Saturday, February 16, 2019
With the advancement of contemporary technology, art sharing platforms are more prolific and accessible now than ever before. The opportunities for idea and artwork sharing are endless–social media sites, blogs, personal websites, virtual exhibitions, online museum/gallery digital archives and object collections, even information sharing outlets such as Pinterest, DeviantArt, and Etsy. It is a common misconception that these pixelized versions and JPEG photographs of tangible two-dimensional work are synonymous to net.art. To say it simply, artwork that exists outside the computer screen and functions as a palpable work of art that goes on to later be shared as a photograph via the internet, is understood as art on the web, not net.art. To provide an array of examples, Yayoi Kusama's portfolio and bio that exists on artnet is classified as art on the web, whereas, Olia Lialina's My Boyfriend Came Back from the War is net.art. Similarly, Kara Walker's work shown on her personal website is art on the web and Heath Bunting's HTML coded website is net.art. Net.art is defined as art that uses Internet as a medium and cannot be experienced in any other way, a term first used in the 90's by Vuc Cosik to describe his developing work and artistic process. Since the 90's, net.art has become its own movement. Net artists from all around the globe are exploring the possibilities associated with net.art and internet as a medium. Net.art is taking on numerous forms, from hypertextually designed websites to hacking projects, but all that being said, net.art will always be recognized as an entity entirely separate from what we know as art shared on the web.
Wednesday, February 13, 2019
While previewing the Rhizome Net Anthology, I read more extensively into four projects– A Cyberfeminist Manifesto for the 21st Century (1991), Female Extension (1997), My Boyfriend Came Back from the War (1996), and Mezangelle (1994). I was particularly interested in this selection of works because each was either developed female net artists or created for the purpose of approaching feminist topics. It was intriguing and definitely a unique experience to have the opportunity to engage with netart from the 1990's that demonstrate the late twentieth century feminist agenda, institutional critique, and the growing prominence of female artists in contemporary art history.
A Cyberfeminist Manifesto for the 21st Century was developed in 1991 in Southern Australia by a group identified under the alias, VNS Matrix. The VNS Matrix utilize various parodied material– fax, email, paper, online posts, and billboards– to critique early network culture, shatter patriarchal ideals, and direct viewer attention towards cyberfeministic topics. Their work employs relatively modern techniques such as digital collaging, image appropriation, text, nontraditional signature, and semeiotical use of certain forms. Their work also demonstrate a concentration toward several distinct elements of design in their use of variation in color palette, repetition and variation of shapes and text, and dynamic arrangement of forms.
In contrast, Female Extension, the netart developed by Cornelia Sollfrank in response to the 1997 Extension competition, is more static and architectural in design. Sollfrank's uses a restricted color palette and pays further attention to line and compositional unity and stability. Although her work feels balanced, fixed, and static, it is no less confrontational than the works completed by VNS Matrix. Through the creation of "data trash," Sollfrank's art and patriarchal institutions in negative light and identify the problems they in the context of a wider network of people, artists, and artwork.
Olia Lialina's My Boyfriend Came Back from the War takes the viewer on a cinematic journey through the story of a woman being reunited with her boyfriend following war. Using HTML elements as her medium, Lialina takes advantage of this recently developed language of the net in order to chronicle a brief, but powerful narrative. Her webpage uses text, appropriated imagery, gifs, and audience participation to make her work more dynamic and effectual. Her work is monochromatic and provides careful detail to size, text, and scale variations.
Lastly, Mez Breeze's Mezangelle. Mez Breeze, who often dabbled in poetry and art, bridges the gap between human and mechanic languages through Mazangelle, by creating html code poems that elicit unexpected linguistic meanings and interpretations. Even more so than in Sollfrank's work, Breeze's work is stylistically static and structural in design. Her work is less complex visually than conceptually, and therefore, is less focused on the elements on design. That being said, however, there are a few key elements worth mentioning such as the dichromatic color palette, the high contrast in color between background and text, the uniformity in size and color of text, the repetition of forms, and the appreciation for negative space.
Sunday, February 3, 2019
Following these readings I have grown to find an appreciation for the absolutely obnoxious animation shorts we call gifs. I can see how artists would find gifs intriguing. Gifs are inherently practical, democratic, unique, and more often than not, anonymous. Gifs are an integral part of communication and there is no telling where gifs could go in the future.
Gifs are extremely popular for their ease of use and ceaseless possibility. In brief terms, they are small animations packaged in small files, making them a flexible digital medium that easily proliferates over virtually all types of media including blogs, social media sites, instant messaging forums, television, websites, etc. They are free, distributed all throughout the world, available to everybody, and owned by nobody. Unlike most art forms, they are democratic in nature and promote inclusiveness in a way that is not often seen in the art world. Additionally, gifs are usually made anonymously, making them even more so unique in that they are one of the few art forms where authorship is not necessarily important. Gifs are even present in contemporary galleries, making them both a fine art form and a non fine art form. For example, the difference between Cory Arcangel’s Super Mario Clouds and the gifs I made for the class. That being said, gifs fit comfortably within our understanding of contemporary art, especially when referring to art for public forums. Thinking about participatory art, gifs are a lot like this form of art because they rely so heavily on the participation of the viewer, especially when you consider how many times a day gifs are sent person to person in virtual conversation.
At this day in age, gifs are not just a fad, gifs represent a social need and heavy reliance on visual language. JPEG pictures and images are just not making the cut anymore. The appeal in using gifs rather than digital images is in the movement. More is communicated through an animation than a stagnant and non moving image. The notion the general population is moving more and more towards visual culture with the rapid advancement in technology is further reaffirmed with the ubiquity of gifs.
Me, personally, I do not particularly enjoy gifs, especially those that function on a never ending loop, but I can see their value and the opportunity they bring. It is easy to see how gifs have impacted the world of fine art, especially in the work of Nicolas Fong or Cory Arcangel, but gifs could even go beyond that. They could eventually be used for educational purposes. Parents and teachers could teach children words, language, facial expressions, body language, and simple or complex concepts through the use of gifs. Beyond that, gifs could even become a movie. There are limitless possibilities and it will certainly be interesting to see where they go years down the road.
Saturday, February 2, 2019
For this body of work, I was interested in conveying the interaction that exists between human and machine, particularly the social exchange that would take place in the event of a major hierarchical shift in power from humanity towards artificial intelligence. Societies worldwide rely on technology and artificial intelligence to make lives easier. By truncating the amount of time we spend on menial tasks, machines have opened up more opportunities for leisure. Although the presence of machines is typically perceived as beneficial, our dependence on them is also often construed as dangerous. Machines are gaining intelligence and knowledge at an exponential rate, which begs the question, to what end? Is it possible with such rapid development machines could acquire emotive abilities or develop behaviors that are characteristic to humans? This series explores these questions by placing humans and machines in the context of several different scenarios- society today, society in a world dominated by machines, and society enforcing equality and cooperation between humans and machines.