Thursday, May 7, 2015

Digital Nature

Digital Nature Jake Peck

With my continuation of “Log Light” i wanted to push the elements of connection through nature and technology. Within the past decade we have advanced very rapidly in the realm of technology and show no signs of slowing down, with each week comes new technologically advanced products onto shelves. I am curious where we relate nature and technology together and if we do at all.
We have more than likely all seen the cell phone towers “disguised” as trees or other nature like elements and even companies such as Larson Camouflage market themselves as the prevailers of artistries of such technique. I question mankind's coexistence with nature in an influential world of technology and its domination. By no means am i demonizing technology or its base but more so questioning the element of nature and where it fits in a tech advanced world. When we create artificial plants, trees, grass because the element of nature doesn't fit into the world we fit for technology, i question our standing as humans on this fragile planet we seem to find ways of harming. As radio waves permeate our air, studies have found that the detrimental effects it has on certain species of trees and insects are irreversible. In relation, there are concerns of massive die offs of bee colonies around the world and seem to be related to possible electromagnetic radiation associated from electrical power sockets to radio antennas and cell phone base stations. At what cost do we desire to be a technologically advanced species?
With my current work i wanted to speak to how we see ourselves in terms of technology and how we have been advancing from large elements of technology to newer and more sophisticated forms of technology with advanced elements that could be harmful to their environment. We see early on the disguise we use as humans to relate technology to nature, through faux wood paneling as if to encase technology in a corpse of once living nature but now dismantled to its final resting place of a “pretty” coffin for technology. Will we become a world of Matrix confused in a web of wires and breed as power source for our eternal greed and gluttonous desire of new and better technology? Will Digital Nature be the NEW and pretty thing on the shelf to buy?       

Priscilla Varner Artist Lecture Spring 2015 UNR

                                                                                    Jake Peck
Spring 2015

Priscilla Varner Artist Talk April 30th 5pm                                                                                                      

Emancipating Jane

            I was really happy i went to hear Pricilla’s artist lecture because i was fascinated by the project AFTER hearing her lecture. Prior to going i was not enthused or interested in going to hear the talk at all, due to titling and the advertisement. It seemed a bit amateurish and uninteresting to me, but come to find out . . i was more interested than i thought i might be. I was fascinated in her realm of human interest and the story she sought out to tell and discuss. I was talking with another peer in photography and we both concluded that it might have been more interesting with actual photos of the women that were her subjects. The photos she presented were very amateur and snapshot quality of rather uninteresting stuff. It could have been a total hoax and photos of just random stuff Priscilla photographed to illude of her vision of a brothel type atmosphere. I'm not questioning the authenticity of her project but rather would have liked to see more of the material, the women. It seemed as though Priscilla had a subject but never revealed it to us and at the end left me with a bit of a lackluster feeling.
            The approach she took to the subject matter was very sensitive, which i think worked well for her. And as she even mentioned in her talk of the time frame and after waiting two years that finally she reached an agreement with Mustang to allow her to follow through with her project. I can only imagine the time and dedication she put forth to get the results she desired. She also mentioned in her talk one of the women she gave a camera to only gave her one photo, which seemed so disappointing to me but she did not evoke that in her talk. Im sure she was a bit disappointed but she also explained she was taking up their time for no pay so she was grateful for what she got, speaks worlds of her appreciation and delicate manner in regards to this subject.
Another interesting element she spoke about were the actual subjects, the women. I found it so fascinating that one woman had this profession on her bucket list. I would have never thought but it humanized her subject content more than i think she could have. I have my own ideas of pushing the project but she did a great job talking about her experience with the project and the women. Her goal to show the “taboo” side as not so taboo i think was very effective through her talk. She talked very eloquently of her process, her ideas, methods and then digesting the material and putting it together in the fashion she did.
Ive got to say, growing up in the area and visiting the Mustang several times throughout years, i never had the impression that she spoke of others having the impression they did. But i also grew up with it and have more an open mind to accept things i'm not familiar with. So to me this idea was interesting because i never had the idea of the “taboo” aspect although i understood others of their perception for it to be taboo. I think it took her not to be exposed to it till now to truly understand the nature of her project and what she wanted to convey.
Also she spoke of a 12 year hiatus she took from photography and then came back but to digital and taught herself photoshop and the digital aspects of photography. That was also really impressive and takes a certain kind of personality to be able to have the drive and initiative in order to conquer or take on something so complex. Never meeting her before, she seemed to have a great personality and i imagine that allows individuals to open up to her and reveal sides she wants to portray that might be hard to get across. She also seemed to have that similar effect with “military wifes”, not sure if that was the actual title but she profiled wives of men in the military. She was able to talk about the stories that led to these individuals she photographed and had some interesting backstory that even she said was not portrayed very well by their head shot style photograph. She has some very interesting stories and lead ins to her photos that i think her aesthetics might lack in sharing. I want to see more of the women she spoke so much about in her project for “Emancipating Jane” and then something to relate to the wives of military officers and where she was pushing in relation to the direction of being married in the military and equal rights to gay couples within that organization.
Another project of hers, “8” where she interviewed individuals and asked them all what they wanted to be when they grew up when they were 8 years old. I thought this was an interesting project as well and worked with her portrait photo style photography because i assume she would include a bio of the individual and interview next to the photograph. The story she told of the lady who became a nurse due to the advice of her father to take care of herself and rely on no man, to which she then later became a wife and mother and then would fall into a traditional occupation of a secretary worker which she enjoyed and spent the rest of her time as. I think Priscilla likes to investigate people and the stories to their life, which i think all of us as humans finding our way through this strange world can connect with. She has an interesting aspect to her work where her focus is very much so on growth of individuals and their day to day life but i felt more of a change within myself listening to her work how amazing it is to hear other people's functions of life. We all operate differently and definitely under different circumstances but being able to hear it from a lecture i think adds more light to the topic, which she did very well. I still think her project could be pushed, either through her process or product but it feels like it is almost there. Again i am really glad i went to her talk because she had more to disclose through her stories than i think she did her work, which has helped me to discover how i might be able to push my work more too. I just finished a docu series of a burlesque troupe here in town and my focus was too narrow i think. Although my product came out very well and portrayed what i meant to portray, i think i might be able to push my product a bit more in order to share my story with the viewer a bit more. I think i wouldn't be able to come to this conclusion until i produced and stepped back to see the full product in large. Not that i am unhappy with how my project came out, but after attending Priscilla’s lecture i see now how she might be able to push hers and in turn where i might want to try and push my own. We are both storytellers through our work but becomes difficult to translate through other mediums that translation can become an issue.    

Joel Swanson Artist Lecture Spring 2015 UNR

Joel Swanson                                                                                              Jake Peck
Thursday, Jan. 22nd 5:30pm

Joel had heavy influences through his art pertaining to literature and the meaning of words. I really appreciated his work along with his influences, although not heavily influenced by words but appreciate their meaning and symbolism; how he expressed words and literature had an impact on him and his work. I also really was intrigued by his multifaceted range of work, from just text (using just the ampersand symbol to completely canvas an entire gallery wall) to sculpture where he created a larger than life sculpture of the “greater than” symbol and hung it so it was constantly rotating, giving it meaning of greater or lesser than at all moments. It was interesting his fascination with palindromes and how he worked with neon lighting to express that. Also how he would use words that had prefixes that could be not illuminated and still function as proper grammar. His work definitely brings more attention to the American language and how we use it. I find the use of his text more intriguing as he uses it as art work and also interested how he focussed on how artists use text to describe and title their work next to their art; very cool spin to use the actual text itself as the art work.
Words play such a major role in our world of art as well as our everyday life’s from communicating to one another that it is interesting to focus on this as a subject matter for art. Joel had a very minimalistic approach to his art that i wonder if he could have stretched this a bit to give the material more meaning. As the viewer i understood his concept and meaning but couldn’t help but feel a little a little lack luster with some of his pieces. For instance i was left perplexed with his Lady Gaga Twitter feed light; as it seemed to have no corellation to his other pieces that directly related to american language. It was a rather simple piece of a small light that was constantly blinking from feeds off of Lady Gaga’s twitter account. Was he trying to express how important Lady Gaga was at the time? Or how an app such as Twitter, that uses the american language is so popular yet restricts the use of characters through a set amount of characters allowed in each tweet; therefor creating another symbolic language through acronyms? He didn’t reference that in his talk but i feel he could have taken it in that direction with the popularity of Lady Gaga paired with Twitter, which uses the American language but on steroids, and spun that off into something more substantial with his work. The light itself was interesting for a second but only really made me think of what was being tweeted and how that related to his work with literature and it’s symbolism.   
Joel’s work also seemed to have a tinge of vanity, focusing on his piece where he signed his signature over and over again to display any difference in his signature over repetition. It was kind of interesting but i can't say i got much out of it. I see where he was trying to display the differences of his signed name but that was about it, so it did not resonate with me and left feeling a bit blank.
But with his Blinking Cursor piece i found great depth with because we ALL have experienced that cursor and with it being such a widely known image but yet not famous, it is just a cursor but we all experience it on a daily basis and give it no thought. And then to have it just blinking and perform no other action i think was pretty brilliant, due to the emotion it evoked. Waiting there for text or for it to simply move would create such anxiety in anybody viewing it. Im not sure if the piece could grow or if he had plans to but i would definitely be interested to see this and many others of his work in person. It really isn't the process but more so the actual product. Some artists rely too heavily on the process and the product lacts or the other way around, and i think Joel might rely too heavily on his product. His work is interesting but for me i did not find it too fascinating to draw me in and question more. I worry the same about my work and being able to see this in Joel makes me look at myself and how i interact with my work to make it more than just pretty or fascinating to myself.

Tehching Hsieh Artist Lecture Spring 2015 UNR

Tehching Hsieh Jake Peck
One Year Performance 1980 - 1981

I feel very fortunate to be able to attend this exhibit as well the lecture with Tehching Hsieh. As a growing artist myself i find that i am very attracted to the aesthetics of repetition in art form, and with many of Tehching Hsieh piece’s i found repetition to be a constant through all his work. He did not discuss this variable but it was clear he used this to his advantage and had great effect, especially through his One Year Performance 1980 - 1981. With this piece and the different elements that he incorporated, from the time cards and pictures taken every hour and then compiled into a stop animation film and the displaying of the gallery, i think really lends itself to a very dynamic piece in a gallery.
He spoke briefly about each piece he did that all extended for year long journeys and i found myself amazed that any individual could possess that much determination and self discipline to be able to obtain these massive goals. They do not sound like huge achievements but once given some thought as he explains the details of his journey and goes through his documentation, its overwhelming to be able to strive for these goals.
I thought to myself of the feelings and emotional turmoils he might have experienced through these times and why he would choose to do another year long piece? These pieces were no small matter and took an entire year of his life each time! The Cell would be just like jail, i would imagine. And i question why anybody would voluntarily choose to go through such a process. Was it for self discovery? Or self discipline? Was it to learn something? And then i thought about his culture and wondered if anyone could proclaim their life to one year long goal and that is it. After thinking about it i guess there are others that perform year long journeys within their lifetime, such as individuals involved in religion. Native Americans send their young boys out to fend for themselves and jehovah witness send their young boys out on a journey to spread the word of their religion before settling down. So i guess there are others who do similar things but just different and for different meaning and the meaning to me was where it peaked my curiosity with Tehching Hsieh pieces, because he had no “reason” to do these year long pieces, or so i thought. Talking with him at the opening i approached him to ask him his reasoning behind his pieces. His thick accent is hard to listen through but i enjoyed being able to talk to him one on one and through our talk he explained to me that he kept no journal or diary and even though i might be fascinated what he was going through emotionally and mentally he did not want that to be a part of his piece. He explained that everybodys experiences are different and lead us all to different paths and he wanted his piece to be able to allow viewers to experience it for themselves. It could not be sweeter for me to hear this. I too have the same feelings. Its easy to explain my experience to others but we all go through our personal experiences in life which shape us to the individual we become so as such i will not view the passing of my family dog the same way my neighbor would. This opened so much for me being able to hear this through a recogised and respected artist. All his work had some emotional termoil and some strugle he had to over come but by not telling the viewer it allows for a more personal and intimate experience through his art. I then start to imagine myself in his shoes and try to understand what his day to day was while in the process of his year long journeys.
Being able to talk with Tehching Hsieh individually was very rewarding and motivating. To hear how he experiences art and his thought process is very motivating and inspiring. I found a new fondness for his work, at first it was superficial for me because i liked how it looked, how it was presented and appeared in the gallery space. But the journey into the work and the consciousness it took to create something on such a level was rewarding to find. Art is held on so many levels and i'm finding out that it doesn't matter what level you are on because its introspective and allowing others to look in, they might not agree or even get it and if thats the case it is not a failure in your efforts to convey or converse fully you idea, concept or vision, it just is what it is.
I wonder if Tehching Hsieh would perform another year long piece. I did not ask him this question but curious after his years of experience, after his years on this earth and years of trials and tribulations what his thought is now? Would a year devotion to one isolation of work be a waste of time? Would he find comfort back in “old” techniques? Would he have the patience? What are his thoughts of his past art and is there future art to be made?
We all change over time, i would hope, because if no change is gained then we stay constantly the individuals we once were and to never grow into something else. I am curious as to how Tehching Hsieh feels he has changed or grown into the man he is today. His pieces were each a year long and you figure the individual experiences so much in one year of life and to limit those experiences or to manage them the way Tehching Hsieh has, it had an effect on him, good bad or indifferent im curious.

Tehching Hsieh’s art raises so many question and yet it is rather straight forward and simple, but it deals with human psyche and the inner scope of oneself, which varies so widely from person to person.

3D Vignettes: Life of a Couch

Monday, May 4, 2015

Art 350s                                                                                                         Jake Peck
Clint Sleeper
Spring 2015

David LaChapelle

            Being a photographer since the 80s and getting his start with Andy Warhol, David LaChapelle has had a variety of experience. From shooting high profile celebrities to commercial work to fine-art photography, David has his very unique and one of a kind esthetics when it comes to photographing, which I love. His high contrast photos with saturated colors have a story that seem to always be wild and off the page. Having David LaChapelle as an inspiration of mine has helped push me to make my photos as well push my other artwork. I’m fascinated with is approach to his work as I try to examine my own approach more closely when starting my work. I find it difficult to admire another artist so much and still have my own voice without trying to duplicate their work. Through this semester I have found more of my own voice in direction to my work. It is a lot more difficult when working in the same craft as David because I constantly envision how he might take a photograph to make it interesting and exciting and I then find myself directing towards those goals, which turns into a recreation of his style. With this semester in Art 350s I found myself not being able to connect to David LaChapelle and his photography and work more outside my realm and his. With this it lends different elements to my work that I am traditionally not use to working with. The challenge was more rewarding and insightful because I was exploring through action that helped me discover more of my own aesthetics and how I want to work with art.
            My ideas through this semester took on an element that I didn’t know I had, being pushed in a direction I probably would not go myself if creating work on my own. Also viewing other individuals work through this semester gave me more insight and inspiration to see their concept, way of working and method to further develop my own and problem solve areas I need more work on.
            Heidegger was an interesting project because I am not a philosopher and by no means do I understand philosophy to its fullest but interacting with his work and creating a project based on his particular philosophy was interesting and definitely challenging. First to dissect his words and content and then to digest his meaning and push forward into a project that would speak to his philosophy, was definitely no small task and one of the most challenging in my college career. This was mainly due to discerning philosophy and it’s meaning and direct relation to the work to be produced in class but also very rewarding and meaningful to the work I produced.
            In relation to Heidegger, I don’t find my work before this semester having much relevance but now after being exposed to his philosophy I don’t think I can go backwards. I appreciated being able find meaning with my work and create something that has meaning too, as appose to something cool to look at. It spoke to Heidegger’s philosophy and became so rewarding in the completion. My prior work does not have such meaning or backing and is just satisfying that they look cool but now I feel a loss with the work because I’ve started now to create work with meaning and work that speaks to philosophy!
            In future work of mine I would like to try and focus on more arduino and relate that to my projects. I really am fascinated with this aspect of such a small element creating and controlling such a large variable in my piece I hope I can craft into more pieces. I am still digesting the world of Heidegger and placing into my own work while still really appreciating the work of David LaChapelle and deciphering how I might be able to place the two together in my future work. With David, I feel there might not be ways to grow in depth and meaning. He speaks of his work as high fashion and tells the stories behind his photos and the dialogue they intend to speak, which I see but maybe the context is just so different I am struggling on ways give his own work more meaning when there might not be or I am trying to recontextualize his own body of work. Or maybe I am not understanding his meaning and need to sit with his work in order to look into his way of story telling and find his meaning he is trying to portray.
            David has a series I was not fascinated with called, ‘Land Scape’ which before I never paid too much attention to because it didn’t seem to fit with his portfolio of work. But now after having the experience of this class and dissecting Heidegger I am able to bring more appreciation to this series of faux power plants made up of recycled, but often discarded, material.

            After this semester I feel I am more aware and able to speak to the context in this series, which I wasn’t before because I did not have the experience needed in order to cover such material. This work is so far from David’s original body of work that I wonder what he might have gone through in order to develop this series, possibly the discovery of Heidegger as well. With this I think I am able to recontexualize my own work, give it meaning while still striving forward with my inspirations of being interesting and off the page, much like David. I definitely am way too interested in arduino to not want to incorporate this element into more of my work. I’ve been giving it more thought on how I might continue with my photography and adding in elements of arduino or electrical elements, maybe even robotics but I’m still thinking of ways and hopefully to not come off cliché. I would some how like to mold the two worlds together of stagnant photography and digital media realm and for my future works this will be my goal. This semester allowed me to open my thinking process and teach me other avenues to obtain my goals in an artist and meaningful way that I find myself again interested in creating art.