The Pitch – MEDA301 wk6

Going off of last weeks research into Barry X Ball’s Perfect Form and how it appropriates Boccioni’s Unique Form, I would like to attempt to recreate an artwork using a different medium to the original. My pitch is a series of sculptures which take important parts of the original artworks and remove them.

For example, the Aphrodite of Milos, better known as the Venus de Milo, is quite well known for the fact that parts of the sculpture are lost; namely, the arms. Going in line with the satirical, parody, and absurdist line of research that I’ve been looking into, I plan to create a recreation of the Venus de Milo with one difference: Stick arms. I plan to give Alexandros’ great work arm reminiscent of a jolly, happy snowman.
This is just one idea out of what would hopefully be a series. Another could be taking Ball’s Perfect Form and de-perfecting it. Creating a sculpture that is intentionally flawed and dodgy. It could be made out of clay, paper mache or garbage. Venus, fixed.jpg
Doesn’t she look like she just wants a hug?

Either way, the point is to deconstruct why we take art so seriously. We hold “high art” in such an esteem, and value works greatly. in a similar vein to Alexandre-Gabriel Decamps The Experts, why can’t we as a society look at art as fun?

My aim is to have at least 4 sculptures/models, to have them be recognisable as being based off of the originals, and to elicit a humorous response from their audience. I will need to source materials (sticks, clay, etc.) and make them able to be transported with minimal risk (I’ve had issues in the past with transporting major works to and from where they were made, so this needs to be considered).

My hope is to bring a more light hearted feel to the end of the term. Tensions will be running high with assessments and exams, and so hopefully the work I undertake for this assignment will be able to counteract some of the negativity that this time of the year can bring.

Research – MEDA301 WK5

So, I love 3D printing. The concept of designing something on a computer and then having it printed out seems so futuristic and amazing. It’s this sort of technology that makes people feel as though they’re living in the future. I myself have indulged and had characters for Dungeons and Dragons 3D printed for me.

Skorr'iye.jpgUntitled-2.jpg

The thing that appeals to me is the accuracy of the printing and how what is displayed is the product presented.

One work at the MAAS was Barry X Ball’s Perfect Forms, which is a re-imagining of Umberto Boccioni’s Unique Forms of Continuity in Space. In his work, Ball utilises a milling technique to mimic the forms in the original work, “perfecting” the fluidity of the original and questioning authorship. Using modern technology he improves upon the “imperfections” of the original. He also uses an arguably better material, trading out the brass for 24 karat gold.

Barry X Ball.jpg'Unique_Forms_of_Continuity_in_Space',_1913_bronze_by_Umberto_Boccioni.jpg

This has encouraged me to work on creating projects which are imitations/improvements of famous artworks. I believe I can work my theme of satire into creating artworks that mimic the original, but add an absurdist twist to them. There are examples of this throughout pop culture, from adding the Bat Signal to Van Gough’s Starry Night.

With this in mind, I think it would be great to recreate a statue/installation, but add a Banksy style twist, changing a few key elements to completely morph what the theme and context of the work is. I’ll do more research into what projects I want to emulate for next week and add them to my blog.

Some potential ideas at the moment would be to “de-perfect” Ball’s current sculptures, completing the loop and bringing them back down into the perfect imperfection where they originated. This could include potentially creating it out of garbage, as Ball upgraded Boccioni’s work from brass to gold.

Another is to completely upgrade Ball’s/Boccioni’s work by making it digital, completely recreating it in 3D and then, if possible, printing it out. The way this “perfects” the process is that the 3D render file is available for future use and will not become tarnished or old, but remain as data.

 

Opportunities – MEDA301 wk4

This week in class we discussed how to make, take and seek opportunities. As such, I’m going to share previous times I’ve done this, as well as failures and efforts I plan to make.

To start, I’m part of a local church in Dapto, and as a part of that, I assist in our social and digital media ministries. As a part of this I get to work with a team to develop videos to help get messages across clearly, and document events hosted there. I am already a part of a tri-weekly rotation which photographs Youth group activities and helps post them to Instagram and Facebook. In the video realm, I recently completed a series of videos to encourage Youth to dream big (One of which can be found here). I’ve also completed several comedic videos as part of my Diploma and Adv. Diploma of Screen and Media.

Failures are inevitable. At one point or another, something will go wrong, or you won’t be suited to a role, and you’ll fail. I have a few of these stories, and some link in with previous examples. During my TAFE Diplomas, I decided for one of my projects to be an intentionally badly edited parody TV commercial. As such, I looked at tropes in marketing and how to intentionally look low budget. The only issue was, my teacher didn’t find it funny. I did not cater my work to my audience, and as such I received a negative review.

Another such example was less a failure in terms of talent or skills, but more a failure to make an impact. I had done a small editing job for a company’s training video, and as a form or payment was given the opportunity to sit down and have lunch with someone fairly prominently in the digital media industry. The lunch went well, we exchanged contacts and he finished by saying he would hook me up with an opportunity to sit in on the filming of a corporate ad. Sounds great, right?
Well, I arrived early to the shoot, yet apparently was not really expected. Not unexpected, as they had been given prior warning, but I wasn’t expected as they didn’t really understand why I would want to show up and just watch.
I ended up sitting in a room for a few hours, trying to make small talk and ask “the right questions”. It didn’t really work, I didn’t make a splash and they told me that I didn’t really need to come back tomorrow because it would probably be most of the same stuff anyway (and also because they most likely didn’t really want me there anyway).

And so plans; I’ve been making headway doing small social media jobs for friends of family members and their companies, so I plan to pursue that more, and I also plan on entering small scale video competitions to grow my practice and add to my show real.

Wish me luck!

Mech/Mecha/Meka: What is it with these giant robots? – DIGC335

titanfall2014-1280x720jpg-8dd520_1280wA mech (or Mecha, Meka, etc.) refers to a piloted, robotic machine in the science fiction world. As part of both my DIGC335 artefact and my DIGC310 board game, and for these subjects I am planning on creating a board* game which features a mech as its main game piece. As such, I have been researching mechs, their history, what makes a mech a mech, and how practical it is to use a mech over an autonomous robot.

*Phrase used loosely

So, where did the concept of a mech come from? As far back as the 1800’s there have been mentions of large, mechanical walking constructs, such as in H.G. Wells’ War of the Worlds, which features large, tripod robots piloted by aliens on the inside. However, where it really gained steam is from Japan. Tetsujin 28-go (Which translates to Iron Man No. 28) a Manga series about a boy and his giant robot, is the first instance in Japanese mainstream culture of a story about a giant robot. However, the Tetsujin robot was controlled externally, and so doesn’t entirely fit withing the mecha realm. Mazinger Z was the first humanoid robot to be piloted internally. As such, I began to draw a line on what was considered a mech.

With this considered, I have made the distinction that a mech is:

  • A machine
  • Piloted/able from inside
  • With humanoid characteristics (legs, arms, or limbs to that degree).

These distinctions rule out popular mechanations like tanks, space ships, Transformers and other vehicles. There is also a sense of scale involved, as often forums do not consider Tony Stark’s Iron Man suit a mech, ut would consider the larger Hulkbuster a mech. This still leaves the definition open to a range of different style mechs.

 

Now, why would you choose a mech over a remotely piloted robot? Surely it’s safer to be outside of the robot, especially when there’s going to be fighting involved? Well, I think Blizzard’s explanation of D.Va and her MEKA reason it well. Hana Song is a professional StarCraft player from Korea, when the world is struck by a robot army in a war known as the Omnic Crisis. Korea attempts to build robots to fight them, but discovers that gamers like Hanna are actually faster at reacting than the computers they can design. Human interaction and their abilities to solve problems on the fly is an excellent reason to choose a mech over just a fighting robot.

It also might be out of necessity, where an AI is either not viable or obtainable. And it’s almost certainly cheaper and less work for computer scientists to figure out what programming a robot soldier would need.

Now, for my Artefact, I am choosing to go with a more thrown-together-due-to-necessity style mech, with a kind of junkyard, more “dieselpunk” aesthetic, but still mixed into the science fiction realm of running on batteries and computers. Think slightly less militarised Titanfall mechs.

I’ll be looking further into how to bring this aesthetic to life, but also include the deeper history of giant fighting robots into my artefact game.

 

 

 

What Would You Do For A Million Dollars? -DIGC310

A question that you have no doubt been asked in your lifetime, RoosterTeeth Productions own comedy card game has you ponder where you draw the line on what you would do for a Million Dollars, But

On its surface, the game Million Dollars, But… seems to just be another Cards Against Humanity (CAH) clone, but if you delve deeper into why this game was produced, it becomes apparent that this can be much more.

The concept of “What would you do for X large sum of money?” is not new. People are constantly posing hypothetical questions with ridiculous terms and conditions to reveal or ridicule their friends/coworkers/people they meet at parties for what they’d agree to. However, RoosterTeeth’s first foray into this field came as part of a series of Minecraft game building videos (titled Let’s Builds) with Gavin Free, Geoff Lazer Ramsey, and eventually other members of the RoosterTeeth crew. Gavin would often pose a question to pass the time, as the build would regularly take many hours to complete with the tasks being menial but large scale. These would range from lose/lose situation “Would You Rather”s, and included the now popular “Million Dollars (“That’s a lot of money”), But”.

In 2015, RoosterTeeth began a series adopting that name, often reffered to in short as MDB, which involved members of the company sitting around, drinking, discussing their scenarios inter spaced with footage of them acting out what it would be like to live with those conditions on their lives.

The series now has 31 episodes across 3 seasons, with an as yet unreleased episode filmed live in Sydney, Australia at their RTX convention.

Then, in 2016, RoosterTeeth launched a KickStarter campaign to fund their card game adaptation of the show. Over the course of the month, the project recieved $1.3 million from more than 3000 backers.

 

Now, that is how the game came to be, and how I managed to get my hands on it. But how does it actually play?

Well, there are two types of cards available within the deck; A Black Trigger card and a Yellow Rule card, which when combined form a complete sentence that is usually preposterous and always begins with “Million Dollars, But…”. The game is taken in turns with one person reading out the scenarios and then determining a winner. There are a few variations in play. Players can all try complete the same Trigger card with their individual Rule cards, or they can submit full scenarios by being allowed to choose both a Black and Yellow card. There are also several ways to decide a winner. It can be whoever has the scenario the reader would most likely do, or would least likely do. There is also a variant where players place bets on whether the reader would or wouldn’t do a proposed scenario. The game leaves itself open to many house rules and player created variants to be created.

The base game and all its expansions come packaged with pre-written cards, as well as blanks in both Black and Yellow, allowing for the creation of new scenarios. The base game also comes in a lovely two part box, ornamented with the MDB logo and other thematic elements depicting luxury, with affluent looking fonts and typography.

The game is, in my opinion, incredibly fun to play, as the scenarios can often be used to branch off onto other trains of thought. The game is best played light heartedly, as the hypothetical situations are often absurdist in nature, and the game and culture around it encourage a feeling of lightness and ease of access for new players. It is definitely a party game, as the determined “winner” of each round is quite subjective due to it being based on the readers sense of humour (and sometimes self detriment), and thus should not be approached with a “serious gaming” mood.

All in all, Million Dollars, But…  is a game which RoosterTeeth created for their community in an effort to allow them to indulge in the enjoyment they were having upon their show, in a slightly more controlled and competitive setting than simply sitting and posing hypothetical scenes. It is enjoyable by both unenlightened and long time fans of RoosterTeeth, with minimal inside jokes, yet still enough to reward those who’ve taken the time to learn about the game. I highly recommend it to fans of Cards Against Humanity, the Jackbox Party Pack and other such party games, as it allows for improvised comedy, lots of laughs and a few awkward glances.

8/10, would recommend.

Hero – MEDA301 wk3

Michael Justin “Burnie” Burns

Filmmaker, Director, Writer and Internet Celebrity.

Notable Works: RoosterTeeth Productions, Red Vs. Blue, RWBY, Immersion, RT Podcast, RTX Conventions.

Burnie works primarily in the comedy department. He is a key figure in the world of machinima, using the technique before it was named. His company, RoosterTeeth Productions, has been running since 2003, well before most current/still operating internet based companies. The fact that he is an internet based content producer heavily shapes his projects, as they are often optimised for release on their website and Youtube.

In my opinion, Burnie and the whole RoosterTeeth productions (Which many would consider him the face of) is one of the biggest names in internet content production (especially looking outside of just Youtube), and definitely one of the key figures shaping how video content is produced for the Internet. One of RoosterTeeth’s subsidiary companies, Achievement Hunter, coined the term “let’s play” long before it became a popular term for video game commentary videos.

Burnie is an influential figure in the internet video production world. He was creating videos for internet distribution before Youtube was around, and continues to break ground and make headlines in the online

One of the standout things about Burnie is his ability to both manage his company, looking after the creative aspects, as well as his interactions with fans, both on and off screen. On a personal note, I received a coin that Burnie had minted with his face on it at RTX Sydney, a convention hosted by RoosterTeeth. He had these coins created so that his fans could have something to remember him by, because of the tight schedule not allowing him to stop and take photos with everyone.

Burnie’s advice (From a Reddit AMA in 2014):

Do you guys have any advice for aspiring filmmakers? I’ve been looking around and all I’ve heard/read is that the most important thing is to simply make things, which is obviously very important, but is there anything to know before you actually start making things, you know, for people who are starting from nothing? Are there any resources you could recommend?

I’m very excited for Lazer Team and will be backing as soon as I have some spare money!

The “just get started” war cry can be a little frustrating when someone feels paralyzed by the fear of taking that first step. I think Robert Rodriguez said it best in his Rebel Without A Crew biography. (Paraphrasing here): “I think that everyone has at least a dozen or so bad movies in them; the sooner you get them out the better”

Time spent making content is never wasted, even if no one ever sees it. By the time you finish one project, you have learned so much that you can apply to your next work. My first movie The Schedule would embarass me to watch today but without it, Red vs Blue would have never happened which means Rooster Teeth would not exist.

From <http://amatranscripts.com/ama/burnie_burns_2014-07-03.html>

Surreal Timeline – MEDA301 wk2

The word “Surreal” first saw use in the early 1920’s because of the rise in absurdist humour around the start of the 1900’s.

Early examples including Franz Kafka, the stream of consciousness writings of James Joyce, Jack Kerouac, William S. Burroughs, and Hunter S. Thompson, or the poetry of Dylan Thomas and E. E. Cummings.

1907 -James Joyce produces short poems called Chamber Music, joking about the sound of urine hitting a chamber pot.

1912 – Franz Kafka writes “Die Verwandlung” (The Metamorphosis), a comedy about a salesman who turns into a giant “Vermin” or insect. He reflects on how hard life is as a travelling salesman, despite the fact he has become a large insect. Reflecting upon human built priority structure verses actual needs and current circumstances. Short vs. Long term vision.

1917 – Marcel Duchamp places a urinal in an art gallery, signed under a pseudonym “R. Mutt”. He does this to force critics, gallery goers and artist to ask what qualifies as art, as well as to poke fun at the aura of “respect” around the High Art community.

Post World War 1 – Dadaism rises, a relative of Surrealism, although Absurdist/Surreal humour tends not to be quite as random as Dada. Examples of those who walk that line include Andy Warhol and Yoko Ono.

1952 – John Cage 4’33, a three-part orchestral piece that contains no notes, yet has a runtime of four minutes and thirty-three seconds.

1953 – Waiting for Godot, a parody dramatic play about characters waiting for another character named Godot, who represents God. It makes fun of the questions that the religious ask in regards to their god(s)

1966 – Rosencrantz and Guildenstern are Dead, a take upon the characters from Hamlet by William Shakespeare, which sees the events from their perspective.

1969-74 – Monty Python’s Flying Circus sees the rise of Black Comedy which deals with taboo or serious subjects, not usually joked about, but done so in a ridiculous way so as to demonstrate that it’s a joke and to offend slightly less.

1982 – The Young Ones, absurdist TV series. Both this and MPFC make heavy use of non-sequiturs.

1990’s – British Television is rampant with surreal comedies, both new and old.

The Internet in the 2000’s – With the rise of Youtube and web comics, surreal humour has become very mainstream, and is accessible to anyone in the western world.

2017 – Popular absurdist Youtuber Felix Kjellberg comes under fire for using absurdist humour to demonstrate the ridiculous possibilities of some internet based companies. UOW student Hugh Vaughan-Floyd launches his parody Instagram account Pictures_of_Leaves, which is an ongoing project which aims to point out how easy it is the garner a following on Social Media by posting fairly uninteresting, generic photos using a series of tropes (Hashtags and puns).

Drs. Mary K. Rodgers and Diana Pien analysed the subject in an essay entitled “Elephants and Marshmallows”, and wrote that “jokes are nonsensical when they fail to completely resolve incongruities,” and cited one of the many permutations of the elephant joke: “Why did the elephant sit on the marshmallow?” “Because he didn’t want to fall into the cup of hot chocolate.”*

*Chapman, Antony J.; Foot, Hugh C., eds. (1977). It’s A Funny Thing, Humor. Pergamon Press. pp. 37–40