TIME : Fall 2015

Overview of the digital media arts field with an emphasis on technological developments and their integration in art research and production. Students are introduced to contemporary and historical directions and methodologies through seminar lectures, research presentation, and a final project.

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I have always been inspired by art and looked out for opportunities to combine art and technology. In this course as a result of all the readings given, I came across a lot of artists who had practiced this form and came up with very impressive work. The course has been able to give me a fresh perspective of things, the ability to think of utilizing technology to develop new work .



Utopia: (n) An imagined place or state of things in which everything is perfect.



“Although surprising, this should not come as a surprise, for indeed .out there. there is no light and no color, there are only electro-magnetic waves; .out there. there is no sound and no music, there are only periodic variations of the air pressure; .out there. there is no heat and no cold, there are only moving molecules with more or less mean kinetic energy, and so on. Finally, for sure, .out there. there is no pain.”1

What is reality ? Reality is an imaginative experience that the complete humanity has accepted as a part of their being. This has led us to develop an environment, a world that we perceive . We have evolved building on perceptions layer by layer. And eventually once all the layers stacked up in multitudes of colors and shades, we just couldnt figure out how to see things simply. We thrive on the art of generating complexity. We feel that the complex it is, more our chances to solve it and move forward to achieve UTOPIA. But the definition and goal of achieving UTOPIA in itself has become a problem.

“How does a utopia emerge?”
“Does it come into being by chance, are there one or more inventors, or is there a plan?”
How do you define utopia? Is your utopia same as mine ?
Is it okay force the idea of utopia on someone.”

This is the question of a serial murderer who also was a crucial element of one the biggest carrier of Information and hence one of the smartest brains surviving in our ecosystem. This element is clearly a problem faced by our society.So how do we work towards resolving it . We go towards the resolution only because , we want to move towards Utopia. A term which we agree indicated the epitome of perfection.

Herbert Brun says that all problems can be interpreted as input, output and system problems. All the more they can be put into three categories : First it could be a badly interpreted output, second as a faulty output of a faulty output device and lastly as a faulty output due to malfunction in a otherwise faultless system.All of them indicate corrective measures, except the last which suggest a change as a solution. And hence the solution will not be achievable until a change is accepted by the environment and its elements.

Lutz Dammbeck , a german born in 1948, took up one such problem and makes an effort to finding the solution to it. The first and major step was to recognize this problem.
The problem of serial murders of the members of Digerati ,the elite of the computer industry and online communities by a mathematics professor of Harvard University, Ted Kaczynski. His approach to deciphering the problem was developing a documentary revolving around the situation. He travels to US and interviews the people affected by the serial murders. Also he exchanges letters with the murderer, Ted Kaczynski, to understand his perspective and reason for taking the extreme step that he did.

Through the interviews of various members of the Digerati members, it is very clearly put forward that none of them want to have a conversation about the Unabomber, Ted Kaczynski. The reason being a person who planned murders doesn’t deserved to be discussed. But Ted Kaczynski was the part of the same environment, same world and same society that all of us are , that all the Digerati members are . That implies that his thought process and his actions are a result of all of our actions too,though indirectly. In order to reach Utopia, our human conscience demands that no such inhuman acts of murders to propagate ones ideas happen again . But did we as a complete society work towards rectifying the problem we had created. No. It is a possibility that today , there are a hundred other Ted’s cropping up in different parts of the world and we are unaware of it. Maybe one day we will all wake up to the shock of discovering them and regret not facing the problem today. This is the problem wherein the system is producing the correct output and working flawlessly, but the output is undesirable. And hence what we need is a change.

Das Netz was Lutz Dammbeck’s journey towards finding the required change. There was a constant resistance faced to talk about what had happened. But the discussion had to happen to discover the reasons that led to this complex situation. The talk had to happen so that the 100 other Unabombers were not created in this perceived reality of ours. The documentary instigated the talks and thoughts in the objects and subjects of this system of existence ,developed a foreseeing perception, to move a step ahead to Utopia.

1- On Constructing A Reality- Heinz Von Foerster





“I have felt spatiality through magnetic fields.That is my instinct. I am an instinctive savant. But Pythagoras spoke before I did. Energy is everywhere. Energy coats, it is circular,it spirals,it surrounds us. And with my work I wish to vitalize spaces with energy.”

Oscillation of the sea , to me has crossed over and destroyed the boundaries described by us as the study of arts,sciences and engineering and combined it into one package, to make a device which translates natural energy so that it can be utilized without causing any side effects on the environment , an early eco friendly method to generate electricity.The thought process of Takis is inspiring to me. It is an inspiration to think differently about the same scenario or question. When Taki was asked in an interview “ Do you think scientists and artists ask the same questions that have different answers ?”, he replied “They are not the same questions exactly but they all ask questions.The moment you are questioning the world, you are like a scientist”. He calls himself a scientist and artist. Maybe that is what facilitates him to pick up application inspired by art and derived by science.

Taki fig

Takis was inspired to work on Oscillation of Sea when he visited Venice in the summer of 1955 and it was there, while waiting on the floating piers for the vaporettos to St Marco´s square,where he first experienced, ‘THE POWER OF THE SEA’. Taki was also inspired by the perpetual moving bicycle wheel of Marcel Duchamp and incorporated this in his system.Later on he also made a sculpture Hommage a Marchel Duchamp to pay a tribute to Marchel Duchamp.

Taki Figure 2
Takis observed that the cargo-boats, loaded with bricks and stones in the Venice channels were moving up and down without any visible waves on the water surface. Takis thought that this was an interesting perpetual energy which could be exploited to set in motion a disk and then, why not use that motion to generate electrical power? So he with the help of Professor Aien Sonin ,Takis performed his first and successful experiment on the Black River coast, at Hingham Bay, in 1969.

Taki Figure 7

They translated the oscillatory motion of the sea to two kinds of motion by attaching two mechanisms to something called a pantoon. In the first system , the motion of pontoon was translated via cylindrical spatial springs which rotated a pushing disc by 180 degrees. The second system inspired by the perpetual moving bicycle wheel has a weight attached to it to be the system afloat and stable.The generated rotation is then used to generate electricity. The fascinating part of the system was how it was able to cover up some very crucial aspects , like the ability to translate such motion even if the motion is of amplitude less than one inch ,the ability to translate the sea surface motion into fixed velocity rotary or fixed frequency reciprocal motion, or combinations of them, even if the motion of the surface of water is not of a fixed frequency and last the ability to translate the mechanical energy to electrical energy.

Takis Figure 8

I also interpret this work as an amazing example of creative engineering. The instability of the sea is utilized by us and transformed into electrical energy, which has plethora of practical applications, and can even act as savior during any sea catastrophes.

Taki Figure 3
3. A Report on the Art and Technology Program of the Los Angeles County Museum of Art (1967-1971)