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SEOKIN JANG | PARSONS MFADT12 | NMA What Does Participation Mean for New Media Art?
What Does “Participation” Mean for New Media Art? Participation of viewers is a part of processing as a final level for complete artworks. In the past, old media art in which viewers just watch artworks transform to new media art in which viewers do not only watch, but also participate to progress the artworks in the present. The way of communication has become more verity, deeper, and wider between both an artist and a viewer. The viewers could not only communicate through their eyes such as “ w atching ” artworks at the galleries, but also participate processing of artworks directly as a part of artists. These phenomenon is appeared not only in an art area, but also any kind of a media area. http://610g.blogspot.com/2007_04_01_archive.html
According to Convergence Culture , author, named Henry Jenkins , said that participation of the audiences became one of the most important parts of processing of media. They do not only just watch TV shows and dramas, use electronic devices, or play the games, but also make a forum community on online or offline, and then share and suggest their ideas with producers or company. Consequentially, it is win-win for both producers and audiences because producers could make better contents such as TV shows, any kind of products, and video games what audiences and customers want, and also audiences and customers could enjoy with it which is reflected with their opinions what they want and prefer. Likewise, the participation of viewers could make better artworks. It is not the exactly same with the relationship between producers and customers as I mentioned above, but definitely the participation of viewers has the merit for both an artist and a viewer more than just watching artworks. Participation of viewers is good for an artist because they could express more verity styles and get more interesting results that an artist does not expect. Moreover, viewers could enjoy and communicate with not only artists but also peer viewers who do not know each other.
I have been searching his new media artworks, and I found the interesting thing which is “ Active Participation ” from his works. First his series artwork is titled “ Relational Architecture ” . It is the large-scale installation at the public space. This project is to explore the point of intersection between new technology, urban space, and active participation of viewers. What is “Relational Architecture ” ? Rafael defines that it is the technical actualization of public space and buildings which provide the opportunity to have unconventional memories. Relational Architecture is as a temporary space, which includes all of difference such as political, aesthetic, and historical background through the different buildings. And it is made up of active participation of viewers, and provides new experiences depended on personal background of viewers. Here is the most famous and my favorite new media artist, named Rafael Lozano-Hammer . He is one of the leaders of new media art. He is Mexican-Canadian, and pursues combination both media and the urban environment through his artworks. For more information, go to http://www.lozano-hemmer.com/
Body Movies Relational Architecture No 6. This artwork was commissioned for the European Capital of Culture in 2001 in Rotterdam, Holland. It has been presented in several cities such as Lisbon, Duisburg, and Hong Kong. Body Movies changes the public space with interactive projections, which is 90 meters long by 22 meters tall. The projector shows one thousand portraits on the wall of the building with high-spot light. Therefore, viewers cannot see what projector is showing actually. However, if viewers go to the front of the light for making a shadow on the wall, finally they can see the portraits from the projector through the shadows. So viewers can play with it such as matching their shadow with the shape of people from the portraits. Moreover, they can make some interesting shapes with shadow because shadow will change the size, depends on viewer ｡ｯ s position from the light. The most interesting things of this artwork is that several strangers who do not know each other actually are making something interesting shape using shadow together. It means viewers actually do understand and have the experience physically what the artist wants to say through the artwork. By Rafael Lozano-Hemmer For more information, go to http://www.lozano-hemmer.com/body_movies.php
Amodal Suspension Relational Architecture No. 8. It is based on the Internet which provides the connection platform for the relationship between people who live in different areas. Viewers use their cell-phone or the Internet to connect the website, www. amodal .net , and then send the short messages. These messages transform to encoding through the computer which can control the twenty searchlights. And then these lights express unique and beautiful movements at night sky. It means that the messages of viewers from different cultures, races, and countries express the one beautiful light show at the one place at the same time through his artwork. By Rafael Lozano-Hemmer For more information, go to http://www.lozano-hemmer.com/amodal_suspension.php
Pulse Room It is different artworks that I mentioned above. However, it needs the participation of viewers to be completed. I was very impressed when I saw Pulse Room. This artwork is using the technology which expresses the light in and out from the viewer’s pulse. It is very simple, but very impress. It records maximum 100 people’s pulse, and then expresses individual people’s pulse through the lights. Every single light shows that we are living, but also reminds us death, too. By Rafael Lozano-Hemmer For more information, go to http://www.lozano-hemmer.com/pulse_room.php
Through his new media artworks that I introduced above, I know that he pursues the combination both experimental media and the urban environment through his artworks. Rafael said his artworks intervene between architecture and performing arts. And he said the most important thing of processing artworks is collaboration consistently with not only viewers, but also all of production crews such as a photographer, a programmer, an actor, and everyone. Sometimes he felt that he was working together even though he is working by himself. The reason is that the tools, which he uses, are made by a programmer. He emphasized again that “ collaboration ” is really important for processing of the artworks. Moreover, he aims that people get the feel like we are in the one community through his artworks. That is the reason why he tried to make viewers to participate into his artworks. Participation of viewers is the trend of new media artworks, but also a part of processing of artworks.
Jenkins, H. (2006). Convergence Culture: Where Old and New Media Collide . New York: New York University Press.
Park, K. (2008). Imagination will save you . South Korea: KBS[Korean Broadcasting System].