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High-Tech Camouflage: Ambient Media on Plasma


High-Tech Camouflage: Ambient Media on Plasma

Ambient media presents a new, exciting opportunity for visual artists, graphic designers, and computer engineers to collaborate to build moving image art as a changing environment rather than as a fixed artifact. In ambient media, artists are no longer constrained by time—art works can roll for days on plasma screens in lobbies, on computer screens in offices, on museum walls. Ambient media is an art form with no limits. It is also inexpensive to produce, presenting a new horizon for emerging artists.

Ambient media camouflages screens as spaces for mutating visual art, where images can be programmed to change color to alter mood, where soundtracks can be present or flipped off, where looping and repetition transform into a visual Zen meditation.

In a culture infused with screens on every surface and on every device, ambient media interrupts the consumerist rush of the download and the billboard with a refiguration of the screen as a space of contemplation, a caesura from the rush of rapid-fire editing and words.

In the zone between painting, popular culture, and algorithms, ambient media is nonnarrative, primarily visual, sometimes decorative, and audio agnostic—sound can be on or off, adjusted to the environment and mood. It often eschews editing for duration. Ambient media is slow, a gastronomical feast for the eyes, a counterpoint to the speed of mass culture imagery. Unlike single-channel video or video installation, which demands absorption, ambient media operates on the cusp of the peripheral, the glance, the casual, the unexpected.

Ambient media is a migratory form. As lighter and cheaper screens proliferate, landscapes for ambient media abound. It can be found on plasma screens in hotel lobbies. It has been used as screenwashes before cinema screenings. It has been remixed by DJs in clubs. It has been projected on museum walls as environmental surrounds. It has been shown in convalescent homes, cancer treatment centers, hospitals, and yoga and meditation centers as a calming environment. From the screens in the back of airplane seats to mobile phones, ambient media infiltrates architecture, demonstrating the merger of screen and space.

Once again, FLEFF partners with Microcinema International, to showcase ambient media on all the plasma screens on campus and at our pre-festival rock show benefit at Castaways. Microcinema houses the largest collection of ambient media in the United States and is its leading distributor. And even better, for those of you who want your home screens washed with art and design, all of the FLEFF ambient media is available for purchase at

African Skies
Simon King, 2006
Simon King’s African Skies DVD allows you the opportunity to absorb the magic and space of one of Simon’s favorite places in the world—time-lapse views of Kenya’s most magnificent landscapes—set to continuously loop accompanied either by natural sounds from the African bush or by specially composed ambient music written by Ray Shulman, or by a mix of the two. A unique gallery of images of African wildlife is also included.

Hub Culture Retrospectives: Antarctica
Experience the last continent with an electro-ambient score by Aerostatic or the original environment soundtrack. Hub Culture Retrospectives: Antarctica is a journey without documentary edits or intrusive narration, just majestic time-lapse views, stunning soundscapes, and wildlife existing at the pace of nature.

Johanna Vaude, 2007
The Hybride DVD assembles a selection of six films by Johanna Vaude: Wild Eye, Our Icarus, Samurai, Totality Remix, Love and Death, and Exploration. Each film contains its own language, its own theme, and submerges us in unique worlds where the hybridization of different types of media and techniques used presents us with unexpectedly poetic imagery. The diversity of the subjects and types of techniques contained in her films (mixture of painting on film, synthetic images, 3D, photos, Super 8 films, and digital video) encourages us to think about the inventiveness and possibilities of contemporary experimental cinema.

Images of Franco Fontana
Franco Fontana, 2006
Franco Fontana will change the way you look at our world. The breathtaking composition, super-real colors, and effortless beauty of Franco Fontana’s images have kept him at the forefront of photography for 30 years. In his first ambient DVD, Fontana’s perspective captures the magnificent splendor of our cities and landscapes in a way we’ve never seen.

Notations 01 2007
Notations 01 is the first in the series of audiovisual projects conceptualized by LightRhythm Visuals, bringing together diverse techniques and approaches of visual artists from around the world. Works range from classical timbre to digital pursuits, each track complete with a multiangle remix, allowing the viewer to switch between the original artist’s idea and the guest artist’s interpretation. All in all, 30 artists have contributed in this groundbreaking album, which also doubles as a DVD with QuickTime files suitable for your iPod and VJ software.

Out There
NASA, 2007
Spectacular NASA footage takes you on a go-slow serenity ambient trip through the majestic beauty of outer space.

Art Plasma Window, Vol. 1
Plasma Window, 2006
Chic. Modern. Sophisticated. Transform your flat screen TV into a virtual art gallery. The Art Plasma DVD contains a series of 25 original contemporary and traditional paintings from a unique collection of acclaimed artists. Each image displays for two minutes. The series of paintings are infinitely loopable. The image quality is so clear, and brushstrokes so vivid, it seems like you’re looking at the actual painting. Select from a Dolby Digital soundtrack or a classical music ensemble. Each painting is grouped by category and plays accordingly. After a slow fade to black, the next painting appears and the loop will continue until you return to the menu.

Ripple in the Eye
Eric Koziol, 2006
Eric Koziol’s innovative art encompasses both experimental single-screen works and multiscreen interactive live video performance environments for theater and dance. Ripple in the Eye is an evocative compendium of texture, shape, and color sourced from both the natural and unnatural worlds. Six discrete themes are featured.