art

Collecting as art / 4 comments

Bernd & Hilla Becher, Gravel Plants

Bernd & Hilla Becher, Gravel Plants

Lately I have become interested in artists for whom collecting is central to their process. Dealing with taxonomies and systems of classification, their work is, at least in part, a critique of the activities of museums and collecting institutions or individuals. Fundamentally, these artists are exploring notions of identity through quantitative assessment. Here, identity is expressed through an ontology—a system of objects, representing a particular and unique perspective. A collection seeks to establish a framework by which to formalize, structure and express its content. Through their work, these artists critique that framework at different levels—relating to individual identity, the role of the institution, or society at large.

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The aesthetic plane in space

Felice Varini (1996)

Felice Varini (1996)

My interest in the geometric plane within a three-dimensional space probably stems from it existing as a concept without true precedent in reality—yet, unlike the pure, unsituated two-dimensional surface, it simulates an aspect of reality, namely a spatial arrangement conveying, or representing, an experience. As such, it exists at the threshold of the real, yet is at the same time inherently conceptual.

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Artistic data-based visualization

Lisa Jevbratt, Interface: Every (IP)

Lisa Jevbratt, Interface: Every (IP)

In his article “Visualization Criticism—The Missing Link between Information Visualization and Art”, Robert Kosara analyzes the gamut of data-based visualization between the two poles of pragmatic and artistic visualization. On pragmatic visualization techniques, he writes: “Pragmatic visualization techniques are also often general, and can be applied to many different data sets. This is considered a strength, because the user can gain experience with the method and apply that to different data, rather than having to start from scratch again.” The opposite is true for artistic visualization, which communicates a specific concern, using data as a proof that the concern is real. As opposed to pragmatic visualization, which aims for generalization, artistic visualization aims for specificity in the relationship between representation and subject matter.

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Visualization as metaphor / 1 comment

In their paper Artistic Data Visualization: Beyond Visual Analytics, Fernanda B. Viégas and Martin Wattenberg claim that artistic data visualizations “…must be based on actual data, rather than the metaphors or surface appearance of visualization.” What they seem to be saying (though I will admit I may be reading too much into this statement) is that metaphor cannot apply to any ‘artistic’ visualization directly derived from data. While the article is well written and researched, I will try to explain why I fundamentally disagree with this premise (Martin informs me that I misinterpreted their statement, please see comments).

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Art and economy / 1 comment

Danica Phelps, June, 2005 (2005)

Danica Phelps, June, 2005 (2005)

Art is an economy—it is an exchange of resources, a cycle of production and consumption. At a societal level, we process the environment around us, both conceptually and literally, shaping raw materials to create a personal response—finally inserting it back into the world. The desire to make a mark on our environment is the foundation of culture, which can become art once it is assigned value. The more money is exchanged, the higher the perceived value of the work. Economy is a theme informing the work of many artists, three of which I’ve chosen to feature here for the connections I see in their work.

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