Wednesday, August 29, 2007

Self Portrait Assignments-Due 9/10

We do not have class next Monday. Here is a summary of the assignments I gave at the end of class. Pay attention to the details and make the best work you can. You have 11 days --

Self Portrait Assignment 1

Select a mainstream media video or image from the internet and attempt to duplicate it using yourself as a stand in for one or more of the main subjects. To the best of your creative ability attempt to duplicate all the aesthetic / stylistic qualities of the original video/ image ( e.g. pixelated, B/W, environment/background , costumes, gestures, camera angle, objects etc.). You will present the original video/image in class along with your new work.

Consider the social, political, and performative implications of the image you choose carefully. Choose an image that enables you to reveal or highlight something unique about your identity or allows your introduction into the work to charge the audience with new questions that possibly subvert the original work or completely transform its meaning.

Present to class a web quality image or video on a jump drive to be transferred to instructor's mac laptop . Also submit to instructor another higher quality version on CD (print / projection quality) .

Self Portrait Assignment 2

Create an image/video entitled "Self Portrait After Ten Minutes". You have full creative license. The only stipulation is that the image/ video has an obvious performative value or resonance. You are attempting to engage your audience by making them consciously aware of the visual repetition of a preceding act or acts.

Consider this idea when you create this work:

"The most provocative performances for the camera are those that engage the spectator on a conceptual level to participate either physically or psychologically in the action. On these occasions, the communicative exchange at the heart of all performance is set in motion, and the social implications of the performance are understood."
Diana Nemiroff

Present to class a web quality image or video on a jump drive to be transferred to instructor's mac laptop . Also submit to instructor another higher quality version on CD (print / projection quality) .

Self Portrait Assignment 3 --- please see assignment correction in last sentence

From the perspective of the self as photographer/filmmaker, write a detailed description of the moment of creating a fictional self portrait video/image (end this description with the word "Click" symbolic shutter.

Write an additional detailed description of the resulting self portrait video/image that was created by the "click".

You will be performing (reading or reciting) this self portrait in class. You have free reign to use any props, costume, or A/V effects that you deem necessary. Challenge yourself to engage the class as an audience. Focus on affecting the audience emotionally. Remember this does "not" have to be an actual photo/video you have made or possibly will ever make

Sunday, August 26, 2007

Numa Numa VS Acconci

Full video

Gary Brolsma NUMA NUMA Dance 2004

Internet-based video of American Gary Brolsma lip-synching the song energetically on his webcam brought the Numa Numa phenomenon to the US. Brolsma stated in an interview, "...I found it ["Dragostea din tei"] in another (I believe it was Japanese) flash animation with cartoon cats"Maiyahi by ikari.[3] Others have noted that it was first used in the Japanese flash animation Maiyahi by the Internet user "ikari".[4]

Brolsma uploaded his "Numa Numa Dance" to Newgrounds on 6 December 2004.[5] In the original video, Brolsma does not finish the entire song, ending at around 1:37. On Newgrounds it has since been seen more than 14 million times and copied onto hundreds of other websites and blogs, making it the second-most watched viral video of all time (only losing out to Star Wars kid).[6] He has also receive

d mainstream media coverage from ABC's Good Morning America, NBC's The Tonight Show, and VH1's Best Week Ever, and, according to The New York Times, was an "unwilling and embarrassed Web celebrity".[7] He canceled media appearances but reappeared in September 2006 with a professionally produced video, New Numa. This video, hosted on YouTube, marked the start of the "New Numa Contest", which promised US$45,000 in prize money and a US$25,000 award to the winner.[8]


Vito Acconci Theme Song 1973

In Theme Song, Acconci uses video as close-up to establish a perversely intimate relation with the viewer, creating a personal space in which to talk directly to (and manipulate) the spectator. He is face to face with the viewer, his head close against the video screen, lying cozily on the floor. Acconci writes, "The scene is a living room -- quiet, private night -- the scene for a come-on -- I can bring my legs around, wrapping myself around the viewer -- I'm playing songs on a tape recorder -- I follow the songs up, I'm building a relationship, I'm carrying it through." Smoking cigarettes, he begins a seductive monologue as he plays "theme songs" by the Doors, Bob Dylan, Van Morrison, Kris Kristofferson and others on a tape recorder. The songs are a starting point for his come-ons; the tenor of his monologues shifts with the lyrics. "Of course I can't see your face. I have no idea what your face looks like. You could be anybody out there, but there's gotta be somebody watching me. Somebody who wants to come in close to me ... Come on, I'm all alone ... I'll be honest with you, O.K. I mean you'll have to believe me if I'm really honest...." Theme Song, with its ironic mixture of openness and manipulation, is one of Acconci's most effective works

Star Wars Kid VS. Naumann

Star Wars Kid 2002

The boy made a video of himself swinging a golf ball retriever around as a weapon, imitating the Darth Maul character from Star Wars Episode I: The Phantom Menace who wields a double-bladed lightsaber. The video was filmed at the studio of his high school, and the tape was left forgotten in a basement. The original owner of the videotape discovered his recorded acts and immediately shared it with some friends. Thinking that it would be a funny prank, they encoded it to a WMV file and shared it using the Kazaa peer-to-peer file sharing network.

Within two weeks, the file was downloaded several million times. An adapted version of the video was created, adding Star Wars music, texts, and lightsaber lights and sounds to his golf ball retriever.

As of 27 November 2006 it has been estimated by The Viral Factory that the videos had been viewed over 900 million times, making it the most popular "viral video" on the Internet. Because of the creation of YouTube, it may have been seen almost a billion times.[1]


Bruce Naumann stamping in the studio 1968

In 1966, just graduated, Nauman contemplated what it was that an artist was supposed to do. He concluded that 'if I was an artist and I was in the studio, then whatever I was doing in the studio must be art.' Art at this point 'became more of an activity and less of a product' and he began to use his body as a material.

Concerned to incorporate the mundane elements of daily life into his work, Nauman used his behaviour, obsessively pacing around the studio, as the starting point for a series of films and videos made from 1967-69. He recorded himself performing simple, repetitive activities, each responding to a specific 'problem' suggested in the title. Physically and mentally demanding, these actions were often performed for one hour – the length of a videotape. As a result, the threat of failure is ever present, evoking in the viewer an empathy Nauman described as a 'body response'.

Although made much later, Setting a Good Corner (Allegory and Metaphor) 1999, responds to a similar set of concerns. Once again, the artist records himself performing a repetitive, mundane task, this time from the daily life on his ranch in New Mexico.

The figure in these recordings, which are endlessly looped, becomes a metaphor for the rituals and struggles of human existence and owes much to the plays and stories of Samuel Beckett that Nauman first read in 1966. Nauman shares with Beckett an obsession with the human condition: both use repetitive, non-productive and often solitary physical activity to reveal the lot of humankind – its modes of behaviour, frustrations, abilities and frailty.

Thursday, August 23, 2007

Now and Then -- Performance to Performative

Amateur Viral Video

The term viral video refers to video clip content which gains widespread popularity through the process of Internet sharing, typically through email or IM messages, blogs and other media sharing websites. Viral videos are often humorous in nature and may range from televised comedy sketches such as Saturday Night Live's Lazy Sunday to unintentionally released amateur video clips like Star Wars kid, the Numa Numa song, The Dancing Cadet, and The Evolution of Dance.

'You' named Time's person of 2006

"You" have been named as Time magazine's Person of the Year for the growth and influence of user-generated content on the internet.

The US magazine praised the public for "seizing the reins of the global media" and filling the web's virtual world.

Time has been giving its controversial awards since 1927, aiming to identify those who most affect the news.

Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, Chinese leader Hu Jintao and North Korea's Kim Jong-il were 2006 runners.

Microsoft founder Bill Gates, his wife Melinda and rock star Bono won the accolade last year and recent winners also include President George W Bush in 2004, and "The American Soldier" in 2003.

'Wresting power'

The magazine said naming a collectivity rather than an individual reflected the way the internet was shifting the balance of power within the media through blogs, videos and social networks.

Time cited websites such as YouTube, Facebook, MySpace and Wikipedia, which allow users to interact with the web by uploading and publishing their own comments, videos, pictures and links.

"It's about the many wresting power from the few and helping one another for nothing and how that will not only change the world, but also change the way the world changes," Time magazine's Lev Grossman writes.

Time praised the tool that made such broad collaboration possible - the web.

"It's a tool for bringing together the small contributions of millions of people and making them matter," Mr Grossman said.

Time aims to pick "the person or persons who most affected the news and our lives, for good or for ill".

Early Video Art ---

When Sony released its first portable video camera, the Portapak, in 1968, the three M's—McLuhan, Marcuse, and marijuana—determined the political framework of America's young intelligentsia. The first generation of video artists mapped and defined a utopian territory, voiced in the influential magazine Radical Software. The titles of two books written by contributors to Radical Software are enough to sample the ideological scope that a technological advent helped to foster: Paul Ryan's Birth and Death and Cybernation: Cybernetics of the Sacred (1972) and Michael Shamberg's Guerrilla Television (1971). The communitarian use of video paralleled the development of cable television. Control of the means of production, copyright, and distribution blurred the frontiers between activism, local news forecasting, and art-making.

From my own experience, I felt that early on there were two distinct developments evident. The one you first mentioned, camera/body/monitor, is best seen in the early tapes by Bruce Nauman or Vito Acconci. They were coming out of what became known as "body art" but also from a projection of an inner psychological state. But there was also another area of development, which was to create alternative forms to broadcast television. Here the concern was with relationships to and through the community, or a much more social "self." Both fields overlapped. With regard to the self and the body, many works were developed in the isolation of the artist's studio, such as Bruce Nauman's 1968 Stamping in the Studio, where he inverted the camera so that to the viewer he appears to be walking on the ceiling. Even though he repeatedly stamps in a rhythmic, almost primitive pattern, he is not really participating in any social or communal rite. He remains individualized in his own studio. Acconci's Centers (1971) has the artist pointing at his own image on the video monitor, attempting to keep his finger in the center of the screen. He was pointing away from himself and to an outside viewer. In that work he introduces another aspect of video: using the video monitor as a mirror. The work also begins to take advantage of the self-reflexive potential of video by becoming more aware of the psychology of interpersonal relationships.

Dara Birnbaum is a New York-based artist who is widely recognized as a pioneer in the video medium. She is the recipient of the American Film Institute's prestigious Maya Deren Award, among numerous other awards from international film and video festivals.