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doug.siefken PRO 1:14pm, 22 May 2008
What qualities are required?

What qualities are excluded?
Rene Schmalschlaeger 10 years ago
The website www.ambientvideo.ca (Jim Bizzocchi) says:

Ambient video art is an emergent form, simple to describe, but difficult to achieve. Ambient video works are designed to play in the background of our lives, yet they must be ready to reward our attention in any given moment. Like Brian Eno's ambient music, they "must be as easy to ignore as notice". However, whenever they are noticed, they must always yield visual pleasure. In this capacity, they must be equally proficient at rewarding a fleeting glance, a more direct look, or a longer contemplative gaze.

This is a considerable creative challenge, and in this regard I have definite criteria I use for my own ambient work:

it should be visually engaging the first time you view it
it shouldn't require your attention at any time
it should renew its engagement at whatever moment you choose to return to viewing
it should sustain visual pleasure over a great number of repeated viewing

Ambient Video is rooted in the history of experimental film and video art, but is also an evolving form very much in the spirit of Higgins's concept of intermedia - emergent but coherent media forms that are situated within and between other existing forms. There is a reason some artists call the form "Video Painting". It sits comfortably within a shared aesthetic space that joins fine art, photography, cinema and video.


I think it
- should loop
- should have no fading in a different picture or other kitsch effects
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doug.siefken PRO Posted 10 years ago. Edited by doug.siefken (admin) 10 years ago
Rene,
Jim Bizzocchi has writen a lot on this and related areas, he also has produced awsome video paintings.

I just posted a looped Koi image - is this what you have in mind?

Thanks,
Doug
JimBiz 9 years ago
Hey, Rene, thank you very much for your citation - I'm honored!

I do want to discuss your criteria at the end a bit. Interesting you don't like fading, and I guess other visual transitions as well. You seem to favor a kind of purity to the moving image, which I understand and respect.

However, if you look at my example from "Rockface" on www.sfu.ca/~bizzocch/AmbientVideo/Rockface.html, you see that I do rely on transition as an active part of my own work. The same is true in the clips from "Streaming Video" and "Winterscape". You can see that the construction of transition is central to the aesthetic I want to build.

Maybe one way to see it is that in the overlapping intermedia space where I think "ambient video" sits, your approach is closer to photography, and mine is closer to film. Although I have a few pieces in mind that are more consistent with your conception, all of my works so far involve the sequencing of images, and therefore a necessary attention to the aesthetics of visual transition within an ambient form.

Best regards,
Jim
JimBiz 9 years ago
Doug -

I love the Koi - absolutely mesmerizing!

I have some technical - or maybe craft questions:

- what is your preferred size for this image?
- what is your preferred resolution?
- what is your preferred time length for the work?

Best
Jim
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doug.siefken PRO 9 years ago
Jim,
Thanks for the compliment on Koi

Here are my answers to your questions.
My preferred image size for display is 42" to wall or building exterior. My preferred resolution is 720p (high def) or greater.
My preferred time length is 1 to 4 hours and I am planning to create 24+ hour images.

Thank you for your questions.

Doug
Ben Reierson 9 years ago
I agree with your definition and I really like the videos posted so far. I'd like try submitting some of my own. What are your feelings on adding audio, or maybe just suggesting good tracks to go along with the video.

And given the fact that the best ambient video is probably able to loop, how long do you feel the average clip should be?
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doug.siefken PRO Posted 9 years ago. Edited by doug.siefken (admin) 9 years ago
Ben,
audio is good although I tend to let the viewer create their own mashup. Please continue to submit. For Flickr I like the full 90 seconds. Thanks!
Doug
Rene Schmalschlaeger 9 years ago
JimBiz, thank you for reacting so mildly :-)

My view on ambient video has evolved into this (still evolving so you need some salt)

Ambient video is not the same as a 'long photo' / 'moving picture'. The ambient video provides a enhancing experience but is not at the centre of attention like a (moving) picture. Ambient video is more like muzak and the Chinese restaurant pictures with the illusion of moving water or a like one of those stones in the garden were water is comming out. I a way these qualities can make a ambient video more suited for commercial use to.

My previous notion: "'should have no fading in a different picture or other kitsch effects" is not true at all. It is as you, more or less, stated a matter of preference.

What remains is:
- it should loop. It should be able to play for ever.
- it should 'play' smooth, not drawing sudden attention
for the rest its the same as with moving pictures
- the camera should not move, its point of view is frozen
- (secondary) elements should move enough to be noticed

OK, enough bold statement. Hope it makes a bit sens to you all :-)
jza_05403 9 years ago
Greetings all,

Reading this string, you guys seem to have it down in terms of the whats, hows and whys. I tend to agree that introducing audio, tempting as that might be, moves the 'ambience' a little nearer to 'intrusion' for a couple of reasons:

1) adding another sensory element to the presentation ... two requires more attention than one; and
2) in many cases audio evokes a stronger highly personal response than video, and where positive responses are great and desirable, indifferent or negative reactions can diminish the potential this medium offers.

That being said, if I absolutely had to have an audio track accompanying ambient video (particularly for installations in public spaces), it would need to do to three things for me:

1) relate to the imagery (which ideally is already relating to the context of the site) and reaffirm it; and
2) have a quiet or subdued/contempative quality, preferably naturally generated sounds, i.e. made by living organisms or natural processes, as opposed to 'music' or environmental/man-made 'noise'; and
3) tell me something about ME - relate/respond to my physical presence in the space or my gestures or attention or even my own biology/physiology.

Of course, the "me" in number 3 refers to each of us, as viewer ;)

JZ
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doug.siefken PRO Posted 9 years ago. Edited by doug.siefken (admin) 9 years ago
Based on the postings in the Ambient Video group I think a lot of people equate Ambient only to the music side.

I don't think most people are even aware that the "TV" can be used for presenting something - Ambient Video Art - that does not "demand" attention.

Public space art also does not lend itself to audio in many cases.

I also feel that an individual might like to "mashup" or marry their own choices of visual and audio art.
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doug.siefken PRO 9 years ago
In regards to these short 90 second videos I think audio may be appropriate do to these being watched vs looked at.
JimBiz 9 years ago
Audio is an interesting topic.

For me, ambient video has to work with silence.

Several reasons for my feeling this:
* I am very visual
* I feel a connection between the experience of an ambient video and the experience of a photo. A photo supports ambient experience because you can look away and it disappears. Look at it again, and there it is. Audio doesn't go away. Hmmm, that means because audio is intrinsically ambient, the experience isn't so much.... There's a cool contradiction.
* Ambient video should be able to find a home in a gallery, and until they perfect highly directional speakers, multiple sound tracks is a problem.
* Doug's point above about public space.

All that being said, of course, Ambient Videos can have optional sound tracks. Some people will want the choice to have audio. Several types of audio will fit very well:
* location sound
* "techno" ambient music - like Brian Eno
* light spare classical, or Jazz - think Erik Satie
* as Doug says - viewer's choice mash-ups. Pick your own sound track.

Sound OK?
liquidvistas 6 years ago
Looks like I'm very late to this discussion. Are there any of you still around?
Regarding the criteria that define Ambient Video Art, I love this from Mr Bizz
"it should be visually engaging the first time you view it
it shouldn't require your attention at any time
it should renew its engagement at whatever moment you choose to return to viewing
it should sustain visual pleasure over a great number of repeated viewing"
For my own work, I utilize sonic elements. Music? That depends on who you ask. But for my own preferences I feel that a sonic element enhances the experience. I will however qualify that the audio component must be a supportive element and not intrude as Jza 05403 so eloquently stated.

Please check out an example of my work here.
bit.ly/lofdX2
I have checked out the link Mr Bizz offered and would like to more works by those in this discussion.
JimBiz 6 years ago
Beautiful work - congratulations!
Jim
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