MFA: a few first semester thoughts

This semester, I’ve seen some very talented artists produce great work despite, rather than because, of the environment they were working in. They solved hard technical problems, worked around fluke software errors, stayed up for several days straight, and held themselves to a remarkable standard in the face of exhaustion.

And they made excellent work, that, I think, will help a lot of actual people feel closer to some important history. Now the unfortunate part – these artists, almost certainly, won’t be able to use this work for their MFA. It’s not as if they won’t benefit from their work: They’ll get class credit. They’ll have nice portfolio piece(s). They may well be able to get paid contracts to do similar work – it’s conceivable that this could be a significant part of their artistic work (and a remunerative part) in the near term. But in terms of getting the degree they’re aiming for, it seems that it will likely be as if the work never happened.

When I’m feeling pessimistic, I wonder if the fact that the work has utility creates some indelible stain that prevents it from being taken as part of an MFA degree. As if the mindset of academic art is something along the lines of “it’s useful, so it can’t be Art.” What kind of educational philosophy disqualifies educationally-focused work from consideration for a higher degree? Especially – and this is a keen irony, if you ask me – when the artists doing the work have explicitly indicated that they plan on teaching as a significant component of their careers?

Nevertheless, these artists have made me proud to be part of the same program. I hope I see their work all over the place. They deserve it.

short concepts critique and feedback

Class critique feedback

  • the city could echo gross neural structures in its architecture –
  • the information flows could react to stimulus that the audience is able to hear in the sound design. This stimulus could be universal, which would further help to contextualize the visualization. I really like this idea. It seems Brechtian, and reminds me of the feedback of Jess in crit last week: Something I seem to like to do in my work is expose the artifice of the object – make the illusion consciously imperfect.
  • the buildings/city architecture could react to the information flows. I like this idea quite a lot as well – it’s accurate to the metaphor and adds visual interest.

Project 2, progress update 5

Continued working on glass, debris, and UV. Tweaked sun-and-sky a bit. The glass is being a giant pain; in order to get shards that follow the curvature of the girders, I have to split them by hand, sculpt them, re-topo them, and then vert-jockey them into place. I have a few ideas for a better workflow, but for now I know that works…it just takes forever.

Here’s my progress shot: