+Commissioned by Rhizome.org+
An Interview with MTAA by Lauren Cornell
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Artists M. River and T. Whid formed MTAA in 1996 and soon after began to explore the internet as a medium for public art. The duo's exhibition history includes group shows and screenings at The New Museum of Contemporary Art, Postmasters Gallery and Artists Space, all in New York City, and at The Getty Research Institute in Los Angeles. International exhibitions include the Seoul Net & Film Festival in Korea and Videozone2 -The 2nd International Video Art Biennial in Israel. In the forthcoming New Media Art (Taschen, 2006), authors Mark Tribe and Reena Jana describe MTAA's 1 year performance video (aka samHsiehUpdate) as 'a deftly transparent demonstration of new media¹s ability to manipulate our perceptions of time.' The collaboration has also earned grants and awards from Rhizome.org, Eyebeam, New Radio & Performing Arts, Inc. and The Whitney Museum¹s Artport web site.
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LAUREN CORNELL: Can you tell me a little bit about your net art pre-history, and how you met and started collaborating?
M. RIVER: I began working with performance and collaboration in grad school at Cranbrook (outside of Detroit). Driving North nonstop for 4 days until the road runs out, breaking into stranger's yards and mowing their lawns, backyard camping at mansions‹my friends and I did these things together and called it 'Art.' It felt like 'odd sculpture' for me then. What I do with Tim in MTAA often reminds me of that feeling. From Cranbrook, I headed blindly to Brooklyn where coincidentally, Tim had also just moved. One day Tim called and asked if I wanted to collaborate on some paintings. I said, 'Yes.' And we've been working together under the name MTAA since.
T. WHID: I was working exclusively on underground comics, but I wanted to work on a painting. First I called a mutual friend to see if he wanted to collaborate. He declined but suggested I call M. since he had some canvasses stretched. We both thought the collaboration successful and continued working together.