Artist Profile: Juliette Bonneviot

(2)

Your works bring together many strands of visual culture. Your paintings, for example, interpose art history, design, the natural world, and gaming. What does your image research look like? In a recent piece for Rhizome, Karen Archey wrote that your sensitivity is emblematic of the internet age, where all images are created equal. Do you think your work is affected by this characteristic of the internet? Does it mirror it? 

Yes, I think my work mirrors this characteristic of the internet age, which also is reflected in and conditions my research process.

This conditioning applies not only to images but to information in general, I treat the two as the same. This flattening of values allows me to make art historical and sociological connections that scholars wouldn't necessarily consider making. However, I don't view my research process as a new thing relevant only to the internet age.

I'm also interested in comparing the idea of wandering through images and informations on the web to Walter Benjamin's idea of the flâneur and his experience of modernity. The term describes the experience of leisurely walking through urban space while observing various aesthetic and sociological patterns in the XIXth century Paris.  

Recently I came across an article by Evgeny Morozov called "The Death of the Cyberflâneur," adressing this same parallel with Benjamin's flâneur and explaining how the cyberflâneur would disappear for similar reasons as those of the XIXth century flâneur—the internet becoming more and more enclosed in the world of social media, shopping activities, or separated apps. Benjamin also explains how the flânerie got caught in being conditioned by the economy and the market when the recently born commercial strategies of that time started using the flâneur and his casual attitude as a marketing tool. Benjamin notices ...

MORE »


Artist Profile: Jaakko Pallasvuo

(0)

 

Low Epic, 2011

Your identity/brand is split between multiple internet presences.  There is definite cohesion between the works on your artist website and your Tumblr, but your illustrations seem severed and separate.  Google image searching you, your comics and illustrations actually appear more frequently than your other work.  In Auditions you briefly meditate on identity association and representation on the internet and I’m curious as to how you intentionally shape this identity.  How do you approach self-design?

The way I think is fairly contradictory so it makes sense that the works would emerge that way as well. I question how satisfying maintaining a strict, programmed artistic identity would be in the long run. Making art is for me very much a form of learning. I will gladly sacrifice cohesion if it means that I can explore larger fields of knowledge.

I've been uploading works to various internet contexts since I was 16 and can accept that I cannot control their circulation. I do contemplate the way I represent / have represented myself online but I can't completely dictate my "brand" anymore. I appreciate artists who are able to maintain a cohesive image, but I don't think I could be / would want to be one.

A lot of your image work utilizes 80's and 90’s aesthetic and culture as a jumping off point.  From the midi backing tracks heard in your How To video series, to the gradients, colors and photoshop brushwork found on www.dawsonscreek.info, where do you place nostalgia, irony and sincerity throughout these works? Where do these begin and end for you?

Irony and nostalgia are difficult terms. I think of irony as snarky non-commitment and nostalgia as uncritical sentimentality. It feels unsafe to connect them to my own work. I ...

MORE »


Artist Profile: Jesse Hulcher

(0)

I'm A Wiz With Computers, 2011 

In Web Presence, you password-hack your deceased father’s gmail account and display it in the gallery on a computer, logged-in, as an ‘available to chat’, contact.  The work is a loose ontological study of sorts, referring to both life during and after existence in the form of an always preserved online presence.  It also demonstrates another way that aura sustains itself in digitally mediated space.  Is this more than just sentiment? How do you confront or deal with the permanence of identity online, within the archive, etc.?

It’s definitely more than sentiment for me because it’s about sentiment. I was actually hesitant to make the piece initially because I didn’t want it to be perceived as a strictly cathartic exercise. For me, it’s about a few things. It’s about these records of ourselves that exist online. It’s about the way time is represented online. And it’s about attempting to do something that can’t be done. We can’t communicate with people who’ve died. They’re not actually there on the other end of the gmail chat. But by password-hacking my father’s gmail account, I was able to reproduce his presence in my life. I didn’t live with him and didn’t live in the same city or state. So, his web-presence was his most common presence in my life. By logging him in on a dedicated computer, I’d recreated that presence and at times even managed to surprise myself for a split-second upon logging into my own account. It was always a pleasant surprise to see him “available to chat”.

Yes, there is personal sentiment. But it’s also simply about finding emotional or spiritual uses for technology. I’ve ...

MORE »


Artist Profile: Ann Hirsch

(1)

Stills from Here For You (Or My Brief Love Affair with Frank Maresca)

Having appeared as a recurring character on various reality television shows such as “Frank the Entertainer,” would you consider reality television to be an artistic medium that you work through? If so, are there any important attributes specific to it? Were you interested in reality television due to the wide audience that it could offer your work?

“Medium” is a tricky word here because most other media bear the ability to become a craft to an artist, one you can mold, shape and learn to use better and better over time. Reality TV is more like a grab bag. You never know what’s going to happen. So, if it is a medium, it is not a medium that you, as an artist, are ever really in control of. Someone else is calling the shots--the producers, storywriters and editors.

I currently think of reality TV more like a landscape, in which I can appear and reappear in different places in various ways.

I went on “Frank the Entertainer…In a Basement Affair” to just be this anomaly. To get the non-art audience who might see me to scratch their heads for a minute and say “Hey what is this girl doing here? I’m used to seeing girls that look and act like X on these shows.” And then, after I sang the dirty rap song, which was completely incongruous with the woman I had been portraying up to that point, to have audiences see that I was not who they thought I was—that none of the girls on these shows are.

Building on the last question related to reality TV, are there some instances on air in which you’re mainly acting, and others in ...

MORE »


Artist Profile: Heba Amin

(0)

Heba Amin's My love for you, Egypt, increases by the day is featured this month on The Download.

Still from My love for you, Egypt, increases by the day (Heba Amin, 2012)

From The Conceptual Tourist, Fragmented City, and other works, it's clear that the relationship between abandoned buildings and the surrounding's inhabitants is important to you. What experience are you investigating with these relationships? Does it alter depending on your medium (e.g., drawing, website, installation)?    

I think my fascination with abandoned buildings has to do with the abstract, the feeling in the air. They fascinate me as spaces of lost memory or as time capsules of history. I am also interested in how they fit within a broader framework and what they say about the contemporary context.

I grew up in Cairo, where its visual characteristics bluntly display the deterioration of urban life, where abandoned buildings have become normalized within the urban fabric. I began to explore them when I couldn’t make sense of the mass waste of space and money in a city where so many are struggling to survive. My reaction to them was emotional; they disturbed me. So, I began to use them as visual symbols for the emotional collective, metaphors for unrest.

My explorations are not limited by medium, and in fact I experiment with various media in attempt to confront and portray the emotions they move in me. Somehow in the process of working intimately with them, these buildings became beautiful to me because of their honesty.

With your most recent work, you've expanded that spatial connection from Cairo, a place you're intimate with, to Berlin, a newer locale. What are some differences you encounter in the change of location? Are there seeming universals you could apply ...

MORE »


Artist Profile: Mahmoud Khaled

(0)

The Studio as a Work of Art, 2010
200 stacked blank canvases (35 x 50 cm each), a 310 x 400 cm red carpet. courtesy of the artist. 

In Google Me/Duplicate Self-Portrait, a video playback command bar splits each paused screenshot in half, suggesting a 'split' identity between you, the artist Mahmoud Khaled and, Khaled Mahmoud, the dancer.  The work demonstrates the location and displacement of identity in a networked age--one that is defined by finding oneself in others.  Could you expand on both these senses of biformity and disparity?  Does the piece also hint at something more directly political? The individual's relation to the architecture of search systems? 

I have been interested in issues related to the Internet as a space with infinite possibilities for self-representation, and how the current networked age has changed our personal and professional lives and the way we think about ourselves. Also the fact that on the Internet there is always hope to get rid of your ready-made self, discover another self or find someone else who can change your life, through what I can the "mechanisms" of duality and disparity.  I started to think about “dichotomy” and “juxtaposition” as key tactics in my practice and my way of thinking as I practically filter all my ideas through these two concepts, which redefines the work, the elements it is composed of, its internal relationships, meanings, aesthetic qualities and social and political connotations. I also have a stubborn belief that elements cannot survive, as they are, that they can only survive in pairs or in relation to other things. Basically like personal relationships, even if the counterpart is imaginary.

The point of departure of this piece was based on my accidental discovery of Khaled Mahmoud, a popular London-based oriental dancer born in ...

MORE »


Artist Profile: Michael Guidetti

(0)

Michael Guidetti, Bell, Book, and Candle, 2010

You originally studied painting as an undergraduate. How did this spark or inform your interest in perspective? How and when did you begin to investigate 3D digital imaging software (like Maya) and its use of perspective?

When studying painting I became interested in the viewer's physical relationship to the image and that naturally led into thinking about perspective. Since then, a lot of my paintings have been composed from a one-point perspective with the idea that the scene is drawn from the perspective of the viewer as they are standing in front of it. This began to dovetail with my longstanding interests in computer graphics and virtual environments, which due to their dependence on the user's subjective viewpoint, most often use this same visual perspective. With an image drawn from this type of perspective, one may feel as if they are no longer looking at an objective depiction of a space, but are looking into or existing inside it. 

I was also interested in the relationship between abstract and representational imagery in painting, a pretty common painting concern. I was particularly curious about how the context of a semi-representational setting could influence the reading of an abstract shape. My early paintings were trying to smash these two types of representation together. I was then intrigued by the possibility of expanding this idea further into the work's form and I began layering projected 3D computer graphics on top of the mixed-media paintings I was doing. 

A few of your pieces, such as Untitled (Standards) (2009), Bounce Room 1 (2009), and Bounce Room 2 (2009), depict standard figures and shapes used in digital animation, such as balls and the Utah teapot. Why are these ubiquitous and recognizable figures featured so prominently in your work? 

Untitled (Standards) may be the most intentional in acknowledging these standard objects' historical roles like you mention. The objects in the piece are shown as some type of archetypical virtual object reverently being preserved in a timeless environment. Most of the models on the pedestals in that piece are rendered with the actual data from Stanford where they were originally digitally scanned (all but the teapot). It's interesting to think of these early models as an origin story for computer graphics and the starting point for a new kind of visual experience. When a new 3D graphics technology is developed, out of some sense of lineage or tribute, the creators make sure that rendering a teapot or a clay bunny work nicely. I find something funny and compelling about that. 

On the other hand, Bounce Room 1 and Bounce Room 2 are using that aesthetic for more economical reasons. I think both of these works are attempting to embody something basic about their form in order to make the co-operative relationship between the two separate elements as evident as possible; a one-point perspective painting with a projected digital image overlaid. The digital projection represented as three red, green, and blue spherical lights; and the painted environment as five flat planes receding in perspective. That's about as far as I could boil them down to. Separately they are elementary and flat, but when they come together, the simulated light and physics of the spheres bouncing around in the space becomes illusionistic. Bounce Room 2 complicates things a little further by adding the wood structure and lights.... 

 

READ ON »


Artist Profile: Haroon Mirza

(0)

Sanctuary, 2009

All your found sculptural assemblages are culled from your immediate local surroundings and re-appropriated into Rube Goldberg like contraptions with each object serving a very specified transmissive function. The sculptural forms then become crucial as they exist to explicate the sounds themselves. Can you expand on the intentionality of the material used, or lack thereof? How do you approach the documentation of these sculptures as images on the internet, without the accompanied support/context of audio? 

As images or objects devoid of their operational potential, the works are sculptures like any other static and quiet object of art.  I see their formal qualities as a thing in itself - the aesthetic result of a process of engineering music.  So the form follows function and therefore the composition or constellation of objects becomes somehow more gestural than designed.  Of course as images it is difficult to understand the work as a whole but I hope that the form opens up some ideas around traditional sculpture.

Works like AdhãnTaka Tak and Evolution of a Revolution, capture a certain political ethos and critique specific Islamic ideological structures .  Where potentially, can sound, and music in general (your own and others) exist in such arenas?  Where do you see its potential? How do you think it can actively function and what form can it take, besides one of aestheticizing politics? 

To be honest I don't believe it can have any immediate function other than an aesthetic one, however, I do think the proliferation of sound and music within an Islamic society can have a transformative social function. This, however, isn't the aim of my practice.  For me it's a way of understanding and rationalising the problems around belief systems in general such as religious faith.  I make an ideological critique on Islam because I understand it more by growing up with it, but really the critique is about dogmatic views that are prevalent in all types of religious faith....   

 

READ ON »


Artist Profile: Tommy Hartung

(0)

Tommy Hartung, Anna, 2011

Your work calls to mind surrealist cinema, and seems nostalgic in a way, for the earliest motion pictures.  What, if anything, are you drawing from the past?  Do you feel you are reinterpreting the past by using modern technological tools to create the work? 

I don’t think of my work as surrealist. Surrealism presupposes an ordered, sensible world where something foreign or fantastic has intruded. The reality created in my video is so far removed from the reliability of a real world concept like gravity or time that it is hard for me to think about it relating to surrealism. There is definitely a relationship between early cinema and my current work, but I would not characterize it as nostalgic exactly. I am interested in the methods, pace, and intensity of early cinema. I’m not trying to use these archaeologically. Films like Dreyer’s Passion of Joan of Arc, or Eisenstein’s Ivan the Terrible have a pulverizing intensity. Nikolay Cherkasov in Ivan, and Maria Falconetti in Joan of Arc are almost in trance states as the film unfolds around them. There is a tension in early cinema that I find hard to match, and try to build in my work.  

Much of your work includes a still, lone figure amidst a changing environment.  When there are multiple figures, like the busts in Anna, there's a sinister or disharmonious feeling.  Is there something to this in how your characters operate or relate?  Do you think of cinematic roles with these figures?  How do you incorporate your references (to literature, documentary, and more)?   

The interaction of characters can sometimes be sinister, cold, or terse. The characters I develop tend to be workman-like in their tasks or roles. I also think there is a very ...

MORE »


Artist Profile: Liz Magic Laser

(0)

I Feel Your Pain, Liz Magic Laser, 2011. A Performa Commission. Featuring Annie Fox and Rafael Jordan. Photo: Yola Monakhov.

One of the greatest parts about Chase is the difficulty in determining who the actor is speaking to a great deal of the time - to the other actors through editing, to the camera and the viewer, to the occasional spectators and even apparently to the ATM machines themselves. Was this complication between the project and the viewer, film and theater a goal of the artwork?

For Chase I worked with each actor to make the “Man Equals Man” script resonate in a two-fold manner, both in the context of the original play’s dialogue and in the immediate scenario of the bank vestibule. We were constantly juggling these two registers of meaning: the illusory space of the play and the actual space of the bank. At the beginning I told the actors they could direct their lines to bank clients, my camera, the ATM machines or other inanimate objects in the bank. I outlined these parameters and we played with each line until it struck a cord on both fictional and immediate registers. It was a challenge I put to each performer to imagine that their scene partner could be a passerby or a bank advertisement. The two-tiered approach is then repeated because we are addressing two audiences, the audience we encountered in the bank and the audience who would be watching the montaged video. One audience is exchanged for another, a passerby is incorporated as a player or a machine is treated as if it were a person. The exchangeability of all people and things loomed large throughout the project as both theme and method.

In addition to dealing with the way ATM's transform us into automatons there ...

MORE »