I put together a short video experimenting with light. This is two video layers, one in and the other out of focus, put on top of each other. The effect is that the light looks like it does in real life... kinda. I like the direction this is going in, and have at least one other clip I can experiment with this on. I feel like it's almost double exposure for video.
Hey, what's up? Not much with me. Just starting a new class and such. Advanced photography is the name, and it's going to kick my ass. Well, not unless I stay on top of things. I feel like there's a sexual innuendo in there somewhere but I don't feel motivated enough to find it.
So, I learned a few new features of Photoshop today and then made a garish looking collage. There wasn't a ton of expertise that went behind this one, mostly just messing around. That's how I feel about most of the stuff I make, though, so it's OK. In my music making, I've only recently felt like I actually know what I'm doing. But does anyone really know? Yes, actually, plenty of people know what they're doing. It'll just take a while for me to get there, too. And when I do... I'll cry in real life.
So, my one project for this class will be to create an installation piece with video. This is going to prepare me for my capstone project next year. It's going to be intense. So far, I want to make it an interactive installation piece involving music, sculpture, photography, drawing, lights, and a ton of other stuff. Another term people use for this kind of show is "rave" and it's pretty fitting. I'm going to hold an art rave and explore various parts of rave culture as well as what separates professionals from amateurs. Amateur is used as such a negative word but it's original meaning was somewhere around "lover of the art". These are pretty vague ideas at this point, and I'm excited to see exactly where they'll lead me.
Anyway, here's the photo I put together in class today. Maybe it's not so bad after all...
I think, as far as preparing myself for an art rave goes, this is a pretty good aesthetic. It could be a bit more vibrant but, otherwise, it's pretty good.
I really had no idea what to do for this piece. The instructions were basically "do your own thing" and usually, those are my favorite projects. This time, however, I really struggled to get any ideas out there. This is probably because I've only started working with performance art this year, and ideas... OK, I procrastinated! And I also had trouble coming up with ideas. Anyway, I would have done something incredibly different that involved a portable speaker and an mp3 player had I not gotten sick Friday. But, because I did, I had all weekend to put something better together. So what did I do? I waited until Sunday night to think of something!
The video on the projection is the result of hours of very early morning editing and the mask was made in half an hour. The piece was inspired by opening my book to random pages and making my project be influenced by the first name I saw on each page. Frederick Kiesler, Merce Cunningham, and Marcel Janco were the names I came up with, meaning I was working with Dada and Fluxus inspirations. I wore a robot mask, made to be like the Dada masks by Marcel Janco, and did a dance of exploration and self discovery in front of a repeating video backdrop. The song I played was one with robotic vocals and various sound effects I made a few years prior and the video is compiled YouTube videos of breakfast, educational videos, and kymotropic analyses. If you don't know what that last thing is yet, look it up. They're amazing and mesmerizing to look at.
I agree with the class that this piece either needed no robot in it, or the robot should have been limited to large, broad gestures that would then be randomized. The video, with some more editing to make it more engaging, could stand on its own really. So could the robot discovering its own existence when, in reality, the person playing the robot is completely blind. It makes me think of trying to portray a character for film or theater. The character being portrayed discovers itself while the actor is lost behind the mask. The video, on the other hand, has nice contrasts between the media-rich commercial world we live in versus mundane tasks like eating versus something as inspiring and mesmerizing as kymotropic analysis. Seriously, it's not as boring as it sounds. I'm not sure if I want to split these up into two performance or not but. If I find they play off each other, I'll keep them together.
This is what the event I went to see with the class reminded me of. I think it was supposed to be a lecture, but it felt a lot more like a performance. It was pretty cool, honestly. I sat near the front row, not too close to the "droolers", and wore a Batman hoodie the whole time. I think at the end Laurie Anderson saw me and gave me a look that was a mix between "what the fuck" and "are you serious?" but I probably saw what I wanted to see. I mean, that's the look I would have given myself.
My favorite part of the event was at the end, when Laurie Anderson said "no one ever asked if I wanted to be a painter, or a musician, or anything specific". I'm paraphrasing, but it was pretty close to that. She then explained that she just likes to do stuff and see what happens. I feel that. You have no idea. That's how I feel about what I do. That's different from how I feel presenting what I make, which I went over in my most recent post about my Fourth Performance Piece.
I hadn't heard of Laurie Anderson until this year in this class, but this event has further solidified her as one of my role models as I move forward in my artistic career. My other role models are, of course, Dan Avidan and Arin Hanson. That's a pretty good mix, I'd say. I don't know what you'd say but, if I was there to hear you, I'd probably have headphones on and be working on a new song. So, I wouldn't hear you. That's too bad... I'm just kidding. Maybe.
One more performance piece and then I'll be getting ready for the live performance night! Then I'll decide if I want to continue posting to this blog. I mean... it's connected to my Google account so I'll always have it. It's just a question of whether I want to continue writing in it.
We'll see. I'm leaning toward keeping it up. Then I'll write about my art projects, like the remix I finished mixing for a competition. More about that later!
In all honesty, this is how I feel when I listen to people talk about the meaning behind my work.
Instead of imagining the audience is full of dogs, I feel like I'm a dog showing stuff to an audience of art majors. I can try and disguise myself with a suit but it's pretty obvious I'm a dog. This was very evident today when I showed my fourth performance piece. I feel like, despite trying to disguise it as performance art, it was still obvious it was a video made for entertainment. And that's because, deep down, all I really want to do is entertain people. I can try to dress myself and my work up as art but, honestly, my motives are a lot more superficial than that.
I'll try to upload the video I made for my fourth project when I stop getting error messages.
This time around, we had to do a performance that involved our body. I felt like this would open a lot of possibilities for me and it did. It opened too many possibilities, actually. I had no idea what to do for a very long time. My sleep schedule was also very messed up the entire week up to the performance. I guess what I'm really trying to say is that I procrastinated and the idea came to me in a state of mild stress. If you haven't noticed already, I like being honest and transparent about my artistic processes. Maybe a little too honest? Naaahhhhh...
The above video is the projection that played during the performance. I don't have a video of the actual performance yet but I will soon. While that video played behind me, I got a slew cords including two NES controllers and a light gun and then wrapped them around myself. A sign taped to an NES nearby pleaded for the audience to "help me" as I became entangled in the warped, technological mess. Once the cords were all wrapped around me, I lay the ground and waited. One person got up to help me but, because the sign wasn't visible in the dark room, it wasn't until the video was halfway done.
After the performance, I got some input and then did the whole thing again (after untangling the cords). The second time I had someone else put the cords around me and instead of laying on the ground I went down on a table. The second time was less effective, I feel, but the inclusion of the table was a definite improvement. I also got a few good ideas for stuff to include the next time I do the performance. I really feel like I could do this for the live performance night and, when I do, the video will be slightly different. Instead of having a sign on an NES that says help me, I designed a text box that looks like the title screen of a game that will flash over the video.
I really like how this performance went, in spite of how much stress went behind it. The wrapping up of cords around me was a manifestation of that stress, in a way. I constantly feel like I could do so much if I didn't keep strangling myself with technology. It was originally about death, which is why the video features a guy ranting about death forward and backward in a vocoder. In practice, though, it ended up being more about stress and I like that better. I haven't died yet but I have felt stress.
Lastly, I'm glad the piece didn't creep people out too much. I mean, it probably did but not in a "I'm really concerned for this guy's sanity" sort of way. Maybe that's how you feel about it, ambiguous reader who's probably either in my class or a friend or family member. And that's OK. It's art and art is life and life is scary sometimes.
I don't have a recording of this one, either, but I'll get better about it in the future I swear. So, for this piece I had to do something in which sound was the main focus. And I had to do this piece with a partner. What my partner Haley and I ended up putting together is something I'd consider in the vein of John Cage. With instruments like an exhaust pipe, a portable speaker, a detuned dulcimer, and a bucket it's not hard to see why.
The piece was, in concept, based on creating an aural landscape that would represent a stylized alien abduction. In other words, we made a lot of noises and hoped it would sound like aliens coming down to kidnap the innocent. The full list of instruments is as follows (in order of scope and magnitude):
1) one microphone and speaker to amplify the portable speaker
2) one Goal Zero portable speaker with which I pressed the headphone jack to my finger to produce a high pitched tone
3) one ocarina (detuned)
4) one dulcimer (detuned)
5) one exhaust pipe
6) one jar of pins
7) one bucket
8) one water bottle
9) two performers and one unsuspecting audience member
10) the invisible alien overlords must be present and watching (ensure any audience member wearing a tinfoil hat removes it for the duration)
The performance began with feedback from the portable speaker while Haley played the ocarina upside down, producing a flat whistling tone like the solar winds. After an indeterminate amount of time Haley then shook the exhaust pipe, signifying entrance into the atmosphere, and I scraped the coins across the table. Because the microphone picking up the portable speaker sounds was on the table, it picked up the sound of the coins scraping the table and produced a reverberating feedback effect much like a low pitched flying saucer. This only happened in rehearsal, however, which was a tad disappointing.
Anyway, once Haley stopped shaking the exhaust pipe she grabbed the ocarina like a space gun and walked around the room shaking the jar of pins in a rhythmic fashion. I stood by and slid a quarter over the strings of the dulcimer, making a sound like idle alien gear. Haley then placed the bucket on the chosen audience member's head and brought her up to the main console (the table everything was set up on). She was then handed the ocarina and, to my surprise, began to play it. In retrospect it seems obvious but I distinctly remember being surprised.
Haley then shook the pipes, I scratched around the coins and then, after a while, I started the portable speaker sound again. The piece then ended and the abducted Intermedia student was never heard from again. I hear she returned to Earth somewhere in Guatemala and couldn't remember her name for a couple days but the rumors are hard to verify.
I really like how this piece turned out. I do, however, agree with my teacher's assessment that the actual performance was more interesting than the story. Alien abduction isn't exactly a subject with new ground to break. I like my classmates' interpretation of it being a ritualistic sacrifice and if I do something similar to this in the future I'll keep it in mind. No one will die or get transported through space and/ or time, I promise. Just a simple, clean bloodless sacrifice to the invisible alien overlords who, surely, watch over our every move.
No one brought their tinfoil hats to the performance, by the way, which made me very happy. I wouldn't have wanted to deal with making someone take theirs off.
Coming up next time: will I take the challenge and dive into the COLD?
I'm going to talk about myself for a while. Is that OK? Cool. I
swear I won't get too narcissistic. I’m going to 250 words or more of your day
to tell you about who I am as an artist. It’ll be an interesting experience for
me and you. Probably more for me than you but that’s OK. Maybe my writing will
be interesting enough to make up for the lack of subject material.
My art vision changes from year to year and depends on the kind of
stimulus I expose to myself on a daily basis. The kind of music I listen to,
the food I eat, the clothes I wear, the people I spend time with are all things
that can change my art. Lately I've been playing a lot of video games, so my
art has been focused on pixel art and chip tunes. As I've been taking
Intermedia, though, I've been looking for ways to incorporate my video game soaked
ideas to get along with Futurism , Dadaism, Fluxus, and others.
I don’t confine myself to one medium. This means that sometimes I’ll
spend months mixing music and then, out of nowhere, stop and start drawing for
months. Sometimes I work on multiple mediums at once but never as separate
projects. If I’m writing and drawing at the same time I’m probably making a
picture book. Video projects, for me, are a way to incorporate every artistic
medium I like working with. I write the script, design the visual aesthetic,
mix the music, and sometimes act a part. The reason I don’t do it often is
because of the work load it presents.
And that’s where I am right now. I know I only talked about the
mediums I work with and not my artistic style but I’m not 100% sure what my
style is. I’m sorry. It’ll become clearer to me as I make more stuff but, for
now, it’s not the most important thing for me to know. For now, there is only
me and you and the stuff I make to bridge the gap between us. Hopefully it will
The requirement was simple: do something you know. It could be anything. Tie a shoe. Rub a cat. Do your laundry. So what did I do? Well, I know how to play video games. I have an NES and a TV. So I brought my TV and NES to class with me as part of my performance piece. The part of me that's been going to institutionalized education for 14 years couldn't believe it. I've never brought a video game into a classroom setting before, let along use it as part of an assignment.
But what did I do with the system? Well, I knew I wanted to have audience participation. I want the audience to feel like they're not just watching the piece but participating in it. Nay, influencing and making perceptible changes in it. So I sat behind the TV so I couldn't see what was going on and set up a game of Mario. On the table was a sign that said "Say Yes or No" and "9 Lives, 3 Continues, 1 Shot". I then had everyone in my class sit in a semi-circle around the TV, some people facing toward the TV and some away. And then the fun began.
The "Say Yes or No" sign wasn't immediately obvious but, once it was, my classmates began to cautiously experiment. This was to no avail in the beginning, though, as I had somehow failed to start the game. For a solid minute or so the only thing playing was the computerized run-through during the start menu. All of us were completely unaware that, despite our best efforts, we weren't actually making a difference in Mario's survival. Once I got it up and running, though, the limitations really set in. One can say "no" and "NO" and "NOOOOOOOO" but none of those things quite convey the same message as "you didn't clear the pipe, it's- it's too- it's too damn high!" Often people would switch facing the TV with someone who wasn't out of frustration. But it only got worse from there. Listening to people shout "YES" and "no no no no no" and "A little to the right and YES", besides secretly sounding like porn, also reminded you of how little progress everyone was making. Oh, and even if you try you can't make a perceptible difference. During the final play through Mario somehow got a 1-up but it was no use. He never got farther than the first gap in world one level one.
This failure inherent in the system of communication had inspiration in how I feel talking to people on a daily basis. I'm not much of a talking person but when I try it always feels like I'm doing something wrong. Oh yeah, I have high functioning autism (Aspergers). Because, you know, context and stuff. Anyway, when I ask for advice on how to hold better conversations, the vague stuff I get back all sounds like either "do (A)" or "don't do (B)". Be confident! Don't doubt yourself so much! You can do it! In other words, "yes" and "no".
That's because most people don't think of things like that in concrete terms. There's so much more to "be confident" than the phrase on its own lets on but the concrete, actually useful stuff, that defines confidence is usually taken so for granted its hard to remember it's there. I understand that and it's no one's fault. I just want my side to be understood. Assuming I know what confidence is, is like assuming I knew what my classmates meant when they desperately pointed at the screen and shouted "YEEEESSSSSSSSSS!"
To sum it up briefly: shit sucks. For both sides.
I'm really happy with how this project turned out. I might do something similar with Duck Hunt, except instead of sitting behind the TV I'll have a blindfold on. I'll also do some more experimentation with audience participation too. The idea of giving the audience control over the piece but not so much they can deliberately influence the outcome intrigues me. That'll mean doing a lot of work with chance and games, which sounds exciting.
When everyone else has presented their projects I'll do a reflection on them.
I've never written a blog before. OK, I lied. I've written a few very temporary blogs on tumblr before but never had the motivation to keep up with them. And now my class is requiring me to write a blog, so... yeah. This blog will likely end with this class. It might not. But in the end... I'm done making this reference.
So, this is going to be my art blog. The class is Intermedia, which means performance art. I'll be uploading videos, photos, and other stuff here. What's the other stuff? Don't look at me. So, other than that this'll be a pretty quiet blog. I mean, at this point that's the plan. I might continue with this blog into my next class, Advanced Photography. I might even continue it into the summer. Cool, right? Sure.
Anyway, I should introduce myself. My name is Lucian Moser. I'm a junior studying Intermedia at Cornell College (not the ivy league Cornell, that's way too good for me). My interests are mixing music, drawing, making videos, and writing. I'm super awkward in person and, to be honest, I'm also a huge nerd. Well... not a huge nerd. Maybe a king size nerd. Actually, I'll go with fun size because who doesn't like fun size? Actually, a lot of people don't like fun size. OK, fine I'm an extra large nerd with a side order of fries. I'm hungry.
I'm going to wrap this up before it gets too long. I also have a feeling you shouldn't end a blog post with "I'm going to end this blog post" but it's OK. I have no idea what I'm doing. I also have no idea who I'm addressing right now. My hypothetical audience? It feels a bit narcissistic to address a hypothetical audience in the first post. In any case, whoever is reading this, I'm stalling because I have no idea how to end this.