Soak #5: Eric Rodenbeck from Stamen

In this soak, data visualizer Eric Rodenbeck, from Stamen Design, tells us about his efforts to create compelling visual stories from the formerly indecipherable heaps of data that surround us. Eric tells us about hiring bicyclists to track the Google Buses, and he shares his awe at the tsunami of computation that is washing over us.

Listen to Soak #5 Podcast here.


“You can talk all you want about what the data might show or what the danger in it might be, but until you actually make it visible there’s no real way to have a concrete conversation about it.” – Eric Rodenbeck


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Soak #4: Justin Hoover & Performance Art

We’ve just released Soak #4 with Justin Hoover — our first podcast of 2014!!

You can listen to it here, on SoundCloud.

In this soak, artist and curator Justin Hoover joins us to talk about performance art – what it is, why it’s important, and why it offends some people. We find out what happens when Justin convinces hundreds of people to perform in a mechanic’s pit (“100 Performances for the Hole”), and we see what happens when Justin makes performance art in a hot tub.

“Performance art is one of the oldest things that humanity has…. The history of the human race is one of performance.” – Justin Hoover

See art with Justin and SOMArts:

Eric Rodenbeck in the tub

This Thursday night (Jan 30), we will be hosting Eric Rodenbeck — Founder, CEO and Creative Director of Stamen Design.

Stamen Design has been innovating (and yes, I use the word for its real meaning) interactive and print map design since 2001 with collaborators that range from the Exploratorium to the SFMOMA to to BMW. And Here are more of their projects.

Eric is an expert in creative data-visualization and mapping and has been doing it long-before it’s recent popularity. We are excited to have him in the tub.

We will be taking audience questions via Twitter @hottubpodcast (just mention us and we’ll capture your questions).



Eric’s full bio and information is here.


Introducing our next guest: Justin Hoover

This Friday (Jan 25), we will be recording Soak #4 with Justin Hoover, who is both a Curator & Gallery Director at SOMArts Cultural Center and a practicing time-based artist.

At this soak, he will be talking about performance art, kung fu and more.

Do you have a question for Justin, specifically about the topic of performance art?Please ask us on our Twitter account (mention, not DM): @hottubpodcast
or via email: hottubcast [at] gmail

Hoover headshot
Here is Justin’s expanded bio of amazing accomplishments:

Justin works as Curator & Gallery Director at SOMArts Cultural Center, focusing on developing collaborative and experimental community-based curatorial projects.

Hoover holds Bachelor of Arts degrees in Peace Studies and French Literature from Colgate University, a Master of Public Administration of International Management degree from the Monterey Institute of International Studies, and a Master of Fine Arts Degree in New Genres from the San Francisco Art Institute.  His creativity melds experience design strategies, creative production, conceptual art theory and large-scale organization management into unique structures that blur the line between exhibitions, performances, happenings and community engagement structures.

At SOMArts, Hoover manages and oversees the curatorial,  preparation and installation, and community engagement functions of 12-15 group exhibitions, over 30 public programs, classes and workshops, and 24 solo exhibitions a year.  He personally curates between two and four exhibitions for the center and oversees the guest curatorial program The Commons Curatorial Residencies.

Additionally, Hoover is a practicing time-based artist dealing with language and translocation through body based performance, video and installation.  He has performed and exhibited his work at the 2012 Venice Architecture Biennale, Art Life Festival in Guangzhou 2011, the Time Based Arts Festival at the Portland Institute of Contemporary Art, the Yerba Buena Center for the Arts, the Berkeley Art Museum and many other locations.

Hot Tub Podcast #3

I should have posted this earlier — we out the word out on Twitter/Facebook/email but not the blog…what we were thinking?

Here is the link to Hot Tub Podcast episode #3, featuring the one and only Eric Masters



With a face that only his mother, his girlfriend and everyone else who meets him can loves, Eric plays the role of the Caterpillar (from Alice in Wonderland), magician on-a-plane and in-the-tub and fetish event-goer.

Listen now! And there is an intro Santa skit (perhaps bad timing now, but there you go), to boot.

Deep Thoughts in Shallow Waters

Does the body rule the mind
Or does the mind rule the body?
I don’t know… *



We’ve solved the eternal question of mind-body duality by choosing  to interview guests from a hot tub. Nearly every other podcast takes place in a sound studio, where guests wear headphones, isolating themselves from the physical word. They respond to “head-based” questions and tell stories about their lives, transmitting their voices directly into your brains.

But we are not just brains-in-vats. Consciousness can’t be uploaded. When we soak in the 104-degree water, we invite our bodies to be part of the interview. Our minds open up and expand and only at this point can we properly talk about our themes: Uncertainty, Consciousness and Technology.

As time goes by, the interviews get more interesting. The first 10-minutes are warmup, the next 30-minutes are heated conversations and in the last 20-minutes we are babbling fools. Hopefully the SD card has run out of storage space by then.


* As sung by the The Smiths

Harbin Hot Springs on Thanksgiving

This Thanksgiving weekend, I had an impromptu 2-day mini-vacation at Harbin Hot Springs. Harbin has amazing nature trails and, as the name implies, hot springs. The Yelp reviews describe the good, the bad and the weird of the place.


The meditation pool is a human soup — you quickly get accustomed to sharing a pool with a horde of naked bodies. When in Rome…


My recipe for soaking bliss was the hot plunge followed by the cold plunge. 5 cycles. Stay in each pool until you can’t stand the heat/cold. Your core temperature fluctuates wildly. By the 3rd round, you feel lightheaded and all transient thoughts melt away.


Instructable on Boom Mic

Podcasting seems simple, right? Just record yourself talking. Done. Not so easy. Every situation requires some amount of audio engineering.

For the Hot Tub Podcast, we were in a unique situation:  how to record ourselves in a pool of water? First step: jets OFF.

Using a lavalier mic isn’t going to work when you are naked — do we clip the mic to our nipples? We thought about microphone-headphones (like an airline pilot). But, this would be too much like a sensory deprivation tank.


So I crowdsourced the question and the consensus was to use a shotgun mic and some sort of custom boom to go over the hot tub. Fortunately, I already had a good mic for an art project, in which I recording emissaries from the year 2049 talking about what life was like in the future.


With a little bit of engineering, Brett came up with a solution using zip-ties. I created this Instructable on a DIY Boom Mic setup.