CHAPTER IV: OBSERVATIONS OF RESULTS
The foremost important observation of results to me is that as a result of this Field Project, I have transformed my kinetic painting ability. No longer do I see myself as a low-tech kinetic painter. I have personally transformed into a high-tech kinetic painter, and my artwork has transformed from Machine Aesthetic into Computer Aesthetic. But, there are many other results as well.
Another result is that a bridge between traditional art and high-tech art has been built. This is a bridge between the traditional (hand made) painting: to art being made by the technology. Many of the traditional artist working with their hands, do not see high-tech art as real art. This is mostly because the use of eye and hand working together to create the art form is not visually apparent in most high-tech art. Looking at this same problem from the high-tech artist viewpoint, many of these high-tech artists of today reject the notion that art has to be hand made to be art. My version of kinetic painting has the potential for bringing these two opposite views together. This version of kinetic painting that I have created uses both eye-hand coordination of the artist, and high technology to create art form.
A few of the observations were totally unexpected. The main one is the use of ambient light. While I have always considered ambient light in my artwork and was aware of this important property. I have never seen the potential that I am presently going to explain. First I’ll have to state that I have skylights in my studio. Of course, as the light changes outside this affects the ambient light in my studio. One day as I was making a change to the video animation, and was playing the animation to view the results, a cloud passed over and obstructed the sun. At first, just before this happened, I was thinking to myself that the change I had just made to the video animation worked well in combination with the screen painting. Then as the cloud passed over, the change to the video animation that I though worked, suddenly didn’t. I had been under the assumption that the light patterns coming from the video animation would take the precedence over any changes in ambient light. This was a false assumption. At this point a decision had to be made. There were many questions going through my mind. Should I wait for the sun to come back out? Should I adjust the animation for cloudy days? But then on sunny days it wouldn’t have the effect desired. Since I had no way of controlling the ambient light in the daytime, I decided to work only at night. But as I continued, I realized that some of the changing affects created when the sun was out were better. Also, some of the affects created by a cloudy day were more effective. Then it occurred to me, why not incorporate changing ambient light into the artwork. So this is what I attempted to do. This way of working has added a great deal of more complications to the development of this artwork. But I think the result is worth the extra work because of the added potential to the effect.
I’ll try at this point to give you an idea of the drastic change ambient light has had on this kinetic art form. When the ambient light is bright, the screen painting is prominent in the overall look of the artwork. In other words, the video animation isn’t even seen by the viewer depending on the brightness, or it may be partially seen in varying degrees. It also works the opposite way for no ambient light. When there is no ambient light, total darkness, the screen painting isn’t seen at all. Only the video animation is seen. But as you increase the ambient light slightly the screen painting begins to appear. It seems so obvious now, that this changing ambient light would have this affect on the overall look of the kinetic painting, but until I actually saw these changes taking affect, I really didn’t understand the power of control that existed. The middle ground is to create the video animation so as to be effective in a large range of ambient light. The brightness of the video animation combined with the contrast was helpful in creating an optimal viewing experience.
Another unexpected observation that affected the results was the Plexiglas protection. There was an option to use regular clear glass, but glass is very brittle and could break. Whereas Plexiglas is just as clear as glass, but it doesn’t break as easily as glass. I may change my mind later, but I am now using a Plexiglas protection for the screen painting. This is mostly to protect it from people touching the screen painting. The screen painting could easily have a hole poked by a viewer pressing on the picture with their finger. Art patrons are very curious and often want to touch the artwork. But, the main problem with using this protection is once again the ambient light. It can leave a reflection on the Plexiglas and obscure the view. So careful attention has to be paid to the relationship of the screen painting, in relation to the positioning of the source of the ambient light. Another option is to eliminate the Plexiglas and hope for the best.
One other technical problem that wasn’t anticipated was the small computer that was attached to the wall-mount bracket. This small computer was not difficult to attach to the wall-mount bracket, but the keyboard and the mouse also had to be attached as well. Keep in mind the plasmatron monitor was not designed to have a small computer attached to it in this way. The mouse and the keyboard also had to be attached, since they could not be disconnected from the central processing unit without possibly interfering with the smooth running of the video animation. But, the mouse and the keyboard had to be attached in a way that they could be removed from the wall-mount easily. In case the video animation stopped for any reason (such as a power outage), and then the mouse could be used for restarting. These problems were not anticipated. The net result is that if you look behind the plasmatron monitor, it may appear to look a little clunky within the wall-mount bracket. But since plasmatron monitors are not made with computers built in, I had little choice if it were to be as one unit.