Myron Krueger and Pipilotti Rist

For this paper I will be comparing and contrasting two artists from the several I have chosen to research this year in Art 346. My two artists are Myron Krueger and Pipilotti Rist. Both of these artists have contributed to the digital media realm of art in their own way. Even though the mediums at which they have chosen are different they still have some connecting factors as well.
Myron Krueger is an American Computer Artist that got his degree in computer science at the University of Wisconsin. He is considered to be one of the first generation of virtual and augmented reality researchers of our time. During his career he created many works that involved computer technology and an audience that interacted with his works. Krueger collaborated Dan Sandin, Jerry Erdman, and Richard Venezky to create a computer controlled environment called “glowflow.” This work would respond to the footsteps of the audience via sensors that lit the floor as the viewer walked through the room. The lights were accompanied by sounds produces by a Moog synthesizer. Though the piece was a success visually Krueger thought it was lacking the user or audience involvement he wanted. The user was not aware of the interactions they were having with the technology in the gallery space.
            “Videoplace” was that very video medium he was looking for. Where there was finally a dialog between man and machine. Originally this was a concept that he had developed during the mid-70’s that continued to evolve over time as technology became more and more developed. It consisted of two or more rooms that could vary in distance from each other. The connected rooms sees both a projection of themselves and of the other user on the same screen. The other user’s projected image could be shrunk, rotated, and color keyed. It could interact with both the room occupant’s image and other computer generated images created. Krueger was quoted saying, “The beauty of the visual and aural response is secondary. Response is the medium.” It was the audience actively sharing in the creation of the art that was important. “Videoplace” no has a permanent residence at the State Museum of National History at The University of Connecticut. Considering that this is one of the first instances where audience interacts to create a virtual reality. I relate Krueger’s stance with virtual reality with Marshal Mcluhan’s thoughts on his interpretation with television at the time. Virtual reality has a large demographic potential with the way it can influence the vast majority of the public. I remember what my engineering professor said once, “Show me and I’ll forget, teach me and I’ll learn, involve me and I will understand.” That is what virtual reality has the potential to do. It has the ability to include people in these responsive environments. Though these interactions at Krueger’s time were simplistic at the surface level, creating simple images and art forms. It is the human element that gives these virtual space that chance to become something more than what they were created for. Krueger didn’t just create a virtual space for himself, but developed a new world entirely for many to explore in the opportunity to communicate, learn from, and interact differently with one another like never before.
My second artist goes by the name Pipilotti Rist, her real name is Elisabeth Charlotte, she got her nickname from the character Pippi Longstocking. She studied commercial art, illustration, and photography and the University of Applied Arts in Vienna and later video at the School of Design in Basil, Switzerland. She began her video work using super 8 film during her college year. Rist was largely known for her works to include topics of gender, sexuality, and the human body. Her films would last several minutes and often involved heavy editing with its color, speed, and sound. One of her films that gave her notoriety was PickelPorno (Pimple Porn) 1992. This was filmed using a fisheye camera that had two bodies in various states of intertwining and suggestive positions while she edited in a naturistic background consisting of flowers, volcanic eruptions, and other ambiguous close ups.
Her film Ever is Over All 1997 was the film I decided to go into further detail with. Setup at the Museum of Modern Art, her film was a Diptych set up in the corner of the gallery space. On the left you see a woman dressed in a blue dress and red heels strolling down an urban sidewalk. The right video consists of close up shots of flowers from various locations of the world. As the woman walks down the sidewalk she is caring a large flower, she uses this flower like a sledge hammer as she smashes car windows parked on the side of the road. This is a bronze flower painted in the likeness to look like one of the flowers in the second video to the right. Rist also relied upon audio to further create a contrast between the two films. This was at a time in the world where the generation grew up with MTV, audio and visual was now fully established as a norm within the culture. It would lose impact if it did not have audio. I believe that Rist likes to create these odd combinations of nightmare and magic as it vastly over shadows logic and common sense. She juxtaposes the acts of aggression or annihilation one might see in an urban city with the benevolence and tranquility of the nature side of her story. Even as you hear the birds chirping in such a peaceful manor it continually gets interrupted by the shattering of the glass and the unnerving drones of the music on the urban side of the story.
I feel Rist has anarchistic tendencies in her work, she is a feminist, but actively uses the idea of sexuality and gender stereotypes and turns them on their head. There is heavy symbolism with flowers and the idea on womanhood and the fact that she is using a flower as a weapon smashing things in an urban environment makes me think she is trying to show how woman are continually struggling with the duality of wanting to be seen as an equal in the work place, but yet still be able to express themselves sexually and not be seen as an object. She even furthers her stances on gender roles by showing a woman police officer that waves at the woman in the blue dress. Since becoming an officer s more commonly associated as a “man’s” job it strengthens her critique on the social standards.

One of the few comparisons I found between the two artists’ was that they needed larger gallery spaces to accurately display their works. As the space potentially gets smaller so to the message they are trying to convey. The major connection I saw between the two pieces were their perceptions between fiction versus reality. Krueger was using a fictional world to create a connection to the real world. Again, though simplistic at first his ideas would set the stage for people creating a whole new version of themselves in the virtual world as technology progressed. It is still a real person behind the pixels. Rist balances the fiction vs reality with her dreamlike film. Everything in her film was plausible, as in, it stayed within the ideas of the real world. Where it becomes fiction is the messing and dichotomy of the two films side by side making it seem more like a dream. Also the absurdity of the act of running around downtown smashing windows is not something that one would consider seeing on a day to day basis. Though using two different mediums both artists wanted their audience to leave from viewing their art able to discuss the implications of what the art could mean for the future.

Gallery Review FABRICation

            At the Shepard Gallery I got to go see a Gallery installation named FABRICation. A quick little side not about my own personal background, a majority of my family on my mother’s side are big time quilters. So much so that my mother has been published in magazines and produced quilting designs that go on to become used worldwide. That being said I was highly intrigued by this installation and what could be done in regards to fabric. I went in expecting to see high quality quilts and patterns that would amaze even the most skills quilter, but that wasn’t exactly the case. These artists used historical textiles that varied in the process of being sown together or creating multiple layers, what a quilter might call applique (ornamental needlework in which pieces of fabric are sewn or stuck onto a large piece of fabric to form pictures or patterns.)
            Eric Castellan and Susan Iverson’s works caught my eye most. Castellan, an independent artist that lives and works in Ashville, NC and Iverson, a retired professor from the Craft/Material Studies Department at Virginia Commonwealth University combine found materials and put them together to become wall drapes. Castellan’s piece titled Hang was done in 2011. Its materials include acrylic, latex, fabric and thread. The acrylic and latex are painted all over the fabric making the work extremely busy making your eyes bounce back and forth as you try to decipher what is going on. Finally is saw what appeared to be a dancer from what looked like Polynesia. Once I saw the dancer the rest of the image came into focus as I saw she was in a building with streamers running across the ceiling beams. After initial confusion this abstract work became very enjoyable to look at.

            Iverson’s work Beyond was a woven tapestry of wool and silk created in 2012. It had three tapestries hanging in a row they almost looked to be the exact same pattern, but each had minor differences making them an individual piece of art that collaborated to the overall whole piece. Compared to the more flamboyant pieces in the room these three tapestries stand out because of how calm they were. That is why is was able to notice the minor differences between the three because it allowed your eyes a chance to rest compared to everything else around them. Though one piece had your eye frantically trying to find out what it was looking at and the other allowed your eyes to slow down and admire the craftsmanship they both had their place in the gallery. It was easy to see that it took skill to be able to transforms textiles and make comparable to paintings that one would normally find in an art gallery.

Artist Lecture Jennifer Garza-Cuen

Jennifer Garza-Cuen
            I was able to attend Jennifer Garza-Cuen’s lecture.  She is a traveler who photographs all the locations she visits.  She goes on to describe what she does as she feels it is what is most important. +So far she has visited seven countries and four continents.  According to statistics the average American moves nine times, Garza-Cuen is above average in this regard.  She was born in Seattle, Washington and her love of travel first showed when she was gifted a globe as a child.  An important question that she asked during her lecture is what is home? What defines home? Is home naturally where we are from or simply where we feel at home?  I found myself trying to answer that properly. Is my home here in Reno or back with my parents in Las Vegas? I for the moment am unable to correctly say which one is home.
            She takes photographs everywhere she goes as a form of documentation and as a way to remember each location she visits and the history that it holds.  One of the first images that she showed us was titled Untitled-Winged Girl Walking Olympia.  She shows us a photo of a very young looking girl in a white tank top and blue jeans wearing a pair of wings and also barefoot.  The girl is walking down a road leading to nowhere since all she has on either side of here is trees and brush.  Garza-Cuen makes the girl look incredibly tiny compared to the surroundings. I feel this girl like Garza-Cuen, in the sense that doesn’t really know where she is going or where she will end up, but either way she’s happy doing what she does.  It becomes more of a narrative for the artist in this way and not just a simple image, which I found enjoyable.

             Her lecture continued as she showed us images of run-down old buildings and vacant police stations.  Yes one can argue that these rundown buildings can also build a narrative, but at this point in time they’re just empty buildings and nothing else.  That’s how they were presented to us and I found it a little jarring compared to what she previously showed us.  I understand that these images are documentations of her travels, but they had less story to tell for me.  I don’t want to criticize her ability to photograph because she’s a wonderful photographer and I personally could never end up with an image like hers, but I wouldn’t consider it art more like a documentation of architecture of a once thriving town. These images don’t evoke emotion, they don’t make me try and look past the simple subjects and can very easily be overlooked.  Overall though I did find her ideas of what defines a home interesting and her personification of what she considers a home in her travels interesting to say the least.

Presentation 3 Ryan Trecartin


                                                                        Sibling Topics

           Trecartin is an American Artist and Filmmaker, he graduated with a BFA at Rhode Island School of Design. Mainly known for his video and New Media Art, Trecartin also worked with his creative partner Lizzie Fitch, he collaborated to do some sculptures that would complement the video work. Trecartin’s videos became widely known for their “Over-the-Top” personification of reality TV. In his video Sibling Topics he addresses the idea of using a family as a business, similar to one of his other pieces I-Be-Area. These fast paced videos critique social media, corporate consumerism, reality TV, and pop psychology. Often times Trecartin will also set up room installations for viewing his videos. What is interesting is that he chooses to make stark contrasts to his oversaturated color and hyper reality by setting it up in a totally white and plain room. This further emphasizes the absurdity of his videos strengthening the message he is trying to convey.

Nam June Paik and Wolf Vostell

TV Garden
Electronic Dé-coll/age

I found Paik’s TV Garden intriguing because I say it as a future prediction of what the worlds was going to be like today. With every year comes the mentality that we want the next best thing, the top of the line as far as technology gets better and better. But we just throw away last year’s model. Creating huge stockpiles of old technology. I feel TV Garden is representative of that, it is reminiscent of a TV graveyard/ junkyard with years of overgrowth because it gets overlooked by the public and viewed as worthless.
            Vostell’s Electronic Decollage was chaotic. There was so much going on at once. Which I believe was the point he was trying to convey. Just as the TV industry started to create shows and programs they were distractions from what was really going on in the world. Just as these monstrosities of TV robot collages distract you from the screen that you are trying to view.

Four Arguments for the Elimination of Television (Questions)

1) What is the purpose of the televisions besides it being a distraction from our daily lives? Is there a power structure built with advertisement and also television as a whole? Who is reaping the benefits?

2) Televisions just begin to keep getting better in quality. Is there going to be a time where 

Televisions are so in depth that those static images become reality? And if those images on the 

screen get more color or frame rate improves how that effect the way we see the world as a whole will?

Presentation 1



Bas Jan Ader was one of the early pioneers of experimental filmmaking. He often used his on body and the prop in which he filmed. His films depicted himself testing out human limits. One such film was of himself climbing up a tree and hanging on a branch until his hands failed to hold on entirely and he dropped into a creek. Ader used gravity as his medium often letting his body be the form at which we was able to represent gravity best. He did several films of himself falling as well as filming the smashing of lightbulbs via a falling rock. His use of his body is oddly reminiscent of the likes of Jackass now a days and other viral reality TV that pushed one’s body to the limits of pain. He disappeared during his last art performance as her tried to sail by himself across the Atlantic Ocean.