Saturday, January 31, 2015

Projects 3 & 4: Sick Trash (Book)

"...Because Frank sought not to document American life but to reveal his experience of it, because he placed primary importance not on analytical thought but on perception, [The Americans] opening sequence also speaks to the feelings associated with those states... it alludes to the sense of insecurity, doubt, and alienation that result from a lack of power" (Greenough, 181).

Sick Trash was created from photographs from around the Lawrence campus and the surrounding areas.  The title is based on an increasingly popular philosophical concept known for its initially repulsive claim that everything is garbage, including oneself.  The first basic principle of Sick Trash is found in almost all popular media: Beauty is in the eye of the beholder.  Conversely, another fundamental idea of Sick Trash is that the individual is unimportant to all aside from the individual, and the individual is all important to the individual. It important to consider that while popular media upholds the first claim explicitly, it upholds this second one on a much deeper level, yet, in this second case, media refuses to acknowledge its' support of Sick Trash's clause that it doesn't care about you.  Don't be fooled.

The purpose of Sick Trash is to illustrate images of the world (my world, at least, as it exists at the moment) which are popularly ignored, or labeled garbage -- not literal garbage (well, sometimes literal garbage), but the instances of life which we choose not to think about, things like bikes stuck in snow, paper factories, people using laptops or sinks.  These things are boring and everyday, little parts of a big trash heap. Sometimes, art aims to pull treasures out of this trash heap, but aim of this project was not to pull treasures out, instead, it was to pull ordinary garbage out and display it in such a way that it might be mistaken for treasure.  When the viewer realizes that this is garbage, after all, what they might realize is that, in fact, everything is garbage.  The trash planet is our home, and the trash me is the self.  The trash heap is the home, and the home is your treasury, defined by what you make of it.  There is no treasure, except for what the trash treasurer takes.  The trash treasury traverses terrible truths.

Friday, January 16, 2015

Jason Yi Lecture (1.16.15)

Jason Yi talked a lot about space on Friday, which makes sense, considering he was trained as an architect, but also because his current sculptural work is often based on spatial concepts like fragility and instability, and playing with the traditional roles of objects or tools.

What Jason said about space is relevant to digital art when you consider how it can be applied to the digital medium, which typically inhabits two dimensional space, coming through to us as light or sound but without any construction or inhabiting space within our physical world.  At the same time, it seems obvious that film or a photograph or even a sound has space -- both within the world it was captured from, and in the present world.  Jason Yi addressed this dissonant concept in his own way with the photography and film he introduced early in his lecture.

By portraying his parents performing very American rituals in his photography, often in a very awkward manner, Jason Yi showed how space could be used in a photograph to further unsettle the viewer's perception of what was taking place in the photograph, compounded by the racial implications of the photographs (a Korean family participating in heavily Americanized activities).  The short film uses a different spatial technique; the layered images of Jason's parents doesn't serve to unsettle the viewer, but it is still a perfect example of how an artist can create a message by using space in a medium which is fundamentally two dimensional.  Jason's overlapping of his parents' stories about him show his origins, both through the monologue and through the combination of these two people, literally combined through post-processing as they recount their stories.
Tummy Worms

A short film about symmetry in space and time, and the meaning of a stomach

The purpose of this film was to destroy the idea that a stomach is the only organ for digesting.  The footage is arranged to be symmetrical, so that the scenes of outdoors form the outer layer, the scenes involving the chair form the second layer, and the scenes of the gummy worms form the core, with a specific progression (in, and then out again).

Marshall McLuhan's quote "We look at the present through a rear-view mirror" was the initial spark of inspiration for this film,  The reversed footage, featuring awkward backwards walking and bodily functions moving in the wrong direction, is meant to communicate the way the concept of time as defined by conventional ideology can be played with in unsettling ways with a tool like digital recording.  "'Time' has ceased, 'space' has vanished.  We now live in ... a simultaneous happening"

The stomach contents going in and out is meant to poke fun at the idea of creation and consumption, more specifically the creation and consumption of art (like this film).

(Disclaimer:  Because of the title, most of the recommended videos from youtube following this video are about intestinal parasites)

Wednesday, January 14, 2015

Wednesday, January 7, 2015

Photograph of my Uncle, digitized and edited in Photoshop:

Monday, January 5, 2015

When I was younger, maybe 13 or 14, I became a self-proclaimed household expert at technology and its proper use.  I got used to explaining what youtube was, or how Limewire worked, to my parents and sisters in what was often an extremely patronizing and obnoxious tone, but they had to deal with it, because I was the only one who knew how to kill a computer virus or fix the modem when the internet wasn't working (unplugging it and plugging it back in again.  Sometimes I blew on the power cable for effect).
After a while my interest in video games and animation in particular intensified, and I eventually became especially fascinated by moments when something would go wrong, visibly, in a computer generated scenario.  Here's an example; a screenshot I took from a video game called LSD: Dream Emulator.

After a while I started looking for ways of manipulating these devices to make things go wrong intentionally.  Here are two pictures of an electronic road sign in my hometown:

I enjoy seeing art that has been created through digital tools that weren't necessarily meant to be used in the ways that the artist is using them.  Image file -> txt manipulation is a good example of this kind of process.  Here is an example of an image file that has been altered by conversion to text, then editing the text and converting it back to the original image file type:

I have also become interested in the way that images are shared through the internet; it has become so easy to take a picture, or draw something, and share it with everyone who is willing to see it.  I often feel overwhelmed by the number of images I process daily.

Page 17 from Zine (Drawn in MS Paint, edited in PS):
Cover of December 2014 Zine (Photograph edited in PS)
Photos of Drawing 110 Final Project (2014)
Image of Paper Mario edited with Photoshop 3D bloat and extrusion tools:
Cake GIF:
Duckhunt GIF (newhive @
Pizza image with linking QR code:
GIF created in photoshop using image layering, distortion, and animation tools:
Ink and Marker Drawing, followed by Photoshop extrusion and animation:
Various Newhives:

Pool image created in MS Paint
Various images created in Photoshop
Snapshot from a video game I created in Unity
Image created from photo of my sister with jpeg text editing
Image created using sims models, photoshop animation tools

Image created using jpeg text editing

  This is me, an image of me, from a photo taken at the Milwaukee Museum of Art
(Original Image: Photo credit to Emma Laube)