November 12, 2009
Postproduction is a lengthy essay on the evolution and happenings in art in regards to remixing and reappropiating previous works and ideas. While the essay brings up some great examples and ideas about the art making process in regards to creating new works and taking from existing ones the bulk of the essay simply talks about artists and the relevant work they have done. The essay starts off strong touching on points like the consumer like cycle of creating art from art and intern creating something that another person will consume. In interesting point that struck me was the statement “Since the early nineties, an ever increasing number of artworks have been created on the basis of preexisting works; more and more artists interpret, reproduce, re-exhibit, or use works made by others or available cultural products.” While this may seem pretty straight forward it congers up questions about the historical evolution of art and peoples thoughts and beliefs about remixing material. Is remixed and reappropriated art really just coming to the forefront of culture in the last 15 years and if so why is that? As humans have we exhausted all possible expressions of “new” art and now the only place to go is to reuse what has all ready been done? Or maybe its simply our views and societies evolution that is more accepting to creating art from something that has already been done. Technology continues to progress and become more and more complex taking an invention like the wheel to a point now where that wheel is part of a car that goes 250 mph. Technology in art has opened new doors and created opportunities for art not imaginable 50 or even 10 years ago. For an artist now a day you can take Duchamps idea of the readymade object and apply it to pretty much an piece of work. You now have an endless library of “assisted readymades” to create something new. The artistic question is no longer: “what can we make that is new?” but “how can we make do with what we have?” This idea is touched on many times throughout the essay and can been seen in every day life from music to ad campaigns. One particular ad comes to mind is the Im a Mac and Im a PC where Apple launched a great campaign with the Im a Mac tag line. Soon after Microsoft launched the Im a PC campaign directly pulling from Apple. I will say however that Apples ads are much more creative and the Microsoft ones are very plain and boring. This idea can easily been seen in DJ culture “When musicians use a sample, they know that their own contribution may in turn be taken as the base material of a new composition.” People feed off of each other’s creative works and especially in a constantly evolving and changing environment like DJing you are always being influenced by other people. When talking about remix art I think one of the most important things to remember is that it takes a certain amount of appreciation and understanding of a work and the original source material to fully understand and appreciate. Simply re shooting a film can be seen as a simple copy with no really artistic value. If you understand and analyze the shots and settings and really be professional and meticulous then the work takes on a whole new depth and appreciation. Postproduction is an interesting and thought provoking essay and many times I feel like certain ideas and art forms are repeatedly beaten into your mind. The repetition of artists and what work they do got old and at times I actually began to loose focus of what I was reading and how it tied into the strong opening points made. Or perhaps that what the goal.
October 28, 2009
I wanted to start off with the guest artists we had come in since it was really cool to see and hear about the work they are doing. David Fodel’s work was very broad in terms of the kind of art he produces and the technology involved. I liked the stripped down had animation of this song cutting off heads because of the childish voice and animations that dealt with a serious issue. Some of his other works were very technological such as the wind harp using satellite data and the broadcasting performance using various electronic instruments spanning several decades. I felt like overall Davids work lacked a more focused direction which can be hard to really understand his work but at the same time allows for freedom and experimentation. Phil Solomon’s video machinima was particularity interesting. I have seen several machinimas before and tired to do my own at one point. Most of the films have voice and character interaction to tell a story. Phil’s work lacked these elements which was great because he used his theory and knowledge of film to create works that had much deeper meaning and used very specific effects from the game to create his works. I really was impressed how he used the fire as a way to light up his sets and the cheat codes to create a dream like effect with the car driving through the air like a plane. After hearing about his friends death and then seeing the second video it was incredibly impactful for me as a tribute to his friend and a morning of the loss but also as a journey through time and space trying to find your way. To control a character or vehicle like Phil did in this film without having things pop up or the camera get stuck is pretty amazing. The hardest thing in making a machinima is controlling the characters to do what you want them to do with the limited abilities in the game. Phil did a great job of this. Learning VDMX was a really great demo and a program that I have heard about for several years but never had a chance to try it out. I really like the possibilities with the program and especially the way you can set midi devices and the wii mote controller. I plan to experiment with this program and learn more and more. In reading the VJ theory and other pieces I found a few things interesting that have come up several times in all of the content we have gone over. Disc Jockey or DJ is a term I have heard for many years most notably withe the rise of hip hop culture and the work of Grand Master Flash. A new term for me is VJ and more specifically Video Jammer instead of Jockey. It makes sense especially after using VDMX where your channel faders and other setups and effects can be used in a way that you literally jam up the video display with all of this content. In VJ Theory they talked about DJ and VJ and the history with MTV and the birth of the VJ with the music videos. Rewind to early film and they talk about silent films where the film was spread out over several reals that had to be changed. the accidental changing of the these reels and showing them in the incorrect order was esentially the birth of remixing film. Another interesting thing was the western story telling and how this part of the USA at the time used spoken word to tell a story and when they saw film the order of the story did not make sense to these people and so if the order of the film got mixed up it was not seen as a mistake but just as the flow of the story. Video is a very interesting part of the remix culture ever expanding with todays technology although the basic ideas and and experimentation have been around since the beginning of film technology. I hope to play with this side of digital art more and see what happens.
October 21, 2009
One of the more interesting themes in the Sonic Outlaws film was the reoccurring U2 controversies. The movie started out with Negative Land being sued by U2 for copyright infringement on work they put on using the letter U and number 2 along with the picture of a U2 spy plane. At the time U2 was a major rock band around the world and it seems like so many times that a group or company that is in a position of power goes out a attacks small groups that are doing something that they feel is threatening or infringing upon them in some way. This idea becomes even more interesting towards the end of the film when the discussion of Television comes up and we learn that U2 was literally steeling live video broadcasting from satellites and in no way changing or re appropriating the content and showing in to a large crowd as part of a show that U2 was making money on. To me this is far more of a breech on any sort of copyright infringement and the only way this could have been more blatantly breaking said laws would be if U2 didn’t actually play any music. It just goes to show that if you have a big enough following and control you latterly can be above the law and get away with things just because you can throw your weight around. Rock bands and music get targeted by the news and media as a bad influence all the time. Hearing about Negative Land and their music causing kids to kill their families is nothing new but at the same time ridiculous. Another examples are Judas Priest blamed for writing satanic messages in their music causing kids to kill and act violently. At one point they play music backwards and then someone makes a comment that is sounds like an evil message. The truth is its just the effect of the English language when the structure is reversed. There is no actually hidden message its just people thinking they hear something. This same sort of interpretations was touched on very early in the movie. One of the members of Negative Land said that you can make art with no purpose or intended message but the audience will react and experience the artwork it in their own individual way and it will have personal and very different meanings for every person who views the work based on their life’s experiences and beliefs. At the end of the movie several commercials using found footage reappropriated to create a happy typical commercial for a product. While the commercial seems happy any times the footage was the actually realities of the results of these companies or in the case of the town car the footage was of President Kennedy the day he was shot and killed. These commercials were a very powerful way of conveying a message and sometimes the truth about what people turn a blind eye to avoid facing the real consequences
Tribulation 99 takes video and pictures and illustrations from all sources piecing them together into a flowing story. While the concept seems odd and the plot is unclear the overall film is surprisingly effective. Although the process of building a story using short unrelated clips and leave the story feeling disjunctive and hard to follow Baldwin had done an amazing job mixing the audio narration and visual snippets into a captivating film. The movie is compromised of several stories. The first film is much more of a sci –fi and uses the greatest spectrum of content from well-known Hollywood movies and b level films to new and military footage and scientific documentaries and illustrations. The characters in the film are quite amusing mixing really figures like President Eisenhower and fictional characters like James Bond. The first film has much more of a conspiracy theory or Central Intelligence Agency debriefing film or file footage. The use of b movie type scenes and otherwise very unrealistic and some times stereotypical images of extraterrestrial aliens and objects adds to the films richness. If these elements were left out the patchwork of film would have to rely much more heavily on matching up and flowing together in a visual sense to have the same effect. The next for short sections have a much more realistic historic documentary feel as if the story being told is exactly what happen in history. These films all revolve around President Monbutu in Africa and the struggles and military actions that occurred involving the various European nations and the USA. The visual aspect of these sections was less interesting then the first because the footage stitched together was much more similar and therefore less interesting when put together. In all five of these sections the narration kept the pace of the story very quick almost to the point where you are looking for a pause just to catch your thoughts and regroup. Towards the end of the film the focus shifts and a cowboy western theme emerges. This then becomes mixed with various types of billboard and television adds. At this point the film becomes very disjunctive and the quick flashing of themes becomes repetitive and sometimes hard to actually watch. This for me was the downfall to the film and perhaps should be viewed in it self and not along with the other parts. The first part of the film was very successful and the overall story and feel would have some people probably believing in the alien encounters around the Americas and the political cover ups and dealings are just the surface of a much bigger happening. In interesting thought is how a film like this would be received in other parts of the world such as the European countries. UFO’s ad aliens seem to be a American phenomenon for whatever reason and therefore the subject would seem to be much better received here because of peoples knowledge or exposure to these theories movies and crash landings.
October 15, 2009
Brody Condon has done some cool work in the digital art world. Some of his most interesting things have come from video game technology.
October 15, 2009
The Invisible Man
Check out more of this fascination work here.
October 12, 2009
DJ Spooky Rhythm Science is a deep and thought provoking exercise in the remix and science of audio experiments. Throughout the experience a flow of ideas and information emerges but the principle question the remains is what is the remix? With the collective audience of people across the world and sheer amount of content developed by humans has created a library of endless ideas. What happens when an idea has been done or copied? Do we keep doing the same thing or do we try to make something new from that existing idea? The same track? the same beat? Day after day night after night…it would be like some kind of living death if that happened to dj culture. Remixing and recreating is human nature and inevitable. Rhythm science has a history to go along with its future. As technology has evolved so have the visionary people who use it. Perhaps the terminology has changed or the process in which we create a remix but the fundamentals and initial intentions are the same. In a remix single notes are assigned not to playing cards but rather the digitized roto reliefs on-line representations of the engraved cards that Duchamp made throughout his career and gave away randomly to people. This simple idea of taking the pieces of a complete set and doing away with the instructions to do what you please is exactly the process Duchamp is talking about the basis for the remix. Repetition will only be tolerated for so long. People become tired and board of this. You can never play a record the same way for the same crowd. That’s why remixes happen. Sampling plays with different perceptions of time. Sampling allows people to replay their own memories of the sounds and situations of their lives. Life experiences influence ideas and actions on a conscious and subconscious level. Todays notion of creativity and originality are configured by velocity: it’s a blur a constellation of styles, a knowledge and pleasure in the play of surfaces, a rejection of history as objective force in favor of subjective. Rhythm science models itself on open source Linux coded operating systems, becomes a mode of psycholgeographic shareware for the open market in a world where identity is for sale to the highest bidder. The community based content generation provides some of the greatest ideas and resources for rethinking and remixing ideas. This is evident in the opposite way with a model like the Microsoft software which is closed community protecting their work. Because of this development is hampered and much more susceptible to problems and lack of creativity.
Opposites extract. Perhaps some of the most successful and interesting ideas come out of this concept. Conflict creates a much more interesting story then peace. For a remix to be successful it must be as or more interesting then the original work. I look around at the airports hustle and bustle and its list of times dates and names all synchronized with the different departures and arrivals. Nothing is out of the ordinary. Nothing. Many times I have found myself in an airport passing the time and there is no greater place to witness the hub of ideas people and media converging in a single environment. The airport atmosphere is a constant remix perpetuating. Sampling is like sending a fax to your self from the sonic debris of the possible future. Things will be made and grabbing that piece of the future is as easy as sorting through the data and plucking a few interesting bits to create a work. So as we flow across the page in the here and now, and as you process the words as you read them, remember this: They process you as well. The creative process goes both ways and experiencing the remix will intern impact actions and produce a new remix. Is it live? Or is it a sample? After almost three decades of rhythm science the question remains just as powerful as ever. Remix is creative nature and we are continuously trying to understand it.
October 8, 2009
Blood and Guts in High School was a very interesting book and at times a tough read. From the first pages my only though was what the hell is the book and what is the point. After completing the book my thoughts did not change all that much. Although I am not a big reader and generally find reading more of a chore than enjoyment I can appreciate books that god beyond the traditional structure and provide a more interesting and interactive experience. Acker’s book goes beyond the typical read using pictures text and unconventional writing to create a ver expressive and unconventional read. Throughout the entire book the main theme is sex and self hatred which never escaped my mind although Im not sure it was suppose to. I can only think what a messed up person this is who wrote the book. Only someone who had a deeply troubled childhood could grow up to write these kinds of things. Perhaps the most difficult part of the book was the middle when Acker begins to go on and on about slavery and Janeys being tied up and abused. Several times the poems are simply a collection of words that have no flow or connection to create a logical thought. At this point I began to seriously lose interest in the book because I was no longer following her thoughts and the repetition of cock , fuck , sex was becoming unbearable. Perhaps the only thing that saved me from not putting th book down besides the fact we had to read it for class was the complete change in the last pages when simple pictures with text titles began to tell the story of the golden black box and the family dying in the river. Although the theme was an unhappy one several times I actually laughed at the simple drawings accompanied by text such as” dead babies” and “and then I died”. Although Acker’s book was in interesting read I feel that in terms of literary creativity books such as Infinate Jest” and more importantly “House of Leaves” where the book not only has interesting text configurations on some pages but uses color for specific words and most important has footnotes that lead readers on a journey through the book in a non linear fashion and sometimes with no specific point but to stray from the story.
DJ Spookys Rhythm Science was a very deep and complicated book. This is the second time I have read the book and it was still very though provoking. My first thought was that DJ Spooky is no kid off the streets that made it big making music and spinning records in the club. On the contrary he is a very educated and well versed intellectual. After reading Acker’s book and then DJ Spooky my impression is that Acker must be some kind of street rat with no education and in contrast DJ Spooky comes off as being finely aged scholar.