MODERN FAUVISM

The interactive exhibition, Modern Fauvism, endeavors to provide the audience with an illustration and a domain that allows for interaction on a familiar platform in order to compare a modern expression mechanism of Twitter, with the Expressionistic art movement of Fauvism. The exhibition will act as a catalyst for deeper analysis on the matters of the public expression forum, representations of semantics and visuals as well as historical contexts.

Modern Fauvism draws a direct comparison between the expressionistic Art Movement of Fauvism to the expressionistic movement in today’s society proliferated by the style of “Status Updates” via platforms such as Twitter. The illustrative and interactive piece aims to conceptually demonstrate the connection between the paintings of Les Fauves of the early 20th century and the Tweets of Twitter users. The exhibition also provides the audience with the potential to create their own Fauvist piece via a Tweet, further solidifying the visual and historical connection.

The term “Fauvism” originated from a critic, Louis Vauxcelles, who viewed the 1905 exhibition in Salon d’Automne, and wrote that the painters were like “les fauves” or “wild beasts.” The term was appropriated into use by the painters themselves, amongst whom were Henri Matisse and André Derain. The short and loosely defined movement approximately spanned between 1900 to 1910. Fauvism can be defined by overemphasized painterly qualities exhibiting pure, vivid colors, impulsive brushwork and rudimentary forms that contributed to an expressionistic and supersaturated emotional quality. Their technique was in stark contrast to the realistic and representational attributes valued at the Royal Academy of Art and in the predecessor art movement, Impressionism. Raw, explosive color and juxtaposition of unique elements were the foundation and primary expression of the movement. Fauvism was the first introduction to the larger and more encompassing defined movement of Expressionism.

Twitter can be dichotomized into two primary functionalities – to inform and to express. In order to draw the comparison between Twitter and Fauvism, one must focus on the latter of the two applications Twitter possesses: Twitter as a personal expression platform. Tweets are composed of 140 characters or less. In order to fully take advantage of the confined space, the Twitter user must use words impregnated with meaning that fully capitalize on semiotics amplified by the use of hashtags. Words in conjunction with hashtags have the ability to contain an exorbitantly vast amount of meaning packed within a relatively simple word space. The reader is allowed the freedom to unpack this meaning as they see fit in accordance to their own personal heuristic of context. Hashtags hold the same value within a tweet as a color would hold in a Fauvist painting. Tweets may be seen as raw, rudimentary and poorly constructed. But the ability possessed by a string of characters under 140 to elicit such strong emotions would prove otherwise. Within the Fauvist movement, many critics viewed the expression as thoughtless, bold, loud and meaningless. Those who peruse Twitter might often find themselves with similar sentiments as the critics of Fauvism.

The interactive exhibition does not aim to clearly denote one view or the other of either Fauvism or Twitter. It is not intending to make a criticism or value judgement based upon visual or semantic complexity. It does aim to draw a connection between the manner in which subject matter and meaning was and is communicated between the two transmission platforms – art movement and public expression forum. The exhibition should lead the audience to ask their own questions, draw their own conclusions and be a catalyst for thought on structure, content and affectivity.

The patch is comprised of 3 main parts. The first part is the random selection out of a specific collection of words and hashtags that utilizes the tweet4j library and the mxj object to pull information from the internet into MAX/MSP/JITTER. The selection of the chosen key word pulls from Twitter’s API and displays the most recent tweet with the key word. Based upon the randomly selected key word, the canvas changes in concurrence with a small step set of random values that were specifically chosen to denote a positive, neutral or negative classification. The random generation will run indefinitely until a member of the audience interacts with the textedit object that mimics the Twitter update text box. When “Tweet” is clicked, it opens up the webcam and the audience member becomes the portrait that is painted. The “select” object is used to act in the same way as the random generative aspect in that it will change the canvas based on the classifications of positive, neutral or negative key words. If the patch is left inactive for 60 seconds, the random generative aspect begins again. The canvas portion of the patch uses a set of Fauvist portraits for the random generative aspect and uses the webcam for the audience interactive element. Jitter objects such as jit.ameba and jit.scalebias are used to create the “fauvist” effect. The canvas will be projected onto the screen at the front of the room as if it were a painting on the wall, while the user interface of Twitter will remain on my personal computer. There will be a small board next to the computer/interactive space that gives a brief historical context to Fauvism and will include an artist statement. The artist statement will encourage the user to tweet “#modernfauvism” so that they can see themselves being included in the random generative part of the patch. I plan to let the random generation run for a short amount of time while I introduce myself and the project, and then commence the interaction to encourage involvement by the audience. Because the text box mimics Twitter, the audience should not need much instruction, if any, on how to interact.

The interactive exhibition, Modern Fauvism, endeavors to provide the audience with an illustration and a domain that allows for interaction on a familiar platform in order to compare a modern expression mechanism of Twitter, with the Expressionistic art movement of Fauvism. The exhibition will act as a catalyst for deeper analysis on the matters of the public expression forum, representations of semantics and visuals as well as historical contexts.

 

SOURCES:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fauvism

http://academics.smcvt.edu/awerbel/Survey%20of%20Art%20History%20II/FauvistCubistFuturist.htm

http://arthistory.about.com/od/modernarthistory/a/Fauvism-Art-History-101-Basics.htm

http://www.aaai.org/ocs/index.php/ICWSM/ICWSM11/paper/viewFile/2826/3237