Chris Milk got his start working as a photographer and making music videos. However, his work has since drastically progressed beyond that. Milk has since dabbled in virtual reality media, and virtual reality media production, even creating his own company ‘Here be Dragons’. Throughout his career, he has helped direct music videos for many artists, including some of my favorites such as Modest Mouse, Arcade Fire and Gnarles Barkley.
Many of his pieces are interactive for viewers, such as ‘The Exquisite Forest’, or one of my favorites ‘The Wilderness Downtown’. On his platform of dragons.org, people are able to showcase their virtual reality work. This was super fun to explore because so many of the artists have such different takes on the work that no experience was the same, yet they were all fairly immersive when watching.
March Brambilla is a visual and installation artist who is exceptionally well-known for his use of 3D technology in video art. Some of his work is so large that it utilizes up to 54 screens at a time just to display it, his simulation of the Apollo launch in 2015 is an example of this. One of his pieces, “Civilization” is absolutely wild. Here he pieces together clips from movies in a collage-like way, and it continuously moves in an upward motion to take the viewer to new “locations” everytime. His other piece in the series is “Creation” which takes on a similar concept but instead of moving vertically, the piece moves in a helix type motion. Another piece of his Materialization/De-Materialization, is a series of ripples that’s made out of Star Trek characters. These people are done in stop motion loops, which gives it such a cool visual effect.
Brambilla has been approached by artists such as Katy Perry, Justin Bieber and even Beyonce’s people to which he turned them all down. He is a firm believer in creating things with meaning as a means of communication.
Pippilotti Rist is a Sweedish-born artist with a focus on audio and video installations. Rist tries to integrate public and private space in hopes of trying to create a space that people can escape to. So many of her video installations are done on a big scale projected onto either walls or ceilings, so that people can come sit or lay down and watch in an all immersive environment.
Many of her works are focused on gender and women, but she hopes that her work can be impactful for all people regardless of gender. Some of her work includes video sculptures, which were my personal favorite. Here the incorporation of video is sometimes more subtle than one would expect. An example of this is her sculpture ‘Receiver’ from 2003.
Nam June Paik is a Koren-born artist who has been named one of the 25 most influential artists of the 20th century. He’s also been referred to as the “father of video art” for his work with video sculptures, television productions, and began using video cameras for his work as early as 1965. His work has been encompassing so many different forms of media and technology over the years, with his work growing and changing as society has as well.
Each of these works are similar in that they’re encompassing some form of television or video, but it’s so fun to see how his work has grown and changed as technological advancements have been made! The Untitled (robot) for example has been done multiple times throughout his career and each time, the parts composing the robot have changed as our technology has evolved.
Evan Roth is an American artist based out of Paris who frequently does internet hacking to allow for his audience to experience moments that take place in public spaces, online or things that have occurred in pop culture. He was created a video for Jay-Z’s “Brooklyn Go Hard” video, has a background in architecture, and made it so that whenever you googled his name ‘bad ass mother fucker’ was the top search result.
All of his works are so interesting because they allow for a sneak peek into someone’s life, especially their time on the internet or how they interact with technology. With the dancing on mobile phones piece, Roth used LED lighting so that only the motions were visible and not the content on the screen itself. It was interesting to see the different strokes that people used to select apps, as well as whether or not the screen was damaged, etc. I also loves the internet cache self portrait because we think of our time and our searches on the internet as very temporary even though all of that information is stored elsewhere. Having all of that data compiled and presented in one location drastically changes the way that people interact with it.
Christian Marclay is a visual artist who works with sound, film and photography and the juxtaposition between all of them. Frequently, he will take musical objects and transform them into a tangible, visual element. His exploration of sound began in 1979 when experimenting with turntables, and has since progressed to create really intricate pieces one of his most notable being ‘The Clock’. Here, Marclay created a 24 hour, looping video that plays in real time so whatever time is being displayed in the video is the same time that would be displayed on your watch. Much of his work builds on previous practices, his Cyanotypes for example comes from cassette tapes that were used frequently in the 80s and is based off of a process that was popular in the 1840s. This integration of work leads to new, and exciting modern pieces.
Wafaa Bilal is an Iraqi-born artist who gained his fame for creating art with a focus on international politics and their dynamics. Much of his work is influenced by the fact that he fled his homeland in hopes of finding a better life for himself. Many of his works can be found in installments at the Los Angeles County Museum of Art, Museum of Contemporary Photography and more throughout the United States and the world. Additionally, Bilal has even turned his own body into a canvas by having his back tattooed to represent the casualties of both Iraqi and American soldiers and civilians as well as having a camera surgically installed to document his daily life.
His work consistently evokes feelings of astonishment, fear and disappoint in our society for lack of knowledge and understanding of other cultures. One of my favorite pieces of his was the Iraq-Iran neon sign. This was done to show how quickly Western cultures, make assumptions about other cultures and how quickly they use these two distinct names interchangeably. The other two images are both heartbreaking and fascinating. In his Ashes Series, he took a series of photographs in what was once Saddam Hussein’s palace, but is now destroyed. However, it was interesting to see what structural components and furniture remain.
Kristen Lepore is an animator and director that is well-known for her work, especially the “Hi Stranger” stop motion film. Recently, she wrote and directed an animated episode for Cartoon Network’s show “Adventure Time”. Many of her videos have won awards and are frequently featured in museums, film festivals and more on an international scale. Under some of her videos is a video explaining the process that went into the video’s creation which really allows for you to see Lepore’s creativity and what things influence her work.
Jason Salavon is an artist based out of Chicago, who works with reconfigured material to make familiar looking work but with a new perspective. His work has received numerous awards and has been featured in exhibitions consistently for the past twenty five years. In some of his work, he will take hundreds of photos and combine them using software that he’s written to color average the photo to give it a blurred look. One of his most extensive projects has been working on making amalgamated videos from all episodes from The Simpsons series.
His work is exceptionally different from that of the other artists that we’ve looked at thus far. Although it is all still digitally created, it seems to have roots in collages which is fun. One of my favorite pieces of his is ‘Good and Evil’ from 2012. This piece has a side by side comparison of photos that are based on the 100 most popular words associated with good and evil. It was surprising to me because the overall colors of the panels didn’t have a stark contrast in colors and typically evil is associated with darker shades while good is associated with bright colors like yellows, blues, etc. I really loved how in some of his other pieces, Kids with Santa for example, he utilizes 100 photos from the internet to then create one photo that is familiar to everyone.
This last image is especially interesting to me because Salavon does a fantastic job at taking what one would think to be boring statistical information and making it into exciting images.
Kelli Connell is exceptionally well known for her work with multiple self portraits called ‘Double Life’ where she appears multiple times within one image. With these images, she hopes to convey believable situations about a couple and their interactions. These depictions are based off of her own life as well as situations that she has witnessed throughout her life. These images provide a visual of questioned gender roles, identity, how one views the self, and more. In an interview with Photo-Eye blog, Connell mentions that one of her early inspirations was Francesca Woodman. Like Woodman, Connell tries to project herself and her personality through these images despite using a stand-in model.
Each of the images that she’s created seem so ordinary and simple which is what’s so intriguing about them. Her subtle changes from one person to the next add so much to the image and the story at hand. She has a very tasteful use of props, costuming and lighting that are relatable to a wide audience.