Wednesday, September 14, 2005

The Cognitive Science of Vik Muniz

Some of you may have seen my Friendster profile. Under “Who do you want to meet” I list: ex-smokers, fencers, janet cardiff, cooking stars, vik muniz.

I can now scratch Vik off the list, though I wouldn't mind meeting him again. Last night he gave a talk at the Chelsea Barnes & Noble to push his latest book “Reflex, a Vik Muniz Primer”

Though the talk started off with a slow story of how the book came to be, he eventually got into a groove with a Keynote (like Powerpoint, but better) presentation that went from early work to some current work not yet presented.

A couple points were very fascinating. The first, which explains how he approaches his work is his interest in how our minds are really only able to handle seeing one thing at a time, especially for various optical illusions, such as the old and young woman. Thus he recreates images out of string, syrup, diamonds, sugar, toy, junk, and then photographs them with large format. Then, like recent Chuck Close work, one can shift from seeing the larger picture, to the elemental.

He also likes to play with perspective… on hand doing homage to earth artists like Robert Smithson, to working with Intel to etch pictures of castles on a single grain of sand.

The other point I loved was a discussion of the nature of education. How we are so focused on Math and Language arts. On one hand they have been the bedrock of our culture, and so by learning you free yourself from a tyranny, such as, by learning to read, you’re freed from the tyranny of those who write. But as an artist, he is troubled by how we short our visual literacy, especially now, when visual media has taken over the written word, and branding is more powerful than copy.

I had a great night last night.

Labels: , , ,


Post a Comment

<< Home