"Prehystories of New Media" class at The School of the Art Institute of Chicago (SAIC), Fall 2008 + 2009, instructor: Nina Wenhart

“Our fine arts were developed, their types and uses were established, in times very different from the present, by men whose power of action upon things was insignificant in comparison with ours. But the amazing growth of our techniques, the adaptability and precision they have attained, the ideas and habits they are creating, make it a certainty that profound changes are impending in the ancient craft of the Beautiful. In all the arts there is a physical component which can no longer be considered or treated as it used to be, which cannot remain unaffected by our modern knowledge and power. For the last twenty years neither matter nor space nor time has been what it was from time immemorial. We must expect great innovations to transform the entire technique of the arts, thereby affecting artistic invention itself and perhaps even bringing about an amazing change in our very notion of art.”
Paul Valéry, Pièces sur L’Art, 1931
Le Conquete de l’ubiquite

>> students' research papers, Fall 2008

class .12

class 12: "life on screen"
dec. 2nd, 2008





#01: life on screen

#01a: the history of screen practices

- from Erkki Huhtamo, "Screenology"
-- prehysteries-blog: http://prehysteries.blogspot.com/2008/07/erkki-huhtamo-elements-of-screenology.html
-- starts with a definition of the screen from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia, 1911 (1889):
---- "A covered framework, partition, or curtain, either movable or fixed, which serves to protect from the heat of the sun or of a fire, from rain, wind, or cold, or from other inconvenience or danger, or to shelter from observation, conceal, shut off the view, or secure privacy; as, a fire-screen; a folding-screen; a window-screen, etc.; hence, such a covered framework, curtain, etc., used for some other purpose; as, a screen upon which images may be cast by a magic lantern; in general, and shelter or means of concealment."
-- central question: what is a screen/was a screen?
---- evasive, "constantly metamorphosing, appearing in new places and new forms", big, small, flat, fat, "Some are like the sun - active, radiating "life" of their own - while others are like the moon, passive, reflecting light projected at them"
-- screen practices: the screen, the apparatus, the relationship between screen and audience
-- phenomenological approach (tracing the "essence" of all obejcts of a category)
-- belongs to the field of media archeology


- pre-cinematic apparata:
-- Laterna Magica
---- around 1600, Athanasius Kircher
---- images on glass slides, light behind, condensor, through a lense, projected on wall/fabric/...
---- works basically like a slide-projector

---- used in Phantasmagoria:
------ late 19th/early 20th century
------ a magic lantern on a movable construction
------ screens as well as devices hidden from audience
------ creation of an immersive environment
------ often smoke was used to enhance the magic impression

-- Camera Obscura
---- 18th century
---- box with a hole, light comes through it, projects image on opposite wall of box, upside down
---- predecessor of photocamera
---- not very light-intensive
---- could not fix the image

-- Zoetrope, Zootrope
---- William Horner, 1834
---- comparable to a flipbook
---- rotating drum with (most often) 12 slits,
---- inside a strip with (again most often) 12 images
---- repetitive action: last image has to relate to the first again


---- Gregory Barsamian, "The Scream", 1998
------ Chicago-born artist
------ 3d zoetrope of a self portrait of the artist, strobe, results in a "morphing"
------ http://www.gregorybarsamian.com/
------ video: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0zNRPUpSOB4

-- Praxinoscope
---- Emile Reynaud, 1877
---- like zoetrope, but instead of slits, there is a series of mirrors in the middle of the drum
---- often very ornate and looking like a lampshade

-- Phenakistoscope, Phantascope
---- Joseph Plateau, 1831
---- rotating disk with a series of images
---- slits in the disk
---- held against a mirror
---- look through slits from back of images, watch reflection in the mirror
---- moving phenakistoscope: http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/1/12/Phenakistoscope_3g07692a.gif

-- Thaumatrope
---- John Ayerton Paris, 1825
---- disk with paintings on both sides, stings attached to the sides of the disk
---- quick spinning of two sides of an image blends them together
---- example: one side has a bird painted on it, the other one a cage, by flipping from one side to the other it seems that the bird is in the cage

-- Zoopraxiscope
---- Eadweard Muybridge, 1879
---- first „movie" projector

-- mirror anamorphosis
---- with the help of a reflective cone or cylinder, an image is painted in a distorted way
---- to watch it, cylinder/cone must be placed there again

-- Verascope or Stereoscope
---- Charles Wheatstone, 1838
---- at the same time camera records two slightly different images,
---- one for the left eye, one for the right, >> special viewer necessary
---- impression of 3-dimensional space



#01b: contemporary artists
contemporary media artists working with, reflecting or re-inventing these old technologies include:
Julien Maire, Toshio Iwai,...

- Takehisa Mashimo, Satoshi Shibata, Akio Kamisatom "Moony", 2004
-- students from IAMAS, Japan
-- screen is made from water steam
-- butterflies projected on steam, audience can interact with them
-- http://www.iamas.ac.jp/~mashim03/webconsole/artworks/index.html
-- video: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XR6i41sF4-Y

- Julien Maire, "Demi-Pas", 2002
-- "Half-Step" is a 20 min film consisting only of three dimensional projected objects : a collection of "Diapositives" or "projection modules" . They are constructed with laser cut ektachromes, motors, electrics and electronics devises, in order to animate the pictures directly inside the projectors, or to produce the movements by adjusting the depth of field (the focus is made on different layers of the slide).Demi-pas is a projection using only still pictures, animated in a ameliorated magic lantern process and synchronized with sound."
-- http://julienmaire.ideenshop.net/project4.shtml
-- video:
---- http://julienmaire.ideenshop.net/mov/dia_mov.html (the technique behind demi.-pas, not the actual performance)
---- http://sonix.sdv.fr:8080/ramgen/arte/transmediale04/demipas.rm (short extract of the performance)

- Toshio Iwai,
-- "Morphovision"
, 2005
---- "Morphovision is a unique display system that interactively transforms and animates a 3D solid object before our eyes. In this system, a model house is rotated at high speed, and is illuminated with special lighting from a digital projector. This enables the model to be distorted into various shapes."
---- http://www.nhk.or.jp/strl/morphovision/index_e.html
---- video: http://www.nhk.or.jp/strl/morphovision/swf_e.html

-- "Music plays images, images play music", 1997, with Ryuichi Sakamoto
---- prehysteries-blog: http://prehysteries.blogspot.com/2008/07/toshio-iwai-ryuichi-sakamoto-music.html
---- two pianos facing each other, the sounds played on one of them transform into visuals, that move on the screen and fall on to the strings of the second piano, where they create new sounds

-- other projects by Toshio Iwai include:
---- Tenori-On:
------ prehysteries-blog: http://prehysteries.blogspot.com/2008/07/toshio-iwai-tenori-on-2001-2007t.html
------ http://www.global.yamaha.com/tenori-on/what/index.html
------ "The TENORI-ON is a unique 16 x 16 LED button matrix performance instrument with a stunning visual display. For DJs & producers it is a unique performance tool enabling them to perform using MIDI and load the TENORI-ON with samples to 'jam / improvise' within their set BPMs."
------ video: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_SGwDhKTrwU
---- Elektroplankton:
------ prehysteries-blog: http://prehysteries.blogspot.com/2008/07/toshio-iwai-electroplankton.html
------ a nintendo console featuring a selection of Iwai's work
------ video: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=28UDxIQiaIY
---- both offer new ways of distribution for artists' works


- phonesthesia
-- music generated by images and vice versa, not just synchronized A/V
-- taking the qualities of one sense and mapping them on the qualities of another one
-- see Toshio Iwai's Music Plays Images or projects by Golan Levin (Audio-Visual Environment Suite)
-- Golan Levin compiled a bibliography on the topics of synesthesia and phonesthesia:
http://www.flong.com/texts/lists/list_synesthesia_bibliography/


- Golan Levin,
-- "Ursonography"
, 2005
---- http://www.flong.com/projects/ursonography/
---- Ursonate written by Dada-artist Kurt Schwitters from 1923 to 1932
---- German word of „Lautmalerei“ - painting with sounds
---- Jaap Blonk interpretations of it since the 80ies
---- intelligent, real-time subtitles
---- video: http://vimeo.com/2365557

-- "Dialtones", 2001
---- http://www.flong.com/projects/telesymphony/
---- prehysteries-blog: http://prehysteries.blogspot.com/2008/07/golan-levin-dialtones-2001.html
---- "a large-scale concert performance whose sounds are wholly produced through the carefully choreographed ringing of the audience’s own mobile phones. Before the concert, participants register their mobile phone numbers at a series of web terminals; in exchange, new ringtone melodies are automatically transmitted to their phones, and their seating assignment tickets are generated. During the concert, the audience’s phones are dialed up by live performers, using custom software which permits as many as 60 phones to ring simultaneously"
---- video: http://www.flong.com/storage/video/telesymphony_1.mov


- telematic art:
-- makes use of communication and information systems


- Paul Sermon, "Telematic Dreaming", 1992
-- http://www.hgb-leipzig.de/~sermon/dream/
-- prehysteries-blog: http://prehysteries.blogspot.com/2008/07/paul-sermon-telematic-dreaming.html
-- "Telematic Dreaming is an installation that exists within the ISDN digital telephone network. Two separate interfaces are located in separate locations, these interfaces in themselves are dynamic installations that function as customized video-conferencing systems. A double bed is located within both locations, one in a blacked out space and the other in an illuminated space. The bed in the light location has a camera situated directly above it, sending a live video image of the bed, and a person ("A") lying on it, to a video projector located above the other bed in the blacked out location. The live video image is projected down on to the bed with another person ("B") on it. A second camera, next to the video projector, sends a live video image of the projection of person "A" with person "B" back to a series of monitors that surround the bed and person "A" in the illuminated location. The telepresent image functions like a mirror that reflects one person within another persons reflection." (Paul Sermon)
-- „In "Telematic Dreaming" the user exchanges their tactile senses and touch by replacing their hands with their eyes.“ (Paul Sermon)‏ → compare to syesthesia, phonestesia
-- video: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=f2HhY_8FO2c


- Mark Hansen, Ben Rubin, "Listening Post", 2002 ff
-- http://www.earstudio.com/projects/listeningpost.html
-- "Listening Post is an art installation that culls text fragments in real time from thousands of unrestricted Internet chat rooms, bulletin boards and other public forums. The texts are read (or sung) by a voice synthesizer, and simultaneously displayed across a suspended grid of more than two hundred small electronic screens."
-- video: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kvraiGTPCHs


- Bob Adrian X, "The World in 24 Hours", 1982
-- prehysteries-blog: http://prehysteries.blogspot.com/2008/07/bob-adrian-x-world-in-24-hours-1982.html
-- http://residence.aec.at/rax/24_HOURS/index.html
-- "
This is a "low-technology" project using simple, cheap and readily available "off-the-shelf" equipment that operates via normal telephone or amateur (ham) radio networks."



- virtual voyages
-- "armchair travel", immersive environments, VR definitely seen as a perfect means for this in the early 90s

- Jeffrey Shaw, "The Legible City", 1989 ff
-- prehysteries-blog: http://prehysteries.blogspot.com/2008/07/jeffrey-shaw-legible-city-1989.html
-- http://www.jeffrey-shaw.net/html_main/show_work.php3?record_id=83
-- bicycle as ann interface for navigating the virtual environment
---- handlebar for direction, pedals for speed
-- three different cities: Manhattan, Amsterdam, Karlsruhe (--> Shaw was the director of ZKM, which is located in Karlsruhe)
---- Manhattan: 8 storylines, stories from Frank Lloyd-Wright, a taxidriver, a tourist guide,...
------ to distinguish the stories, they had different colours
---- Amsterdam, Karlsruhe: historical information about the cities, letters had the size of the actual buildings in the real space
-- video: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=61l7Y4MS4aU

- Jens Brand, "G-Player", 2004
-- prehysteries-blog: http://prehysteries.blogspot.com/2008/07/jens-brand-global-player-2004.html
-- http://www.g-turns.com/
-- “the world's first truely global player”
-- G-Player knows the positions of a lot of satellites, G-Player reads these positions and maps them to a topographical model of the earth. The earth becomes some kind of vinyl, the valleys and elevations are analogue to the ups and downs in a record. G-Player makes these data sound. "Topographical data are interpreted by the G-Player and reproduced in an exact acoustic equivalent as audio files."
-- installations as trade fair stands
-- http://g-turns.com/pages/en/products/g_player/index.g_player4.htm

- Masaki Fujihata, "Impressing Velocity", 1992-1994
-- http://www.ntticc.or.jp/Archive/1994/Impressing_Velocity/preface.html
-- images: http://www.fujihata.jp/iv94/
-- Fujihata and his students climbed up Mount Fuji, eqipped with GSP systems and cameras mounted to their heads. The higher up they climbed, the slower they got. The GPS dta was afterwards mapped on a 3d model of Mount Fuji, the model then distorted according to the velocity - the slower the speed, the broader the representation. This resulted in an "explosion" of the mountaintop.

- Art+Com,
-- "Terravision", 1996
---- http://www.artcom.de/index.php?lang=en&option=com_acprojects&id=5&page=6
---- "Terravision is a networked virtual representation of the earth based on satellite images, aerial shots, altitude data and architectural data. It serves as an environment to organise and access information spatially."
---- "Terravision is an isochronous realisation of Neal Stephenson’s literary idea in the novel "Snow Crash" as well as a prequel to Google Earth."
---- compare to google earth_
------ wikipedia says: "a virtual globe, map and geographic information program that was originally called Earth Viewer, and was created by Keyhole, Inc, a company acquired by Google in 2004."
---- interface for navigating the earth was a huge trackball
---- video: javascript:popupWindow('http://www.artcom.de/images/stories/2_pro_terrav/terrav_lrg.mov','ignored',%20800,%20600,%20false)

-- "The Invisible Shape of Things Past", 1995 - 2007
---- prehysteries-blog: http://prehysteries.blogspot.com/2008/07/artcom-invisible-shape-of-things-past.html
---- http://www.artcom.de/index.php?lang=en&option=com_acprojects&id=26&page=6
---- "The Invisible Shapes of Things Past are parametric translations of movies into space. Single frames from a film sequence are lined up in space, according to the camera movement with which they were shot. Through this translation of single frames consisting of single pixels (picture elements) into space, objects of voxels (volume elements) are generated."
---- like Toshio Iwai's Morphovision, The Invisible shape of Things Past is listed in Golan Levin's compilation of slitscan projects
------ http://www.flong.com/texts/lists/slit_scan/
---- video: javascript:popupWindow('http://www.artcom.de/images/stories/2_pro_invisibleshape/invisibleshape_lrg.mov','ignored',%20800,%20600,%20false)

-- "The Jew of Malta", 1999, 2002
---- http://www.joachimsauter.com/en/projects/vro.html
---- http://www.artcom.de/index.php?lang=en&option=com_acprojects&id=29&page=6
---- based on the play by Christopher Marlowe
---- interactive stage and costume design
---- "On the stage, large planes were arranged onto which architecture, generated in real-time, was projected. The projection screens formed clipping planes through an imaginary virtual architecture positioned on stage. Machiavelli’s – the opera’s protagonist’s – movements and gestures were camera-tracked, and the virtual architecture moved according to his movements and gestures. This concept allowed linking the staged action and the architecture closely: Machiavelli, as a powerful and dominant character in the play, has power over the stage (and consequently over his co-actors) through the possibilities of interaction given to him."
---- video: javascript:popupWindow('http://www.artcom.de/images/stories/2_pro_virtoper/virtoper_lrg.mov','ignored',%20800,%20600,%20false)
---- additional information: Joachim Sauter, one of the main people behind Art+Com, also was the teacher of Julius von Bismarck, whose "Image Fulgurator" we saw in the tactical media class


- this project relates to the broader topic of body-screening, bodies used as projection screens, especially in performance projects


- Klaus Obermaier,
-- D.A.V.E.
, 1998-2000
---- http://www.exile.at/dave/index.html?DaveLoad=daveE.html
---- video: http://www.exile.at/DaveMovies/MovieFrame.html
-- Apparition, 2004
---- http://www.exile.at/apparition/
---- video: http://www.exile.at/apparition/index.html?AppM=movies.html

- Raffael Lozano-Hemmer, "Body Movies", 2002
-- http://www.lozano-hemmer.com/eproyecto.html
-- video: http://www.lozano-hemmer.com/video/bodymovies.html


- off screen
-- taking artefacts taht only exist on screen and re-create them in real space


- Aram Bartholl
-- http://www.datenform.de/index.html
-- Aram's blog: http://www.datenform.de/blog/
-- papierpixel, 2005
---- http://www.datenform.de/pp.html
---- this display is moved manually, the content shown first needs to be punched out of a paper roll
---- video: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vOzK89lIAjk
-- random screen, 2005
---- http://www.datenform.de/rscreen.html
---- a mechanic, thermodynamic screen. digital aesthetics created with turning cans
---- template for creating yur own screen: http://www.datenform.de/cutting-stencil-random-screen-aram-bartholl.pdf
---- video: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vUwKZutFHD4
-- speech bubble, chat, 2007
---- http://www.datenform.de/speechbubble.html
---- "The performance Speach Bubble transforms this way of communication into the physical world. The concept of the performance at a party of Plazes was to pick up messages which party visitors do post digitaly during the event on the Plazes platform and bring these messages back to the user in form of a physical object. The speech bubble displays the digital message of the user above his head in an analogue way. Like in virtual online worlds the spoken words do follow the "author" when he moves in space."
---- video: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nfZraHuTe3c
-- WoW, 2008
---- http://www.datenform.de/wow.html
---- carry your nickname with you in real space, floating above your head
---- video: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Xm1N2S8cJKE
-- First Person Shooter, 2006
---- http://www.datenform.de/fps.html
-- map, 2006
---- http://www.datenform.de/map.html
---- Aram's reference to goolge maps
---- video: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tvHeNC5VJw8


No comments:

>> recommended books

  • Richard Barbrook - Imaginary Futures: From Thinking Machines to the Global Village
  • Fred Turner - From Counterculture to Cyberculture: Stewart Brand, the Whole Earth Network and the Rise of Digital Utopianism
  • Howard Rheingold, Tools for Thought, MIT Press, 2000 or online: http://rheingold.com/texts/tft/index.html
  • Oliver Grau - MediaArtHistories
  • Oliver Grau - Virtual Art: From Illusion to Immersion
  • Neil Spiller, Cyber Reader: Critical Writings for the Digital Era. Phaidon Press, 2002
  • Stephen Wilson - Information Arts: Intersections of Art, Science, and Technology: Intersections of Art, Science and Technology
  • Gene Youngblood - Expanded Cinema
  • Ruth Leavitt - Artist and Computer
  • Jasia Reichardt - The Computer in Art
  • Jasia Reichardt - Robots. Fact, Fiction and Prediction
  • Herbert Franke - Computer Graphics, Computer Art
  • Frieder Nake - Ästhetik als Informationsverarbeitung: Grundlagen und Anwendungen der Informatik im Bereich ästhetischer Produktion und Kritik (Hardcover)
  • Norbert Wiener - Cybernetics
  • Claus Pias - Cybernetics - Kybernetik 2. The Macy-Conferences 1946-1953
  • Jasia Reichardt, Cybernetic serendipity: The computer and the arts, 1968
  • Catherine Morris, 9 Evenings Reconsidered, 2007
  • John Cage, Variations VII by John Cage: E.A.T. - 9 Evenings: Theatre & Engineering (1966) - DVD
  • Robert Rauschenberg: E.A.T. and ARTPIX: Open Score by Robert Rauschenberg (1966) - DVD
  • Noah Wardrip-Fruin - From Wagner to Multimedia
  • Erik Davis - TechGnosis: Myth, Magic + Mysticism in the Age of Information
  • Wendy Hui Kyong Chun - New Media, Old Media: A History and Theory Reader
  • R.L.Rutsky - High Techné: Art and Technology from the Machine Aesthetic to the Posthuman
  • Lev Manovich - The Language of New Media
  • Lev Manovich - Soft Cinema: Navigating the Database
  • Siegfried Zielinski - Variantology. On Deep Time. Relations of Arts, Sciences and Technologies: On Deep Time Relations of Arts, Sciences and Technologies
  • Siegfried Zielinski - Deep Time of New Media
  • Timothy Druckrey - Facing the Future. 20 years of Ars Electronica
  • NIGHTLINE: GONE FISHING: JOE DAVIS, AN AMERICAN ORIGINAL: 07/06/2001 - DVD

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... is a Media Art historian and independent researcher. She is currently writing on "speculative archiving && experimental preservation of Media Art" and graduated from Prof. Oliver Grau's Media Art Histories program at the Danube University in Krems, Austria with a Master Thesis on Descriptive Metadata for Media Arts. For many years, she has been working in the field of archiving/documenting Media Art, recently at the Ludwig Boltzmann Institute for Media.Art.Research and before as the head of the Ars Electronica Futurelab's videostudio, where she created their archives and primarily worked with the archival material. She was teaching the Prehystories of New Media Class at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago (SAIC) and in the Media Art Histories program at the Danube University Krems.