Research on Artist April 26, 2010
Jennifer Steinkamp’s artistic manipulation of electronic media is magical to view. She creates abstract forms and projects them onto spaces small or large.
She creates her art using digital animation, which she downloads onto numerous computers and projectors which are controlled by a master computer that synchronizes them into a unified whole. What is so unique and interesting is how she crops and masks each frame, treating each one as a separate piece of art that she combines to form a whole that is greater than each of its parts. Her works are often further enhanced with musical scores choreographed to the movements of the images.
Viewers become participants in her work as they walk between the projector and the wall; their shadows project upon the wall changing the image, and at the same time the video projects images onto their bodies, which create the possibility for the viewer to become acutely aware of their presence within her artwork.
Her titles are richly expressive as she covers topics ranging from feminism, politics and cultural content, and brings self-awareness and provocative thoughts to the viewer. Her works can be understood as a prism in which we view the condition in which we live, bridging a gap between art and life.
I am particularly drawn to her piece entitled “Dervish,” exhibited in various locations between 2004-2009. Four single trees are projected onto four walls of the room, they have an iridescent glow up against the dark solid back round and take on a magical quality; the branches flow and move captivatingly in a digital soft wind. The trees’ twirling limbs are meant to mimic the bodies of Islam Dervishes, who dance themselves into a trance to rid their souls of any connection with earthly ties, allowing them to connect with the divine. Viewers of this work could also reach a meditative-like state watching the movements of the iridescent tree limbs waving gracefully in a visual wind.
There is juxtaposition between the rigid rooted trunks and the flowing, soft, swirling branches; this interplay could be interpreted as the divine’s magical quality in the branches as they wave against the motionless, earthly trunks.
I find Steinkamp’s work magical and thought provoking, she successfully uses digital media to express unique artistic creations for viewers to participate in and possibly be transformed in some way.
1 Christopher Miles, “Brightness Falls,” Art in America 95, no. 3 (March 2007): 128-133.
2 Robert Wedemeyer, Dervish, Jennifer Steinkamp’s web page, 2004, 05, http://
jsteinkamp.com/html/body_lenmannmaupin.htm., 19 April 2010.
animation April 19, 2010
This project concerns the passage of time my thought is to demonstrate a passage of time in art history. Starting with cave paintings and reaching the present in the middle of the loop and then back again using Dali’s “persistence of memories” as the backdrop.
Response to Chapter Three
Beyond the book: a text and narrative environment, examined in Digital Art by Christine Paul, is a fascinating concept. As an avid reader I am amazed at the many possibilities of the written word, how text can be a physical art form as well as a communication device that may convey different interpretations to a reader. The written word may be experienced visually, viscerally, as well as intellectually.
Words have historically been written in a sequential linear form, word following word, line following line, and page following page, with a beginning and an ending point. Hypertext allows the reader to interact and change the structure and content of the text, thereby giving it a new and altered meaning for individual interpretation.
A couple of concerns about hypertext comes to mind, one being that of copyright laws and how one enforces them in a constantly changing environment alterable by many different viewers; the laws may need to be adjusted for these new forms of text. One must consider the preservation of history if hypertext replaces the written word, for hypertext is fluid and changeable, words stored in cyberspace may never be able to be retrieved in the original form they were written, which may affect permanence of historical documentation. It is difficult to predict what impact hypertext may have on the recording of history and the written page.
Of course this impermanence allows for some very innovative artistic creations. The work by artists David Small and Tom White entitled Stream of Consciousness/Interactive Poetic Garden dated 1998 is a good example of using hypertext as a tool for creating visually and viscerally stimulating work. It is based on the early 20th century idea of “stream of consciousness” writing made popular by Virginia Wolf and James Joyce (194). Words flow freely from their mind onto the paper without attachment to their conscious, often times the work may seem disconnected and nonsensical. The interactive poetic garden reflects this idea of arbitrary words freely flowing; strings of written words literally flow and move as they are projected onto a pool of water contained in a small square Zen like garden. Words can be moved and changed with the participant’s hand; they flow into the drain and pump back into the pool again for a new order and meaning. The letters and words are in constant flux as it flows and reconfigures according to the actions of the participant’s hands (193). This garden can have a meditative, calming affect upon the participant/viewer, which may unleash attachment to conscious thought likened to the “stream of consciousness” of literary modernism.
In conclusion I believe that hypertext has many wonderful avenues for the arts, as well as providing a plethora of information previously unattainable for people world wide, but at the same time I have concerns regarding the loss of traditional written words on pap
The Cubes April 5, 2010
The project I titled Faces of Inspiration. Seeing that there were countless faces of inspiration in the art world I asked my children their favorites and was able to choose three. I would have liked to continue on with more but had to stop because of the time, for it proved a bit more difficult than I thought.
Maybe I will choose to fill my studio with many more.