Week 14 Discussion

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15 thoughts on “Week 14 Discussion

  1. Jay Oetman

    Shanken’s article at first seemed to be a nearly endless litany of name dropping. While reading it, I conceded, “yeah I get it, you’ve done your research.” However, upon further exploration of his article, I understood why he felt it so necessary to exhibit the extent of his research; because he was putting forth a revolutionary thesis which toppled much academic discourse on the subject of art, society, and technology as a subject of academic discussion.

    I found it very surprising that the interaction of these three heavily connected facets of culture were not a more heavily discussed triad. It seems so natural that the three would be connected. It is impossible to think about the evolution of art without the environment of society and its ever changing technologies shaping that evolution. Furthermore, I appreciate Shanken’s observations and criticisms of scholarly dialogue on this subject as it gives me hope that I too can contribute to a discussion which has not yet closed its doors on new ideas and revolutionary approaches.

  2. Doron Alter

    Honestly I found the reading for this week alot less interesting than the previous weeks and I had alot of trouble investing myself into it mainly becuase they all felt very technical oreinted.

    However, I did find Bolter’s article “Remediation, Understanding New Media” interesting, especially when he talks about webcams. If I understood him correctly the article compares between the viewing of film and television, saying that watching TV is more private because we do it in our own living room and that webcams have taken over the place of the television because when we watch the images that webcams produce we can do it in the privacy of our own bedroom, on our personal computer with our own set up browser and so on.

    Personally the article got me thinking about how the internet has changed our thought on the concept of privacy and how we are more tolerant to what we see online but so shocked when the same thing happens in “real” life.

    I guess that in this day and age when every thought or moment in our lives can be documented and submitted worldwide the boundaries of privacy have been pushed to the limit and people who want to be noticed will continue and push it furhter. And I guess it also affects art and it’s content because rapidly we are becoming the society that is being driven by shocking imagery. I also find it kind of interesting how we are willing to accept shocking images online but not in real life. I think that a very good example is today’s music industry when we see alot of the performes nude and we are willing to accept that it’s their art form, and their way to express themselves but when they perform live and do the same thing we have a hard time to accept that and I’m interested in understanding why that is?

  3. Matthew Limb

    Bolter’s chapter ‘The World Wide Web’ from Remediation Understanding New Media, discusses how the web has absorbed previous technologies. I thought Bolter’s discussion was interesting, but I would have liked to see a discussion included of where this is going to go in the future. The chapter was written in 2000, being 13 years ago, a lot has happened in the digital world since then.

    Bolter emphasizes how print, graphics, film, television, magazine, newspapers, radio, video games, etc., have all been absorbed into the internet. His analysis of how and why are interesting and I feel a relevant discussion even if it has been almost a decade and a half since its publication. However, I believe that when/if virtual reality takes off and people can physically step into video games, or physically experience the news, or go through a book living as a character that the internet will be absorbed into that sort of technology. Why would you want to sit in front of a computer and read Pride and Prejudice, when you could just push a button (or whatever) and you can BE Mr. Darcy or Elizabeth Bennett. Why read about some kind natural disaster or horrific event when you could push a button and be there and see it sort of thing. I think this type of technology will go from being a viewer experience to more of an active participation than just the point and click sort of variety.

    I did think his discussion of web cams was interesting and how they have repurposed how we view. In response to Doron’s reply, I also find it interesting how this technology has reshaped our view of private space. The internet has this imaginary audience that allows people to say and do things on there that they would not normally do in ‘real life.’ But when our virtual lives and ‘real’ life collides with one another, it can make people uncomfortable. I’ve been reading a lot about ‘selfies’ lately and this idea of imagined audience. It’s fascinating stuff. The internet doesn’t just repurpose technology it changes society, emotions, sense of space, etc.

  4. Jane Flynn

    I really agree with Dorons comment about the readings not being very interesting as previous weeks, which made it hard for me to get really invested into the subject matter. Stacey mentioned in class that what she had expected from ‘networks’ was very different from what it actually turned out to be, and I would agree with her comment, although I don’t think this is necessarily a ‘bad’ thing – I really enjoyed class discussion. I am not sure if this is something to do with my age, but I was expecting the class to be about social networking, and how technology allows us to communicate, and make friends.

    Out of the 3 readings, I found the Shanken one to be the most interesting. Shanken says (about Burnham); “….he stated that art and technology are incommensurable on the most basic level.” (pg. 62). This comment strikes me as perhaps one of the reasons why science/ technology and art have been divided so strongly – if Burnham, whose paper was so strongly influential on how one can consider art history, states this, is it any wonder that people avoided creating a more interdisciplinary history of science/ technology and art?

    In the Mcpherson reading, I really liked how she broke down how users interact with the TV and the internet to such a basic way. Web use has now become so common place, I feel like we never sit down and think how it functions on a very basic level, and how users interact with it. I was also very surprised that she chose to compare television to the use of the web and the computer; to me, they have always been very separate items, that I would never choose compare, or consider putting ‘together’ in a paper (except that they are both based on a screen, and they both use ‘networks’).

  5. Lauren Stoelzle

    I find it mind boggling to read Shanken’s article about how science and art have remained segregated when it comes to understanding and studying art history. There’s a plague that seems to occupy humanity and it’s a concern death. I feel that when discoveries are made regarding lack of connection/documentation/etc it can be due to a lack of education to what is in existence as far as research goes and what remains not addressed.

    Social networks have led both to more communication and lack of.

  6. Jonathan Rhea

    While I found this week’s reading to be a bit dry in comparison to others. I found Bolter’s idea of the internet “refashions” other media to fit the way it allows people to communicate both visually and verbally.
    While I certainly agree with the truth of this statement I also feel that it is constantly having to adapt and adjust itself to incorporate all of these elements into a unified whole and that is not always successful.

    Nor do I feel that it will ever singularly and wholly replace all analog media. The web delivers smaller chunks of information that are useful for keeping up with current events and finding specific facts needed to do one thing or the other. That said, for me sitting down with a book or going to a theater for a show is still far more rewarding that watching them at my desk. Though I will say the invention of the HD tablet is as well as eBook readers is changing how I read and research things to some degree.

    I also feel that the portability of network devices has cause me to look up and interact more with social media while watching TV and feel this may be worth discussing further.

  7. Jonathan Seyer

    In an opening line, Furniss sais that the percentage of digital animation in film in 1997 was up to 75 percent. I really wonder what percent of films include digital animation today. Perhaps 90 percent, I mean even low budget films have a little bit in a title or logo. Would that count as part of the film, a title or logo? Anyway, It really puts the jump of technology into perspective. I had never considered what a task it would be for a writer to keep up with technology. You would think at this point they would just write whatever they felt like and let technology catch up to them. Let us recall all of the comments we have left furniss about being outdated and behind. Maybe the implication here was a disclaimer she foresaw.

    It was also nice to read Furniss talking about overlapping interconnections between fields. Too often a field will keep itself separate from another. Such as cinema and experimental film, or behavioral genetics and neuroscience. Or even art and science for that matter. Once we realize that these intersections and interconnections are relevant, than maybe each field will step off their high horse and being open to new connections and really start to figure things out. Furniss also mentions Adobe, recently they implemented the cloud system. A pay by month operation so you don’t have to continuously fork out hundreds of dollars for the new products. I’m guessing they got sick of people making patches and downloading the software for free. None the less, this makes it a bit more reachable.

    Thinking of motion capture and other aesthetic issues of computer generated imagery. I recall the 2Pac performance with Snoop Dog at Coachella in 2013. It was a hologram created by a 45 degree angel of a projector onto a mirror. Yet still my complaint about the slow movements of animation still persist in this situation, it was still a step forward. Sure, I don’t particularly agree with the exploitation of a dead man, but the step forward was still there. Other performance artist have been also stepping up the game, like the Gorillas for one. Amon Tobin took a different rout and actually had an animator create a computer animation to be displayed behind the DJ as he performed his music from the album ISAM. After seeing a video of this performance, I thought… Wait a sec. This animation is ridiculously complex. Turning boxes, gears and rotating bio-mechanical mechanisms, hand constructed scenes. And the people paid Tobin to stand in one spot and press a button, while the crowd watched Several different artists and animators do all the work. Go Team…

  8. Zane Ecklund

    First off I want to thank Furniss for being the Mr. Peabody to my Sherman and taking me for a ride in the wayback machine all the way to 1997. I did find it interesting that in ’97 75% of live action films had digital effects I am even more interested to know what that percentage is now because, you know, current information.
    I liked reading all the stuff about Terminator 2. What I think is so incredible about that movie is that those effects still look pretty awesome 20+ years later. There are plenty of movies today that don’t look that polished. A good example was the GI Joe Movie. Now, being a sensible individual I didn’t expect the movie to be worth a shit but I was surprised by just how crappy it was. The effects looked so cheap and I am positive that abomination had a zillion dollar budget.
    I don’t know if I agree with the synopsis of TRON. But I will admit I have a proverbial boner for that movie that will never subside. Yet the movie has gained a cult following. Did I mention it was an amazing movie?
    As far as the other readings are concerned I think Bazin was a dweeb. I’ve never been so enthralled by a movie I lost myself completely. I think it’s a fairly preposterous notion.
    In addition, I believe realism goes beyond technology and how good something looks. Actors have to talk and act like real individuals. For instance if a movie were written with Ayn Rand-ian dialogue no one would buy it.

    1. Jonathan Seyer

      Thats the thing. one would think that we could always look back at the previous technology and see it’s imperfections. where will this need lead us in the future? Actors are becoming less and less a necessity on set so i guess the real challenges will be wearing a green suit talking to a tennis ball and giving the performance of your lifetime.

  9. Cameron Fields

    This weeks reading was not quite what I was expecting as far as learning about CG and 3D animation. Nevertheless, it was interesting to see how some of what I had read was visible in everyday things throughout my life. At the beginning of the chapter, Hilf states that “most CGI is accomplished through the orchestration of geometric forms – spheres, triangles, squares, cones, cylinders, and so on.” This really stuck out immediately because of my memories with playing The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time. I remember how blocky the characters looked in retrospect to some of the more flat backgrounds that you encountered. This is all due in part to the placing of these geometric shapes in order to make the image seen on screen look more three dimensional.

    This whole chapter was a simple flashback to my childhood and the shows and movies I had watched. It was interesting to read how they worked with 3D animation to make things for various TV shows, like on the episode of The Simpsons, when Homer goes to some odd 3D world and he himself is transformed into a 3D character. He even mentions the movie Tron and the characters in the show admit to never seeing the film. In the chapter Tron is discussed as an abysmal failure of a film for its time, which I thought it was incredibly ironic how these two link together in such a like manner.

    I enjoyed reading the bits about motion capture as well. All around I have found motion capture to be an incredible thing. So many computer generated games and films have used motion capture to make movements appear more fluid and even make emotions appear on a computer generated face. Video games have come so far with this technology and I love it. Recently, I played inFamous Second Son on the Playstation 4, and the way they captured the facial expressions of the characters and their movements, all wrapped up with the great performances of the voice actors, at times I had completely forgotten I was even playing a video game to begin with!

    1. Jonathan Seyer

      Tron was simply before it’s time, then when it’s time was right it was too late. The revamp seamed good musically, thanks to Daft Punk of course. But the special effects were lacking… The other world was what made the film in the first place, and it felt a little behind in that aspect. Needless to say the fake face ruined it for me…

  10. Taylor Beltz

    Is anybody out there? This blog seems to be strangely deserted for some reason. I feel like a castaway in cyberspace. Well, as long as I don’t have to start talking to virtual volleyballs, I’m happy.
    A part of what I gathered from these readings is how quickly the new and revolutionary becomes the old and the obsolete. Filmmaking technologies and digital media are continuously driven forward by new technological developments and innovations; keeping up with them is probably like trying to keep up with a comet. Technology’s rapid and constant changes make writing about digital filmmaking technology difficult. It seems that as soon as we marvel over this new development we turn our heads and gape at some new filmmaking invention. Furniss also noted that the government contributed to the development of computer animation, which I found quite fascinating. Before reading her chapter on animation and digital media, I did not realize how pervasive digital media was, or fully comprehend the multitude of contexts and fields in which it is incorporated. I always associated CGI with filmmaking, but its strong presence in other arenas alerts me to animation’s possibilities and growing omnipresence. I was also glad Furniss brought up Steve Jobs and John Lasseter and the great impact each of these men had on computer animation. Where would Pixar be without them, and, more importantly, where would that leave Pixar’s fans? Her discussion of animation’s aesthetic issues and challenges (like designing hair, for example) no longer seems entirely applicable to contemporary CGI, although I am sure many burgeoning animation companies and independent animators may still struggle with these designing difficulties due to inaccessible technologies. The realistic portrayal of the human figure, and especially the human face (along with its blemishes, imperfections, etc.), may still pose a challenge to computer animators today. I have always been curious as to what the greatest pet peeve is to animators: hair, water, fire, grass, something else? I can’t help but think of Sully’s fur in “Monsters Inc.” and “Monsters University”…all those blue and purple hairs would really drive me up the wall (or, alternatively, into a fetal position). Lev Manovich’s insistence on the redefinition of the cinema seems particularly relevant today, especially which many of the top-grossing films coming out are either fully animated or include a large array of digital effects. His equation for digital film (digital film = live action material + painting + image processing + compositing + 2D computer animation + 3D computer animation) is a bit boggling at first glance but I also think this contains the essential ingredients of a “digital film” and sheds some light on the many components of one. When I think of computer animation I inevitably envision a computer and a mouse and fail to realize all the complex filmmaking dimensions actually behind computer animation. So, if cinema was originally designed to capture reality, to be “the art of the index,” then where does digital media fit into this design? This discussion is particularly pertinent, I think, in light of the short we watched today in class, “The Third & the Seventh,” which was almost spooky in its realism. Although I understand the significance of capturing reality, to me, filmmaking is more about telling stories, creating passions, portraying human experiences and feelings, appealing to sensory emotions, and, like Roger Ebert might say, making us as viewers into better people.

  11. Taylor Beltz

    Is anybody out there? This blog seems to be strangely deserted for some reason. I feel like a castaway in cyberspace. Well, as long as I don’t have to start talking to virtual volleyballs, I’m happy.
    A part of what I gathered from these readings is how quickly the new and revolutionary becomes the old and the obsolete. Filmmaking technologies and digital media are continuously driven forward by new technological developments and innovations; keeping up with them is probably like trying to keep up with a comet. Technology’s rapid and constant changes make writing about digital filmmaking technology difficult. It seems that as soon as we marvel over this new development we turn our heads and gape at some new filmmaking invention. As digital media advances, filmmakers may be awarded with faster and simpler ways of animating, and thus be able to produce films more quickly and cheaply. Furniss also noted that the government contributed to the development of computer animation, which I found quite fascinating. Before reading her chapter on animation and digital media, I did not realize how pervasive digital media was, or fully comprehend the multitude of contexts and fields in which it is incorporated. I always associated CGI with filmmaking, but its strong presence in other arenas alerts me to animation’s possibilities and growing omnipresence. I was also glad Furniss brought up Steve Jobs and John Lasseter and the great impact each of these men had on computer animation. Where would Pixar be without them, and, more importantly, where would that leave Pixar’s fans? Her discussion of animation’s aesthetic issues and challenges (like hair, for example) no longer seems entirely applicable to contemporary CGI, although I am sure many burgeoning animation companies and independent animators may still struggle with these designing difficulties due to inaccessible technologies. The realistic portrayal of the human figure, and especially the human face (along with its blemishes, imperfections, etc.), may still pose a challenge to computer animators today. I have always been curious as to what the greatest pet peeve is to animators: hair, water, fire, grass, something else? I can’t help but think of Sully’s fur in “Monsters Inc.” and “Monsters University”…all those blue and purple hairs would really drive me up the wall (or, alternatively, into a fetal position). Lev Manovich’s insistence on the redefinition of the cinema seems particularly relevant today, especially when many of the top-grossing films being released are either fully animated or contain a vast amount of digital effects. His equation for digital film (digital film = live action material + painting + image processing + compositing + 2D computer animation + 3D computer animation) is a bit dense at first glance but I also think this contains the essential ingredients of a “digital film” and sheds some light on the many components of one. When I think of computer animation I inevitably envision a computer and a mouse and fail to realize all the complex filmmaking dimensions actually behind computer animation. So, if cinema was originally designed to capture reality, to be “the art of the index,” then where does digital media fit into this design? This discussion is particularly pertinent, I think, in light of the short we watched today in class, “The Third & the Seventh,” which was almost spooky in its realism. Although I understand the significance of the division between capturing reality and creating digital images, to me, filmmaking is more about telling stories, creating passions, portraying human experiences and feelings, appealing to sensory emotions, and, like Roger Ebert might say, making us as viewers into better people. The techniques used to construct a film are certainly important, but whether we have a film like “Man with a Movie Camera,” or “Third & the Seventh,” what matters most to me is not the film’s relationship to reality but how good it is at creating a convincing and compelling reality within itself.

  12. Austin Bennett

    And we’ve arrived to the modern era! I find it funny that early on in the Furniss article that Tim McGovern of Sony Imageworks is mentioned saying that their CGI is almost indistinguishable from a real human, or at least their body parts. This echoes what my folks and many others of their generation said of Star Wars: “it looked so real!”, “it was good for it’s time”, etc. I think this says that not only have we improved in visual effects, but that maybe our eyes have become trained to detect flaws in near perfect digital craftsmanship. Imagine if Smaug from the Hobbit had been revealed decades earlier. Someone asked James Cameron after a screening of Avatar “where did you find that new parapalegic actor?” referring to Sam Worthington, who is obviously not actually disable in real life. The latter an example of how far we’ve come, I think that visual effects have almost bridged the gap between reality and imaginary, with The Third and The Seventh being a huge staple in this argument. A little off topic, but I just wanted to comment on McGovern’s statement in ’93.

    I also really liked the notion that while Digital Cinema can be seen as an add-on to traditional filmmaking, it has since become it’s own evolution of cinema, as evident by the fact that entire movies are animated purely with digital means nowadays. The only consistency is “narrative.” Truly amazing times we now live in, and it’s only going to get easier to produce said life-like CGI and whole digitally created animations. We’ve already witnessed the near extinction of traditional animation in theaters, with The Princess and the Frog being the last namely one I can recall.

  13. Matthew Limb

    My boyfriend loves cinema. He is constantly watching films. Whenever we go grocery shopping he always buys a film and makes me watch it with him. Last week we were in Target and I jokingly asked him what he was going to do when film — as we know it — no longer exists, as the industry moves further and further into an immersive ‘reality’ environment. He was distraught by this prospect and conversation about this possibility lasted several hours after arriving home. Lev Manavich addresses this problem in his essay, “What is Digital Cinema?.” This essay is in line with many coming out of the modernist school of thought that attempt to define their medium (i.e. Clement Greenburg, “What is Painting?,” etc.). Manavich is convincing in his argument, but I believe there are loopholes and that there is a problem with the question itself. Why does Digital Cinema even have to BE cinema? People fear the changes computer technology and virtual realities will bring to cinema and distort it as a medium — but why does it have to be the same medium? Why can’t cinema and digital cinema fall under a larger umbrella term of cinematic devices or something? There are several proto-cinematic devices that were developed and helped influence the creation of cinema — is not cinema a proto-virtual world device? We are in the midst of large technological revolution and change — technologies and popular entertainments are not static. I also have issue with him saying cinema and animation are sub-genres of painting. While painting has been deeply influential, I don’t know many painters who find what they do to be similar. Yes, the techniques are similar, but applying color, light, and texture on a computer is very different from applying it with a brush and pigment. They are very similar, but I don’t know if I would go as far as saying it is a subgenre — maybe they are all subgenre’s of light. There is a distinct move in contemporary film making towards computers. Good or bad, I don’t know — but it is happening.

    Manavich makes a distinction between narrative and technology — which I think is important and necessary. I don’t believe that film, or any art for that matter, has always been just about the narrative. The narrative is important in painting, sculpture, craft, film, and photography — but when the work is received, people don’t see the technology or labor that goes into its creation, they only see the narrative. Film’s that explore the technology/artistic labor within the narrative are interesting and serve a purpose. I’m reminded of things like “Man with a Movie Camera,” or the “Cameraman’s Revenge.”

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