Exploding Art Mimbulus Mimbletonia style

A blog by Julia Felix about experiences on the CAMS New Media in NYC and Europe study abroad program.

Saturday, November 04, 2006

It's like San Felipe Casino, only everywhere and all the time...

Realization of the day: There is only about one more week of this program left. I don’t know how it went by so quickly. While people at Carleton have been studying, writing papers, and going to class, we’ve been submerging ourselves in art and culture, and more importantly (at least to me), learning about life and people. I thought life at Carleton was fast, but is life in the real world even faster? And if it is, I’m going to be who I am for the rest of my life in no time. I think right now, all of us feel this, even if it’s subconcious. Even knowing that we will be graduating in a year is a little scary. We were talking about all of this last night as the party died down, and I think all of us realized, as Julian put it, that we’ve “learned more on this trip than during all of freshman year at Carleton.”

It’s day four here in Berlin, and it’s going great. We have a nice apartment, good roommates (Stacy (again!!!), Rachel, and me), and of course, some very interesting art lectures. Most recently, lectures about public screens. We talked to two people, one who helped build many of the large public screens in Berlin, and another who told us about the direction public screens and surveillance are going in. It was a little strange having both of those lectures so close together (one on Thursday, the other on Friday), because both said very similar things. The gist of it was (this wasn’t what their presentations were about, necessarily, but it’s what I brought back from them) that public screens are going to take over the world. Or at least things seem to be going in that direction.

Public screens are definitely awesome. The first lecturer we talked with showed us some of the projects he has worked on, including the SPOTS buliding and a museum called Kunsthaus. Both of these have really interesting and beautiful screens on them. But it seems that having a few public screens in a city isn’t enough. Everyone wants more, which I think is a little weird. They claim that with these public screens, we can project art and other messages to the city, so that all people will be able to see these things, and no one will be excluded.

It all really comes down to communication. For some reason, we need to all be able to communicate with each other, whether it’s a random thought while we’re walking down the street, or a strange art movie we made in high school. But why? I don’t understand why it’s so important to show people things that they won’t necessarily care about at all. Sure the internet does this all the time, what with blogs, pretty much everything on youtube, etc., but at least with the internet, we can choose to keep watching it. We can always turn it off or open a new window.

But if these public screens go in the direction that it seems they’re going, then we can’t just turn them off or look away. We’ll see some odd movie on a building, and we’ll turn our heads only to find another movie advertising Coca Cola. My friend Lauren can’t even watch movies because they are disturbing to her somehow. Are we just going to ignore people like that? Will she be forced to walk around staring at the ground? What if they start putting screens in sidewalks?? Holy crap, the whole world is going to turn into some kind of giant movie screen, and there will be no escaping it! And then you start thinking about light pollution, noise pollution (they’re still considering whether to put sounds with the images), communication pollution....

Moral of the story: One to ten buildings with screens = cool.
Every building flashing different images and giving people epileptic seizures = Not cool.


Anonymous Mararrrr said...

Hoolia has returned!

I don't think I've ever seen one of those public screens that wasn't showing a commercial of some sort. I'm probably a bit biased, because I've only seen a limited number and pretty much only in Vienna (and of course Times Square), but it seems like that would be the more prevalent way they'd be used, just because art doesn't really pay for building such things as well as a corporate logo does.

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We hear you have also been enjoying pastries and chocolate fondue in Berlin. Don't forget the rule to run between pastry shops. I wish I could join you. Mmmm.

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