Tuesday, December 10, 2013

Final Writing Assignment

Darrin Martin and Nova Jiang
Artists, Darrin Martin, and Nova Jiang are quite elaborate in their works with attempts to make an augmentative perception with how a viewer or participant will conceive a particular train of thoughts after engaging in the art because of their works that induce creative thought. In Nova Jiang’s Landscape Abbreviated, she creates a maze that encourages participation from viewers to engage with the robotic, changing maze. Darrin Martin, on the other hand, by use of contrasting materials in his installation, The State I’m In, it creates a psychological battle for any viewer that is being involved with the room of the piece. Both, Darrin Martin and Nova Jiang, encourage a large amount of psychological battle within their works and have plenty of similarities, however both are extremely different in other aspects in regards to functionality and participation. Unfortunately, I was not able to contact either of the artists which I chose to receive further detail about their works and their lives, however I have been able to research enough about each artist.
 Nova Jiang was born in 1985 in China and then she grew up in New Zealand. Later in her life she attended UCLA where she majored in The Department of Digital Media Arts and received her MFA in 2009 from that institution. Nova likes to create art that seeks to engage people with participation and open-ended involvement. Her primary concern in her art is creating a sense of “community” with the people who interact with her art. She attempts to bring people together based through thought processes and inspires curiosity in the hearts of those who engage in order to open their minds to the possibilities in their immediate surroundings. Many of her works that she has created throughout her life are based off of digitally implementing randomly generated algorithms and mathematics to create simulations for participants to engage in. In her most recent work, she has a camera that automatically takes pictures of whomever is within the picture-taking space, and then the software instantly generates a new, random comic book strip for the participants.
 In the piece, Landscape Abbreviated, by Nova Jiang, she created a kinetic maze that is made out of planters and rotating machines to give off an impression of it being a interactive garden. Quoting her artists’ statement for this work, “Landscape Abbreviated is a kinetic maze consisting of modular elements with rotating planters, which form a garden that is simultaneously a machine. I am interested in the way that simple interventions can make the experience of space dynamic and unpredictable. The planters are controlled by a software program that continuously generates new maze patterns based on mathematical rules; they rotate to form shifting pathways that encourage visitors to change direction and viewpoints as they move through the space. I envision this sculpture not as a classical labyrinth built to ensnare, but rather as an architectural abbreviation of grand ideas. In this way, the maze relates to literature, mathematical beauty, game play and the rigor of software programming, as much as it does to architecture and landscape. The planters contain live moss collected from the sides of buildings, cracks in the pavement, subway grates and other urban nooks and crannies in New York City’s landscape. Full of particles of broken glass, plastic and other detritus, they form a patchwork of unintentional archaeology.” (http://www.novajiang.com/projects/landscape-abbreviated/) http://vimeo.com/47337522
 Darrin Martin, on the other hand, is an artist that uses video, sculpture, and installation as his primary motives for his works. He likes to measure how technology can be used to modify our perceptions of daily life. He studied video at Alfred University and received his BFA in 1992 at that institution. He also received his MFA in the year 2000 at the University of San Diego. Darrin Martin is an internationally known artist whom has participated in multiple video and art festivals world wide such as: The Modern Museum of Art, DIA Center for the Arts, Los Angeles Museum for Contemporary Arts, Pacific Film Archives, and The European Media Art Festival in Germany. Currently, Darrin Martin is now an assistant professor, teaching video and media arts at The University of California, Davis. Unlike, Nova Jiang’s works, Darrin Martin’s works are not necessarily participation based, however, his works to provoke a great deal of thought and perception in regards to questioning reality and certainty. Darrin’s works also focus on questioning a viewer’s psychological thought process when interacting with his art.
 Based upon Darrin Martin’s piece, The State I’m In, we can assume that Martin was using a technique that he has been known for, which is to push the psychological perception and the limits of any viewers sanity. The artists’ statement that Darrin has posted with this piece is, “Installation used in video Monograph in Stereo, wood and foam bedding. A room is half covered in egg crate foam material and half bare. A singular window breaks the bare side’s scarcity and wood paneling covers the floor. In the room’s center, a rectangular foam and wood structure sits interrupted by its own concavity.” (http://www.darrinmartin.com/163805/1565269/solo-projects/the-state-im-in) Based off of the sheer contrast between both sides of this room installation, we can create a hypothesis that Darrin Martin wanted to either give off the impression of creating a “Right side of the brain, compared to the left side of the brain” feel. Or we can hypothesize that Darrin Martin would have made this installation piece to provoke a viewers thoughts in comparing their everyday lives, which in this case would be the half of the room that looks “normal”, to questioning whether or not they are actually living in a modern society with no thoughts and maybe encouraging viewers to change their lifestyle to something with more complexity, which in this case would be the egg crated, concave, crazy half of the room.
Contrasting both artists can be done in multiple different ways. For starters, Nova Jiang attempts to involve viewers and encourages them to participate with her works. Her works not only implement algorithmic properties, and digitally mechanized objects to structure her installations or pieces, but they create a sense of community amongst those who are involved. Darrin Martin, on the other hand, does not implement the use of participants during his exhibitions, and does not necessarily involve viewers to interact. His installations are more thought provoking than involvement, and compared to Nova Jiang, he likes to have people just simply view his art without interaction to be able to sit and start to concoct a meaning and hypothesis. In terms of comparing both pieces I chose from both artists, they both create a sense of complexity and simplicity. In regards to that, they both induce a “Right side of the brain compared to the left side of the brain” effect from their works. While Darrin Martin’s piece is literally contrasted right down the middle with his installation, much can be said about the deeper meaning of this piece. The plain side of the room in Darrin’s installation could be seen as the left side of the brain. The left side of the brain is where we process thoughts that are to be considered logical, analytical, and mathematical. Based off the symmetry, and simplicity of the “normal” side of the room, we can say that this is the logical, straight forward and mathematical side of the room. The right side of the brain is where intuition, creativity, and holistic thoughts are created. Considering the other half of the room is crazy, different colors, different shapes, and different textures than the “normal” side of the room, we can assume that this is embracing the right side of the brain. In terms of Nova Jiang’s project, part of her piece is constructed through machines, and is entirely based off of algorithms and randomly generated mathematical responses in order to create a constantly active maze. In this sense, that entails the very definition of the thoughts in the left side of the brain, which is mathematical and logical. However, in a different way of looking at Landscape Abbreviated, we notice that her project includes planters, particles of various objects, and collected moss to give off a garden look. This part can easily be embraced as the creative right side of the brain functioning.
 Referring to our Participative Systems reading, this quote can be referenced easily in Nova Jiang’s set of works, “Interaction: “acting upon each other.” Interaction might occur between people, between people and machines, between machines, or between artwork and audience. However, examples of humans and machines or humans and artworks truly acting upon each other are relatively rare.” The reading also mentions the interaction of people pressing buttons or triggers to interact with a machine or program even in reference to art. As a whole this entails greatly with digital media, however referencing Nova Jiang’s works, this is spot on. Nova Jiang allows audiences to work hands-on with her work and interact with it, as well as they have the ability to be able to press buttons, pull triggers, or visually and physically interact with the piece.

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