Posts Tagged ‘materiality’
Posting this amazing glimpse into iMappening 2014, the Media Arts and Practice PhD program’s annual show, at USC’s School of Cinematic Arts. Polyangylene and Book of Luna (with Clea T. Waite) make a colorful appearance!
Book of Luna…
The iMappenning catalog…
Mr. Cartoon’s delicious “Ice-Cream Truck” installation at the Los Angeles MOCA “Art in the Streets” exhibit is a paean to L.A. lowrider culture and the city’s cult of hedonism and entertainment. This exultant spectacle is proudly entrenched in the anti-pristine context of LA.’s mythically degraded urbanism. Mr. Cartoon’s revamped, tricked-out symbology is intoxicating: clown-faced, trench-coated policemen, the billowing, whirling orange smog that evokes ice-cream soda foam, the lowriding cadillacs morphing into dripping banana splits with pin-up bunny-face girls lounging in the back seats, and, most syrupy-caustic of all, the “illegal alien”, a sombrero-ed, mustachoed little green man on a popsicle stick. The truck is decked out with colorful video on lowrider culture and shown in a shallow pool of candy. Rarely has the city’s (or pop culture’s, for that matter) heady cocktail of subculture, politics, and flashy style found such viscerally pleasurable and yet mordant expression in Mr.Cartoon’s graffiti poem of sex, pollution, sugar and violence.
from the Toy Art Gallery website:
Toy Art Gallery is proud to present “Sacred Trip”, new work by Carlos Enriquez Gonzalez. “Sacred Trip” continues Gonzalez’s exploration of the divide (or lack thereof) between Man and God, man and woman, and toy and art. Gonzalez’s work challenges the viewer with an intermingling of grotesque, sexual, and childlike symbols, which together produce wholly original, substantially, and more importantly, beautiful works of art.
Among the materials used by the artist for his work are: fiber glass, plastic, automotive paint, crystal, gold, platinum, diamond, metal, raw meat, connecting an aesthetic three-dimensional finish with more organic materials. Mushrooms, eyes, monsters, brains, human parts, sacred elements, sexual organs are some of the symbols that refer to the artist´s intimate world in which also blend some of his concerns, energy, power, intuition, parallel worlds, multidimensionality, tunnels of time, all this reflected in his work represented in a provocative and transgressor mode.
shots from a playtest of my installation, Almost Everything Can And Shall Be Cut – a next iteration will involve layering the plastic sheeting to produce stereoscopic effects when the second channel video is projected. For the first video displayed on the monitor, I’m thinking of setting up the plastic tent in a stairwell.
A Photo Comic of my installation film: production stills from the shoot of Everything Can and Shall Be Cut
Some stills from the shoot of one of the videos for my new installation “Almost Everything Can and Shall Be Cut”
1. a balloon animal in a helpless position
2. the balloon animal in distress
3. a wig is powerless to keep the scissors at bay
4. the fate of the wig: stuffed in a blender
5. wig, ravaged , posing with its instrument of death
6. the slow decomposition of jello
7. the ice-cubes are handpicked for oblivion
8. a cube of polystyrene foam is tortured with a needle
9. green goo oozes from polystyrene’s wounds
10. a steak is posthumously fed with intraveinous liquid
11. a circuit board fears for its transistors
12. circuit board yields its last colorful breath
13. a pillow besides its own stuffing
14. exposing pillow’s inner flesh
15. the pink heart of pillow’s insides
This two-channel installation piece examines the friction between texture and violence to bring us closer to the felt idea of flesh. The piece intends to question the relationship between affect and materiality, as well as the psychological economy of desire, destruction, and consumption by simultaneously making the viewer feel uncomfortable and viscerally involved.
A TV monitor presents us with a video of a hand performing different types of incisions using sharp and blunt metal instruments into a large array of materials. The monitor is covered with a loose “tent” of plastic sheeting, allowing the visitor a mysterious view of the video content through the blurring, glowing screen of the semi-transparent material. To get a closer look, the viewer has to unzip the tent’s opening and insert her head into an intimate space shared by the monitor.
The video is a loop of shot after shot of various texturally ambiguous materials or objects being clinically laid out on a chrome table while a hand, alternately gloved in vinyl or rubber gloves discovers the many methods by which each material can be cut up, destroyed, and divided and the specific instruments that do the job in the most satisfying or interesting way.
INCISION is preceded by a tactile prodding of the object followed by the MORCELLATION, FRAGMENTATION OF THE MATERIAL INTO ITS CONSTITUENT FORMS (filaments, bits, crumbs, slivers).The act of cutting can be smooth, swift : sensation of liberation, closure mixed with disquiet of violent end. The act of cutting can be difficult, messy, awkward: sensation of squeamish frustration. The viewer witnesses a Progression in the act of cutting: colorful liquid starts to OOZE out of the harmed materials (recalling old blood or water, displaying a viscous quality)
The second channel of the installation is rear projected onto a sheet of the same semi-transparent plastic wrapping that covered the monitor. The projection is a looping video of luridly colored organic textures (e.g. close-up of a beating heart, a time-lapse of growing mold). The video is processed into anaglyphic images to produce a stereoscopic effect, visible to the visitor with 3D glasses.
using techniques pioneered by the imagineers for their Haunted Mansion ride? a real breakdown of the virtual/material barrier, we enter a liminal zone where the virtual animates objects, ensouling them…
Oursler began working with small LCD video projectors in 1991 in his installation “The Watching” presented at Documenta 9, featuring his first video doll and dummy. This work utilizes handmade soft cloth figures combined with expressive faces animated by video projection. Oursler then produced a series of installations that combined found objects and video projections. “Judy”, 1993, explored the relationship between multiple personality disorder and mass media. “Get Away II” features a passive/aggressive projected figure wedged under a mattress that confronts the viewer with blunt direct address. Oursler’s works seem like animate effigies in their own psychological space, often appearing to interact directly with the viewer’s sense of empathy. These installations are consistently disturbing and fascinating and lead to great popular and critical acclaim.
Signature works have been his talking lights, such as Streetlight (1997), his series of video sculptures of eyes with television screens reflected in the pupils, and ominous talking heads such as Composite Still Life (1999). An installation called Optics (1999) examines the polarity between dark and light in the history of the camera obscura. In his text “Time Stream”, Oursler proposed that architecture and moving image installation have been forever linked by the camera obscura noting that cave dwellers observed the world as projections via peep holes. Oursler’s interest in the ephemeral history of the virtual image lead to large scale public projects and permanent installations by 2000.
The Public Art Fund and Art Angel commissioned the “Influence Machine” in 2000. This installation marks the artist’s first major outdoor project and thematically traced the development of successive communication devices from the telegraph to the personal computer as a means of speaking with the dead. Oursler used smoke, trees and buildings as projection screens in Madison Park NYC and Soho Square London. He then completed a number of permanent public projects in Barcelona, New Zealand, Arizona including “Braincast” at the Seattle Public Library. He is scheduled to complete a commission at the Frank Sinatra High School in Astoria New York.
on the playful properties of fluorescent materials: thinking back on Avatar‘s blindingly exciting fluorescent rainforest flora, I’m just wondering on what makes day-glo, phosphorescent and blacklight hues and brilliance so childishly appealing…the spiritual alchemy of electric and organic? Other cinematic delights that rely on fluorescence: Wong Kar Wai’s Fallen Angels – Hong Kong is a nightmare veined with neon. neon sheds color + texture (is that what GLOW means: photo-texture ? ), that radiates with angelic and consummerist vibes…
USE FLUORESCENT PAINT
as part of creating a taxonomy
of material effects/affects
to organize artistic practice.
Drawing attention to Karen Pinkus from USC’s Comparative Literature Department and her latest book, Mercurial Alchemy: A Theory of Ambivalence. Quoting Gilles Deleuze from an interview I saw on Youtube, in which he was (apparently) addressing filmmakers: “filmmakers invent films. Philosophers invent concepts.” Extrapolating theorists/critics from philosophers, then weaving alchemy and ambivalence together seems (at least the suggestion of it) to open up delightful new fields of theoretical imagination…interdisciplinary is the word.
“How can we account, in a rigorous way, for alchemy’s ubiquity? We think of alchemy as the transformation of a base material (usually lead) into gold, but “alchemy” is a word in wide circulation in everyday life, often called upon to fulfill a metaphoric duty as the magical transformation of materials. Almost every culture and time has had some form of alchemy. This book looks at alchemy, not at any one particular instance along the historical timeline, not as a practice or theory, not as a mode of redemption, but as a theoretical problem, linked to real gold and real production in the world. What emerges as the least common denominator or “intensive property” of alchemy is ambivalence, the impossible and paradoxical coexistence of two incompatible elements.
Alchemical Mercury moves from antiquity, through the golden age of alchemy in the Dutch seventeenth century, to conceptual art, to alternative fuels, stopping to think with writers such as Dante, Goethe, Hoffmann, the Grimm Brothers, George Eliot, and Marx. Eclectic and wide-ranging, this is the first study to consider alchemy in relation to literary and visual theory in a comprehensive way.”
IN a show put on by noise performer Kawaiietly Please – in which we participated, not listened, or perhaps listened to the point of participation. She started by taking her microphone for a walk around the venue’s small room, picking up vibrations that fed into a distorting filter in her computer, amplifying white noise. It was painfully loud, but only when the beats kicked in four to the floor did our organs start to thump synchronously against their skeletal cavities. Kawaiietly Please creates an event that uses sound as a dilating instrument, opening up the minds/bodies of the audience via their ears: in front of the stage, a giant white stuffed gorilla lies in an inflatable kiddy pool, its belly stitched with black cables. Kawaiietly Please tiptoes towards it, the cacophony around us lending an intense stillness to the scene. Then the sound begins to bark at us like a rabid dog and she pulls out the cable from the stuffed corpse – she struggles, the clothy flesh resists – and some of us impromptu jump on it and start tugging too. The sound – damaging feedback, harsh static, thereminish vibrations – throbs across our muscles as we pull, pull and finally – yes! – we tear. The monkey explodes in a shower of stuffing and glitter, an entire horde of smaller creatures spills out. We go nuts. Now we have something to lay our hands on. The noise that throws us about like rag dolls gives us back what is our own – our impulse to be kinetic. A double acceleration: the movement in time that is sound galvanizes a symmetry-response momentum in extensio – everything snaps (in place) with the thrashing of our bodies.
We dive to the floor, grabbing stuffed animals, pulling them apart solitarily but more often engaging ferociously in tug-a-war: I grab an arm, you grab a head. Soon enough we are fighting each other. Not knowing how it came to this, I am on the floor being dragged around by someone who is battling me for the limb of a teddy bear. The kicking and screaming I do is much more than liberating: this synesthetic simultaneity of hyper-loud sound, cuddly texture (the plush, soft, squeezable bodies of the animals) and violent muscular resistance (the propelling motion of the tugging) is driving me insane with fun. Kawaiietly Please weaves in and out amongst us, jerking her head back, rubbing herself against the floor with scattered petticoats, feeling up the PAs – ghostly in the red light, flitting in and out of the decibelic tidal wave like a hummingbird. We roll her in the rubbery folds of the kiddy pool (the excitement of tactile/sonic texture peaks), mock- suffocating her. She is buried beneath the blue plastic while we throw bits of stuffing and animal parts as though they were flowers.
The noise abruptly ceases: we clap, we shriek, we instantly miss it. She emerges, bows. For about an hour afterwards a number of us are still twitchy – we vault rather than climb onto chairs, we hop rather than walk, laugh rather than bother with coherent sentences. A warmth suffuses us, stretching our mouths in toothy smiles. We want more of this extreme friendliness.
Chris Cunningham’ s Rubber Johnny and Charlie White’s Pink / Ken’s Basement have antithetical color schemes but a telling similitude in their treatment of the human body: plastic, viscous, a texture-map for a psychic sensation beyond horror and judgement – the inmost intimacy of my very own flesh, a warm familiar humilation. There is no shame in revisiting my amorphousness, the dancing meat without skin/border/performed subjectivity. In all 3 cases the subject is utterly alone, blind to or vexed by the outside, bursting with interiority – perhaps a friendly witness or inanimate object observes, thing-like too. Which is why the unameable they propose feels like a return home – it looks monstrous but it feels… appropriate.
Allan Kaprow: “Happenings” in the New York Scene
Andy Warhol's "Exploding Plastic Inevitable"
“In both cases the interactive method comes from outside the community, and because the organizing principles are not within the audience’s sphere of influence, one might next ask whether interactivity of either of these sorts actually goes beyond what Jean Baudrillard calls “reversibility” – processes like sending letters to the editor to the newspaper – and rearranges communication in a fundamental way”. What if participants designed their own game and own rules as part of the game?
“…when bang! there you are facing yourself in a mirror jammed at you. Listen. A cough from the alley. You giggle because you’re afraid, suffer claustrophobia, talk to someone nonchalantly, but all the time you’re there, getting into the act…Electric fans start, gently wafting breezes of New-Car smell past your nose as leaves bury piles of a whining, burping, foul, pinky mess”.
“…they appear to go nowhere and do not make any particular literary point”. Because instead they create experience.
“First, there is the context…that is, its “habitat“, gives to it not only a space, a set of relationships to the various things around it, and a range of values, but an overall atmosphere as well, which penetrates it and whoever experiences it.”
Soke Dinkla: “participation is located along a fragile border between emancipatory act and manipulation”. where do I stand on this?
Sartre in Nausea on the construction of human situations
gallery: taste :: happening: dirty
“…a flimsily jotted down score of root directions”
“chance then, rather than spontaneity, is a key term, for it implies risk and fear (thus reestablishing the fine nervousness so pleasant when something is about to occur)”
(People having to waddle through a room filled with garbage)
“But it could be like slipping on a banana peel or going to heaven“
“The physical materials used to create the environment of Happenings are the most perishable kind”
“they reveal a spirit that is at once passive in its acceptance of what may be and affirmative in its disregard of security.”
“A STATE OF MIND”
pull that rope if you see liquid in a pan, tilt that pan if it’s labelled “SQUEEZE ME”, squeeze it if you want to touch, TOUCH and the SCREEN comes to life, the ROOM lights up with MUSIC, WHISPERS, INVECTIVES establishing a physiological sentier (un sentier pour SENTIR), path to the eyes and the ears _ plugging into a mind, minds into the DATABASE OF IMAGES…It’s not work, it has nothing to do with freedom of choice, it’s VISCERAL, COMPULSIVE PLAY
YOU JUST CAN’T HELP YOURSELF SO WHY RESIST?
eatmeeatmeeat me eat me eat me eat me eat me eat me eat me there is much to be said about a form of aesthetic engagement that like famously cinema engulfs you, seduces you, gives you no choice in the matter and yet requires much much deliberate action on your part it tricks you into PUTTING A WHOLE FLOATING MECHANISM IN MOTION, SENSORIAL FRUIT HANGING FROM THE DATABASE!
concept for a short live action animation piece_
“ALMOST EVERYTHING CAN AND SHALL BE CUT”
an examination of the friction between texture and violence to bring us closer to the felt idea of flesh
presentation of different types of incisions using sharp and blunt metal instruments into a large array of materials:
raw meat, fish (carving knife, tweezers, paper cutter) ice / ice cube (inefficiently sawing off the edge with a blunt butter knife)
jello or flan (into little cubes using a razor blade) foam core (guitar pick – study in morcellation)
velvet, thick cloth (nail-cutting scissors) light (shadow of a knife or a needle)
wooden floor, wooden surface (repetitive gouging) computer motherboard, electronic circuit (large scissors, carving knife, snipping off transistors)
play dough (axe with blade held in hand, clumsily approaching tiny bits)
INCISION followed by MORCELLATION, FRAGMENTATION OF MATERIAL INTO ITS CONSTITUENT FORMS (filaments, bits, crumbs, slivers)
the act of cutting can be smooth, swift : sensation of liberation, closure mixed with disquiet of violent end
the act of cutting can be difficult, messy, awkward: sensation of squeamish frustration
Progression: liquid starts to OOZE out of harmed materials (old blood, water, viscous stuff – MULTICOLORED, DYED)
INTERACTIVE TEXTURES: KNOB to raise the volume on the sound effects
KNOB to slow down the act of cutting
KNOB to skip frames, so that the cutting becomes schematic vs. visceral
KNOB to introduce lyrical music
KNOB to introduce ominous music
BUTTON to produce WHISPERED WORDS OF ASSOCIATION (push and random word/phrase emerges): i think you enjoy it, fungus, why are you doing it, it will all decay quite soon, soft, squishy, wet, very dry, too dry, i wonder what this is, it looks better when its in tiny little bits, i didn’t think i could do that, this doesn’t seem so impossible, someone told me not to but i’ll do it anyway, nothing seems too bright, nothing appears less important, a good thing its irreversible or it might come back to haunt me, i could eat that, i could drink that, i don’t want to, forage, push.
the knobs frame the screen, unlabeled except for the button (“VOICES OF INSTRUCTION”). tiny switch next to button – makes a word repeat every 5 seconds.
nothing can stop the violence: metal keeps cutting, stuff keeps oozing, more and more stuff oozes out, everything is increasingly MORECELLATED and finally, LIQUEFIED.
abstract vs. physical metaphors for virtual space?
Most discussions of “immersion” or the extent to which a media experience can sensorially and psychologically engulf the viewer, presumably bringing them closer to a ‘real life’ experience, revolve around kidnapping the viewer/player more decisively into the realm of the virtual – wherefore larger screens and stereoscopy, even VR.
Another route towards immersion involves the notion of “augmented reality” or embedding the virtual in physical space in order to create the experience of a (ideally) seamlessly merged virtuality/reality.
Is there a way to rehabilitate the screen, historically a hallmark of the 1rst type of immersion, for purposes of augmenting reality? Typically the screen is the well-known boundary between the physical and virtual, the thing that extrudes from normal, material space to shed simulacra down on us.
Returning to the idea of creating a “burrow” or an immersion “box”, the idea of physical space or geography serving as the interactive device for a database narrative – cannot the screens or “displays” themselves become part and parcel of real space, so that rather than running into a simulacra-projector, one is thrown in/sucked into the hidden, temporary space of a media-fragment?
Even more urgently – to complete the dream of seamlessness between material and virtual, can we be satisfied with an analogy between architecture i.e. the space of a gallery/rooms/hallways, and database structure? The textures of narrative and information, relayed across different media technologies are too viscerally pervasive and “real”, urgently present to us, to find adequate expression in the cool, ascetic, representational spaces offered to the typical art installation.
Must we not go deeper, more intimately into our project to map the virtual onto the physical? Perhaps it is important to start considering the sensorial/sensual rather than abstract properties of real space. To think of the body rather than architecture as a proper metaphor for our collective apprehension of virtuality.
David Cronenberg’s Videodrome as the faithfully visceral rendering of our felt relationship with media technology…