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Article

Mary M. Tinti

(b Houston, TX, 1951).

American sculptor, installation and conceptual artist. His multimedia works investigate the pathology of contemporary culture. Mel Chin was born and raised in Houston, Texas to parents of Chinese birth and received his BA in 1975 from the Peabody College in Nashville, Tennessee. The works in Chin’s oeuvre are diverse in both medium and subject, but a consistent undercurrent of social, political, and environmental responsibility runs throughout. Whether a sculpture, film, video game, installation, public project or earthwork, Chin’s artworks consistently targeted a broad spectrum of pressing cultural and ecological interests and spread their message in subtle, if not viral ways.

In the 1980s, Chin produced a number of sculptures that set the stage for his ever-evocative artistic journey. The Extraction of Plenty from What Remains: 1823 (1988–9) is a frequently referenced piece from this period. It is a symbolic encapsulation of the effects of the Monroe Doctrine, referencing the complicated dealings between the US (represented by truncated replicas of White House columns) and Central America (represented by a cornucopia of mahogany branches, woven banana-tree fiber, and a surface layer of hardened blood, mud, and coffee grinds). From the 1990s, however, Chin moved away from strictly gallery-based installations and began creating works that directly engaged contemporary culture in a variety of physical and theoretical landscapes....

Article

Mick Hartney and Jeffrey Martin

Term formerly used to describe any work of art in which a computer was used to make either the work itself or the decisions that determined its form. Computers became so widely used, however, that in the late 20th century the term was applied mainly to work that emphasized the computer’s role. It can cover artworks that use computers or other digital technology not only for their creation but for their display or distribution. It can also include interactive works, installation art and art created for the internet.

Mick Hartney, revised by Jeffrey Martin

Such calculating tools as the abacus have existed for millennia, and artists have frequently invented mathematical systems to help them to make pictures. The Golden section and Leon Battista Alberti’s formulae for rendering perspective were devices that aspired to fuse realism with idealism in art, while Leonardo da Vinci devoted much time to applying mathematical principles to image-making. After centuries of speculations by writers, and following experiments in the 19th century, computers began their exponential development in the aftermath of World War II, when new weapon-guidance systems were adapted for peaceful applications, and the term ‘cybernetics’ was given currency by Norbert Wiener. After the war, ‘mainframe’ computers, which first used vacuum tubes and later transistors and silicon chips, became widespread in their application. Their prohibitive size and cost, however, restricted their use to government agencies, major corporations, universities and other large institutions. It was at these institutions that early attempts at using computers to create simple geometric visual images were carried out. Artists exploited computers’ ability to execute mathematical formulations or ‘algorithms’ from ...

Article

Anne Blecksmith

Term used to describe pictorial representations of objects and data using a computer. The term also implies the creation of and subsequent manipulation and analysis of computer-generated imagery and graphics. Computer-generated imagery was developed shortly after the introduction of the Electronic Numerical Integrator and Computer (ENIAC) in 1946. In 1950, a mathematician and artist from Iowa named Ben Laposky produced computer-generated graphic images using an electronic oscilloscope and photographed the results using high-speed film. The first interactive man-machine graphics program was Sketchpad, invented by Ivan Sutherland, a graduate student at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. Developed for the TX-2 computer, Sketchpad allowed one to draw on the computer screen using a light pen and processed image manipulation functions through a series of toggle switches.

In 1965, scientists from the USA and Germany organized concurrent computer art exhibitions entitled Computer-Generated Pictures at the Howard Wise Gallery in New York and the Galerie Niedlich in Stuttgart. The American scientists, Bela Julesz and A. Michael Noll worked at Bell Laboratories in Murray Hill, NJ, a center of computer graphic development and in ...

Article

Fiona Bradley

(b Wakefield, Oct 21, 1968).

British visual artist and musician. He was brought up in Glasgow from the age of three, and studied in London at the Slade School of Fine Art, graduating in 1990.

Creed’s work plays on definitions of art and captures the public imagination while also attracting critical acclaim for its thoughtful, accessible approach. His art puts ideas out into the world in a variety of materials; he uses simple things such as planks of wood, stacks of chairs, and pieces of crumpled paper; some professional materials such as acrylic paint and neon; and some more unusual live components such as runners, ballet dancers, musicians, and dogs. He has made sculptures, installations, paintings, drawings, videos, songs, events, live performances, and one ballet.

Creed’s works are numbered sequentially (although some numbers are not used), and often have subtitles in the form of descriptive instructions. He first became known for sculptural gestures whose slightness and humorous inadequacy called into question the nature of sculpture: for example, ...

Article

Robin Adèle Greeley

(b Mexico City, 1968).

Mexican sculptor, installation artist, and multimedia artist. A figure in the generation of Mexican artists that came to prominence in the 1990s, Cruzvillegas studied pedagogy at the Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México (1986–1990). Informally, he also studied caricature with Rafael “El Fisgón” Barajas (1985) and with Gabriel Orozco in the Taller de los viernes (“Friday workshop,” 1987–1991). In 2007 Cruzvillegas began developing the aesthetic platform of autoconstrucción (“self-building”). Rooted in the ad hoc building tactics prevalent in squatter settlements on the outskirts of megacities, his autoconstrucción works inventively repurpose found detritus to produce a materialist critique of object experience in the 21st-century’s global consumer economy.

Cruzvillegas’s early artistic ventures were informed by, among other factors, his participation in the Taller de los Viernes; his engagement with the underground music, political caricature, and comic book scenes; and his encounters with artists and curators committed to opening Mexico’s then relatively insular art world to international ideas. At the informal Taller de los viernes run by Orozco, Cruzvillegas explored artists and ideas not readily available in Mexico at the time, assimilating everything from Robert Filliou’s ...

Article

Francis Summers

(b Reading, Oct 15, 1970).

English video artist. Leaving school at the age of 16 to work in cinema, Cunningham’s skill in creating special effects and models earned him a place on the set of Alien 3 and other movies. He also worked on British film director Stanley Kubrick’s aborted AI project, and for a time he illustrated the cult science-fiction comic 2000 AD. Cunningham claims to be most influenced by such musicians as the German electronic goup Kraftwerk rather than by the cinema, and it has been his work on pop videos that have earnt him his greatest notoriety. His first video was for the band Autechre, and he subsequently made videos for Portishead, Squarepusher, Björk and Madonna. He also produced television advertisements, notoriously for Sony Playstation, where a computer-manipulated alien/girl recommends the benefits of the ‘mental wealth’ afforded by the computer games. His best work has been for the music of Richard James (known under his pseudonym, Aphex Twin): the two videos he produced for him, ...

Article

Konjit Seyoum

(b 1947).

Ethiopian painter and computer artist, active in the USA. He trained at the School of Fine Arts under Gebre Krestos Desta in 1967. He received a scholarship to Ahmadu Bello University, Zaria, in Nigeria, where he earned a BA (1972). He then moved to the United States to be curator of the art gallery at Morgan State University, Baltimore, MD. He actively promoted Ethiopian art, curating two 1973 exhibitions that featured Ethiopian artists working in the USA. He was awarded an MFA from the Maryland Institute College of Art, Baltimore. His paintings from this period are figurative. He went on to receive a PhD in computer art from The Ohio State University, Columbus, OH, and became a professor of art and director of the Computing Center for the Arts at North Carolina Central University, Durham, NC. His works from the 1990s are cibachrome prints of computer-manipulated imagery that range from complex compositions to simple figural depictions....

Article

Susan Kart

(b Nairobi, 1958).

Kenyan photographer, multimedia and performance artist, and teacher of Indian descent, active in the USA. DeSouza was born in Kenya to Indian parents. Raised in London from the age of 7, he called his background that of a ‘double colonial history’. DeSouza attended Goldsmiths College in London and the Bath Academy of Art, and although he has worked primarily in photography and as a writer on contemporary art, he has also branched out into performance art, digital painting, and textual and mixed media arts. He moved to the USA in 1992 and in 2012 became of Head of Photography at the University of California, Berkeley.

The primary themes in deSouza’s work are those of colonial encounter, seen in Indigena/Assimilado (1998), a photographic series of migrant workers in Los Angeles; migration, as explored in Threshold (1996–8), his early photographic series of airports empty of people; exile, which he explored in ...

Article

Jonathan Lipkin

The process of creating, storing, manipulating, and displaying photographic images through electronic devices such as digital cameras, computers, and printers. By the late 20th century digital technology had largely replaced traditional chemical photographic processes. That digital photographs are easier to produce, manipulate, and distribute than their analogue predecessors has led to significant changes to vernacular, artistic, and commercial photographic practices. The boundaries of what constitutes Photography—once defined quite clearly through its optical and chemical nature—have also expanded, to the point where many question whether digital photography is an incremental step in the evolution of the medium, or a radical leap into an entirely new form of image production.

While a traditional photograph is an image embodied in physical form, a digital photograph exists as a computer file that describes the image. Most digital photographs today are composed of bitmaps, grids filled with numbers that represent the colour and tonal characteristics of each square, which is called a pixel. Most commonly, each pixel is described by three numbers that can range from 0 to 255 (or 2...

Article

Marta Zarzycka

(b Sittard, the Netherlands, June 2, 1959).

Dutch photographer and video artist. She studied at the Gerrit Rietveld Academie in Amsterdam between 1981 and 1986. Dijkstra has produced a complex body of photographic and video work, offering a contemporary take on the genre of portraiture. Her large-scale colour photographs of young, typically adolescent and awkward subjects recall 17th-century Dutch painting in their scale and attention to detail. They present her subjects as painfully aware of their own changing bodies.

Dijkstra’s works are produced in series, creating groups of photographs and videos around a specific group of subjects or places. For the Beaches series (1992–2002), she portrayed adolescents posed on beaches from Hilton Head, SC, to Poland and the Ukraine; see, for example, Kolobrzeg, Poland, July 26, 1992 (London, Saatchi Gal.) where an uncomfortably posing girl unintentionally echoes the grace of Botticelli’s Venus. In a later series titled Park Portraits (2005–6), schoolchildren and adolescents appear in activity and repose, photographed in city parks in Europe, China, and the United States. Dijkstra is also known for the single-subject portraits in serial transition, such as ...

Article

Christopher Finch

(b Chicago, IL, Dec 5, 1901; d Burbank, CA, Dec 15, 1966).

American film maker, animator, and entrepreneur. Much of his childhood was spent in rural Missouri, but during his adolescence the family moved to Kansas City, where he formed an interest in drawing and in Vaudeville theatre. He received little formal training, but by the age of 18 he was earning his living as a cartoonist, first in print and then in the fledgling field of animation. While still in Kansas City, Disney began, with his most important early associate Ubbe (‘Ub’) Iwerks (1901–71), to produce animated shorts including Alice’s Wonderland (1923), in which a young girl, filmed in live action, cavorted with cartoon characters. In 1923 Disney moved to Los Angeles, where Iwerks and other members of the Kansas City team joined him. They continued to produce similar comedies until 1927, when these were superseded by a fully animated series starring Oswald the Lucky Rabbit. By this time Disney himself had given up animation to concentrate on a supervisory role, but his ability to provide cartoon stories with dramatic structures and his flair for squeezing humour from visual jokes helped make Oswald a success. Disney lost the rights to the character to an unscrupulous distributor, however, precipitating the crisis that led to his greatest triumph. Urgently needing a new character, Disney created a mouse named Mickey (reputedly the name was chosen by Disney’s wife after many others, such as Mortimer, had been considered). The prototype Mickey, based on circles for ease of animation, was drawn by ...

Article

Milan Ivelić

(b Santiago, 1943).

Chilean painter, printmaker, draughtsman and video artist. He studied at the Escuela de Bellas Artes of the Universidad de Chile in Santiago (1961–5), at the Escuela de Fotomecánica in Madrid (1966), the Hochschule für Bildende Kunst in West Berlin (1967–9) and at the Ecole des Beaux-Arts in Paris.

Dittborn, together with other theorists and artists working in Chile in the 1970s, based his work on critical examination of the marginal position of Chilean art in relation to international developments, adopting to this end practices at odds with Chilean traditions. Rejecting conventional forms of painting as well as the usual methods of producing and presenting prints, he instead favoured photography as a source both of imagery and technique by means of screenprinting. He found his imagery ready-made in the portraits featured in old Chilean criminology magazines; he combined mechanical techniques such as offset lithography and screenprinting with traditional handcrafting methods of embroidery and drawn-threadwork; and in the mid-1980s he even went so far as to produce works on brown wrapping paper, which he folded and then distributed through the ordinary post, calling them his own variant of correspondence art. Dittborn used such contrasts within his work to reflect disparate realities, mirroring the social interaction of different levels in society and underlining the racially mixed origins of Latin American practices by exaggerating the clash between domestic crafts and advanced modern technology....

Article

Terri Weissman

Refers in the broadest sense to any use of the photographic medium as visual evidence. This use arises out of the special relationship to the material world that photography has been imagined to have in the West since the 19th century (see Photography, §II). Even with the advent of digital technologies, which facilitate image manipulation (see Digital photography), pictures produced with a camera often continue to serve an evidentiary function, some even presenting themselves as legally actionable traces of the real. But this straightforward description of documentary is deceptive. In the historiography of photography, no consensus exists on whether documentary is a historically specific genre or a descriptive quality that can be applied to a variety of images across time periods. Documentary thus has two histories: one is the retrospective construction of a history of evidentiary or informational photography that stretches back to photography’s beginnings; the other concerns the development of a photographic approach to which photographers and critics in Europe and the US applied the term ‘documentary’. No single style or conceptual model characterized the latter, which emerged in the 1920s and 1930s, although it often combined realist subject-matter with modernist or creative practice in order to educate the public about the world. These early practices laid the groundwork for future approaches to documentary, as inspiration or as critical response....

Article

Morgan Falconer

(b Derry, March 26, 1959).

Irish photographer, video artist and installation artist. He studied Fine Art at Ulster Polytechnic (1978–81). Influenced by the work of Hamish Fulton, Barbara Kruger, Richard Long and Jenny Holzer, Doherty’s work in the late 1980s often combined black-and-white topographical images overlaid with words and phrases or juxtaposed with texts. These first demonstrated his interest in the ambiguous and contradictory meanings that images can suggest; this has been fed by his sustained engagement with the political conflicts in Northern Ireland and focused by a specific interest in his home town of Derry. The diptych Stone Upon Stone (1986; see 1998 exh. cat., pp. 10–11) suggested a politicized parody of land art in its depiction of a river in Derry which divided opposing sides. Against the background of increasing controversy over media coverage of the troubles in the late 1980s, Doherty began to use images from television and newspapers, and in the early 1990s he began to use video, slide projections and sound. The slide installation ...

Article

Milan Ivelić

(b Santiago, May 11, 1940).

Chilean painter, printmaker and video artist. He studied architecture at the Universidad Católica de Chile in Santiago and printmaking at Taller 99, a workshop in Santiago run by Nemesio Antúnez, where he explored new technical methods for representing machine imagery and energy. In 1962 he travelled to Spain and then to Paris, where he studied at Stanley William Hayter’s Atelier 17.

In the mid-1960s Downey settled in the USA, where he became interested in and made contact with the pioneers of video art, which became his primary medium. Proposing to work directly with energy rather than simply representing it, he presented his first audio-visual installation in 1966, conveying light, sound and energy by means of closed-circuit television. Conceiving of the artist as a cultural communicator and keen to appropriate to his own ends methods of image reproduction derived from advanced technology, he created a series entitled Video Transamérica, which he began in ...

Article

John-Paul Stonard

(b Washington, AR, July 10, 1940).

Native American Cherokee sculptor, performance artist, and video artist. In 1968 he moved to Geneva, where he attended the Ecole des Beaux-Arts in 1972. After his return to the USA he lived on the Pine Ridge Reservation in South Dakota and played an active part in the American Indian Movement; he also served from 1975 to 1979 as the executive director of the International Indian Treaty Council in New York. He left both organizations in 1980. Durham’s sculptures and installations can be seen against a background of activism, in which he records the plight of Native Americans in the face of Western colonial culture. His sculptures, bricolages of found objects, often take the form of vivid anthropomorphic constructions, appearing as ironic fetishes in an ethnographic display. Durham often includes words that provide witty if inconclusive suggestions of the type of protest that he is staging, as in the wall-mounted work ...

Article

‘Moving picture’ device invented by Loutherbourg [Lauterbourg; Lutherbourg], Philippe Jacques [Philipp Jakob; Philip James] de and first exhibited in London in 1782. Views of London and scenes such as a storm at sea were shown together with sound effects and various lights and coloured gauzes to imitate the different times of day....

Article

Aaris Sherin

American digital type foundry and producer of printed material and graphic design software, which also produces the magazine Emigre. Founded in Sacramento, CA by Zuzana Licko (b Bratislava, 1961) and Rudy VanderLans (b The Hague, 1955), the company was responsible for some of the most recognizable and widely mimicked design and typography of the 1980s and 1990s. Emigre magazine was published and art directed by VanderLans with fonts designed by Licko. It continually challenged common conceptions of design while acting as a staging ground for the founders’ unconventional vision. The work of Licko and VanderLans has come to epitomize both the controversy and success associated with the digital revolution that occurred when Macintosh computers introduced designers to new ways of producing layouts and fonts.

Licko’s family moved to San Francisco from Czechoslovakia. She designed her first font for her father, a bio-mathematician who used the Greek alphabet for personal use. Licko studied visual communication at the University of California, Berkeley (...

Article

John-Paul Stonard

(Karima)

(b London, July 3, 1963).

English sculptor, painter, draughtsman, video artist and installation artist. She studied at Maidstone College of Art (1983–6), and at the Royal College of Art in London (1987–9). In January 1993 she embarked on a six-month collaborative project with the artist Sarah Lucas, The Shop, in the Bethnal Green district of London, selling art objects in the style of bric-a-brac. Her first solo exhibition, My Major Retrospective, (London, White Cube Gal., 1993), provided the public platform for her subsequent success. Emin’s aptitude for self-promotion was demonstrated by the opening, in 1995, of the Tracey Emin Museum in South London, which she ran as a showcase for her work until 1998. She was shortlisted for the Turner Prize in 1999.

Emin achieved notoriety both in the art world and in the popular press as the enfant terrible of British art, a result not only of her outlandish behaviour but also of her starkly confessional work, based on an unorthodox upbringing and turbulent private life. In ...

Article

Kevin Concannon

(b Woodbridge, Suffolk, May 15, 1948)

English musician and artist. Eno studied fine art at the Ipswich School of Art under the tutelage of Tom Phillips (who introduced him to John Cage’s Silence) and at the Winchester Art School from 1964 to 1969. In 2007 he was awarded an Honorary Doctorate by the Royal College of Art. Eno is best known as a rock musician, first with the band Roxy Music from 1971 to 1973, and afterwards recording as a solo artist and with other musicians. He was inspired to work with tape loops by Steve Reich (b 1936) after hearing that composer’s It’s Gonna Rain (1965). He is known for ‘ambient’ music (which he named) as well as ‘generative’ music, terms popularized by Eno to describe respectively music that blends with the environment and can be listened to or ignored, and music that is ever-changing and generated by a system. Ambient and generative scores have typically accompanied his visual art installations. He is also well known as a producer of albums by rock luminaries such as Talking Heads and U2. In ...