Monday, September 21, 2009

Conflux Festival

This weekend I attended the Conflux Festival in New York City, which is "the annual New York festival for contemporary psychogeography, the investigation of everyday urban life through emerging artistic, technological and social practice. At Conflux, visual and sound artists, writers, urban adventurers and the public gather for four days to explore their urban environment." (conflux website)

There was an amazing spirit of experimentation, dialog, and community. I attended a workshop with Skydog Projects about time-lapse photography of the city. Check out the link for an amazing video of the Manhattan Bridge. In this workshop artists attending were encouraged to go out and take time-lapse videos of the city, and then he linked together all of their work on one page.

I also attended a great workshop with Reverend Billy, who is an artist and activist working with public spaces in New York. He talked about the upcoming election were he is running for mayor of New York, as well as past projects, demonstrations, and activist works that fight against corporate power and the increasing privatization of New York City.

I also met with a friend, Matt Keeney, who is an artist working primarily through the internet. He was roaming around the city finding open spaces to inhabit and viewers were following him on Twitter to meet up with him and see his tour of the city.

Overall, it was so refreshing to see so many artists working outside of the gallery, on the internet, and in public space. I left feeling inspired and hopeful for an art world that is redefining itself outside of the traditional definition of the artist as a means of commerce and trade.

Sunday, September 6, 2009

Jeremy Blake

Jeremy Blake was an influential contemporary digital artist, who started as a painter and became interested in the ability of digital media to combine disciplines. He died tragically in a bizarre double suicide.

From Blake's "time-based paintings"-Winchester (2002, 18 min.), 1906 (2003, 21 min.) and Century 21 (2004, 12 min.)-are looped DVDs projected side by side...
Blake's work overcomes the problem of computer-generated color-how cold and flat the uniform saturation of color can be. His hues make you think of stained glass, not plastic. His "brush strokes" of light represent a giant step past spray-painted graffiti art, which is his art's nearest cousin... The Winchester films combine 8mm film footage, static 16mm shots of old photographs, hundreds of ink drawings, and intricate frame-by-frame digital retouching. They are meant to provide an abstract and emotional tour--not so much of the architecture, but of some of the more fearful chambers of Sarah Winchester's mind.

He designed the cover for Beck's Sea Change album and produced abstract visuals for Paul Thomas Anderson's film Punch-Drunk Love. Trading art-world pretensions for the practicalities of the music and film studio were welcome changes: "I like artists who don't feel superior to the culture they critique."