Digging Deeper~

So….

This week has been productive in a few different ways. Mainly, I started digging into the literature surrounding aspects of Elit and digital art and content creation I’m interested in. I found an interesting article discussing the canonization of article by Scott Rettberg as well a fascinating article by Katherine Hayles about viewing Elit works as these kinds of cognitive assemblages. I’m still just delving into the literature and assembling a kind of annotated bibliography of sources, though. If anyone has any recommendations for good sources discussing Eliterature and its functions and literary value, please hmu! Also, I’m looking for any recs for informative sources about digital art or theories behind it!

In addition to delving more into the literature, I also dove deeper into my concept. As regular readers of my posts may know, I’ve been struggling with my concept. I have a lot of ideas surrounding what I would like to create but not such a clear idea of exactly what I want to make. There’s just all these pieces but no cohesive whole.

Last week, I dabbled with the idea of the “drag-n-drop” interface. The design and concept of Juliet Davis’ Pieces of Herself had a very large impact on me, especially in the way it depicted ideas of self-representation and social inscription. Revisiting Porpentine’s With Those We Love Alive this past week also had a huge influence with me. Reading my own posts on the work reminded me of how deeply this work and its themes resonated with me. In one of my prior posts, I even mentioned wanting to create a work similar to it. Specifically, I found myself re-inspired by the language and poetic voice of the piece. I really want to be able to express my own poetic voice through any work of Elit I create.

My new vision for my work combines traditional Dada photomontage and assemblage aestheticism the concept of the Rogues Gallery with contemporary Millennial humor (as represented by memes and tweets, etc.) and the ideology behind Degenerate Art. I imagine this work will open with a silhouette that is covered in an amalgamation of different artifacts such as the first page of a Dada manifesto and an @dril tweet, a flyer for a Degenerate Art show and an Inappropriate Audition Songs meme.

In a kind of reverse of Davis’ work, readers would have to remove pieces from the silhouette in order to uncover/discover what they mean. Readers would move the artifacts to the blank space surrounding the silhouette. So, in the process of removing the pieces of photomontage from the silhouette, readers would be creating a new photomontage of the background. I would like for a string of lexia to pop up and explain the significance of the artifact once it has been placed outside of the silhouette. This lexia would contain information about the history of the artifact or about the origin of the content. I hope to include links to outside sources for readers to get more information.

As readers remove the artifacts from the silhouette, I want them to uncover a poem beneath. This is a poem I either want to write myself or I want to put through an algorithm like a bot to generate. Ultimately, I want it to reveal something about the mutability and evolution of self-representation and how aesthetic presentation connects to ideas of self-representation. How we are all made of pieces. How we are all collage. All assemblage, photomontage, bricollage, mosaic.

I would like the work to come to a “kind of end” by having all of the removed pieces return to the silhouette in a new pattern, reinforcing the idea that we are these kinds of collage, perhaps degenerate but still ultimately of so much value (as revealed by the information each artifact embodies). Because of this, this work would still be titled Degenerate’s Gallery.

As I imagine presenting this work during my university’s research days, I have also imagined an installation component to this piece. I would like a technological setup that allows readers to work through the piece. In addition to that, though, I would like to create a wire/metal bust of a head and shoulders and invite people to stick different kinds of artifacts to this bust, to participate in the creation of a work of degenerate art.

Ultimately, it is my hope that this work will allow participants to view themselves and acts of self-representation and aesthetic presentation through a new lens. Also, I would like my work to be a kind of meditation on Dada absurdism and nihilism and what it means that these ideologies and ideals are re-emerging through the ways we represent ourselves in online spaces.

Anyway, that’s what I’ve been thinking about this week. I would love any input from my fellow creators and researchers in the field. All of your guidance and suggestions have been very helpful. (I recently downloaded Krita and so far I am very impressed with the program. I want to lay around with the tools and watch a few more tutorials before I share some of my work.)

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~Till next time~

Hammering Out the Details~

So….. before we get down to the nitty gritty, I want to announce an update to last week’s post:

JASON NELSON GOT BACK TO ME!!!!

skwisgar yeah

I received a response to my inquiry I sent last week to Dr. Nelson wherein I asked him about his design and artistic processes. Also, I asked if he had any recommendations for how someone who doesn’t have a background in graphics or digital art (like me) could go about creating a work of Elit.

Side note: He was very excited that I wanted to get into Elit. Like, there were exclamation points and everything going on!!!! Heck yeah!!!

Anyway, Dr. Nelson provided me with an abundance of information about his creative process and how he approaches a new project. Also, he went into more detail about the differences between designing a work for the screen and designing an installation work. Largely, most of the difference revolves around audience and reach. Designing a work for an online space affords more access as it allows for a larger audience to interact with the work. An Elit piece for the screen can reach a global audience very quickly. Creating an installation work, though, can allow for a more intimate experience between the participant and the content. Not that an online work cannot be intimate–far from it. But, the intimacy is different. The experience is different. Neither one is better or worse. Neither experience should be diminished in comparison to the other. It’s just important to be aware of the differences in affordances each provides.

So, the kind of Elit work I want to create may be depend on the audience I am hoping to reach.

The question of audience is a difficult one in many ways. Because I want to explore self-representation and navigation self-representation in digital spaces, I think an Elit work that allows for more personal, one-on-one interaction would be most demonstrative of my points. But, because I believe aesthetic presentation intersects with this topic and provides interesting dimension to it, a work that presents itself almost as a kind of art exhibition/installation may be more illustrative of that aspect.

In many ways, I think I want to create a work that can be experienced through multiple modes. Like, it can be experienced on a screen or it can be experienced as an installation. I’m not yet sure how to make a work like that. More discussion with other artists and content creators may be necessary. I like the idea of creating a work that has additional components to it, though, based upon whether it is accessed via screen or installation.

In regards to creating this work, Dr. Nelson also provided me with some coding resources. There are many sites one can access in order to teach themselves how to code. Dr. Nelson shared this site with me in particular. Though not necessary, Dr. Nelson expressed that learning how to code can provide a digital artist with more creative freedom over their work and can provide more space to explore.

Also recommended to me were some game making programs such as Gamesalad, Construct2, Gamemaker, and, the hardest of the bunch, Unity. All of these are kinds of visual programming software. These programs can be used to make games or be used to create creatures with more interactive functionality. The first 3 programs cost money, though, and Unity, though free, can be challenging to learn how to use. I believe I have to explore some of these programs before I can really discuss more about their affordances. Dr. Nelson recommended I research some YouTube tutorials on the programs. For many of these programs, luckily, there exists an abundance of online tutorials. This is reassuring and makes tackling any one of these programs seem a little less intimidating/ daunting.

All in all, Dr. Nelson gave me a lot of good advice about how to approach a digital project as well as provided me with a lot of resources (I did not know about before) to consider. I Again, though, I think I need to do more tinkering with these programs to decide which one would work best for my project. I look forward to continuing my correspondence with Dr. Nelson and learning whatever he has to teach me about Elit and about creating digital art and content.

Designing the Degenerates Gallery

This week, I continued to work on my concept and design for my Degenerates Gallery. As mentioned before, I want my work to invite readers to explore the mutability and trans formative nature of self-representation and aesthetic presentation in the digital age. In many ways, I want this work to be art. To be poetry. I don’t want it to be a lesson. I don’t want it to be a warning. I think self-representation and aesthetic presentation have definitely changed with the onset of online intervention. In many ways, both have become more complicated to navigate. But, I don’t think either have been diminished. Again, I believe there is meaning in exploring differences as differences rather than as diminshments.

Anyway, as discussed in my last post, I imagine this work to be one that is entered through a kind of shattered mirror/screen. I would like for selfies or other portrait-type pictures to flash across the mirror/screen. In between flashes of faces, I imagine a kind of television static or “glitch” type of graphic (if possible). Here is the mirror I drew (it’s from an old drawing):

Mirror Screen Edit

I put a filter on it to cool down the tone of the drawing. This mirror has some personal significance to me as it is the mirror I use to put on my face every morning. I like that added level of complexity, though I’m not sure if it will come into play at any point in the actual work.

In order to “shatter” this mirror/screen, so to speak, I used my laptop to just drawn some jagged lines across the picture. I imagine each piece of the mirror will be more separated and, possibly, the piece will be floating across the space of the screen. I’m not sure yet if I want to do that or if it would be just as meaning to have the mirror shattered but still holding its shape as pictured below:

Mirror Screen Edit_LI

This came out better than expected, tbh~

Again, across the mirror/screen, I would like to have selfies or self-portraits flashing. I think I need more advanced tools, even just basic Photoshop, to illustrate my vision but I did try to create a sample of what I am envisioning (don’t laugh):

Layered Mirror and Face

It’s just a sample of what I’m hoping to create. I want to fit the selfies more to the size of the mirror/screen. Also, I think it might be worthwhile to put the selfies through a kind of filtering program like Lunapic Pixelate Effect or the ACSII Art camera. (Both are sources I was introduced to through @cogdog Prof Alan Levine’s Daily Digital Alchemy exercises ^.^ Thanks Alan!) Putting the pictures through a filter beforehand may eliminate the need to code some kind of glitch/static affect. It’s something to consider, at least.

I really like Stevan Živadinovic’s approach to incorporating art into an Elit piece as well. For Hobo Lobo of Hamelin, he drew out the images and characters on paper before editing them online and incorporating them into the work. With my background in studio art, I think an approach like this might work best for me. Again, I think I need to invest in an image-editing program like Photoshop, in order to make this work. The end result might be really compelling.

As for how this work would operate/how users would navigate it, I want each shard of the shattered mirror/screen to take readers to another window. Each window should illustrate some different facet of self-representation or aesthetic presentation in the digital age. I imagine one shard would lead to an archive of reference sources–such as links to other artists or their work, links to memes or meme formats, links to tweets, links to manifestos, etc. This part of the work I imagine to operate somewhat like the archive section from Illya Szilak’s Reconstructing Mayakovsky. Another shard, I imagine to take users to an infinitely black screen. Once the screen has loaded, the screaming will start. This is meant to be a play off the popular internet meme/slang of “screaming into the void”. In many ways, this meme would operate in my work as a form of contemporary performative Dadaism. This part of my work is inspired heavily by Hugo Ball and the shows he would put on. He was all about sound poetry and decontextualizing sound.

Another shard, I want to lead readers to a screen that will display a kind of infinite stream of text, similar to Taroko Gorge and its many remixes. I want the text to be a mixture of Dada manifestos and tweets from popular, nonsensical/nihilistic accounts like @dril.

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I mean, this is Dada gold

I still need to think about where some of the other shards should go. I want there to be an interactive component to this work. I’m just not sure what it would be. Somehow, I want readers to be able to construct a representation of themselves from the work. I’m not sure how best to go about that yet.

Also, I want to incorporate my own voice into this piece. I want the language of the work to be poetic and, perhaps, a bit sardonic or parodic (like Jason Nelson’s voice in works like This is how you will die and Game, game, game, and again game.)

Ultimately, I hope to make this work one that reveals how seemingly nonsensical forms of self-expression are still meaningful if for no other reason than they create who you are. They tell a story of how you navigate the self and the world. More, I think this trend towards absurdity and nihilism in contemporary representations of the self reveal something deeper about the human condition, about how we are currently coping with the state of our societies and culture. Particularly in the western world, I think these trends reveal some deep truths about how we are not coping–with anything. In a world that is so deeply flawed, how can our expressions of self not be? How can we not all be rogues? Not all be degenerates?

Though I definitely still have a lot of work ahead of me, I think the work I’ve done thus far has provided me with some good direction. I feel more grounded in my ideas. Dr. Nelson’s support, too, also gives me some confidence. Creating this work feels a little less daunting with support.

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~Till next time~

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Degenerates Gallery~

Disclaimer

So….. this week I was tasked with reaching out to some digital content creators that inspired me. Through discussion with them, I hoped to glean more about their creative process as well as get some guidance on how to approach a larger digital project. Being that I only have a background in studio art, this advice would be helpful in providing me with some direction for broaching not just my own project, but the concept behind it.

At the time of writing this post, I have yet to hear back from those I emailed. (Fingers crossed, though~)

Regardless, I have spent this week thinking more deeply about the kind of project I would like to make for my thesis. Specifically, I’ve been reflecting on the work and projects I’ve made thus far as well as on the projects I want to work on. This reflection led me to create 2 lists: A list of 8 things I’ve made that I love and a list of 4 things I would like to make.

8 Things I’ve Made That I Love

  1. Sweet Screams…. I made this nightmare catcher about a year ago. I was heavily inspired by some bones I received from a friend. It got me thinking about how to display them. Also, I had been wanting to work on a larger metals project for a while. I made this work during a time of great inspiration. I remember feeling the power of my own concept as I worked on this piece. I love the idea of corrupting faerie tales/faerie tale objects. There’s something about challenging traditionalism that really motivates me.
  2. Bone Girl… I wrote this story a little over a year ago as well. It was inspired by a random twitter bot prompt but really became something unique unto itself. I have created several other works that are heavily influenced by this piece. I’ve also narrated the story myself (with sound effects) as well as created a slide-show display of sorts for the piece (complete with images). It’s a dark twist of a tale, about a mother and daughter and the rituals they share.
  3. Ungentle Into the Night is a story that started off as another story inspired by a bot prompt on my blog titled Living Dead GirlIt became a series consisting of 4 installments (II, III, IV). I continued writing the story for a class on writing fiction for young adults and it became a 30 page work. It’s a story about a necromancer, Thana, and a reaper, Hayden, working together to set an underworld out of whack back into whack. It was the first longer, creative work I had written in a long time. I hope to finish writing it one day.
  4.  Iscariagor… Is a piece of piece of jewelry I made about a year ago as well. It’s a necklace that I cut out, shaped, and enameled to look like blood splatter. I came up with the name for the piece by combining the words Iscariot, ichor, and gore. I envisioned this necklace was commissioned by a queen who demanded a piece of jewelry be made from the blood of traitors. Charming, yeah?
  5. Supply… This is the title of a collection of poetry I wrote last semester. It was inspired by a relationship with someone I really loved and who I really miss now. I wanted to immortalize us and the loved we shared, however short, in the most meaningful way I could: through writing. It’s some of the most personal writing I’ve done in a long time. Here’s one of the poems from the collection I really love:
  6. Two-Faced…. img_6491img_6492Inspired by my poetry collection, Supply, I also made a work in metals. This piece is made from two pieces of acrylic, one black and one red, both cut in the shape of my head in profile. On each is a poem I chased into a piece of metal and then cut out and riveted on to it corresponding acrylic piece. On the black and blue side is a more sad poem while on the bright red and orange side is a passionate poem.
  7. Recently, my mom and I have been attending free arts & crafts classes at our public library. In those classes, we have had a chance to do pysanky (Ukrainian egg decorating) and rock painting. I’m really happy with both works I made in these workshops.
  8. Silence Screams Weren’t Always…. This is the Elit piece I made a few years back in my first ever class about Eliterature. I made the work in PowerPoint and I was very proud of the final product. It was meant to be this immersive experience that allowed readers to explore the often decontextualized and cyclical nature of trauma. I wish I could share it with you but it, unfortunately, only exists as a download.

Honorable Mentions

  • Nox Siog… This is the first bot I ever made! It tweets out little disturbing/poetic messages throughout the day. I love how the aesthetic and text of this bot work together. I wonder if it’s inspired anybody else to write….
  • Moonie Girl…. More like Mooning Girl This is the first bot I made using the Markov text generator option on Dr. Zach Whalen’s spreadsheet that I use to create my bots. This bot tweets out messages pieced together from my poetry collection, Supply.

4 Things I Want To Make

  1. Banshee Wind Chime…. A wind chime made from rib bones, silent until it announces your death only to your ears~
  2. You should see me in a crown…. This is a crown/headdress/kokoshnik largely inspired by the song You should see me in a crown by Billie Eilish as well as by my own desire to be a queen. Since you decided not to treat me like a princess, I decided to make myself a queen. I’m currently working on making it a reality in metals this semester~
  3. Treachery… This is an old story I wrote a while back about a dark faerie world. I want to edit it and continue working on it. I want this to be a series of work eventually, consisting of many different tales of the lives of many different characters that got me through some of the toughest times of my life~
  4. Degenerates Gallery…. This is the digital work I would like to try and make for my thesis. It is inspired by the Degenerate Art exhibition held by the Nazis during the war to disparage and diminish Dada art as well as by the idea of the Rogues Gallery. Essentially, it would be a work that would allow readers to explore the nature of self-representation in online spaces as well as explore the influence of Dada ideology on contemporary forms of aesthetic and self-representation. I imagine the work to be a kind of Elit piece.

Imagining the Gallery

In my head, I imagine the first sight users would see when they enter the Degenerates Gallery is a shattered mirror-like screen. (I kind of imagine the word WANTED flashing in the black background as well????) Shards would be littered across the screen but still spaced close enough apart that the user could see the shape of the mirror that once as. Across the shards, faces would flash in and out. Different faces (I hope I can gather from asking for volunteers on social media sites). In between these faces, there would be static, making the mirror both a mirror and a screen.

Clicking on a shard would take the user to a different page. Each page would allow the reader to explore some different facet of how we construct ourselves in online spaces/of how Dada has reemerged and how a Dada lens can help us navigate these new kinds of self-representation. I imagine one shard would take users to an archive of sorts, kind of like the one in Illya Szilack’s Reconstructing Mayakovsky. This archive would provide users with a collection of reference points which may assist them in further navigating the work. I would like another shard to take users to a dark screen, where a twitter post, maybe, about “screaming into the void” pops up before fading into black as a loud scream begins to sound. This would be a kind of reference to Hugo Ball’s… interesting approach to Dada performance art. (You can see why an archive of sorts may be necessary.)

I’d like to open the work up to submissions, as well. I imagine putting up flyers around campus and tweeting out about how I am “Now Accepting Submissions to the Degenerate Art 2.0 Exhibition!” I think it might be fun to contrast submissions to famous works of Dada art. This would be another shard.

Essentially, I want an exploration of each shard to eventually reveal a new whole. I want the seeming brokenness to yield to a new, compelling whole.

Again, I’m no one with a background in creating digital art. So, I’m not sure how much of what I’ve just described is possible. But, I think even creating something close to what I’ve described would allow for an enriching experience and exploration of how we navigate and understand ourselves and how we create and express ourselves in online spaces.

I hope I’ll hear back from some of the artists I wrote soon! So, I can move this piece off of the the want to list to the made list!

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~Till next time~

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