Sunday, December 2, 2012

GRL vs. Jean Pierre-Herbert

        Digital media has grown into an ever present and relevant medium for experimental art over the last 60 years or so. With the development of the personal computer in the 1960s’ a whole new way to express ideas through art came into focus. There have been many brand new forms of new media and experimental art; there have also been old methods that are being reinvented through computer technology. The Graffiti Research Lab and Jean-Pierre Herbert are two artists that pioneered new ways of creating art in this digital media art field.
Jean-Pierre Herbert has been a strong presence in the digital art world for many decades; he coined the term Algorithmic Art when he developed a passion for math, science, computers and the aesthetics of lines.
 An algorithm is a term used to describe a well defined procedure; in the past it was strictly used when referring to mathematics, but more recently it is used to describe any very detailed recipe for carrying out a task.
 Therefore, Algorithmic Art is medium that comes to life through a detailed procedure, and in this case it is through an algorithmic computer program that Jean-Pierre Herbert uses to generate his artwork. He was among the first to take computer coding in a direction that was used for creating artwork in order to express.
His work is conceptual and “participates in the emergence of postmodernism.”
  He creates very dynamic and graphic pieces made up of lines and colors that interact with one another in an intimate and precise way. His work is inspired by nature: the effects wind has on sand and water. He is also inspired by music, astrophysics, art history, literature, poetry, and weather. He says his whole environment is the driving force behind his graphic art.
Graffiti Research Lab is a group of artists that are “dedicated to outfitting graffiti artists with open source technologies for urban communication.”
  They are part of an organization called Free Art and Technology Lab, or F.A.T, which is a network of artists dedicated to “enriching the public domain through the research and development of creative technologies and media.”
 F.A.T’s goal is to have all of these technologies that artist’s create in the public domain so more art can be driven into society; consequently, the creativity spreads and is readily available for everyone to share and use. Therefore, the computer programs that Graffiti Research Lab have developed, are available to the public; anyone can download the programs that they have created so anyone with the creativity, knowledge of these programs, and funds to get the supplies needed, can create the kind of art that they do. 
Graffiti Research Lab has expanded across the globe. There are different sects of this group in different places, such as Graffiti Research Lab Vienna or Graffiti  Research Lab France. They all use unique computer technologies combined with various forms of light in order to create graffiti that is reversible and does not do any damage to the property that they are ‘defacing.’ They were formed in the early 2000’s and continue to spread their message through large public pieces in their cities today. 

                                                                     In particular, a program that is used for GRL’s art form called Laser Tagging, is readily available for the public to download. This program makes it possible for an artist,or anyone really, to use a powerful laser pointer, movie projector, laptop and a building in order to ‘tag’ the space using light from the laser pointer. It is a really unique and innovative form of experimental art. It takes street art and the graffiti style into a whole new realm. There are a lot of incredible factors that make this Laser Tagging a beautiful and unique style of digital art. The artists are able to tag entire sides of buildings in a short amount of time, unlike traditional  tagging, where spreading your piece across an entire building would be nearly impossible. Using this program, the laser pointer creates the lines of the artists’ hands on the wall of the building; this allows for the piece to be seen by a wide number of people, depending on how long the artist is willing to have their laptop and projector in the space projecting the Laser Tag on the building; this method also must be done at night for the best imagery. Another very interesting aspect of this type of art is that it is temporary -- it can be videoed or photographed but the actual piece itself is wiped away the instant the artist shuts down their projector or types in the command to clear the piece. It is possible to clear the entire canvas and redraw a piece within seconds using this technology that Graffiti Research Lab have created.

In contrast, Jean-Pierre Herbert creates elaborate large Inkjet printed drawings on paper using his computer programs that he has developed; he also creates sculptures, installations, and other multimedia pieces.
 Therefore, his work is more complicated and substantial in the way that he uses computer codes to create intricate pieces that focus on his fascination with lines. His work is not so temporal -- it cannot be so easily “cleared” or erased, like GRL’s Laser Tagging. 
A specific series of Herbert’s that compares and contrasts to the Graffiti Reasearch Lab’s Laser Tagging is his most recent work made in 2012, titled Thousand Waves and Clouds. It is the most intricate and  charismatic work of Herbert’s to date; he is using his technology to create Inkjet on Niyodo paper prints. He comments about the work: “...after tiles, grids, fractals, moires, water, wind and time lines, a new series of open strings, loops, stoppages, ribbons, curved through chance operations, and rendered in many styles and experimental ways...I adapt and blend into fields, flows, and turbulences that have animated or made the space where my work has lived for almost thirty years.”

 The work blends chaos with peace by having an incomprehensible amount of thin lines moving around the picture plan interacting with each other, with splashes of various colors and line thickness. It is a very animated and playful body of work, just like GRL’s Laser Tagging. They both definitely have a playfulness to the lines used. Both bodies of work use lines in a way that has not been seen before. The lines are precise and crisp, even though one is using a laser pointer on a building, and the other is printed onto a piece of paper.
However, these two works differ in a lot of fascinating ways, as well. The GRL’s work is all about “in the moment” - they go out and do these large scale tags near busy roadways, where those that are passing by can see the message they’re creating on the building with light. It all depends on who happens to be driving or walking by at that moment in time, and what message is available to see. They clear the canvas and draw a new piece with the laser very quickly, and it is very different from the way that Herbert’s work is presented to the public. His works are created and installed into galleries and museums across the world. The audience is much more limited this way compared to Graffiti Research Lab’s work. 
There are more obvious differences between the pieces as well: one being that Laser Tagging is created by multiple artists working together, and there are a lot of different possibilities this way. Depending on which sect of GRL you’re observing, which artist is operating the laser pointer to draw, and what building they are tagging, are all factors that go into the outcome of this art form. Herbert however works alone in creating his artwork, which can limit the outcome in each piece. 
Both artists are working in an experimental field using computer technology in a way that has never been done before. They are creating some of the most beautiful and striking artwork out there. Each work is equally appealing even though they are different in several ways. These artists have laid a foundation for digital art and the possibilities there within.  

Works Cited

"About." F.A.T. Colophon, n.d. Web. 2 Dec 2012. <>.

Donelan, Charles. "Jean-Pierre Hebert: Drawing with the Mind." Santa Barbara Independent. Santa Barbara Independent, Inc, 18 2008. Web. 2 Dec 2012.

"Graffiti Research Lab." F.A.T, 23 2009. Web. 2 Dec 2012.

Herbert, Jean-Pierre. Jean-Pierre Herbert. N.p., 25 2012. Web. 2 Dec 2012. <>.

Verostko, Roman. "ALGORITHMIC ART Composing the Score for Visual Art." . N.p., n.d. Web. 2 Dec 2012. <>.

Sunday, November 18, 2012

Questions Reading #3

1. With multi-media on the rise of popularity in the arts, will it get overdone? Will it become to complex and will viewers yearn for a sense of nostalgia and/or simplicity?

2. Where is the value in contrasting new media versus old media? What do we as readers get from reading the similarities of 1900 media art to current digital art?

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Sunday, October 21, 2012

Top 3 choices from the reading

#9 (Clocks didn't just become more accurate and more ornate.), #1 (A child takes a crayon from a box and scribbles...), #16 (But if you take a broader historical or social view...).