Art 80F Prompt 1Reproduction and Representation: Arrays, Grids, Avatars
In the image I have created; it is easily noticed that the camera seems to be the center of attention as well as the camera’s attention being brought to the viewer. While reading Walter Benjamin’s The Work of Art in the Age of Mechanical Reproduction I began to realize how his analysis of cameras compared to painters was very intriguing. In his comparison between film and painting Benjamin states, “Let us compare the screen on which a film unfolds with the canvas of a painting. The painting invites the spectator to contemplation; before it the spectator can abandon himself to his associations. Before the movie frame he cannot do so. No sooner has his eye grasped a scene than it is already changed. It cannot be arrested” (Benjamin, 13). Walter Benjamin goes on to describe a concept known as aura which is a value on art that is brought to the viewer as a perception of sentimental creativity. To put it into simpler terms it is basically a measurement used to describe the effort, time, and thought that was put into a creating a piece of art. My image relates to Benjamin’s theory because I am displaying how the camera has taken over the aura of art with just the push a button. The camera sees things in ways that humans cannot. My image displays an opposing factor of art considering that it contradicts Benjamin’s description. There is more focus on the camera in modern times than there is on the physically created art which is on the outside. Clearly, cameras cannot display the aura in which paintings do.
Top Right Image: I decided to place a photograph in the frame of where a painting is most presumably supposed to be for the reasons in which Walter Benjamin depicts how cameras seem to be on the rise and take away from the point on what man made creations are. I chose the background to be black and white while the photo is in color to show the differences in time whereas now, it is more typical to see a photo in a museum rather than a painting which would be most likely praised in an early 20s museum.
Bottom Right Image: I incorporated the use of Banksy’s artwork in order to display that even in modern day; art is still created without machines, and yet is only remembered by a photograph. The significance of using Banksy’s art is to show how Walter Benjamin’s description of aura work with Banksy’s art considering how his work was created by himself; not machine, only man. Banksy’s art would often be erased and the only way to capture it was to photograph it. But Walter Benjamin implies that it will lose its aura, since it is only a “picture of a picture”.
Left Image: A man is seen here to be painting a famous frame of a movie scene. I replaced the blank canvas with the “Here’s Johnny!” scene in order to display one of Walter Benjamin’s concepts. Benjamin went on to explain how, in film, it is impossible to truly disengage from reality in order to focus and appreciate a single frame in a film due to the fact that the frames are constantly changing. Therefore, I created this image in order to display how the only way we can truly appreciate a scene while disengaging from reality is to stop the scene on a frame that displays the most emotion and really engages the audience. In this form, may we truly see the aura in which the art is displayed to us.
Benjamin, Walter. "The Work of Art in the Age of Mechanical Reproduction" from Illuminations. New York, Schocken Books, 1968
In my artwork we are able to see two male silhouettes on the computer with text surrounding them as well as within them. The text that is involved between both males are quotes within Andil Gosine’s Brown to Blonde at Gay.com: Passing White in Queer Cyberspace. Both the quotes state, “I am in love with the image and idea of white manhood, which is everything I am not and want to be, and if I cannot be that at least I can have that, if only for the night, if only for one week or the month.” (Shepherd, 1991) and “I would love to be white. Not forever, but perhaps a weekend. Don’t you ever get sick of being a minority? . . . I have posed this question to other minority artists, and get stumped by answers like “No, not ever have I ever wanted to be white.” And I just don’t buy it. Why would you not want things to be easier?” (Cho 2005). I chose these two quotes because I was fascinated at the way people think when on the topic of race and privilege. Being a white passing minority myself it is quite hard to understand why minorities would want to exchange their identity in order to pass as white. However, I am able to understand how oppressive society can be when a minority enters it. It surprises me how after all these years, people would rather change their identity than embrace the one they are born with. The specific quote I want to focus on is, “The advent of cyberspace provided a new venue for non-white people to experience racial crossing into whiteness—an experience that was part of a parcel of opportunities being trumpeted by queer, feminist and cyberculture critics anticipating the liberating potential of virtual worlds” (Gosine, 140). This quote relates to my picture because the two males who are on their computer are silhouettes; I included this because it is very true how, when in cyberspace, you can be any race, gender, or religion that you want. The person on the other side cannot see who you truly are. I find that interesting. I chose for the background to be the stereotypical view of cyberspace in order to display these two individuals on the web chatting with each other. After all that humanity has fought for regarding equality, it seems as if there are still individuals who are ashamed of their identity and therefore use cyberspace as a safe haven. In Gosine’s work he proceeds to explain how when males go on a gay dating website; they often picture the typical white male on the other end who they are talking to.
Gosine, Andil. "’Brown to Blonde at Gay.com: Passing White in Queer Cyberspace’." (2007): 139-153.
In my interactive program we are able to see a live video of ourselves. But there is a meaning behind this. As you move around the mouse on the screen you will be able to put together phrases that say (Stand up and) along with (Be the change you want to see). On the top left of the video you will be able to see text that reads (The face of somebody who can make a difference). My idea for this concept came to me after I read Alicia Garza’s A Herstory of the #BlackLivesMatter Movement. In this article Garza explains the origin of the Black Lives Matter movement as well as touching up upon her views and intentions of the movement through the eyes of a feminist who strives towards the goal of equality for African-American individuals who feel oppressed by societal flaws such as racial profiling and police brutality. In her work she states, “It’s important that we work together to build and acknowledge the legacy of Black contributions to the struggle for human rights” (Garza). I incorporated this idea into my work as I want to let the user know that they can make a difference in society. My goal is to let them know that they hold enough power to be the change they want to see. If multiple people use my interactable work, then they all may work together in order to bring an end to society’s imperfections. As Garza continues explaining the Movement she writes, “As people who have our minds stayed on freedom, we can learn to fight anti-Black racism by examining the ways in which we participate in it, even unintentionally” (Garza). This powerful phrase shows how each individual has the ability fight racism as well as other flaws that society has as Garza speaks upon how we should examine the ways we fight against racism in order to fully utilize our abilities to end it. It is the reason why my interactive program shows how anyone can make a difference as; alone we may go faster, but together we can go farther.
For this artwork I wanted to let my audience know how even we can change the world regardless of our race, religion, gender, etc. The fact that we are human is enough to make an impact on society. The art I created required the use of video editing skills in which I utilized Final Cut Pro to fulfill. The video I used and edited is from a poetry slam titled “Lost Voices” by Darius Simpson and Scout Bosley. They speak about how we as individuals with different problems should not represent and speak for each other but rather support one another’s struggles. One of the texts I have decided to use is Jennifer Gonzalez’s The Face and the Public: Race, Secrecy, and Digital Art Practice in which she states, “Agamben wants us to be able to imagine the unique character of each human subject without limiting this uniqueness to surface representations, to the limits of particular resemblances between people, to the frameworks of socially defined characteristics” (Gonzalez 48). I found this quote significant since it relates to my project on how regardless of our social labels we are still humans capable of withholding a unique character inside of us. We should not focus on what each individual has to offer the world based on their appearance, but by the characteristics they reflect. The second text I chose was A Cyborg Manifesto Science, Technology, and Socialist-Feminism in the Late Twentieth Century by Donna Haraway where she writes, “But sexual objectification, not alienation, is the consequence of the structure of sex/gender. In the realm of knowledge, the result of sexual objectification is illusion and abstraction. However, a woman is not simply alienated from her product, but in a deep sense does not exist as a subject, or even potential subject, since she owes her existence as a woman to sexual appropriation” (Haraway 522). Humans create this idea of sex/gender which opposes equality between individuals and leads into a source of division between man and woman. This then leads to the idea of gender roles which oppresses divine femininity where women now have to deal with sexual appropriation. But this can be stopped by uniting with one another who feel oppressed in society and feel the need to have a voice. But rather than speaking up for each other, each individual must unite and support one another by giving each other the opportunity to speak.
Gonzalez, Jennifer. "The Face and the Public: Race, Secrecy, and Digital Art Practice" from Illuminations. Duke University Press, Camera Obscura, 2009
Haraway, Donna. "A Cyborg Manifesto Science, Technology, and Socialist-Feminism in the Late Twentieth Century" New York: Routledge, 1996