Lecture 12: Media and Materiality

In this last lecture of the series, we will take some time to look at what we have explored in this subject in order to draw out some themes in media arts practice that help us develop a deeper understanding of interaction, material encounters, and meaningful experiences.

We will spend the first part of the lecture looking at how artists and designers make use of a wide variety of materials in their works to present questions, convey ideas or produce experiences. We will conclude by examining the common themes that emerged from our exploration with particular relation to your major project and project towards future practice.

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Lecture 11 Art and Science

Genuine interdisciplinary collaboration between practitioners in arts and sciences can be a complex process. This lecture explores some case studies of the challenges and outcomes of meaningful arts-science collaborations. The works that sit at the cusps of disciplinary boundaries, there are always negotiation between the artists and scientists in balancing the need for scientific accuracy with making the science accessible and allowing for artistic creativity. Two key challenges remain evident: the establishment of a common language between researchers in the arts and sciences, and developing a sound understanding of the practice of research in the different fields. The lecture includes works from the Australia Network of Art and Technology’s Spectra Symposium.

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Lecture 10 Architecture and Immersion

In this week’s lecture we shift our focus to how we experience space. When we walk around a new building, we explore the interior spaces through our senses, we may chance upon entrances and exits, we may be guided through passages and corridors, we experience built spaces intuitively. Architecture is movement in space and passage through time and there are no still moments. Inhabiting within architecture is a designed experience – it can be immersive.

What can we learn from architecture to create meaningful and affective experiences in media artworks? To continue the theme that arose from last week’s lecture, we will explore the possibility of media arts in creating spaces and systems that are capable of inspiring transformation.

This lecture examines practices of artists, architects and designers including Dan Graham, Olafur Eliasson, Tomás Sarareno and Fujiko Nakaya in how they incorporate environmental thinking into embodied experiences. We examine how the use of space, technologies and materials in constructing systems, can enable artists and designers to produce wonderful / wondrous experiences that engage us and transform our view of the world.

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Lecture 9 System and Transformation

In this lecture, we will keep our focus on objects, but instead of looking at objects, as we did week, we will look at class of things. We will examine the systems we use to categorise found objects and organise them into collections. Specifically, we will analyse how da wunderkammer, the contemporary museum, and artworks arrange objects and build knowledge.

Our focus will be on the physical display and presentation of material objects and the different systems that produce different experiences for an audience – different forms of engagement.

We will look at the artworks of Joseph Cornell, Mark Dion, and Fiona Hall in how these re-work the wunderkammer or museum concept, but more importantly, how they function to transform our knowledge through materials.

Again, this lecture will provide the relevant contexts for the major project of the subject – in addressing its theme.

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Lecture 8: Objects and Materials

In this lecture, we explore how the display and presentation of physical material objects can produce affects and embodied experience for the audience. We first revisit the use of ‘ready-mades’ in modern art in the works of Marcel Duchamp and in the work of Jeff Koon in the contemporary period. We explore how everyday objects function symbolically in the works of Andy Warhol and Damien Hirst. We examine how Sarah Sze, Ian Burns and Mona Hatoum use objects as the base materials of their works, albeit differently.

We will discuss the Project Brief for Assessment tasks 2 & 3 in relation to this lecture.

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Lecture 6: Movement and Kinetic

In week 6s lecture, I propose the argument that motion is a captivating force for humans and  generates fascination and intrigue. As humans, our attraction to movement may be instinctual but our attitudes towards different types of motions suggest a more culturally nuanced way of making meaning from our perception of motion through associated meanings.

This lecture looks at the history and context of capturing movement in art. We examine how movement is used in a range of object-based artworks from the modern period including Alexander Calder, Jean Tinguley, and Len Lye to contemporary works of Anaisa Franco, Ingrid Barchmann, and Wobin Yang. We focus on the affects of movement and kinetics on audience experience.

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Lecture 5: Sensing Presence

This lecture contextualises this exploration by interrogating the concept of interactivity and its incorporation into media artworks.Around the 1990s, accessible computer technologies and DIY electronics ( Processing, Arduino) presented a novel way to create interactive experiences in media arts. As with film, video or internet/ web, these technologies played a key role in enabling new expressions and experiences.

In this case, micro-controller and consumer microelectronics provide the platform for developing what is something known as “physical computing”, which acknowledges the limitation of computer and screen-based interaction, shifting the focus to the human body and its capacity to act and interact.We will explore a number of practices including that of Scott Snibbe, Camille Utterback and Daniel Rozin and how their use of microcontroller and programming system to connect the intangible media of computing with the physical and tangible materials. We will also examine the works of Rafael Lozano-Hemmer in his ‘perversion’ or misuse of specific technologies (e.g. Surveillance) in extending physical experience digitally.

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Week 4: Excursion to the Museum of Applied Arts & Sciences

Lindsay Kelley’s Ballistic Bundts (detailed)

In week 4, we will go on an excursion to the Powerhouse Museum (Museum of Applied Arts & Sciences) to visit three exhibitions:
Human non human
Spinning World
Common Good

We are collecting an entry fee of $6 in week 3’s class and this entry fee will allow you to visit all the exhibitions and spaces in the museum (apart from the ticketed exhibit Reigning Men).

On Tuesday 14 August, we will meet at the front of the Museum – Harris Street entrance at 11am. Direction to the museum is as follows:

The Powerhouse Museum
500 Harris Street, Ultimo

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Lecture 3: Exploring the Materiality of Sound 

In our third lecture, we move our focus to sound. What is the materiality of sound? How do we describe the different kinds of sound we hear or sense? We begin by revisiting sound’s place in media arts history from the early modernists to the New York avant-garde. The advent of electronic means of producing sound and music can be traced through musique concrete, the compositions of Karlheinz Stockhausen, to the works of Nam June Paik. This lecture highlights the turning points that consolidate sound as an expressive medium.

We will also examine the contemporary practices of Joyce Hinterding in her exploration of capturing the inaudible sound around us, and Peter Flemming in his experimentation with material resonance. Both Nigel Helyer’s and Katie Paterson’s works tell stories of environments through sounds of materials. We will explore the materiality of sound through this exploration.

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Lecture 2: Aesthetics, Affect, and Material Presence

What constitutes experience? How does our sensory perception translate the physicality of the outside world into information that we can make sense of?

In “‘Landscapism’ At the Speed of Light Darkness and Illumination in Motion”, Tim Edensor and Hayden Lorimer explore the embodied experience of darkness and illumination within landscapes. In analysing media art works that situate outside of gallery space, the authors locate “the ways in which this landscape-responsive event can sharpen the thinking about embodied experience of nocturnal landscapes and atmospheres.”

In multi-sensory artworks, artists and participants must negotiate amongst other material aspects, different types of sensory inputs. By denying the often dominant visual sense, artworks have the power to re-assert other senses and sensations.

In this lecture, we explore the established practices of James Turrell and Maya Lin in how they employ a multitude of senses to creative affective experiences. We will also examine the contemporary works of Scenocosme and Foo/Skou in how the use of electronic media is incorporated into art and design works with the aim to producing meaningful interactive experiences.

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