Hello everyone, today I am going to be sharing with you my collage I created. My collage, titled “The Battle of Silicon Valley”, created a digital battle scene featuring famous men of Silicon Valley. My work is arguing that these bigwig Silicon Valley guys are actually thieves and militant imperialists. In order to portray this idea, I used the “Battle of Austerlitz” painting by Gerard François and then added their faces on top of them. Also featured in the painting are people who are fighting digital injustices in our current digital environment. Moreover, I wanted to portray weapons not as swords, but as hyperlinks and mouse cursors. This places the viewer into the context of digital warfare and the digital world in general.
There are two versions of this work. The one that does not have the glitch effect is the one that I am officially submitting as it follows the requirements for sizing and resolution. However, the second version of this image is how I prefer my collage, but the glitch filter lowered the resolution of the work, making it unsuitable for submission.
I found this assignment very rewarding and tried my best to embrace the challenge of the task at hand. Through this assignment, I learned the value of skewing images to make them look more realistically placed into an environment. If I could do this assignment again, I would have spent more time finding photos of the men in a closer head position to the original painting. I think that this would have made it more realistic. All in all, I wanted to help my viewer reevaluate the entrepreneurs of Silicon Valley in a more Neoclassical and modern light. By reframing our perspective, we can begin to question our current online landscape and understand more of what motivates and drives it.
While completing this portion in ARTS104, I worked on another portion of this painting in another class: Applied Digital Studies. For the Applied Digital Studies part, I worked on animating the painting for Reclaim Hosting’s Domains 2019 Conference. The first portion of this project was to learn how to use Adobe’s Character Animator. To begin learning, I made two animated portraits of Mark Zuckerberg and Jack Dorsey. Using Photoshop, I cut up their different facial features onto separate layers and used the webcam feature of Character Animator to move their mouths, eyes, and eyebrows. I also recorded myself saying actual quotes from Zuckerberg and Dorsey that show some of their quirks.
After this initial foray, I felt more comfortable animating the painting. During that summer, I partnered with my co-worker, Jess Reingold (@jessreingold) to complete the digital painting for the conference. Together, we redid the Character Animations and animated the painting in Adobe After Effects. Jess was able to secure computer monitors, hardware, and a sturdy cart for us to display the painting at the conference. Using VLC, we were able to split the painting across multiple screens. We also created a gold frame using egg and dart molding and spray paint. Additionally, we wanted the display to continue the neoclassical image, so we bought some red velvet to cover the cords and to add a contrast to the gold. We transported the painting to Durham, North Carolina, and set it up for display. We received a lot of compliments and feedback on our painting. It also seemed to attract a lot of viewers.
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