I went to Belgarde, Serbia on a studio tour with a class of interactive design students. We participated in Resonate 2017 a four-day long conference/festival which provides an overview of current situation in the fields of music, visual arts, and digital culture.
Ralf Baecker is an artist working at the intersection of art, technology, and science. Through installations and machines, Baecker explores fundamental mechanisms of action and effects of new media and technologies. In his representations and spatializations of microscopic processes, he seeks to expand our perception. At the core of his objects lies the entanglement of the virtual with the actual, or rather, with the world. With a media-archaeological outlook, Ralf Baecker digs within obsolete devices for traces and functions that are still detectable in technologies today. His work seeks to form a hybrid between current digital aesthetics and a historical understanding of materials. As a result, he understands technology not as a tool but rather as an epistemological instrument, in order to pose elemental questions about a world perceived through technological impressions.
Ralf Baecker presented some of his work. I liked the aesthetics, the combination of mechanical, digital, and the visualization of unseen data/waves.
His approach is intellectual, and the solutions complex at the same time nothing is hidden from the viewers.
Alessandro Ludovico is a researcher, artist and chief editor and founder of Neural magazine since 1993. Neural is a magazine dealing with new media art, electronic music and hacktivism.
Alessandro talked about the history of Neural; their innovative approach and activist method. It was inspiring to hear about.
I’m happy to get knowledge about this magazine; I’m sure there is a lot of interesting articles to dive into.
Thomson & Craighead
Jon Thomson (b. 1969) and Alison Craighead (b. 1971) are artists living and working in London. They make artworks and installations for galleries and specific sites including online spaces. Much of their recent work looks at live networks like the web and how they are changing the way we all understand the world around us.
They showed many of their fine projects. I found the projects both funny and thoughtful, especially Apocalypse.
Apocalypse is a complex fragrance based on olfactory materials detailed in The Book Of Revelation as it appears in the King James Bible first published in 1611. Thomson & Craighead established a list of terms from the book and then worked in collaboration with perfumer Euan McCall to develop this chemical depiction of biblical end times, he used about 100 materials to create the perfume.
I like the idea of narrative through scents in this case as a luxury product with designed bottle and label as part of the “story.”
Resolution have become the invisible grey mundane objects of everyday life
Rosa Menkman is a Dutch artist, curator and researcher, focusing on the noise artefacts that result from accidents in both analogue and digital media (such as glitch, encoding and feedback artefacts). These artefacts can facilitate an important insight into the otherwise obscure alchemy of standardisation via resolutions. The process of standardisation, or imposing rules and frameworks for efficiency, order and functionality, does not just involve the creation of protocols and solutions, but also entails black-boxed, obfuscated compromises and alternative possibilities that are in danger of staying forever unseen or even forgotten. Menkman intends to uncover and elucidate the ways through which these resolutions constantly inform both machine vision and human ways of perception by creating constructions beyond resolution; to make space for new opportunities, magic and imagination.
I tried to read her Glitch manifesto, which was quite hard (found on her website).
Glitch is for me an aesthetic expression, like any other digital effect, used in various kind of visual communication trying to communicate in a modern way, it is a trend right now. Rosa Menkman is consequent working with coincidence and glitch; she has developed a language made of errors, I think it is horrible to look at, but I’m a big fan of the ideas behind. This video gives an explanation: https://vimeo.com/92984137
She wrote books, makes performances, etc., there is much more to find on her blog:
N O R M A L S
N O R M A L S is a collection of works lying at the intersection of design and fiction. A mix of the visual, literary, prototypical, and functional, the collective’s works create a rich narrative universe — an anticipated future. Desirable to some, distressing to others, their vision is fuelled by our present-day dreams of ubiquitous 3D printing and algorithmic superstition. Their works include an augmented reality garment exhibited internationally and at the 2016 New York Fashion Week, a parametric typeface called
N O R M A L T Y P E, and an eponymous graphic novel series.
Video I like
Sebastian Schmieg examines the ways networked technologies shape online and offline realities, in artworks that range from shredded hard-drives from a Google datacenter to crowd-sourced versions of popular self-help books using Amazon’s Kindle. His output encompasses websites, interface performances, algorithmic videos, online interventions, print-on-demand books or neural networks. He focuses on a critical engagement with the manifold and ubiquitous nodes of the Internet – both human and technological – as sites of the political. Previously his work has been exhibited at Transmediale, Berlin, Germany; Art Center Nabi, Seoul, South Korea; Bitforms Gallery, New York, USA; and The Photographers’ Gallery, London, UK. Sebastian Schmieg lives and works in Berlin.
Project I like
Marius Watz (NO) is an artist working with visual abstraction through generative software processes. His work focuses on the synthesis of form as the product of parametric behaviours. He is known for hard-edged geometrical forms and vivid colors, with outputs ranging from pure software, works to public projections and physical objects produced with digital fabrication technology.
It was inspiring to hear, the very enthusiastic and positive Marius, telling about his projects. First I were thinking “this is just circles, and so what??” Then he showed how he managed to bring the simple form further and further; processing, 3d sculpting, wall exploder, light installations, laser drawing, etc.
The circle is his base from where he works in different directions and with differents medias. It is coherent style and a language of Marius.
Matthew Plummer Fernandez
Matthew Plummer Fernandez is a British/Colombian artist who incorporates software and Internet practices into sculpture. His projects are often responses to everyday social entanglements with automated software systems such as Google and Amazon. His 3D printed sculpture extends both material and 3D modelling practices; working with readymade 3D files and bespoke modelling software, often exploring authorship and copyright conundrums.
A week ago I taught our first-year student in Motion Graphic Design, 66 students from Visual Communication DMJX. It was the last week of a course (three weeks course). We were focusing on the history of motion graphic. We didn’t have time to make a deep research, but we could get an insight and an overview of the period from when somebody started to work and experiment with moving images up to now.
I made a list of 23 designers/artists who had an impression on their posterity in one way or another; visions and beliefs, developed new technology, significant expression method, etc.
The list looks like this:
Walter Ruttmann, Hans Richter, Oscar Fischinger, Len Lye, Mary Ellen Bute, Norman McLaren, John Whitney, Saul Bass, Maurice Binder, Robert Breer,
Stan VanDerBeek, James Stanley Brakhage, Lis Rhodes, Pablo Ferro, Robert Abel, Zbigniew Rybczynsky, Richard Greenberg, David Daniels, Kyle Cooper, Michel Gondry, Chris Cunningham, Karin Fong and Julian Vallée.
Divided into 23 teams, the students got one designer from the list to work with. Their goal was to create a title sequence for a documentary about the designer. They were not allowed to copy the style of the designer or use any kind of footage from their designer. Based on their research they made an interpretation. They took decisions about the angle of the “story” and visual style; and unfolded the idea in 25-50 seconds long title sequence.
The last day took form as a chronological journey; the students presented their designer/artist for each other beginning with the first pioneer in motion graphic.
I have held similar course before, but this year I was much more focused on the process rather than the results. I encouraged the students to talk about their “breakthrough” in the design process; let them be aware of which tools were useful and which was unnecessary.
In the end, it seemed like most of the teams really loved the designer they had worked with, and that is one of my goals with the course; amazing motion graphic is not necessarily from this decade, thoughts and visions from the past can sometimes be very relevant also today, especially when the are made with modern technology.
What is in it for me?
It strengthens my knowledge of the designers on the list, and I got lots of inspiration while experience the student way through and their interpretations, sometimes it went too far from the source (the designer), and sometimes it looks a bit like a copy.
Getting questions about style, history, technology, interpretations, etc make a lot of interesting discussions.
Michael Betancourt / The History of Motion Graphics / ISBN 9781434441508
My experiment; cutting up words putting them together in new constellations, inspired me to do the same experiment with visual elements from my dream images instead of words. I wanted to cut out elements from the pictures and randomly put them together in new constellations and compositions.
My questions: How can I use code as a tool for randomness and how can surrealism dictate guidelines for visual compositions?
After looking at several surrealistic paintings, Miro’s “Person Throwing a Stone at a Bird” (1926), ended up being my inspiration source. The image show a classic surrealistic composition, a kind of a landscape with a horizon, sky, plateau/ground, a key figure as a foreground element and variouse minor objects.
The key figure is absurd, a big foot and an eye lets the viewer perceive it as a person. The horizon gives a feeling of a large space. The smaller elements create connection and tension to the key figure.
The principle from the game Cadavre Exquis helped me to construct the key figure. I decided to work with a two-part “person”; a head and a body. For the background I made a top and a bottom element and finally one or two objects of a smaller size.
While I was cutting out backgrounds and elements in Photoshop, I made some tests images manually, and based on those images I locked the proportions to 16:9 and the use of color tone in order create contrast between objects and background.
I had thoughts about randomness; it is hard to work conscious randomly – some kind of deliberate action rapidly takes over. To avoid that I could have used a random generator such as a dice. I could also use a computer; load in elements from my dream image and set up a code for the composition.
My colleague Stig, who has a great experience in different kind of code, offered me to create a code in Processing.
I gave Stig a catalog of png-files to work with, two hours later I received forty different images, the output from processing.
I am quite satisfied with the outcome of this first test. Looking at the images lots of storys comes to my mind, I hear sound and see movements. It has a greater impact on me than expected.
This way of working has change my view at my Dream Images, they are no longer final and finished works of art; they are a reservoir from where the material can be transformed into other elements or expressions, and for me it feels like a relief and an opening to new possibilities. I am aware of the importance that the images are created in the purpose as finished pictures and not as elements in an other step in a production plan. If they were made as elements I would had taken over the control and lost the randomness.
I enjoyed making the catalog, it gave me a visual overview and made it easy for others to understand and help me.
Involing Stig to my project is of an incredible value. I do not have any skills in coding, to learn it would have taken me lots of time.
· Some of the objects have been categorized as “element” and body as the same time; it dosen´t work. An object can only goes into one category.
· Making a new category with object that can function as a micro element.
· Send the new Catalog of material to Stig and let him make a second test.
Resume of the tutorial with Jonathan
Date March 30th.
Topics: How is it going and my reading
I had a tutorial talk on Skype with Jonathan. I told him that I’m right now having a good working process with the practical part of my project. The idea of making a bank of visual material, helps me to work freer, take chances, and it has changed my view of my Dream Images as final products to be an inspiration source and a base from where I can copy elements to new creations.
I have the feeling of reinvention myself, using part of my creativity I have not used since graduated as an illustrator many years ago now combined with knowledge and skills I worked with since that time.
We looked at Michael Craig-Martin’s works. He had during his art career collected his images and drawings, resampling it into new media and artworks. It inspired me a lot, and I will look more at his art practice.
We also looked at Cat Roisetter works (an artist Johnny Briggs recommended me to study when we had the group tutorial on Low-Residency).
I had concerns about reading; it takes me a long time to read, summarize, etc. I haven’t even found a form yet.
Jonathan recommended me to listen and see talks online. We talked about great institutions, like Tate, have channels, and a lot is available on youtube. I can find material online and at Conferences and quote directly on my blog as long as I source indicates my references.