I finally got around to redesigning and updating my portfolio these last few weeks. The biggest challenge was finding a way to categorize the more recent work, as I’ve been expanding beyond balloons and exploring different media and formats. For the sake of the site’s usability, I needed a way to classify my projects, but at the same time, I wanted each piece to be considered in relation to my entire body of work. I think the new layout manages to achieve both.
The previous version of the site has been archived and can be found here: http://willychyr.com/archive/2010/
Something I’ve been thinking about lately is making the blog section more like a studio journal, as opposed to simply a news page where I just showcase new work and announce upcoming events. A new weekly initiative I’d like to do is to write about an artist whose work I find to be particularly inspiring. There are two main reasons for this: 1) I’m finding it harder to keep track of the list of these artists in my head, and 2) I’d like to be able to look back at this collection after some time and see if I notice any themes or ideas that these artists have in common, and if I can see them in my own work.
To start off, I’d like the showcase the work of Jonathan Harris, an American contemporary artist. In his own words, he makes “ (mostly) online projects that reimagine how we relate to our machines and to each other”.
One of Harris’s projects, We Feel Fine, is a website which is constantly collecting information from the blogosphere, looking for any sentences that begin with “I feel” or “I am feeling”. Analysis is subsequently performed to determine the mood and emotion of the sentence, while information such as age, gender, location, and weather are also collected.
The end results are displayed as a collection of dots, with their colors and sizes signifying different emotional states. Visiting the website feels like taking the emotional temperature of the internet.
Of all the “new media” works I’ve seen, this is probably my favorite. Not only is the execution of the work beautiful, it originates from an incredible concept. Additionally, it manages to leverage technology to tell stories and evoke emotions in a way that doesn’t feel at all forced or artificial.
Here’s a great talk Harris gave at AIGA last year, which gives a summary of his work as well as his philosophy on how we should approach and shape technology: http://www.aiga.org/video-gain-2010-harris/