Monday, March 19, 2007

Artist talk- Chris Coleman

I went to this lecture not knowing much of anything about digital art/ animation and came away with an interest in learning more about the field. Chris Coleman is an animation professor at the University of Oregon. His focus is on animation and installation- where he uses his mechanical engineering background to make his pieces. One such piece was his Spatiodynamic piece- using computer fans to blow a tarp around the corner in relation to the people in the entrance hallway. I really enjoyed his animation pieces the most. For example, his piece Modern Times was really interesting to me. This piece was about the state of our society in regard to terrorism and the role the government plays in this. The idea that the government is supposed to be protecting us from this, yet they are instigating it by suggesting that terrorism is everywhere.

Chris' present work addresses similar issues using images from classic 1950 and 1960 sources (boy scout manuals, for example). He also is working on something about the socio-economic status of an area- shown by the number of trees and houses in that area. The idea for this is that a person can enter where they live into his piece and see quantitative data about their area.

Another point that I found interesting was something Chris said in response to a question from the audience. He was talking about how there has been a tension between the physical body and the virtual body (that is represented by our credit and other information about us in cyber space) and how that tension has become greater over the past years and continues to increase. He talked about how in airports, if you want to get through faster, you can give them your finger print and a scan of your iris. This shows how the virtual body is taking more from the physical body.

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