Reflection IV: «From bits and bytes»

∗Disclaimer: This text may lack some cohesion due to personal trauma this week.


We go through everyday life as walking sponges; soaking up information through perception. It’s easy to be overwhelmed at times. Reflection through contemplation or meditation can ease the burden, but a lot of people use art to channel their feelings and create something new.

Art is a human activity consisting in this, that one man consciously by means of certain signs, hands on to others, feelings he has lived through, and that others are infected by those feelings and experience them. (Leo Tolstoy)

Internet art was the theme of the lecture this week. People began creating much earlier than I had thought, and that can be problematic with regards to storing and preserving digital art for the future. Technology advances and backwards combability can only be stretched to far before we need to let go of the rope.

We can therefor ask ourselves the question: Should every piece of art be preserved?

There are creative genres where the artists do not expect their pieces to last – at least not in a general sense. Street art can be an example of this. They can be viewed for years, days or hours before vanishing. Is this a bad thing? The most popular ones are often photographed and will live on in the digital world. There’s even Google Maps archives with location and images of existing and older pieces.

So do we need to archive the actual work of art, or is it enough to keep some sort of digital record of it existing, and can this digital recording be seen as some new digital artifact? Combining information and artwork is often the ingredients of Internet art.

Speaking of Internet art. I remembered a gem from the past that is still active. Some 18 years ago, someone re-created the original Star Wars movie using only ASCII text and made it available through telnet. If you’re not tech savvy and wish to see the creation, someone made a video recording of it here:

Further down the train track, learning about multimodal information, browser art and chat environments made me remember a web series from 2004 called ‘The Scene’. The plot was built upon a movie pirate group acquiring early copies and releasing them on the web, but the special thing about this series is the format – how they told the story.

The main protagonist is superimposed in the top corner via a webcam and the rest of the frame is his desktop on the computer. The story is told through some voiceover, but mostly text on screen from e-mails, chat via IRC (Internet Relay Chat) and other messaging clients. This is of course scripted, but can nonetheless be viewed as a form of performance art, in my opinion.


In my last words, I’d like to share this song with you.
A good friend passed away this week. She liked this one.
Susanne Sundfør had a concert some months ago. Which we both attended.
That was the last time I saw her.

Reflection III: «Immersion»

This post is way overdue. Mainly because of travel and the wall hitting be when I got back home, as I’ve written about in my next post, so I’ll keep it brief this time. Making it an exercise in writing short with an impact, hopefully.

From what I can remember from that week. We talked about performance art, installations. So I was thinking about how I could angle that into something interesting.

Vimeo is a source for some amazing content and I often come back to view older favorites of mine.
The amazing thing about this particular video, is that it’s made entirely on a computer by one guy. It’s a strange sensation to feel so immersed in a video that you ‘forget’ that it’s not real. Combining an amazing musical score with the imagery will keep me coming back again, and again. It also feels like part of the video is telling a story too.

Hope you’ll enjoy it.

Reflection II: «Permission»

Sunday again, and time for another reflection over the past week. People say that everyone can write, but can anyone become a writer? I’ve struggled with writing most of my life. I can speak with passion about any subject that I fancy, but I often find a mental barrier, or filter, that somehow causes thoughts to scramble, which leads to incoherent text at times. I’m also in a constant rush to catch the monkey in my mind, running around with the dictionary.

I recently heard the idea of thinking in images and thinking in words, Dr. Jordan Peterson talked about his fascination for the well-known Carl Jung. People leaning towards either side, and some people having the ability to do both. With regards to creativity, I believe that highly creative people within visual arts do think in the realms of images, academics in words, and some of the best writers can probably do both – as in describing their imaginary fantasy with perfect sentences.

I believe that I’m of the image-type. I often struggle to convey thoughts that I have, often during photoshoots. Being able to draw can often ease that tension. So where am I going with this introduction. I was sitting here wondering about what I was going to write about this week, we’ve been through some basic meme creations and talked about eras within digital arts. About people breaking free from the traditional art found in museums. People striving for a new way to be creative. So, I thought about this for some time, and then I remembered someone I truly appreciate, John Paul Caponigro, fine art visual artist and photographer. He’s spoken about the creative process at a number of occasions (links below) and believes that everyone is creative, and that permission, passion and persistence are key points.

Gail Sher laid out some simple thoughts in the book “One Continuous Mistake: Four Noble Truths for Writers”; Writers write, writing is a process, you don’t know what your process is until the end, and if writing is your process, the only way to fail is not to write. This thought is applicable to most creative fields if you just replace the word ‘write’ with anything else.

Caponigro speaks about the power in using words to form association with creative ideas. They can help us spark the fire to light up the subject at the right time. This made me think about Google Cloud Vision API, a system for image analysis. Anyone can use it to detect a large number of details in an image, like if there’s people in them, text, relevant keywords, colors, and other properties. Fun way of ‘seeing’ deeper into an image and extracting useful information.

I’d like to say in summary that we need to be open to artistic expression. We may not enjoy the aesthetics of every piece or specific genre, but there is always someone that does. The debate around subjectivity and objectivity in aesthetics is not an easy nut to crack, but I do enjoy this quote from David Hume:

“Not to mention, that there is a species of beauty, which, as it is florid and superficial, pleases at first; but being found incompatible with a just expression either of reason or passion, soon palls upon the taste, and is then rejected with disdain, at least rated at a much lower value.” (Of the Standard of Taste).

Google Cloud Vision API: