Avant-Garde Art / Wk 6 / Final


ARTWORK: Found Tweets Colorized

DESCRIPTION: 9 small rectangular canvases (6″ x 4″), painted with a range of skin tones and displaying a single found tweet referring to essential human needs and wants.

I started thinking more about immigration after doing my first assignment for a Data Art class.  My project needed to be more abstract and less info graphic-like with lists and numbers. This led me to try to think more about the issue of how to capture more of the essence rather than showing data in a graph or bar chart. When you look around yourself, especially in NYC, all the people that you encounter or ride the train with makes you question, “why does a person or family leave their original country?” And it mostly comes down to the essential human needs of food, money, work, second chances, safety, religious freedom and a better life. Since I just finished a Twitter Bot class and learned to do searches with the Twitter API, I wanted to try something with that. For the last 10 days, I took sample of data of each of the words [money, work, second chances, safety, immigration and a better life] and collected the results. And since results for the morning might be greatly different than results at night, I tried to tooks samples of data from each hour of day.

Monitors, Projectors or Paintings? Figuring out how to display the piece
I liked how my prototype as gifs could show more tweets and my original idea for the piece was to figure out how to get real time tweets on the searches, but I realized after reading through the data that there’s a lot of things to filter out, like retweets, racist comments, spam and I’m still trying to figure out how to code that. The process of reading all the data and trying to see patterns and find meaningful tweets, I felt like this piece was turning into a collage by using found tweets by chance occurrence. And with Marina’s feedback in mind and references that she suggested, I decided to turn this into a series of paintings which would help to make it be object like and a more permanent way of capturing a digital moment that would otherwise be lost in the digital abyss. The only downside is how to pick 1 tweet to represent a whole word found.

Tweets Colorized: Many Skin Tones
I had an idea at first to photograph people and color sample their skin tone colors for a more actual representation, but lucikly one of Marina’s references, she sent along the colourstudio site and I used that as a guide for the background colors of canvases.

This piece is a mash-up of many different artists’ works that I’ve encounter during this project and have been inspired by. This has been done before and to me this reflects conceptual and procedural art in the sense that it’s not the actual product, but the idea that’s impactful. Through this project, I gained a lot more insight into the many different meanings of these ‘words’ from many different kinds of people/tweeters. Twitter contains  a lot of noise that you would rather not spend your time reading, but sometimes there are a few ideas or statements that could resonate. And Twitter is a good places to get different perspectives after an specific event or a moment.

Avant-Garde Art / Wk 5 / Draft for Final

INITIAL IDEA:  My original thought was to create a p5 or processing sketch with 3 boxes across a canvas with a line of text inside each box (similar to Jenny Holzer’s Truisms or Ben Rubin & Mark Hansen ‘s Listening Posts and using colors inspired by Byron Kim’s Synecdoche). After seeing ICP’s Perpetual Revolution: The Image and Social Change, Thomas Dworzak’s “Instagram books” collection and taking Allison Parrish’s Twitter Bot class, I thought it would be interesting to explore the Twitter API and extract snapshots of tweets associated to particular words. I wanted to take an issue like immigration or skin color and search for particular words like “immigration,” as well as words associated to it like “better life” and “dreams” on the Twitter API and display the tweets in each of the 3 boxes.


TWITTER 3.9.17 / 11am


1. In an effort to learn and practice my Processing & P5 skills, I decided to work in this medium as my final project.  Since I’m still learning how to code and parsing data, it’s taking me a while to make the code work and look the way I want. The draft above was actually done in Indesign and Photoshop, but I’m determined to code this in p5, so the API or a text file of tweets loads into the canvas automatically.
2. Extracting data from Twitter API. My initial idea was to have 3 panels, flashing different shades of skin tones with twitter feed info of the words: ‘brown’, ‘white’, ‘black’ in the tweets. These particular words are so general that they convey a wide range of meanings from actual color to people’s names, so I decided to change the word search to ‘immigration’ and the things that migrants strive for like ‘second chances’, ‘dreams’, ‘better life’, ‘happiness’ to see more positive tweets. After seeing the results for these word searches, I felt like I needed to filter out a lot of information like retweets, the user’s Twitter name and abundance of mean or negative tweets.
3. Design – 3 boxes of text vs 1 box. It’s probably better to focus on 1 line/ 1 box of text at a time. I also want to add more design elements or more animation to this so it’s something that I need to work on, as well as figuring out the coding for this.



Avant-Garde Art / Wk 4 / Conceptual Art

Conceptual Art Research: Sol LeWitt’s Wall Drawing #1085 and #46

Research & Photo Sources: Dia: Beacon, MASSMOCA

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PROPOSAL FOR FINAL: In researching the evolution of Neo-Conceptual artist, Jenny Holzer’s work from her Truisms of the late 70s to her current LED sculptural installations mixing text and art to call attention to important social issues, I plan on creating a series of p5 sketches using social media data like the Twitter API combined with graphic design elements (and some Sol LeWitt influence) to create computer generated snapshots of culture and news now. I’m envisioning 3 rectangular panels containing the pieces of text that will constantly change. The idea for the format was also inspired by a class field trip to see Mark Hansen and Ben Rubin’s artwork, Movable Type in the lobby of The New York Times. Hansen and Rubin’s piece consists of 560 small screens (280 screens on each facing wall) revealing data feeds of the NYTimes content and it’s archives.

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INSPIRATION: Jenny Holzer’s artwork

Research & Photo Sources: Jenny Holzer, MOMA, Whitney, Lustmord, Art History Archive, NYTimes, Walker Art Center, Protect, Protect, Wikipedia, Lucy Lippard’s “Six Years: The Dematerialization of the Art Object”

Avant-Garde Art / Wk 3 / The Fluxkit & George Maciunas

The Fluxkit / George Maciunas

In my curiosity to examine George Maciunas’s design work and his systematic processes behind gathering the Fluxkit and his historical charts, “Diagram of Historical Development of Fluxus and Other 4 Dimentional, Aural, Optic, Olfactory, Epithelial and Tactile Art Forms,” I choose to research the ‘Fluxkits’ which he designed and assembled. Enclosed in a black attaché case and priced at $100, the Fluxkit was a collection of small art objects made by various Fluxus artists ranging from Alison Knowles’s Bean Rolls, Ay-O’s Finger Box, Mieko Shiomi’s Endless Box, George Brecht’s Games and Puzzles, Nam June Paik’s film loops and others. These pieces were originally intended to be a part of the performance art pieces but since they were cheap to mass produce, it branched off into it’s own series of Fluxus Publishing. This Fluxus anthology of interactive boxes, games, film and a Fluxus journal, allowed the masses to explore the pieces on their own time, so as not to be reliant on “the authority of museums” who can “determine the value of art.” As multi-sensory art pieces, they were to “merge art and life towards an ideal of unfragmented enlightenment” and experience “concrete art” through everyday objects that we don’t think twice about and for what it “is.” Maciunas coined the name ‘Fluxus’ after seeing the word “flux” in a dictionary as a noun, a verb, adjective and a total of seventeen different meanings, which he used as a base for his 3-part Fluxus Manifesto of ‘PURGE’, ‘TIDE’ and ‘FUSE.’


georgemaciunas.com/learning machine
The Fluxus Experience by Hannah Higgins

Avant-Garde Art / Wk 2 / An Algorithmic Dérive

“To be lost is to be fully present, to be fully present is to be capable of being in uncertainty and mystery — REBECCA SOLNIT, A Field Guide to Getting Lost

I originally planned on following the Dada route of creating a chance collage with some elements inspired by Jean Arp, Kurt Schwitters and Francis Picabia’s Dada Movement piece, but at the last minute I switched gears and decided to delve into the Letterist and Situationist International’s dérives that sought to intervene in public process of “consuming” the “spectacle” of daily life... ” With the internet and social media, present day has even more chatter than the moving images and new cinema of the 50s and 60s. Part of the thought process for my algorithmic dérive is to go back to the mindset before smartphones and wifi, to be without the immediate responses of finding a destination quickly with Google Maps or sending a photo or a status update right away to all your friends and families, which in effect keeps you from being fully present or letting your mind wander to welcome happy accidents or chance encounters. I was also drawn to the psychogeography maps and the contemporary works of Sophie Calle’s photographs of re-familiarizing herself with the streets and people of Paris, as well as Rebecca Solnit’s book, A Field Guide to Getting Lost. New York City is very familiar to me, so the idea of getting lost and discovering new things about the city is something that I want to recapture and to also reveal inspiration for writing, photography and new meanings.

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PROTOTYPE DESCRIPTION: An algorithmic dérive using a map of Manhattan, which is divided into 5″ x 7″ sections and shuffled together like a deck of cards.  The participant picks a card from the stack which will then decide the area of the city to explore.

THINGS TO BRING (and not bring):
– Paper and Pen
– An envelope with an address of a family member, friend, foe or yourself. Add a stamp to the envelope.
– Camera (Preferably film or instant camera. For more of a challenge, limit the number of photos you take to 24 exposures or less and don’t use the delete button)
*Note: Try not to use your smartphones, laptops and ipads. If you must take it with you, bury it deep within your bag.

1. Pick up a random card from the stack to reveal a piece of a New York City map.

2. Once you arrive at your destination, walk around and take note of the first word that you see or hear that captures your attention. Write down the first letter of that word.

3. Find a public space, like a park, bench or cafe, where you can sit for a bit.

4. Count the number of people holding their smartphones and write that number down on a piece of paper. If you can observe what each person is doing on their phone, write down whether they are sending an email, checking Facebook, Snapchat or Instagram, looking at photos on their phone, looking at Google Maps, or are on a search engine?

5. Recall the first letter of the word that you wrote down. Take that first letter and think of a concept or idea that you can follow to help you explore your surroundings (Example: the letter “O” can be the word “Orange” ——> go around taking photos, drawing images or writing about or eating and tasting “orange” things that you see in your exploration of the area.)

6. Recall the number of people on smartphones that you saw when you sat down. That number will be the number of photos, drawings or lines that you need to write or capture on this journey. And if you were able to observe what a person was doing on their phone, reenact the action without a smartphone. (Example: replace the act of sending an email or text messaging with writing a letter or postcard to a friend and finding a mailbox to send it off; if you see someone on a search engine, keep your eyes out for a library).

7. At the end of the dérive, try to draw your path on the 5″ x 7″ map. Mark the spots on that map where you started and ended your journey, location of a mailbox if you mailed a letter, and anything that was significant to you.

DOCUMENTATION: By the end of the dérive, hopefully there will be a series of photographs, drawings or writing that transpired. Also by adding the path to the map, the participant can do a number of sections of the Manhattan map and piece them together in the sequential order of when it was done to create a brand new map or piece them together in it’s correct order for a personalized map. And adding a physical path on a map doesn’t necessarily have to be site specific, a mental psychogeography map can also be plotted instead.

INSPIRATION: Sophie Calle’s photographs in Paris

Avant-Garde Art / Wk 1 / DADA

In exploring the role of chance in the DADA movement, I focused on Kurt Schwitters’s collages: Revolving (1919) Blauer Vogel (1922) and his home Merzbau. Schwitters was best known for coining the name Merz which came from the German word Kommerz (commerce), a word he found by chance while creating a collage.  As a response to the aftermaths of  World War I, which ended in 1918, Schwitters said, “In the war, things were in terrible turmoil. What I had learned at the academy was of no use to me and the useful new ideas were still unready…. Everything had broken down and new things had to be made out of the fragments.” His collages were abstractions to make sense of the world around him. Throughout his life, he was constantly picking up the fragments of broken pieces and rebuilding as evident in his home, Merzbau. The original site of Merzbau in Hancover, Germany was destroyed in a Alied bomb raid during WWII, but he rebuilds version of the Merzbau at different locations of where he lived in exile during the war.

Revolving (1919) | Kurt Schwitters


Blauer Vogel (1922)  | Kurt Schwitters


Merzbau (1933)  | Kurt Schwitters | Photo: Wilhelm Redemann, 1933 © DACS 2007