Speak Your Mind

Every artist needs to hear feedback from people about her work to see different perspectives on the work. I encourage you to leave comments, ideas and questions on the blog.

Thursday, November 5, 2009

Museum of Hyperformalism at Pirats Art Network

The Museum of Hyperformalism, hosted by PiRats Arts Management is proud to present
Josina Burgess, Werner Kurosawa and Juria Yoshikawa

Opening reception:
1PM SLT . 22h00 Fr, 8PM Utc
Friday, November 6, 2009


Curator's Statement:

Combining these particular artists together is to form a "chord", a resonant combination of the projects of each of these individual artists to form an impression of three unique branches of Hyperformalist expression in the MMO of SL.

Each of these installations represents a singular view of formalist abstraction in the virtual hypermedium. The collection of works share both site specificity and dialogic characteristics as expressed in the unique conditions of the virtual space. In the material space, contemporary site specificity has morphed from a critique of the segregated gallery and museum space to emphasis on a conceptual location or vector. Virtual site specificity has unique characteristics in its relationship to the traditional understanding of time and space. The virtual condition compresses time so that all locations are one click away and therefore it takes almost no time to go from virtual location to location. Time as a factor in transit from experience to experience has been folded into space and rendered moot.

The works in this exhibition are dialogic in that they encourage a dialog with the visitor, but an abstract dialog unlike human language, foregrounding the disembodied viewers' relationship to the virtual condition. This dialog is brought about by the literal involvement of the visitor who is required to be an active participant in the work to experience it. The participant is necessary to complete the works and all the works in this exhibition are deeply centered on the involvement of the visitor. And while the works can be viewed passively from a single point perspective as in cinema, this is only a fraction of their intended potential, which is defined by the involvement of the viewer.

The resulting dialog is of a distinctly non-anthropocentric quality. The virtual artifacts in this exhibition speak to the alien conditions outside of the physical gravity world and offer another set of experiences that enter the mind of the viewer from a non-verbal and being level entry point. While this work is all in relationship to the viewer, it is not about the viewer, but about a sense of wonder possible only in this continuum.

The Artists:

Josina Burgess is Dutch born jazz vocalist, fashion designer, painter and virtual theatrical director. Her work in this exhibition makes me think of how the microscopic is often similar to the macroscopic. The volumes in her exhibition are deeply textural abstract assemblies that are constantly in motion seemingly transferring energies from globular cluster to globular cluster. These could be new galaxies forming or molecules in the process of transmutation. Strangely enough, since Josina is a musician, her offering in this show is silent, but each assembly sings a unique visual and spacial music of its own. Each grouping establishing a new visual syntax distinct from the others, each soothing, sublime and ineffable.

Werner Kurosawa is Belgian born architect and fine artist known for work with technology inside and outside of the virtual world. Werner's assemblies are angular and crystalline, chaotically animated, monochromatic platonic solids. There are two main works in this exhibition, the first of which is a swarm of chrome solids that is controlled through a series of clickable objects on the observation deck of the exhibition. These user interface items invite the visitor to choose the frequency and dynamism of the swarming objects which wiggle and interweave in wondrous and seemingly random algorithmic patterns and while doing so produce sounds that seem to be the audio equivalent of the objects in space. Other works invite the viewer to sit on them and drag the viewers camera through a dizzying series of gyrations through the deliberately darkened exhibition area.

Juria Yoshikawa is an American born musician, fine artist and commercial art director, living in Japan. Juria's work in this exhibition is about the use of light and a riot of highly saturated colors and detailed graphic textures. Like Josina, Juria's work consists of coherent groupings of animated textured abstractions that are little universes unto themselves. Instead of darkening the whole exhibit space like Werner, Juria creates darkened spherical, tubular enclosures that barely contain the light shows within but present the visitor with an opportunity to walk through the work in a pre-determined way mediated by geometry. The work here also has an audio dimension, triggered by the presence of the avatar small bits of music and utterances bring this work closest to the borderline of anthropocentrism. The effect of these kinds of sound samples triggered by the visitor walking through, creates a unique irreproducible accompaniment for each visit.

Monday, October 5, 2009

Frolicking in Chakryn Forest

Video of Cornucopia Blender

Artist Comment:
I was invited to come exhibit several of my light and sound installations by Bettina Tizzy in the phenomenol, mysterious Chakryn Forest. Wandering around the dark corners of the island, I discovered pools, lagoons, mountains and glades to rezz my new and old artworks in settings like no other. This has been especially exciting as well as challenging as I am not used to installing in settings that already have such phenomological qualities as Chakryn Forest. For me creating art pieces that invite users to enter in and experience a "here and now" state is key and this forest already functions on this level. I feel this context sharpens and enhances the work. I hope visitors enjoy it as much as I did installing in the forest.


"Liquid Light"


On a grandiose scale, "Liquid Light" hovers over a lagoon on the far side of Chakryn Forest. Towers of rippling white light solidify and then melt away. Burning through and fusing with the ripples are yellow forms reminscent of the heat of the sun. An avatar flies into this passage of liquid light and she herself blends with the layers of thawing and reconstituting elements. Is this simulacra? If it is, it's linked to something more primal, sense based, an early memory of warm light on water.

"Drips & Drops"

A whirling durvish of megaprim swirly forms and bubbles mixing in an ambient abstract space. Created to inspire fun and joy, come float in this sky painting and be a part of the composition. Positioned on a remote site of the Chakryn Forest, hovering a little rock island. The sounds were inspired by my 9 year old son's cello playing.

"Cornucopia Blender"
As the name suggests, it's as if the artist's palette of light and color have been thrown into a giant blender turning this dark part of the forest into a cornucopia of organic sensation. Clearly not made to blend into the forest, this light installation overwhelms the senses, dilating one's pupils and assaulting your ears.

"manifestations of E"
an unhaiku list...
vice versa

The Enchantress
She waits for you. A shining light of geometry. A vessel containing her song to you. She guards the pool not far from the naked sleeper. Rest inside her belly of the Enchantress.

Jelly Dahlia
One of my older sculptures brought back to life for Chakra. This is not just another biological simulacra but an alien invention with undulating petals. The scale of this piece invites a visit from the top where you should pay attention to the flower blooming in the dark. A soft piece with the sounds of atmospheric chimes.

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

transformation of E

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Liquid Light (Revival)

This was an installation made by myself on 9/2007 at the Princeton University in collaboration with composer and musician AldoManutio Abruzzo. More about this on my previous blog here.

Saturday, August 22, 2009

Broken Rainbow Cloudy Night

I originally wrote this post for the Netfilmmakers.dk blog in which this machinima is being shown. The actual machinima is online here.

Getting Started

Broken Rainbow Cloudy Night took place in the night sky of Second Life 300 meters above the Brooklyn Is Watching sim in mid 2008. As the name suggests, it was a cloudy night and I purposely set up the installation at the level in the sky where the clouds form the thickest. I had become curious about what kind of space and visual experience could be possible using lines at 90 degrees alternating in color and translucency. As with many of my virtual works, I wanted an experience where patterns both visual and audio revealed themselves as the avatar viewer moved (in this case flew) through the work. Broken Rainbow was created incrementally, as it developed I layered new 3D shapes (prims), scripts that determined motion and random color, the outer contained pattern, animation and interactive soundscape. While I have never been much of a painter, I believe this piece developed much like an abstract painting in multiple x,y,z planes.

Use of Color and Light
I was trying to push the intensity of color and glowing light to almost uncomfortable levels using primary colors on a black night sky. And by using a native Second Life glow effect compounded by transparency, I wanted to at times overwhelm the viewer and at others fade out to negative space. One surprise was the way the layers of zig-zag patterns acidly burned through each, largely depending on how the viewer positioned herself. I was interested in how color and light could alternate between solid and transparent, flattening the viewing plane and then dropping away to reveal space beyond.

The Machinima
Unlike most of my works in Second Life which I have copy of backed up in my avatar's inventory, due to an unfortunate event this video is all that remains of the piece. So in a way, the work only exists today in a machinima state. With the video, I intended to place the viewer in the position of my avatar to replicate as much as possible the experience of being present within the light installation. This was done by moving through the piece and capturing the immersive quality of the experience, viewing the forms and light affects in a variety of positions, and triggering the audio as a soundscape effected by the avatar's motion. It was important for this video to show the avatar's body in relation to the art work to understand the ephemeral yet architectural quality of the piece. In other machinima I have made I chose not to show the avatar in reference to the piece to take a more filmic approach. However, this video was intended to show the interaction of the avatar in time and space rather be a disembodied camera. I find this more compelling as it focuses us on the idea of an alternate space (what DC Spensley has dubbed hyperformalism) that borrows little from real life yet is still in relation to a simulated physical being and our interactions in the environment. In this way, it stretches the idea of the abstract. More important to me, the immersiveness makes us aware of ourselves in a situation, having an experience and bringing our own interpretations to the piece.

On Painting, Film and Space
As both the creator and spectator of Broken Rainbow, I often felt that I was creating a new kind of painting that had the potential of taking on any number of compositions. Then it occurred to me that the kinetic quality bordered on filmmaking, creating frame upon frame of continuous, non-narrative experience. Yet precursor to both the 2D painterly quality and the machinima was the installation and this notion that this was a virtual space that one could explore and be present inside. I believe one's perspective of the piece depends a great deal on each viewer's level of interaction and one's preconceptions of the piece. Because of these contradictions, showing the work as machinima raises questions about what we're looking at and how we think about art.

Friday, August 21, 2009

As Real As Un-Real Can Be

I originally wrote this for the Netfilmmakers blog about the Real-Un-Real exhibit I am a part of this coming weekend.

I should start off by saying that I don't really consider myself a filmmaker or a machinima maker. While I use video extensively in my work to capture a "point of view" on my installations and performance in Second Life (sl), I don't set out to make a film and certainly not to tell a story. I try to use my sl art as a medium with its own language, patterns, immersiveness and state of mind. I do this with as little reference from real life (rl) as possible (of course I break my rules from time to time). By using visuals, space, motion, sound and avatar interaction, I try to create a state of mind or situation that I wouldn't experience anywhere else, let alone a rl gallery or rl art genre. sl provides this unique opportunity that it would be a waste not to experiment with as much as can be done. Now that I have explained the virtual-native quality of my work, I should explain that it has become increasingly visual and experiential, something I would have been ashamed of in the early part of my rl art career as a conceptual artist when I cared more about the idea and the verbal, frowning on more visual artists as formalists (and recently "hyperformalists" in sl.) But the medium of a virtual world can play funny tricks on an artist and I've come to wholly embrace sensory art as a worthy experiment. Now let me try to answer Stine's questions in her previous post.

Why use the filmic language in Second Life?
As I started to say, I don't see my own machinima as machinima at all. But to say my videos are mere documentations of virtual work would be wrong too. In a strange way, they are akin to the original machinima made in early video games like Quake that documented the experiences of a player moving through levels of a game. But in place of a shoot 'em up fantasy, my videos show the avatar (an extension of the person himself) moving through an art piece either as an interaction or as a performance to enhance the environment. Simple photographic images cannot capture such a complete experience. At the same time, I was once accused by a fairly hardcore rl and sl performance artist (of the Burning Man variety) that a video of one of my performances Seeing Dots, Being Dots was overly dramatized and enhanced by the cinematography and interestingly it was created by another video artist Evo Szuyuan who I felt had taken it to another level completely and a very good collaboration. So I believe that filmic language in sl for me can be documentation, it can be an extension of sl and it can be it's very own thing that uses sl as a canvas.

Does Second Life provide less restrictions compared to the making of machinima in other 3D online-enviroments?
Probably the main way that sl reduces restrictions is the fact that the sl artist can create and extend the environment itself to not resemble a 3D rendered reality of real life at all nor the game itself. Possibly even more important is that sl has the critical mass of all the artist community working together, collaborating and even competing with one another. This can be clearly seen at the Brooklyn is Watching sim, a cross reality sl and rl gallery that has attracted some interesting collaborations in the past few years. If anything the openendedness or the lack of restrictions is what sl has going for it the most. Depending on what culture you're from, a lack of structure can actually present a challenge.

Is the making of “Machinima” another way of playing with identities and virtual relations?
Myself being a female Asian avatar named Juria Yoshikawa in sl certainly means to me that I get to play with identity quite a lot. What started out as an experiment of creating a virtual female artist to interact with the virtual art world and its community turned into a subtle lesson in gender issues and how that plays into making the work and communicating about the work. While most people know that there's a guy behind Juria, there's a general tendency to ignore the rl artist identity to focus on what the avatar is trying to do. So my relations with other avatars in sl is influenced by the persona of Juria. As Juria is actually an important part of the artwork itself, either in performance or installation creation as a performative action, how she looks, dresses and acts is very important to me and is reflected throughout my work.

Does the virtual body language give way to new interpretations of physical acting or is this a kind of digital puppetry?
As I started to talk about above, creating art in sl for me goes beyond roleplaying. An alter ego is formed that cannot be described as digital puppetry. The closest thing to describe it is you may have a slightly different identity with your parents than you do with your work mates. You are both of those people and there's nothing artificial about that. But in the virtual world and especially when you are engaged in art making amplifies identity. As those who use social media regular have some idea, your actions and tone of your communications allow you the freedom to explore a certain otherness. The virtual body takes that a step further and makes the virtual identity as real as real can be. In many ways, realer than many of my rl work relationships.

Broken Rainbow Cloudy NightAre soundtracks more important in machinimas compared to the use of these in “real” films?
In my work, music and sound is a key component. This is true both at the installation/sculpture stage and the video stage. In many machinima I've seen that follow a more narrative approach, the soundtrack is used almost the exact same way as it is in "real" films. I'd be lying if I said this was interesting to me. In the alternative narrative possibilities that this exhibit attempts to show, I believe sound should be seen as more a sensory component that adds another layer to the visual and interactive elements. In my video to be shown in this exhibition Broken Rainbow Cloudy Night, the sounds are actually random sound clips placed inside prims throughout the installation that gets triggered through the use of a sensor script when the avatar flies through them. This is obviously not a soundtrack then but an interactive experience that depends on the movement of the viewer. What you can hear in the video is that interaction and the layers of musical soundscape that comes from immersing oneself in the installation.

What kind of new narrative possibilities does this genre open up to?
I believe that rl art is often very institutionalized through function of the gallery and museum. Genres are recognized to try and explain the chaos of expression and artists may find themselves taking on a certain genre to more easily be understood. Of course this is a generalization but I think that virtual art so far is more about experimentation and less about focusing on what genre a piece may fall under. And for this reason the work I like evades words and follows little what is being done in the rl art world. New narrative possibilities? Probably the participatory nature of the narrative is the most important thing. You and your avatar become part of the "scene" in which the "story" is happening. From the perspective of machinima, this can mean seeing the avatar in the film as an extension of a rl person and putting yourself in her place. A fairly complex cross reality experience can occur from the viewer's perspective and the artist effectively using this "you're looking at me looking at me" can lead to interesting new possibilities of self-expression.

To get a sense of my aesthetic, I'd like to share with you this e-book my friends at the Diabolus Art collective put together about my work over the passed few years. Also, if you have a chance to access Second Life, go check out a collection of my work currently up at the Kennesaw University sim at this slurl: slurl.com/secondlife/VWDEV%20ITEC%20ISLE/29/129/35/