Bucking the Pseudonym

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Image: Rick Silva, Antlers Wifi, 2009

Calgary-based Brazilian-American artist Rick Silva is a man of at least as many talents as identities. Perhaps this can be chalked-up to the fact that he studied under and often collaborates with pseudonymous hypertext pioneer Mark Amerika. But last week he unveiled a collaboration with himself in which he's finally ready to disclose that he is the artist previously known as Abe Linkoln. Antlers Wifi merges the stylistic affinities with which both names have been associated. Linkoln anticipated the "pro-surfer" net art movement with Screenfull.net, his first collaborative work with Jimpunk, the motto of which was "we crash your browser with content." He's continued to push this aesthetic over the last five years while helping to establish "blog art" as a genre, and Triptych.tv (with Jimpunk and Mr. Tamale) is evidence of his ongoing interest in web-based group remix blogs. But Antlers Wifi is a step in a solo direction, bringing a copy/paste aesthetic to original animations. If Linkoln is the product of Amerika, then Silva is the product of Stan Brakhage, with whom the artist also studied. He refers to the site's multi-layered digital collages as "poems about light and nature" and indeed they have all the flickery appeal of Brakhage's performatively-composed films. The project is an interesting move on the heels of Silva's high-def Rough Mix, which playfully compared the practices of scratching images as a filmmaker and scratching records as a DJ. It also conveyed a deep interest in nature appropriate to someone who came of age in the mountains of Colorado. The videos posted at Antlers Wifi build upon each other while leaning on the time-based format of the blog. Now in its second week, Silva anticipates archiving his posts on a weekly basis. Looking back at weeks one and two, it's exciting to think of what luminous haikus or deep disclosures are on the horizon. - Marisa Olson