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The Body / Identity

This week we visited 5 galleries in Chelsea to see shows that focused on themes of The Body and Identity. I found much of the artwork to be thought provoking and deeply moving. I'm looking forward to our discussion about this in class tomorrow.

The first show was God Made My Face: A Collective Portrait of James Baldwin at the David Zwirner gallery. James Baldwin (1924-1987) was an African American author and artist who analyzed society's power structures and its racial and class distinctions through his work. The show contains Baldwin's writing and drawings and illuminates his character, sexuality, and political views.

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Final Reflection

Project Summary

Light Pollution is a serious environmental problem that alters our ecology and our experience of the night sky. Inhabitants of major cities often cannot see more than a few stars. More than just a cosmetic issue, light pollution affects human circadian rhythms and has known health effects. Light pollution has also been shown to interfere with bird migration by diverting them from their normal flight path.

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The History and Vision of the 70's Video Art Movement

During the late 60’s and early 70’s Sony began selling a portable video camera that could be carried and operated by a single person. This new technology offered novel opportunities for ordinary people to record and distribute their own videos. Video camera proponents saw them as a revolutionary tool that could and should be used for the betterment of humankind. This dramatic vision formed on top of the countercultural revolution occurring at the time that saw itself as working to raise human consciousness by fighting against long-held cultural norms of behavior and advocating for the civil rights and antiwar movements. Although the drive to explore video camera technology was to a large extent fueled by the broader countercultural movement, the use and exploration of video cameras also contributed back to the counterculture by being a real tool for change. In time portable video cameras did in fact have a profound influence on the evolution of our culture and that influence only grew as the technology become more ubiquitous and the infrastructure to support its distribution developed into what we know today as the Internet. To a large extent the vision of the early video camera advocates has been realized today but not all of the technology’s effects on our society have been positive. Therefore, there is more work to be done if video recording by ordinary people is to continue to be a positive contribution to the further development of our culture.

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Final Presentation

Yesterday I presented my final project for this class. My presentation consisted of walking through the website I made documenting my research and project outputs: In addition to the interactive light pollution map I went birding and orienteering in an effort to learn more about birds and how they function. "Embodied Knowledge," as Marina said. Both good experiences and for me, new ways of pursuing knowledge about a subject. I see the value of this approach and I'll be looking for similar activities for future projects. My website concludes with a design of a new system that will assist migrating birds and help them avoid the dangers of light polluted areas.

I need to make a few improvements to that website and I'll take care of that in the next few days. Also, a final blog post reflecting on my process, next steps, and a summary of my critique.

Video Art Presentation

For our Redefinition of Art class our main project is a research paper on a subject that we are to also present to the class. For my topic I studied Video Art from the 70's to understand the history of the movement and vision of the medium's proponents. There was a lot for me to learn here and I am glad I picked this topic. I learned a lot about our cultural history and the art world while linking everything together to provide a deeper understanding of both.

My presentation The History and Vision of the 70’s Video Art Movement is available online.

Type on the Move

Our penultimate assignment for this class involves moving or interactive type while also thinking about our final project.

My idea for the final project involves falling snowflakes morphing into letters and forming words. This is an idea that has been percolating in my mind for a few weeks now but faced a critical problem: I didn't know how to properly morph one character into another. I was very happy to see my friend and fellow student Oren Shoham accomplish this last week for his assignment using rune.js and flubber.js.

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