Participatory & Network Art

Learning to Love You More

0 51 7

1) Summary

Beginning in 2002, Harrell Fletcher and Miranda July (known for her award-winning film Me and You and Everyone We Know) created the project Learning to Love You More in which the general public responded to 70 creative assignments given by the two artists over the span of seven years. Over 8,000 participants accepted and completed a simple but specific assignment (photograph, text, video, etc), which was then sent in and posted to their online website designed and managed by Yuri Ono. Some of these assignments included make a field guide to your yard, photograph a significant outfit, give advice to yourself in the past, draw a constellation from someone’s freckles, and make an encouraging banner. “Like a recipe, meditation practice, or familiar song, the prescriptive nature of these assignments was intended to guide people towards their own experience.” As well as the participant’s documentation being posted online, a selection of the most memorable submissions were presented in exhibitions, screenings, and radio broadcasts located all over the world. The collaborative public art project was also created into a book.

2) Response

I find the participatory art project, Learning to Love You More, to be a refreshing take on how people around us think, act, and love. It is interesting how this project is a mixture between artists and non-artists of all ages, and I like that the website does not really distinguish between who does art as a profession and who is just participating in the assignments. The accumulation of assignments on the website are extremely engaging as I had to pretty much force myself to close the tab because I was spending way too much time going through each assignment. I found the submissions to be creative and heartwarming. I also thoroughly enjoyed the simplicity of the assignments, which left the result sort of open ended as some submissions were hilarious and oddly brilliant, while others were quite moving. Nonetheless, my overall experience of Learning to Love You More left me starry eyed and wishing for more.

Standard
Participatory & Network Art

Engage in the Art

Our advanced art approaches a fragile but marvelous life, one that maintains itself by a mere thread, melting into an elusive, changeable configuration, the surroundings, the artist, his work and everyone who comes to it.”- Allan Kaprow

1) Summary In Meg Floryan’s article Interactive and Participatory Art, she states that the physical action and intellectual encounters of the audience into the art itself is the creation of interactive and participatory art. The audience interacting with and experiencing the art is what becomes the true object or subject of the work. Art only reaches completion through this participatory nature, which can range from relatively passive involvement to mild interaction to total immersion of the public. Participatory art has earned and still continues to earn significant attention from our culture. We as a culture are accustomed to interactivity and have grown to expect instant gratification, which is why we resonate deeply with art that reflects such involvement. With inclusive experience, the understanding of the artwork is strengthened because it inspires the public to spend more time connecting with the piece and its underlying meaning. To witness the poignant and emotional reactions of visitors, one only needs to look to Marina Abramovic’s retrospective at MoMA, The Artist Is Present, in which strangers elected to sit opposite the artist and gaze into her eyes for an unspecified amount of time in order to experience participatory art. 

2) Response I think this concept of the audience becoming the art is quiet intriguing to experience and incorporate into my own pieces of art. It is interesting to me that “artists have provided an outlet for every sentiment—from relishing in our memories of and love for our mothers to releasing pent-up aggression and frustrations.” I feel that is what art should do; art should confront the visitor with different feelings of emotion whether they be good or bad. Personally, I have experienced many different emotions, such as happiness, sadness, nostalgia, fear, etc., while viewing or participating in art. With participatory art, it opens your mind up to a new way of interaction and can leave you with a new perception of the world around you. Marina Abramovic is one of those artists that have changed the way others perceive life and even death. I have watched many of her past and present performances on YouTube or Vimeo and the amazing documentary The Artist is Present on Netflix, and I find her work to be very inspiring. Through performance or participatory art, she presents herself, her body to the audience, which consists of her doing unimaginable tasks usually for long durations in order to push her own physical and mental limits. In Rhythm 0, 1974, she stood in front of a crowd of people as an object for six hours and presented to them 72 other objects, including grapes, wine, bullet, pistol, which they could use on her in any way they pleased. In her more recent durational performance, 512 Hours, 2014, the public became the performing body with their participation in selected props and communal interaction, which majority found to be a peaceful or transcendental experience. After, the public were invited to share their reactions, and one visitor wrote “we are all equal, we are all the same.”

Standard
Performance & Video

Dancing in Peckham

GW_Image 03.jpg

1) Summary

In Gillian Wearing’s Dancing in Peckham, 1994, it shows the artist (pictured above) in a London shopping mall dancing to music that she can only hear in her own head. The artist is sharing a private moment of dancing alone in a public space with strangers witnessing her own actions. Dancing in Peckham represents the presentation of oneself in everyday life. Gillian Wearing’s video work was created at the forefront of social media platforms, before the notion of how one presents themselves to the internet. Dancing in Peckham questions that at a very early stage. The original video was projected onto public buildings in ten different locations over a ten week period. Since the performative piece was not shown in an ordinary white walled gallery, it was able to be spectated by a stranger in their apartment or a random passerby on the street. With it being projected, people also were able to interact with the video art and create an interesting connection between the video created in 1994 and the people in present day.

2) Response

I think this piece of video art is a brilliant, powerful take on how we as human beings present our image to the public. It has a humorous side to it, but the aspect that I like the most is that it makes the viewer sort of uncomfortable, which I feel, to a certain extent, is what art should do. I also think it is an interesting concept of dancing in public and even though it is simple, it is visually captivating to witness. She seems to be in her own little world, not aware of all the chaos around her. The artist opens herself up to criticism and judgement in such a public area and allows herself to be vulnerable. Personally, the vulnerability and the act of not caring what others think is what ultimately held my attention the most. In today’s world, many people care too much about their public appearance and hide their true selves due to the fear of being judged by others. Just as Gillian Wearing’s Dancing in Peckham (original video), we should allow ourselves to be vulnerable because we are human beings made up of flesh and emotion.

Standard
Visual Narrative

Rewind to Italy Circa 1952

1) Summary

In Kogonada’s What is neorealism?, he rewinds time to Italy circa 1952 in which he imagines the same film shot by  different producers to compare a clash in sensibility. He compares two cuts of the same film, one by Vittorio De Sica and the other by David O. Selznick. He runs the two films side by side and examines each cut. In the differences, he finds something to say about the essence of neorealism. Both films start with a shot of a city, but Selznick tells you which city and connects the theme to love. Selznick’s second shot is of a letter being written which spells out the central tension of the film. While, De Sica’s scene takes twice as long and reveals far less of the central tension. Selznick consistently prefers a shorter take than De Sica. Selznick implies the act of walking by jumping through the scene, but De Sica endures the act of walking. Sleznick seeks to cut out the in between moments to not lose the viewer’s attention on the main character. Whereas, De Sica values these moments and lingers on the extras in the film. Usually, the camera follows the lead character once he/she leaves the frame. Selznick uses this tactic in his films as he does not want any excessiveness or distractions to derail the plot. However, De Sica keeps rolling which is a favorite move by him because he sees these extra moments as vital parts of the film’s entirety, as the essence of a different kind of cinema, and as more critical than plot or story. Kogonada ends by stating, “To ask, what is neorealism is to ask what is cinema.”

2) Response

I think Kogonada’s approach to different production styles of cinema was brilliant and a fresh take on film. In this 5 min video, he keeps the viewer intrigued throughout it by constantly comparing the two different styles of Vittorio De Sica and David O. Selznick. It is interesting how he examines each cut to show the different take on cinema that each of the producers would have. It was quite through-provoking and made me realize the impact that seemingly subtle edits can have on the overall narrative of the film. One who is not a cinephile may not have realized the difference in approach that a film can have through illustrating the plot or story, but this video brings to the light that very difference  by comparing two unique styles of Hollywood storytelling. Personally, I like a mixture of both shorter and longer takes. I feel that some scenes, depending on the story, can benefit from being shorter or longer, which in part influences the overall meaning or mood of the film. Jean-Luc Godard once said, “The only great problem of cinema seems to be more and more, with each film, when and why to start a shot and when and why to end it.”

Standard
Appropriation & Remix

Embrace the Remix

1) Summary 

In Kirby Ferguson’s Everything is a Remix: Part Three, he discusses the processes of copy, transform, and combine as the elements of creativity. According to Ferguson, “Creativity isn’t magic. It happens by applying ordinary tools of thought to existing materials.” Copying is the first element of creativity; it is how we learn and build a foundation of knowledge about the previous formed ideas of people before us. For instance, Hunter S. Thompson re-typed The Great Gatsby just to see how it would feel to write an award-winning novel. After we have learned the fundamentals of copying, the next step of creativity is the ability to create something new through transformation. By taking an idea and creating variations, transformation becomes a new way to innovate. The last element is a combination of ideas that can result in major creative leaps. An example of this is the personal computer revolution in which Apple copied and combined all of the features from the XEROX Star 8010, but transformed them in a more user friendly way than the original.

2) Response

Ferguson’s approach to the history and elements of creativity made me realize that we live in a world where everyone is seeking inspiration from others. We are constantly filling our heads with other people’s ideas, and without even knowing it, our originality begins to diminish. In Ferguson’s TEDTalk Embrace the Remix, Ferguson brings up the debate about Bob Dylan’s own originality; Some people claim that Bob Dylan stole other artists’ songs. Throughout his career, Dylan did not even recognize that many of his songs were just melodies that had been copied, transformed, and combined with new lyrics. So, some of the most well-known artists, writers, inventors, etc. that claim they are original are, in actuality, using the elements of creativity to create something that will impact the world on a grand scale. Personally, I am constantly inspired by others work, and I have copied, transformed, and combined ideas from books, music, films, and art in my own creative process. One of my favorite books, IT, is pretty much 192 pages of all the things that have inspired Alexa Chung from when she was young to now. It shows how her style and art has evolved and been influenced by all of the beautiful ideas that surround her in everyday life. Also, one of my favorite speeches, Tavi’s Big Big World, is given by Tavi Gevinson as she talks about the struggles she faced to be as original as possible when it came to all aspects of her life. She eventually realized that she was most creative when she was influenced by other people’s work, so she grew to embrace inspiration from other sources. So, I just surrender to the fact that no one, not even myself, is going to be completely original; for me, it is satisfying to fill my head with other people’s ideas and see life through their eyes.

Standard
Appropriation & Remix

Analog Reborn

1) Summary 

In a section of Douglas Rushkoff’s Present Shock, the author compares analog to people. In the world of analog, such as film photography, the original negative must be preserved. By continuously copying the original negative through a printing machine, it degrades the quality and begins to diminish the beauty of it. With successive photocopies, each one gradually contains more noise or visual distortion. For example, each exposure of flash photography onto an original painting will over time diminish the brilliance, so that is why using camera flash at museums is prohibited. Unlike analog, digital photography does not have to use an original negative. Therefore, digital copies are not impressions made from an original source; they are the originals themselves “as if utterly reborn in every instant.” In the end, “people are still analog.”

2) Response

I really gravitated towards this idea that Rushkoff mentioned about the relationship between people and analog. Just as film, their is a uniqueness to each and every human being. No film photograph will ever turn out the same, some may be grainer than others, some may have light leaks, some may have multiple exposures; that is the beauty of analog. As with each new person you meet, they have that similar sense of mystery and wonder, which after development may lead to a pleasant surprise or experimental disaster. Personally, I love film photography; just the concept of taking something old or vintage and using it in a new and inspiring way has always intrigued me. I’m one of those people that lives in 2015, but wishes I grew up in 1975; I’d rather use a instant or analog camera over a digital camera, and I enjoy listening to records instead of mp3s. Yes, to say the least, I shouldn’t have been born in this century. Likewise, this section of the book really made me think about this tangible quality in life that we have lost over the years because of digital technology. At least in this century, we have a choice to use either analog or digital, whereas before people had a more limited selection.

Standard
Digital Literacy

Riot Culture

1) Summary

Henry Jenkins, MIT Professor and author of Convergence Culture, defines the terms “media convergence” and “participatory culture” while connecting their meaning and importance to the world around us. Jenkins states that “media convergence” is “a world where every story, sound, brand, image, and relationship plays itself out across the maximum number of media channels.” We, as human beings, control the media as it makes its way through our everyday lives. Ultimately, convergence culture would not exist without us thriving off of it, which in part is where “participatory culture” comes into play. “Participatory culture” is described as a world where everybody participates by producing and sharing, thus media is taken into our own hands to do with as we wish. Since the middle of the 19th century, “participatory culture” has existed and formed from scenarios such as young kids producing their own publications and sharing them on a national scale. This phenomenon has continued to influence the youth of many generations to create new innovations across the world. For instance, the international underground zine movement that emerged from the punk music scene in the 1990s known as Riot Grrrl.

2) Response

To be honest, it took me a little while to comprehend the true meaning behind the logic of Henry Jenkins’ “media convergence” and “participatory culture”. However, after continuous repetition of the material, I feel that I have a better understanding of the topic, whereas before I was unsure of either subjects. Jenkins stated some interesting facts about the media culture and the affect that it has had on people over the years. I think one of the most engaging remarks that he made was that the “participatory culture” is not all about money, but rather about sharing and learning from each other through this connected world that we live in. He also brought up the subject about zines, more importantly the Riot Grrrl movement, which allowed young women to share their opinions and experiences of sexism, body image, and identity. Personally, I love the feminist punk culture that existed in the 1990s, which still exists today. yes okEver since listening to the band Bikini Kill, I researched about Riot Grrrl which Kathleen Hanna, the band’s lead singer, was known for as the voice of a generation. Hanna began with creating zines and performing spoken word poetry to advocate women’s rights, but soon realized that she should start a band, so that people would actually listen to what she was trying to say on a larger scale. This tactic relates back to “transmedia”, which Jenkins termed as meaning “across media.” By Hanna sharing zines, poetry, and singing about the current issues that women all over the world were and still are experiencing, she gained a following of people that wanted to be a part of the movement Riot Grrrl. 20 years later, that movement still exists; women and men are writing zines, being in bands, creating websites, and making art in order to change society through active and creative means.

P.S. If you want learn about the true meaning of feminism, watch this video here

Standard