Friday, October 29, 2010

REMIX and Frank Lewis

Frank Lewis is an instructor at Lawrence University; He is also my instructor for the course , “History of Photography”. Tonight he lectured a group of scholars in the Wriston Auditorium at Lawrence regarding the concept of the history of photography and how early labor was recorded and documented through this new media. Lewis briefly explained how photography was invented in 1839 by L.J . M Daguerre, and since then, it expanded to so many different conventions. Since I am enrolled in Lewis’s History of Photography course the lecture served more of a review for me than it did for others. Nevertheless, I enjoyed the concept and the art gallery showing that followed his presentation.

On a different note, “Remix – Making Art and Commerce Thrive in the Hybrid Economy” by Lawrence Lessig was a very interesting and entertaining article to read. As young artists in the course, Digital Processes, we are in the process of “remixing” video projects reflecting technology and society. Lessig began his argument by describing an old classmate of his. His colleague Ben would always do exceptionally well on his essays because, “every paragraph was constructed through quotes” Lessig said. He went on in his article asking certain questions like why do authors become offended when a student asks to use a quote from their writing. Lessig made it very clear in his article that remixing writing is different than remixing digital. Personally, I agree. Writing is something that is so original that to tap into one’s work with words can make someone a bit sensitive. However, if you are quoting words from other artists and then backing them up with your own facts, well, is that not how almost all scholars write today? We remix almost everything, from songs to papers. I will even argue that most of the time we do it unconsciously.

This is a example of two hit songs collaborating, remixing to expand across two different genres.

Friday, October 22, 2010

Technology and Society

From an invention as a result of scientific and technical research, to a medium of entertainment and news, television has come a long way. After reading a article by Raymond Williams titled "The Technology and the Society", published in the book "The New Media Reader", I obtained so much more information on technology and how it relates to society. Williams wrote that television was no single event or series of events when it was invented, but instead, it depended on a complex of inventions and developments in electricity, telegraphy, photography & motion picture, and radio. Many people can make the argument that television influences our society. Television shows people how to feel, how to kiss, the different joys and hells that come with life. So in this aspect, technology is influencing society everyday, showing us how to react to different situations from a television set. This goes beyond television, though Williams article is perfect justification for my argument. What do you think?

There were several videos I viewed that related to technology and the society. Stan Brackhage created short clips of abstract objects by placing these things on a reel of film. I found it to be clever and interesting to see what his perception of art can be using film. Last week I wrote about how dreadful and god awful the film "Decasia" was. Ironically enough, Brackhage's films were much more enjoyable and they come from the same style. Perhaps it was the length of the films and the fact that they were silent. The silence gave his work much more of an opportunity for his viewers to create their own interpretation. If music was added, it would have been too much for one to absorb. Here is a video of "The Garden of Earthly Delights".

Although I can appreciate the belief that everyone is an artist and art can be created just by different things in your environment, William Wegman's work did not stand out as art, in my opinion. Sure, his videos were hilarious and original, but is that really all it takes to be an artist today? And if that is true, is it all it takes to be considered a damn good artist? I feel like there is a difference. What do you think? On a different note, I enjoy his photography. Here are a few photos.         


Friday, October 15, 2010

Mashups and Stuff

Taking existing art then turning it into something that is your own is certainly art within itself. Do I always enjoy those collages of different art - works mashing together to be something different? Not really. The film, "Decasia", for me, was somewhat a waste of film. John and Julia asked if the film from the video should have been saved from melting away, and my response was that it certainly shouldn't have. Perhaps I do not fully appreciate vintage film but "Decasia" was just a on - going head ace for me. I feel like the music playing through out was the icing on the cake. The loud banging and sirens screaming through the entire piece reminded me of the film, "Man With a Movie Camera", directed by Dziga Vertov. In my opinion I did not see the point, but perhaps that is the point. What some consider art others may consider irrelevant. At the end of the day isn't that the beauty of being an artist in the first place? On a different note, William Burrough's article, "The Cut Up Method of Brion Gysin" was something that was more reasonable, and something I would consider art. Poetry is a form of art that can be that open to different pieces written by different artists colliding. Poetry does not always have to rhyme. There are very few restrictions for a poet. Filmmakers, on the other hand, should want to produce something that will ultimately get a point across to its' viewers. I am not saying every film needs to have a plot, but can it at least have a storyline? Am I not being open - minded enough? What do you think? Below is a video of a mashup video that I feel is rather clever. Check this out.

Sunday, October 10, 2010

I Always Feel Like, Somebody's Watching Me! - Panopticon Project

For "The Panopticon and Still Image Project", I focused primarily on the idea of surveillance as a negative aspect to society. In no way was I trying to say that surveillance is irrelevant because in certain situations it is necessary and appreciated. However, when surveillance is drawn to extreme measures, like invading people’s privacy, then it becomes an issue. With that in mind, I decided to direct three separate stories with photography, all relating to one another. My first set is of one subject who grows from being tolerant to the camera, to highly outraged. This is a photo of Sash Johnston, my subject for my first set.

My second set is based on a stalking relationship. A stalker is obsessively watching a college student. I created this conflict to symbolize how the government and other organizations can watch you without you knowing. However, the watcher is not always someone with massive technology. Facebook users today are constantly watching what others are doing around them by viewing their photos, reading their statuses, checking their updates. We are constantly being watched without our knowledge. Below is a photo from my second set.
A Presence is Near

My third and final set takes place in an actual meeting. The people in the meeting were caught off guard in this shoot. They were upset because of the invasion of privacy so they released their anger on the camera itself. Here are a few photos.

No More Watching! Swing!
The captions and title’s in all of my sets tell the story, from beginning to the end. All of the sets were designed and directed by myself. I felt like there was a message that could have been related through a series of photographs so I artistically took full advantage of it. If you wish to view my entire project, feel free to view my Flickr account.    

Thursday, October 7, 2010

Endless Possibilities

“The whole PC V.S Mac’s wars are just nerds masturbating! If you are a true artist, you can make the tools you have work”. Rachel Crowl was nothing short of extraordinary with her talk on Wednesday about her life, how she got to this point, web 2.0, and just life advice to us young artists today. This specific quote hit me the hardest because for the longest time I have always felt like Mac’s were more superior to PC’s. I waited over half of my life to own my very own Macintosh machine; to hear that a PC can do the same things was a reality shock. Outside of that, I feel like Crowl had so much information to offer our class. She took us through the history of the Web and how we got to web 2.0. She said that the social media democratized self publishing. The entire aspect of self publishing did not take off until blogs came about. I find this to be rather fascinating considering most of our class requires us to blog about social issues and we can share our artistic ideas with the world. “The comment were the glue”, Crowl said. She is absolutely right! If you think about it, rather I write complete and utter bullshit for a blog, or something impressively brilliant, it means nothing to me if I get no reaction from my classmates for it.  Sure, I get graded on my blog, we all do; but the insight and comments make the blog that much more special. Strobist was one of the first blogs to show photography to the world. According to Crowl, Scripter was also one of the innovating websites that helped the Web excel further. When asked what would be the future in web 2.0 she said a quote from another innovator who said, “Nobody knows anything!” Her advice to us was to try something. Tools are getting cheaper, possibilities are endless, so why not be fearless? Impressive     

This is a trailer of the new film Social Network. I feel like this relates to Rachel Crowl's talk. What do you think?

Friday, October 1, 2010

Leers Visit

Dan Leers is a unique individual; It's no wonder he is a Lawrence Alumni. In his presentation today, he spoke about how he had no way in knowing what path he wanted to venture down to him eventually working at the Museum of Modern Arts, his "dram job", as he put it. Before attending Lawrence I spoke to one of the professors here in the Film department. I told him about my dreams of becoming a director or a cinematographer. He told me at lawrence it is best to not have one set career in mind because I may find myself in a career completely off course. At the time it seemed very awkward to me and my family. I remember my mother telling me not to listen to that man and that he was insane. She told me to always keep my mind set on what I wanted to do. Although I still have the same mentality with what direction I want to pursue in my life, I do feel like Lawrence has taken me off that corse a bit, still never leading me astray. Leers talked about how he and some of his classmates developed, "The Dating Show", at Columbia University in New York City. Below is a link to a brief trailer of the show. It's rather remarkable to me how he jumped from Art History to Photography, to doing something like this. It's amazing what the mind can unfold.  

The Dating Show