Wednesday, May 4, 2016

"After Life?" : Video Game Made Using Unity

With this game, I wanted to explore the futility of believing in an afterlife. This is a simple 3D maze game the the player navigates through to find their way to the "light," using the trope of the "light" being what one sees when they are dying. However, rather than taking the the player to another stage, the "light" simply warps them back to the beginning of the same maze. After a few times of this happening, the player will realize that in this game there is no afterlife, and that they are stuck in an endless, hopeless limbo forever. Where they are is all that there is.

Since the game file is simply too larger to upload here, "After Life?" can be experienced at the Holland Project from now until May 13th.

Tuesday, May 3, 2016

Mario Party IRL: Shy Guy Surprise

For this project, our class had to bring a video game into the real world, complete with gameplay and cosplay aspects. we chose to do Mario Party, and each different group had to recreate a mini game and then add a social or political statement to it. The mini game that my group made was called "Shy Guy Surprise," and dealt with the issue of school shootings. This game could be played with three to six players. In this game, a Shy Guy sat in a chair and shot at the characters who were trying to run past him, with a nerf gun. However, Bowser was the one controlling the direction of of the Shy Guy's approach. All of the other players would try to run past the Shy Guy in order to win the game, and could hide behind various obstacles to avoid being shot. If shot, the runners had to stay where they were shot and hold up a "Boo."

With this game we wanted to raise awareness of the majority of the causes of school shootings, which is bullying. Bowser represented the bully because he was behind the Shy Guy, controlling his actions. 

Sunday, April 24, 2016

Exhibition #1: Daniel Douke, "Extraordinary"

“Extraordinary,” by Daniel Douke, is an exhibition that I attended at the Nevada Museum of Art. The media used for this installment included canvas stretched over wooded supports, acrylic pigments, and in some cases, bondo. The works in this collection feature life sized recreations of ordinary objects—objects that would not traditionally be constructed of canvas and acrylic paint. These works embody the artist’s critique of the consumerism of modern society, driven by media culture. What I found most unique about this collection of works, was not the hyper realism, but that Douke did not recreate pristine replicas of these objects. He created them with dents, smudges, and scratch that might be found in normal, every day wear and tear on this item in the real world.
One of the works in this collection that really caught my attention was called “Dow.” In this piece, Douke replicated a sheet of Dow brand foam insulation, such as might be found at any home improvement store. The realism of this recreation was precise enough that upon walking into the gallery, my first thought was that there was a real sheet of foam insulation leaning against the wall and that there was maintenance going on in that wing of the gallery. Upon closer inspection, I realized that this was a part of the collection. This piece drew me in because there were smudges, and imperfections painted into the design, such that it looked like it could have been scuffs of dirt from laying on the ground. There was even a small furrow in toward the bottom of the piece, like might happen from a bored child running a fingernail along the surface while in the store—If this were an actual piece of foam of course.
Another piece that caught my eye was called “Relay Mailbox with Declarations.” In this piece, the artist had actually recreated a postal service sized mailbox, and painted it to look as if some vagrants had covered it in bumper stickers. This piece was constructed using stretched canvas on a wood frame, acrylic paint, and  bondo to harden the exterior. This was another piece that looked real enough that it could have passed easily as something brought in from the street.
One selection that failed to resonate with me, however, was called “Core.”  This work was comprised of thirty-nine stretched canvases, which comprised seven units. These units simply looked like wooden boxes with swatches of color in them. The colors were in the middle of each box, so I feel they lacked compositional interest  This work had the hyperrealism of the others in this exhibit, however it seemed a bit more obvious than everything else that It was contrived. I think another reason that I was unable to connect with the piece was that it was not so much a collection of easily recognizable objects, and it lacked some other tactile appeal of the previously mentioned pieces.
One thing that I found very pleasing about this exhibit was the tactile nature of almost everything. The hyper realistic style made me want to touch everything just to ensure it wasn't actually the real object that the work was based off of. 

Artist Lecture #2 : Jaime Lynne Shafer

On Tuesday, April 12, 2016 I attended a lecture given by the artist Jaime Lynne Shafer. This lecture was held in the Black Rock Press at 5:30pm. Shafer works in a variety of different media within her general feels of book arts. A few of these media include photopolymer plates, and linoleum block printing. Shafer has a BFA in ceramics, and an MA in book arts. Along with her work at the Black Rock Press she has also taught in a variety of public schools.

At the lecture, Shafer presented a number of her own personal projects. One of these was a collaboration entitled “What We’re Made of.” This consisted of a collection of 4 printed poems with symbolic imagery, displayed in portfolio cases. One of her more involved projects however, was entitled  “17927.” This was presented as an interpretation of the story of an actual historic event that occurred in Centralia, PA. The title comes from the zip code for this town that was revoked after the fires started in the coal mines in this are. In this project, Shafer tells the story of a twelve year old boy who fell into a sink hole during the time surrounding these events. She used the form of a tunnel book, with each layer of the book telling more of the story, and visually, going deeper into the burning pit. The imagery from each layer of the book is taken from a coal-esque theme, and was printed using reduction printing with linoleum blocks. The book itself is contained in a three panel wrapper that is printed from wood type.  Inside the wrapper are prints of two different maps of the town—one of before, and one of after the evacuation.

Another work that was discussed was entitled “Old Geiger Grade.” This was another collaboration project, which Shafer used as an opportunity to reach out more on campus. The work was inspired by the history of the Comstock, and Geiger Grade Road, which historically was the only road in and out of Virginia City. One of the unique aspects of this particular work is that it can be read in any order. The pages are cut out and sculpted in various places to exemplify the topographical maps of the area. Share chose a color palette of shades of tan to represent the desert, and chose to use a typeface that was heavily used around the 1860s. The entire book was printed using hand set metal type.

Though the previous examples are intriguing, what I thought was her most poignant work was a book entitled “Code Red.” This work dealt with the touchy topic of shootings in schools and the easy accessibility of firearms to children in the home. This book was comprised of a single sheet folded in an accordion manner, with a hole cut into the top which allows the viewer to peer down into it. One side of the page is a brick wall pattern with the names of various child shooting victims laser printed. Also, printed in wood type were the documented locations where a child had found a fire arm in the home. There was also silhouettes of children emblazoned across the entire work. The media that she used for this work included metal type, wood type, and photopolymer plate. With this project, she stated that she particularly wanted to emphasize the tragedy that is the careless storage of guns in this day and age. She also brought up the interesting point of how difficult it was to obtain with names of the victims without first searching for the shooter. With this project, Shafer was attempting to move past the glorification of the shooter, and instead make it a monument to the victims.

What I noticed in this lecture, was that Shafer had a very clear concept of what she wanted to express with each of her works, and these concepts, I felt, were very clearly conveyed through her discussion of each work. What I found interesting about Shafer’s work, as well, was that it was not overtly political. There were some controversial themes presented in a few of her pieces, however there seemed to be a more personal connection held between her and these themes than with some artists. Her work was very interesting, and I had not really observed and book art before, however, it made me wonder if it is an antiquated art form. So much can be done and printed digitally that it seems to invalidate the hours of work put into printing the individual prints with type, linoleum block, etc. On the other hand, the manual printing did give each work an extra dimension that could not be obtained if the work were completed digitally.

Wednesday, March 23, 2016

Artist Lecture #1

For my first artist lecture, I went to see Matt Kenyon speak. He held his lecture on February 18th, 2016, at 5:30pm in CFA room 208. Matt Kenyon is a digital media artist, who uses a variety of media in each of his installments, though overall he stated that his medium of choice was technology. 
All of the works that he showed us examples of seemed to be trying to make a social or political statement. The first piece that he showed us was called “Spore,” and personally I thoughts that concept was intriguing. For “Spore,” Kenyon build a self contained ecosystem for a rubber plant from Home Depot. This ecosystem was connected to feed from the stock market, and would then only water the plant when the Home Depot stock rose. This installation was attempting to reveal if Home Depot’s one year guarantee policy was actually detrimental to their company value. What Kenyon did not account for at the time, however, was that he was doing this art piece in the middle of the housing bubble, and rubber trees can actually die from too over watering. I think the concept behind this piece was interesting but what was more interesting to me was that his instillation actually revealed something that was more and different that the original plan.
Another instillation the Matt Kenyon discussed with us was called “Giant Pool of Money.” For this installation he used the basis of a champagne tower being the ultimate symbol of extravagance. He then used this as a metaphor for the hierarchy of today’s society and trickle-down economics. This was an interactive installation. The first component was a fifteen foot tall tower of champagne glasses. There was also a mechanism into which the viewers could feed quarters. Inside the machine, the quarters were replaced with gallium coins that were then transported to the top and dropped into the tower. since gallium is a liquid at room temperature, as soon as the coins fell, they were turned into liquid which coated the inside of the champagne glasses and reflected back at the viewers. Because of the design of a champagne tower, it takes a great deal of overflow from the top glasses for whatever substance is being used to reach the lower glasses. I thought this pattern was a very striking visual of how trickle-down economics rarely, if ever work, and only make the wealthy weather, whereas the middle and lower classes barely reap any benefit. I though his choice of metal was interesting as well, because it created a reflective surface the glasses which reflected back into the viewers’ faces, almost as if it was silently blaming them.
The last installation that I wanted to discuss was one the Kenyon titled “The Notepad.” With this work, Kenyon was touching on the American injustice during the US invasion of Iraq. He stated that the United States keeps records of any military members who were injured or died during that invasion, but they kept no record of any Iraqi civilian casualties. With this project, Kenyon obtained records of the Iraqi casualties for the US invasion and then had them micro printed as the lines on legal pads. He is now encouraging people to take a sheet and wright to a government official on that paper. He has also given entire pads of this paper to government officials in the hopes that notes will be written on them and then these notes will be stored away in the national records. It is his intent to infiltrate the government record system with these sheets of paper so the we will fin fact have a record of all the Iraqi casualties the our militaries caused during the invasion. Matt Kenyon presented many different works during his lecture, but this one certainly seemed the most thought out, and the one that he was most passionate about. I felt that this was a very interesting installation, but it seemed outside of the norms of what might traditionally would be considered art. To me, this seemed more of an activist movement than simply an art piece.

Kenyon described his studio process as using art as a way to probe and outline what large companies and organizations are doing. He also talked about using illusions to reflect the digital age. With every installation the Kenyon talked about, he was very clear in his motives and purposes. He seemed very assured of his work and was able to clearly communicate exactly what he wanted to reveal. I think his use of media is an appropriate choice for his target audiences as well as the statement he is trying to make, however I’m not sure that it is exactly to my taste simply because everything seemed to be trying to make a social or political statement. 

Sunday, February 14, 2016

Project 1: Board Games With a Twist

The board game that my partner and I chose to remake was Candy Land, however we remade it with a political twist. We titled it  "Land of Opportunity," and made it a commentary on the corruption that is present today within prominent public figures. we wanted to be able to shock the players of the game, so on the cards we put statements the are somewhat extreme, but still in the vein of what is happening in society today. We chose to make our player pieces children in order to represent the impressionability of today's society.