Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Brian Knep

If you wanted a short summation of who Brian Knep is as a person, an easy and effective way to do so would be to say that he is a man who is deeply interested in science.
Knep spent many years learning the ins and outs of computer science and in this time he became a masterful programmer. Not originally intending to use his knowledge of programming to become a new media artist, Brian seemed to somewhat stumble into his new position while trying to find a way around the fact that technology sometimes has a tendency to disconnect us from the physical world.
In his new media work, Knep uses programming as a tool to pull people into interactive situations, and to become more playful and aware of the world around them. Some of these situations are simply human interacting with machine. For example, he has one piece called “Expand”, in which the viewer uses a tracking ball to toggle a beam of light. This beam then motivates the characters he programmed to follow it around as it moves.
There are other pieces of his however, that encourage social play. In his piece “Healing Pool”, people come together to see how their presence can affect his work of art. By standing on it, or walking across it, they temporarily destroy that section of the pool, causing it to regenerate in a different way once their presence has left. Some even get together with their friends and playfully try to destroy the ever-regenerative pool of lines by running around furiously, trying to quickly stamp it out before it can get a chance to regenerate.
Computer programming opens up a vast world of possibilities for visual artists. Without the use of programming, interactivity in the pieces that Brian creates would be impossible. Thankfully, the world of technology has advanced enough so that we can program computers in many different ways, allowing us to finally move away from thinking that those choose your own adventure books are the closest we could get to interactivity in art.

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