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Thumbs up to New Media April 28, 2009

Posted by jr4024 in art, class, fsct 301, technology.
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I guess with my last blog post, I’d like to reflect back on all of our different projects that we have executed through the different new media programs. First off, I’d like to reiterate that I did not think of myself as an artist in any way, shape, or form before this class. Sure I’m a creative person and my imagination tends to run wild, but literally speaking…no. However, in this class I was given the opportunity to make tangible pieces of artwork that weren’t necessarily your typical paintings, but definitley a piece of art. I never thought about programs such as Photoshop as an artistic skill that creates “pieces of art.” I’ll go ahead and say that I’ve created d*** masterpieces compared to what I thought was going to be a disaster. And as for my final project, I am going to use the one program that I found the most challenging and horrifying…photoshop. At this point, I know this seems a bit like “brown-nosing”, but I can truly call myself an artist having now been open to the “other side” of art…at least a digital one…and I have battle wounds to prove it!

Just a Thought….and a Question March 24, 2009

Posted by ah12 in class, technology.
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We all do this. We all scan google images hoping to find pictures for our powerpoints, projects,etc. We manipulate these images for our use and for our own projects. I did it for my class project using the software Comic Life to take another person’s image and adapted it for my needs. So what about this is troubling?

I would like to introduce an idea to you, its called image hosting. I would like to introduce another idea to you, internet vigilantism. So, when one of my favorite websites, Cracked.com, had one of its articles stolen by another website, El Grafico, they reacted in an interesting way.

Seeing as Cracked hosted all the images for its sight on its own server, any changes made at their end showed up on El Grafico. So, every image was played around with….usually in an extremely juvenile way. The final image was edited to have the original overlapped with the words “Its NEVER a good idea to plagarize someone else’s work. But, if you must do it, at least have the common sense to NOT link to images directly (Eat Shit).”

Here is the article on Cracked about El Grafico’s plagarizing:


This is an example of very minor example of internet vigilantism. For a look at some cooler, and more disturbing examples, heres another Cracked article:


Now, a thought: having read the ” 8 awesome cases of internet vigilantism” article, do you think internet vigilantism is a good thing? Or is it merely a case of large scale harrassment?  The internet is, for the most part, completely in the control of its users, programers and various other surfers. It does not, however, make you immune from real world consequences. You may not get into your choice of college if they see all those “sick drinking photos from the bahamas” like the ones my younger brother’s friends put on facebook. You may get harrassed, or even arrested, if you put a video of yourself doing something stupid and illegal on youtube. So surf safe.

Question: If anyone knows more about image hosting please let me know. For instance, if the image is saved to my computer, can the person who originally put it up still make changess to it?


Battle wounds February 18, 2009

Posted by jr4024 in art, class.
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Now, I know that the linoleum blocks were probably the first time most people experienced printmaking, but what I found the most interesting was watching student’s individual motives. (besides the battle wounds we all took, r.i.p. knuckle) When I first started carving and experienced my first cut, I have to admit that I was pretty ticked off and could not understand why I was even trying. I knew I wasn’t an artist and I was not optimistic. However, now that the project is basically done, I realized that you don’t have to be an artist to portray an image that you believe in. My motives then began to be based on the desire to depict an image that was close to my heart and beliefs. Everyone chose an “object” that had personal significance and I believe we all ended up giving it our all so that our block would be a good representative of what is important to us. Our “linoleum” journey was bumpy, and there was blood along the way, but I personally felt the determination of a “real artist” when it came to how I wanted my artwork to be displayed.

Blake and the Active Cyborg February 3, 2009

Posted by animatingthecyborg in class, cyborgs, gender, monstrosity, poetry, race.
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Since the next two weeks of class are broken up with travel and printmaking workshops, I just wanted to take a moment to highlight the choreography of the course and how the lecture on Blake today figures into the foundation for the rest of the semester.

Two of the key questions guiding the course, which can be found on the syllabus, are:

  1. What counts as “authentic” human experience and what does it mean to be human?
  2. How is the cyborg narrative been shaped through visual culture?

Blake’s Songs of Innocence and of Experience call into question dominant cultural values (the hegemony of society) by creating fissures in the strict binaries by which society is organized and structured. So, when we consider what counts as authentic human experience, notions of object, personhood and citizenship are destabilized in the matrix that makes up dominant culture in 18th century Britain.

Personhood and citizenship are particularly important here as the Songs act as a prophecy or beacon where the Other has no proper place in society—and while most of you are familiar with the concept of the Other, for those of you who are not familiar with this idea: the Other is a person or group of people who are marginalized or ostracized by the dominant culture. The Other, or “boundary being” (as the Other typically survives on the fringes of society) is usually alienated along gender, race and/or class lines.

Blake shines a light on the “authenticity” or validity of the dominant culture’s binaries by introducing characters such as the Lamb, who, in the Songs of Innocence, appears to be “buying into” the organization of culture and the marginalizing of people as Other. The lamb is a familiar figure to readers (both today and in the 18th/19th century), because of both its Biblical and agricultural uses. However, by Songs of Experience, the Lamb is transformed into the Tyger (although familiar to us today, it was a creature most people in England had never seen), and the Tyger is coded as a strange and monstrous figure.

By taking something familiar and non-threatening as the Lamb and transforming it into the Tyger, Blake demonstrates that the Other is a part of us: every Lamb has the possibility of breaking from the herd, or flock, and expressing its independence as a person and thinker, thereby morphing into a Tyger—sameness (as can be seen in the images of the flock of sheep—sameness can also be read as “Innocence”), then, is abandoned for individuality (or awareness—or “Experience”), a truly scary concept in the wake of the French Revolution and the civil unrest in Britain at the time.

Exploring the binaries that govern the Songs, as well as the fissures that are created within its matrix, we can gain a better sense of how the subject position of the Other (or “boundary being”) is a monstrous concept—which aligns it not only with other monsters, but highlights the theoretical underpinnings that shape current cultural narratives of the cyborg today.

Although we cannot replicate the same relief etching process invented by Blake (which I explained earlier in class), our first project is in the spirit of William Blake’s work. You can even reduce the act of physically engraving the linoleum blocks down to the kinds of binaries that govern different embodiments of cyborgs today: encoded/decoded, full/empty, subject/object, strange/familiar.

In a similar way the cyborg is a hybrid creature (cybernetic, yet organic; constructed and programmed, yet aware and desiring an identity), this class, too, is a hybrid. We’re combining critical theory and creative expression, examining different incarnations of the cyborg in visual culture along the way. It’s a complicated dance (it’s a 300 level course, after all). Right now, we’re merely learning the steps so we can move on to more complicated movements.

So hopefully this helps highlight the diagram of the dance steps.