[-empyre-] week four | engagement with place/from Helen

Kienke, Christopher kienke at illinois.edu
Tue Dec 1 04:44:10 AEDT 2015

Hi Everyone,

I began my career as an abstract painter and Tarek as a photographer.
Tarek and I
collaborated on the War Room a decade ago. The effort started as two
independent efforts.  We were both in our own apartments unsure how to
react to the impending invasion and subsequent war and so we started
photographing our television screens. I began to do this as a
way of bearing witness, Tarek can speak to his motivations. I continued to
photograph until President Bush stood on the back of an aircraft carrier
declared ³mission accomplished². I shut the tv off in disgust.

A couple of months later Tarek set a photo down in front of me. It was a
picture of the tv
screen. Tarek is known for practical jokes so I thought he had somehow
stolen my pictures as a joke. He assured he had not. He then showed my
over 600+ photos he had taken with his camera. I was in shock, I went home
and returned with my laptop to show him the 600+ photographs of the
television I had taken
as well. There is coincidence and then there is fate, we started to
collaborate that day and both
of us started to photograph the television again. Our archive documents
the death of a Pope, the beginning of the colonization of Mars with our
robots, the death of world leaders and the continuation of a war.
We were fortunate enough to have the work commissioned by Jack Persekian
for the Sharjah Biennial in 2005. An image of this work is in Patricia and
Dale¹s book.

Since then I have been continuing to use digital media in my work as a
tool, often incorporating traditional painting and drawing along with
digital imagery. I have included some writing about two recent projects
below to help the conservation. You can see images of the new work at:

Thanks for reading,
Chris Kienke

Exit Six
For the past five years I have been working on a series of paintings
titled Exit Six. In Exit Six, I am painting on photographs taken from the
television screen when the electronic signal is interrupted.  When the DVD
gets stuck or the network is jammed, the image on screen freezes and
becomes pixelated. Exit Six observes through this glitch. Using this
³post-analog² approach to painting, I have been able to abstract each
image to
interrupt the viewing experience in order to reflect on notions of reality
and ³virtuality². I am interested in how the visual language of film and
television informs the creation of an individual¹s beliefs and sense of
identity. My ³tele-visual² images integrate technology and painting, as
both subject and process, which
further challenges traditional notions of painting. Moreover, my
examination of digital images now situates my work within the discourse on
contemporary society and its relationship to technology.

Flag Bombs
Flag Bombs extends the Exit Six body of work by abstracting specific
images from the earlier series, through large-scale installation and
collages. I am in the first year of developing this new body of work and
this new project I am searching for ways to visually describe the
unexamined patriotism and unquestioned nationalism which I see broadcast
through daily mediated experiences on social media, television news
programs and films. The Flag Bombs project co-opts the shiny veneer of
American patriotism and Hollywood action films: the flag, fireworks, stars
and stripes, red, white and blue, explosions, hot rods and handguns in a
very literal manner. The over the top nature of this Flag Bombs project is
both a celebration of this great nation and a criticism of unquestioned
nationalistic attitudes about patriotism, which impedes current debates
about everything from the Keystone Pipeline to ISIS.  With this series of
work, I am creating artworks that get people to think about the social,
political, environmental and economic damage caused by not questioning our
countries actions and motives.


Chris Kienke
Chair of the Foundations Curriculum
Assistant Professor of Art+Design
School of Art + Design
University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign

On 11/27/15 7:56 AM, "empyre-bounces at lists.artdesign.unsw.edu.au on behalf
of Babak Fakhamzadeh" <empyre-bounces at lists.artdesign.unsw.edu.au on
behalf of babak.fakhamzadeh at gmail.com> wrote:

>----------empyre- soft-skinned space----------------------
>I suppose what you're asking about is whether any of the projects
>discussed this month also happen in the real world, as opposed to just
>online or on the screen.
>With Dérive app, we facilitate workshops where the participants create
>a deck of task cards related to their urban environment and the
>general subject of the workshop. The result is a deeper understanding
>of the urban environment the workshop is held in.
>More on this: http://deriveapp.com/s/v2/workshops/
>And, of course, the obvious, Dérive app works on a mobile device, but
>is used while exploring the real world.
>Babak Fakhamzadeh
>Babak Fakhamzadeh | babak.fakhamzadeh at gmail.com |
>Ask me for my PGP public key to send me encrypted email.
>On Thu, Nov 26, 2015 at 5:40 PM, Helen De Michiel
><helen at thirtyleaves.org> wrote:
>> ----------empyre- soft-skinned space----------------------
>> Hello friends,
>> Happy birthday wishes to Dale!  Both you and I share birthdays around
>>Thanksgiving Day (US), so we both actually have our birthdays before, on
>>or after the holiday.
>> I have a few general notes I've made reading and considering the issues
>>that you all have raised this month. These are fragments, unresolved
>>ideas that I'm thinking about these projects people are makingŠ
>> For me, I see these projects as hacks into the system.  As creative and
>>radical bursts, flares in the dark sky.
>> As an artist, I'm always looking for a coherencyŠthat's available to
>>any casual visitor, a grounding in a reality I can relate to in my real
>> Can a coherent narrative be available and understood in the abundant,
>>dynamic and decontextualized internet environment and actually have
>>meaning for people beyond the screen?
>> In the case of Lunch Love Community (evolved across platforms, and
>>recontextualized several times over four years) the 'holding frame'
>>became our live event with the short films, what we call the "Media
>>Social" to gather people together to discuss and share stories about
>>food issues that the films surface for the viewers. From sharing
>>stories, people would gain a greater awareness of the bigger ecology
>>that moved from our bodies, our communities and the environment.
>> We opened up a dialogue space which leads to awareness and, in time,
>>significant political action.  More on that in another post.
>> Let's talk more about context and engagement with specific places!
>> Helen De Michiel
>> _______________________________________________
>> empyre forum
>> empyre at lists.artdesign.unsw.edu.au
>> http://empyre.library.cornell.edu
>empyre forum
>empyre at lists.artdesign.unsw.edu.au

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