Digi Arts Final

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Dec 13th, 2012
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My final can be found at:


Enjoy the animations/readings/music.

Background for those who want it:

The subject of my work is the great composer Sergei Prokofiev (1891-1953). He grew up in Russia and witnessed first-hand the February Revolution and Bolshevik Revolution of 1918. He was world-renown for his talent until The Great Purge in the Soviet Union in 1936. Stalin’s “purges,” his Union of Soviet Composers, and later regulations greatly restricted artistic freedom in the Soviet Union. Prokofiev and many other artists’ work was viewed as unconventional and out of line with the Communist Party’s idea for “Socialist Realism.” Faced with fierce persecution from authorities and the government-controlled press, Prokofiev was forced to start writing children’s music and film music, which Stalin preferred. One of the first works Prokofiev was forced to write under persecution was Peter and the Wolf for the Central Children’s Theatre. He wrote the music and the text of the story in four days. The text is portrayed in the piece, as well as animated book pages from the earliest English translation. The images and text are displayed against Prokofiev’s famous “Cantata for the 20th Anniversary of the October Revolution”. Prokofiev started work on the piece the same year as Peter and the Wolf. It’s an epic cantata with 10 movements. It includes machine guns, air raid sirens, and sound of marching. Its frightening text (some of which is read over a megaphone) is drawn from Marx, Lenin, and Stalin. The work is an unabashed refusal of Social Realism and Prokofiev was forced to hide the piece for his own safety. It was not publicly premiered until 1966 — 13 years after Stalin’s death. Interestingly, Prokofiev died the same day and hour as Stalin.

In-Depth Making-Of Documentary:

View it here or below.

Jordan Tate

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Dec 11th, 2012
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Jordan Tate wants to revolutionize art. Even the way photography is taken. I hadn’t looked at much of his work at that point. As such, I had absolutely no idea what he meant. I have a real love/hate relationship with most of his work. Impressively, they all have a strong composition. However, I don’t find many of them very asthetically pleasing. What I find most interesting in the work is the subject. The subject isn’t the object(s) in the pieces. The subject is photography itself. He uses his images to comment on how we take photography, how we edit photography, and how we present photography. Some of his most interesting pieces include elements of Photoshop. The two that most stood out to me were “New Work #141” and “New Work #50”. These two include the alpha channel checkerboard and a selection of marching ants around a sculpture. The commentary on how we produce art in the digital age is fascinating.

Pipilotti Rist

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Dec 9th, 2012
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Pipilotti Rist is primarily a video artist. She tries to draw the audience in by creating an entire atmosphere to entrench them in. Often her work will include video as well as physical structures. These can range from tables to padded seats to lay on. She’s very interested in projecting things either down onto objects (like tables) or facing the projector upward. She thinks it’s a much more natural experience and can bring the audience member in that way. It allows the audience member to lay still and engage in a bigger experience.

I’d like to apologize if this post feels forced and just information-based. I’m trying to avoid talking about how I feel about her work too much. I’m so happy I stumbled across her later works like Sip My Ocean first. Her later works are engaging, interesting, and certainly create their own atmosphere. Some of them pull the user inby creating a small environment to interact with which enhances the experience of watching the videos. They’re almost like dreams. They’re very visual, unique, inspiring, and soothing.

However, everything changed when I came across I’m Not The Girl Who Misses Much. I hate this work. Usually, I don’t like stating absolute opinions about art. Even if I have a negative reaction to a piece, I hold it inside or force myself to figure out what I can get out of the work. Or, at least what others are getting out of it. I’ve never disliked a piece of art so much in my life. That’s not an exaggeration. When I saw the video, something clicked in my mind. It’s pretentious, annoying, beyond-amateurish, disorganized, and absolutely one of the work videos I’ve ever seen. Much less “artwork.”
I feel like a viel was lifted off her work with this video, and we as viewers get to see the inner-meaning behind her work (or rather, lack there-of). I made more impressive “works of art” with a crappy camcorder and my LEGO sets when I was seven years old. I recorded songs with my friend in 7th grade and sped them up using Microsoft Sound. Guess what? It wasn’t art. Neither is this. She’s not incompetent, she’s wickedly pretentious. It’s a perfect example of why some people hate modern art. It makes me want to agree with them. I realize these may sound like vague criticisms, not worthy of a critique. But this is my real reaction to this piece.

I shared my thoughts with my roommate about this piece, who had the following reaction: “I’d rather watch the Phantom Menace in its entirety than watch this whole video again.”

As for more constructive criticisms of her work, please only read the first half of my post. I’d reiterate: I enjoy her later pieces quite a bit.

Stephen Vitiello

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Nov 27th, 2012
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Talk about elevating the mundane. Stephen Vitiello teaches at VCU and is an artist who works primarily with visuals and especially sound. Interestingly, he worked with the famed video artist I presented on, Nam Jun Paik. The collaborations and inspirations are apparent. While experiencing Stephen Vitiello’s works, I kept thinking that much of the work could be viewed as a sound-obsessed Nam Jun Paik more interested in the aesthetics of the work than the technology like Nam Jun Paik was. Stephen Vitiello is much more interested in the aesthetics of the sounds, which made his work a pleasure to listen to and experience.

Bright and Dusty Things — 1999 album, click to listen.

All Those Vanished Engines — sounds from pipes, metal drums, industrial site. Listen below:

He uses everyday sounds to produce beautiful compositions. In the examples above, Stephen used noises from the 91st floor of the World Trade Center and released them as an album titled Bright and Dusty Things. and engine noises to build a piece. The point of his work is to elevate the mundane, to expose us to the beauties around us. We get so used to noises around us. We are numb to nature, to our surroundings, to the greater world, to our workplaces, sometimes even to our friends. His work is a chance to escape from the chaotic world to… the very world we inhabit. I find his work compelling and very successful. Thinking on his work, it’s hard not to get caught up in experiencing the beauty around us and wondering how it all fits together.

Finally, I leave this post with A Bell for Every Minute, Stephen Vitiello’s piece in New York City which used bells from all over the city played at once. Enjoy:

Thanksgiving Before/After

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Nov 27th, 2012
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This one may require a story. Thanksgiving was a little crazy this year for my family. On Wednesday, the day before Thanksgiving, my grandmother had surgery on her back. She was in a lot of pain when she came back late that night. On Thanksgiving morning we went over early to help her around/visit/clean/etc. Long story short, we didn’t have a family Thanksgiving on Thanksgiving Day. Our celebration occurred the next day when my grandmother was able to get up and slowly move around. However, this was the actual Thanksgiving Day sight at my grandparents’ table.

NY Minute – GIF

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Nov 20th, 2012
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John Blatter

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Nov 19th, 2012
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I really love John Blatter’s work. I think quite a bit of his work is witty, self-aware, and funny. It’s refreshing to see an artist willing to ridicule advertising and in some ways even himself. Most of his work involves advertising on billboards. One

My favorite of his pieces is entitles “Moments.” According to his site, “Moments is a 44 channel audio installation constructed from stories collected. Each story evolves around a moment in which the story teller felt a moment of pause and singularity brought about from an intense experience, emotion or thought.” This piece is very interesting because it’s a mixture of sound art and sculpture. Blatter made a piece by combining so many speakers on a wall. What’s so interesting is the idea that each story can be picked out by standing close to the speakers and listening. Each piece builds to an epic whole. Another of my favorite pieces is the infomercial project. In this project, he’s selling himself. It’s hard to pick out one artistic element I like about this, I think the piece really works as a representation of his personality. It helps bring the other pieces new life and personality.

Muybridge and His Camel

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Nov 13th, 2012
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This is a self-portrait of Muybridge

Nam June Paik

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Nov 13th, 2012
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Nam June Paik is a Korean American artist often credited as the first video artist. Paik was not originally trained as an artist, but as a musician. His studies in music led him to electronic art.

Cage, 1990. Robespierre, 1989.

Nam June Paik was born in 1932 in Seoul. His early life was filled with hardships. He grew up in a world of political, social, and economic upheaval. He was born during the Japanese annexation of Korea. He trained as a classical pianist until the Korean War, when his family fled first to Hong Kong, then to Japan. He graduated from the University of Tokyo, writing his thesis on a composer. From Tokyo he moved to Germany to study music at the Ludwig Maximilian University of Munich. Here he met with composers including John Cage and conceptual artists Wolf Vostell and Joseph Beuys, who convinced him to investigate electronic art.

In the 1960’s he branched out from music and started creating art. In 1965 he had his first solo exhibition titled “Electronic Art” in New York City. The following year he started working with magnetically distorted TV recordings played on multiple monitors. That same year Name June Paik performed his “Electronic Opera No. 1” live on a Boston television show.

He went on to construct his video synthesizer with Shuya Abe and worked at WNET’s TV lab in New York. In ’79 he became a chair at the Art Academy in Düsseldorf and was elected a member of the Academy of the Arts in Berlin. However, he continued to work with electronic art.

TV Garden, 1974

TV Buddha, 1974. “Closed Circuit video installation with bronze sculpture”

His most widely viewed work occurred on New Years Day, 1984. The piece was titled Good Morning, Mr. Orwell. He viewed this piece as refuting George Orwell’s 1984. Good Morning, Mr. Orwell involved linking WNET TV, New York and the Centre Pompidou, Paris live via satellite. It also included broadcasters in South Korea and Germany. It was aired nation-wide to more than 25 million viewers. Some examples from this broadcast are included below. More information and videos can be found here.

It seems as his career went on he used more and more TV monitors. For the 1988 Olympic Games in Seoul, he constructed “The more the better” from 1003 monitors.

The More the Better, 1988

One of his most famous pieces is from 1995, entitled Electronic Superhighway: Continental U.S., Alaska, Hawaii. It is on permanent display at the Smithsonian American Art Museum in Washington, DC. This piece really brings together what all of his work is about: 21st century cultural criticism. In Electronic Superhighway, Paik gives his commentary about American culture. He comments on our obsession with electronic media, sparkly imagery, television, sex, and film. Our culture is obsessed with electronic imagery. His work TV Buddha includes a bronze Buddha statue staring at a TV set projecting an image of itself. The symbolism, in terms of us viewing ourselves as well as the idea of Buddha watching TV, becomes tangible through his work.

Fun fact: Paik is credited with one of the first usages of the term “super highway” in regards to telecommunications.

He died on January 29, 2006.

Fun Fact: He organization has an award named for him which offers a € 25,000 International Media Art Award and the prize worth 15,000 euros for an artist in North Rhine-Westphalia (an area of Germany).

Jeff Baij Project

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Nov 8th, 2012
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I like Jeff Baij. He seems like he doesn’t care about art at all. By that, I mean that he makes art every day. It doesn’t matter what it is. Can he make art out of it? Well… I guess so, yep. Some of his work does push the boundaries of what art is generally considered. However, his work is fun to look through, and I love that I can just scroll through page after page and it just… keeps… going. Tumblr could run for a few hours off his images alone.

My very own 100% original Jeff Baij work

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