This project is called The Event of a Thread, by main artist Ann Hamilton. This large scaled installation piece is a field of fourty-two swings on which the audience can sit and swing on. The body weight pulling the swing back and forth also affects the giant curtain’s turbulence, while record players play a chorus in the background. I admire the diversity of elements that the audience can be fascinated by in this piece, in that there are lots for the audience to hear, see, and feel. Through the interaction the audience has with the work, they can influence the piece and see how the piece changes.
Over twenty people including the artist, composer, advisor, producer and so on were involved in creating this piece.
A technological project or piece of art that I really admire is the exhibit at the Cooper Hewitt Museum in New York City called “The Pen Experience”, in which they provide a pen that you can use to draw designs on a small screen in front of you that will then appear on giant screens on the walls surrounding you. I really like this project because it begins to allow us to collapse the walls between the real and digital world and engages people through an interaction with the piece itself, making them the artist. This piece may have been inspired by some teamLab works, which provide similar immersive experiences on large screens, but this makes it more interactive for the users and it creates a more immersive experience.
This piece, by Israeli artist Daniel Rozin, is an interactive artwork that mimics the movements of its viewer on a pom-pom “mirror”. A Microsoft Kinect sensor detects the movements of the viewer standing in front of the piece, and a computer translates the data to move the motors on the ‘mirror’, resulting in a black “shadow” rippling across the sea of white pom-poms to mirror the viewer’s position and movement. This project stood out to me because, while many other technological artworks utilize hard, rigid materials, these pom-poms bring in a softer, more organic aspect to the piece that demonstrates a reconciliation between mechanical machine to human interaction.
During the Second World War, a team of British Mathematicians assembled at the Government Code and Cypher School at Bletchley Park. Their goal was to support the United Kingdom during the war through technological means. The German Nazis were using a system of scrambled messages called “The Enigma,” and the British wanted to figure out what they were communicating to one another to help boost their odds of defeating Germany. Alan Turing, inspired by ideas of Mathematical Logic, was one of the Mathematicians at the School. A few years earlier, he designed a universal coding machine now known as the “Turing machine” that followed any set of instructions. In 1939, Alan Turing, Gordon Welchman, and their team at Bletchley Park eventually designed “The Bombe,” a code-breaking machine that deciphered the Germans’ complex communications system. Roughly 211 of these machines were created, and they were vital in helping the British break the Germans’ enigma codes. I admire Alan Turing and his team because they jumpstarted one of the first large computational projects in modern history, and they primarily used their intelligence to help their nation and saved many lives. This project was also one of the first ones to show that, if used correctly, machines can aid humans in their research and advancement.
In 2018, I visited the Seoul Mediacity Biennale that was hosted in the Seoul City Art Museum. I remember the theme of the exhibition being “what defines a good life?” A philosophical question that has been raised by the Athens in the past. At the exhibit, I was able to encounter many digital installations and projects that utilizes interaction and computing to reflect the current nature of humanity. Amont them, there was an installation of countless printers installed in the ceiling forming a circle, that was endlessly printing twitter posts that were being posted in real time. If a viewer passes through the drapes of twitter receipts, they were met with two empty chairs facing each other. What really inspired me about this piece was not only the scale, but also the idea of using computing to reflect the over-usage of digital media in the current generation. I thought that the contrast of outer barrier of draping pieces of paper created with coding and the depiction of a serene, genuine human conversation that can occur once one goes beyond the surface layer of the printed drape into the space with chairs. I am not entirely certain what software was used to create the installation, but I am assuming that it would not be too difficult as the function of computing was used to just print twitter posts in real time. I think that this type of artwork provides a way for artwork and computation to be merged to criticize a real life problem and metaphorically suggest people what they are missing out on due to the excess of digitalization in society. As a design major myself, I wish to be able to learn computer science so that I can apply it to create creative projects or to solve problems through design thinking.
A piece of computational art that I admire is the Artechouse exhibit entitled “Renewal 2121.” This piece was created by the Artechouse creative team, which included “visual design by Yuya Takeda, music by Mario Hammer and the Lonely Robot, and scenery by Design Foundry”. The piece depicts the world 2121, and also aims to show hope for the future with the concerns of a pandemic and climate change looming over the public. The piece uses image projections onto the walls of the museum. The visitors are able to interact with the piece, for example, if someone steps in front of the wall, a cherry blossom tree will pop out of the concrete. On the Cherry Blossom Festival website, it is said that the artists were inspired by the festival to create a celebration of nature. I admire this project both because of the world it creates, but also its scale. The piece creates a very vivid experience that the viewer is able to be immersed into. That ability of artists is always something I find extremely beautiful. They also point to the future in a way of inspiring hope which is something that is extremely necessary in this time.
When thinking about computational art, the first project that comes to mind is the Immersive Van Gogh exhibit that is travelling around the world. It is a digital exhibit comprised of video and light that brings the work of Van Gogh to life.
The exhibit was created by Massimiliano Siccardi, a video artist. The creative team also consists of animators, graphic designers, and producers. It has been showing since 2008, with many evolutions and upgrades throughout the years. It is hard to find information on how the show was programmed, but I assume it took a lot of different programs and media to create since it involves video, photography, sound, lighting, virtual reality, and animation. Different rooms of the exhibit even have different smells.
So far, the exhibit continues to travel. There are also rumors that Massimiliano Siccardi is developing a similar exhibit inspired by Monet.
What I admire about the project is how it provides a different approach to teaching geometric concepts, because it is clearly important to support that students learn in various ways. I admire how the project makes using a protractor and adding angles fun; in the game, crystals are placed in certain positions such that the player needs to decide what angle or angles would get light to shine on the crystals. I admire how the project uses a treasure map and jungle theme with the setting/music as it really creates a feeling of adventure that I’d previously not associated with math. Having acquirable treasure raises the stakes, instilling a sense of purpose. A critique might be that there isn’t any penalty for testing all the gems, so players might be less inclined to think critically before acting. Five people were involved in making the project, and it took them about a semester to create it. The team was organized into designers, producers, a programmer and a game artist. As far as I know, the authors created the project using commercial software.
The project points to opportunities of combining education, entertainment and motivating components. While some thrive with just the use of textbooks and more traditional methods, others really benefit from interactive games and puzzles.