Sunday, May 5, 2013

project six: polygon portrait

Artist Statement:

      When extended the opportunity to work with Blender, I wanted to take a step back from intricate forms and aspired for a simpler aesthetic. This decision was influenced by my work study, where I use Blender on a day-to-day basis for strictly restoring detailed models, as opposed to creating them. Having solely used Blender's modeling tools, I was faced with a handful of unfamiliar scenarios, but I approached this assignment in the same manner as any other - by sketching out my vision first and reinterpreting it to best suit the medium at hand. When comparing project six to our previous five, this has been the assignment I've not only learned the most from, but is most relevant to the type of work I'm currently engaged in.

Monday, April 22, 2013

reading four - the new aesthetic

Untitled works by Zack Dougherty (hateplow)
  When browsing The New Aesthetic's blog, I was pleasantly surprised to see Zack Dougherty's work was included. I've been following Dougherty's blog, hateplow, for a few months now and what captivated me from the beginning was the relationship he’s developed from the influence of the classics in collaboration with digital means of seeing. There’s a saying that, “the classics never go out of style,” and whether that be in correlation with the classics of Roman and Greek sculpture to the classics of merchandise in our current day (through brands such as Vans or Converse), Dougherty uses the familiar subject to his advantage. It’s something a viewer has seen before, therefore changing the way we perceive it is more comfortable to the eye than if he were to use a futuristic entity. With the generalization of forms, he’s forcing the observer to view what would translate into millions of polygons of a mesh down to a few tens to hundreds. From afar, the eye may not be able to distinguish the difference between the two if side by side, but his use of animation to deconstruct the form forces the viewer to see exactly what is happening – the process of simplification.  With this process, Dougherty wisely manages the speed of his animations so that they’re quick enough to keep the viewer engaged, but slow enough for the viewer to process and interpret what’s happening. What I appreciate most about Dougherty’s work is every time I view his work, my eye is never fixed to one area of the composition; I’m constantly seeing new patterns and transitions in the form that wouldn’t have been interpretable if viewing the entire composition at once. It’s that zoning in on specific areas that forces a viewer to watch it over and over again, meanwhile experiencing it each time as if it were their first encounter with the work. 

Post in The New Aesthetic:
Dougherty’s blog, hateplow:

Friday, March 22, 2013

project four - video emulation

"la mente, il cuore"

Artist Statement:
As human beings, we often find ourselves dwelling over the value of inanimate objects, as opposed to appreciating both the time and labor set forth in a given product's completion. With this sense of blindness, it's common for one to become a bystander to the conditions and sacrifice workers of manufacturing factories may endure to generate such products. As an emulation to Cao Fei's Whose Utopia, la mente, il cuore (the mind, the heart) considers the relationship between an individual's obligations in means of survival, to their personal aspirations. The clocks serve as a constant reminder of time and how the hours of a single day are not sufficient for the completion of one’s objectives (whether obligatory of for leisure), whereas the strands of lights are tangled as a representation of the difficulty  behind deciphering an individual’s priorities. With white-corded lights (the mind) dominant in the composition, it's inevitable that persevering through regulation and routine as a means of survival outweigh individual desires, which are represented by the green-corded lights (the heart). With the two strands being tied together, the phrase "speranza mi da vita" (hope gives me life) serves as the motivation for an individual to endure through such working conditions, as the desire to carry out individual dreams are enough to propel oneself forward.

Inspired by Cao Fei's "Whose Utopia" (2006)
Edited with Adobe After Effects CS6 and Final Cut Pro X

Sunday, March 10, 2013

project four - video emulation progress

Over the last week, I've carefully considered the assistance, location, and materials necessary to achieve an effective emulation of Cao Fei's Whose Utopia. Here is the progress I've made from the video selection (refer to 4/3/13 post) to present:

  x3 strands of white lights 
  x3 plug-in clocks
  x1 camera 
  x1 tripod 
  x1 white attire 
  x1 black attire 
  x1 blindfold
  x2 extension cords

To-do list:
  acquire x1 plug-in clock
  acquire x1 extension cord
  solidify location
  learn basics of vixia
  coordinate with r. aker and m. huang for assistance
  record, 14/3/13
  make cupcakes for owners of borrowed goods

One of the conflicts that I've faced was working with the lights as a knitted material. My largest needles weren't nearly thick enough to support the wiring of the lights (which were much stiffer than anticipated) and although knitting with baseball bats worked, it wasn't aesthetically pleasing. With this in mind, I'm planning on executing the knitted motions with my arms, but I'm going to have to do a recorded run through first to see if it's clean enough to be interpreted. If it looks like I'm wrapping myself up like a Christmas tree, my plan B is to braid the strands instead.

I realize now that I've adapted the video as inspiration, rather than recreating it. If time permits, I may add a segment that'll reel the direction of the video back towards the original performance, but we'll see. It may take away from the overall impression as opposed to contribute.


If I'm lucky, I'll find one of these guys hanging out on recording day~
If this happens, he'll be making a guest appearance in class~
Get excited~

Monday, March 4, 2013

reading two - critical questions

(in correspondence with chapter two of New Media in Late 20th Century Art by Michael Rush)

     The author discusses the fine line between 'Art' and 'artful' that one must consider when viewing works of video art; where 'Art' revolves around the intention behind the the artists work and 'artful' emphasizes the appealing aesthetic present in informational outlets. Are these definitions of 'Art' and 'artful' applicable solely to video art, or can they be considered universally?

     In the late 1960s, we begin to see a transition where video art is being glorified by methods of commercialism (EG: WGBH's televised broadcast and funding of The Medium is the Medium). Meanwhile, non-profit organizations that promoted the development of relationships between the arts and sciences by means of collaboration, such as the Experiments in Art and Technology (E.A.T.), were beginning to fall as artists and the public criticized them of commercializing the produced work. When viewed from the surface, how is it that the artists contributing to WGBH were rewarded and E.A.T. was critiqued for turning to commercialism as a method of exploiting their work?

project four - video emulation proposal

      When first considering the assignment, I attempted to approach the given selections as unbiased as possible. Although I would have jumped at the opportunity to emulate works by Beuys or Klein, I perceived settling for familiar works as being the "easy way out." With that being said, I went through each column, only viewing works by artists' that I was not familiar with, meanwhile ignoring the descriptions of each video and beginning each at their midpoints. When viewing column two, I came across Cao Fei's Whose Utopia and as I progressed through the proceeding artists and videos, I found myself constantly thinking back to the possibilities for emulation with Fei's work. This tendency was the indicator that I need not continue searching.

Cao Fei, Whose Utopia

     Although Fei's work is twenty minutes in duration, I'm choosing to emulate Part II: Factory Fairytale (as seen above).  Having been exposed to this segment of the work first, I interpreted the machinery in the audio and the gestures of the seated workers as sewing, which to my dismay was incorrect. Realizing that the setting was a light bulb manufacturing factory, I was brought back to the intent of another contemporary artists' work, Untitled (America #1) by Felix Gonzalez-Torres.  
     Gonzalez-Torres suggests that the burning bulbs of his work signify transience and the fragility of life, though the work can be infinitely interpreted. Relating these suggestions of Untitled (America #1) to Whose Utopia, I came to realize that the work could very well be derived on the same principles; when one burns out, whether a light bulb or a human being (in the context of death, quitting, or sickness), their value is insignificant for one can be replaced by another instantaneously. Fei's work also made me consider how one may be faced with the decision to persevere through regulation and routine in order to survive, which was reinforced after researching the intent of Part II and recognizing that dreams and identities were sacrificed in order to work in their reality - a collectivism-based factory.
     In order to emulate the work, I considered aspects of my life that could be related to the context of the video. Although lights will be incorporated in the emulation, they're going to be knit as opposed to assembled. Learning to knit was the stepping stone that helped mold my view of art being more than a hobby, with the excessive amount of labor and constant attention to mathematics that the medium calls for. Working on my knitted pieces is almost therapeutic and happens so scarcely that completing a project can be viewed as a dream that's often postponed. As you follow the knitted lights, the work will diverge into individual strands and will collide with a series of clocks, all set for ten o'clock. Raised with the saying, "nothing good ever comes after ten," I've come to understand 10 p.m. as the hour that you're calm and almost content, yet nothing seems to make sense and it leaves you with an unsettling, weary feeling; it's bittersweet and an inevitable reality. The clocks will also serve as a reminder of time and how the hours of a single day are often times not sufficient for the completion of objectives set forth. Reality will also be considered by the location of the video, being placed at an area(s) of the university that I spend an immense amount of time at, whether that be for courses or work - consider the selected location as my 'factory.'