This week’s reading: Round Table: The Projected Image in Contemporary Art
Malcolm Turvey, Hal Foster, Chrissie Iles, George Baker, Matthew Buckingham and Anthony McCall
October, Vol. 104 (Spring, 2003), pp. 71-96
The MIT Press – http://www.jstor.org/stable/3397582
Please read it prior to class and answer the following questions: 1) Which discussion theme/topic raised in the article is most relevant to the project you are working on? 2) The discussion occurred in 2002, what issues or questions would you add to a contemporary context?
Technology-based, reproducible, and variable, media art poses unique challenges for the exhibitor. Exhibition strategies and standards for media art are constantly in flux as artistic practices evolve, technology develops, and viewing contexts change. However, one can identify basic professional protocols, guidelines, and definitions that will assist in ensuring that video artworks are exhibited with respect for the artists and the integrity of the works, whether they are part of a major museum exhibition or a cinematic screening. Sometimes the most fundamental questions are the most important ones to ask. What kinds of playback and display equipment are recommended? What is the preferred format for exhibiting video in a gallery and why? What format is best for a theatrical screening? And what do you really mean when you say “single-channel video“? The answers to these and the other basic but crucial questions below might be seen as a starting point for demystifying the process.
[Martin Molin’s detailed documentation of the making of his instrument: the music box here shows a demanding iterative process.]
Molin is the key member of the Swedish band Wintergarten. He is well known for inventing musical instruments that performs his compositions. The best known is probably the Marble Machine. He has also gained a following on the detailed video documentation of his making and tutorials on his working processes. The music box (above) uses ‘punch card’ music roll that can be ‘programmed’. At the end of his tutorial, he asks if anyone would be interested in mechanising the laborious hole-punching process and this is what happened…
In the second assignment, Critical Analysis, you are asked to:
choose one work that you feel strongly about
research the artist, his/her intention in creating the work, the central ideas he/ she is conveying in the work
critically analyse the work in terms of its craft
describe the physical presentation of the work in details
assess how well the artist achieves his/ her ideas or intention through the work’s material manifestation.
speculate on the reasons the artist may have made certain decisions (for example, the exhibition space, technical details in the install, the choice of materials used and so on).
The intention of this analysis to ‘reverse-engineer’ a work, to understand how ideas are transformed into physical, material forms through experimentation, production, presentation and/or exhibition.
How do we do that?
Paul Carter writes:
Materials are actively forming and informing, patterning and re-patterning themselves and their surroundings… their activity can reasonably be described as discursive. To say this means, thought re-materialisng discourse. When this occurs something else emerges. The image/ text, or non-discursive/ discursive opposition tends to melt away, and a third, material discourse emerges. (180)
So we may analyse and critique in words:
Analysis and critique are two key steps in creative practice education (critique sessions are the mainstay of disciplines such as art, design, architecture, and filmmaking).
This trains practitioners to speak the language of Carter’s “third, material discourse”.
Practitioners need to be informed about all the contexts that may influence their works from economic pressure of the marketplace, the political situation of funding, sourcing materials, to modifying or inventing new methods/ processes .
Creative works cannot be separated from the material cultures within which they emerge from.
Practitioners/ makers need to understand how materials play a part in realising their ideas.
By materials, I don’t mean just physical material; digital media has its own materiality
Analysis: Biennale of Sydney 2018
Start with analysis of the work/ objects you have chosen from this exhibition. ‘Reverse engineer’ or work backwards to find out:
how was the work made?
What materials was used?
What kinds of processes were used?
Was there much experimentation involved? What purpose did these experimentation serve?
What decisions were made?
Now here is the hard questions:
Why were these decision made?
Why these materials?
Why these processes?
How did these ‘serve’ the ideas explored?
And what are these ideas explored?
From ideas to making
This is a short feature on Limor Fried (aka Ladyada), founder of Adafruit Industries. Identify the ideas she talks about in terms of making.
Michel Gondry is a innovative and extremely creative maker. He has made many well-known music videos (e.g. for the Chemical Brothers and the White Stripes). He is probably best known for his animation works. Animation is an old technique that is continuously being transformed through ideas and new technologies. Gondry is excellent at problem-solving using this form of expression. Have a look at the following video where Gondry talks about his work Is the Man who is Tall Happy? based on his interview with Noam Chomsky. Write down the different ideas he is exploring, at the same time, write down what animation techniques he is using to explore these ideas.
In week 6, you formed groups based on your interests in a number of areas identified as follows (please let me know if I have left you out):
Eliza Appel, Blake Foggo, Liam Walker, Toby Wilkinson, Chris Boyd, Saverio Pirrottina
Christina Donoghue, Emily Duncan, Jessica Dryburgh, David Guveski, Mia McRobert, Chantelle Hyde
Angus Rigby-Wild, Geoff Lee, Angela Cullen, Ryan Catbagan, Daniel Lavin, Mark Johnson
EXPANDED CINEMA (AARON)
April Misiluti, Brittany Spencer, Rebecca Neilson, Hayden Starr, Andrew Hodsden, Jei Strolin
Blake Sykes, Lee Butler, Alex Mead, Alex Pham, Dylan Le, Adam Weir
Zoe Majstorovic, Ceren Tabak, Noelle Jackson, Olivia French, Carah Fiseris, Matthew Lawrence
1.On the sheet of paper provided write down:
Working title of project (no longer refer to the project as ‘yours’, give it a life of its own and be prepared to kill it if you have to)
A key material the project might consist of
A significant idea or theory the project relates to
Identify a tradition or genre the project responds to
An aim or goal of the project
The personal motivation or personal relevance behind the project
2. Circle or underline the two most important aspects of the project OR two areas you are having trouble with
3. Outline a single experiment / model to undertake today that will develop the project – detail on sheet of paper
4. Spend 10 minutes on each group member discussing projects by way of the two significant features identified in step 2 and the activity of step 3. Suggest alternative research and development activities for each project and suggest ways in which you might help other projects.
5. Discuss how you each want to spend the next two hours (and next few weeks) and if you require assistance or wish to the share in any of the other project’s development/experimentation. Some of the projects might benefit from similar experimentation.
6. Let your tutor know your plans and any assistance required.
7. Scan/photograph sheet of paper for blog. Document discussions and work-in-progress for blog.
Simon Denny went to Shenzhen, where there’s been a boom of “mass entrepreneurship.” Self-identified makers are moving to this high-tech pioneer village, the “Silicon Valley of hardware,” to make it—believing the only limitations for creative people are imagination and effort.
What is your story? what right do you have to tell this story? Pedigree? Intentions?
What ideas are you engaging with? i.e. theories and concepts
What influences your creative production? i.e. artistic traditions
What are the historical and social contexts of the research? i.e. governing ideologies
What is the physical dimension to the research? i.e. production technology and artefact
Modes of Production Part 2: Collaboration
The Modes of Production seminar series aims to both theoretical and practical trends in contemporary media arts practices. The discussion intends to compare and contrast the nature of creative production between (i) the single artistic author, (ii) collaborative or team based practices, and lastly (iii) organizational and institutional modes of production.
“The fundamental processes of creativity, the pursuit of an artistic vision and the passionate commitment to art that characterises art professionals—these things remain at the heart of what it is to be a practising artist. For many artists the real challenge is to keep hold of these core values in such a rapidly changing environment.”
Can artists earn a living from creative work? Average total incomes for artists remain 21% below the Australian workforce average, and income from creative work has decreased by 19% over the last seven years.
How are artists’ skills and capabilities aligned with future workforce needs?
Artists’ skills and capabilities are considered to be among those least likely to be automated and increasingly sought in the workforces of the future.
What is ‘The Artist’ as a creative mode of production?
The artist in history…
creative genius, master of craft, cultural critic, philosopher, celebrity
son and grandson of commercial photographers, art school, university professor
Becher School, objectivity, typography, art history, photography, globalisation
Becher objectivity / typographies, advertising, fine art, photography, “when reality corresponds with the composition of a painting”
globalisation, objectivity, simulacra
art object, fine art tradition, largest photographic print possible, catalogues, art sales
Q: How does a collaborative mode of production influence provenance? For example, how would your proposals vary as individual or collaborative projects?
Q: Is a creative collaboration different from being employed by company?
Q: Does collaboration suggest a mutual interest in working with each other?
Q: Is collaboration inevitable or are some creative processes unique? For example, are Gursky’s relationships with his lab printers, photo-tech developers, or his peers at the Becher School collaborative?
Q: Why do we celebrate film directors as the creative author?
Socratic method e.g. Plato’s Symposium
Dialectic vs didactic
Contamination as Collaboration – Anna Tsing The Mushroom at the End of the World (2015)
How does a gathering become a “happening,” that is, greater than a sum of its parts? One answer is contamination. We are contaminated by our encounters; they change who we are as we make way for others. As contamination changes world-making projects, mutual worlds – and new directions – may emerge. Everyone carries a history of contamination; purity is not an option. One value of keeping precarity in mind is that it makes us remember that changing with circumstances is the stuff of survival. p28
Q: How does the collaborative nature or these case studies influences the provenance of their work?
Personal, Creative, Intellectual, Political, Material
Soda Jerk – http://www.sodajerk.com.au/
Dominique and Dan Angeloro
“Formed in Sydney in 2002, Soda_Jerk is a two-person art collective that approaches sampling as a form of rogue historiography. Working at the intersection of documentary and speculative fiction, their archival practice takes the form of films, video installations, cut-up texts and lecture performances.” – https://www.acmi.net.au/events/terror-nullius/
Barbara Cleveland (prev. Brown Council) http://www.barbaracleveland.com.au/ Diana Baker Smith, Frances Barrett, Kate Blackmore, and Kelly Doley
“Barbara Cleveland’s projects are informed by queer and feminist methodologies that draw on the historical lineages of both the visual and performing arts. Their recent video and performance works are deliberations on history and memory as embodied action, as fiction, as mode of collaboration.”
“ALASKA Projects is a Sydney based Artist Run Initiative established in 2011.
Situated across two disused spaces in a Kings Cross car park ALASKA Projects established an exhibition program that crosses visual arts, dance, performance, music and film. To date ALASKA’s achievements are born out of our core objective to support artists to realise dynamic and innovative work. A commitment to diversity is at the centre of ALASKA’s philosophy.”
Frontyard Projects – http://www.frontyardprojects.org/
“A Not-Only-Artist Run Initiative. A pro-active, flexible space for practical skills-sharing, community cultural engagement and critical research. Our aim is to challenge, facilitate and nurture collaborations between people with a passion for culture and to build a more resilient and sustainable independent arts community for the future.”
“Assemble is a multi-disciplinary collective working across architecture, design and art.
Founded in 2010 to undertake a single self-built project, Assemble has since delivered a diverse and award-winning body of work, whilst retaining a democratic and co-operative working method that enables built, social and research-based work at a variety of scales, both making things and making things happen.”
“Its cultural interventions are manifest across a range of media and platforms, from site-specific museum and gallery exhibitions to ongoing online projects. Most notably these include, DIS Magazine, co-founded with Nick Scholl, Patrik Sandberg and S. Adrian Massey III in 2010 as a virtual platform that examines art, fashion, music and culture, constructing and supporting new creative practices.
Since being founded, the magazine has expanded into an international community of writers, photographers, musicians and DJs. Recent ventures include DISimages, 2013, a fully operational stock photography agency that enlists artists to produce images available for private and commercial use, and DISown, an ongoing retail platform and laboratory to test the current status of the art object.
Across its various endeavors, DIS explores the tension between popular culture and institutional critique, while facilitating projects for the most public and democratic of all forums—the Internet.”
TeamLab – https://www.teamlab.art/
“teamLab (f. 2001) is art collective, an interdisciplinary group of ultratechnologists whose collaborative practice seeks to navigate the confluence of art, science, technology, design and the natural world. Various specialists such as artists, programmers, engineers, CG animators, mathematicians and architects form teamLab.
teamLab aims to explore a new relationship between humans and nature through art. Digital technology has allowed us to liberate art from the physical and transcend boundaries. We see no boundary between ourselves and nature; one is in the other and the other in one. Everything exists in a long, fragile yet miraculous continuity of life.”
“Founded by mathematical engineer Toshiyuki Inoko in 2001, teamLab is comprised of artists, programmers, engineers, computer animators, mathematicians and architects who collectively ascribe to the descriptive “ultra-technologists.” As a practice, names of teamLab members are not cited in works, they have a flat organizational structure and emphasize collaboration over individual genius. They are also very particular about the spelling of their name (small ‘t,’ big “L”). Their mission is to explore how humans relate to nature in an age when much of our life is governed by technology.”
Remember that assessment 2 involves a critical analysis essay about an artwork on display. Your choice of artwork should be part of this year’s exhibition but is not limited to the Cockatoo Island venue.
As the assessment outline stipulates:
The focus of this visit is to examine the application of media, materials, and technologies in current media arts and design practices.
Choose one work that you feel strongly about and provide a critical analysis of the work: its intention, process, and outcome. Research the central ideas the maker/ designer/ artist is exploring, how he/ she experiment with existing and new technologies, and his/her evaluation of the work exhibited. You can begin by describing the physicality of the work in detail, the materials and technologies used, and the nature of processes. You may speculate on the reasons the artist/ designer/ maker may have made certain decisions in the works’ making. How well does the maker/ designer/ artist achieve his/ her ideas or intention through the work’s material manifestation?
The intention of this analysis to ‘reverse-engineer’ a work in order to understand how ideas are transformed into physical, material works through exploration, experimentation, production, and presentation. Please refer to detailed assessment outline on MOODLE. The assignment will be discussed in class.
Biennale of Sydney travel – meet at Circular Quay Wharf 5 for 10:37am F3 ferry to Cockatoo Island ($6 – OPAL CARD)
Travelling from North Wollongong – catch 8:39am train to Central, change to platform 17 / 20 / 21 for city loop to Circular Quay
Contact: Aaron 0418652672
Media artists to look out for on Cockatoo Island include (but you can select any artwork from the entire Biennale):
Ami Inoue Born 1991 in Miyagi Prefecture, Japan
Lives and works in Kyoto, Japan Ami Inoue combines personal stories with an ethnographic approach, producing works that reveal the gulf between modern life and a more ‘primitive’ means of survival. When her grandfather abandoned hunting after the 2011 Tōhoku earthquake, Inoue inherited the practice and now documents her methods as a hunter living in the city. Her videos often feature tranquil images of nature contrasted with clinical urban scenes, suggesting a contemporary disaffection between the natural and human-made worlds.
Suzanne Lacy Born 1945 in Wasco, USA
Lives and works in Los Angeles, USA Suzanne Lacy is widely regarded as a pioneer of socially engaged and public art. Working across installation, video and performance, Lacy confronts issues relating to gender identity, sexual violence, labour, poverty, incarceration, racism, aging and youth culture. Often working in collaboration with members of communities and other artists, Lacy’s projects merge art with activism, generating dialogue and providing a conduit for change.
Nicholas Mangan Born 1979 in Geelong, Australia
Lives and works in Melbourne, Australia Nicholas Mangan dismantles accepted histories, often relating to geopolitics and the environment, reformulating them to reveal alternative narratives. Frequently starting from a single object or event, Mangan unlocks the complex dynamic between human action and the state of nature through a process of disassembly and reformation.
Dimitar Solakov Born 1987 in Sofia, Bulgaria
Lives and works in Sofia Working primarily with video and photography, and more recently integrating drawing into his practice, Dimitar Solakov is interested in connections; the bonds that exist between people, the relationship between human beings and nature, and the links between different ideas and belief systems. Examining our interpretation of the past from the perspective of the present, Solakov investigates the subjectivity of history and how information presented as fact can often be based on insufficient evidence and distorted narrative.
Su-Mei Tse Born 1973 in Luxembourg
Lives and works in Luxembourg A classically trained cellist, Su-Mei Tse grew up in a culturally diverse and musically rich environment as the daughter of a Chinese violinist father and a British pianist mother. Tse’s practice combines photography, video, installation and sculpture, often centring on music and the sonic potential of our surrounding environment. Considering sound as an expansive medium, Tse investigates the way visual acuity and auditory sensitivity can influence our perception of the world around us.
Martin Walde Born 1957 in Innsbruck, Austria
Lives and works in Vienna, Austria Martin Walde’s process-driven practice exists at the nexus of art, nature and science, working across a range of mediums to create works that are simultaneously experimental and analytical in nature. Exploring concepts of time and the way objects occupy space, Walde’s works are often realised through active participation from the audience. Communicating abstract concepts in a multitude of ways, Walde encourages the viewer to reconsider accepted ideas and question their understanding of the materiality of the world. Since the 1980s Walde has developed artworks that consciously exclude explanatory texts on the basis that the provision of instruction manipulates the viewer’s experience. By deliberately creating ambiguous situations, Walde introduces an alternate reality where control and authority must be renegotiated.
Wong Hoy Cheong Born 1960 in George Town, Malaysia
Lives and works in George Town and Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia Visual artist, educator and political activist Wong Hoy Cheong reimagines and reconstructs histories in an effort to transfer power and authority to the marginalised ‘Other’. Working across a wide range of media, including drawing, painting, photography, performance and film, Wong’s practice is assertively political; permitting the existence of multiple versions of any one story, and suggesting historical accuracy is neither possible nor desirable. Within this framework, Wong broaches concerns in relation to colonialism, migration, identity and globalisation to produce multi-layered works that are speculative rather than definitive.
In the interview below, Olafur Eliasson articulates some interesting thoughts about the role of art/ making in society. This week’s module focuses on the creative impulse: what is behind the urge to create? What is your motivation?