Andrew Barris
Major: Political Science
Computer Experience: Basic Photoshop/Final Cut –– I made a couple of shorts with a high school friend a few years back. Flight Simulator –– I am an avid Flight Simulator fan and have been flying since I was 12. Through this I have learned about concepts related to commercial flight and CAD.
Art Experience: Novice. Enjoy basic digital photography and have shot a few amateur digital shorts.
Interesting Fact: I first flew a plane when I was 12. I have yet to earn my private license, but hope to someday.
Interests: Pictures/digital photography




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(Credit: AP Photo/Jeff Widener)


Masking Project

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Response to Lev Manovich’s “After Effects or the Velvet Revolution”

In his article titled “After Effects or the Velvet Revolution” Lev Manovich explores the impact of computerized animation software such as Adobe’s After Effects on the way society has come to perceive new visual objects. In my opinion, this article does a great job exploring the development of After Effects and other new media composition concepts such as “Media Remixability”.

Manovich begins the article by raising an obvious, but necessary point; that is, the relationship between the exponential advance of computer animation technology and the exponential decline in the difficulty to obtain that technology. For example, he compares the cost of color graphics production in the 1980s (Quantel Paintbox, ~$160,000) to the comparatively low cost of Adobe’s After Effects software today (~$1,000). The primary effect of this transformation is that it has allowed for a much wider range of people to access and become involved in digital art and media production.

Moving on with the article, Manovich raises another important point involving the concept of media remixability and the formation of a new “metamedium”. I particularly enjoyed his analysis of this concept––which he argues began in the middle of the 1990s––as it is of great prominence in today’s culture and mass media. Although, I would argue that the whole idea of remixability began much earlier than Manovich states. Take for example the song “Sledgehammer” from Peter Gabriel’s 1986 album titled So. Gabriel’s music video for this track combined elements of live video, stop motion, Claymation, and pixilation. This method can be traced to one year earlier with the Talking Heads 1985 music video for their hit song, “Road to Nowhere”. In the modern day, it seems as if everywhere one looks the concept of remixability applies. From popular music to film to television advertising, production designers are using many different forms of new media to create one composition.

In concluding his piece, Manovich attempts to tie together the concepts spurred on by the advent of After Effects with the Czechoslovakian Velvet Revolution. He argues that like the actual Velvet Revolution, After Effects unleashed a cultural ‘revolution’ that was neither violent nor negative in nature. While I do agree with his characterization of the impact of After Effects, I do not find the correlation with the Velvet Revolution convincing. Manovich prefaces his argument by stating: "Although it may seem presumptuous to compare political and aesthetic transformation simply because they share the same non-violent quality, as we will see in a later article, the two revolutions are actually related." (8)

I was disappointed that he did not explore this comparison in greater detail later on in this piece. Manovich’s argument is bold – not to mention the title of his paper – but unfortunately he does not do enough to draw out the comparisons of the two revolutions, which leaves the reader guessing as to whether or not an actual relationship exists.

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Response to Lev Manovich, “The Poetics of Augmented Space”

In his article titled, “The Poetics of Augmented Space,” Lev Manovich discusses the changes in graphics and subsequent impacts on visual media and architecture. Manovich begins by addressing the question of how our experience with spatial forms is impacted by the adding of rich multimedia sources to those forms. Take, for example, the concrete buildings of Times Square in midtown Manhattan, New York City – our experience with these buildings is different from that with any “normal” structure because of the rich multimedia content that overlay the buildings. Manovich points to similar examples in other global cities such as Hong Kong, Seoul, and Tokyo.

Manovich guides us through the process of augmentation and how we can have interactions with the physical world via different mediums and experiences. Here, he alludes to Janett Cardiff, a Canadian-born artist who became famous for her “audio walks”. This particular example is important for us because although Cardiff did not use any advanced form of multimedia or computing, her “walks” represent an interesting realization of the augmented space theory Manovich discusses in the article. It demonstrates this sort of “invisible” layer of multimedia with which one reacts.

Another question Manovich addresses is: what is the point of augmented space? I particularly enjoyed this question and the discussion that follows. Do we use augmented space for expanding commerce, advertisements, entertainment, or can it just be ars gratia artis? Multimedia and augmented spaces as we encounter them in the real world – at airports, on billboards, on buildings, in train stations, etc. – serve all of these purposes. Without question augmented reality serves as an innovative way to market products and build brand reputation. It also serves as a new medium for artists looking for new and unique methods for displaying their works. No longer do art shows or galleries simply display rectangular framed pictures on concrete walls, but many use the open spaces to project multimedia images onto three-dimensional surfaces.

In short, I found Manovich’s article rather enlightening. It is often difficult for us younger generations to understand the history behind new media development and the rise in the use of augmented space. Most of the developments Manovich discusses occurred in the early to mid-1990s, thus most of my younger colleagues and I do not know anything different. We were brought up accepting the large billboards in Times Square, and other multimedia rich environments as the norm. It was nice to go back and analyze the rapid developments in the use of multimedia as well as augmented space to express ideas. I am curious to see what the future brings. With technology developing faster than artists can keep up, it will be fascinating to see what those in the artistic and business communities do with these developments. It will not be long before what we have conceived as “New Media” will be deemed ancient, giving way to new and interesting methods for expressing ideas.