Chris Milk works with many kinds of digital media, from interactive installations to virtual reality experiences. He makes apps for VR, movies and music videos, and more direct works of art. His focus on the interactive is what makes his works stand out; people who see his installations can actually manipulate what they see. People using his apps can experience worlds or people in a way that is unlike any other.
Milk’s works were really cool to work with, and I’ve actually seen quite a bit of it out in the wild, as well. I’m a big fan of interactive storytelling and art, so it was interesting to look through his works. I had to try not getting sucked in too deep half the time. I’d love to see more works like his floating around.
Two Against One, 2012 (dir. Chris Milk and Anthony Francisco Schepperd)
Marco Brambilla’s work mainly consists of video art, complete with hundreds of video clips and a slow, swirling, constant movement throughout each piece. Its soundtracks have just as slow and drawing a movement as the videos. His videos consist of series intended for elevators and large-scale displays like Times Square.
These works were mesmerizing and even a little confusing at times, but throughout watching them, I found myself already wanting to rewatch them, or pause them, just to understand what is happening throughout the constant, fluid motions. So many things are going on at once in any given moment throughout the movies, it’s hard to watch it on a flat little screen. This is one of the kinds of work I’d like to see in its entirety, just so I have more time and space to absorb what is coming out of it.
Evan Roth works almost entirely digitally, pulling information from the internet and making it into its own world. From Wikipedia to video, Roth’s works show the internet in a more tangible and entertaining way. His works are also primarily online, which makes it much easier to view and understand (and his website is pleasantly comprehensive).
Internet Landscapes: Sydney, 2016
Roth’s works were ones where I had to deviate from his website and do some research to understand what I was looking at. I found more interesting pieces that way, such as his driverless Google car video and his Internet Landscapes series. Some of his works, like the car video, are much more entertaining than artistic, while others, like the landscapes series, are more beautiful and interesting. His works overall manage to capture the internet’s character fairly well in terms of humor, aesthetic, and intrigue. Roth shows what kinds of things can come out of fostering the internet world.
Takeshi Murata creates 3D sculptures and video art, focusing on illusions, distortions, and storytelling. His works are colorful and sometimes surreal in their composition. His use of old movie clips or images within his painted or video-based art gives his works a little familiarity alongside a sense of eeriness.
I got lost in looking at Murata’s art pretty quickly. It’s easy to understand without much sifting through explanations and has a wide enough variety to keep interested in the search. The melting sculpture, in particular, was wild to watch. It didn’t really feel like it made sense, but I couldn’t figure out how it worked just by watching it play. Is it spinning? Does it just move on its own? Who knows?
Jodie Mack is an artist who combines collage, animation, and music to create a colorful world. Her art is mostly light and fluid, her images rushing across the video. The music is entrancing and sometimes eerie, but it always accompanies bright images.
Persian Pickles, 2012
I really enjoyed looking at Mack’s work. While some pieces, like Persian Pickles, don’t have much to do with stories or easily digestible music, like Unsubscribe #4: The Saddest Song in the World, they hold an artistic value that separates them from storytelling. Still, the story-based videos should not be dismissed, since they were definitely my favorites when watching her videos.
Unsubscribe #4: The Saddest Song in the World, 2010
Pipilotti Rist is an interesting artist. Her works go from videos and sound work to immersive displays. The ideas represented in each piece is thought provoking and difficult to decipher, but its charms lie within that.
Rist’s displays are ones that I would love to visit. They look so surreal and calming, like you could lose yourself in them for hours. Pixel Forest is one such display, spanning several rooms and creating a fantastical world. Her videos and soundtracks are a little more unsettling but no less mesmerizing. Every piece I came across required a lot of sifting through before I could move on to the next thing. Still, Rist’s works are something I wouldn’t mind spending hours wandering through.
Jason Salavon’s work relies heavily on computations and algorithms, but each study, from a list of names to a series of computer-generated images, becomes a unique artistic form. Most of what he does takes popular or common images or words and compiles them into lists, videos, overlaying images, and diptychs.
The images I found most interesting were from the Golem (map), a series of abstract paintings created out of a computer program. The results of Salavon’s program look exactly like the painting they intend to imitate. Had I seen any of these in a gallery, I wouldn’t have thought twice before assuming someone had painted them. Salavon’s works just show how much computer programs and digital art have come.
Kelli Connell’s work features photographed models posing multiple times in the same image. The two characters in the scene usually juxtapose and often interact with one another, despite being the same person.
These works are interesting to see, partially because they bring back old memories and partially due to their intended nature. Connell’s work is intended to question people’s gender, sexuality, and roles in daily life. At first glance, the same model can look completely different from themselves within a photo. But looking closer, we see that person’s face, hair, eyes, and everything else are all the same.
Identity is something people struggle with constantly, so photos like Reverie have a real impact on the viewer. Which of the two identities would we rather be, overall or in that given moment? These decisions are constantly shaping our self-image. It’s hard to capture it as seamlessly as these photos do.
Christian Marclay focuses mainly on visual imagery of time and recreating sound. His works are often multilevel, from DJing to splicing together photos and videos. Exhibits like Cigarettes (2016) and The Clock (2010) use imagery to show the passage of time. A series of images show the development of a smoked or abandoned cigarette found on the street, and thousands of video clips literally progress throughout all 24 hours of the day. Other works, like White Cube (2014-2015), show sound visually.
I liked Marclay’s work. They didn’t take too much time or effort to understand, so it was easy to appreciate the pieces. The amount of work done behind each piece isn’t lost in its presentation, either. I can’t imagine the dedication it must have taken to put together a 24 hour, minute-by-minute show made entirely of movie clips, yet I think I’d be one of the people at the show, trying to watch as much of it as possible. Works like these express a sense of creativity and uniqueness that are interesting but not difficult to appreciate in its fullest.
Wafaa Bilal’s pieces appear to focus primarily on the cultural divides between Western and Oriental. He uses his art to play with emotions and give people a new perspective on the assumptions that they may have built through their culture. More specifically, Bilal shows the war in Iraq in its barest, quietest forms.
Upon looking up his works, I found my way to his website, which is the first so far this semester to actually give artist’s descriptions and thoughts on pieces. These descriptions helped me understand what he meant better with each work presented, but it didn’t detract from the initial impact that they had. Photos from The Ashes Series and The Things I Could Tell… exhibit show a world that we do not usually see, especially in relation to Iraq. America hasn’t gotten past seeing the American side of the conflict. Seeing an artist take that fact and turn it into art makes it all the more obvious.
His pieces turn the eye of the viewer from their perspective and make them ask what the piece means beyond what they might initially understand. What is war, really? How does culture affect our understanding of war? What gets lost between soldiers leaving and veterans returning? Such questions need a lot of time and consideration to flesh out.