Unleashing Screensaver: Apr 16th

Posted on: April 16th, 2018 by Mary Meixner No Comments

Interactive Systems lectured by Domenico Quaranta.
As a teacher of “Interactive Systems” at the Accademia di Belle Arti in Carrara, Italy – an institution focused on breeding “aesthetic workers” and visual artists – I have no chance but dealing with aesthetic education in my classes. Presenting samples from the history and recent developments of media art, contemporary art, fiction and documentary cinema, and occasionally music and literature, my effort is to stimulate a better awareness of contemporary aesthetics, and a debate about what it means to be an artist today, surrounded by an army of unprofessional image producers.

 

Imaginaction
Curated by Domenico Quaranta
With works by Lorenzo Fiduccia, Giacomo Ghiri, Kevin Piccioli, Matias E. Reyes

Today, imagination is cheap and images are depreciated currency. In an age of mass image production and consumption, information overload, short attention spans, infinite scroll, how do you get, and keep, attention? How do you, the trained visual artist, distinguish yourself from the average youtuber or instagrammer? From the mass of unprofessional image makers thriving for likes and reactions? And by the way, what is professionalism? Does this distinction between professionals and amateurs still make any sense?

If it does, it relies upon aesthetic education. As professionals and amateurs are more and more sharing the same tools, and the same technical skills, the key difference becomes their “image awareness”: their ability to distinguish between signal and noise, to find and create powerful images, to set images in action and to feed our imagination.

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The works in this selection all address these topics in different ways. The Act of Association, by Matias E. Reyes, is an automatized random slideshow between a selection of digital collages, made by combining images randomly downloaded from an image-hosting site, accompanied by a digital re-elaboration of Felix Mendelssohn’s “Songs without Words”. The work is part of a larger ongoing project, based on the daily exercise of reviewing hundreds of found images and creating links and associations between them. In Unrecognizable Icon, Kevin Piccioli addresses our dependance upon standards of beauty, and the middlemen’s belief that contemporary art is difficult because it doesn’t rely upon such standards: does a beauty icon like Apollo, remixed and recombined with itself, keep being an icon? Bob and Alice have removed your image by Lorenzo Fiduccia is a collection of music tracks made by converting images reported and censored on social media into a SSTV signal; the images become the covers of the tracks, which may be eventually converted back into the original visual, thus playfully acting as an encrypted way to preserve and deliver censored content. Finally, in Samedifferent Giacomo Ghiri addresses the persistence of original and powerful images, and the ability of masterpieces to shape the way we look at the world: after Claude Monet painted it, people started photographing Rouen’s cathedral from the very same point of view, in a tireless re-enactment of his “way of seeing”. The work is a collection of found pictures of the church, cut in a square format and originally redistributed through Instagram.

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Part of Unleashing Screensaver & Unleashing exhibitions
Apr 1 – May 31, 2018
concept & coordination: (c) merry
supported by PAF & Teachers College, Columbia University

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