Monday, 17 December 2007

The Keepers - POLSKI

The Keepers are the 'Curatorial Practice' installation group on the m.a course. Apply named the keepers, as it means curators. The group consists of myself, Kate Pennington-Wilson and Faye Khan. For our curatorial brief we have to hold an instillation/event. So we have collaborated with a local artist Alicja Rogalaska. Together we have formulated a street intervention with the use of projection. The project has been named 'Polski'.
Our blog site is called the Keepers tricks
On this we have charted our progress from start to finish of the project. This project holds allot of relevance to the subject of new media art. experimenting with 'new media' technologies has enable Alicja to perform this intervention, but more importantly , I feel, we have stepped away from the conventions of the four white wall gallery space.

The installation on a physical platform is an excellent example of new media within installation art. It can be called an act of street art as we are using the technique of art intervention. As we have already sort the permissions of local council and authority, it is by no means an illicit intervention, but I do feel the platform of projection onto passers-by should open up debate in numerous amount of areas.
Firstly it may be that the unexpected audience may not want to be in anyway a part of the art. This may due to them not fully understand what we are doing, but it may also imply an unwillingness to get involved with anything other than their own personal space. Could this be relevant to interpret a majority of people in the UK that just want to look away and get on?
There may be audiences that see the installation from a far and want to enquire about the art, try to understand and interpret why this is taking place and find out what it means. It is also a consideration that this could be reflected on a majority of people that don’t just let things pass them, that feels it is for their better well being to try and understand the movement and growth of modern society.
This project could be seen as an intervention of personal graffiti. Projecting directly onto people, there personal space and their physical being could very crudely be violated by implementing this idealism onto them without permission or initial explanation of the cause. One can only assume this is exactly what it feels like to be a victim of labelling and judgement.
The style of this intervention could be perceived as using gorilla tactics. The plan of turning up in a high street with a projector and slide show full of words that people may not understand will no doubt cause a reaction. However for those that see this installation as a threat, there will be some who admire and condone the implementation of labelling onto those who want to look away or walk by. It may be stepping away from the intention of Alicja’s subtle approach to the mechanisms of labelling, but I feel the down right cheekiness of this project speaks for itself.

Tuesday, 27 November 2007

Art the Experiment

As a result to my investigation of 'New Media' i have set up a blog called 'Art the Experiment'.
The blog has been set up for at shorts skills session at NWHC. The session includes a range of students specialising in a mix of new media digital arts. Short Skills is a six week session in which the students are given the opportunity to take subjects outside of their specialisms.

So for six weeks i decided to discuss and research different subjects on 'new media'.
Every session uploading research examples of artists or installations subjects onto the blog, initially discussion them and giving a description of the intention of the surrounding the subject matter and then allowing the students to research and comment on the subject themselves, with the use of their personal blog page.
The sessions topics are
1) Throwies
2) Video Artists
3) Flash Mobbing
4) Net Art

After the sessions were completed 2 students have taken their study to the extreme by organising with the help of 'The Neighbourhood' plans to hold a new media related festival. The festival will incorporate Live Art by The Jam Factory's graphic designer Gavin Strange, Laser tag display, found on 'Graffiti Research lab' website, a 'Throwies' Display, also found on Graffiti Research lab website, graffiti art workshops, v-jams and live bands.

Monday, 26 November 2007

Art & New Media

What is new media? Is it an art or digital medium that simply encompasses new media technologies as a platform? Is there an actual definition?
It’s important to understand the evolution of digital media; the movement from analogue to digital language through convergence has seen a significant change around our use of interactive technology. Convergence is re-constructing the digital media sector. Initially the effects of convergence mainly affected our traditional media platforms, such as television, radio and film. In particular, convergence had a massive effect on The Internet as a platform.
Convergence is the transformation of the formats of different platforms into a single common language; this is ‘binary code’. Essentially 'binary code' is unifying the language of our current media platforms, enabling them to communicate with each other at a greater speed and compatibility. It allows peer-to-peer access between two users, allowing the transfer and communication of material between two or more formats.
For example, a user is now able to easily interface and change text, graphics, moving image and sound, within a structured digital computerised environment, much easier now that it is in the binary electronic format, rather than the traditional analogue language. Therefore, this speed and ease of use allows people to interact with data much easier and quicker, meaning web content becomes much more diverse than it has been previously.
Commercially this single format language ‘binary’ is welcomed as it allows platforms (phones) to become multi platform’s (video phones) essentially becoming a more attractive product to the consumer.(1)

Case Study 1.
John Talbot, Universal/Ireland records
National Account manager.

“Universal records released mainstream artist Keane on traditional formats, but in addition, also released the single on a USB drive for £3.99”
For this the purchaser was able to access an mp3 of the song, the music video, a biography and a link to an external website, with constantly updating information on the band."(2)

“…Interactive media is now giving us the opportunity to deliver new experiences to our customer, as well as continuing to generate revenue…It’s about how the broadcasters/production/art houses / react to convergence and how the future workforce and creative’s adapt to that…”

If art is defined as an experience that equals outcome, Can we accurately say that new media is an art platform, or is it simply a commercial vehicle or tool? How does current ‘new media art’ answer this question?

Case study 2 - The Blast Theory
“Blast Theory is renowned internationally as one of the most adventurous artists' groups using interactive media…The group's work explores interactivity and the relationship between real and virtual space with a particular focus on the social and political aspects of technology. It confronts a media saturated world in which popular culture rules, using video, computers, performance, installation, mobile and online technologies to ask questions about the ideologies present in the information that envelops us.”
This group appears to have situated itself within a platform of experimentation that can generate and collect a useful amount of data on the audience’s desire for interaction within art. This then enables the group to plot a direction in the progression of future interactive art and media platforms.(3)
In 1998 ‘Blast Theory’ began one particular instillation called ‘Kidnap’. Appropriately named, ‘Kidnap’ was an experimental piece whereby small commercials explaining that the audience could be put under surveillance and be kidnapped for 48 hours. All they had to do was send their details to the mobile phone number on the advert.
This instillation was advertised at cinemas in England and Wales. Playing for only 45 seconds, the ad cleverly pressed a lot of unconscious triggers that highlighted the need for stress release and the ability to relinquish the everyday responsibilities of daily life, for a seemingly dangerous but fantastic adventure. (4)

It uses new media technology to reach its audience, collate data and proceed with the installation itself. So with the use of new media the audience is providing valuable data in response to the project. However it opens debate as to the type of audience ‘The Blast Theory’ is reaching or accommodating by using new media for an actual physical art intervention. It moves away from offering a marketable substance to the audience and moves towards the offer of experience and actual physical gain.

By experiencing new media does it make it worthy as a piece of art? How do you judge whether something is ‘worthy’ of being classified as a piece of art? Is the experience or intervention of the user within the new media piece, a measure in which we can judge its worth within art?
Does this make it an art piece? Or is it simply just an ‘experience'? Or is it in fact a reflection on the evolution of our audience? With the apparent evolution of technology, it could be said that we have created an audience that is more interested in being an activist, more interested in accessing and interacting with the project, rather than analysing and theorising without any interaction, perhaps the modern audience is captured within the interests of physical practicality rather than theory or symbolism of art. The audience wants to find the art, make the art and become the artist. With the advent of convergence and the ease of format manipulation, it is much easier for them to do this. The audience want to gain something from this modern art, almost to ‘consume’ it, and certainly to manipulate it in some way. There is perhaps, no longer a great aura surrounding art, it is no longer something special, maybe due to the easier accessibility of the medium, perhaps that’s why we question whether new media is an art form, as there are no longer the same trials and specific skills needed to create it?
It could be perceived that new media is simply another language that artists play with as a medium. The new media artist has moved from paintbrush to computer coding however commercial practices also use the same formats as new media art, and perhaps hinder the worth of new media as an art platform. They package products together with the use of multimedia, then utilise it for revenue under the disguise of offering more experience i.e. Universal music. It is becoming increasingly difficult to discern between what is new media art and what is a clever marketing ploy.

In order for me to understand the worth of new media platform more thoroughly I have cultivated two examples of new media practice. Firstly 'Art the Experiment' is a design session I am teaching on a six-week timetable. Within those six weeks I plan to discuss and review 'new media' artist. The students in turn will create a blog whereby they can comment on their understanding and feelings of the works. I will monitor response and actions the students take on their blog and also how this may affect any of their research and styles within the other core subjects of design I teach within the current year.(5)
The next example of new media practice will be my curatorial practice group 'The Keepers'. We are planning a live project that will use new media practice for the event. This example will highlight the whole process of a new media projecfrom initial ideas and planning to the final project going live.(6)
Links are provided as references.

1 Page 29 of 75 pages. Chapter: 3: Module 2: Global Trends in ICT/Telecoms Sector
2 Times Online - Keane USB release
3 Blast Theory - About Blast Theory
4 Blast Theory - Kidnap
5 Art the Experiment - Blog
6 The Keepers - Blog

Wednesday, 7 November 2007

All that I'm doing right now.

Currently I work as a design teacher at an FE/HE college in Hinckley. I'm also studying an m.a in Contemporary Curatorial Practice at Birmingham's BCU. (BIAD)
The m.a covers a variety of modules. This semester I'm taking sessions in Art & Social Theory, New Media and Curatorial Practice. The plan is to use this site as a platform in which i can advise people of my progress and plans throughout the duration of my m.a. In the hope of charting my progression within this subject.

I'm planning a documentary in 2008 that will take me throughout the UK, Berlin and Reykjavik, following alternative/progressive/IDM/rock music and contemporary arts, including instillation and new media art.
Next year will also see a re-write of a Drama I wrote last year called 'Whipped'. This will hopefully begin in December 2007 with the help of short film writer Patrick Doyle.

So lots to which case i plan to document it all when possible.
Check out the blog from time to time. Things change very quickly round here!