<$otino corsano conceptual art new genres$>

Monday, October 24, 2011

The Pursuit of Happiness by Corinna Ghaznavi

The Pursuit of Happiness:
Corinna Ghaznavi on the social ad art of Otino Corsano

“Happiness Part 1, Video 3 (Still)” Otino Corsano, 2011 Directors: Caroline Ryan and Paul Weeks, Video 0:35

In this age of information and new technologies, images often get flattened. The sheer mass of blogs, tweets and emails alongside short media bursts and endless postings of images culled from everyday life, makes it difficult to discern particularities and ascertain the individual life represented. Advertising imagery, once reserved for billboards, television, newspapers and magazines, is now everywhere, including prominently in our homes. By necessity we filter and sift content quickly, understanding familiar commercial signifiers and passing over personal images because we cannot afford to slow down enough to absorb their deeper meanings.

Using conceptual art sensibilities, Otino Corsano collects subtly rich, yet tranquil images found through social media and employs these personal photos to counter the overflow of media information by recuperating the integrity of the subjective visual experience. Struck by the individuality of certain images, he found himself responding to what he simply summarizes as “happiness”: a fleeting impression and tender response culled from everyday life. His curatorial process of image selection is based on the spontaneous reactions any particular image may generate through a variety of ways, including framing and light, or a hidden narrative invoked in a scene.

Working from these references, Corsano creates storyboards by rendering the found stills into ink drawings. Taken from a vast range of sources, reinterpreted in ink, and arranged into an arbitrary narrative, the artist transforms these random pictures into an unexpected new order. These readily available images are choreographed into a coherent, albeit non-linear story centering on serene moments. Corsano then invited three film directors, each in a different professional phase of their careers, to use the storyboards as a matrix for the making of a thirty second spot. This format of a standard television commercial is utilized to reconstruct the lifestyle genre offered by advertising – this time solely as art.

Corsano is interested in this revision of media as a new genres artist and particularly how commercial art formats can become personalized. Accordingly, while we are given thirty-second films aesthetically akin to lifestyle ads liberated from any selling pitch. In these realms we can imagine happiness, calm and even bliss without the marketed aftertaste. Whereas contemporary advertising offers a promise of fleeting fulfillment through consumption, the interest of Corsano and his film directors lies in creative freedom for greater fulfillment. Corsano recognizes the techniques of advertising as not only effective, yet also desirous when liberated from a product focal point. The artist redistributes these moments of bliss to the viewer who is free to receive stylized recreations of calm without the anxiety of having to consume the predictable message of a targeted campaign.

By attempting to pinpoint a fluctuating peacefulness in the images attracting him, Corsano offers this same gain of focus and calm to the viewer. Images once hardly noticed in a web of endless quantities and postings are isolated from online spaces and then recuperated into the art gallery to reside in a more sensitive, reflective context. Every captured digital still once highlighted a poignant moment in an individual’s experience. Remixed as art, these personal photos are expanded in their meaning through their connection to other recreated images: first as a collection of ink drawings and subsequently lengthened into moving images and scenes. While the integrity of the original snapshot is mostly honored, each artist – first Corsano, then the film directors – stretches these subjective moments through creative interpretation and reenactment. Each image is especially transformed by the new sequences the stills are placed in relation to one another. Corsano subsumes the original images, with his particular drawing style and the references are further personalized by each of the directors. Offering the directors storyboards as per traditional guidelines, Corsano essentially acts as a producer of the films. He affords his colleagues a maximum amount of freedom to align with the theme of creative liberation, happiness and choice. And since happiness is personal and subjective, his inclusion of several different creators (including the source photographer, Corsano as storyboarder, directors, editors, soundtrack composer, myself as writer and finally the viewers) allows for a range of different representations and perspectives regarding this pursuit of happiness.

The ambient soundtrack composed by John Mark Sherlock adds to the abstracted visual culture found, interpreted, and recreated in Happiness - Part 1. The fusing of creative sources – all familiar but made strange – works towards inviting the viewer into a space at once recognizable and open to further interpretation. The real and the fantasy come into contact when these found photographs become animated: each filmic interpretation expands the time and the location of the original image. Corsano maintains recreating reality is what art is best capable of, and in this case, the reality in art is the process of isolating a moment of reflection. Moreover, this conceptual process triggers happiness in both the artist creating the art and connects the viewer around a new experience of satisfaction. This ad hoc digital curating highlights the potential magic and personal secrets lying within ubiquitous and liquid images. Corsano empowers the unknown creator of these fantastic web-finds by respecting the photo’s integrity, focusing more closely on possible meanings, and foregrounding the image’s creative potential. Ideas unfurl from a single still into a parallel reality filled with fantasy and possibility. Happiness – Part 1 reveals the first step towards personal clarity – always, already accessible in the everyday.

“She’s so young. She’s got the answers. She doesn’t need to question the world like I do.” – Moe Berg, 1988


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