Moshe Ladanga

Reflection (MADA 03)

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My original intention for the MA project was to create a collaborative film with Katrin Escay. I was at first hesitant to change this initial plan, one reason being my own preconceptions of what my skills are, and my version of the common idiosyncrasy that artists often indulge in.

What I was particularly keen about was developing my own practice as an artist, cultivating an independent sense of inquiry and investigation of the contemporary manifestations of the moving image. I saw this at first as a prerequisite to collaboration, as I had my own ideas of what collaboration is. But it has evolved into a personal creative ethic, rather than a reaction to a collaborative process.

The personal aims that I set out to accomplish have evolved into a more engaged approach to the conceptual dimension of art-making. It developed not out of the theories and books; rather, it was the collaboration with Katrin that opened up my creative process to new possibilities.

What the books did though was inform my critical understanding of the current art practices here in London. The writings of Zygmunt Bauman, Lev Manovich, Mark Hansen, Michel Foucault and Gilles Deleuze formed a historical and theoretical context for many of the questions I had at the beginning of the MA. In retrospect, I am not as keen as before on finding the answers to these questions, but I am interested now in asking more questions.

It is a great gift to be in London; there is nothing like standing in front of work that inspired you years before in the mere faded pages of a schoolbook. The one greater thing than this is discovering other artists who break these old ideas of seeing art, or in the case of Cezanne, invigorate what has long passed into cliché, but all the more relevant now than ever before.

The pivotal point in the development of our collaborative project was the occasion of seeing the Anthony McCall exhibition at the Serpentine. What I’ve realized is that it is these kinds of instances that illuminate those conceptual leaps and connections, and it happens only when the creative mind is in a receptive and open state. This is what I learned to be conscious of, and it has become part of my process as well.

The overall progress of our work was not shaped by the schedules we set, but it was formed by the evolution of the idea. This was hard for me, as I am a creature of habit; but what I realized that in collaborative work, it becomes even more important to pursue the idea, because it is what you toss back and forth, it is primarily the work that you feed into.

Programming in Processing was the major development that enabled us to realize this project, and yet I think it still bears the form of our initial idea for the collaboration, which was a moving image ‘remix’. The main difference is that the images are not anymore self-generated. Through the intervention of algorithms in code, the conversation of images is seen in real-time, and is posited in an open structure of meaning-making with the viewer.

Learning how to program using Processing has provided me a new way of thinking about art, and what I am looking forward to do is developing the code I have written for the collaborative work into something more responsive to other variables and inputs such as time (with the functions millis(), second(), hour(),…) and sound (using Amit Pitaru’s library). Right now, the program I’ve written is able to respond to color values in the pixel sums, and these functions can be rewritten to incorporate other algorithms that will be shaped by these other types of inputs.

With such a program, the computer can be used to process video via remote feed, with the factors of time and sound altering the image in real-time. I remember watching Ernie Gehr’s Shift (1972-1974) on UBU, and I had an idea for an installation where different viewpoints of a particular place can be seen in one room, like those CCTV recording rooms. The twist is that nothing will be recorded, the video feeds will just be broadcasted in real-time and the resulting moving images will be like dynamic data being altered by the presence (or the absence) of the viewer.

With these possibilities, I see my practice tackling larger issues, but I must admit that it will take a bit more time, since Processing as a language is both expressive yet exact, and my skills need to be further developed in order to flesh out these ideas.


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Written by mosheladanga

June 10, 2008 at 1:04 PM

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