TPDR

Toshiya Tsunoda

Posted in MediaArt, Sound Art, Transmedia Research by tpdr on December 16, 2009

Long time since I made a post here, but that is also because I have been looking for inspiring artists and works. Since a few months I have been focussing on reading about architecture and sound. Doing this I got interested in Japanese sound artist Toshiya Tsunoda. His technique to do field recordings using contact microphones to capture the vibrations in different materials that are present at a certain location (or should I say in a certain ‘field’), captured my attention. Especially the fact that he focusses on these environmental vibrations points out that our environment is constantly in motion, it is alive. Also buildings can suddenly be thought of as ‘living things'(e.g. in 2000 at the ICC in Tokyo people could listen to the walls, to see pics and read more click here).

To hear some samples of one of his albums Solid Vibration click here. Inspired by his work I started thinking more about vibrations and the fact that even all we believe is immobile, our environments are in constant motion. Of course in some cases it is quiet clear that they are in motion, evolving, in flow, etc. But this is not always the case. Thinking about this I started wondering whether this could be somehow combined with my passion for mapping and cartography, taking into account that I have been working on a subjective mapping project in the past that was all about setting up a dynamic, personal/subjective map.

Setup of ‘Building a Mediated Environment – Transmedia Research 1.1’

Posted in MediaArt, Transmedia Research by tpdr on August 24, 2009
In the previous post I promised to add more documentation so here it is. Feel free to watch new pics here1s.

Kurt Hentschläger vs Luc Coeckelberghs

Posted in MediaArt by tpdr on April 12, 2009

Contrary to what the title might suggest, I am not really going to compare the two works of both artists I have seen these last weeks. More important for my own research is how both of the influenced me.

First of all about a week ago I have seen ‘ZEE’ by Kurt Hentschläger at the STRP festival in Eindhoven. 20 minutes of sound and light in a space filled with smoke, just being guided by some ropes near the walls of the space. I was surprised the smoke and stroboscopic lights didn’t make me feel as uncomfortable as I had expected. The experience did have a great impact though. Both mentally and physically you could feel what the sound, light and smoke was doing to you. Physically, because of the smoke, it had a strong disorientating effect and as I was trying to get away from other participants, I found it hard to isolate myself, because every time (especially when the stroboscopic light was turned off again) I noticed I was standing next to somebody again without being aware of this immediatly. I never really bumped into somebody though. Also during the periods of stroboscopic light, it was strange to feel how my eyelids where ‘trembling’. Finally, feeling alone, even if it were just for a few seconds, I could really feel how my body was relaxing. On a mental level this also was the case and I don’t know if other people had this similar experience, it might have to do with my interest in mental landscapes and mapping/cartography, but seeing nothing but smoke, I started imagining the space, filling in the blanks and mentally exchanging the smoke for some kind of ‘imaginary space’.

This work of art was so powerful that I started doubting  my own research. I was wondering if I could make a strong impact like this with my reflective room that becomes transparant at certain moments and will be supported by colored light and ‘spacial sounds’. Luckily I decided to go see Countour Light in Mechelen yesterday night, where I experienced ‘Lighthouse’ by Luc Coeckelberghs. (IF YOU ARE PLANNING TO GO SEE IT, I THINK IT IS BEST NOT TO CONTINUE READING THIS POST AND READ IT AFTER YOU HAVE SEEN EVERYTHING YOURSELF!)

Even though I especially went to see the work of Erki De Vries and Tim Vets, I was surprised especially by Luc’s ‘Lighthouse’. This construction (container with LEDs, Perspex, synthetic canvas, computer; 390 x 280 x 800 cm) is built in the courtyard of ‘Hof van Busleyden’, a small garden recently renovated in a modern, rather minimalistic way. As a white light emitting geometrical building it fits right in. Once you get inside and close the door the real experience begins. All walls are covered with rgb-LEDs hidden behind blurred Perspex and change color in a continuous cycle. Of course I expected every color would have a different feel, but I couldn’t have imagined it to be this strong. I think I will go back to have a second go to be even more aware of what every color does to you, but it was clear that darker, bluish colors made me feel kind of heavy, like I was undergoing some kind of presure pushing me with my feet to the ground/floor, I thought the green collor, but also the yellow colors, seemed to take away this presure and even made me feel lighter and almost like I was going to float. Even though the construction was not floating, at some points I had the feeling as if it were detaching itself and starting to lift from the ground, very strange experience. Luc Coeckelberghs might be best known as a painter, but I must say I wouldn’t mind if he would continue making this kind of light art.

Lenses Augment Reality

Posted in Gaming, MediaArt, Society and Technology by tpdr on March 29, 2009

This post is related to an article of March 2008 on the WIRED-blog.

If you would ask the Pentagon and DARPA (the technological department of the US military that also ‘invented’ the Internet), soldiers will, in three to five years from now, see all information needed in front of them at any given time. How they want to do this? Simple, you create a new kind of lenses that work as a projection screen, but remain transparant, thus adding a digital layer to reality. Of course it sounds really easy like this but how do you create this kind of ‘screen’ and how do you feed it with power and data? DARPA is thinking about lasers, light-emitting diodes, …, ‘metamaterials’ . Like they said before they will be spending about 3 million $ on technical research, no doubt this will pay off. Maybe they even could be exchanging know-how with the University of Washington, since they are working on a similar ‘gadget’.

Wearing these lenses would be like walking around in the ‘real-world’ as if you were playing a first person shooting game. Of course I don’t need to say this technology will be found usefull in non-military situations as well. Why not use this kind of lenses to replace these gps-devices we carry around? Or even use them to get all kinds of information when walking around, lets say the supermarket? Think of looking at products and seeing the prices, ingredients, etc. right in front of your eyes without having to take the product of the shelf. Will this be a positive evolution? Maybe if you didn’t, you should now read another post related to augmented reality titled ‘Augmented Unreality’.

I will of course keep an eye on the development of this technology and if any of you knows more, please leave a comment. I am sure I will be more interested in the way this could be used to play games in the ‘real world’, than how it will be used as a navigation-system. As with maps I prefer the power of subjective/personal cartography to the so called ‘objective’ maps.

Interact To Survive – Arjen Mulder

Posted in MediaArt, Society and Technology, Theory by tpdr on March 2, 2009

This post is based on an interview with Arjen Mulder by Arie Altena, ‘Interageren om te overleven’, Rekto:Verso, published by Rektoverso vzw, nr.33 Jan-Feb 2009, p.5-7.

First of all I think it is interesting to know that Arjen Mulder is actually a biologist. This means that his texts about interactive art, is influenced by biological phenomena. I guess this is the reason why I have the feeling, when reading his articles, essays, they always feel more ‘media ecological’ than other texts (to read more about Media Ecology, check other article on my blog).

ABOUT CONTEMPLATION

First of all Mulder states that all art is mediated, but that it will/must always try to make something happen ‘outside’ of the medium, especially today, in times that we are surrounded/blinded by media. Art has always been ‘interacting’, and these days it seems like it is surviving because of interactivity.

Interaction is a fact, but ‘Interact or Die!’/’Interact to Survive’ gives it some kind of biological aspect. It is of course true that we, as humans, have always been interacting with our environment in order to survive, what is really new are the images that first appaered on the walls of caves and later became paintings, drawings, photographs, etc. These pictures were stable and established a one-way-communication with the audience. They made it possible to contemplate, something which is difficult when it comes to moving images like film. For Mulder it is hard to analyse a movie while watching, and he finds it easier when he just starts thinking based on the first image, which is some sort of archetypical image from the viewer’s point of view. Afterwards you can add other snapshots of important actions in the story of the film to make connections and complete the analysis. You can, in this situation only contemplate if something happens. Mulder further remarks that the new media don’t seem to force themselves on us as much as older media. They also allow more interaction, an exchange of ‘thoughts’. The consequence for the new type of contemplation, is that you don’t hav to look back anymore but are invited to look forward to see where it is going or how to make you think about how to get there. Instead of telling us that life is hopeless, the new media tell us we can achieve something if we put our mind to it, like reaching the next level in a game or how we can work towards an economic system without waste and/or pollution. We will have to learn about what will go wrong or what will work for the future if we do this or that.

ABOUT ART AS EARLY WARNING SYSTEM

An important question related to this is whether art can be an ‘early warning system’ like Marshall McLuhan stated years ago, even if there will be no more autonomous art, like Mulder said in his book ‘Over Mediathorie'(About Mediatheory, 2004). According to Arjen there is no problem since what McLuhan was talking about is that art can make us think about what media do to us, how they change/affect our thinking, feeling, etc. Mulder says media art today will still show what the new media are doing to us. Artists have always been interested in new technologies, trying to find out what they can do, how they can be used and what effects they have on society. What interactive art tells us now is that we are part of a network, not being separate individuals but connected to other spaces, objects, etc. than our own. This does not mean that we are nomads again or become schizofrenic, but we will have to try and think ‘cradle to cradle’. This means we have to learn how to think back from the future to the now. Only then one can see what is realy possible, it is the same methodology used for durable product development.

ABOUT REMIXING

‘Copy-paste’ and ‘mash-ups’ are common actions today, ex. on Youtube, Lev Manovich talks about ‘deep remixability’ but doesn’t feel like there is much innovation happening. Mulder thinks Manovich is making the mistake of just looking at the images, which even though there are a lot of clips online aren’t always as old-fashioned/’classic’ as one might think. The interfaces added to this the ‘activation of the screen’ which is already an innovation on its own. According to Mulder Manovich is one of those people who don’t think of ‘interaction’ as an important change, a ‘revolutionary phenomenon’. He remarks that interaction has had an impact as important as the influence of film has had on the future of photography, with this one important difference, it is not about the images anymore, but about the interaction itself. Mulder would even call it the ‘imageless art’, but it poses even more important questions such as: What makes us move, react and decide and where does this takes us? What are the consequences, how will the world respond and what can we learn from this? Conclusion of Mulder is that art is exploring new terrains

ABOUT YOUTUBE AND THE END OF MASSMEDIA

According to Mulder YouTube is about editing the overload of clips and picking out the most interesting/popular ones. This leads to a new/own kind of evaluation of teh content, in other words ‘from primetime to primeposition’. Now to answer the question of YouTube being the end of massmedia, we have to say it will/has change/changed the older media (re-mediation). First of all we have to remark that Mulder has some problems with the term ‘massmedia’. TV(in the pre-digital TV era) for ex. is not really a massmedium to him as we watch it on our own, or with a limited amount of people and we can’t talk back to it, or interact with it in any way. Therefor to him a politician giving some kind of lecture or a music group doing a pop concert are more ‘massmedia’ to Mulder than TV or other so called massmedia.

ABOUT THE FUTURE OF ART

Art should be unstable, ephemeral, no more heavy pieces that will cause problems in the future in relation to conservation and stockage. For Mulder the beauty of the new media arts is that it lets you experience something new until the exhibition is over and the installation is taken apart, removed, … , it becomes ‘ephemeral’, making it more ‘touching’ than solid forms of art. Even though some people think it is all about big machinery, it is more about what happens to the visitor, how the process of affection/emotion is triggered, not purely technical but also not totally human, it is a mix, it is ‘in between’. Mulder adds that he really likes interactive art the is still ‘a little bit of a mess’, almost like some kind of silly game. To illustrate he rcalls this action during Ars Electronica which asked people living in the neighbourhood to create something in their backyard at a certain time on a certain day. At that time the area would be photographed from a helicopter and he really liked the mix of words, typography, drawings made by the locals in their yards. The good thing also accroding to Arjen is that it could have failed and that this would have been experienced as an enormous desillusion.

ABOUT MEDIA THEORY

As a final remark I would like to add that Mulder is suprised that ‘Media Theory’ is still holding on. Some time ago Arjen stated that he expects media theory to be replaced by software theory, since all media are affected by the computer, and thus by software, as a metamedium. It might not be true today yet, but I certainly hasn’t given up hope.

Carlos Cruz-Diez

Posted in MediaArt by tpdr on February 28, 2009

About a week ago I found this colorful spread which had to promote a work by Carlos Cruz-Diez (°17/08/1923, Caracas, Venezuela). The ‘folder’ was published by Hans-Ulrich Obrist of the Serpentine Gallery in London, but the most interesting information I found on the homepage of Carlos Cruz-Diez. The work, which was promoted, is called Chromosaturations and is an artificial environment. As a visitor you enter three small rooms, next to eachother. One is a filled with green light, a second one with red light and the third is colored by blue lights. On pictures I thought it looked already interesting because you can really see the mixing of color on the ‘borders’ between two rooms. Then again I realised the effect in reality must be a lot stronger since color is perceived and generates ‘after-images’.

As Carlos Cruz-Diez has been researching color in art for a long time, and since he also wrote the most important information in a pdf on his site, people interested in color should really read this document.

Ambiguous Signalscapes – Axel Roch

Posted in MediaArt by tpdr on February 9, 2009

This installation by Axel Roch (de) which I have seenat the Transmediale Exhibition in Berlin end of last month. I was not allowed to take any pictures, which I found rediculous because you can all check out in this online pdf.

As you will also be able to read in the pdf, the visitor creates a landscape of mountains, just by looking at the screen in front of him/her. The landscapes the visitors, and me when I tried it out, reminded me of a 3D version of the album cover of Joy Divisio’s Unknown Pleasures – which was designed by Peter Saville and will always be my favourite album cover I guess. Anyway, except for this link, I also associated the installation with a Karensansui garden, better known as a Zen Garden or Japanese Rock Garden. Since I am interested in concepts that bring the macrocosm our the outside world into the personal world or microcosm of a temple garden, I think this relation between the installation and the karensansui garden is very interesting. In this type of zen garden, mainly used for meditation, gravel/sand represents water while rocks symbolize islands, boats, waterfalls, … . In fast the more white, the more interesting it seems to me. Just by shaping the gravel/sand and watching it for some time, one creates his/her own landscape, just like in this installation where you are confronted with a white screen which becomes a landscape just by focussing your eyes on the emptiness.

Just as a note in relation to my own research I notice emptiness and the possibilities that come with this emptiness, start to fascinate me more and more. In one of my previous posts I noticed my interest in the link between the concept of the Wunderkammer and the inspiration I got while working on a Transmedia project ‘Magenta Room’. In other words how I think a room stuffed with objects and an empty room, can generate similar thoughts, feelings, etc.

Wunderkammer Oh Wunderkammer

Posted in MediaArt by tpdr on February 6, 2009

The Wunderkammer, also known as Cabinet of Wonder, Cabinet of Curiosities, Kunstkammer and Wonder-room, were first created mid-sixteenth century, even though they were still a piece of furniture, a cabinet. As soon as the cabinets became to small for all the objects relating to history, ethnography, natural history, geology, aercheology, religion, art, etc. they became real rooms. These spaces could be seen as a microcosm and a theater of the world or even a memory theater, all precursors to museums. Controling this microcosm one could feel like a ruler of the world, but what I find interesting is that I can imagine people getting aware of their own modest position in the world and feeling connected to the outside world in a mental way standing in this homely space.

 

musei_wormiani_historia

musei_wormiani_historia

 

 

I have been interested in this concept since a long time, just last year I worked with a collection of objects as representation of my own mental world, my own memory theater. Also looking at artist inspired by the same concept of Cabinets of Curiosities, like Wesley Meuris or Hans Op de Beeck, I have kept thinking about it. Then I sudenly noticed a relation to a project my colleagues at Transmedia and I have been working on these last months. The project is called the Magenta Room and is based on the Dream House Project of La Monte Young and Marian Zazeela and deals with the concept of inside/outside. For more details you can check the blog, but I just wanted to explain more about the relation with the Wunderkammer as I mentioned.

Working with the idea of inside/outside the Magenta Room filters the natural light comming in, changing the contrast and increasing the recognition of subtle changes of the sunlight. At the same time, during the daytime you can look from the inside at the outside but when it becomes dark outside the filters become a mirror. One extra is the fact that we are also working with the sound of the sun. This sound from outer space, hearing it while having two feet on the ground inside this rather small room, in combination with the previously described effects, made me feel like I think I could feel standing in a Wunderkammer. To be more precise, as I mentioned before, I think you can also in this room feel connected to the rest of the world, even feel connected with outer space and reflect on your own humble position as part of this bigger cosm.

In short I associate the feeling of microcosm meeting macrocosm in one room with both the Wunderkammers and our own Magenta Room. Talking to the senior researcher who initiated this project, Frans Evers, about this, he concluded that it this sense we could call the Magenta Room a possible 21st century Wunderkammer, which is fine by me. Still one major difference has to be put forward on this context, namely the fact that the Wunderkammers were stuffed with objects and the Magenta Room, on the contrary, is a totally empty room, no objects that are not part of the architecture.

For myself I can conclude now by saying my thinking about how a Wunderkammer should look, will never be the same again.

PEINLICHE ORDNUNG – Theo Ligthart

Posted in MediaArt by tpdr on February 3, 2009

Peinliche Ordnung is a short movie, the artist himself calls it an essay, based on a chapter found in the book Der totale Widerstand – Kleinkriegsanleitung für jedermann published in 1957 in Switzerland. The book was a guide for the Swiss, telling them what to do in the case that Switzerland was occupied by foreign organisations. The texts soon became spread ouside the country and has been used by guerilla organisatiosn like the german R.A.F.

Theo Ligthart recites the chapter about torture and is, after a few minutes, getting instructions of a woman telling him how to read, forcing him to repeat sentences or paragraphs etc. This way the situation seems to evoke an interogation setup and as the remarks on the reading become more forceful, starts to refer to situation of torture. In addition I would like to add that Ligthart has suffered from deslectia, therefor this situation for the video is also linked to his childhood memories of the horror of reading texts out loud in the class, getting constant remarks of his teacher.

More info about Theo Ligthart and Peinliche Ordnung can be found on this website.

SIX APARTMENTS – Reynold Reynolds

Posted in MediaArt by tpdr on February 2, 2009

Reynold Reynolds is an Amercian born in Alaska who makes installations, documentaries, experimental movies, … . One of his works ‘Six Apartments has been shown on the last Transmediale in Berlin, but it was his presentation that impressed me even more.

‘Six Apartments’ is a movie about 6 people living each in their own apartment in complete isolation. They never change their daily routine even knowing it is overshadowed by problems in the outside world which reach them by watching television.

I have to add that all his work is worth having a look at, I personally feel still really amazed by the imagery of ‘Secret Life’. Words can not describe so I you have the chance to see it, please do so. To get a better glimps, visit his website.