A Programmer's Perspective on Art

Robin Rhode

Robin Rhode is a master illusionist. Most of his art features street chalk graffiti to create an illusion of a surreal world. In a lot of his pieces, Rhode drew an object on the street in chalk, and then proceeded to interact with the drawn object as if it were real. The illusion was that it looked like he was actually interacting with the chalk object because he would pose a scene, take a picture and string a bunch of said pictures together to form an animation. Much like those comics you which require you to flip through the pages to see an animation take place. For example, one of Rhode’s pieces was of him interacting with a chalk drawn half-pipe – he created the illusion that he was skating up and down the half-pipe doing tricks.

I really enjoyed Rhode’s work. I thought a lot of the things he did were really cool because It took the phrase “use your imagination” to a whole new level. I remember when I was a kid and my mom used to tell me to use my imagination when she was really busy and didn’t have the time or energy to entertain me. The work Rhode did with the chalk and interacting with it seemed to me like a really good way I could have entertained myself all those years ago. I found it very inspiring how he took something so primitive, and created something spectacular using it.

Italy Vacation!

Pipilotti Rist

I have mixed feelings about Pipilotti Rist’s art but with all things considered I found it to be very engaging. Her art is showcased on her website inside an interactive playlist which ends up portraying her art very well – even though I found the website itself difficult to navigate. She specializes in manipulating film and video as well as what it seemed to me as flash videos. On her website you can view her art by clicking on a video which will launch a short audio clip followed by an interactive image. Mousing over certain areas of the page would bring up different aspects of the piece which i found to be very interesting – one piece in particular was a picture of a woman which would fall into place like puzzle pieces if you moused over a certain area on the screen. Another piece was a video of her pleading for help with fire digitally added to the video behind her. The video was placed in a corner of the screen which made it look as if a woman was trapped inside the computer burning. Although extreme, it nevertheless caught my attention.

Although I thought a lot of her work was disturbing (the lady burning in particular), I can’t deny that it kept me interested – which was a good thing since it made me want to view the next piece of her art on the playlist. It was as if I was on a psychedelic roller coaster through hell…but in a good way if that makes sense. Her art is vibrant, bold and unique. If you want a taste of what she does, check out the trailer for her film http://www.pepperminta.ch/.  Trust me, it speaks wonders.

Corey Arcangel

While past artist’s I’ve discussed have created art using digital tools, Arcangel uses these digital tools as art. A lot of his art is focused on old school games. For example his “Super Mario Clouds” piece is a video in which he took everything out of the original Super Mario game except for the clouds. He also modded the NES game Hogan’s Alley so that the bad guy is Andy Warhol. The rest of his art seemed to be focused on video and the more technical aspects of it.

To be honest, I didn’t really much care for his art. When I first saw the title’s of his art I was excited because a lot of them involved games and I happen to be a huge gamer nerd. However, in my opinion, his art involved taking the cool aspects of the games out and leaving the boring parts in there. Take his “Super Mario Clouds” for example; after 5 seconds of watching clouds float across the screen I was bored. Also, It felt like he didn’t put that much effort into his work. For example, “I Don’t Want to Spoil the Party” was a video of an interview with the Beetles and the only thing he changed about it was point a red pointer laser at Paul McCartney’s head the whole time…kids in the third grade could (and do) do that. However, I did enjoy some of his art – the mod he made for Hogan’s Alley was interesting and funny. In summation I enjoyed the projects that looked like he spent time on and didn’t care for the ones that looked thrown together in a few minutes.