Response Writing #1

Due October 7th:
Please post this writing to the blog or email it to me.

Respond to a piece of art we discused in class, or one that you've experienced on your own.  Write a three paragraph review discussing the content of the piece and your personal reaction to it.  What was the piece about?  What techniques did the artist use to address the subject matter?  Was the piece effective? Why or why not?

title: Bicyclettes Abandonnees
medium: digital photograph mounted on plexiglass
dimensions: 274 x 122 cm (9' x 4'feet)

This piece is called Bicyclettes Abandonnees meaning abandoned bicycles. I'm not sure about the meaning of this piece but my personal reaction to it was that it caught my eye fairly quickly. The reason it did was because of the colors and the open space in the photo. The mirrored landscape makes it seem like there is no end to the edges or road. The abandoned bikes makes this piece more powerful by sending out the message of abandonment.

The aspect that was most interesting to me about this piece was the way it was made. Jean-Francois Rauzier constructed this piece with " precisely assembling up to 1000+ close-ups taken with a telephoto lens achieving gigantic images with extreme precision." That right there is very impressive to me. The amount of time and planning for something like this must have taken a very long time.

To me the piece was extremely effective even though you can tell that the photo was made up of others because of the squared edges and rough lines. I looked at some of his other constructed photos and have seen that Rauzier makes a good attempt at making those photos as real as possible. They still seem to be a bit digitized looking but it works for me.

I am responding to the piece "I Am Sitting in a Room" by Alvin Lucier. We listened to this piece in class, and I chose to talk about it because I had an immediate negative response to it. The artist speaks for about a minute, records it, and plays back the recording across the room, rerecording it. This is repeated until you can no longer distinguish his voice from the sound.
After the first few "rounds" of re-recording, I began to feel as if the clip that was being used was too long, since the replaying seemed to be intended to illustrate the point of the acoustic and resonant qualities of the room the recording was done in. I feel that a different technique could have been applied to mix the different stages of the recording into a more listenable structure. I do appreciate the concept of the piece, and consider it a successful experiment with a concept. The recording itself, however, was not a good listening experience and did not hold my interest. While the piece was obviously not intended as entertainment, an engaging piece of artwork should naturally cause curiosity and thought in the "audience".

I decided to look back at “The Yes Men – New York Times Special Edition”. This piece uses the Internet to convey an interactive political message. The template used by these artists exactly replicates that of the New York Times online media page except it reports news that is more wishful or satirical in content. The use of this page to convey politically stimulated is obvious. In fact, the top, bold headline reads “IRAQ WAR ENDS”. Additionally, if you select the links of the articles, to the right of the text (just like on the actual there are advertisements. On the link that I selected, the moving, fabricated advertisement was for De Beers stating that every diamond purchase will enable the company to by a prosthetic arm for Africans that lost their arms in diamond conflicts.

To me, this website accomplished many things. First, the site evokes emotions and causes people viewing the site to reflect on how much of our world we wish would change. Secondly, the site shocks the viewer with all of the good news displayed. I even clicked the link from the class blog knowing very well what I was about to see but still had a momentary increase in heart rate when I saw the large headline. To me, my mind is so used to seeing (my personal homepage) that my instincts took over. Finally, the website accomplishes a large amount of interactivity. Not only do we work our way through the site, people are also able to comment on specific articles. These forms of interactivities allow this piece of art to be a working piece that never is truly finished.

Personally, I enjoy artwork that mimics everyday visuals. Using this technique allows for the shock and reactions that would be different than if this content were presented in an unfamiliar format. Since everyone knows what is and most people connote the formatting to authentic and reliable information, this website accomplished everything it sets out to do.

We discussed "Learning To Love You More" briefly during class, and a few weeks later I visited the site for a more thorough viewing. The “piece” is a website for a project that began in 2002 that gives specifically instructed assignments to participants to complete and send back to the site to post. The original piece has ended, but there are spin offs and continuations of the idea on other sites.

The creators use a website to display the work of participants. The site is pretty basic and no-fuss, and easy to navigate and to use. At first I didn’t like the look of it at all because of the white highlighted writing, but after awhile it starts to work with the orange and brown/gray of the site. The wording on the site is non-judgmental and a little poetic at times, and the layout and presentation is effective because it’s simple, organized, and has room for a ton of entries in each category.

I think the whole concept of the piece was to get people to step out of their comfort zones, use creativity that isn’t usually needed on a day-to-day basis (unfortunately), and to try new things. I have looked at a lot of the assignments and they are things I would never think of doing, but after reading them and seeing people’s interpretations, it looks like a lot fun and like a great escape from the reality of papers and complicated life stuff.

This is about "Learning to Love You More."

I immediately liked many things about this project. I liked the way the project encouraged people who were in many cases "not artists" to be creative. I liked how the creators of the project took on the role of teachers, in a way, by issuing out assignments that had open space for interpretation. I loved the warm, heartfelt compassion the project seemed to have for the unique lives people could lead. I liked how part of the project's goals seemed to be in addressing the alienation that people living in the hypercapitalist, high-technology first world can experience. The title, "Learning to Love You More," says it all, for me, in the way you begin to think that the projects are meant most importantly for the individual to connect with himself, his environment, or with other people.

The assignments are varied. Some are like elementary school arts and crafts projects, like "Make an Encouraging Banner." Others are more anthropological, asking the participants to consider aspects of their day to day life, like "Ask your family to describe what you do." Others are social experiments, like "Make a protest sign and protest," or "Take a picture of strangers holding hands." Others can be guerilla public art, like "Grow a garden in an unexpected spot." Others are thoughtful moments you're encouraged to create for yourself, like "Climb to the top of a tree and take a picture of the view."

The project definitely possesses something of the era that created Youtube and Myspace. Part of that might be its presence on the Internet, but I think also that the greater reason is the way the project emphasizes the unique creativity of the "non-artist" individual. I think the artists behind this project have created something meaningful. Rather than think of art as something created by other people to be observed, the best art is the one created by yourself and with other people. They teach by encouraging others to do for themselves, and in the process confront alienation and embrace the wonder of everyday life on this planet.

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This page contains a single entry by Jonathan published on October 2, 2009 6:53 PM.

Assignment #3: Sound Art was the previous entry in this blog.

Audio Resources is the next entry in this blog.

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