love letters from a world of awe

Posted by Rhizome | Tue Apr 15th 1997 1 a.m.

Love Letters from a World of Awe,"
http://www.thebluedot.com/loveletters, is the Web component of a
multi-disciplinary project by artist Yael Kanarek. Including painting,
written words, sculpture and found objects, "Love Letters" has been in
the making for several years, and will probably evolve for several more.

Yael puts a strong emphasis on arts-and-crafts objects and technique --
across disciplines, her work evokes innocent pleasure. At the same time,
it references the deformed, sick and ugly, and persistently represents a
child's polymorphous universe of milk and shit. Love Letters punctuate
this project -- they are a kind of record -- and they add an interesting
layer of textuality.

It's not an easy project -- "Love Letters from a World of Awe" is a big
mystery -- travel is endless, people are nameless, and love is
object-less. Visitors are assured, however, that all correspondence from
the artist, and she will write, will be signed "Yours forever, your
sunset/sunrise forever yours, Yours forever yours."

Check it out, and let us know what you think.

+ + +

RHIZOME recently interviewed the spirited Ms Kanarek about her cross
media project.

[...]

** Yael, how would you define "new media art?"

I am looking at the title "new media art", thinking to myself, gee, what
are we going to do in let's say...40 years, whatever we're calling "new
media" is going to go through it's mid-life crisis. So, as a start, I
would like to suggest a few other names, maybe something a little more
sexy...Wildcard Art DigArt, 72NoMas Art, KeepItOnTheDownLow Art, Free
Floating Art... are a few that just popped into my mind.

What is this element that is trying to claim "new media"? well, the main
thing that occurred in the last couple of years is the emergence of the
World Wide Web -- turning computers into another MUST HAVE in the
up-to-date accessories household. This is really when the "new"
possibilities started to present themselves. The other format, I think,
the CD-ROM, falls into this category as well, but doesn't present the
striking possibilities the Web does. It's still strongly attached to the
material world and relatively expensive to produce.

I was fortunate enough to catch the web wave when it was just becoming
available to the public, and very clearly remember the conceptual
interest the medium was presenting. I say it was mainly conceptual,
because the baby couldn't do much beside eat, sleep or cry, and many of
the features that now seem so obvious were hovering in the horizon. I
remember visiting Interport Communications (access provider) in their
small office back then, totally amazed, seeing a QuickTime movie of
Bernstein conducting the New York Philharmonic. It was mind blowing. And
here we are 3 and a half years later.

So, 3 years ago, I decided on a 'new' strategy. Realizing the speed of
the development and expansion of the medium, and looking at the short
history of 'new,' not to mention my desire to avoid looping concepts.

My 'new' strategy was to pretend that Wildcard Art/DigArt/72NoMas
Art/KeepItOnTheDownLow Art/Free Floating Art has been around for 50
years or 70 years or whatever is convenient at the moment, so I could
peacefully claim the awe from the medium and develop it in the content.
I wanted to use the medium as a channel rather then an end.

[...]

** What appeals to you about new media art?

Wildcard Art/DigArt/72NoMas Art/KeepItOnTheDownLow Art/Free Floating
Art... I like the fact I don't have to ask permission, just set it. I
like the fact I can publish while washing dishes or searching for lice
in my hair. I like it because I can play with it in so many ways. I like
it because it's not real - like it doesn't have weight or take up space,
hardly. I like it because it helps me forget the 'real world' of slaving
to maintain my body and labeling slides. I like it because it's
solitary. I like it because it's like my mother - available and
receptive.

** Yael, tell us about your latest Web project.

Question modified: Tell us about your latest Wildcard Art/DigArt/72NoMas
Art/KeepItOnTheDownLow Art/Free Floating Art project.

I really get the kick from crossing mediums, so to keep pumping the
adrenaline, I've developed "Love Letters From a World of Awe." It's such
an open ended project that I never have to worry about what to do next.
Based on a narrative line, it travels through text to painting, from
sculpture to sound and digital work. Whatever I can play with and I am
not picky. As I learned from the Web to perceive the medium as a channel
not as an end, the idea ties the parts together not polymers. It's the
playground, it's the wasteland, and it's very curious too.

Recently, I launched the web site with the courtesy and support of
Razorfish (The Blue Dot). It's in its preliminary stage, but one can
already sign-up to get their own love letter every few weeks by
answering the simple question: "What's love?" Future events planned for
"Love Letters From a World of Awe" are:

1. Revision and expansion of the web site in a couple of months.
2. On-line live performance/slide show/live video in the summer.
3. One person show end of 1997
4. CD release beginning of 1998
5. Multimedia performances in 1998
6. Publishing of the collection of the love letters in 1998.

[...]

** How did you get started using technology to make art?

I was first introduced to computers on a hellish day job. We clicked and
I warmly embraced. When I learned about the Internet, I figured that
this was *IT* -- THE SHIT. I suggested to friends of mine to form an
on-line gallery on a bulletin board (the web wasn't widely available to
the public at the time), and the response I got was along the lines of
concern about copyright issues. I remember reading on "suck.com" that it
seemed that the best way to make money on the web is by giving away
stuff for free. Not that ours was an issue of making money, but I was
flabbergasted by possibilities of access. I became a groupie (and I
hoped it was my ticket out of the unappealing 'starving artists'
status). The first site I created was a kind of voyage through NYC
stories, images and sounds, like the one in which I witnessed a neighbor
sticking a wooden spoon up his ass and putting it in his mouth like it
was a lollipop (it's true too), eventually 'they' took him away. The
site wasn't very successful but for a while there I was running around
the East Village's restaurants, bulletin boards and lamp posts, hanging
posters advertising the site. It was fun. I had absolutely no
competition.

[...]

** How is the Web different from real space?

The web feeds on our physical ability to imagine. What some people would
call our "third eye." An action that keeps our attention busy most of
our life. TV, film, literature -- all media feeds on that. That's where
the web lives. All we need is a head and a couple of fingers. Painting
and sculpture demand slightly more presence in the present, they relate
to our bodies. And real space for real, tricky moments of now, actively
sensing space... I'm in a space now... I'm looking around and there is a
space around me... this is a question for the incredible study of
perception in time.

[...]
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