Alt Esc Vol 1

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alt esc

alt esc | vol 1 1

Editors - in - Chief Alison Sirico + Irina V Makarova Layout + Design Irina V Makarova Photography Alison Sirico Publisher Alt Esc Platform

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Alt Esc is a Brooklyn-based, artist-run curatorial team and publication started by Alison Sirico and Irina V Makarova in May 2016. Sparked by the realization that disparity exists between the institutionalized art world and the new wave of rising artists, Alt Esc was founded to vocalize the leading ideas and trends in young contemporary studio practice. We are interested in individuals and collectives who are players in the art world’s subcultural framework and those who are community oriented. Equal parts publication and event production team, we seek to communicate dialogues that manifest into praxis. Through publication and curating exhibitions, we strive to connect rising artists with new opportunities, while honoring and sharing their current achievements with a broader audience. Using the studio visit as a model for a narrative, we hope to communicate, foster and archive today’s young cultural landscape.

James Orlando



James Clar

Esther Ruiz 18



Sterling Crispin



James Moore

Maggie Dunlap 36

32 Tyrrell Winston

Martha Mysko 46

Christian Little

Nitemind 56


62 Andrew Ross


72 Andrew Jeffrey Wright

JJ Brine 86 Travis Levasseur 94

50 Parker Day




82 Ryan Oskin 90 James BouchĂŠ


“Hyper.Zone,” 2016. Courtesy the artist.


JAMES ORLANDO is a master builder of virtual reality

universes. We talked to him about his residency at New Inc and his latest project “HYPER.ZONE” - a multi-level interactive experience where you can view art, purchase luxury items, and navigate 3-D immersive environemnts. How did you get into VR and game design? Does your photography background play into that? I played games when I was younger, but a photoshoot in 2012 inspired by pop avatar Hatsune Miku changed many ways I create images that I am still developing today. I started collaborating and building 3-D sets as a way to save money from using real materials. My brother dabbled in Unreal Engine and suggested that I learn it. Once I started building worlds and importing architecture with live rendering, I was hooked. When those worlds become virtually experiential, I wanted to be as close to it as possible - which made VR an easy next step for me.

What have you been working on at your New Inc residency? There have been a few collaborative projects and art shows with other members. My main goal there is to build and design a digital experience called “Hyper.Zone” which is a shoppable content experience. I got to demo a preview of the game at different stages with feedback, once in January and once in July with many excited players.

Can you tell us about the game you are working on now? “Hyper.Zone” is constantly growing and evolving as more collaborate contribute to the world. There’s really no limit to the amount of levels and possibilities as an open world. Currently I have five levels with about 25 different artists including Pinar & Viola, Jeanette Hayes, Maxime Guyon, Sigrid Lauren, Brendan Smith, Brady Gunnell, Timo Seber, Brooke Wise and many more. VIP members will receive USB keys access to the levels as they are released to play at home. They will also have exclusive access to secret areas of the game and can influence the revolving curated playlist.

What fashion labels are you working with? Currently I’m doing a fun project for OkGrl with Nicopanda with select virtual versions of the FW16 collection and building a virtual showroom with photos I shot as internal ads. I’m focusing on mostly art in the world for now, but will expand more with SS17 as Hyper.Zone is much more about a SS color palate.


You body scanned Sigrid Lauren, how does that work, will everyone be privvy to this option? I would love to body scan all my friends! Sigrid was a special collaborator for me and it was both of our first times using a motion capture suit, which was so much fun! I’ve only scanned a few people who are all upcoming game characters. I use a photography technique called photogrammetry where i photograph the subject then use a program to stitch the photos together and later clean up the 3-D model.

What’s your ultimate goal for this project? I want to create a positive, cultural experience for virtual reality and gaming. I wanted to create a different experience and alternate way to experience content than on a flat screen or page. When I was younger, I was obsessed with games like “Myst,” “Zelda,” and “Sims” and they are definitely huge influences. I also want to bring gamified experiences to a different audience and to open up a market equally targeted towards women. I hope to instill some positive world change in todays youth with the clean energy and community initiatives of the game using sustenance for game currency.

Do you think it will change how people process and consume information? How will it affect the art market, or the value of artwork if it can exist in multiple spaces? We consume so much information so fast, i want people to slow down the endless scrolling and just have time for an experience. I hope to influence or change the way people want to experience information. Im very interested in the currency and value of virtual objects. We will have to wait and see how consumers and art buyers react.

Do you think galleries will eventually move to the virtual space completely? No, I think it will always be important to see art in person. There are some things that you need to touch and see with your own eyes. I think this will help bring more art to the masses, or for people who can’t physically be there, like hospital patients or astronauts on the international space station.

In fact, what do you think the future holds? With todays freelancer economy, people are traveling more often away from each other. It will soon be possible to chill with ur friends in VR and check out a recreation of show you wanted to see in Berlin as an alternative way of catching up over skype. Social VR is a very exciting space for me, some AI scares me... but good scared.


“Hyper.Zone,” 2016. Courtesy the artist.

“Hyper.Zone,” 2016. Courtesy the artist.




James Clar is a new media, film, and all around tech artist based in Brooklyn. His works pose self-reflecting questions of how we interact with digital media and the internet. Manipulating lights to make How immersive installations, his digital ghosts would y o u make you wonder of the balance characterize between real life and the one your work? behind the screen.

After undergrad I went into ITP and started reading a lot of media theory like Marshall McLuhan. One central idea is that screen-based work and animation is not 3-D, but rather 2-D. I was watching a film in a movie theater and I was thinking how bizarre it was that light bouncing off a screen can lead to characters and ideas. Film and video have their own set system; a certain framerate and aspect ratio. So I thought of instead of using that system I would come up with my own systems to control light itself. These visual systems could then relate conceptually back to their idea. In a sense a lot of my works are trying to create new technological visual systems and also critique the aspects of those systems.

Is nature important to you? Yes, I think so. Especially now that I’m seeing how our view of the world is altered through technology. A lot of times I’m taking technology or pixel sculpture aesthetic to create reduced version of nature as a way to comment about this transition.

So where’s the future heading? I think we are in a slow slide towards these virtual realms like Holodex and Oculus rifts, but the blurring of these boundaries are how we become accepting of these new environments. Augmentation of information helps with this.

“Teleported, Pixelated, Digitized (The Vanishing),” 2015. Courtesy the artist and Carbon 12 Gallery.


What is an appropriate balance for technology mimicking life? Honestly I do not like a lot of technology, it’s so frustrating and the marketing terms make my eyes roll. And from an artistic standpoint it’s such a hassle to deal with. But it’s a medium that’s worth investigating if contemporary art is supposed to deal with contemporary issues. If someone could have perfect memory if it gave them an advantage over a job or knowledge, they are going to do it. It’s going to change the function of humans, how we communicate and function with each other. Artists have to speculate and think about these things.

Digital work can be very disengaging but you manage to bring a human element to it. Sometimes media art is so technological that it’s almost for computers and you have to really appreciate programming in order to like it. I’m trying to bring human elements to it. Humanism within media art. One thing I’m into is thinking that we are in a computer simulation.

How do you source your material? My lights manufacturer is in China. It was hard to find these really streamlined LED lights. At first I was using fluorescent lights around 2010 and I was getting these photography light gels, cutting them and applying them. It was super raw. Now it’s all LED. I view these light works as pixels outside of screen, so I’m trying to manipulate them physically and use them sculpturally.

Your sci-fi movie references are great. Thanks! I did a piece based on “Lawnmower Man.” It’s a videotape of my light switch in my studio and I’m flipping it on and off and projecting it at the same size. This digital version controls the real physical light through a computer. The idea is that the virtual is controlling the real. Once we get to the point when we can upload our consciousness to the network that’s when the virtual or the AI consciousness starts controlling the physical world.


“Nobody’s Home,” 2016. Courtesy the artist and Jane Lombard Gallery.


Photo: Alt Esc



Esther Ruiz is a Brooklyn-based sculptor and neon master.

Using concrete and neon, she creates otherwordly sculptures that resemble intergalactic souvenirs. She also loves Star Wars. She seems to be everywhere recently, participating in both, DIY artistrun galleries and established art institutions, most recently BAM.

What attracts you most about working with neon and concrete and how did you get into working mainly with these materials? I started working with neon by chance really when I started working at Lite Brite Neon in 2011. Since day one, I knew I'd someday use neon in my work. It made sense though, because I was already working with fluorescent plexiglass. And I started using concrete as soon as I moved to New York, not really sure why, but I guess being surrounded by it in the city drew me to understand it more intimately. Five years later, I still find both neon and concrete fascinating. Neon blows my mind, electrified gas in a glass tube?! Just amazing. I like that it's relatively old technology but it has really changed, and everything is still all handmade!

How do you source your material? I collect things that attract me: plastics, geodes, minerals, metals, trash, coins, toys etc.

What artists would you want to collaborate with, if any? Which artists in your sphere are you looking at now? I would love to collaborate with Jim Drain, Anne Vieux, Isamu Noguchi, Lee Ufan, James Turrell, Tom Sachs, Keith Sonnier, etc. I'm constantly looking at a lot of art, I love Ian Cooper, Henry Gunderson, Alex Da Corte, Jayson Musson, Ann Greene Kelly, etc.

Describe your creative process. Well, I'm sort of working on a few "bodies of work" at the moment and they all require different processes. The smaller concrete/neon pieces come together by laying out all of the materials I accumulate and seeing what works together. Then I build disposable molds, pour the cement and sink the other materials.


Photo Credit: Object Studies Courtesy the artist and Brooklyn Academy of Arts. 16

What projects are coming up for you? Currently I have work on display in the lobby of the Peter Jay Sharp Building at Brooklyn Academy of Music, as well as the Islip Art Museum in Long Island, and 99¢ Plus Gallery in Bushwick. Coming up, I’ll be in a group show at a new gallery in East Wiliamsburg called Unisex Salon which opens November 12th. And in the next few months I’ll be joining the online gallery Artspace and be featured in an Artnews Magazine article interviewing artists at their workplace.

What music are you listening to? TECHNO!

“Cosmic Woah,” 4 x 3.5 x 3.5 in, hydraulic cement, plexiglas, quartz, paint, 2015. Courtesy the artist.




Local Atonement: A Nutshell Study of Unexplained Death installation, Courtesy 2016. Courtesy Wickerham & Lomax and American Medium Wickerham & Lomax and American Medium, 2016.


Wickerham & Lomax is the collaborative name of

Baltimore-based artists Daniel Wickerham and Malcolm Lomax. Their practice is based on the accelerated exchange of frivolous information, gossip, and codified language that crystallizes into accessible forms in hopes of giving dignity to that exchange. They have shown at Terrault Contemporary, Baltimore Museum of Art, and most recently at American Medium.

Tell us about your show at American Medium. D: It’s about articulating a space as a protagonist through images. The protagonist is a flooded antique store. The images are motifs from our collaboration. Mutations across generations and variations between seasons is the language of biology and fashion respectively that helped us rethink our motifs. The show is also the DNA of our house. This can provide a blueprint if ever a new “designer” takes over the collaboration, they could continue to speak on our behalf. In our pursuit to locate dignity in the margins, the antique store became a metaphor where our motifs could be both put to death and live anew outside of their old narrative. Multiple new truths began to form in what we have been calling social Cubism. This exhibition can also be considered a supplemental to our digital web project “BOY’Dega: E4S.” In particular the exhibition extends physically the digital story of a character named Kimbra through the form of painting.

How did you guys start collaborating? M: We were in one class together. Dan would always be on his Sidekick, he was the only person that was never doing the critique. Then we were the only two people who were always in the studio in senior year, so then we just started hanging out. We would go to the bar really late and then come back right before the bar closed, work and then go home. It was kind of through Olympian effort. D: After we graduated we decided to do a show together because our friend just opened a gallery in Baltimore and offered us the show there. After that first show we started working more collaboratively but that first show we were just showing parallel to each other and it took off from there.


Courtesy Wickerham & Lomax and American Medium, 2016.


Was your individual work similar to your collaborative? M: It was, just not with the same voice. When we got of out school people were really into the whole online thing. Sculptures were tiny. We were working that way but through installation and then we shifted out of that because we weren’t doing what we wanted. D: And then we took all the tropes from the first show and used to build a collaborative language. We tried to get a stripper for the first show but he cancelled at the last minute. My car was parked in the show and we drove that out of the show on the opening night and we went to the Eagle. The gallery was a converted auto body shop so we backed my car halfway into it and played a soundtrack out of the trunk. It was fun. We were a little crazier then. When nobody is watching you feel like you can do anything.


What were your majors at MICA? M: We both took painting. D: We started making a bunch of oil paintings in the studio and they are still unfinished. I realize that I can’t paint in oil. Malcolm paints beautifully with oil. We actually started taking them apart for the hardware parts on the back. I took a film course in college and I found myself sitting in the dark watching all of these movies and getting a ton of ideas from them. It would be this incubation process and I get a lot of ideas of ways to make non-video work from watching movies. M: I think this is why we got into television, we were thinking of it as a medium that survived the internet. When new mediums appear, the old becomes obsolete but television has managed to find its way to streaming culture. It found a way to take internet things and move them to TV. You can have whole series that are articulated through Twitter now and a live conversation that can happen in conjunction. We found TV to be this amazing symbiotic thing, and the notion that television could also be a corrective thing. You can build a whole season and then in the second season talk about the first season in a way that makes people reconsider how you presented the first season. This notion of a serial narrative can have these moments of correcting the course of a show. So television is kind of my thing more than film. Working through ideas regarding time – television is a great medium.

What are your favorite shows you grew up on? M: I watched so much PBS I can’t think of real TV shows. D: I watched so much Real World and Road Rules. M: I didn’t get cable or satellite until I was 15 or 16. My family from NY used to mail my grandparents VHS tapes in this huge box because they had HBO and they would record all these movies and we would get them four months later. I only know these VHS tapes. D: I love this story every time Malcolm tells it because I always imagine this huge box because it feels like an artwork, it feels like Donald Judd, like a box full of curation.

Courtesy Wickerham & Lomax and American Medium, 2016.



“Self-Contained Investment Module and Contingency Package (Cloud-Enabled Modular Emergency-Enterprise Application Platform)” 17 x 17 x 17 in, 2015. Courtesy the artist.


Sterling Crispin is equal parts artist and engineer.

His background in both the arts and sciences reflects in his work, which beautifully synthesizes the two worlds. An advocate for technology, his work is an accolade to its advancements, while simultaneously exploring the philosophical questions and human anxieties that exist alongside them. Where do you fit on the spectrum of technologist vs. artist?

While I was getting my M.F.A., I was taking all these technology based classes and ended up taking a third year and getting a M.S. in multimedia engineering, programing for virtual reality, audio engineering, drones, and 3-D printing. Engineers don't trust me because I'm too much of an artist, and artists don't trust me because I'm too much of an engineer. It's interesting to be making technology heavy art now because media art is spread out across all of these cliques - there’s the European media art conference kind of circuit and SIGGRAPH, more research and programming heavy stuff and then, on the other side of the spectrum, there's people making postinternet art, gifs, memes, and social feeds as artworks. There's a large spectrum that spans from Andy Warhol to Alan Turing and the two worlds still don’t really mix. And then there’s places like Deviant art that's obviously a massive database of digital art but basically shunned as outsider art and never discussed as far as I know. I was labeled as a postinternet artist for a while but I’ve taken a lot of that art off my website now and stopped exhibiting with that crowd. I feel like I’m still operating in some similar spaces actually, but I’m oppositional to the ironic trend that's saturated a lot of what people call postinternet art now. I think that irony is really destructive both personally and culturally and I hope it’s a dying trend.

What is your relationship between technology and spirituality? I think that as human beings we are tool users. And so technology is just a part of what we are, not just a lifeless external thing. I see people and technology as one system. But also technology is almost a second level of evolution, an emergent phenomena. So it’s both a part of us and outside of us. It’s our other and ourselves.


Are you afraid of singularity? I think people are afraid of anything that is beyond their control. And it seems out of control when the cellphone you are holding now is 250,000x more powerful than the computers that brought people to the moon. And by that rate, in 2020, technologic growth will bring us a computer as powerful as the first iphone that’s the size of a red blood cell and, in 2045, $1,000 worth of computer power will be as powerful as all human brains combined. And who know what that is going to do to our society, our government, our bodies. This fear stems from losing control, but if you follow that logic, the world must be a very scary place. Because it’s actually all out of our control. As much as people are paranoid about the Illuminati controlling the world, they are equally afraid that of not being able to control it. I’m more worried about global warming, that we won’t have access to food or water - that California farming industry will collapse and people will starve to death. That is a very real, potentially imminent future we are stepping into that is way scarier than smarter computers.

This is all very gloom and doom. I’m also interested in beauty and creating beautiful things and having a sense of poetry and giving back to you the viewer. Even if you didn’t know this whole narrative, I want to create something that gives to your senses and not just be an essay object. I think it’s political to be interested in beauty, and real beauty, not the cheap kind.

What is beauty to you? How does it relate to symmetry? Simply put, things that are revealing something about the rhythm of the world, and nature does that really well. Go to a museum and look for the most beautiful thing you can find, and then go on a hike - there’s no comparison. Martin Heidegger said that “Beauty is truth setting itself to work,” and I really resonate with that. Beauty isn’t something that varies from person to person, that’s attractiveness. I think beauty is objective. It’s a truth outside of yourself that you observe and draw nearer toward with action and perception. But I don’t think we can make things that are actually truly beautiful, just we can get closer and closer to it. If you’re walking down the beach and you find some shell that just really grabs your attention, and you think that it’s really beautiful, you can probably see some organizational rhythm of the world expressing its way through the form of this shell. I feel like symmetrical objects are doing that (and all that facial analysis of beautiful people). It always comes down to things being harmonious.


“Entropy”, Machined aluminum profiling, 3D printed nylon dyed black, PC case fans, power supplies, 17 x 17 x 17 in, 2016. Courtesy the artist.

“Entropy” (detail)



Spring/Break Art Show installation, 2016. Courtesy the artist. 28

James Moore is an interdisciplinary artist working in

New York. We visited him at his studio residency at The Artha Project where we learned more about his participation in “Spring/Break Art Show” 2016, in addition to his interests in high performance motorcycles, entomology, and extraterrestrial conspiracy theories.

Why are you combining LED lights with body parts? The concept was inspired by motorcycle riding. While riding my bike on the freeway, I recognized how the nervous system in the body is comparable to the roads inside a city. The concept of cyber casting was conceived through wanting to create an electric light stream inside the body. The electricity represented in that idea is why a lot of the black and white work I make has high vibrating contrast. I want to simulate that electric current. The expression of the matrix is another form of that idea. It illustrates the patterns of the grid, its circuitry, and dimensions.

Have you ever had an extraterrestrial run in? I had this insane UFO sighting in Long Island last summer.

Did this inspire your work? This body of work comes out of that kind of uncertainty - not knowing if the unidentified flying object is a government product or an actual alien UFO, or maybe a complicated in between like a drone that utilizes extraterrestrial technology. I’m fascinated by that mysticism. The stories live somewhere between the fiction of the imagination and our technological realities.

Who is the woman in your drawings? I illustrate this character with the “God” symbol on her forehead as a metaphor of government/ alien technology transfer - the trade between testing on humans for an exchange in technology. It’s been speculated that certain contemporary spacecraft materials, NASA and otherwise, manifested from this kind of alien information transfer. This character is the genome byproduct 29


Photo: Alison Sirico Installation at Big Law Country Club. New York, 2014. Courtesy the artist and Big Law Country Club.

of this transfer. She’s simultaneously primordial and digital. She’s simultaneously a cyborg entity and an ancient being.

What are the continuous themes throughout your work? Aggression, spirituality, and finding a deity inside the computer. Much of my work comes from my experience of riding motorcycles and transcending different phases of fear. As you pass through barriers you gain different perceptions of reality that lead you to a higher state of being. I also think about the prominence of the military and fear people experience from advancements in technology. I think about what information is shared with the population and what is withheld; the power of propaganda, and how corporations play a major role in how society is shaped.

Are you afraid of the future? Are you pro or against singularity? I’m excited about the future, and in helping create it. My goal is to give people psychological tools to best deal with the future, and the singularity (if that happens), as it comes.

Do you have favorite Sci- fi movies? “The Thing,” “Rubber’s Lover,” “Akira,” “Ghost in the Shell”…

What do you look forward to making and learning about in the future? I want to look further into astrophysics theories and multiverse theories. I want to make more performance art pieces with my motorcycle. I’ve done video performance with my bike before, but I would love to do a performance in real time so the audience can experience the first hand power of the machine. In that way it’s a real physical manifestation. A lot of people can experience art on Instagram now, which is valid, but creating something visual where you have to be there, first hand, to experience it is more of what I’ve been working towards. That’s why I’m interested in installation art and motorcycle performance. First hand, in the flesh - there’s a deficit of lawless performance art with raw kinetic energy right now. New York City needs that.

Last question, have you ever been to Roswell? I am Roswell.



Life Force installation, The Untitled Space, New York, 2016. Courtesy the artist and The Untitled Space. 32

You would never guess that Maggie Dunlap is a huge

Marilyn Manson fan. Her work evokes a similar depth in the way it investigates the subtle darkness that How charges horror movie sets. Through embroidery d i d and decorative arts, Maggie absolves all you start working with preconceived perceptions of craft, embroidery? while simultaneously celebrating I started about five years ago female empowerment. and I am self-taught. When I first started I wanted it to look like drawings but with needle and thread. I loved the tactile nature of it. As a person with anxiety I liked the repetitive, almost meditative nature of it. Last year I got to take a fiber art class and I learned actual techniques, knitting and crochet.

Do you find that craft as a medium has a negative connotation in the “fine art” world? The intersection of craft and “fine art” is so gendered and classist. Look at the quilts at Gees Bend - these women were making amazing quilts at the same time that modernist men were making theory abstract geometric paintings. These quilts are dealing with the same imagery. One of those schools is fine art and the other is craft because of their gender, race and class. The history of craft is just amazing. I love seeing cross-stitch samples from Colonial America; I think they are gorgeous. It is such a contentious subject and I have gotten into so many fights in school about craft versus art with formalist male teachers.

Art school can definitely be a male dominant institution. I am studying art theory and I’m reading Clement Greenberg and he has his opinions on craft and kitsch and it’s hard to sort out what from art theory I’m going to use and what I’m going to reject because it is sexist bullshit. I think the classification of craft versus fine art is ridiculous and I don’t think one is less than the other.


Photo: Morgan Maher. Courtesy the artist.


What other bodies of works are you making? I love really representational drawing and illustration. Embroidery is the natural progression of the drawing but in a different way. The installations are actualization of the drawings that I make. The aesthetics and concepts of the installation is very similar to the drawing or etchings that I make. Eventually I am hoping to incorporate embroidery into a larger installation. For the “Spring/Break Art Show” I made a bed and for “Life Force” I made a corner of a bedroom. I would love to make a full bedroom! I would also love to do set design for a horror movie – I love haunted houses.

What’s your favorite movie bedroom? “Virgin Suicides,” “Carrie.” In “Silence of the Lambs” when Hannibal Lector is in his caged prison in the middle of a room. Any vampire movie.

What kind of Goth music do you like? Marilyn Manson! I have mentioned him in every single interview I have ever done in hopes that he will see it one day.

What are you excited to work on next? I want to do more installations and more work about my obsessions. I did an alphabet of serial killers and recently I have been making drawings of locations where infamous crimes have occurred.

So what started off this obsession with crime? I really don’t know! I think it’s less about the people and the event and more about the phenomenon of obsession itself. I listen to this podcast called “My Favorite Murder.” I think these obsessions is a way for us to access this violence that is separate from our bodies and we feel totally safe from it, because in reality we are never safe from violence in any form. I am also am a very obsessive person. I grew up watching SVU and Dateline with my mom. I think as a nation we love to watch the pretty girls suffer.



Photo: Alt Esc 36

Tyrrell Winston

is a Brooklyn-based artist who uses his neighborhood to scout materials; he repurposes discarded trash, like lipstick smeared cigarettes, drug baggies, and Hennessy bottles, into refined art objects. Conscious of the neighborhoods in which he works, his process opens up dialogues with local and outside residents.

Tell us about your “Neighborhood Archaeology” series. I’ve been working on this series for five years - I was collecting drug bags and dice on the street and making these Dash Snow-esque collages. They led me to where I am now. Last summer I started picking up cigarettes with lipstick on them, which is really vile. Some I coat in varnish, most of the time I spray them with an archival adhesive. Then I started collecting color-coordinated stuff like crack vials, Hennessy bottles and deflated basketballs. I’m going bigger, but I’m also branching out of found material.

What else have you been working on recently? I started making these signs that are all based on what you would see outside of a nail salon or massage parlor. They were inspired by a drug dealer’s business card. They have iconic pop culture figures like Michael Jordan and Beyoncé on them. I changed the numbers, and they lead you to fake voicemails. Some of the signs have spoof callback number with me saying something along the lines of, “You can buy drugs here. I’ll come to you. Just leave me your name and number.” These voicemails are recorded and go straight to email. I’m planning on using the recording for something in the future.

How do you scavenge? Basically just by walking around. There is no real method to the madness. There six or seven hours on a Saturday looking around, you will find a proliferation of all of this stuff. I always have hand sanitizer and a plastic bag on me. Sometimes I don’t realize that I’m collecting because it’s become kind of second nature.



Photo: Alt Esc Photo: Alt Esc 39

What are some of your crazy stories? Any crazy finds? I find a lot of drugs in bags. You find coke and crack. I found a big crack rock once that I have taped up in my studio. I have found over $100 on a couple of occassions. I once was walking home in the the rain, and I thought I saw a $20 bill and it was a few hundred dollars matted together. My ex-girlfriend used to do similar stuff. She found a thumb one time during community service, so that probably takes the cake for crazy finds. There are spots where I’ll find 100 crack vials. Crack is still a massive problem. All of these drugs bags in this studio are pretty much found in a 10-block radius from here. Heroin is a big problem around here too. There is a methadone clinic around the corner. There was a spice/k2 problem in the neighborhood for awhile. A couple of months ago there was a mass overdose right outside. People that are recovering Heroin addicts in the neighborhood smoke spice because it doesn’t come up in your system when they test you for drugs and it only costs $2!

Is it important for you to shine a light on these issues? I was very into drug culture and used to sell drugs. I thought it was really cool to be this person for a while until I realized, “Wow, I’m a really big sack of shit for doing this, I’m destroying people’s lives.” In some weird way making this work is a penance. I want people to talk about these things. This is an underrepresented area and an overlooked community. The spice epidemic was happening for over a year, and it took a mass overdose for people to actually pay attention. I want people to be drawn into the work but know that it’s appearance is more than skin deep. It’s my hope that people will ask questions, “Why are there so many of these vials, bags, etc? Where do you find these?” It’s kind of shocking how I’ll find children’s toys next to drug paraphenalia. I think we, as a society, think there is a separation from drug addicts and children, but all both of these worlds co-exist and they’re often times close to each other.

Do you collect personally? No. My apartment is totally minimal. I collect 99 cent t-shirts from Salvation Army that I flip inside out.


Photo: Alt Esc

41 Photo: Alt Esc

“War of the Roses,” site-specific installation, Sadie Halie Projects, Brooklyn, NY, 2015. Courtesy the artist and Sadie Halie Projects.



Martha Mysko’s site-specific installations use pop culture and film references to create immersive environments that make you revisit a darker side of nostalgia. She is currently working on a second book project with Good Weather Gallery.

Can you tell us a little background about yourself? How did you get into the arts and into installation work? I grew up in the Baltimore area and moved to Brooklyn in 2005. Around that time I was making Alice Neel-inspired figurative and narrative paintings. Once in New York, and being exposed to so much art, it pushed me to want to pursue it more seriously. I had hit a wall with painting when I submitted a proposal to an open call for site-specific installations through the Dumbo Arts Center. They gave me the opportunity to take over an old freight elevator in a building in Dumbo for a weekend. This was my first installation and it incorporated sound, lighting, and domestic materials that I manipulated within the elevator into a kind of tableau. I found right away that I loved the directness, and the associative and visceral aspects that came with working with materials and objects in a physical space. I went to grad school at Cranbrook Academy of Art in 2009. During my time there I refocused on painting, not in the traditional sense, but in exploring the potential for it to be expansive and immersive. This way of working has been keeping me going and challenging me in the studio ever since.

Do you have any upcoming exhibitions/projects? I’m currently working on my second book project to be published by Good Weather Gallery in early 2017. This is an extension of my most recent installation with the Good Weather (Blue Tiers at COOP in Nashville, TN), and is exploring ways to convey mood through color and materiality.

If you could collaborate with anyone... Pipilotti Rist and Jessica Stockholder together.


Many of your installations are about creating immersive rooms and environments. Do cinematography and set design play an important role in your work? Yes, absolutely. But I am more interested in the low budget kind and more television based crime dramas, reenactments, sitcoms, old music videos, and made-for-TV movies. My work can often have rawness, and it’s really very temporary. I like to expose the seams and flaws. There tends to be a front stage/back stage that reinforces its relationship to painting. I like that there is the moment when illusion is sustained and then ultimately it begins to break down or falls or apart up close. For my show at Good Weather I was specifically looking at a lot of teen girl bedrooms from movies and television in the 90s. One example of how that played out was the back wall which was based on the bedroom wall from the set of “Clarissa Explains it All,” a Nickelodeon sitcom.

So what is your favorite “room”?

It would be too hard for me to choose one favorite room, there are so many that I love. To name a few that come to mind, the sets for the Incredible “Shrinking Woman,” “Bartleby,” “Fargo” and “Twin Peaks” all have some great rooms.

What recurring themes do you work with? The juxtaposition of the digital and the physical, the trope of windows in painting, domestic and cultural debris from my youth, compression and expansion, interior and exterior.

There is a sense of nostalgia in your works, a 90’s vibe, being a teenage girl. Are these themes that are important to you? I’m working against nostalgia while using materials that have strong personal or cultural associations. A lot of my materials are familiar items from my past that I seek out specifically. But rather than doing this for nostalgic reasons, I’m interested in that feeling of revisiting something from your childhood or past and realizing how crappy it actually is. I also like to work in a way where I may exaggerate an implied meaning or emotion of a material or object, and then simultaneously work with it on a purely formal level. I want to take what is familiar and deconstruct it until it becomes something new.


45 Photo: Martha Mysko

“Moody Blues,” site-specific installation, Good Weather Gallery at COOP Gallery, Nashville, TN, 2016. Courtesy the artist and Good Weather Gallery.



Christian Little is a painter based out of Kingston, NY. A master at conveying textures, his paintings communicate with a digital language. We took a road trip to visit him Most at his studio where we discussed everything from people reality dating shows to alternative versions of know your perception. paintings, but we heard you play music?

I’ve played in a couple of bands. I currently record with a friend of mine as Via Scuba. I also played in Rahim and we toured the United States and Europe. They were together for 10 years and I was with them for three.

We want to learn how to marble. What is the secret? A feather. That is the basis of it. I’ll only use a brush when I run out of feathers. I haven’t used marbling too much in newer work.

Would you describe these paintings as portraits? Portrait landscape hybrids. For a while, I was working on squares. I wanted to try to get outside of that, and all the paintings that were not formatted on squares turned out to be portraits instead of landscapes. I tried one landscape, and compositionally, it wasn’t working for me. It fought me the whole time. Also, all of my paintings are portraits of the way I process information. They represent what I have taken in whether it be visual cues, experiences, or thoughts.

What does the grid represent in your work? It is just a visual tool. Grids are inherent in painting history. Much of my mark making comes from a visual play in pattern making. I try to make static images resonate as moving. A painting is a still, finite thing, but we try to make it feel outside of itself. Dimensionality should

“Exhibitionists 18 (Washing Up),” 42 x 36 in, Gouache, Flashe and Acrylic on Panel, 2016. Courtesy the artist.


“Hard Feelings 8 (Ode to Studio: Eno, Cocktail, Ocarina),” 30 x 30 in, Gouache, Flashe and Acrylic on Panel, 2016. Courtesy the artist.


be the forefront of any painter’s inquest. When I think about time and space in a static image on a flat surface (when I start bringing dimensionality into the image), that is when I start to think that I am working on something worthwhile.

How do you layout your paintings? It’s all over. Ultimately, I cover the surface with tape and draw on top of it. I do several drawings with different color markers until I arrive at a mark, and then I cut out the shapes. The process is almost like printmaking. Printmaking can be a reductive process. Japanese printmaking is a big influence for me.

Is the computer involved in any part of your process? Yes, sometimes I’ll take a photo and use an app to sketch an idea out. I bought an iPad recently, but I mostly use it as a sketchbook. I take photos of my work and upload them, so I can view it on a different format. I know 99% of the people who view my work will see it through their phones, so it is good to keep a record of how it will look online and resolve any problems it might have there too. As far as understanding the composition, it is one of the tools I use. I don’t do any patterning on the computer though. That is all just done on the spot. I do the same patterns over and over because I feel like the repetition of a motif helps you own it: it becomes part of your visual vocabulary that is recognizable to you.

There is a wave of painters who are trying to investigate how computers affected the medium and developed a whole new language. The computer and early software programs were formative to my understanding of format and color and interaction with space. You can’t be a painter now and not think about the ways in which computers and technology influenced the medium. If you don’t think how about the influences of technology, you can’t be progressive. I understand the merits of resistance in certain ways, but then you come across as a Luddite. You have to be aware of the slang of a language in order to maintain true fluency. If you want to be a fluent painter, you have to understand the different processes that influenced painting.




Installation at Swiss Institute, New York, 2016. Courtesy the artist and Swiss Institute.


Nitemind is a collective of artists, engineers, designers

and visionaries recognized by most for their contributions to NYC night life. They balance function with design through engineering and aesthetics. We sat down with Michael Potvin and Steven GrisĂŠ to discuss their most recent endeavors.

How did you guys meet and start working together? Steven: We met each other at SxSW in 2011. I was doing visuals there, and I had this whole VCR, colorizer, television, and cameras recording. I was walking around with suitcases of analog gear. Doing visuals for whoever would have me at their showcase. Michael: Our friends set us up. Steven: He's a tech head and an artist. Michael: We were both living up in Massachusetts at the time, and then shortly after SxSW we were hanging out in Boston a lot. We kind of let each other know that we both love video work. I got down to New York in June, and Steve was talking about coming down for August. Steve was looking for spaces, and I was subletting. He was coming, staying and crashing. We lived in the studio for two-three years. It’s the typical Williamsburg story. We were lucky enough to keep the space.

What materials do you use? M: We work mostly with LEDS & laser beams. Then we control them with our own software. We use open source libraries, connect them together, run Arduino, Processing, OpenCv, or openFrameworks. It's hard to believe that people are developing these things. They are free and non - corporate. And there is a whole community of people just willing to help you. So if you don't know what you are doing, just go on a forum.

Do you have any themes that are constant throughout your work? M: Repetition. Parallel lines. We might have an installation where there are 48 parallel lines 52

doing different things. Or there is some action that is happening as a visual image continuously. Generative algorithms and making algorithms that simulate natural processes.

How do you utilize natural processes in your work? M: Fire is the one we keep referring back to. We made an algorithm that simulates fire last year for Korakrit Arunanondchai. He had a solo show at Palais de Tokyo this past year and we made a bunch of algorithms for him. He wanted everything to be inspired by nature. We could have just made a loop of fire, instead we did some research on how fire works. That’s the engineer in me. We discovered it works through the combustion of sparks and spontaneous generation from heat. So we simulated those parameters, and it looked great. We worked on another piece for Korakrit that was a simulation of a synapse in the brain, which was actually inspired by a job that I did for a medical company. It was for a medical exhibit, and we had designed a 3-hD brain, with LEDs inside of it. In the exhibit you could select a brain disorder on a series of buttons: schizophrenia, mood swings, sheer excitement, etc. None of the animations were specified so we did a little reading up on brain functionality and programmed the algorithms from that, and it worked out very well. MoMA PS1 installation with Stretch Armstrong, 2016. Courtesy the artist.


Photo: Erez Avissar. Courtesy the artist.


Do people reach out to you about collaborations or do they transpire more naturally? And who would you want to collaborate with in the future? Michael: Mostly naturally. Juliana Huxtable hung out at Steel Drums and was a really big supporter of the club. We always welcomed her there and now we see her at Happyfun Hideaway across the street and let her know that we are working on something new. I get super excited about research for artwork, so I spend hours on my laptop, reading things, researching new technology and exploring what is possible. When I see my friends or acquaintance I let them know “I’ve been messing with this thing, and it has your name all over it.” Or we could just have a conversation about it, even if it has little to do with them, and I’m just rattling off on what I’ve focused on this week. With the Juliana project at MoMa, we had been contemplating for months and were playing with different concepts. Initially the idea we discussed was the animated avatar and we ended up making a laser portrait of Juliana.

How do you balance the corporate and the non-corporate opportunities? Steven: It's important to sustain the corporate jobs so that we can continue the oddball and weirdo installation pieces. That’s for our heart. The corporate jobs keep the lights on. Michael: The collective is growing. Now we have people running code, fabricators, installation artists, concept artists and studio managers, all of who are our friends. Steve: It’s a very friendly operation. Michael: That is why we are working on getting more jobs, so we can expand the team and bring on more people. It’s always all about the people.




Parker Day

is a photographer based out of Los Angeles. She is currently working on “ICONS,” a collection of 100 character portraits captured on 35mm film. The project is a How do you celebration of self-expression and choose individuality. “ICONS” will be y o u r “ICONS?” presented at Superchief Gallery, Los Angeles in There has to be a strong personality that presents itself. February 2017, and I like people who are dynamic, Screaming Sky who have an edge. I look for people who are not afraid to express themselves Gallery, or to explore who they are. Portland in April 2017. How do you find these people? Are they people you know, or do you scope them out online?

It's a combination. I spend a lot of time on the internet looking for people, but it's hard to get a real feel for who they are, so it's usually best when it’s a friend or a friend of a friend or if the person is an artist. I can usually get a good sense of who they are through their art. Then I know there is a good chance that we will connect and put something awesome together. That's really the best because it becomes a collaborative process where I'm inventing this fantastical character with my subject. But there has to be some real part in it - otherwise it is just a person in a costume!

How much of the portrait is your identity and how much of it is their identity? The line is not clear. It’s a reflection of me and how I feel, but that only comes out if it’s the right person, and, on top of that, they have to trust me and feel comfortable enough to be performative and not pretty. There has to be a rapport, and it has to be built very fast.

“Slay (Emmy Kilmister),” 2016. Courtesy the artist.


What are some of your influences? I think about identity and transformation and how everything we use to present ourselves to the world is a facade, and how that’s a form of expression. So I'm very conscious of how physical presentation is a tool for communication and, in creating these costumes that are really hyperbolic and over the top, it's an extension of that expression. It's jolting - it makes you wonder about the person. I'm always inspired by people I see on the street who have a very strong personal aesthetic. When I see these characters, I think they are this rare breed, and I always want to know who they are and what their story is.

Are you influenced by drag culture? Definitely, again it’s about playing with the potential of your beauty and physicality. It’s an amazing way for people to explore who they are, and I think when people become someone else and put on a facade, they are more freely able to express themselves which is really interesting.

Were you influenced by Cindy Sherman? Of course. I think it's pretty apparent in my work. I always liked her film still series the most. I remember learning about her way back when I was in art school, and I liked those images a lot because they are very powerful representations of women and are innately playing with the performative nature of photography. I never thought she was a shining idol and then I started working in this vein. I guess a little Cindy got into my subconscious.

How has your work evolved over time? What were your projects before “ICONS”? So let me give you the backstory. I went to school, dropped out, and then I was working for an accessory company shooting bedazzled handbags for ladies in the Midwest that lunch. Then I got let go. After that, I was a nightclub promoter and did event promotion. Then I went to beauty school and was doing hair. I reached this



“Say Cheese! (Jasmine Amaya),” 2016. Courtesy the artist.

60 “Where’s The Party (Cameron Tyme Edison),” 2016. Courtesy the artist.

point the most. It was shot right here in that little chair, and I was going to post it on Facebook, and I was worried it was too weird. Is anyone going to like it? Are they going to get it? Or will they think it’s too gross and strange? I was surprised there was such a positive response. That was instantly validating. I was initially scared to post because I was afraid to share my real art. It felt vulnerable to post it; it wasn't the hot L.A. babe on the beach that we are so accustomed to here. But after I got such positive feedback, I was like “Alright let's do this!”




Installation at Pioneer Works, New York Courtesy E.S.P. TV, 2016.


E.S.P. TV is a project run by Brooklyn-based artists Scott

Kiernan and Victoria Keddie. They are equal parts TV show, art collective, theater production, duo of directors, and installation artists. They utilize a mobile television studio to explore larger concepts of transmission, analog media, and broadcast. They’ve aired over 100 episodes and are pioneers of their practice and aesthetic.

What is E.S.P. TV? Scott: We work with different artists to produce projects for broadcast. We work as an artist group that sets up different scenarios for live televisual exercises. The live television taping is part of the performance as much as the people who are on the show. Victoria: The fact that it’s tied so directly to television pulls it between the two areas of performance. We understand that theater is an internalized black box, an infinite black space where the audience can choose to be vulnerable. The audience’s expectations to theater are very particular in comparison to those of the white box. In terms of what we do through the televisual exercise, so much of it revolves around TV culture, and that’s a whole other medium of audience involvement where it might be disinterested involvement, or personal. We are playing with all the ways in which the audience might address performance, and we are playing with the boundaries of performance. There are blurred lines everywhere. S: And we are interested in how these signs, symbols and mechanisms, all of these things inherent to television have persisted after TV moved from the square box.

Can you talk about the tour you went on? V: We decided that we are a mobile project, a mobile experiment. We still have a hard time describing ourselves. Are we an organization? Well, not quite. Are we a directorial project? No, not really. S: People think that we are a collective, but we are not really. V: We knew we wanted to extend ourselves beyond the city that we are in. The project is about being mobile, so we thought let’s be mobile! The whole point of broadcast is to signal out. True broadcast keeps going. You can bounce it off the moon if you want to. We were 64

excited to go around the country - full circle - and team up with different places, cities, towns, museums, galleries, DIY spaces, radio stations. We teamed up with over 50 artists in 15 cities, and we did it all in one month. It was an insane amount of work to do in one month. However, we did it. It was a beautiful experience to do such an expansive project in such a limited time frame. We only finished airing those episodes a couple of months ago. When you attend our live taping events, they are typically an hour and a half, maybe two hours and our episodes that we air are only 30 minutes.

Courtesy E.S.P. TV, 2016.

S: For every show we set up an entire installation and took it down the next day. There is this ephemerality with the idea of tuning into something that is just there for a passing moment like a TV show. As we set up the studio for each performance, instead of working from one specific site, some of that transience of the airwaves works its way into our actual physical setup and installations.


Courtesy E.S.P. TV, 2016.


How did you personally become interested in broadcasting as a medium and how does it play into your personal works? V: I’ve always been interesting in broadcast because of the romantic sense of it. Putting the signal out and communicating outward. It’s really from the echo. My work primarily investigates sound and visual sound. I think about how one sound can communicate with another. S: Definitely language and its connection to these technologies. The ways the images are perceived, for example the scan of an electron beam in a CRT means something different than the sequential still images of a progressive/digital system. One is much closer to writing and the other to film or photography, mechanically but also in how its perceived or can be used materially, broken apart. We dig some of these older technologies back up not for nostalgic reasons but for qualities inherent to them and for how they can be hybridized with new approaches that now exist. The show itself started at the same time everything was going digital and getting rid of analog. V: It was during the time when you had to throw out your old analog TV sets and cable boxes in the shift to digital. There was a limited time to tap into a huge bandwidth because it had all moved to a different platform. All of these stations that were once NBC, ABC, whatever was on, were no longer there. So you could potentially be on there saying, “Hi, this is my show..,” and have access to this space, but no one was around to see it. S: You could be signal ghosts.

Your work has a particular aesthetic. Are the tools you use designed to create those video textures? V: A lot of the equipment that we use appropriates things that were originally used for broadcast. These machines still want to pass the signal through. They want to figure that out, and that is where there is translation. You can get a video signal to modulate through your TV repair unit, and it will create a different sort of signal. S: People often think that we use devices designed specifically to create weird visuals, but they were not made with that purpose in mind. We just turned these defunct TV production tools on their heads a bit, and found a way to move them out of the label of “obsolete.”



“Yacht,” steel, magnets, enamel paint, 37 x 37 x 3 in, 2014. Courtesy the artist. 68

Andrew Ross is a sculptor and a multimedia artist based in New York. His works teeter on the edge of whimsy and deviation, analyzing the concept and function behind objects and forms we are used to the idea of. We met at his studio to chat about the roles of amphibians in his works, his ventures into performance art/comedy, and some excellent reads. You have a reoccurring frog character in your works, what does the use of frogs and animals mean tin general? Maybe it goes back to early education, when we are taught through fables. A lot of our interpretation of the world starts through animals that we may not even ever see. I’ve always been obsessed with the use of animals as replacements for people. When I was a kid my dad had this picture that he hung in our living room of two owls on a perch, one was upside down and underneath it said “pobody is nerfect.” I think about it all the time, while also thinking about blunt illustrations and figurative tchotchkes. My teenage self was took that as a starting point from which I could fill notebooks with drawings of animals in and around disguises. It was almost a coded pictographic language to express life as a developing brown person in South Florida. The first use of frogs was when I had a show with Ryan Chin in Bushwick. It was just a weird lethargic looking paperweight. That show was about office furniture and self-help books, particularly “Who Moved My Cheese.”

How was it, was it helpful? I read it twice; it’s so short. The metaphor is that you are like a mouse going through all these obstacles, climbing social ladders and someone keeps moving the g_ddamned cheese! It mostly deals with struggle in the workplace. I was thinking of the mouse and then the toad evoked paperweight for me and that was the first use of that kind of imagery. If there is relevance to identifying it as a frog lately, I would say so it is for it’s being amphibious.

There were some that appeared at your solo show at Signal. Those were holding little globes on sticks. The sculpture has three levels. The frog is like a surveyor on all the levels but it exists in basically the same state on all of them. A few years ago I went to Abu Dhabi for an art handling job and I was really amazed how many of the landmarks had yet to have been built. There were tourist maps that showed all these places that did not exist yet. In Dubai there are also these huge man-made clustered islands, and one was the map of the world. The immensity of building power to make islands coupled with the gaudiness to turn them into pictures is what that sculpture was exploring for me, and the amphibians are overseers, but also not.


And what about the pieces you are working on now? I am preparing for my first European solo show next May at Clima Gallery in Milan. It’s such a long time from now, at least for me, that I am afforded the opportunity to experiment with some new works. I’ve been wanting to make some works in which the distribution is almost equal to the object, which is to say that it is either easy to ship or make on-site. I am working on doctoring photos with 3-D modeled additions, making a cube that plays movies on its inner faces and may or may not contain holograms, and small diorama-esque cnc-cut sculptures that paint themselves. It’s a really fun time.

Your work can very conceptual and humorous at the same time… Well I’ve done some stand up and artist talks recently that are all kind of humorous, so I have been thinking about entertainment and my relationship to it. It’s an important word to me, not just being funny, but the idea of entertaining a possibility is a large part of my work. Things that I think are problematic have always influenced me. A lot of my work is about a feeling or an ideology that I disagree with, yet want to explore.

Is there a narrative to your work? The narrative in the Signal exhibition was about decoration and becoming. Decorating to become something or to complete a task. There’s some allegory in there. The stoves were like the tools that I was actually using to make the work. I drew with melted clay using a ladle and reproduced the drawings with waste molds. If you apply narrative to the stove, it’s talking about service industry. A sculpture is its own thing, it says a common sort of murky phrase, “It’s my pleasure,” but then you think about the maker presenting it to you. It’s all these attitudes converging to a point where you realize it’s none of those attitudes fully.

So you lead your viewers astray? I think my work highlights moments of recognition with imagery or signifiers by failing to fully commit to them. It speaks through disappointment, and puts a lot on the viewer to unpack them on their own terms.

So back to the stand up… Last standup I did was at Dixon Place in LES, it was a part of this program called Communitas and the idea was inspired by open letters on internet and the emerging nature of calling people out on the internet. So I was using open letter as a framework, kind of like insult comedy. I would insult everyone in the room, but as their relative or mother, asking them what they were up to and criticizing them in a loving and helpful way that was mean at the same time. I played Bruce Springsteen’s “Born in the U.S.A” after which I read a letter from him to Miley Cyrus, calling her out for being a rock’n’roll icon for the wrong reasons. I read it like a parent criticizing their child. I then pulled up a chair and I made people in audience come sit in my lap while I cradled them and asked them what was wrong. It was pretty funny. It was one of the best performances I’ve done in a while. 70


“When Philosophy Becomes Practice, I Know,� 70 x 63 x 42 in, plywood, tree branches, paint, cast plastic figurines, found wooden bird, concrete, fiberlass, clay, 2015. Courtesy the artist and the Drawing Center, New York, NY.



“Resonant Hyper Symbol Modulator,” KunstKnotted Gate Chant Cycle, Harvestworks at SITE 57. Courtesy of MSHR, 2016.


MSHR is the project name of artists Birch Cooper and

Brenna Murphy. Together they produce other-worldly interactive installations where embedded synthesizers blend into plexiglass and colorful luminescences to produce sculptural soundscapes. Using their installations as sets, they play with body interactions, lights, and sounds to create panoptic sensory experiences.

How do your individual practices relate to MSHR? Birch Cooper: They’re very closely related. Very intertwined. Brenna Murphy: I feel like our personal practices feed our collaboration and vice versa. How did you meet and start working together? BM: We moved into a house together in 2007 and everyone in the house started an art collective for four years called Oregon Painting Society. There were five of us, and then when that ended and we all moved out, we started to have the conversation about MSHR. We have been doing that for five years, so we have been collaborating for nine years. BC: Our approach to MSHR was really informed by our previous art collective. What kind of work did Oregon Painting Society produce? BM: We did a lot of interactive sound installations and sculpture that we had embedded with electronics. BC: We did performances in which we would make the instruments for the performances. We would make costumes, make installations, videos... BM: We would make up characters and narratives. It was a cohesive world, especially since we lived together and there were five of us. There was a strong group aesthetic. So in MSHR we are trying to carry the spirit of a really cohesive aesthetic world where we make all the aesthetic forms necessary for that world. What inspires the design of your work? BC: One important aspect of the work is the feedback between each other and between ourselves, the programs that we use to design our images, and between the forms in our 74

music and the forms in our visual art. Often our visual art is very inspired by generative music. Also, as much as we can, we try to study art from all cultures and time periods so we can form a conglomerate idea of human archetypes. BM: We are intuitively trying to design our own archetypal motifs, which reflect all of humanity’s archetypal motifs. BC: Or reflect some sort of fundamental aspect of it. As far as your performances go, are they improvised or are the recited beforehand?

BC: It is impossible to replicate specific sounds, but you can replicate a system that will have certain types of interactions. BM: We come up with this series of interfaces that organizes how the set will flow. MSHR in their studio. Courtesy of MSHR, 2016.



Are you guys inspired by any other particular artists in that genre? BC: A big touchstone of our work is David Tudor and a lot of our synthesizers are in that lineage. We look at that work and those who followed him as our linage as far as electronics go. BM: He was John Cage’s pianist and worked a lot of John Cage, so a lot of John Cage’s work is inherent in what we do. BC: We’re interested in pretty much all music. BM: We love the avant garde heads like La Monte Young, Marian Zazeela, Henry Flynt, Terry Riley...that whole New York school of raga influenced drone. Did the music come first or did the art come first or did it all come at the same time? BM: It all came at the same time. BC: We’ve been making music and art our whole lives, so there wasn’t really a direct starting point. BM: You could say it started in Oregon Painting Society, when we really started building the language around our synthesizers and performances. And how has MSHR evolved overtime? What was your first show like? BM: When we started we had this idea that we had to start from nothing and build from there. BC: The first thing we did was make two synthesizers and we just started improvising with them. BM: We had no structure and we played with the same synths for the entire set, improvising with them for 20 minutes. BC: Now we use modular systems more and more complex interfaces. A big breakthrough for us was starting to use feedback between lights and sound, which opened up a lot of worlds for us.

Courtesy of MSHR, 2016.


Andrew Jeffrey Wright 78

Andrew Jeffrey Wright is

a Philadelphia-based photographer, performance artist, print and zine maker. He was one of the founding member of Space 1026, which is a collectiverun exhibition and studio space. He gave us a tour and we talked about his love for E.T., his new projects, and how he used to play basketball with Diplo. What are you working on now? That is hard to answer because I work on multiple things at one time. I am working on performance. I do a show called “The Shit & Piss Show.” It is part commentary on society and part absurdist humor. I dress up as a giant pile of sh*t and my friend is a puddle of pee. I am working on an ongoing zine called DFW Comics. I don’t ever work on just one thing, and I don’t finish projects until two days before they are due.

Are you still working on the money photos series? I don’t do the money photos anymore. Part of that project was I didn’t have a bank account. (I didn’t have a bank account until 2015.) Every photo is a depiction of all the money I had in the world at that moment. I didn’t know if I would ever show them to the masses or if people would know the story behind them. The photos have been shown in zines and exhibitions before but never a full on art show (until recently at The Hole). Paul Bright and Kathy Grayson knew about the series - they knew the concept behind it and thought it would be interesting to show. Paul Bright is making a book out of it. The series wasn’t just about taking funny photos of money, it was a diary of my finances. Money is a dictation of how you can live your life. It’s personal. I was afraid to expose it. I’m interested in absorbing the ridiculousness of a scene. It a personal series, but it’s also funny (hopefully every photo is funny). One day my friend was like, “Hey, we just took my dog’s leg off!” (it had cancer) “Would you come over and take a money photo with my dog?” People knew about my photos from my zines, and they resonated. I don’t know exactly how or why it grew beyond being just my personal project, but somehow it connected itself with other people.

What are your performances? They are comedic based. They straddle performance art and comedy. I do stuff as The New Dreamz with my friend Rose. I also am apart of a larger group called Comedy Dreamz. The New Dreamz goes beyond regular comedy. It’s not Monty Python. It’s not Dynasty Handbag. It’s not Jamie Warren. There’s similarities to those things, but it’s still different. It’s not any one thing. It’s seven different things all at once. We do some bits that are narrative - short bits, sketches. But then we do stuff that goes into other directions. “Happy Monday (page from the zine ART WORLD),” 2016​. Courtesy the artist.


How did you get into comedy? A friend of mine had a birthday party. She said that everyone had to do a talent, and I thought this will be the moment when I try stand up comedy.

Was it intimidating? Well, I wore a mask. I was honestly too shy. People were always saying I was funny and should do stand up, but it’s different on stage. Most of the time that I am funny, I don’t know I am being funny. I am just living my life, and when people point out that I am being funny, I stop right away. But it was my time to do it on stage, and I thought I could write five minutes of comedy... I wasn’t sure if I could handle people staring at me, so I wore a mask. I really needed it. At first, I only did stand up four times a year, for about three years, and it was mostly at noise shows and art galleries. As ridiculous as my humor is, there is a lot of truth in comedy. I did a piece after my girlfriend broke up with me. I segued into talking about our break up for 20 seconds, and everyone thought it was just part of the piece, but it was real. Most of my work is based in reality. I have one exception. I have never done drugs, and a lot of my pieces relate to drug humor. I have been called a “poser” before because of that. However there is reality in that too because I am interested in things I don’t understand.

Can you talk about the formation of 1026? It evolved from a skateboarding collective? I have been part of 1026 for 19 years. I helped start it. A bunch of us grew up skateboarding. A hand full of kids were going to RISD and one kid was going to school in Boston. We were influenced by Shepard Fairey. He had his art studio in Providence at that time and had a skate ramp in his studio. We were also influenced by our friends at Fort Thunder (Mat Brinkman, Brian Chippendale, the Forcefield dudes…) We were influenced by Alleged Gallery, a skater style gallery in New York City. We wanted to start a spot inspired by those three places. We thought about starting it in Providence, but we were all over being there. We thought about NYC but came to the conclusion that they did not need us. We decided to go back to Philly - a lot of us grew up around the Philadelphia suburbs - and found this spot. We never went non-profit. Studios rent pays for the gallery space. Our art shows are never about making money. The gallery gives artists the opportunity to do a show without the pressure of selling work.

What is your relationship with aliens and E.T.? E.T. came out when I was a little kid, so it was imprinted on me. I had a deep connection to E.T. I tried to build communicators - it didn’t work. I saw the movie four times in the theater when I was little. I cried each time. Sometimes you can’t intellectualize things. I don’t know where that connection came from. Maybe from the idea of the other - that there are things beyond. It opens us to the possibilities of connecting to other life forces beyond ourselves.


“Rich Ella,” 2010. Courtesy the artist.

“Mural Money,” 2016. Courtesy the artist.



Photo: Alt Esc 82



is a multimedia installation artist, gallerist, electronic musician, and theologian. He curates and operates Vector Gallery in the East Village. The work of JJ Brine has been compared to that of Duchamp and Andy Warhol. Brine is known as the “Father of the Posthuman Movement” and as “The Crown Prince of Hell.” Equal parts art installation and church, Vector What is Vector? is a beacon and a bank for lost souls. It is a How would breathing silver studio which stands as a you like Vector reminder that there is salvation in the perceived? world’s eccentricities. Vector is an advertising agency for products, companies, and services that do not formally exist.

How does it relate to religion? Vector is itself a religion. It’s a temple unto its own tenets.

Can you describe the religion? Does it come from a previous lineage? It’s the fourth in the tetralogy. First came Judaism, Christianity, then Islam, and now Vector. All reactions to this project serve to advance its interests.

Religion and politics are often intertwined. Do you see this project as a political statement? Well, VECTOR is a country. It is a state. It is a theocratic state. The Vectorian faith is the state religion of The Satanic State of VECTOR.

Your work features some iconic American brands. What is your relation to branding and politics? The algorithm of the prodigal analogy is itself a brand.


Do you have plans to expand? Yes, Eye think We are always expanding. Such is the nature of our frequency. This thing is a radio tower, after all.

Expand territory? Yes. If a gallery wants to open itself up to colonization, Eye always consider prospects for imperial expansion. There are a couple of darling “things” in the works on this order. Eye’m also available to do installations in people’s private homes, which is always inspiring.

The last time we met was for the show in Bushwick “The Prescription For The End Of The World (2033 AD).” Do you think there is a recipe for the apocalypse? Yes. Eye provided it therein. Some key ingredients include the mechanization of telepathy via social media, Israel being ex-chosen, escalating interference of world powers in Syria vis-a-vis the notion of an Alawite State, the proliferation of technology allowing for the 3-D printing of nuclear weapons, and the death of the United Nations - my sincere condolences.

Why 2033 AD? What is happening that year? The ALANIZATION of all things; the return to ALAN. The SHAY have called it “The Big Bang” which is actually “The Singularity.”

In the Vector 2.0 location, visitors lost their souls when they entered the backroom. Now they lose their souls if that enter at all? Vector operates like a bank. Eye have no particular purpose in hoarding souls indefinitely. Rather, Eye collect interest on them. Reality is a curated suggestion.

Is there anything you’d like to mention about your process? Urgency is the greatest gift. Deadlines are magical.

What else are you working on right now? Right now Eye’m recording a second album for The LaBiancas with my bandmate and crime partner Lena Marquise - working title “Jesus Christ Is Charles Manson” - which will feature a lot of magically repurposed cover songs. Eye’m just beginning to work on a film project with Vectorian Minister of Zion, Yasmin Ben-David. And Eye’ll be installing “The Charity For The End of The World” at your space in November, the third and final chapter of my “End of The World” trilogy that started at Silent Barn. 84

Photo: Alt Esc




Ryan Oskin is a New York-based artist who synthesizes

sculpture and photography to illustrate the relationship between man and nature. We met up with him at his residency at The Artha Project to learn more about his creative practice and fascination with construction materials.

Do you always consider the environments that you are working in when designing exhibitions? I am starting to consider the architecture of the space. I want to make more work that is an installation or site-specific, because I feel like these works are so much about the transitions of these temporary sites and spaces as they change from an empty lot to a building (or to something else). I’m interested in exploring that gray area and building outwards. I am also interested in architecture but not in a permanent way, more so as a defining a gesture in the space. My process is to flatten space and then bring it back out. There are a lot of options in that certain system.

How do you source your materials? It’s a variety. A lot of the materials are referenced in the photographs. Through the fusing of the image and material, they become one rather than two separate entities. I also want to explore materials that are not referenced in my photographs further.

When was your first jump into sculpture? It was at my thesis show, it was a photograph that was printed on a rug. The photograph was of a porch, and there were letters across it that read “Welcome.” I was moving towards considering the photograph as an object to be experienced in the space rather than something that belongs on the wall. We are all used to seeing that sort of thing. It has a built in way we should respond to it. I am interested in breaking those roles in relationship to photography while also getting away from it all together by moving to sculpture.

‘Site #2,” wood, tarp, vinyl prints, found barrier, 72 × 42 × 12 in, 2016. Courtesy the artist.


Now that you are working with these objects do you see them around the city more? I’ve noticed the stakes by the Manhattan Bridge. They are reconstructing the right side of the bridge on the Canal side. I normally see them outside of New York. These things you can just pass by. They mean nothing to most people. If you walk around the city, you can see these subjects repeat. It is interesting to see that in the work and then re-experience it in the world. It re-animates the concepts I am working with. It’s a utilitarian language. We are surrounded by all these gestures that mean other things, or point to other systems at work.

Are there specific places in the city you go to find inspiration? I lived in Bed-Stuy near Bushwick. There is a lot of construction there. There are a lot of condos being built right now, so I started there. There are so many industrial hubs in NY Sunset Park, industrial Greenpoint, Gowanus. A lot of these zones are now being transformed into livable space. I’m curious about neighborhoods that are in between being residential and manufacturing industries.

Do you curate? I have done a bunch of shows with Lauren Zaser, Cait Oppermann, Bobby Walsh, and Yael Malka that I studied with at Pratt under the platform, TGIF. We started at the 17-17 Troutman building in Bushwick. We used it as a studio 90% of a time, and then once a month we had a pop-up show. And then we got kicked out of that space. We did more pop-up shows at various spaces like one at South Street Seaport two years ago in the shipping containers. The last one was at Kilroy Metal Ceiling, which was demolished recently. It was a group show “Treading Water” of photography and sculpture. I’ve always been interested in putting shows together.

How do you print on these materials? I use a commercial printing company in Bed-Stuy that can print on different substrates. That is an inspiration in itself. I’m always asking myself, “what can this image be printed on?” By printing on more commercial materials, they usually have more longevity. Images are so fragile. They get ruined easily, so this way you can manipulate them a little bit more, getting away from the perfect, framed image.


“Material Progression,� grass, dirt, rock, cement, spray paint, wood, 20 x 48 x 3 in, 2016. Courtesy the artist.


TRAVIS Levasseur

“XXIV,” 2016. Courtesy the artist. 90

TRAVIS Levasseur is a multimedia artist based in Baltimore. We were excited to meet up with Levasseur to discuss his last show at Terrault Contemporary, as well as his upcoming projects. How did you get into making art? Everyone in my family thought I was going to be an architect. We had a little wood shop in middle school, and I was more into that than anything else. I drew buildings and floor plans of dream houses, designing what I couldn’t have. I loved real time strategy and simulation games like “Rise of Nations,” “The Sims,” “Harvest Moon,” and “Roller Coaster Tycoon,” where the player is made to feel as if they have full control over an environment. It’s that same dream house mentality - a fabricated reality. I went to MICA for Film and Video. I learned a lot about planning and managing my time while also learning a lot about new technology, and building sets.

What was your inspiration behind your recent show at Terrault Contemporary? I was really influenced by this long dark rabbit hole called Google Video. Younger folk may not remember but it was essentially YouTube, but with no upload length limit. All the best conspiracy films were there. I was especially impressed by the fact that many of them were made by single users. I was thinking a lot about copycat suicide at the time and wanted to explore the notion using the conspiracy film model. I was super interested in this Japanese musician Hide Matsumoto from Japan X who brought American rock to Japan’s otherwise very corporate pop scene. When Hide committed suicide he chose to hang himself from a doorknob using a towel. Following his death, numerous people were reported killing themselves using this exact same method. I was super interested in this idea that the ‘be yourself/stand out’ notion that Japan X stood for died with Hide and his fans. I thought that this dramatic stance would make for an interesting conversation and it was my work on a triptych of video essays on this topic that inspired the show at Terrault. I wanted to explore an alternate reality in which all of the world’s millionaires and billionaires left to form man-made island utopias to escape the troubles on shore. Similar to Hide, I was interested in diagnosing the death of the “providers” of America’s present day through the lens of a conspirator.

The piece is centered around a piano? What the significance of it? I wanted the show to archive “the good old days” when pop music was alive and well and 91

act as a memorial to those times. It’s a player piano, so it plays itself. It’s like someone was once there - now gone. I liked the idea of the player piano since only those who left (in this alternate reality) would have been able to afford the luxury of having someone play for them. In that respect the player piano is both a luxury and a “fuck you” from those who left.

What is the inspiration for your next work? So I read the play “The Balcony” by Jean Genet. It’s about an alternate reality in France based around a brothel in Paris. They are undergoing some sort of revolution, and it is unclear what’s happening exactly. It’s based around a world where all the power figures are gone. It’s a series of vignettes - men enter the brothel to enact these symbols of power. There’s a scene of a man playing the pope, a scene of a guy playing a judge, a police officer, etc. They are strange, and I want to use the play as the foundation for a video piece. Maybe use a drone or a 360-degree camera.

Is your work a criticism of the present? I like to survey what’s happening and ask, “How is culture progressing?” I am especially interested in the United States and how people talk about the “good ole days.” I pretend to look at the present from the future and ask “is this the way we are going to view this?” “What are people going to take away from now” - especially in politics and pop culture where everything builds on itself.

What are you currently working on? Now is a really exciting time for me. I was just awarded a Fellowship from the Saul Zaentz Innovation Fund in Film & Media at Johns Hopkins for a multimedia installation and film simulating the end of westernization through a series of significant deaths. The piece is centered around three chapters. Chapter 1 will reveal Las Vegas as a suicide mecca that eventually self destructs. Chapter 2 will explore the suicide of Japanese rock musician Hide’ Matsumoto and the copycat suicides that followed. Chapter 3 will simulate the bankruptcy of the Kingdom Holding Company, owned by a Saudi royal family who is currently constructing Jeddah Tower, the tallest structure on earth. I’m also exploring some new ideas regarding the USA hosting the Olympics under our current political climate. I will be debuting some of this work at an upcoming screening in Baltimore and at “No Vacancy” in Brooklyn.

What dream artists would you want to work with? Paul McCarthy. Mike Kelly, if he was alive. Elmgreen & Dragset. My real dream is to produce the Super Bowl halftime show. 92

Photo: Duncan Hill. Courtesy Travis Levasseur and Terrault Contemporary, 2016.



“WK,” 14 x 11 in, felt, velcro, and steel on panel, 2016. Courtesy the artist. 94

James Bouché is an artist living and working in

Baltimore. He produces commanding and ominous objects which accentuate texture, form, and negative space. We talked with him about death metal typography, bondage pants, and “The Lord of The Rings.”

What is your relationship with color? I admittedly don’t have a strong connection to color. I’m color blind and I think that, growing up, instead of getting frustrated I learned to not really take notice. I generally don’t remember objects by their colors.

As a color blind person how do you differentiate between the various nuances of colors? What draws you towards monochrome?

Working in black and white comes really naturally to me. I think that what I lack with tonal sensitivity, my eyes make up with understanding value. I heard once that color blind artists generally gravitate toward printmaking and sculpture and I feel that. Only recently have I started thinking about using color. I think that black/gray became too much of crutch for me and I wanted to step out of my comfort zone a little. Just one color at a time though. Blue just seemed like a good place to start and I think red will be next. When picking the shade I’ve been asking friends to find me the most basic “blue” they can. I know a color expert would say that’s impossible but for right now it’s fine.


You use very “masculine” materials such as concrete, chains,

sportswear, etc., what is your relationship with these materials and your draw to working with them?

Actually, I wouldn’t describe my work as “masculine.” I understand the associations but I don’t like assigning a gender to objects and materials. I think “aggressive” or “dominating” are words that can sometimes be used when people talk about traditional ideas of masculinity. To be honest I spend just as much time at Jo-Ann Fabrics as I do Home Depot. I like that relationship and I like that employees from both stores have no idea what I’m talking about when I try to describe what I’m doing.

What are the themes that you embrace most? Is “Magic: The Gathering” a theme? “Lord of the Rings?”

Absolutely! Does architecture play an important role in your work? You have such an astute sense of space!

Thank you. Architecture has and will probably always play a big part in my work. In the past it’s been mostly representational but I currently try to treat space as a medium. I really enjoy the process of building and I like controlling the way my work is looked at. Creating architecture is such a subtly aggressive act.

Who would you want to collaborate with if given the chance? Robert Morris.

What music are you listening to right now? LeAnn Rimes, My Chemical Romance, Celine Dion.



Photo: Maxime La. Courtesy the artist. “Untitled (Hooks),� Slatwall Hooks, dimensions variable, 2014

Thank you to all the artists involved in this print and Park Slope Copy Center.


Copyright Š 2016 Alt Esc Platform, LLC All rights reserved. No part of this publication may be reproduced, distributed, or transmitted in any form or by any means, including photocopying, recording, or other electronic or mechanical methods, without the prior written permission of the publisher, except in the case of brief quotations embodied in critical reviews and certain other noncommercial uses permitted by copyright law. Unless otherwise noted, all images are Š Alt Esc Platform, LLC. Alt Esc Platform, LLC 1212 Lincoln Pl #3C Brooklyn, NY 11213

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