The Wilderness Downtown By Aaron Koblin
The Wilderness Downtown was a piece I picked in the prior, interesting uncommon website. What I find interesting about this website is its use of using art, existing data, and coding to create a unique website tailored to each unique user. By using an existing Google map API and additional coding; Koblin programmed an interactive video for using Arcade Fire’s song, “We Used to Wait.” Pairing those elements together it made a music video for each unique viewer that is custom tailored by entering the address of your childhood home. With the help of Google labs and Chris Milk, Koblin’s programming behind all the HTML5 popup windows and visuals, the video is based around your childhood address and you can see the surrounding neighborhood via aerial view and street view. In addition, you are able to write or draw something to the younger version of you. Making the video participatory adds a unique element to a video that wasn’t seen in the past. The code used creates this music that is not constrained to any one aspect ratio let alone the same video every time someone wants to watch it. By layering the code of Google maps, HTML5 windows, and pointer based particle movements and creates this data rich environment for an interactive video for every use.
Piano and Violin Variations by Michael Bell-Smith
Piano and Violin Variations, is a piece that seemed half assed in a sense. Bell-Smith created a blog that is just catalogs photographs of two stock photographs used at a hotel chain. Perhaps, I’m just jaded in this style of work that I can attribute to Pop Art but this felt like anyone can spot something similar and copy Bell-Smith. Bell-Smith did curate all these photos on various sites and re-appropriated these images for use to make a website about piano and violins; but I feel this is still collection of images and not an art piece. It is repurposed art like Dada, but this is something I don’t consider art. My thought process on this project is that any major company with hundreds of locations probably seeks to maximize their profits by using the same assets at the majority of locations throughout their chain to cut down costs as every site is probably assembled in a cookie cutter manner. For example, Target and Macy’s uses the same visual imagery lined throughout their stores at all of their locations but I don’t see a website that catalogues this behavior like Bell-Smith’s site. Perhaps I just don’t see this as art but more like a curator of images, a historian.