Archive for April, 2010

Lynn Hershman: Pay No Attention to The Man Behind the Curtain

Lynn Hershman is a revolutionary in her field.  She has been practicing art formally since 1963.  She received a Master of Fine Arts degree in 1972 from San Francisco State University.  Hershman practices a wide variety of mediums, ranging from sculpture to painting to film to interactive installation work.  She is one of the first women to use digital media as a means of communication and be truly successful with it.  Even though her work is usually described as having feminist motivations, it seems to cover a broader scope than that.  She is interested in the changes society is facing with technology, and its interactions with technology.  Hershman then uses those observations, and constructs art with that very same technology.  She then channels that energy into a focus on female sexuality, female relationships, and women in technology.  These themes are universal however, and any person who interacts with any sort of technology can relate or appreciate the work.

Hershman’s Phantom Limb Series (1988-Present) is a series of photographs that truly embodies her ultimate theme and style.  They depict body parts of women, usually long sensual legs, attached to some sort of technology.  One is a torso and legs attached to a TV with only a close up of a face showing, called TV Legs (1990).  It is impossible to tell who the face on the screen belongs to.  Hershman is depicting life in a surveillance society.  No single person is an individual, but especially women.  Women are only valued for pieces of their body; who they are as people is of no concern in this image saturated world.  People who are always being watched transform from individuals to culprits, or just shadows.  No person watching bothers to comprehend that the people on screen have families, friends and a life.  Women are even more dehumanized, only their body parts are important and are seen as material possessions.  People own a TV, they also own those images on screen, including beautiful women.

Lynn Hershman is now printing in digital mediums, but many of her original prints were silver gelatin prints.  She uses the technology of the TV and camera to make these images digital media.  She can project whatever image she wants onto the TV and thus manipulates the response of her viewers.  If the TV projected an eye, it would convey a different meaning than if it projected a pair of lips.

Even though Hershman’s work is geared towards a feminist message, it is a universal message nonetheless.  Men and their image are also affected by technology, and how they see women is affected by technology.  We as a society are always watching each other, studying and judging each other.  Lynn Hershman merely points out what it does to us with subtlety.

Sources:

http://www.fondation-langlois.org/html/e/page.php?NumPage=168

http://www.lynnhershman.com/

What a way to start the week

I am currently in the hospital, and I am not sure if I will be able to attend class on Monday.  I am hoping for Wednesday, but who knows.  I passed out at work twice (I work in the hospital haha, so it was a good place to be ill).  It’s kind of gruesome what is going on, but  I have lost a lot of blood.  I will find out tomorrow when the doctors run their tests.  Maybe this will give me some good time to study and work on my animation project.

Animation Variation Aggravation

Today was definitely a trying day on my patience.  I got to class and the file I worked on all last class would not open properly.  I took 2 1/2 hours loading photos into layers with my recorded action.  That sucked in the first place.  I was dreading doing it all over again.  Now I am not a fan of my project.  It is a neat idea, but I want it to encompass too much in 10 seconds.  It’s too simple.  I am at a 91% in the class, and I need my last project to be absolutely stellar.  So I will finish this animation, and probably start on a few more.  I really need something that is mind-blowing at the very least.  If anyone reads this, have any ideas?  Then again, every single one of my art projects goes through a love hate relationship.  First I love my idea.  Then I get so frustrated I hate it and want to burn it (unfortunately, these projects would require burning my computer too…) then by the end I love my project and I am happy that I went through the frustration.  I hope I get to that point soon with this one.

Lost and Found

I just found this stop animation online and thought it was awesome!  The time it would take to do something like this is mind boggling.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qBjLW5_dGAM

Photos Today

Today I am going to work on my animation project.  I am using my neighbors and doing stop motion stuff with my digital camera.  It is a simple concept, but the way I want to put it together is very complicated.  I do not doubt that by the end of the day, I will have nearly 300 photos.  I want show Aaron and Angela moving through a morning routine as they pass in and out of the same room.  I want to find a way to set it to music, I think it will have more of an impact, we shall see.

Long Distance Calling: Reading Response #3

Telepresence, telematics, and telerobotics are a new and unique concept in which artists take the challenge of humans being physically separated from each other and putting them in the same space.  Telepresence is best embodied as the Internet.  It takes millions of people and connects them, allowing people to be in many different places all at once (155).  A person today in Japan can have telepresence in New York City through the Internet.  Telerobotics is where people control something physical from a long distance.

Telepresence and telerobotics have both many positive and negative affects associated with them.  First of all, it allows people from all over the world to participate in something they otherwise might not be able to.  Telegarden by Ken Goldberg and Joseph Santarromana is a good example of this (156).  These two men put together an interactive garden in which people can plant seeds, water the garden, and take care of it.  This brings people from all over the world together for a common and positive goal.  They have to work together to keep the garden flourishing.  They do this through telerobotics in which the users control a robotic arm that does the work in the garden.

However, there can be less desirable outcomes from the use of telepresence and telerobotics.  It could potentially detract from peoples desire to get out and interact with the real, physical world.  PRoP by Eric Paulos and John Canny is an example of this.  A robot controlled by users on the web can explore a space, interact with people and examine objects (159).  If enough of these projects happen, no one will ever have to leave their house to explore a new world, they only have to sit at their computer.  This not only promotes laziness, but it takes away from the necessary visceral experiences that humans need in order to fully connect with each other.  Another gross misuse of this technology is seen within the military.  There has been a lot of talk about using drones more within warfare.  This protects soldiers, but it takes the entire human element out of warfare.  It is easy to kill thousands of people with bombs when it is done through a machine, instead of a person actually having to commit the deed.

Telerobotics and telepresence seems to be connecting the world at a fast rate, but it is also strangely alienating humans from each other and their environments.  In the form of art, it seems to allow viewers to become a part of the piece in a new way.  It is unique, because it is not virtual reality, since people are interacting with very real places, yet they are not physically present.  It brings people into a new reality that if they chose to, they could actually travel to that location and see it for themselves.   Then there are people who do not control the space, but are physically present to witness the changes long distance users are making.  This also connects people on a new level.  They know that someone, somewhere, is affecting the world around them.

This was personally fascinating because I have participated in telerobotics and telepresence.  I worked at Meininger Art Supply for two years, and would frequent their moveable web cam.  I could watch my co-workers, customers and product displays.  It was almost comforting to see the store and take pride in the place I worked.  Now this isn’t a piece of art, but I also like the concept of working together internationally for a common goal.  That is why I was so drawn to Telegarden.  There are community gardens through out neighborhoods in America, and everyone has to work together to keep it healthy and thriving.  This project just takes that concept to a whole new level from local community to international community.  It may be an altruistic notion that people can work together for the common good, but it was a realized notion through Telegarden.

Animate Me

I have no idea of what I am going to do for my animation project.  There are so many things I could do.  So I have been looking up animation and visual effects all day.  Here are some of the neat videos I found:

Pixels and Cubes

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SxX_bVluflo

Ricardo Claymation

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=h_6Ka8in35c

Kindle Commercial with person on the ground

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Mj5Jr0QWNMA

Cube Templates

I am so CUBED

I am so happy with the response I got about my cubes in the critique.  I worked very hard on this project, with some serious issues in the end, which I resolved.  The extra work was worth it.  I like that my pieces can stand alone, but all connect.  However, I am also glad to be done with the project.  If I had copy to new layer, transform, and rotate one more time from side 5 to other 5, I was going to have a meltdown!

I am very excited to see what is coming next for this class.  I can’t imagine what else we can do.  I look forward to learning some new techniques, maybe on how to make things look more realistic and less cut and paste.  Or how to do basic photography touch ups.  No matter what we learn, I know it will be useful!

And the…

ants go marching one by one, hurrah, hurrah
The ants go marching one by one, hurrah, hurrah
The ants go marching one by one,
The little one stops to suck his thumb
And they all go marching down around the town
BOOM! BOOM! BOOM!

I am almost finished with the cube project.  So far the finished two match up PERFECTLY!  I jumped up and down when I found the matching sides.  It was like I had discovered a new planet, I was so very excited.  The cubes should go in order from Ants in their ant hill, to the grassy ground, to the picnic blanket.  They are on a mission and that mission is food.  They can all stand alone, but together makes them a master piece!  I am looking forward to the critique tomorrow, but  I still have a ways to go before I am satisfied with the final project.  I have spent at least 20 hours this past week outside of class making these cubes.  Each ant is an individual layer.  I counted at one point and had 102 layers going at once.  I am surprised my computer didn’t implode on itself.

I will post the final templates when I am done.  It might be fun to print other peoples cubes and assemble them to get a neat cube collection going!

As a side note, working with the ants makes me noticeably itchy!  I always feel like little bugs are crawling on me.  Gross.  Next time I will pick something less creepy crawly.