Wednesday, February 27, 2013

The Roving Eye: Aura and the Contemporary Portrait

The Roving Eye: Aura & the Contemporary Portrait
Oakland University

"This exhibition explores the work of international contemporary artists fixated with portraiture. It considers: the sitter, the artist and, you, the viewer. It proposes to facilitate a fresh look at portraiture, to re-evaluate and reclaim it as a practice central to the artist rather than the amateur. In this context the artist is the only genuine author of authenticity. To glean an authentic essence or presence, each artist must liberate the genuine aura of the sitter: this elusive thing that possesses immense psychological and emotional octane. An effective portrait captures something essential that can only be seen and felt by the viewer in the presence of the likeness. If we value portraiture, we must nurture the form, reconsider its role within the context of contemporary art, re-presented it, and support its practitioners."

It seems to me that the most notable aspect of both A Dozen Useless actions for grieving blondes #1 and Sleep is the inherent relatable features that each contain within itself. In Sleep, due to the video being line animation, it is not very relatable to the audience. However, its generality does afford it some ability for the reader to envision themselves as the subject. The other piece, however, is very striking in this regard. The photograph pictures the young woman in such disarray and so close up that it is very powerful to the viewer, even to a personal level. Dick Goody illuminates one reason for this, stating, “Portraits that meet our gaze possess a distinct advantage. They have already pre-empted us, because when we stare back at them their expression remains infinitely impervious. Winning them over is impossible” (Goody, The Roving Eye: Aura and the Contemporary Portrait, p.5). In addition to the sitter being so visually large and creating eye contact with the viewer, she also exhibits such powerful emotive forces within the viewer due to the extreme distress she appears to be under. This only lends more power to the photograph as it stares down the viewer with such dominating forces governing it. Sleep does lend itself some unique qualities in its demonstration of motion. The use of motion here captures not just a mere moment, like in a photograph, but an action, a process which we all can understand and grasp. This means rather than just a moment being on display, it render unto us a more 3-dimensional understanding of what is happening, creating its own sense of power. In these ways each work of art lends its own distinct qualities to the perceiver, conveying differing responses.

Sleep (2008)
David Shrigley
DVD, Edition 3/6

A Dozen Useless actions for grieving blondes #1 (2009)
Rosemary Laing
C Type photograph
30.5 x 52.56 inches (77.5 x 133.5 cm)
Edition of 8

Monday, February 11, 2013

Curious Danger

Meghan O'Bryan
1:29.00 minutes
appropriation video

A boy wanders around outside when he sees something that is curious to him. He goes to the location of the curiosilty which happens to be a lab with unusual and almost alienistic scientific experiments happening. The boy is involved in an experiment which leaves him disoriented, and then finds himself wandering around outside confused as to how he reached this location and what happened to him in the lab.

The appropriation is from The Nature of Sound (1948) which is a video of a "Boy uses his radio equipment to demonstrate how sound is produced and transmitted." (

Tuesday, February 5, 2013

Queen Kong

Queen Kong (2013)
Meghan O'Bryan & Mike Zeile
30 Seconds
Chroma Key Video

With the use of chroma key, we were able to create a sense of crawling up the side of a skyscraper on a windy day. The sounds used were a mix of city sounds and windy gusts to imply location and atmosphere.

Chroma Key [krəʊməˌki]
a special effect in which a coloured background can be eliminated and a different background substituted 

Also called: colour separation overlay

Sunday, February 3, 2013

Fair Use and Appropriation

fair [fair] use [v. yooz or for pt for mof 9, yoost; n. yoos]
the conditions under which you can use material that is copyrighted by someone else without payingroyalties 

ap·pro·pri·a·tion [uh-proh-pree-ey-shuhn]
1. the act of appropriating.
2. anything appropriated for a special purpose, especially money.
3. an act of a legislature authorizing money to be paid from the treasury for a specified use.
4. the money thus authorized: a large appropriation for aid to libraries.


Two articles:
Fair Use by Negativland
Susan Stoops, Martha Rosler: Bringing the War Home, (1967 - 2004)//2007), (Agitprop, p 58-63)

This post is in response to these two articles.

Negativland has a very forceful and even crude way of appropriating. I agree that anything should be able to be used in appropriation, however I feel that there needs to be a good deal of consideration to the person(s) whose material the artist is appropriating from, just as Fair Use states. For example, in the U2 song, negativland is having a negative impact on Casey Kasem's reputation. Fair use is a very tricky thing, without having very specific guidelines to follow, appropriation can cause a great deal of trouble for artists, as it has with Negativland.

Martha Rosler creates a strong message with her use of appropriation on topics of war and social conversation. The way in which she uses appropriation changes the setting and the discussion on what the original would have brought to the viewer, or even a similar message a viewer had received but stronger with the other materials that were appropriated. I believe the way in which Rosler uses her practice of appropriation is very much held within the idea of Fair Use.

The Gray Drape (2008)
Martha Rosler 
Appropriated Images

U2 (1991)
Digital Mesh Song

g(raphic) i(nterchange) f(ormat)

GIF [gif or jif]
1. a set of standards and file format for storage of digital color images and short animations.
2. a file or image stored in this format.

Origin: 1985–90; g(raphic) i(nterchange) f(ormat)

GIFs have been gaining a lot of interest lately in the art field. They have the motion that a video creates, but the fact that it is a constant loop, though a short one, has interesting opportunities; I believe this is what makes them so popular lately.

Perseverance (2013)
Meghan O'Bryan
640x480 pxls, Loop

This particular GIF I created using a found video of blooming flowers and two found images, one of a light bulb and the other of a trash dump. I used Final Cut X to edit the video and then I imported the video and images into Photoshop as layers to edit the rest and create the loop or GIF.

It represents the idea (light bulb) and the ability for life (the flower) to continue through its cycle (growth and decay loop) even if surrounded by harsh and unwanted environments (burning trash dump).

R_69 (January 24, 2013)
rrrrrrrroll (GIF Animation Group)
500x281 pxls, Loop

This image is of a traditional Japanese style setting, including a traditionally set table and four floor pillows. A young female is sitting on a floor pillow, possibly waiting to eat, as the image has her and the four floor pillows rotate clockwise around the table on a continuous loop.

The image I choose to show as an example in class is R_69 by rrrrrrrroll. They are a group of Japanese friends who create GIF Art. They began creating GIFs in April of 2012 and have gained a lot of attention in Japan as well as in various other counties including the United States.

"At a rate of roughly two a week, they've been appearing on a Tumblr blog called rrrrrrrroll that is dedicated to the project and run by a group of friends."

Here is the link to their Tumblr page: