Tuesday, March 17, 2015

An Exciting New Multimedia Performance ! ! !

Students, friends, and our fearless leader Prof. John Shimon gathered in the Warch Cinema yesterday to present and critique our final projects. Everyone made some very cool stuff and it all seemed like the product of experimenting and discussing over the course of the term.

Noah Gunther and I, founders of the art collective Scientists Against Time (info coming soon), decided to combine efforts in the spirit of Digitalism (info coming soon) and create a collaborative video, noise, and performance piece. We took Marshall McLuhan's ideas about the growing age of digital technology, specifically Allatonceness (the globalization and interconnectivity of the world thereby ceasing previous notions of linear time and space), but spun it in more of a metaphorical way. The performance, entitled Pepperoni Beer Donuts, intended to represent this onslaught of information and connection between all time and space in the form of rapidly changing video (neo-Dada random- and meaningless-ness, if you will), computer generated noise, and human made noise. Thanks to the computer-level brains of Noah, much of the most interesting parts of the audio came from importing raw data from computer programs, templates, pictures, and other files into Audacity, a free audio-editing software, and exporting it as an audio file. This produces sounds such as this. It is very fun and we can teach you how to do it if you just ask!

Here's the video and noise piece we created:

And here's a clip from the performance on 3/16/15 (full video coming soon):

Final remarks: I very much enjoyed this term in New Media in Art. I experimented with a lot of things and felt like I could express myself more than any other art class I've taken at Lawrence and use media I'm most interested in. I also learned a lot from John and the other students in the class. I'm excited to be in the intermediate course next term!

Tuesday, March 3, 2015

UPDATE: Artboy is Artsad

Artboy here. Last week, I put my sculpture up in an identical opening on the other side of the art building. This spot isn't perfect because people aren't inconvenienced much by its presence. It lost my intention of making people frustrated about not getting what they want, but it has yielded some funny results:

  • people are just generally confused by it
  • it looks like construction, which is funny because it seems really important
  • passersby are curious and at least look at it
  • my friends peed on it (which is annoying in a peeing-on-things-is-stupid way, but it's like this landmark now where people say "Let's go pee on that wood wall!")
  • it has caused Facebook confusion among friends

  • it snowed today and workers can't move the snow (which is funny because honestly who gives a shit it's just snow it melts and nobody's gonna walk through there anyway I mean, Christ, I blocked the path for a reason)

So I guess Artboy isn't that Artsad anymore, just Artlaughing. Most people have reacted to the wall thinking it's pretty funny and I think I like that better than what I was trying to do with it. I tried to get all serious and make a sculpture that "makes people think" and "feel something real," but I really like how stupid it looks in that little pathway. And it's become this weird campus buzz which is cool. Everyone should do it.

Make your own in your hometown for under $60! Here's how:
  1. Buy five 2-by-4's
  2. Buy four 4'-by-8' pieces of particle board
  3. Cut four of the 2-by-4's into sixteen 9-1/4" blocks
  4. Screw the blocks into two pieces of the particle board to act as braces when you attach the other two pieces
  5. Don't use your last 2-by-4
  6. Struggle to get these four large pieces of wood up the stairs and outside
  7. Oh and it has to be 14 degrees outside
  8. Put the two 2-by-4'd particle boards next to each other and lay the other two on top
  9. Screw into the other side to attach everything together
  10. Get two friends to help you lift it up
  11. Pound it into the opening because it's a little bit of a tight fit
And you've done it! You've made a wall. Nice work.

Meister Eckhart: A Mystic Indeed ! ! !

Philosopher Marshall McLuhan (left) and Mystic / Philosopher / Theologian Meister Eckhart (right)

from The Medium is the Massage, pg. 147
by Marshall McLuhan
This past week, I developed a report on why Marshall McLuhan included Meister Eckhart in his book, The Medium is the Massage. For those who aren't familiar, Meister Eckhart was a medieval theologian, philosopher, and writer who famously wrote, "Only the hand that erases can write the true thing."

In my report, I showed how McLuhan's opinions about propaganda and the idea of the interconnected global village are derived from the spirituality of Meister Eckhart's philosophies about truth and goodness in God. I identified the meaning of Eckhart's quote as ousting evil and untruth from power not with violence or condemnation, but by replacing it with pure truth and goodness. I showed the similarity between this and McLuhan's "propaganda ends where dialogue begins" to prove that the two philosophers viewed the world around them as changing and developing towards a final, pure truth. Whether McLuhan is happy about the changing electric world or not, he recognizes that the growing mass interconnectivity of people and information is undoubtedly happening. Meister Eckhart would argue that this achievement of truth is a oneness with God; pure, perfect truth and goodness. Like I said, McLuhan's opinion on this unclear, but personally I wouldn't call this entity God, in a deistic, figural way, but I would call it God in a figurative way, representing the wholly formed truth of life.

I thought it was helpful to hear in depth about all of the people in The Medium is the Massage because, seeing them all together, it was clear that they were all included for the same reason. Each figure, in their time, recognized and responded to the changing world around them, like McLuhan. They are all symbols of their period's thinking and were all important to the development of the avant-garde, "game changing" life following them.

Here's a link to Professor Mernard McGinn of The University of Chicago Divinity School on Meister Eckhart's notions of oneness with God: http://youtu.be/eesLtg5ywrU?t=1m13s.