Artist Jeffery Moser’s Take on New Media

Dana Lark

In the current digital age, films and music have lost their physicality, explained Jeffrey Moser, assistant professor of interactive media design at West Virginia University.

Moser spoke on his artistic experience with “transmediation” on Thursday in the Georgia Southern Arts Building to a room of about 65 students. Transmediation is the transition from one medium to the next.

Moser had an interest in films and trains, which had one thing in common, “They’re both long, skinny objects which you almost never see its entirety all at one time,” Moser said.

Moser creates art by replicating cinematic works in new media. A viewer can see Sleeping Beauty (1959) in its entirety by utilizing the concept of fixation, a biological term in which a specimen, such as a butterfly, is arrested of movement so it can be studied. Moser substitutes motion pictures and music videos, among other things, in place of a butterfly. By zooming out completely, one can view the entire motion picture of “Sleeping Beauty” frame by frame.

Sleeping Beauty (1959) by Jeffrey Moser (Retrieved via Fixation Database)

“The underlying idea is to work with information in ways that mix long threads of information all once,” said University Gallery Director Jason Hoelscher, “He’s taken a medium of creativity that’s based in the linear unfolding of time and turned it into something that exists spatially.”

An audience member asked Moser if he had thought about incorporating his work into fabrics, such as silk or quilts. Moser said he would love to collaborate with a textile artist to make a huge The Wizard of Oz rug and to experiment with clothing.

Moser was gifted his uncle’s collection of Ford Motor Company industry films. While transferring the films from the original format to digital in graduate school, he realized the way he interacted with the medium change, Moser said.

Moser’s work is important to Georgia Southern students because it exposes them to different forms of art and an opportunity to meet a professional artist, which aids in expanding artistic ideas, said Jessamy McManus, the university gallery director’s assistant. A 35 mm roll of the film Sleeping Beauty, is currently on display in the University Gallery. The artifact weights about 35 pounds and is accompanied by a projector. “While the ‘Sleeping Beauty’ installation’s spiraling rings of color practically hypnotize you, some of his other videos remind me of getting lost in a kaleidoscope,” McManus said.

Artist Jeffrey Moser standing with a 16 mm film preview of Paranormal Activity 3.

Moser also brought a 16 mm film preview of Paranormal Activity 3 (2011) to the talk. Movie theaters officially switched from traditional film to the digital format in 2012, Moser said. The film contains 90 seconds of footage, and weighs about one pound. Moser walked the length of the large auditorium-like room with the film to demonstrate how long the roll of film was. It would measure about 200 feet if it were unrolled completely, he explained.

The roll of film displayed the contrast between owning a physical object and having a digital copy. “I love when I go to YouTube, and it says, ‘Rare Video’. Dude, it’s on YouTube, it’s no longer rare,” Moser said.

Moser continued by saying that there is no such thing as rarity or ownership when music, movies, and art are in a digital format. It is impossible to sell the work he has created because it is instantly reproducible. Of late, Moser has become invested in creating new, original content while practicing ongoing experimenting with music and video. Moser’s musical background is sometimes incorporated into the creation of his work. 

Moser’s exhibition, “Transmedia PreDelay,” will be on display in the Center for Art and Theatre University Gallery until Sept. 15. More of Moser’s work can also be found on his website.