Mid-Point Review – Feedback 19032015

Tuesday was great. I learnt a lot about everyone’s process and styles, especially those online, as we don’t get to see the inner workings as much as we do here in London. It was interesting and eye-opening to see those people working in their own environments, and there’s some very interesting work going on. The discussions throughout the day were very meaningful at points, and a lot less negative, and critical than I was expecting. No one wants to be rude, or maybe you do, but no one seemed to take that baton, which I think is probably for the best. The discussions that did arise I can imagine were helpful for everyone when questioning concept and execution. I certainly felt so.

Thank you all for the feedback, I was very interested to hear everyone’s opinions on my research so far. Below are the notes I took during the discussion, and I will take these on to further question and investigate my topic. 

– Fractal Patterning

– There’s many possibilities of how this movement of information can be reflected. Not necessarily linear. What is the real movement these signals are making?

– How can I use these linear patterns in reactive installations / paintings.

– Internet – information moves from server to server around the world. Vast amount of connections. Linear? Radial?

– Although the internet does create opportunities for vanity. Online identity manipulation is a tale of two extremes and therefore you also get the complete opposite: anonymity, and complete dissociation with real identity.

– Visual connections to the Constructivists / Futurists / Modernists.

– Programmable lasers for Arduino. Could be interesting in representing these lines, (though this could be very far down the line, potentially post-MA, though all cards are on the table).

Below are the Skype comments I received from the Online students: 

[17/03/2015 15:05:50] Jonathan Kearney: thanks — [17/03/2015 15:06:22] Jonathan Kearney: Charles next (then just 2 more who work collaboratively so in effect just 2 more) [17/03/2015 15:06:34] Pascale Lemelin: the impossible is probably in our heads then [17/03/2015 15:06:51] Jonathan Kearney: Charles vidoe here https://charlesharropgriffiths.wordpress.com/ [17/03/2015 15:07:17] Yvonne Opalinski: Yes, Pascale –must be [17/03/2015 15:08:51] Jonathan Kearney: like Jason if any of you need to leave please do, I expect we will be another 20-25 minutes until we finish [17/03/2015 15:09:47] Peter Mansell: synthetic voice and jazzy 1930s music – interesting contrats [17/03/2015 15:09:54] Jonathan Kearney: also the video from the studio is being recorded and should be available soon after the session so you can listen again to the discussion about your work — along with the typed discussion [17/03/2015 15:10:08] Peter Mansell: 🙂 [17/03/2015 15:10:39] Rhiannon Evans: Is there a relationship between the soundtrack and the conent of the video? [17/03/2015 15:10:42] Jonathan Kearney: we are still watching Charles’ video right now [17/03/2015 15:12:12] Rhiannon Evans: Reminds me of Constructivist architecture. if so there is? [17/03/2015 15:16:01] Yvonne Opalinski: The repainting appears to successfully translate Charles’ digital work – agree with the Constructivist and also the Modernists [17/03/2015 15:16:50] Jonathan Kearney: it was brave to cover in white a paint again! [17/03/2015 15:17:26] Yvonne Opalinski: Absolutely [17/03/2015 15:18:13] Peter Mansell: that repainting was v v interesting [17/03/2015 15:18:20] Jonathan Kearney: the 2nd painted version seems stronger though and more ‘forceful’ in its intention — maybe the bravery has given Charles a great confidence? [17/03/2015 15:19:48] Yvonne Opalinski: True, painting is so much more exposing than digital animation [17/03/2015 15:20:34] Jonathan Kearney: Yvonne – yes and you know that!! [17/03/2015 15:21:18] Yvonne Opalinski: (:| [17/03/2015 15:21:35] Rhiannon Evans: fascinated with the Arduino and app work specially the nedessity for someone present…. lots of ideas for participation possible [17/03/2015 15:21:44] Sarah Robinson: A bit like being here on Skype and being there in person 😉

**second ‘Low Residency’ intensive workshop just finished – read about it here: http://www.fineartdigital.org/category/low-residency/ **

Below is the un-edited version of the transcript from my Mid-Point Review (The speech converter didn’t work well with every sentence, I also wrote a little too much for a 5 minute presentation, so much of this is slightly different, though I hope it gives a better impression into what I’ve been up to):

Working Title:  Digital Identity and the Virtual Space Race:

I began the course interested in human anatomy and representing the digital figure. What our online or digital identities could materialise to look like. Given the amount of profiles one person can have, I was interested in duplicating figurative drawings to define this multiplicity of identity. I work first from sketches, load them into Illustrator, vectorise the image, and duplicate the lines. The multiple representations simulate the movement of your digital identity and specifically Its ability to never stay in one place. Using these flat, idealistic representations of the body, I want to grasp the vanity and identity manipulation made possible through online profiles. I made a small representation of the Mechanomorph, to integrate these two sides of identity. I’ll continue to use this idea in my research.

Alongside representing digital identity, I’ve been investigating the space these figures emerge. This year may see virtual reality hit the consumer market. If this was to happen, how will social media, and other residential sites be impacted? What are the implications on art? and specifically, on the gallery? The possibilities for this technology are astounding and not just for gaming. I’ve been investigating digital architecture and its potential to bring new form to the web. If virtual reality were to become a consumer success, how will this affect the user interface and experience for web users. Bear in mind that Facebook owns Oculus Rift, and given the identity we’ve made for ourselves on that site, how can it translate to a virtual reality experience.

Within my own interest in this technology, recent artworks have aimed to capture a representation of the flow of data, in a spatial and sensual environment. I imagine the space to be made up of the live movement of information across the web. These landscapes are started through pen and paper, then turned to vectors in illustrator. The objects are then copied, rotated, reflected and distorted to create even more structure. I’d like to start including images, videos and text to texturise each line. To show the mass movement of media we experience today. So far the outcome has been these mountainous terrains, though I aim to go further with this process, to highlight the complexity of this information abyss.

I continued to focus on these digital landscapes. Using Blender, I animated a more realistic version, though I haven’t managed to include their media textures. The truth is, the outcome could be better described as an enhanced Windows 95 screensaver but maybe thats not bad. Adding Lights and colour to the structures has given it more scope to improve, though I believe including textures of actual media (news videos, memes, articles, screenshots, images, forums, etc) to these lines will solidify this idea that each line represents a different piece of information. I hope to capture the growing complexity of this movement.

I like to draw inspiration from architecture, and I’m particularly interested in the idea of the SmartCity. An interconnected urban setting thats aware of its inhabitants, their actions and interests. It creates personal interaction with everyday infrastructure through sensor technology. This is a terrifying thing to consider, though given the increasing effect many of these technologies are having, it’s not impossible to believe that this could happen. With these thoughts in mind, I aim to incorporate reactive technologies into my work to simulate the expectation many of us now have for everyday life to be in sync with ‘The Digital.’ This has otherwise been described as the IoT (The Internet of Things).

I’m trying to find a balance in my practice. I love to experiment with new processes, and always aim to integrate them into my more practiced process (oil painting, life drawing, etc.) By finding an equilibrium between physical and digital elements, my aim is to reflect the wonders, or in fact the difficulties of their integration. This is as a response to the ever increasing dependence on media, internet services, smartphones, and its surrounding technologies. Is technology’s everyday inclusion for better or for worse?

Recently I’ve been working on a painting entitled ‘The Society of Spectacle.’ In the image, the people below are fixated on their smartphones, missing the dancing spectacle above them. This was an opportunity to describe the effects of digital technology on a modern society. Its painted in oils on canvas, and has undergone quite a transformation. After some weeks working on it, I decided I didn’t like it, painted it white, and started again. However, I was pleased with the figurative aspects, but the surroundings weren’t right. It had to change.

The new version is unfinished, though I believe the complete abstraction of the setting lends itself well to the idea of an over-connected society.

I’ve been putting together an arduino circuit for a project looking into the feeling of discovery. We rarely get to find or share new information online. The snippets of media, or articles are often regurgitated through a vast amount of people before you find it. I want to create this false sense of discovery by including a reactive element to my compositions.

I hope to use this circuit to allow the narrative to reveal itself as the viewer approaches. Either a laser or hand cut out drawings will be sandwiched between two sheets of frosted glass. Behind the second sheet of glass, will be an array of L.E.Ds. These L.E.Ds will be activated by an Ultrasonic sensor (or sensors, potentially even a webcam, or Kinect) embedded in the frame, or in fact, the piece itself, (there are many possibilities.) If there is no viewer in front of the work, the narrative isn’t visible as the sensor isn’t tripped. The experience aims to mimic having a head torch or a lantern in front of you. Alongside this, it aims to re-create the fact that websites and apps don’t exist unless you open them, therefore they have a short physical presence, only activated when the user decides.

I’m new to the Arduino, and making circuits, however I’ve always had a passive fascination in electronics. Coding will never be a strong part of my practice as I don’t have the mathematical mind necessary to make ideas happen. Then again, I’m taking this one step at a time, the video you see shows 3 L.E.Ds fading in and out as I approach it. The next stage is to make 30 do the same thing, then 100, and so on. I don’t believe I’ll be able to go much further during my time on the MA, however, if I do, I would love to create a mural that uses 1000s of LEDs, and a number of different sensors. Each of the LEDs will be independent, and the light will move with the viewer from left to right.

The original idea behind this concept was the importance of community in understanding everything about a situation. The idea that by only reading one perspective, you will never see the full picture. I hope to show this in a literal way, as the narrative of this large mural would only be fully visible if there was a person (or animal, then again, I guess you could just put a load of chairs in front of the sensors) at every section of the painting. On your own, you can only see snippets of the narrative, never the full picture. This idea came to me when thinking about how the oldest cave paintings were discovered. A group of people with lanterns or torches would have explored caves, and if there was only one person, which seems unlikely, he would never have been able to take in the full impression of what he’d found, then again, maybe he had a really great light…..

The one other reason behind this idea, which I believe has less clout, though its interesting to think about is that a web user must initiate content through their interface for it to be there. I want to represent this in a traditional painting format. We all know that every old master’s paintings in the Louvre, the National Gallery, the Met, or just some private collection are visible at any point of the day. If you were to set up a camera in the room, you would see the painting. It comments on the old philosophical question originally thought of by George Berkeley, “If a tree falls in the woods, and no ones there to hear it. Does it make a sound?” Berkeley’s original text, says “But, say you, surely there is nothing easier than for me to imagine trees, for instance, in a park […] and nobody by to perceive them.[1] […] The objects of sense exist only when they are perceived; the trees therefore are in the garden […] no longer than while there is somebody by to perceive them.” (A Treatise Concerning the Principles of Human Knowledge, 1734. section 45.) By adding these reactive sensors, the audience is the reason the narrative is revealed, in the same way, you have to bring up the website you want to see. Though today, obviously we are entirely aware that the websites, and in fact, our identities within them, exist, even if we don’t open it.

Looking ahead, I feel I’ve made some advances with the technology and software I aimed to experiment with this term. Recent projection and LED/Arduino tests have proved successful and I have many ideas on how they can integrate into future projects. In a way I hope to make hybrid works, with processes both young and old, to experiment and question their interaction. This responds to consumerist, digital technology’s increasing interaction with our most exciting, and mundane, everyday experiences, but maybe that has always has been the case when new technology arises. Nonetheless, I hope to investigate it, as others have in the past.

Thank You.

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