Tuesday, September 29, 2009

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Saturday, September 19, 2009

Natalie Jeremijenko

In A-Trees, Jeremijenko used a basic algorithm for a self-replicating system called the L-system (http://onetrees.org). The viewer is able to watch the growth of a digital tree on a computer desktop since it was programmed to gradually increase its size. Mark Tribe's article on Jeremijenko states that, "every upward spurt reflects the actual level of carbon dioxide in the air in the microenvironment surrounding the computer, measured by a real-time carbon-dioxide meter. More than mere renditions of a living tree, Jeremijenko's A-trees serve as aestheticized monitors of actual air quality and, by extension, global warming."

Jeremijenko is an artist, a scientist and an engineer who explores the relationship between technology and the natural world, especially in A-Trees. Her works have us question technology and the impact humans have made on the environment. A-Trees gives us a digital representation of an artificial tree that is impacted by its environment with the help of the real-time carbon-dioxide meter. Therefore, we can see the fate of the tree and thus, think about the fate of real trees. "The work's title alludes to artificial life, commonly known as "a-life." If A-trees grow and die in response to their environment, are they in fact alive? Jeremijenko cleverly bridges the real and the virtual, both as a technical feat and as a conceptual gesture, encouraging us to question our understanding of life, and how we might work not only to recreate it digitally, but also to preserve it" (https://wiki.brown.edu/confluence/display/MarkTribe/Natalie+Jeremijenko).

I thought the project was successful in comparing the artificial and natural growth of trees and the importance of the environment's impact on the tree's life. It is a new way to think about technology to bring awareness to everyone. In onetrees.org, Jeremijenko has even distributed CDs with the software to grow a synthetic tree on your computer desktop as part of her OneTrees Project.


Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Bill Viola

In The Reflecting Pool, the camera is completely static as we watch the movement from the man and the pool. An article from Experimental Cinema states that "all movement and change in an otherwise still scene is confined to the reflections on the surface of a pool in the woods. Suspended in time, a man hovers in a frozen, midair leap over the water, as subtle techniques of still-framing and multiple keying join disparate layers of time into a single coherent image. Viola writes that 'the piece concerns the emergence of the individual into the natural world -- a kind of baptism.''

In the video, sound is very apparent from airplanes and the movement of water which adds to the natural elements that is very important in his works. The lighting of the video is also mostly natural light reflected from the sun onto the scene. However, I found it interesting in that the video portrays different times of the day with darker and lighter depictions even if the video is around 7 minutes long. Therefore, with the use of technology, the sense of time is shown at a quicker pace than the slower movement of the subject we see. This and the frozen images with simultaneous moving images are correlated with the natural setting which makes the video almost surreal. I also found this video to be very meditative, which reflects on Viola's themes of human consciousness, perception, and experiences (www.billviola.com) in many of his videos. The video also seems like a journey for the man in that he is in deep contemplation as his reflection moves in the pool. Viola states that it is like a baptism, in that the man is naked and clean coming out of the pool at the end and then he goes back to where he originally came from. Jessica Boch in a critical essay states that, "this film made you think about the process of human thought. How everything doesn't need to physically be shown to know they are there."

I found that many of Viola's videos start off very slow-paced and so it takes a lot of patience to watch. However, when you are least expecting anything to happen, suddenly there is a subtle shift in images and movement which was one of the most exciting aspects about the video. Also, Viola's approach in portraying moving images was more unexpected to me as a viewer and so it fits into the idea of new media in that he uses technology to explore the human condition and how we think about what is portrayed in front of us (https://wiki.brown.edu/confluence/display/MarkTribe/New+Media+Art+-+Introduction). If you watch The Quintet of the Astonished, paying attention to the subtle changes in the actor's expression is important in noticing what the actor's are trying to portray in slow motion. By putting the video in slow motion, Viola is successful in allowing the viewer to think more about what they're watching and what it means to them.

More Videos:

Bill Viola talks about his exhibition in Venice.


Thursday, September 10, 2009

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Nam June Paik

TV Fish (2004) consists of two fish tanks, real goldfish, two TVs, an original DVD from Paik, and a DVD player. In the article from rhizome.org, Carolyn Kane explains how Paik was interested in cybernetics, the theory of animals and machines in their environment. The DVD playing behind the fish tank is almost a direct representation of the real goldfish swimming inside the tank. Therefore, Kane states that, "one gets the sense the goldfish move to the beat of the monitor’s syncopations."
By placing the TV monitors behind the fish tanks, the two worlds of realism and digital representation are fused into one environment. Also, Kane explains that by placing the TV in a non-conventional space, we are now watching the TV and the fish tank in a different way. TVs have been a part of popular culture and Paik uses the placement of the object to bring out several viewpoints of our viewing experience. Paik stated in the Global Groove that, " today, the nature of the environment is much more on TV than on film or painting. In fact, TV (its random movement of tiny electrons) is the environment." Therefore, the TV Fish raises issues of TV viewings becoming more popular than viewing authentic representations.
I felt that the simplicity of the placement and presentation of the TV Fish was successful in making the viewers think about the fusion of the two environments. Paik utilized the TV in many sculptural forms and representations which makes us think of the conventional TV in a new way. The fact that the DVD shows similar movements of the real goldfish now combines our viewing experience when the TV was used more often. Also, it is interesting in that the fish tank contains more natural elements such as the pebbles, water, plants and goldfish while the TV representation does not include as many. Also, the fact that the fish tank is transparent also contributes to the important placement of the TV in which we now view both environments at the same time.

Sunday, September 6, 2009

Intro to Digital Imaging

I'm really glad I was able to get in this class. I'm thinking of making a post about Paik Nam June since we talked about him in a sculpture class I took and I liked the video of the TV cello. I used to play the cello so seeing it in TV form was fascinating.
I took a Photoshop workshop for a week a few summers ago so I hope I'll remember some of the techniques. I'm excited to learn more about digital artists and I hope to become more comfortable with the techniques.