VISI.ON.AIR. THE MAN WHO FELL TO A DIGITAL EARTH
research class by Jeroen Cluckers & Gina Poortman
In the cult film 'The Man Who Fell to Earth' (1976), an alien named Thomas Jerome Newton (played by David Bowie) visits our planet and integrates himself among the earthly population. He develops the remarkable habit of watching all available TV channels simultaneously and being stimulated by an overload of audiovisual stimuli, resulting in a hefty addiction.
What would this 'man who fell to earth' be served up if he were to come down to earth today? Never before in history has the media landscape been so fragmented. Due to an ever-increasing variety of media expressions and an appetite for self-expression, the range of channels has exploded in recent years. Whereas traditional media - such as radio and television - used to be primarily government-controlled, contemporary channels - such as YouTube, Instagram, Facebook and TikTok, among others - allow users to share and stream their own content. Invisible algorithms have taken over the TV guide function and put the viewer in "filter bubbles," causing a distorted understanding of reality. How can we, as artists, reclaim the TV guide function and formulate an artistic response to today's ever-increasing overload of audiovisual stimuli?
“The strange thing about television is that it doesn't tell you everything. It shows you everything about life on Earth, but the true mysteries remain.” - Thomas Jerome Newton
The research class 'VISI.ON.AIR. THE MAN WHO FELL TO A DIGITAL EARTH' is caught between different fields of tension; material / immaterial, analog / digital and real / virtual. For five days students curate a new format for the 'TV guide'. What does the contemporary tv guide look like? What is the function and added value of a tv guide in today's fragmented media landscape? What can a contemporary TV guide tell us about our current world and the corresponding human condition? The students are responsible for content, concept, editing, design and production of the TV guide and each will work from a role of their own choosing (e.g. designer, editor, curator, reviewer, etc.).
Fueled by students' personal artistic practice, answers and reflections are generated on research questions such as: how do you use the overload of (moving) image material as a source of inspiration for your artistic practice? How do you bring this material together to communicate in a focused way within a fragmented media landscape? How do you supplement it with your own visual material? How do you use this to communicate about your artistic practice and your work process? What does this collection of information tell us about the contemporary media landscape, people and society? What is the position of your artistic practice in the different fields of tension (material / immaterial, analogue / digital, real / virtual) that will be discussed during this research class?
Presentation research class 'VISI.ON.AIR: The Man Who Fell to a Digital Earth'
by students masterclass
Thu 28.10, 17:00 – 18:30
at Academy (Entrance hall)
and online at VISI.ON.AIR (link will follow)
This research class is part of the research project VISI.ON.AIR, with which MAXlab tries to initiate a dialogue on media, art and technology. The aim of this research project is to develop a digital TV channel. Researchers form an editorial team, conceptualize, design and develop the programs and invite students and external artists to contribute. In order to finally bring together in a tangible way what is happening within MAXlab and the Academy in the field of digital art, in the form of an experimental and eclectic survey.
(Image: The Man Who Fell to Earth © Studiocanal/Shutterstock)
>> This research class is part of the RESEARCH WEEK October 2021 and ARTICULATE 2021.