Final Project (Click to Enlarge)

May 2nd, 2012

16 Hours (Click to Enlarge)

May 2nd, 2012

Nam June Paik

April 21st, 2012

Nam June Paik is a world-renowed video artist who passed away in his Miami home on January 29, 2006, due to complications from an earlier stroke. Born in Seoul in 1932 and now considered to be the world’s first video artist, Paik’s work garnered him much critical acclaim throughout his life for both its novelty and its entertaining sense of creativity.

My favorite example of Paik’s work is a 1986 piece entitled Something Pacific, for which Paik placed a statue of Buddha in front of a TV hooked up to a closed-circuit camera. The camera is set up to feed a live recording of the Buddha to the TV, and the result is a the implication that for once, instead of staring off into the divine distance, as statues of Buddha are typically created to do, Buddha is made to look upon himself instead. In short, the object constructed to be viewed is made an agent of viewing instead of just an object, effectively challenging what it means to look at or watch anything at all.

The below clip from YouTube is a brief recording of the piece:

The reason I think I enjoy this piece in particular so much is because not only does it cause me to consider the idea of viewing in relation to objects and to art, but also because it makes such a reflective statement about the nature of religion. Since religions are something we are used to looking to (at) for direction and guidance, I find it particularly interesting that Something Pacific forces us in a situation in which a religious figure seems to be looking to himself (itself) for guidance, rather than any sort of doctrine or text.

Nam June Paik was the recipient of the Lifetime Achievement in Contemporary Sculpture Award in 2001, and his works continue to be held in museums spanning from Seoul to Minnesota.

Final Project Proposal

April 15th, 2012

For my final project, I want to focus on the experience of time passing while I am sitting in class.

I have a three-hour English capstone seminar this semester entitled 19th Century American Domestic Narratives, and although it is a very interesting course and I am very rarely bored in it, three hours is a long time to spend sitting in a classroom listening to presentations and discussions, especially as the sun is setting. Every class from 6:00 to 8:45, there is a point at which I’ll turn around to look out the window, thinking I’ll take a brief break from working by catching a glimpse of the sunny outside world, only to find that the sky has suddenly become pitch black, and that the day has suddenly retreated.

I love being outside and walking barefoot through the grass, so the disappearance of the sun is always very frustrating. Therefore, for my final project, I want to create a series of photo narratives depicting the differences in how time passes between sitting in a classroom for three hours and experiencing the outside world for three hours. I hope to illuminate the benefits and detriments to both through juxtaposing my image sets with one another, and aim to further explore how photographic narratives can be utilized to represent life experiences for which there are no words.

Although this project will not deal with any sort of academic work I have been doing in any of my other classes, I actually think is the best thing I could possibly do for myself in terms of my personal development. I am a person who is very much concerned with words and the overall efficiency of their usage, so I think it will be an excellent challenge to myself to try to not use any words at all for once.

Pipilotti Rist

April 15th, 2012

Pipilotti Rist was born in Switzerland in 1962. She is a visual, video, and digital artist, and much of her work deals with gender issues and female sexuality. Though originally born Elisabeth Charlotte Rist, Rist was nicknamed Pipilotti early in her childhood, in reference to Astrid Lindgren’s character, Pippi Longstocking.

I am going to do something a little unconventional for my review of Pipilotti Rist, and instead of reviewing a specific work, I am going to review the experience presented to the viewer through her website, because I think her website is a work of art on its own.

When I first came across Rist’s website, I wasn’t sure if I was in the right place at all. It opened a new window and the heading was just a bunch of slashes and periods, and I was very confused. However, Rist’s website really makes you stop and think, and although it would not be difficult to complain that it is difficult to understand and navigate, I believe that is exactly her point. By blurring the line between her projects and the website on which they’re presented, she raises the question as to whether or not her website itself is art, which is something I have not seen in any of the other digital artists we have studied.

For example, when viewing a project, such as Sihlfeld, pictured above, it is often difficult to tell whether you’re still viewing the project itself, or something else. Since the overall aesthetics of the website are so uniform in their confusion, it is very difficult to tell where one project starts and another begins. The font is infinitesimal, the gifs are intentionally glitchy in their animation and appearance, and the audio is mumbled. It is almost as if Rist is trying to draw our attention to the beauty of what’s know in electronic literature studies as “glitch,” in which digital media is intentionally distorted or skewed in defiance of the crisp, exacting appearances to which we’ve grown accustomed.

Rist is probably one of my favorite artists we’ve looked at so far simply because of the way she draws attention to her medium, and I’m looking forward to seeing which further examples of her work we discuss in class.

Lamp Light

April 11th, 2012

 

The above is how I feel sometimes when I study.

Paul Pfeiffer

April 9th, 2012

A stylized still from "The Long Count"

Paul Pfeiffer was born in Hawaii in 1966, but grew up in the Philippines, where he spent most of his childhood. Pfeiffer works primarily in video, photography and sculpture, and much of his deals closely with the influence of mass media on our contemporary culture.

Art21, for example, is currently hosting a brief clip from Pfeiffer’s video piece, “The Long Count,” which depicts a boxing match with the boxers digitally removed. Through intentionally removing the original video’s subject of focus, Pfeiffer forces us to focus on not only the background of the event, but on the people originally watching it. We’re made to feel like voyeurs, watching other people watch a fight that is no longer “there,” which causes us to reflect on the relationship we have with public events such as boxing in general. Pfeiffer is one of the few artists we’ve studied this semester, at least in my opinion, who works so specifically to draw attention to the way we as viewers consume media, not only in terms of television and sports, but also art in general, which I think makes him particularly interesting.

I have linked to Art21’s video clip of “The Long Count” because I wanted to avoid linking to a video that might have issues with copyright claims. If the brevity of the clip I’ve provided turns out to be problematic, I would be happy to try to find a more substantial and equally legal example to provide.

Shadow Walk Contributions

April 9th, 2012

For the Shadow Walk, I took part in the initial discussion that determined what we were doing, who would do what, and when and where we would be meeting in the future. I then went with Kiauna, Rachael, Joann, and Jessica to pick out a specific location in front of the library, and to find out who we would need to contact to get the final go ahead. I was also the one who emailed you (Dr. Rosemary) regarding the minutes of the class you gave us to get ourselves organized.

My primary contribution to this project was the write up I composed and which follows below, although I also helped hook up the projector Thursday night, took pictures of the passersby, and aided in breaking down and cleaning up once everything was done.

I hope this is sufficient!

Shadow Walk Write Up

April 9th, 2012

Image 1

On Thursday, April 5, the students of Rosemary Jesionowski’s Digital Approaches to Fine Arts class treated the UMW campus to an evening of stress-busting shadows.

Inspired in part by the work of Jenny Holzer, the students set up an old, classroom overhead projector outside of Simpson library, and then proceeded to project a plain white square of light against the wall facing the main walkway. Their intent was to create an interactive space through which students could pass, and in which they could linger if they chose to do so.

The result was a sticky trap for silliness and fun, and even Jesionowski’s students found it difficult to stay out of the projector’s spotlight. Though many passing students seemed confused as to the modest crowd of people and as a result either walked around or stepped through very sheepishly, most of them were willing to at least cast shadow puppets, pose, wave, dance, or experiment with a number of other things.

Jesionowski’s students began setting up their projection project, which they dubbed the “Shadow Walk,” at about 8:00 p.m., and then began breaking it down at 10:00 p.m. Even though the Shadow Walk space was only set up for a brief period of time, the reception of the piece seemed to be generally positive.

“This makes me feel like a kid again!” said one student as she held out her arms to make her shadow larger.

Despite the fact that the actual installation of “Shadow Walk” was not what would normally be considered “digital art,” there was a digital component in mind behind its production. As the passing students interacted with both the light and their own shadows, Jesionowski’s students were standing by to digitally document the project, both by taking photos and brief videos. Although a handful of those photos can be found in this post, even more of them can be found through browsing the list of current student blogs on the Digital Approaches to Fine Arts homepage, which can be accessed here.

Image 2

Perhaps the most memorable thing about “Shadow Walk” was how playful the experience turned out to be. “Art with a capital A” always seems to run the risk of meeting resistance when presented to the casual observer, but “Shadow Walk” was able to avoid this trap completely through its simple, honest presentation. The familiarity of the starkness of shadows coupled with the nostalgic comfort of the overhead projector worked to create a welcoming environment with which it was actually very difficult to keep from interacting. Jesionowski’s students, for example, despite their documentation of the piece, experimented with the installation just as much, if not more so, than their target audience.

By the end of the evening, “Shadow Walk” had seen at least a hundred passing students, three active professors, two pizza delivery boys, and three dogs. It is unclear whether Jesionowski’s digital arts classes will continue to put on such public displays in the future.

.gif practice!

April 3rd, 2012

Frames by Eadweard Muybridge

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