Sunday, December 11, 2005

Final video II

I don’t think I did a good job explaining what my intentions were for the final project. I just wan to say that I came across a fascinating essay while doing my research, which totally changed my perspective on urban identity. The essay is kind of complex; it is basically a philosophical point of view on why people living in an urban environment can’t identify with everything that encompasses a city. Therefore, “urban identity” is not a good set of words to use. For the video I was tried to convey that idea, so I put together an overwhelming amount of images to represent the diversity of a big city, such as San Francisco. The essay is called, “The Urban Identity: The City as Place to Dwell” in case anyone is interested in reading it.

Friday, November 18, 2005

final video


+ Nonlinear

+ No music

+ Short 5-10 sec clips

+ Unusual or interesting camera angles

+ Original footage

+ 1 – 4 min. long

+ Theme: The Urban setting

I really liked Chris’ last video of the window that was shot in two different days. I thought it was very artistic and simple, yet very interesting. For the final project I want to adopt a similar style. Basically, I want a clean, simple, artistic video of a city or the things that happen in it (any big city, most likely San Francisco).
I not completely sure what it is that I’m looking for in a city. I just know that that’s the place to look in. Perhaps it's the chaos that is attracting me, or maybe all the crazy things that never happen in San Jose. I’ve always wanted to make art out of the things that occur between the city and the people, and I think this is a perfect opportunity to do so. My methodology was chosen to support the idea of an artist video. I want to stick with rules that I am already familiar with and understand, so I can make a successful art piece. The concept is vague right now; I will have to develop a more concrete one, but that will be later. Right now I have to go to the Depeche Mode concert.

Wikipedia definitions.

Urban sociology is the sociological study of the various statistics among the population in cities. Chiefly the study of urban areas where industrial, commercial and residental zones converge. This practice sheds light on the influence of the city scape environment in burghal areas of poverty in response to several different languages, a low quality of life, several different ethnic groups and a low standard of police guardianship that all amount to social disorganization.
There are many areas of study in urban sociology. Among them population, geopolitics, economics etc.
The Chicago School is a major influence in the study of urban sociology. Despite having studied cities in the early 20th century, the Chicago School is still recognized as important. Many of their findings have been refined or rejected, but the lasting impact of the Chicago School can still be found in today's teachings.

Urbanized area (or urban area) is a term used to define an area where there is an increased density of human-created structures in comparison to the areas surrounding it. This term is at one end of the spectrum of suburban and rural areas. An urban area is more frequently called a city or town.
Urban areas are created and further developed by the process of urbanization. Measuring the extent of an urbanized area helps in analyzing population density and urban sprawl, and in determining urban and rural populations.
Unlike an urbanized area, a metropolitan area includes not only the urbanized area, but also satellite cities plus intervening rural land that is socio-economically connected to the urban core city, typically by employment (commuting). This makes metropolitan areas a less relevant statistic for determining per capita land usage and densities.

Urbanization is the expansion of a city or metropolitan area, namely the proportion of total population or area in urban localities or areas (cities and towns), or the increase of this proportion over time. It can thus represent a level of urban population relative to total population of the area, or the rate at which the urban proportion is increasing. Both can be expressed in percentage terms, the rate of change expressed as a percentage per year, decade or period between censuses.
For instance, the United States or United Kingdom have a far higher urbanization level than China, India or Nigeria, but a far slower annual urbanization rate, since much less of the population is living in a rural area while in the process of moving to the city.

The city of Los Angeles is a great example of urbanization.
The rate of urbanization over time is distinct from the rate of urban growth, which is the rate at which the urban population or area increases in a given period relative to its own size at the start of that period. The urbanization rate represents the increase in the proportion of the urban population over the period.
In terms of a geographical place, urbanization means increased spatial scale and/or density of settlement and/or business and other activities in the area over time. The process could occur either as natural expansion of the existing population (usually not a major factor since urban reproduction tends to be lower than rural), the transformation of peripheral population from rural to urban, incoming migration, or a combination of these.
In either case, urbanization has profound effects on the ecology of a region and on its economy. Urban sociology also observes that people's psychology and lifestyles change in an urban environment.
The increase in spatial scale is often called "urban sprawl". It is frequently used as a derogatory term by opponents of large-scale urban peripheral expansion especially for low-density urban development on or beyond the city fringe. Sprawl is considered unsightly and undesirable by those critics, who point also to diseconomies in travel time and service provision and the danger of social polarisation through suburbanites' remoteness from inner-city problems.

Saturday, November 12, 2005

Second Project Thoughts

I was a little disappointed with the feedback that I got for the second project. That is because I thought I had good piece dealing with an interesting and controversial topic, sexual offender priests. But it turned out to be too much for a one-minute video; I guess I was chewing more than I could eat. The video was a critique to the Catholic Church and the way child molestation cases are sometimes handled. The sound byte of the men sort of laughing was supposed to simulate the indifference that the Church shows when handling these types of issues. But I also agree with many of the things that were said. For example, Julia made a really good observation by pointing out that one of the candles used for the video was square, which is not typical for a religious setting. Also, the unsteady camera technique that I used was supposed to show the instability of church’s image itself, but it turned out to be misleading. After hearing some of the things that were said during the critique I was a bit confused because according to the critique, the piece did not convey the message that I indented, which was once again to criticized the Catholic Church. I really gave some thought to whether or not art has to be understood in a literal way. After a coupe of days thinking, I came to the conclusion that not always does art has to convey a message. Art could be really abstract and say nothing and still be a successful. The different elements that make up an art piece, such as color, camera angles, sound, etc, should all be taken in consideration, when measuring the successes rate of an art piece. Most importantly the art has to take the viewer somewhere and provoke an emotion. I guess it also has to do with the fact that all art can’t be appealing to one person nor one person can like all art. Anyhow, I am not trying to argue that my video was good; in fact I think I could be improved in many ways. Yet the most important thing here is that thanks to the feedback that I got I was able to think about the way in which art should be viewed, and experienced.

Friday, October 21, 2005

Brides of Frankenstein

The visit on Wednesday to SJ Museum of Art was interesting, at least more than the last time that I was there. I think this time was more exciting because I was with people that I knew and it was inevitable hearing comments from classmates and teachers, which ended up affecting the way I saw and assimilated the exhibition compared to the last visit. I may or may not agree with some of the comments that I heard; however, they forced me to think deeper about my own ideas and whatever I grasped and understood from the art. The first time I visited the exhibit I was with my girlfriend, so there wasn’t much discussion there. But this time I was given an explanation for the odd title of the exhibition, which made a lot more sense. My understanding is that the name “Brides of Frankenstein” was given to the exhibition because all the artist in the exhibition are contemporary female artists who are working with emerging technologies and concepts, such as: artificial intelligence, genetically engineered and synthetic life. Their projects are a critique of the use of technology to create lifelike creatures or systems. Also, I think that the exhibit is a celebration of Mary Shelley for creating such a wonderful story. Out of all the so-called brides my favorite is Camille Utterback whose work I’ve been following for sometime now. Untitled 5 was another physical-digital interface that creates a connection between the real and a bunch of code in a computer. The idea of creating organic looking imagery with someone’s movement is mind-blowing. I really enjoyed that particular piece.

Tuesday, September 27, 2005

Installation Art

Ann Hamilton is one of the first artist who ever worked with Installation art. She was chosen to install a work in the nation's neo-classical pavilion in Venice.
Myein is a great example of installation art. The work is an entire room where the walls are covered in Braille translations of poems about American violence and the walls near the ceiling let loose pink dust. Adding to the effect of the room is a structure that is strategically placed directly outside the room’s only window. The Braille covered walls create a serene and somewhat sober tone. I think it would be very strange to be in the actual room and along with the visual effect there would also be the light whish of dust falling down the walls and landing on the floors

I guess that the major difference between installation art and traditional artist exhibitions is the way in which the viewer gets involved with the art. Installation art brings the viewer inside the art piece rather than just allowing the viewer to stand inactively to observe the art. installations also engages multiple senses such as sight, smell and hearing. Some installations travel to different locations and exist over longer periods of time. An Installation can have a wide range of materials. It can include anything from living trees to naked people to light and sound equipment to computer/sensor technologies.

Thursday, September 15, 2005


Semiotics is the study of signs and signifying practices, is largely the creation of the Swiss linguist Ferdinand de Saussure and the American pragmatist Charles Sanders Peirce. Independently, they worked to better understand how certain structures were able to produce meaning rather than work on the traditional matter of meaning itself.

Saussure's work on semiotics is better known, and he argued that there was no inherent or necessary relationship between that which carries the meaning (the signifier, usually a word or symbol) and the actual meaning which is carried (the signified). For example, the word "car" is not actually a car - the meaning of car could be carried by any random string of letters. It just so happens that, in English, that meaning is carried by the letter c-a-r.

Peirce's ideas about semiotics distinguished between three types of signs: icon, index and symbol. Whether a sign belongs in one category or another is dependent upon the nature of its relationship between the sign itself (which he called the referent) and the actual mening. An icon is a meaning which is based upon similarity or appearance (for example, similarity in shape).

According to Pierce, icons are "the only means of directly communicating an idea." An index is a meaning based upon some cause and effect relationship (for example, a weathervane carries certain meaning because of the wind): "Because the indexical sign is understood to be connected to the real object, it is capable of making that object conceptually present."

Finally, a symbol carries meaning is a purely arbitrary way - this is the way natural language carries meaning. Saussure's system is appropriate to language and texts, for the most part, but Pierce's has a wider application, including not just language but also the visual arts.

An important concept in semiotics is that signs and meaning are unlimited. Called "unlimited semiosis," this principle makes it clear that one sign or set of signs can take the place of some other sign or set of signs in a theoretically infinite process. If this were not possible, then artists would eventually run out of signs with which to carry meaning, and that would be the end of art itself.

Thursday, September 01, 2005

Interesting short film

Santiago-city urban caos is a multimedia video proyect on line from Chile. 20 short experimental videos that use the city , the people, and the conecction between this elements like primal matery to conform a net-art product, that talk about make an estetic view about the concept "city", mixing documental and video experimental language.