Tag: Object

Hyper Objects

Still in the midst of writing my research paper, I am buried in references, links and books. One of the case studies in the paper is a virtual sculpture called ‘Hyperskins’ by American video maker and artist Andrew Thomas Huang.

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Hyperskins exhibits three digital sculptures cycling in an infinite loop through multiple surfaces, textural incarnations inspired by the philosophy of “hyper objects” by Timothy Morton – the idea that today’s objects lack a “discreteness” and instead are pervasive, multidimensional and ever-changing throughout phases of time, space and relative orientation to other objects independent of human consciousness.”

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Timothy Morton is a member of the ‘Object-orientated ontology (OOO)’ movement, and the term ‘Hyper Objects’ is explained below;

“Morton uses the term to explain objects so massively distributed in time and space as to transcend localization, such as climate change and styrofoam.”

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I fired off a message to Andrew Huang, and to my suprise he very graciously answered with a quite lengthy enlightening explanation about his piece, the book, inspiration and such subjects touched upon were The Antropocene, virtual relics, cloud data, photogrammetry and the 3D scanning of the beaver skull that sits on his mantlepiece amongst other things. I hope to use some of Andrew’s reply in my conclusion of the paper.

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Aspera in Bestia

I nipped over to London last Monday to put up my Interim video piece ‘Slouching towards Bethlehem’ at Wilson Road, Camberwell.

Slouching towards Bethlehem

“And what rough beast, its hour come round at last,
Slouches towards Bethlehem to be born?”

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The piece is a continuation of my exploration into 3D orbits, spherical environments + investigation into unfurled textures and the essence of objects.

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The ‘Beastie’ as object is dictated to by an authoritarian computer voice.

The looped piece of electronic music is taken from a track called ‘Time’ from the album ‘Ghettoville’ by my favourite ‘Afro-futurist’ musician Actress.

“Oh, you are such an ugly beastie..”

the ‘Beastie’ unfurls the textures that constitute the 3D object, revealing the essence of the virtual object and in turn itself. Still there in its spherical world, going round and round and round, ad infinitum…

Catastrophe

Samuel Beckett is well known for such famous plays as ‘Waiting for Godot’ and ‘Krapp’s last tape’, but some of his lesser known pieces or short theatrical sketches are just as powerful.

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Catastrophe isn’t well known, but it always struck me as one of his most powerful pieces for stage. It’s his most political and also supposedly his most optimistic.

Its a short work consisting of one scene, in which a director and his assistant discuss a mute figure they are preparing for a performance: he is a dehumanised character, like a tailor’s dummy, at the mercy of their direction; his only gesture of independence is to raise his head at the end of the play – an act of resistance in the face of oppression. Its dedicated to then (1982) imprisoned Czech playwright Vaclav Havel.

“There’s our Catastrophe, in the bag!”

Harold Pinter: ‘Catastrophe’.

Note to Self:

  • Man as Mannequin/Object.
  • Person unfurled.

Inspiratio

We have been asked by Jonathan to present an artist/Group that inspires us, and that impacts on our own making of work. I could not just put x1 Artist or group that inspires me as I am still exploring various avenues of making…Sensors + Arduino, VR/Augmented Reality, IoT/Video.

So I chose x3 artists and aspects of their work that get me excited.

Andrew Thomas Huang: (VR/Augmented Reality)

I first came across the work of Andrew Thomas Huang when he directed the video for Bjork’s Stonemilker [1] track, it was a 360 virtual Reality experience.

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Also Her ‘Vulincura, moving album cover’.

Some of his instagram ‘sketches’ are below. He seems to combine constructed objects, puppets etc..

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…with 3D imagery and CGI effects.

They seem to be of strange, fierce and mythical 3D rendered creatures, which are beautiful. He is Asian/American and seems to have that affinity for a bright and powerful colour palette, oranges and turquoises mix with deep reds and day-glo limes.

TeamLab: (Sensors + Arduino)

TeamLab are a Japanese ‘Ultra Technologist Group’ comprising of UI engineers, CG animators, web designers, software architects and mathematicians.

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Their founder Toshiyuki Inoko believes…

“Technology and culture can evolve society, and that the start of the information age was a revolution in Society and it will be looked back on in a few hundred years as a Renaissance and a new dawn.”[2]

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I like the fact that they take from ancient Japanese culture and thorough experimentation and innovation blur the boundaries between science, technology, art and design. They use sensors a lot to trigger particular events in their installations.

Mark Leckey: (IoT/Video)

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A performance work of his, GreenScreenRefrigeratorAction (2010) touched me as it seems to me he is trying to give a plaintive voice to the object, the thing. There is a strange kind of brutal pathos in the thought of an object trying to find its voice in the world of humans and sentient beings.

The Fridge stands on a green screen infinity cyc while ‘he coaxes it into revealing its thoughts and actions’. It shows a shiny black Samsung smart fridge pondering its existence and mingling with like objects. In a scientifically-charged description that concerns its inner workings, the fridge’s anguished, robotic first person voiceover renders audible its inner life and its potential dreams. As we create increasingly smarter objects, Leckey predicts a world in which things become sentient, start communicating, and alter our environment into new digital ecosystems.

“Now, instead of wanting to seduce an object into offering up its meaning, Leckey seemed to want the object to consume him. The work began with his inhaling the gases used as coolant for a Samsung fridge: a kind of shamanistic ritual in which, in order to understand the fridge, he took on some of its characteristics. The fridge sang back a kind of mournful plainchant: “See, see, see we assemble. See we assemble. See we assemble; Samsung, Viking, Gaggenau and Whirlpool …” The work, Leckey said, is a kind of fantasy: that he could bring himself into “a state outside of myself, fridge-like, less-human, feeling like an image”. As if he wanted to dissolve into pixels.

You could see the work as nodding to the notion of the internet of things – the technology through which objects, especially consumer appliances, will be connected online and see it more broadly, as a reaction to the fact that technology is triggering strange, disruptive new relationships between humans, objects and images; people, animals and machines.” [3]

The Leckeys run out again

There was a recent lecture at UAL by Scouse provocateur Mark Leckey which I unfortunatly missed as I don’t live in Londinium. I don’t know what was discussed at the lecture but his name being mentioned got me thinking. An interesting guy Leckey, looking like some kind of swashbuckling amalgamation of Paul Calf and the Scarlet Pimpernel, a younger generation seem to have latched onto a lot of his ideas, which is great. I remember his piece ‘Fiorucci made me Hardcore’;

Which at first glance seems like some kind of clumsily edited found footage documentary of 70’s Soul Boys, 80’s football casuals, ravers, Northern English scallies and a seemingly random assortment of partying ‘Ne’er-do-Wells’. On repeated viewings this video reveals a kind of brutal nostalgic beauty, a yearning for times past and youth culture as mysticism.

A cultural magpie, he talks of ‘possessing the computer generated image’ or ‘apprehending the object’. There was another later piece at the TATE where he aimed a speaker stack at and sonically blasted one of its best known sculptures, Jacon Epsteins ‘Jacob and the Angel’;

“Leckey told me that it was about trying to apprehend the object, trying to relate to it, but having to do so indirectly, almost tacking towards it, because of the sheer impossibility of grasping it directly. Of course he understood the history of modernist sculpture, intellectually; but on another level the Epstein, completed in 1941, was also as distant to him and as bewildering as, say, an Egyptian artefact. His performance was a way of wooing it, goading it, to speak to him. “I wanted to elicit from it its meaning and intention.” [1]

This brings me in a roundabout way to the IoT, which I am investigating, and a later performance work of his, GreenScreenRefrigeratorAction (2010);

The Fridge stood on a green screen infinity cyc while ‘he coaxed it into revealing its thoughts and actions’. It shows a shiny black Samsung smart fridge pondering its existence and mingling with like objects. In a scientifically-charged description that concerns its inner workings, the fridge’s anguished, robotic first person voiceover renders audible its inner life and its potential dreams. As we create increasingly smarter objects, Leckey predicts a world in which things become sentient, start communicating, and alter our environment into new digital ecosystems.

“Now, instead of wanting to seduce an object into offering up its meaning, Leckey seemed to want the object to consume him. The work began with his inhaling the gases used as coolant for a Samsung fridge: a kind of shamanistic ritual in which, in order to understand the fridge, he took on some of its characteristics. The fridge sang back a kind of mournful plainchant: “See, see, see we assemble. See we assemble. See we assemble; Samsung, Viking, Gaggenau and Whirlpool …” The work, Leckey said, is a kind of fantasy: that he could bring himself into “a state outside of myself, fridge-like, less-human, feeling like an image”. As if he wanted to dissolve into pixels.

You could see the work as nodding to the notion of the internet of things – the technology through which objects, especially consumer appliances, will be connected online (such that a fridge might text you when you are short of milk; or suggest recipes from the ingredients within it). You could see it, more broadly, as a reaction to the fact that technology is triggering strange, disruptive new relationships between humans, objects and images; people, animals and machines.” [2]

Note to Self:

  • Cultural Theorists: In this blog post I have ticked as one of the categories for it to be assigned to is ‘Cultural Theorists’. I wonder if Leckey would like that? 🙂
  • Wonder if anyone has recorded that lecture he gave recently? would be good to see what the scallywag is up to.