Motion Graphic


// Digital Media Foundation // FOU 114 // Visual Design // CVPA, UMass Dartmouth //
// Lecturer: Lily X. Yang,



Principles & Elements


"The Image as A Dynamic System"

- working with motion, sound & virtual space

Digital art is a mechanized medium whose potential appears limitless. As American writer and curator George Fifield expresses it: ‘The artist’s ability to effortlessly reposition and combine images, filters, and colors, within the friction-less and gravity-free memory space of the computer, endows them with an image-making freedom never before imagined.’

Digital technology is the engine that drives computer art, internet art, digital photography and digital video, much of contemporary sound art, experimental sculpture and a host of other practices, each with its own history and relevant artists.

Using digital technology artists are now able to introduce new forms of ‘production,’ not ‘reproduction.’ ‘Virtual reality,’ for example, one of the more mystifying outgrowths of digital technology, is not a mere translating of data into life-size images that mimic reality. It is its own reality. According to architect and critic Paul Virilio, ‘We are entering a world where there won’t be one, but two realities: the actual and virtual. There is no simulation, but substitution.’ Benjamin’s point about reproducibility, prescient when her raised it in the late 1930s, concerns the ‘aura’ and uniqueness of the art object and is also related to representations of space through the use of the laws of perspective, a preoccupation of artists since the fifteenth century. 'Perspective' and 'reproducibility'are, for Benjamin, concepts related to representation of the real; but there are no longer agreed notions of 'the real.' The digital world, which goes far beyond the mere non-linearity introduced into art by Cubism, is becoming a new reality for which a new critical and aesthetic language must yet be developed.

Digital technology, for which the computer is the basic tool, embraces all areas of contemporary, technologically involved art, from films, to photography, synthesized music, CD-ROMs and much more. The new power that digital technology brings to the image renders it infinitely malleable. Formerly, visual information was static in the sense that the image, although editable in film or capable of being incorporated into other images in montage, was fixed. Once transferred to digital language in the computer every element of the image can be modified. The image becomes 'information,' in the computer, and all information can be manipulated. 'For the first time in history,' says digital media pioner Peter Weibel, 'the image is a dynamic system.'

-The Digital in Art by Michael Rush (excerpt)



Story Land

Based on the fundamental knowledge and skills you have obtained from previous projects, in project 5 “Story Land – my cultural space,” you will explore the following essential elements of digital media arts : Motion, Sound and Virtual Space. You will construct a virtual space with digital images and sounds. Your goal is to explore the possibilities and effectiveness of conveying cultural significance through digital media. It is important to remember, with this project, we are opening the door to the field of time-based digital art, from where you start seeking digital tools and expressions to solve aesthetic and communication problems. At the fundamental stage, we emphasize on both technological and conceptual studies in digital media. We are open to all types of discussions to promote creativity, and working together to achieve more understandings of the functionalities of art and technology in the information age.

The complete project will be a short movie (duration: 20 seconds – 5 minutes varied) containing both visual components and soundtrack(s). For the final presentation on April 10th, you will need to write a short description constrained within one page, to conclude your conceptual and technical solutions.



Time-based Works indicating motion, sound and space relationships:

1. Only You by Chris Cunningham

2. About & Around (1980) by Gary Hill

Description: Around & About is one of those intimate tapes where Gary Hill makes his contribution through his own voice and the text: its subject covers a private situation. The artist finds himself in the same situation as a writer, but with video that he can transform into a space of solitude. Around & About’s text is about a difficult relationship between two people (corresponding to the pronouns "I" and "You" ): "I am not ready to be complex", "I want to be with you", I don’t want to be separated", "I want to carry on"… The spoken word attempts to reach out to the other person, but holds back on the very brink of itself, as if the other person were already inaccessible. It is blunt, futile and monotonous. It is a monologue and makes its declarations without any return response, itself making, in advance, the return responses of the other. The image comes and gives various bodies to what is said: the image is in perpetual fragmentation. Small segments move about the screen like bricks of meaning which fit together and come apart. In this way, the inside of an office is assembled then broken up; moving local micro-perceptions alternate with global units of comprehension which themselves vary. The system of inclusion opens up from inside the surface of perception. The logic of the union and separation of the visual elements indicates pure differences within the space which become places. Gary Hill, in fact, maps out concepts, perceiving them as distinct places – and thought is the movement which generates a passage from one to another (Paul-Emmanuel Odin).

3. Mouth Piece by Gary Hill

Description: Using fictional interactivity of the artist's body on the image, Mouthpiece is a humorous simulation of a performance video. A black and white recording is superimposed on a series of pictures. The simulation of action is produced by this transparency and the effect of reality given by the recording in real time.

The fiction is constructed along the lines of turning fantasy into derision. A series of identical mouths - red, pulpous lips -- files past in a column. A recording of the artist's mouth appears in the background, kissing the images. But the rate at which the series files past accelerates, in defiance of the kiss, which can no longer land on the pictures. The artist then reacts by pursing his lips and blowing out a "brbrbr" sound, which seems to make the pictures file past even faster, mixing them up, as if the sound waves had taken over the very substance of the image. Confronted with this playful lunacy, the artist sticks out his tongue in a humorous onomatopoeia of disgust. Then, these sequences file past a second time. These three phases give a real time simulation of the interaction between two levels of the image and between sound and image.

The mouth was a recurring subject, in various approaches to communication, in videos in the 70's: In Primary (1978), Gary Hill breaks down the mouth's movements during the articulation of the words "blue, red, green". In Lip Sync (1969), Bruce Nauman plays with the synchronisation of the images of lips and the voice off by the repetition of the title. In Open Book (1974), Vito Acconci invites spectators to enter his wide-open mouth." - Thérèse Beyler

4. Media Bomb

Description: This video explores and criticizes the idea of Propaganda and the affect of the media and in particular American broadcasting. "An alternative conception of democracy is that the public must be barred from managing of their own affairs and the means of information must be kept narrowly and rigidly controlled. That may sound like an odd conception of democracy, but it's important to understand that it is the prevailing conception...." -Noam Chomsky

5. Sensitivity

Description: Sensitivity discovers the relation between image and sound, language and perception. In order to emphasize this fact the Contrast Level's histogram of the images are connected to the shape of the waveform.
The artist also points out the John Cage's notion of "Silence."

6. Anthem by Bill Viola

Anthem is a post-industrial lamentation, structured on the single piercing scream of a young girl as she stands in the vast chamber of Union Station in Los Angeles. Viola relates this structure to the form and function of religious chants, particularly Gregorian chants (using a harmonic scale in a resonant hall) and Tantric Buddhist chants (ritual exorcism and conversation with demons). The original scream is extended in time and shifted in frequency to produce a scale of harmonic notes that comprises the soundtrack, to which Viola juxtaposes images of materialism -- industry and the worship of the body, giant oil pumps and the beating human heart, cars streaming along a freeway and blood flowing through veins, modern surgical technology and tree branches in an ancient forest. The anguished scream cuts through the corporeality of the body and contemporary culture as a living organism. For Viola, the piece is a ritual evocation of 'our deepest primal fears, darkness, and the separation of body and spirit.' - EAI

7. Orange Advert by Chris Cunningham

8. Forbidden City by Lily X. Yang


Project Format and Specifications

1. Final format is

2. Pixel resolutions can be 640x360, 640x480, 720x540 with square pixel aspect ratio

3. Movie file frame rates 24fps or 30fps

4. Video codecs: DivX, H.264, Sorenson, MPEG-4, or WMV

5. Audio codecs: uncompressed, AAC, AC3, or MP3

6. Duration: no shorter than 20 seconds, no longer than 5 minutes.



* Motion Graphic





Student Gallery


* Digital Media Production

* Fine Arts