Tuesday, November 10, 2009

interview with Jim Andrews

pszren: hello, could you tell us something about dbCinema?

Jim Andrews: where to begin? it's an art machine i've been writing for several years. some people write novels. i write art machines. 'db' is for 'database'. the user creates 'brushes' and assigns each brush a concept--you type the concept. the brush then does a google image search on the concept, downloads images somehow related to the concept, and uses those images as 'paint' in an interactive, painterly cinema. i have been working on this for several years.

wow. so you are the creator of art machine. is it more ars (from Latin) or techne (from ancient Greek)? should such things be taught on technical universities or in art schools? if they can be taught, I mean.

the appreciation of such works, as art, is often taught in new media literature classes in universities, or new media visual art classes, or, well, quite a range of descriptions. If you look at the section called 'Courses in which the work is taught or on recommended reading list' at http://vispo.com/JimAndrews.htm , you see quite a range of different types of courses in which my work is taught. but just about all of them are from
an 'art appreciation' perspective, rather than being designed to teach students how to make such work themselves. though a few of them are like that.

to do the sort of programming work i do, it helps to have had some training. i studied math and computer science. i also did a degree in literature. but i don't think my work is taught in any computer science courses.

can your works be considered "metapoetry"?

do you mean 'poetry about poetry'? if so, yes, i think so. mind you, there is a sense in which every poem is about poetry. that is a dimension of poems or how we can read them.

my favorite study of mathematics is 'metamathematics'. and the 'meta' dimensions of poetry are also very interesting to me.

lots of my favorite poems have strong 'metapoetry' aspects to them while also being about other things. poetry about poetry drives lots of people batty but, to me, it's one of the most interesting things to write about and think about. because poetry is not only about poetry but everything else. poetics are about poetry but also life and philosophy and love...

metamathematics is about the foundations of mathematics. the fundamentals. just the fundamentals. i really admire kandinsky's painting. that too is about fundamentals. of visual art. there are basic shapes and basic tools in many of his paintings. abstract art is, in a sense, reduced to fundamentals, concerns itself with fundamentals. a lot of my work is pretty fundamental also. so 'metapoetry' is not a bad term for it. much of my interactive work is just looking at language and the visual and programming in fundamental synthesis. that's already enough to deal with, so best to keep it as fundamental as possible in what gets attention.

I am really impressed by your works. is there any chance of asking you to stay in the world of poemics for longer? what do you think we all should do in the field of poemics? and how?

i don't have any ideas about what you 'should' do. but your request for me to create something for poemics has got me thinking about poemics and what i can do in this form. it isn't a form i've done anything in, actually, yet. i do want to make something for poemics, though. so i'll just give you my thoughts on my own progress, so far, in trying to make something for you.

my site is called vispo for 'visual poetry'. that is something i have followed for years. usually works are in one 'panel', as it were. and the development is from work to work, rather than panel to panel. poemics emphasizes development from panel to panel, or among panels, and de-emphasizes the individual panel. some would call 'development' from panel to panel 'narrativity'. i suppose it can be 'narrativity' but i suspect it doesn't have to be. i mean 'story' doesn't have to be the nature of the development as other things. or story doesn't have to be the primary development. that is an option, anyway.

the 'development' in dbCinema, by default, is more that of cinema--frame to frame. in dbCinema, that is a development from brushstroke to brushstroke, like a painting develops. it also develops from one underlying image to another (the brushes are masks for the underlying images).

i have done some preliminary work for poemics by using 'comics' and 'graphic novel' as the google image searches dbCinema does. in grayscale with a white background. but i think i will probably have to be more selective with the underlying images. so that the development from underlying image to underlying image can mainly carry the content development.

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