Saturday, May 26, 2012

Issues in Digital Media Art

Woodstock Digital Media Festival, June 22 and 23, includes a panel discussion with critics and curators  on issues in digital media art.

Vermont is the place to explore the latest in digital media art at the Woodstock Digital Media Festival, June 22 and 23, and influential artists, critics and curators from New York to California are making the trip to participate.

This year’s Festival includes a panel discussion on current issues in digital media art and panelists include Barbara London, curator of the MOMA Visual Media Center, and Paddy Johnson, founding editor of the blog, Art Fag City.

Johnson says that one of the most important issues for discussion at the Festival is that “many digital artists are not making money and that’s a problem.” To illustrate her point, she says that a survey of the New York gallery scene in Chelsea today would turn up well over 500 galleries, only about three of which show digital art.

She looks forward to discussing other related topics, such as the uneasy acceptance in the traditional art world of new media art and artists. “While there has been more acceptance in the last few years,” Johnson says, “It is still a topic of discussion and concern among many digital media artists.”
"Ultimately, art is a result of community. Digital media forms communities online, but those bonds are much more significant when you meet in person."
Paddy Johnson, Founding Editor, ArtFagCity.com
Paddy Johnson looks forward to the Festival in Woodstock, and says that its beautiful location offers a connectivity of a different sort. “Woodstock is a beautiful place—remote, wooded, connected to nature,” she explains. “Ultimately, art is a result of community. Digital media forms communities online, but those bonds are much more significant when you meet in person. Having a ‘healthy Internet life’ means connecting with the outside world, and bringing the networked and the outside world together as much as possible,” Johnson says.

Johnson found last summer’s Festival to be a great opportunity to meet other people in the field. She is looking forward to seeing Ursula Endlicher, who she met at last year’s event and who will be participating in the Micro exhibit at this year’s Festival.

Ursula Endlicher, whose work combines Internet art, performance, and multi-media installation, is participating in the Micro exhibit at the Festival.  Her current work includes “Light and Dark Networks, which are part of a series of Internet art projects that the Whitney Museum commissioned specifically for its website to mark sunset and sunrise in New York City every day.


Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Going Digital in Rural Vermont

Exploring digital art in Vermont at the 2012 Woodstock Digital Media Festival


Vermont is the place to see and discuss the latest in digital art this summer at the Woodstock Digital Media Festival, June 22 and 23. Now in its second year, the Festival brings leading digital media innovators from the arts, business, education, and non-profits together to explore some of the important and influential work being done in new media today.

Joe McKay is the Festival’s curator and an Assistant Professor of New Media at Purchase College in New York. McKay believes that Woodstock is a great environment to explore issues around new media. “Particularly for the art world, where historically the sense has been that if you are not in New York, you are not relevant, holding a digital media art exhibition in Vermont is both provocative and predictive of the possibilities inherent in new media and digital media art,” McKay says.

A panel discussion on “Issues in Digital Media Art” will bring artists, curators and commentators together on Saturday, June 23, from 10-11AM at the Norman Williams Public Library. Panelists include Barbara London, curator of the MOMA Visual Media Center and Paddy Johnson, founding editor of the New York-based art blog, Art Fag City.

Whether on the screen or in an environment, new media art can take many different forms, even when created by the same artist. Johnson cites the work of programmer and artist, Aaron Koblin, which ranges from TheSheepMarket.com, an online collection of 10,000 tiny drawings made by workers paid two cents each to "draw a sheep facing to the left" to “Flight Patterns,” a video representation that gives color and form to the paths of air traffic over North America.

Flight Patterns by Aaron Koblin

Digital art takes advantage of that inherent variability to engage the viewer, Johnson says. “Viewing conditions are more easily controlled by the viewer in digital mediums. For example, the viewer can turn the screen lighting down or up, or the digital art is in physical space and may include an interactive element. With other visual arts, the lighting is fixed, the display is fixed, and the artist may expect the art to just flow over you.”

Johnson mentions Very Nervous System by David Rokeby as a good example of that interactivity. In Very Nervous System, motion sensors around the room connect to a computer program that responds to movements in the space and plays music. (See a video of David Rokeby interacting with Very Nervous System in 1991here.)


Next: Issues in digital art


Friday, May 11, 2012

A Natural Place to Explore Digital Media Art


A conversation with Paddy Johnson of ArtFagCity.com about Digital Art and the Woodstock Digital Media Festival

Vermont evokes many images. Wooded hills, small farms, family holidays and ski vacations are just a few. Now imagine Vermont as the place to see and discuss the latest in digital media art. The Woodstock Digital Media Festival, June 22 and 23 in Woodstock, Vermont, is doing just that, and influential artists, critics and curators are making the trip, even out of New York, to participate.

This summer, the Festival is building on the success of its 2011 inaugural event, which brought together more than 150 artists, entrepreneurs, academics and the public to explore the art, the apps and the ideas shaping new media and its influence on how we interact, work and play in a digitally connected world. The 2012 Festival includes an exhibit where new media artists will explore a “Micro” theme; panel discussions with nationally recognized artists, journalists, and entrepreneurs; and participatory digital “explorations” that take advantage of Woodstock’s intimate and beautiful setting.

A Saturday morning panel discussion will bring artists, curators and commentators together to discuss “Issues in Digital Media Art.”  Panelists include Barbara London, curator of the MOMA Visual Media Center and Paddy Johnson, founding editor of the New York-based art blog, Art Fag City. On Art Fag City, Johnson provides exposure to emerging contemporary art and under-known artists and engages in critical debate that helps to shape the art world, working from the basic belief that creative production of all forms is essential.

Johnson says that digital and new media art, like all art, can help us to learn something about the world and about ourselves that we don’t already know. She believes that digital media art is important, not just in the art world but for everyone. "Digital mediums surround us, and since artists are often responding to the world around them in some way, it makes sense that there are many more artists working with digital media. The work of the artist is to help provide a better understanding of our world in some way," Johnson says.

Digital art—using computers or digital technology as a central part of the creative or presentation process—has been called by many names since it began appearing around 1970. Digital art is now even placed under the larger umbrella of new media art, a genre that encompasses artworks created with new media technologies from computer graphics and animation to Internet art and computer robotics, and with practices that include conceptual art, performance and installation pieces.

Continued in the next blog: Differences and similarities in digital media art...

Join leading digital media innovators from the arts, business, education, and non-profits and explore some of the most important and influential work being done in new media today at the 2012 Woodstock Digital Media Festival, June 22-23, in Woodstock, Vermont.