Monday, June 23, 2008

Day Nine - Hypermedia from Paris!

As some of you know, i'm in Paris!

This of course means that i won't be posting every day, but when i have time and am inspired (as is the case today) i'll do my best to post something of interest. Once we get to Greece and our only planned adventures are lying on beaches all day, i'm sure to be antsy enough to be posting a bit more often. That is, if we can get internet. Anyhoo.

We visited Paris's modern art museum today, the amazing Centre Pompidu (really really check this one out!). One of the rooms i came across really made me stop and think. Here's what happened.

A small single room, low lit and filled with black frames caught my eye, so i wandered over. Reading from the plaque that the artist was Christian Boltanski (bio and work), a name that i hadn't heard before, i read that he was a multimedia artist, here working with polaroid photos, paper, and some other materials, working on "his obesssion" in his work - attempting the impossible task of reconstructing one's life as an artistic endeavor. In the room were about fifteen large frames, each containing photos, letter, messages, maps, and various other artifacts of the artist's life. Of course my heart started beating a little faster, and i thought about all the ways in which this artist and myself were similar. Here we both were, both driven towards attempting the impossible of reconstruction - study guides of massive ammounts of information - Artifacts. Bingo. You may or may not know this, but one of my big draws to hypermedia is my imediate artistic focus on the aesthetics, stories, purpouses, and structures of artifacts, and sometimes antiques. Anyways, i read the description, and get excited to look, get excited beyond belief that i've found some like mind. I walk in, look at about two of the frame-fulls of information, get bored, and walk on to another room.

Now, i don't feel any less connected with this artist. I don't dislike the work by any means - i thought it was beautiful. But the thing that speaks to me the most about it is the idea of it. Knowing that he took time to compose it, knowing that it means something, knowing that it could be sleuthed through piece by piece to be made sense of.

Which begs the question:

Is hypermedia (both as i'm envisioning it related to my work, and as an "invention" for the use of the general public) important as a final product, or is the real value in the process that the artist goes through inventing it? Could it really be that helpful for someone who happens upon it as i did Boltanski's exhibit, or is it simply a pathos/ritual for the artist to engage themselves in in order to further their work or appease some personal demon/paranoia?

I clearly don't have the anwsers to these questions.

As you may/may not know, i've been fighting for this hypermedia thing ever since the idea started to formalize, and it still seems vastly important outside of myself, if it catches on and becomes economically possible. So. I don't think i'm letting go of the idea any time soon. But. I have said all along that the most valuable part of the process thus far that i've engaged in making the first prototype were the ways in which it pushed and informed me as a singular artist and human being. So what now?

I'll close for today with a realization i'm coming to while typing (and then possible add more tomorrow):

This question is the same one that i'm trying to tackle right now for the making of dances themselves. Is it important that the audience be engaged by the final product? Or is it the process of making that dance that is the important thing - simply a catharsis of some pathos?

My guess is that those who say that it's the process that's important for the hypermedia (and advise giving up the audience aspect) are the ones who feel most strongly that the audience must be paid attention to in performance. Vice versa as well? I'm not sure. Would LOVE to get some responses back on this one so we can discuss!

Maybe doing both with every piece is my attempt to ballence the two extremes. At the least, it's causing me to ask myself these questions, and you, my audience in this case, to interact with them.

Au Revoir!


Octopato said...

Myself being a dancer, and a weird (proto)type of artist, I think that there's this magical thing about a performance/work: when you create, there's something that separates from it, like it is not yours anymore. Now there's two (or many) perceptions of our creations (sort of "it's alive!" Frankenstein thing) that are, for a moment, in connection with this very entity. A pathos and more, because this connection is more important that the work itself (or should be), and for me, the deeper an impression is made in the audience, the happier I am. This is how there's a real connection between me an the others, with the work/performance as a two way bridge, a full circle that begins with impression and blooms with expression and comes back again. If love exists for me, this is the way I get it.

It's not like the answer, or an answer, because i'm just as or more confused than you.

BTW... have a nice trip and enjoy it!

Best of luck

Jeremy said...

Why do you think you were bored by his art piece?

Sarah A.O. Rosner/The AOMC said...

Jeremy -
i don't think i was nesisarily bored by the piece (even if that's how i phrased it before) as much as i didn't really need to look at it to take what i felt was important to me from the display. What was important to me (roughly: 1. that the artist was engaging in a process of making artifacts of his life, 2. that there was an incredible amount of information given to the veiwer, 3. the veiwer could access it on their own terms, and 4. if desired, it is probable that with great time and care, someone could "decipher" it and present some sort of idea of his life) was all attainable within a minute of glancing around the room. Things that would have required a further investigation (deciphering who this artist WAS, finding patterns and connections, reveling a narrative or "characters") did not interest me as much. Perhaps becuase it was all in french and i don't speak more than a few words and certianly can't read it, perhaps not.

So it wasn't that it BORED me - i found it very exciting. Just not in a way that made me care at all about deciphering it.

Sarah A.O. Rosner/The AOMC said...

I think what you're saying is really interesting, but i'm not sure i agree. I do agree that the second the work is performed (or maybe even along the way to being made) it ceases to be yours and starts existing collectively - i love this moment, but also have felt almost like a mother giving something up for adoption - it's exciting, yes, and you've seen it coming, but it's emotional nonetheless. But. Aside from that - you say:
"this connection is more important that the work itself (or should be), and for me, the deeper an impression is made in the audience, the happier I am."
I guess what i'm asking is "really?"

At this point in my making, i'm not sure if it IS more important than the work itself, and i'm not sure that i'm willing to put all of my happiness with the audience when the making process itself satisfies me so much. I'm not saying that i think you're wrong, but that i'm not sure i agree with you. Right now, that is.

Maybe i'm just a control freak wanting to hold on to my work long after it's "mine". But i've been trying to really put that impulse under glass and i think it has more to do with being unsure if the aspect of making work that is the "most important" for you is also the most important (or valid at all) for me.

Also, if we suppose that this connection is the most important thing, then are there steps we can take, new ways we can make, new technologies that we can use to further that connection?

Jeremy said...

What you said is extremely strange to me. Do you want people to hear about hypermedia and like the idea, but then not actually go through it? I feel like that is not the intention. I know it is a jump to compare the two (you did it first not me), but in a sense hypermedia is just blabbing about yourself. Do you not agree with that?