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Memes As Art: Media Installation Artist Dave Greber

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by Mark Gould,
Editor – Photosynthesis Media Arts and Theory Journal (republished from my other blog)

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For a while now, I’ve wanted to write and introduce you to the work of media installation artist Dave Greber, part of the New Orleans based artist collective The Front. David belongs to a group of video artists, experimental cinema producers, writers and other artists who are exploring popular culture and it’s media conduit, exposing the often subliminal propaganda-style messages we are all confronted by every day, and in doing so invites all of us to examine media memes and the roles they play in social communications.

More than 30 years ago, long before the concept of an internet meme became so popular and commonplace, media theorists and activists were studying the cultural effects of a meme, most usually defined as “an idea, belief or belief system, or pattern of behavior that spreads throughout a culture,” often passed along on a personal, family or neighborhood level but on a grander scale through the mass media, including television and the internet.

adbusters.org

Adbusters and many other similarly motivated groups have long used the concept of “culture jamming” to both explore and reveal how commercial, corporate, government and other media channels transmit messages through means of mass communications networks that operate on any number of different levels and in dong so, help deconstruct media messages. Neither media messages or internet memes are inherently subversive or deceptive, but the fact that they can be and often are have led to the comparing of these messages to similar processes in what is more narrowly considered to be usually dramatic, commercial or political “propaganda.” But more broadly defined, propaganda is the spreading of ideas, information to further a cause and/or influence public opinion or perception in many ways, through many channels.

These ideas have been explored by media studies scholars, activists and artists (“artivists”) across the cultural spectrum for a long time. What media artists such as Greber employ are devices studied in the field of semiotics, a general philosophical theory of signs, symbols and cultural codes that deals especially with their function in both artificially constructed and natural languages and comprises syntactics, and semantics. From the Merriam Webster Dictionary (online)

Semiotics – Study of signs and sign-using behaviour, especially in language. In the late 19th and early 20th century the work of Ferdinand de Saussure and Charles Sanders Peirce led to the emergence of semiotics as a method for examining phenomena in different fields, including aesthetics, anthropology, communications, psychology, and semantics. Interest in the structure behind the use of particular signs links semiotics with the methods of structuralism.

Having recently seen some of Dave Greber’s work on Vimeo, I think the inspiration for much of his work takes place as part of this exploration into, as he says, “the constant attack on our biological and cultural environments by commercial forces.”

I have been researching and exposing tactics of corporate television advertising that are, for the most part, culturally degenerative memes overlooked by the general public. I create a skeleton commercial built from the tone, cadence, verbal and graphic illusions that comprise a corporate propaganda campaign. I then fill the shell with my own agenda, which is to reveal that the form itself is psychologically manipulative. I infuse them with my own contemporary style and present them as a seamless loop, which translates them from a parasitic corporate language to one of viewer empowerment.

And along with the artistic and cultural exploration inherent in his work, Dave Greber also combines a very healthy sense of humor. He says, “I have a great time making and showing these. They make me laugh and they are intended to make the viewer laugh when they have a realization of their own.” I hope you will enjoy them too, while you’re also “getting the message.”

Dave Greber’s website
Dave Greber on Vimeo

Primer (2010)
a video installation
by Dave Greber, TV Boxes. Roel Miranda
Starring
Camilla Bergin, Andy Cook, Tessa Corthell, Stephen Kennedy, Roel Miranda, JJ Smith, Robert Ries, Jen DeGregorio, Valorie Polmer, Lea Downing, Alden Eagle, Katie Gelfand, Matthew Holdren, Brandon Meginley, Phil Rached
Asst. Director, Katie Gelfand
Camera , Dave Greber, Phil Rached
Music: Peter Leonard, Kevin MacLeod

At the Asian Art Museum – In Grand Style: Celebrations in Korean Art during the Joseon Dynasty

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In Grand Style: Celebrations in Korean Art

The Asian Art Museum – In Grand Style: Celebrations in Korean Art during the Joseon Dynasty

 

In Grand Style: Celebrations in Korean Art during the Joseon Dynasty (via PR Newswire)

Download image Download image King Jeongjo’s Procession to His Father’s Tomb in Hwaseong, 1795 (det). Korea. Handscroll; ink and colors on paper. H. 18 3/8 in. x W. 150 ft. 11 in. National Museum of Korea. (PRNewsFoto/Asian Art Museum) In an unprecedented…

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The EFF Guide to San Diego Comic-Con

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The EFF Guide to San Diego Comic-Con (via EFF)

With the arrival of summer at EFF, you can hear the excitement in the stuffing of luggage and locking of office doors as our team prepares for some of the most important conventions in the world. Black Hat starts on July 27, with DEF CON immediately…

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Google May Spend $500 Million Marketing Moto X

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Google May Spend $500 Million Marketing Moto X (via slashdot)

Google reportedly plans to spend $500 million promoting its upcoming Moto X smartphone, according to The Wall Street Journal (paywall). That’s big money, to be sure, but can it help the device—or any device, for that matter—succeed in a crowded…

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Reflections on The Armory Show At 100 and The Cubists Vs. The Fauves

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Came across an interesting bit of art history after finding myself on the New York Historical Society’s website in celebration of  the 100th anniversary of the seminal 1913 Armory Show. For one month in New York City, The Armory Show introduced Americans to the European avant-garde artists of the day including Duchamp, Gauguin, Van Gogh and Picasso, and in doing so became what is has been called the most important art exhibition ever held in the U.S.

What Kim Orcutt writes for the Historical Society anniversary about the Cubists versus The Fauves is fascinating. It’s pointed out that The Armory Show is best remembered for Duchamp’s Nude Descending a Staircase (No. 2), and so today, it’s easy to think that the Cubists “were the ‘big news’ of 1913.” Orcutt points out that there was a lot of media attention to “find the nude,” and some critics had no taste for these “puzzle pictures.”

nude-descending-a-staircase-no-2-1912

Marcel Duchamp, Nude Descending a Staircase (No. 2)

Henri Matisse, Le Luxe II

Henri Matisse, Le Luxe II

But The Historical Society piece reminds us that the most important space at the show was reserved for Henri Matisse and other artists in his circle, known as the Fauves. Interestingly enough the Fauvist exhibit included a work by George Braque, who to many would become known for his work in Cubism.

The Port of Antwerp by George Braque

Georges Braque, The Port of Antwerp (Le Port d’Anvers), 1906.

Many critics were to become outraged at the Fauves’ primitivist style, which as the article points out, because to them it abandonded technical mastery at the dawn of the modern era and was called art for children. The article itself is brief, but you’ll enjoy seeing all of the art that was at the show by so many artists that we now know, and whose work we love. Hope you enjoy it.

Read more about The Armory Show at 100, The Cubists versus the Fauves ->

Simon Christen’s “Adrift” – A Love Letter to the Fog of San Francisco and the Bay Area

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Adrift from Simon Christen on Vimeo.

 

Animator, photographer, and filmmaker Simon Christen knows how to bring art and technology together. He’s worked as an animator at Pixar, as a photographer of urban scenes, and director of time lapse films. So even without having met him, and seen his work, I think it’s safe to say that Simon has a gift for storytelling and the visual arts.

Recently Simon set his sights on capturing the fog that Bay Area residents and City dwellers both love and hate. We San Franciscans seem to both adore it’s beauty and cooling mist, and shake our fists when it hangs around too long, overstaying it’s welcome. (Speaking just for myself, after the last week, I’ll be just so happy to see it!) Christen explains how he went about capturing the scenes for this stunning piece of work, also available in 4K resolution! (If you hadn’t heard, 4K HDTV’s are already on the market, at the cost of at least one car.)

Adrift

“It has been almost 3 years since I released “The Unseen Sea” and I’m excited and proud to share with you my latest project “Adrift”.

“Adrift” is a love letter to the fog of the San Francisco Bay Area. I chased it for over two years to capture the magical interaction between the soft mist, the ridges of the California coast and the iconic Golden Gate Bridge. This is where “Adrift” was born.

The weather conditions have to be just right for the fog to glide over the hills and under the bridge. I developed a system for trying to guess when to make the drive out to shoot, which involved checking the weather forecast, satellite images and webcams multiple times a day. For about 2 years, if the weather looked promising, I would set my alarm to 5am, recheck the webcams, and then set off on the 45-minute drive to the Marin Headlands.

Adrift

I spent many mornings hiking in the dark to only find that the fog was too high, too low, or already gone by the time I got there. Luckily, once in a while the conditions would be perfect and I was able to capture something really special. Adrift is a collection of my favorite shots from these excursions into the ridges of the Marin Headlands.

I hope with my short film I am able to convey the feeling of happiness I felt while I experienced those stunning scenes.

Adrift

Licensing: Adrift is copyrighted. All of my work is available for licensing under a rights-managed agreement. If you are interested in using any of my images and/or time lapse footage, please visit my website or contact me directly. Most of my clips are available up to 4K resolution! All of them support 2.8K and standard HD resolutions of 1080p/720p. Some of my favorite scenes in the film are also available as high resolution prints.”

Visit my website at simonchristen.com
or follow me on facebook: facebook.com/SimonChristenPhotography
or 500px: 500px.com/SimonChristen

Now Online! The Glitch and 8bit Summer art show – limited edition prints for sale

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I’ve spent the last two months toying with glitch art destruction, game hacked 8-bit graphics styles and all that. I can say one thing at this point – it’s great to play with iterations in digital art. It’s very satisfying and increases the scope and perspective to which elements of change, time and story can be created to group works of art which are added when you group a set of works, or create an exhibition or installation. And it’s a great way to offer limited edition sets. Of course I’d love your feedback. Sooo, here’s episode 1 of the big ammerican monster glitch and 8bit internet art show, such as it is! As for my long term aesthetic point of view about glitch, 8-bit or generative art for that matter, let’s save that conversation for another day.  These images are in the online shops I use and are available as large format pigment ink prints in limited edition of only 20 prints per image.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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