Aparna Rao

Aparna Rao re-imagines the familiar in surprising, often humorous ways. With her collaborator Soren Pors, Rao creates high-tech art installations — a typewriter that sends emails, a camera that tracks you through the room only to make you invisible on screen — that put a playful spin on ordinary objects and interactions.

I am making web art !

I have confronted myself with the question “What is webart ?” – as many others before, posed “What is art ?”. While researching answers from different artists and thinkers, I came to the conclusion that we need to challenge the definitions of content and execution, as probable approaches to my issue. This project was inspired by John Baldessari’s “I am making Art”, from 1971. However, (rather fortunately) Art lacks of some-what a satisfactory definition, relatively easy to describe, on the other hand, difficult to define. Tolstoy once said “it is expression or application of human creative skill and imagination that creates a specific emotional link between artist and audience” – by randomly displaying public websites, as being part of my artwork, I here pose the question is appropriation from other people’s open-work actually wrong? – I am, in fact, plainly, using my code and giving relevance to others, and pronounce their work as art. At the same time so… is it hijacking and is it art?.

Link: http://webart.logic2magic.com/idoart/

The godfather of conceptual art…

John Baldessari, the conceptual artist that stated “What interests me in life is the absurdity of life.” and “I will not make any more boring art”. Just released a sort biographical film called “A Brief History of John Baldessari”. In which he shows in a fantastically fun way some of his more influential works. My personal favorite sentence from Baldessari is “Perhaps art could be – had to be – ordinary, if it was to continue to matter.”. In the 70 lots of  conceptual artist questioned them self  about the traditional process of creating art, Baldessari sad “aren’t there already enough images, without artists adding more?”. A thought that lead to recycling images and to create the photo-works for which he is now best known. Personally I really like his action of burning his entire art work up to this point, it somehow shows that a new start is possible at anytime, even for a artist that is unsatisfied with his work. But his work goes far beyond recycling images, he worked with drawing, painting, writing, photos, sculptures, video, the Internet and mobile apps. The variety of  materials and ways he creates his concepts, supports perfectly the statement of  Marshall McLuhan “the medium is the message”. And to understand the relation between the medium and the message, one could analyse a work like Baldessari video piece called “I Am Making Art (1971)”, that shows the artist reciting the titular phrase as he makes nothing more than a series of simple arm movements (he described his work by saying “Perhaps art could be just, well, pointing at things”), it seems that the symbiosis between concept, message and medium is perfect or as Steve Jobs (founder of Apple) sad “technology should be used to support the creativity of the human brain”.

Video Source: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eU7V4GyEuXA 
Homepage: http://www.baldessari.org/
A Interview with John: http://www.artnet.com/Magazine/FEATURES/davis/davis12-7-04.asp

Graphics Interchange Format (AKA: GIF) – The Birth of a Medium

Like all things set afloat in the web-o-sphere, the animated GIF format has exploded and nas been re-condensed into a twisted silent reliquary of Internet moments. Its near extinction can most likely be attributed to the success of Flash animation. However, what once was a distraction from content has now become the content, the animated GIFs are on the rise and are being created in underground art movements. Their small and fast big pixelled endless loops, turned into clean and perfect animation sequences, with rich concepts. Now that GIFs have reached a cult status, it seems we will be seeing plenty of creative works, like for example, the very promising spin-off trend called “cinemagraphs”, considerate to be a possible future to Photography. When Twitter appeared critics wrongly appointed its downfall to the fact that it only allows the user a maximum post of 140 characters. A similar limit as one encounters in a graphical sense when creating Gif narratives due to performance reasons. But creative mindes have written entire books on Twitter by adapting the written syntax, and similar developments can be expected to appear in a graphical sense in future Gif narratives.

The Video from PBS below shows the History Animated Gifs and its treands.

Understanding Giselle Beiguelman

About books
It came to my attention, the divergences between reading physical books and digital books, which led me to an interesting journey throughout Giselle Beiguelman’s work, one of the few women in technology, who are providing pioneering media work.

About Giselle Beiguelman
Giselle Beiguelman ( 1962, São Paulo) is a brazilian media artist and researcher. Although relatively unknown in comparison to other key media figures, her work has had an immense influence and impact in digital artists and media researchers.

Back in 1998, people were starting to understand the basics of Internet usage and structure, while Beiguelman was already writing about the machine as a writer, as a reader and as a selector of content. Her work «O Livro depois do Livro» focuses on some of the most important key aspects of digital content management. It also questions and compares them to printed media, regarding the differences of user interactions.

About Digital Content
Within the digital sphere, Beiguelman referred words are being recycled ― “content farms”, for instance, survive from computers which are generating / copying words from other content, in order to improve search engines; this philosophical aspect is quite interesting when we observe the role of the machine, as a learner and a provider.
Some native american tribes believe if someone takes a photo portrait of them, their souls will be stolen by this act, which is in a way like the idea of a machine re-writing content, by copying words, or stealing to create something different. In this constellation, we see a direct relation to Beiguelman’s mention of recycled words.
The bottom line is: do words themselves, hold more than their meaning, do they lose their spirit once they are copied and pasted by a machine ? Does the content lose its quality if a machine is generating and prioritizing the text itself ? The idea of an infinite book could be an interesting outcome of this concept.
Another aspect, Giselle Beiguelman talks about, is how printed books depend on their titles to be picked up by consumers, as opposed to the digital books, which tends to be picked up by its content ― content is king. Authors names, book titles are taking second stage. As a kid I remember often hearing a metaphorical phrase which sad “Don’t judge a book by its cover”, It seem that we needed technological aid to finally fulfill this philosophical issue.

About connectivity
Moreover, Beiguelman points out the fact that digital books are written with hypertext instead of plain text. This feature allows the content to interact, by using links or the notorious ‘share’ and ‘likes’ found on Facebook. These interactions enrich the content, by taking one step further to our personal interests. They enable us to manifest our opinions, by taking action directly with the content.
On the other hand, we find ourselves connected 24 hours a day, chatting, posting, e-mailing. The idea of losing Internet connection, would cause the digital generation to fall into a state of desperation. However, a printed book has no need for battery life or external cables, and a person can immerse within a word or a sentence, and experience the possibilities of wording as well as time, valuable necessity when compared to the fast pace of our digital lives.
By exploring the machine as an interface, Beiguelman focuses on the hardware ― a book or a journal have a clear size and volume, whereas a screen has customizable settings. Furthermore, she describes how we’ve moved from interacting with printed media by using our fingers, then we started using the mouse and keyboard interfaces, and we’re back to using our fingers, this time to interact with tablets.
In my opinion, by moving away from the printed format, not only we are making an ecological rationalization, we are also enabling information to be available anywhere, regardless of location. Another interesting fact is we have moved from scrolling to paging with different digital devices. Scrolling, was the most popular form of text handling due to the speed, but there aren’t enough evidences about this subject to tell if scrolling or paging affects readability performance.

Giselle Beiguelman’s work goes far beyond the issues I’ve pointed out in this short essay, therefore I highly recommend discovering her work, for anyone interested in Media studies.

Question: would this paper be more or less interesting, if you’d to discover it was auto-generated by a machine ?

Articles online:

Videos online:


Project Nr. 9 – Stairs

The Project: It is a media object that demonstrates the sensitive dependence of conditions, where every change in a nonlinear system results in a different narrative. The dynamical system displays sensitive dependence on conditions but results as a unique storyline for each viewer.

The Technical Side: The movie is never-ending, never-repeating. It is generated by 4 videos and 1 random variable that decides whether the user moves up or down the stairs. The RND movie checks on every decision, what floor the viewer currently is on and calculates the new floor number he will be on.


Research Paper: Modern happenings: how social media works as an extension for a new generation of creative minds.

“The whole purpose of education is to turn mirrors into windows” (Sydney J. Harris, Journalist for the Chicago Daily News, date )

There have never been more windows into our world, as there are now. History is being recorded and can be re-experienced by future generations through social media. Webart 2.0, stands for the beginning of a great new art movement, staged within our digitally augmented physical world. A promised land not bounded to the laws of nature like gravity, time or space. Even if not fully understood, digital tools are offering new possibilities to art works. If we believe the combinatorial evolution described above, we can envision the mixture between intellectual knowledge and a multidimensional global playground for creativity.

Osiris Roost, 2011.11 Zürich

Pdf:  Modern happenings.pdf

Project Nr. 8 – Modern Times 2

The Background: Modern Times is a 1936 comedy film by Charlie Chaplin that has his iconic Little Tramp character struggling to survive in the modern, industrialized world. The film is a comment on the desperate employment and fiscal conditions many people faced during the Great Depression, conditions created, in Chaplin’s view, by the efficiencies of modern industrialization.

The Project: Modern Times Part 2 is a project that tries to alert the viewers about today’s Great Depression, by using original movie material from Chaplin’s masterpiece and RSS feeds.

The Technical Side: The movie is a never-ending, never-repeating loop. It is generated by 5 random variables and its content comes from RSS news. Through its modular structure, the RND movie can be expanded at any desired time.


Project Nr. 7 – Vertigo

Vertigo is a type of dizziness, where there is a feeling of motion when one is stationary. The symptoms are due to a dysfunction of the vestibular system in the inner ear. It is often associated with nausea and vomiting as well as difficulties standing or walking. This piece was influenced by M.C Escher’s famous drawing called “Relativity” from 1953 and Alfred Hitchcock’s 1958 psychological thriller also called “Vertigo“.