Tuesday, May 3, 2011
Thursday, April 28, 2011
Tuesday, April 26, 2011
Monday, April 25, 2011
Thursday, April 21, 2011
Wednesday, April 20, 2011
Native Californian, Allison Schulnik was born in San Diego in 1978 and moved to Los Angeles, where she now works as an animator and artist. She attended CalArts where she got her BFA in Experimental Animation. Schulnik’s works are immediately identifiable as colorful expressions of distorted biomorphic forms. Often working in clay, Schulnik molds and creates works that recall images of Abstract Expressionist and German Expressionist paintings and film, but denies a full emulation of the former style, as the video focuses on a representational figure. Schulnik, like many other contemporary artists, works in several fields as a sculptor, painter, animator and video artist. Her works are lo-tech and emotional. They encourage viewers to contemplate what she is physically doing with the clay, calls us to watch the motion, and to consider the music the piece is set to because the overall meaning is not immediately discernible.
Much like Wassily Kandinsky, whose work was both influenced and shaped entirely by music, Schulnik uses music as an integral part of her video art. She has worked with the indie band Grizzly Bear on several occasions to produce oddly emotional renditions of their eerie, dreamlike music. The animated feature, Hobo Clown is stop-motion animation that features Grizzly Bear’s Granny Diner (which is a Japanese bonus track from the 2006 album, Yellow House and is also on the Friend EP). The slow paced, curious music that Grizzly Bear produces gives the video an even more haunting tone. Schulnik and Grizzly Bear go hand in hand--without their music and without her art, the pieces would not have such a powerful effect; the art informs the music and the music informs the art.
The video opens with sad twangs of the banjo that characterize Grizzly Bear’s music. The Hobo Clown sits, eyes downcast, in what appears to be a dark, damp place. The banjo is dubbed with reverb, which heightens the distortion of the visuals Schulnik has created. His eyes explode with color and his face is caught in a distraught expression. His fingers tenderly caress his own hands as he sits by a tin-foil fire. The scene evokes the artifice of German Expressionist films, in that the backgrounds are constructed and obviously representational. Much like the films of early German Expressionism, Hobo Clown embarks on a psychological study of the clay-animated protagonist. The films of early 20th-century Germany focused largely on despair, horror, fantasy, and fiction. In Hobo Clown, Schulnik lands directly in the same camp.
Schulnik contorts the Hobo Clown’s face and it is the only clear expression of anguish, fear, emotion, pain, wonder, awe that we get in the work. The background is background--it fades to white or black and the bright, bold, swirling colors of the clown stand in stark contrast. The clown’s body remains static while he sits on the log and the over-emphasized expressions of the character’s face recall that of an archetypal clown. The color palette in this first scene is dark--blacks, greys, greens, oranges, and red--reminiscent of Edvard Munch’s deeply disturbed, psychologically profound paintings.
The next scene takes us to a white promise land, filled with roses and other flora on the soft-looking ground. The music picks up with reverbed guitar, which makes the scene feel wondrous and emotive. The Hobo Clown sports a white outfit and the colors shift to a more divine palette. The lighter colors point to the palettes of expressionists Kandinsky, Helen Frankenthaler and Willem de Kooning whose work is almost mimicked in some of the video stills from Hobo Clown (see 4:11 in video). Suddenly, the white background disappears to show a black abyss with floating, distorted heads. This portion of the video is immediately reminiscent of Matisse’s portrait of his wife, Amelie, in which he employed radical color application--blue for the hat, red for the hair, green for the skin, etc. The juxtaposition of what should be a happy clown figure is complete when the Hobo Clown appears totally consumed by despair, in the white land, as he looks at a spot on the ground that looks just like it could be a work by De Kooning. The conclusion of the video comes at the most emotionally charged portion of the narrative--the spot on the floor twists and pulls, and the clown’s face is more expressive than ever, while the song’s only lyrics: “why don’t you do any dishes? why? I always clean up the kitchen, fine” leave viewers feeling both haunted and melancholy.
This gives you an idea of the video art presented at the 2009 Venice Biennale. Low-tech and claymation art in general seems to be very much "in" today. Djurberg won an award for these works. FYI, part two is posted below.
You know, for balance.
This video, "Magnetic Movie" was created by Semiconductor, a group that incorporates recent scientific research into their pieces. As described by the Semiconductor website: "In Magnetic Movie, Semiconductor have taken the magnificent scientific visualisations of the sun and solar winds conducted at the Space Sciences Laboratory and Semiconducted them. Ruth Jarman and Joe Gerhardt of Semiconductor were artists-in-residence at SSL. Combining their in-house lab culture experience with formidable artistic instincts in sound, animation and programming, they have created a magnetic magnum opus in nuce, a tour de force of a massive invisible force brought down to human scale, and a "very most beautiful thing."
She's worth taking a look at, and her website offers short clips of many of her videos.
Tuesday, April 19, 2011
African-American artist Lorna Simpson created Easy to Remember in 2001, a softly stirring video installation piece created using low-tech video methods. In a review presented in the New York Times journalist Holland Cotter stated, “When the film made its debut in the 2002 Whitney Biennial a few months after Sept. 11, its poignancy was almost unbearable.” Simpson depicts just the lips of 15 people in split-screen fashion, each humming a Rodgers and Hart song the artist well remembers from her childhood past. Weather the tonal quality sounds melancholy or happy is for viewers to decide and contemplate. In an interview Simpson expresses that for her the humming sounds warm and comforting. In spite of the various feelings we experience from them, the sounds play an undeniable role in Simpson’s videos that are centered on race, identity, and gender.
Simpson was born in 1960 in Brooklyn, New York. She studied at the School of Visual Arts in New York and the University of California in San Diego. During the 1980s and 90s Simpson became well known for photography featuring African-American women with the incorporation of text. For instance, in 1989 she created a piece know as Untitled (2 Necklines), a photograph showing only the neck areas of two women, one on each side with text down the middle including “ring, surround, lasso, noose, eye, areola, halo, cuffs, collar and loop.” Below these words was written in red, “feel the ground sliding from under you.” Words, as well as titles, add an evocative dimension to Simpson’s works. In a similar manner, the authentic sounds of humming add a deep sense of life and soul into Easy to Remember.
To me, the humming invokes feelings of the past and events I have only read about or seen in films portraying slavery and the brutal mistreatment of African-Americans. When I at first read the title of this piece, Easy to Remember, I thought of the ease in remembering a tune of a song without recalling the words. Just as I may not know the exact words of a song, I may not know the exact events of history. Simpson’s works are extremely conceptual. In a minimalistic way, I feel the emotions of the past in the synchronous voices that sweetly blend together—and I have not even physically been there. This is the poignant transcendence I experience with this piece.
Another prominent video installation Simpson created in 2003 is called Corridor. Here she split the screen in half, depicting two different women on each side, the one on the left suggesting a domestic slave and the other on the right appearing as a wealthy home owner, revealing their stark relation to one another. Of this particular work, Simpson has noted, "I do not appear in any of my work. I think maybe there are elements to it and moments to it that I use from my own personal experience, but that, in and of itself, is not so important as what the work is trying to say about either the way we interpret experience or the way we interpret things about identity.” Simpson’s work makes her a very important artist, and her contemporary videos demonstrate how even the simplest of low-tech means can be used effective in conveying and evoking emotional responses to our past.
This is an in-depth artist talk featuring Lorna Simpson. She discusses her art works in chronological order, beginning with most recent projects and focusing on "Easy to Remember" at 24:00 video time. Later during a question-answer session someone asks her whether she worries that technology (shift from analog to digital photography, etc.) might inhibit her future work, to which she replies optimistically, showing no real sign of concern. You can skip to hear her answer at 54:29. Simpson is a strong video artist that holds firmly to her preference in working with low-tech to create simple and powerful works.
Check out Lynn Hershman's low-tech video. Funky costumes, music and dancing, and an ultra-green room...a few simple ingredients for a "way, way out-there" video.
Some counter-balance for low-tech video art!
This is the coolest music keyboard I have ever seen...definitely high-tech new media performance art. It would make a great music background for a video. I found the creator of this gadget, Toshio Iwai, on our class syllabus of new media artists. Tenori-On is performing the piece.
Parodies of Films
Creator of Thumbs!, Steve Oedekerk proves to be a quirky, sarcastic artists with his numerous short films parodying major films with human thumbs and superimposing of voices and faces. Thumbs! is a collective term for the O Entertainment short films in which Oedekerk has created multiple parodies of films such as Titantic, Star Wars, Frankenstein, and “Batman.” Although Oedekerk changes the titles of his short films to Thumbtanic, Thumbwars, Franken Thumb and Bat Thumb. At first watch, these short, low-tech films seem to be rather outlandish and silly, but that is what distinguishes these films as creative. Although these short film parodies are not found in museums, the idea behind the creative process is a witty commentary on the filmmaking industry. The medium of low-tech (human thumbs for the characters) removes the formulaic serious methods of filmmaking and makes the parody of Thumbtanic possible.
Thumbtanic was created as a bonus for the video release of Thumbwars (2002), although the original viewing of Thumbwars occurred on American television in 1999. Oedekerk created the parody for the Cartoon Network’s promotion of The Clone War Series in 2008. On Thumbs! personal website, one can see the production behind the films with the different sketches for the thumb characters and set design. Although this production started out smaller, the creators and producers of Thumbs! wanted to make more films in this low-tech manner.
In Thumbtanic, Oedekerk dresses up the human thumbs in overtly exaggerated 1930’s costumes like the major film Titanic. The silly vignette contains three different parts and moves through the basic plot dynamics of the original film. The thumbs and props are puppets, moving about the scene in a low-tech manner as well as the scene changes are choppy and apparent unlike the professionalism found in the original film. Each thumb has a superimposed face on it and exaggerates the personality of the character to an extreme—Rose is borderline drag-like with her low voice and boisterous clothing while Jack is cocky and overtly obnoxious. The dialogue is somewhat crude between the characters, but captures the silliness in the fleeting romantic relationship between Rose and Jack. During the romance scene, the thumb slides down the foggy buggy window mirroring the hand that dramatically slides down the window in the original. Also, the infamous song of “My Heart Will Go On” is changed to “My Heart is a Thumb” and is a horrific rendering of the original song. This over-dramatization of every part of Titanic’s plot accentuates the staples that make up the original movie in a way that is humorous and entertaining.
Although this film is not necessarily in the category of video art, it correlates well with the different ways in which artists, like filmmakers, are interpreting the community of their expertise. In Thumbtanic’s case, the commentary against the believability in the film industry is possible through the low-tech tools, content and messages. The blunt dialogue and spacey characters allows the film to become an entertainment about how silly the film world is in trying to make viewers believe into something that is not reality. In Titanic the love story between Rose and Jack is exaggerated for the sake of entertainment purpose, and Thumbtanic taps into that by making a parody and being entertaining itself. Thumbtanic’s low-tech dialogue, costumes and designs makes the commentary of the film culture possible. The cheek-in-tongue film portrays another sub-culture of film industry and commentary on the larger community of filmmaking.
I found this video artist in the April 2011 magazine issue of Art in America. The article, or review more like, talks about this piece being a "blast from the past," siting Metzger (artist and political activist known for the development of Auto-Destructive Art in the 1960s) as an indirect influence of Marclay's work.
Stan VanDerBeek is among one of the earliest and most influential experimental filmmakers. I found a fantastic article on him in the April 2011 issue of Art Forum at our library. The article describes how his films of the 50s and 60s, "... placed him at the forefront of avant-garde cinema." See for yourself!
Another video by VanDerBeek, using text animation.
Monday, April 18, 2011
Slightly "lo-tech," is thegreeneyl's installation/interaction piece held in the Jewish Museum of Berlin for a "Kosher & Co" exhibition in October 2009. Exploring the relationship between people and the bible, this installation comments on religion in an artistic form—something we don't see done very often anymore, at least well. The animated bugs, flies, bees and ants respond to the presence of people and move at their interaction, then when the people leave the animation formulates into Leviticus 11:43
Saturday, April 16, 2011
Friday, April 15, 2011
Thursday, April 14, 2011
The artist duo JODI, comprised of Dutch artists Joan Heemskerk and Dirk Paesmans, explores the medium of computer software, often creating interactive internet games, installations, and websites. Active since 1994, both Heemskerk and Paesmans attended CADRE, the Laboratory for New Media at San Jose State Univsersity. Heemskerk and Paesmans began experimenting with the potential of web capabilities in the mid 1990's, when the World Wide Web was entering the public sphere. In their works, JODI explores the language of technology and our understanding of it, evident in their 2008 piece Geo-Goo.
A computer based work, Geo-Goo illustrates the height to which our reliance on technology has grown. In Geo-Goo, JODI has appropriated the iconography and interface of Google maps in order to create art. This interface is familiar, and so JODI's manipulation of the image is startling. Instead of the icons designating the locations of restaurants and gas stations, they now form designs, spiraling out or forming unique shapes that are superimposed on the map. Drop-down menus on the left allow for interaction, allowing the viewer to choose the distance from which we view the map, street views of certain cities, or decide the mathematical manipulation (or design) that occurs on the screen. The interface is still somewhat workable – one can still read the city names on the map, recognize familiar areas, and can even focus in on certain regions. This ability of the viewer is limited in time, however, and JODI relocates the map to a different part of the world to continue pattern-making. The effect is chaotic; our inclination is to want to see the map kept still and uncluttered by fast-paced designs. The point of Google Maps is to allow the user to find a specific location, and JODI denies this to the user. Instead, JODI appropriates the language of Google Maps, the iconography, and uses it to decorate the landscape. In effect, JODI is using maps to create a form of art, a concept not that different from early cartography.
As JODI disrupts our familiarity with recognizable interfaces, we are faced with the realization of our dependency on such technologies. Icons that normally carry meaning in Google Maps are now used as tools for decoration: our desire to “understand” the designs is curtailed by JODI's removal of meaning from the icons. Even within their original context of Google Maps, the icons now have no worth – they are merely tools for decoration. As Heemskerk and Paesmans explore the concepts of familiarity, iconography, and the artist's ability to obscure such ideas, they enter into a dialogue that has distinguished the works of artists for decades.
Here, Hannah sets up a live-painting of Gericault's Raft of the Medusa
Wednesday, April 13, 2011
Maya Deren's At Land is playing at MOMAPS1. This fifteen minute film explores mythology of the twentieth century in which, "the problem of the individual [here played by Deren], as the sole continuous element, is to relate herself to a fluid, apparently incoherent, universe."
Anna Bella Geiger
Tuesday, April 12, 2011
Camille Utterback created "text rain" interactive pieces during her earlier career as a video artist. "Untitled 5" demonstrates her current works--still very much a part of technologically based installations in which participants create aesthetic moving projections using their body motion.
Gillian Wearing created Two into One in 1997, a video depicting a lip-synched dialogue a mother and her two sons. The voice-overs are executed with such precision it’s hardly unbelievable, and for that matter a bit disturbing. The first subject to appear on the screen is a woman seated casually in front of the camera. In the raspy, boyish tone of her eleven year old son, she exclaims that she is “intelligent and sophisticated,” which is all at once humorous and belittling.
The camera then switches over to Lawrence, who speaks in his mother’s gentle voice, expressing that he is “loving and adorable.” As humans we carry deep felt thoughts towards one-another, yet these feelings hardly ever are expressed. With video and artistic ingenuity, Wearing holds the key to the minds of her subjects, probing their inner information and making it public as part of her work. As the play continues between the subjects in the video, the viewer learns more about each individual and the family dynamics at heart.
In short, the mother with her dark, droopy eyes conveys her fatigue over the way she is treated by her children. The children, on the other hand, couldn’t seem to care less about the way she feels. Between mother and child, there is a hidden yet fully transparent love-hate relationship that holds them together, but also keeps them apart. This is suggested by the voices they share and the space separation between themselves and the camera. Of her works Wearing has said, "I'm always trying to find ways of discovering new things about people, and in the process discover more about myself."
Indeed, Two into One lends a new perspective on how we view what it means to be in domestic relation. Though we exhibit two different sides of ourselves towards family members, we ironically come together as “one.” Wearing also sheds light on the interdependent glue that binds all those affiliated by marital union. What is perhaps most illuminating of this video is that although the father is not present he often spoken of: The boys frequently measure their mother up to their father, and the mother admits that she likes the controlling aspect of men. What role does the father play in this particular scenario? He is obviously an influential figure to both his wife and children though he is not even in “the picture.”
In the end, the mother acknowledges that even though her children can be cruel, she still loves them. And even though the boys say their mother is a “failure,” they still express her valuable qualities towards them. In an interview conducted by Leo Edelstein of Journal of Contemporary Art, Wearing states, “I'm a very forward looking person, but what interests me is the idea of what happens to your life. It's like when you're young you think you're going to know the same people for the rest of your life and you never do, people slip through your net of contacts. When you get older you end up getting more involved in what you're doing, and seeing less and less of the people you know. I'm quite intrigued about what happens.”
Wearing began photographing and filming people early on in her art career, building her oeuvre as a conceptual artist since the early nineties. She was born in 1963 in Birmingham, England, and studied at the Chelsea School of art in London and at Goldsmiths College. For her video influence, she has noted the popular British television 7- Up series. The shows documented the lives of seven British children raised with different social backgrounds, following and broadcasting them within seven-year intervals at a time.
In 1997, Wearing was awarded the Turner Prize for her video titled 60 minutes of Silence created in 1996. For this piece, she had a group of people dress in police attire and stand motionless for the duration of one full hour, a commentary she says “…is about authority, restraint, and control." Her prize was announced as part of a British program featuring another renowned English artist, Tracey Emin. For her most recent work, Wearing made a video in 2006 called Family History. This piece reveals her continued influence from television and people as her main source of reference for her media art. Lastly, Wearing is prominently known for her 2009 piece titled Me as Mapplethorpe, which demonstrates her use of direct reference. Here she is photographed standing behind a life-like replica of the renowned artist Robert Mapplethorpe, only showing her eyes through the sockets of the manikin’s face.
7-up British television hit-series that influenced Wearing's work. I wish we could see the other children as well!
This is a video summary of Wearing's works--giving you an idea of her influence and how she influences others.
A video installation featuring the works of various artists including Gillian who appears from 3:17-48.
Wearing created videos where she asked people to "confess all" on tape. Her subjects wore odd, funny masks to conceal their identities.
Wearing made a video of herself dancing in the middle of a shopping mall in Peckam, London, in 1994. As the video above shows, enthusiastic fans follow in her lead! Skank'n it?
Cory Arcangel's site is worth exploring.
Renowned new media artist Cory Arcangel once said, “I think to be an artist, on one side, you have to be a space cadet. Then on the other side, you’re basically running a small business, so you have to somehow muster the brainpower against your own instincts. Arcangel is a Buffalo, New York native and has spent most of his life in New York City. When Arcangel began his career in the arts he went to school for classical guitar. His focus first shifted from a love for heavy-metal guitar to classical because he loved the technical challenge it presented for him. This challenge-based mentality followed Arcangel as he shifted again in his creative endeavors and began working as a new media artist because he felt challenged by the ever-changing technologies available in experimental video and music.
Arcangel’s works have been exhibited at esteemed institutions such as the Whitney Museum of New York. Interview Magazine recently covered a story about him speaking with artist Mary Heilmann (another artist whose work can be found in the permanent collection of the MOMA). Heilmann asks Arcangel about his inspiration for the various pieces in the show at the Whitney and his answers reveal that he is an approachable, good-humored, and self-proclaimed space cadet.
Arcangel’s work, Super Mario Movie (2002) is just like the Nintendo game that we know and love, except all the graphics have been taken out of their original context made into a completely different experience. Arcangel’s postmodern deconstruction of this beloved game is typical of his oeuvre. In his other works we see driving games and shooting games without cars or guns. The music is often akin to distorted electronica but really it is just a warping of the original sounds of the game.
Arcangel’s “paintings” (which are one-click of the gradient tool on Photoshop CS5) explore the realm of color field painting that was so popular in the early modern scene. His video works and video game modifications take a similar minimalist approach in that the colors are what express the most rather than relying on a narrative. In Arcangel’s Super Mario Movie the Mario character never reaches the end of the level, because the levels have vanished and turned into more of an experiment with graphic modification, musical alteration and image distortion.
In Super Mario Movie, Arcangel comments on the nature of “the video game.” Is it still considered a game if no one is playing it? Is Arcangel playing this game in a different way by creating this work of art? What do his works imply about our culture’s tendency toward virtual-reality gaming systems.
Monday, April 11, 2011
Saturday, April 9, 2011
Friday, April 8, 2011
Thursday, April 7, 2011
Check out the links on Folk's site to see more in the installation, public and performance art world!
I just spoke with Elizabeth and she sent me this list of artists and collaborative efforts that might be worth checking out:
Clandestine Insurgent Rebel Clown Army
A great project by a former student Rachel Lindt:
Ask a Tranny
Elizabeth Folk is a Santa Barbara artist whose work explores and spans the fields of new media, performance, installation and public art. Folk received a BFA in Sculpture from the University of Colorado (where she is originally from). She then received her MFA in Spatial Studies at UCSB where she now teaches courses on Performance and Installation, Alternative Art Distribution Systems, and Interdisciplinary Collaborations.
Folk’s work, Acceleration Field (2010) is a fine example of her carefully thought out and publically captivating work. In this piece, Folk created an event, or “happening,” that consisted of performance artists investigating a three-dimensional quartz crystal that has been illuminated from within. There are artists inside the crystal who move around, which causes images that are simultaneously being projected by artists on the outside who have mobile projector packs strapped to themselves and walk around the crystal projecting shoddy images of Google Earth all over the surface of the installation. The entire piece is set to an eerie, Cagean musical score by Ron Sedgwick, whose music has been described as “crushed electronica and electro acoustica.” The artists who collaborated on this piece are Brad Flint, Rachel Lindt, Kevin Marlis, Xuncu Morton, Kathy McCarthy, Blaire Suding and Brandon Wicks. This piece encourages spectators to watch and consider the implications of Google Earth. Why do we rely so heavily on these images that can so easily be distorted and warped?
Recently I had the privilege of working with Folk when she presented an installation, interactive work Just Play, Restaurant (2009). In this work Folk created a full scale three-room, kitschy restaurant with a twist. Folk enjoys the concept of re-integrating fun into society and often incorporates games into her works. This installation piece had an oversized game board on the floor and people who come to interact get to grab a large, stuffed, felt dice and roll to see what their fate will be. After you roll the dice you see which restaurant you will be “dining” in. There are three options, upscale, middle class, and a divey diner. Once seated, Folk emerges at the waitress who will serve you. She acts in this performance piece with tangible energy and an infectious smile. She has one guest stand up and throw a felt item of food on a board in the back of the restaurant which will decide if Folk will be a “Bad Waitress” (where she might come out with an oversized hot dog and whack you on the head), “It’s Your Birthday” (where Folk comes out and sings an awful rendition of the birthday song completely embarrassing the visitors), or “Boss Me” (where she will do ABSOLUTELY anything you ask her to do). Folk’s work, like Just Play! Restaurant and Acceleration Field, explore the liminal space between what she calls “capsules,” which according to her are the things one must do on a daily basis. She hopes that her work will provide a break from the drudgery that plagues everyday life.
Other works by Folk include Context Gallery (2006), which is a mobile installation pulled by a car that pokes fun at the gallery world and probes people to ask why art is displayed in the way it is within the context of a gallery space. Another work by Folk is, For Martha (2007) a hilarious video parody of Martha Rosler’s Semiotics of the Kitchen (c. 1970), in which Folk takes on the role of a sex education teacher and deconstructs how sexual information is passed on to young women within the context of a classroom. She performs within a locker room where all the lockers spit out recordings of young girls who gossip about pregnancy and other nasty things that Jr. High girls obsess over.
Folk asks herself several questions before she finishes a work to make sure that she will accomplish all that she has intended to:
“Does it look like art (if so, start over)? Is it interactive? Does it start a conversation? Is it accessible? Am I part of the problem or part of the solution? What are my motives? Is it courageous? Is it humorous? Is it honest? Is it innovative? Is it useful? Is it recycled? Are my methods of fabrication environmentally friendly? Do I hear the sound of it clicking into place?” (ElizabethFolk.com)
Folk is a conscientious and kind soul. Her work is refreshing and stimulating for our contemporary art society, which is often formal and esoteric. Her works seek to bring people without a theoretical background of art works that inspire and compel them to hold deep, meaningful and at the same time fun, carefree conversations.
Star Wars Subway Car
Food Court Musical
Cell Phone Symphony
Performance pieces are Israeli-born Dovrat ana Meron’s expertise. Having studied acting teaching and theatre directing in Tel Aviv, the draw to performance art is great. Also, Meron received her Masters at the WeiBensee Art School (Berlin) in “Space Strategies.” In her artist statement she claims, “My major present interest is the complexity between Live performance Art and commodity, performance in public spaces, Institution citric and the invasion of political interests to the arts and the influence that Politic has on the arts” signifying her involvement in site-specific and public interventions and performances. Although she is based in Berlin, her heritage is one of Israeli descent and Jewish faith which sometimes takes effect on her pieces.
In her performance, The Nature of a Red Dot (2009) performed at the 53rd Art Biennale in Venice, Meron creatively comments on the ambiguities and complexities in selling and purchasing art (the symbol of the red dot indicating a sold piece of art). Meron has performed this piece in numerous museums, art fairs and galleries in order to place herself, her performance, in the center of the business art world—the physical place where the art is bought and sold. In this performance, Meron herself is the performer and is dressed in a vinyl-like cherry red dress with a titled flat round red circle atop her head, obviously representing the dot. Throughout the performance she cuts out red dots from her dress and attaches them to different viewers of the audience, as the audience also becomes the “sold” piece of art. Then, she proceeds to ask the audience questions such as, “How much do you think this red dot costs? the dress? me? Do you want to buy me with the dress? Will the price of the dress rise after I die? I am a limited edition. Am I now? Are you now? I am an open edition. Did you film that? THAT NOW?” Herself, her performance, is layered with irony in that she is performing an art piece that cannot necessarily get sold, but is still very much a part of the business art world. Because Meron is the symbol, the red dot, her performance piece is making a statement against the odd nature of how we sell and buy art so business-like, so temporal-like. Her performance only lasts as long as that performance lasts, so she is also commenting on how odd it is that quality and value of art is based on how long a piece lasts, how long a piece stands time.
Although this piece is not directly with all public, those that enter the museum are effected, The Nature of a Red Dot performance brings the secret business side of the art world to a public setting, moreso the gallery itself: the place where the public and the art meet. At the end of the performance, Meron takes a needle and pricks her finger then proceeds to go up to the etiquette with her name and the name of the performance, and stamps the etiquette with her blood—the blood that makes the performance, herself. Is Meron attempting to comment on how artists sell themselves into this art business that so often corrupts the pure motivation and inspiration of artists? Because she ironically buys her own piece in a sense, the contemporaneity of the piece will last. The audience, the public, becomes a part of this piece by not only being sold as pieces of “art work” as well, but as witnesses to this interesting and layered performance.
Wednesday, April 6, 2011
Tuesday, April 5, 2011
This public video installation was created by artists Alex Kritselis and Joey Forsyte. The video was projected onto storefront windows in Pasadena -- here is an article that details the piece!
Monday, April 4, 2011
Pillow fight, anyone? Young artist group Newmindspace transformed Toronto's Dundas Square into a political war-game that sent feathers and minds souring. Organizer Lori Kufner explains how the project gives people the opportunity to think about the commercialized city-space in a new way.
I wish I could have been there! This interactive art piece was located on a breezy beach where artist Chris Haines situated a bench, lantern, kite and music...all technologically rigged to charm passerbys who would virtually join in and become part of the piece.
New Media Artist Sofian Audry creates mechanical sound devises and objects that he places in both urban and rural locations for people and animals to interact with. Accorchages was a city project conducted in 2008, which according to the artist was meant “…to give new qualities to the city environment by creating different interactive situations.” It involved a series of electrically wired encasings that were attached to poles, railings and stairwells in places such as parking lots and sidewalks. The sounds emitted were most unusual, ranging from the tweeting sounds of birds to the simulated sound of a smoke detector.
As seen on this video, many interacted with these new sounds and unusual objects in various ways. Some came near the sourse to discover where it was coming from, while others seemed to move away from the noise. Audry works on his projects either solo or with a team of others. He has earned a master’s degree in Computer Science and has created a range of web projects and installations. More recently, Audry has received a master’s degree in Communication, with an emphasis on Interactive Media. In addition, he is now a member of Perte de Signal, a French entity that define themselves as “…a non-profit organization that contributes to the dissemination of emerging digital artists and culture on the national and international scenes.”
Audry’s most recent project created in 2010 is called Vessels. He describes these small floating rafts as “…an outdoor robotic installation consisting of groups of nocturnal autonomous water vehicles.” Audry further explains, “Their collective, emergent behaviour signifies unseen characteristics of their immediate environment.” In essence, these little instruments are controlled by the atmosphere, absorbing information from the light, sound, and temperature which influences their actions. For instance, when it is warm, they accelerate, and when they reach a loud sound they shift direction and move away from the source. During the day, they collect energy from the sun and gently move across a pond or lake in zig-zag patterns, and even interacting with one another.
It is fun to watch the rather unpredictable movement and behavior of these tiny boats. But there is much more to just watching them move about. In his web site, Audry discussed the function behind these objects, noting “This emergent behaviour will signify unseen characteristics of the environment and thus potentially provide the audience with new insights into their surroundings. Furthermore, stored data may be later used to analyze local environmental conditions.” As we advance technologically day by day, it is important to place our utmost care in the environment and see to it that we, the public cherish and protect it. It is through projects such as Audry’s Vessels and Accorchages that we become more aware of our surroundings and our innate need to care for nature and one another.
Project website: http://accrochages.drone.ws