All posts in Media Arts

Memes As Art: Media Installation Artist Dave Greber


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

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 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
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

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


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.)


“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.


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.


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.”

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Direct-On-Found Footage Filmmaking: Mining the Debris of Image Consumption & Co-directing With Nature

Direct-On-Found Footage Filmmaking: Mining thedebris of image consumption & co-directing withnature

I was glad to have found the online journal, SCAN, about media arts culture recently and highly recommend it to students of the arts, film, media arts, media theory and other disciplines. SCAN is a refereed, inter-disciplinary and some of its subject matter includes media studies, media arts, cultural studies, fine arts, philosophy, new media, music and technology. SCAN is hosted by the Department of Media, Music, Communications and Cultural Studies at Macquarie University, Sydney.

I read with interest Katherine Berger’s well written analysis of how a growing number of filmmakers in the 21st century are using both handed down handmade, direct-on-film animation techniques as well as their own new ways of making use of interacting with the analogue film itself. As Berger points out, these direct-on-film techniques are by their nature process oriented, in which many artists discover the film’s form and subjects in the course of the film making. Berger goes on to point out that many art movements are based on theories of discovery and chance. The specific use of found, or appropriated footage adds a layer of questioning truth and authorship into the mix; film artists are questioning filmed or photographed images as “historical truth.”


Direct-On-Found Footage Filmmaking: Mining the debris of image consumption & co-directing with nature

by Katherine Berger



Venice Biennale Opens June 1st, 2013 – Reflections from Laurie Anderson, 2011


The 55th International Art Exhibition will take place in Venice from 1 June to 24 November 2013 at the Giardini and at the Arsenale (Preview: May 29 30 31) and in various venues around the city, titled The Encyclopedic Palace and curated by Massimiliano Gioni.

Interview with Laurie Anderson, at the Art Biennale 2011 with an informal lecture / discussion “A Short Talk on Places” Full information at


Marius Watz on: Generative Art, Code and Data as Art and the New Aesthetic


Marius Watz (NO) is an artist working with visual abstraction through generative software processes. His work focuses on the synthesis of form as the product of parametric behaviors. He is known for hard-edged geometrical forms and vivid colors, with outputs ranging from pure software works to public projections and physical objects produced with digital fabrication technology.

Watz has exhibited at venues like the Victoria & Albert Museum (London), Todaysart (The Hague), ITAU Cultural (Sao Paulo), Museumsquartier (Vienna), and Galleri ROM (Oslo). He is a lecturer in Interaction Design at the Oslo School of Architecture and Design.

Watz is also considered to be one of the primary theorists of generative art, what it is and what it could be, analyzing technology, culture and art theory to continually investigate the rapidly evolving generative art aesthetic. He gave this presentation to the Eyeo Festival in 2012; the 2013 Festival is June 5-8 in Minneapolis, MN – full details here.

20120610 A Movement in 3 Parts. (1.Shock & Awe, 2.Algorithm Critique, 3.The New Aesthetic And Its Disco… by Marius Watz

Another generative art pioneer and co-inventor of the Processing media programming language is Casey Reas. His speech to Eyeo 2012 is embedded here, a full list of video recorded presentations from last year’s conference is on Vimeo.

Eyeo2012 – Casey Reas from Eyeo Festival on Vimeo.

Creator’s Project: Interactive Light Installation Brings Media Art Into Real World Experinence


immersive lighting experience

Muti Randolph takes new media and lighting installation technology to bring visual arts literally into a new dimension. In 2013, interactive art installations are exploding out from 2 dimensional containers and  becoming wearable designs or room ambiance or video art experiences.

Step inside Muti Randolph’s interactive light installation Deep Screen at The Creators Project New York Event.

Watch more on Muti Randolph:
The Coachella Dance Tent Transformed:
Designing Total Immersion Experiences:

The Creators Project is a partnership between Intel and VICE:

Subscribe to The Creators Project:…
Check out our full video catalog:…


Imprevionism: Where Classic Art and Digital Media Collide


originally published on our sister site, the Media Arts Channel

‘Imprevionism’ is a collaborative project of Jacek(JMS) and Ben.

Jacek: ‘I call this technique Imprevionism. I use program created in processing and sequence of photos from time-lapse. The program is merging up to 30 photos from TL by using small random, clusters. So, it’s similar to idea of Impressionism’Ben: Jacek timelapses looks like paintings with a nice structure of coloured planes or dots. So it was great when he asked me to cooperate. My idea was to build up the video like a painting. I used animated drawings. First the basic lines, and slowly with dots and planes, showing bit by bit the beautiful timelapses Jacek made. At the end you can see the steps in which Jacek build up his images, but then in reverse mode.Footage and imprevionism technique by: Jacek
Animation and editing by: Ben
Music: ‘Night Drive’ by Simeon Harris
(thanks for the link to this music piece ferrie!)
Used footage by:
02:0702:13 David Mason
02:48 -02:56 Marcin Krupa
02:5603:04 Matti Pohjonen
Writes Andrew Tarantola on Gizmodo, “Jacek(JMS) captured many of the time-lapse sequences himself using Program, which was written in the Processing programming language. Program captured up to 30 shots at a time every five minutes—starting at the top of every hour—then stitched together into 1,300-image time-lapse videos.”Clusters of pixels are taken from time-lapse sequence, but those pixels are not altered/changed with colors, brightness, etc. So, this impressionistic view is created by color, light change over the day,” Jacek(JMS) explained to Gizmodo. “In theory this can be done in analog film by using complementary masks. But such a masks needs to be very precise, I was trying to do this years ago with two masks, no success. With digital technology many photos (up to 30) can be merged more precisely.”When the video had finished generating, Ben edited the content into a montage and installed the opening animation. “I thought it was nice to build up these beautiful time-lapse paintings by drawing lines and give it colors as if I was making a painting,” he explained. “I used the app, Explain Everything, on an iPad to draw the lines and to record the process. I used green colors to ‘paint’. The green colors gave me the possibility to use it later in an edit program as a green screen (chroma key), so you could see the time-lapse on the places where it was painted green.”The result, above, isn’t necessarily how Monet would have viewed our modern world. But you’ve got to think he’d at least recognize a kindred spirit.”