Monday, February 6, 2012

Project One Research - Markus Kleine-Vehn

Rogier van der Weyden, St. Luke Drawing a Portrait of the Virgin Mary, 1435

Link to interactive website:

     Firstly, I have to say that I find this to be a strange piece for myself to be interested in. I say this upfront because this "artwork" is more about the technology behind the user's experience and how they can alter an existing work of art through technology then anything having to do with narrative or the hand of the artist. Normally when a viewer looks at a painting or any artwork on the internet, they are only looking at small, digitized version of the much larger work. Instead in this interactive experience the Berlin-based artist Markus Kleine-Vehn developed a process by which a user can look at digital version of the der Weyden painting in 64 individualized panels that correspond to the same area and size of the original painting in accordance to the user's screen resolution (Kleine-Vehn).
     With the viewer/user able to look at and print out a specific section of the painting they are able to print out a specific new work that refers back to the original and eventually compile their own version of the painting. Now I think that this whole experience of finding this painting in a museum and then online and then being able to look at specific digitized sections of the painting is highly involved on some level with this first project's emphasis on appropriation. Instead of having to copy a whole image or work of art off of the internet, a user can now focus in one one specific section that they want to utilize to their own purposes.
     Of course, this "tool" created by Kleine-Vehn is related to one specific original work of art, which limits the widespread use for image appropriation by similar devices/experiences. Also, it does not allow the user to create a unique area of the painting to select and print - unlike programs such as Photoshop that allow for the user to highlight specifically determined areas. However, I cannot help but notice how this digital tool relates to my own interests in terms of this first project. Specifically, so far I have been developing these collages from appropriated images found on the internet - images ranging from famous political photos to varieties of animals - and in each case I have had to work from the whole original image and slowly select out the section that I want to utilize. I feel like this work by Kleine-Vehn highlights the same basic practice that I have been working with - selecting a specific part of a preexisting image and being able to manipulate it in some form after finding it.
     I honestly feel that this interactive experience is just one example of a viewer/user being able to take away something specific from a work of art - in this case, a  specific section, or sections, of an image. The user-friendliness of the interface really opens up the image to new methods of appropriation, which I find to be absolutely necessary when working with collage and appropriated imagery.



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