Week 6 / by MK luff

Willa Köerner and The Creative Independent

Although she is not a practicing artist, I found Willa’s talk both interesting and helpful. She has found ways to carve out her own professional space that not only still allows her to be creative, but allows her to provide support for other artists. Seeing her process for problem solving and creating a place of her own in the professional world is important as I figure out what paths my own creative practice could take.

She also brought up some interesting questions about art in the digital age, how art exists on digital platforms, and what does it mean to share peoples art in a digital space. Museums are limited in the artwork they can curate and show. During her time at SFMoMA, Willa began reblogging and sharing sharing artists whose work she found interesting. This was immediately controversial and the museum wanted to limit it, but Willa argued the importance of sharing an abundance of creative work considering the limitations the museum had for actually showing physical work within the museum. Her SFMoMA blog required little from the museum, but provided a huge platform and credibility to up and coming artists. It easy to see how she transitioned from this to creative platforms like the Creative Independent.

Throughout her talk Willa kept referencing how at different points in her life when she found herself unhappy with a current position she would sit down and ask herself a set of questions to get to the core of what she wanted and how she could get there. A reminder that we need to be constantly circling back to reexamine our core if we want to be continually creating. This life practice even made it into the logo for The Creative Independent - a spiral.

Atsuko Tanaka

Electric Dress

Tanaka’s Electric Dress was an audacious display of the convergence of technology and the female body. While women were still expected to maintain traditional roles and stay out of the spotlight, Tanaka made herself a spotlight with this neon garment. It could be argued that the true value and meaning of this piece was in the performative aspect of its display. Which raises the question of how impactful this piece still is as just a sculpture and not a performance. Especially with digital art I think we have to really consider the lifespan of a piece. How will it change as it degrades, as it moves from interactive or performative to stagnant. Is there still meaning in the physical form of it? or a new meaning based on how it’s displayed? or is it’s meaning that it is a representation of a time past? As a stagnant sculpture Tanaka’s Electric Dress is decontextualized and no longer immediately provides the same impact or statement on women and advancements in technology, now it is more representative of this important historical moment in art.

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Chris Burden

Photography is incredible in the way it can create different truths. When I first started taking photography classes it seemed like an almost objective medium for documentation. You were simply documenting the moment as it happened in front of you. But this image is a perfect example of how photography can manipulate a moment. This photo is stunning, with the lights illuminating Burden’s serene and meditative expression; however, nothing about this moment was peaceful. If anything it was tense and violent. Art has an incredible amount of power in how it can present and manipulate context.

Stelarc and Antunez Roca

Both performers depict the relationship between the body and technology as well as depersonalization in the age of technology. As technology advances it is becoming even more a part of us, not just something we occasionally use. We spend our days constantly monitored by our devices and connected to others with devices. We have a growing responsibility to understand how our actions involving technology can effect and manipulate others. Both Epizoo and Ping Body, are performance pieces where the audience was able to manipulate the artists bodies in a depersonalized way. Through technology they are able to dictate very real physical reactions. Our online technological self is now deeply connected to our physical self. But, this deep connection is extremely impersonal.

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Jim Campbell

Jim Campbell’s piece is simple yet effective. A reminder that while most tasks can be simplified and done by technology, sometimes our use of technology completely undermines the reason for the task in the first place. If our only goal when approaching a task is to complete it, and not to truly experience it and understand it, we have to question what is the real value of completing the task.