Monthly Archives: October 2011

Cory Arcangel

Cory Arcangel

Cory Arcangel's exhibition 'Beat the Champ,' 2011

Thirty-three year old Cory Arcangel was born in Buffalo, New York in 1978. He grew up with a strong interest in guitar, practicing 8 hours a day by age 17, and went on to study classical guitar at the Oberlin Conservatory of Music. He later switched his major to the technology of music. In 2000, during his time at Oberlin, Arcangel collaborated with Paul B. Davis to release a record of 8-bit music, entitled “The 8-bit Construction Set” under their chosen group name of the Beige Programming Ensemble. It was in a composition class he took with Pauline Oliveros that Arcangel grew artistically inspired by his interest in music technology, crediting Oliveros for his “fascination with finding artistic inspiration in unlikely machines.” Arcangel currently resides in Brooklyn, New York where he works as a computer programmer, web designer, and artist. He does not limit himself to one media but rather works in a variety, consisting of: drawing, music, video, performance, and video game modifications. His most common artistic strategy is that of appropriation, re-using existing materials, for example YouTube videos. His work explores the relationship between technology and culture.

This video is an example of Cory Arcangel’s use of appropriation in which he has pieced together parts of numerous youtube videos to create a new piece that produces the classical guitar piece Paganini’s 5th Caprice.

Initially, I found myself confused and unimpressed by his work. Without knowing his background and just simply seeing the video game aspect of some of his work, I thought I would not like it, due to the fact that I do not understand videogames and their popularity. As I looked further, I discovered the layer beneath the surface. He puts a lot of thought into his work as well as a lot of technical adjustments. He modifies old video games by removing certain elements from the original games and then shares them with the general public through his exhibitions, allowing for an element of interaction. What also interests me about his work is that although there is a huge gaming and technology influence, Arcangel is not a gamer and is actually quite skeptical of technology. He stated in an interview with Mark Brown, the arts correspondent for the UK publication The Guardian, about his exhibition of tenpin bowling video games, “I’m more interested in what they represent and video game bowling seems to be the most absurd area of virtual experience. Bowling is a clumsy experience even when a human is doing it; so one level of removal is even more interesting. It is many levels of bizarre redundancy, the most bizarre I can think of – maybe with the exception of video game fishing.” In this particular exhibition, Arcangel exhibited 14 different bowling video games starting as far back as the 1970s Atari 2600 bowling game, to as recent as PlayStation and Nintendo versions. Arcangel installed 14 consoles playing continuous bowling games, with each controller modified by a microchip causing a result of constant gutter balls, making it impossible to knock a single pin down. Through something so taken for granted in our modern world such as technology, Cory Arcangel takes his art to a new level, bringing forward the imperfections and flaws in something so many people allow themselves to get sucked into.

Cory Arcangel's Super Mario Clouds from his hacked Super Mario cartridge, 2003. Image courtesy of the artist and team gallery, New York.

Cory Arcangel's exhibition 'Beat the Champ,' 2011

From Cory Arcangel's exhibit "The Sharper Image" at the Museum of Contemporary Art, a show consisting of Arcangel's work from 2002 to the present.

 

Pipilotti Rist

Pipilotti Rist

Pipilotti Rist, "I'm Not The Girl Who Misses Much," 1986, Single Channel VIdeo (Video Still)

Pipilotti Rist was born in the Swiss Rhine Valley in 1962. She went on to study Commercial Art, Illustration, and Photography at the Institute of Applied Arts in Vienna, Austria from 1982 to 1986, as well as The School of Design in Basel, Switzerland to study Audio Visual Communications from 1986 to 1988. Pipilotti works mostly through the use of Audio/Visual Video Installations and Projections, but she also creates film and video stills that she displays in exhibits. Her work has a 60’s feel, displaying a psychedelic quality through the use of subject matter and theme, as well as bright highly saturated color. Her creations display a rather strong influence from the Beatles, which is quite interesting considering the day and age she is working in, and therefore have a nostalgic feeling. Pipilotti’s work displays a clear desire to return to the days of the 1960’s and 70’s counterculture, which is often thought of and in many ways depicted as a free and easy period, especially with all the drugs that were being used at the time. Through her use of experimentation with such themes and ideas, she accomplishes a level of artistic individuality while at the same time giving a sense of something familiar.

Pipilotti Rist, "Ever Is Over All," 1997, Audio/Video Installation (Installation view computer simulation)

Strange is the first word that came to mind as I was exploring Pipilotti Rist’s artwork. Perhaps it’s intentional, but it reminds me of something you would get as the result of working while on drugs. I acknowledge the nostalgia present in her work because I also have a desire to experience periods in the past, but it almost feels like her nostalgia is not being controlled within the pieces, but rather that it’s gotten out of hand. There’s plenty of room in the art world for Pipilotti’s style, and obviously it has welcomed her, but it’s also something that seems crazed and very much in the past.

Pipilotti RIst, "Ever Is Over All," 1997, Audio/Visual Installation (Installation view at Kunsthalle Zürich, Zurich/CH; Photo by Alexander Troehler)

Her film “Pepperminta” reminded me at first glance of the Beatles film “Magical Mystery Tour,” and then the Beatles- influenced film “Across The Universe,” which premiered in 2007. I found a few of her pieces to be interesting, but then there were those that seemed completely bizarre and it makes me wonder how viewers react upon seeing her art in person. What I did find cool about her work were the film stills, the pieces taken from her strange films, but only showing a specific moment, eliminating the “strange” that seems to devour her films. Overall, I think there is a unique nature to Pipilotti’s work and the insanity in her artistic expression is what is eye-catching about her work. To me, though, it just comes across as deranged and in some cases a little bit frightening.

 

Pipilotti Rist, "Schliessen Sie Mir das Kleid, Danke!", Museum Langmatt, Baden, Switzerland, 2010, Installation View (Photo by Nici Jost)

Pipilotti Rist, "Mutaflor," 1996, Video Installation (Installation view at National Museum for Foreign Art, Sofia/BG; photo by Angel Tzvetanov)

Jenny Holzer

Jenny Holzer

Dublin, 2006, Jenny Holzer

North Adams, 2007, Jenny Holzer

Jenny Holzer who now resides and works in Hoosick Falls, New York, was born in Gallipolis, Ohio in 1950. She recieved a BA from Ohio University, as well as an MFA from the Rhode Island School of Design. Her primary work has to do with the use of language in the form of projections in public places. Her intense interest in language leads to attention grabbing public pieces. Much of the subject matter consists of question to consumerist impulses, the description of torture, or the lament of death and disease, although she has expanded beyond these three themes. Holzer has captured her public art in 45 locations since 1996, taking her art throughout the United States and much of Europe. What seems to be so captivating about her work, in it’s temporary public location, is its advertisement-like appeal. Advertisements are used to catch our attention and sell us a product, but with her art it has that same effect of catching your eye, except instead of selling you a product, it’s selling you a form of art. The size and placement of her projections capture the viewer and then the message within it keeps them interested and curious. The projections themselves are not permanent in anyway, but she makes her work more of a permanent act by documenting her projects, while in the process of projecting them, allowing audiences all over the world to view her work.

 

Bregenz, 2004, Jenny Holzer

Bregenz, 2004, Jenny Holzer

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I found Holzer’s work to be quite captivating. As I first perused her work, I discovered myself becoming confused and almost noticing a rather depressing theme and I found it odd because they were these large pieces of text, projected on these famous foreign structures or important buildings, which should rather give off more of a majestic beauty or intrigue. As I went further I began to like it more and more and I was further able to see a more subtle majesty to it. I enjoyed it so much, to the point where I wanted to just read every single picture, although the language barrier prevented me from doing that in all of them. Although I am not inspired in the same way by language, I find words and quotes to be quite beautiful so I found Holzer’s work to be quite impressive, as well as fresh. Her photography is wonderful, but in her photos it’s the words that are the obvious subjects, and personally I find it hard not to notice them! Through her use of composition as well as clever use of language I think she has an amazing way of capturing the attention of her audience, expressing so many feelings, thoughts, and messages.

Melbourne, 2009, Jenny Holzer