Thursday, January 14, 2010

Presenter Profile: Joseph Farbrook

Joseph Farbrook
Video sculpture and virtual art installations.

Joseph Farbrook will present a selection of his digital artwork
including video sculptures, digital performance art, and virtual
reality art installations as he explores the intersection of video and
videogame perception.

image source Journal of New Media and Culture

Joseph Farbrook


Joseph Farbrook grew up in New York City and Santa Fe, raised by his father, a concrete poet, and his mother a painter. Farbrook attended the University of Colorado focusing on performance and narrative, where he wrote electronic music, poetry, and fiction. Becoming interested in a more immersive approach to narrative, he began using computers and the Internet as creative media. Subsequently discovered by the art department, he was offered a fellowship to pursue an MFA in digital art. Working in a visual arts environment, Farbrook began creating electronic installations, interactive video, and virtual reality narratives. He also experimented with media-reflexive live performances mixed with interactive screen projections. Farbrook's latest work explores the intersections between video, video games, and sculpture.

Farbrook exhibits both nationally and internationally. Recent venues include the Museum of Contemporary Art in Denver, La Fabrica Arte Contemporaneo in Guatemala, The International Center of Bethlehem in Palestine, as well as venues in Mexico, Chile, Korea, and the USA. Farbrook is presently an assistant professor of interactive media and game development at the Worcester Polytechnic Institute.

Scantly a generation ago, moving image screens were restricted to television and cinema and the content was nearly exclusively generated by corporations and conglomerates that dictated the form and aesthetic of what should and should not be seen by the masses.   The content was restricted almost entirely to news and entertainment and limited in scope to what could be sold as a commodity.
Presently, technological advances have given moving image screens an explosion of new forms and possibilities of content.   The moving images produced by the flickering lights of liquid crystal displays can be seen on the huge billboards of Times Square, advertising on the roof of taxi cabs, on supermarket cash registers, ATMs, watches, calculators, cell phones, picture frames, kitchen appliances, music players, cameras, signage, and advertising devices of all kinds.   Although television screens have been around since the thirties and movie screens longer still, it is safe to say that the moving image screen has re-emerged as a new medium and invariably (in accordance with Marshall McLuhan) there is also a new message.

Adding up the hours we spend staring into screens, it could be argued that we are seeing an ever-greater part of our lives mediated by this device.   Virtual Reality has quietly emerged on this side of the screen and embedded itself into our psyches.  The collective imagination is to an ever-greater extent being co-opted and aligning itself to the operational workings of this new prosthetic.   It is now a critical time for artists to temper this overwhelming involvement and offer insights into this reality, complete with new paradigms of perception, new ways of seeing into, and through, the ubiquitous screen.

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