Friday, 21 October 2011

Lecture 2 - Technology will liberate us

Recommended reading :  
Digital currents & Art Margot Lovejoy
The Work of Art & In the age of Mechanical reproduction Walter Benjamin (An essay)
Art & the age of mass media John Walker
Simulacra & Simulation John Baudrillard


Charting the path of art with technology and then art and design with technology.
  • Technological conditions can affect the collective consciousness
  • Technology trigger important changes in cultural development
  • Walter Benjamin’s essay ‘The work of art in the age of mechanical reproduction’ (1936) significantly evaluates the role of technology through photography as an instrument of change. 
During the lecture to assist with our understanding of the concepts to be discussed we were asked to draw a doodle then make three copies.

The copied, mimicked or imitated become a work of art in its own form as it is distinct from the original.  it can work in its own right or merely be an image representation.
The relationship between Art,design and media is based on this idea.  So who is copying who?

Machine Age

The period is the Machine age which can be aligned with Modernism
Walter Benjamin and his essay The work of art and the age of mechanical production is at the centre of this concept.  

  • The age of Technology and art
  • Parallel and specific to new developments; a duality expressing the zeitgeist (The spirit of the age)
  • Dialectical (*) due to the copy, reproductive nature and the role of the original
  • The aura and uniqueness of art
* In brief, dialectics represent the mind’s way of understanding concepts by understanding and appreciating their polar opposites. Dialectics are one of the important unifying concepts that reflect how the mind fundamentally understands and perceives most core concepts and ideas.

Dziga Vertov –Man with  movie camera 1929 

The variable gaze of the camera eye. Benjamin claims a new consciousness as a result. i.e represented idealism of faith and progress through technological progress.
' Photography is at the beginning' 
The Russian photographer and Graphic Designer, Rodchenko refers to this in Graphic Design:
Concerned with the need for analytical-documentary photo series, he often shot his subjects from odd angles—usually high above or below—to shock the viewer and to postpone recognition. He wrote: "One has to take several different shots of a subject, from different points of view and in different situations, as if one examined it in the round rather than looked through the same key-hole again and again."
 and John Berger writes about this:
In 1972 the BBC broadcast his television series Ways of Seeing and published its companion text, an introduction to the study of images. The work was in part derived from Walter Benjamin's essay The Work of Art in the Age of Mechanical Reproduction.

The Camera eye :
can offer more than just your perception and creates multiple viewing points 
Has a variable gaze

A 20th century poet
‘We must expect great innovations to transform the entire techniques of the arts, thereby affecting artistic invention itself  and perhaps even bringing about an amazing change in the our very notion of art’  Paul Valery (1871 – 1945)

Maholy Nagy:Photogram, 1926

László Moholy-Nagy (American, born Hungary, 1895–1946)
Gelatin silver print   Moholy-Nagy played a key role at the Bauhaus in Weimar and Dessau as a painter, graphic artist, teacher, and impassioned advocate of avant-garde photography. He made this image without a camera by placing his hand, a paintbrush, and other objects on a sheet of photographic paper and exposing it to light.  

Benjamin's essay has parallels with:

Freudinstinctual subconscious side of human behaviour
Tied up with the subconscious and how we express material effects.  Forerunner to Surreilism.

Marxismeconomic though gave new political models of thinking over new criteria for value of the work of art.

Role of art in technology, technology changes the value of a work of art.  the copy also has value

Need more guidance on these points - too fast in lecture

Photography had overturned the judgment seat of art – a fact which the discourse of modernism found hard to repress  (Lovejoy Pg36)

The Chapman Brothers defaced the Goya prints - whats the value of that?

Virtual reality plays with our deepest subconscious is the material way of looking at the development of technology


A development which captures movement

French photographer Etienne-Jules Marey 1888 - A series of moving bodies.  Uses Krono Photography

Etienne-Jules Marey. French photographer. His photographic research was primarily a tool for his work on human and animal movement. A doctor and physiologist, Marey invented, in 1888, a method of producing a series of successive images of a moving body on the same negative in order to be able to study its exact position in space at determined moments, which he called ‘chronophotographie’. He took out numerous patents and made many inventions in the field of photography, all of them concerned with his interest in capturing instants of movement. In 1882 he invented the electric photographic gun using 35 mm film, the film itself being 20 m long; this photographic gun was capable of producing 12 images per second on a turning plate, at 1/720 of a second. He began to use transparent film rather than sensitized paper in 1890 and patented a camera using roll film, working also on a film projector in 1893. He also did research into stereoscopic images. Marey’s chronophotographic studies of moving subjects were made against a black background for added precision and clarity. These studies cover human locomotion—walking, running and jumping (e.g. Successive Phases of Movement of a Running Man, 1882; see Berger and Levrault, cat. no. 95); the movement of animals—dogs, horses, cats, lizards, etc.; and the flight of birds—pelicans, herons, ducks etc. He also photographed the trajectories of objects—stones, sticks and balls—as well as liquid movement and the functioning of the heart. He had exhibitions in Paris in 1889, 1892 and 1894, and in Florence in 1887.

This led to an understanding of space ,time and place which created a dialogue on de-materialisation.

Richard Hamilton Dada, collage and montage (1922)

Richard Hamilton used technology to create image, photography reproductions
With technology, Images  or objects are ordered and coded and styled according to conventions which develop out of the practice of each medium with it s tools and processes Pg 4 Lovejoy many different contexts change meaning. Dada and surrealist movements and the dematerilaization of art.

The beginning of the development of Art and Design merging together. Dealing with image and not just object, How you code it,how you order it  replicate it, style it will either rest in the context of art, or context of design or both.  Art is part of Fashion, graphics, advertising and textiles.  Design is increasingly seen within art from this period.

How production and technology has an effect on society according to Mar

Associated with the term technological determinism. 

How technological determines economical production factors and affects social conditions.

The relationship of technological enterprise to other aspects of human activity

Logical relationship between technology and how it determines economic production and how it effects social conditions.

He sees as a tool for progress but also a tool for ALIENATION 

Dialectical issues:

  • Technology drives history
  • Technology and the division of labour

Technology and the division of labour – Original produced by one person with their own modes of production.  Any copy is produced by the machines. How labour is divided up between technology and the machine.  A labourer does not necessarily see the fruits of his labour from beginning to end.  This separates us from us from our own creativity.  

  • Materialist view of history
  • Technology and Capitalism and production
  • Social Alienation of people form aspects of their human nature as a result of capitalism

Workers do not own their means of making work. They must sell their labour power. The worker is cut off from his productive power as result of mechanical reproduction. Competition replaces cooperation. Alienated form other human beings. Alienated form distinctive creativity and community  we share.  These are issues that are discussed not decided and one to debate.

Who has the power in the capitalist set up?

The immediate effect of the technology on the worker, society and 

The Electronic age and Post Modernism.

Post modern and post machine
  • Many electronic works were still made with the modern aesthetic
  • Emergence of information and conceptual based works
Information how data is collected ,recorded and documented.  design developments from reordering numbers and data.
  • The computer a natural metaphor for many Social developments.  Has become the centre for art and design both as an image and the producing of an image.
  • A spirit of openness to industrial techniques
Moves away from the Modernist aethestic and towards consumerism. We replace and develop and look for new techniques
  • Collaborations between art and science
That much more image and movement based
A shift away from material object and forms. Becomes moveable and shifting across different contexts. First and most obvious collaborations. Art/design, fashion/digital tech, clothing produced through digital data. 
  Hussein Chalayan exhibiting fashion as pieces of art. 
This seeps across boundaries between distinct forms of art and deign. Aorodynamics and dresses. From one form into another media. Fashion becomes conceptual but with technology we get cross boundary work happening.

Development of space, time and movement. 


Falling Multi media installation Douglas Rosenberg

Dziga Vertov Performance Group
In 1991 Rosenberg founded the Dziga Vertov Performance group in order to develop new works that combine dance, performance and media with such elements as text projections, all filtered through Rosenberg’s masterful use of the camera. Dziga Vertov was an early Soviet filmmaker who believed in the primacy of the camera or "Kino Eye," relying on it to make sense of the myriad images that otherwise bombard our senses. Like Vertov, Rosenberg possesses an ability to distill essential movements and gestures, creating montage works that resonate with our emotions.
A case in point would be Rosenberg’s "Falling / Falling" a 1998 video installation. This work depicts a nude woman, falling deeper and deeper into a body of water. She moves in response to the currents that surround her and carry her downward while her mouth tries to form words but is silenced by the aqueous void. Her hair suffers a sea change, floating about her like the silken pennant billowing in the wind. Partially inspired by the passing of the artist’s father, the piece addresses the theme of death. This is embodied both in the person of a drowning woman and the personification of death which is traditionally feminine. At the same time this image is both sensual and erotic, as this beautiful, graceful woman moves through the water, exploring the notion of the death of reason and analogies between death and sexuality.

Venous Flow. States of grace Peformance still colaboration between Douglas Rosenberg and Li Chao-Ping

A video installation Collaboration between video and art. Test projections on cloth and body Video work become an object in itself.
Consider deconstruction material objects being broken down.  

Thorunn Arnadottir.
The designer’s new line of dresses uses the magic of QR codes to turn each dress into a walking, talking information machine.

Laurie Anderson 1976 Viophonograph

Video works Violin plays vinyl.  Experimentation between music, performance video and installation.   
Development of though and kick back against Modernism and the machine

I will not make boring art (1971) John Baldessari in 1970 destroyed thirteeen years worth of art and publicly cremated the ruins as a protest against modernist hegemony Lovejoy (2004

Began to become a big shift from Modernism to postmodernism. 

Flying John Baldessari - Digital conceptual art

' True materialism is what you learn from the Modern world not what you earn.' 

Simulation & simulacrum
A direct development of the use of moving mage, video and still image particularly in the 80's.

A simulated image, a copy of an image , not meant to be real
Simulacrum claims that simulation also becomes real.
By replicating an image digitally is it not a work of art in its own right? Plays with illusion, what is virtual and what is not, what is real what is original what is copy.
Summary of simulacrum
  • It is the reflection of a profound reality
  • It masks and denatures a profound reality
  • It masks the absence of a profound reality - it can become reality in its own right
  • It has no relation to any reality whatsover; it is its own pure simulacrum

Jean Baudrillard (1981) extends Benjamin's work.

The simulacrum is never what hides the truth – it is the truth that hides the fact that there is none. It is not parady, nor duplication, nor imitation it is a substitution of the signs of the real for the real.  Is the experience on a computer not real?  Is a virtual fashion show a REAl fashion show.  Innovation can come out of Simulacrum.  What we show, what we hide, what exists what doesn't exist.

Nam June Paik - Electronic art  Plays with the idea of what is real and what is not.  The illusion of power.

He used technologies as a critique on their actual affect on society.
Paik loved to employ up-and -coming technologies as a method of critiquing their actual effect on society. He was the first artist to use a Sony Portapak and to utilize visual electronics in addition to already established acoustic technologies.

Read more:

John Walker and art and mass media; Art in the age of mass media (2001)
Criticises how art uses mass media.  What do you market?  The object, yourself, the myth, the celebrity ie Andy Warhol.

Art uses mass media (1990 – 2000)
Art in advertisements
The artist as media celebrity

At what point does art become design and and what point does design become art? How do you promote and develop those.

Attacks the seriousness of art and relationship built between art and media

Digital artists and Digital age

Margot Lovejoy; Digital Currents

Digital potential leads to multimedia productions.
Technological reduction of all images so they are addressed by the computer.
New contexts created as a result

‘blue tilt’, 2004 Digital data shown on building, she transforms surfaces, architecture and bodies.  Projections.  She plays with simulacrum.
© jenny Holzer Blue tilt 2004
xenon on baltic centre for contemporary art, gateshead, england, 2000
Jenny Holzer at Helmut Lang 1998

What is a surface?

Frank Gillette; HCE 98: Vanitas, 1998-99 ; Frank Gillette
"HCE #52: Monkey's Birthday", 1998  Plays with real and fantastical imagery. 

The Human Race Machine

Nancy Burson; Nancy Burson is best known for her pioneering work in morphing technology, which age enhances the human face. Her Human Race Machine, which allows people to view themselves as a different race, is used worldwide as a diversity tool that provides students with the profound visual experience of being another race. She was responsible for the creation of computer morphing technology, FBI collaboration 

Multimedia work - Opportunities and innovations
Time, Space and Motion explored in art and as art
Computer as a tool for integrating media

Hyperreal; reality by proxy; All of this looks strikingly real at first. The movements of the people are at once weirdly robotic and life-like. But then you realize that it is all animated. The combination of trompe l'oeil illusion and artificiality gives the effect of a hyper-real dream.


Art comments on the ideology of everyday life
Art can be expressive of progressive
Technological tools can blur the line between production of fine art works and commercial and design production. 
LIBERATE your work

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