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19 March 2012

The media is the message

(First, you need to know that  Pecha Kucha (Japanese: ペチャクチャ, chit-chat) is a presentation methodology in which 20 slides are shown for 20 seconds each (approx. 6' 40" in total), usually seen in a multiple-speaker event called a Pecha Kucha Night (PKN).)  (link)

A post at Art Education 2.0 sent me to this video of a Petcha Kucha presentation by Brian Dettmer.

Brian Dettmer - Remixed Media from Alfredo Aponte on Vimeo.
"Brian Dettmer is a sculptor who came to our 10th Volume of Atlanta Pecha Kucha to show us how he celebrates and exploits the materials that he interacts with on his current work.
Atlanta Pecha Kucha is an informal forum for creative work that mixes it up -- bringing you activists, animators, arbiters, architects, artists, chefs, community organizers, coolhunters, critics, curators, designers, dreamers, enthusiasts, entrepreneurs, fabricators, fanatics, fashionistas, historians, rabblerousers, scientists, students ‹ all manner of insiders and outsiders."

 Listen for the words "systems", "content" and  "form" as you watch the video.

"Dettmer's work involves the appropriation and alteration of media to transform the physical form and/or to selectively remove and reveal content to create new works of fine art. Dettmer explains: “Old books, records, tapes, maps, and other media frequently fall into a realm that too much of today’s art occupies. Their intended role has decreased or deceased and they often exist simply as symbols of the ideas they represent rather than true conveyers of content. ... When an object's intended function is fleeting, the necessity for a new approach to its form and content arises.” (Valdez 2006)" (link).

On his page at the  Kintz and Tillou Fine Art Galery web site, Brian Dettmer's work is  described: "(He)carefully selects and sifts through stacks of old books to uncover the perfect source and subject for his cultural archaeological explorations and sculptural possibilities. He first determines the presentation, engineering and construction of his altered book or books. Then, with the precision of a surgeon, using scalpels and hundreds of x-acto blades, he alters the pre-existing information and images by selectively removing and manipulating elements to propose new ideas and map new visual journeys."
You can also read about him on a Wikipedia page, and see his photos of his work on his Flickr stream (below).


What do you think of Dettmer's work?  How does it relate to the ideas of form and function, causation and change? Think about it through the lens of  Marshall McLuhan'a famous phrase, "The media is the message"?

Do we do the same thing to information when we present it, albeit in a less spectacular form?