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Exploring the notion of how individuality exists within a system.
Kay Johns MA Digital Arts Online (Visual Arts) University of the Arts London, Camberwell.
Aims My primary aims for this project are to create a video/audio installation that expresses and questions the transformation of individuality within the conglomerate. I intend to explore the notion of how individuality exists within a system, along with questioning the idea of individualism/mechanism in my work (this may change depending on the perspective). Since this topic is quite complex I can only really hope to explore aspects of this vast subject. I aspire to convey these ideas by experimentation with pattern transformations and randomness by exploring generative elements of nature as a method for the foundation of my studio practise. Secondary Aims: To research Chaos Theory, and explore a collection of repetitive, random, and generative processes within both the natural and electronic realms. Objectives •
To obtain a clearer understanding of the natural world. To gain knowledge of theories and ideologies that may contribute to random pattern transformations.
Acquire information from artists that use either natural generative elements, or computer generative elements in their work.
Explore and create experiments using different methods in this area. Project video onto naturally generative/ kinetic sculptural forms.
Historical Context Over the years my work has developed from making dynamic sculptures into creating multimedia installations, by exploring kinetics, sound and digital video. The historical context of my work can be found in a combination of art practices from Kinetic Art, Anti-Form Movement/Process Art, Video Art and Sound Art. In the past I have been intrigued by the Kinetic ready-mades of Marcel Duchamp. The Anti-Form movement and artworks by Robert Morris titled Scatter, Richard Serra’s Splatter, and the Subway Drawings by William Anastasi as they all have a dynamic quality and an element of chance. I am also fascinated by Video Art and the works of Nam June Paik, along with the experimental generated Sound Art by John Cage.
Contemporary Context The contemporary artists and artworks that I originally started researching for both my contextual research and research paper were, Philip Galenter, Joseph Nechvatal and Shardcore. At first the most relevant contemporary artwork that related to my question was an installation by Brian Eno called 77 Million Paintings. (See fig 1)
Fig 1. Brian Eno: 77 Million Paintings. Fabrica, Brighton, 2010. http://www.culture24.org.uk/art/new+media/art77594
This is a generative artwork that reflects notions of individuality and transformation within a collective.
Since my studio practise has entered another phase, where I have been recording people's breathing sounds and collecting breathe of the same people by storing in balloons. I recently started researching artist's that use either breathe, breathing sounds, or balloons in their work. I have been looking at Artist Kimsooja. She has used her own breathing sounds in an installation titled: To Breath - A Mirror Woman. Also an artist that used both breathe and balloons in his work is Piero Manzoni's sculpture titled: Artist's Breathe, though not contemporary, but relevant. He used his own breathe to blow up a balloon and then attach this to a wooden block. While the balloon has since deflated, which probably happened when he was alive. I found this quite sad since he is no longer alive now, but it is also very effective. I have also been looking at fictional artificial-life forms of artist Theo Jansen. These life forms move about randomly due to natural generative elements of nature.
Theoretical Context The key words that reflect my project are Natural Generative Elements, Interconnectivity, Individuality and Artificial Life-forms. The theories and ideologies I will be using to explore my question/artwork can be linked to these keywords. I have listed my main theoretical areas of study below:
• • • •
Dynamic Systems: Generative Art Processes/Natural Generative Elements. Scientific Theory: Chaos Theory. Popular Culture: Posthumanity, Utopian/Dystopian Future films and books. Philosophy: Existentialism, Transhumanism.
Methodology My methodology for this project will be a combination of the following:
Primary Research/Contextual: So far I have contacted Generative Artist's Philip Galenter, Joseph Nectval, and Shardcore. I have interviewed these artist's in connection with both my studio practise and my research paper. I have looked at specific artworks by practitioners such as Brian Eno, Kimsoja, Piero Manzoni and Theo Jansen. I will also carry on visiting exhibitions, galleries and museums that relate to aspects of my project.
Qualitative and Quantitative Research: During unit two I will send a video link of my artwork to 15 of my peers to view, along with a multiply choice questionnaire in the likert style to fill in.
Visual Research: Taking photographs/video clips and drawing. Studio Practice: To explore methods and practices relating to generative elements and processes. Here is a list of my intentions. I will also keep a record of my experiments on my blog:
Create rules similar to tradition board games and apply them to my artwork. Experiment with partial rule based systems. Research Chaos theory, and film generative elements of nature. Make experimental video's of natural generative elements (fire, waves, clouds). Experiment with editing software. Learn how to use Processing. Record breathing sounds and collect breath to be contained inside balloons. Experiment projecting video through naturally generative/kinetic sculptural forms.
• • •
Theoretical/Subject Research: To research Dynamic Systems: Generative Art Processes and Chaos Theory. Popular Culture: Dystopian Future films and books. Philosophy: Existentialism, Tranhumanism.
Reflective research: This will be an ongoing random process throughout, but there will be key periods when reflection will be more prominent. For instance at the end of Unit One, I reflected on all the relevant information gathered to curate my blog for the assessment. While in unit two I will also need to reflect on the information gathered from my Qualitative and Quantitative Research, and include this along with all the other relevant information to write my reflective paper. This would contain information gathered from all the research sections, along with reflection on blog entries, from feedback of tutorials and group critiques to create my artwork for the final project. Then my next key period of reflection would be after my final exhibition. During the exhibition I would leave a comment book that will also contribute to the knowledge and feedback gained from the exhibition.
Outcomes Upon updating this, I am a half way through Unit 2. Since my work has led me in this direction, I now know that I would like to make a dome/tent shaped structure which in essence is an imagined artificial life form, where viewers can encounter an immersive experience.
During my BA degree, I researched aspects of Posthumanity which I found interesting to look back on since the imagined hybrid AI entity which has developed within my studio practise has some similar yet opposite attributes due to its interest in organic life forms. I began thinking on similar but opposite lines where a Transhuman thinks about transcendence to become
Posthuman, but instead thinking about an AI Trans-Machine. A machine wanting to acquire knowledge that's fascinated by organic life-forms and has chose to add organic elements to itself, thus its eventual desire of transcendence to become Post Machine. The fictional artificial life-form (dome/tent structure) would not be questioning itself, but would question you the visitor, a biological life-form, and so the person entering would be the focus of the installation, well from the point of view taken from the artificial life form. The balloons and breathing sounds would now be part of the hybrid artificial entity and the only true organic form would be the visitor (viewer). Upon entering there would be a sign on the floor saying - 'Enter alone'. When inside you would view a video which would ask the viewer a selection of questions in text format, along with intermixing a combination of random video clips of natural generative elements of nature. My intention is for the artificial entity (dome structure) is to be an explorer, since dome/tent structures are used for both an exploratory and protective purpose. In the case of the entity this is its protective skin/structure for exploration, since it wishes to learn more about the natural world and its inhabitants.
The dimensions of the fictional artificial life form (dome/tent structure) will be 200cm x 200cm, height:140cm. I'm aiming at everything being contained within this space. I will be using a laptop and speakers inside, which will be slightly disguised. The materials for the dome will be made using elasticated tent tubes, with a strong tarpaulin floor base that I will make and add eyelets in to secure the poles. The white tarpaulin sheet will be covered by large bubbled bubble wrap which will be pre-popped. The top cover of the dome will be made using cling film and thin blue wire to create a vein, web type effect, along with thirty or so five inch clear balloons interweaved into the mesh, which will be accompanied by various individual breathing sounds of which some of the individual's air will be inside these balloons. At this
point I am uncertain how long the video will be, but I'm aiming at somewhere between ten to twenty minutes.
Risk Assessment As I mentioned previously upon entering there would be a sign on the floor saying - 'Enter alone'. I will need to see where the nearest plug sockets are and take into account the possible use of extension leads. For cables running along the floor I will use a combination of either cable clips or floor cable covers for both neatness and safety. All cables will need to be tested by an electrician for health and safety purposes prior to the exhibition.
Work Plan I have split my work plan into a combination of colour coded sections. These topics are the major stages of my work plan. The details of each section can be found in my methodology that I previously mentioned.
Visual Research Subject Research Studio Practice Contextual/Primary Research Reflective Research
January February March April May June July August September October November December
January February March April May June July August September October November December
My plan is to research and complete all the areas mentioned in a constructive manner. While I have highlighted a combination of the research topics for the same duration this does not mean that I will constantly be researching them all every day, but what it does mean is that I will switch back and forth for each topic during this time frame until each section is completed. I find having a flexible timetable that I can change and restructure is important to achieve these goals.
Bibliography Books: Austin, H. James (1999) Zen & the Brain. Massachusetts. MIT Press. Casey, R., & Fry, B. (2010) Getting started with processing. Sebastopol. O’Reilly Media Inc. Comer, S. (2009) Film & video art. London. Tate. Dawkins, R. (2006) 3rd ed. The Selfish Gene. Oxford. Oxford University Press. Degrazia, D. (2005) Human Identity & Bio Ethics. Cambridge, Cambridge University Press. Featherstone M., & Burrows R. (1995) Cyberspace/Cyberbodies/cyberpunk, SAGE Publications Ltd. Featherstone M., & Turner Bryan S. (1999) Body & Society, volume 5, numbers 2-3, SAGE Publications Ltd.
Field, M., & Golubitsky, M. (1992) Symmetry in chaos. New York. Oxford University Press Inc.. Graham L, S. (2002) Representations of the Post/Human, Manchester University Press. Gray C, H. (1991) The Cyborg Handbook, Routledge. Gray C, H. (2002) Cyborg Citizen: Politics in the Posthuman Age, Routledge. Haralambos, M., & Holborn, M. (2008) Sociology themes & perspectives. London. HarperCollins Ltd. Huxley, A. (1994) Brave New World, Flamingo. Orwell, G. (1970) 1984, Nineteen eighty-four, Penguin Books Ltd. Pepperell, R. (2005) The Post-human Condition, intellect Books. Stelarc. (1998) From Psyco-Body to Cyber-System. Virtual Futures, Routledge. Sterling, B. (1985) Schismatrix, Arbor House Pub Co. Warwick, K. (1998) In the mind of the Machine, Arrow Books Ltd. Warwick, K. (2004) I Cyborg, University of Illinois Press, 2004. Johnson, S. (2002) Emergence. London. Penguin Books. Lorenz, E. (2005) The Essence of Chaos. Taylor & Francis e-library. p. vii (preface) Macey D. (2001) Dictionary of Critical Theory, Penguin. Machan, T. R. (1998) Classical Individualism. London. Routledge. This edition published in the Taylor & francis e – library, 2005. Manovich L., (2001) The language of New Media. London. MIT Press Nies, A. (2009) Computability & Randomness. New York. Oxford Science Publications. Orwell, G. (2008) 1984 Nineteen eighty-four. London. Penquin Books Ltd.. Parberry, I. (1987) The Parallel Complexity Theory. London. Pitman Publishing. Paul C., (2003). Digital art, London. Thames & Hudson. Pearson, M. (2010) Generative Art, MEAP Edition, Manning Publications. Rand, A. (1964) The Virtue of Selfishness, Canada, Signet Books. Rush, M. (1999) New media in the late 20th – Century art. London. Thames & Hudson. Sardar,Z, &Abrams, I. (2004) Introducing chaos. Royston. Icon Books.
Sartre, JP. Barnes, H, E, ed. (2003) Being and nothingness, London. Routledge. Schneider, E. et al.(eds.) (2003) Mariko mori wave UFO, Kunsthaus Bregenz. Tyson, L (2006) Critical Theory Today. London. Routledge. Williams, P. Garnett. (1997) Chaos Theory Tamed. Washington, D.C. Joseph Henry Press.
Films: Blade Runner (1982) Ridley Scott, Blade Runner Partnership, USA, 117mins. Cyborg (1989) Albert Pyun, Cannon Group, USA, 85mins. Cyborg 2 (1993) Michael Schroeder, Trimark Pictures, USA, 99mins Gamer, (2009) Mark Neveldine & Brian Taylor, UK, Lakeshore Productions, 95mins. Kôkaku kidôtai (Ghost in the shell) (1995) Mamoru Oshii, Bandai Visual Co. Japan / UK, 83mins. Kurt Vonnegut’s Harrison Bergeron (1995) Bruce Pittman, USA. Atlantis films Ltd., 99mins. Kurt Vonnegut’s Harrison Bergeron 2081 (2009) Chandler Tuttle, USA, Moving Picture Institute, 25mins. Star Trek: First Contact (1996) Jonathan Frakes, Paramount Pictures, USA, 111mins. Nineteen Eighty – Four (1984) Michael Radford, UK, Umbrella Rosenblum Films Productions 113mins. The Island, (2005) Michael Bay, USA, Dreamworks, Warner Bros., 136mins. 2001: A Space Odysessy, (1968) Stanley Kubrick, Metro-Goldwyn-Maye, 141mins.
Journals Burraston, D. (2007) Fundamental Insights On Complex Systems Arising From Generative Arts Practice. Leonardo. Vol. 40, Issue 4, pp 372-373. Harle, R. (2008) YLEM Journal: Artists using Science & Technology. Leonardo. Vol. 41, Issue 5, p.531. Leggett, M. (2007) Generative Systems & the Cinematic Spaces of Film & Installation Art. Leonardo. Vol. 40, Issue 2, pp.123-128.
Margaret A. Boden & Ernest A. Edmonds (2009): What is generative art?, Digital Creativity2009, Vol. 20, Nos. 1–2, pp. 21–46. Mcknown, R. (2005) Fort Andross/Brunswick: Amy Stacey Curtis: Third Solo-Biennial: Change. Art New England. Vol. 26, no.2, p.22. Monro, G. (2009) Emergence & Generative Art. Leonardo. Vol. 42, Issue 5, pp.476-477. Schedel, Mg., & Rootberg, A. (2009) Generative Techniques in Hypermedia Performance. Routledge. Vol. 28, No.1, pp.57-73. Stasukevich, I. (2008) Crossing Over in Viola’s “Ocean Without a Shore.” American Cinematography. Vol. 89, no.3, p.10, 12, 14. Radio Chaos (Documentary) (1992) Steward, I. Radio BBC Radio 4. Television Programs Odyssey 5, Complete Series (2006) Adam J. Shully, David Carson & Jim Michaels, USA, Sony Pictures, DVD, 935mins. The Prisoner,17 episodes, (1967-1968) Patrick McGoohan, et al, TV Series, ITV. British. 48mins (each episode). The Secret Life of Chaos (Documentary) (2010) Stacey, N. TV. BBC Four, 9 Dec. 19.30 hrs. 60mins. Websites & Internet Sources Extropy Institute [Accessed 2nd June 2012] http://www.extropy.org/directors.htm
Galenter, P. What is Generative Art? Complexity Theory as a Context for Art Theory. [internet] http://philipgalanter.com/downloads/ga2003_what_is_genart.pdf [Accessed on 2nd Janurary 2011. Galenter, P. (2009) The Generative Bodies Series. [Internet] http://philipgalanter.com/art/generativebodies/a/ [Accessed on 2nd January 2011]. High Shoulder Productions (2006) Will Wright & Brian Eno “Playing With Time” [Internet] http://fora.tv/2006/06/26/Will_Wright_and_Brian_Eno [Accessed 15th December 2010].
kimsooja (2006) http://www.kimsooja.com/projects/Crystal_Palace_2006.html [Accessed 22nd January 2012]. Manzoni, P. (2003) http://www.pieromanzoni.org/EN/index_en.htm [ Accessed 14th January 2012] More, Max. Beyond the Machine [Accessed 2nd June 2012] More, Max. On becoming Posthuman [Accessed 2nd June 2012] http://www.maxmore.com/machine.htm http://www.maxmore.com/becoming.htm
Nechvatal, J. (2002) Computer Virus 2.0. [Internet] http://www.nechvatal.net/ [Assessed on 22nd November 2011]. Sterling, B. (2008) Design Processes Rather than Art. [Internet]. Available from: http://www.fabrica.it/workshops/sterling_videos.html [Accessed 20th November 2010]. Shardcore,(2011) The Consciousness Engine [Internet] http://fortunecatproductions.com/? page_id=32 [Assessed 6th June 2011]. Ted Talk: Theo Jansen create new creatures http://www.ted.com/talks/theo_jansen_creates_new_creatures.html The Tate Collection Piero Manzoni (2000) http://www.tate.org.uk/servlet/ViewWork? cgroupid=999999961&workid=26872&searchid=9951 [Assessed 14th January 2012]. The Alan Turing Internet Scrapbook - The Turing Test, 1950 http://www.turing.org.uk/turing/scrapbook/test.html [Accessed 4th June 2012]. Viola, B. (1999) Exhibition Feature. [Internet] Available from: http://www.sfmoma.org/media/features/viola/index.html [Accessed 20th November 2010].
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