Moshe Ladanga

Counterculture: Digital Intervention in the Moving Image

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The moving image and its many incarnations present many issues regarding its production, consumption, perception and ultimately significance as a cultural artifact. In a Baudrillard age, where moving images shift seamlessly through different channels of media, one can argue that the territory has shifted as well; these simulations play and exploit the very nature of perception, the locus of meaning-making for the moving image.

As an artist, what consistently informs my struggle is a personal sense of polemic; what I am addressing is the apparent lack of critical engagement with the digital flux underpinning the changes in culture today. I am interested in how it is shaping the experience of information, and possibly intervene in its market-driven ideology. There is an overwhelming sense of power, a drive to fetishize information, and what I investigate are the possible subversions of these cultural artifacts.

That is why I looked back in time, picked up books about the artists who, at that particular point in history, stood their ground and created strategies of analysis through the use of the moving image itself. Ernie Gehr’s formalist experiments in cinema explore and deconstruct the gaze, revealing the mental apparatus of perception. The installations of Peter Campus, recently exhibited at the Albion Gallery, reveal perception’s paradoxical nature by subverting the ultimate act of fetishization, which is self-reflection.

These influences have shaped my art practice and inform its context in New Media. In light of the recent articles published by Lev Manovich (Info-Aesthetics: Information and Form), my practice is set against these trends, as they are characterized by what he terms as hypermodernism, a trend that is marked by a totalitarian crafting of experiences, whether it is GUIs, technological products, motion graphics, architecture, even art installations. Almost all are wholly motivated by a sense of conquest of the last frontier of individuality; the body.

Within my practice, I have chosen to craft my intervention in the form of code. Using the open source software Processing, I experimented with the different video capture programs to create a digital filter which transforms real-time visual data into algorithms that I designed to subvert the video image. The act of programming liberates my own processes from mere representation, and allows real-time possibilities of digital intervention.

What I seek to accomplish in my work is to walk the same tightrope that Peter Campus traversed, which is a minimalist approach to art-making, a restitution to the oft-neglected fact that the human condition is dynamic yet vulnerable. Instead of the prevalent hypermodernism that effaces the individual, what I propose in my practice is a countercultural stance; a serious meditation of the body as a moving image.

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Written by mosheladanga

June 10, 2008 at 12:55 PM

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