Wednesday, April 30, 2014

Three Reviews of the Art Events

Meeting artist lecture: Steven Lambert
            I went to the lecture held by Steven Lambert on February 20th. In the beginning, Lambert asked us to do as an exercise: closing your eyes and imaging if you were a superhero, what were the top third things you wanted to do? Then, he started to introduce himself and some of his works. Lambert's father is a monk and his mother is a nun. Spending most of his childhood in his parents' charity shop in San Francisco, he was immersed in the environment of dedication and helping others. The two main projects he mainly told about were Capitalism Works For Me! True/False and NY Times Special Edition
Capitalism Works For Me! True/False is an electrical board with a true and a false screen that counts the number of votes. It asks viewers to think whether capitalism works for them or not then vote yes or no by the buttons. Lambert showed some interviews about how the interviewee made the decision. Interestingly, many people answered the questions based on their reactions to some specific experiences they had been through.
            NYTime Special Edition is probably one of Lambert's most famous projects. When President Obama won the election of 2008, Lambert and his collaborates wanted to hold a ceremony. Because they found out people were often being negative to events, they changed their mind of the ceremony and decided to do this project in an opposite way. By making lots of copies of NY Time Special Edition, they publised all the good news (i.e.: the headline was "Iraq War Ends") and gave them out for free on the streets. At first, people who read the news were stunned and surprised, but then realize it was just a "special edition". Like Capitalism Works For Me!, Lambert showed some videos of the changing on people’s faces.
At the end of lecture, the superhero exercise was brought up again as a conclusion. Lambert told us that we were just like superhero and art was our superpower. Art had the ability of leading certain emotions or rational responds. By making great art, we could make some positive effects to this world.
I was surprised by the NY Time project. Everything has various aspects, but we often view things by following the general ideas. NY Time Special Edition used the different side to respond events and it seems to send the message more effectively than judging with negative thoughts. I also agree what Lambert said about art as the superpower. We all have some level of sensibility to what happen around us, but being an artist makes us know how to relate things we care with art and transmit the idea to people to let them care as well.


BFA Thesis 1 Exhibition
            I visited a BFA thesis gallery in the early of March. Even though there were two parts in this exhibition, I want to only focus on one student’s work. Painted Bodies: Color Theory and Practice was a series of artworks made by Brandon Lacow. The works were shown in the different size and color of squares and rectangles. Every frame was filled with either nude male or female models. On Lacow’s thesis statement, he was kind of inspired by the art history of nudity. This project
expressed his interested of human body and it tended to reflect his past works.
Nudity is often connected with human sexuality, which is part of our natural expression. However, we always cover our bodies and consider being naked as guilt. In Painted Bodies, I think the author used the boards in various sizes to indicate the restriction of our desire to sexuality. By applying colors into the works, they could influence the viewer's emotions about nudity. Even though the topics all related to nudity, each color had given different definitions. I really like how Lacow applied colors to his work. However, I found out that he used bright colors (white, pink, red, and gold yellow) to all pictures with female models and cold colors (black, green, sky blue, and navy blue) for the male models. Perhaps he wanted to let the viewers recognize the gender more easily, but I think it would be good as well if the colors could be used randomly regardless of sexes. Because our genders are not only just limited in biological characteristic, but also depend on gender identification, gender expression, and gender orientation, colors can be used more complicatedly.


            Bodymaps is a unique digital artwork that involves multiple media, including drawing, photograph, animation, and music. It was created eight years ago by Erika Harrsch and her collaborators, Paola Prestini, and Jeffrey Zeigler. According to the interview at the end, Harrsch mentioned that the whole process of this project took about five months. Erika Harrsch is the 2014 artist in resident in UNR. She was charged for the visuals of Bodymaps, that is, she made the drawings, photographs, videos, and then put them all together into a 15 minutes-long animated video by using After Effects and other software. Paola Prestini is the composer of this project and Jeffrey Zeiglier is a cello musician who also played for this performance.
The animation is required to be triggered to play by the sound of cello. In general, a vocal also sings with it. But the voice only came with the animation in this performance. As its name called, Bodymaps illustrates different body parts one by one. It is exactly like looking a map. Each part implies certain experience of life. Butterflies have appeared twice in this project. When I looked up Harrsch's website, it said she often used butterflies as the connection of human natures and its weakness. At the first time, a butterfly is shown on a drawing of human hand, and its wings are partly broken. I think it represents a lot of time we try to violet human natures and overcome our fragility. However, they have deeply rooted in our souls. We could not get rid of them even if putting full effort in it. The hand may be symbolized as human because our hands are the most well developed body structure and they play a significant role in our daily lives. Butterflies appear again at the end of the performance, but they came as a group flying in a circle. In this part I think butterflies emphasize our natures and weakness.
The music of Bodymaps is also meaningful. In these 15 minutes, the song sometimes goes smoothly. Then it becomes energetic and ends with the soft tone. The melody sounds powerful but also sad at the same time. I think the whole tune corresponds to our lives, which often express human strength and fragility repeatedly. 

Questions from Reading #6

1. Manovich said it is danger that we define the concept of interactive media as a form of  physical interaction. What kind danger can it be? Do you agree with him?

2. In the reading, iInteractive media changes people mind and make us start to objectify more things. 
-"Now interactive media asks us to click on a highlighted sentences to go to another sentence. In short, we are asked to follow pre-programmed, objectively existing associations."-
Do you think this phenomenon is mainly caused by interactive media? Or perhaps it is leaded by other factors? 

Sunday, April 27, 2014

Final Paper

Jessie Lien
ART 245
Professor Peter Whittenberger
Apr 27, 2014
Communication With Digital Art
Beginning in the few years ago, human and technology have explored a new field in art, digital art. Instead of drawing on paper or wall, multiple medias, such as computer software, electronic lights, digital images, video, photograph, and etc., have involved into part of the process to create art. Artists who have attracted by this amazing field also started to combine digital art with other arts. Here the other arts refer to not just visual art, but the different art forms include music, film, dance, and so on. Today, digital art is already one of the most popular art subjects to be studied worldwide. And its popularity drives installation art and interactive art to be more commonly applied. As many digital artists do, Karolina Sobecka and Zachary Lieberman focus on the relationship between people and digital media and emphasize it in their works. Besides just forming communication with digital art, Puff and Eyewriter, created by Sobecka and Lieberman respectively, also tend to change the world we live. The following parts I will introduce these two artists and their projects, then analyze the similarity and difference between Puff and Eyewriter
Karolina Sobecka is a digital artist who works in various fields like animation, design, computer games, interactivity and more. During her graduate in CalArts, she studied experimental animation. Her primary focus is how we interact the world we create, so most of her projects are shown in public space and allows views to interact with them. When looking at her projects, it seems that Sobecka enjoys using animals as theme. Those works include Birdplaythe CallWild LifeSniff, and All the Universe is Full of the Lives of Perfect Creatures. I asked her on email about why she tended to relate animal to her projects frequently. She said it is because she thinks animals are an interesting way to perform the interactions which are not based on language but on "embodiment, phenomenon, and empathy".
Even though Puff is not one of her animal works, it is the first work under Amateur Human project, created by Sobecka herself. Amateur Human had received 2011 Special Project Award from Princess Grace Foundation. The goal of this big project is to explore things between physical and psychological value. In other words, it studies the connection of technology invention with humans and nature. Sobecka has created many projects for Amateur Human, such as Clouds, from Both SidesProject Sky+, Cloud Machine, and PuffPuff is an accessory shaped like a cartoon style cloud. It consisted of few cardboardand a lamp for detecting how much of waste gas a car has emitted. On Sobecka's website, the page of this projects describes it as "a personal emissions visualizer". When being placed near a car's exhaust pipe, it shows significant colors to indicate the level of air pollution. On a normal condition, the lamp has a bright green color, which means emissions are low (about under 0.2 lb. CO2 per minute) and the car burns its fuel successfully. However, if the rate of emissions increases, the color will start turning to yellow, orange, and red, eventually. Red is usually also shown when a car is driving in a high speed. It means over 1.2 lb. CO2 is exhausted in every minute. Besides the lamp, drivers are allowed to check the color changing from the iPhone app. The app also records the total amount of emission and the exhaust composition (CO, CO2, hydrocarbon, nitrogen oxides, and etc.) released to air.

Moving to another artist and his works, Eyewriter, Lieberman is an artist and a computer programmer. He considers himself as a researcher as well because he thinks creating art works is like doing a research. Lieberman has been active in the fields of interactive art, digital art, programming, and video. His primary goal is to use technology playfully and make it deliver particular effect to viewers. Morever, his works often emphasize the reinforcement of the ability to use our bodies to communicate. Originally, he studied drawing, so his works also involve drawing a lot. One of his famous projects is Drawn, which won award in CYNETart competition in Novermber, 2006. Lieberman developed the software that can make drawings "come to life". When viewers try to tap the images drawn on a piece of paper, the projector will show them being moved on the screen. The drawings are not only alive, but also able to interact with people. Drawn is a fascinated project dealing with how our bodies can communicate with technology. Coincidentally, it presents the similar idea Sobecka always focuses on: how we interact with the world we create. More projects linked to drawing are Messa Di VoceIQ FontPaint with Your Feet, and Night Light. However, I will more focus on Eyewriter.
Eyewriter was used to help a friend of Lieberman at first. The friend is Tony Quan. He is a Los Angles graffiti artist and writer. In 2003, he was diagnosed with Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS). ALS is a disease of the degeneration of motor neuron. Because motor neuron is unable to function normally, it would causes the muscles stop working progressively. Later, Quan's body is almost paralyzed except his eyes. In order to help his friends to be able to draw again, Lieberman and his collaborators developed an eye-tracking software. There are two parts of this software: one part is to join the software and the eye-tracking device attached on a pair of low-cost glasses together; another is a drawing software which draws lines on screen based on the movement of eyes. More than just letting Quan to draw again, the team also showed his works in public by projecting the drawings on the wall of Kyoto City Hall in Los Angles. According to the official website of Eyewriter, currently the main goal is to build a international network for people, who have participated in developing Eyewriter, to make eye art and connect with each other. Even though Lieberman did not respond my email about more details and thoughts of the process, I watched a video of his presentation at PopTech in 2009. He mentioned Quan's feeling for this project, and this is how Quan responded, "That was the first time I've drawn anything since 2003! It feels like taking a breath after being held underwater for 5 minutes.”

Sobecka and Lieberman both concentrate on human behavior in their works. In contrast, to Sobecka it means how we use technology to connect with nature, society, or ourselves; while to Lieberman it indicates the interaction between human and technology. Because they both express the common ideas by different ways, Puff and Eyewriter share some similarities but have their own unique characteristics as well. By using the gas detector, Puff applies technology to our daily life. It shows a way how we can communicate and improve the environment. If we look at Puff with Lieberman's idea, it connects human with technology, even though it didn't display certain body communication. Moreover, the concept of cartoon style cloud lamp kind of matches his aim about performing technology in a playful way. As it mentioned previously, body communication and drawing are often involved to Lieberman's works. Eyewriter not only emphasizes body communication with technology, but also makes us rethink how our eyes can do more than just looking. Similarly, we see Sobecka's idea of using technology to communicate is presented in Eyewriter. But the relationship is the user and his or her body. It does not have obvious intention to connect to outside objects.
Puff and Eyewriter were both created to help the world become better. In general, they both form the communication between art and technology. However, there is a slightly difference about their purposes. Puff mainly supports on the side of improving natural environment, and Eyewriter focuses on helping people to draw by the movements of their eyes.
In my opinion, this is why digital art is fascinating. From the past decades, art and art works used to be just hung on the walls for looking or appreciating.  Gradually, artists started to contain some messages or thoughts into their works. Until 1970s, computer and other digital technologies have provides more tools for us to practice art. Digital art started to form and grew in an unbelievable speed around the world. As a result, art is more able to connect with our social events and us. When I was doing the research of Puff and Eyewriter, I realize how art can already interact with people, and most important of all, to help the world we live. The purpose of making art is often to express artists' thoughts or transmit certain messages to viewers. Because of digital art, artists are allowed to use multiple technological tools to emphasize the meaning or effect of their works. Moreover, as the time goes by, technology is more available and capable to spread information internationally. If we keep putting effort to apply digital art in a good way to nature, society issues, and our daily lives, our world may become better as the consequence.

"Karolina Sobecka." Creative Capital. alias, n.d. Web. 01 Apr. 2014.
"Puff." Nephologies. Karolina Sobecka, 13 Oct. 2009. Web. 29 Mar. 2014.
Lieberman, Zachary. "Interactive Art." PopTech. PopTech. 2009. Web. Mar 28. 2014.
Lieberman, Zachary. "The Eyewriter." Vimeo. Evan Roth, 2009. Web. 29 Mar. 2014.
Lieberman, Zachary. Thesystemis. WordPress. Web. 23 Mar. 2014.
Sobecka, Karolina. "Re: Questions about Your Projects." Message to Jessie Lien.13 Apr. 2014. E-mail.
Sobecka, Karolina. "Puff." Vimeo. Amateurhuman, 2013. Web. 29 Mar. 2014.
Sobecka, Karolina. Gravitytrap. Web. 23 Mar. 2014.

Tuesday, April 22, 2014

Questions from Reading #5

1. Because of the infinite resources the Internet has, art is creating from existing things instead of from nothing.In Digital Divide, Bishop considered originality is not longer the focus, now it is more important how a existing work can be reconstructed nicely. How do you think about this changing? Is there any benefit or harm that it may cause?

2. Based on the example of postcards, when large of amount of collections are present in front of our eyes, we are not longer able to look all the details but only select and skim. Can it indicate that art needs to be limited in some level of simplicity? If the complicity can not pass its message to audience very efficiently, why there are still many artists try to make their works be more complex?

Monday, April 21, 2014

Project 7.1: 3D (Meat Space)

** I always have a thought to connect science, especially biology, with art in some way. I have learnt a little bit about how to draw scientific illusion, so I decided to applied the skill into this project. I chose to draw on egg because I think it represents the beginning of a thing, just like I start to work on putting science and art together. Paper quilling is just a part on my interests of making art. But I also want it to make my works be kind of artist.

Wednesday, April 9, 2014

Project 6: Interventionist Media

The original web page is from the official news website of a Taiwanese TV company. Freedom of the media is given in Taiwan However, our media has abused their power for a very long time; things like telling audiences wrong information without checking it, reporting the same news over and over again, putting emotional words, and taking funny things or videos from the internet then making them as news. Many news channels also have their own political positions, but they don't even try to hide it, which is really bad when reporting a social issue. In this picture I want to show how our media is so unprofessional. I chose the society page but I did put three news from daily life section into it just for the effect. I didn't make any news up. These were all real news on the website.
Unfortunately, this website doesn't not provide English version, so I have to translate the entire page. If there is any language mistake, I apologize.

Questions from Reading #4

1. One of the good way of art practice on tactical media is the persuasive game. Personally, I think it's because game has the ability to strongly interact with people. What other form of tactical media do you think also efficiently connects with people?

2. By the definition given by Rita Raley in her book, tactical media creates signs or messages to indicates the intervention and disruption of certain kinds of social issue. Even though it may let people start to thinking critically, is it possible for tactical media to be able to influence directly to its target? By target, I mean target such as political issue, economics problems, or even just some policies of a company.