Thursday, December 16, 2010

Happy Holidays!

May the Joy of the Season Be With You All Year

Friday, November 19, 2010

optical! digital! lets call the whole thing off!

whoa its been awhile. ill try to ignore that and update about life another time; i'd prefer to get this down now.

interesting lecture from justine kurland tonight at columbia college. one of the last questions she was asked was why she still shoots and prints optically these days. needless to say it sparked quite an intense and drunken discussion later in the night between friends. obviously, its a matter of preference, but in my opinion digital printing is the way to go. not just because its the wave of the future, but because digital printing has a wider gamut of color than optical, and our actual vision has a wider gamut than any man-made reproduction still has.

the question raised was, why does photography have to reference reality? obviously, the photograph is an art object and a new reality within itself. but still, photography inherently deals with reality. Even in the most modernist photograph, one thing relartes to another thing relates to another because, say, the statue in this photograph has some social connotation that we understand to relate to this couple in the photograph, and their style of dress ultimately speaks to the era of the photograph, which in turm speaks volumes about the context of the photo. what i'm trying to say that even in the most modernist tradition of photography (which i am entirely partial to and starstruck by), there is still a level of social understanding that glues the photo together. why is it do you think that douglas crimp wrote "the postmodern activity of photography." it beautiful really, photography inherently has modernist qualities and postmodern qualities all woven in almost seamlessly. this is why i'll always believe that photography is one of the smartest, most engaging and intriguing mediums of artistic expression to ever have existed.

Saturday, May 29, 2010

Future life - real life RPG

RPG=LPG? let me explain. role playing games = life playing games. what? like, the Game of Life. remember that game? i wasnt very good at it. surprisingly, im not doing so hot at the game of real life. but what if this correlation were related? what if the two were one in the same? oi vey, let me explain:

so i've been watching this video.

Professor Jesse Schell, at Carnegie Mellon (+10 points for CG in the grad school search) gave this talk about the future of gaming, and its integration into REAL LIFE. whoa what? yeah, remember when the wii came out and everyone was all like "wait, you have to move your body to play?!" (surprisingly nintendo didnt get sued for lack of accessibility options with the disabled. hoy!) and then wii fit was all "hey, let make exercising a GAME!" yeah man. it shouldnt be surprising then that things have been and are continuing to head this way.

as someone who is entirely interested in this technological revolution we're finding ourselves in, i've been extremely interested in integrating gaming and technology into real life. Professor Schell shows us a picture of a future where everything is is part of one big RPG. everything you do can be used for XP. provided you do things using the latest technology.

but that brings to mind another though: what about the analog? what if in this future, you were to do things the analog way. walk in the woods, no geo caching?! no +50 XP for expert position from your new Kama Sutra 3.0 e-book?! heh. well actually i think its interesting because earlier in his lecture, he tells us that this doorway into real life/gaming convergence is being made possible by our distance from the real, by our longing to get back to the real and authentic. these days we don't live in reality, well i mean authentic reality, right? its not subreality though. its more like baudrillard's hyperreality, isnt it? we can connect to a live event happening half way across the world, sitting in our chair, holding the screen in our hands.

freaky, right? so many things are synthetic, manufactured, replicas these days. its no wonder we're trying to "get back to nature" as it were. this and this is organic. this and this is made with an authentic recipe from italy, etc etc. So as Schell says, our urge to reconnect with reality and life opened this doorway for virtual reality to start crossing over into real reality? non-virtual reality? hows that for a brain-buster? non-virtual reality. if technology continues down the path that Schell painted, i wouldnt be surprised if the most accurate way to start describing some things IS non-virtual reality.

as with any technology, this can be used to enhance our lives, the quality of them, as Schell ends with, or it can be used to create a completely detached, de-humanized and dystopic future. it all depends on how we use it NOW. creation is so much easier than restructuring.

Thursday, April 15, 2010

"Get Rich or Die Tryin’ turned into Got Rich and Stopped Tryin’ again. "

on the subject of an amazing post by friend, art/music enthusiast and badass designer Shanetron, ...well hell, i dont think i could say it much better, i guess you should just check it out. everything seems to borrow from each other in this day and age of the internet, and instant connectivity. hello, its the age of information, and we're overloaded

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

I'm proud to announce the opening of my Senior B.F.A. Show. apparently, this is the most important night of my undergraduate career! are you ready?! you're probably more ready than i am...

Tanner Young Says Goodbye to College Joys, a Senior Photography B.F.A. show by Tanner Young is a collection of photographs, new and old, from the ongoing project "An Excerpt of Various Photographs Strewn About the Room"

opening reception:
Saturday, April 3rd 5-10pm

Millworks Gallery
106 N. Main Street
Akron, OH

show runs through april 24th

hope to see you there!

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Douglas Crimp's The Photographic Activity of Postmodernism

The idea of photography’s inherent postmodernism is something I have been thinking about for awhile now. Beginning with the limitations and inherent qualities of photography, a photograph tells us of a specific time, a specific place, and most of all, a specific reality. Yet ultimately, in the age of postmodernism, we realize that what we bring to a visual object, our own subjective reality and understanding of the world, is ultimately what shapes our experience of said object. For example, in Robert Frank’s photograph Indianapolis, 1956, we see a denim clad, African American couple on their motorcycle, frowning.

In this day and age, the importance of this photo is lost on us (or at least on many in my generation), as the peculiarity of the photo lies in the fact that, in the 50’s, to own a motorcycle and attire like this for a black couple was very rare. The couple in the photo must have been fairly well off, yet still they frown. Upon being told this, our perception and understanding of the photograph changes, because our understanding of reality (retrospectively) changes.

What’s more interesting is chicken and the egg activity of the publicity image. As John Berger states, “The publicity image steals her love of herself as she is, and offers it back to her at the price of the product.” Without the subject to steal from, the publicity image is nothing, yet without the publicity image, the subject has no idea upon which to base her look.

At any rate, the inherent postmodernism of photography has by now been brought fully into the light with the work of Sherrie Levine, Richard Prince and Andy Warhol, among others. These days, the appropriated image (as opposed to the artistically composed) is a common part of the artworld vernacular. Yet, these images don’t show us a ghost of reality; what we see in the appropriated image is a reflection of our understanding of the world we live in and how it has been constructed for us and by us. the appropriated photograph strips away all artistic intention and leaves only the social connotations of the image for us to view. the appropriated image shows us how powerful an image is, even without artistic intention or composition. it shows us fully the post-modern activity of photography.

Monday, March 8, 2010

Roland Barthes' The Death of the Author

The Death of the Author serves as a bridge between The Intentional Fallacy and The Expressive Fallacy. While it acknowledges the fallacy of the supreme idea of the author’s intention, as Wimsatt and Beardsley do, he takes it a step further and acknowledges the fallacy of the supreme idea of The Author. To steal from my summary, “the text is a tissue of quotations from centuries.” Basically, the point Barthes in making with this, and overall, is that, as we—ourselves—are the product of many ideas and environments, so too is the personality of the author, the personality that is doing the writing. It follows from here then that if the author is a subjective being made of experiences and the same histories the rest of us share, then his “text is a tissue of quotations,” and as such he holds no authority over our own, the reader’s. in short, “The birth of the reader must be at the cost of the death of the author.”

What I find interesting about this is the idea of a shared and constructed history. In modernism there is an idea of universiality of a cultural path; the common view is that all civilizations are on the same cultural path of development and some are at different stages of it. While this is solely western construction describing its own cultural history and ultimately (universally) false, what is true is that true history is universal. Not subjective, written and noted history, but objective history, as it happened outside of subjective experience. Getting back on track, objective history is what constructs us through way of subjective experience which blend together in a unique subjective individual, and through intentionality, our (subjective) consciousness is added to the objective world (history) through way of language, writing and action. As Merleau-Ponty says, our body is a “ground zero,” existing in the physical, objective world, yet housing and expressing our own inner subjective consciousness. What I’m trying to get at is that objective history and reality shapes us, our subjectivity, and ultimately that constructed subjectivity puts back into the physical, objective reality (history). We construct objective history with our actions and the passing of time, and yet this objective history is what constructs us.

So, if we construct an objectivity that constructs our own subjectivity, this objective history becomes, in essence, an essence, an entity. An entity which does exist outside of us, but exists as the sum of us. It is an entity which reaches into us as we reach into it, and is ultimately the ether that connects us all. I want to reiterate that history can indeed be subjective, as it exists in history books that are rewritten and re-interpreted, and this subjective form of history exists in all of us, in our personal history and personal view of history. But objective history exists in the realm of passing time, in what happened simultaneously everywhere at one precise moment in time after another and after another. For example, the web 2.0 is an entity which exists as a product constructed entirely by us, yet the information input to it from different people ultimately reaches and affects us. We then in turn are changed, and input more data, which changes the web 2.0 and all other users, and so on and back and forth, vice versa, etc in a incessant cycle. Yet if we take the internet in its entirety, it is an entity, an objective entity made up of facts(and not facts) which is ever evolving as (and with) us.

Monday, February 1, 2010

Those Defining Moments...

it's so hard to look upset when you're wearing a lobster bib. stupid sobby lobster and his soggy friends.

Thursday, January 28, 2010


a month or so ago i mentioned apple's anticipated computer tablet format. well folks, they just announced it: The iPad

coming in 16, 32 and 64GB, its basically just an oversized ipod touch. honestly, i was expecting it to be a bit more like a tablet computer, but as mentioned previously, its main competition asnd purpose seems to be the Kindle as well as providing a portable screen format for the printed(ing) press to move to.

you can get yours now, but ill wait until summer when they come out with the 128GB and these models are a little more obsolete....aka cheaper.

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Camille Utterback and Digital Interactivity

The Myers School of Art really has a great program. Had the chance to attend a (few) lecture(s) from Camille Utterback at school today dealing with her work, her work process, etc. Utterback has been working with (and dare i say pioneering?) digital interactive media since the late 90's. Her work deals with translating movement in visual imagery. One of her more recent works, Abundance, was commissioned as a temporary installation for the city of San Jose by ZER01, for their 01SJ Biennale. i thought that her work looked familiar, and indeed it did; part of the show toured the country as Superlight, one stop being at MoCA Cleveland. And (surprise) the School of Art was able to get the curator to give us a lecture in conjunction with the show.

At any rate, Utterback's work, as i said, translates movement into visual imagery and in turn creates a social interaction between people collaborating together within the visual space to experiment, explore and figure out the way a piece works. Most of her work resembles Abstract Expressionist paintings (in scale of the projection, abstractness of line and the expressive quality of movement), but her most recent piece i find the most interesting. Aurora Organ, was commissioned for the an atrium in the mall at the City of St. Louis Park. (Fuck You, Aurora!!....sorry, i've been on an alkaline trio kick.) The piece translates touching hot spots on the atrium railing into color patterns on corresponding tubes hanging over the stairwell int he atrium. definitely an interesting step from Utterback's 2D projection approach up until now.

Camille Utterback, untitled interactive sculpture, The West End from Steve Dietz on Vimeo.

While her work is interesting, however, there is another approach to this digital synesthesia (synesthesia being a neurological disorder characterized by the mixing and confusing of senses, see Dr. Cytowic's The Man Who Tasted Shapes) that i find more interesting. Utterback's work translates visual movement into visual imagery, but taking a more far-reaching approach was (is) David Rokeby's Very Nervous System all the way back in '88, that translated body movement into song and sound

this is by far one of my favorite interactive pieces to date. that may have something to do with my involvement in music long before the visual arts...

On another (last) note, while Utterback's work deals with social interaction, there are also interactive artists who deal with programming and installation that elicit an emotional response. mostly what comes to mind is fellow ZER01 commissionee Bruce Charlesworth's Love Disorder, which i had the pleasure of seeing at MoCA's Superlight exhibit.

LOVE DISORDER documentation 2009 from Bruce Charlesworth on Vimeo.


The Thing that i find most interesting about this piece and similar pieces is the fact that at its base, this is all programming. its a computer generated response to your presence, and yet it elicits and fills you (and is filled itself) with emotion. The computer reads your movement, proximity, etc, nothing more, and yet it moves you to feel something. This is an interesting idea, and one that is only beginning to be explored. im very excited to see the future of digital and interactive media within the realm of art, as its just beginning to peak and really get exciting.