Tuesday, December 13, 2016

Agustin Lara
Art 346
December 13, 2016
Lecture Review
Jennifer Garza-Cuen
            Today I was able to attend Jennifer Garza-Cuen’s lecture.  She is a traveler who photographs all the locations she visits.  She tells us that she enjoys what she does which is ultimately the most important thing.  So far she has visited seven countries and four continents.  According to statistics the average American moves nine times and she’s blowing those numbers out of the water.  She was born in Seattle, Washington and her love of travel first showed when she was gifted a globe as a child.  An important question that she asked during her lecture is what is home? What defines home? Is home naturally where we are from or simply where we feel at home?  This question really made me think because I had never really thought about it in that sense.  I call my parents house home because that’s all I’ve ever known yet I feel more at home with my roommates here in Reno.
            Like I said she takes photographs everywhere she goes as a form of documentation and as a way to remember each location she visits and the history that it holds.  One of the first images that she showed us was titled Untitled-Winged Girl Walking Olympia.  What you see is an image of a very young looking girl in a white tank top and blue jeans wearing a pair of wings, she is also barefoot.  She’s walking down a road that seems to lead to nowhere since all she has on either side of here is trees and brush.  The girl in the image seems really small in comparison to everything else in throughout the image.  It makes me get the feeling that this girl like Garza-Cuen doesn’t really know where she is going or where she will end up but either way she’s happy doing what she does. I really enjoyed this image because of the context and imagery it holds.  It becomes more of a narrative and not just a simple image.
            On the topic of simple images, she continued her lecture and eventually showed us images of run down buildings and vacant police stations, which I can honestly say I didn’t enjoy.  Yes one can argue that these rundown buildings can also build a narrative but at this point in time they’re just empty buildings and nothing else.  Not only that but that’s how they were presented to us.  I understand that these images are documentations of her travels but I truly didn’t enjoy them.  Anyone can take an image of a building or of an empty police station however it takes some practice to be able to turn it into a strong narrative.  I don’t want to criticize her ability to photograph because she’s a wonderful photographer and I personally could never end up with an image like hers but I wouldn’t consider it art.  These images don’t evoke emotion, they don’t make me try and look past the simple subjects and can very easily be overlooked. 

            I enjoyed most of the images that she showed us and there were some that I didn’t quite enjoy but nonetheless she is a very interesting individual. Before today I had never met a traveler, I know people that travel places but have a definitive home unlike her, the road is her home and she never knows where she’s going to end up which sounds scary but an experience like that can have some of the best rewards.
Agustin Lara  
Art 346
December 13, 2016
Gallery Review
            Today I was able to got to the Shepard Gallery and see the installation titled FABRICation. Fabrication is an installation that features seven artists that incorporate a textile sensibility through elements of fabric and fabrication. These artists were inspired by a rich array of historical textiles; these complex multi-part constructions are encoded by traditional handicraft to contrast our culture’s rampant media consumption with the redemptive nuance of slow work wrought by hand.  The pieces that I found most interesting were from Susan Iverson and Eric Castellan. Susan Iverson is a recently retired professor from the Craft/Material Studies Department at Virginia Commonwealth University and Eric Castellan is an independent artist who lives and works in Asheville, NC.  By combining found, fabricated, and painted materials, Castellan creates hybrid work that drapes off the wall.
            Iverson’s work that I’ll be discussing is titled Beyond. Beyond is a tapestry made from wool and silk that was made in 2012.  The piece itself consists of three tapestries all hung up next to each other side by side.  At first glance these tapestry’s reminded me of feathers, which is particularly why I was drawn to them.  Feathers are objects that appear in many of my own doodles and drawings so as you can see I favor them.  Apart from being beautiful they’re not identical, they almost seem to be identical until further inspection.  The simplicity of the colors and the way this piece is presented makes it seem very complete, as well as organized.  The fact that it’s level and even all around the tapestry really makes my OCD happy.  The color scheme of the work is important to notice as well.  Many of the other pieces throughout the gallery had really eccentric colors that pop out at you but these colors are warming and calm.  Which allows the spectator to stand by the work for longer and truly analyze it.
            Contrasting Iverson’s work Castellan’s piece titled Hang was a little different.  Hang is a work that was done in 2011 and consists of fabric with thread and acrylic and latex paint all over it.  This is a really busy piece that required a lot of time to try and figure out what it meant or to even try and come up with a description.  After starring at the work I finally came to the conclusion that the main subject is a dancer.  The fabric that is hanging off is a skirt and she is doing Polynesian dance.  the background seems to have beams running across the ceiling, with some sort of ribbon or steamers running across it.  After coming to this conclusion I really enjoyed this piece more and more, it even started to become less busy and more clear.

            At  a first glance both of these works sit on opposite sides of the neat scale, yet they both seem to work hand in hand.  Its almost like a family not everyone can be normal otherwise it just seems weird that’s why you have that crazy uncle that holds more than meets the eye.
Agustin Lara
December 4, 2016
Art 346
Artist comparison
Digital Combinations
            Digital media can be defines as digitized content that can be transmitted over the internet or computer networks, this can include text, audio, video, and graphics.  This means that news from a TV network, newspaper, magazine, etc. that is presented on a website or blog can fall into this category.  The wonderful thing about digital media is that many artists no matter their background can incorporate digital media into their own works.   Two artists that I would like to focus on to better help give an explanation of digital media are Bill Brand and Banksy.  Right away the name Banksy might come off, as a bit of a surprise considering that he is mostly known for his graffiti works, however there is more to some of his works than meets the eye.
            Bill Brand is a video artist who was born in 1949 in Rochester, New York.  His films and videos were first shown at the Anthology Film Archives in New York City in 1973, and have since been screened in the United States and around the world in museums, independent film showcases, colleges and universities, and even on television.  He has been featured at major film festivals including the Berlin International Film Festival, New Directors/ New Films Festival, Tribeca Film Festival, and the Rotterdam Film Festival. He was asked, “What kind of source material, what types of film or genres of film and gauges have you been working with primarily, in terms of preservation?  (Frye 216)”, during an interview with Brian Frye, to which he responded, “My own films made on the optical printer are from 16mm reversal camera originals. I don't work from negative in the projector end” (Frye 216).  One of his films that includes the use of 16mm film was his work, ‘Moment’.  Moment is a 16mm black and white film work that lasts twenty-three and a half minutes, and it was introduced in 1972. When I first watched the work I did not read the description and did not know what to expect. Now when the film starts it almost seems like it is not going to be an interesting piece at all up until what seems like reversed audio comes in and you as a spectator start to gain more of an interest.  However after watching the same sequence over and over you think to yourself I am not going to sit here and watch twenty more minutes of this, yet little changes start occurring in the film and the sequences start to change, little by little the film is starts to more into less of a video and more of a frame ‘slideshow’ in a way.  Now what I mean by that is that every frame used for the film becomes visible.  I can’t say why, but as the film reached the end I started feeling uneasy, I did not like the fact that I could see every frame, it reminded me of a bad Internet connection or losing cable signal due to a storm.  Bill Brand description of the piece goes as follows.  As the film starts we see a view of a gas station, behind a multi-paneled tire ad display. In the first two to three minutes, or so, a simple series of ordinary gas station events is seen intermittently through the opening display. This sequence was then divided and rearranged seven times in reverse order. Each time the divisions are greater in number (smaller in size) until finally the film appears to move smoothly backwards, divided by a single frame. The inspiration for the film as well as the title is derived from information theory where a 'moment' is defined as the shortest duration at which no distinction can be made between units of information. This work is a demonstration and exploration of the line between human information and machine information. It dynamically reveals film's basic unit, the frame.  
            The second selected artist is Banksy; Banksy is an England-based graffiti artist, political activist, and film director of unverified identity.  His satirical street art and subversive epigrams combine dark humor with graffiti executed in a distinctive stenciling technique.  His works of political and social commentary have been featured on streets, walls, and bridges of cities throughout the world.  Banksy displays his art on publicly visible surfaces such as walls and self-built physical prop pieces.  Now all of this does not seem like he is a digital media artist whatsoever yet I will talk about not one but two works that say otherwise.  The first work does not really have a title since it is a graffiti piece, yet it’s a graffiti piece with a twist.  He painted the piece across the street from the French Embassy in Knightsbridge.  The main subject of the piece is Cosette from Les Miserables, who is crying from the use of tear gas.  This piece is supposed to criticize the French government and their use of tear gas in refugee camps.  Now what makes this a digital media piece is a simple QR code.  That’s right this work has a QR code to the left of the work, that once scanned takes you to a video of tear gas being used in a camp in Calais. This work brings the issues to life and directly to you, to everyone who walks down this street in Knightsbridge and sees this work.  It makes the subject matter real; it makes you question right and wrong and whether or not you have the power to make a difference.  The second Banksy piece I would like to talk about is his video titled ‘Rebel Rocket Attack’.  This video was released on YouTube where it shortly racked up millions of views in no time.  In the video we see a rebel fighter aiming to the skies with a rocket launcher, after a few seconds he fires the weapon and we see the trail of smoke being left behind by the rocket as it propels itself to its target.  Once it hits its target the ‘aircraft’ comes falling down and crashes right in front of them, disturbing the images a bit then once the image regains clarity we see that the aircraft is really Dumbo the Disney character.  As Dumbo is slowly losing his life we see a little boy walk up to the injured elephant, then turn around and kick the man holding the rocket straight in the shin, as if the boy was angry that they killed a beloved cartoon character. In an article written by Liam O’ Brien, many Commenters believe the clip reflects the way we've been granted an insight into the Syrian conflict through videos uploaded onto the Internet.  Since the term commenters came up the comments on the YouTube video are absurd.  These comments are probably more shocking than the video itself.  People commenting asking if it’s fake, others quick to call it fake with the help of an exclamation mark, while others seem to critique the quality of the “terrorists” cameras.  Banksy turned to one of the most used video websites on the Internet to release his work and yet the amount of ignorance to follow is astronomical.  Its almost as if he wasn’t intending this piece to criticize Syrian issues but the issues faced on the Internet.  The comments clearly show it in this case.
            The biggest difference between these two artists right off the bat is the use of mediums.  While one is strictly a video artist the other is a graffiti artist who also incorporates video and digital media aspects into his works, another thing to notice is the target audience, Bill Brand mainly has his work installed in galleries while Banksy’s audience is anyone who lives in a city or walks passed a certain wall.  Banksy is noticeably a more recognizable artist than Bill Brand and his subject matter seems to drive a bigger meaning than the work of Bill Brand.  Yes Brand is making a connection between man and machine Banksy is using everyday issues as subject matter, issues that relate to every spectator, issues that need solutions.  All in all both of these artists were interesting to research and learn more about and while both of them come from different backgrounds we can clearly see them both fall under the digital media category.

Works Cited

"Banksy and Digital Art – Making It and Saving It." Digital Shakespeares. AJ+, 08 July
            2016. Web. 13 Dec. 2016.
Brand, Jo. "Moment | Bill Brand." Moment | Bill Brand. N.p., n.d. Web. 13 Dec. 2016.
Frye, Brian, and Bill Brand. “The Accidental Preservationist: An Interview with Bill
            Brand.” Film History, vol. 15, no. 2, 2003, pp. 214–219.      www.jstor.org/stable/3815513.
Ruggiero, Lucia. "Are Digital Spaces the New Graffiti Walls?" Digital Meets Culture.
            N.p., n.d. Web. 13 Dec. 2016.
Timoleon Wilkins. “At This Moment.” The Moving Image: The Journal of the
            Association of Moving Image Archivists, vol. 12, no. 1, 2012, pp. 95–97.