Shigeko Kubota, a Japanese-born artist who worked in sculpture, video and installation and was married to Nam June Paik (1932–2006), died in New York on July 23. After receiving a bachelor’s degree in sculpture from Tokyo University, Shigeko Kubota moved to the United States where she studied at New York University and the New School for Social Research in the mid ’60s. Kubota encountered video through her involvement with the New York-based Fluxus Movement, which included Nam June Paik, Allison Knowles, Allan Kaprow, and George Maciunas. Continue reading “Fluxus Artist: Shigeko Kubota”
It is that time of the project that rarely ever comes. Time to be critical of what worked, what didn’t, and what surprised us. All in the hopes that next time will be much better.
What pathways did you see?
The pathways observed can probably be divided into two main categories. There was a lot of back and forth motion, a lot of linear movement. This was particularly true of David as he moved around the room. Jade however, tended to move more about the same area, orbiting around in what could be consider circles or eights.
Which ones did you predict and design for? Which were surprises?
Thinking back, we predicted a lot more of circular motion. But more important, we predicted a lot more collaboration among the users. We expected physical contact between them, at the end, they didn’t even touched once. We predicted a lot more of pushing and pulling, perhaps some rolling on the ground and a lot of expanding and contracting, both in a personal but also in a collaborative way.
What design choices did you make to influence the pathways people would take?
It is hard to say if there was a decision that influenced more than the rest but there were a couple that had a lot of weight. Moving the kinect from the ceiling to the wall in front of the performers had an immediate effect on how they would move. It literally shifted gravity, the range of possible movements. In retrospect, perhaps not really a conscient design choice, showing the performers on the screen in front of them really affected the way they moved. They seemed to be more interested on how the technology was capturing the movement than the movement itself.
Thinking about design choices it is relevant to talk about the code, even if it did not turn out as expected. The idea was to make a polygon by joining different body joints of the two performers. By showing previous polygons, the performers could see the history of their movement. This is important because it makes them aware of how their motion is not limited to space but extends through time. The visuals are a consequence of the movement but in turn these inform future possible motion.
What choices were not made? left to chance?
We only designed the interactions involved with one or two people, so the third person’s joints would not be shown on the display. And the joints selected to form lines were only left shoulder, left wrist, left hip, left foot, since we thought people might move these joints a lot. However, when the users started, they waved the hands and walked around to discover the space, with little focus on the shapes they formed.
What did people feel interacting with your piece? How big was the difference between what you intended and what actually happened?
We intended to project the screen to the wall which faces to the users, but due to the equipment locations, we could only project it on the floor. In this way, they firstly expected to see some visuals shown on the floor, but it seemed hard to understand the connections between user behavior and the projection because the visuals projected were reversed. We didn’t expect people to pay attention to the floor, but instead, we hoped they could watch the visual changes on the two computers. It might have affect how long people may understand the interactions.
After we suggested them see the computers, people could soon get the idea. But one of our programs with floating curves can only catch one user’s joints and thus couldn’t show an enclosed shape, while the other one showed a changing hexagon. We also intended that people held their hands together, and touched each other’s foot, but people tended to stay away with each other. And the shapes they formed became much wider.
Provide BEFORE and AFTER diagrams of your piece:
Alternative motions considered:
Then I remembered that it’s Thursday
It’s always Thursdays
Sometimes Thursdays have been fine
But when a day of the week hasn’t been fine,
It’s been a Thursday
Thursdays should be good
It’s a Thursday
Nothing special, to me its Thursday
Your chords on Saturday afternoons,
your hugs on Sunday morning,
your smiles on Monday chats,
your kisses on Thursday nights
Rene Magritte was a surrealist artist from Belgium, whose work was well known for its thought-provoking and witty nature. He challenged his audience’s perception of reality. The Rape was painted in 1935 and is considered highly controversial. Continue reading “Surrealism and chance in “The Rape”, 1935 by Rene Magritte”