Whitney Visit

My visit to the Whitney was an interesting one. I slowly realized that I started to analyze the users of each piece much more than the piece itself.

Larry Bell, Pacific Red II (2017)

It seemed like most of the viewers of the piece were taking selfies in the reflection of the boxes more than actually viewing the cityscape through the red glass, which may or may not be intentional. I think it might because of how the inner cube made the reflection of the user stronger, so as the user walks past the cubes, they first see the city, and then their own reflection.  Since the cubes both act as a filter as well as a mirror, it's a very nice piece for Instagram.

Porpentine Charity Heartscape

I only played one of the choose your adventure stations in this room, but I found that it disturbed me much more than the real violence piece. The juxtaposition of how the story starts and how it ends greatly affected me. Because we associate these choose your adventure games with childhood and fun, when the game takes a turn into the weird, I felt a sensation of fear.

Throughout the piece, the text was aligned left and stopped about a third into the screen.There was a moment when the text started to go off the screen with text that seemed nonsensical. I like how the artist breaks rules that were previously established to stir up an emotional response in the user. 

John Rippenhoff's "The John Rippenhoff Experience"

The Rippenhoff Experience was an interesting attraction. There was always a line for it due the nature of its setup. I think that the sight of seeing someone sticking their head into something mysterious helped with that, inciting others to stand in line and wonder what is actually inside this mystery box. The concept of hiding an infinity inside a tiny box was very strong with the piece. I liked how you needed to ascend the ladder in order to enter to this space, acting as a kind of stepladder to the next dimension or something. I'm unsure if it was intended or not, but the inside of the box was very warm. It seemed to add to the experience since the different climate inside the box added to the fact that the user is entering a totally new world.

Jordan Wolfson’s “Real Violence”

Real Violence was also a big attraction, being the only VR installation in the museum. Not unlike the John Rippenhoff experience, much of the intrigue was watching others interact with the piece. While I waited on line, I saw some people take off their headset immediately, some until the end of the piece. People left with disgust and laughter and silence. The commentary after was also entertaining. "I need to go watch some Spongebob now."

I decided to watch the whole thing through. It was a bit blurry since I had to take my glasses off. I had to really squint to see the violence, which might have added to the experience. I squinted the entire time. When the audio cut off and then the video, I took off the headset and saw that I was the last person still at the exhibit. I wasn't sure whether or not to wear this accomplishment proudly or shamefully.

Barkley L. Hendricks’ “Steve”.

It reminded me of Robert Irwin's work, on how objects blend into the background. The subject seems to almost disappear into the canvas, yet he doesn't because he looks so damn cool. The reflection off  of Steve's sunglasses strike me the most. The reflection looks like he's inside the interior of a church, looking at stained glass. However from our perspective, his backdrop is a pure white. Words that popped into my head were heaven, angel, style, swagger.

Justification of Putting the Audience Through a Difficult Evening

We view the past as a series of choices. And because we have the knowledge, we often know which choices are good and which are bad. We have the answer key and we look at our past mistakes with certainty.

However, when we're in the moment, the answers are unclear. We answer blindly, not because we didn't care, but because we were under pressure. I remember taking the SATs in high school. When the proctor started to countdown to the final seconds, the questions on my page stopped being important. Only the answers mattered, no matter right or wrong.

I think that it's important for people to be constantly taking these exams that test us because it's the best practice we could ask for. We need to practice with art, plays, film, and stories. By experiencing these mediums, we are transported to worlds where we could choose right or wrong without major consequence. And when we see the outcome of those choices made, we have more knowledge of what to do in the future. We need the practice because when the real exam comes, we need to be able to answer those important questions without hesitation.

Brunelleschi Brainstorming

For the midterm project,  we (Jina, Jixuan, Mona, and I ) wanted to create the illusion of depth and height on flat surfaces.

In room 50 of ITP, there is a grid of square panels. By projecting vanishing points on each square, we could play around with a character or object climbing or falling into these squares. 

As we were looking up and down the stair well of the building, we noticed that the underside of the stairs still look like stairs, creating a sort of upside down world. There are also two very distant vanishing points as you look up and down the center of the well. We can use these properties to create a sense of vertigo and perplexity.

On the fifth floor, the top and bottom of a wall is color separated. We found that viewing a corner of this wall from a low perspective makes the corner look concave, as if the corner is going inwards. Switching to a high perspective makes it easier to view it as a convex object. If we project a similar image onto a blank wall, we could create an illusion of an object being both inside and outside depending on the perspective of the viewer.

F is For Fake

Spoilers for F is For Fake below.

So the big twist is that the last twenty minutes of the movie is fictional. It's also the most lucidly told portion of the film. I found myself not understanding or following a great portion of the first part of the film. The way the film is cut and put together is wild and rhythmic, perhaps mimicking the confusing nature trying to piece together a coherent story from real facts.

However, when the Welles starts to tell the fake story of Picasso, the editing style of the film shifts and slows down considerably. His train of thought style of telling the previous stories comes to a halt to focus on the Picasso story. This magic trick was incredibly effective because it conveyed the message and subject of the film without having overly explain.... until Welles explains it all. I only wish Welles did not reveal his magic trick to the audience so bluntly. But perhaps it was necessary to clearly demonstrate how the magic of a piece of art can be ruined by revealing all of the facts.

Facts can be boring and can contradict common sense and logic. Movies that are "based on a true story" are movies based on facts. Yet these movies rarely stick 100% with the facts given, because these facts can disrupt conventions of storytelling. Of course facts should always stay factual in real life, but when it comes to art, I feel that distorting these facts to fit an emotion or a feeling is necessary. Like sleight of hand, the true skill of an artist lies in entrapping the consumer in the art, by not giving them the chance to overthink what just happened because they are simply lost in the moment.