Digital Approaches To Fine Arts: Final Project Plan
For my final project, I plan to do an Animation or book using my photographs. I plan to focus on the theme of Man vs. Nature and the idea of the effects of Nature on Man-made things, particularly buildings. If I use a book, I will probably use a larger size blank sketchbook or I will make the book myself. If I have the pictures printed, I will have them printed as 4x6s or 3x5s, maybe I’ll vary the sizes. If I use a sketchbook as my method of presentation then I will probably try and use one that is a size of 9×6, 8.5×11 or 9×12. If I make my book, I plan to use nice white paper for the interior pages but make the cover out of hand-made, textured paper that would work well with the theme of my project. I plan to include some text that relates to the subject matter as well as statistics for the amount of time it takes nature to take control of man made structures. The subject matter will all be realistic because I want to capture things in their natural beauty and focus on something that seems to go often unnoticed, and abstracting it I feel would take away from the effect of what I want to capture.
With this project, I want to communicate a couple of things. Although somewhat conflicting ideas, I want to capture the abandonment in all these locations but at the same time communicate more of the peace and beauty that exists in them. I also want to spark the viewers’ curiosity, imagining what might have been there before nature started to takeover. The pictures will be in color because I do not want my project to be nostalgic through the use of black and white, but I want it to be obvious that this is the current state. This is what it is now.
Sketchbook (if I decide to do a book)
Nice White Paper and Hand Made Paper
Ribbon (for the purpose of book binding)
Pencil – Animation program (if I decide on animation)
24 Landscapes by Paul Pfeiffer
Born in Honolulu, Hawaii, in 1966, Paul Pfeiffer spent a great deal of his childhood in the Philippines. In 1990, he moved to New York City, where he received an MFA from Hunter College, and participated in the Whitney Independent Study Program. Pfeiffer’s primary art form is video, but he also incorporates aspects of photography, as well as sculpture, into many of his pieces. His primary focus is the role that mass media plays in shaping consciousness. A lot of his work consists of capturing sporting events like basketball or boxing and editing out the stars that most viewers watch the sport for, leaving behind the sporting equipment or just the surrounding arena and audience. By doing this, Pfeiffer approaches such ideas as invisibility, allowing for a variety of reactions, particularly ones of curiosity, which comes with not being able to fully comprehend the environment due to the strange nature that’s created when simply removing something/someone so significant. Much of the work produced by Pfeiffer is made with the pure intent of arousing the viewer’s curiosity with scenes that give off a certain uncommon eeriness or audio-visual silence.
Through his style and goals, Pfeiffer immediately caught my attention and truly made me curious. You see and read about things like the elements he’s manipulating in works of fiction like the Harry Potter stories (i.e., invisibility cloaks), but when applied to a real life situation or event, it plays with your mind and stirs up a reaction. I feel as though his art works in more than just the visual context. It attacks all your senses viscerally, often invoking fear or a certain curiosity and wonder. The events in his video art make you react, while his photography, for example “24 Landscapes,” has so much texture that it invites you in, making you want to run into the oncoming waves. It’s evident, outside the “awe” factor of his work, that there is a lot of time and effort put into each piece, removing people or symbols typically associated with the subject depicted. The time and thought put into each of his pieces is what makes his work so hypnotizing or intriguing to view. Pfeiffer’s work is both effective at creating feelings within the viewer, as well as inviting them into a one-of-a-kind experience that tests their senses.
Bill Viola, born in 1951, is a contemporary video artist. He received his BFA in Experimental Studios from Syracuse University in 1973 where he studied visual art with Jack Nelson and electronic music with Franklin Morris. Music is an important part of his life and work. Not only has he participated in musical ensembles, like the group “Rainforest” (later called “Composers Inside Electronics”), of which he was a member of from 1973-1980 along with avant-garde composer David Tudor, he has also created videos to accompany musical compositions ranging from classical to rock music. His work focuses on universal human experiences, like birth, death, and the unfolding of consciousness. His work has roots in both Eastern and Western art as well as spiritual traditions in Zen Buddhism, Islamic Sufism, and Christian mysticism. Viola’s international travels have given him unique experiences that have influenced his work. He has traveled to the Sahara desert in Tunisia to record mirages. He was awarded a US/Japan Creative Artist fellowship during which he lived in Japan for a year and a half, studying Zen Buddhism and becoming the first artist-in-residence at Sony Corporation’s Atsugi Research Laboratories. In Long Beach, California, he initiated projects to create pieces based on medical imaging technologies, animal consciousness at the San Diego Zoo, and fire walking rituals among the Hindu communities in Fiji. He has traveled throughout the American Southwest photographing and videotaping Native American Rock Art sites and nocturnal desert landscapes. At the end of 2005 he journeyed to Dharamsala, India, to record a prayer blessing with the Dalai Lama. His work uses the inner language of subjective thoughts and collective memories that allows the audience with whom he is communicating to experience his pieces directly and in their own personal way.
A certain spirituality is evident in much of Bill Viola’s work. A prime example of this is the subject of the above video, “Ocean Without A Shore.” It opened in 2007 in the Venice Biennale, a major contemporary art exhibition that takes place once every two years in Venice, Italy. “Ocean Without A Shore” debuted in the Church of San Gallo, a small 16th century Venetian church. Viola chose that particular location without knowing how he would use it, but he ended up producing a project that had multiple screens on altars on different walls of the space. The piece focuses on the reincarnation of the dead and their return to this world. The subjects approach you and then cross through a wall of water coming into full color, as if they were stepping into reality. This piece really intrigued me and made me curious as to what may have brought this idea to his mind. In much of his work, it seems as though water plays a major role and I wonder if it’s always used in the same context, for example as a symbol of birth and rebirth, or whether it is used as a symbol for both that and death as well. I think his work is thought provoking and leaves the audience a little dumbfounded by the subject matter. It definitely awakens my curiosity, which I think is one of his goals. His work has expanded my view of video art and makes me wonder more about the video art that is continually being produced in the art world today.