Tuesday, December 16, 2014

Final Artist Creation for Digital Media: Sound and Image

For our final project in Digital Media, we were given the freedom to choose what we wanted to do as long as it went along with the course theme: sound and image. One of the workshops we had in class involved this thing called "Circuit Bending." Circuit bending is when you take the circuitry out of a anything that makes noise (most commonly kids toys) and find points on the circuit board that distort or warp the sounds. When the points are found you add a switch to those points and then you play around with that. I had never heard of this before and I really enjoyed it. So I wanted to include that in my final. I also enjoy 3D modeling and was disappointed when there wasn't a project for that this semester. So I decided to 3D model a hollow dome, circuit bend some kids toys, then combine them all into the thing shown above. I added a button and switch for each toy and wired them all to play from an audio jack plugged into an amp. The circuit bending portions of the project went well, it was only when I started trying to fit them inside the model when wires start ripping out and I had to solder them in very awkward positions. As far as the modeling portion went, though the model was only a dome, it had a great deal of issues printing and took an entire weekend to construct, which luckily I wasn't pressed for time. When it came down to making holes for the switches to come out of, a very large drill bit and some manual adjustments finally lead to the sizing that I could work with. I did run into an issue when I had to figure out how to close the model.In order to get my circuits to work outside of their original toys I needed to craft battery packs. One of the battery packs wouldn't fit within a ball shape, so I had to distort the two halves. Which I actually like the new shape because it makes the device sit better in my hands. I chose the colors of the domes to represent those of a poke ball because not only did one of the circuit bent toys sound exactly like a selection tone from the very first pokemon games but since I was taking apart current kids toys it only felt right to put them into something that resembled my childhood.

Outside Artist Talk and Exhibition

Artist Talk: Melissa Milgrom “Adventures in Taxidermy”

Melissa Milgrom wanted to take this almost taboo field and show its inner workings to validate a lot of the effort and work that goes into this profession. I believed I was familiar with how taxidermy was done and how it worked, but Melissa shot any idea I had out of the water. When she talked about the in-depth process and how incredibly knowledgable a taxidermist must be to in order to be considered good it blew my mind. Taxidermists are a great deal closer to nature than I had originally thought. The sculpting of every muscle, the facial expressions, and the natural movement all have to be spot on or the piece isn’t wanted. I had never looked at taxidermy as an art before. Melissa got up close and personal with some taxidermists and told their stories, while attempting to explain their mindsets and passion for what they do. Taxidermy is an art that is closely related to sculpting as anatomically correct as possible. These people have such an incredible eye for detail and perfection it would put most artists to shame. There are apparently two types of taxidermy: Commercial and Diorama. Commercial includes types like the wild game head mounts, as well as small personal taxidermy. Diorama is the type that you see on display at museums, like most of the exhibits in the Smithsonian Museum of Natural History.
Going into the lecture I did not know what I was in for, but I learned a great deal about a field, I was shown, that I knew nothing about. Taxidermists have a special niche within todays art and natural world that they continue to explore and develop. 

Art Exhibition: Bahareh Shabrabi Farahani and Mahsan Ghazianzad

Bahareh’s art was displayed on a variety of substrates, including canvas and tapestries. She is from Iran and she address the fact that Iran has a great deal more negative associations then positive here in the U.S. So she set out through her art to bring to the surface how rich of a culture Iran has and how it is represented poorly in media around the word. She used typography and symbols common in Iran as well as bright vibrant colors. Something that I have never seen used before was the addition of tar as a fill in for something like paint. That addition fascinated me and really brought a unique perspective into her work. When tar is used it has a very deep brown appearance as well as it provides a great deal of texture to the art, giving it a very dynamic appearance. She had a combination of abstract and conceptual pieces ranging from the emphasis of different strokes on a wood board, to an entire tapestry that had an elegant and fluid design painted with brights greens and accompanied by the dark brown of the tar. 
Mahasn wanted to portray this type of undetermined wanderlust that she struggled with. Her approach was depicting this through the painting of paper airplanes. She used complimentary colors and messy strokes on very large canvas paintings that all had different scenes happening within. Some had every paper airplane in flight but others had none, all of them just piled in a stack on the ground. Mahsan’s use of complimentary colors was very well executed because there was never too much of each, she used just enough to get the contrast throughout the piece but never so much as to overwhelm the viewer. All of the paper airplanes were the same type which provided a kind of blank slate for a viewer to insert their own journeys into the pieces.