VACANT – by Emily Richards (Final Cut)

“Vacant” is an experimental video that explores the relationship between vicarious participation and altering state of mind. Using first-person perspective, the video inputs the viewer as the participant who enters the space without consent. Not knowing what will occur, the viewer immediately recognizes the auditory and visual cues that indicate a sinister presence lurking through the vacant spaces. In terms of developing the ideas, the horror movie genre served as inspiration for this project, especially director Stanley Kubrick’s “The Shining.” Horror movies often use common tropes, such as jump scares, jarring music, and dilapidated locations, to evoke feelings of suspense and terror. When people vicariously enter this unknown and somewhat threatening space, they get defensive and search for the imagined presence of a person or creature despite the apparent emptiness of the space. The odd camera angles further distort the viewers’ reality and enhance their sense of unease. The seemingly abandoned hallways in conjunction with the eerie, startling noises are reminiscent of the horror genre, but there is a deliberate attempt to avoid the “cliché” tropes of horror movies.

The title appears over a still shot of a blurry light fixture that mirrors the light at the end of the video. The following scenes utilize various camera techniques, such as shallow depth of field, quick panning shots, slow tilts, and shaky camera movements, to create mixed pacing that makes the viewer feel on edge. In addition, the video utilizes a bleach filter to enhance the gritty detail of the peeling walls and scratched floors. With this filter, the scratched floors and long carpeted hallway give the appearance of spilled blood. Experimenting with jump scares, the audio includes loud, immediate sounds, such as a door shutting, as climactic points in the video.

 

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“The Digital in Art”

Michael Rush wrote the article, “The Digital in Art,” to describe the relationship and meaning of digital media in the field of art. Traditional art was valued for many centuries, but the advent of technology has brought the creation of art to a more contemporary time and audience. It also brings into question whether digital art is a genre of art in itself, or if digital art could be another means of depicting art genres, such as “abstraction.” The author mentions that the validity of digital media does not always have to be dependent on “referencing artists already established in other media.” The author also notes that video and photographic art also changed its form when multi-screen and multi-image projections reached their “apotheosis with … cinematic installations.” The viewer is confronted by multiple channels, so there are various ways to interpret a video or photography piece. A work becomes more dynamic and interactive if a viewer can directly confront a cinematic installation, such as Doug Aitkin’s work. While this article considers photography and video as mediums for art, it is important to consider the most contemporary of digital media. In terms of a point for discussion, what role could virtual digital media play in the role of art?

Digital Appropriation and Post-Photography

For a digital media assignment, I have read the articles, “Digital Appropriation as Photographic Practice & Theory” by Helen Westgeest and excerpts from Post-Photography by Robert Shore. These articles pose interesting arguments about appropriation of photography and the role of photography in a world that is saturated with images. In the first article by Westgeest, the author mentions that an artist had used images from Google in a series of travel-related photographs. This series is interesting because the artist was accused, by Google, of illegally appropriating images from the search engine, but isn’t Google doing the same thing by presenting images of people in locations without their permission? In my opinion and to the author’s point, Google’s accusation appears to be quite hypocritical and cynical toward that artist.

The second article of excerpts proposes that in a “hyper-documented world,” it is difficult to avoid using another person’s images for one’s own photography. It makes me question what the role of the photographer is with his work when the work is not entirely his own. However, the relatively easy access to images allows for a quick production of work and alludes to the idea that the content and meaning of the work is more important than the subject matter in today’s age. In terms of discussion, what is defined as a purely original photograph, and does it change the viewer’s interpretation of the work if the images are appropriated from other sources?

The Digital Eye

“The Digital Eye: Photographic Art in the Digital Age” by Sylvia Woolf makes key points about the development of photography. In the beginning of the text, Woolf discusses the transition from analog to digital forms of media and art. This topic was interesting because our next assignment in digital media involves taking photographs with a Canon Rebel T5 DSLR camera. In terms of photography, the analog would involve taking pictures with a film camera that transfers light onto the film medium, providing a “likeness” of the subject. However, our digital camera transforms the light into “algorithms and codes” which removes the trace of the subject in the digital medium and is something to consider for our assignment.
Another intriguing point that Woolf mentions is the immediacy of digital imagery. As technology has advanced, the speed and accessibility of photography has expanded dramatically. Through this reading, I realized that photography has allowed the artist to instantly capture their world, manipulate it, and share it for the whole world to see. Thus, in our assignment, I will be taking pictures of landscapes and indoor spaces. These spaces will be manipulated using Photoshop in order to create a sense of a “real” area and a “fantastic” area.