Check out essay, Project Projects: Slides, PowerPoints, Nostalgia, and a Sense of Belonging

by Orit Gat on Rhizome.

It is wrong to say that in philosophy we consider an ideal language as opposed to our ordinary one. For this makes it appear as though we thought we could improve on ordinary language. But ordinary language is all right. Whenever we make up ‘ideal languages’ it is not in order to replace our ordinary language by them; but just to remove some trouble cause in someone’s mind by thinking that he has got hold of the exact use of a common word. That is also why our method is not merely to enumerate actual usages of words, but rather deliberately to invent new ones, some of them because of their absurd appearance.

~Ludwig Wittgenstein, Philosopher

Revisiting the questions in The Body Organic – Part I, does the new media artist have the ability to divorce language from their work?

The complex, universal, and abstract ideas simplified in Snibbe’s work capture the beauty of nature through beautiful calculation and minimalist design. Physical presence and engagement are integral to the overall experience of the art. Each experience is new. Yet, new media arts seems tethered to language. As Snibbe mentioned the limitations of language during an UpgradeSF artist talk, language is far too intertwined in new media, which presents an unprecedented challenge in redefining highly technological work as fine art. Although the body is a primary part in many new media art works and interactive pieces, the invention of new languages is imperative in the evolution of art and culture. Even with language having played a huge role in Dadaism and the Fluxus movement, the use of language in current new media arts creates an organic experience involving the senses and uses language to create image and interaction. As programmers, developers, and creative coders, the creation of platforms such as Processing enable artists to take language and create visual works but what happens when the limitation of language riddles the next wave of artists? The inescapable reliance on language (i.e., programming and coding) persists.

Originally published to zero1 blog. Please view post here

I took shots from the Oakland Art Murmur this past Friday which did not import over to my computer. Bummer. Since I don’t have photos to go along with this post (how ironic since this is about photography and video), this will be a short one. As always, one of my favorite stops is the Johansson Projects (JP). The current show, Bischoff Soren Black, includes the works of Brice Bischoff, Tabitha Soren, and Ellen Black. Each artists uses photography as a way to alter landscapes and seascapes through both digital and analog techniques. These days, it’s easy to become a photographer using your smart phone with all these snazzy applications but the differentiation between artist and hobbyist is the concept that derives the work. Bischoff, Soren, and Black attempt to show the viewer methods and techniques of photography that rely solely on the ingenuity and imagination of the artists. All were fantastic and so worth seeing.

My favorite: Ellen Black’s video installations

To learn more about the artists, view their sites by clicking here, here, and here.

Funny how a picture (any kind of picture) is a mere representation. I wrote a couple of posts about perception some time ago. One on eye anatomy and the other on eye anatomy related to mental capacity. So, it was great to see a Calamities of Nature comic strip paying homage to Magritte (and Foucault).

Recently, I had a conversation with someone about new media not being able to escape language, which is one of the reasons why painting is not going anywhere. It’s reliance on the artist’s gesture and capacity to visually problem solve make it an admirable art form (still). An aspect of New Media Art that fascinates me is the dependence on language (yes, programming is language) even if the result is to represent or create something organic looking. I’m working on a piece at the moment and will delve deeper into this topic. For now, I’ll just let you, dear friend, enjoy Ferd and company. Thanks for indulging me. 🙂

Ethnography brushed up against its paradoxical death in 1971, the day when the Philippine government decided to return the few dozen Tasaday who had just been discovered in the depths of the jungle, where they had lived for eight centuries without any contact with the rest of the species, to their primitive state, out of the reach of colonizers, tourists, and ethnologists. This is the suggestion of the anthropologists themselves, who were seeing the indigenous people disintegrate immediately upon contact, like mummies in the open air.

In order for ethnography to live, its object must die; by dying, the object takes its revenge for being “discovered” and with its death defies the science that wants to grasp it.

~ Jean Baudrillard’s Simulacra and Simulation

Reinterpretations, remakes, and contemporary works are strategically placed throughout God Only Knows Who the Audience IsPerformance, Video, and Television Through the Lens of La Mamelle, engaging viewers in what is almost an infinite loop of observation that changes with every go-around. Douglas Davis’s The Last Nine Minutes (1977) welcomes viewers to the second floor of the exhibition. The video piece involves Davis walking around a space that simulates a dark cave. Viewers’ anticipation bubbles to the surface as they wait for him to acknowledge his audience. Within the uncharted territory of television as a means of engagement with a spectator, Davis’s gestures and acting serve as a metaphor and barrier between the artist and viewer. The onus falls on the viewer to acknowledge the artist.

In Mario Garcia Torres’s All That Color is Making Me Blind(2008), a lone black screen with scrolling green type reminiscent of a teleprompter provides context for the grid of televisions displayed across from it. The scrolling text imparts the language associated with the visual information received by the grid. The multiscreen artwork displays television spots artists have bought to disseminate art to the masses—a startling reminder of television’s osmotic effect on its viewers. Both Davis’s and Torres’s works require a curious and engaged audience. Yet, as the name of the exhibition suggests, the nature of questioning and understanding in performative and video-based art is inherently cyclical.

Pitch-black walls on the second level simulate a hermetic box, in which videos playing performative acts are the only stimulation. The works both insulate and isolate: much like the onscreen subjects, viewers become inaccessible once they are enveloped by the onscreen work. Although each artwork has been set up to replicate a living space, creating an atoll of viewing islets, there is an unrelenting cacophony from the other televisions. With the multitude of sounds and experiences working in tandem, viewers are forced to play close attention and actively search for understanding or resonance. As a result, they concentrate on particular aspects of the video performances that might otherwise go unnoticed.


 

Mario Garcia Torres. All The Color Is Making Me Blind (Notes on the Beginning of the End of Video Art), 2008; nine-channel video installation. Courtesy of the CCA Wattis Institute for Contemporary Arts. Photo: Dorothy Santos.

Active watching and viewer engagement are paramount in the works of the art collective La Mamelle/ART COM. The act of watching as a primary mode of experiencing the exhibition serves as the foundation for dialogue and conversation, which is imperative in the discussion of how arts and technology work together to explore the role of spectator. The work inGod Only Knows Who the Audience Is demonstrates the creative and investigative processes of performance, video, and television, and the ways contemporaneous study is imperative in examining the evolution of performance art and spectatorship.

GOD ONLY KNOWS WHO THE AUDIENCE IS: PERFORMANCE, VIDEO, AND TELEVISION THROUGH THE LENS OF LA MAMELLE IS ON VIEW AT THE CCA WATTIS INSTITUTE FOR CONTEMPORARY ARTS, IN SAN FRANCISCO, THROUGH JULY 2, 2011.

Originally posted to Shotgun Reviews, please click here to view