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Marty McCutcheon, Michael Chang and Jan Kather

Synopsis

The Fragments Project is a video collaboration project headed by Michael Chang (DK) and Marty McCutcheon (US). Chang initiated the project in 2009 when he invited fifteen artists to collaborate on three threads of video art while adhering to specific rules. The Fragments Project had its premiere in July 2009 in Berkeley, California at the community screening center run by McCutcheon, Berkeley Commonplace. During the event, three threads of video were projected onto a screen composed of the white-washed fragments of broken objects. Junk! The premiere event featured music from the Californian band Slowness’ pre-release debut EP as well as live experimental video performances by visitors and members of the Commonplace Community. In 2011 Chang and McCutcheon teamed up with Jan Kather (US) and on April 5–8, 2011, the Arnot Art Museum in Elmira, New York hosted The Fragments Project as part of a museum series focusing on collaboration.

Press Release

AAMRelease3_28_11.PDF

Project essay

There’s little doubt in our minds that collaboration across international borders is a great way to meet the challenges at the turn of the 21st century. And for that simple reason exploring collaboration in a field like art has great contemporary merit.

The Fragments Project would have been extremely difficult to realize just a decade ago, simply because there weren’t enough video artists online in art related social networks. Because of very limited Internet bandwidth in most countries at that time, no one really thought about sharing their large video files via the Internet. Services such as YouTube, Vimeo, WeTransfer and Pando came along once the bandwidth increased.

The Fragments Project is what we would call groundwork. It is a study in a new field where very little research, if any, has been done by previous generations, for obvious technical reasons. The project is carried out in a modernistic sense that places emphasis on contemporary topics and especially on the method itself as a new way of working. The method is in fact a new art making vehicle. Like one of the first automobiles The Fragments Project does have an awkward pioneer quality to it and is not too concerned with aesthetics or aerodynamics. There’s motivation however and the vision is clear: there will be more movements like this one in the future. Most likely better looking, faster and more refined. And that is why being part of an event like this has a sense of significance attached to it.

For the same reasons, however, it is important to be critical about the event too. We can’t help feeling a bit like mad scientists helping to bring this strange creation to life. We wonder if this was how Nikola Tesla felt working on the induction motor and wireless communication or how Hovannes Adamian felt thinking up the tricolor principle of the color television or how Mary Shelley felt while writing about the experiments of Dr. Frankenstein?

At best The Fragments Project resonates with an image such as Picasso’s Les Demoiselles d'Avignon in the way that traditional beauty is sacrificed for the sake of a new, alienating multi-perspective. One of the points that The Fragments Project makes is that collaboration is about something else than authorship and intellectual property. Curiosity perhaps? In this sense the project is a new kind of social, multicultural investigation of art.

The practical side of collaboration in the 21st century is linked to the development of information technology and world wide access to it. Future inventions will soon make an event such as The Fragments Project look ridiculously old fashioned. Like an oversized typewriter, a fax machine, a Walkman with a 60 minutes cassette, a VHS cassette player or a floppy disc. But rather than technology, The Fragments Project places greater emphasis on human interaction.

How is it exactly, that we feel a need to communicate via sound and moving images? Why is information so important that we need to convey it to each other all the time? Why do we invent all these mediums? How is it we digest the impressions we receive from the constant flow of digital audiovisual information?

The Fragments Project questions how we consume information on a daily basis and how we respond to it. The project even questions itself as a method of presenting digital sound and moving images and questions the way in which we are surrounded by fragments of information all the time: on our watches, in our newspapers, on cell phones, on our computers, on our TVs, in our homes, on our clothes, etc.  The Fragments Project projects its information onto our junk! The interactive platform provided by The Fragments Project makes it possible for the audience at Arnot Art Museum to fill up the museum space with digital audiovisual information submitted by contemporary artists and to play with these works to find out what that feels like.

Contemporary artists do have an obligation to construct works of art that make us all pause for a moment and consider the positions we put ourselves in. Rather than living in a society, we now live in a multicultural digital information overload society — a diociety. It might seem overwhelming to try to collaborate in times like these and to help each other without speaking the same language, without living in the same country, without sharing the same beliefs, without having similar values, without visualizing the same goals, and without having chatted and shaken hands. Interestingly, it does happen.

Traditionally speaking, in all cultures and all ages, artists have worked together towards common goals and in groups sharing certain viewpoints. In this sense what’s different about The Fragments Project is that the participating artists don’t necessary share any ideology at all. They have different cultural backgrounds and no clear visions of a common goal. They don’t speak the same languages and only very few of them have actually met each other or even exchanged e-mails. And yet their works are united for two days in the main gallery in the prominent Arnot Art Museum in Elmira, New York on April 5 to 8, 2011. In that way The Fragments Project represents something remarkably new, quite unique and quintessentially of the time we live in.

— Michael Chang and Marty McCutcheon, Copenhagen and Berkeley March 2011

Responses from visiting students from Elmira College, collected by Jan Kather

K. Smith:

On Wednesday April 6, 2011, I went to see the Fragments exhibit at Arnot Art Museum. Well first of all who knew that this little art museum in the middle of Elmira, New York house such fantastic pieces of work. This exhibit was an amazing piece of abstract art; the perception, dimension, and other aspects combined together in such a unique way which made this exhibit so interesting.
When first walking into this exhibit it reminded me of an abstract art project I participated in. In the spring of 2009, I was given the opportunity to participate in a video project in conjunction with Syracuse University, The Everson Museum of Art and a national video artist. During this project we went out into the city of Syracuse along with the suburbs and video taped a natural occurrence for five minutes without moving; for example a flag flying, clouds moving, people walking down the street. During the exhibit our videos were projected on a wall in a display at the Everson Museum of art; the wall in which the videos were projected upon was white but had a vast variety of textures and surfaces. When the videos were projected viewers were able to see our simple videos of natural occurrence with an interesting twist of all these textures. The exhibit featured at the Arnot museum featured videos from all across the world and the wall in which they were projected upon had far more depth due to the fact the wall was made of actual objects rather then a texture painted upon the wall.
Abstract art I find to be extraordinarily interesting. Of course painting, drawings, and sculptures tell a story as well but abstract art such as Fragments really grasps the audience’s attention through the story. Rather then just being in a museum and walking from piece to piece looking carefully at each one which remains the same, this project continuously changed and can be looked at for a large period of time without repeating itself. 
In addition I found the perception in this exhibit to be very intriguing. At first I sat down and just stared into the exhibit looking at the different video, then I moved and it was if I gained a whole new perspective, as I continued to move the perspective continued to change. The depth of the white object forming the screen helped to add the perspective. My perspective was continuously changing due to the fact there were so many different levels of depth, each one created a new image. The changing perspective kept my attention for a large period of time and really dragged my eyes throughout it, rather then just looking at it from one side and not getting the entire experience.
Art is something everyone should be exposed to. Rather then hearing a person talk, seeing a creation in which a person has made, helps people to see the world in a whole new view.   By experiencing this new view it can be seen that this exhibit really related to the topic of this course, order and chaos. The idea that all these artists sent there videos to one of the creator of this exhibit shows a large sense of order, however the way in which the screen was created and the distorted image shown display an even larger sense of chaos. This exhibit really provided a great experience overall through all the aspect which it included.

M. Kilcullen:

Walking in to the Arnot Art Museum to see the “Fragments” art installation, I did not know what to expect. However, I was pleasantly surprised. In front of my eyes was a user-friendly, and in some aspects, eco-friendly, art installation like none I have ever seen before. The “screen,” although not the normal screen everyone would think of, was made from recycled materials such as lawn furniture and boxes. Projected onto this screen from several different projectors were many videos from different artists which could be manipulated by the viewer, making this Fragments installation a collaborative experience in many senses of the word.
This art installation easily relates to the theme of our course, Order and Chaos. The creation of the installation is orderly, with many artists collaborating together to create videos to be used in Fragments. However, the way Fragments is presented appears chaotic. Viewers can change the position and video content that is projected onto the “screen.” The “screen” also appears chaotic because it is not one flat surface, but many surfaces, some spherical, some flat, some in-between. Also, the “screen” appears chaotic because there are several projectors focusing their images on it at the same time. I am happy to have seen this Fragments installation as it is very relevant to our course and helped me to gain a different understanding of what order and chaos can be.
When viewing this piece, I at first felt confused and disoriented. At first I tried to make sense of the piece by picking out individual videos and pieces that I could recognize. However, every time I would move, I would see the piece in a whole new perspective and become confused again. After a while, I came to grips with the realization that I did not need to interpret this piece literally, and instead I came to enjoy the piece as a whole, a mix-mash of lights and sounds, representing the chaos in our lives every day that we learn to live with, and in some cases come to enjoy. I am glad to have seen this piece, as it furthered my understanding of abstract art, as well as helped me to gain a sense of the chaos we live in every day.

A. Storey:

After seeing this “Fragments” exhibit, it really gave me a chance to see order and chaos in a way that I had never thought of. It was interesting to see, as well as a good chance to talk to the artists about how they came up with it as well.
The “Fragments” art exhibit was a very interesting piece of art to behold. I would certainly have never thought of putting together art in this way to give a sense of order and chaos. There were pictures projected on a small part of the setup, and another different video projected right next to it. At first I had no idea what I was looking at, and was not sure of the point of it. This was until I really thought about it, and let my mind just get lost among all of the different projections. There was order in a sense that the setup behind it was not moving and not really different at all. It was the pictures that were being projected that were complete and utter chaos. It made me a bit dizzy to even look at it.
The point of the whole thing was to see that when one looks at the one picture, the person sees order. However, when there are many pictures or videos brought together into one large compilation, there is no order at all. There is only chaos. The videos and projections were all moving in their own time, not having anything to do with the ones around them. It was a very thought-provoking interpretation of the idea of order and chaos, and was very original as well. In a way, it really brought us all together. People have in them naturally order and chaos. What the artists created was like a portrait of the world and what happens when it comes together. It can be both order and chaos. In my opinion, seeing this piece of art was enlightening and opened my eyes to what this class was all about in the end. It is about brining different opinions together, and seeing what will come of it all. Again, it is all order and chaos when this happens.
The “Fragments” exhibit was truly meaningless to me at first. As stated, I did not see the point of it all. It was not until I really thought on it that I understood what it was trying to show. Once I understood what this piece of art was trying to say, it finally made sense and was meaningless no longer.

M. Light:

The Fragments show was one of the most unique showings I have ever been to in my life experience.  The Fragments showing was a way to inform people of the different variety’s art can be expressed. As viewers we were able to see more of a modern art and how artists project their creations other than paintings and drawings.
When we arrived at the Fragments showing it was a type of art I have not experience before. When we walked in the first thought I had was, “wow, what is this stuff”.  To me the fragments they made the screen out of was a bunch of junk. Once I was able to sit down and watch, it turned out to be a great showing. Taking a step back I was able to see all the different types of video clips that were being played at once on the screen. The fact that there wasn’t just one video, but multiples really interested me.
After viewing the Fragments showing I was able to see the art that was being expressed and how many artists can do it at once. Although not all the artists were there we were able to have the videos they made, on a live stream and see the different types of work. What may be art to one person may not be to another, but to at least one person it is art. From this viewing I was able to realize that art can almost be anything you want it to. Any person could make a video that interests them or even just something they put together and that is art. Art is the way you create something that differs from others and unique. Art is anything a person wants it to be, it gives them a chance to be creative and thoughtful. From this viewing I have realized that without art some people cannot express who they are or the type of creativity they are fond of.
Fragments made me realize art can be anything and everywhere, a person just has to add their own touch. Art is a way to be unique and differ from other people and express the type of interests you are fond of. Without art we would not be able to open our minds to new ideas and images that express something.

K. Tamaki:

I really liked the art exhibition because I think that the idea of the art work. Michael and Marty used skype for the art. I thought that it was interesting because so many things are going on the object. For example, the movies files, several boxes, chairs, and the guy talking to on skype. As the tytle is the fragments, I thought it was very cool to see many objects at the same time including real time communication. I think that it was quite innovational and really worth spreading more.

L. Quidore:

Upon entering the art museum in Elmira, New York, and upon walking into the exhibit room housing the, Fragments, art exhibit, I found myself to be surprisingly unimpressed as a first impression. Against the wall was a collection of boxes, old chairs, and what I believed to be a lot of junk, with projections playing images against the pieces. I sat down with my friends and found myself growing bored and lacking understanding of the artistic vision of the piece. I felt this way until I took the time to look more closely at the projections, and the “junk” as it was to be set up along the wall. I then had the amazing opportunity to talk to the artists themselves, skype with someone in Sweden, and become a part of the art in a projection. It was after all of this that I walked away from the exhibit, both inspired and enlightened with the true message the art was intended to symbolize and convey.
The images being projected on the walls were, as the artist informed me, a chaotic mixture of different cultures, and traditions from all over the world. Through looking at the different videos, articles, words, pictures, and people being posted on the wall, I found both a chaotic aspect to the art, and also an orderly aspect to it, as all of the images were from different parts of the world. This art effectively included and explained many different people and ideas so that all of the world seemed smaller and seemed to be coming together in an orderly and yet chaotic mass. It made the world seem much more connected, like we are a nation of people living on a common ground. It was very inspiring for me to witness on the screen.
I was also blown away when we skyped with one of the artist’s friends from Sweden. Not only was this interesting because he was from Sweden and we were talking to him, it reinforced the idea that the entire world is connected. It was awe inspiring to think about the fact that there were two very talented artists from Sweden standing in Elmira, New York. I was astounded and relived by this fact. I enjoyed the art because of its “fragments” taken from the world. It served as a window or portal to different cultures, and experiences.
This art, however hard to understand in the beginning, was quite powerful to me because it was so much more than a piece of art in my mind. It served as a mirror to the world, as a tool for communication, and as a fun and interesting way to view videos from other parts of the world. The objects that were used as projection screens were interesting as well, and they added to the effect that “chaos” makes up the world, and that by throwing things together new ideas can be formed or seen. I have never experienced artwork so inclusive and engaging. It was like nothing I have ever seen before in my life and I enjoyed the work immensely. I also enjoyed the experience of talking with the artists and learning their point of view and opinions on the piece. All in all it was a wonderful piece of work to see and experience, and I am so happy I was given the opportunity to familiarize myself with it. 

B. Pinney:

On Wednesday, we witnessed the presentation of a unique and interesting modern art exhibition. This was both an entertaining and eye opening event. Michael Chang from Copenhagen, Denmark, Marty McCutcheon from Berkeley, California in collaboration with our own Jan Kather from Elmira, New York came together to exhibit a work of art, featuring 30 artists from around the world, that stood out amongst the other art exhibits within the Arnot Art Museum. Although, my first impression of this exhibition was that it was strange yet creative, I did walk away from the experience with a different perspective on modern abstract art.
“Fragments” was the name of the exhibition featured at the Arnot Art Museum and this was a unique presentation of the interesting artwork of various artists around the world. The canvas of the project consisted of assorted pieces of junk or trash that were placed together and covered with a white sheet-like material; this canvas acted as a screen on which a multitude of videos were projected. A laptop, CD/DVD player, and a camera were used in the project; the laptop contained multiple videos of various, interesting and unique, artwork, the CD/DVD player produced recorded voices, and the camera was used in collaboration with these other two media to capture live footage which was projected on the made-canvas. In addition to these captivating projections, an artist from Sweden called via Skype and so his web-video was also projected onto the canvas, amongst the rest of the chaotic presentations.
Overall this was a very special and perhaps unusual representation of various artwork around the world. I found “Fragments” especially interesting because of the concept of bring international works together in one collaboration and how this was used to express various representations of artistic value. What caught my attention most was not necessarily the work itself but how one of the Danish presenters explained abstract art. He compared observing art to eating food and specifically related the idea of viewing more than one genre of art to trying various foods; if you only experience one type of food, or one type of art, then you may never experience something new and different.
Although I do love art, especially the various representations of it, I have never particularly cared for modern abstract art. I don’t mean to say that I’m closed to the idea of it completely, because there have been various modern artwork that I have really been captivated by; however, in general it is not my favorite form of art. Despite this opinion, I did enjoy the unique experience of choosing different videos to be displayed and to take a turn projecting live footage with the camera.
Observing the exhibition of “Fragments” was an especially interesting experience for me because of my personal feeling towards modern art, but even within the short time span that we were present, I was able to understand the purpose of it. As I mentioned before, I enjoyed participating in the exhibition and in addition to this, I was able to give Jan some of my personal feedback from the presentation. I think that overall the exhibition was very interesting in its portrayal and that it certainly grabbed our attention. The most interesting part for me was the concept of connecting international artists to the project by displaying their own artwork. I think this is a wonderful idea because art is universal yet so different in the minds of various artists. The presentation of the project was very chaotic in itself, as different, strange and captivating videos were portrayed on the screen, with the sound of various voices playing softly in the background and with the live projection from the camera. At first this was overwhelming but as we got more involved with the project and saw how everything was coordinated, I began to be more at ease with the presentation and to even enjoy it.
I have not experienced a lot of modern-abstract art but this was definitely an eye-opening experience for me. My favorite part was when one of the men explained to us that modern art does not necessarily have a purpose that benefits society but that it is about something much greater than that. I agree with him that it is important to always try new and different things, such as spaghetti one day instead of the favorable pizza dish, because it gives people perspective. This is especially essential as we enter the adult world and come into contact, and even experience, various cultures. The most vital concept to keep in mind is that it is not about liking or disliking something, it is about accepting it and understanding it.

B. Bowman:

It was nice to get off campus to go and see the "Meeting in the Middle" presentation at the Arnot Art museum.  I was impressed at how many people showed up to the exhibition, especially people throughout the community.  The screen that was put together was very unique - it made use of several random white items that would not normally be of use.  There were several projectors that were being shown on the screen, and the views were very different because the screen was three dimensional.  The angle I was sitting at made it hard to see some of the things that were placed on the screen, but I still liked the idea behind the screen.
During the conversation via Skype that Jan and the two other artists that worked on the project had with the man and woman, there was a lag in time from what they could hear from us, but we could hear them fine.  The best picture I got was from the laptop when it was turned around.  The artists discussed how the project came about and really focused on the ideas of collaboration and participation and how they were similar and different.  The focus of the project was to really incorporate collaboration in the whole work.  The artists really take pride in this idea and are eager to see what it can bring in the future of art and how it can help people on a worldwide basis.  There was a man that wanted specific answers about the end results of how the project would affect people, but the artists simply viewed it as a positive progression that would have positive results, but they did not know exactly what those results would be.  Collaboration deals with artists coming together as a team to assemble a piece or pieces with everyone's efforts involved.  Participation is the fact that people are getting involved, but it seems to be more of artists submitting individual pieces on their own and having it come together as a combination of everyone's pieces.
After our class left to go back home to go to our next class, we took a look at some of the paintings and other pieces in the main room of the Arnot museum.  The paintings and decorative pieces are in the same places as they were when the room was left by the Arnots.  I was very impressed by the realness of many of the paintings.

S. Risi:

The artwork that was depicted in the Arnot Art museum was the typical art that one would expect in any art museum.  As you traveled up the stairs, I was able to see artwork that could be found all over the world.  The artwork ranges from a section devoted strictly to art in Asia, to artwork that is very modernized and even artwork that is depicting religion.  The museum is quaint, but inside it holds many pieces that could be held anywhere in the world.
Artists from all around the world created Fragments, which was unlike any art form I have ever seen.  When I say it was unlike anything I have ever seen before, I mean that it was very unconditional; even modern art was not the same.  Fragments was composed of all white objects including: chairs, tables, boxes etc. and was all put together to form a screen.  The screen was bumpy and had edges to it, but I feel that is what gave this presentation so much character.  Projected onto the screen was a bunch of video clips created by each separate artist.  Students were able to move around the video art to different parts of the screen and the one artist (of many) showed us that we could skype with the other artists from all around the world.  It was neat to be able to talk to the other artist and see their faces projected onto the screen. Their interpretation of each video clip was unique, which is what true artist should feel.
The design the artists chose for the screen was not typical objects that were usually considered art, they were more of objects that could be found in basements or outside porches.  This design was put together using order, but was separately each individual piece was chaos.  There was a method to the artists design and they accomplished it by thinking outside the realm of societies view on artwork.  Some may contradict, by saying that Fragments was not true art, but I disagree completely.  Art is something that reflects a person and that is exactly what Fragments depicts.

N. Zazulia:

This week I had the chance to go to the Arnot Art Museum for the first time. After taking several art history courses throughout my college career, I have gained an appreciation for art that I did not anticipate. The panel discussion at the gallery also gave me an opportunity to experience new developments in modern art.
Upon first glance, I noticed that the "sculpture" of the display consisted of a number of different materials. These included boxes, crates, wooden furniture, and even a sheet. While the crates at the bottom of the display were light brown, the rest of the sculpture was entirely white, making the backdrop for the projections. As the artists explained, this was created to give the projections a three dimensional quality.
Personally, I thought that some of the projections worked perfectly with the surfaces created by the sculpture. For example, one of the videos showed an outlet, which was placed perfectly on a flat and long surface. As I watched the outlet, a red liquid which appeared to be blood dripped downward to the floor. Knowing that art often contains hidden messages, I began to look for the possible symbolism of this image. As I watched, it appeared almost as though an illusion of the devil's spear appeared, but maybe that was just due to the color - red - that is often associated with this figure. If this was the artist's intention, however, it implies that electricity, and perhaps even technology is evil. This seems ironic given the medium of the artwork, however. I also thought the projection of the blood onto different mediums and colored surfaces (such as the white box to the brown crate) to alter the shape and color of the original image was interesting as well.
As for the panelists' ideas, as a business major I was not overly fond of the idea of eliminating competition. I do understand the concept of collaboration, but too much collaboration would stifle rather than encourage ideas. All inventions, innovations, and new ideas arise from competition between two individuals or groups. Furthermore, while it would be ideal to create a world free of competition, the attempts at utopian society in this century have failed miserably. It is human nature for us to compete, although certainly cooperation can produce amazing results when handled appropriately.
In conclusion, I thought the panel was interesting to listen to, and presented some new and different ideas. In the future, maybe having the audience view the projections from straight-on would allow them to see the images better since the side view created many shadows and distorted the videos, making them difficult to see. I think though that technology and social media will only allow projects like this one to grow and become more beneficial in our society.

A. Nickerson:

This past Thursday, I had the opportunity to experience an innovative, conceptual exhibit at the Arnot Art Gallery. As a history student, I have become exposed at least remotely to developments in the field of art history. However, I have little experience with modern art and its newest creations. The exhibit, which took the shape of a panel discussion, certainly introduces society's newest endeavors, most prominently technology and social media.
Probably the most interesting notion discussed by the panel was the contrast between participation and collaboration. Any individual may passively participate in any event, either willingly or not. But collaboration, derived from Latin roots, literally means to labor together. As such, competition obviously no longer exists between the two collaborators. Instead, the best outcome is determined for the greatest number of people. This implies that the larger interests of the whole take precedence over individual interests. The exhibit at least alluded to the notion that the results of a wide-spread collaboration could potentially mean the end of war and poverty in the world. Essentially, the end of competition would at least help to induce some fashion of utopian society.
Continuing with the concept of collaboration, one of the panelists stated that in order to collaborate freely, one must attain a feeling of belonging in the group which he or she wishes to contribute to. Once a contribution has been made, the enhanced feelings of belonging and acceptance combine in a cyclical nature with the contributory actions of that individual. As was stated during the panel, any person who solves problems is an artist, and thus can successfully contribute to society.
In response to other aspects of the panel, I was a bit taken aback by the comment that art is not made to educate, and that artists are not "all-knowing." While I certainly agree that for the most part artists do not possess any superior or divine knowledge, I think that often they possess the innate ability to communicate ideas in a manner that makes them both revolutionary and novel to their audiences. The skillfull use of symbolism and satire within a work are just some of many tricks used to elicit epiphanies from unsuspecting bystanders. On the other hand, I did agree that the combined knowledge of two, or twenty, or a hundred people becomes exponentially tremendous, hence the values of collaboration.
On a rather different note, while  considering the panel in a much broader spectrum, I thought about the evolution of art over the course of human history. One of the members of the audience had asked something along the lines of whether art, and specifically modern art was made purely for the enjoyment of the artists, or whether it could be understood and appreciated by the lay-person, so to speak. In the beginning, when "art" first developed as a precursor to writing, probably in the remote caves of France and Spain, it likely served to fulfill a function. Essentially, it was needed, either to enact religious ceremonies essential to clan survival, or to allow for communication and recording purposes. Jumping ahead to the Renaissance, art next served its function as religious iconography and tools essential to carry out religious practices. Such art, and many of its precedents and antecedents also provided for the soulful rendering of individual expression and emotion. In modern society, in my opinion, art has become increasingly aesthetic and empty. However, art that evokes thought, discussion, and contemplation of the modern world's plight retains its functionary and essential role in society, while also allowing for the expression of new and unique ideas concerning mankind.

K. Walker:

I was not really sure what to expect when we showed up at the Arnott Art Museum. What I saw as definately not what I was expecting though. It was a form of art that I had never seen before. I did not really like it but I know that I enjoy older art better so I kind of can understand why it was not my favorite. However, the message that they brought across to me was good and important message, that of collaboration. The work that they did was a collaboration piece that was fragments of each of their thoughts and ideas brought together. I like this idea because that is how the world works. Everything is pieces of one another working together. If we do not work together then things go bad and there is conflict. They talked about collaboration and participation. Saying they are different. I agree with this, that participation can lead to collaboration but it is not collaboration on its own. It was said that humans have a need for a sense of belonging. Sometimes people feel welcome to participate or contribute to something but we want more. We want to collaborate with others for then we fell as if we truly belong. For collaborating is working together towards a shared goal. I could relate to this because with sports you want everyone collaborating not just participating. From this I could really understand where they were coming from.

C. Philip:

The panel yesterday at the Arnot Art Museum was very interesting. I have never been to a panel before so I was excited to attend.  It was really neat to be around such great artist and to listen to their different views on collaboration. I think the live streaming art is a very cool way for artist to share their different art abilities with others.  I like how the artist took random stuff from the basement and made it into something quite beautiful. It just shows you that you can find and make art out of anything you don’t always need paint and paper.  I am happy I was able to attend and get to view the collaboration done by two very good artists. I also enjoyed skyping with the two artists from Sweden.  All in all I enjoyed the panel thanks Jan for inviting me.

L. Jasminski:

Fragments at the Arnot Art Museum was very unique and unlike any kind of art I have ever seen before.  The screen, made up of many different objects like chairs and boxes were all painted white.  The screen itself was a piece of art, but projected on the "screen" were video clips by different artists from different parts of the world.  I enjoyed seeing the new modern interactive art.  The art was really inventive.  The thing I liked most about the art though, was the fact that artists got together from around the world and worked together on a project.  I think that collaboration makes the best art, and seeing fragments come together was really exciting.

D. Caballero:

This past visit to the art gallery was by far my favorite visit of the year. There were various reasons why I truly enjoyed this exhibit. For one I really liked the screen that was used. I liked how it was not a flat surface it gave the videos dimension. It also had its own sense of character due to the fact that it was made up of recycled objects that most people would not consider be art, like a weaved table, Styrofoam in a box and other everyday objects that we might just consider to throw away. While the screen itself was a form of art, as well as the vides projected onto them I felt that this new idea to be able to collaborate several people’s views into one piece of art. Then the viewer take his or her own twist to the project to make it their own is something that will start a chain of success. The hands on effect to this is what I really enjoyed the most that it was not just two set people moving the cameras around but that anyone could really go up and play a video of their choice. Every time you go there is going to be a different experience, no two same movements at the exact time will be able to be reproduced.  My favorite part about of the whole time being there was when there was a video playing of hand swaying side to side, one of the collaborators stepped in front of the screen and made it so that his and swiped and touched the hand of the video, allowing them to connect. Which I believe that moment right there summed up what the fragments project meant to me, that while there in the museum or in Sweden, you can come together in an welcoming environment to be part of art.

L. Maurer:

This past week the show Fragments was up in the Arnot Art Museum in town. This show, unlike any of the other shows I have been to this past term, or for that matter in the past of my life, was an extremely different experience for me. The show itself was different in one way because I am used to seeing all different art pieces collected in a room. Whereas at this show, all of the individual pieces were combined together and projected onto a solitary sculpture of recycled materials. In addition, the piece was interactive. Viewers could change the images being projected, and insert images from a live feed camera into the show. When patrons looked more closely at the art they in turn became a part of the art themselves because the images would be projected on them. At first I was somewhat confused and over-stimulated by what was going on in the exhibit, but after adjusting to the concept I could think about what a piece like this could mean to me. The first thing I noticed about it was the aspect of all these different ideas being combined. It reminded me of when I do a group project, and everyone has input, which then led me to think of bigger issues. For example, in politics, everyone has something to say about a topic in varying degrees along a spectrum. I thought the piece was a reflection on how our society is made up of so many different parts, just to create one topic or area. The piece also made me think of the individualism expressed in our culture because there were so many different parts making up the work. Yet, differently than our culture the pieces were together, working together to create one piece. While I enjoyed the sentiment, I would have also liked the opportunity to see the pieces separately, just so I could have a better grasp of what each video was of, but I think that would have defeated the point of this abstract statement.

H. Schultz:

Fragments was one of the most interesting art experiences that I have yet to experience. It was the most interesting to me because it was unlike anything I have seen before. I really liked how those that showed up to view the work became part of the art as well. The style of art was very intriguing. The backdrop, the boxes, chair, sheets, all made the videos seem more real and make you feel apart of it. At some parts it was harder to make out images because of how they would be stretched across shapes, but I feel that these shapes and objects made it even more of an unique piece of art. It is amazing how far technology has came over the years that artists all over the world are able to contribute, even if in little ways, to make just one piece. I enjoyed listening to what the artists had to say, and I agreed with what their opinions were. There was an older gentlemen behind me who brought up the question of how is it collaborative if all the artists did was submit a video and only a handful actually edited it and put it together. I understand why he felt that way, but in my opinion it did not matter if they were physically there to set up, or put the videos together, they all participated even if it was in the smallest way. I also really liked how the two artists that were present incorporated the viewers. It brought the piece to an even larger than life feeling. It was really amazing how two artists in Sweden, and all of us in New York were able to all communicate about one piece of art made up of multiple works from all over. I really enjoyed this art show more than any of the other ones. Professor Longwell also showed us a room in the beginning of the art museum where there was a collection of paintings. They were so beautiful. He also showed us one of George Waters landscape paintings. All the paintings that I saw were so good. Its unbelievable how talented some people are. Overall I feel like my appreciation for art, and my recognition for all the different types of art, has been changed in a more positive way. I am able to appreciate different types of art and my idea of art has expanded. Before when I thought of art I thought of paintings or drawings. It was very interesting to see how videos can become art as well. The backdrops made the videos come alive and become part of the viewers world as well. I really enjoyed this art show.

L. Coghill:

I am not entirely sure what I was expecting to see when I arrived at the Arnot Art Museum. The screen of “junk” was a very interesting idea and thought the execution was done very well. Also, when the artists were manipulating the projectors and playing several videos at once, the combined effect was strikingly beautiful, though almost completely abstract. In particular, one video of a carousel paired with another of very bright reds and yellows created a kaleidoscope of color on the screen, enhanced further by the varying depth and shadows created from the “junk”. The presentation that was given using the Skype link, however, lost some of the excitement created by the initial viewing and was became bogged down in philosophical musings and a debate of word definitions. Although I was unable to work with the projectors myself, I am glad I was able to leave the artistic posturing which seemed to have taken hold.

C. Sepe:

I found the fragments display to be very interesting.  I thought it was really cool that so many people were involved.  It really brings the world together in a positive way rather than in the many negative ways it has been lately.  It was cool to use "junk" to display the videos on.  It shows a new way that we can recyle old things instead of just throwing them out.  I did't get the chance to hold the camera myself, but it was cool to see others using it and moving around the videos. 

S. Ware:

The Fragments exhibit at the Arnot Art Museum was a really new and unique experience for me. I had never seen that type of interactive artwork before. It was really interesting to see how the collaboration of several different artists came together so well. I really liked how the images and live feed from the computer were projected onto the unconventional canvas of recycled materials. I was confused at first about what the images were and where they were coming from. One of the people at the exhibit demonstrated that they images were coming from the computer and a live-feed camera. I was hesitant to participate, but it was neat to see that people could interact and add their creative touches to the exhibit. The Fragments collaborative exhibit definitely broadened my view of artwork and video art.

J. Donagan:

The fragments exhibit at the Arnot Art Museum was like something I had never seen before. Upon first entering and watching for a few moments I was really confused, but after listening and seeing some of the other people there participate I began to understand how everything was working. I think that it was a really neat concept, to take what people see as trash and use it as art instead. Reflecting the videos off of it as well was very cool. They all looked different depending on what part of the recycled art they landed on and the colors changed. I was hesitant to participate just because I did not want to mess anything up and I liked watching it more than creating it. I like that we had to go to the Arnot Art Museum to see this as well because I never knew there was an art museum so close to school and had never seen it before. It opened up my eyes to the things in this area that I never took the time to notice before.

D. Culver:

Today I went to the Arnot Art Museum to see the fragment presentation. This was between 3 artists who collaborated to make this possible, and it was nice to see.  The presentation was different, all reusable items mostly covered with a white sheet to project from. I played with a video to see the different effects on the way the video played. There were different parts of the projection that went in and out and each had a different effect on the video. One might say the difference between color and black and white photography, the picture could be the same but each would make it look differently.The effects of the projection screen on a face was interesting, it looked like some of the face was jumping out at you versus going in. It was almost like projecting it twice and getting different effects each time. You know it is still a person or whatever is being played at the time, however what it is being projected on gives it a new dimension and new way to look at something.  It was different to see the projection the way it was, because most of the time you think flat screen and a movie. This was a new take and brought a new meaning to the idea, and makes someone think. Art takes so many forms and with this can take the ordinary to the extraordinary. It was different and interesting at the same time.

Project history

2011 Fragments, ephemeral installation, April 5–8, Arnot Art Museum, Elmira New York, New York
2009 Fragments, world premiere screening, July 25, Berkeley Commonplace, Berkeley, Calif.

Videos

2011 Fragments: Bending the rules
2011 Fragments: Meeting in the Middle
2011 Fragments: Remix of Fragments Footage
2011 Fragments: Collaboration in Action
2011 Fragments: An Ephemeral, International Video Installation at the Arnot Art Museum
2011 Alice Talks about Fragments, An Ephemeral, International Video Collaboration
2011 Bear Hug by Tom Oberg projected in the Fragments Installation

2009 Fragments Thread One, 48073 (NL), Marty McCutcheon (US), Brad Wise (US), Alberto Guerreiro (PT), Aditi Kulkarni (IN)
2009 Fragments Thread Two, Alicia Felberbaum (UK), Mads Ljungdahl (DK), Ulf Kristiansen (NO), Anders Weberg (SE), Niclas Hallberg (SE)
2009 Fragments Thread Three, Dave Swensen (US), Kika Nicolela (BR), Stina Pehrsdotter (SE), Ambuja Magaji (IN), Alison Williams (ZA)
2009 Fragments Announcement Video, Chang & McCutcheon

Thanks to

The New York State Council on the Arts and The ARTS Council of the Southern Finger Lakes
The Arnot Art Museum, Elmira New York, USA
All the participating artists
Berkeley Commonplace Community Screening Center, Shattuck Avenue 2571, Berkeley, California, USA
Californian band Slowness, http://www.myspace.com/slownessmusic