Digital Art Culture

I am an experimental multimedia artist, student, and teacher living in Denver, CO. My latest artistic pursuits are a combination of various mediums including still image, video, sound, sculpture, light, and performance. Most recently I have been collaborating with another female artist, Heidi Higginbottom, to choreograph audio/visual performances using found objects, homemade instruments, contact microphones, and film loops. We make homemade contact microphones out of easily attainable and affordable materials and use them to amplify the sound of the movement of objects. We have used objects ranging from dishware, tile, typewriters, music boxes, sewing machines, thumb pianos, toys, water or any curious object we can get our hands on. Our intentions are not to make melodic pieces of “music”, but to isolate and arrange pure, commonplace sounds that would normally be easily lost in the proceedings of everyday life.

While these objects may be ordinary, they refer to a vast web of associations and marked memories. By arranging them, we create a new resonance in the relationships the objects and symbols have with one another. These relationships are meant to be memory cues that can be triggered by sensory experience. We are in the process of experimenting with different technologies and digital software to incorporating projections, audio delay, editing, and looping.

As a studio art major I was largely focused on traditional forms of art such as painting, drawing and photography. It was about six years ago that I began to pay more attention to the intricate and beguiling aspects of digital art culture. I was introduced to it through digital art courses being taught by a visiting professor, John Hopkins, who is a working artist and has taught and traveled internationally. Projects included collecting and arranging self-generated media and media filtered from outside sources, including field recordings, videos, still images, and lines of text.

I had not dealt with this kind of medium prior to this, so I approached it the same as I would painting or 35mm film. While the navigation of new software in a limited time span was challenging, the results of the projects left me very intrigued and curious about digital culture. I believe that the success of these projects were due to the non-linear process of collecting media without a finished product as motivation. Filtering media (books, internet, video, music, sound clips, etc.) provides an intuitive process for choosing content. It becomes a dialogue that interacts with an individual’s sensibilities and social views. Whether I am drawn to content or pure aesthetic, some aspect of the media strikes me, and I collect it.

With human interaction, technology can be used as a tool to express emotion and the individualized perspectives of human experience. Technology brings with it an efficiency that adds new timelines within our culture. Media screens flash loaded images and sounds that are intended to influence feelings and opinions about products, services, and perspectives in concert. These messages compete with each other and have conditioned us to receive information at an exponential rate. I feel a responsibility in attempting to express myself and offer a place to slow down and tap into more emotive, internalized, feelings and memories in a society saturated with advertising. This desire is what caused me to seek out the tools and skills that could place me in the vast and accessible network I was witnessing.

I believe it is of utmost importance for individuals to be informed about technologies so that they can exercise basic democracy. I had been intimidated by technology before, but I felt that placing myself outside of its existence is akin to surrendering my own rights. Technology is propelled by human curiosity, but is often used as a system of control. History is constantly redefined based on documentation. Dominant historical theories are based on those with the power to document and expose others to their material. It is crucial to actively participate in the documentation of our own history in process.

Links to check out:

Sarah H. Chung’s website is here. She can be reached at >[email protected].

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