thesis, research week1

I’ve been looking at various works of art and projects over the week and also doing some reading and more theoretical thinking about the motivations and concepts in my project. The first group of links and thought relate to the technology that I’m interested used in art or other works. The second part of my research has to do with narrative and aesthetics.

Augmented Reality I have the least experience with augmented reality out of all of these categories. I did some experiments in Computational Cameras, but didn’t do any fully realized projects with it. I want to explore AR both for the coding challenge and for the metaphorical purposes that it serves when thinking about layers of publication, story telling and media. The truth is, I haven’t seen many works of art or other applications of AR that really inspire me. Not yet anyway. But here are some links that interest me: Introducing Suwappu!, Hungry Hungry Eat Head

Anyone who knows of cool AR projects please email me!

New Media Art In my original thesis presentation I included some images from new media artists that I like, like Nam June Paik and Jon Kessler. For the purposes of this blog and my own project, I’m defining “new media” very broadly, to include video artists, screen based art, new media installations, and pretty much anything that uses electricity. Obviously, this is kind of stupid, but it would probably be stupider to waste time writing about all of the different genres and sub genres of art that I like. With that in mind, here are some things I’ve seen recently that are inspiring or in some way related to my project: Shooter, Train, Marionettes click the link to “Marionettes” in the side nav

I see the inclusion of video or screen based elements in physical sculpture as adding a time based layer of media to a traditionally static media. Even in a piece like “Video Buddha”, which uses a live video feed that has no set time, a narrative is always implied when time is introduced to a piece. Jon Kessler’s work uses video and time in a similar way, to create or simply imply narrative relationships between characters or figures, or the work and the viewer.

Kinetic Sculpture Kinetic sculpture is obviously related to new media art, but the distinction I’m interested in is the layer of absurdity or narrativity that you can achieve with moving sculpture, especially in reference to 2d animation. I’m interested in the way that people recreate the motion of animals and I want to explore the relationship between physical media and digital media—beyond that, I probably need to think about this more and do more research into the history of kinetic works. I also just really like making robot cats. Some inspiration: Guardian of the Hole, Theo Jansen (obviously), BigDog by Boston Dynamics

Narrative I’ve more this week about the specific story I want to tell and looked at some resources for inspiration. I’m sort of drawn to the novel *Heart of Darkness*—I’m not exactly sure why, but I think it would be funny (or possibly just offensive) to do a cat version of the story. It’s a really serious book—it’s all about the moral nature of man—but it’s also a really good story. I’ve been rereading it and reading some criticism but so far I haven’t figured out how that would work.

An obvious source would be the Narcissus story. Marshall McLuhan talks about the myth in a modern context, “…men at once become fascinated by any extension of themselves in any material other than themselves.” There are obvious parallels in this idea to the way we experience digital media today and it could be pretty funny to do a story about a cat that falls in love with it’s own reflection.

Doing a riff on Beware the Cat would also be cool, but its a very complicated narrative and it would probably be difficult to pull of in this context. I’ve been reading a bunch of different critics on the novel recently and there’s a lot going on that I want to explore, but the narrative itself is probably too weird and complex. Of course, I could borrow elements.

I’ve also been getting a lot of ideas about the story and general themes from a couple of books I found through the library website, The Postmodern Animal by Steve Baker, about the role of animal imagery in modern art, and Animal Characters, by Bruce Boehrer, traces the depiction of five different animals in early modern English texts, and has a bunch of good stuff about really weird poems and plays from that time.

In my own narrative I want to combine a traditional story with an arc and all that, but possibly told in a non-linear way with the different layers of media contributing to the interpretation and experience of the story. The cat, of course, is central, both as a character and as a cultural icon. My interest in cats stems from the way they are presented online, the extent to which I think cats memes have created a nebulous body or even genre of work that has become the a central, if not necessarily “serious”, discussion about online and digital culture. The most obvious example of this phenomenon is probably last summer’s Internet Cat Video Film Festival at the Walker in Minneapolis. There are plenty of journalists or are more or less seriously talking about the culture of cats on the internet and while there is serious academic study of “net art” and “digital art”, Internet cat art is more compelling to more people.

I’m realizing now that there’s a whole other category, which is probably more of a category itself than the first three things I talked about, is just the general look and design or aesthetics of the piece I want to make. I have a lot of thoughts in my mind about what it will actually look like, and I’ve started drawing different possibilities—recently I’ve been looking at different artists for inspiration, including Irena Jurek and Paul Klee
. I’ve also been interested in ideas of the New Aesthetic, which I don’t know much about beyond the James Bridle talk I watched online. I also have been looking at Dada stuff lately, and am generally interested in their attitudes about art and publication, I think its an influence on the way I see new media art functioning in relationship to the art world. And of course, I’m always really influenced by Halloween aesthetics like this.


Author: owen ribbit


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