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"What is Ecological Video Art?"(2006)
Essay by Nohra Corredor
As Science takes qualitative space and time and reduces them to relations that enter into equations, so art makes them abound in their own sense as significant values of the very substance of things, up and down, back and front, to and fro, this side and that/or right or left/here and there, feel differently. As experienced they are qualitatively as unlike as noise and silence, heat and cold, black and white./John Dewey, Art and Experience,1934
"A digital image does not represent an optical trace such as a photograph but provides a logical image of a visual experience" George Legrady, "Image, Language, and Belief in Synthesis",1990
All technology is matter built into ideal structures Robert Smithson
The scientific and technological advances of the 20th Century have accelerated ecological changes in our experience of space-time. It was only in 1957 that a rocket circled the earth in one and a half hours, and since then the traditional perceptions of how and what is our relation to nature are being questioned at the fastest rate human beings have ever known. We are forever indebted to the enigmatic Master filmmaker Stanley Kubrick,for enabling us to visualize this new relationship with his brilliant 1968 production of "2001: A Space Odyssey" and to Arthur C. Clarke
who shared his Oscar nomination with Stanley Kubrick.
All human beings seem to inhabit a three dimensional world, an image that is certainly shared by most higher animals. At the beginning, the imagined spatial image was a simple one: human beings pictured themselves as occupying the approximate center of a flat plane with the sky above and the earth below. Over time, the knowledge and perception of the earth as a ball suspended in almost empty space, rotating around a sun which is a star, a member of a universe of galaxies, had a marked effect not only on the perception of our own image in many aspects but impacted as well the different ways in which different cultures have oriented themselves in the stream of time. Western civilization have pictured a one-dimensional time stream flowing forward with the present dividing the past from the future reflected in its historical written records while many primitive cultures still maintain the concept of circular time reflected in their ceremonial acts and their particular relations with nature.
Ecological Video Art addresses the most recent changes in perception, occurring in a very short period of time due to the revolutionary man-made digital Space-Time/Sound being created with new technologies.
Ecological Video Art is the art form exploring the permanent and ephemeral relationships between human beings and the natural/mind processes of Space-Time and Sound in particular and has emerged as an independent and autonomous New Media art form reflecting the technological and ecological dynamics of the 21st Century.
Real and Virtual Reality: the Concrete and the Abstract
One of the functions of Ecological Art is to ensure that the viewer of an ecological artwork, by suspension of disbelief, shares a semblance of nature and nature processes created by the intervention of the artist with all his/her technical and artistic skills. The introduction of virtual reality, of worlds created in or by computers, to our present real world, especially through interacting systems, may impact momentarily our visual/hearing perceptions of what is real and what is fiction. Andrew Menard, in his 1993 Essay "Art and the Logic of Computers" refers to the computer images as "among the most real we have ever produced but they are also the most abstract, existing solely as a sequence of numbers or instructions. This is the paradox of artificial or virtual reality: that something so ideal as simulation is nevertheless so precise in its approximation of the Real"
Ecological Video Art is questioning these new parameters of perception of space-time. Artists are extracting fragments of reality from the chaos of nature and are transferring and setting them in artistic visual frames charged with patterns of facts, logic of ideas, flow of emotions or flights of the imagination, and thus intensifying our experience of awareness of nature.
Ecological video artworks provide the viewer thought tools to reflect and question the experience of the real and the virtual. Without being isolated, set in a frame(the screen) and magnified in size by the artist, the beauty and meaning of the image would be hidden among our mundane, everyday sights and would probably never attract us. It is this organized 'whole' which is more that the sum of its parts created by the ecological artist which has the artistic communicability to transfer the experience to the viewer.
Scenes we perceive in nature are emotionally and dramatically neutral, meaning they do not seek to move or influence us at their will. If a storm makes us afraid, the emotion comes from within ourselves. The moving image created by the ecological video artist comes with the essence of his/her own feeling and imaginings and so, they become mental images as much as physical. As with other works of art, ecological video artworks may affect the senses and seize the poetic imagination with the visual metaphors, representational symbols, and similes. The created moving image is deliberately made to force its way into our feelings and beliefs. In fact, they are not beautiful in themselves and unlike nature, they exist as artworks in terms of human interpretation.
Digital Space-Time and Sound
Reality exists all around us; there is no edge to our vision. The world we see on the screen is quite different from the world we live in and neither space nor time has the same characteristics. We exist in a space-time continuum constructed from real space and real time which forms our framework of reference and identification. Our auditory and visual sensations are supplemented by touching, feeling, meaning or weighting and it is in this way that we estimate volumes, distances and densities.
The space-time in digital moving images is completely different because our senses are cut down to sight and sound. Spatially, the screen exists in a single flat plane, lacking the dimension of depth and limited by the physical frame which surrounds it.
Space, which in real time is static, motionless, acquires a Time dimension on the screen: temporalization of space. And the created time in film/video gives the artist/viewer freedom to move about in time just as in real life we are free to move in space: spatialization of time (like in dreams). In the 20th Century, the visionary artist Joseph Cornell reflected with his artworks/boxes many explorations and possible combinations of visual experiences of space-time. He is considered a pioneer of this 'Art of Time'
The Ephemeral and the Permanent
Michael Rush in his book "New Media in Art"/2005 describes the digital images by saying - "A photograph is said to capture and preserve a moment in time; an image created inside a computer resides in no place or time at all. Images, scanned into a computer, then edited, montaged, erased, or scrambled, can seem to collapse the normal barriers of past, present, and future". He uses this statement as the supporting argument to establish that the art that has been born from the art-and-technology marriage is perhaps the most ephemeral art of all: the art of Time
It was just this statement that led me to refer to Michael Rush's essay since I personally have problems with his approach to the role of space-time emerging with these New Media art forms. The statement of critic and curator Anne-Marie Duguet - who Rush quotes in his Introduction - appreciates TIME as part of the work itself, and in my opinion, her understanding still applies to these New Media artworks. She states that "After the mid-1960s, time emerged not only as a recurrent theme but also as a constituent parameter of the very nature of an art work"
The digital images EXIST in a place (in static computers, wireless, online, mobile, portable and in micro-chips) and time and can be retrieved ON-DEMAND from any where and at any time. Memory chips as well are now being archived, stored and preserved to allow the public access to them as it is done with photography artworks. Additionally, the ecological artworks are maintained permanently or for long periods of time in mental images by the artists and by the image recipients who may retrieve them at any time on-demand. The video itself, physically, requires to be maintained under appropriate conditions as required with any other work of art, including the photographs which at the moment, no one knows for sure how long they will last in time. As Andrew Menard states in his 1993 Essay "If photography (or mechanical reproduction) has been the prevailing metaphor for much of nineteenth and twentieth century art, the computer is rapidly rendering it obsolete. At best, photography will persist as a form of digitization. Digitization represents the new world order, the transition from simulacra to simulation."
Ecological video artists, among other new techniques, are applying narrative (individual shots together in chronological order to tell a story) and expressive (clash of two images) montage and sound to attain 'movement' in time', independent of duration, direction or intention.
The TIME addressed by some of the ecological video artists refers to one of the natural processes found in nature. Ecological Video Art, an 'Art of Time', uses the ephemeral as one of the characteristics of the processes of time. The ephemeral is attached to time while passing, existing in the present, and becoming permanent in the personal and collective memories of human beings over short or long periods of time depending mainly on how intense it is perceived while passing/Nohra Corredor, 2006
VISIT NOHRA CORREDOR RELATED LINKS:
What is Video-art Haiku?
Video-art haiku: "The Heraclitus Effect"
Video-art Haiku Overview/"Four Seasons" Video-art Haiku Series
SUMMER 2009 Video Haiku "Scarce Treasures"/2009
EARTH DAY 2009 VIDEO HAIKU "Solar Crystals"/2009
Earth Day 2008 Video haiku "As the Worm Turns"/2008
EARTH DAY 2007 VIDEO HAIKU--"Boulders Nest"/2007 listed #1 among 107,000,000 websites on July 7, 2007
Ecological Art and Poetry
Nohra Corredor celebrates EARTH DAY 2012-Year of the Arctic Bear with "BEAR IN MIND 2012" VIDEO
ECOVIDEONET/The New Agrarian Scene/Foodie Tour Documentary/G2PA-Geographic Positioning Public Art/ECOARTPEDIA
LINKS and ISSUES
Video-art Haiku homepage/SEASONS series/Earth Day Series
RELATED ADDITIONAL LINKS: