Blog of Dane

Thursday, March 16, 2006

WK1 - Strange Turbulence

Ok now my first proper entry...

Viewing the site on a 56k modem hasn't been much fun, but I have managed to successfully view a few favourites.

The first would have to be M.Takeo Magruder's "Encoded Presence", a looping nine second 'auto-portrait'.
What interested me was the dual visuals; pixelated and somewhat laggy footage of a person, as well as a grid of squares which interpreted this footage. It reminded me of the strange relationship between technology and people, or more specifically the user, but not necessarily restricted to the artist's context of mobile communications. The idea of a person contained within what is simply squares changing from colour to colour based on coding etc. (ie pixels on screens) as a way of reading what we are reflects the cold nature that is computers and what not. In a visual appreciation, I would say the simplicity of the design is what I took from this work and its execution. I would love to quote more from this guy (girl?), but I suppose I should be varied.

Therefore, second would be Michael Mandiburg’s “Oil Standard”, a plug-in for web browsers which “converts all prices from U.S. dollars into the equivalent value in barrels of crude oil”.
This one really speaks for itself in terms of concept. This in my opinion was hilarious, quickly adjusting to comparing products online by oil costs. I’ve already found myself finding junk on Ebay that I could have easily bought instead of my last petrol run, a very disappointing experience to say the least. Albeit, I think the concept was leaning towards a more serious aspect of oil obsession which can be appreciated also through these same circumstances. Personally, I only became more aware of my consumeristic obsession. I really picked this one for my interest in it’s conception as art.

Jody Zellen’s “Disembodied Voices” was the third work I was interested in, particularly just the introductory page.
My appreciation of simplicity is starting to show now I think. Here Zellen has quite a sterile environment depicting the concept of public space and ‘connection’ with other people as a sterile and distant topic in itself. Well, my opinion anyhow, is that even though we see these hordes of people, or hordes of phones and dialogue in the following pages, it’s still very alienating. Watching these random conversations and bouncing phones and dotted people crowded in the thousands really puts myself as the viewer in an outside position. It’s kind of ironic considering the message of communication and being connected would be considered something that brings identities together. Maybe it’s just me, but that’s what city crowds do to me in general. That aside, the aforementioned style is really appealing to me and always has been with similar web sites. The single column down the centre sectioned into mostly grey-scaled blocks, and in particular the block of sign-like images relating to communication (ie. The phone, ear, eye, mobile) juxtaposed well to the thin blocks of dotted crowds smothering the streets. This aspect of spacing I would conclude then was what mostly contributed to the site’s success.

I only talk on and on because I am asked to…
Last but not least I checked out Geoffrey Thomas’ “Left to my own Devices”.
This flash ‘game’ was pretty crazy, pretty surreal, but I have to say it’s visual design and concept is what interested me. Originally the artist’s description of loss and the game reflecting that state of emotion drew me in, but I’m not so sure I was on the same page as him. That said, the flash animations, the dreary, monotonous soundtrack, and the somewhat random creatures and environment together resulted in something relatively absorbing. I found myself trying to jump this man around and create this robot for a purpose I was not fully aware of (even though Thomas does state this purpose, I initially got a little ahead of myself). The gaming context provides that competitive nature I suppose, which makes for a very interesting work. I think that flash is a very powerful tool for digital media, and this example really opened my eyes to how it can be used in digital art.

End of discussion.


Post a Comment

<< Home