Wednesday, August 25, 2010

How Technology Alters Art


I'm looking back at this video over a year since I released it to see what I've learned, or what observations I can draw that have some chance of being anything but trite and obvious.

If you choose to view the video, please watch it in HD. You may want to seek out the mirrored version that probably works better in Vimeo, and which also contains more direct links to the discussion that led to making it. I'm not really sure what species of self-sabotage inspires me to embed the YouTube version, aside from some fairly pointless technical curiosity.

Resisting the temptation to speculate, it seems to me one of the main lessons about this work, and its practical invisibility, is that, whereas James Benning (whose long form films were a source of inspiration) would only show his films under controlled conditions, usually in a loft or artist space where distractions could be kept to a minimum, this video is only available online, except to myself. One other reason for revisiting this one is that it was my submission recently for the Guggenheim Biennial, though I suspect, having heard nothing back they too had no patience for something this indirect and coy.

One benefit of following the video to YouTube would be that the related videos there include at least some of James Benning's work, though many would likely argue that you can't really view them on YouTube and fairly comprehend or appreciate them. But if you're open-minded and interested in the issues they seem to address, you can at least get a rough sense of them that way.

My goals with this piece were mainly to see how and whether viewers would respond to something meant to elicit a degree of free form association and questioning, rather than elicit a more specific and manipulated response, as is the usual pattern for most commercial works, and perhaps even more so, the pressure that exists for most artists (and practical people too) who make online streaming videos that must fight instantly and aggressively for a viewer's attention, often in the face of many, many distractions.

It seems clear to me that a video like this has very little chance of having the desired effect in the context of daily, ordinary levels of distraction and bombardment by multiple sources of noise and spectacle. I'm not saying this is a surprise. It seems to confirm many of the things I'd suspected at the time I was talking about Benning with other art film makers, though I still wonder whether my lack of any serious promotional effort was not also a form of self-fulfilling prophesy?

But I welcome any comments you might have, especially those who for some reason manage to view the entire 8 minutes 20 seconds without turning to something more "gripping." Also of interest would be comments from those who found it too hard to watch in its entirety, though I'm fairly sure that's most of those who may have watched it.

No comments:

Post a Comment

We welcome comments, especially the funny kind.