LETTERS OF SUPPORT
September 20, 2012
To Whom It May Concern:
Taking a family portrait is a relatively simple task and following certain established practices will net the usual haunting if not predictable outcome. Cindy Konits’s Bits of Us recognizes another passage in the technology of imaging, and challenges the viewer to relinquish the familiar, the predictable, the anticipated while expanding the cultural signature of the family. The picture remains just a picture unless it transgresses other boundaries of intent. Overcoming even the most mundane aspirations for our family pictures is no easy task, since it generally triggers memory over all else, and is often riddled with paralyzing nostalgia and sentimentality. Bits of Us aims at another possibility, of embracing chance as an artifact of dynamic interactive play. Bits of Us is not a program, but a set of conditions where the objective is not to resolve but to experience the rich collision of family realities through pictures and video. The differences, the subtleties, are magnified and invite a closer reading of the culturally transformative nature of our digital technology. The human conception of family can be re-imagined through other families’ images and social media. Unlike the family portrait that is forever locked in the past (it happened), Bits of Us is alive now, always evolving, always changing, and always expanding.
To realize such a complex project, Cindy Konits, an artist, has invested deeply in research surrounding our mania for all things digital, keeping in mind that historically the development of new media technologies over the past century has been largely influenced by the critical insights of artists who deploy them back into the fabric of our recorded life. Konits is now embarking on an uncharted experiment where there is a collaborative effort to rewrite the experience of family through these new technologies. In our increasingly porous technical environment, images flow unabated through hi-tech platforms, coded language, fluid transmissions, and shared sources. Her project is designed to create a field of engagement where the viewer confronts open layers of access while collaborating with known or unknown partners to create an organic, living view of family. It moves, as she has suggested, like a scrabble game with each letter added shifting the viability and context of what remains. There is no definitive solution to be determined, only the gratification of participating in an open ended global conversation around family, something we are all invested in. Cindy is very disciplined and steady in her pursuit of goals and I find the project a challenging effort to rethink the notion of family beyond the static image and with a more discursive sensibility. Her demanding work ethic and organizational skills will assure success of the project and create a vibrant new model for appreciating and understanding the complexities of our
Maryland Institute College of Art
Graduate Photography / Digital Imaging
September 21, 2012
To Whom this May Concern:
Cindy Konits, artist and project director of the BITS OF US project, has asked me to write a letter of support for her NEH Digital Humanities Start Up project proposal to develop an online real time collaborative video editing system to engage mass participation in the exploration of family memories and self-discovery.
As co-founder of the Radical Software video journal in 1970, the first of its kind to describe artists' experiments in working with the new medium of video, and as a pioneer of multiple channel video installation work, it is interesting to see the evolving manifestions of information exchange resonate in a media project such as BITS OF US. Infused with some of the same values and attitudes as in those early experiments, the Cindy Konits proposal continues to develop the democratic, and decentralized use of new technology and software to foster both private and collective memories in the context of the personal and larger human family.
The BITS OF US project in particular merits financial support from public funds as it develops new digital tools for the purpose of creating art through public participation. I enthusiastically support the BITS OF US project with its possible wide-reaching dialog within both the social science and artistic communities.