Monday, May 3, 2010

Video Art: "Nails On A Chalkboard"

For my Video Art Piece I filmed subjects from front and back simultaneously in front of green screen. I then keyed out the green and place the two images together to create a shot/reaction shot without having to cut.

My subjects were listening to "Mycenae Alpha" by Iannis Xenakis, which is a very unpleasant sound. I turned it up really loud in the headphones and they were pretty much surrounded by the sound which made it very uncomfortable (you'll see I tried it).

I took inspiration for my piece from Nam June Paik and another video artist I studied in another class named Bruce Nauman. Nauman was known for tortorous video installations such as these.

Monday, April 26, 2010

The Nude MoMA Exhibits

I read the NY Times article about the incidents when museum visitors have shown a lack of restraint, to say the least, when observing nude exhibits. As I read on I started to think to myself how immature these people must have been. First of all, if you have a membership to the Museum of Modern Art in New York City it should imply that you have some appreciation for art. Second of all it is commonly assumed that adults are mature enough to handle things such as nudity, profanity, and other adult content in public settings. To harrass nude performers in an art exhibit is just plain immature and shows a lack of self-control and discipline.

I can remember back in the 5th grade when I visited the Museum of Fine Arts in Boston. In the lobby was a projected video image of a woman sculpting something from clay while entirely nude. My entire 5th grade class was able to show more maturity looking at this naked woman in the art museum than some of these people at MoMA. If 5th graders know enough to be respectful, so should these supposed art buffs.

It takes a good deal of courage to show one's naked body in front of strangers in the name of art. So to comment and poke fun at these performers or comment on their imperfections is just unacceptable to me.

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Santiago wanted me to take the video down for obvious reasons but I hope that my performance was memorable enough to comment without it haha. Anyway, for my Performance Art piece I decided to roll myself in banner paper to resemble a joint and walk through Plant Park on 4/20, a day considered a holiday by those who use marijuana. The idea was to decontextualize the use, and abuse, of marijuana by making the human body look like a form of the drug. It also was meant to show the reaction of those people who are very pro-marijuana. Both of these missions were accomplished successfully with my performance and I think it is certainly worth mentioning that I do not smoke weed at all so this was not done in a pro or anti-marijuana perspective, merely that of a performance artist conducting an experiment if you will.

P.S. The security guard's full quote at the end was "$30,000 a year to dress how?? Alright have fun".

Monday, April 19, 2010

The Residents Make No Sense but Nam June Paik is a Genius

While learning about video art in class this week we have been watching and listening to videos made by "The Residents". The Residents were formed in the late 1960s and started producing music in the early 70s. They were pioneers in technology at the time and there music includes very odd, discordant melodies made with computer altered instruments and synthesizers. Even the singing in their songs is far from mainstream. Along with creating nonconventional music, they also explored video art and the creation of many music videos and performance art pieces. Never exposing their identity The Residents always wore costumes of some sort, mainly an eyeball headpiece with top hats and tuxedos. Going along with their strange public appearance their music videos were very strange and out of the ordinary. Most of the time the videos would be a performance by the band members in a costume of some sort, with wild video, lighting, and computer graphic effects. These techniques were never used by musicians before The Residents making them the first band to use music videos.

That being said, I hate "The Residents". Throughout this class I have kept an open mind about what we are shown and the artists we are learning about. I am able to find most of the artists, no matter how bizarre, interesting and I can understand how they are artistic or revolutionary regardless of my personal opinion of their work. However, I have found my limit with The Residents. I am a big music fan and I love listening to all different types of music and consider myself to have good taste and a decent ear for music. I can say now after sitting through them for two class periods, that The Residents are horrible. To me their music is not only bad but it is hard
to listen to, after watching a few of the videos in class I started to cringe each time a song came on. This awful sound is only magnified by the images that are synced to the music. The video for "It's A Man's World" was so out of the ordinary that it made the music even harder to follow and even more torturous. Overall, their lack of actual singing as opposed to speaking their lyrics, their disconnected rythms and beats, and anti-mainstream melodies make The Residents music downright annoying and unpleasant.

Now, as for Nam June Paik, or the father of Video Art; Paik is someone who I consider to be a genius. I believe it is one thing for someone to improve upon an art form or take influence from someone and vary it in some way. However, before Paik showed up, there was no such thing as video art. Paik had to discover his own art form and master it all at the same time and he did so brilliantly. Whether it was something as simple as dragging a violin behind him to decontextualize how the instrument is played, or as complex as making a tower from 200 separate TVs displaying images in a specific pattern, Paik essentially invented video art and the standard for which the art form would follow. I found Paik's work really interesting and I thought it was also interesting how he applied so much thought and knowledge in his work. He was not just throwing cool images onto TV screens, he truly understood the technology he was using and he exploited that in his work. One of my favorite works that he did was also one of his most simple; TV Buddha is a sculpture that I find really interesting because of the philosophy involved in it. The Buddha is watching himself be watched by a camera in a never-ending circuit of surveillance, however nothing will ever change since the Buddha is a statue that cannot move and the camera is only recording what the Buddha is doing. It almost sounds lame to video tape an inanimate object in this way but it makes for a result that is worth much conversation.

Monday, April 12, 2010

Squat Theatre and the Wooster Group, Revolutionizing Theater

I recently researched both the "Squat Theatre" and the "Wooster Group". The "Squat Theatre" is a theater group that performed on West 23rd Street in New York City in the late 70s and early 80s. They performed their in the storefront windows using the street as the backdrop for the stage. Squat Theatre's most famous plays include, "Pig! Child! Fire!", "Andy Warhol's Last Love" (pictured), and "Mr. Dead and Mrs. Free". In Mr. Dead a World War II military Jeep, carrying four performers dressed as soldiers, drives down West 23rd Street, pulls a sharp U-turn onto the sidewalk in front of the the
ater and comes to a stop. The soldiers jump out of the Jeep run into the theater and grab one of the performers off the stage, put them in the Jeep and drive away. The five of them are never seen again. I found this to be an interesting take on live theater. Not only are they using the unpredictable and varying streets of New York as a backdrop, they add an interactive element by staging the kidnapping of one of the performers by the outsiders in the Jeep. This type of creativity fascinates me simply because I always think of plays as being a live presentation of a script in front of an audience with a fourth wall that is hardly ever broken. In Squat Theatre the
performers do the opposite by trying to eliminate the fourth wall altogether.

I also spent some time looking at the "Wooster Group"'s website. The Wooster Group has been performing for about thirty years and deal with performance, dance, and media. Their main goal has been to incorporate new technologies into their work. A great example of this is a video installation piece I found called "There Is Still Time...Brother". Pictured below this installation is a 360 degree screen projecting images shot from 12 different digital cameras in a panoramic view. The performers surround the viewer who has the ability to look at any part of the 360 degree image at any moment. The performers talk to the viewer, perform simple tasks such as typing on a computer or drawing, and some even tell stories well the others act it out.

One of the most disorienting moments in the performance is when one performers moves his left hand outward to his left. The next perfor
mer picks up this motion and continues it in the same direction to the next performer. All of the performers do this until it looks like one hand has gone all the way around the circle. Overall, this installation along with many of the works from the "Wooster Group" are very captivating, and very advanced.

Monday, April 5, 2010

Xerox Project

This is my Xerox Project, made from a papier machee balloon face

Gilbert, George, and Orlan Becoming Art

After the lecture on performance art and viewing the works of both Gilbert and George and Orlan, one thing in particular stood out to me about their artwork. Regardless of the medium they were using or the message they were sending they all have an uncanny ability to turn themselves into art. Gilbert and George used a grid to put themselves on huge canvases as well as doing somewhat goofy installations such as "Bend It". I find their art very simple yet extremely expressive, they are able to capture a lot of substance in their art with simple means.

The video installation "Bend It" stood out to me for three reasons, the first is the way they are moving or "dancing" to the music. They are keeping in rhythm with the song but their movements are so disjointed and they seem to take the words "bend it" literally. The second reason is they have made themselves into the art because they are the ones performing to the song and interpreting the music in their movements. The third reason is how the performance triggers emotion and reaction in the audience despite their rather neutral facial expressions. It is a goofy and somewhat humorous performance but their faces seem as though what they're doing is perfectly normal.

Orlan is another artist who is excellent at making herself into the work of art. In her series coming out of the frame as well as her self-hybridation of different cultures she is quite literally making herself into a piece of art. Either by surrounding herself with a picture frame and photographing herself coming out of it, or manipulating her own appearance to make it that of an individual of the precolombian, african, or other eras. In her performance art she does not simply perform for an audience or a camera, she transforms herself through surgery as part of her performance. Getting plastic surgery on her lips to look like the "Mona Lisa" and her eyebrows she is taking the idea of performance so literally that she is making herself into a piece of art.

Although I can admit that my own performance art will not be so involved, I certainly found it interesting how Orlan and other artists go to extremes in their art. So far Performance Art, in my opinion, has been the most interesting movement that we have discussed thus far.

Fluxus and Joseph Beuys Art

When researching Fluxus and Joseph Beuys I kept finding information pertaining to the metaphors of the movement. "Fluxus" is derived from the latin words "flow" and "change". Fluxus work challenged the standard definition of art including genres from writing, to music, to street performances. One of the most well-known Fluxus artists was Joseph Beuys who is most famous for his installation of a piano covered in felt material. I read some quotes from Beuys about him using material as a metaphor, especially his felt installations. The process through which felt is formed makes the fibers of the material inseparable. In Beuys' words this relates to "the social dimension of humanity, man is his milieu. He cannot cast off his communal bonds; he cannot defend himself agains the dangers of life and develop his potential alone."In other words the felt is a metaphor for our society and the pressures man faces in life.

This also demonstrates the idea that Fluxus artists, along with the artists of other movements, do not come up with their ideas on a whim. Beuys did not decide that it would be a good idea to throw a curtain of felt over a piano and call it "art". His installations were well thought out and developed ideas dealing with metaphors that pertain to human life, as Beuys explains; "The outward appearance of every object I make is the equivalent of some aspect of inner human life."

The Fluxus movement was a strong reinforcement of this idea, that artists plan what they include in their work rather than doing it on impulse, because the movement involved such a broad spectrum of mediums all meant to speak about society in some way through metaphors.

Monday, March 22, 2010

Grid Project and Surrealist Art

Here is my grid project for comments.

In class last week we were also asked to blog about Marcel Duchamp's Mona Lisa and the Surrealist Film "Un Chien Andalou". Marcel Duchamp reproduced the Mona Lisa with a mustache and goat-tee in 1919 as one of his "readymade" pieces. It is one of the most famous and controversial pieces of readymade art. I believe Duchamp was able to pull off the degradation of DaVinci's masterpiece because of the way he was redefining art at the time. I believe that most artists either before or after his time would not have been able to create such a work without significant controversy and a blow to their reputation. Duchamp, however, was well ahead of his time as a Futurist and contemporary artist. His ready made sculptures and cubist paintings were abstract enough that the Mona Lisa reproduction fit snugly within the boundaries of his unique and noncomformist artistic style.

In class we watched a surrealist film done in the early 1900s called "Un Chien Andalou". The film was extremely experimental and unusual. There were many seemingly random inserts and discontinued scenes that did not seem to pertain to the previous scene in any narrative way. Despite its strange content and non-narrative structure I believe that this film had the ability to be a successful film beyond the realm of art film. Because it was made so early on in film history, the "True Hollywood Narrative" that exists today did not have a strong foothold on society. Therefore an art film such as "Un Chien Andalou" could have very well defined the structure of mainstream film. If the same film was recreated today it would barely make it outside the art world if it even found success there. Now that the Hollywood Narrative is the form by which all films are measured, a film such as "Un Chien Andalou" is not accepted as openly as it would have been in earlier decades.

The History of the Internet

I just got done reading some history about the internet, I focused mainly on the invention of email and how it developed into a useful and convenient medium of communication. One of the more interesting things I learned about email was that the basic applications we use in our email programs today in the 21st century, existed at the very beginning of the invention of email. These applications were developed further and improved upon, but I was interested to learn that these things were created so early on in the process of email development. Another thing I found in the article about email was a table about the growth of the server Usenet-which was the platform for which email was developed and put to use-over the years from 1979-86. During this time the number of sites grew from 3 to 2500 and the number of articles went from 2 to 500. I have always been fascinated at the power of the internet as a mass medium. It's influence and ability to reach a large number of people far surpasses that of any other mode of communication. Sites such as Google and Facebook grow exponentially each year and even in the early beginnings of the internet it was growing in leaps and bounds. A video that provides further evidence on this was done by XPlane about 5 or 6 years ago. There are now 5 versions. Version 4.0 is attached below. This video contains information about how the Internet is thriving so much that every other mass medium is suffering as a result. Some staggering statistics you will find in the video:
-There are a little over 200 TV stations, there are 1 TRILLION unique Web pages
-There has been more content uploaded to YouTube in the past 2 months than if ABC, CBS, NBC had been airing new programming 24/7/365 since 1948.
-The above 3 networks get 10 million unique visitors per month, collectively. MySpace, Facebook, and YouTube combined get 250 million per month.

These 3 facts alone show how much the internet is favored over the other mediums, namely Television. Since its creation the internet has steadily increased and continues to grow without signs of slowing down.

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

TV and the Masses

I spent some time of and I learned a lot about the history of TV and the evolution of TV from concept to consumer craze to standard household appliance. The website was very well organized and contained a lot of good information that was easy to access. It was also really interactive with 3D exhibits and picture slideshow presentations about things such as the 1939 World Fair in New York City and the Timeline of Televison History.

When I was checking out the presentation on the World Fair it talked a lot about RCA's television demonstration. One thing that struck me was how television was so big during that time that people would receive "I Was Televised" cards as souvenirs. This fact did not strike me because people were so obsessed with television when it was first created, but because people are still this obsessed with TV. Not only can television stars on shows like "American Idol" and "America's Got Talent" be vaulted into stardom by this medium, but people always try to find a way to get their 15 minutes of fame by being on TV. Everytime I watch a sporting event on TV and the camera pans over the crowd, people are waving and jumping up and down in front of it, trying to be noticed by the people watching TV. Whenever I watch the news and the reporter is in a public place like a beach or a park, people always walk behind the camera and give a little wave. These people undoubtedly then call up their friends and family members and tell them to watch the 6:00 news to "look for them on TV!"

Over 70 years ago when TV was first shown at the World Fair it was a novelty and certainly an exciting event to be on TV. Now with TV taken for granted as 90% of U.S. homes have a TV, people are still trying to get on TV in any way possible, and those "I Was Televised" cards could likely still be a desirable souvenir for some. I think this speaks to the power of TV and its effect as a form of mass media. With the internet and social networking sites such as Facebook and Myspace as well as YouTube. Just about everyone with a computer and internet hookup can put their image on the internet for hundreds of thousands of people to potentially see. However this somehow still does not hold the same novelty as being shown on TV in the crowd of a baseball game for 3 1/2 seconds with 40 other people.

Sunday, February 21, 2010

Radio and the Voices Heard Around the Country

I am sitting here listening to the radio program "Sherlock Holmes" under the Mystery section of When checking out the site I also listened to a few comedy sketches and some news bulletins. I listened to the news bulletins of the attack on Pearl Harbor and it bothered me that while I was listening to the reporter give news of the attack I couldn't see any images of Pearl Harbor or President Roosevelt giving the report. In the 1940s people couldn't just turn on the TV and check the news the way they can now. Listening to the bulletin reminded me of 9/11 and how my teacher turned on the TV during school so we could see the news report. It made me wonder what it would have been like during the bombing of Pearl Harbor knowing so little about the attack except what could be heard on the radio. It must have made the attack even more frightening for people not knowing the extent of the attack until hours after when a full news report could be made over the radio.

While I'm listening to Sherlock Holmes I am amazed at how simple and creative the sketches on the radio are. The sound effects and the script allow the listener's mind to wander and picture the scene in whatever way they want. The same way Larry King said in the documentary we watched on Wednesday, when someone describes a castle to you, you see a castle in your head which is much more powerful than just showing a castle on TV or in a movie. I remember listening to my parents and my grandparents talk about their favorite radio shows and thinking that I could never be so entertained by something I could only listen to and not actually see. After listening to the sketches on OTR I have come to realize how entertaining they are. The production is well done with the different characters and I am able to imagine Sherlock trying to crack the case of the stolen cadavers. Listening to this old time radio has opened my eyes to not only how far technology has come in a relatively short time, but how radio producers were able to make so much with so little by using their listeners imaginations as the main object for their storytelling.

Thursday, February 18, 2010

My Flipbook

Here is my flipbook, please comment.

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

The Blurring of the 4th Wall

With their advanced futuristic perceptions of technology and use of special effects, sci-fi movies have been working to eliminate the fourth wall for decades. The fourth wall is essentially the movie or TV screen that divides fiction from reality. The most recent advance in this futuristic technology is the use of 3D in feature length movies such as Avatar. Avatar's special effects and futuristic plot left audiences raving about the film. However, it is not long until even this technology becomes outdated.

Audiences are no longer satisfied by just going to a movie anymore, they want to be a part of what they are experiencing. Filmmakers have to work harder and harder to impress movie-goers who want to be wowed everytime. Audiences want to feel immersed in the danger and excitement occurring on the screen while still feeling safe behind the fourth wall that has been blurred by advances such as 3D and entirely hand-held films such as Cloverfield. Sci-fi movies have always been on the forefront of new movie-making techniques and incorporating technology to increase the audience's enjoyment. As the fourth wall continues to fall audiences will continue to build a tolerance against the most realistic and immerseful technologies movies can throw at them. Like the past the future will be a fight between the new technology and the audience expectation; with no winner in sight.

Thursday, February 11, 2010

The Evolution of Singin' in the Rain

In class on Wednesday we watched a scene from Stanley Kubrick's A Clockwork Orange where a character sings the classic song "Singin' in the Rain" while he beats up a couple in their home. We were then asked to blog about how movies had changed in the twenty years since the movie Singin' in the Rain came out.

It is clear that since motion pictures were invented they have been strongly influenced by culture as well as influencing culture themselves. In the 1950s when Singin' in the Rain was made it was based on 1950s post-war culture. It had a very upbeat storyline and involved a lot of humor. The film also drew a lot of influence from Broadway musicals which were very popular. Movies like Tommy and A Clockwork Orange that were made in the 1970s a good 20 years later, also drew a lot from the culture in that time period.

Tommy was a rock opera based on the music of The Who and contained strange elements of hippie culture that was dominant in the 1970s. While a movie like Singin' in the Rain used a very bright optimistic color palette and completely believable plot elements, Tommy bordered on the psychadellic with a lot of scenes meant to simulate a drug trip which reflected the experiences of the 1970s. A Clockwork Orange was a much more abstract approach to this time period. It showed direct influence from the dominant hippie culture by incorporating hallucinogens and other hard drugs into the plot itself, however, it did so in a more inventive and bizarre way.

By watching films from different decades the change in culture can be seen pretty clearly. This speaks to the influence of culture on films. There was such a drastic transformation in culture between the 50s and the 70s that looking at a film like Singin' in the Rain and then a film like Tommy shows an extreme contrast as if each was a time capsule for that particular decade.

Monday, February 8, 2010

Celebrity Sighting

Okay it wasn't a legit Hollywood celebrity sighting but we can pretend. Today after class I had just gotten some lunch in Stadium and was walking back to my room in Straz when I saw Santiago walking towards me with his iPod headphones in. (I really want to know what he was listening to (I hope that doesn't make me sound like a stalker...)) I have to say I honestly didn't expect him to acknowledge me because I wasn't sure he would recognize me outside of class. I have film professors, who I've had more than once, not recognize me outside of class. I figure I sit kind of in the back corner and don't say much during class so there's no way he'd know who I was. Well sure enough he stopped, removed his earbud, and inquired about my Opera paper. After a short less-than-2-minute discussion I revealed the details of my paper about Aida and we went on our way. It sounds like a pretty boring story in the grand scheme of things, because it is a boring story, but I always find it strange when I see my professors outside of class. I don't know why but it's something I'm not used to yet especially after 12 years in public school where the teachers most definitely live in the school.

Anyway I am writing about the Opera Aida for my paper due in a couple days. I have to say although Aida is a well composed Opera lyrically, musically, and performance-wise; I was immensely bored. I do believe if it had been a movie it would have been a pretty good film, however, because we live in such a fast-paced technologically advanced society, whenever I am made to watch something at a slower pace, such as the Opera, I am naturally bored. It is unfortunate that this generation has less appreciation for that kind of performance because I can understand the great amount of work put into the production however dull it may seem to someone like me.

Friday, February 5, 2010

Early Movies Among the Best in Our History

In class on Wednesday we learned about the early history of cinema. At the turn of the century films were made with poor quality film and no sound. The success of the film had entirely to do with the performance and where the camera was placed. In early comedy sketches and sound films these films still centered on performance and the writing. What actions the performers were making were more closely scrutinized because there were no distractions from a poor performance or a boring storyline. Later in films such as Citizen Kane, Gone With the Wind, and Touch of Evil the importance of storyline and performance is even more apparent. These are films with little to no special effects whatsoever and if not for brilliant script writing these films would have never made it to the silver screen.

Nowadays movies of good quality are few and far between. Movie goers are looking less for a good story and more to be wowed by state-of-the-art special effects. Not to say that visual effects are not entertaining in movies such as Avatar and Star Trek, but that filmmakers are relying less on their scripts and performances, which I believe are the foundation of filmmaking, and more on explosions and computer graphics added in after production. It is because of this shift that early movies are proving more and more to be the best that have ever been made.

Apple Tablet Response

The line between technologies continues to blur. The iPod and iPhone started it all of with the do-it-all devices that can multi-task as computers, phones, music players, and gaming devices. Apple has revolutionized the technological world since the early 2000s with its products and now in 2010 it has taken it a step further with the iPad. For whatever reason Apple has always been the first to the starting line when it comes to new technology. Despite the many criticisms of Apple and its products there is no denying that they are always on the cutting edge of new products and always set the bar a little bit higher each time they develop something new.

Whether the iPad succeeds or not I don't believe is the issue, I believe it has more to do with their ability to take risks and most of the time benefit from them. Apple is unarguably responsible for defining the 21st century music player, cell phone/smart phone, and laptop computer, the Apple Tablet is just another step in their continued trend-setting technology that all other companies can only mimic.

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Baroque Art and Music, and Mozart

This week in class we are focusing on the Baroque Period and its effect on modern technology and the art associated with it. I am pretty familiar with the Baroque from having studied it when I took French in high school and again when I took a music class my Sophomore year here. In high school we focused mostly on King Louis XIV and the Palace of Versailles since it pertained to French history. The palaces constructed during the Baroque were of remarkable size and architecture. They were true shrines to the King's wealth and power and are even more impressive when considering the primitive means with which they were built.

The music during this time was also quite impressive. Beginning with Bach and ending with Mozart the music from the Baroque Period was incredibly advanced and beautiful to listen to. The combined genius of Bach and Mozart among others led to the creation of some of the most popular classical music in existence today. In fact one scene that was not shown in class of the movie Amadeus, which I also viewed in my music class, conveyed very well Mozart's unmatched musical talent. Salieri is attempting to compose something on the harpsichord and is clearly putting much thought into it. After hearing it only once Mozart asks to try playing it. Without using the sheet music Mozart repeats it perfectly without missing a note. When he gets to the end he decides he doesn't like it so he changes it on the fly and his version made up in his head in mere seconds is much better than Salieri's. The ease at which Mozart learned the song and improved it demonstrated his natural talent and ear for music.

The video clip may be found here:

On Wednesday we will be watching an Opera and learning about the different aspects of Opera so that we can watch one and write about it. Because I have already expressed my interest in Mozart's work I plan on watching and writing about one of Mozart's Operas such as Figaro or Don Giovanni.

Friday, January 22, 2010


Hello, my name is Matt Rossetti I am a junior Film and Media Arts major at UT with a minor in Communication. I am a member of Delta Tau Delta fraternity and the University of Tampa Crew Club. I also serve on the Intrafraternity Council Exec Board and am part of the UT Film Society. I'm also an Eagle Scout and an avid Boston sports fan.

After attending the first class meeting for Art and Technology I came out with mixed feelings. Although I am excited about the class and know that I am going to learn a lot and by taking this class I will become more well-rounded in both my knowledge of art and creativity, I was a little overwhelmed by it. I have not taken an art class since Middle School, let alone an honors art course. I am in no way artistic in the traditional sense so I am interested to see what I am able to come up with for the projects in this class. Overall I am looking forward to this class and learning a lot about a new subject that I am unfamiliar with.