VISUALIZING SURFACE AND DEPTH

This session will be devoted to exploring the face in modern and contemporary art practice as a sort of hinge between the sensual and the affective. 

The face is the cradle of all the major sense organs: sight, sound, taste and smell and to a lesser extent touch. Through these organs, subjects sense their environment becoming attuned to subtle changes that occur constantly in it. Responding to these stimuli one might squint or grow wide-eyed; wrinkle the nose or purse the lips; one’s cheeks might blush or we might crane the neck to hear a faint sound. The face is also the cradle of identity—facial recognition technology has been around in the form of identity cards for nearly a century and beyond that it is quite simply through the face that others most commonly recognize us. The face can nonetheless give away very personal information; it is where affective and emotional states are registered and made visible sometimes even before they are named and known. Therefore, in the face reading and decoding, intuiting and apprehending are distinctly corporeal. One might use the sense organs of the face to take stock of their environment (which includes the facial expressions of those around them), or use these same parts to take stock of the self. This session will be devoted to exploring the face in modern and contemporary art practice as a sort of hinge between the sensual and the affective. How do sensual and affective registers relate to one another? At what point does a sensed experience become a shared experience and what role does the face play? How can re-thinking the face, lead to new conceptualizations of identity and the social commons? The face is a nexus of the personal and the public—involving performance and dissimulation as much as truth and transparency.  Is the facial ‘expression’ an embodied instance of promised connection and meaning or the risk of disconnect?

Image from VISUALIZING SURFACE AND DEPTH session.
Thursday, February 5, 2015 - 9:15pm
Lab Member: 
Dr. Barbara Rauch
Kathleen Morris

AESTHETIC TEMPORALITIES: A PRACTICE-BASED APPROACH TO THE TIMES OF NEW MEDIA.

This research explores how contemporary media artists are conceptualizing, materializing and grappling with “temporal aesthetics” through their artworks and practices of making. 

The relationship between temporality and the media arts is well documented (Sutton 2009). Within this trajectory of thought, analogue media devices and the recordings that they produce are typically framed as a means through which to expose, modulate and re-animate the passing flows of human time. As numerous leading media theorist have recently demonstrated, this is changing (Hansen 2015; Parikka 2012; Stiegler 2010). Contemporary digital media are no longer merely retention-oriented memory devices, reenacting the past in the present. Nor are they limited to the imaginative projections of tertiary memory (Stiegler 2009). Instead, they have become incisive means through which to computationally materialize, legitimized, and respond to a future-present.

Much of the existing work on the time of new media, has concerned itself almost exclusively with the theoretical dimensions of bourgeoning media temporalities, with very little consideration of the everyday or creative practices that they engender. As a result, novel contributions to the field might best be sought through material engagement with grounded media practices.

This research explores how contemporary media artists are conceptualizing, materializing and grappling with “temporal aesthetics” through their artworks and practices of making. It brings together emerging theorizations of media temporality with arts-based methods in order to map a grounded account of temporality across analogue, digital and post-digital media works. This project will be grounded within 6 month-long artist/researcher residency programs (offered by the lab) that take temporality as their guiding principle. Drawing upon a critical analysis of the works produced, as well as process-oriented interviews conducted with the artist-participants, it will theoretically engage with the implications that these aestheticizations have for how contemporary modes of media temporality are understood.

 

Circuit board tinted cyan
Thursday, February 5, 2015 - 9:15pm
Lab Member: 
Dr. Barbara Rauch
Ashley Scarlett

EMERGENT SURFACES: TACIT CREATIVITY

This research project investigates the transformation of affect and surface qualities through the process of translating synthetic data into “real” (physical) objects with material qualities. Of particular interest, is a critical examination of what qualities are gained and which are lost as objects move from digital instantiation, on a computer screen, to physicalization as 3D-printed artifacts. Printers come with a resolution of output that is still crude while on screen one can zoom into the data that is normally lost for the human eye, this is a fascinating area of research still underexplored from the practitioner’s point of view.

Rauch has explored digital surfaces and screens with a haptic sculpting pen. A body of corresponding work was produced, physicalized, using rapidform printers. The intention was to explore the aesthetic qualities of the physical material output. Starting with the more obvious material components of the work, (hard plastics, metal, and ceramic shell powder,) and ending with ephemeral materials (resin and the digital works) she is currently mapping and theorizing shifts in materiality that arise through the process of making the digital manifest.

The larger concern of this investigation is to explore how emerging 3D production technologies are affecting creativity and the development of design-production chains. Traditional sculptors have typically developed a keen tacit knowledge and learned experience about material. With the emergence and proliferation of new digital materials, much of the embodied application of tacit knowledge is now being surrendered to software applications and digital tools. This project seeks to understand: (1) how digital media frame (and are responsive to) such things as, creatives’ level of skill, understanding of material behavior, simulate stress and strength of selected materials, etc.; and (2) how a disconnect in knowledge between the use of digital materials and the materialization through physical material might lead to new usages, novel forms, and emergent aesthetics.

 

Emergent Surfaces Piece 1
Emergent Surfaces Piece 2
Friday, March 9, 2012 - 9:15pm
Lab Member: 
Dr. Barbara Rauch