Reading Media Culture – Friday’s class notes

January 19, 2009

FIRST WRITTEN ASSIGNMENT DUE NEXT WEEK – NEEDS TO BE PRINTED – NOT EMAILED!!!
Summarize in 500 words (2 pages) one of the readings for next week
– Digital Encounters – deal with animation and interface
– Introduction to Gramophone – linking technologies / theorizing military and ideological reasoning behind the technologies

MEDIATION
– film, video and media were used to expand our minds to make us speculate and understand what Egoyan was up to when he made the film, Calendar
– we are all media consumers, producers
– medium = plural of media = collective of mass types of media
– ceramics, painting, writing = media as well (think outside the box to what is considered media and artists who create them are still media makers)
– systems or vehicles for the transmission of ideas or entertainment = transportation method
– media are the materials that communicate – early examples, hieroglyphs, alphabet, radio, moving image…
– the human body produces a form of mediation such as shown in the public performance (dance, spoken word, music…)
– Calendar had multiple types of media and media technologies listed
– translation, transcription and interpretation or size have an effect on the distribution method and overall interpretation that the media has on the audience (ie: watching a movie on your iPod vs. watching it on an iMax screen)
– all media give shape to experience – human experiences are affected
– selectivity of media and method of distribution helps set the tone of the piece (amplify, extends, restricts or prohibits)
– may open or close doors (reveal, conceal)

Issue of memory / morality
– rise of video distribution has enhanced the dissemination of culture, thought, ideas and art can be compared to the Guttenberg press – more people who can read and access information
– the loss that results is that people do not have to remember anything when they can simply look it up
– medium is another term for language (create dialog and communicate with an audience and articulate an idea or way of thinking)
– The medium is the Message
– mode of transmission that forms part of our total environment
– in the film Calendar, the telephone becomes a medium that mediates communication between two people on either end of the phone
– character relationships are mediated through the various technologies shown in the film (phone, video camera, answering machine, many different languages, written notes and letter, human body of Egoyan’s wife in the way she interacts with the guide)

Marshall McLuhan
– canadian scholar who embraced various media technologies during the 1960’s
– the professor in the film Videodrome, by David Cronenberg was a satire of him


– book called Understanding Media – Extensions of Man and Guttenberg Galaxy
– metaphor of a paradox – medium is the message – global village
– most important = tools to provide understanding technology
– all technological advances produce a new type of sensorial experience and alters human embodiment and reaction to the technology
– seduction and power of media technology – humans become mesmerized by technology
– called his ideas prose so they are designed as thought pieces to change perspectives in the reader
– writings were prophetic – anticipated the persuasiveness of the extent of media technologies available to the general public today
– cross-disciplinary media has further contributed to his idea of the global village and is being documented by a new generation of media savvy artists
– size of the day changed for many with the introduction of the electric light = communication media with no overt content
– message of electric light = purest form of information because it makes thing instant – acceleration of time
– invention of electrical light irrevocably changed human culture (revolutionary media)

“The message of electric light is like the message of electric power in industry, totally radical, persuasive and decentralized. For electric light and power are separate from their uses, yet they eliminate time and space factors in human association exactly as do radio, telegraph, telephone and TV, creating involvement and depth.”

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Marshall_McLuhan
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Gutenberg_Galaxy
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Understanding_Media

Mothlight – Stan Brakhage

– this is used as an example of McLuhan’s ideation about technology being required to disseminate information
– the purest form of watching this film would be to watch it on film and have the actual light to shine through the moth wings onto a screen

MEDIA SPECIFICITY ESSENTIALISM
– what are the properties common to all media and what and what are the specific to individual types of media – what are the properties associated with that media? (ie: film vs video vs photography vs print vs painting vs sculpture…) – what is essential for the medium to consist of in order to convey the associated ideation to the audience?
– McLuhan talks about when we use the medium for a particular purpose, it becomes a part of that purpose (form of content)
– subscribe to the idea that the medium that is chosen to convey the art that that technology becomes prominent and has a voice
– technologies become interpretative frameworks – representation is a major theme of this course
– what messages are encoded in the choices made in how they publish their work
– ie: Fast Film
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Td6UObEEaQQ
– brain shifting = ability to question to what you as the audience are viewing – what is the artist trying to convey to me and not in any other way?
– process by media and process of mediation interact with one another
– personal, social consequence of particular types of media – introduction of TV changed the family dynamic (eat dinner at the table or in front of the tv)

FUJI – by Robert Breer (1974)
– an experimental animation – very original for its time – good use of rotoscoping – animating over existing film stock and combining film footage with animated overlays
– framing an artwork is a method of mediation (process of inclusion and exclusion)
– composing the frame and deciding more importantly what is in the frame is also an act of mediation
– framing devices used in both Calendar and Fuji
– page 375 (bordwell & thompson) – use of rotoscoping – use of motion picture footage and print over it with frame by frame animation or otherwise manipulate
– original derivation comes from motion picture (series of images)
– motion capture is a form of rotoscoping (different but related)
– Waking Life and A Scanner Darkly are contemporary examples of this process
– window frame of the picture frame is on display in Fuji = frame within a frame
– 24 views of Mount Fuji is mediated by this footage of the place on the train and looking out of the window and then further extrapolated by the rotoscoping
– technological applications that appear in the film (line art, colour splotches) become mediations in their own right as well as existing as the sum of the piece
– perspective is dictated by the person who took the footage (north american tourist visiting Japan and the inaccessibility to outsiders = culture is alien to him)
– commentary on representation – as a cultural outsider truthfully represent that culture or that cultural icon in a media presentation
– the subject matter is further mediated by his body language and interaction with Japanese people on the train
– he’s not trying to be politically correct and act with reverence to such an iconic Japanese symbol – he was simply trying to illustrate his personal connection to Mt. Fuji as a tourist and as an artist — he’s acknowledging his own subjective, highly mediated experience of Mt. Fuji

Calendar – by Atom Egoyan
– deals with issues of tourism and also uses framing devices
– various storylines run through the film and they each have their own transmission mode
– the film itself exists as a signature medium to begin with – base layer for the other transmission methods to be projected
– video footage within the film acts as above as a frame within a frame so as the audience to experience and feel different emotions then the base film itself
– video camera is mobile and handheld lacking the resolution of the high-end production film camera
– a trauma has been inflicted on the Armenian people by the Ottoman/Turkish empire – not overtly referenced yet that is the reason why the Churches were abandoned and now revered as holy shrines
– they were the headquarters of religious identity and for the christian armenian population but also their own headquarters of population control (christian dogma being forced on the masses)
– cultural tourist in Armenia but also in his own marriage – without knowledge of what the significance of the churches signify, but more importantly without knowledge of the significance of the growing relationship between his wife and the guide
– ideation of separation and language barriers are developed and referenced
– obsession – he becomes paranoid at the aspect of feeling estranged of losing understanding of the situation
– interesting duality in the fact that Egoyan himself appears in it and plays the part of the fool and not understanding the importance of what the churches represent to the history of the massacre of the Armenian people – he would eventually make a future film called Ararat which specifically addresses this massacre, which is still denied by the Turkish government to this day
– further framing is shown in Egoyan’s kitchen as he has multiple dinner encounters with several different escorts, yet whom each are a different cultural background and speak different languages
– the phone scenes are further compared as each escort asks to use the phone and make outgoing calls vs. his ex wife making incoming calls
– there is a sick fascination for Egoyan to reconstruct the visceral and deeply hurtful experience of losing his wife in order to create the urge to write the letter
– forced alienation is the message being portrayed in each location (Armenia, kitchen)
– idea that memory is as collective as it is individual – community of two and individual conscience of the cameraman
– engages in a pathetic way in how he responds to his lack of interest in the history behind the churches and also in his pathetic attempt to write the letter but only with the reconstruction of traumatic memories with the escorts

http://www.ecuad.ca/~rburnett/calendar.html

A new type of media permeates the scene, a new problem of memory can be observed. (positive and negative charge – change for both good and bad)

Advertisements

DIVA 202 – Back to Skool…

January 7, 2009

Jeff Wall – Vancouver based photographer – featured on the cover of vanity fair (went to school with Ian)

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jeff_Wall
http://moma.org/exhibitions/2007/jeffwall/

Fungible – ability to take any piece of a production and send it overseas where it can be done faster and cheaper
Fungibility is the property of a good or a commodity whose individual units are capable of mutual substitution, where one unit of a commodity can be exchanged for another unit of the same commodity in the same quantity and grade. Examples of highly fungible commodities are crude oil, precious metals, and currencies.”

Damien Hirst ($230 million – sold directly to auction – subverted the gallery system)

– The asking price for For the Love of God (below) was £50,000,000 ($100 million or 75 million euros). It didn’t sell outright,[32] and on 30 August 2008 was sold to a consortium that included Hirst himself and his gallery White Cube.

In December 2008 Hirst threatened to sue a 16-year old boy for £200 because he incorporated pictures of For the Love of God into grafitti stenciles and sold them on the Internet.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Damien_Hirst

Marcus Garvey
– “A people without the knowledge of their past history, origin and culture is like a tree without roots.”

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Marcus_Garvey

– What makes digital art history compelling is that it is as much shaped by science and technology as it is by traditional art history.

– Digital art history is thus inextricably linked to the industrial-military complex, research centres, as well as consumer culture and associated technologies.

Leonardo Da Vinci
– Drawing showing cannon trajectories over castle walls

Rear Admiral Grace Hopper (USNR 1906-1992)

– PhD in Math from Yale in 1934
– joined naval reserve in 1943 and assigned to bureau of ordinance
– went to work in UNIVAC (universal computer), and wrote the first compiler
– co-invented COBOL and gave us…
– photo # NH 96566-KN (First computer “bug” in 1945)
– found an actual moth in the relay tape for the computer

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Grace_Hopper

Dr. Vannevar Bush

– wrote “As we may think” – coordinated science to warfare
– build a computer back in 1929 – Differential Analyzer
– used the computer to design bouncing bombs used to destroy German dams during WWII
– envisioned a device called The Memex – basically an analog version of the PC, the web and google

– picture of the memex in LIFE magazine – circa 1945
– his essay predicted many technologies
“Wholly new forms of encyclopedias will appear, ready-made with a mesh of associative trails running through them, ready to be dropped in”
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Vannevar_Bush
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/As_We_May_Think
Earth versus the flying Saucers

– Hollywood used the actual computer for this film
Marshall University Differential Analyzer

Claude Shannon


– one of Bush’s graduate students – known as the “Father of information theory”
– A Symbolic analysis of Relay and Switching
– introduced to George Boole’s algebra as an undergrad
– proved that boolean algebra and binary arithmetic could be used to simplify the electromechanical relays then used in telephone
– enabled engineers to transform circuits from analog to digital realm
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Claude_Shannon

Theodor Nelson

– an American sociologist, philosopher, and pioneer of information technology. He coined the term “hypertext” in 1963 and published it in 1965. He also is credited with first use of the words hypermedia, transclusion, virtuality, intertwingularity and teledildonics. The main thrust of his work has been to make computers easily accessible to ordinary people. His motto is:

A user interface should be so simple that a beginner in an emergency can understand it within ten seconds.

– invented the words hypertext and hypermedia in 1961 – networked Docuverse

Douglas Englebart
– best known for inventing the computer mouse, as a pioneer of human-computer interaction whose team developed hypertext, networked computers, and precursors to GUIs; and as a committed and vocal proponent of the development and use of computers and networks to help cope with the world’s increasingly urgent and complex problems.

First computer Mouse

Early Macintosh Mice

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Douglas_Engelbart

Marcel Duchamp
Rotary Glass Plates, 1920

L.H.O.O.Q.

– found imagery and appropriate it – READYMADE
– precursor of digital art practice
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Marcel_Duchamp
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/L.H.O.O.Q.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Readymades_of_Marcel_Duchamp

FLUXUS ARTISTS
– a name taken from a Latin word meaning “to flow”—is an international network of artists, composers and designers noted for blending different artistic media and disciplines in the 1960s. They have been active in Neo-Dada noise music and visual art as well as literature, urban planning, architecture, and design. Fluxus is often described as intermedia, a term coined by Fluxus artist Dick Higgins in a famous 1966 essay.
– series of instructions to reach an event

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/FLUXUS

John Cage

– pioneer of chance music, electronic music and non-standard use of musical instruments, Cage was one of the leading figures of the post-war avant-garde and, in the opinion of many, the most influential American composer of the 20th century
4′33″ (Four minutes, thirty-three seconds) – the sound was different wherever it was played because it was silence

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/John_Cage
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/4%E2%80%B233%E2%80%B3

Grahame Weinbren

“The Digital Revolution is a Revolution of Random Access”
http://www.heise.de/tp/r4/artikel/6/6113/2.html
– Random Access is a basis for processing and assembling information
http://media.rmit.edu.au/students/projects/iiki/index.php/Grahame_Weinbren
http://www.yale.edu/dmca/dhtml/lectures99/weinbren.html

Sonata

– created by Grahame Weinbren, is an interactive narrative that is controllable by the viewer’s touch. The installation was exhibited internationally between the years of 1991 and 1999. Containing classical narratives of passion and violence by Tolstoy, Freud, and the Apocrypha, Sonata requests viewers to create their own narratives through interaction, and thus their own interpretations.

By touching the screen at any moment throughout the piece the viewer will affect the way the narrative continues. This includes viewing the narrative from a different perspective, superimposing future footage, or allowing a split-screen effect to show two different characters simultaneously.
http://media.rmit.edu.au/students/projects/iiki/index.php/Sonata

On Time

– one of the four short films produced for Garage Flicks. Directed by Ted Chung, with the screenplay by David Bradley Halls, and produced by Bianca Bodmer, Rich Ho Kok Tai, Elena Titova, and Vincent Schmitt. The credits also show their ‘Project mentor’ as Grahame Weinbren – his works, in my opinion, share similarities with the story of On Time. Sonata in particular as it experiments with future knowledge, just as On Time does.
http://media.rmit.edu.au/students/projects/iiki/index.php/On_Time

Howard Wise
EAI : Electronic Arts Intermix Funded by a number of American state agencies, federal agencies and organisations, Electronic Arts Intermix (EAI) was founded by Howard Wise in 1971 to support video art. It is a non profit making organisation. As well as video art, it now rents and sells audio, CDs, CD-ROMs and other interactive media works by artists. Web projects are also featured online. The searchable online catalogue includes artists’ biographies, descriptions of the works, QuickTime excerpts and ordering information. The website consists of an alphabetical list of authors and titles; a new artists / new titles section; audio and interactive media; selections from the video archive; streaming video, where excerpts of the video collection can be viewed; and a Resources section, which includes bibliographies and information about exhibitions and events. The Features section includes Web projects, which can be viewed online.
http://www.eai.org/eai/index.htm

John Whitney – CATALOG

– computer generated pictures in 1965 – used analog military computer equipment to create his short film CATALOG
demo reel of work created with his analog computer/film camera magic machine he built from a WWII anti-aircraft gun sight.
– Also Whitney and the techniques he developed with this machine were what inspired Douglas Trumbull (special fx wizard) to use the slit scan technique on 2001: A Space Odyssey


http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Douglas_Trumbull
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Slit-scan_photography

Slit-scan is an animation created image by image. Its principle is based upon the camera’s relative movement in relation to a light source, combined with a long exposure time. The process is as follows:

  1. An abstract colored design is painted on a transparent support
  2. This support is set down on the glass of a backlighting table and covered with an opaque masking into which one or more slits have been carved.
  3. The camera (placed high on top of a vertical ramp and decentered in relation to the light slits) takes a single photograph while moving down the ramp. The result: at the top of the ramp, when it is far away, the camera takes a rather precise picture of the light slit. This image gets progressively bigger and eventually shifts itself out of the frame. This produces a light trail, which meets up with the edge of the screen.
  4. These steps are repeated for each image, lightly peeling back the masking, which at the same time produces variation in colors as well as variation of the position of the light stream, thus creating the animation.

Naturally, this effect is very time-consuming, and thus expensive, to create. A 10-second sequence requires a minimum of 240 adjustments.

Billy Kluver
– art and science should colaborate
– was an electrical engineer at Bell Telephone Laboratories who founded Experiments in Art and Technology. Klüver lectured extensively on art and technology and social issues to be addressed by the technical community. He published numerous articles on these subjects.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Billy_Kluver
http://www.conceptlab.com/interviews/kluver.html

Techno Viking – original has now gone viral

World of Warcraft spoof

They’re taking the hobbits to Isengard techno spoof

http://technoviking.tv/

THIS IS SPARTA!

http://failblog.org/

THE ONION

– macbook wheel – the onion spoof
http://www.theonion.com/content/index

DIGITAL ART 2ND EDITION – CHRISTIANE PAUL

RED VS. BLUE

– Halo machinima movies

The Original Human Space Invaders Performance

– props to Julaluck (aka Bob) for finding this golden nugget!

MY SECOND LIFE
– created by Douglas Gayeton – hbo bought it for $6 million – Who is the Creator?
http://www.hbo.com/docs/programs/molotovalva/interview.html