Not only is Chris Milk an artist, he is also the founder and CEO of the virtual reality technology company “Within”, and also the founder of the virtual reality production company “Here Be Dragons”. Milk started off his career in photography and music video production, but has since explored innovative areas of art and widened his artistic range. In a quote from Milk’s website, he has “expanded beyond the traditional: his art straddles experimental genres and unfamiliar mediums, turning new technologies, web browsers, ephemeral events and even physical gestures into new found canvasses” (milk.co). In his early years, Milk worked with many famous artists in his music video production, such as Kanye West, Johnny Cash, and Jack White. More recently, Milk has taken a new path in his artistic career by experimenting with virtual reality and bringing that experience to the viewer. Milk explains his artistic direction as “focused on using cross-media innovations to enhance emotional human storytelling, exposing the beauty in the things – physical, digital, intangible – that connect us all” (milk.co). In present times, Milk is bringing an artistic virtual reality experience to the viewer that is a whole new concept- these virtual reality exhibits bring the viewer to an out of this world state, something that’s never been done before!
After viewing Milk’s work, I appreciate how much he’s putting into making virtual reality a form of art. I wish I could be there to experience some of his art in person, such as “The Treachery of Sanctuary” and “Summer Into Dust“. Treachery is an “immersive” exhibit, where the subjects shadow is manipulated by a triptych to represent a birds life cycle (birth, death and transfiguration). I admired this work because the interactive component of this exhibit helps the viewer really vision themselves in the work. I feel like if I was there, and able to manipulate the exhibit, it would have been a beautiful experience. I liked the three separate panels that showed the different stages of life. Summer is actually my favorite exhibit of Milk’s, because I’ve been to many, many music festivals and have experienced similar shows to the one he put on for Coachella. In the video, the kaleidoscope patterns inside the balls thrown into the crowd are synched with the music Arcade Fire is playing, and the whole experience is something on a whole new level. Seeing that video brings me so much joy, I can almost feel it just by seeing the video because I’ve lived that experience before. Last but not least, Johnny Cash is an interactive music video that’s frames are composed of submissions from fans and people around the world. The viewer of the video can opt to view the video in different ways, such as by highest rated frames or different forms of animation. I think that’s really interesting and would love to create an interactive music video of my own one day.
The Treachery of Sanctuary, (2012)
Summer Into Dust, (2011)
The Johnny Cash Project, 2010
During the process of making my HTML website I learned a lot of great new skills. I now know how to make a website from scratch, along with use Kumu. BUT, the process wasn’t so easy when it came to actually building the site and using the tools to build it.
First of all, I didn’t even have Notepad++ on my computer, so I had to download it and figure out a whole new program. Luckily, it’s pretty simple to learn, and our professor was extremely helpful, patient, and understanding along the way. Next, I actually had to go back to CodeAcademy, which was a website we use to learn coding at the beginning of the semester. The professor’s help, along with CodeAcademey, is what really got me going with the basics of building an HTML website. I now had to choose a topic, which was something I had a hard time coming up with because originally I wanted to do celebrities and how they related, but then decided it was too cliche. That’s when I came up with colleges, because I feel like it’s a more personal and interesting topic to me. The research process behind finding college statistics and things connecting very different Virginia colleges was long, but super interesting. I actually ended up learning a lot about each college, and I thought it was really insightful. Next, I made my Kumu map, which was a requirement of the project. We had to embed a map. Embedding it wasn’t the hard part, the hard part was attempting to create the map. A lot of the time I would have to keep referring back to the tutorial, but eventually I got the hang of it, and my map ended up turning out better than I expected. I’m really happy with it! Actually adding all the research for each school was tedious and somewhat boring, but I managed. Doing ten schools was definitely tough, and since we had to have embedded links and videos, I added commercials to the sections of the schools that had a commercial. I even embedded links to each school’s website. Finally, I worked on the style of the website. Since it’s kind of a broad topic, I ended up just using a generic background image, along with a very basic, but readable, font.
Overall, I don’t think my website turned out exactly how I wanted it to, but it’s not terrible either. I’m happy with my work, and I’m proud I was able to accomplish something that’s so new to me. I think this skill will be very helpful in future digital studies courses, and possibly even in my future career.
Before even starting the module, I knew networking sounded like the most interesting topic to me. Partly because it was the only one (I thought) I knew anything about, but once reading more into the requirements of the module, I realized I knew nothing about networking at all. Originally, I wanted my topic to focus on celebrities and how they connect to one another on social media. When I decided to use Kumu to map these connections, I looked at examples of already existing Kumus. When I did this, I how boring an cliche connections between celebrities were. Everyone’s already done that! So, I decided to choose a topic that is more personal and relatable to me and most other college students: the connections between the top 10 Virginia colleges. My vision was to connect them using three to five different factors. I wanted my website to explain why these factors were important and how each school matched up with one another. Truthfully, I had a lot more in mind for the website than I have the skills to produce, but I managed, and I feel like it turned out pretty well.
series, Multi-Touch Paintings
(THIS ARTIST IS SO COOL)
Evan Roth is a digital media artist who creates his art “through unintended uses of technologies” (evan-roth). Roth was born in 1978 and received a degree in architecture from the University of Maryland and a Masters in Fine Arts from Parsons The New School for Design. Roth uses media such as prints, sculptures, videos and websites in his artwork. Roth stands out from other artists we’ve looked at because he explores hacking culture and other online cultures in his works.
Looking through Roth’s work, a lot of it interested me because I’ve never come across an artist that reflected these areas of internet culture before. What I mean is, is that Roth’s work reflects individual cultures from the internet that I didn’t know existed. I like that because it brings light to new and exciting material (at least that I haven’t seen before). One of my favorites series from him is No Original Research which is”a series of art websites, each created from a single animation and audio file found on wikipedia.org… Compositions are created by copying a found animated gif file dozens of times and embedding them into a single HTML page. When the browser tries (and fails) to load all of the files simultaneously they become out of synch, creating an animation cycle that visualizes the latencies specific to the viewer” (evan-roth). After reading the description for No Original Research, I was stunned that someone had the idea to actually create art from an algorithm using wikipedia articles and gifs. The art that came out of it was also stunning in my opinion. I also really enjoy his Internet Cache Self Portrait series, which describes itself as “uncensored streams of images passively collected through daily Internet browsing” (evan-roth). This could include anything from pictures of friends from social media to advertisements viewed online, basically anything and everything the daily user browses on the internet. All of this is then put together in an algorithm created as one big collage. This series speaks to me because although it looks like just a normal collage of random pictures, it can actually tell so much about someones life. Someone’s browser history, in my opinion, is a window to their daily lives and Roth’s series Internet Cache Self Portrait seriously reflects that.
Here are a few of my favorites from his series’:
Series, No Original Research
Series, Internet Cache Self Portrait
The digital polarization project that we had the chance to work on in class was a very interesting project to me. At first, I didn’t necessarily understand why we were doing it, but towards the end I realized that we were doing it in order to learn how to separate faulty news sources from ones that actually have good, reliable information on them.
My groups’ claim was “Judge in Court Case Claims Girl Could Have Just Kept Her Legs Closed During Rape.” First of all, this was a shocking claim to me because I could not imagine that a judge would ever say such a thing to a victim of rape. That’s why originally I thought this claim was definitely fake. Through the use of DigiPo and Hypothesis (two resources I found hard to use at first, but eventually got the hang of), my group discovered that this was actually a true claim. This shocked me, but we were able to dig up the actual court documentation of the case, which did state that the judge clearly said this during trial. We also found information on cnn.com that eventually the judge resigned due to the backlash he received because of his comment. While what the judge said did shock me, and I didn’t think it was true at first, it was very true. There was nothing found online arguing against it either, so that is how my group came to the conclusion that the claim was most definitely accurate.
Working on this project taught me how to look deeper into sources before just slapping them onto a works cited page and not checking the background information of the site or the person who published the article. It is a very important thing to do because you never truly know who or where information that is put online comes from, so it’s a good skill to know how to dig a little deeper when it comes to online sources.