I was drawn to this piece because of its art history concept. At first, this piece was confusing to me but when I finally got the entirety concept of it, Memmott’s Self Portrait(s) [as Other(s)] turns into something very entertaining.
Memmott lets curators and art critics form their own textual portraits of 12 famous artists. It took me some time to realize what was going on here because there are thousands of recreated biographies for each artist- none of which are exactly the same. It dawn on me when I read that Monnet’s water garden was in San Francisco. Though there are facts in the biographies, it is far more about how the curators and critics relate and understand these artists, and how an observer could also relate to the works/artists. The curators and critics are involved with these great artists everyday. I have the impression these created biographies portrays their friendship with the artists. That may sound strange because they have most likely not met these artists in person, but they are, in a way, involved with these deceased artists. That is how an observer of art is as well. The person is dead but the art is alive and generates fresh interactions in people every time it is observed. The curators and critics have formed their take on these artists biographies – beyond just the facts. They incorporate personality, events of the time, and personal thoughts of what the artist was thinking or feeling.
The page is set up so all action is confided to a box within the screen. One half of the screen shows the biography. One might have to put the mouse over the side arrows to scroll, allowing the reader to finish the biography. The other half shows the artists’ self portrait paintings all cut up and rejoined to create a new self portrait image. When the mouse goes over the lips of each portrait a quote is generated over the image. The quotes manipulates the image slightly wether with color or by placing another image over the self portrait. If there is a double image, the later is always majority translucent or small. The image is altered regardless. The quotes that were used had the lease amount of rotation. At least, they seemed to be the most repetitive (there might of been more than the fixed 12 artists).
The backdrop of the screen was dark which allowed the white text and recreated self portraits to take all the attention. The page was easy to maneuver which didn’t allowed any distractions to take the readers attention from the art works and biographies. There was a sense of connection between the cut-up self portraits and the curators and critics version of the artists’ biographies. Each cut-up self portrait really created a separate and new self-portrait. Art is an emotional concept. When someone sees a piece they form emotion that could be translated into text but it is different text for every individual. People naturally try to put reason behind why something is the way that it is, and they want to make connections to certain aspects. Mommott provided the text and art work so that the mind would (most likely) direct itself toward the way the curator/ critic thought to guide it. Mommott also provides an important realization that people should not be so obsessed about where, when, why, what though the eyes of the artist. The observer should use their own eyes to decide those answers.