Artist & Technique Response Writing Assignments
Vik Muniz - Wasteland
In the documentary “Wasteland ,” artist Vik Muniz showed his travel to his native homeland of Rio Brazil and to Jardim Gramacho, the world’s largest landfill. He wanted to give back to a group of recycling pickers referred as “Catadores”. Muniz achieved this by earning money from the paintings made of trash and gives it to the catadores. Muniz stated his intentions were to change the lives of people with the same materials that they deal with daily. Muniz thought his intention for going to Brazil would give back hope to the catadores but instead he just gave them false hope.
On the other hand many of catadores are humble and proud of their work, not everyone was fine being a catadores. In the film a female catadores named Isis, described how she felt being a catadores. Isis, explains how embarrassed of being a catadores is, and because working on landfills are not enjoyable but it is a job with integrity. For example, regardless of how much she dislikes her job it made honest money. In Brazil, the female catadores do not have many job opportunities that are available for them to make a living. The only available jobs are prostitution, sex trafficking, or drug trafficking, and those are not honest jobs to obtain. Therefore, working at the dump is more honorable then one selling her body for money.
In the film, isis describes how pessimistic she is toward being a catadores, and if she had a decision she would not become a catadores. Isis later reveals tragic event about the lost of her son and her family, which led her to work in the landfill. Furthermore, in order to support herself she had to seek work on the dump. In addition, IsIs felt that working in trash diminished her dignity, and at the landfills because of that they begin to feel like the waste itself. As a result, not many voluntarily wanted this life. A specific number of catadores working on the landfills are proud of there work. But, few are apprehensive about what is required of them, and forced because of catastrophic events that accrued in their lives, therefore this made them seek work at the landfill in order to support themselves.
Artist Vik Muniz, intentions were to change the lives of people. Therefore, Muniz strongly believes that he is changing the catadores lives for the better by “showing them another place,” even if they never make it out of Jardim Gramacho.
Scott Tsuchitani - Memoirs of a Sansei Geisha & Lord It's the Samurai
Tsuchitani’s socially engaged artist lecture combines moving narrative with unexpected humor and latent stereotype to expose how structures of power and dominance have created an atmosphere of societal conditioning. He presents work and documentation from two projects that utilized image appropriation and parody to critique recent exhibitions presented at the Asian Art Museum in San Francisco, CA: Geisha: Beyond the Painted Smile in 2004 and Lords of the Samurai in 2009. Appropriating the imagery and graphic design used in the marketing campaigns for both exhibitions, Tsuchitani created his own posters and flyers that subtly subverted the original message as a means of providing an institutional critique to the exhibitions and the marketing of these exhibitions. He posted his versions of posters and flyers throughout the city, which received a fair amount of media attention.
This collection of quotes by Moyra Davey was very scattered and unorganized. This whole article was in search of why and what "accident" signified in a picture and why it is still prevalent in today's photographs. She spoke of Walter Benjamin, Susan Sontag, and Janet Malcolm. Benjamin's theory was that it was the unplanned and unexpected factual truth that shows up in photos. Sontag related it to surrealism. Malcolm explained that he thought it was a part of our unconscious vision.
Jerry Saltz - Clusterfuck Aesthetic
"Clusterfuck aesthetics" is a term used in this article by Jerry Saltz, and I think it's a great term. The article describes parallels between the chaotic feelings in work made by artists such as Mike Kelley and Paul McCarthy, and the "havoc of everyday life." I actually feel like a lot of art students (although I can only speak for myself, I suppose) find their everyday life (workload, schedule, and such) completely devoid of "havoc," but their minds are the opposite. Personally I think that cluttered work relates to that.
It's saying some vaguely insulting things that I could also see as being true of my own work. I kind of like that Saltz seems to question the maturity of Kelley's work, referring to "bittersweet" "goth-teen-sex-blasphemy–bad-behavior motifs."
Apparently this mess thing is a very male thing: "New Museum curator Laura Hoptman says, "Women artists accrue like crazy but apparently don't get off as much on making messes."
Hito Steyerl - In Defense of the Poor Image
This article had an interesting take about low quality images, particularly in regards to their increase. Online streaming sites, such as Vimeo and Youtube, have developed in the revival and spread of unique and obscure visual media platforms in low quality format. Many people also make and broadcast or publish their own low quality material. Video recording is so common and accessible amongst the population and nearly all cell phones have video recording and photographic abilities, these also largely create images or video that is not usually considered to be high quality.
Now people can effortlessly and easily produce and display their own low quality material, examples of these are provided by Steyerl in the reading; forgotten films shared among users on P2P networks, museum exhibits recorded on cell phones and posted on Youtube, and bootleg DVDs. A major element of the previous two is the Internet. The effortlessness obtainability and convenience of visual material predominantly in low-quality format is incredible, specifically taking into account piracy. Now someone can effortlessly search a current movie and find an online version that someone else has recorded in the theater on a smuggled-in camcorder; the quality may be poor, the sound scarcely clear and the whole recording could be basically unwatchable, but it is there, present and live on the web. When comparing the accessibility and frequency of low quality images in 2014 to 20 years ago, before the advancements of the Internet, the difference between the two is pretty astonishing.
The Society of The Spectacle
Guy Debord has produced an economic, social, historical and political work of towering significance in The Society of The Spectacle. He enumerates on the metamorphosis of human life that he contends to be driven by the media, commodity fetishism, marketing and religion. The market economy reigns powerfully in our autocratic society according to Debord, and one must think while reading his discourse that the spectacle he expounds on relates to the specter Marx intimates in the communist manifesto. The only difference being that Marx’ specter emphasized communism and Debord’s spectacle emphasizes capitalism.
The soundest part of this book, which Debord may have overlooked in its writing, is his explanation of society’s interpretation of the signifier and what it signifies. Debord contends that society prefers the signifier to its signified counterpart. In this statement, the profound troubles of materialism are accented. In fact, this one sentence encapsulates America’s crisis of profligacy. We are more fascinated by a car’s symbols, its brand name, make and model than we are its signified properties: the mere fact it is a car. Something that gets us from point A to point B. Debord calls this “preferring the appearance to the essence.” And this mode of thought consecrates illusion as sacred while truth is desecrated as profane. The truth being that, a Ford Pinto and a Ferrari serve the same purpose, but their signifiers differentiate their signified properties from each other, resulting in the Ferrari being heralded over the Pinto.
However significant this part of Debord’s book was, a crux, or unsolvable aspect remained in his argument: He contends that each individual commodity fights for itself, cannot acknowledge the others and aspires to impose its presence everywhere as though it were alone. In the context of his actual assertion, this argument is extremely invalid. If his contention is true, then how can he explain the commodity’s inherent function to compete with other commodities? The spectacle and the capitalist economy force commodities to compete with each other. There isn’t just one brand of car. There are multiple brands of cars with similar makes and models that strive to set themselves apart from all of the other coexisting brands. Therefore, the commodity does fight for itself, but not as if it were alone as he says it does. To believe his assertion is to believe that advancement in the automobile industry never occurred. If the Model T Ford didn’t have to be conscious of other commodities, Ford would still only have one make and model of car.
Dada or the Dadaism movement is an international anti-art movement was begun in Zurich. It was a form of nonsense random art very much different from realism. Dada rejected reason and logic, prizing irrationality and intuition, nonsense. Many art techniques were developed through Dada: Collage, Photomontage and Assemblage. The movement primarily involved visual arts, literature, poetry, art and graphic design, and through anti-art cultural works it concentrated on its anti-war politics. A movement that proclaimed to be nothing and everything, Dada represented the opposite for everything, which was defined in arts. If Art was developed with traditional aesthetics and feelings, Dada ignored those feelings and aesthetics. Dada was intended to offend, if art was to appeal to sensibilities.
Dada the anti-art movement sought to discover the facade established by misconceptions that were brought forth by realistic approach. Dada as opposed to realism achieved the impossible by separating itself away from Dadaism, and adapting with time, and becoming the definition of art and nature.
For random art to be called as nonsense, it should fulfill no legalistic criteria whatsoever. Each piece of random nonsense depends on another piece of totally unrelated, utterly nonsense which preceded it. Sometimes in ordinary usage, nonsense is synonymous with absurdity or the ridiculous. The concept of work in random nonsense art technique was not obvious, it was generally metaphorical. A collection of random nonsense becomes effective when it is used to create works ranging from pure comic amusement to satire and sometimes also to illustrate something about language or reasoning.
Dada was nonsense random form of art where images were developed in such a way that it depicted different stories in a more subtle way, sometimes telling people something so important which even realism could not. Several art forms like collage, photomontage, assemblage were developed using random nonsense art form which were very important and effective in communicating realistic knowledge to people of those times.