In ‘There Are No Visual Media’, W.J.T. Mitchell calls for a re-framing of what we have considered ‘visual culture’. There is no ‘purely visual’ medium because there is no such thing as pure visual perception in the first place; all mixed media are mixed media- involves other senses (hearing, touch, sound, music, speech). The term visual media hides the other senses in it’s definition.
How does you choice of medium affect your art piece?
“Borrowing information with the purpose of having more information and constructing your own thoughts..”
“..leaves enough room for more”
“parallel”, “next to”, “this also”
“investigate marginalized moments in time..”
“There is room to speak with out telling other people to shut up.”
“Allows you to speak up with out being didactic.”
As Lambert-Beatty writes in “Make Believe: and Plausibility”:
(…) a parafiction is related to but not quite a member of the category of fiction as established in literary and dramatic art. It remains a bit outside. It does not perform its procedures in the hygienic clinics of literature, but has one foot in the field of the real. Unlike historical fiction’s fact-based but imagined worlds, in parafiction real and/or imaginary personages and stories intersect with the world as it is being lived. Post-simulacral, parafictional strategies are oriented less toward the disappearance of the real than toward the pragmatics of trust. Simply put, with various degrees of success, for various durations, and for various purposes, these fictions are experienced as fact.
This project started out as a response to Tommy Hilfiger’s advertising campaign featuring super model Gigi Hadid synonymous to the all-American girl. I chose to focus on her popularity juxtaposed with her ethnicity (This was at the time of the immigration ban). Like many Americans, including myself, Gigi’s parents are immigrants. Her father is Muslim, and her mother is Dutch. Being from the border between Mexico and The United States the words “immigration” and “wall” have permeated my life, even more recently with the change in presidential administration. Currently my parents hold a green card and are living in the American side of the border but are terrified that the law will change preventing them from obtaining their American citizenship in the future or even worse loosing their permanent residency. That being said, I decided to take photographs of physical walls around New York City, and photoshop Gigi’s image on them to make a commentary on the literal and social walls that are being built “protecting” us from immigrants. I wanted to include some messages to further make my point but in an almost subliminal way. I researched slogans that have been used by people in pro immigrations protests and appropriated them in each image. Some are more obvious than others, in the case of the Gigi Barbie doll ad I replaced her shirt with the #iamanimmigrant movement t-shirt.
It was interesting to read the intro and the conclusion of Kevin Kelly’s What Technology Wants. Juxtaposed together I found them to be quite contrasting. His introduction raised powerful questions that deeply resonated with me. I too have pondered in similar questions pertaining to technology and culture as a consequence of coming in contact with a younger generation in my teaching experience. I realized that children are so different, so “grown up” than I remember myself being when I was young. I began a love/hate relationship with technology as Kelly writes this “constant tension between the virtues of more technology and the personal necessity of less: Should I get my kid this gadget? Do I have time to master this labor-saving device? And more deeply: What is this technology taking over my life, anyway? What is this global force that elicits both our love and repulsion? How should we approach it? Can we resist it, or is each and every new technology inevitable? Does the relentless avalanche of new things deserve my support or my skepticism—and will my choice even matter?”
I appreciated that he goes back to the roots of technology and it’s history, and then concludes his introduction opening the door to exploring the concept of instead of fighting this force learning to work with it rather than against it and in order to figure out what technology wants.
In the conclusion of the book Kelly basically states that we need technology in order to reach our maximum potential. He even goes on to say “Enlarging the scope of creativity for others, then, is an obligation” and defines technology or as he renamed it in the introduction “technium” is the accumulation of stuff, of lore, of practices, of traditions, and of choices that allow an individual human to generate and participate in a greater number of ideas.”
A question that he posed that struck me the most was
“How many people will die without ever having encountered the technological possibilities that they would have excelled in?”
I concur with with his overall opinion in technology expanding our opportunities and has a direct role in optimizing our talents. A world with more opportunities forges people who have to potential of creating more opportunities, a never ending loop, an “infinite game”.
Dreamlands: Immersive Cinema and Art
Hito Steyerl, Factory of the Sun, 2015
As I was walking into a dark hallway at the Whitney not quite sure what to expect, but at the same time felling the familiar feeling as if I was walking into a movie theater, I suddenly found myself in a three-dimensional grid that almost made me feel as if I had immersed into a production in of itself. In the middle of this grid stood a huge screen playing a mock newscast and to my surprise there were what seem comfortable lounge chairs inviting you to watch and immerse yourself in the spectacle. I watched what seem to be a reality like video game and a personal narrative by a women talking about her relatives participating in a series of wars. I found the footage somewhat playful and at the same time critical about internet survellience and its economic exploitation.
Cost of Living, Josh Kline, 2014
When I first encountered this piece at the Whitney’s Human Interest: Portraits exhibit, it struck me not only because it was a completely a non traditional portrait, but I wasn’t quite sure what to make of it. I could infer that technology had been part of the art making process because guessing that some parts had been made with the use of a 3-D printer, however it raised in me a series of questions about the actual story and message behind it. I went back to the gallery for a tour of the exhibition, and when stoping at this piece, the tour guide confirmed the modeled cleaning pieces and body parts where made in a 3-D printer at NYU, and his subject was a janitor named Aleyda who worked at the Rivington Hotel. She also explained Kline’s interest in the impact of technology on workers which made me experience this piece with complete different lenses.
When later reading about this piece I found the following piece of information about the artist quite interesting:
“Kline calls attention to laboring bodies and offers a grim reminder that workers’ humanity is often valued less than the tools they use to do their job.”