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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.