Monday, February 5, 2018
Prompt 3: The GIF is a universal format that arose out of the desire to have a moving image on the Personal Computer in the late 1980's. Respond to the social aspects and democratic nature. What does the low-tech method of GIFS represent to you in 2018? Post this on your blog and remember to put it in your week 4 homework folder in Google drive too.
The gifs of today are considered amateurish flashing images, but just a few decades ago in the beginning of its establishment of the net, it was an amazing outlet for multi-media users when it came to create little headers and backgrounds to websites and not even exactly used for artistic purposes, but rather garnered the interest of artists. “Animated gifs, whether you are hypnotized by them or nauseated by them, have become a visual language unto themselves, an emotive vocabulary made out of culture.” A medium that can now be considered its own art form and remixed to the desire of anybody’s interpretation, usually for the purposes of focalizing on key moments and looping them. The best part of this was the fact that the software used to make these gifs was that it was free for anyone to use, however, the signatures of the artist was commonly removed since space was sacred and very limited - a measly 24kb apparently. From the article dedicated to Chuck Poynter, we see an example of how someone from out of personal drive and inspiration created a massive collection of gifs as a “hobby”, but the impact of his moving creations can be seen in the computer movements that came after that supported “information wants to be free”. Simple Net Art Diagram is the earliest and perhaps the most enduring animated GIF for its provocation to participate. In 1997, the two-person artist collective MTAA released it to the public domain for remixing. Artists don’t generally license their gifs and internet users usually assume they can do what they want with them, but MTAA’s gesture was an invitation to join a dialogue or collaboration of sorts. The image itself is an illustration of two computers with a red flashing lightning bolt between them; it pinpoints communication as the core purpose of art. This was not merely a diagram, though, but an invitation to other artists to locate and define art for themselves through the manipulation of the image. Now dozens if not hundreds of “Simple Net Art Diagram” gifs exist, each offering a different theory about where art happens. These range from Kevin Bewersdorf’s 2008 “The Art Happens Here,” which locates art in the body and the heart, to Jim Punk’s sprawling diagram suggesting that art may be entirely buried online. Flashing through several decades later, we can see gifs being used to make statements, to reference back even on itself and even create mesmerizing properties illustrated in the throbbing lines of Moody’s OptiDisc, showing a hypnotic effect. Then came the wave of social networking, group blogs and surf clubs where people began hosting gifs on their own personal or collaborated created sites. “Computers Club founder Krist Wood describes it as a “digital sculpture,” a composite artwork shaped by the identities of its contributors.” The site Dump.fm was a horizontal image setup to post gifs with the addition of group chat, a much easier way to send a message if it was necessary. Then there was the site Nasty Nets that was dedicated to posting stuff where originals usually got deleted or lost and acted as a reposting site of reminder. It may not have been for artistic reasons, but it still acts as a good reference - and currently since it has been hacked, it has been reorganized as an archive. And to jump to the present in blog posts, Spirit Surfers and Double Happiness would be the go to gif sites if it wasn’t for the influence of network blogs of tumblr and it’s perpetual up-to-date and wide-usage of social media. Personally, I feel as if the low-tech of gifs is dying out since everyone I know off seems to care for the most hd thing out there, but as an artist, seeing the small gifs of inspired game-art or conceptual ideas to animations are personally much appreciated. It gives a nostalgic feeling to older productions. I’m not sure what the consensus is to most people though.
“But while these advances are exciting, the mainstreaming of gifs is not without its losses. tumblr now has a minimum resolution size, imgur is now promoting its own video gif format, facebook and twitter have started converting gifs to video by default. While individually these decisions to decrease file sizes or stop gifs from auto playing make sense, this desire to optimize as well as commercialize gifs ends up siloing these animations from each other, removing the portability and ease of remixing that makes gifs exciting at all. gifs are a dumb, limited file format, and in the end, this is why they are important: they do not belong to anyone. Because of their constraints they become a design material, to be played with, challenged, and explored. to try and domesticate them would be missing the point” (Sha).
My plans for the Photomontage/Chimera Project is to have characters from cartoons/Marvel/DC etc and have them in situations where they are going through mundane, everyday life or doing something silly that may seem a bit out of character. I'll expand the post once I make jpg of project.
Wednesday, January 31, 2018
Week 2 Read Philip Gefter Essay: Icons as Fact, Fiction and Metaphor
Prompts: What is the implied change/difference from wet/darkroom photography to digital processes? How accurate are these assumptions? And what are the real changes?
According to Philip Grefter, a photograph is the closest one can get to experiencing a moment in time without actually being there, but it doesn’t actually measure the true accuracy of the situation sometimes. “Of course, just because a photograph reflects the world with perceptual accuracy doesn’t mean it is proof of what spontaneously transpires. A photographic image might look like actual reality, but gradations of truth are measured in the circumstances that led up to the moment the picture was taken” (Grefter). The only implied change from the wet/darkroom photography to digital process were the steps used to make an ideal picture without flaw – to stage an ideal situation while now digitally we can blend or edit out something completely. For example, the Lewis Hine’s 1920 photograph of a powerhouse mechanic was suppose to symbolize the work ethic that built America, where it’s “authenticity” was its winning quality. The picture on the left shows the initial shot of a man at work, symbolizing the hardworking American workers. However, his fly was shown to be down, which is considered undignified, so the presented photo to the public was posed with his fly zipped up to achieve the desired look. Another example comes from the posters and postcards of “Le Baiser de l’Hôtel de Ville, 1950,” (“Kiss at the Hôtel de Ville”) by Robert Doisneau, who was known for his photography on capturing the spontaneity of life. The once believed romanticized gestures between couples in France were proven later in the 1990s to have been staged for the pictures. When not focused upon by the lenses, their was no “serendipity” or obvious romantic signs between the couple. It would seem that many pictures referenced to as historic and in the moment photos have been requested retakes of a special moment in time. An attempt to capture something that has already past, or to draw in perfection where there is none. During the time of the civil rights movement dated to the iconic moment in 1955 where Rosa Parks was said to have been asked to get out of her seat, the picture of her taken was a requested photo from 1966, one year later. Once again ruining the authenticity of “supposedly authentic” pictures in history. “Still, somewhere between fact and fiction — or perhaps hovering slightly above either one — is the province of metaphor, where the truth is approximated in renderings of a more poetic or symbolic nature” (Geftor).
Monday, January 29, 2018
Prompt 1: How is New Media Art both inclusive and exclusive to the traditional media? (500)
New Media Art is considered a complex field that converges around the three main elements of the art system, scientific-industrial research, and political-cultural media activism rather than sticking to a set of homogeneous practices. The non-linearity of new media art is an important aspect to the artists who aspire for their audience or visitor to not just simply view their art as an interesting artifact, but rather an experience that they can take with them to look back on. With the internet came international connection and the desire to share personal views and interests that ranges from the cultural, political, and social side of things. New media art is inclusive of the traditional arts by using it as a blueprint to other mediums and expanded upon with the help of collaborations with artists in differing fields. An example of such can be referred to when two European artists, Joan Heemskerk and Dirk Paesmans, who made a website that provided proof that one could publish information while also being a medium for the arts by “remixing found images and HTML scripts much as Dada artists played with the photographic imagery and typography of magazines and newspapers” (Tribe). Besides the Dada Movement, Pop Art has left its own mark by its theme of staying with the times of our commercialized culture. Roy Lichtenstein is a pop artist renown for producing famous comic book images in paintings, and another example was a duo who also took inspiration from video games and meticulously transferred the details pixel by pixel. “By reproducing images from comic books, advertisements, and magazines in "high art" media like oil paint on canvas, Pop artists ultimately distanced themselves from the popular culture that inspired them. In contrast, New Media artists tend to work with the very media from which they borrow (e.g. games) rather than transposing them into forms that fit more neatly within art world conventions” (Tribe). New Media Art seems to be distancing itself from it’s foundations of traditional art like painting and sculpture where it seemed necessary to have a completed object to garner any recognition. Instead, New Media Art focuses on the infinite possibility of ideas such as John F. Simon Jr.’s Every Icon, which is programmed to create every possible image formed within a 32x32 grid. Then came Video art which a generation later with the introduction of the Web browser catalyzed the birth of New Media art as a movement. “New Media artists saw the Internet much as their predecessors saw the portable video camera: as an accessible artistic tool that enabled them to explore the changing relationship between technology and culture” (Tribe). More time flies and several movements later, the consensus of contemporary artists, collectors and critics is that painting was declared dead as video and installation came to dominate the international museum and biennial exhibitions. While it seems like a fantastic turn for best that ideas are shared so quickly to a wide variety of people, I personally feel the appreciation towards the fine arts will be lost to most people as time goes on. While I’m not sure if it’s the best idea to add on a personal note, I’d like to say that while not cost efficient and not nearly as fast, the brush to canvas gives an experience to certain people (like me) that doesn’t quite transfer over to a fancy plastic pen onto a tablet. My friends always tell me that they’ll prefer digital art because you can easily blend or edit out imperfections, but there is something special about seeing the imperfections and the brushstrokes that went into a piece. Maybe I’ll change my opinion as I further explore all the possibilities available to me in Photoshop.