Sunday, February 15, 2009

GenArt MonstaMashUp


“Special Edition” of this here blog thing. I knew in advance I would write too much, so I decided to limit postings to 2 a week – one after each class. However, after watching the GenArt MonstaMashUp I feel like I gotta say something. This is far more interesting than I would have imagined. Is it boring periodically – sure – what isn’t? But, to provide a bit of context: Bob and I decided to break the class up into four groups each with an assignment to generate material in a different medium – sound, sculpture, video, and text. We distributed sculptural material, a video recorder and two sound recorders. The students had a half an hour. Bob and I imposed the rule of non-editing – all of it had to be done on the fly. The class decided on three simple rules – all of which I believe were immediately ignored. Bob and I also documented the event with video recorders – one hand held and one on a remote control truck. The intent – which we did not share with the students – was to bring all of the pieces together in the classroom. We hadn’t counted on the sculpture inhabiting a tree – so the MashUp became the result.

In weaving all of this together we did not edit and tried not to judge. Although, in retrospect, I wish we had captured close-ups of the sculpture – I think we were just taken with the overall ghostly form hovering there in the courtyard. The video clips came in one at a time in order – with Bob’s and then mine at the end and an overlay of footage of the sculpture. We did the same with the sound clips making no adjustment in level or placement with the exception of looping the two merged tracks to extend the recording to 20 minutes. One set of clips was longer than the other so the sound changes over time.

I am far less interested in analyzing the video (although there is a fair amount of analysis bouncing around inside my head). Bob’s point in the introduction about “strange attractors” does a good job of suggesting a direction. The fact that the viewer has to decide where to place their consciousness is probably another interesting factor. From the start we have contended that exploring the idea of generative art is less about a conceptual understanding and more about simply doing it. The job that Bob and I have is to suggest a direction and things to consider. The rest happens. The MashUp is a good representation of this process.

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