Artist Profile: Artie Vierkant

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Artie Vierkant, Image Objects 2011

You are continuing to explore your Image Objects series for your Rhizome commission, which seems to deal with new elements of the age-old difficulties with representation and the power of images. In your statement, you say you introduce distortion in an attempt to intentionally "not accurately represent the physical sculpture" which seems to imply that a photograph, straight out of the camera, will 'accurately represent' the physical sculpture. Do you think that this is true, or possible?  What do you think that your distortions introduce to the images?

The thinking behind Image Objects has always been that by introducing distortions (and layers of other imagery) into the images I can make the viewing experience on the Internet or through other mediated sources fundamentally different from viewing the objects in an installation setting. It also allows me to make a lot more pieces than I could otherwise. These all start as digital files, so ultimately it's rather arbitrary at what point I decide that a file I'm working on is ready to be physically produced—any one of these could easily have undergone more changes, had more or less layers, &c. So by having a piece produced physically and then splitting it into all of these different variations I have the opportunity to sort of go back into it and reshape it into all of the other shapes it could have been.

All of this does stem a bit from, yes, feeling that for the most part installation photographs very accurately represent what a physical sculpture looks like. When I see documentation of works before I visit the exhibition, usually the act of visiting does little more than produce a sense of deja vu. Even if not, install photos are usually an idealized version ...

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Artist Profile: Jill Magid

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I Can Burn Your Face, neon, transformers. Installed at Yvon Lambert Paris, 2009.

Much of your work takes place off site as a performance or engagement with a public entity outside of the confines of a typical artist’s studio. What are your thoughts about the artist’s studio in contemporary art practice? Do you feel you spend more time generating work outside of your studio or are the private space of the studio and the public space of the commons one in the same?

I do a lot of research in my studio that prepares me for engagements with the public or private institutions I explore. The studio is also where I reflect and build upon those engagements, drawing from the raw material that I have acquired. 

Works like Article 12 / The Spy Project and Evidence Locker produce narratives in the multitude and variety of objects they generate. You create beautiful custom websites for some of your projects, videos, prints, and even novellas. Do feel particularly drawn to one medium as your body of work has developed?

The media I work with fluctuates depending on the system I am exploring. Some systems offer up their own visual or textual media, which I’ll then use or incorporate into the work I make. For instance, Evidence Locker mainly consisted of videos and a novella. This is due to the system: CCTV cameras produce video footage; to access the footage a citizen must fill out a Subject Access Request Form. In the Spy Project I was only allowed to record my meetings with agents through writing. While I used a multitude of media (neon, drawing, a book, video, sculpture) writing is clearly at the heart of the work.

Over the past decade the role of the artist has become a more ...

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Artist Profile: Aleksandra Domanovic

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19:30 (stacks), 2011 - Aleksandra Domanovic

You’ve been blogging for VVORK with Oliver Laric, Christoph Priglinger, and Georg Schnitzer since 2006. How has working with this small collective affected your own practice over the years?

I was just finishing my design studies and was invited to post on VVORK. I wasn't the only one, there was a couple more who got the user password but posted only a few times. I got really into it, posting all the time, eventually the guys had to give me the admin password. I did not make art before VVORK, now I see it as part of my own artistic practice.

In 2009 you created Biennale (Dictum Ac Factum). The page on your site includes anachronistic images, videos, and lyrics from throughout the 20th century and mixes them with images and video from the 2009 Somali pirate attacks among other contemporary moments. What was your conceptualization behind the work and how, in your mind, do you link the varied sources, images, and stories together?

All of these materials relate to the video--a 3d visualization of "Dogville" from Lars von Trier's film--which is the only component of the work that I produced. It was meant to be a piece by itself but I did not think it was good enough. Sometimes the making-of is much more interesting than the work itself or the piece makes only sense in the context of it's creation. As I was researching about the film, I found out that the inspiration for the script was a song called "Pirate Jenny" performed by Nina Simone, which Trier had accidentally heard. The song was written in 1928 for Bertolt Brecht's Threepenny Opera. It's about a wash-girl who is ignored and abused by society. One day, pirates ...

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Artist Profile: Rosa Menkman

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Collapse of PAL 2010-2011, Rosa Menkman

Through your academic research you’ve developed an intimate understanding and typology of the glitch. You even refer to glitches as a “wonderful interruption that shifts an object away from its ordinary form and discourse, towards the ruins of destroyed meaning.” Do you think that the rarity of glitches gives them a greater significance amidst the endless improvements and sleekness of new technologies? Are there any issues around the production and the exhibition of new media art that you are concerned about? 

Naturally, working with and researching glitches, a concept that etymologically refers to an unstable moment(um) makes me reflect on related issues on a regular basis. In glitch art, where the glitch has been lifted from its technological or informational basis into a social context), the glitch often breaks the expectations of the user, the viewer or maker and as such, infuses a specific momentum with a different or new meaning.

Glitch art is often something to reflect on, a momentum that depends on informational input, technology, time, context and the actors (audience) role or perspective. I like to ask questions like: what are the materials of a particular work of digital glitch art? And from which perspectives should I describe it (from the makers point of view, an art historical or technological point of view or a viewers perspective). What is the (technological) process or referenced process behind the glitch? Problems of conservation and preservation I think are equally interesting - although in certain cases a negative answer (glitches don't need to be preserved) can be sufficient. I think the answer to these questions depends on the particular work of art; there is not one unequivocal answer.
 
I don't think glitches are rare; every medium has its glitches, its fingerprints ...

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Artist Profile: Simon Denny

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Corporate Video Decisions, 2011

“Corporate Video Decisions,” your current exhibition at Michael Lett gallery in Auckland, includes the covers of Corporate Video Decisions, a magazine from the 1980s about the use of video technology in corporate culture, shown on flatscreen televisions, and a series of printouts of the entire content Diligent Boardbooks’s website, a paperless business software company based in Christchurch, NZ and New York. I’m really fascinated by this double inversion of the way content is communicated to us: the print magazine on monitors, the website printed out. Can you talk a little bit about the exhibition and your use of inversion, as well as languages of marketing and advertisement, as an aesthetic strategy?

Yeah, I should say first that there is another layer of processing that is maybe difficult to make out in the online photos of the exhibition. The print magazine covers were actually photographed playing as jpegs on the LCD 3D-enabled televisions, then that whole image is inkjet printed on canvas, twice—like two copies of each canvas—and these are screwed together with aluminum tubing between the two canvasses in each corner, spaced to mimic the dimensions of the monitor they depict. So you have two canvasses with the same image on top of each other in place of the monitors.

To answer the question, for me, the exhibition’s aim is to present two snapshots of different moments in the recent history of commercial video through looking at these quite different pieces of ephemera—a magazine and a website. The nature of video technology is such that a fast, controlled, obsolescence cycle is systemic to its existence, and materials and formats come and go very quickly. As this is the case, making an exhibition that has this fact built into the way it is presented is for me very important. That is to say, the way the content is presented should form a dynamic which helps describe the show’s themes. Depicting the fickle material conditions of video via changing formats of what is regarded at a certain moment to be contemporary ephemera (magazines, websites), which are then presented through another fast shifting technology (printing), one indicates these movements in the presentation structurally.

Contrasting this ephemerality with the themes that are covered in the 80s magazine—trade fairs, gender and minority equality, economic conditions, crisis culture, generic products—(these topics clearly relate very well to our current moment also), underlines the truism that while technology might change, certain issues tend to be relevant for longer periods.

For me the exhibition’s format highlights this tension between the permanent and the impermanent, between vast material change and comparatively slow shifts in life/work conditions.

On the language of advertising, one has of course this ambivalent relationship to it where one knows it’s manipulative, but its efficiency is seductive and affective. One most likely follows this language’s logic implicitly in one’s self. That is to say this way of communicating is unavoidable and is just there. I am not sure if looking at this is really an aesthetic strategy. Even just conversing can be considered to be a commercial act, and it’s not so easy to attach a value to this. It is one’s life, after all...

 

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Artist Profile: Sara Ludy

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A selection from Sara Ludy's series Projection Monitor

Much of your work seems concerned with the psychological and political dimensions of interior domestic spaces whether from second life or craigslist apartment listings. What sort of spaces do you enjoy working in? Or what would be your ideal space to work in?

I enjoy the spaces of everyday life whether they be real or virtual. These include landscapes and domestic spaces. Every new space is ideal, because it has its own logic and its own story.

Projection Monitor frequently includes images of translated, scanned and often distorted plants and natural landscapes. Has your explorations in digital environments and contexts changed your perception of physical nature ('in reality')?

I make comparisons between physical and virtual nature all the time. I have the same syndrome as when you've played a video game non-stop for days and the game effects the way you perceive your surroundings. For the past year I've been documenting Second Life nearly every day, so it's only natural for there to be a virtual spillover into reality. The practice of photographing a virtual world has directly informed the way in which I photograph real life spaces to the point where I generally gravitate towards spaces that could exist in Second Life. I've been very much involved in the process of documentation for the past year. For the past 2 months I've been looking back at this documentation and creating series based on the Projection Monitor and real life photographs I have taken. I recently released a series called 'Plant Classification' on Computers Club that contains various plants and landscapes found in Second Life.

Tremblexy uses projections to create sound environments and the second life recordings include internet radios left on in the background - a ...

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Artist Profile: Keren Cytter

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Video Art Manual, 2011.

Your most recent work, Video Art Manual, was shot in HD, but than, in addition to the HD exhibition version, you also created a standard DVD version that was released as part of the Texte zur Kunst editions. Can you talk a little bit about this shift between technologies and its meaning? 

Texte zur Kunst asked me to make a DVD edition for their magazine. It came out much better than I imagined (in terms of image quality and general quality) so I thought it’s a shame to show or circulate the work only as a simple DVD and not show the full quality of the image (I shot some parts in HD and they look great). I also needed the money, so I thought I better sell videos through the galleries as HD editions separated from the Texte zur Kunst edition.

As an artist working in a time-based medium, you are quite preoccupied with he time viewers spend with your works, so much so that for your untitled piece for the 2009 Venice Biennale, you had the wall text state that the video is nine minutes long instead of sixteen. Do you think people invest more time when watching your pieces online? And how different is the experience of watching them on a computer screen as opposed to an exhibition space?

I think people invest less time watching my work online—I think it’s easier to be distracted by other things when you are watching a video on the internet. It’s hard for me to watch videos online without skipping forward or pressing refresh on my mailbox. I think the experience depends on the viewer. I personally feel more comfortable downloading movies and watching them at home, feature films included. The experience ...

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Artist Profile: Krist Wood

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Top: Still from Siix, 2009. Bottom: Still from Mausoleum, 2009.

Looking at your work online is a process of discovery by links. It unfurls in a number of different websites, like Computers Club, Begin Records, both of which you set up, and Internet Archeology. Could you talk about the character of these initiatives and whether you see a cohesive element in them?

I will state what I think they are and describe an aspect of my interest in each. Computers Club is a set of identities that derive from computer users. The concept of identity in the context of the internet has been my principle interest as a computer user. To me, an identity on the internet is a fascinating system of information that gives rise to a character embodying a unique kind of shape and form. These forms can be arranged into a super-structure of information that itself has a kind of identity. The way that these characters synthesize, capture and release information; make choices, and exert influence gives rise to a higher order identity, as a grouping, that shifts and evolves over time. Computers Club is such a grouping. What shape will it take and how will it feel? That's what I wonder.

Begin Records is a preservation for the creative works of individuals who have a polymathic way of life. My philosophy of art is rooted in an idea that the core of one's person is unique and different from that of any other. People could journey inward, venturing as close as possible to that core or center, then endeavor to rearrange their environment to reflect what they've discovered there. That is my personal definition of art; something that I think has many definitions. The general act of rearranging one's environment could encompass ...

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Artist Profile: Marina Zurkow

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Mesocosm (Northumberland, UK), Fall (2011), Flash standalone application

You describe your work as making psychological narratives about humans and their relationship to animals, plants, and the weather. It might seem surprising that this relationship to the natural world is depicted via computer animation. How do you perceive the use of technology in order to describe the natural? What does the computer offer you specifically when thinking about nature or the natural?

All representations employ some form of technology—start with burnt charcoal on cave walls.

Why the computer? Why suck all this electricity out of the wall to make inquiries into the representation of climate change? Why pick animation, which is a most unnatural form? There are tools and aesthetic choices that I naturally gravitate towards—in this case, scalable vector graphics that I can make move.

 My work started as pictograms and cartoons, leveraging the language of signage and the cute, because cartoons and info graphics are sly. Animation has freedom from verisimilitude, and warrants the fantastic. I’ve remained interested in making work that leaves you (and me) unsure if it’s clip art or hand-drawn, work that sits between the handmade analogue and the digital.

Much of the work I make is keyed to internet research, obscure stories, contradictory data, and highly circulated media. The Poster Children was made in 2007 when the polar bear became the poster child for global warming (Al Gore’s An Inconvenient Truth) and the poster child (again) for the cutest (Knut, born at the Berlin Zoo), and it was also the year of the Virginia Tech shooting which spawned copycat killers’ electronic press kits on YouTube, anti– and pro– gun law campaigning, and racism (questioning whether an Asian has the right to perpetrate this sort of massacre which has historically been ...

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Artist Profile: Mendi + Keith Obadike

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Mendi + Keith Obadike are 2011 Rhizome Commissions winners for their proposal, African Metropole: Sonic City Lagos.

 

Many of your pieces are concerned with race and identity and confront those issues through technology. In your 2001 piece "Blackness for Sale" you were asked to remove the auction from eBay because of its inappropriateness. Thinking about growth of identity and social networks on the internet over the last decade, do you feel that it is important for artists to continue to make political work that engages the internet and other new media?

While our early sound art works like Sexmachines, Automatic, or the Uli Suite were not about race/identity, certainly many of the early Internet works were. We would say that race itself is a technology, and so making work that looks at how issues of race or identity play out online is a way to highlight this fact. The Internet is by nature a contested space, so any work that engages with this terrain is of course political. Many of the questions we started asking in the late 90s around narrative structures, technology, and identity seem to remain relevant today, although the ways in which we engage with the networks seem significantly different. When we made “Blackness for Sale” and other "net.art" over a decade ago, many people saw the web as a place to try on masks and to play with other identities. Today, through social networking sites, people are flooding the web with personal info and living with what might be best described as a bloated databody. So we do find that social interactions on the web create a territory for which commentary is as necessary and as fruitful today as it has ever been. 

Your collaborative projects frequently mine narratives and characters from history and transform them using sound, performance, and new technologies... 

 

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