Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Lecture 1: Cory Arcangel (posted 11/20/10)

Because all of the lectures required for this class were scheduled at times I had class or had to work, the teacher permitted me to watch online lectures. One such lecture was by the artist Cory Arcangel, guest lecturer at Columbia University's Digital Media Center on December 16, 2004. After watching the opening preface to his lecture, I became concerned that my eyes would grow heavy from boredom. Fortunately, it turned out to be nothing more than opening lecture jitters and Cory started to grab my attention as time progressed.

His early works included a mixture of boring and interesting stuff. I found the boring stuff, such as "The Sound of 303" and "8Bit construction Set" causing me to ask "why". I suppose the only answer would be "because he can." However, I found interesting how Quicktime can be used to for "RAM fishing" (collecting data left over in a computer's RAM). I also laughed at how he programmed a computer to open a CD tray when a user wanted to check his or her email as a prank.

The Lecture started getting more interesting when Cory displayed his Video Game projects. I found "Super Slow Tetris" to be humourous and interesting as a game I could probably beat. I enjoyed learning that games can be hacked, such as in "Super Mario Clouds", although that piece also had me wondering why. I only wish he had gone more into detail about how to hack games because there are a few games I would love to hack. His Web site didn't seem to provide any information about hacking, although he stated that he shows users how to.

Beyond the Video Game realm, Cory showed us other art projects. I especially liked "Beach Boys vs. Ghetto Boys" and how it contrasted the two eras and genres. I also liked what Cory did with "Nintendo iPod," turning regular and popular songs into Nintendo-sounding music while displaying a virtual iPod. "Pizza Party" left me someone confused as to what he was doing and why, although I once worked for Dominoe's Pizza and found it somewhat interesting.

Overall, Cory Arcangel is a talented artist. On his Web site, he answers an FAQ stating that he doesn't mind if someone "steals" his work and modifies it again. It could be argued that he's really not an artist since all he does is "steals" other people's work and reprograms them. He even refers to himself as "lazy." However, if what he does with the stolen work triggers some kind of emotional response, why not call it art?

Link to Lecture

Link to Cory Arcangel Web site

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