Getting Up: The TEMPT ONE Story: Slamdance Review

Getting Up: The TEMPT ONE Story Film Still Slamdance - H 2012

Getting Up: The TEMPT ONE Story Film Still Slamdance - H 2012

This portrait of the stricken graffiti artist is a moving lesson in the communal power of positive thinking.

Art and technology combine to inspirational effect in Getting Up: The TEMPT ONE Story, a stirring documentary tracing the “comeback” of renowned Los Angeles graffiti artist, Tony “TEMPT 1” Quan.

The highly-regarded West Coast tagger had been effectively silenced in 2003 when he was diagnosed with ALS (Lou Gehrig’s Disease), the degenerative nerve disorder that left him unable to move, speak and breathe.

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But thanks to the efforts of a think-tank spearheaded by the never-say-never Mick Ebeling and his Not Impossible Foundation, TEMPT has been able to pick up where he left off a decade ago, with the literal blink of an eye.

That tireless process of trial and error leading to the invention of the game-changing Eyewriter is energetically documented by his wife, Caskey Ebeling, in her feature-length debut.

Taking his cue from the MyTobii, an eye-controlled computer system that allows those fully paralyzed to communicate by essentially “typing” by moving their eyes across a screen keyboard, Mick Ebeling assembled an international crew of artists, technicians and hackers to invent an interactive device that would come in significantly cheaper than the $7,000 MyTobii.

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Consisting of a cheap pair of sunglasses with the lenses poked out, copper wiring and a micro CCD camera, the eye-tracking system ultimately enables Quan to create new art for the first time since 2003, which is then rendered as a 3D sculpture by a tight community of his peers and admirers.

Extensively “narrated” by TEMPT, himself through the MyTobii’s voice synthesis, the film serves a both a primer on an often overlooked aspect of L.A.’s art scene and as an uplifting example of the power of the collective creative spirit.

With its source codes readily available free of charge, the Eyewriter (named one of Time Magazines 50 Best Inventions of 2010), can be homemade for less $50, enabling TEMPT and others like him to do more than just see the writing on the wall.

Venue: Slamdance
Production companies: The Ebeling Group, The Not Impossible Foundation
Director-screenwriter: Caskey Ebeling
Executive producer: Mick Ebeling
Producer: Jon Barlow
Director of photography: Amardeep Kaleka
Music: Money Mark
Editors: Amardeep Kaleka, Luis Lopez
Not rated, 70 minutes