First, could you talk about your two degrees in Aeronautics and Astronautics? Specifically describing the moments when you decided to reroute the instrumentalities of your field, and pursue them instead in a highly singular, individualistic exploratory way?
I started MIT thinking I wanted to be a theoretical astrophysicist due to the philosophical implications of that field. I quickly realized though, that I needed more tactile engagement in my work in order to be satisfied. Aeronautics and Astronautics was a way for me to combine my interests in space and material. It mixed scientific concepts with material application, but wasn’t able to satisfy my desire to contemplate and build meaning. Only in my architecture and visual arts studies did I find a space to combine concept/theory, material, and meaning into a “tactile philosophy”. In these disciplines there was less discussion about rules and solutions, and more discussion about one’s interpretation of context, intent, and the implications of one’s process. This opened up the possibility of designing experience and meaning over objects and functionality.
Throughout my undergraduate studies I thought I would go on to get a Masters in Architecture and be an architect, but this changed when I was part of a team that conceived, designed, and built a group of micro satellites. At the end of the course we tested them aboard NASA’s parabolic-flight aircraft, the “Vomit Comet”, which produces 25-second periods of weightlessness and double-gravity. Instead of going to grad school in Architecture I got a Masters of Science in Aeronautics and Astronautics where my research was on advanced spacesuit design, a perfect combination of my interests in space, architecture, and bodily experience.
If there were any major turning points, they were spread out over my time at MIT ...
Lebohang Kganye & Onthatile Modise, Reshot, Grandmother and children, 2011
Could you tell me about visual culture in Africa and how that influences your work?
Africa has a long legacy of visual, oral, performative and narrative methodologies which continue to influence our ideologies, perceptions and communications. And the arts therefore play a major role in defining, retrieving and understanding our histories and future strategies as well as our identities. Art is a part of a thriving contemporary culture throughout the world and far from being a luxury it is a basic human need that needs expression and these forms of various expressions must be questioned and critiqued to understand how we view ourselves and others. Africa - despite its varied arts and artistic heritage - has become stereotyped (especially through the means of photography) and how I constantly aim in my works through my focus on personal narratives to contest such stereotypes. My work constantly hopes to broaden the scope that is defined as ‘African photography’ in that homogenising poverty-porn images of Africa are subverted through subtle, personal narratives of individuals and communities that I develop a relationship with. In the projects I do, I raise questions around identity and the constant renegotiating of who we are in relation to our location and the narratives we create in order to situate ourselves in space and history.
What does Reshot reveal about the photographic archive itself? How did the people of Makweteng respond to the 're-shoot' and what kind of relationships were forged?
Reshot (2011), is a collaborative project with fellow Market Photo Workshop student Onthatile Modise, which explores the notion of the photographic archive from the point of personal histories of people from Makweteng, Potchefstroom. For our photographic interpretation of these personal archives, we were introduced to the people of Ikageng who were ...
Sister Unn's, 2011
A lot of your work seems to explore the transitional moments of adolescence into adulthood through sexual introductions like Dotyk and Waiting for Anne, as well as through sentimental mementos like the embroidered letterman jackets of Sister Jackets and even the webpage Dad’s Big Socks. With this type of memorialization, there’s also this recurrent fascination with animals as self-identifying symbols: Bunny Rogers, Pones, A Very Young Rider, Lambslut, etc. I wonder where these animal identities intersect with this loss of naïve youth and what your relationship to them is within these transgressive adolescent shifts? Why concentrate on the prepubescent stage? What role do animals play within this shift?
I am interested in deconstructing the comfort felt regarding how we view the transition from girlhood to adulthood. I do not think I concentrate on the prepubescent stage, at least in the biological sense of the word. When my work is categorized with that term it sets up a discussion of a socially-familiar understanding of what [female] prepubescence means, the definition of which is confusing and contradictory. We build value systems based on that understanding. These terms are applied in an assessment of my work and me. Some of my works try to make these terms unstable, by questioning how we arrive at them. The challenge is how to broaden the grounds on which these concepts are positioned as is evident by the limitations of phrasing we have even when trying to interpret the works investigating these concerns. I see a lot of overlap in mass culture’s sexualization and exploitation of children and animals.
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Hix7Ie-IlYU [Dance Precisions / Single Ladies / Pomona]
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-RP19fnff_c [The Chipettes - Single Ladies [Put A Ring On It]
The Inland Printer – 164, 2012
Through webinars, installations, power points, performances, audio meditations and videos, Andrew Norman Wilson's interventions into the brands and infrastructures of Silicon Valley and other worldwide tech corporations question the roles of labor, power and capital; instigations, integral to understanding the movement of information economies in the global marketplace as well as the power relations that emerge from within them.
ScanOps, titled after the internal department for Google's onsite book scanning contractors, is Wilson's latest series of works that reveal the software distortions and hands of ScanOps employees found in the photographic scanning site.
LD: Workers Leaving the Googleplex, responded to two versions of the film Workers Leaving the Factory: one by Harun Farocki and the other, the original by the Lumière brothers. The premise of your own video of course was to make a work that captured the shift in labor from the industrial proletariat into the informational proletariat. The yellow badge workers were presented in parallel to Lumières' workers and have become the focal point of another series of works, ScanOps. Could you first talk about the meta-hierarchies that existed at Google, specifically the perks, benefits, opportunities or lack thereof that existed between various color badges?
ANW: Using Workers Leaving the Googleplex as an illustration of these hierarchies, white, red, and green badge workers on the left side of the image are seen passing by, entering, and exiting a variety of buildings at the Googleplex. Some of them ride the Google loaner bikes, some of them enter a luxury limo shuttle headed towards San Francisco. Some of ...
David Kraftsow's Vlog Artifacts, is featured this month on The Download.
Screenshot of At My Funeral, 2011
Much of your work involves recontextualizing a lot of YouTube and Twitter content. Through this rearranging and reorganizing you compose and assign new meaning to the often banal, unwittingly revealing always-growing archive of user-uploaded videos and status updates. User content here surpasses individual critique and instead is aesthetically reframed and sometimes even gamified under your curation. What does it mean for you to work with the uploads of others? What can you say about the role of the curator in this process?
I'm not really sure if "curation" is the right word to describe my YouTube projects. While I do, on occasion, go out and hand-pick specific content for display (like for my fun cat video blog or Violet Flame supercut), most of the rest of my YouTube work is either the result of an autonomous script, or a user-initiated generator.
For example, I have a cron (autonomously executing process) running for my At My Funeral project that specifies search criteria for YouTube videos with comments that contain the phrase "at my funeral". The script has generated a database of (to date) 21,000+ videos that people want to have played in their honor after they die.
Does this kind of algorithmic selection count as curation? The result can be really interesting and even kind of comedic. There is something hilarious to me about mechanically collecting every single "better than Bieber" YouTube comment ever written. But, beyond the initial specification of the program that does the collecting, it doesn't involve any of my creative/curatorial input at all. The content is selected and displayed automatically.
If curation can simply involve the design and execution of such an algorithm, then the ...