Category Archives: DA9005

Concepts: The context of space.

The Space

“Art confronts an individual with a situation in which their boundaries, both physical and mental, are redefined. ” Is art transformed by its context, or does the context defines the art. (Especially in space, whole concepts are redefined, time travel, the idea of 1st, 2nd and 3rd in a zero g environment, the concept of an inside and an outside) The boundaries of art are ever shifting. How more would it in space. image Space Art Chosen Out of 200 Applications, because unlike the others the whole concept require it to be in space. It wasnt created in a studio and then to be sent out in orbit. Scheduled to fly in 1986 on the Challenger, after the changing of the rules that all space-bound payloads must have scientific value. In this case, Burgess not try to disguise and bastardize his piece as a scientific piece of work to work about the past regulations, instead presenting it as what it is, a work of art. Eventually the work was put on the Discovery shuttle in 1989. – The first piece of art launched into space. The piece symbolised the release of everything and nothing. It consisted of a Cube inside a 6 pound, 5 inch cube of bronze-tinted transparent glass, Under bright light, holograms of text (Poems on nothing and everything, Darkness and light) appeared on the surface. The cube contain water from 18 rivers around the globe, including the Mississippi, Amazon, Yangtze, The Nile and other water sources like glaciers, geysers, ponds and wells. Also traces of all the elements were infused into the water. So the inner cube which was essentially a vaccum, sits within the larger cube with contain the mixture. This was the concept of nothing in everything. and then in space nothing. and so on. wow. The piece orbited the earth 90 times, before returning to earth. where it was placed in the grounds of the Decova museum. Unmarked. His reasoning being, if people want to find it, they will. The Relevance. The concept of using space, be it the metaphysical or literal aspect, in installation art. How does the context of space itself change the role of the viewer and artist in question, or vice versa for that matter. How would the use of a particular space change the boundaries that which we see is art. Is interactivity a reaction or an action to it? In this case does putting a bunch of lit up jars in a room create a change in the phenomenology? If not, how would i achieve so?

Hyperessay: Role of the Viewer

The role of the viewer in this piece is not very different from that of many interactive pieces. However, it is still not practiced often in most of the contemporary art world.

Based on this i will refer to the analysis which i had done on the Hole in space by Kit Galloway and Sherrie Rabinovits.

What I felt happened here is one of the many sparks in redefining the boundaries of art. As a very reluctant student of art history, I akin it to a repeat of the ideology behind the realism movement only this time in interactive and technology driven art. From what i understand, realism began after the french revolution , naturally it was a protest against romanticism, rejecting its exotic subject matter and the idealised classicism of academic art in favour of down to earth concepts and the depiction of the common man.

In essence the same holds true to some extent, where Kit Galloway and Sherrie Rabinowitz removes the boundaries of high art. Taking it out of the display of a museum onto a public street exposed to the masses, and rightly so; as the piece was never meant to be analyzed by the academia nor be ogled by the rich or the educated. It was meant to experienced by the world, the very people that in time were to be the ones that had to accept and adapt to the changes of technology and with it connectivity, it was the rehearsal for web whether they knew it or not and also the staging point for the Gesamtwerk- the collective artwork.

This the very basis for many interactive works, where the works are true to its genre and are meant to be interacted with. Therefore the viewer has to work with the piece if not, the piece itself is nothing.

In this case, this piece is based on the many to many paradigm, where one or more entities are meant to work together, and control the piece. As it should be. The piece is not a rigidly composed soundpiece but instead put together by the masses and their interaction with the works. With their content and interaction, my content is generated: thus showing the metaphorical connections between the actions of the many and the internet in its essence.

The viewer has superseded the artist. To generate content, that is relevant to the context (the many to many paradigm) The artist and the viewer takes part in the cycle in which it content is constantly being created with as little control as possible. That is the gesamtklingen. The collective soundscape.

Hyperessay: Influences

A few conceptual and aesthetic influences.

Teamlab Balloon: Tactile interactivity

Filling up a space with tangible objects that can convey information, encourage interaction and reciprocate with one another. (Tubular sculptures,  hanging objects (lights/chimes/instruments), collective objects that move in unison creating a bridge or ripples b/w people/objects, sound interactivity)

Immersive Space: Aesthetic influences

James Turrell: The Space

James-Turrell-Las-Vegas

A number of James’ work features a change in perception of a space. The  beauty behind which is the “immersive simplicity” that follows his works that allows us to take in and redefine our boundaries of what we perceive.

One notable comparative ideology to his works is the Parable of Plato’s Cave to bring about the notion that we are living in a reality of our own creation, subject to our human sensory limitations as well as contextual and cultural norms. Thus many factors affect our perception of reality.

Edwardo Kac: Telepresence

ornitorrinco

A series of telepresence works, in collaboration with hardware designer Ed Bennett.

Created a telerobot that would respond to signals sent through various telecommunication devices

The remote audience, situated in various geographical locations throughout the life of the project, could transmit information to the robot and retrieve it from the robot’s point of view.

In 1994, the project evolved to include the use of the Internet.

One can fly all over the earth in a matter of hours and days, not months. We have the cinema, and color television, as well as the man-made spectacle of the lights of Las Vegas or the skyscrapers of New York City. The whole world is there to be seen, and the whole world can watch man walk on the moon from their living rooms. Certainly art or objects of painting and sculpture cannot be expected to compete experientially with this. — Joseph Kosuth (Art After Philosophy, 1969)

Ref: http://ekac.org/telepresence.art._94.html

Wonder Woman/Diana Prince

Dara Birnbaum – Technology/Transformation: Wonder Woman (1978)

This video piece shows the constant transition from the Superhero’s alias Diana Prince into Wonder Woman herself. By isolating and repeating the moment of transformation – spinning figure, arms outstretched.

The visual aesthetic of the piece is simply a beautiful kaleidoscope of colours and forms for the eyes, especially for for those who havent really heard of HD, 3D or Jackson Pollock. Dana Birnbaum was thought to make this video to be seen as if it was a moving canvas whist offering a reconstructed vision of images by involving a panel of repetitions, interruptions, rhythms, sounds and colours.

In the context of the 1970s, the piece aims to denounce the disparity between the genders. Wonder woman, the main subject matter, is a POP culture symbol who throughout the years became an iconic symbol. Other then being pro-america (eagle screech!) She had evolved into an important symbol of the feminist movement, which Dara Birnbaum was a part of.  Thus simply put, using Wonder Woman as a subject matter was a representation of the emergence of women in active roles.

However to me, what was most interesting about this piece is that it is one of the pioneers of a video appropriating imagery directly from another source (television) which perhaps was an way to dissect or reinterpret the language (of television).

In this case, Dana created a piece of pop culture out of finished works/videos. Who knew that even up till today, this was not only relevant but still immensely popular and practiced extensively amongst the populace.

In short this piece was the grandmother to all youtube mashups.

Here’s one i like.

Life, 2.0

Life 2.0 is a documentary released in 2010, it follows three different relationships between real people and their second life avatars. Each of their simulated relationships results in a real world moral dilemma.

Who is Ayya Aabye? vlcsnap-2013-03-03-12h45m36s26

 

The masked programmer who begins the film in shadow has the most psychologically complex plot-line that reveals the psychological complexities of Second Life on how it can be used as a psychoanalytic tool, and how it can effect real-world bonds.

On the surface,  it just seems like your rudimentary addiction problem, but digging deeper there’s more to that. One interesting thing to note is the way he refers to his avatar, in contrast to himself. Beyond simply talking through a 3rd person viewpoint, his avatar seems to be thinking on her own, and making decisions that seems to conflict with its controller; at times even conveying messages through him to the viewer.

Dissociative Identity.

In the documentary, he talks about his avatar having an ‘increasingly dangerous state of mind’. So much so that it instigates her into going on a rampage, killing many other residents of Second Life, at places where other users seem to be enjoying themselves such as the beach or at dance clubs.

The controller’s excuse for this clear act of terrorism is that his avatar knew that he was spending too much time on Second Life, and went through with the rampage hoping that he would have his account suspended, thus preventing him from having his life taken over by the program. He seems to have, in his mind, completely suppressed the fact that he himself controls the avatar.

There seems to be quite a lapse or a fragmentation if you will, in personal identity (dissociative identity) . Where the online avatar is seen by the controller as a separate entity from himself. And even at times is seen to be controlling him.

Who will control the controllers?

The web has made these issues more prevalent, be it through dissociative identities, cognitive dissonance, fragmentation and the like. With online environments such as MMOs, online role-playing games, virtual communities, and even forum groups, it becomes very easy to become someone else- be it an alter-ego or persona. To what extent will it start to become detrimental to oneself. And to where do we draw the line of keeping our personal identity.

Continue reading Life, 2.0

Hyperessay: Introduction

The Universal Solvent

“The piece aims to instigate reciprocation and exchange between individuals that emulates the evolution and changes in our social norms due to hyperconnectivity. It can be seen as an interpretation of how we communicate with one another as of today and what we make of it; be it a necessary transition or a disruptive presence.”

The 3 key ingredients that portray such in this installation is through the use of sound, light and a medium (water).

The Collective Sound

A musical instrument is classically a device that creates a sound controlled by an individual.

The reactionary next step to this would be the gesamdatenklingen, a synthesis of media that involves the viewer- A musical instrument in the form of an aesthetic sculpture that does not react just to a single controller, but to the audience.

Building on the changes in interactive media, and drawing away from high art culture. The viewer becomes part of the work in question.

A Reactive offline netscape

A metaphor of the many-to-many paradigm, the idea of multiple entities  contributing and receiving information at the same time with the information elements often interlinked across different websites generating and providing an endless stream of content by the masses for the masses.

This shared musical device is too symbolic as an evolution towards hyper-connectivity. Of  which i see as a natural progression of our societal standards that evolve with increased levels of connectivity and ease of communications between individuals and groups alike.

Social experiment: I would like to observe this trend as one of the keypoints of my project in terms of its rate of change and also a social commentary of the effects of what these changes have on our society.

High level shit: Figure out its potential (forced interaction) to either shape, engage and/or extend our unilateral understandings of the universal premises across multi-cultural influences.

Water.

“Human nature is like water. It takes the shape of its container.” 

With that in mind, I explored different possible methods to approach this. Based on the constraints and suitability i was looking into a more micro, geo-political viewpoint and ideation of such a construct. Something that breaks down and simplifies the elements into something more relate-able and personal that can showcase an idea of hyperconnectivity whilst actively engaging the role of the viewer.

This brought about a need for a interactive medium. Thus water.

Water is the element of change. The use of water in this piece is an extended metaphor of the volatile netscape. The medium that substitutes the idea, and allows for indirect manipulation through a containing device.

 

That which was created in his own image.

The Power Station

By the mid-1970s, Kraftwerk had achieved international recognition for its revolutionary experimentation with sound and imagery. Its compositions, which feature distant melodies, multilingual vocals, robotic Beats, custom-made vocoders, and computer speech, anticipated the impact technology would have on art and everyday life, capturing the human condition in an age of mobility and telecommunication. Kraftwerk’s innovative looping techniques and mechanized rhythms, which had a major influence on the early development of hip-hop and electronic dance music, remain among the most commonly sampled sounds across a wide range of musical genres.

Kraftwerk uses robotics and other technical innovations in its live performances, illustrating the belief that humans and machines make equal contributions in the creation of art.

Die Roboter

The Robots, Kraftwerk -2005

In this particular song, it references the then revolutionary techniques of robotics. The Russian lines “Я твой слуга” (Ya tvoi sluga, I’m your servant) and “Я твой работник” (Ya tvoi rabotnik, I’m your worker) come across particularly clearly.  Where the robot is seen as a tool to the human race. This has to be taken literally, as kraftwerk is fundamentally a german group.

In live performances, the recurrent theme of the substitution of robots resembling group members, has become symbolic of the group itself. This is a portrayal of  ongoing commentary of the division between man and machine since its conception. It’s kinda hard to analyze this into something concrete but I shall do my best. 

On one hand, i liken this the acceptance of robotic entities as surrogates to the human race, from a standpoint where the group is purposely replaced by idealized robotic replicas of themselves and also to a point where is viewers of the performance accepts this replacement as a live performance piece.

An interesting observation is that over time the robots become more abstract and less human-like, possibly in line with the changing acceptance and idea of robotics.

The Pre-Robot Condition

I would like to say that this is one of the pioneer pieces in popular culture that redefines the human form-  the post human condition, another one of them phrases with the post-suffix that hold overgeneralises everything. An evolution that changes the traits of of what defines us as man, be it through cybernetic replacement or proxy. Where the human mind supercedes the the body as a conceptualization what it means to become human.

In this case specifically, the music becomes an extension of the human psyche. Be it how the viewer experiences the piece or through the composition/composing of the music, whether or not expressed through an actual human entity. Even the aforementioned acceptance itself is a step towards this post-human condition thing.

Also the use of custom made devices and tech in their music has some ode towards the acceptance of  “robots” and its relationship with man. The metaphor that a musical instrument becomes an extension of our body is to how these “new tech” becomes an augmentation of the band. This is to say that the band essentially is a form of cybernetic organism is not that much of a stretch. I hope.

Through the performance of the piece this becomes more  evident though the lyrics where the performers proclaim themselves to be robotic entities. Going even further, in a concert setting, the viewers take part in the song itself through the echoing of the lyrics which further cements the acceptance of this evolution through the denial of difference (chanting- we are the robots)and the acknowledgement  of the corporate and industrialised age.

In some ways perhaps, this is a nod towards Baudrillard’s hyper-reality where the boundaries between the real and the symbolism is dulled, be it through the performance aspect of the piece or because of the timeframe in which the piece was released- Where people created their own impressions of robotics through snippets of pop culture and documentation of its conception. Find out more after the jump.

Viva La Skynet.

Find out more about Kraftwerk at Future/Now & Nasir’s

Continue reading That which was created in his own image.

Hole in space

Hole In Space was an early display of Telepresence featured as a Public Communication sculpture created by artists Kit Golloway and Sherrie Rabinovits.

It was installed, without an announcement to the public, at New York’s Lincoln Center and at the Broadway department store in Century City, Los Angeles. Hole in Space employed the use of two large screens in the two cities linked via a two-way satellite to show the video feeds from New York in L.A. and vice versa. Staying up for three consecutive days, it was intended to connect people via a life-sized video feed with either random people or ones they knew from the other city.

Viva la Revolution

To us, the idea of doing a “Hole in Space” link between two museums where people are standing there, holding cake and wine and looking at each other, and you know, they’ve got their invitation cards, and everyone shows up with the expectation.This is not what we’re talking about as practitioners.

What I felt happened here is one of the many sparks in redefining the boundaries of art. As a very reluctant student of art history, I akin it to a repeat of the ideology behind the realism movement only this time in interactive and technology driven art. From what i understand, realism began after the french revolution , naturally it was a protest against romanticism, rejecting its exotic subject matter and the idealised classicism of academic art in favour of down to earth concepts and the depiction of the common man. 

In essence the same holds true to some extent, where Kit Galloway and Sherrie Rabinowitz removes the boundaries of high art. Taking it out of the display of a museum onto a public street exposed to the masses, and rightly so; as the piece was never meant to be analyzed by the academia nor be ogled by the rich or the educated. It was meant to experienced by the world, the very people that in time were to be the ones that had to accept and adapt to the changes of technology and with it connectivity, it was the rehearsal for web whether they knew it or not and also the staging point for the Gesamtwerk- the collective artwork.

Rehearsal for Web

And so, “Hole in Space” had a day of discovery, and then a couple of other days. So it grew and grew, people phoned each other and started meeting intentionally, but it was organized by itself. So we created the context, as artists, or authors, then walked away, and then the people sort of finished the work.

The significance of this piece, is that it wasn’t just a window between two locations, LA and New York. It was a window into the future, a step towards hyper-connectivity, It was from this work that we started to understand how the relationship between space and community was being rewritten by technology. This was the first publicly shown evidence of the 3rd space. The space no longer governed by distance, or even actual physical space for that matter.

The Hole-in-space was thought to the crowning achievement in closing the boundaries of space and even time.  At that point even the creators did not forsee the rise of the internet, or even the possibilities of public telecommunications. Who knew that in a few short years our world had advanced to a point where the distance we close through connectivity goes well into the unfathomable. Coupled with the mobility of the technology and the evolution of the many-to-many paradigm we have eroded any semblance and boundaries of distance and time. We have created whole communities within virtual spaces. The 3rd space, is not longer an impossible goal or lavish dream, is has become part of our culture. To most of us, It’s just another hole in the wall.

If you’re hungry for more! Check out Scribbles of a Mind in Stasis.

Join us next week where we discuss the shifting role of the artist. And with it the redefinition of the role of the viewer. 

Continue reading Hole in space