Thursday, April 30, 2009

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Article 6

This article made me think that there are many companies out there who are clinging onto anything they can in order to hold onto a profit.  Time Warner is obviously feverishly trying to control their copyrighted holdings.  They are probably losing more money than we can ever imagine due to You-Tube and other online video sites.  It is hard to feel bad for them because they are creating media and releasing it out into the world.  How can you expect it to stay sacred and non-touched in today's internet society?
The other thing that I kept thinking while reading this article was that any exposure is good exposure. Time Warner should do a study to see how You-Tube circulation affects the sale of their media.  I've gone onto I-tunes and seen songs in the top 100 that were from years ago (Journey-Don't Stop Believing) and wondered what prompted so many to buy them?  I have a feeling that in some cases these songs are back on these charts because of online exposure and sharing.  

business card

Saturday, April 25, 2009

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Lorenz Business Card

As an educator I am continuously upset by people who try to limit information from others. To me it sounds as though the record companies want to thwart people just because they aren't getting any money from Youtube. 
This article is proof that as long as large companies run our society, we will only be fed the media they want us to see, hear, read about. 
This also brings about an issue I have about the internet and the public school system. I don't understand why Youtube is blocked on the school's internet server. There are so many educational videos which could be downloaded. 

Rights Clash on YouTube

I feel like YouTube /Google should develop the technology to distinguish between professional music videos and amateur work. It seems pretty ridiculous that a young girl singing a Christmas carol could pose any kind of threat to the success or well being of a company like Warner. The problem arises with the fact that while the amateurs aren’t making any profit off their videos, YouTube is. I could see how Warner would want to get their hands on what they feel is rightfully theirs. (After all, the sign language teacher’s video featuring Foreigner was probably the only money Warner has made off of that band in years!) It’s hard for me to pick sides- which billion-dollar company should reap profits of these amateur videos? Hmmm…
I think its especially unfair to remove videos like Juliet Weybret’s- she is not even playing an actual recording of the song, she herself is singing it. Once you start to remove videos like this you are just asking for trouble. This freedom is why so many people use YouTube! Once they start claiming that these personal renditions are somehow copyright infringements, YouTube is going to alienate and ultimately loose the very contributors who generate their revenue.

Music, Videos and Money.

It’s always sad to see when issue with money becomes the most important thing. Clearly we value money over self-expression and creativity. I doubt this whole issue with the copyright would have happened if you Tube or Google were not involved. I feel this whole issue is going to hinder in a way the growth of aspiring artists. Typically I feel you begin your career as a singer, or musician or even a painter participating in some form of appropriation at some point or another. Like the article mention, the people who post their videos on you tube have no intention of making money off of it or doing a disservice to the original versions. They are just expressing themselves and their talents. Is Warner really that greedy? Is it really necessary for them to be all “this is my property, get off”? I think they need to set on a deal and just deal with it. They have more money then most people who post on you tube will ever have. Lame.
Although I am a fan of youtube and enjoy watching music videos on their site, Warner does have the right to block videos that feature their music. Copyrights are extremely important and are made to prevent people from stealing an artists work. If I was the writer of the song "Take on me" by A-Ha personally don't think I would appreciate someone taking my song and changing all the lyrics around, even if its for a humorous reason. Dustin McLean's video is extremely clever but when someone types in "Take on me" in the youtube search engine it would not be fair for his video to pop up next to A-Ha's. Although, I love being able to search for music on youtube it does get distracting with all the copies and covers that you have to filter through. I see Warner's point of why they would want their music removed from youtube, it isn't necessarily helping them rather it mainly improves youtube's profits.

Article 6

Looks like YouTube is not the same as it once was. I think part of the charm/coolness of YouTube was that anyone could be creative and post a video of them doing ANYthing. At leas that’s how I’ve always looked at it. Things always get more complicated when money and power become involved. I can see why Warner music would not want the original video and song up if they weren’t getting anything out of it, but why do they have to try and control the little people? People like the high school aspiring rock star and the sign language teacher are people doing creative things and are using music that they like to do it. I don’t see what big business has to lose with people like that. Sites like YouTube and make us feel as though we can truly express ourselves, but there is always someone lurking around the corner to bust us. What do they really have to lose??
My question is why won't youtube, now owned by mega mogul Google, strike a deal with warner music? Do they feel they don't need them? Or that the force of youtube will sweep the old boys' clubs rules away if they wait long enough? or that public opinion will somehow decide an outcome? I would like to be a fly on the wall, listening to that debate. That said, the question of ownership and what constitutes infringment in our brave new internetted world is ongoing. Youtube is a public forum, but lorded over by those with private interests. We've grown to think of it as a "freezone" equal oppurtunity employer (with no money exchanged.) Google is making money off of other peoples desire to show their stuff. Record companies have made innordinate profits off the backs of artists for years, because the only way for musicians to reach the masses was to be "discovered" by someone at a record co. and be promoted all the way to fame and fortune. Many have embraced independence, but the crumbling of the old ownership system has affected the artists too. While the new generation adapts to the new apparent Glastnost, there are many musicians who feel they have lost even more control of their art. I know of one well known jazz player who would stop concert if he saw someone recording it. Others see it as free publicity. For artists, the struggle has always been how can I connect my work to the public, the way I envision it, and how can I make enough money to continue to be an artist. The modes of control are forever shifting but ultimatly the issue of money emerges on either side. How bout if we do away with this pesky money thing. It complicates everything!

Tuesday, April 21, 2009


Personally, I always find this kind of research to be annoying. If you want to study the brain and it's reaction to stimuli, fine. That in itself can be fascinating. The process of all these electric impulses working together to form a concept of reality, real or created is interesting and profound. But trying to measure beauty, or to say that there is such thing as "universal beauty" seems to me ridiculous. We do not all find the same things beautiful. Maybe there are specific parts of our brains that "activate" when we find something beautiful, but any composite potrait I've seen, claiming to create "the perfect face" does nothing for me. And comparing brain centers lighting up during a deeply moving experience looking at a painting, to someone responding to it's financial or cultural "value" is just silly! (and a superficial understanding.) Obviously they are not the same in any real way. Though there are some images many people respond to positivly, I think  personal experiences including memories and dreams have as much if not more to do with personal taste then some concept of universal beauty, or an external value system. Of course we are all influenced by our cultural experience and maybe to some extent by genetic memory. I wonder what someone from a completely different culture would think, looking at some of our "masterpieces. I can't help but be reminded of the movie "the Gods must be Crazy." It seems to me this article is extremely eurocentric and egocentric on the part of the author and his subject. Their attempts try to neatly package the power of the language of art by breaking it down to compartments which they observe, but in my mind, don't understand. The part of this article I found most interesting was the concept that it is nearly impossible to translate what is in an artists mind to actualization.  I thought the idea that the reason we relate to unfinished works is that realization of the impossibility of perfection in a finished piece was correct. Now that I'm writing this, it sounds rather highbrow and pretentious. but still, somthing about it is interesting to me. I think an unfinished artwork, invites the viewer partly to finish it with thier own mind. They become part of the creative process. And that is satisfying on some level.

vector self portrait- Pinktastic

Lorenz: YouTube vs. Warner

I think that companies like Warner need to learn to pick their battles.  I understand and respect the fact that they own certain copyrights and have the right to protect them, but most of what's on YouTube seems like it should be a pretty low priority.  If a 15 year old wants to sing a Christmas carol that's been around for 60 years, why not let her sing it?  We all know it, we've all heard it a thousand times on the radio, so what's the big deal?  
I'm not sure what the correct action in this case actually is, though.  While I feel like it's a little ridiculous to target people who use a song for a few seconds in the background of a video, the copyright does belong to Warner.  If they don't want it played, that's their prerogative.  It's a tricky issue, but hopefully YouTube and Warner can come up with a sensible agreement to retain the rights of both Warner and the public.

YouTube Vs. Warner

As ridiculous as it may seem that Warner Music Group removed a 15 year old girl’s cover of a Christmas carol, I don’t necessarily disagree with them. It’s just business. The article states that YouTube has licensing deals with numerous major music companies, so for every popular song that plays on YouTube, someone is making money by allowing YouTube to keep it up on the website. For whatever reason, Warner and YouTube could not agree on a deal, so Warner is just reacting to this. I agree that pulling the video of a guy teaching sign language may be going overboard, but Warner stated that their song identifying software is automatic and has no way of distinguishing professional from amateur. This is a much more efficient way of removing videos than having someone manually go through them, which would be pretty much impossible. Warner may seem like the bad guy here, but they are just doing what they need to do. I think any other music company would do the same thing if they could not agree to terms with YouTube. As much as it stinks, people need to remember that there’s always a risk when you post something on the internet. Having Warner remove the videos is not the worst thing that could have happened, being sued would be a lot worse.

Monday, April 20, 2009

Al Greene's Self Portrait

Al Greene's Self Portrait

The New Real

This article brings up some interesting questions. I see the positive aspects of digitally reproducing great masterpieces to for example exhibit them where the artist intended originally. But I think that Walter Benjamin's concept of an art work having an aura is still true. With reproduction, or cloning this aura could be lost, or multiplyed? The artist intended to make, and made only one masterpiece. When technology alows us to clone, "one of a kinds" and put them in the place of the original it is a tribute, but it also reminds me of the missing master. More people can experience it but, is there experianc authentic?

Rights Clash on YouTube

I think the most important thing is to focus more on the professionally-made material while letting amateur videos made for fun remain on YouTube. Removing home videos with songs playing in the background is nonsense to me.

This reminds me of when I was in school for graphic design. We were told to change an image in seven distinct ways before using it in our work. I am not sure if there is any legal merit to that, but it is a good way to scare people out of using other people's work.

I'm not sure where the line should be drawn. Copyright laws should be frequently reviewed and updated to keep up with the rapidly-changing means of creating, using and sharing media.

YouTube vs Warner

I think that if the internet is the new democratizing instrument for communication that we all claim it is), then companies such as google, should be allowed to provide viewers with as many different clips, news articles, photos, songs, etc... Old businesses, and their laws no longer apply. News papers, record labels, & film studios have been making millions for years, and now as new companies and technologies rise, old ones need to find new ways of making money or they will sink. Survival of the fittist, that in the nature of capitalism, for better or worst.

YouTube vs. Warner Music

I understand that copyright is an important thing for music and even artworks itself. But since YouTube is a public website, and anyone could sign up for it, I think that people should not have to take down their video unless it is not appropriate for the public eye. Most of the users of YouTube are usually amateur, and they post up video for fun to share with friends and family. I feel that the Warner Music Group should not have had YouTube to tell the high school sophomore to take down her video, in a way it is her own version of the song. If every song is copyrighted, which it probably is, so people can’t just sing for fun, like in karaoke or other. What about American idol or America’s got talent, the contestant all sing already known songs. Even though if you tube ask everyone to take down their video because it was copyrighted, there will be other websites that will post up. The corporations will have to track down every websites. I just feel that to keep both sides happy, maybe the users should add on the artist and title of the song, so that they are not “stealing” the song, they mentioned it.


Before I began to read the article, I was looking at the picture. It felt like someone scratching the blackboard, with the chills down my spine. The white lines reminded me of that. It was as if someone did not like the painting and decided to scratch of everyone that has eyes on the painting. But the article was not really related to the artwork. I felt that it is true in a way of how people think about a artwork. It could be because they saw another style first and decides that it is beautiful. When they look at another style they may think it’s not art or something, especially, between a figurative and abstract artwork. People may choose the figurative because it is more representational, whereas the abstract one is abstract. Ever heard someone say “oh, I could do that too, how hard is it to paint a box?” and you wonder how the brain works. To me, I feel that the brain works from experience on what the person may have learned or not learned, experienced and not experienced. It would be really interesting to find out how the brain really works, when looking at artwork. Like, why a person like a certain style over another style. Is it because of experiences or is it that that’s just how the brain works.

Sunday, April 19, 2009

Warner VS Youtube

I feel that the face that Warner Bros are preventing regular people from posting covers of songs is getting to be a little ridiculous. Even videos that have a song in the background? Why? I feel like its more of a benefit because people could be watching the video and wondering who the singer really is, gaining more exposure and free advertising for the artists. These people are not making money off of doing covers, and its obvious that it is a cover. I can see Warner Bros side, but I don't think its as valid of a reason, especially trying to take innocent people to court. It makes me afraid almost to put any video up on youtube. A student where I was student teaching made a pixilation video with a popular song in the background, and it was credited, but youtube ended up deleting it because of the song. I thought it was unfair, and almost ridiculous in that matter. 
It is very hard now to copyright anything that is online. Any piece of artwork I post on the internet is basically not mine anymore. There is a lot of debate on who owns the artwork when you post it, even posting a piece of your work on Facebook. There is tiny print on Facebook that says they own any picture you post on their site, which makes me not want to post anything on there.

Warner Music Group

Warner Music Group and the other music moguls are slowly losing control of the music industry and seeking every opportunity to try win back as much money as they can with their current copyright laws. Warner Music Group needs to realize that some of their copyrighted material might actually remain popular and/or experience a renaissance because of outlets like YouTube. By dismantling the viewing process they are also decreasing viewer and listenership; which in the end might prevent the natural discovery from happening. Resources like YouTube might actually help Warner Music Group’s own sales of the original songs on their label.

As a stop gap measure, Warner Music Group needs to take a step back and let the natural creative expression happen and strike a deal with Google to a. tap into the advertising revenue, and b. try to upgrade YouTube’s software capabilities so that it can distinguish between professionally made music videos and amateur material. One hiccup is that the line between professionally made videos and amateur ones is also slowly closing. However, none of the amateur artists are trying to make a profit off the copyrighted material and therefore should not be penalized.

Saturday, April 18, 2009

YouTube vs Warner Music Group

It's time for the music industry to catch up with new media. With very few exceptions, instead of changing with the times, they have been fighting against them. When the copyright laws were written the Internet, bit torrent , and peer to peer file sharing were nonexistent. The laws are out of date, and need to be revised to work with new media like YouTube.

I would bet that if you asked individual artists if they though Juliet Weybret's cover of their song should be removed from YouTube, very few (like Metallica) would say "Yes." Progress is a result of taking ideas and building on them, remixing them, combining them into new ideas and sharing them. What the music industry, or any industry that relies on copyright law, needs to do if come up with a viable way that this can happen without turning people into targets for legal action.

Creative Commons , headed up by Lawrence Lessig, is the perfect example of how to do this. They provide legal ways to copyright material with many different clear degrees of freedom of use. Lessig has created a system that is legal, and allows for the culture of remixing and sharing of ideas. It is time for copyright law to take a huge step forward and continue to evolve with new media and the culture surrounding it.

Friday, April 17, 2009

Clements: YouTube vs Warner Music Article Response

I feel somewhat caught in the middle on this issue. I can see both sides of the story. While users like Juliet Weybret may have no intention of making a commercial profit from their videos (which happens to have copyright protected material), Google in the end makes money. On the other hand, it really stinks that Warner Music is interfering with creative expression. It would seem that allowing YouTubers to use their music would almost increase its popularity, possibly increasing their revenue...this however, is just a hypothesis.

In this age of new media and technology, music, videos, and the latest news spreads like wildfire even unintentionally. I'm not exactly sure how Warner Music is planning on preventing the posting of its material online...Like Dustin McLean, YouTubers may just migrate their videos to their own personal sites...perhaps they'll start making money and the problem will just go on and on. It's like a dog chasing its tail. Maybe it's easy to catch right now, but eventually it will quickly get dizzy.

Neuroaesthetics...sorry for the rant :)

So, as I said in class, I'm not crazy about this article:  but that might just be how my brain works :).  I would much rather leave a select few things in life a mystery, and art is one of them.  I like standing in front of a work of art and not being able to pin point what moves me.  To me, art and love and beauty and many other things just have magical qualities...and someone trying to tell me that it's not magic, it actually just has to do with how I'm "wired" makes me feel like a computer.  

So, what makes something beautiful?   I really have a hard time believing that there is something in my brain that tells me to think one work of art is more beautiful than something else.  In my own artwork, I am constantly asking the question, "do people build society or does society build people?"  I think that the way we function, what we want from life, what we avoid, what we seek...all those things have to do with the culture and society in which you are raised, and how you react to what you experience.  

One example that I can think of is Slumdog Millionaire.  America fell in love with that movie...why?  Was it wired in our brains to love that sort of movie, or that sort of story, or the way the story was told?  The music in it?  The photography?  The acting?  Was it just a perfect combination of all of those components that set off something in each of our brains?  The perfect storm to satisfy our "beauty sensors"?  I don't buy it.  I thought it was a beautiful movie, it was a great story and put me in a good mood, and I have to admit that the theme song Jai Ho makes me want to dance.  But what if we looked at the rest of the picture to explain this phenomenon?  I think one of the main themes in the movie is that hope perseveres.  Wasn't 2008 the year of hope?  Hope has been in the air, and we've all been hungry for it.  Isn't it likely that it was just the perfect timing in our society for something like that to show us the "beauty of hope"?  

I think that most things people think are human nature aren't natural at all.  Like marriage or racism or sexism.  Today these do not seem like natural tendancies, but barriers we've broken trough to a more progressive society.  But wouldn't you say there was a time where the majority said that it was un-natural for a woman to work?  To be single?  To love another woman?  Don't you think there were probably scientists that tried to prove that women were naturally wired to be mothers and supporters of their husbands?  That black men were wired differently than white men?   

We perceive all of these things, racism, marriage, sexism, etc. to either fit the norm or not. Finding a scientific explanation that says humans are naturally racist would leave us complacent in our struggles for social justice.  If we are naturally racist, then what's wrong with a little racism, we can't help it, this part of the brain makes us racist!  Too bad if gay people want rights, their brains must be malfunctioning.  A woman president?  I'd rather not risk it, my brain is not wired to accept that.  

As an artist who explores society and identity politics, I think it is very dangerous to EXPLAIN everything.  What if we're wrong?  What damage can be done?  Explaining away beauty...PROVING a perception to be true or false?  Is solving the mystery of beauty worth the risk of a false perception?  

I don't think so.  That is one can of worms I don't want to open.  I am just fine with unexplainable, mysterious, unknown beauty, life is much more interesting when you leave a little bit to chance.  

Thursday, April 16, 2009

youtube v. warner

There is an interesting dynamic that exists in a case like this. On the one hand it seems like Warner is the big bad corporation that is shutting down the little guy out of blind greed. I can hardly see how a 15 year old girl's cover of a Christmas carol really affects Warner's profits. On the other hand, youtube has become a multimillion dollar organization as well. Seeing as they profit from the amount of videos users post, they have essentially the same incentive (money) as Warner. In light of the copyright laws, I guess the only fair thing would be for youtube to give Warner a cut of the profits that they make off of their copyrighted material, but then that would open them up to every company out their doing the same thing. I don't know that I can see a solution that keeps all parties happy that repects and upholds the law. I do think that this sort of thing represents how record companies are becoming irrelevant and are resistant to change. No one buys CDs anymore, and more and more musicians are releasing their own music on the internet and are even putting it up for free. I wonder how long it will be before record companies either get with the times and accept that things are changing or else become totally obsolete and vanish...

Wednesday, April 8, 2009

Rachel Stepaniuk

Lorenz Self-Portrait

Self Portrait

Vector Goodness from Paris!

Rachel Stepaniuk: Neuroaesthetics

I find studies in neuroaesthetics to be extremely fascinating. The human brain is so complex and interesting. Why not keep studying it and see what more we can find and understand? I consider myself to be a very visual person and it’s fun to think about different areas of my brain being more active than others. However, with that said, what can we really do with what we find from such studies? Art isn’t going to change because of it, and people will still like what they like. Even if we can plot fundamental emotions on charts, it’s not going to change what we are drawn to. I don’t see why art critics would be threatened by Zeki’s work. Maybe I’m missing something, but I don’t see how advanced knowledge of processing centers in the brain will change anything when it comes to raw human perception. I would like to know more about why Zeki thinks these studies are necessary, and what can be gained from them.


The science of the aesthetic experience. I suppose I can see how this is something that scientists as well as artists would like to understand. Especially since artists attempt to evoke particular emotions through our work, and maybe understanding the many dimensions of how the brain views a piece of artwork will allow us to further explore the interaction between the viewer and art.

I suppose this study on the universal beauty is similar to the studies on what makes beautiful faces and what humans find attractive in a mate. Wouldn’t the brain react similarly if they both provoke similar experiences? I guess I find it even more interesting to think that maybe there is a formula to creating an aesthetic experience that can be measured in degrees. However, I don’t feel its possible to truly measure beauty. Like they say, beauty is in the eye of the beholder. I personally wouldn’t want someone telling me a piece of art has more beauty value then the next. I feel that would take away from the overall experience when viewing art. It would be like booking a hotel on and being told that I should go to this hotel rather then this one. I guess I think that something’s shouldn’t be measured and left to each individual to decide what they think is beautiful or not.

Graham - Neuroaesthetics

I think Zeki’s research is interesting enough but I don’t understand why the article suggests that this research could ever be anything more than just research. It’s so unrealistic that this would ever effect the art world, and suggesting that it could really shake things up just seems so silly. Are they one day going to set up brain scanners in every museum, to test people’s brain reactions to paintings? Or in the auction houses like Zeki suggests, to find out what people really think? That would never happen. I also feel like studies on what is aesthetically pleasing and so similar to this one have already been done. For example people with symmetrical faces with features of a certain size are considered beautiful, and are likely to stimulate certain receptors in the brain of a person viewing them. That may be science, but it will never stop people from forming their own opinions on what they like and sticking to them. Even if brain scanners were readily available, would anyone really care? When I look at a piece of art, I can decide for myself whether or not I like it, and if a scan of my brain contradicts my opinion, it wouldn’t change the way I think.

Tuesday, April 7, 2009

vector portrait

Andolina - Neuroaesthetics

This was one of the most interesting articles I  have read to date.  I never would have thought famous artists  working in this way. I feel each brain sees the world as it wants to be seen, just as the famous saying "beauty is in the eye of the beholder". I am wondering if this "innate" understanding of how the brain sees the world embodies more of us than just famous artists.
Zeki also mentions how one can deceive oneself when looking at art in its context, or say falling in love. He has a very scientific way of looking at art and the brain while looking at art. The article also mentions the values of art and how we are easily persuaded.
The part that interested me the most is when Zeki talks about someone having an "an eye", and could spot a fake from a real piece of art. I had recently read a book by Malcom Gladwell that mentioned instincts and had a story based on a piece of artwork that was a fake. 
This article does seem to bring a new and different light to art and its importance, especially on a scientific level.  

Lorenz: Neuroaesthetics

This was such a fascinating article!  One of the things that I found to be of particular interest was when it mentioned how our brain actually perceives a work of art.  First we register the colors, followed by form, then motion, etc.  If you really think about it, it is color that you notice first, and which draws you in to see more.  
I also found interesting the idea that a piece of art might seem more beautiful or important if it's located in a museum with a great reputation.  The example given of Duchamp's "Fountain" is an excellent example of this.  If we didn't know that it was supposed to be important, that it was done by a famous artist, or if it was in a small gallery as opposed to a major art museum, would we be interested in it at all?  


The part of Zeki’s research I find most interesting is the experiment that explores the brain’s response to art in relation to the context in which it is viewed. Does the brain react differently to work viewed in a museum/gallery versus art displayed in the streets? Is the rate we fire neurological messages dependant on if we see the art in person versus a reproduction? These are questions I would love to see explored…
Zeki’s research shows that we can measure how the brain reacts in various speeds to particular aspects of a work of art: color, form, motion, etc. The field of neuroaesthetics is fascinating and this research will undoubtedly provide new insights into the way we experience art. However, Neuroaesthetics doesn’t provide us with the full picture. Yes, our neurological makeup impacts how we perceive art, but there are many other factors that affect our experience in equally as profound and personal ways. Our memories, past experiences, particular mood- these are all factors that shape our aesthetic experience, and things that (as far as I know) can not be measured on an MRI.


Tallsman’s article brings up some really interesting points- particularly the idea of authenticity. She notes the difference between an authentic object and an authentic experience. She claims that in this day and age, authenticity has supplanted beauty as the primary criterion of value. This is definitely true- people tend to be so caught up and concerned in the authenticity or “realness” of an object/piece of art, that they fail to recognize and appreciate it’s beauty or aesthetic appeal.
Knowing Greenways films, I didn’t really now what to expect with the project. (Did anyone else see the Pillow Book? Its crazy!) I thought that a lot more of the personal voice of the director would be present, and I was pleased to see that it wasn’t! After watching the video, I became kind of fascinated with this piece and while I can see how some people might be opposed to altering such a monumental work of art, I personally found it to be both aesthetically pleasing and emotionally engaging. To my pleasant surprise, the projections seemed quite natural and harmonious when combined with the original work.

Clements: Neuroaesthetics Article Response

I loved this article. I have always been fascinated by the connections between art and science; this seems to be a true blend of the two. Zenki's research about the connection between visual appeal aka "beauty" and it's correlation to brain impulses and responses may prove to have a tremendous impact on art making in the future. If we knew exactly what was appealing to viewers on a neurological level, wouldn't it be easy to create art that was in high demand and thus very lucrative? Would this be beneficial or a detriment to the authenticity of the artistic process?

Zenki's view of art history "as the progression of the human brain’s understanding of its own capacity for visual perception" may serve as an explanation of the trends and artistic movements. Has our artistic taste changed due to the biological evolution of the human brain? The idea that we are able to determine which areas of the brain are stimulated by different visual representation such as portraiture verses landscape and the ability to identify the order in which sensory cues are perceived, for example, color before shape and form is amazing.

It is, in my opinion, human nature to be influenced by context and the information presented to us...thus, placing more value on a piece of art simply because it has been selected for exhibition in the Met is not surprising to me. Is it really beautiful and appealing, or is it appealing because it has been dubbed valuable? As intriguing as this information and data may be, I think the real excitement will come from its use which will surely be controversial...Perhaps Zenki's research may open a new Pandora's box, unleashing a plethora of new questions about aesthetics and the value of art, as well as the ethics and integrity of genuine art making.


"Beauty is in the eye of the beholder" right? The article about neuroaesthetics defines with scientific evidence what has been intuitive action for humans. However there I believe there is still an ineffable aspect about beauty which can never be proven. It is that "essesence" which is just out of our control to decide. However if funding for this research continues imagine being able to assess a person from the inside and out just on a glance. This would mean an end to all bad relationships forever!

What an interesting article and scientific theory. The concept that we could measure what most people find beautiful and use that when creating art. The idea that maybe the great masters of art, were in fact instinctive neuroscientists and have some higher understanding of how the brain views the world and beauty. Therefore, these artists could always create a visual language what was pleasurable to the eye. Imagine that scientifically we knew why we are attracted to certain pieces of art rather than an other; artists might change their style to be more pleasing to the publics’ eye and sell more artwork. This concept could be a threat to audition houses, art critics, artists, and art itself if pattern, design, composition, duration, materials uses, ideas, etc no longer mattered. And rather we classify what beautiful art is based on the publics’ overall opinion.
I think this is a very interesting scientific concept that could have some results on the art world. However, for the most part I think artists, art collectors, art critics, and etc would probably work even harder to find new ways to change art and refine beauty.

my face


Vector Self Portrait

vector self-portrait

vector self-portrait

Da Vinci

I think that this issue of creating replicas of works of art to display in the place of the originals is a strange concept. I understand that we want to preserve the original works, but what is the point of having them if they are sitting in a lightless airless box where no one can see them. By preserving the originals we are prematurely ending their existence for the purpose for which they were made. I think that there is something to be said for seeing a work of art for the original purpose for which it was made. I am not sure if it is more important for me to see the original, or the context, or just the image. I am reminded of seeing the statue of Marcus Aurelius at Capitoline Hill in Rome. In the center of the piazza there is a large replica statue where the original used to stand. Inside the museum was the original. I was much more impressed by the replica in context than the original in a white room. I felt almost the same when seeing the David in Florence. The only thing this lacks is the general sensation that I am in the presence of the actual object that was touched by Michelangelo (for example), but that is a rather fleeting sensation for myself. This very similar to the digital replica of the painting discussed in the article.
I still think that digital technologies are not quite advanced enough to create an exact replica of most works of art. An extremely high resolution digital print of a renaissance painting might be sufficient to capture the physicality of the work. Renaissance artists painted very flat, but could this work for Van Gogh? Once depth is introduced into a painting then a digital print is no longer sufficient. It seems that we already have the technology to create an accurate representation of a flat surface, and I am fairly sure that we can scan three-dimensional objects and create a perfect replica. We need to combine the two. I think if we could create a 3D replica of a painting that captures the brush strokes and depth, and colors each stroke appropriately then I think that there is little difference between owning or viewing the real thing or a replica.

You Tube

I found this discussion of YouTube to be rather interesting, though somewhat dated. The article was written in 2006 and I believe that YouTube has only grown in popularity since then. As far as I have seen, YouTube has changed little since its purchase by Google. The article discusses ways in which a monetary gain can be produced through advertising the way that television has commercials. YouTube has yet to introduce commercials before or after videos placed on the site. I think, and it would seem that the executives in charge agree, that this would be detrimental to its popularity. If YouTube did this, or charged people for membership with the sight, then competitors would create another site that would please users more. YouTube is not a revolutionary technology, but a revolutionary idea that happened to come about at the right time. Adding commercial spots, or charging would simply make for the right time for a competitor to succeed.
The idea of targeted advertising would likely be more successful. This, however, does not guarantee that a user would follow the link to the advertisers page. Likewise, television has developed easy to use technologies that allow viewers to skip commercials. TiVo and DVR have made it possible for people to record shows and fast-forward through commercials. I think that the introduction of non-intrusive targeted advertising on YouTube could eventually prove as successful as television commercials. If internet connections continue to improve, and streaming video technologies allow for better quality then YouTube could probably surpass traditional television in popularity. This coupled with many television viewers skipping commercials could make YouTube the new mainstream media. I think that television networks should start airing second runs of their shows on this platform. This would benefit the user with better quality, reduce illegal copying and sharing, and benefit the networks if targeted advertising can be implemented. Maybe something can be worked out that networks buy YouTube accounts and advertisers pay the networks to place ads on their “channels.” In this way, YouTube could remain user friendly, with limited commercial intrusions.

Beauty And Brains

I’m not sure that I understand the real significance of the findings described in the article. It seems to me that knowing which part of the brain is affected by aesthetic beauty will cause little change in the art world. First, I would imagine that this is subjective. I can’t believe that we can do a couple of brain scans while people are looking at a work of art, and suddenly decide that it is universally unpleasing to the aesthetic receptors. It could tell you whether an individual person believes that an individual work is beautiful or not, but I think on the whole we would gather little more.
Second, the article suggests that the value of works of art can change overnight, but I think the value of a work of art is not simply in its aesthetic beauty. While I do consider that highly important in a work of art it is not the only consideration, and I do not believe that art is valued in this way. I am a big fan of Marcel Duchamp, I know the article mocked his fountain, but I do not place beauty at the top of my list for the reason that I appreciate his work. Some of his works have a beauty to their construction but some are merely a snow shovel, or a urinal. According to the fears of art critics as described in the article, if I were to be tested I would discover that I do not find this work that aesthetically pleasing and therefore hate it.
I believe that there are many factors that go into deciding whether or not a work of art is valuable. When I assign value to a work in my mind I know that the decision is being based on beauty, skill, originality, concept, etc. This process determines one of many factors that go into this decision.

Monday, April 6, 2009

response: Neuroaesthetics

It's very strange that that the word, beauty, has been used as the focus of this study. My idea of beauty evolves from the first impression as I gather more knowledge and experience. To me, this applies not only to people and places, but to artwork as well. I would be curious to understand the different neurological effects of artwork seen for the first time versus artwork that is familiar to the viewer.

Zeki's research should also take trends into consideration. It's hard to believe that pleated bleached jeans and blazers with shoulder pads were once beautiful to many [raises hand]. The fact that some people, once again adopt these fashion beauties today makes my neurotransmitters chuckle.

The article mentions that the directors of auction houses may be most threatened by the research, but fails to offer that perhaps people who go to auctions have a similar aesthetic preference. This makes me wonder if Zeki himself has a narrow definition of art, despite the mention of his extensive work with artists.

It's inspiring that research is being done in an attempt to bridge the gap between art and science, but I don't think a study like this can be very useful without also investigating many important factors.


I think that Zeki’s view of art history as a study in the progression of the understanding our own visual perception is very interesting. I wonder if his research would be less controversial if he was focusing more on this aspect, and not the beauty aspect. There is still very little known about how visual perception works, and I think research with the goal to further understanding would be more valuable than what Zeki is doing. Questions like “what is beauty? “ and “what is art?” have as many different answers as there are people on this planet. People have been trying to discover the answer to that question for a very long time. If there is a universal beauty, how can you account for all the different kinds of art? Wouldn’t everything start looking the same, if we were all driven to a universal beauty? I find the idea of a universal beauty difficult. How do you account for the constantly changing styles of art and standards of beauty throughout history and between cultures?


I’m not sure why Art Critics and Auctioneers are so worried about this research. The art critic often serves as the “public relations officer” getting the art or art movement recognized by the masses, not a scientist. The art critic also serves to document the history of art while it’s happening. It’s their job to disseminate the messages, the higher-level concepts, the uniqueness, and the groundbreaking ideas from all other art; they must also think beyond color, form and aesthetic beauty. They must also think beyond the research that is being done on neuroaesthetics.

All that said, in the same way that disc jockeys used to determine the music that would become popular, art critics often times determine or influence what art will become popular. However with the influx of new radio stations on air and on the internet, as well as the tape trading and underground grass roots movement, music that might not have been discovered before is now getting into the hands of many. In the same way, good art that moves people will also find its breeding ground outside the art critic and scientific world. Possibly through the Internet, fanzines, and the like. And the labels or awards and placement in a museum may play a less significant role in the future.

At the end of the day, how many people are ONLY going to listen to a scientist tell them why they like or dislike a particular piece of art? And to further that point, how many lovers of art are ONLY going listen to what an art critic has to tell them? A person’s gut reaction will always impact their opinion regardless of what is said about the artwork.

It’s interesting to understand the reasons for our responses when observing and creating art; it doesn’t diminish our innate passion in any way. Therefore, I have no problem with a scientist doing research to understand how the brain reacts to art in order to understand how the brain functions on a deeper level.

Article 5 Response

The one question I kept asking while reading this article was, "Why does it matter so much if someone thinks a work of art is beautiful?"  Isn't beauty only one of the factors that make art "valuable" in our world?  What about the artist who made it, the circumstances behind its creation or the overall message that it conveys?  Doesn't the contextual information of a work of art have as much sway over its importance/value/regard in the art world as the aesthetic beauty of it?  If this is so, then why would art critics be so bothered by his research?  I think its really wonderful that we can map out the brain and find the specific clusters of neurons that react when one views something they like.  I don't think we need to find out if people are really lying when they say they like a work of art.  Its like making a lie detector test for people who are aloof about their taste in art.  I do, however, find it interesting the theory that specific painting movements are influenced by our brain's response to the artwork that it is interpreting.  It makes me wonder where this research is going and what it will find out next.   

Sunday, April 5, 2009

Neurological aesthetics

Personally I don't understand how being able to breakdown love or desire to a neurological pattern is a negates of love's mystery. We still don't why it happens. Scientific explanations only attempt to answer how things affect one another. I think Zeiki's studies are quite fascinating but would like to know what evidence has been held against his scientific claims as I'm sure evidence on brain function is subject to subjectivity.
Perhaps if there was a way to compare classically beautiful pictures with a graph of harmonic frequencies, evidence could be concocted.I have often wondered if there is a connection between musical harmony and visual symmetry. I think the theory of reflexivity applies to most facts and impressions about beauty , which is simply that what you think about something determines what it is ( see Observable principle).
Beauty is connected to societal norms and the visual preferences ingrained in us from previous generations. If anyone ever wishes to read a great essay about objectivity and subjectivity of beauty, written by capitalist pioneer, Adam Smith, check out : The Impartial Spectator .

Mayan MIdterm

oops!  Didn't realize we were supposed to post these!  Here's mine...sorry it's late!

Exemplar for midterm:  11th grade, "the end of society" digital collage.  What made the Mayan society fall?  What could make American society fall?  Make a digital collage that depicts what you think could destroy the society you live in.  

Saturday, April 4, 2009


I find it a bit unsettling that tastes and emotions can be deconstructed to become technical and almost mechanical sounding. On the other hand I do find Zeki’s work fascinating, but I can see why people have reacted negatively towards it. It will be really interesting to see where his next branch of research takes him, especially if he explores the context in which art is viewed. It would be intriguing to observe how differently one would react if you see a poster on the street versus if you see it in a gallery or a museum. Zeki’s insights are really powerful, and to a certain degree they do make me question taste as whole. I’m sure I’m not the only person in the world that believes some “art” should never be called that. The first time I went to the MOMA when I was twelve or thirteen years old, I remember this one piece that was, quite literally, a framed glossy piece of wall. I remember wondering why anyone would consider this to be art at all. It made me question modern and contemporary art for a very long time. Later on in college I understood a lot of what I had previously doubted, but there are still things that I suppose must just be over my head.

Universal Beauty

This is a very interesting topic that I know very little about. I feel that even with the experiments that Zeki is doing, it will be next to impossible to find or define universal beauty. Although his experiments show that certain areas of the brain respond to different stimuli and when we see something we like, the activity in whatever area increases, this does not necessarily lead to a definition of universal beauty. There are so many social factors that lead to personal preferences that must be taken into consideration. What makes one person love a piece of art and another person detest it? It would be interesting to investigate these factors as well. I wonder if he has done any experiments using works that people don't necessarily find visually stimulating or beautiful, but may find intellectually stimulating. Much of the art produced in the last century is focused more on investigating or representing a concept or idea than being an object of beauty. So I wonder whether his studies will even be relevant for much longer.
I sort of like the idea of basing the value of a piece of work based on the nuerological responses of people's brains. It would certainly shake things up in the art world and might solve the question of "Why did that piece of junk sell for $2million?!". I had to laugh at the idea of art critics and auction houses being in a state of panic.