Sunday, October 23, 2011

Water Benjamin "The Work of Art in the Age of Mechanical Reproduction"

I really enjoy reading this essay. This time around I found it even more insightful because my understanding of the progression of media. The Ipod had just been introduced the first time this article was assigned. Now we have 4 generations of Iphones! What is an Ipod!?

I thought that Benjamin's discussion in the latter part of the essay were especially relevant to my particular project. In Part X he basically predicts the imminent proliferation of the blog when he expresses the idea that every person has been delegated a critic in a society where the aura of art has beens tripped away as is the case in film. Spectator and critic are one. This is evident today in that a 15 year old can find a following and become a relevant mainstream advertising revenue stream as a result.

In part XI, he discusses the "thoroughgoing permeation of reality with mechanical equipment." This stuck out o me in particular as my project involves kind of accentuating the minutae of human movement, and the play between light, dark, and shadow. By using technological equipment, not only am I able to explore and broadcast these images, but with new media, I can determine the exact placement on the image in even a non representational space, and allow it to interact with people in at a number of degrees of attention. He discusses this in part XV where he says that reception in a state of distraction can be truely exercised in film. I would argue that reception in a state of distraction is exercised descending the subway stairs two at a time while reading a text on your smartphone. Or participating with a projected display of a live fashion editorial based on the very rack that you are currently browsing. In this part Benjamin discusses tactile appropriation as being the catalyst for significant change in the notion of human perception. What if our advertisements were personalized and interacted with us one on one through virtual displays that operated to accentuate the commodity object on display? What types of 2D experiences can be brought from the flatness of the tablet or page and applied directly in real world experience?

ID Studio Project Proposal

Remote Digital Editorial

I would like to create a system where a narrated photographic editorial shoot can become a scripted video presentation, projected in remote locations, significant tot he editorial project. The attached photo is one by Erwin Blumenfeld, a Dada turned fashion photographer whose fashion editorial work has made him renowned. I am inspired by Blumenfeld, and his contemporaries like ManRay, because they sought to experiment with new forms of image making with photography, and both artists also eventually transformed their unique imagemaking into commercial success through fashion editorial photography. I would like to explore a video projection technique that would allow be permissible in the space of commerce, and would bring the art and craft of the editorial shoot out of the page and into the point of sale. The projected image would provide the fantastical commercial suggestion that the fashion editorial does, but would do it in a more effective way, perhaps guiding the shopper to a particular shoe the complement the very shirt they were trying on. Or when displayed outside the retail space, the image would give others a more engaged presentation of desired goods, than the magazine spread. Watching the clothes sway on a virtual model would be more convincing of fit and desirability than a frozen glossy page.

Union Square Ventures

I enjoyed our trip to Union Square Ventures to speak with Cindy and Gary. I had never really heard of Kickstarter until recently so it was very interesting to get a firsthand understanding of this type of business. Its really fascinating to think of this type of service community building can make someone incredibly rich with the right interface and marketing tactics. The idea behind Kickstarter really is an amazing idea and a testament to the power of the human imagination really.

I enjoyed listening to Cindy. She had a lot of great information about the company and knew it very thoroughly. I was pleasantly surprised that she held a role that could be filled by someone with a liberal arts background.. I enjoy the fact that Kickstarter places an emphasis on curating and editorializing ideas to give each of the initiatives a fairer chance of being funded. I also really love the idea of the community aspect. Its this sort of strange byproduct of a successful online business. Most successful websites have something to do with bringing people together. Ebay and amazon bring far flung merchants to eager, consumers. Kickstarter brings people with not enough cash to people with too much cash. Facebook brings everyone to everyone. Yelp brings firsthand accounts and candid ratings to the frugal and discerning local. There's something about bringing like people together and keeping them there that spells success. I mean even MySpace got a piece of that action.

Friday, October 14, 2011


Our trip to McGraw-Hill today was very exciting. I felt like I was really getting a grasp of a full on media experience. It was wonderful to be walked through the process of planning and implementing a unique media project (an entire social media site), and it was very eye opening to understand that massive media ventures can happen within a company without ever seeing the public light of day. And even this internal initiative can impact profits and revenue in a dramatic way, as Edward explained to us. I am working on constructing a social media site for my Web Studio Seminar project and I was glad to be introduced to this type of product from inception to going live.

You could really tell that Edward, Patrick, and Ruth really enjoyed the work that they did for McGraw-Hill. Edward and Ruth's presentations were particularly educational and helped me understand more about interaction and usability design. The internet already exists and as they mentioned, a lot of the hard coding and engineering tech has been done so the real work now is to design an experience that is meaningful, easy to use and productive. Just listening to them present, I can imagine that their department would be a great place to intern. I was really impressed that the department really places an emphasis on usability, experience, and also teamwork (clearly, just based on the nature of the product that they are working so hard on).

I really enjoyed this trip, and would be interested to reach out to Ruth, Edward and Patrick for advice about learning user experience design and also navigating the new media career arena. I loved the idea that they encouraged leveraging of skills with the progression of digital media. I have more confidence in my ability to succeed in new media given my background in liberal arts and writing as opposed to technology or computer science.

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

ID Studio Class 5

I am envisioning several different public sites probably indoors. INdoor conditions are easier to control ultimately.
I am thinking a public space like a retail setting or lounge or bar would work nice. The setting would largely determine the narrative that I would portray. I could easily project in a space like a bar or lounge because all i would need is a creative owners consent. The same would probably be true for a retail location although I would probably then need to work with PR and a visual merchandiser which could be a headache, but it may provide access to furnishings for the "looks" for the story.
The final indoor setting would be in the subway. I like this environment because there is lots of empty space to literally work with and locks of crevices and dark corners. I am envisioning a location with lots of shadows or someplace where I could create shadows to juxtapose with the movement of my figure.

I would like the image to be as realistic looking as possible. My screen would need to be able to fit a live person and I am thinking that I would perhaps like the person to sort of appear from out of shadow. I would need to make sure that the screen was surrounded in shadow and could itself project a deep black if possible. I like the idea of having the person walk from the background into the foreground from out of shadow and into the light.

I kind of want the viewer to be able to view more than just the front side of the figure. I want to project as much of a 3D relationship as possible.

The idea of projecting larger than life anatomy intrigues me too. My legs idea could investigate this. I think it could be a little mesmerizing if the styling were exact, and I would probably need to incorporate sound into this installation to make the effect work. Large legs accompanied by the booming sound of large heels on the floor.

For an indoor lounge setting I am envisioning a projection of a girl dancing seductively possibly in synch with the music playing. I could also envision my walking legs idea in a setting like this. Where patrons lounge beside a projection of a woman walking back and forth, and then they are confronted by the entire woman and she begins to dance and partake in the party.

My retail narrative would be something along the lines of an editorial fashion shoot, specifically tailored to a look. For this I would like to tell the story of a ghost, sort of lost in the void looking to find her way back to the material world, to satisfy her longing for material goods.

I would like to portray a similar story in the subway but perhaps with a ghost who is aware of the potential of being a ghost. I am inspired by the movie Ghost, and the aggressive spirit that Sam meets in the Subway trains who teaches him how to touch things. My subway spirit would be not so much lost, but sort of reveling in the ability to torment others as a spirit.

Techniques and Materials:
Rear projection on a molded chameleon scrim!? You could paint the scrim to camouflage the areas that won't be occupied by your figure.

Creating the 3D effect of the live person on a flat screen. Would you need a human releif screen? A black human relief screen in white would not show the black spaces if the projector were projecting black. the body would move through the allowed relief spaces to simulate moving in 3D space.

What if I were shooting using two cameras side by side in a circular order,with their left and right respective view frames aligned to cover a field of view that could represent some segment of 360 degrees. Then If I project from two projectors simultaneously aligned to project the entire field of view, the viewer would be able to move around the projection in a semicircle (its size would be determined by the segment that the composite view encompassed).

To project a single person on a black shadowy background, would you shoot on a black background and spotlight the person as they are moving?

You would have to make sure that the shooting conditions match the lighting conditions of the installation. (Think about how Naimark shot the scene in the installations pace before painging everything white.) If you were projecting onto a screen as opposed to an object in shadow, would the projection still have the ghostly effect?

Monday, October 3, 2011

ID Studio Class 4

For my class project I want to explore the idea of creating an interactive projection. Since Dana mentioned her work with the ghost in class, I have been a little fixated on the idea of creating something a little terrifying and yet strangely beautiful by way of projection. I have also been toying with the idea of legs. I see legs walking across bare brick walls, and in front of building facades. So here is a little more about my project.

Keywords that relate: Phantom, Dream Reality, Ghost, Spirit, Fashion, Avant-Garde, Ghoul

Media: Film, Photography, Video Projection, Internet, Fashion


Sigmund Freud (1856-1939)
Sigmund Freud
Freud has influenced me a lot in my own thinking and research methods. I am particularly drawn to his ideas about dreams (The Interpretation of Dreams) and the human psychology and personality (Beyond the Pleasure Principle and The Ego and the Id). I think that my understanding of Freud has allowed me to expand my imagination into a reality. This seems like more of a Jungian idea, but I'm not too keen on Jung.

Guy Bourdin (1928-1991)
Guy Bourdin

I love the imagery of Guy Bourdin. He has a particular editorial style that is totally original and conveys a short powerful narrative, perfect for the magazine page, or the fleeting moment.

Gustav Klimt (1862-1918)

Klimt had a distinct way of representing women and fashion in his paintings. The images typically have such vibrant patterns and colors, and the figures lines have a sultry and sturdy flow to them. The women are seductive with cream skin and pose alluringly. I absolutely love the Beethoven Frieze. It is beautiful and terrifying especially this portion depicting the Hostile Forces.

Alexander McQueen (1969-2010)

McQueen was a brilliant designer, and perhaps one of the only fashion visionaries alive. This image in particular captures the kind of fluidity that I would want my ghost to convey. McQueen also had a perfect sense of style, and presentation. His shows were real spectacles, not just catwalks. The clothes had a life to them, beyond the models wearing them. This unreal life is conveyed beautifully in these photos from the Met exhibition. I didn't go, but the I own the catalog and the images there are really arresting. The clothes give the mannequins unreal life.

Madonna "Frozen" 1998

I love this video. There is great ghostly imagery in it, and the song is great. The video ir very haunting and I love the way that the clothing morphs with her body and the two of them are one figure. I love the end of the video when the figure is floating in the air.

Grace Coddington (1941)

Grace has done excellent production and styling work for Vogue for the past several years. She creates strong image with strong characters who seem to live beyond the clothes. Her work like Bourdin's is medium oriented. I would like to explore creating an image that could be projection oriented as opposed to print oriented.

Nick Knight

Knight has been creating fabulous images for years now. His images range from beautiful to horrifying and are always crisp striking and real. His fantasies are conveyed with such ease in his videos and photographs. He has a true skill and mastery of production. I love this Beasting shoot. Check it out here!

This film is inspiring as a way of presenting fashion beyond the catwalk. What if the women could be projected in a space with all the show goers interacting live with a video projection as well as live models?

Ming Xi and Nick Knight
This video is really cool and again conveys the image that I like.

Roy DeCarava (1919 -2009)

DeCarava is my favorite photographer. His images have such a stark contrast the figures almost exist in shadow. I want to kind of create that same sort of hidden life.

Bruce Davidson (1933)

I love Bruce's book 'Subway' originally published in the 80's. The photos are captivating becasue they contrast life with the total decay of the subway. The graffiti and trash, juxtaposed with beautiful people and colors. I am inspired to sort of create this kidn of life, in the station. Perhaps with a projection on an empty platform or after hours or something like that.

I don't think that I can think of a name for my project yet. But I do think that I would like to create a sort of app pet for my project. If I have the time. I think it would be cool to pass around my little ghost online and have him or her haunt the mobile devices of strangers.