events, unforeseen outside influences and actual data as conditions are met. Also extensive charts, diagrams and plans for the construction and placement of various related elements are being created. Essays: A variety of essays will document the purpose, the expectations and the actual findings of the project. Some important titles will include explanations for how the project came to be, future related projects, exploration of the security involved with the boxes, perceived value versus actual value (including potential, market, inconsequential and life-determining values), the need for the boxes to reunite versus their intended and actual destinies, the private sphere versus the public sphere and rejection versus approval.
*Concerto *Wind Instruments *Music *Box *Austin *Artist *Muse *Art
Baron, Andrew – S.E.A. and A.Y.E.
See photos and more information from original exhibit documentation.
American Forum, American U, Washington DC
Analyze Boulder, Boulder, CO
Apple Computers Educational Campus, Austin, TX
Art and Commerce- Retreat, NYC, NY
Bar Camp, New York, New York
Bar Camp Block, Palo Alto, CA
Best of the Blogs (BOBs), Berlin, Germany
Beyond Broadcast, Boston, MA
Blogference, Tel Aviv, Israel
Boulder Start Up Week, Boulder, CO
Case Camp, Toronto, CA
CBI – Early Access, Philadelphia, PA
Columbia University, NYC, NY
Congressional Internet Caucus: State of the Net Conference, Washington, DC
Communications in PR, NYC, NY, Keynote
Computers, Finance, and Privacy, “Life Liberty & Digital Rights”, Washington, DC
CRV CEO Summit, Phoenix, Arizona
Democracy Project, Media Giraffe, Boston, MA
Digimart, Montreal, CA
Digital Hollywood, Los Angeles, CA
Digital TV Outlook, Munich
DIY Media Festival, NYC, NY
DTV Symposium, De Moines, IA
Edelman New Media Summit, NYC
France 24, Paris, France
Friar’s Club Comedy Film Festival, NYC, NY
HBO, NYC, NY
House of Genius, Boulder, CO
IAC Village Ventures – NYC
IFP Filmmaker Conference, NYC, NY
Ignite, NYC, NY
Intel “Luz Camera Enter”, Mexico City, Mexico
Internet Week, NYC
IPTV Outlook 20, Germany, Keynote
iSummit Conference, Toronto, CA
MacWorld Expo, San Francisco, CA
Mesh, Toronto, CA
Museum of Moving Image, Brooklyn, NY
Nation Association of Broadcasters, Dallas, TX
New York Video 2.0 Group, NYC, NY
NewCo, Boulder, CO
NXNEi, Toronto, CA
NYC Web Video Round Table, NYC, NY
NYU Class, NYC, NY
NYU Journalism, NYC, NY
NY Tech Meetup, NYC, NY
NY Video 2.0, NYC, NY
One Web Day, NYC, NY
Parsons School of Design, NYC, NY
Pixelodeon, Los Angeles, CA
Picnic, Amsterdam, Holland, Keynote
Podcamp, Boston, MA and Pittsburg, PA
Podcamp Halifax, CA
Podcamp, Pittsburg, PA
Podcast Hotel, San Francisco, CA, Keynote
Podcast and New Media Expo, Long Beach, CA, Keynote
Podcamp, NYC, NY
Portable Film Festival, Sydney, Melbourne.& Perth, AU
Producers Guild of America, NYC, NY
Professional Futures Discussion, Washington DC
Real-Time Stream Conference San Francisco, CA
ROFL!, NYC, NY
SIFT, Ottawa, Canada
Streaming Media East, NYC, NY
Streaming Media West, San Jose, CA
Startup Week, Toronto, CA
SXSW (South by Southwest), Austin, TX
TEDx, Sacramento, CA
University of Colorado: Media Studies, Boulder, CO
Videoblogging Workshop, DGC Members, NYC, NY
Video On the Net Conference, Boston, MA Video Journalism: Non-stop News, NYC, NY
Vloggercon, SanFrancisco, CA
Wall Street Journal Digital Network Partner Day, NYC, NY
Web Video 2.0, NYC, NY
Web 2.0 Summit, San Francisco, CA
Web 2.0, NYC, NY
Women’s Animators Group, NYC, NY