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As I said at the beginning of the semester, Digital Art is an complex art form to define, because it is something that is constantly changing and expanding. Digital media encompasses a broad range of art mediums; and those mediums encompasses anything and everything that is digital. Sound technology, video art, Photoshopped images – all of these things qualify. All that is necessary is that one much use digital media to create some part of the artwork. Since the beginning of the semester, my idea of digital art has expanded – sound art would not have occurred to me as a medium for digital art, nor would performance based arts. Even though what I mentally imagine when someone says digital arts differs now, my original definition holds true – digital art is art where some part of it is made or processed or perceived digitally. I feel that I summed this all up nicely at the beginning of the semester – digital art is anything that is created in a digital medium with an attempt at artistic expression.

An electronic musician and artist, Stephen Vitiello is currently an associate professor in the Kinetic Imaging department at Virginia Commonwealth University. He has worked with a large variety of musicians and artists, such as Pauline Oliveros, Scanner aka Robin Rimbaud, and Frances-Marie Uitti as well as visual artists Julie Mehretu, Tony Oursler and Joan Jonas, and was resident artist at the World Trade Center’s Tower One in 1999. He seems to work mostly with miscellaneous sounds, stringing then together and arranging them in unusual ways to draw the listener’s attention to them. One sound you will never here in his works, though, is angry squirrels. Apparently, he hates the way they sound – with good reason.

Having poked around a bit online, I was intrigued by the music and art he posted on his site, and I found videos online of him interesting and amusing. I was very impressed with GlassMaribaFrogCaller – it sounded like rain on a summer night, or the sound of calm waves on a pier at the beach. MOSS was another piece I found to be interesting – I could not decide if it was happy or sad, but it felt very evocative of walking through a small forest near the suburbs. His sound is a little too electronic at times for my taste (particularly in Lula), but overall I very much enjoyed his work.

The images of myself were taken with a tripod, the birds I drew in photoshop, and the two different pictures of the New York skyline I got from the Library of Congress under the Creative Commons License.

Bill Viola

Bill Viola is a video artist, and over the course of forty years has created videotapes, architectural video installations, sound environments, electronic music performances, flat panel video pieces, and works for television broadcast. Born in 1951, he graduated from Syracuse University with a Bachelor in Fine Arts and studied in the Experimental Studios of the College of Visual and Performing Arts. He has also taught video art as well; in 1983, he became an instructor in Advanced Video at the California Institute of the Arts, in Valencia, California. Viola has worked on a large number of varied art projects. He has worked on a new production of Richard Wagner’s opera Tristan und Isolde, which premiered at the Opéra National de Paris in 2005. Viola’s video work of the production called LOVE/DEATH The Tristan Project, and was shown at the Haunch of Venison Gallery and St Olave’s School, London, in 2006. He also has traveled to the Solomon Islands, Java, and Indonesia to record traditional performing arts, and lived in Japan studying Buddhism and was artist-in-residence at Sony Corporation’s Atsugi Laboratories.

Viola has done a lot of really groundbreaking video editing. In the 1970s, he did a lot of work with masques and super-imposing multiple images on top of one another, like in The Reflecting Pool. He also seems to have an obsession with water; his works almost always feature it prominently. In Acceptance, Viola uses water to disguise and finally reveal the nude figure of a woman, and in Ocean Without a Shore, water is used to almost give the figures wings. I think his work does not convey well on the internet. His works seems to be extremely high quality and emotional, and I feel that this would be better conveyed in an instillation instead on on youtube.

Jenny Holzer was born 1950 in Gallipolis, Ohio, and has attended several schools over the course of her life – Ohio University, Rhode Island School of Design, and the Independent Study Program at the Whitney Museum of American Art. Her current artwork (starting around 1977) revolves around the idea of text as art. If Google search is any indication, she works almost exclusively with projection art. Her artwork works around and manipulates public spaces, projecting poetry either she or others (such as Henri Cole, Fadhil Al-Azawi, etc) wrote. Her works revolve around powerful ideas of social justice – oppression, sexuality, war, feminism, etc.Her works has been exhibited all over the world, and she has won many awards, such as the Golden Lion from the Venice Biennale (1990); the Skowhegan Medal (1994); and the Diploma of Chevalier (2000) from the French government.

I enjoy the images she uses to convey her projections are beautiful; they are art in and of themselves.The writing itself, generally very emotional and even sexual, combined with the minimalist presentation, is extremely evocative.  Some of her works seem to question what we see and what we can’t see in media. Her artwork has been very influenced by America’s involvement in war, and it shows clearly. Moreover, she seems to question the media itself. All in all, her artwork is both very emotional and evocative in it’s simplicity. It is hard not to be drawn to her work.

Jeff Baij

Jeff Baij does not share much information about himself online, but after a few moments poking around the internet it is clear that he is a technologically savvy artist. He not only has his own website, but also (I believe) a tumblr. His work reminds me in some ways of Jason Nelson‘s work. Both seem to be rebelling against the notion that art must be visually appealing, and their aesthetic – pixelized graphic art and simplistic, sometimes cluttered images – is often remarkably similar. Both artists also make their art into a dialogue between the viewer/commenter and artist. Jason Nelson posted several youtube videos responding to questions posed by engl251 students last semester,  and apparently Jeff Baij posted a video of himself reading a negative blog post written by a former digital arts student at Mary Washington. Jeff Baij’s video, however, appears to have been taken down. Even if you do not agree that their art is similar in nature, their interaction with their audience is noteworthy. They actively seek to break down the barrier that the internet provides – instead of pouring information into an empty black void, they interact with people who write about them.

However, there are some very significant differences between the two artists. Jeff Baij rebels against the idea that art must have deep meaning, whereas Jason Nelson’s work makes you look for his meaning (contrary to what he may have told Professor Whalen’s engl251 class last semester). Jeff Baij’s work is also less cohesive than Nelson’s – their only real similarity is that they are all computer generated. Moreover, Baij has such a large body of material to look at that it can be intimidating to try and sort through. Finally, Nelson has a definite internet presence and does not remove or delete his work. For example, I can still find the video responses Nelson posted on youtube. Baij, however, seems to enjoy manipulating his internet presence, removing and reorganizing his material and posted information constantly. For example, many previous digital art student’s blogs have direct links to images that no longer work. Similarly, a blog post done by a previous class member quotes something that I believe was in his bio that is no longer posted. I think it is an interesting (if somewhat scathing) response to various previous student’s opinions of his art. In it, Jeff Baij posted a list of ‘insecurities’ about his artwork.

  1. not “black metal” enough
  2. not “rap” enough
  3. too small
  4. no consistent theme that says “jeff made this” (unless you count shitiness)
  5. starting to think that sheer volume of output does not make up for
    1. lack of good ideas
    2. lack of physical objects (not counting glow-in-the-dark daleks)
    3. everything i make looking like its from 2006 and this is 2010
  6. maybe i should spend more time than it takes to toast a pop-tart to make something
  7. other stuff but i’m bored now

All in all, while Jeff Baij may remind me of other artists I’ve seen around the internet, he is entirely his own artist. His intentional lack of internet presence, combined ironically with rumors of his cutting responses to various student’s blog posts about his work, and his diverse and unusual art separate him from the rest. He is not an artist one is likely to forget.

Lancaster, PA

helicoptertree

bookstore

coffeeman

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ivy

victorianhouse

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jesus

speidel

massacre

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hope

open

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Lancaster is probably one of my favorite cities, as far as looks go. Small enough to get to know people, old enough to feel lived in, old-fashioned enough to be beautiful, eccentric enough to be interesting.

Also, it is a great place for dogs. Meet Maggie!

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