Final Process Blog

For my digital arts final I decided to create a video. I wanted to try something we hadn’t done before, learn the ins an outs of Adobe Premiere and get more use out of my camera. This year I was introduced to Maya Deren’s short films and I fell in love with her style. My hopes for this video were to emulate her filming technique and create a short psycho-drama in silent black and white.

I had been thinking about this video for a few weeks prior to the final assignment reveal and had a sketchy idea of what I wanted. Seeing as though I had never made a video before I decided it would be best to collect some footage, put it together and look at what I thought was missing from my initial shoot. My first day for filming was April 21st. I went out around noon and drove to two different spots by the river, I was looking for shots of the beach, rocks, and currents. Breanna came with me to help and play a role in my video. I hadn’t scoped out these locations before we went but I had an idea of what the terrain was like and I just let her know what I wanted her to do for the shots while we were there. This took about 4 hours of my day, driving between the two locations and just collecting as much footage as I could.

April 23rd was the first day I got to have class with my footage. I had no idea how to use the video editing software and spent the entire class listening to Jason and Andrew’s advice on Adobe Premiere and testing out video effects and transitions. Most of my footage was lined up on the timeline and I had applied some effects and transitions by about 3:00 that afternoon.

April 25th was the last day I had class time to work on my video. I finalized my edits but what I had didn’t quite convey the idea I originally had for this video. What I had collected was a lot of nature shots and not a lot of action or narrative. I was at about 3:00 minuets of video time yet there was no drama or narrative.

I spent the next few nights watching At Land by Maya Deren and thinking about scenes from movies and what my video was missing. I finally organized a list of shots I wanted to get with Breanna, including additional footage encase I ran into any problems shooting what I originally wanted. Sunday April 28th we got some shots indoors and then went out to a new location by the River and filmed for another 2 hours. This time I got more close up shots and focused on Breanna rather than the setting I was in. When we finally got back to the studio and had gone over my footage I realized how little of the original shots I had taken were actually going to end up in my final. It was a bit of a bummer to loose all that time but I think it was necessary in learning what I really wanted from this video.

I spent the next few days and a span of about 4 hours cutting and pasting together the shots I had. I spent a lot of time meticulously trying to get the timing right between each shot. I did some color correction and light balance to try and diminish the terrible light adjusting effect my camera does and to get a more intense black and white. I added the title shot, end, and a thank you credit to Breanna. Overall the video came out to be just a few seconds short of 3:00 minuets but I got what I wanted from it. Sound was something I had considered to add to this but after watching it for a few times I felt silent worked better. I’m really quite happy with what I achieved and would like to revisit this type of thing again in the future. Hopefully adding more scenes to this video and perfecting video editing.

Chris Milk

Chris Milks is an American artist producing videos, photographs, and the latest interactive projects with technology. Milk’s career first began directing music videos an commercials. He has worked with many famous artists such as Kanye West, Arcade Fire and Beck to name a few. As his career as an artist progressed Milk became interested in enhancing emotional human storytelling. He uses many platforms, such as music, video, and sometimes installations, to achieve an intensely personal experience that can be meaningful to everyone. In recent years he has continued the pursuit of interactive technology and its advancements, he is the CEO of a virtual reality production company.

This is The Wilderness Downtown, an interactive film by Chris Milk. The site asks for your childhood address, it takes a second to load but then this window pops up and a song starts. You see the guy running and an aerial view of your old neighborhood. As the film progresses more windows from different angles pop up and the view gets closer to the house, street level, like you’re standing just outside. It will have 3 or 4 windows open at a time with little fragments of the video and maps views of the neighborhood. The end of the film asks you to write a letter to your younger self. This is where the nostalgia really affected me. I could have put the address for the house that I live in now because I did spend a good amount of my childhood there. However I decided to put in the address I had before that in. I had an idea what was going to happen when I put my address in but it was really more intense than I thought. Seeing your old house where you don’t live anymore brought back was really heartwarming, the letter intensifies that feeling, thinking about things you would have told your younger self now that you’re older. Plus Arcade Fire is great, so good choice on the song.
“The Treachery of Sanctuary”
This interactive exhibit, started in 2012, as a story of birth, death, and transfiguration told through the viewer’s silhouetted projections on the screens. The first panel Milk says is the birth of an idea, the body deteriorates into a slew of birds that fly away. Representing the endless potential it has as the mind is taken over by the idea. The second represents death, and from what I can see the birds are attacking the figures. Milk said this is to show the conflict and the problems that come with an artistic idea. The last panel I think is the most intense. Your body evolves these wings that you can manipulate and wave. Feeling yourself be the projected image that you have control over seems very satisfying.
“Johnny Cash Project”
Over 250,000 people participated in the recreation of Johnny Cash’s last music video. A bunch of frames were distributed that each person modified or edited in some way and then Milk combined them into the musician’s last music video. This video allowed a huge number of people from a wide range of countries to collaborate together to remember the artist.

Wafaa Bilal

Wafaa Bilal is an Iraqi-American Artist who focuses on relationships involving tensions and conflict within international politics. Bilal is originally from Najaf, Iraq and he grew up during Saddam Hussein’s reign which he says is a major influence to his work. He refers to the U.S, where he fled to from Iraq, as the “comfort zone” and his consciousness in Iraq as the “conflict zone”. These two world’s realities are confronted in Bilal’s work. His best known work is “Domestic Tension” completed in 2007 which address the Iraq War.

This video contains a few clips of Bilal’s “Domestic Tension”, a performance piece that involved Bilal confined to a small room for 30 days where a paintball gun remotely controlled by internet viewers could fire at him whenever. It was said the gun was fired over 6,000 times. Bilal also talks about the deaths of his brother and father and how their passing inspired him to create this work. I think this was a brilliant work. It really shows how badly war and dangerous areas can disrupt a life. He’s right to refer to the U.S as a “comfort zone”. I’m curious about the people who decided to fire at him and what they must have been thinking.
“The Ashes Series”
These were a beautiful set of photographs that seem to have juxtapose their tranquil appearance with the evident destruction that occurred. The lighting in this work is really what solidifies the grandeur of destruction to me. The light seems to creep into these spaces and just give a glimpse into a room or building that would otherwise have been in darkness and forgotten.
“Lovely Pink”
This work is a set of reproduced well known sculptures that have been engulfed with black enamel paint. We can understand Bilal’s reason for this in his short statement about the work but to a viewer who is unfamiliar with his passage is met with a very intense statement. Black is a very powerful color and to cloak something that was known for its brighter stance is powerful just by itself. Unerstanding Bilal’s thought on this provides an even more intense narrative, which is even left to the subjectivity of the viewer.

Lauren McCarthy

Lauren McCarthy is an American artist, computer programmer and creator of p5.js. Her web page headlines with “I really want to know you, but sometimes it’s difficult, so I am doing what I can to hack my way in. Will you join me in an uneasy moment that might let us be easier?” Her works seem to question the concepts of privacy and intimacy through human interaction. These internal desires for attention and interaction are answered through he performance pieces that stalk and monitor her subjects. She also questions human-machine and human-human relationships, substituting one in the role of the other.

I found this video slightly unsettling. I’m not entirely sure if this app exists but if it does I’m happy for its users that they have found a way to fulfill their secret social desires. Its a social media platform that allows individuals to request forms of interaction that they may have been gawked at if voice allowed. This is another of McCarthey’s human-machine machine-human relationships. Why through the anonymity of an app do people seem to fulfill the social needs of others? What barrier is placed or removed under these technological circumstances.
Watching this almost had a ‘Black Mirror’ sensation to it. McCarthey’s performance as a human version of a smart home intelligence makes apparent, to me, this boundary of privacy and personal space. What is it that I find so unsettling about 24/7 monitoring from a real human? I’m not entirely sure but I bet it has something to do with the pressure and individual places on themselves in fear of judgement or external expression. I think privacy is important and McCarthy touches on these topics of ‘intimacy vs privacy’ . Even for me Amazon Alexa is too much in my personal space and I would rather do without.
Oh my god, I can not express the amount of discomfort I experienced at the idea of this project. I was so uncomfortable by the topic my feelings changed into ones of humor from the irony in this. I understand this questions another relationship between subjective motives that create the separation between attention and surveillance and the video has a bright and bubbly atmosphere to it to make it seem like why is the connotation to surveillance somewhat negative. Yet the unknown is a concept I associate with fear and anxiety and to think I was being watched unknowingly, frightening.

Jason Salavon

Jason Salavon is an American born artist whose work focuses on the reconfiguration of mass communal material to create ‘new perspectives on the familiar’, and explores the relationship between the part and the whole. His work functions in the realm of photographs, video installations, and even real-time software.

“Rembrandt” 2010
Salavon’s ‘portraits’ of the great baroque painters was absolutely enchanting to see. Created by a simple mean-averaging of high-quality reproductions each individual piece is reminiscent of the artist in a mist of abstraction. I am a huge fan of artists like Velazquez and Rembrandt and I enjoy seeing contemporary artists take inspiration and pay homage to these great men.
“One Week Skin (CNN-Hs) ” 2012
Though I am not really sure how this composition came to be, I think it was through a software processes he designed himself, I find this abstract print of dissonance similar to works by Jackson Pollock, especially ‘Lavender Mist’ (1950). There are familiar components in the geometry and color of this work that are similar to the static noise on a bugged-out TV. However, just like with Pollock there are ever changing smaller compositions within the whole that keeps me entertained more than a screen could.

“Baroque Painting” 2010
Seeing Salavon take influence from artist of the baroque art movement is exciting to me as I am currently taking an art history class on Northern Baroque Art and these artists and styles are topical to me. Appreciation and knowledge of art history leads us to see the grand importance of our predecessors in the creation of contemporary art. Here Salavon has quantizied a 1024-color pallete from the famous Dutch artist Peter Paul Rubens. This takes an almost analytical approach in the influence from Rubens and organizes it with technical precision. Yet the (I think computer based?) method renders a beautifully condensed abstract representation of a recognizable color trend from that period.

Takeshi Murata

Takeshi Murata works with post-internet concepts such as glitch art, which takes digital errors and uses them as an aesthetic, he is best known for his short-animated videos. His recent works involves digital still lifes, a traditional practice but his interpretations again involve modern technology.  He has multiple works in permanent collections at museums such as the Hirshhorn and Smithsonian American Art.

“OM Rider”
I am incredibly impressed by Murata’s skills in this short video, I was unable to find the whole 12 minuet video but from this short clip I can already see his talent using CGI and overall emotion evoking content. I know hair textures are incredibly difficult and his rendering of the fur and the old man’s hair show delicate attention to detail while the overall video can be described as minimalist in the amount of subject matter. Content on the the other hand goes in a completely different direction the intense drama and incredible direction Murata takes in his video give it a ominous and eerie narrative while , from what I watched, was a silent movie.
“Squirt Gun”
This is one of the still images Murata has created. Along side the other stills I’m finding themes relating to American Culture and anti-nationalism. This piece interest me the most out of this series. Its a water gun or squirt gun meant to look like a particular kind of real gun. Even though I find it pretty obvious and cliche I think the overall execution is well done, the clear blue plastic is incredibly detailed to show a model hand gun and all of its details while also creating a transparent plastic texture.
“Time-warp Experiment”

Unfortunately the video link is to a private account and I couldn’t link the one I watched. Here Murata slows down the into for the late 1970’s TV show “Three is Company”. The vibes I get from this work are similar to watching “OM Rider” even though its basically the intro to a sitcom. Murata is able to manipulate emotions by slowing the speed of this clip and adding music. The beginning scene with the man on the bike where he falls was the most interesting piece of this work, where its noticeable the fall is glitched. Overall the piece is slightly unsettling but familiar at the same time.

Rafael Lozano-Hemmer

Lozano-Hemmer studied physical chemistry in undergrad before he became known for his electronic art work. His work seems to share the love of science and nature that is appreciated in the world of chemistry; that larger objects and things are composed of smaller just as important pieces. Lozano-Hemmer’s art tends to be interactive digital exhibits, ranging from light shows to large projections that focus on the interaction the viewers have with the art, in an almost theatrical sense.

“Autopoesis”, 2010.
Autopoesis comes from the Greek words auto for self and poesis for creation or production. So here there word it reflected onto the forehead of the viewer via an algorithm so that it treats the face like a screen, adjusting itself as the viewer turns their head. I find this both a positive feeling piece that refers to the programs for the projection is both self adjusting to maintain its function and the almost label like effect it has can be interpreted as a reminder that humans are independent and self sufficient living creatures.
“Bifurcation”. 2015
This work is a branch of wood, almost Y-shaped it hangs from a transparent thread and ran from a motor. The branch cats a “shadow” via a projection on the wall behind, the shadow is the image of the entire tree from which the branch was collected. The projection sways and turns with the motions of the branch. It is also interactive and the viewer can tap or move the branch and the projection responds. I think the title is fitting for both the piece of branch and its almost perfect split and the split between the branch from the tree. Sometimes without the larger image we forget where things come from.
“Sandbox”. 2018
This is a large projection onto a section of sand from a smaller sandbox where people can play with the sand and some toys. This piece really highlights Lozano’s interest in human interaction as the projected images from the sandbox are an almost surreal interaction between the human figures and the larger than life images of hands and faces on the sand. I found this piece kind of funny, in the video I watched there are people jumping and running being chased by these enormous hands or the hands getting danced on. Both parties found ways to interact with one another to create this almost second world and overall it just looks like a fun time.