Sunday, 30 November 2008

Artists with Computers

A really interesting post by Tom Moody looking at the differences between "new media" artists and "artists with computers" in the context of a previous post on "art photography" and "artists with cameras":
[...]

The latter care about their laptops as much as Cindy Sherman cared about her camera. Necessary mechanical skills can be learned but the habits accompanying those skills need to be unlearned. Also, artists may not always and at all times be "with computers"--it's a tool to be picked up and put down as needed.

New media suggests a respect for hardware & software and belief in their newness, something artists with computers don't care about. New media involves a finicky devotion to programming and process, whereas artists with computers are bulls in the Apple Shop. New media artists tend to germinate in design or media arts programs whereas artists with computers incline to studio arts backgrounds or autodidacticism.

[...]
I'm wondering, though, if maybe the distinction has a bit to do with how seriously one takes the medium, or whether or not the medium is pushed to the point that it becomes the subject of the work. If this is the case, is the reason why "new media" artists have so much difficulty with "artists with computers" because the artists don't pay enough respect to the technology? Are "artists with computers" just "new media" noobs?

Monday, 24 November 2008

Best use of Blingee



Olia Lialina, Tree Blingee Masterpieces (2007)


Boon

Wake
INFOpruner, Spirit Surfers, I Love You (2008)



Lorna Mills & Sally McKay, Images of the new AGO (2008)



Cody Filardi, Food Bling (2008)



Abigail Lloyd, Blows, Untitled Blingees (2008)

Friday, 21 November 2008

Monday, 17 November 2008

The New AGO = BLING

Images of the new AGO filtered through Blingee. Thank you Lorna Mills & Sally McKay!


I find the bling helps me really experience the excitement of Frank Gehry's contribution from so far away.

Wednesday, 12 November 2008

Saturday, 8 November 2008

Digital Pog Bloggin' - Not so Old Skool after all!

A heads up was given to me by Tom Moody about Michael Bell-Smith's inclusion of his Digital Pog page during his presentation at the Montage: Unmonumental Online talk which took place early this year. Coincidentally, only a couple days ago, Rhizome put up the entire panel discussion on Vimeo - I'm reposting Michael's talk here.



It was nice to see him get a little more into his rationale behind this project, as there isn't that much on his pog page (it doesn't really have to be, but it's interesting): the parts about the pogs being not really for game play, but as collectible aesthetic "objects;" their "web-ring"-like function that brings various people interested in web art together, introducing them to other artists and individuals that are making interesting things and that they may never have seen otherwise.

I don't know much about the psychology of collection, but there is always something attractive about the collectible and pleasurable about the display of collections - huge pieces of furniture have been designed for ages simply for the display of collectibles, and I'm sure many people remember how Web 1.0 homepages were often littered with sprites depicting various things, characters, etc. (which also, incidentally, served as a link advertising your own homepage).

I think the interesting thing, though, is how it brings this practice to the "art" level or to "art" status. So amongst all the image bookmarking sites (which in effect are art collections), one can still have small images that can easily - and intentionally - be collected and displayed online; one could go along collecting tens of Naruto avatars, or collect works of art by actual artists (though the feat of the former will never go unappreciated). But it's not even as serious as that - they're fun, creative, original, clever ...

Hmmm ... to be continued, I think.

Wednesday, 5 November 2008

Saturday, 1 November 2008

Old Skool! - Some Digital Pog Bloggin'




Two years has never seemed so long as it has since delving into the world of web art. Something that was new and exciting two years ago is now old hat, passé - been there ... DONE that - but at least it means that, for a "noob," there's lots of stuff to uncover and rediscover. Among those things, for me at least, is the Digital Pog - a creative digital version of the collectible game (Pogs) that I had the joy of experience during their heyday in the early to mid nineties (yeah, I had my own crappy collection too). The idea came about in 2006 by Michael Bell-Smith, who's comprehensive collection of Digital Pogs (along with the official template for creating your own) still exists, showcasing some works by (web) artists such as Tom Moody, Sally Mckay, John Michael Boling, Matt Smear, Daniel Szymanowski, and Michael Bell-Smith himself (all of whom I've quoted above in that order).

The format brings about several interesting problems and challenges: as an artistic format that "limits" the artist, and as a game that can't technically be played in the same way as the RL game of Pog. Tom Moody stirred up some interesting discussions about the format through his "Pog Bloggin.'" His first post, Digital Pog Criticism (aka "pog bloggin'"), gives a nice run-down of the POG's origins along with a few points of criticism comparing the Digital Pog to the avatar format, acknowledging it's role within the digital gift economy (which is even more interesting now considering how many online communities and networking sites sell digital icons in limited editions to be exchanged or given as gifts online, which seems counter intuitive when considering the nature of a digital image as an unlimited edition), and exploring the potential difficulty that can be had working with the inconveniently round shape of the pog (which can also act as a great point of inspiration).

It's in his post more digital pog blogging, though, that the discussion gets interesting: how can one create a feasible solution to the problem of game play, which is the intended way for players to collected new Pogs? Technically, I have absolutely no idea how to go about it without stripping away the openness of Digital Pog creation. One would have to create an app with registered users in order to play fairly, but it would also have to allow for pog creation that would be powerful enough to allow individuals the freedom to create the pogs they want to create. At which point, the open source-ness of the Digital Pog begins to be lost.

Unfortunately, it would appear that the success of the Digital Pog stayed only with it's potential as a collectible art form, and as a result, the artists making (and I suppose collecting) seemed to have lost interest - Digital Pogs have, more or less, disapeared from our sights. Being new to the format, however, I still find it pretty interesting, and have created a small number of GIFs bellow (the last one is a pog-ified version of this sweet GIF I made). So yeah people, lets bring it back! (until I'm bored with it too)