Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Beryl Korot, Dachau 1974



Beryl Korot also collaborated with her husband, Steve Reich, to create a multimedia three act opera called The Cave which explores themes of Judaism, Christianity and Islam.

Art 21 Spirituality


Watch the full episode. See more ART:21.

Mark Wallinger, Angel, 1997



James Turrell

"Live Oak Friends Meeting House"

"The Light Inside"

James Turrell is a Quaker artist who uses light in his works. He is not a video artist, but I thought his works (coming from a religious perspective) would be relevant to our discussion. I found his works through Art 21, in the special on Spirituality. Again, Christian artists are hard to come by, but it's worth checking out to see the artists of other religions, and their approach to incorporating their faith (or lack of it) into their art.

Grahame Weinbren, J3 Judith Part Three


J3 Judith Part Three from grahame weinbren on Vimeo.

Robert Wilson Fourteen Stations

Wilson created new interpretations of the 14 stations of the cross.

Ken Feingold

Quoted from the video site: Two identical heads (but one with a male and one with a female voice) lie on pillows upon a kitchen table, emerging from a sort of shipping case. They argue with each about their relationship, make up, regret their argument, and begin to argue again - each time slightly different but generally in a similar way. We see how oft-repeated phrases can have little real meaning, but a lot of power to do harm. The endlessness of their predicament is literally programmed and self-perpetuating, going nowhere - perhaps a way to think about those who cannot escape from similar cases.This work is a "cinematic sculpture". The dialog is not pre-recorded, and is different each time someone visits it, generated in real time by a computer program. The conversations that these figures carry on are neither completely scripted, nor are they random; rather, the software gives each a 'personality', a vocabulary, associative habits, obsessions, and other quirks of personality which allow them to behave as if in a scene of film, acting out their role over and over, but always changing.

Jym Davis In Flux

Davis suggests the passage between life and death.

Susie Ibarra and Makoto Fujimura

This is not a video with (explicit) Christian content, though the artist featured, Makoto Fujimura, is a Christian artist. This video features a performance with music performed by Susie Ibarra (the sounds is a little off, you'll notice)

Susie Ibarra and Makoto Fujimura from International Arts Movement on Vimeo.

Jym Davis White Space

Davis often takes inspiration from ancient textx, including the Old Testament. White Space tells the story of creation of mankind from dust.

Michal Rovner

Rovner's video of humans in motion suggest the beginnings of life as though in a petri dish.

Sonia Cillari, "As an Artist, I Need to Rest" (2009)


Artist Sonia Cillari explores the intimate, life-giving relationship between artist and art in her performance piece, As an Artist, I Need to Rest. Cillari is known for her installations that utilize technology, a trend seen in her other work, Se Mi Sei Vicino (2006) – an interactive performance piece, in which viewers can manipulate forms on a screen by moving their hands near Cillari's body. As an Artist, I Need to Rest is a more recent piece, performed first in 2009.
In As an Artist, I Need to Rest, Cillari challenges the traditional mediums used in art, instead opting for technology, and most importantly (and interestingly) herself. In this particular piece, Cillari literally breathes life into her performance, altering her breathing pattern to create different forms for the feather, or digital creature, on a large screen in front of her. The feather can take six forms, and its color can be turned black by the presence of a carbon dioxide, levels of which are measured in the exhibition space. The more viewers in the space, the darker the form – viewers become active participants in the life of the feather, just as Cillari is.
It is this relationship between creator and creation that is emphasized in Cillari's piece: how art can affect life, and how life can affect art. Cillari chooses breath to be the vehicle through which life is represented. In order to perform this 90-minute piece, Cillari practiced breathing control as she attempted to manipulate the feather so as to avoid hyperventilation. She described her performance as “exhausting”, one that required endurance and focus. While Cillari can affect the form of the feather, she herself is affected by the form that the feather takes. Of her work, Cillari states: “Breath, as the giver of life, represents keeping each other alive, a metaphor of dependence between the artist and his own creation”. This intriguing relationship between art and artist illustrates a concept that is not always evident in art: just as creator affects creation, so the creation affects the creator.

Time Warp- Water Balloon to the Face



Do you ever get that surging feeling of "life" when you get doused with cold water? We do it all the time to "wake" somebody up...bring them back to life, so to speak. This clip captures that moment, which I feel is definitely fitting for our theme of vital. Water is a source of life, and this can even be seen in the Christian sense when we think of baptismal water.


Although this post falls more in the music video category, it has a new-media feel to it, and the song in general is about a girl who "fights for her life" as she lives amongst the hustle-bustle of our world today. It fits our vital theme in a very light-hearted way, see for yourself!

Video Corto - Stop Motion Seres Hidraulicos



This is a video made by a Chilean artist about a "fallen angel." What do you think? Its interesting how many artists use water as a sign or stand in for life/ death. You can drown in water, and the images portrayed in this clip are both mesmerizing and haunting. As we have seen, Bill Viola uses water (Gallons of it!) for his video art, which powerfully draws our emotions in a liquefying way.

Jym Davis "White Space" 2004



I posted this video earlier on in the semester, when we explored "body" art. When I thought of what I could show for Christian/Vital art, this is the first piece that came to mind.

For additional videos, click on the link below:
http://vimeo.com/jymdavis/videos

Black and white forms and an eerie roaring sound begin this video, and then an extreme close-up of a man covered in a chalky-white substance emerges on the screen. This is Jym Davis, the artist of this piece titled White Space, which was created in 2004. This particular video is about the creation of man, and the dusty-white chalk is representative of the dust God used to create man as prescribed in Genesis, the very first chapter in the Bible. Though traditional themes are used in this film, they are presented in a manner that reflects our current technologically advanced society. In his artist statement, Davis writes, “My art reflects my interest in the way we deal with mystery in a scientific era, exploring how the fantastic fits into contemporary culture. My influences come from a variety of story-sources: Norse mythology, The Old Testament, and tales of folkloric revenants from Eastern Europe. I’m exploring the ways these archetypes interact with a new generation.”

Davis has received his Masters of Fine Art degree from the University of North Carolina in 2003. A rapidly emerging video artist, Davis has already made over nineteen videos, each revealing his interest in science, music, the human body, skin application, water, fire, and light. He masterfully combines these elements in a way that questions our understanding of life, death, and human existence in general. Where exactly do we come from? How did we get here? The ghost-like white face emerging from the pool of milky water and the fragmented sounds of machines in the background might suggest the fractured knowledge we posses as humans from a myriad of sources. Indeed, White Space uses scriptural text and other mythological accounts of creation such as those found in Ancient Near Eastern stories of creation from water.

In essence, Davis explores the human vitality linked between old and new traditions. In Independent Exposure Davis states, “My work blurs the boundary between traditional studio practice and emerging digital technologies while exploring such far reaching issues as science fiction, spirituality, and the human body.” As evident of his other films, many of the actors Davis casts in his works are covered paint. For instance, in another video called Peel a man and woman are shown covered in dry silver paint which they slowly peel off each other in an “intimate ritualistic” fashion. David’s work is also said to be “…influential of David Lynch as well as the repetitious music of minimalist composers Philip Glass and Steve Reich can also be seen.”

Davis exhibits his works throughout the east and west coast, Germany, The Netherlands, Austria, and Lithuania. As depicted in the end of White Space, a release of what appears to be red blood spreads across the screen and the pounding sound of a heart-beat becomes prominent. The pulse instantly stops, and celestial sounds are introduced. Did “Adam” just die and go to heaven? We are left to ponder the feelings evoked from this paradoxically apocalyptic rendition of human emergence. Perhaps it is actively prompting us to probe more deeply the gap between our own religious beliefs and natural human evolution. This is a grave and mysterious void we as Christians cannot dodge in today’s heavily scientific-based society.

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Christian Art...


I know Scott already does this with his perspectives classes, which I took freshmen year, and it looks like this one is still top of the hit list for google's images "Christian art"....!

Rob Bell, Nooma Videos

Some of you may have heard of Rob Bell, pastor of Mars Hill in Grand Rapids, Michigan. He has written many popular Christian books such as "Sex God" and "Velvet Elvis. Recently, he has written a book accused of being on the verge of heresy, "Love Wins." Bell is also famous for his videos in which he explores the issues of spirituality, Nooma is the company he started. It's worth checking out and seeing how video art may or may not play out in the church.

Alfredo Jaar

Alfredo Jaar - Sound of Silence

Fire in My Belly

David Wojnarowicz FIRE IN MY BELLY is a four minute video that was recently removed from an exhibition at the Smithsonian because the image of Jesus on a sugar crucifix covered with ants was offensive to some groups. Wojnarowicz created this video in the 1990s and later died of AIDS. The image of Christ suffering on the cross the slow death of crucifixion and tormented even further by ants is seen by some art critics as a poignant parallel to the artist's own slow and painful death. Others suggest that a specific type of ant is the carpenter ant and that the ants make a reference to Jesus' trade as a carpenter. Roman Catholics saw the image as offensive and presured the Smithsonian to remove the video from the exhibition prompting Gay visitors to boycott all Smithsonian museums. The YouTube video is available for your viewing, but you must register to view it. I leave the decision to view the video to you and decide on your own about its content and meaning.

Monday, March 28, 2011

Irish Hand Dance

So, after all these intense, emotional and controversial films on Aspect, my friend showed me this AMAZING and incredibly delightful video. Maybe you have seen it, maybe not—and if not, be prepared to be amazed! It's so fun.

David Wojnarowicz, Fire in My Belly, 1986-1987


Boundaries to Freedom of Expression?

David Wojnarowicz, a new media film artist, continues to stir controversy over his acclaimed “blasphemy” videos even after his passing due to AIDS in 1992. As part of an exhibition at the Smithsonian’s National Portrait Gallery held in October 2010 titled "Hide and Seek" which aimed to show sexual differences in modern American portraiture, Wojnarowicz's video montage, Fire in My Belly (1986-87), caused an uproar of controversy due to offended visitors. The National Portrait Gallery then decided to remove the video due to threats to funding by the Catholic League and the House of Representatives. Exploding all over art news and media, this controversy caused a silent protest to occur shortly after the removal of the piece in which people declared to news companies and journalists the anger and frustration felt with the Smithsonian choice. Despite differing opinions on Wojnarowicz’s video, the ethics of censorship in the arts is challenged.

Coming from an abandoned background and wandering, lonely life, Wojnarowicz found himself exploring the arts in New York City with many other New York artists. Focusing on film art, Wojnarowicz shares his messages best through delving into his childhood, his identity as a gay man, and the travels he experienced in Latin America. Holland Cotter from The New Yorker states that Wojnarowicz attended a Roman Catholic school in which many of his religious beliefs were influenced and shaped. In Fire in My Belly, Wojnarowicz explores these three themes around a plastic crucifix in which ants are crawling over the decaying body of Jesus. Images of Jesus with the thorn crown appear throughout the four-minute video while the screeching apocalyptic cry of a woman yelling insane phrases such as “you are unclean!” haunt the video throughout. Later on, a man slowly is shown in the act of masturbation, amidst the shots back to the crucifix. The sharp cuts to different images make the viewer strive to make some kind of sense, some kind of narrative as to what Wojnarowicz is aiming to portray—which may be the cause for so much controversy. As understood from the artist, Wojnarowicz is claiming to express his deep emotional strife in slowly dying from AIDS, as the ants invading the body symbolize. The forceful and invasive movement and color of the piece (deep oranges, dark reds and blacks) do not create a pleasant atmosphere. The viewer is forced to interact and respond to the content of the piece, symbolizing how Wojnarowicz felt as an artist with AIDS. Comparing his battle with AIDS to the death of Christ is one of unparalleled attention—Wojnarowicz meant for this connection to be made, but he claims to not have sacrilegious motivations behind this piece.

Cotter states, “That “A Fire in My Belly” is about spirituality, and about AIDS, is beyond doubt” revealing the understanding that one cannot separate the two images in order to understand the art. As Cotter explains, Wojnarowicz understood Jesus to take on the suffering of everyone in the world and Wojnarowicz states. ‘ “I wanted to make a symbol that would show that he would take on the suffering of the vast amounts of addiction that I saw on the streets,” Wojnarowicz testified. “And I did this because I saw very little treatment available for people who had this illness” ‘. For Wojnarowicz, his art was a testament of self-sacrifice in how he struggled as a gay man with AIDS and he relates to the suffering in his own life, as Jesus did, in Wojnarowicz’s perspective.

Although many in the Catholic League, particularly President Bill Donohue, and the House of Representatives accused Wojnarowicz’s video as being deeply sacrilegious and offensive to Christian’s in particular, the controversy goes deeper in questioning the ethics of censorship in a nation that claims to be free to express. At the silent protest, many used this tenant of American foundation as an argument against the removal of Wojnarowicz’s piece. A Fire in My Belly challenges the standards of what is acceptable and “good” art with its controversial and confusing content and images. Although, this challenge is needed in order to better define the community of art and how people understand the world through artistic expression. Therefore, Wojnarowicz’s video is a part of that conversation, rather than hindering the conversation from progressing. Although many do not necessarily enjoy the piece, or resonate with the piece, Wojnarowicz’s voice is still heard amongst the artistic community—as all artists of every form and medium are allowed. As a Christian woman who is deeply moved by the history of art and the many artists, I ponder the ethics of censorship in a world that deeply understands freedom of expression excludes any kind of censorship, for censorship brings control from a set group of people. In our world, people do not like to be told what to do or what to see, so Wojnarowicz is challenging this tension in our society through the medium of art. Art is forceful and influential, so having the knowledge of this truth along with the discernment to enter into conversations surrounding art such as this, or not involve oneself, continually renews and redefines the definition of art in a society characterized by difference of expression and belief.

December 1, 2010 NYtimes article.
December 10th, 2010 NYtimes article.

Roger Nygard's documentary film which asks: Why do we exist?


Thursday, March 24, 2011

Ranbir Kaleka

Middle Eastern Artists

Here is a list of Middle Eastern artists working in video:

Boaz Arad, Yossi Atia & Itamar Rose, Keren Cytter, Uri Katzenstein, Dana Levy, Shahar Marcus, Roee Menahem Markovich, Avi Mograbi, Miri Segal, Ruti Sela & Maayan Amir, Doron Solomons, Malki Tesler, Lior Waterman & Amit Levinger, Karen Russo and Amir Yatziv.

Liu Dao, Island 6

Interactive Art from Liu Dao Art Collective

Guy Ben-Ner, Stealing Beauty, 2007








          Israeli video artist Guy Ben-Ner’s work explores the intimate dynamic of the family life, the individual and the culture of domesticity to pint to larger themes such as right to ownership, origins and law. Ben-Ner’s performance and video pieces often take place in the context of small sets that reflect an Ikea-like version of a perfect nuclear family’s home. He often, but not exclusively, uses his own children in his works.
            In his work, Stealing Beauty, a modern family experiences small trials and tribulations. The set is created in a museum or gallery space and a video team documents the performance. Gallery visitors are allowed to move in an out of the sets but the actors take no notice of the intruders.
           The script begins with a sitcom feel as cartoonish music introduces each new scene. Much of the performance is reminiscent of a 1950s sitcom. At one point in the film his wife catches their daughter coming home after midnight and she is grounded; the plot is predictable—easy to swallow. Not unexpected, the younger brother teases his sister for getting “busted” and the scene progresses.
The dramatic switch comes later in the evening when the mother begins to speak out her interior monologue. She wonders whether or not the father of her children will tell the kids what he does for a living. She wonders why he won’t talk to them. The dynamic between the mother and father is the archetypal miscommunication that we have seen for decades in a sitcom’s couple; their inability to share thoughts and feelings leads to inevitable trouble. We might look at this on the nuclear familial level but something in the script changes that makes us take note that there is more to this family small talk that has been perceived.
Soon after, Ben-Ner starts talking briefly about terrorism and the wife urges him to talk openly with their kids while she goes out shopping with her friend. The dialogue is forced, to the point of tangible awkwardness. A silly little song interrupts each scene indicating that another part of the narrative is about to start and calls attention to the viewer that we should pay attention.
When the mother leaves with a friend to go shopping the next morning, the father is forced to interact with his children alone. Immediately they begin firing questions about rights of property. Now it is obvious that this sitcom might be more than the audience had bargained for. As they talk about property rights, the issue of exclusion emerges. Ben-Ner says, “Private property creates borders, son…it liberates its rightful owners.” The boy asks how they got the house and Ben-Ner says he got it from another guy. This leads to a question about the right to own land and the avoided issue of the Israeli Palestinian conflict is finally confronted, though it is never explicitly named.
Later, the young girl reads from a book about hunter gathers. And she begs her father to explain the nature of land ownership. He responds with a confusing answer: “Don’t confuse profit with threat,” to which she asks, “Why do we have to have permission for everything?” Because, he says, “I am your father, I am big and you are small.” The conflict rises and tension builds, pointing even more to the conflict over land and rights of Israel and Palestine.
Ben-Ner attempts to explain inheritance to his young son. He says that land should belong to a family. Again, the issue of the right to own something comes up and brings in yet another larger issue—the rights of Israeli women. Over time the daughter gets her father to admit that their mother is his property, which he quickly excuses that particular ownership as an act of love. This clearly points to the stereotype that the West has placed on Middle Eastern men. The actors speak English with heavy accents and it is clear that this speech is intended for a Western audience and calls into question many of the assumptions that are held about Israel and the Middle East.
In the final scene the father says,“Sharing is primitive, it is for animals,” which is a response Western audiences might expect and scoff at if it were to come from a Middle Easter person talking about sharing the land of Israel and Palestine. The script continues on to explore the theme of slavery and private property. The father says, “Thieves are silent and we are not thieves. Objects talk but the law like a thief is silent.” These types of quotes beg the audience to consider preconceived notions about the conflict in the Middle East because it puts words and ideas in their heads, shaping the way they view these types of issues. The concept of using a sitcom-like setting encourages the theme of media-influenced thinking that pits Western society against the Middle East.
The video ends with the children speaking. They say, “A good movie is open ended like the future.” Such an ending invites a heated conversation from the audience, but they also call the audience to action—actions that might not be acceptable, but nonetheless, an action, rather than passivity. 

Teddy Lo

Toshio Iwai

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Ruti Sela and Maayan Amir, Beyond Guilt, 2003-2005

In this collaborative film, Ruti Sela and Maayan Amir create a 41 minute film split into three numbered bits called Beyond Guilt (2003-2005) that change the perspective of the recorder of the camera to those Sela and Amir want to interview and document. Hailing from Tel Aviv with a strong and broad educational artistic background, both artists strive to portray a new message of disrupting the power of the camera by handing their cameras over to those they want to interview. In the first bit, they go to a bathroom in a bar and give the camera over to those in the bathroom. As their website shows a clip, the people in the bathroom go about their interesting and crude social exchanges all the while knowing that they are recording their interactions. These different bits raise the question of how the knowledge that you are being recorded by someone else versus recording and controlling what are you doing yourself is changed—or does it? Although I didn't watch the other two bits due to the title of sexual content, but I thought this does raise an interesting artistic perspective on the issues of technology and the power we "believe" we have when viewing and recording our lives.

Uri Katzenstein & Ishai Adar, "La La Major"

La la Major - a sound installation by Uri Katzenstein & Ishai Adar from Ishai Adar on Vimeo.

John Smith, Excerpt from "Dirty Pictures", 2007

http://www.johnsmithfilms.com/texts/sf19.html

"Dirty Pictures" is one component of the 7-part series "Hotel Diaries". From the artist's website: "In these works, which play upon chance and coincidence, the hotel room is employed as a 'found' film set, where the architecture, furnishing and decoration become the means by which the filmmaker’s small adventures are linked to major world events".
This particular video was filmed in Palestine.

Manuel Saiz, "Parallel Paradises: Japan"-2006, "Parallel Paradises: Ecuador"-2007

12 japan from Manuel Saiz on Vimeo.




Parallel Paradises Ecuador from Manuel Saiz on Vimeo.



Manuel Saiz is a Spanish artist working in London. The two videos above are part of his "Parallel Paradises" collection, each featuring a contrast between the intricacies of certain cultures -- in this case, Japan and Ecuador.

Ranbir Kaleka, "Crossings: Two Stories" 2005



Indian born, painter turned video artist Ranbir Kaleb creates videos combining painted projections and footage on film. His works reflect cultural and religious issues and the idea of a constant yet changing India. In this video Kaleb includes, for example, the controversial aspect of wearing a turban. His work also portrays human struggles and what it means to be human, i.e., "Threading a Needle" (1998-99). For more information, visit the artist's website at www.rkaleka.com and read "Being Human: Ranbir Kaleka’s Latest Works Create Meaning through Painting, Video Projection, Successes and Failures" by Saskia Miller.

Rafael Lozano-Hemmer, "Vectorial Elevation" 1999



I know these videos are long, but they are a great way to learn about this AMAZING light project done in the city of Zócalo, Mexico. Those lights were controlled by the public via internet!



Video artist of Mexican origin, Rafael Lozano-Hemmer created Vectorial Elevation in 1999. This dynamic light beam project was stationed in the large city of Zócalo in Mexico, and the public was given the opportunity to participate in a very grand way. In essence, they were the creators of the patterns that were projected in the night sky for spectators to experience and enjoy. This was made possible via internet, a Global Positioning System device, and massive robotic lights that were placed on the roof tops of tall buildings encircling the city square.

Though highly technological, the system of generating your own light path was simple. All you had to do was log onto a Web site and create a design by clicking a computer mouse and dragging a cursor over the screen. When your entry was presented in the city, you would receive an e-mail and link showing pictures and virtual images of your work. You were also invited to write anything you wanted on this link to share with others. These posts were uncensored, and included everything from dedications to lengthy political statements.

The presentation lasted two weeks, and during this time over 800,000 people visited the interactive Web site from countries around the world. As stated by the authors of Video Art, Lozano-Hemmer conveyed that Vectorial Elevation, “…serves primarily as a platform for public self-expression.” He also mentioned that his work is reflective of the late Thomas Wilfred, who during the 1920s developed works using the premise of light and a keyboard system to create, for instance, Clavilux, a site installation where light was projected on skyscrapers in the city of New York.

It is suggested that Vectorial Elevation is reminiscent of Tribute in Light created in 2002 by Julian LaVerdiere and Paul Myoda to commemorate the lost victims of the destroyed Twin Towers of the 9/11 terrorist attack. As demonstrated in this video and other similar works, light is used in a profound aesthetic and conceptual manner to speak volumes. Although Vectorial Elevation was initially launched in Mexico, it was reenacted in France, Ireland, and Spain. Regardless of where it is preformed, it draws masses of people and remains a powerful form of media art that not only joins people physically but perhaps more importantly, technologically.



Vectorial Elevation Lightshow - Vancouver 2010 from Jon Rawlinson on Vimeo.

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Zhang Ga, People's Portrait, 2004



Links to Zhang Ga's new media art done in November, 2004. People's Portrait
Linz, Austria


New York, United States


No Boundaries

Chinese new media artist, Zhang Ga, makes a statement about the human face and our technology today in his public media installation People’s Potrait in November 2004. A part of the Dutch Electronic Art Festival, the People’s Portrait exhibition featured a large on-screen (billboard) portrayal of different shots of people’s “everyday” faces from five different major cities around the world—Rotterdam, New York, Singapore, Linz (Austria) and Brisbane. Disrupting the nature of time and space, Ga creates a physical symbol of the instantaneous nature our technological world has become. The global borders suddenly do not hold any value and significance with the internet, therefore the artistic world continues to cross borders and cultures.

Ga is also the director of Netart Initiative, which is an open based internet forum for new media and artists to communicate their artwork as well as interact with many other global new media artists. Ga received his art education in China and then went to Berlin and now holds an MFA from the Parsons School of Design in the United States. Also, he teaches at Parsons and visits many other universities and schools to talk about his art. As we have seen before, the internet art bases that serve as public melting pots for archives of new media art work is not anything new today which adds to the growing amount of information being shared via the internet; Ga’s Netart Initiative is another part of this growing amount of readily available information.

In order to create this installation, Ga set up different “kiosks” where anyone and everyone could come up to the camera and take a picture of themselves in these different cities. People could see their portrait displayed on an electronic billboard amongst the portraits of others who were participating in this activity. The portraits were then transmitted through the internet and shuffled amongst many other portraits being taken at the same time from around the different cities. Portrayed in large city squares, such as Times Square in New York, there is nothing private about this visualization. The immediacy of the portraits removes the issue of attention to time and distance and creates a sense of contemporaneity. Anyone viewing the portraits, as well as taking the portraits, can see and interact with others at the present time despite the distances and the times of the day.

The desire to connect, and connect with speed and accuracy, is defined in the functions of the internet—people can instantly connect with others despite time and distance. New media art is a part of this culture and brings art to the forefront of these inventions. Through technology, especially the internet, the physical boundaries and barriers between nations, countries and cultures is completely removed. Ga’s piece speaks into this dramatic change and takes a perspective that makes human faces personal, because of the physical portrayals of faces broadcasted in large public squares. Also, Ga’s piece touches on the equality experienced through the use of the internet—anyone and everyone can be a part of conversations, as well as add to conversation. The experience of the internet is communal and distant in a sense. Ga’s piece plays upon this true paradox concerning immediate connectivity. Because Ga puts a face on this truth about contemporary culture, it makes human relationships much more real and more relatable, rather than just hyperlinks and mathematical constructs visualized on a screen. But, the images essence are color pixels configured in electronic waves and configurations, so does this fact reduce the true personalization of this piece? The concerns and advantages of the internet and global connectivity come into question.

New Media Church Art

The Work of the People is an online organization that provides new media films for sale for anyone and everyone to purchase, view and use in their congregations or what not. This group is interesting in that it is taking contemporary culture and using it for the messages of the church—as they state on the website. I looked around at some of the videos and some of them are really interesting, documenting different pastors and theologians and creating new videos on certain topics. It is a great website to look at and comment on just how effective using the medium of new media in our churches.

Monday, March 21, 2011

Anya Belkina, Insurgency of Ambition, 2009

Insurgency of Ambition from Anya Belkina on Vimeo.

As the Aspect video describes, Belkina is a female video artist from Russia. Having had much education herself, her career has led her into teaching the arts at Duke University and Emerson College; therefore, establishing herself in the hierarchies of the educational art world. She began as a painter and then recently has moved into the realms of new media creating digital shorts and animations that have been presented at numerous festivals, museums and international festivals. In this animation, Insurgency of Ambition (2009), Belkina draws inspiration from the allegory in the Greek mythology of Athena being born from Zeus' head—wisdom and war at "war" with each other. The quest for the "triumphal arch" in man is literally described in the journey in the animation. The man is naked, searching for wisdom and power, when that reality is taken away by the truth of what power does to man. This animation was created shortly after the succession in Iraq during the Middle East war. I found this animation interesting in that Belkina draws on the mythology of the past in order to speak truth about what is happening in our world today.

Thursday, March 10, 2011

Jenny Rogers, Drawlings

http://www.jenrogers.com/drawlingsmov.html

An interactive art installation at SXSW by Zachary Booth Simpson

Interactive art by Zack Booth Simpson

Interactive Art -- visitors can feel hot and cold

New Kinetica Art

Office Installation in North Carolina

Tad Beck, Roll, 2003


          Tad Beck is a Los Angeles and Maine based artist who deals largely with the naked body and nature. His work explores the ability to push the boundaries of nudity on video but he does so in a way that is not suggestive of sexuality or seductiveness, rather his work airs on the side of naturalism and realism. The naked body is not a stand in for sexual themes or issues, as one might expect; in fact it becomes another way of representing nature.
            Beck was influenced by nineteenth century American painter Thomas Eakins in both style and content. Eakins, who worked in the middle to late nineteenth century, used the then innovative technology of the camera to capture images of his models before he painted them. Beck has a series of photographs in which he overlay his own models on top of the older version of the photograph. Eakins directly influenced Beck’s video, Roll, in the angle of the shoot and the content of the video. In his 2003 video, Roll, Beck has directed four models to walk steadily as they can on logs rolling in a river. This rural activity of logrolling brings a down-home kind of feel to this four-channel contemporary video installation. To capture the shots of the film the artist swam beside the log rollers, treading water and working to keep the frame steady. This type of action defines Beck’s works. He focuses on the human body in action in nature.
            There is a sense of humor to all of Beck’s pieces. The nudity becomes more of a joyous celebration of humanity in nature, rather than exploiting the choice of nakedness to perpetuate social stereotypes of groups of nude males. The action of the bodies in nature also emphasizes the wit of the work, because they are working naked bodies, they are inherently not as sexual.
            Beck’s works are currently on display at the Samuel Freeman Gallery in the Bergamot Station in Santa Monica, California. Alongside his work Roll is Blow, which is a video of nude male models holding onto a sailboat blowing in the wind. Another video on display is called Stroke and it centers on naked male models in several rowboats. The shot is god-like, shot directly overhead, giving the viewer an omnipresent attitude toward the work.



http://www.tadbeck.com/video/roll.2.htm

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eqI5deNI49Y&tracker=False

Bill Viola, The Crossing, 1996

Chevalier interview about Ultra-Nature

Miguel Chevalier Crossborders 2007



In a new age of technology, Chevalier sees borders of nations and distinctions of urban and rural less than useful descriptions of modern life. Here is proposes a new way of visualizing a information based world.

Stephan Scholdra TROIA alptRAUM

TROIA alptRAUM from Stephan Scholdra on Vimeo.

Paul Bush While Darwin Sleeps 2004



Bush is an experimental filmmaker who incorporates animation into natural history footage.

Stan Brakhage Mothlight 1963

Brakhage was an early expermental filmmaker who would draw or stratch directly onto film; Mothlight is two strips of perforated tape that hold together natural materials.
Mothlight by cinefalo

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Alec Crichton, Eremozoikum, 2007


Crichton's collaborative website featuring numerous contemporary artists.

German video artist, Alec Crichton, creates mesmerizing and mind-stimulating videos that reflect his artist statement claiming, “Art is challenging, inspiring, unfamiliar, and relevant” (Crichton, artist website). While also an inventive artist as he has spearheaded the creation of one of the first international Cable TV station (Souvenirs from Earth) broadcasting artist’s video, he holds a curator position for this TV station as well. Reading the TV station’s information, they offer a 24hr broadcast to distribute artistic videos in the technology-saturated. They also hone in on the fact that the TV station is a public space for anyone to enter into the messages of these different video artists. Also, his videos can be downloaded and watched fo free on itunes, supporting the public involvement in interacting with his films. Crichton received his masters at the Academy of Media Arts in Cologne, Germany where he is from. Crichton’s videos explore the realms of visual poetry, surrealism and truth.
In one of his films, Eremozoikum (2007), different documentations and shots of a mountain landscape observe the living land before the camera’s view. The video opens with a shot looking through a branch and some weeds, we see a valley in the blurred background, and the sounds of a rooster of some kind resonate as well as the songs of the bird. Then, the camera shifts to the mountains as fog undulates and lifts through the valley as we hear the eerie howl of the wind through the landscape. As one watches the film, the anticipation begins to build with the unexpected cries of the wind rushing through the valley—this sound mixed with the constant bird songs create an odd tension. This natural scene looks and feels familiar to the viewer, but somehow the wind is not seen (the fog is barely moving and lifting) which gives the viewer an unsettling and anxious emotion.
As the video continues, the shot shifts to a panoramic view with the valley and hills and we see wisps of white cloud scatter the valley and slowly rise, the blue sky in the distance and the blurred blare of the what we take to be the sun is greatly overexposed. The continuing howl the wind haunts the sound of the video, but at this panoramic shot of the valley silence slowly creeps in heightening the unfamiliar tension. Then, a thundering noise (what sounds like a jet plane or thunder) slowly rises and the overexposed sun shines bright and the light takes up a majority of the shot. The video goes back to silence and the thunder returns even louder this time and the overexposure completely takes up the screen and immediately recedes back to normal. This odd manipulation of the video disrupts the natural observation the viewer strives to obtain during the video. There is an eerie sense of overwhelming loneliness throughout the video, an emptiness, but the viewer knows that is not true due to the sounds of nature heard. The word eremozoic refers to “the age of loneliness,” which correlates with the experiences of the video.
Crichton’s video captures the mystery of nature in a way that is familiar and universal to all human beings. The fact that we can understand certain inner-functioning’s of nature continues to dissatisfy the reigning mysteries that are continually discovered in nature. Humans relationship to nature is one that is unavoidable, constant and mysterious and Crichton’s video visually portrays these truths by simply shooting different shots of natural scenes with acute nature sounds accompanying the visual. The manipulation with the overexposed sun brings viewers into a place of questioning and unknown territory about nature’s functions, which is what fascinates Crichton as an artist.

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Inigo Manglano-Ovalle

Watch the full episode. See more ART:21.

Watch the full episode. See more ART:21.

In both of these videos by Art 21, we hear from Columbian and Spanish artist Inigo Manglano-Ovalle talk about his experiences as being an immigrant to the United States. In Random Sky (2006), Manglano-Ovalle collaborates with two other artists (Mark Hereld and Rick Grebenas) in order to capture time in the form of capturing weather patterns and visualizing the patterns in different shades of blue bars on the side of the art center (Hyde Park where this installation was featured). As the viewers pass by and become literal shadows and outlines on the wall amongst the pattern, a correlation between projecting the time of the weather and the time of the interaction with the art poses an interesting concept in how we view time. The nature of our world today has become technologized so much so that we can literally visualize the patterns of nature.

Also, in his other sculptures he created a metal sculpture that was an image taken from a weather image pattern machine that tracts thunderstorms and he caught the image of the cloud right before the storm hit. Although there is nothing necessarily new media in the final art project, the method behind the art piece was used with technology. Nature's patterns and creations can be literally captured through the invention of technology, and therefore opens up a creative avenue to explore this new perspective on nature within the realms of our technological world.

“Weather writes, erases, and rewrites itself upon the sky with the fluidity of language; it is with language that we have sought throughout history to apprehend it.”

—Richard Hamblyn, The Invention of Clouds, New York: Farrar, Straus and Giroux, 2001

(this quote was taken from an article about Manglano-Ovalle)

Tim Hawkinson, In Drip, 2002


Watch the full episode. See more ART:21.

Tim Hawkinson is an American artist known mainly for his amazing sculptures. His work revolves around the creation of different machine-like installations from everyday, simple tools and materials. For this installation, Hawkinson uses motion detectors trigger the dripping of rain water to come through the spider like web hanging from the ceiling into steel buckets. In order to create this machine-like sound maker, he used plastic sheets by twisting them with a drill to obtain biomorphic twists and turns. The rain water is what drives the piece and therefore points to Hawkinson's interest in looking at sound in nature as his other well-known installations use natural sound through a machine. In Drip gives a rhythmic beat to the sounds of nature at the timing of nature, as we cannot tell when it will rain or not. Hawkinson controls the "natural" world in an interesting and inventive way.

Semiconductor, "Heliocentric", 2010

I think someone already posted a link to this video for a different topic, but I felt that it would be appropriate for rural/nature, as well!

Heliocentric from Semiconductor on Vimeo.

Jacco Olivier, "Landscape", 2010

http://www.marianneboeskygallery.com/artists/jacco-olivier/video/landscape-2010/

Another Olivier piece at a gallery, so that you can see how his works are normally viewed
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=i2EFNbXz6QI

Steina and Woody Vasulka, "The West", 1983

http://www.vasulka.org/Steina/Steina_TheWest/MOV_TheWest.html

Hilary Harp and Suzie Silver, "The Happiest Day", 2004

The Happiest Day from Harp + Silver on Vimeo.

R&Sie(n)



quoted from R & Sie website:

R&Sie(n) is an architectural office sey up in 1989 and lead by François Roche (1961, France), Stéphanie Lavaux (1966, France) and Jean Navarro (1971, France) is based in Paris. The organic, oppositional architectural projects of their practice is concerned with the bond between building, context and human relations. Roche explains his concept of ‘’spoiled climate’’ chameleon architecture, which links and hybrids the human body to the body of architecture by a re-scenarization on the rules of all the natures of each situations. They use speculations and fictions as process to dis-alienate the post-capitalism subjectivities, in the pursuit of Toni Negri. R&Sie(n) consider architectural identity as an unstable concept, defined through temporary forms in which the vegetal and biological become a dynamic element. R&Sie(n) are currently undertaking a critical experiment with new warping technologies to prompt architectural “scenarios” of cartographic distortion, substitution, and genetic territorial mutations.

Ruri



Ruri is an Icelandic artist whose themes often touch on sublime phenomonon like the waterfall. I saw here sculpture in a museum in Iceland; she constructed a cabinet with glass photographs of Icelandic waterfalls. Viisitors could pull out a large format glass photograph, which triggered an audio-recording of the sound of that waterfall. In this work above she has music and video come together in a hauntingly beautiful performance.

Saturday, March 5, 2011

Hiraki Sawa, "Going Places, Sitting Down" 2004







A child’s fantasy comes to life in Hiraki Sawa’s Going Places Sitting Down created in 2004. With former studies in sculpture and a keen use of media, Sawa literally builds rural landscapes in the most unusual of places—the living room, bedroom, and yes...even the bathroom! The scenes he recreates in these domestic spaces are filled with the natural things you would see in the country side—horses, trees, and snow covered hills. Bringing these elements together in a whimsical fashion, Sawa invokes his viewers with the feeling that they are witnessing a lovely dream. Sawa’s mixed media fantasies are sure to delight the senses of all ages.


Sawa was born in Japan in 1977. At the age of 18 he decided to move to England where he studied fine art and began to work on installation and video art projects. It is said that his works reflect his transition from his home country to the United States. This film was created in his apartment in London, where he currently resides and works as a young and rising artist. In his works, Sawa seems to turn the rather two-dimensional video plane into a full-blown three-dimensional illusion. Of his work Sawa has stated, “Since I think of working in video in sculptural terms, I make the video image as I would a tangible object.” When I watch this video, I feel like I am a part of Sawa’s recreated worlds, and this is most likely due to his masterful ability to bring forms to life.

Sawa’s has held solo exhibitions internationally, ranging from locations such as Tokyo to Washington and New York. His most recent exhibition, Experimental Playground, was presented at the International Biennal of Media Arts in Melbourne, Australia. In this work, Sawa has filled his scenery with small toy planes (models of war aircraft) that hover slowly over interior landscapes of a laundry room and an office desktop. Of Going Places Sitting Down, one source notes, “His dreams of fantastic domestic situations, produced in his charming Londinense apartment resemble lucid dreams narrated in a codified language, based in a pictographic alphabet often repeated in his works.”

In another piece titled Birds, Saw captures the spirit of flight and rural nature with a flock of birds that fly over a pine-tree forest. The dramatic play between the light and dark, the birds filmed in slow motion, and the soft music in the background call upon the serenity of the natural world. Indeed, Sawa draws his audiences’ attention to the rural beauty that is frequently overlooked or taken for granted. As seen in Going Places Sitting Down, Sawa invites the viewer to take a second look at the voyeurism of life, of course, through the eyes of a young and venturous child who never seizes to explore his urban and rural environment.

Two other artists that utilize rural themes in their works:

Mark Lewis, "Algonquin Park" 2002

video.nytimes.com/video/2007/12/06/style/tmagazine/1194817111076/algonquin-park-early-march.html

In this video, Lewis explores the deep tranquility and beauty of Algonquin Park in Canada. This piece reminds me of Bill Viola's work, in which the viewer must wait patiently for the scene to unfold. At first there is a blank white screen, then finally peaks of pine trees emerge from the bottom of the screen. As the camera pans out, the trees grow taller, and we get a keen sense of the grandeur of this snow-covered park.

Yang Fudong "Half Hitching Post" 2005

Fudong places his subjects (Asian natives dressed in modern clothing) in rural landscapes to demonstrate the gap between tradition and modernism. Half Hitching Post, depicts the symbolic travels of a young Asian couple through an unknown territory...a woman rides a donkey with her spouse along the side. What lies ahead? The desolate landscape suggests the isolation felt between the younger generation as they straddle new culture and tradition.

http://www.asianartnewspaper.com/article/yang-fudong

Thursday, March 3, 2011

Andy Warhol, Hannah Wilke

Andy Warhol "Outer and Inner Space" 1965



One of the first video artists, Andy Warhol cleverly used split-screens in this piece to create the illusion that actress Edie Sedgwick is speaking to multiple images of herself. One source states, "As its title suggests, Outer and Inner Space visualizes a fragmented attention, a schizoid disjunction between public and private selves." As humans, we constantly evaluate our persona, and this video demonstrates the "two-sided" nature of this process.

Hannah Wilke, "Gestures" 1974

http://artofviewingart.com/2011/02/05/hannah-wilke-gestures-1974-video/

I found Gestures by Wilke in our New Media Art book with stills of the artist distorting her face with her hands. As the text explains, "She attempts to erase her face in protest to commercialization and abuse of the female body in the media." Like Doll Face by Andy Huang, Gestures shows the direct effect of media on persona.

Tamy Ben-Tor, "Gewald" 2008



Created in 2008 and presented at the Zach Feurer Gallery, New York video artist Tamy Ben-Tor tackles issues pertaining to social customs and gender roles in her video titled Gewald. As evident of her work, Ben-Tor uses child-like story scenarios and songs to awaken social perceptions through her witty portrayals of everyday-life. At first impression, her work seems silly and even irrelevant, but as the video progresses, one may begin to understand the serious subject she addresses and the message conveyed.

At first in Gewald, Ben-Tor dressed in brightly colored folk attire sings how we must be aware of the household “man covered in mud who knows no piece” and the “woman with a cold womb like a frog.” As the video progresses, she advises children to “carve into their hearts” and “turn their eyes away” from the behavioral roles portrayed by these individuals she sings about.

Ben-Tor was born in Jerusalem in 1975. She casts herself as the main character in her performance art and utilizes both photography and film in her work. One source comments how her art is reflective of artist Cindy Sherman. It is also said that she comments on Jewish and Israelite relations in her performance art. As apparent of this video, Ben-tor uses only simple props and low-tech filming to say what she feels and experience in life in a simple yet direct manner that makes her a unique and prominent performance artist.

Richard Serra, "Surprise Attack" 1973



Richard Serra is the artist who constructs those huge architectural walls made of metal. People walk between these curved slabs and experience space in a totally different way. I was surprised to find that this is him in this earlier video performance he created in the 70s. As I understand, performance art really took off in the 70s and became a popular avenue that artists explored.



Dan Dunn is a performance painter who uses his whole body to paint his large and expressive works. I definitely read this work as a unique form of performance art and well worth sharing!

Marnie Weber, The Spirit Girls and The Western Song, 2008


Marnie Weber: The Cinema Show (Edited clips) from Marc Jancou Contemporary on Vimeo.


          Marnie Weber is a Los Angeles based artist with a deep-rooted fascination with the macabre. Weber is a multi-disciplinary artist who is known for her works in costume, video, installation, performance, discography, sculpture, and collage. She studied at both UCLA and USC, the latter from which she obtained her MFA. Weber created a musical rock group called The Spirit Girls who have dominated the entirety of her oeuvre. The Spirit Girls are physical stand-ins for the spirits of five fictional girls who died too young to realize their dream of becoming a successful rock and roll band. Weber costumes her characters in kitschy attire—frumpy schoolgirl frocks, knee-high socks, penny loafers and white gloves. In themselves, those items might not be so jarring, but paired with eerie white masks and long, untamed hair these girls embody a spiritual realm of persona that has not often been explored in the contemporary art scene.
            Masks have been a part of rituals, ceremonies and performance for centuries. The use of a mask can be for disguise, embodiment of an idea or concept, for means of celebration, or acting (among many other uses). The etymology of the word mask has its roots in the romantic languages—in French the word masque, Spanish mascara, Italian maschera all derive from the Latin root mascus which means ghost. Their root suggests that a mask has more spiritual qualities than often realized. Interestingly, in Rome, the word persona actually meant what the English word mask connotes—the physical covering of the face. The line between persona and masks is blurred in this context and Weber showcases this in The Western Song video where The Spirit Girls embody the persona of their former physical selves in eerie, spirit bodies at a circus.
            Western thought typically classifies the use of a mask in performace to that of “primitive” practices—associating its use with that of the occult and primordial. Weber uses this, perhaps naïve, yet nonetheless present, assumption in the culture from which she works to overemphasize the ghoulish and primitive connotation of the mask in performance, which calls the audience to question their predispositions and asks them to reevaluate some of the preconceived notions inherent to our culture.
            According to Kristina Newhouse for X-TRA (a contemporary arts quarterly) the concept behind Weber’s Spirit Girls was inspired by a true set of sisters in nineteenth century New York. The Fox Sisters, who were preteen and teenage girls, realized that they could communicate with the dead through a series of knocks, clicks, and other tactile methods of communication. The sisters were part of a bizarre practice that came out of a Spiritualist movement and were mocked, ridiculed, and celebrated by the circus community—specifically Barnum and Bailey. A public performance in 1850 encouraged several similar acts to the Fox Sisters to take place shortly after.
            In A Western Song several references to literature and antiquity link the narrative of the piece to a thematically dark content. The image of the lead Spirit Girl lying face up in the water clearly evokes the image of Ophelia from Shakespeare’s Hamelt. This female character was lead to her untimely death because she witnessed a gruesome murder and was deemed insane by the court in which she lived. Weber uses the image of the bear in her works as a link to the Greek goddess Artemis. Artemis, who escaped rape from her father, ran wild into the woods (much like Ophelia in Hamlet) and became the dominant huntress of the woods. She is the protectress of female chastity, which suggests that these spirits that Weber presents the audience with might not be malcontents, they may in fact be seen as protectors of virginity, something that when taken away can never be returned.
            Weber has showed this video in several institutions internationally. Sometimes she recreates a circus and Western-like atmosphere in the gallery space, providing haystacks for the audience to sit on while they view the video. The soundtrack to the video is pitch-perfect as it evokes a sense of paranoia, hysteria and confusion, which must have overwhelmed the spectators of such occult practices in a carnival community. The cartoonish caricatures Weber provides in this video suggest the hilarity and garishness of circus culture by overemphasizing their features and movements.
            Overall, there is an acute sadness over the work that is inescapable. The morose nature of the visage of the mask adds to the despair of the Spirit Girls who are bound and put on display for the sake of entertainment. Their dream of achieving stardom in the rock and roll scene was never realized due their untimely deaths, but they have achieved some sort of celebrity—but the question remains: would their living souls appreciate the attention?

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Harry Dodge and Stanya Kahn An excerpt from "Can't Swallow It, Can't Spit It Out.", 2006

Harry Dodge and Stanya Kahn were partners and art collaborators for ten years. They just recently split up because Harry, who has originally Harriet Dodge, couldn't decide which gender she identified with anymore. They had a 3 year old son and they split custody of the child. They still work together on art works and this particular video, from 2006, was showcased at the Whitney Biennale. Their work explores identity, perception, performance and vulnerability.

Check out the video here.

Sanford Biggers

Check out Sanford Biggers' work online. Click this link to go to his website: Sanford Biggers.

Nam June Paik and Charlotte Moorman

Interview with Charlotte Moorman about their collaboration, Opera Sextronique, 1967


T.V. Bra, 1975

Article about Charlotte Moorman





Charlotte Moorman playing the TV cello—1984.

Similarly in the realm of conceptual art, Nam June Paik and Charlotte Moorman are stakes in the history of new media and performance art. Both were heavily influenced in their study years in Germany by the Neo-Dada movement, which explored the absurdity and abstraction of sound and music in form of different technologies. In 1964, TV Cello, Paik and Moorman built a “cello” out of stacked televisions and as Moorman “bowed” the cello strings the television would show different images of her playing the real cello. In this performance, Moorman is interacting with the traditions of classic musical instruments but with a technological twist. The 1984 recreation gives a comical appeal to this performance piece as she looks like she is playing the notes of a real cello but the sounds come out in mushy electronic cries and are certainly not pleasing.

Throughout the years, Moorman played her cello topless (various stages of nudity depending on the arias) in Opera Sextronique (1967) as well as in a bra made out of small television screens (TV Bra for Living Sculpture, 1969). Moorman served as a medium for the message of the performance to be told, therefore her personal, womanly body was used as a means for something else—this provocative and invasive use in art astounded viewers. Therefore, the performance was banned and Moorman was arrested. In an article describing Moorman’s performance history with Paik it is stated “[Moorman’s] mode of chamber spectacle individualized the role of performer, and broadened the role of composer” (Alan Moore). In a video interview with Moorman, she describes the nude performance as she is dubbed as the “topless cellist who has been convicted” and how that has negatively affected her performance later on in life. Throughout the video, Moorman explains the reasons why their performance was so offending to people in New York (in Germany it was accepted). She says that people could not get over the classical background mixed with the nudity—the proper mixed with the vulgar, which is what Paik and Moorman were striving to get at with Opera Sextronique. Finally, Moorman explains how this trial changed the laws of New York in getting rid of censorship and she comments on how she cares “about the art end of it” but worries that nowadays that the limits of using this freedom are being pushed with increasing amounts with the pornography business. Moorman states how she is okay with nudity in public and in art venues as long as it does not hurt women.

F.A.T/LAB by Alejandro Casazi, Joel Chapman, and Christopher Jette, 2010


The F.A.T/Lab collective is an experiment in performance art that combines visuals, music, and a choreographed dining experience. Spearheaded by UCSB professor and recent graduate student, Alejandro Casazi, this work encompasses several mediums of art. The acronym stands for Food, Art, and Technology, a fitting name for this groundbreaking work of art that combines food scientist, Joel Chapman’s innovative work set to the soundtrack provided by Christopher Jette and enhanced by gorgeous and evocative digital images of prints done by Casazi.
The first experiment with this performance was held at the Santa Barbara Contemporary Arts Forum on August 7th, 2010 for the public and a private reception followed on September 24th. There was an expensive ticket for the attendees of the private dinner, which were mostly donors and beneficiaries of the institution, as well as friends and supporters of the artists. A few lucky interns were chosen to act as severs for the esoteric, yet completely accessible, dining experience.
The entire meal had been choreographed before the diners had arrived. Each movement of the servers had been calculated and accounted for by the artists who controlled the event. Chapman controlled the taste aspect of the piece, while Jette told each server to match the start of the undulating, droning music and Casazi started a set of visual stimuli that went hand in hand with the course that would be enjoyed by the guests.
The courses were staged in a series of several different courses. Each element of food was plated with exact specifications by the Chef and presented in a synchronized fashion by the servers. The overwhelming visuals of the space enveloped the diners as they were instructed by Chapman to let the tastes of the food rest in their mouths. Casazi and Jette worked together to create an overwhelming visual-sensual experience that in combination with the food provided a new experience of the common, shared practice of eating. The artists attempted to deconstruct the norm of a shared meal by plating the food in different ways, providing guests with food like purple potato paper and shots of caviar and dill. All the while, Casazi and Jette worked harmoniously to transform the dining room into a work of art. A large projection of digital images set the backdrop for the scene and the music was reminiscent of John Cage minimalism.
The artists sought to form a new context for dining with friends by overwhelming their guests with aesthetics and succulent food. The work puts the viewers in control—their experience defines the success of the work itself. If they were overwhelmed and excited by the food, visuals and music then the artists did their job right.
Casazi is originally from Bogota, Columbia and was just recently married last summer. He works as a lecturer at UCSB and graduated from their MFA program in 2009. He is a multi-disciplinary artist with works spanning from video, installation, collaborative, sculpture to printmaking, sounds, and photography. He often deals with themes relating to humanity—trying to understand the relationship of the whole to its parts. Chapman works as an executive chef and food scientist and graduated at the top of his class from Le Cordon Bleu. Jette is a renowned composer and collaborator with visual artists. His work seeks to transcend the temporal experiences of humanity to that of the ephemeral.

Chris Burden

Chris Burden's infamous performance piece
Trans-fixed, 1974

Article in the New Yorker about Chris Burden's pieces, Shoot and Trans-fixed

American performance artist, Chris Burden, explores controversial issues by endangering himself in his performances pieces. Having studied at Pomona College and earning a Bachelor’s Degree in visual arts, physics and architecture, Burden presents intriguing performances and installations. His most famous performance, Shoot (1971), was one of his earlier performances where Burden has a friend shoot him with a .22 long rifle gun in the left arm from five meters away. In the video, we hear Burden narrate, further involving himself in the performance. In an article by the New Yorker in 2007, Burden says the motivation was “[to make] people take me seriously.” In his most infamous performance Trans-Fixed (1974), Burden laid on a Volkswagen Beetle on the Speedway Avenue in Venice, California and had nails hammered into both of his wrists during the performance like he was being crucified on the car. Up until the current years, Burden has continued this theme of provocative danger and self-harm throughout his artistic career. As the article states, Burden was heavily (and still is) influenced by Marcel Duchamp and the founding of the Dada movement in which the boundaries of what art could be were pushed to extreme measures raising questions about the ethical standards of what art is and if there should be ethical standards in art. Burden violates the wall between the viewer and the artist by his disturbing and self-harming actions—while watching Shootone desires to intervene but then the “hands-off” approach while viewing art reigns. The unsettlement that Burden plays with continues to add to the conversation about what exactly is art and how do we go about defining it with new movements?