Moshe Ladanga

Archive for October 2007

1W 7- Chaos theory, complexity, and the heart of it

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In “Abstraction and Complexity” by L. Manovich, he elaborates on the potential of new media as an art form capable of representing the world in a meaningful way. Surveying the Abstraction Now online exhibition, he found examples that were attempting to describe the world in the context of contemporary connectedness, the global information society. One example, Yellowtail by Golan Levin, uses algorithms to enable viewer-fed strokes strike, flow and endlessly repeat patterns that recall the moving forms of currents (water, electricity, etc.) He also cites other works, and points out their respective aesthetics as indicative of the analogous relationship of art and science.

His way of explaining this relationship is prefaced by the parallel developments of Abstraction in Modernism and the “deconstruction of the inanimate” in science. To put it simply, as scientists were reducing the world into atoms and constructing elegant simple rules to comprehend them, Kandinsky, Mondrian, and other artists were reducing the visual experience into simple visual elements (points, planes, color, etc). In contemporary new media, especially in software art, the same relationship is occurring. Artists take their cues from chaos theory- a set of paradigms that describe the world in terms of fractals, algorithms, recurrent patterns.

And here lies the problem. The representation that they are trying to do is merely descriptive of the complexity of the moving image of chaos, and more often than not, replicate it in animations, installations. The attempt to humanize it by way of interactivity is I think a long-winded road. Ron Burnett’s essay, Projecting Minds, addresses this problem, and even traces its roots to the invention of the daguerrotype, where the concept of the image became an industrial one (replicative, “realistic”, etc). It is this perception, or nowadays, habit, that we unconsciously exercise when we process images. We take for granted images around us, especially in popular culture and art, and presume and assume that these represent “reality”. Artmaking in the digital realm has a similar paradigm, which assumes that representing complexity is a way of describing the human condition.

What I seek as an artist is not mere representation and description; I seek an informed and philosophical practice that will contribute to not just the body of knowledge of art, but to life. I seek to not only study and analyze the human condition, but to contribute to the evolution of life.

When I read the different essays, books, gallery catalogues, instinctively I sense a precocity for all things new and all things old. Maybe it has to do with this age of surfaces, of images for images alone, and on the other end a contemporary archeology of knowledge that misses the big fact that almost everything laid to paper is up for questioning- analogous to the way software monopolies are being undermined by open source. Where do I stand in all of this? Is it even valid to stand, the act of it a relic of Western thinking?

In Art&Lies (Jeannette Winterson), the poet Sappho changes her/his/her character in a flux of words- Sappho becomes the poet, the writer, the lover, the beloved, the kiss, the sex, the wound, the balm and finally, in the cathartic end, the words in flux. The poet becomes the act of creation. It is in this, the implicit acknowledgment of creation as a profound action, where I sink my hands and partake of the currents.

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Written by mosheladanga

October 30, 2007 at 11:01 AM

1W7- Reflection on Proposal Draft

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For two days in a row, we discussed how we would go about writing our proposal drafts with Andy. It was such an invigorating discussion and finally I am understanding how important it is to thresh out ideas, working them out with a class that I’m really excited about- the range of work is such a rich slice, and being there, talking and contributing, listening and digesting things that also inform your work is a great experience.

Which brings me to my own proposal. Admittedly, our project is kind of a mind-bender, the collaboration dynamic being a monkey wrench. Katrin and I keep throwing ideas, catching them like balls bouncing in virtual air; but I think we hit something last night. We were discussing the feedback we got from the aims we presented, and yes, it is still too broad and we’re stretching it a bit. We also reviewed the work we’ve done (the film) and the techniques, skills and film language we’ve developed. We also took a step back and saw the positive points that we only see now because of the discussions and tutorials. Here they are, the good the bad the ugly:

Liabilities of being a couple and being both artists:

  • star signs- being both leos, we like doing excellent work and strive insanely to better ourselves to be better than the other
  • The image “https://i1.wp.com/www.inkart.com/images/lineart/Laundry.gif” cannot be displayed, because it contains errors.The image “https://i2.wp.com/ridgefieldct.qscend.com/images/Dishes.jpg” cannot be displayed, because it contains errors. household chores- doing laundry for me is like applying for sainthood; washing dishes for Katrin is like doing laundry for me
  • https://i0.wp.com/www.initaly.com/regions/friuli/pix/tiepolo/solomon.jpg political budgeting- we both like having our own resources- our life eased when we both had access to the internet- independently. For food and toiletries, we adopt the UN mantra- all refugees share. But when it comes to First World amenities, we go to the high magistrates court and play Solomon.

The flipside:

  • David Cross sorting though the pennies Recognizing our respective personalities and acknowledging that yes, we both like being good at what we do, we have to use it productively, consciously even. This evening we had the pleasure of chatting with David Cross, (Cornford&Cross) and he talked about their collaborative process. We both instantly recognized it, the process of presenting ideas and challenging them, throwing it back, debunking it, analysing it- this topic came up with our dinner talk last night, and for the first time we acknowledged it. Hearing David Cross describe it, this sort of combative discourse as a way of collaboration gave us the answer. This is how we work, but we always saw it as a negative aspect of our process before (we can get really fired up, us leos), and never really thought that it can be a productive way of collaboration.
  • Addendum to the conflict/combat process- I realized that the theoretical concept of our collaborative work is analogous to the nature of our collaboration. Eisenstein’s theory of montage is not merely about putting two things together and producing meaning; montage is juxtaposition of opposing elements. The elements have to be charged differently to produce something else. Manovich’s theory of hybridity sort of describes this, but not yet in depth; there is a theoretical thread I think between the two.
  • Laundry & Dishes: Roles in an artistic collaboration are always tricky for leos. We are both independent thinkers, although we may have different dispositions (Katrin is outgoing and I am intro…speculative). We also like to believe that utopia exists within our relationship constantly, but we fail I think to acknowledge that there is hierarchy. The twist is that it changes, like a steady flux of electricity. Roles change; sometimes I do the dishes, Katrin the laundry. Authorship in collaboration is not a straight line, or mere addition: it is a waveform of a stereo track, mixed, or like sunlight, both particle and wave- waxing pseudo-poetic-scientific here I know- my point is that the collaboration we want is a dynamic one, one that acknowledges our strengths individually and challenges them.
  • The Personal is Political…to a point: We have had the good fortune of receiving a modest grant, enough to buy another mac (buying it this Friday). Regarding resources, we have to strategize. The old mac (specs- pre intelcore duo, ’nuff said) can handle video and audio work old style, meaning looong rendering time. This is not a problem- we can utilize this as a way of planning work, trying out video experiments. The New Mac can be for learning and experimenting with new software, especially 3d animation, and can be the hub for our collaborations- “jamming” the work together in AfterEffects, mapping out 3d representations, perhaps trying out programming in software that involves interactivity. But maybe I’m getting ahead of myself.
  • Let’s revise, let’s remix: Having two macs will enable us to exchange sizable files (like FCP Project files for example) without a hitch. But the subtle implication of this strategy is that we’ll be dependent on the features of the machines. We can be tactical about this, and as of now, from where we’re at in the experiments, we still have to feel it through and observe our individual processes. The advantage though of the new mac is the web cam perched on the display, and this is a strategic device for documentation- we can easily record our conversations and quickly upload them as podcasts. I think this resource will be very valuable to us because we can review how we react to each other, study it and even let this inform the way we want to present our project.

Bringing it all together v2.0: I would hazard to say that TENSION is the keyword here, the thing that happens between our works. It’s sort of like making a violin in 2 parts, and the strings are invisible but you can hear the music when you walk in between the two films- the viewer is the one who runs the bow across the strings. Hmmm….

Written by mosheladanga

October 25, 2007 at 12:42 AM

1W7- Bringing it all together

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Katrin and I had a joint tutorial with Andy last Thursday, October 18, 2007. It was quite interesting, the fact that he gave us these forms to fill up; we ended writing on each other’s forms. When I look at what I picked up and what Katrin picked up, it gave me a context of collaboration. I tried to sort of illustrate it above as artifacts of correspondence, an exchange that we want for the project. There are salient points.

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What became clear to me was there were no boundaries in terms of creativity, and the correspondence becomes clear when we are conscious of our individuality. To start off the collaboration, we decided to talk about something mundane, like all conversations. The point here is we have to be aware of the organic nature of collaboration, and we can’t force a big topic or theme on our work.

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The collaboration is in the exchange of metamedia- images, soundtracks, techniques that represent ideas, emotions. It is in this process where we mix media (reacting to each other’s blog posts, passing around soundtracks, video, photographs, etc.) that the collaboration happens.

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By observing and following Jem Mackay’s suggestion of never saying no, the collaboration actively becomes the structure for the project. The similarities, differences, references and hopefully a dynamic interplay of meaningful resonance will arise.

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The idea being like letters, like a chat, like a breath of a few words- there must be a clarity, a coherence of not necessarily what we say to each other, but the dynamic between each other’s work.

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There must be tension, and it must be obvious I think. It can be in how we present it (will come in next posts), and also with how we create- our voices should be distinct.

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The collaboration will become deeper if there is a reflection on what we say; meaning the conversation grows as thought grows. This will take a certain pace, a rhythm. I have to be keen on how the process develops, and most importantly, on what Katrin says. As they say, listening is 99% of a good conversation.

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Andy gave this wonderful piece of advice: do something you thought you’d never do. I’m planning to learn 3D Animation and programming. Maybe the live video element won’t be the main thing in my visual vocabulary. This I find very interesting. I’ve viewed my video work and my drawings, and I realized that I wanted to be able to depict a depth of perspective in my work. The drawings are headed in that direction; what I’m seeing now is live semi-abstracted video elements moving in 3dimensional space, like a mass of blurred obfuscated bodies trudging through a heaving forest of lines (like my Camden drawing). Or like a high angle shot of phantom legs with their veins and organs pulsing with sound as their feet disappear into visual thuds of steps- reminds me of my storyboards.

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To open the mind, to learn continuously- a mantra I’ve learned ever since I started this course. In Manovich’s paper on the current trend of new media towards hybridity, he describes how artists are now exploring the potential of remixing. What I felt was, beyond the description of this phenomena and the theory of hybridity, a definitive grasp of what we can do as artists in this digital age. Call it frontierism, put a silver helmet on my head and brand me a conquistadore, but there lies a palette of skills and techniques that enables us to create art that will make its own territory.

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Andy said the most revealing thing to us during the tutorial. It is important for us to come from who we are as Filipinos, to be not afraid to speak from our own cultural context. He said that Western art is boring, and our Asian heritage is a far richer culture. That enables me to create from who I know I am- a sensibility that comes from the mixture of a more reflective context, an art practice rooted in the expression of ideas about the mundane, the cosmic, the cyclical. This is a great relief.

 

 

 

Written by mosheladanga

October 23, 2007 at 7:28 AM

Immersive Environments

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James Turrell’s work in my opinion, is very simple in inception, yet very sophisticated in its implementation. His work I think deals with the very central issues regarding art today, specifically perception (in a world drowning in images) and authenticity of feeling (all the conceptual art and technology). He makes his art however with technology- the light projections require precise measurements of light, specifically designed to open the retina so that the viewer perceives color that slowly changes. The effect is immediate: retinal perception affects the human physiology and triggers neural associations with particular emotions that are akin to awe, a sense of abandonment, freedom, confusion, displacement.

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Drawings 02

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I have proceeded to analyze the body in terms of the illusion of weight, and the articulation of legs preoccupied me. In these drawings, I tried to explore the different ways to represent how the body walks; I see it as linked to the heart, to the organs. These internal parts are sort of engines, and I remember the studies I made for the film, the crowd studies in particular, and this theme is there. Somehow, I’m seeking a visual aesthetic that conveys motion in a less “plastic” sense but in a more physiological one.

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Written by mosheladanga

October 15, 2007 at 7:51 AM

Video work

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This is a short clip of a sequence I made for the film. I realized that the forms that I captured and manipulated in FinalCutPro were indicative of this theme of deconstruction/revelation in all my work. The abstraction is an effort to reveal motion, to work towards an alternative way of perceiving the image. The elliptic progression of the black&white image on the colored forms needs to be developed more, and maybe integrated visually with the color with the addition of animated elements, such as rough black lines.

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This one is another clip from a work-in-progress, a transitional sequence that goes from color to black&white. The progression of the transformation is done through a series of camera motions, and the mirror filter acts like a symmetrical force, an effort to bring the chaos to order. The risk here is in terms of film rhythm is that the symmetry brings the energy to a stop, a peak. I’m still studying how to convey the sense of symmetrical imposition without this effect, this “tada” effect.

When I was back home in the Philippines, I shot some footage to experiment with the camera. This was captured in extreme close-up, with a stuttered shutter to convey the rhythm of the rain. When I brought the clip in to FinalCutPro, I tinkered with the frame rate and added modulation to the color grading. It’s a bit short though, but the footage is a minute long, and I think I can stretch it to 20mins with slo-mo. In terms of film language, this is one area I want to explore- the extension of time, the zen-like stillness, and the subtle changes in color. Maybe in such footage, the deconstructions I want to do will be more seen, and be more understood.

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October 14, 2007 at 3:06 PM

External Measure Series by Camille Utterback

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This is the artist that I found that challenges and explores the possibilities of digital art. The art is both temporal and spatial, and the thing that is quite intriguing is the drawing software that employs “memory” to retain the traces of people’s positions and motion paths, all rendered on a projection in real-time.

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Camille Utterback’s page with video documentation.

Written by mosheladanga

October 10, 2007 at 3:37 AM