SchoolArts Magazine

MAY-JUN 2013

SchoolArts is a national art education magazine committed to promoting excellence, advocacy, and professional support for educators in the visual arts since 1901.

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Looking & Learning Interdisciplinary Connections Pull-out Resource Interdisciplinary artists stretch the boundaries of the arts and defy easy categorization. W hile we often think of art as divided into separate disciplines such as drawing, painting, sculpture, photography, and video, many artists create work that extends across many disciplines. Throughout the history of art, interdisciplinary artists have not only blurred the lines between different kinds of artwork, they have also reached beyond the fine arts to incorporate science, writing, history, mathematics, anthropology, and any other subject matter imaginable into their work. Artists blend disciplines by researching, inventing, discovering, and sometimes breaking rules. Blurring Lines While the work of interdisciplinary artists is hard to categorize, it often leads to new ways of thinking, creating, and examining the world. Contemporary artists Ken ButKen Butler, Object Opera, 1995. A hybrid interactive audiovisual installation. lerandTonyOurslerusetheiruniquework Photo courtesy of the artist. ©2013 Ken Butler. to encourage viewers/participants to think beyond the ordinary and engage in multisensory in a collage of hyperactive hardware. artistic experiences. Tony Oursler's Influence Machine was conceived as Ken Butler's Object Opera is a huge multimedia assema kind of "psycho-landscape." It explores the contempoblage constructed of hybrid instrument/object sculptures, rary blurring of the lines between telephone, television, mechanical devices, and other audiovisual constructions. radio, Internet, and social media, all of which influence The assemblage makes music, creates motion, and projects the way people think. The projection engages the viewer images at the stroke of a key. Each key triggers a different with a combination of smoke, sound, and natural elements. sound, light, and/or movement. The entire installation Inthisway,Ourslerhopestoexamineandcritiquethe was created without the aid of computers and relies on emphasisonmediainmodernsociety.Heisalsoexploring simple mechanical technology. This method allows the an alternative history of disembodied communication by participant to improvise and animate an urban symphony of chance, harmony, and chaos as function and form collide delving deep into the history of media. About the Artists Ken Butler (b. 1948) Ken Butler is an artist and musician who explores the interactionofmusic,art,andperformance.Hishybrid musical sculptures and installations combine collage and foundobjects.Butleremphasizestheunique"voice"of his hybrid instruments, and focuses on the relationship betweenmusicandtheeverydayobject.Hisobjectscanbe viewed as sculptures or as functional musical instruments. In addition to gallery shows and installations, he also performsmusicwrittenforhisuniqueinstrumentsandhas collaboratedwithmusiciansandperformers.Hehasperformed all over the world, including numerous television appearances, and has shown internationally in galleries andmuseumssince1977. Tony Oursler (b. 1957) Tony Oursler pioneered the "hybrid" video narratives that becameacharacteristicofgroundbreaking1990sart.He broke down the boundaries between video and other art forms by projecting images on numerous types of everyday objectsandfoundmaterials.Hisworkincorporatesimages thatreflectsocialcommentaryandpopularculture.Heis fascinated by our culture's addiction to television and the ideas of suspension of disbelief and the mind leaving the physical body. Much of his work incorporates the eye projected on unlikely physical objects such as chairs, pillows, or even trees and smoke. schoolartsonline.com 25

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