Andrew Thomas Huang is a Los Angeles-based director/visual artist, who studied Fine Art and Animation at the University of Southern California. His work bridges the gap between video art and film with his trademark being breaking down bodies and nonphysical objects and reintegrating, inanimate objects from the natural world coming to life. He has worked extensively with Icelandic artist Bjork and other renowned musicians and exhibited his video work at The Museum of Modern Art NYC, MoMA PS1, The Barbican Centre in London, Postmasters Gallery in NYC and the Museum of Contemporary Art in Los Angeles.
Doll Face, 2005, HD video
Doll Face is a short film about a robot with a human face who gets obsessed with TV images, trying to remake itself in their likeness. From the start of the film, the viewer is shown an old TV set, and then a silver treasure box from which pops out a robotic girl, who serves as a stand in for all girls and women that create their own persona based on what media conveys. Slowly but surely, she manages to bring her face and persona shown on the TV screen to life, putting on bright colored lipstick and implanting eyes into her face. However, as the video progresses, it appears more and more difficult for the robot to use the media screen as her mirror, as it moves away from her mechanical body. At some point, she stretches her fragile body to such a limit that it collapses.
“This is a haunting and visually stunning work of art, showing how beauty is merely a facade. How media and its messages create a subjective world, where unattainable goals often lead us to disaster.” – notes Dr. Deborah Serani, a practicing psychologist.
Cécile B. Evans is a Belgian-American new media artist, who mainly works with installation and video and is now based in Berlin. She is interested in the space between the rational and the emotional with her work typically investigating the differences between the ways we think about a subject and how we feel about it, and exploring the impact that rapidly developing technologies have on the human condition. Through the creation of fictional, simulated characters that express genuine feelings and authentic human sentiments, Evans examines the value our 21st century society places on emotion and the ways we are adapting to live in both digital and physical contexts within the same reality.
How happy can a Thing be, 2014, HD video installation
Evans’s video installation How Happy a Thing Can Be, first displayed at Wysing Arts Centre in Cambridge in 2014, features a pair of scissors, a screwdriver and a comb placed on clear Perspex rods that are installed alongside an animated HD video. The film follows the strange private lives of computer-animated versions of the same three objects, bored and hysterical, like celebrity recluses. The scissors take a bath in an upscale bathroom, and when the soundtrack turns sinister, blood streams from its handles. When a voiceover announces ‘it’s time to dance’, the scissors begins a sweeping dance solo. But this is as much an emotional breakdown as a dance break – an eruption of feeling. Truly touching in my opinion.
Jon Rafman is a Canadian digital artist, who originally studied literature and philosophy in film as he aspired to be a filmmaker. His work is concentrated around the concept of the impact of technology on human consciousness/experience. He often uses narrative in his videos to emphasize the ways in which it distances the viewers from themselves, other people, and history. Much of his work focuses on melancholy in modern social interactions, communities and virtual realities, being often quite humourous and ironic. He has explored the identities and history of some of our most common virtual worlds – Google Earth, Google Street View and Second Life.
Kool-Aid Man in Second Life, 2014, online HD video
In his 18-minute video Kool-Aid Man in Second Life Rafman created an avatar based on the sweet pink drink’s brand icon who melancholically travelled the virtual landscape’s far reaches. This work deals with how users employ their sexual fetishes to the virtual world and try to bring to life an idealized virtual self.
“Second Life is the ultimate tourist destination, it’s an endless expanse where different symbols float around together equally and free from the weight of history. It’s turbocharged Las Vegas and Dubai combined. It’s where every possibility of landscape and architecture exists.” – John Rafman
“Second Life is an artificial world that admits its own artificiality, thus representing the anarchic psyche of the Internet. I was just excited to document my discoveries and share them through my tours, but the same process was involved with both Street View and Second Life, where the historical role of the artist, the perspective of the artist, slowly entered. I learned that to be able to see reality within one’s own art, you have to be worthy of it. I came to realize that Second Life reveals a lot about the present. It reveals a world that is totally constructed from no reference points.” – John Rafman
Petra Cortright is a Los Angeles, California based digital artist who graduated from Parsons The New School for Design in New York and is mostly working with webcam videos and digital paintings. She makes gifs, jpegs, digital videos and prints that incorporate a profusion of kitsch imagery. Her playful videos usually explore the relationship between physical bodies and digital spaces. By filming herself though the webcam and adding layers of effects using cheap digital FX, the artist buries her identity and blurs the space between the body and environment.
In 2014, Cortright began a collaboration with a renowned English fashion designer, Stella McCartney, who is a fierce supporter of animal rights and a strict vegetarian. Cortright produced a series of videos that mirrored and highlighted the color palette, texture, shape, style and spirit of several garments from Stella’s collections, in which she poses and does various activities in front of a webcam in her production studio.
Fire (Fantastic Planet), 2016, webcam video.
‘I wanted to raise questions about the way we view women in a digital landscape’ – Perta Cortright.
Dot Warp With Door, 2014, webcam video.
VIRTUAL WORLD | #adidasStellaSport, 2015, webcam video.
Ed Atkins is a British artist based in London known for his video art and poetry, and is describied as one of the most prominent artists of his generation. Atkins works primarily with High Definition video and text, in which he explores the material and bodily qualities of the digital moving image, often integrating collaged, drawn, and written elements into his presentations or referencing works of literature.
Ribbons, 2014, HD video three-channel video installation.
Atkins’ Ribbons is a 10-minute video installation distributed between three screens stationed around the galleries – which were dimmed to somber effect. In this video, seemingly complex and repugnant, the artist explores the ambivalemnt relationship between real and virtual objects; between real and virtual conditions.
Ribbons features disjointed musical samples and non-logical dialogues. “Dave” is the video’s recurring figure – a naked, tattooed human who soliloquizes in ungraspable streams of consciousness and he moans along to Bach’s aria “Erbarme dich, Mein Gott.”
This video installation was first exhibited at the Serpentine Gallery in London in 2014.