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Tag Archive: art

  1. In Conversation with Creative Coder Kat Zhang

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    Featured work by  creative coder Kat Zhang: Full Video With Sound

    Tell us a bit about your work and what you do:

    I’m Kat, software engineer/artist. I make visual art with code, sometimes combined with hand drawings. Recently, I have been working on music visualization, which to me is like a form of machine-augmented synesthesia. In general, I want to make art that expands, or even redefines people’s sensory and perceptual realms.

    What first got you started as a creative coder? How did you learn to incorporate that with your work as a painter?

    After years of programming both at and after work, I had a burnout and just wanted to work with my bare hands again. That led me to pick up drawing. But very soon I couldn’t resist the urge to draw with code. A friend pointed me to Daniel Shiffman’s the Nature of Code, which opened a door for me to the world of creative coding. Combining hand-drawn images and animation to coded works seems very natural to me. I feel both the computer and the nature work like a blackbox in a way. Proof? Open a shader on shadertoy and see the ridiculously realistic simulations of oceans, fog, clouds, planets just from a few lines of code. It makes me think that we must have created something that has stolen the nature’s secrets to have fooled the human eye. Inviting the machine (which is a like micro god that is capable of performing miracles) to work with me is thus very empowering .

    What’s your process like when coming up with a piece? Are there certain things you prioritize? 

    I find my ideas evolving constantly, from the moment formed in my head, to being jotted down, to being implemented. They never stay the same. I guess that’s why I love the process so much, because it has this element of surprise, whether from myself or the machine, always feels like I am a little child perpetually playing on this massive, beautiful playground with infinite possibilities.The things I prioritize is probably my familiarity with my tools. I would spend a lot of time to improve my craft so I wouldn’t be too slowed down when I am actually “playing” in that process, although that always happens anyway.

    Any new software or program that you’re excited to try out? Or do you find that there’s a few main ones you usually stick to? 

    Yes! There are so many softwares/tools that I want to learn! A few at the top of my list: Quill, an illustration and animation tool for Oculus Rift; Blender, the open-sourced 3D modeling pipeline; Keras, a neural network API that I’m learning now and hopefully will work on some style transfer projects! Most of the time now, I work with Touchdesigner. It plays well with many types of input (shaders, Kinect, even VR!) while still allowing you to go as low-level as you want by just coding in Python.

    Is there a particular artist who inspires you, or whose work you’re excited about?

    I love Ian Cheng‘s works. I think he adds another dimension to the usual simulations (think Conway’s Game of Life, flocking/swarming behaviors, .etc) we see in creative coding, one that is critical to our experience of real life: storytelling. Agents in the simulations are concrete, even life-like. Thus it is hard not to blur the boundaries of our real-life experience with the simulations (or maybe there is none to start with?)

  2. Interview with Multidisciplinary Artist Rory Scott

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    We chatted with multidisciplinary artist Rory Scott and talked to Rory about her experience with animation, c4d and the concept of impermanence through technology.

    As a multidisciplinary artist, do you find it difficult to streamline your artistic process? Or have you found a routine that makes it easier? 

    I’ve streamlined my process by being ok with chaos—to never stop moving and to always be in the mode of making art. But the stipulation is that everything I do must relate back to advancing my ongoing 10 year project.

    As impermanence is a central theme in your work, do you find that sharing your work digitally is a way to reconcile with that? Or do you think digital mediums also have a level of impermanence to them? 

    Funny enough, I often use my Instagram stories as an informal way to address/observe impermanence. For example, I love taking time-lapse movies of life just going by and seeing the patterns that emerge with time being slightly sped up.

    Digital mediums have both a level of impermanence and permanence to them. Once you release something, you have to be prepared for it to be out there forever. On the flip-side I feel like the shelf life for digital work can be volatile—its longevity may depend on the survival of the technologies that made it possible to exist in the first place.

    You do an incredible job at creating different dimensions and realities. Do you have a favorite program that you use when creating animations? 

    Thanks so much! My favorite program is After Effects because of its versatility. I am able to animate, work in VR and pull in elements from Cinema 4D.  Which gives me a lot to work with.

    Is there a particular artist who inspires you, or whose work you’re excited about?

    Tara Donovan. Her work is beyond and embodies every element that I love and appreciate about art.

  3. 5 New Media Artists on Where They Find Inspiration

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    In the age of new media and digital art, it can be easy to get over-stimulated and lose inspiration. Creative blocks are difficult to get through, which is why we’ve collected some insight from a talented pool of New Media artists. Here are some of  their top tips for finding inspiration: 

    Trimex Collective (@TrimexCrew)

    “I keep a secret folder with all of my references that I can go back to for inspiration[…] Conceptually I use nature and abandoned architecture in society”  (Featured Article Image/Artwork courtesy of  Trimex Collective)

    Vitoria Cribb (@louquai), Multidisciplinary Artist: 

    “I  read a lot about subjects that I’m interested in at the moment. Now I’m studying and searching more about artists who work with different media and how they handle the questions about their work and how they go about sharing their ideas.” (Featured artwork by Vitória Cribb)

    ThisReo (@ThisReo)

    “I get my inspiration from so many places. Traveling, movies, music, nature, psychedelics, love, sex, great conversations, food, museums, architecture and of course, the internet.” (Featured artwork by REO)

    Blake Kathryn (@BlakeKathryn

    “Cinematography is a giant pull. Living in LA, I quickly adapted to the cinephile lifestyle. Mindless sketching, taking mental breaks through long walks, and recently browsing random library finds are all great conceptual fodder as well. In general, the more steps I take away from my practice, the more I’m able to dig within myself to pull out authentic ideas and feel confident in bringing it to fruition.” (Featured artwork by Blake Kathryn)

    Alida Sun (@alidasun)

    On mathematics and mythology as inspirations:

    “They came from sustained rootlessness mixed with relentless curiosity and concern. I reckon they’ve morphed into something stranger and more intense as the end of the Anthropocene draws closer and closer — nothing like an increasingly urgent need to imagine ways out of the imaginable to fire up one’s creative visions, at least as far as I’m concerned!” (Featured artwork by Alida Sun)

  4. Interview | In Conversation with Jacqueline Dugal

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    Meet Jacqueline Dugal, a contemporary dancer, choreographer, and educator who’s currently on our radar. Influenced by science, psychology, and social issues, Dugal reveals their journey in acknowledging themselves as a true artist, and how they fuse technology with their craft.

    Lightbox: We like what you do. Tell us a little a bit about your work…

    Jacqueline Dugal: Thanks Lightbox! I’m primarily a performer and choreographer. Using contemporary dance as my medium, I enjoy setting work that is confrontational as to disrupt routine and rid the fake façade that mainstream society often outwardly displays. Psychology, science, and social issues often influence my work. My aesthetic is grounded, physical, animalistic and usually on the dark side. I’m not interested in the pretty things – we see enough of that in the media, I’m interested in the ugly, the contorted, and the beauty in the deconstructed, distorted and the unusual – that’s my type of beautiful.

    LB: What inspires your artistry? 

    JD: People, personal experience, memory, readings, theories, science, psychology, and passionate opinions inspire my work. Sometimes my work begins from language and concept into a full movement work and sometimes the movement seeps out of my body and I discover the words to describe it later on in the process.

    Photo Credit: Jacqueline Dugal by Gisella Sorrentino Gaze Photography

    LB: Did you always know you wanted to be an artist?

    JD: No. I wanted to be many things growing up – a house painter, a ballerina, a forensic anthropologist – but I always knew that I wanted to stay curious, to be an independent thinker and creator with room to take risks and fail in order to find the answers I was looking for – so I guess maybe part of me always knew I wanted to be an artist.

    I think it took time for me to truly feel confident calling myself “an artist”. I was “a dancer” for a long time, but becoming an artist took time, work, research, and letting go.

    LB: What comes first? Art or technology? 

    JD: Art. Always. (I’m still the type of person who prefers a paper planner over Google Calendar.) My artistic work usually begins in the body, then finds it’s way onto paper, sometimes technological elements will present as inspiration or tools to work with but those elements usually come second for me as a way to amplify the work or have a conversation with it. However, art & technology are not always separate….that’s when I find them most fascinating.

    Photo Credit: Cognitive Dissonance – Dugal – by Almeida Photography

    LB: So what’s next?

    JD: In the immediate future, I’m finishing up a Queens tour in conjunction with Queensboro dance Festival with a work I started 4 years ago and have revived this year, Tension of the Release, which closes at Queen’s Theatre October 14th. Then I’m looking forward to diving head first into research on a new work – lots of studio time, reading, writing, and reflecting in addition to finalizing all the moving pieces for Dugal Dance 2019.

    LB: Name  three  artists  to  watch  and  tell  us  why  you  chose them?

    JD: This is real hard to narrow down….
    Alexeya – she combines both loves of music & dance beautifully and is fierce as always! Kelsey Rondeau aka Kalandra Bankhead is a fabulous performer expanding the edges of modern dance and drag in ways that amaze and captivate me. Jamie Amadruto aka VØID, Producer, Musician & DJ – Jamie provides a new feel of music depicting raw emotions and his beats are grimey and delicious! (He also happens to be the love of my life.)

    Follow her on Instagram at: @jacquelinedugal

    Feature Image:  Jacqui Dugal performing solo Redux, a collaboration between choreographer Jacqui Dugal and composer Brett Copeland, at COCO Dance Festival in Trinidad & Tobago’s Queen’s Hall

  5. Artist Interview | Jillian Barkley

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    We sat down with Lightbox Lab artist, Jillian Barkley to discuss her upcoming show and more. 

    Lightbox: Give us the breakdown. What does it mean to be a visual artist and experiential designer? How do you approach your work?

    Jillian Barkley: I think being a visual artist is different for everyone. A lot of artists approach their work with a specific message or meaning in mind, but my work is more about creating things I wish existed. Most of my 2D work is creating these kind of weird abstract scenes that maybe couldn’t exist in this dimension but something you could experience in a dream. I try to apply the same philosophy when creating environmental work. For me, allowing people to have that moment of transcendence as if they’ve peeked into another world is the ultimate measure of a successful installation.

    LB: Does your freelance work influence your artwork? If so, how?

    JB: I don’t think my freelance work directly influences my art, but I do think it makes me a better artist. I tend to work primarily with tech companies, so having the opportunity to take a brand that exists only in the digital ether and bring them to life in a physical way is a really special thing but also comes with its own set of challenges. I’m grateful for the learning opportunities those jobs have afforded me and I think ultimately has made me a stronger creative.

    LB: If not an artist, then what would you be?

    JB: When I was a kid I really wanted to be a dancer. I would watch MTV for hours and memorize dance moves and by the time I was in high school I was taking lessons every day after school. I still take classes recreationally, and will dance in my art studio often.

    LB: What comes first, the art or the technology?

    JB: Always the art. If an idea can be made stronger through technology then I’m happy to incorporate it, but I think a lot of people get swept up in what’s cutting edge because it’s new and not necessarily because it’s interesting.

    LB: Why Lightbox?

    JB: Lightbox isn’t a traditional gallery, but more of a community hub. The residency has been very collaborative throughout, and it’s nice to build something site-specific in such a versatile and adaptive space.

  6. Artist Interview | Barak Chamo

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    We sat down with Lightbox Lab artist, Barak Chamo to discuss his upcoming show and more. 

    Lightbox: So you’re a creative technologist and interactive designer? Tell us more. 

    Barak Chamo: “Creative technologist” means different things to different people as it became sort of a catch-all title for everyone who’s doing cool and weird things with media tech, but I actually think it described my practice perfectly. I explore emerging technologies, from machine learning to virtual reality, projection mapping and whatever comes next, and try to incorporate them into my practice in a creative and artistic way.

    Learning a new technology or technique is just like learning how to play a new instrument, it becomes another tool in the palette ad the real fun and satisfaction comes from bringing these tools together to make something new. At my Lightbox residency, for example, I’m combining depth-cameras for crowd motion tracking with reactive visuals that respond to the audience. I’m also combining projection mapping with laser mapping to create an installation that exists both in front of and beyond the screen, fully immersing the audience in it.

    LB: When did you realize you were an artist?

    BC: It’s funny to be asked this question now, as I’ve been asking my professors the same one just last year. I dont’ know if I’d call myself an artist (yet, at least) but I realized that I want to pursue an artistic practice when I left the startup world and dedicated by time and effort to using technology as a creative tool and a platform for self-expression and critique. It’s an exciting journey and I feel fortunate to have been given the opportunity to showcase my work in a place like Lightbox.

    LB: What comes first, the art or the technology?

    BC: I think there’s a critical and delicate balance between art and technology, particularly in new media or media art. I’ve seen many examples of work where the balance is off in either direction. Sometimes technology comes first and the piece is informed more by an ambitious technical goal rather than a coherent artistic statement, the outcome tends to look more like a technical demo and less like a work of art. Other times, a piece is pretty much complete and a technological component is added for some added “wow”.

    I found that at least for me it’s very easy to jump the gun and over-do the tech part of a tech+art project so when developing my own work I try to consider the art / message / impact of a piece first, whether in a performance or an installation, and apply the technologies and choose the mediums that will elevate the work and bring it to the next level.

    LB: Who has inspired your craft most? 

    BC: Such a hard question! I’m constantly inspired by the colleagues I work and collaborate with, artists who’s work explore new means of creative expression and people I meet in my travels. It’s a constant stream of stimulation and inspiration that turns into new work and project ideas and avenues to explore. The field of new media and creative technology is evolving at an incredible pace and it’s important to me to keep an open mind and learn from the works and achievements of others.

    Most recently I’ve been exploring light and color interaction and have been inspired by the works of Robert Irwin and James Turrell. I’m excited to learn from their masterful manipulation of light and space and apply what I find to my practice. I’m also very much inspired by the TeamLab, a Japanese new media studio and the work done at the Ishikawa Watanabe Lab at the University of Tokyo, both pushing projection mapping in new and exciting ways.

    LB: Why Lightbox?

    BC: Lightbox is a really incredible space and its mapped surrounding allows me to design an installation that is both truly immersive and collaborative. The reason I’m still more excited about full-room projection mapping than VR or AR is that it allows the audience to experience an installation together, share reactions and moments and be immersed in it from all directions, something that I find quite wondrous.

    It’s been a pleasure working with the Lightbox team so far (shout out to Hayden the projection Wizard!). They’ve been really accommodating and gave me complete creative freedom in choosing a direction for the upcoming installation and building up both the tech and the art aspects of it.

  7. Spring Shortlist | Upcoming Artists Roundup

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    Here are the Lightbox Lab artists to look out for this spring 2018. 

    Barak ChamoBarak is an aspiring media artist, creative technologist and interaction designer. He explores the use of emerging technology as a medium for performance, storytelling and critical thought. His Lightbox Lab installation “is and exploration of dynamic audio and video, collaborative interactive musical systems and merging [of] video and laser…”

    Follow Barak on instagram: @barakchamo


    Jillian Barkley Jillian Lea Barkley is a visual artist and experiential designer living in Brooklyn, NY. She has led projects for brands like Facebook, Google, Instagram, Shutterstock, and Sony, providing creative solutions from brief to execution. Her Lightbox Lab installation will merge technology and self-care “in a meditative light and sound scape.”

    Follow Jillian on instagram: @jillianbarkley


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