Moderated by Dena Eber and Sue Gollifer
Date/Time: December 3, 2021 / 4PM EST ; 9PM GMT
** Session Video **
Humans have been making pictures since the earliest cave drawings dating to at least 45,000 years ago, and the content and methods of making them have progressed since. With each new technological advance (this includes analog), image makers add another tool to their kits that open up new ways to practice, to express ideas and to tell stories that range from literal to abstract. Digital technologies are the latest and perhaps one of the biggest additions to the workflow, and with it, we have expanded our continuum of image making possibilities. Indeed, digital methods have changed imagery more than any other tool in history.
In 2003, Christiane Paul wrote that, “The use of digital technologies in almost every arena of daily life has vastly increased during the past decade, leading to speculations that all forms of artistic media will eventually be absorbed into the digital medium, either through digitization or through the use of computers in a specific aspect of processing or production.” Not only has this come true, I would argue that digital processes have changed the still image in essential ways that force artists and viewers to question truth and reality.
This 10th SPARKS session welcomes the presentation of artworks and projects that represent the continuum of image making and that reveal the essential ways that digital tools have moved it forward. Thus, we are looking for artists, theorists, researchers and practitioners of any image making practice to present and talk about works that range from fully digital, to a hybrid of digital and traditional practice that illustrate the growth of image making since the onset of widely available digital tools. The work or aesthetics may be about the medium or they might simply tell a story or illustrate concepts.
We are interested in a range of approaches including those from the past and those from the bleeding edge, using out of the box or homespun tools. Still images of any kind are welcome as our ultimate goal is to not only establish how digital methods are essential to image making, but also to highlight and perhaps remind us that the single image is still powerful and still important now, more than ever.
Dena Elisabeth Eber
Dena Elisabeth Eber is a Professor of Digital Arts at Bowling Green State University where she has taught since 1997. She earned her Ph.D. in Art from the University of Georgia, in 1997, her MFA from University of Georgia in 1994, her MS in Computer Science from Colorado State University in 1990 and her BS in Mathematics from Colorado State University in 1987.
Dr. Eber’s artistic endeavors include VE art works, photography, and interactive installations. Her latest work deals with the inspiration of written text that seeds work about contemporary issues. She has shown her work at numerous international and national exhibitions including Gallery D-ART for IV2020 International Symposium Digital Art, SIGGRAPH, Society for Photographic Educators and the International Digital Media and Arts Association.
Sue Gollifer is a Principal Lecturer and the Course Leader for an MA in Digital Media Arts, at the University of Brighton, UK and the Executive Director of ISEA International HQ. She is the Chair of the ACM SIGGRAPH ‘Lifetime Achievement of Digital Arts’ and a member of the ‘ACM SIGGRAPH (DACC’) Digital Arts Community Committee and a member of the ‘ACM SIGGRAPH ‘External Relations Committee’.
A pioneer of early computer art, she has continuously explored the relationship between technology and the arts and has written extensively on this subject. She is also curator and a jury member of a number of International Digital Exhibitions, for SIGGRAPH, SIGGRAPH Asia and for the ISEA Symposiums. Her personal art works are held in both national and international public and private collections.
Brian Franklin, Ladan Bahmani
When Words Fall Apart: Dissolution/Regeneration/Repetition
In our talk, we will share our installation work pairing popular pandemic phrases with vinyl-cut illuminations from Persian and British manuscripts to explore how repetition can participate in both the generation and the destruction of meaning. Since the start of the Covid-19 pandemic, there has been a shift in the vocabulary that we absorb, process, and speak back into the world. The term “social distancing” and the parting words “stay safe,” among countless other idioms, quickly became familiar additions to our communal vocabulary conveying our lived experience. With today’s increasing array of methods to easily broadcast the written and spoken word, streams of thoughts and notifications are endlessly transmitted and reposted. In a world with so many ways of producing and distributing information, we are constantly faced with the decision of what to remember, what to forget, and what to feed back into our cultural dialogue.
Mark J. Stock
Work Per Pixe
For almost 20 years my artwork has pushed the boundaries of how much work can be done per pixel, and I think that the forms that digital artwork has taken over previous decades (and I propose the forms dominant in the future) reflect a constant increase in this metric.
In this short talk I will show examples of the three forms of “work” that are performed per pixel: direct human guidance, data manipulation and remixing, and computational generation, and how increases in computer capabilities have driven changes in the related digital art forms. This talk will touch on animation, drawing, digital photography, AI art, generative art, shaders and texture generation, the demoscene, and the technology of the\A0 underlying hardware.
Tom R. Chambers
Analog, Appropriation, Digital – Repurposing of the Analog via the Pixel
When I got my first computer in 1997 … even though I had worked with computers and database software as a curator at the National Gallery of Zimbabwe, 1993 through 1995 … my “analog self” as a photographer and visual artist went “out the window” as I appropriated some of my photo documentary work and photographic art as digital renditions. I found myself initiating and directing one of the first digital art galleries … Focus Gallery … on the Internet in 1997. As one who had always appreciated Minimalist artworks, the pixel “reared its head” in 2000 as I manipulated photographs in Photoshop. Through magnification and isolation of groups of pixels, I managed to create bodies of work that rivaled analog works as part of the art movements: Suprematism, Minimalism, Color Field, Geometric. I called (still do) my digital artworks, “Pixelscapes”. I continue to work with the pixel.
Tom R. Chambers – Documentary Photography, Visual Arts, Curatorial, Teaching (tomrchambers.com)
Syncre: Creating Meaning Through the Layering of Symbols
Syncretism is defined as “the combination of different forms of belief or practice”. The amalgamation of different or seemingly different beliefs, philosophies, or ideas creates new mythos to explore. In my work, I have combined ideas of Neopaganism with my experiences as an African American female–creating my own unique mythos that is explored through surrealistic composites and the use of symbols. I utilize three versions of masking in my work; Photoshop masks (to create composites), characterization (acting as characters) and physical masks (a life cast of my face). Although I have used myself as the model in all of these works, I consider these depictions of myself to be characters. The characters are the Maiden (s), the Matriarch (s), and the Crone (s) (sometimes called The Godmother). These characters stem from my interest in Neopaganism. Through these characters, I create narratives of innocence lost and the forging of identity. 1. Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, s.v. “syncretism,” accessed November 11, 2021, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/syncretism.
Knowledge Visualization for Artistic Creation
Basing art on Nature-based processes and products bring different levels of thinking and solutions. As opposed to the messiness of quite enjoyable painting, printmaking, or sculpting processed, coding, and software-based outcomes bring perfection and different levels of transformations of what we can sense and experience to move into yet another level of aesthetic-based, open-message type of visual communication.
Cynthia Beth Rubin
The Fluidity of Imaging Today: Digital to Analog to Digital
Technical developments in digital imaging have been so steadily incremental that the significance of the changes is often overlooked, but the impact on my work has been significant. From the days of hand-drawing into the computer and photographic output, to digital photography and printing, each new change has enabled my own imagery to evolve. The ubiquitous use of digital imaging in both cultural heritage and scientific research is equally significant. Today I work fluidly with putting images in and out of the computer, drawing by hand digitally and by analog, and outputting in a variety ways. I present a quick overview of where I came from, and a glimpse into how the ease of a camera in my pocket combined with inexpensive (non-archival) poster printing has brought me into a new relationship with the cultural and scientific sources that inform my work.
A discussion of how new technologies relate to Expressionist artistic traditions, specifically an introduction to Techspressionism, defined as “An artistic approach in which technology is utilized as a means to express emotional experience.”
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