Tag: Fine Art

What is Fine Art Experimental Media?

The Fine Art Experimental Media program is a three year program which delves into the intersections between new technologies and contemporary art. While you will learn various programs that could prepare you for other professions, the goal of the program is to foster creative individuals who can solve problems and create new and innovative works of art relating to space, interactivity, time, and digital media. The following courses compose the first two years of study in the program, before a final year in the BA which is focused primarily on studio work, conceptual development through critical writing, and an exhibition module.

Courses during the first two years.

Animation Techniques for Interactivity, 2D 3D and Time-Based Digital Applications, Drawing Techniques and Processes, Computer Interface Design Principles, New Technologies in Interactive Media, Interactive Media Design and Prototyping, Interactive Media Web Authoring, Contextual & Cultural Referencing, Audio-Visual Techniques, Professional Practice, Digital Video Post Production & Editing, Sound Production and Editing, Idea Generation and Development, Website Creation and Management, Critical Study, Project Design; Implementation and Evaluation.

Courses for Final BA Year.

Reflective Case Study, Visual Production, Final Exhibition.

So what’s the difference betwen Commercial Art, and Fine Art?

If you are unfamiliar with these courses and concepts, and how they relate to contemporary art making, then you should look at some prominent artists working in the field to gain a better understanding of what types of projects generally encompass this field of study.  While there have been many debates about what generally constitutes commercial work, and what is Fine Art the statement can be made that commercial work is generally created for a client, and while someone hired to make a commercial certainly has their own creative vision their end goal is to showcase a company or business. The FAEM program is not focused on creating work for companies, clients or businesses. It’s a Fine Art program.

What Software and Computer Languages which will be studied?

Aftereffects, Premiere, Flash, VVVV, Pure Data, Reaper, Unity, Resolume, 3dsMax, HTML, Javascript, C Sharp, and you will also be using controllers such as Arduino which need to be programmed as well as Kinect. On top of that there is a focus on writing and critical theory, animation, and drawing techniques with new media.

Examples of Experimental Media.

Projection mapping has been around for about 50 years, the goal is to turn almost any surface into a dynamic video display. Software such as Aftereffects, Resolume, and Quartz are used to warp and mask the projected image to make it fit perfectly on irregularly shaped screens. The following video is a good example of what the limits of the medium are, and how the aesthetic of the medium can be used.

THE AETHER PROJECT from Refik Anadol on Vimeo.

 

Pedro Reyes is a sculptor who works with guns which have been disassembled and then he creates large mechanized instruments from them.  In this piece we can see that he revisioned these objects which were once deadly and turned them into something which creates sound. Thereby intersecting the boundaries between sound art, kinetic sculpture, and collage.

Jodi.org 1993

Jodi.org took the approach that a website could itself, and that the internet could be seen as a medium much like paint or charcoal. The project was created by two European artists whose goal was to take apart the typical language of the internet, and replace it with an interpretation of data. The site displays remixed versions of found images and html scripts in a way similar to how the dadaists cut up poetry. The project displayed principles inherit in a lot of New Media art which is the fact that it took advantage of emerging technolgies as a vehicle to create new art. For this reason, today when we have different new technologies to play with, they are often the focus of how to create new works of art and devices are often hacked or reconfigured to fit the needs of the artist. The idea that these objects can exist purely as data is one which is common, and often exploited.

jodi_org

 

Artists also employ a strong element of interactivity into these works as well as we can see in the work of Muti Randolph who created a giant interactive sculpture which would respond and interact with the movements of those who were walking through it. It is common for these artists to employ the use of arduino (a single board controller which  intended to make the application of interactive objects or environments more accessible) as well as more familiar items such as Kinect which allows a computer to track someone’s movements and track them.

But artists using New Media is not something only synonymous with the digital age. One can  look at the work by Swiss Sculptor Jean Tinguley who is best known for his self destructing sculptures.  Many times an emphasis is put on temporary work and the genre blends aspects of performance as well as traditional artistic practices such as sculpture or painting.

 

Because of the fact that often times the work created was temporary, often the pieces would be videotaped as documentation of the work itself. At the same time the advent of video technology lead to artists also using and exploiting the medium to create works of art. Nam Jun Paik is one of the most well known examples of an artist to explore the incorporation of video into his work. Paik blended elements of sculpture, happenings, video footage, and sound into his installations.

Artists such as Eduardo Kac pushed the boundaries of what it meant to be a biological entity with the creation of his glowing rabbit. This is still a developing field referred to as Transgenetic Art.  By extracting a protein found in a certain type of jellyfish, he infused this protein into the DNA of a rabbit and created this living sculpture which would glow when blue light was shined upon it.

glowing_rabbit

The creation of this transgenetic art caused the rabbit to be held inside a lab because of fears that it would try to reproduce if it escaped.  Subsequently there was a campaign to Free Alba (The name of the rabbit) which created some public debate about the morality of the project. This debate, according to Kac, also became part of the artwork itself and made it a living public sculpture.

Bas Jan Ader

 

As you can see, the materials and concepts present in a variety of pieces can vary greatly, however they are all rooted firmly in the history of art and thinking which developed during the 20th century. This timeline can give you a glimpse into the wide variety of influences both art, philosophy, and technological advancements had with one another. [ Click to Enlarge ]

 

20th_Century_Timeline_Art

 

It is important to note that the Fine Art Experimental Media program is not one which is directly geared towards the creation of commercial work, but rather immersive installations which fit into a Fine Art context.  This piece by Bill Viola incorporates a variety of media and techniques, including sculpture, video, and sound.

Viola is primarily known for innovative work working with Videos which encompass entire rooms which exhibit an overpowering quality to them. His subjects tend to revolve around issues regarding life, death, and consciousness.

In this sound installation in a forest by Janet Cardif she transforms a natural enviroment into a performance space.

In this piece by Stelarc, we can see that the body itself can be a living sculpture which can be manipulated and used to incorporate elements of technology, dance, performance, robotics, 3d modeling and sculpture.

As you can hopefully see by now, the thrust of the program is not on making car commercials, or animations. All of the programs you learn will simply be used as tools in the creation of art. If you are still uncertain the best possible way to decide your pathway would be to attend either the HND final show, or the BA final show, the visiting artist lecture series, or any of the other events which the program puts on.

 

 

Generative Art and Chance for Visual Production

Sol LeWitt wrote that “the serial artist does not attempt to produce a beautiful or mysterious object but functions merely as a clerk cataloguing the results of his premise.”

sol_le_witt_grid

Generative art refers to art that in whole or in part has been created with the use of an autonomous system. An autonomous system in this context is generally one that is non-human and can independently determine features of an artwork that would otherwise require decisions made directly by the artist. (Thanks Wikipedia)

Generative systems can manifest themselves in generally two ways.

The system can be an extension of an artists intent, and original idea, and the work should reflect these intentions. In this situation the artist still possesses some control and works with elements which are generated by chance. In the following piece by Ellsworth Kelley he used several small compositions which were based upon cutting up multiple sheets of paper and matching them together by tossing them into the air, cutting the edges square, and then placing the smaller compositions into a larger grid. In this piece Kelley obviously determined the colors which were to be used however he let the compositions make themselves by chance. One should also note, that this piece worked out quite well, and that is probably why it is better known than other experiments that never saw the light of day.

Kelly-Meschers

In a following piece Kelley was noted to have said that he wished to work with more color after seeing an Ad Rheinhart exhibition. His pilgrimage into color was marked by the creation of a series of collages called the Spectrum Colors Arranged by Chance I to VIII. In this piece he created a grid, and then randomly assigned each square in the grid a color by mixing up a bunch of numbers in a hat and pulling them out randomly. Of course, there were still limits in place such as how many numbers can be used and restrictions.

Spectrum Colors Arranged by Chance I to VIII

William Burroughs talks about using a similar technique to generate poetry. Created by the Dadaists, popularized by Burroughs. The technique still lives on and has also been used by Thom Yorke (he’s in this band called Radiohead) and Kurt Cobain.

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Divination techniques of the I Ching were used by John Cage to create paintings. Read more about them here.

cage_dereau23_new

He also used them to make musical compositions which Jorge could undoubtedly tell you more about.

Generative works can also be made from code, and therefore some argue that these sorts of works that the artist steps back even further and the system itself should take on the role of the creator.

“works where an unpredictable progressive virus operates on a degradation/transformation of an image. Using a C++ framework, Joseph Nechvatal and his programmer/collaborator Stephane Sikora have brought Nechvatal’s early computer virus project into the realm of artificial life (A-Life) (i.e. into a synthetic system that exhibits behaviors characteristic of natural living systems). With Computer Virus Project 2.0, elements of artificial life have been introduced in that viruses are modeled to be autonomous agents living in/off the image. The project simulates a population of active viruses functioning as an analogy of a viral biological system. Here the host of the virus are the digital files on which the computer-robotic assisted paintings in this show are based. Among the different techniques used here are models that result from embodied artificial intelligence and the paradigm of genetic programming.”

So what’s in common with all of these pieces? For starters each element was chosen by a human, and it would be difficult to argue that all generative art is not a byproduct of human decision. Kelley chose colors, Burroughs cut up newspapers, and Cage assigned notes on a piano (ok ok. and colors too…He was pretty good!..anyway). But the point is that all of these had a starting point and that was working with a specific medium and process. And many times it is important to note that they fit what many would assume is a chaotic process of generated components of their work and put it into a certain framework. Such as a grid, or a series (yep. That’s why Sol Lewitt is also called a Serial Artist). If you think your stuff looks like crap then put it in a square.

Screen Shot 2013-11-12 at 12.20.12 PM

You were all told to bring two mediums to class, one traditional, and one which is digital. You will be creating a system of making art which is based upon some chance operation to combine your two media. That means the final piece should exhibit both the qualities of the traditional media as well as the digital media. If you are stuck on how to create chance operations then first think about what are the components inherit in both of your mediums and how you can assign these components into a generative system. Paint has color, thickness, wetness, darkness, speed, application, texture, forms. Jpegs are made of code, colors, darknesses, computer screens, projected light, or turkeys.

How have people done chance operations? Roll some dice. Point to a word in a book at random. Throw stuff at the wall. Break stuff. roll some dice which determines which rock you should throw at a glass full of words and then make 10 images based off of the first ten words you pick up and then pour wax all over the images. Remember you can also do loads of chance operations using the internet or your computer. Use google to generate random words based upon random searches. Use Youtube to generate random screen grabs etc. Create some artificial intelligence which not only creates digital work but also spams leading art galleries emails with the images. But remember your final piece should combine a traditional medium with your digital medium.

nechvatal

“Hey what are some traditional mediums!”

Cement, Glass, Metal, Stone, Brick, Wood, Chalk, Charcoal, Crayon, Graphite, Marker, Pastel, Pen and ink, Pencil, Sand, Watercolour, Oils, Acylics, Inks, Dyes, Glues, film, wooden instruments,

“Ok cool. So what are some new mediums?”

Well, digital media is generally referred to as stuff that needs electricity to work. Like Graphic art software for illustration and animation, 3D computer graphics for sculpture and 3D animation, Digital photography and digital video for the capturing of photographs and footagecontrolling devices (touch screens or midi keyboards and kinnects) to bridge the gap between traditional techniques and digital painting, projections, screens, and programming.

“Well some of those are old too”

I know, but this conversation could go on for hours…. So stop proscratinating and start making art!

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Some challenges to consider.

Try to create the most conceptually potent work, with the least amount of effort. It is important to remember that there is no longer a division between how “good” something is, and the amount of labor required to make it. Duchamp signaled this when he created his fountain.

There is a difference between art and craft (or technique).

Postmodern art is not something you “get”. Ever. It isn’t a puzzle to solve. It’s an investigation that may not have any answers, or may not care about answers.

Artwork generally today is not about illustrating anything, and it is less insistent that the viewer come to work with any sort of predefined knowledge.