I recently watched David Hockney’s Secret Knowledge which was recommended to me by Jonathan a few weeks back. An eye opening documentary that detail how perspective and in particular how mirrors were used in the creation of paintings around the time of the Renaissance. The artist tended to keep these methods a secret from wider knowledge, probably to keep other from stealing their techniques. It was interesting to see how the paintings in question were quite small, usually about 30cm, but had so much detail to them as well as being mathematically accurate. This Van Eyck below is a good example:

Watching this was good as it got me thinking again about perspective which I mentioned in the outline of project towards the beginning. I never finished reading the virtual window book but may try to complete it to see how perspective has been developed with digital technologies.


Silence (3)

Took this short video of a room and increased the sound level towards the end, would have rather the sound increased gradually but I was only messing around. Try to give it the look of Darren Almond work, with an empty room and quite liked how the sound of clock was picked up on the camera speakers.

Douglas Gordon

I’ve been a big fan of Douglas Gordon and I particularly like how he appropriates old footage and re works it, would like to adopt a style like his for any video work I do

Steve McQueen

The video work of Steve McQueen is also quite inspirational and something I would consider undertaking for this project. I am quite skeptical about video art in general, I think a lot of it is quite shit and boring but there something about his stuff like I quite enjoy. I particularly like his one about Venice, got some pictures and text about it:

The fantastical art experience known as the Venice Biennale opened to the public yesterday and dogs are already making a statement.  Specifically the greyhounds that appear in British artist Steve McQueen’s film Giardini, which is actually two films screened side by side showing images of Venice’s public gardens.  This is not the Venice of summer and the art world.  It is the haunted, quiet Venice of February.

There is not exactly a story, although there are two men who interact in a way that hints at a narrative.  But according to Charlotte Higgins of The Guardian:

The most arresting characters are the dogs who appear like a leitmotif through the work. “They are racing greyhounds that would otherwise be shot but are looked after by a charity,” said McQueen. The point is that they ought to be dead – and are thus a kind of ghostly presence, he added.

How technology changed art; photography and motion

Been reading an interesting book called Practices of Looking: An Introduction to Visual Culture by Marita Sturken and Lisa Cartwright, which has got me thinking more about how technology has changed art. In this post I hope to expand some of the basic points I touched on in my first post about it, starting with photography and motion. One point I made:

Technologies such as photography and video provided artists with the ability to capture events and moments in time that would have otherwise have been depicted through painting or sculpture.

I still think this point is valid when discussing the development of photography and film in relation to the arts, however Sturken and Cartwright bring up some interesting points in relation to how these technologies rose to the level of popularity they have, taking them as a whole and not simply within an artistic field. When discussing the invention and influence of photography, the idea that these technologies have changed the way we view the world around us is briefly discussed, however the emphasise shifts onto society’s role in the development of these technologies. In this quote Sturken and Cartwright highlight the importance of technologies such as photography have had on society however try to make the reader question the influence of society on the development of photography:

It can be argued that technologies have some agency – that is, that they have important and influential effects on society but that they are also themselves the product of their particular societies and times and the ideologies that exist within them and within which they are used. (pg.184)

Society’s need for the introduction is also discussed, fields such as science and medicines need for documentation being examples, the emphasis focusing on the ‘need’ of society to possess these technologies as progression continues:

Photography emerged as a popular visual technology because it fit certain emerging social concepts and needs of the time – modern ideas about the individual in the context of growing urban centers, modern concepts of technological progress and mechanisation, modern concepts of time and spontaneity, the desire to contain nature and landscape in mechanically reproducible form, and the rise of bureaucratic institutions in the modern state interested in documentation and classification. (pg.185)

To take an early example of photography I have included a motion study created by Eadweard Muybridge:

This example is typical of Muybridge’s work, usualy depicting the nude figure in a range of different situation or performing various tasks. For these studies it could be argued that Muybridge was interested in the study of the human form in its natural state and could have merit within medical or scientific fields (The use of the body in these photographs could fit in well with my original research idea.) These works also bring up the idea of motion within photography or the idea of documenting a process. Sturken and Cartwright make reference to an experiment undertaken by Muybridge to investigate whether or not a horse, whilst running, will have all four legs off the ground at any given time, the experiment proving that the horse would for an instant be like this. The idea of documenting motion can be found not only in early photographs such as this, but also within paintings such as Marcel Duchamp’s Nude Descending a Staircase no.2:

Following on from this the idea of the Zoetrope is discussed, an invention used by magicians and travelling performers that grouped a series of images together to give the impression of movement. These would consist of inner drums and a light source, each individual would look through a peephole to see the images moving in a rapid sequences in a circular motion, Muybridge’s horse images serve as a good example of this:

The development of the projector can be seen as a key event in the development of this technology, for these previous examples of motion within the Zoetropes were designed for the individual, this changed with introduction of the projector, allowing groups of people to view films presented on celluloid. I will research more into this as I haven’t done much reading on it and theres no point writing about it just now.

In relation to the creation of art I think a lot of this information has improved my understanding of how art objects developed to incorporate these technologies. The thing that stand out the most for me is the need to document motion, or to capture a moment in time that really couldn’t be expressed with mediums like painting. I think it’s relevant to include my second bullet point in my original post about technology and art:

Documentation of projects could be argued to be one of the fundamental elements of performance art and other works that involve real time aspects, without them would anyone have witnessed performances or developed an interest in this method of creating art. The documentation allowed viewer to witness the works by bringing them into the gallery environment regardless of where they were created.

Even though artistic groups like performance and video art where not present at this time, the development of photography and cinema is a crucial aspect to the working methods of these movements and beyond into the world of 21st century art. Again to sum up, for me the ability to document motion has been the fundamental element of how these technologies have changed the course of art practice. I’ll finish with this quote about the continuous development of these technologies

It is important to remember that each new form of visual technology builds on the code of previous technologies but that each constitutes as well a kind of epistemic shift.

Digital technology as a tool (First mind map)

First mind map on several basic aspects of how digital technology can be used in the creation of art objects.

Digital technology as a tool:

Painting – the use of programmes such as Photoshop, Illustrator, Artrage etc, as a key tool in the creation of templates for artworks.

3 way to incorporate software into painting; the first to solely programmes with other hardware such as graphic tablets to create digital paintings which the artist is able to print and display on canvas.

The second to partly create templates, again printed out on canvas whilst allowing the artist to paint certain sections or paint on top of what they have created in the computer. Bordering the gap between the real and the digital creating ‘tradigital’ works.

The third to create the image within the computer and transfer it to canvas or another surface by traditional means such as paint on canvas.

Sculpture – again like digital painting the use of software programmes such as Maya, 3Dstudio max and Zbrush are potential tools for the creation of digital sculpture.

To create a template within a programme allowing all the techniques of digital manipulation and create it with real materials.

To create sculptural objects virtually and have them 3D printed.

Video – Digital manipulation of video pieces through programmes such as Final Cut Pro, Adobe Premiere and After Effects.

The camera in itself can viewed as a piece of digital technology, likewise with still cameras.

Performance – The use of the camera and editing software to document performances

Live performances, VJ works using software such as Modul8 incorporate the manipulation of video using both software and hardware to create performances (mainly accompanied by music)

Performances using the Internet as a medium for reach a wider audience.

Installation – incorporation of video, sculpture etc into a gallery environment

Digital hardware would play a prominent role in installation art

Senses Reconnected

The idea:

  • The project sought to explore the cross over between the real and the virtual in relation to our senses.
  • The digital terminals explored how our senses can be manipulation and distorted with the use of digital technologies

The concept took the form of a large scale digital installation made up of a main structure with 3 terminals that investigate the manipulation of our senses in the digital realm, with 3 other cylinder terminals that explore the senses of the ‘real’ world.

Viewers were asked to stand at the 3 terminals and given the opportunity of receiving outputs or inputing information that was viewed on the other terminals