MEDA302 Artist statement and Direction

This week I managed to identify where I’m going with this project. Looking and examining at twitch I’ve identified within Twitch there are a great deal of anomalies that occur, some of these ‘quirks’ that occur on webcam and off the webcam where the interaction between audience and performer becomes obscure from what you might see in reality.
While the actual finished aesthetic of my finished work hasn’t yet been realized I think what I need to do now is experiment a lot with different aesthetics. The actual format for the work however is likely a single screen work.
One element I am considering is the opportunity of using my recent rekindled interest in pixel art to put to use it in this work.

Whether or not I try to incorporate this into my work I haven’t yet decided but I will hopefully be able to experiement further with the medium to add more depth to my work aesthetically.

I have also written my artist statement:

Blake Foggo

Which Twitch, Is Which?

HD Digital Video

Which Twitch, Is Which? is an exploration of the anomalies within internet culture, specifically those emerging from popular live-streaming platform Twitch. The exploration uncovers and expresses absurdities and attempts to draw a deep contrast in how the users of Twitch do not detect these as absurdities but instead perceive them as cultural norms like thanking someone serving you or shaking hands after a sporting match. By drawing attention to these unique online behaviours Which Twitch, Is Which? attempts to unveil these webcam obscurities to the public space.

Blake Foggo, is a multimedia and mash-up artist with an interest in internet culture and archival footage. A common theme to his work is obscure cultural differences between reality and internet culture.

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MEDA302 Twitch, and Potential Conceptuals

For the past few weeks, there have been some difficulties regarding conceptually where I want to go with this work. At the very least I have identified my focus on the social and cultural dynamics surrounding the recent emergence of live streaming online in particular Twitch.

The platform of twitch is very interesting, with at times relatively mundane streamers filming themselves with webcams and a video game, for hours on end retaining large viewerships where the viewer is able to communicate with the streamer through a chat box. Since the introduction of twitch however, in recent years the use of ‘streamer emotes’ a system in which you are able to a pay a fee to unlock an emote themed around the streamer for use in the chat has in my eyes caused a mass cultural phenomenon in which generally teenagers and young adults are comfortably using the codes required to write these emotes into the chat not only in the twitch chat but outside of the platform as a means of communication. I think this is akin conceptually to words like ‘LOL’ (Laugh out loud) and ‘TBH’(To be honest) now no longer being restricted to use in text messages and online chatting, and is often used in day to day conversation as the word is culturally ingrained in a large majority of the population.

It is very possible from my perspective after observing this change over the course of my lifetime that this could very well occur with twitch emote codes like ‘Kappa’ (Which is an emote meaning to be sarcastic with whatever is paired with it) and other popular twitch emotes.

 

How does this affect my work?

 

Well for starters this conceptually is very interesting and could potentially be an avenue of twitch to explore conceptually. How can I explore this idea of emote culture within twitch and bring it into a gallery space. How would this work as an installation?

I think in previous posts, in readings I looked into expanded cinema installations and how the viewer is not simply a viewer but is able to experience the work differently depending on where they are in the actual space. This kind of method of looking at art, is one that I’m interested in as I feel the more participatory art is (without being gimmicky) the more engaging it is. I’m certainly an advocate for art for the masses in which everyone is able to understand and engage with a work rather than art academic professionals.

 

I’m yet to realise how exactly I could bring this idea of emotes from a conceptual idea to a physical work but noting some of the unique processes and cultural icons unique to twitch is something that I feel is important to consider in my process of creating a work around twitch live streaming.

 

There are however, two other ideas I’ve had in regards to an actual physical work.
The first is the idea of a piece of performative art in which I do an analogue live stream. The idea is to do the processes within a live stream such as having a subscriptions, having donations and having a chat box, but actually doing the live stream in person. This is something that is very obscure from the idea of twitch in which you are connected to the streamer only by chat. By attempting a performance artwork where you live stream at a location it would interesting to see if the ‘live streamer’ would be able to hold the audiences interest in similar ways to a regular live stream, or if the lack of abstraction via online anonymity makes people less receptacle.

Streamers interviewed in the On the Media twitch podcast for example observed how they felt the twitch chat would be a lot kinder when they’re not anonymous. They express how in fan meets with the streamer that the people the streamer met in real life were not as much of a ‘savage or a troll’ as they are when participating essentially anonymously from their twitch user name.

Another conceptual idea is the idea of a work which looks into what goes on behind the streamers view. When you watch a live stream you only see what the streamer wants you to see, so there is an interesting dynamic if I was to record myself live streaming from a different camera view than the standard webcam in front of my face. Would a live stream of a camera facing down at a keyboard recording keystrokes and input commands for the stream be interesting and reveal new ideas about what live streaming is from the ‘streamers’ perspective

In any case, at this point all of these ideas are simply ‘ideas’ and if I am to truly begin prototyping something for this work, I need to start creating something physical to get feedback from peers on whether the work is capable of speaking to them. One interesting piece of feedback I’ve already noticed is surprisingly how few people within class had participated in watching twitch live streams, despite it no longer being much of a niche genre. This observation is important to me as it means I need to be careful in having my work be approachable even to someone who isn’t very familiar with twitch.

MEDA302 Draft proposal, rough plan and schedule

For my draft Meda302 proposal I intended to create a work based around my geographic location in Nowra, as well as some of the issues I feel I deal with working as a regional artist. In my previous week, I researched some of these issues which seemed to be a lack of collaboraters as advocated by regional photographer Adam Marlow and as written from the Australian council for the Arts 53% of directors/actors feel that their location negatively affects their work as an artist. This was something that I felt related to me personally, so I intended to create a work about the town of Nowra as well as some of the many issues of public transport that occur in Nowra. While I hadn’t yet decided whether I wanted to focus on the issues of being a regional artist, or the issues of being a regional town I hadn’t decided but worked with this experimental work.

The work is a video recording of some beautiful and popular locations in Nowra, and contrasts them with the darker unseen side of Nowra that many do not see. It is also deliberately graded quite colourfully to draw a deeper contrast with the horror/thriller film-like soundtrack. I aimed to draw attention to how Nowra has a negative perception from outsiders, and insiders alike, and create an interesting contrast between the natural river views and invasion of trolleys in tourist spots such as the navy helicopter which is well known in Nowra. (This could be considered comparable to something like a smaller big banana from Coffs Harbour).

Overall though, when presenting my proposal and describing my practice to my peers, I felt that perhaps this type of work wasn’t something I wanted to create. Given that what I would consider my best works have been focused on politics, mockumentary, satire and internet culture I think it’d be more in my interest to go back to the drawing board and reconsider what exactly I want to create.
I think this week I will think more about internet culture and hopefully read up on some peer-reviewed writing on the subject of YouTube and Twitch. Hopefully from that, I will gain some insight on where I want to go with this work.

MEDA302 Research, and draft proposal

At this stage I haven’t ironed out exactly the road I want to go for the medium of my work, but I have identified some general themes that I am interested in pursuing.

The first things are the conceptual part of my work:
I’ve recently identified personally that I feel very isolated from the art industry of not only Sydney but even Wollongong as well. As an artist and among my peers, I am regularly unable to attend collaborations and ‘shoots’ with my peers which causes me to miss a lot of opportunity to work together and discuss ideas. While I’m not entirely isolated from Wollongong an hour of driving or 1.5 hour train trip to get to a location to work with alongside my peers is a lot of time to sacrifice particularly when you consider the fact that this time is doubled to make the return trip. (2 hours driving, 3 hours train).
This is then doubled once more if I’m instead travelling to Sydney from my home in Nowra.
With this personal issue identified it got me thinking, how I can portray this feeling of isolation from my peers and the city.

A few things that stand out to me from this are:
The poor and slow public transport between Nowra and Kiama. (This is a growing concern from residents in Nowra with political appeals occurring yearly about this issue)

As well as this, I’ve identified an issue of general dissatisfaction with the amount of time lost while travelling via car, to Wollongong. This daily commute in which I find myself growingly bored, and dissatisfied because if I was located closer to Wollongong I could be spending the time doing practical things instead of simply travelling. This is another aspect I’m interested in potentially exploring conceptually.

After doing some research around the topic of regional artists, I wondered perhaps how other regional artists struggle with the issue of being geographically located regionally.

In an abc interview with regional art photographer Adam Marlow, Marlow explains how it’s difficult for him to find subjects to participate in. This is relatable to me in how I find it difficult to find people to collaborate with locally.

As well as this the interviewer points out how regional artists are often pigeonholed as a country cliché, which isn’t necessarily something I’ve experienced. I can relate to this point in a way that due to my strong Australian country accent and location in Nowra in my experience of meeting people from Sydney and even at times Wollongong there is a particular assumption about my level of education simply based on these factors of sounding like and being from a regional town.

As well as this, I read from the Australia council for the Arts that regionally based artists often have negative perceptions about the impact of their location on their practice and earn almost a third less than their city counterparts for their creative work.

These points are interesting as they add some validation to my interest in the challenges of working as a regional artist.

 

For my proposal at this point, I’m thinking of filming and taking photos around my town and then trying to experiment with the content in different ways to present the town under different mediums.

for example, film, photography, sound, videogame, sculpture, ect.

 

https://open.abc.net.au/explore/91392 Interview with Regional Art Photographer – Adam Marlow

http://www.australiacouncil.gov.au/research/regional-arts-summary/ – Regional Australia Arts Research Summary

MEDA302 Projected image in Contemporary Art & Installations

In reflection Michael Rush’s chapter on video installation art I found that I didn’t exactly engage with the content of the writing, as it was very dated and simply a cluster of examples of video installations. This isn’t neccesarily bad, but as fodder to enhance and reconsider how I might use the gallery space and spaces in the future in creating installation works I found that I didn’t exactly engage very well.

Alternatively however, I found the round table discussion ‘The projected image in Contemporary Art’ to be very interesting. What stuck out to me is when foster describes the change and definitive difference that is possible when working with an installation work instead of a film. A film installed on a single screen with no acknowledgement of the space seems to be ignorant of the viewer/audience’s perspective and seems to play irrelevant of whether the audience is there or not.

This is an idea that I haven’t considered before, while I’ve seen many works created by my peers that are interactive in some way or another, I haven’t myself yet considered the importance of space to the point of whether my work acknowledges or adjusts itself depending on the whims and placement of the audience within the space. While generally I’ve worked with single screen works I think this leaves me with a great opportunity to work towards a major work that has the audience’s perspective and experience considered in how the work is perceived. The point McCall makes that a work that has a motionless audience viewing a single projected screen isn’t a installation is something that I find myself completely in agreement with. This highlights to me the importance of experimenting and considering a lot of different possibilities in how an installation is and can be experienced by an audience.

Turvey, M., Foster, H., Iles, C., Baker, G., Buckingham, M., & McCall, A. (2003). Round Table: The Projected Image in Contemporary Art. October, 104, 71-96. Retrieved from http://www.jstor.org/stable/3397582

MEDA302 Creativity, and YouTopia

During my creative process of Meda301 I encountered serious challenges in regards to achieving an intriguing concept. While from an aesthetical framework I felt that my final work YouTopia was creative and entertaining it lacked in a lot of ways a conceptual basis to carry the work to greater heights. The critique I received from peers was that the work could be elevated by approaching the work with a different medium to conceptually bring the work away from the same participatory stylings of YouTube itself. YouTopia was a criticism of the YouTube ecosystem and creator lifestyle in which creators seemed to face issues due to changes to the YouTube monetization creator scheme.

While my work was a intended critique of the medium’s participatory style in which creators are inauthentic in how they reuse other’s works and remix them, my work did not differ from this ecosystem and instead simply joined the participatory remix queue while admittedly on larger scale than most YouTube creators.

While Aaron’s suggestion of solving this issue seemed to be to approach the whole work from a different medium, I felt that the real thing that my work lacked would be a notable conceptual basis. While I was interesting in critiquing the parts of YouTube I didn’t like, as I myself am greatly involved in YouTube as both a consumer and creator within the platform. It makes sense to create art that is a critical review of YouTuber in an abstracted format. By doing so my critique is encapsulated within the minds of my audience in a deeper level rather than just writing a critical opinion piece on YouTube.

From looking critically in post at my work I feel I could benefit from thinking more conceptually within my work. Instead of thinking strongly conceptually YouTopia is more of a work crafted by my interest in the remix slapstick/compilation medium of video. While this a format that I’m firmly familiar with due to previous experiments and my own consumption of this format mostly from internet media.

 

I find myself interesting to potentially expand into new mediums and expand my horizons beyond my current understanding of media arts. While I find comfort in confining myself to remix and video it might be in my interest to attempt to think beyond those constrictions and consider the potential of not being restricted to those mediums.

 

I discuss now this week set reading, Creativity and Cultural Production, by Phillip Mcintyre.

This text writes about the many ways of defining creativity as well the different frameworks of discussing and analysing the concept of creativity. This is something that I felt was rather frustrating as I feel when discussing a concept with as many different identities as creativity it’s important to define the topic you are discussing. While I felt this was lacking within the writing of this text, it is interesting to read of the different approaches of looking at creativity. These include the neurological, as well as philosophical. The text also discusses different definitions of how creativity occurs with interesting contrasting frameworks that different academics have discussed.

Overall while I was frustrated by the overtly complicated writing style Mcintyre uses the subject matter is interesting enough to stand on its own.