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C o n t e m p o r a r y

A r t

R e v i e w

BYRON RICH LIZY BENDING KATE WALKER KRISTINA RUTAR ZOLT ASTA ERIC SOUTHER NEVENA VUKSANOVIC KOSMAS GIANNOUTAKIS GERD G.M. BROCKMANN EGO HAS FALLEN , Installation by Gerd G.M. Brockmann


C o n t e m p o r a r y

Byron Rich Canada

A r t

Gerd G.M. Brockmann Nevena Vuksanovic USA

Serbia

My work researches boundaries between fashion, art and society. In the last years I worked in different participatory projects and countries as contemporary multidisciplinary artist to research with experimental materials like blood, inner tubes and chains, to find new borders between fashion design, art, ephemeral concepts and space, getting a better comprehension of fashion and art as communication concept.

To build a sculpture we need physical involvement, great immediacy. Forms mature upon their long being created in imagination. At the moment of personal separation from them, during the tension of my overall sensibility, I become one with the created object. My body is released from something that was up to then part of it. During its creation, the sculpture builds into itself memories, dreams, fears, aggression, a sense of helplessness.

R e v i e w

Zolt Asta Hungary

Every story is personal. The stories written by writers are also personal according to who wrote them. Every storyteller writes his own story driven by his own ideology, identity and imagination. Due to this, it is difficult to say there is objective storytelling or any kind of objective description however much they struggle to achieve that. This is my version, as there can be as many versions as individuals.

Lizy Bending United Kingdom

My theory is based in the realm of the political, artworks have an incredible autonomy and thus, the power to educate. Through my work I want to make issues surrounding politics, society, culture and the economy accessible to all. Combing print media with the construction of objects, my practice aims to provoke discussion, using emotive aesthetics that transform sociopolitical concepts into visually stimulating bodies of work.

Kate Walker New Zealand/USA

I am currently finishing a collaborative residency project based in New Zealand, on a project with ceramic artist Caroline Earley. Our collaborative work investigates the intersections of ceramics and painting. The oppositions and commonalities of two distinct mediums, ceramics and painting, are explored in a conversation centering around materiality, medium definitions, and boundary crossing.


In this issue

Byron Rich Lives and works in Meadville, PA, USA Installation, Public Art

Kosmas Giannoutakis Lives and works in Graz, Austria Sound, Performance, Installation

Gerd G.M. Brockmann Lives and works in Germany and in Turkey Mixed Media, Installation

Lizy Bending Lives and works in Guildford, UK Mixed Media, Installation, Performance

Kate Walker Lives and works in New Zealand and in USA Video, Public art

Zolt Asta Kristina Rutar

Kosmas Giannoutakis

Slovenia

Austria/Greece

My work is a mirror, which narrates personal story while breaking constructs of traditional mediums. Finding and building relations between the individual and artwork is a driving force when creating. I constantly search for unconscious forms when interpreting my surroundings. Abstract forms are born from reinterpreting realistic ones and with ambiguity they tell universal stories, which are dependent on one’s personal narrative.

Game, as social extension of brain activity, and Play, as associated complex behavior, are concepts fundamentally related with every creative process. The focus of my artistic research, is to raise the mind's gaming nature to the level of conscious awareness by creating artworks, which are performative art games. Using sound as the main communicating medium, my engaged performers interact with dynamic audiovisual systems.

ErIc Souther USA

Here are myths created by Mass Media. Gods, if you will, that change the way we perceive the world around us. These myths seep into our consciousness and possess us. It mounts us much like a rider and his horse. This is how we travel through the network, physically linking ourselves to the sacred paths laid out by the myths of the media, and it is these paths that remain invisible. Myth of the Masses gives us a glimpse into the ritualistic space of media.

Lives and works in Budapest / London VIdeo, Fine Art Photography, Mixed media

Nevena Vuksanovic Lives and works in Belgrade, Serbia Installation, Mixed media

Kristina Rutar Lives and works in Slovenia Mixed media, Sculpture, Installation

Eric Souther Lives and works in Bergen, USA Mixed Media, Video, Installation

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Special thanks to: Charlotte Seeges, Martin Gantman, Krzysztof Kaczmar, Tracey Snelling, Nicolas Vionnet, Genevieve Favre Petroff, Christopher Marsh, Adam Popli, Marilyn Wylder, Marya Vyrra, Gemma Pepper, Maria Osuna, Hannah Hiaseen and Scarlett Bowman, Yelena York Tonoyan, Edgar Askelovic, Kelsey Sheaffer and Robert Gschwantner.

On the cover: EGO HAS FALLEN , Installation by Gerd G.M. Brockmann


Byron Rich Meaningful exploration of the boundary between materiality and immateriality is necessary as the techno-sphere redefines the social landscape. My works attempts to forge a visual language urging viewers to consider the effect the techno-sphere plays in their day-today lives, and demystify the processes by which the techno-sphere is made possible. Through critical engagement of the tools and techniques of biotechnology and communication technology, I strive to empower participants to explore technological potentialities, wresting institutional control over the tools and techniques that define the paradigms. Decay, degradation, and the notion of scientific objectivity play consistent roles in my practice. I design systems that offer moral conundrums to participants, and present questions relating to their personal relationships to technological tools of communication, informational analysis, and biotechnology through graphic and interactive interfaces. I integrate biological science, ecological study, computer programming, digital media, photography, video, and sculptural elements to convey my conceptual motivations. Integral to my process is producing and utilizing opensource software and biotech to circumvent traditional corporate and institutional technological outlets. Although the technology I employ is operational and proven, its utilization in a fanciful manor allows the work to exist on the boundary of fiction and reality resonating with the hyper-real plane emblematic of contemporary techno-culture. Operating in this liminal space allows the work to raise questions pertaining to the effect on identity politics and the natural environment when the boundary between the material world of physical bodies, objects, and experiences becomes intertwined with the immaterial world of the information-focused techno-sphere.

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IMMOR(t)AL (in collaboration with John Wenskovitc 021 4


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video, 2013

h and Heather Brand) 022 4

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IMMOR(t)AL

03 4 Summer 2015 (in collaboration Summer 2015 with John Wenskovitch and Heather Brand)


Byron Rich

An interview with An interview by Dario Rutigliano, curator and Katherine C. Wilson, curator arthabens@mail.com

Many artists from the contemporary scene attempt to establish effective synergies between Technology and Art: but most of them just uses cutting edge techniques to explore concepts: what instead marks out Byron Rich's approach is an incessant investigation about the inner nature of the variety of medium he probes, to unveil the impact of techno-sphere on identity. Rich's multimedia installations reject any conventional classification and could be considered an interface between the ever growing unstable categories of reality and fiction: we are particularly pleased to introduce our readers to his stimulating production. Hello Byron and welcome to ART Habens. To start this interview, would you like to tell us something about your background? You have a solid formal training and after your studies in New Media, you nurtured your education with a MFA of Emerging Practices that you received about two years ago from the University of Buffalo. How have these experiences influenced your evolution as an artist? And in particular, since you currently hold the position of Assistant Professor at the Allegheny College, I would like to ask how does teaching informs the way you nowadays relate yourself to art making: have you ever happened to draw inspiration from the idea of your students?

Byron Rich

towers that spring up out of seemingly nowhere. I think that juxtaposition was more important than I really could comprehend as a child. In retrospect I always grappled with the idea of reconciling a vast unknowable wild world with the strict geometry and formalism that humanity likes to impart on it.

Sure. I was born in Calgary, Alberta, in western Canada. I grew up there, spending much of my youth riding my bike in the foothills in the shadow of the Rocky Mountains. It was a pretty idyllic childhood actually. My parents are fairly free-spirited, and there weren’t a ton of restrictions on me as long as I was home by dinner. I was free to just be immersed in this beautiful landscape. The city itself has a weird paradox about it. There are vast parks with massive Douglas Firs, then wild grasslands juxtaposed against the contemporary office

When I was twelve I became quite sick, and spent many months in hospital hooked up to myriad life support systems. I think I started to believe I was a bit of a cyborg, artificially sustained via this vast digital/mechanical

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apparatus. I should mention that my dad and I would always watch Star Trek: The Next Generation, so the Borg was omnipresent in my imagination. Spending so much time alone while sick I somehow felt a strange sense of interconnectedness to something larger than myself. I talked myself out of isolation and into believing that I was just a tiny part of a massively complex system that included digital and mechanical entities. I was a bit intense for someone not even in their teenage years.

science, or at least ideas inspired by science, into my work. They really made me feel as though I had something to say as an artist, and to a lesser degree, a theorist. Grad school was my first taste of being part of a discourse so much bigger than myself, and my personal feeling and beliefs. I felt like a contributor to culture in some small way. And to me, making culture is what artists do. I had some MASSIVE failures in graduate school, and made a few works that I look back on a shake my head in disbelief that I could be so silly. I still have a ton to learn.

I spent my teens grappling with angst, but finding an outlet in an art class that I took every Friday night for 4 or 5 years. The meditative vibe that this class seemed to elicit brought me some peace.

Now that I am the teacher, it is both terrifying, and incredibly satisfying. Paul once told me that “You’ll always feel like a bit of an imposter as a professor.”, and it’s true. That said, no one inspires me to build more knowledge, and become more proficient than my students. They force me to be empathetic, self-reflexive, and curious. I love them. Teaching is the only thing I actually feel good at. There is nothing better than feeling the moment when a student realizes the power that art can hold. When they become aware of its ability to introduce people to new ways of thinking, and the possibility of it as a tool for building compassion and empathy, I feel moved and that I’m contributing to something far larger and more profound. I get that feeling of deep interconnectedness that I mentioned earlier. A feeling that few other experiences can elicit.

Then University. I studied with a wonderful professor, Jean-Rene Leblanc. He really set me free to be as creatively liberated as I desired. In a way, I set up my own classes, and pursued whatever medium I felt best articulated my message, most of the time failing miserably, but I was free. He is the person I credit with much of my ambition. I worked at an artist Run Centre called TRUCK in Calgary, supervised by the director, Renato Vitic. I was a handful still, but he helped me get a better sense of the possibility of being part of a non-commercial art scene. While at Truck, I met a wonderful artist, Jessica Thompson. She was an artist-in-residence with TRUCK. She showed me an art world that I hadn’t realized existed, that being the deeply inspiring and crisis-inducing field of Critical Theory. She forced me to apply to The University at Buffalo where I’d be able to study under two of my greatest influences, Steve Kurtz of Critical Art Ensemble, and Paul Vanouse. I scribbled my letter of intent while sleeping in a tent in a peanut allergy induced stupor while in New Zealand, never expecting to get in. When I arrived home to Canada, I received my acceptance letter.

My students have moved me from a sort of selfish mode of making into a place of really wanting to make things that make people reconsider how they interact in the world, whether that world is physical or digital, or somewhere in between as the case most often seems. That was a bit of a novel, so I’ll stop. You are a versatile artist and I have highly appreciated the cross-disciplinary feature that marks out your multifaceted production and I would suggest our readers to visit http://www.byronrich.com in order to get a synoptic view of the variety of your projects. While superimposing concepts and techniques from apparetly opposite spheres, as Art and Science, and consequently

After two unbelievably trying, inspiring, and deeply contemplative years, I completed my MFA having had the chance to work with Steve and Paul. They introduced me to integrating

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IMMOR(t)AL 21 06collaboration with John Wenskovitch and Heather 4 Summer 2015 (in Brand)


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IMMOR(t)AL 4 23 0 5 Summer 2015 with John Wenskovitch and Heather Brand) (in collaboration


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crossing the borders of different artistic fields, have you ever happened to realize that a symbiosis between different viewpoints is the only way to achieve some results, to express specific concepts?

asking the most important questions, and contributing to culture in a way that I aspire to. They exist as artists on the boundary of reality and fiction, probably my favorite realm to inhabit.

I am in no way a student of the sciences. I cribbed a phrase from Paul (sorry Paul!), that being “impassioned amateur”. I learn what I need to as I go. Sometimes I play with pseudoscience to point out the lack of scientific criticality and knowledge that seems to permeate contemporary culture, and sometimes I will get a little further into the sciences (still only dipping my toe into the vast expanse that science is). Science is important to me without question. I’m absolutely fascinated by it. I wish I had the mind for it.

I would start to focus on your artistic production beginning from IMMOR(t)AL, an interesting project that our readers have already started to get to know in the introductory pages of this article. What has at once caught my attention of this work is the way it brings to a new level of significance an impressive quantity of data: I think it's important to underline that your process does not forces concepts to relate that would otherwise be unrelated. Rather, you provide them of a stage of semantic amplification that extracts meanings where the viewers could recognize just a huge quantity of data to be deciphered. Would you like to introduce our readers to the genesis of this project? In particular, how did you manage the collaboration with to John Wenskovitch and Heather Brand to developed the initial idea?

I firmly believe that scientists are some of the most creative people that exist. They are asking profound questions in pursuit of some kind of ultimate answer to the ultimate questions about who we are, where we came from, and what is possible in an unimaginably incalculable universe. People like Carl Sagan, Neil Degrasse Tyson, and Stephen Hawking have made some of these concepts accessible to me. The unselfish pursuit of scientists into answering some of the most complex questions is remarkable to me, so their willingness to articulate some of these massive notions into a form that I can digest is something I am deeply thankful for.

IMMOR(t)AL is a strange project in many ways. It ties together rather disparate ideas and technologies into a semi-coherent form. The basic idea came about when I attended an incubator work shop in Buffalo, NY with Ionat and Oron. It was held at Big Orbit Gallery, the same venue where I staged my thesis show. I’ll explain the project some.

Artists can come at some of these questions that scientists are asking relatively unburdened by convention. At the intersection of Art and Science is where the cultural contributions can be most fully made in my estimation. Science will always be a borderline mystical practice to most people, much in the same way art making is. The performative nature of the lab parallels the performance that occurs in an artist’s studio, at least to those outside the disciplines. When these performances collide, the ethical and philosophical boundaries of technologies, sciences, and the public policy relating to them, can be most deeply explored. The true innovators of this field are people like Paul and Steve, Adam Brown, Julian Oliver, and Ionat Zurr and Oron Catts of SymbioticA. They are

We are using EEG data to control the conditions inside a custom built and designed incubator and transilluminator. Inside the incubator resides an eGFP HeLa colony. The life of this colony is determined by the data gathered via EEG. On a most basic level it attempts to get viewers to realize that actions produce unseen or intended consequences, not matter how seemingly devoid of intention those actions are. Second, we wanted to delve more deeply into the subjectivity of data analysis and interpretation, and the dangers that exist when data is filtered through bias and presented to

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the public as fact. The underlying pure data may be objective, but how it is presented is often deeply subjective. To that end we chose to utilize EEG, or electroencephalogram. EEG is a deeply misunderstood technology, one that the public generally has very little understanding of. Anecdotally we noticed that many people seem to believe that somehow EEG is able to read their thoughts, control impulses, etc. In reality EEG data is just a glimpse into what is happening inside the brain as it monitors spontaneous brain activity via minute changes in electrical patterns. It isn’t the witchcraft it is believed to be. Even the placement of electrodes to monitor electrical brain activity is highly subjective, differing from individual to individual. The idea that we are reading peoples minds and that is what is controlling the system is completely wrong. It is a highly subjective system by design. Lastly we wanted to investigate the idea of body sovereignty, and agency, especially those who are part of marginalized sectors of society. We chose the highly contentious and often used HeLa cell as our subject. The ethics of our use of the HeLa cell is very debatable, and we are open to this criticism as it offers a portal to discussing the ethics of how the HeLa cell came to prominence in the first place. The HeLa cell is important because it was the first recognized immortal cell line, however it was taken without permission from an African America woman, Henrietta Lacks, in the 1950s as she was dying from cervical cancer. From there it became an indispensible research tool, but also a huge money generator, for cultures were commoditized and sold to labs across the world. Her family didn’t know that her cells lived on beyond her death, nor did they receive any kind of monetary compensation. With all that said, IMMOR(t)AL is highly contentious as it delves deeply into institutionalized racism, and issues surrounding self-ownership and governance, especially on the part of marginalized sectors of society. It’s a very sad piece in many ways. Controlling whether these cells live or die via a highly subjective interpretation of brain activity is a bit unsettling. As for how the collaboration came about, it really started as a conversation in my living room.

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Autonomous Player Simulation (in collaboration with Ian F. Thomas and Alex Derwick)

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Autonomous Player Simulation (in collaboration with Ian F. Thomas and Alex Derwick)

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Heather had just finished a very well know book about Henrietta Lacks, and I had just found an EEG setup to play around with. I wondered about controlling an incubator with an EEG, and John said he could make it happen by building custom software, and here we are! John is a brilliant programmer, and Heather find nuance in ideas and concepts that I would never notice. It’s a very healthy collaboration. Another interesting project of yours that has particularly impacted on me and on which I would like to spend some words is entitled Autonomous Player Simulation, that probes the capability of a medium to offer constructed realites to whom we relate. While questioning about the disconnect between physical experience and the immateriality of the technological simulation of physicality, you seem to suggest the necessity of going beyond symbolic strategies to examinate the relationship between reality and perception, but that we should focus on the medium itself in order to understand the way it offers a translation of reality. Do you agree with this analysis? Moreover, I would take this occasion to ask you if in your opinion, personal experience is absolutely indispensable as part of the creative process? Do you think that a creative process could be disconnected from direct experience?

I do agree with your analysis. I think I should start with the genesis of the project. It came about through conversations with my collaborator Alex Derwick (www.alexderwick.com) about the ways in which science fiction is an incredible catalyst for the creation and development of new technologies. This is not a new notion by any means. Jules Verne in 2001: A Space Odyssey outlined staged rockets for space exploration, Start Trek: TNG envisioned something similar to an iPad, but for us it was Robocop and the autonomous drones that patrolled the city. Alex is a film buff like no other, and he began showing me all these different renditions of similar drones in movies from the mid-late 20th

Autonomous Player Simulation (in collaboration with Ian F. Thomas and Alex Derwick)

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century. Only now the science has caught up with the fiction and the possibility of “ethical algorithms” has begun to be realized.

ultimately deciding that the discussion that would be possible by pandering to our hosts was ultimately interesting in and of itself, so APS in its current form was born. We programmed it to track skin color. At ISEA it was targeting people with lighter skin tones. I think the meaning is pretty obvious given the context.

We wanted to demonstrate how terrifying it is that amateurs, artists in this case, could develop a simple way to make judgment calls on individuals and perceive their threat level and systematically target them. We laid out sketch after sketch, settling on an aesthetic and scale. The final project was much smaller than what we envisioned, but I’ll touch on that in a minute.

The project was intended to kind of hit you over the head with its message, and give you room to find more nuance if you wanted to search it out. The piece became a terrifying game. People wanted to interact with it, and see how the piece “felt” about them. Some disappointed if it didn’t target them. I think the playful nature of it says much about the disconnect between physicality and immateriality that you mentioned. It brings video game sensibilities into the physical world, allowing people to play with it before realizing how terrifying it actually is that an autonomous system is, to a degree, making judgment calls on their lives. I think the play vs. terror duality is the strength of the piece.

I met Ian F. Thomas (www.ianfthomas.com) a few months later and told him about the idea. He seemed intrigued, and had a unique vision in how to actually accomplish it. He brought with him an immense knowledge of craft, and an enormous capability for refining the aesthetic into something that could be playful, but terrifying. Ian has a very unique perspective. His thoughts are dark and dystopian often, but tempered by a sense of play a wonder. His mind works like no one else I know. He’s a grown child with a deep understanding of geopolitics, and critical theory. Somehow he hasn’t been weighed down by this often heady knowledge, and it manifests in his work as playful, but often frightening contemplations on contemporary culture.

Also important to us was the idea that there always needs to be a designer of any kind of ethical algorithm, and that the programming is highly subjective. The fact that the device targets people seemingly autonomously doesn’t, in my opinion, relinquish the designer from responsibility, however my perception is that a lack of techno and media criticality manifests as a release from responsibility of action from the designer onto the machine. People really believe that the machine is its own entity, and that to us, is more than a bit frightening.

Alex and Ian really deserve much of the credit for the project. Both share a very unique filter for societal trends and translate them into unexpectedly playful forms with dark subtexts is really remarkable. If I had done this project alone I think it would have been too overt a gesture, imposing and generally quite bleak. Their fun-loving-in-the-face-of-terrible-odds personalities elevated the project.

We are working (slowly) on ideas for a new iteration that really ups the creepy factor. I’m not going to explain it yet, but hopefully it will happen soon.

We set out to build APS out of metal, and make it look as militarized as possible, while having a sense of playfulness. We were to present it at ISEA 2014 in Dubai, but then we started to get a series of emails trying to persuade us to limit the militaristic-vibe that we were going for to be more respectful of the culture in the UAE. We debated on whether we were sacrificing artistic integrity is we catered to their desires,

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It goes without saying that urging us to investigate about the liminal area between fiction and reality, Autonomous Player Simulation also offers a subtle but effective sociopolitical criticism about the way we understand the concept of violence in the unstable contemporary age and

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Paint-by-Numbers (in Collaboration with Bobby Gryzynger)

consequently even approve on an inconscious level what would otherwise rejects with no ifs, ands, or buts. Many artists from contemporary scene, as Thomas Hirschhorn and Michael Light, use to include socio-political criticism and sometimes even explicit messages in their works, that often goes beyond a mere descriptive point of view on the issues they face: do you consider that your workscould be considered political in this way or do you

seek to maintain a neutral, amost analytical approach, as it seems?

I guess I covered this in the last answer, but I’d say we have a fairly political stance. What’s funny thought is that often I (we in the case of APS) don’t make that stance overtly known. I think a certain level of disconnect from a stance on a surface level reading is important. It opens the conversation to a broader crosssection of viewers; often ones who wouldn’t

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normally engage with what they perceive as overtly left-of-center ideologies are brought into the fold. Alex, Ian and I have discussed this, and I think we agree that meaningful dialogue can’t really happen if our political affiliations are too obvious. If we pander to a group that we know will agree with us, then what’s the point? That is somewhat hypocritical however, in that art in the vein that we work is often the realm of the educated left-leaning already, so are we making a difference? I think that is where dissemination via the internet becomes important. TWEET_SHOT is a better example of how this can be effective. It really plays on possibility, and engages a much vaster cross-section of society just because of the platform that it uses, that being twitter. Using hashtags effectively automatically draws in people from all sides of the equation. Some see TWEET_SHOT as a horrific step in possibly glorifying violence, while others find the possibility that the piece imagines as a step toward deeper regulation of gun ownership. John and I are really upping the commodification of violence side of things in the coming months. We are going to use the images captured of “victims” and “perpetrators” in a pretty grim way. Hopefully that version will be ready for Stimulus / Response / Affect at Oakland University in Michigan this fall. While engaging with the ongoing debate surrounding copyright restrictions, PaintBy-Numbers also offers an opportunity to rethink about ever growing informationfocused techno-sphere and what actually could be hidden between an apparently ubiquitous determinism. In particular, you seem to highlight the creative potential of aleatory process in the construction of meaning. While walking our readers in performative aspect of this work, would you like to shed a light about the role of randomness in Paint-By-Numbers and in your approach in general? In particular, do you think that chance could play a creative role?

Oh, Paint-by-Numbers. I think it needs a ton of work, and it’s another piece that I’m revisiting

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TWEET_SHOT v2.0 (in collaboration with John Wenskovitch)

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TWEET_SHOT v2.0 (in collaboration with John Wenskovitch)

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and changing quite drastically. I think in its current stage it is barely scratching the surface of its potential. I was walking down a corridor during grad school and saw all this work on the walls, and it all seemed so formulaic, which it was, as it was undergrad work based on strict criteria. I began to ponder whether or not a computer could randomly produce those pieces simply by generating colors and assigning them to pixels. The old thousand monkeys in a room, eventually they’ll write Shakespeare or some such thing. I didn’t know how to approach it, so I asked my studio mate, Bobby Gryzynger, and he threw out some ideas on how it could come about. After a few days he had put together this rather simple processing sketch that became PBN. Like APS, a person fundamentally designs the system and has and it has an enormous degree of subjectivity built in. That’s what I’m working on removing now. When I ponder whether a computer can play a creative role, I tend to think it can set up parameters for creativity. I’ll give you one of my favorite examples. Charles Bukowski had an old Apple computer. He began using it to write poetry. The simple word processor had some auto-format functionality, and rather than fight against it, Bukowski embraced it. The old Apple became a collaborator of sorts. Was it a conscious creator? Obviously not, but did it play a role in the development and ultimate interpretation of the work? Certainly. So I guess it becomes more of a philosophical question: Does something need consciousness to be creative? I worry that creativity is overfetishized by those who want to put humanity on a pedestal. Will a computer ever be able to be unequivocally conscious? I don’t know. I think this stuff with the Neural Networks is an interesting foray into it, however it is still fraught with philosophical questions. And therein lies the power of art: Being a catalyst for brining these enormous questions into the light. I think art, like science, should be probing the ultimate questions: Who are we? Where did we come from? What does it mean to be

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human? You know, those little things that we all wrestle with to one degree or another while we wait for a bus or clip our nails. I don’t think art can answer these questions the same way that science can, but I believe that art can open intellectual doors to ways of thinking that no other method can. It’s a wildly liberated space if you let it be. I always tell my students to not be held down by the history of a medium. When you respect where you came from, but not allow it to completely rule you, then you can make work that really asks something of its viewer. The impetuous way modern technology has nowadays came out on the top has dramatically revolutionized the idea of Art itself: in a certain sense, we are forced to rethink about the intimate aspect of the materiality of an artwork itself, since just few years ago it was a tactile materialization of an idea. I'm sort of convinced that new media will definitely fill the apparent dichotomy between art and technology and I will dare to say that Art and Technology are going to assimilate one to each other... what's your point about this?

I totally agree. I don’t think a barrier needs to exist between the two. I worry when people say ridiculous things like “technology is making people stupid!” or “In my day we didn’t have all this stuff and we were fine!”. That is daft. Everything is a technology. The shirt on your back, the table you write on, the pen that allows you to scribble notes and make your memory permanent. One of the most important things I learned from Paul Vanouse is that all technology is evolutionary. Rarely, if ever is there a revolutionary technology. That doesn’t mean that the way in which one uses technology can’t be revolutionary, however. And I think that is where art comes into play. Like I’ve mentioned before, artists can come at a technology unburdened by its history and development cycle, and can envision ways to utilize it outside of what its designers might have intended. That can be revolutionary.

TWEET_SHOT v2.0 (in collaboration with John Wenskovitch)

different than technology needs to be put to pasture. Art making in whatever form, is another technology. To think that there needs to be a distinction is archaic and not representative of our world, where for the first time we need to grapple with a material and immaterial existence. That struggle is only going to become more complex. I’m not advocating that we forget time-honored traditions in making, such as painting (I teach painting!), just the opposite in fact. We need to recognize that painting is a technology, as is drawing, sculpture, whatever, and reconcile

I hope that the distinction between the two disappears. The old cliché that art is something

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who receipt and cosequently elaborate them. So before leaving this conversation I would like to pose a question about the nature of the relationship of your art with your audience. Do you consider the issue of audience reception as being a crucial component of your decision-making process, in terms of what type of language is used in a particular context?

those traditions with an existence that is moving into the immaterial. Why bother with an either or scenario? That creates an unnecessary friction and fragments the art world. In a time where we struggle for arts funding, the last thing we need is a fragmentation of the disciplines. Over these years you have intensively exhibited€your works, whose hallmark is the capability to establish direct relation with the audience, deletig any conventional barrier between the idea you explore and

Absolutely. I always think about my audience. I don’t think I have ever been truly successful in reconciling with my work and the audience though. I’ve received some scathing reviews,

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environments has produced some interesting outcomes. I’m working on a project called Repatriated, and another called GARRy (GPS Assisted Ragweed Robot). Both are about reintroducing material and immaterial remnants back to their origins. Repatriated is a huge departure for me. I’m excited about it. I’ll be heading home to western Canada in August, and I’m going to do another Repatriation of residue from the Fukushima Daiichi disaster.

and they have motivated me to reconsider how I define interaction. I don’t know if I’ll ever be successful, but as long as it starts a dialogue I am fine with it. I want my viewers to be alienated from the work but also feel like they are essential to it, paralleling how I feel about how people relate to society. We are as individuals constantly marginalized in some way, but are all integral to the discourse around what culture and society can be. Whether or not my way is effective? Who knows? Not yet, but maybe one day. Life is a performance. We are all making art whether we are conscious of it or not, it just depends on whether we choose to frame it as such, or not. Humans, by default, through action or inaction forge creative capital. We make culture by choice or by apathy. I think we’d all be better off if more people are in on the conversation.

To answer your question more concretely, I need to get a handle on the biological science side of things. That is my goal now. Juggling gaining that intimate knowledge with showing, teaching, and trying to have a life is hard, and will take time. I’ve never been known for my patience. Patience is what I’m working hardest at finding. Even more precisely: SynBio. Mary Tsang and I have a few things cooking.

Thanks a lot for your time and for sharing your thoughts, Byron. Finally, would you like to tell our readers something about your future projects? How do you see your work evolving?

Thanks so much for the interview. It’s been a pleasure. A few thanks! 1. My brilliant and talented wife, Heather Brand (www.heatherreneebrand.com). 2. My collaborators, John, Ian, Alex, and Mary Tsang (www.diysect.com) 3. My mentors and biggest inspirations: Paul, Steve, Jean-Rene, Oron Catts, Ionat Zurr, Ben van Dyke, Gary Nickard, Stephanie Rothenberg, Reinhard Reitzenstein. 4. Art critics. 5. My biggest critic, Chris Siano, a wonderful fabricator and designer, but more importantly the one who calls me on my nonsense. 6. My family whom somehow were cool with my insanity. 7. Rejection letters. Nothing keeps me more motivated.

I have no idea. I don’t think of myself as much of a maker. I think I come up with crazy ideas, and utilize whatever I can to make them a reality (or fiction). I think I need to fall in love with a process, something I’ve failed to do. I’ve missed out on jobs and opportunities at every corner because I’m just never in love with a way of producing and too in love with the idea. I think I need to become more knowledgeable. Theoretically and technically I have a lot of work to do in becoming the kind of artist I want to be. I think my work is on the verge of major change. I don’t know what path that will lead me down yet, but with some time I will figure something out. Or not. This summer I have been lucky enough to spend my time in Europe at a couple residencies. Pilotenkueche (www.pilotenkueche.net) in Leipzig, Germany. The second was a bit of a dream come true. It was Ars Bioarctica, in Kilpisjarvi, Finland. Working in these two wildly different

An interview by Dario Rutigliano, curator and Katherine C. Wilson, curator arthabens@mail.com

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Untitled (Addition 3198713) 21 06 4 Summer 2015 is a further development of a concept test from 2012 entitled Farnsworth Additions.


Kosmas Giannoutakis Game, as social extension of brain activity, and Play, as associated complex behavior, are concepts fundamentally related with every creative process. Perception and creation of Art are creative complex processes with an intrinsic gaming nature, well hidden in the subconscious. The focus of my artistic research, is to raise the mind's gaming nature to the level of conscious awareness by creating artworks, which are performative art games. Using sound as the main communicating medium, my engaged performers interact with dynamic audiovisual systems by developing listening virtuosity and acting adaptability. My perceivers experience the direct artistic result and at the same time a subliminal, recursive, self-similar effect, which links the gaming structure of the artwork with the gaming structure of their perception. The Art making paradigm I propose, is an inevitable consequence of our interdisciplinary cybernetic era, which is opening our concepts and preparing the ground for more transcending steps.

Kosmas Giannoutakis Kosmas Giannoutakis

Breathe Forrest, Breathe! Installation(4mx4mx4m), 2013

Snapshot of a performance of the game piece "Zeitleben/Timelife"with four "shadows" in action. 021 4 Double bass performance by Juan Pablo Trad Hasbun, photograph by Nick Acorne.

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An interview with

Kosmas Giannoutakis Kosmas Giannoutakis accomplishes the difficult task of providing an Ariadne's Thread that unveils the connection between the subliminal dimension that drives the creative process and the con-

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scious level, at which the viewers relate themselves with the outside world. The nature of his approach urges us to investigate the relationship between reality and the way we perceive it: one of the most

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our readers to his refined artistic production. Hello Kosmas and welcome to ART Habens. To start this interview, would you like to tell us something about your background? You have a solid formal training and after having earned your Bachelor of Music from the University of Macedonia, you moved to Germany where you eventually degreed with a Master of Music from the University of Music, Freiburg. Moreover, you are currently studying Computer Music at the Institute for Electronic Music und Acustics. How have these experiences influenced your evolution as an artist? and in particular, do you think that being exposed to a wide, international scene may have informed the way you conceive and produce your works today?

Thank you very much ART Habens for the invitation to share my thoughts with you and your readers. I had indeed a formal training in different disciplines of the conventional music making (composition, theory, piano, percussion), which began from my childhood. In the last years, I have moved towards more experimental and radical approaches of music making (algorithmic composition, mechanical instruments, dynamic systems, games), which I am currently studying at the Institute for Electronic Music and Acoustics in Graz Austria. The institutional training was very important for my development, because I learned in depth historical practices of music making. I would claim nevertheless, that I am more a self-taught artist, since my actual artistic language was developed through my personal interests and investigations. Being exposed to a wide, international scene allowed me to know and develop a critical stance to the parallel artistic approaches of my colleagues and raise my work standards.

Portrait of the artist. Photograph by Nick Acorne.

An interview by Dario Rutigliano, curator and Katherine C. Wilson, curator arthabens@mail.com

convincing aspects of Giannoutakis's practice is the way he establishes an area of intellectual interplay between memory and perception, condensing the permanent flow of the perception of the reality we inhabit in. We are very pleased to introduce

Your approach is marked out with a deep symbiosis between several practices, that are combined to provide your works of a

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dynamic and autonomous life. I would suggest our readers to visit http://www.kosmasgiannoutakis.eu/ in order to get a wider idea of your multifaceted artistic production. While superimposing concepts and images, crossing the borders of different artistic fields, have you ever happened to realize that a symbiosis between different viewpoints is the only way to achieve some results, to express specific concepts?

I like to drew my inspiration from philosophical questions and paradoxes, that challenge the human mind. Starting with very abstract ideas (time, space, change), I am conceptualizing my works by combining mentally different artistic fields which could possibly create interesting dynamic situations. Experimenting and improvising with concrete materials allows me to decide which combinations should I keep and develop. If I find unintended potential in a specific media combination, I don't hesitate to change completely the initial concept. Sound, Game and Performance have always central role in my concepts. I would start to focus on your artistic production beginning from Zeitleben/Timelife, an interesting project featured in the introductory pages of this article. What most impressed me in this project is the way you have create a point of convergence between a functional analysis of the context you examine and autonomous aesthetics. Do you conceive this in an instinctive way or do you rather structure your process in order to reach the right balance?

The processes I conceptualize, are highly structured, because I am focusing on complex systems which exhibit indeterministic behavior. In Zeitleben/Timelife, I explored for the first time the notion of continuity, which had aesthetic and technical consequences. Changes were not discrete and there were infinite states of the system. It was really a challenge to compose the mu-

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A possible performance state of the piano in the game piece

sic, which had to aesthetically work for every possible state. In the technical level, I had to use delay lines instead of static buffers. Dividing the process in five distinct

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"unlock the piano". Photograph by Kosmas Giannoutakis.

rounds, made the implementation possible and the perception more transparent. I suppose my intuition have developed more sensitivity concerning live processes, during the

last years I have been working with dynamic systems. Rationality and instinct are harmonically tuned by working intimately together for the same cause.

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Piano preparation with all keys detached in the beginning of the game piece "unlock the piano". Photograph by Kosmas

In particular, I like the way your performative approach conveys both an aseptic point of view on formalism and a suggestive gaze on today's reality. This combina-

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tion reminds me of the idea behind Thomas Demand's works, when he states that "nowadays art can no longer rely so much on symbolic strategies and has to probe psy-

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of permanence, going beyond the intrinsic ephemeral nature of those concepts you explore. So I would take this occasion to ask you if in your opinion, personal experience is absolutely indispensable as part of the creative process? Do you think that a creative process could be disconnected from direct experience?

Symbolic strategies can be very efficient, but they have to be really strong. In Zeitleben/Timelife the simple functional game of moving images resembles metaphorically how the mnemonic experience works. But this comes in a secondary conceptual level, the resonance of the medium is of primarily importance. It is really beautiful when an artwork invites for interpretation in different levels. The sense of permanence can be associated with these factors, namely the depth of interpretation levels and the intensity of mind resonance for each level. Creative processes are gaming acts, associated with past personal experiences and absolutely connected with direct experience. Artists are always interested in probing to see what is beneath the surface and one of the aim of your practice is to bring to a conscious level the variety of sources that are subliminally driven: your approach unveils a subtle but ubiquitous narrative providing us of an Ariadne's Thread that invites us to the discover the connection between these apparently separate dimensions, and that's incredibly beautiful. Stimulating the viewer’s psyche, you approach works on both a conscious level and a subconscious one: maybe one of the roles of an artist could be to reveal unexpected sides of Nature, especially of our inner Nature... what's your view about this?

Giannoutakis.

My position is that the Nature of every creative process is fundamentally related to the notions of Game and Play. When we perceive art, we experience a kind of inner-subjective game where our past experiences

chological, narrative elements within the medium instead". While the conception of Art could be considered an abstract activity, there is always a way of giving it a sense

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come into interplay by defining patterns of appreciation and understanding. When we create art, a more complicated process, we try things, experiment, improvise. We create temporary rules, play under them, come up with a result, perceive the result, decide if our mind resonated well enough and repeat the process, by keeping the same rules and trying to play better or change the rules. A fixed artwork, for example a sculpture, functions as a stimulant for such a perceptive game to occur. A dynamic artwork, for example a performance, follows inevitably the gaming pattern. It is not a coincidence that in most languages we use the word “play� when we are referring to music or theater activities. Art is the resonant game of the mind. Holding this position, I create artworks which consciously reflect their gaming nature. My game pieces and installations involve the perceivers in self-similar recursive processes, because of the similar structure between the artwork and perceptive process. Revealing our inner Nature, I invite us for a deeper exploration of ourselves. What among the musicians from the contemporary scene have particularly influenced you? I can recognize a subtle influence of Krzysztof Penderecki...

Although I have studied Mr. Penderecki's work during my studies, I wouldn't say that I am much influenced by him. Some composer of the 20th century, that still capture my attention are Bartok, Cage, Xenakis, Ligeti, Grisey, Feldman, Tenney, Wishart. Recently, I became more interested in composers whose work is based upon cybernetic patterns, like Lucier and di Scipio.

Portrait still of the artist's tools. Photograph by Panagiotis B

go beyond any dichotomy between Tradition and Contemporariness, as in the interesting Inextricable, establishing a stimulating osmosis between materials and techniques from a contingent era and an

I have enjoyed the way you probe the evocative potential of the medium, involving a crucial role of modern technologies to provide the viewer of an extension of usual perceptual parameters that allows you to

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eretzikis.

absolute approach to Art: do you recognize any contrast between Tradition and Contemporariness?

Tradition have to be studied in depth, in or-

Contemporariness arises from Tradition.

prerequisite for an artistic movement to be

der someone to be able to attempt successful steps in unexplored areas. The

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The artist sound-directing a rehearsal of the game piece "Zeitleben/Timelife". Photograph by Nick Acorne.

Tradition, is to be first Contemporariness.

contact with the world it was conceived and

The value of Tradition lies in the provision of

made, is nothing more than a relic. This is

solid ground, where new art can be build. As

an enormous problem in music, where we

Heidegger points out, the art that have lost

arbitrary modify old musical artworks in or-

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realize how much we distort their originality and how much we cloy our modern world with mutated “masterpieces”, which take over the vital space of new creation. The cybernetic era we have entered, provide us with new media, which extend our brain functions. These meta-tools and universal machines should not be treated as limb-extended instruments but as brain-extended organisms, which mirror our cognitive abilities. I think this is a fundamental difference between the old and new media, and it will take decades of digestion, until Art will completely adapt to the new world. What is the role of computer-based techniques in your composition process? Do you still use an acoustic approach and then manage the evolution of the ideas you develop through high end technology or does your approach blends these apparently different approaches?

The complex systems I create have two components, a dynamic system, which is realized with digital technology, and the human agency (performers). The dynamic system receive input information (sound, image) from the performers and results to very complex, indeterministic and chaotic behavior. The performers have to react on the variable output of the dynamic system according to a set of rules of possible actions I provide (instructions, score). The resulting complex system (dynamic system ↔ human agency) is a coupled feedback system, with both components feeding with information each other. I describe these situations as “games” and the resulting artworks as “game pieces”. My approach has a hybrid form for now, since there are lots of fixed events involved. My future goal is to make both components of the complex system 100% dynamic. Real-time digital signal processing algorithms, acoustic properties of the set up and human agency, with it's acoustic instrumental extensions, are all conceived together in initial phase.

der to assign to them unintended modern functionality. We use modern media to massively communicate them (for example recordings and amplification) but we don't

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Writing sketches for the production of the background video of the game piece "Zeitleben/Timelife" by Davide Gagliardi. Photograph by Nick Acorne.


ART Habens

Kosmas Giannoutakis

Over your career you have exhibited internationally, showcasing your work in several occasions. So before leaving this conversation I would like to pose a question about the nature of the relationship of your art with your audience. Do you consider the issue of audience reception as being a crucial component of your decision-making process, in terms of what type of language is used in a particular context?

An utopian vision I have, is the creation of artworks, which will know where and when they should take place in order to maximize their communicating effectiveness. This should require embedded complex cognitive functions which should collect and process in real time enormous amounts of environmental and human data. When this will be achieved, we will experience a transcending step in Arts, namely the conscious artwork which adapts successfully in multiple real life environments and situations. For now, I am working on adaptive systems, which enable my dynamic systems to adapt into the specific acoustical characteristics of the rooms they are taking place. Also, I try to design my interactive environments in a specific way, which enables their presentation as installation for open public participation and as performance for specialist performers. I believe that good artistic ideas have the potential to be presented and communicated in multiple forms, languages and media, and adapt successfully in multiple contexts. One of my future distant goals, is to create such meta-artworks, which will exhibit intelligent adaptability. Thanks a lot for your time and for sharing your thoughts, Kosmas. Finally, would you like to tell our readers something about your future projects? How do you see your work evolving?

It was a pleasure, thank you for your challenging questions! In August, my piece Zeitleben/Timelife will be performed in the Soundislands Festival - 2nd International

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The artist sound-directing a rehearsal of the game piece "Zeitleben/Timelife". Photograph by Nick Acorne.

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Snapshot of the beginning of the game piece "Zeitleben/Timelife". Double bass performance by Juan Pablo Trad Hasbun, photograph by Nick Acorne.

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Symposium on Sound and Interactivity in Singapore, where it received the “Si15 best student submission award”. In September, I will be in the Netherlands, where I will present a concert version of my interactive puzzle game installation “Ascending and Descending”, which I developed during my composer-in-resident program by conlon foundation in the Muzieckhuis in Utrecht. I have recently performed myself my new game piece “Contraction point” for piano, performer and feedback system, in CUBEIEM, in Graz and in Kubus-ZKM in Karlsruhe. These performances were totally improvisational and now I am working on making a score by fixing the events, which have to be fixed, and developing more sophisticated tracking algorithms, which will enable the feedback system to function completely autonomous, without the intervention of an extra operator. For my future game pieces, I want to explore complex systems which involve more than one performer. I want also to enhance the physical flexibility of my dynamic systems, by enabling the dynamic change of the positional and perspective characteristics of the input/output instruments (microphones, loudspeakers, cameras, projectors) into the game rule set. So, I have the tendency to seek for more variability and complexity which requires deeper understanding of mathematics, acoustics, computer science, media theory and philosophy. I am really privileged that my institutional environment, the Institute for Electronic Music and Acoustics, can provide me the space and materials for these interdisciplinary art experiments.

An interview by Dario Rutigliano, curator and Katherine C. Wilson, curator arthabens@mail.com

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Gerd G.M. Brockmann Brockmann My work researches boundaries between fashion, art and society. In the last years I worked in different participatory projects and countries as contemporary multidisciplinary artist to research with experimental materials like blood, inner tubes and chains, to find new borders between fashion design, art, ephemeral concepts and space, getting a better comprehension of fashion and art as communication concept and I found a new visual language for me. Since my studies at Istanbul I'm working between two countries and I've got inspired by both worlds to forge a unique connection between apparently contrary features of Turkish and German culture. The dissolution of boundaries, the fusion of both concepts is at the core of my works. This allows glimpses at a union of opposites. The pieces references duality concepts, combining masculine and feminine elements. Textile structures play with borders and opposites, combining art and design. Embedded in space, the disciplines flow into each other and I like if shape, texture and the materials or structures create an expression in space. For me it's relevant to see the impact of a body in a space. Be aware of textiles as a second skin and the combination of both to create a fugacious sculpture. When can you perceive the body in combination with textiles as a sculpture and where is the border? Has the body to be complete, or is a head enough for an artistic reflection? I follow those and more questions in my installations and concepts to reach a new reference between design, art and contemporary visual language in fashion. For this purpose I use textile materials and ephemeral concepts as a base for a bodily transformation and searching for new connections between the disciplines and the space.

Gerd Brockmann

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HERE`S STILL LIGHT Photographer: FM BECKER Fo

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tografie FL/Germany /Wood Concept Design & Craft by Korbinian Petzinger

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HERE`S 2015 STILL LIGHT Photographer: FM BECKER Fotografie 03 FL/Germany 4 Summer Summer 2015


An interview with

Gerd G.M. Brockmann

An interview by Dario Rutigliano, curator and Katherine C. Wilson, curator arthabens@mail.com

Gerd Brockmann accomplish the difficult task to capture the essence of human experience and immediately conveying it into though-provoking installations: far from being an end in itself, the captivating sociopolitical criticism that marks out many of his cretions, as the interesting Here's still Light, that we'll be discussing in the following pages, urge us to question the reductionist tendencies that pervades Western culture, highlighting paradoxical situations od modernity and always showing us unexpected but ubiquitous points of convergence, in which the viewers are urged to explore the unstability of contemporary age: we are very pleased to introduce our readers to Brockmann's multifaceted artistic production. Hello Gerd and a warm welcome to ART Habens: to start this interview I would pose you some qustions about your background. You have a solid formal training and you after earning your Bachelor of Arts in Fine Art & visual Media, you eventually refined your education with a Master of Fine Art & visual Media, with a major on Textile & Fashion, that you received from the Flensburg University. Among the remarkable experience you did over these years, I think that your Erasmus year at the Mimar Sinan Fine Arts University in Istanbul has to be mentioned as well: how have these experiences influenced your evolution as an artist? And in particular, do you think that being exposed to a wide, international scene may have informed the way you conceive and produce your works today?

Gerd Brockmann FM BECKER Fotografie Flensburg/Germany

90´s I finished an apprenticeship in an old tradition house (since 1899), near Hamburg and I learned a lot of things about fabrics, garment, sewing and all that stuff in a really “old-school” way. Before I decide to study abroad I took a workshop at the Mimar Sinan Fine Arts University and I meet the Head of the Fashion Design & Textiles Department, Prof. Dr. Kemal Can while he gave a lecture about Fiber Art and the development of ephemeral concepts in environmental

Hello ART Habens and thank you for the Invitation. Yes, my Studies at the University of Flensburg gave me some basics about the combination of textile, art and visual media concepts and I learned to use my experiences from the early years. In the

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installations. I fall in Love with it. A short time before I started to work at the border of different disciplines and started to research in between fashion, art, photography projects etc. at Germany. I realized that I found a new way for me and this Professor opened another door to create a new visual language. It was the intense beginning of my new work periods. Between ephemeral works, the body as media, textiles as second skin, nature and environment as artistic space. I was able to use my “old-school” experience as well as my science from the university basics at Flensburg´s art and textile departments, to create new works and my new research projects became a short time later reality. In the same year I realized a small project at Istanbul, after I meet the members of a small independent art space at the Contemporary Istanbul Fair while showing my portfolio to the galleries. And step by step my works got an international touch and I started to work between both countries and I love the cultural exchange, the idea to develop a new visual language for me that includes both cultures.

world of fine arts mutated into a global activity and in this age of globalization it is essential to get new realms by fusing art, fashion, photography, design and craft, to create new perceptions for the observer. My work is characterized as a new form of public in art and at the same department it offers an insight into the geopolitics of the art system of the 21st century. To survive in today's art market, it is necessary to develop critical tools to allow the viewer a glimpse behind the curtain. The multidisciplinary symbiosis as you call it allows me to develop a broad-based oeuvre as an artist and is actually the only way some of my concepts had been realized. For Example, THE SUPLENESS PUCK´S… The artwork to us viewers, is a different experience to my interaction with the work - the artwork itself is performative - it is not really a photograph, nor is it really a sculpture. It is an action, and it is an encounter between two people; one a viewer, and one the performer who is wearing the costume, their body moving slightly with each breath, and shreds of fabric moving with a small breeze. This is such a harmonious amalgamation of costume becoming installation; installation becoming performance; performance becoming sculpture; sculpture becoming a photograph; photograph entering the online sphere. With elements of identity removed; masked faces and wrapped figures, my work seems to have created a repeated motif - a human captured in time and captured (encased, even) within various mediums. It is a tension which exists in the work, and in the characteristics of the mediums used. While fashion is typically used to determine uniqueness and compliment personal identity, I juxtapose this idea by removing facial features and bodily features which would usually be used to characterize us. It´s just possible if there’s a crossing of disciplines. Moreover, I reach with this artistic production a disciplinary exciting audience in many areas.

The hallmark of your approach is a multidisciplinary symbiosys between several visual viewpoints, that you wisely condens into a coherent unity, providing a dynamic life to your pieces: before starting to elaborate about your works, I would suggest to our readers to visitI http://artprojectbrockmann.com in order to get a wider idea of your multifaceted artistic production. Have you ever happened to realize that a symbiosis between different disciplines is the only way to achieve some results, to express the concepts you convey in your works?

In the contemporary art world of the modern era it is essential to enter into a symbiotic relationship with other disciplines to develop yourself as an artist and to create a new visual language. Through the networked

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Copper Mask/Textile Installation for THE SUPLENESS PUCK`S

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Pic by Artist (G.G.M.Brockmann)


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Gerd G.M. Brockmann

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I would start to focus on your artistic production beginning from "Here's still Light", an extremely interesting body of works that I have to admit is one of my favourite project of yours. I like the way your careful exploration offers a rigorous but at the same time lively visual translation of the issues that affect contemporary societies: far from being an end in itself, this work reveals the importance of the ongoing social process that leads its creation, and that it's intrinsically connected to the chance of creating an area of intense interplay with the viewers. While conceiving Art could be considered a purely abstract activity, there is always a way of giving it a permanence that goes beyond the ephemeral nature of the concepts you capture. So I would take this occasion to ask you if in your opinion personal experience is an absolutely indespensable part of a creative process... Do you think that a creative process could be disconnected from direct experience?

I believe that one's personal experience accounts for a huge part of any of my works and the mentioned “Here’s Still Light” concept merges to this experience with the experience of all 20 team members to become a great social sculpture. A separation of the creative process of one's own experience, I think indeed possible, for me however, not desirable. In today's society it´s in my opinion very important that new experience spaces and projects for underestimating groups exists and that we learn to provide and handle socially disadvantaged, to bring them into contact with art and to experience what we can learn from each other. Would I disconnect all from each other, I would deprive myself of my own feelings and the transience, the social or creativity would no longer reach me and I would be separated from the social relevance of my work and would be immune to any resonance.

HERE`S STILL LIGHT Detail Photographer: FM BECKER Fotografie FL/Germany

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More about the complete concept and the background of the HERE´s STILL LIGHT Project here: http://artprojectbrockmann.com/2014/09/18 /heres-still-light/

concept is now to be filled with socio-critical content and to find a platform for this artistic social process was the challenge for me. I was very happy to found my team after a two years research and set it up at the Nexus Gallery in Denmark to give this work the worthy setting. Who will assume responsibility for new and innovative ideas in the world of social exclusion ... unless we artists? How can an artist change something in the modern unstable society? I guess, with new and surprising ideas and the hope to change something, and if it happens only in small… it's a start!

When I was preparing myself for this interview I have got to know that the term social exclusion first originated here in Europe, where we experienced a considerable emphasis on spatial exclusion, that sometimes resembles to a form of confinement. The nature of your insightful investigation about marginalization of the elderly people from public sphere reveals an admirable sociopolitical criticism: I have appreciated the way you do not just restrict your analysis to a mere reportage of the situation, but you stimulate us to react to this loss of potential concerning not only wisdom but also talents that need a whole life to be improved... Although I'm aware that the following assumption might sound a bit naive, I'm convinced that nowadays Art can play an active role not only in exposing and interpreting sociopolitical issues, but also and especially to offer us an unexpected way to solve them... what's your point about this? And in particular, how can an artist give a move to the contemporary unstabile society?

Another remarkable aspect of "Here's still Light" is that it seems to invite us to a progressive discovery, urging us to challenge the common way to perceive not only the outside world, but our inner dimension... I'm sort of convinced that some informations & ideas are hidden, or even "encrypted" as microscopic grains of sand in the environment we live in, so we need to decipher them. Maybe that one of the roles of an artist could be to reveal unexpected sides of Nature, especially of our inner Nature... what's your point about this?

The connection between the inside and outside is certainly a major role of the artist today. The expansion of art to the private room is probably one of the most distinctive features of the artistic practice of the past century. It´s normal that nowadays the everyday things been lifted in the exhibition context and normal places became artistic scenes. As an artist, I do it as my own. Make the place, an object or a person to something separate to create a work of art. This transformation is primarily a new meaning. The interpretation of "Here's Still Light” works can be a speculation, acquired ambiguity and leaves room for interpretation of the viewer. For me it is crucial that the world can develop differently through artistic processes, while of course always hints at a view of the inner nature of man. These

In my opinion spatial and social exclusion are only a small part of an ever-accelerating society. We all develop different mechanisms to this new society order to come to the company and manage the age affects us all. In my time the immortal youth in which I found myself up to my twenties I have recognized this instability of society and was helpless at that time and I could do nothing about it. With the maturity of years and the courage to address people if they would work with me on something together I brought this process in motion. It was possible to actively involve art into sociopolitical criticism. The interactive and participatory has long been a part of the art market ... but this “Here´s Still Light”

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HERE`S STILL LIGHT Head Close-up

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Photographer: FM BECKER Fotografie FL/Germany


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Naim El Hajj

THE SUPLENESS PUCK`S - FASHION DESIGN 4 23 0 5 Summer 2015 by Nejla Yilmaztürk Photographer: FM BECKER Fotografie FL/Germany –/ MODEL: Sidsel Knutz Lauritsen


Gerd G.M. Brockmann

works of the concept are full of unease and create an unforgettable experience which draws us into an investigation of identity in relation to the use of the body as an artistic object; placed, decorated and load with different hidden meanings in all those different types of work. So..”encrypted”…find out by yourself!

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commuter across the border and the installation in the background refers to cross-dressing, men in skirts and the expression of utopia and unisex the time today. Inspired by Shakespeare’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream I tried to find a way confront the viewer with the gender topic in a new way of crossing the frontier between fashion and art. The idea of fashion as sculpture also really resonates with me the body is so universal in its' size, shape, movement and features - variables of the body will change, but a key part of distinguishing us from one another is fashion; uniforms, personal style, favorite colors, clothing that complements our shape. It sets us apart from one another and gives us a sense of uniqueness. It changes our appearance; it gives us each a different texture and a different shape. It transforms us into a different 'object' by creating a fabric 'shell' - Due to being captured within a photograph, the body seems to become a sculpture.

Another interesting work of yours that has particularly impacted on me and on which I would like to spend some words is entitled "The Suppleness Puck’s": in particular, when I first happened to get to know this project I tried to relate all the visual information to a single meaning. But I soon realized that I had to fit into the visual unity suggested by the work, forgetting my need for a univocal understanding of its symbolic content: in your work, rather that a conceptual interiority, I can recognize the desire to enabling us to establish direct relations... Would you say that it's more of an intuitive or a systematic process?

My research on this concept began four years ago and I was working intuitively on the duality of the human being and experimented with soft and hard materials to images this duality to express it artistically. In "The Suppleness Puck's" it is quite clear an intuitive process. The viewer can unfold a disturbing and at the same time appealing effect. The relationship that can be made for this work is incredibly widely dispersed. The gender issue is not new in the art market, and certainly not in the fashion industry, but this concept combines both worlds and makes the photo series act as a systematic process. What is not clear is the gender of Puck, since the character has been represented as male and as female along history. Fashion & Gender has been always a big topic in history and my artwork questioned fashionable act, gender identities, sexual orientations and modern living designs. Puck serves as a symbolic figure of between, as hybrid, as permanent

I find extremely fascinating the way different approachs can convergence to a coherent unity and I do believe that transdisciplnary collaborations, as the one you have established Nejla Yılmaztürk is nowadays an ever growing force in Art and that that most exciting things happen when creative minds from different fields of practice meet and collaborate on a project... Peter Tabor once said that "collaboration is working together with another to create something as a synthesis of two practices, that alone one could not": what's your point about this? Can you explain how your work demonstrates communication between two artists?

The collaboration with different artists, craftsmen and creative people are very important to me, and as in this case with a fashion designer are very present in my work, because they give them a different depth. The exchange of ideas and technical

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Naim El Hajj

KING NOTHING

Summer 2015

4 23 0 5 Concept by YILMAZTÜRK&BROCKMANN FASHION DESIGN Draping/Photographer: Nejla Yilmaztürk


Naim El Hajj

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Gerd G.M. Brockmann

skills brings me again and again to new possibilities of artistic accomplishment. In works such as “Seven Conspiracies”, “Here's Still Light” or “The Suppleness Puck's” works without cooperation and the synthesis, you talked about, would not at all have been possible. There is a very special synthesis between me and my partner and very talented Fashion Designer Nejla Yilmaztürk. The YILMAZTÜRK & BROCKMANN Concept was born in January 2012. After the work for a Gallery in Istanbul, we decided to work as an artist couple between the border of Fashion Design and Fine Art Concepts. The first works were born after a meeting at the Mimar Sinan Fine Arts University/Istanbul where we both studied at the Fashion Design Department. After the first work experiences we start to work in different projects and countries to research with new materials in the fine art and design business to create contemporary textile installations and fashion design concepts. After this experience, we decided to have a studio per country and planned the main studio at Bursa/Turkey. The dissolution of boundaries, the fusion of concepts from Fashion Design and Fine Arts is at the core of this particular collaboration. This special communication between two artists you asked about is all about passion for your own discipline and the will to share it with another artist for a better, bigger artistic result. We live in a world where it is increasingly to have an elbow thinking to find a better position in the art market and therefore through afflict each competitor. But I think that just the creative collaboration sustains us in the new globalized time where the art market seems unpredictable. And I couldn't do without mentioning "Ego Has Fallen", that has provided me of the same sensation I received the first time I had the chance to get to know Boltanski's Exit. Although each of your projects has an autonomous life, there's always seem to be

Summer 2015

SEVEN CONSPIRACIES - FASHION DESIGN (Front) by Nejla Yilmaztürk (Photo by Artist)

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Gerd G.M. Brockmann

such a channel of communication between your works, that springs from the way you juxtapose ideas and media: as Thomas Demand once said, "nowadays art can no longer rely much on symbolic strategies and has to probe psychological narrative elements within the medium instead". What's your point about this? And in particular, how much do you explicitly think of a narrative for your works?

EGO HAS FALLEN has certainly parallels to Boltanski's work “Exit” to pull, since this dimly the likeness of a human being gives and gets a mood of melancholy forth the leaves appear the presence of the past as irretrievably past. The memory work thus becomes a part of the work. This work contributes similar Boltanski's “Exit” not only a media criticism in itself but also an institutional critique that affects society as a whole. The criticism of social conditions and media criticism as well contextuality are a concern to me in my artistic work. To additionally provide on the symbolic strategy, the work with a psychological level I have title and visual impact related to the subject of the individual in a mass society. Decisive for this is the communicative process between the individual and the group and the new media increasingly confusing Terrain of communication in the own EGO never seem to fall, because we always show on the social media only the best side of our lives and it outwards raises towards no shadows. During these years your works have been exhibited in several occasions, both in the Europe and in Turkey: your shows are marked out with a successful attempt to delete the barriers between the artists and the viewers, who are urged to evolve from the condition of a mere passive audience to more conscius participants. So before taking leave from this interesting conversation I would like to pose a a question about the nature of the relation with your audience: in particular, do you

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EGO HAS FALLEN Pic by Artist

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Gerd G.M. Brockmann

ONE MOMENT YELLOW SILENCE FASHION DESIGN Draping/Photographer: Nejla Yilmazt端rk & Aykut Yilmazt端rk

consider the issue of audience reception as being a crucial component of your decisionmaking process in terms of what type of language for a particular context?

interested in my works. It is this mixing of disciplines, fashion; art, photography, crafts, dance, ephemeral concepts and contemporary painting that are essential for me and therefore it leads to a very wide audience. Moreover, it's nice that I knew groups of people and their skills encounter... which leads to another additional discipline and makes my Participatory concepts always necessarily to the viewer of those new works.

As a multidisciplinary artist my target audience is very broad. However, I would say that my work is very oriented to the new urban wild society and none correspond arbitrariness. I am very often dealing with the medium textile it is also an audience from the fashion and design society who are often

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ART Habens

Here's Still Light project, was like that and that’s why it took two years to complete. Working with the elderly women from the Danish and German culture in considering the old war history required a cautious approach and found expression in the work "War is over".

In my decision-making process of the artistic work and the implementation of ideas, this only partially plays a role. I think about it if I move into a different cultural process, working with a new group, or as usually, if I work between two cultures. Then I try to do research with great respect and it makes me aware of during the process as the context that could affect the visual language to the viewer. The process with my HOMECREW..Like, I call my team of the

A cross-border work that has been knitted by women on both sides of the border and it really became an incredible work. But a general rule is that each new work pro-

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vides opportunities to develop a new language, contexts and questions. I like to generate and bring new Works and ideas alive to create a new relationship of tension, confusion and surprise to the audience. Thank you very much for this stimulating interview, Gerd. Finally, would you like to tell us readers something about your future projects? How do you see your work evolving?

Thanks to you and your team. Next month I'm going to move completely to Turkey and track 2 new projects in Istanbul. The new studio in Bursa is the base of the new artistic creation. The GOLDEN SILVER REIGN and the ONE MOMENT YELLOW SILENCE project be continued and there are first negotiations for further collaborations with media in Brazil / Portugal. The project "GRAND ELIXIR" Secret of Secrets ... is a research project with I want to continue work in the United States and Canada. First meetings with some galleries and Independent Art spaces in Istanbul, America and Europe lead to new project decisions, which will be the next step. I am open to new collaborations and have some long-term projects which are still in the development phase. The future will be increasingly a mix of art and fashion worth considering and pursuing Ephemeral concepts. My work has been so quickly and impulsively evolved in the last four years that I want to take the next step now. I love it to capture travel and artistic experience with new cultures. In order to develop a possible international diversified oeuvre, I'm looking for new collaborations with galleries and institutions worldwide to create a new visual language between art and fashion. Another step is “The Sustainability Fashion Army�. An interview by Dario Rutigliano, curator and Katherine C. Wilson, curator arthabens@mail.com

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GRAND ELIXIR SECRET OF SECRETS…THE URBAN ALCHEMY - Pic by Artist / Model: Korbinian Petzinger

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Lizy Bending Bending My theory is based in the realm of the political, artworks have an incredible autonomy and thus, the power to educate. Through my work I want to make issues surrounding politics, society, culture and the economy accessible to all. Combing print media with the construction of objects, my practice aims to provoke discussion, using emotive aesthetics that transform socio-political concepts into visually stimulating bodies of work. I am embracing the heritage of political printmaking, woodblocks were initially developed due to their accessibility both as a resource and their communicative qualities, which contextually, I continually exploit throughout my practice. Nevertheless, communication in our contemporary society is driven by technology, therefore my latest works try to embrace this, creating culturally relative, digital prints that are then transformed into the physical through archival and museology interests. I have begun to parallel printmaking with object making, using the prints as coloured and textured drawings before entering them into tangibility, creating sculptural works that redefine the spatial potential of printmaking, to include sculpture, installation and participatory prints. Alongside this I experiment with creating external works outside of the studio setting, pushing my personal relationship with my practice and as I begin to interact with the public. This aspect of my printmaking practice allows me to use the public not only as subject matter but as material, as I begin to make work with people not just concerning people. Earning my stripes.

Lizy Bending

Summer 2015

Colour Reduction and Chine Cole woodcut. 2015

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video, 2013

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Educate,2015 Employ, Empower. Print Installation 2013 Summer Summer 2015

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An interview with An interview by Dario Rutigliano, curator and Katherine C. Wilson, curator arthabens@mail.com

Exploring the expressive potential of a variety of aspects from traditional printmaking including sculpture, textile printing and installation, Lizy Bending's work accomplishes a refined socio-political investigation capable of providing the viewers of an Ariadne's thread that shows how artworks can be used to empower both the protester and the audience. One of the most convincing aspect of Bending's approach is the way she unveils an unexpected point of convergence in which a rational gaze on socio-political issues and emotive aesthetics convey into a coherent unity. We are very pleased to introduce our readers to her refined artistic production. Hello Lizy and welcome to ART Habens: a crucial feature of your work is an incessant search of an organic symbiosis between a variery of viewpoints which you effectively convey into a consistent unity, and I would invite our readers to visit http://cargocollective.com/lizybending in order to get a wider idea of your artistic production. Before starting to elaborate about your production, would you like to tell to our readers something about your process and set up for producing your works? In particular, have you ever happened to realize that such synergy is the only way to achieve some results, to express some concepts?

Lizy Bending

Hello ART Habens, thanks for having me! I find within my practice that I am often faced with this question, I am a fond believer that you should always pick the medium that is appropriate for your message, instead of forcing a message to fit within a given discipline. However, this is something I have had to question a lot as I began specialising my practice (throughout my creative education) focusing large amounts of my time and energy to that of printmaking. Nevertheless, even though I focus myself within one discipline I do not see this as limiting in anyway; the very discipline of printmaking is arguably the most

varied available (due to its traditional aspects from lithography, intaglio, relief etc) but even more so as contemporary technology has grown and print has adapted itself around the technology to include, photographic prints, digital montage and even 3d printing. In my own work I honestly believe that there will never be a finished or resolved state of play with printmaking. I am continuously altering the definition of what printmaking is and, in my recent work, even going as far as to change the spatial potential of the practice. In the last year

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Lizy Bending

since graduating, that has often included a combination with sculpture, installation and performance. Although specialising within printmaking, I never confine myself to just one of its many disciplines I will happily experiment with a number of difference types before settling on the aspect I think will be most appropriate for my ideas. In terms of what I make my work about, the subjects are normally something I have read about in the paper or have seen in the news. I love building works in response to conversations and debates had with friends, neighbours and those I share a studio with, and more often than not I make work to engage audiences with something they may not necessarily have chosen to interact with before, be this political, social or even cultural aspects of our contemporary society. I want to break down barriers that can often be raised with political topics, as the changes happening in the word around us affect us all, no matter who we are or where we live. You have a solid formal training and you graduated from the University For The Creative Arts, Farnham with a Bachelor of Fine Art: how did formal training impact on your evolution as an artist? In particular, how does it inform the way you currently conceive and produce your works?

The technical training I received in Farnham, I must say, was second to none. I will always be grateful for the many disciplines and practices that my print technician Jonathan Jarvis shared with me. I think some of the best pieces I produced where off the back of informal conversations that turned into tutorials and print debates in the workshops. When you begin with the messy part, the physicality of printmaking and working backwards, there are certain topics and issues which for me seemed to have such a synergy with printmaking itself that I felt there was no other way to resolve my ideas than developing the discipline to merge with my topics. I can’t help but think it has to be more than a coincidence that the very language we use within printmaking is shared with politics; the bite of an etching and the gouging of a woodcut‌ There are no fixed rules in fine art apart from the

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LGBT "There is no violence where the state isn't present" Performance Piece/ Poetry Reading, The Menier Gallery, London, 2015

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LGBT "There is no violence where the state isn't present" Bronze Cast, Installation shot, The Strand Gallery, London, 2014

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ones I set myself, the belief in adaption of practice is something I learnt at UCA and is a pivotal point in my practice now. What UCA also instilled within my practice, and also within myself to a degree, is tenacity. To not simply give up on an idea if the results jar with your vision, to resolve ideas and refine my ambitions. To just keep pushing because opportunities will not come to me and I cannot just expect them, you have to put yourself out there to be noticed. You have to be loud. I would start to focus on your artistic production beginning from LGBT There is no violence where the state isn't present, an interesting interdisciplinary project that our readers have already started to get to know in the introductory pages of this article. What mostly appeals to me of your exploration into the varied outcomes of 'printmedia' is the way you blend a documentary gaze on such a living matter with a refined aesthetics, that provides this work with an autonomous, dynamical life. I find truly engaging the way you subvert our common perceptual parameters and I have to confess that it suddenly forced me to relate myself to your work in a different way. Would you like to walk our readers through the process when you conceived this work and to its evolution?

Of course! For me, I think one of the defining changes of our generation is the acceptability (or not so as is sadly still the case across some sections of the planet) of homosexuality and gay marriage. I was actually inspired to create this piece whilst watching a TV interview where the interviewee said, ‘I just don’t understand, we are continuously presented with men killing each other across the world, so what is the big deal with two men loving each other instead.’ This thought has always stayed with me and I cannot agree more! The project evolved as I had a growing desire to expand my practice into the word of performance after writing my dissertation on printmaking and politics, at one point I presented a counter argument that analysed the connections also found in performance art and politics. From this point I was inspired to incorporate this into my practice in some way.

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Shortly after this, I came across a number or articles online and on news forums about the recent events in Turkey. Amidst the civil disruption a protest was organised, focusing on gay rights and equality between both sexes and sexualities. The protest was completely passive and much to the shock of the riot police who turned up baton wielding, they were greeted by protesters simply reading aloud. I found the images of these protests simply mesmerising and their action inspiring. They were reading aloud from revolutionary novels, poems and stories of the past which ask for equality between all mankind. Simple enough. Their defiance in the eyes of institution and authority truly struck a cord with me and more than anything I made this piece in their honour. For weeks I spent analysing the photos and contacting anyone I knew who knew others in that part of the world, I set about tracking down the books and authors they were reading from. Once I had found one, I found a copy for myself and started my series of performances. I read aloud in public spaces (in a flash mob style) every day for 30 days. Once this was complete I wanted to begin the transformative process that I apply to my printmaking, adapting traditional subjects, combining and pushing the boundaries of accepted disciplines. When you pick a topic as intense as this I realised that I really need to commit to this idea. I didn’t want to make anything ephemeral like the performances had been, I was aiming to turn the idea on its head and create something drastically different. Which is where the idea of creating a Bronze cast originated. Throughout art history, and well history in general, Bronze has been a symbol of authority, power and wealth. I saw this as an opportunity to exploit the metaphor of the ‘richness’ associated with the material and use this to describe the richness of possibility within the topic of equality. To me the idea springs a wealth of happiness and I wanted to take these connotations and play with them in this body of work. I began the slow process of wax covering the book (that I completed the performances from) then creating a mould around the wax and book that would finally house my Bronze. During the creation of the piece there are lots of periods

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LGBT "There is no violence where the state isn't present" Bronze Cast, Installation shot, The Menier Gallery, London, 2015

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of time you have to allocate for waiting for parts to dry. This is when I began my photo-polymer print which solidified the varied aspects of the work together and gave me a little bit of my traditional printmaking discipline to relate back to. Images from the first article I read where what ignited my interest in this project, so I felt it was only right to include these in the project. Photo-polymer is a printmaking technique that captures almost picture perfect images and allows you to explore colour grade, texture and printmaking in an intaglio fashion, I knew straight away that this is how I was going to create the print part of this piece as I was aiming for a photographic like quality. However I wanted to incorporate a traditional printmaking aspect to this, as well as presenting physicality, so a photograph was not an option. I present this print always as just nailed into the wall, instead of mounting this piece behind a frame, as I feel when you are making work about our contemporary society, that the piece should be part of our world not separate from it, framed off behind glass.

piece is a frozen moment in time, a permanent reminder of bravery.” Your theory is firmly based in the realm of the political: many artists from the Modern to Contemporary scene, such as Thomas Hirschhorn, John Heartfield, and even Joseph Beuys used to include sociopolitical criticism and sometimes even explicit messages in their works, that often goes beyond a mere descriptive point of view on the issues they face: it is not unusual that artists, rather than urging the viewer to take a personal position on a subject, try to convey their personal takes about the major issues that affect contemporary age. In such grey area, a particular care should be payed, since Art may even stop to be an independent tool to interpret and relate with and becomes a dedicated vehicle, which lies in the liminal area in which criticism blends with propaganda... While setting free Art's power to educate, do you consider that your works are political in this way or do you seek to maintain a neutral approach?

The final aspect of this work was to unite all the disciplines together to make this an installation, as well as a body of varieties of work. It dawned on me at this point that the three elements of this work (that all add together to make the piece) in a way were similar to Joseph Kosuth’s ‘One in Three Chairs’ a work that throughout art history has challenged our preconceptions about definitions, objects and art works. To make this connection apparent I chose to use a chair instead of a plinth to present the Bronze on but also to form the central point of the installation, that I could install the rest of the documentary images of my performances and the photopolymer print around.

The main aim of my work is to provoke discussion, conversation and debate. I do not necessarily ask viewers to agree with the opinion it may appear I am presenting, or to choose to disagree with a topic. Most of all I just want my audience to engage with my work, or even if they don’t engage at the time maybe think about it a little later, or have a discussion with someone that they may not have necessarily had otherwise without viewing my pieces. As I mentioned earlier the issues that are currently going on in our contemporary society affect us all, whether we believe this or not. No matter how sheltered your life is, or where your interests lie, this is our society I am commenting on and we all belong within it. I think it is important to interact with, or at least consider, different cultures, political happenings, and society based issues no matter where they are happening around the world.

I would just like to end this question with a small quote from the statement I submitted alongside this work at its latest exhibition (part of Deep Trash 5 #Religious bondage @ Bethnal Greens Men’s Working Club) as I feel it sums up the ethos of the project very well;

If my work makes at least one person reflect on something which they wouldn’t necessarily choose to engage with before then I feel it is a success. It is often hard to make work that is not loaded or biased in some way when working in

“This piece is in honour of everyone who has ever stood up for equality, for the basic human right to love and be free despite what this sometimes hostile society throws at us. This

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LGBT "There is no violence where the state isn't present" 21 06 4

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Educate, Screen Print and Stencil. 2015

symbolic strategies and has to probe psychological narrative elements within the medium instead". While conceiving Art could be considered an abstract activity, there is always a way of giving it a permanence that goes beyond the intrinsic ephemeral nature of the concepts you explore. So I would take this occasion to ask you if in your opinion personal experience is an absolutely indespensable part of a creative process... Do you think that a creative process could be disconnected from direct experience?

the realms of the political of course. But this is not my intention with my work‌ I just want to get the discussion going! The rest is down to the audience. A recurrent aspect of your practice and whose relevance I would like to highlight in Educate, Employ, Empower, is the way you show a point of convergence in which sociopolitical analysis and emotive aesthetics cohexist into a coherent unity, and most important create a virtuous circle, such a shortcircuit in which these separate aspects feed each other. The nature of this symbiosis on both a conceptual and on a functional level reminds me of the idea behind Thomas Demand's works, when he stated that "nowadays art can no longer rely much on

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One element that I aim to achieve within my work, specifically in the case of Educate, Employ, Empower was to allow the audience inside the printmaking process instead of merely viewing the finished project. I know that for

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Educate, Employ, Empower. Hand carved and printed woodcut. 2013

many artists their work is built on trade secrets and tricking the eye‌ But for me I find the whole creative process so fascinating that I want to invite the audience to be a part of it. With this work I chose to present the steps that are taken to achieve the hand carved woodcut, this was done through carving the board twice; once to be printed from to realise the finished colour reduction print, and the other so that the audience can see how the wood is carved and the pencil design/drawing that starts me on my way through the creative process. Printmaking is so adaptable and versatile and its innate reproducibility, I feel, connects it deeply not only with politics which I have exploited in this piece but also with people. To me the processes is designed to be shared, and the very presence

of communal print studios instigates this even more. I think print has a deep rooted connection to people, so I aim make this apparent in my work. This is just the case I believe for my own work however I do not think that this is necessarily true for everybody, in fact I would even go as far as to say some artists deliberately want to create a barrier between their audience and their experience of the work. They say that a good print or painting is designed to be viewed from 12 feet away and 12 inches, but I think this is true about a work itself and its documentation. Obviously I will always encourage everyone to go and view art works in the flesh, but if the magic of a piece can be captured by its documentation (especially in the

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Lizy Bending

Manglayaan Orbiter #1. Digital Montage

common imaginary: this way you remove a consistent part of the historic gaze from the reality you refer to, giving the viewers the chance to relate themselves to the topics in a more absolute form, inviting us to challenge the common way we perceive not only the outside world, but our inner dimension: as

case of ephemerality) then I think this is also highly important to the success of a work. In order to make the variety of issues you question accessible to all, you provide the viewers of a "fruible" set of images with a marked evokative symbolism that comes from

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thousand words, but in the case of art works I think it is true. For me, from an art historical view point, my connection with political printmaking came from the 1910 Mexican revolutionary printmakers. They not only set about allowing political and social issues to be considered art topics, but they did it in a fashion so that many of the illiterate and poor they lived and socialised with could interact with their art works as well. They were amongst the first group of artists to distil an art for everyone. Something that could be understood by anyone no matter who you were, where you lived or the language you speak. In today’s contemporary society I think it is easy to feel isolated from art, especially as the realms of conceptual practice have expanded and the ever rising price it costs you to visit a big institution these days, some write off art galleries and practise because they “don’t get it” and this is something I want to completely wipe out with my practice. As I mentioned before, the issues I make work about are something that in some way affect us all, no matter what side of the planet we live on or the class band we label ourselves/ let ourselves be labelled. I feel that art works can break down the barriers that many feel exist that are isolating them from interacting with these subject. If one of my images can stick in your head, and even inspire you to talk about it later to someone then I know I have been successful in sending a message out… In terms of a functional aspect I think this is definitely true, not to say that art works cannot exist purely for their own sake, as I know many people who I went to art school with that created works because it made them happy, or it allowed them to scratch a creative itch they had been having. However, I do think that artworks functioning within society is a brilliant attribute of theirs and they can teach people a lot without the person even knowing that they are learning. Some of my heroes within the art world made their work because they saw the role of the artist as someone who is socially responsible, someone capable of taking a message and regurgitating it to a wider audience, spreading the word if you will… and I hope that my work will be considered in the same way that I view theirs.

Gerhard Richter once remarked, "my concern is never art, but always what art can be used for": what is your opinion about the functional aspect of Art in the contemporary age?

It sounds cliché to say that a picture says a

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Lizy Bending

Manglayaan Orbiter #2. Digital Montage

As you have remarked, your latest works try to embrace technology driven communication processes in our contemporary society: the recent impetuous development of digital

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technologies has dramatically revolutionized the idea of work of art, inviting us to rethink to its materiality, since just few years ago an artwork was first of all if you forgive me such

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unpleasent classification a manufactured article that materialized an abstract idea. I'm sort of convinced that new media technologies will eventually fill the dichotomy between Tradition and Contemporariness: what's your point about it? In particular, do you think that there's an intrinsic contrast between Tradition and Contemporariness?

ART Habens

the two, although I’m not sure if I believe it will always be this way. Technology is a powerful tool, but so is the human hand. As I mentioned before, to me the most important part of artistic practice is to fit the medium to your message, whether this be a digital print, a sculpture or a traditional painting, you need to be sure of what you are suggesting and that the discipline you are doing this with is the best possible one to get your point across.

The main reasoning behind its influence in my work is that I felt it was silly to talk about contemporary society without embracing everything that is has become. I define my practice by my woodcuts but this is largely due to their historical references. I think when you are a contemporary artist, and specifically a socio-political one, no matter how traditional your aim is to be, you have to incorporate that contemporary stance in your work somehow.

While exhibiting a captivating vibrancy, your Manglayan Orbiter series seem to reject the explicit explanatory strategy that usually marks out your style: rather, you seem to offer to the viewer a key to find personal interpretations to the concepts you hint: rather that a conceptual interiority, I can recognize the desire to enabling us to establish direct relations... Would you say that it's more of an intuitive or a systematic process?

Another element that drew me to this subject, was again a reference to my dissertation, where one of my chapters was called ‘The Street vs The Cloud’ where I evaluated and compared street art and real world printmaking to that of the online domain. As my argument developed I realised within my writing that the two could in fact fuel each other, and this is just one of the elements that I feel makes printmaking unique. It is one of the only mediums that has embraced this contemporary change and adapted to fit around it… Survival of the fittest if you will!

This project, despite being created largely in the digital realm, actually happened in a fairly organic nature. I could not stop thinking about the real Manglayaan Orbiter that launched from India last year, and so I knew to a degree that I wanted to make a piece of work about it. However its adaption into a body of work involving digital prints, wall based work and then sculptural counterparts happened simply in response to conversations with others. A really vital part of UCA’s teaching is that they never let you settle on an idea that is simply good, they constantly strive for you to create something great, something new and often something a bit out there. I knew I wanted to delve deeper into the idea of the spatial potential of printmaking but I wasn’t sure how I wanted to achieve this, however after a few tutorials and crits it became clear that I was in fact limiting myself by traditionally hanging my prints on the wall. Who says that printmaking has to happen on paper and who says these prints have to live on the wall, what if I used objects, created sculptures, printed onto glass and titles, and mirrors and what if these sculptures sat on plinths or occupied floor space. Thinking about it, it was when I stopped playing by the traditional rules of artistic practice that I really found my flow

However as we open our eyes to the new possibilities that can be achieved with digital technology I think it will always be important to remember the traditional. To me although my work often involves both traditional and contemporary I think they do operate in completely different worlds… I don’t know whether I think you will ever be able to compare a life-size oil painting to an iPad sketch, or a Henry Moore Bronze to a photograph, but I think what technology has done is break down a barrier between the art world and the real world, thanks to digital cameras and iPad art almost anyone can have a go at creating, which I think is something that should be encouraged… However ultimately yes, I do think that there is an intrinsic contrast between

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Manglayaan Orbiter, Tiles. Raised Relief Print Sculpture, 2014


ART Habens

Lizy Bending

within the art world, now I never view anything I see or make at face value; I am always intuitively searching for what it could become. Over these years you have showcased your pieces in several occasions: your works are based on the chance of establishing a deep and multilayered involvement with the viewers, so before leaving this conversation I would like to pose a question about the nature of the relationship of your art with your audience. Do you consider the issue of audience reception as being a crucial component of your decisionmaking process, in terms of what type of language is used in a particular context?

Completely, I make my work as a tool to engage with the outside world. As the last line of my artist statements states, recently I have begun to interact with performance pieces, participatory prints and works that exist outside of the studio… For me this is an opportunity to “make work involving people rather than simply about people”. Educate, employ, empower is a great example of this, while I began with the idea to create a print about the student protests, as the piece developed I became engaged with the idea that the piece could also invite the viewer into the printmaking process as well as my subject. Tutors in the past have questioned my interest in printmaking and even once asked why I even bothered with this kind of dead practice being a contemporary artist. Maybe out of spite, but also through a deep fascination with the discipline itself, I set about trying to engage the audience within my printmaking work. I think that printmaking couldn’t be anything further than dead! I find the whole subject from its history to its materiality completely engaging and I aim to invite the audience in my passion for this practice. The idea to expand the print process so that the viewer could see inside of it came as I carved the original image, I find the process so meditative that I thought, well if it fascinates me maybe it could fascinate someone else? The great thing about this body of work I feel, is that it offers the audience multiple levels of engagement, you can view the piece and

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Manglayaan Orbiter, Floor Installation. 2014

appreciate its scale and installation, you can connect with it on a political level due to its subject matter, or you can engage with it on a practical or artistic level as the process of creation is expanded and exposed.

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Lizy Bending

I have found from critics in the past that audiences sometimes find it easy to disengage with political art because they are not interested in it, or because they believe in the beauty of the image or art for art’s sake,

ART Habens

instead of giving it a didactic twist, which is why in my latest works I have tried to incorporate this varied presentation technique so that no matter what you are into you may find something captivating about my creations. My

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Lizy Bending

Manglayaan Orbiter Tabletop. Sculpture and Printed glass. 2014

latest trail of thought revolves around pushing the spatial potential of printmaking, for me this stems from a small and slightly odd fascination with printmaking occupying space (contextually through connotations of protests

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and sit ins, but also physically creating an image that does not simply sit on the wall) by aiming to create prints that either occupy floor space, wall space, are installations or structures I feel the audience has something more to engage

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Lizy Bending

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around adapting the audiences preconceptions as to what a print is. Thanks a lot for your time and for sharing your thoughts, Lizy. Finally, would you like to tell us readers something about your future projects? How do you see your work evolving?

No problem, thank you for having me. Sure thing I would love to take a second to take about my practice since graduating, a past project, a current project and future work in progress. Past; So as I threw my hat in the air and strutted across stage in my gown, my partner and I were lucky enough to move to Berlin last year for summer to experience a different art scene but also to get my creative juices flowing in an organic and non-institutional sense. Off of the back of the magnificent visit I was inspired to create a series of prints in response to my time away. This January I had the honour and privilege of showing at the Southbank Printmakers Association, and I chose to take this chance as an opportunity to showcase my new creations and a post graduating body of work. I started to create a series of 3 colour reduction woodcuts, and three multi-faceted monoprints, (as well as documentary images/ photographs and postcard alterations) in response to the gorgeous sites I saw across Germanys capital. What shocked and impressed me most about Berlin was just how green it really was, with a few simple changes the streets were clean, the air was fresh and I saw no littering of any kind. I would go as far as saying you are far more likely to get hit by a bicycle then a car in Kreuzberg‌ recycling bins are everywhere and food token schemes are set up for bottle banks to keep the streets clean and the homeless fed. Everything has been upcycled in this city, from abandoned buildings, flowerpots made of shoes and basket balls, to phone boxes that have been transformed into mini public libraries. I was so utterly inspired by all these simple green changes that I chose these as the subjects for my first major body of work to complete since graduating. I have had the privilege of showing these prints multiple times already this year, in fact one just came down from the ArtHub Print

with. Even if they disconnect with its subject, I aim to attract them with my perverse perception of what a print can be. In fact I would go as far as to say my latest bodies of work are centred

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Lizy Bending

Open in Depford, and another will be at the Menier Gallery this July/ august as part of a summer celebratory show (so watch this space!!)

with each piece I give not only the name of the revolution, but the country and the date so that you can research these peaceful protests for yourself and maybe learn something about a simple flower you may never have guessed. I would just like to take a second to thank Ochre for all the support that have given to me this year, if you would like to see images of the studio and my show within this these can be found on my blog www.feelfreecompany.wordpress.com.

Present; I think it is safe to say I am one of the luckiest recent graduates I know. Starting in January this I received the absolute pleasure of receiving a year-long printmaking artist in residency position with Ochre Print Studios; this brilliant institution has supported me all year and I’m only half way through it, to mark this half way point I have recently taken part in their Summer show where I was offered the opportunity to have a mini solo show to mark the interim point in my residency. To celebrate I wanted to push my practice and within this push the realms of printmaking again. I am constantly thinking about how I can adapt printmaking to include sculpture and installation and I wanted this exhibition to be no exception to this. For this exhibition I set about a new body of work called “Revolutions”. This is a series of dry-point, chine-colle and monoprint prints who subject goes far deeper than in initial appearance. Seemingly innocent flowers are crafted into plastics which I have used to create multi layered and coloured dry point, these sit in recycled frames on the wall. However underneath them I have set about transforming them into sculptures. The flowers have been potted up, ripped out and placed within vases and on plinths to see how they survive in the sculptural/ 3D realm. The reason for my subjects stems (excuse the pun!) from the idea of a peaceful revolution of which there have been a number in the past but more specifically within our lifetime. Due to the success of these revolutions and their low counts of violence each has been celebrated and titled with the name of a flower, whether this be the Carnation Revolution, the Jasmine Revolution or the Cedar Revolutions these inspired acts have been the fuel to my latest projects. What I feel works so well about these pieces is that, again, they offer their audience multiple levels of engagement; you can simply view them on the wall as carefully crafted detailed prints of flowers, you can interact with the vases, tea cups and wooden bowls they sit within as sculptures, or you can research the revolutions for yourself,

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Future; Finally I would just like to talk about some exciting stuff I will be up to the rest of this year, speaking in terms of my own work, I have just begun a project entitled Earth Hour, which you guessed is centred around the idea/concept of earth hour. In response to this idea I have written and performed poems, and I have now just begun the physical part of this project which will result in a series of 5 large scale colour reduction woodcuts, as well as a pallet based sculptural counterpart. The images themselves will be created of the globe, and my interpretation of human interference within the world. All the materials used to create this body of work are of course recycled and the sculptural element has since inspired my participation in a collaborative project I am going to be involved with later on this summer. Pallet Scape will be an all-inclusive, participatory experience for all ages and interests. It will be, as the name hints, a landscape created purely from pallets that can also be used as a stage, performance area and on my end I will be teaching and running workshops to invite local school and the community to have a go at printing with pallets. We have successfully helped to host one event already this year and we aim to create at least two more in the near future. The events will take place in Seven Sisters, London at the end of the summer this year!

An interview by Dario Rutigliano, curator and Katherine C. Wilson, curator arthabens@mail.com

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LGBT "There is no violence where the state isn't present" 21 06 4 Summer 2015 Preparatory Performance Piece. 2014


Kate Walker Walker I am currently finishing a collaborative residency project based in New Zealand, on a project with ceramic artist Caroline Earley. Our collaborative work investigates the intersections of ceramics and painting. The oppositions and commonalities of two distinct mediums, ceramics and painting, are explored in a conversation centering around materiality, medium definitions, and boundary crossing. This body of work, Intersexions, explores ideas relating to the construction of gender. How we understand gender is called into question today as gender identity is reexamined. In this collaborative body of work, abstract ceramic forms riff on the language of x y chromosomes, in a manner that is reminiscent of mathematics equations. Inlay narrative line drawing on ceramic forms depict couples involved in ambiguous contact activities. Large cut canvas paintings, referencing objects such as a chain link fence, further extend the x y shapes and the play between the ceramic forms and 2D painting surfaces. While crafted 3D forms become surfaces for 2D drawings, cut canvas painting becomes a sculptural crafted object. I have a particular interest in interdisciplinary and collaborative projects, involving communities of people in my work as well as exploring an intersection of art and social engagement. Using communication and dialogue as aesthetic strategies, I explore how a dynamic interplay between ‘artist’ and ‘participants’ can take visual form. In my video project, Manual of Arms, 2014, a group of sixteen women perform a series of moves that recall the genre of a band auxiliary. The moves seem at first to be ritual re-enactment of a flag auxiliary or band majorette group, and then develop into a more confrontational “challenge” to the viewer. Instead of an expected ‘prop’, group members hold assault weapon style guns. The resulting clash of references is aimed to create discomfort for the viewer. Questions are raised in the work about the nature of the rituals that surround North American sports culture (cheerleading, band auxiliary, honor guard etc), and the highly gendered roles that have developed in these; as well as the ubiquitous presence of guns in this culture. In recent video projects HooP and Capitol, which involve specific communities of people, questions of social agency and visibility are raised. Seemingly innocuous action or subtle narrative disruptions are used to raise questions about alternate identities, displacing normative cultural hierarchies, values and lifestyles, which are reinforced daily through institutional and media channels. The history of video art as a document of community-based action, as well as its relationship to the artist’s body and to performance is acknowledged and re-evaluated in these works.

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A still from Manual of Arms, 2014, HD single channe

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video, 2013

l video, video stills

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Kate Walker

Capitol, 2012 performance and HD two channel video – photography by Caroline Earley

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An interview with An interview by Dario Rutigliano, curator and Katherine C. Wilson, curator arthabens@mail.com

Kate Walker accomplishes the difficult task of establishing an effective synergy between an insightful socio-political criticism, and a refined aesthetics to create an area in which perceptual parameters are subverted. The multidisciplinary nature of her approach urges us to investigate the relationship between reality and the way we perceive it: one of the most convincing aspects of Walker's work is the way she establishes an area of intellectual interplay between memory and perception, inviting the viewers to explore social issues from unconventional sides. We are very pleased to introduce our readers to her refined artistic production. Hello Kate and welcome to ART Habens. To start this interview, would you like to tell us something about your background? You have a solid formal training: you hold a MFA from the University of Arizona in 2005 and you are currently Assistant Professor, Interdisciplinary Studio at Boise State University. How do these experience influence your evolution as an artist and how do they impact on the way you currently conceive and produce your works?

Kate Walker

I look for ways that everyday life can influence my work. Interesting ideas and material for art are everywhere. I like to blur boundaries between teaching, art and life, allowing these to merge into each other. After I first came to Boise, in 2011, I was teaching in a large lecture class. I had students shift between lecture format seating into informal seating for group work. In that transition there was this powerful moment for me seeing the whole dynamic of the large group change as people’s individual personas emerged. This became the impetus for a project about civic agency and ‘group’ identity by tracing a shift between a ‘staged’ informal gathering of people, which recalls day-to-

Thanks for your interest in my work. Coming from New Zealand to Arizona USA for graduate school was an eye opening experience. The landscape, culture and politics all had a huge impact on my work. Being at a large graduate program was great for building a network of peers, to support and critique each other’s work. Graduate school was great practice in having some objective distance from your work, and seeing work from many perspectives. My work and ideas change a lot depending on where I am living, what I am doing.

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Kate Walker

day campus life or a similar public meeting space into this formal tableau from another era in a semi-reenactment of Raphael’s “The School of Athens” (1510-11). Multidisciplinarity is a crucial aspect of your approach: ranging from painting and drawing to digital video projects, you establish a fruitful synergy between several practices, that are combined to provide your works of a dynamic and autonomous life. I would suggest our readers to visit http://katewalker.co.nz in order to get a wider idea of your multifaceted artistic production. While superimposing concepts and images, crossing the borders of different artistic fields, have you ever happened to realize that a symbiosis between different viewpoints is the only way to achieve some results, to express specific concepts?

Working across different media keeps opening up new ways of seeing things. Working within just one media for me might be more comfortable. Instead, each project presents a different challenge from changing and crossing mediums. In Manual of Arms, the piece depended on using and understanding choreography, which was a new language for me. I worked with a professional choreographer who collaborated with me on designing and teaching movements to a group of nonprofessional students and friends. We rehearsed over many weeks and filming took place all in one session. I think of my current large paintings as objects. They are stretched, cut-out canvases that take on forms of represented objects. They rely on how objects function in the world and sit between 2D and 3D mediums. I use everyday collections of ideas, words and images often from media sources as collage elements alongside paint.

A still from Manual of Arms, 2014, HD single channel vide

Habens and that our readers has already started to get to know in the introductory pages of this article. What has mostly impressed me of this project is the way you have create a synthesis between a functional analysis of the context you examine and autonomous aesthetics. Do

I would start to focus on your artistic production beginning from Manual of Arms, an interesting video project of a choreographed performance that we have selected for this special edition of ART

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o, video stills

for viewers. It is both instinctual and intentional. I was trying to create something that almost looks normal, like a military guard routine or cheer leading routine, which is very expected in the USA within sporting or military contexts. But adding to or changing the context can undermine,

you conceive this in an instinctive way or do you rather structure your process in order to reach the right balance?

I am very interested in intervening in real world contexts, situations, and changing these to bring out a different way of thinking

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Kate Walker

A still from Manual of Arms II, 2014, HD three channel video

beyond the intrinsic ephemeral nature of those concepts you explore. So I would take this occasion to ask you if in your opinion, personal experience is absolutely indispensable as part of the creative process? Do you think that a creative process could be disconnected from direct experience?

critique or open up a new conversation. In particular, I like the way you create a point of convergence between an analytic gaze on social issues and a functional approach on our perceptual process. This combination establishes a clash of references that creates discomfort for the viewer that reminds me of the idea behind Thomas Demand's works, when he states that "nowadays art can no longer rely so much on symbolic strategies and has to probe psychological, narrative elements within the medium instead". While the conception of Art could be considered an abstract activity, there is always a way of giving it a sense of permanence, going

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For me personal experience is indispensable. Artists often work with what they know, what they think about, what they want to know more about, which is all personal experience. I am also interested in group processes, group behavior and group creative actions. Working with groups in my video projects, I am very interested in being

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Kate Walker

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installations, this work seems to reveal unconventional aesthetics in the way you deconstruct and assemble memories in a collective imagery, to draw the viewer into a process of self-reflection. What is the role of memory in your process?

in the role of a facilitator, picking up on ideas, spontaneous or planned and including these in the project. At the same time I am presenting an idea or direction for a project to a group of people and asking for response in reaction to that. So it becomes a two-way conversation where some but not all of the outcomes are unpredictable. This then becomes the creation of personal experience, within the framework of an art project.

Memory is part of how we assimilate social behavior, how we understand and make sense of things. For me moving from one cultural experience (New Zealand) to a new cultural context in the US, I am particularly interested in what I think of as a crosscultural gaze, where I notice and am struck by events and practices that are very strange or unusual to me, but are very normal in the US. For example I am living in

In Manual of Arms I can recognize a suggestive attempt to go beyond a mere interpretative aspect of the reality you refer to. As the late Franz West did in his

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A still from Manual of Arms II, 2014, HD three channel video

Manual of Arms (2014) is a video project of a choreographed performance where sixteen women perform a series of moves that recall the visual language of a band auxiliary or military drill routine. Instead of an expected ‘prop’, group members hold assault weapon style guns. Ambiguous and fictional, this piece pushes on imagery and themes that are familiar yet uneasy. The resulting clash of references creates discomfort for the viewer. Questions are raised in the work about the nature of the rituals that surround North American sports culture (band auxiliary, honor guard etc), and the highly gendered roles that have developed in these; as well as the ubiquitous presence of guns in this culture.


Performers Laurie Blakeslee, Jean Cardeno, Breezy Clark, Kelly Cox, Alyssa Cumpton, Stephanie Dickey, Jill AnnieMargaret, Kirsten Furlong, Aurore Galloway, Sybille Gorla, Mariana Gutierrez, Angela Henson, Rachel Lambert, Elizabeth McSurdy, Teysha Vinson, Jessica Wright Director of Photography, Andy Lawless Camera Operators, Andy Lawless and Michael Gough Audio Recording Dylan Lawless Snare Drum Todd Chavez Choreography Leah Clark, Elizabeth McSurdy, Kate Walker Photography, Caroline Earley


ART Habens

Naim El Hajj

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Naim El Hajj

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Kate Walker

Lockshop, 33 x 51, 2014 from the Bad Behaviour series

include socio-political criticism and sometimes even explicit messages in their works, that often goes beyond a mere descriptive point of view on the issues they face: it is not unusual that an artist, rather than urging the viewer to take a personal position on a subject, tries to convey his personal take about the major issues that affect contemporary age. Do you consider that your works are political in this way or do you seek to maintain a neutral approach?

a culture where guns are highly visible, and have many real and symbolic associations. In New Zealand this couldn’t be more different. Not even the police carry guns, it is not a national conversation in the media or politics, and not a large cause of death. As we have already discussed, a central aspect of your work is the investigation about social issues, that you accomplish through a variety of media: in particular, I would like to mention Bad Behaviour, and interesting series that has particularly impacted on me. Many interesting contemporary artists, as Thomas Hirschhorn and Michael Light, use to

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I don’t believe there is such a thing as a neutral approach. I consider that every action in the world, every conversation that

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ART Habens

Outwest RV's, 33 x 51, 2014 from the Bad Behaviour series

takes place is political on some level. The politics of a situation is not always acknowledged or explicit. I am interesting in exaggeration and also combining history, real life experience with fictions, to further reveal political moments. I am very interested in art and very interested in politics, as well as in the relationship and possibilities between them. In Bad Behaviour, a series of paintings, I have used small town scenes in rural Idaho as stages or backdrops for characters like the Lone Ranger. I am interested in the nostalgia that continues today for the colonial past. Sites like Mount Rushmore have totally different

connotations depending on which cultural viewpoint you look with. To tribal groups, it is sacred land. To many Americans, it is a tourist site of great patriotic significance. In my work about this site, I was interested to include these clashing references. Militarized lifestyles, folk histories, and patriotic signs rub shoulders in this series of works. In Out of Bounds you have explored the construction of gender: I have particularly enjoyed the way you probe the evocative potential of the medium in order to provide the viewer of an extension of our usual perceptual parameters: this allows you to

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Kate Walker

XXYY, 2014 oil and mixed media on cut canvas, 48 x 60 inches

go beyond any dichotomy between Tradition and Contemporariness, establishing a stimulating osmosis between materials and techniques from a contingent era and an absolute approach to Art: do you recognize any contrast between Tradition and Contemporariness?

Earley, investigates the intersections of ceramics and painting. The oppositions and commonalities of two distinct mediums, ceramics and painting, are explored in a conversation centering around materiality, medium definitions, and boundary crossing.

Yes, this body of work, which is a collaboration with ceramicist Caroline

This body of work participates in current dialogues about traditional and

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XXYY, detail, 2014 oil and mixed media on cut canvas, 48 x 60 inches

contemporary and fine art vs craft. These are objects that sit between craft and fine art, referencing and critiquing traditions of each. Questions are raised in the work about functionality vs aesthetics, garish pop forms vs accepted notions of taste. Considerations of the ‘gaze’ as it relates to normative vs queer culture are referenced in this body of work.

As part of this questioning, traditional approaches to drawing and ceramics are combined with pop culture ideas and banal narrative actions. Contrast is very appealing to us, as artists with very different backgrounds. We like to also contrast how 3D objects and 2D images can interact and change how each function. Over your career you have exhibited

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Kate Walker

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internationally, showcasing your work in several occasions both in the United States and In Europe as well in Australia. So before leaving this conversation I would like to pose a question about the nature of the relationship of your art with your audience. Do you consider the issue of audience reception as being a crucial component of your decision-making process, in terms of what type of language is used in a particular context?

Yes, audience reception is important. Making work that can become part of a wider conversation and relevant in a cultural moment is important to me. Projects like Manual of Arms are also culturally specific, and will read very differently in different countries because it is directly about gun culture and militarization. This conversation varies widely depending on context. Making work that is related to specific places, is a way of paying attention to experience in those places. Thanks a lot for your time and for sharing your thoughts, Kate. Finally, would you like to tell our readers something about your future projects? How do you see your work evolving?

I have several ideas for future video projects, involving groups of people that combine a theatrical approach to performance to exaggerate the everyday. I also plan to continue current interdisciplinary projects that combine 2D and 3D approaches.

An interview by Dario Rutigliano, curator and Katherine C. Wilson, curator arthabens@mail.com

Intersexions, 2015 oil and mixed media on cut canvas, 48 x 60 inches

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Zolt Asta

aka Zsolt Asztalos

Every story is personal. The stories written by writers are also personal according to who wrote them. Every storyteller writes his own story driven by his own ideology, identity and imagination. Due to this, it is difficult to say there is objective storytelling or any kind of objective description however much they struggle to achieve that. Thinking about world history, science, religion, society or even artistic canon is driven by certain people’s inner conviction. The exact final truth will always be a mystery. The cut up books were divided subjectively: gaps, breaks, single unities were born. The original story was modified, a new, different version was born. This is my version, as there can be as many versions as individuals. Zolt Asta Zolt Asta / my story, my version / 26x16x6 cm / 2015

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video, 2013

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03 Zolt Asta / Reproduction I. / 70x100 cm, C print / 20144 Summer 2015 Summer 2015


Zolt Asta

An interview with

aka. Zsolt Asztalos An interview by Dario Rutigliano, curator and Katherine C. Wilson, curator arthabens@mail.com

The work of Zolt Asta (aka. Zsolt Asztalos) rejects any concentional classification in the categories of contemporary art: playing with the uncertain equilibrium between opposite cocepts, as reality and fiction, identity and perceptions, his multidisciplinary production provides the viewers of a multilayered experience that, rejecting any explanatory strategy, urges us to challenge the way we relate to the notion of significance. One of the most convincing aspect of Asta's work is the way its manifold nature conveys a wide variety of concepts inviting us to force their perceptual nature to unveil unexpected mutual relationships. We are very pleased to introduce our readers to his refined artistic production. Hello Zolt and welcome to ART Habens: I would start this interview, posing you a couple of questions about your background. You have a solid formal training and you degreed at the Painting Department of the Hungarian Academy of Fine Arts: how has this experience influenced your evolution as an artist? Moreover, how does the cultural substratum of the rich traditional hungaric heritage impacted on the way you relate yourself to art making? Do you recognize any contrast between Tradition and Contemporariness?

Zolt Asta

expressing my ideas. Already at that young age the idea was the most important, but I felt I needed a tool to visualize it.

Indeed, tradition has had a big effect on me. Before I applied to the Academy, at the age of 16-18 I was fascinated by classical art. I did not only study the great forefathers but also tried to follow them in some respects. That time the Academy required classical drawing and painting skills at the entrance exam. We had to draw portraits, nudes, interiors and landscapes for two weeks. It was a good school where I learned the basic tools for making fine art. It was not only a requirement but also a conscious commitment from my part. At the age of 15 I decided to learn to draw and paint to have a tool in my hands for

The answer to the other question is that in many ways there is a big difference between Tradition and Contemporary Art. Even between the beginning and the end of the twentieth century there is a huge leap. In contemporary art pure thoughts and theoretical concepts have a much bigger role than visual aesthetics, and the appearance of aesthetics can only be understood in a completely different value system. This

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Zolt Asta

question is very relevant in my case. I am interested in connecting Tradition with Contemporary Art both in appearance and thought. In many of my works I deliberately evoke renaissance elements or use classical landscape imagery etc.. Moreover, during execution I also carefully think about and compose each and every visual element. This ambition of mine could be called humility towards art history and Tradition. Besides, the appearance of these elements can be very unique among the often technocrat contemporary works of art. My latest works specifically deal with the relationship with the past. While challenging the concept of storytelling, all your multifaceted artistic production is pervaded by a subtle but recurrent sense of narrative and although each of your project has an autonomous life, there's always seem to be such a channel of communication between your works, that springs from the way you juxtapose ideas and media: German multimedia artist Thomas Demand stated once that "nowadays art can no longer rely much on symbolic strategies and has to probe psychological narrative elements within the medium instead". What's your point about this? And in particular, how much do you explicitly think of a narrative for your works?

It is true that one of my works - my story, my version – is about telling stories but this proposal is also a long narrative. Each of my works is a carefully conceived concept but also a suggestion which start many new ideas, creating a long story along the way. Basically all my works are telling stories. I consider Thomas Demnad’s argument a personal understanding. I think there are existing great symbolic strategies and new ones can be born too. Our world is full of new, current and important issues whose processing can be turned into significant artistic strategies. All my works have a relevant conceptual core, but towards the outside more and more layers unfold.

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Zolt Asta / my story, my version / 26x35x4 cm / 2015

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Zolt Asta

Zolt Asta / my story, my version / 23x30x2 cm / 2015

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Zolt Asta

ART Habens

These can be additional contextual elements, psychological or emotional effects or even aesthetical layers. However, I look at my works as very short and brief poems, which can be thought about and can trigger conversation. Indeed, I have many separate works. I think in projects, and when I feel I have processed a topic or project, I finish it not wanting to continue it. I deliberately do not want to repeat myself. I know that for many artists it is a life program to keep unfolding and evolving a certain topic, but for me it is more exciting to explore the world where we live and come up with new topics. Nevertheless, there is a connection between my topics. Sometimes contextual, for example how the everyday man tries to find his place in our technocrat society, or our relationship with the past. Furthermore, the similarity between my separate works can also be seen in my intonation. The way I put together what I say is always similar. I would start to focus on your artistic production beginning from my story, my version, an extremely interesting project that our readers have already started to get to know in the introductory pages of this article: and I would suggest our readers to visit http://www.asztaloszsolt.com in order to get a wider idea of your multifaceted production. What most impressed me of this project is the way you have create a point of convergence between a functional analysis of the context you relate to and autonomous aesthetics. Do you conceive this in an instinctive way or do you rather structure your process in order to reach the right balance?

That is the result of conscious work. This work got ready the way all my other works. I create my projects in various steps. First I find the topic I have been preoccupied with recently. Then I sit down and think it over, trying to find the most exciting part of it. I consider how I could word it to make it as brief and interesting as possible. I always ask myself whether it is interesting enough to create it. If the answer is yes, I decide what tools and medium to use and

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ART Habens

Zolt Asta

how to visualize it. I always strive to be clear and I want the final version to be in unison with the content and convey exactly what I want to say. However, I am always careful not to overstep the point where the work becomes didactic. There is always a point when I want to let go of the work and want the viewer to continue the thinking process so that there is an ending in his mind. Then I look for the best choice for visualization. I often have to involve professional people like technicians, mechanists, programmers or even typographers. What I want to say with this is that I carefully look after the process from the first idea to the final visualization. When I first happened to get to know "my story, my version" I tried to relate all the visual information and the reference to an incessant process of deconstruction and recontextualization to a single meaning. But I soon realized that I had to fit into the visual unity suggested by the work, forgetting my need for a univocal understanding of its symbolic content: rather that a conceptual interiority, your approach reveals the desire to enabling us to establish direct relations... Would you say that it's more of an intuitive or a systematic process?

This work is about cut-up books where I installed a small distance between the parts. This is my version. Books symbolize knowledge, storytelling and thinking about the past. Through the cut I installed a small vacuum into this. Written books often belong to the Canon, but this is rather subjective. Through the cut I created another version, my subjective version. These books cannot be understood individually but as a general symbol. Yes, this work addresses the viewer directly. The relationship is very personal. When I was working on this project I felt I had to compose something this honest and brave. I knew I wanted to create a work which makes the viewer step out of his comfort zone and start interpreting the work immediately. The

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Zolt Asta

ART Habens

Zolt Asta / my story, my version / 21x14x2 cm / 2015

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Zolt Asta

23 0 Summer 2015 Zolt Asta / Unknown Artists / installation / 250x120x40 cm4 /5 2015


Zolt Asta

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Zolt Asta

answer to the question is that this is not the result of an intuitive process, but a deliberate decision. But of course the way I think of cutting up books, how I cut them up and exhibit them etc.. require a lot of intuition as it is indispensable for the creative work. Another interesting project of yours that has particularly impacted on me and on which I would like to spend some words is entitled Unknown Artists: I have to admit that the way you have juxtaposed a wide variety of personal stories that seem to be irremediabily destined to oblivion has at first unsettled me a bit. Highlighting the fact that art making is, among other aspects, a form of communication suggests me a subtle criticism about the way we relate to Art in general. Many artists from the contemporary scene, as Thomas Hirschhorn or Michael Light, use to include sociopolitical criticism in their pieces. Do you consider that your works are political in this way or do you seek to maintain a more neutral approach?

Both. Besides many general and neutral understandings it undoubtedly has a sociopolitical feature. This work is really close to me. On the one hand because I created something that does not exhibit me but other authors. I only appear through my choice of authors and in what context I create for them. This is a kind of humbleness towards the forefathers. The mission of an artist is to make art. The Unknown Artists completed their mission and disappeared. They did not leave their names behind, only their works of art. This disappearance really excites me. Creating something – maybe something extraordinary – and then disappear without a trace. It was not their fault in many cases, but there is something humble about not having a name. On the other hand, there is the question of writing Canon, who are the artists who get into the Canon, and who are the ones who get left out. Symbolically this installation poses the question of those contemporary artists who, for some reason, got left out of

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Zolt Asta / Unknown Artists I. / C print, 16x22 cm / 2014

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Zolt Asta

Zolt Asta / Unknown Artists II. / C print, 16x22 cm / 2014

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Zolt Asta

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the art scene, in spite of having created excellent works. This „being left out�, being stuck on the periphery has made me think a lot. Everywhere in the world I see that artists are striving to get into the Canon, to become part of art history. This installation is a kind of memento for those who, even if through no fault of theirs, got left out. I like the way your exploration of the liminal area between reality and fiction in your work Simulation questions the concept of direct experiece: in particular, your investigation about the intimate consequences of constructed realities gives a permanence that goes beyond the ephemeral nature of the concepts you capture. So I would take this occasion to ask you if in your opinion personal experience is an absolutely indespensable part of a creative process... Do you think that a creative process could be disconnected from direct experience?

They cannot be separated. If I separated my personal experiences from the creative process I would not be able to create honest and impressive works of art. A work has a soul because of the personal experiences. Otherwise it would be a sterile idea if our personality does not pervade it. In the video entitled Simulation we see two action movie stars practicing how they will fight in the film. Meanwhile, a photographer sometimes shows up to take photos of them. The scenery and the actors all evoke the world of the classical action movie. This is the world we get from the television and what determines our everyday culture. This video unveils this world. I drag this fictional world, which feels so real through the television, back to reality. For some reason I took part in this film shoot where these questions came up and then I made this video work. So, what I can say is that I live in this world, I try to walk around with my eyes open and reflect on it. You seem to be in an incessant search of an organic, almost intimate symbiosis between

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Zolt Asta

several viewpoint and the evokative reference to materials belonging to universal imagery as in Fragile, seems to remove any historic gaze from the reality you refer to, offering to the viewers the chance to perceive in a more atemporal form. In this sense, I daresay that the semantic juxtaposition between sign and matter that marks out your art, allows you to go beyond any track of contingency...

It is true in the way that I always try to find the best visualization for the idea. I look for the best tool, material and method to create my works. Each of my works is like an emblem. A brief sign which symbolizes a complex idea. In my work entitled Fragile we can see huge polystyrene boxes that are usually used to pack consumer goods, like electronic products in. In my boxes, people can be packed, namely individuals not uniformed ones. In this work I am looking for the place of real, everyday people in our consumer society. The title Fragile is the label we can see on these consumer goods, which I turned back to the people, referring to their activity. The consumer world calls people target audience. I wanted to find the real people in this technocrat world. The experimental nature of your practice is less important than its implementation and the variety of techniques you use to materialize your ideas create unpredictable effects: how important is the role of chance in your process?

Execution is very important to me and I put great emphasis on it as I have mentioned it before. In some respects I am experimental, but when it comes to a new topic I start it absolutely consciously. All my separate, autonomous works are building blocks, which I use to build my oeuvre. To your original question I can say that there is never a surprise when it comes to the end product because I plan everything in advance. However, it has happened that when the work

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Zolt Asta

ART Habens

Zolt Asta / Fragile / installation, 7x7x1 m, polystyrol / 2010

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was finished it had a collateral meaning, which I had not thought would appear, but did good to the whole. The multilayered experience you provide the spectatorship of seems to reveal the will of deleting any barrier between the viewers and the ideas behind your work, highlighting your effective communicaton strategy. Over these years you have exhibited your works in an impressively largee number of exhibitions, including your participation at the 55th International Art Exhibition in Venice, i which you have represented Hungary with Fired but Unexploded. So, before taking leave from this interesting conversation I would like to pose a a question about the nature of the relation with your audience: in particular, do you consider the issue of audience reception as being a crucial component of your decision-making process in terms of what type of language for a particular context? I consider it really important that I can transmit my ideas to the viewers. I do not think that works which are difficult to understand, or whose meaning we can only get through complicated code systems, are more valuable.

my story, my version, detail

future projects? How do you see your work evolving?

They are valuable because of the quality of the content. Based on this I would say that I always strive to make the message come across easily and that this message is valuable. Of course I am always careful not to make the work didactic. So, I want to create open, easily understood works of art for the viewers. This does not make them commercial because if both the idea and the execution are original, that cannot be a problem. Thanks a lot for your time and for sharing

Zolt your Asta /thoughts, Fragile / installation, 7x7x1 m, polystyrol Zolt. Finally, would you like/ 2010

to tell us readers something about your

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I have chosen a bigger topic this time, which I would like to develop through several projects. It is the relationship we have with the past. One piece of it is the work entitled 'my story - my version'. There are more projects related to this on the way at the moment. So far I have mostly exhibited my works in Budapest and some foreign countries. Now I would like to be present in London too, so I am spending more time here. I hope I will have the chance to present my works here too. I am grateful for every opportunity.


Zolt Asta

ART Habens

0story, 4 6 Summer 2015 Zolt Asta / my 21 my version / installation, 220x150x50 cm / 2015


Nevena Vuksanovic Vuksanovic Animal nature, complete but without identity, stands opposite the human inadequacy and susceptibility towards personal development. Animals I admire but I look at people critically. The humanlike beings point out the human deficiencies I myself possess while creating them. On our way of development and growth, we are, as people faced with personal shortcomings. These deficiencies may seem terrible, dreadful, insurmountable. Nature is what directs us towards out inner landscape, towards our ability to achieve completeness. To build a sculpture we need physical involvement, great immediacy. Forms mature upon their long being created in imagination. At the moment of personal separation from them, during the tension of my overall sensibility, I become one with the created object. My body is released from something that was up to then part of it. During its creation, the sculpture builds into itself memories, dreams, fears, aggression, a sense of helplessness. Nevena Vuksanovic

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CHEETAH, wire, wool, 1,20 x 2m; 2008

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Nevena Vuksanovic

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video, 2013

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CHAOS, gypsum, Summer 2015 branches ,paint, 2m x 1,5m; 2010 Summer 2015

Nevena Vuksanovic

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An interview with

Nevena Nevena Vuksanovic

Nevena Vuksanovic

EXTENSION, wire, wool, 1,20 x 1m; 2014

An interview by Josh Ryder, curator

arthabens@mail.com

her interdisciplinary approach allows her to conveys the evokative potential of different materials to create a coherent work marked out with a lively and consistent unity. We are very pleased to introduce our readers to her refined artistic production.

Marked with a stimulating multidisciplinary feature, Nevena Vuksanovic's work provides the viewers of an extension of ordinary perception, in order to manipulate it and releasing it from its most limbic parameters: rather than lingering on merely decorative aspects to seduce the viewers,

Hello Nevena, and welcome to ART Habens: multidisciplinarity is a crucial aspect of your art practice and and we would suggest our readers to visit http://nevenavuksanovic.com in order to get a wider idea of your multifaceted artistic production: you seem to be in an incessant

and Katherine C. Wilson, curator

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Nevena Vuksanovic

search of an organic, almost intimate symbiosis between a conceptual formalism and a reference to the emotional sphere: have you ever happened to realize that a convergence between different approaches is the only way to achieve some results, to express some concepts?

In forms I impress emotions, thoughts and conditions which inspired me to make a sculpture. Ideas come sometimes simply by chance, for example, while I walk through the woods or read a book that makes a huge impression on me. Idea can appear also in a dream or in leisure. By turning these inspirational motives into form, my work becomes more intense and persuasive. We have highly appreciated the way you explore the boundary between Imagination and Experience and in the interesting CHAOS you seem to take advantage of Collective unconscious about the idea of human body in order to disclose unrevealed narrative behind the concepts you explore. Accordingly, Imagination acts as cornerstones for the fullfilment process of the viewers that reminds of German sculptor Thomas Demand, when he stated that "nowadays art can no longer rely much on symbolic strategies and has to probe psychological narrative elements within the medium instead": what's your point about this? And in particular, how much do you explicitly think of a narrative for your works?

The sculpture ,,CHAOS" impersonates someone who is trying to bring himself in balance with his flaws, defects, passions, internal dark and struggle. A man who is resisting decadence. I am not initially making stories in order to make a sculpture as a result. The story often grows inside me by its own and in certain moment I wish to express it through form. Usually, the stories I develope are shaped out of my internal condition, personal

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Nevena Vuksanovic

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CHAOS, 2m x 1,5m; 2010

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Nevena Vuksanovic

DREAM SHIVER, pur foam, pulp, silicone, wire; 2012 4 23 0 5 SummerOF2015


Nevena Vuksanovic

ART Habens

Maybe that one of the roles of an artist could be to reveal unexpected sides of Nature, especially of our inner Nature... what's your point about this?

In sculpture ,,DREAM OF SHIVER,, I tried to express the pain I felt in my dream. I dreamed needles moving throughout my body starting from toes all the way to my head. The only thing I could do in that time was to wait until this whole wave of pain leaves my body.The lying female figure depicts a sort of calmness contrary to spasm that I felt in my dream. Her body is permeated with tiny needles. Dream is a way of expressing suppressed feelings and a person can learn a lot about himself and his nature through a dream. I believe that getting to know his true inner nature should be a goal not only to an artist but to any person. We like the way you take a story and recontextualize it, bringing new messages and inviting the viewer to elaborate personal interpretations: at the same time, you do not reject a gaze on aesthetics, creating a lively combination between conceptual and beauty. How important is the aesthetic problem for you when you conceive a work?

DREAM OF SHIVER, detail pur foam, pulp, silicone, wire; 2012

experience or certain period in life. They are strongly connected to my internal being. The process of initial contemplation, however, brings along a kind of controlled guidance without spontaneity. It is my belief that through this process one can easily lose honesty.

I leave the spectator enough space to interpret my work in his own way and it gives me a great pleasure to hear how others experience my work. People often tend to tell more about themselves while judging my work. It is my work that directs them to project and direct themselves.

An important aspect of Dream of shiver is the way you unveil the inner connection between reality and the dream-like dimension you evokes in your shapes. You seem to appreciate an abstract beauty and sense of geometry that goes beyond any stereotyped idea, bringing a new level of significance to the idea behind your works. By the way, I'm sort of convinced that some informations & ideas are hidden, or even "encrypted" in the environment we live in, so we need -in a way- to decipher them.

Aesthetics is also very important for me, almost inseparable from the narrative. With the aesthetics, the sculpture introduces the spectator to the atmosphere of my inner world and allows him to establish connection with it.

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Naim El Hajj

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Naim El Hajj

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Summer 2015 FLEA, leather, vinyl, paper; 2011


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Summer 201510cm x 6cm; 2012 NEST, bronze,

Naim El Hajj

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Nevena Vuksanovic

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SKETCH, silicone, wire; 2012

UNTITLED/ wire, pur foam, silicone, pulp, wool, branches, paint, 1,70 x 1,50cm; 2015

A recurring feature of your approach is a process of deconstruction and assemblage of memories, but I daresay that the most

crucial aspect of your process is the way you encapsulate a vivid consciousness in the concepts conveyed in your creations, that

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Naim El Hajj

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PATERNITY OF HUNCHBACKS

Summer 2015 gypsum, patina; 2012


ART Habens

Nevena Vuksanovic

lead you to a careful choice of the materials which materializes the ideas you explore, combining a marked Plasticity with a sense of movement as in the interesting PATERNITY OF HUNCHBACKS. In particular, what progression or changes have you seen in your materials?

I use different materials such as leather, wool, silicone, wire, gypsum. The selection of materials depends from the idea that I want to express. For example, I want to express a scene from a dream, I will use brighter transparent materials in order to indicate a different dimension of consciousness. When a sculpture needs to express some sort of anxiety or narrowness, some hard working process with a lot of movement (as in sculpture Fatherhood of hunchbacks), I use materials that are heavier and harder in order to emphasize a physical effort. In the future I am planning to work on larger formats and use stronger and more resistant materials . The symbiosis between organic materials and the references to parts of human body, as in the interesting Untitled, takes such a participatory line with the viewer: we like the way you create an intimate involvement with with the viewer. At the same time, you seem to remove the historic gaze from the reality you refer to, offering to the viewers the chance to perceive it in a more atemporal form... would you like to elaborate the ideas that has lead you to conceive it?

At first, I found very interesting a huge humanlike form and a smaller one, hidden inside it. It is hard to remember the initial idea, but I think that I wanted it to express someone who wants to make a huge impression on others only by means of his exterior look, although he is quite insignificant from within. I also took as a comparison the world we live in. Later I thought, that small bronze statue should present something valuable and bright in a

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Nevena Vuksanovic

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KOMODO DRAGON wire, gauze, 1m x 2,20; 2009

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UNTITLED, metal, leather, bronze, 2m x 1,5m, 2012

they have affected your work?

person , but I think that that old face still gives another meaning to this work.

The sculpture ,,CHEETAH", made from wire and wool, which I have done in my second year an College, presented a turning point in my work. The form of the sculpture gave me enough space to express my intimate dimension.

Another relevant aspect of your installations that we would like to highlight is that although most of the times your works show a realistic representation, you do not avoid references to an intimate dimension that, for example in CHEETAH, let the viewer free to fulfill the area of suspended significance you put in your works, in a way that has reminds us of the idea behind Keith Edmier's early production. By the way, can you tell us your biggest influencesand how

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I was influenced the most by my professors from Faculty for Fine arts in Belgrade. There I was strongly motivated and guided in order to think about myself and my work above all,

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Naim El Hajj

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Summer EXTENSION, wire, wool, 1,20 x 1m; 2015 2014


ART Habens

Nevena Vuksanovic

discover my artistic expression and direction that I am following and exploring at present.

is why I always make a selection which opinion I would value the more. An artist should not be pleasing anyone, he should be loyal to himself.

During these years you had the chance to exhibit your works in many occasions including a recent participation at the NordArt - International art exhibition in Budelsdorf, so I would like to pose a a question about the nature of the relation with your audience: in particular, do you consider the issue of audience reception as being a crucial component of your decisionmaking process in terms of what type of language for a particular context?

Thanks a lot for this interesting conversation, Nevena. Finally, we would you like to tell us readers something about your future projects. How do you see your work evolving?

I think now it is important for me to move and travel in order to keep up with the events in connection with my work. Next plan is to make my own exhibition in Serbia and after that to go to art residencies in as many places as possible in order to bond with other credible people, learn from them and collaborate with them.

The feedback from the audience is very important for me, but on the other hand, there all different types of audiences. There is lot of audience with degrade criteria, which

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CHEETAH, wire, wool, 1,20 x 2m; 2008


Kristina Rutar Rutar My work is a mirror, which narrates personal story while breaking constructs of traditional mediums. Finding and building relations between the individual and artwork is a driving force when creating. I constantly search for unconscious forms when interpreting my surroundings. Abstract forms are born from reinterpreting realistic ones and with ambiguity they tell universal stories, which are dependent on one’s personal narrative. With spontaneity and dynamism, the forms range from dream-like to erotic shapes and give the individual the power and the freedom, to create a personal experience through associations and fantasies. They are often delivered from interpreting human figure. I tend to question and challenge printmaking and ceramics as mediums. I am intrigued by finding uniqueness in processes that are traditionally used to create multiples. When breaking the rules of the used medium, I try to turn objects into artefacts to reactivate the mediums characteristics. When using the potter’s wheel in ceramics, I alter these forms and break their functionality to reinterpret them into a sculpture. In printmaking, I focus on creating monoprints by combining different matrixes as well as changing the color and paper, creating individually unique prints. With installing the pieces, the viewer is challenged to physically interact with the whole space. Kristina Rutar

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Appearances, titanium, porcelain, stoneware, var 021 4


Kristina Rutar

ART Habens

video, 2013

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Kristina Rutar

03 4 Fragment, from Diploma Exhibition of Interdisciplinary Printmaking in E. Geppert Summer 2015 Summer 2015


Kristina Rutar

An interview with An interview by Katherine C. Wilson, curator and Dario Rutigliano, curator arthabens@mail.com

Kristina Rutar explores the liminal area in which dreamlike dimension converges to concrete, perceptual reality. Working both in ceramics and printmaking, her creations investigate about the relations between the individual and artwork is a driving force when creating. Rutar's gaze on contemporariness doesn't simply deliver a mere report on new aspects of reality but also offers a personal view on what's behind our the experiences mediated by our perceptual process. It is with a real pleasure that we introduce our readers to her stimulating works. Hello Kristina, and welcome to ART Habens: to start this interview, would you like to tell us something about your background? You have a solid formal training after graduating from Art Education at the Faculty of Education at the University of Ljubljana, you enrolled the Interdisciplinary Printmaking program at the in Academy Sztuk Pięknych E. Gepperta in Wrocłav, where you are currently studying. How do these experiences inform your evolution as an artist?

Kristina Rutar, photo by Gašper Lešnik

and the act of wiping the ink off the plate. The “ah-ha” effect of lifting the print from the matrix and seeing the print for the first time, gives the technique a special charm.

During my undergraduate studies, I had the opportunity to work with many different mediums: ceramics, painting, drawing, sculpture, and printmaking. The experience of simultaneously working in different mediums, not only gave me the opportunity to see which mediums I am most passionate about, but also a chance to experiment. I was able to transfer knowledge and experience from one medium to another. This is also when I fell in love with wheel-throwing and intaglio, both mediums which I never considered I’d ever work with. I think only potters can describe the feeling experience d during the first wheel-throwing. A year after my first wheel throwing experience, intaglio sneaked into my life. I felt I needed something to balance my creativity. I just loved the color on my hands

Towards the end of my studies, I decided to go for the Erasmus exchange to Wroclaw, where I focused on my ceramic sculptures. I choose this academy because they have a great class about artistic expression on the potter’s wheel. This topic happened to also be the main topic of my diploma thesis. After graduating, I wanted my printmaking skills to evolve, so I enrolled in an Interdisciplinary Printmaking Program, at the same academy in Wroclaw. Studying abroad has been the strongest influence on my work. Meeting new people, with different culture backgrounds, different

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Kristina Rutar

Consequences I., II., III., serigraphy, 15x15 cm, 2015 Foto: Kristina Rutar

to realize the full potential of the medium, reactivating its inner and sometimes forgotten characteristics. Do you think that such journey along different media is the only way to achieve the results you pursue in your practice?

experiences, and views shape me as a person and as an artist. It breaks my habits and forces me to react to new situations, which results with new, fresh ideas and forms. Most importantly, it gives me confidence about my work and the path I decided to pursue. The decision of becoming an artist was not an easy one and it is a comforting feeling to be surrounded with people who share the same passion as me.

Working between different mediums is the way I feel most free with my work. I wouldn’t necessarily say it’s the only way for me to work, but it is definitely the most fitting.

The distinctive multidisciplinary feature that marks out your approach shows a methodic search of a point of convergence between the expressive capabilities of the media you use, and a more conceptual practice: both in your ceramics and in your printmaking you tend

Summer 2015

The mediums I use strongly affect my artwork, they are an inspiration. A dialog is created between me and the used medium. When I lose this connection or I feel I have nothing else to say in one medium, I can switch to another and

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ART Habens

In the meanwhile, would you like to tell us something about the genesis of this project? What was your initial inspiration?

find new “conversation”. I limit myself when I only work in one medium because I lose my openness that I have when all mediums are available to me. I find myself an adaptable artist, therefore if methods change or new situations present itself, there is always the opportunity to alter my art practice. There are always different and new ways of working, and I know that there is a long road ahead of me.

The idea was to make a rectangle consisting of small prints (10x15cm), made in silkscreen, on old book’s paper. The rectangle would represent evolution, starting from pure black prints and with each line of the rectangle small changes would happen on the prints. They would slowly evolve into eccentric, colorful prints. The decision of printing on book’s paper was made because I wanted to create monotypes and each paper is different because of the text on it. I was searching for uniqueness in mediums which are meant to be used for

To start focusing your artistic production, I would begin from your Consequences series,that our readers can admire in the pages, and I would suggest to our readers to visit http://www.kristinarutar.com in order to get a wider idea of your artistic production.

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Kristina Rutar

Consequences IV., V., VI., serigraphy, 15x15 cm, 2015 Foto: Kristina Rutar

making series. Each paper was therefore individually collaged with old maps or different typographies. Some of the prints also have my handwriting. I felt challenged with it I was faced with some problematics, which made the project even more interesting. I was following this idea until I laid all the prints in a big rectangle as planned. And it was a disappointment. I saw that all the wonderful details would get lost, the prints were not working harmoniously together. So I decided to change the idea of project. I selected prints I liked the best and either paired them together, collected them in smaller rectangles or scanned them and digitally printed them in a bigger size. I was searching how to turn my own mistakes that I made during the

Summer 2015

process into an advantage. Consequences were born from an unrealized project, and I’m happy for every mistake I made during the process. However, the idea of creating evolution didn’t leave me, so I decided to also make an animation from the rest of the prints, where the idea is more clearly representable. I love printmaking. The possibilities the medium offers me are endless and I can never get bored. From one simple idea I ended up with several different artworks. I feel I still have so many options how to further develop this project. The way you take a concept and recontextualize it, probing psychological narrative elements and altering the

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Kristina Rutar

functionality of forms, brings unexpected messages and invites the viewer to elaborate personal interpretations: at the same time, you do not reject a gaze on aesthetics, creating a lively combination between conceptual and beauty. How important is the aesthetic problem for you when you conceive a work?

ART Habens

series is born from my aesthetics views. Personal interpretations should be therefore mainly created according to the aesthetic part of my work. The play with color, finding the proportions and relations between shapes are a playful challenge, which never bores me, but constantly inspires me. For me, works which are based purely on concept and ignore the importance of aesthetic problems, are not a work of art. That’s why I sometimes have problems with contemporary museums. They tend to leave me empty, they cannot fulfill my expectations I have for visual art. And vice versa, aesthetic artworks in just pleasing art without pushing conceptual boundaries.

Concept is delicately incorporated into the aesthetic works, without one overshadowing the other. They have to harmoniously breathe together. I have a general concept, however, when I shape my work it is not in focus. Usually it’s built towards the end of finishing a series. I collect my work and find a story, which is built on aesthetic problems. I could say concept of a

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Kristina Rutar

Migration I., from Migration triptych, collage, serigraphy, 15x10 cm, 2015 Foto: Kristina Rutar

For a generation of artists, the first romance with visual arts has been abstract expressionism: even if creative people don’t get explicitly involved with abstraction, we could state that it remains the core mythology of contemporary visual art. I daresay that your works, and I'm particularly referring to the Migration triptych, aims to harmonize an impulse to abstraction with a steady reference to real world, whose reminders saturate each piece of the series. In this sense, your process goes beyond a mere assemblage of memories and invites the viewer to discover or better to elaborate a personal narrative: Do you conceive these

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composition on an instinctive way or do you rather structure your process in order to reach the right balance? And in particular, how much do you explicitly think of a narrative for your works?

Well, I am definitely one of those artists who are in love with abstract expressionism. I have been affected by it since I was little, I will never forget the feelings I felt towards Pollock’s work, when I was about thirteen years old. Everything about it makes sense. It opened my eyes. That not only strongly affected my work, but also built expectations I have for art. I relate to abstract expressionism because the artists worked very

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Kristina Rutar

ART Habens

Migration II., from Migration triptych, collage, serigraphy, 15x10 cm, 2015 Foto: Kristina Rutar

When I plan my work, narrative is more intentional then when I work intuitively. When I strongly feel an idea and I try to express it as clear as possible, but I embrace the surprises which are given by working according to instinct. Beautiful mistakes can be made, which add character to the piece and broader my knowledge.

intuitively. That is a very important element of my way of working. My reactions are almost impulsive, based on what I have already made during the creative process. I plan only when it comes to bigger works, installations, but even then the plan is very loose or short termed. Migration triptych was actually made from the rectangle project, I was explaining about before. Working in silkscreen gave me the opportunity to constantly improvise, therefore, improve my works.

When you state that your work is a mirror, I remind of the concept of Heterotopia, elaborated by philosopher Michel Foucault: the way you break constructs of traditional mediums communicates me a subtle introspective analysis that seems to speak of

Because of my improvised process of working, the narrative of my works comes naturally, spontaneously. It is hidden in me unconsciously.

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Kristina Rutar

Migration III., from Migration triptych, collage, serigraphy, 15x10 cm, 2015 Foto: Kristina Rutar

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Kristina Rutar

ART Habens

your personal evolution as a multimedia artist. In your interesting Embryo series, besides an apparent inclination to Hermetism, I can recognize such an Ariadne's Thread that you seem to offer to the viewers, in order to help us to accomplish the gestation of the interpretation, which is never an inward looking process. How much do you like to intervene in the relation with the viewer?

I intervene in viewer’s relation to my work to the point where they can fully experience it. Even though I always point out how important it is to me that the viewer have their own personal space while interpreting my work, that’s not completely possible. My works are delivered from my personal experiences and then shared with others. So, the connection between the artist and the viewer will always be present within the artwork. There will always be a link which will limit viewer’s independence. Titling works and exhibitions can provoke a strong association and distract viewers from forming their own experience. The titles of the works are important to me because they are open to interpretation but can also lead the viewer in a direction as well, without forcing them into one concrete idea. That is why I title my works with titles, which give enough space for interpretation. Through art I allow myself to have an introspection and go through my personal experience. My artwork is like a mirror of my personal reflections. As you have remarked once, you do not want to dictate what the viewer should think or feel and also in Invading the space you reject an explanatory strategy: do you think that the way you gently to stop and have an inner reflection could be assimilated to an educative activity? This may sound as stretching a bit the notion of education, but I'm sort of convinced that art, especially when it doesn't conveys explicit message could play an unexpectedly crucial role of guidance in the contemporary age...

In one way or another art will always have a role of educating. Art connects everything; history,

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Naim El Hajj

4 23 0 5 Summer 2015 Invading the space, detail, wheel-thrown and altered stoneware, wood-fired, size varriates according to the place of


Naim El Hajj

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exhibiting, 2014 Foto: Kristina Rutar

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Kristina Rutar

Puzzled III., collage, digital, 120x180 cm, 2015

Puzzled IV., collage, digital, 120x180 cm, 2015

Foto: Kristina Rutar

Foto: Kristina Rutar

philosophy, science, language, psychology and also religion. But with my works it is more related to introspection and self-observation, and the emotional part of the human being; Facing your own associations and unconsciousness. That is why I want my work to be a mirror, so that the viewer starts thinking about themselves and start listening to their own intuition and feelings. Of course, not many people search for such interaction in art. Everyone takes something different away from art, some people want to learn from it, some want an emotional response and others want something that is only aesthetically pleasing. I try to combine all these attributes into my work, to make a complete piece.

The suggestive juxtaposition between abstract and often dream-like imagery and a concrete plasticity seems to operate a temporal deformation, that removes the historic gaze from the reality you refer to, offering to the viewers the chance to relate themselves to the universally imagery your draw from in an absolute and almost atemporal form. So I would take this occasion to ask you if in your opinion personal experience is an absolutely indispensable part of a creative process... Do you think that a creative process could be disconnected from direct experience?

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My creative process is my personal experience

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Kristina Rutar

ART Habens

Puzzled I., collage, digital, 120x180 cm, 2015

Puzzled II., collage, digital, 120, 180 cm, 2015

Foto: Kristina Rutar

Foto: Kristina Rutar

with the medium and it reflects my life experiences and interactions with people. Art history also strongly affected me. I try to learn from it. I believe that art history has created standards that make it difficult to not draw from the past. With our society we are saturated with images on a daily basis. Sometimes it is more difficult than others to pinpoint where the inspiration comes from, but though art history classes I have taken that I know which artists I draw from. During my process of working, the experience of what I’ve seen and learned in art subtly leads me through decision making. That is why the more versed you are about art, the more unique you can be and create your own voice. Knowledge about art history plays an

important role in the creative process, as well as being important for an artist to know who paved the way for them to create the work they do now. In my opinion, creative process can be separated from direct experience, but that results in an accomplished craftsmanship. If a person disconnects personal interaction with the work, the process of work becomes automatic and the product’s role is merely decorative. Such disconnection also allows a person to create reproductions. In art personal experiences allows us to make different work. An artist makes one piece, or a small, limited edition; printmaking being an exception. This is why I’m more interested in creating monotypes. The automatism of working is uninteresting to

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Naim El Hajj

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Naim El Hajj

ART Habens

Appearances, detail 21 Slovenia, 2011 0from 4 6 solo exhibition in Gallery Atelje, Ljubljana, Summer 2015 Foto: Atelje Galerija


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Kristina Rutar

incredible. Children in creative workshops showed me that there is always space for more enthusiasm. With their ambition, passion and stubbornness they build an interesting creative process. It’s also very interesting to see how calming wheel-throwing is for them. They are able to focus and work independently. That’s also why is clay considered to be so therapeutic. Children have dreams while adults forgot how to use their imagination and the sense of wondering. Their imagination is inspiring.

me. I feel robotic when creating the same work multiple times, and the creative process is lost to me. I think it's important to highlight that besides producing your own Art, you are particularly involved into teaching: you held the position of professor's assistant at the Faculty of Education in Ljubljana beween 2010 and 2012. Moreover, for long time you have voluntarily managed children’s workshops, focusing on behavioral issues as autism: I find that using art not only as a platform for self-expression, but also to face, and often solve problems is an enormous accomplishment for an artist, and it reveals a social engagement of the utmost importance. Would you like to tell our readers something about this laudable activity? Moreover, if this doesn't sound a bit naive, I would like to ask you if in such occasions you have learnt something special from your young students.

During these years you have participated to several exhibition and so far you had seven solos, including the recent 2+1= ceramics + paintings in Gallery Herman Pečarič, Piran, an award for one e of your sculptures at Extempore of Ceramics in Piran, Slovenia. Before thanking you for such interesting talk, I would like to pose you a question about the relation with your audience: in particular, your approach to printmaking is connected to the chance of establishing a lively relationship with the viewers, which are invited to physically interact with the whole space in which your pieces are installed. So it is obvious that you consider the issue of audience reception as being a crucial component of your decision-making process in terms of what type of language for a particular context?

I have always worked with people, especially children, either by leading creative workshops, as a demonstrator of ceramics at my faculty, or as a volunteer. During these experiences, I had a chance to work for one year with two autistic children. I became familiar with the Son Rise program, and learned the importance of observation. The program is home-based, its purpose is to build a relationship through playing. In order to do that, you have to understand child’s world and show that you are interested in it. Observing them, understanding what is hidden behind their behavioral patterns, why they act and react in certain ways, allows you to build a relation with the child. It is interesting, how two different worlds connect at such crucial point. I feel everything ends up with observation.

The way of setting the exhibition is crucial for how the viewer’s look is guided through the space and what impression they get from an artwork. There are so many factors I have to be careful about, if I want to fulfill my idea. I think it is my responsibility towards the viewer that I arrange my works in order they get out of them as much as possible. In a way, I’m like a tourist guide. Taking them on a road, showing them new, interesting parts of the world, but how they feel or understand them depends solely on them. My job is to guide the viewer as good as possible and to stimulate them to personally, emotionally and intellectually interact with my artwork. I place my sculptures with full awareness of the space, which takes a lot of planning and consideration. It is important that the viewers are leaded through the space and that I intrigue them to interact with it. I think

If you want to be a successful artist, you need to know how to observe. You need to be able to see the small details, which makes the world so different and special. Knowing how to see things can inspire your work. If you want to work with people, especially children, you also need this skill. Building a stable relationship simply requests observing other’s behaviors and trying to find the reason behind it. When I teach children how to wheel-throw, their persistence is

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Naim El Hajj

King, wheel-thrown and altered stoneware, 2012 Foto: Kristina Rutar 21 06 4

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ART ARTHabens Habens

Kristina Rutar

Relations, exhibition and happening, visitors are rearranging the exhibition according to their own interpretation of the sculptures, Furstova hiša, Ptuj, 2013 Foto: Kristina Rutar

series Relations were the best compromise between viewer’s freedom, inviting them to interact with my work and my own personal expression. With placing the sculptures in the gallery, the viewer was guided, but I do believe they still had their own personal space for independent experience. They had to discover the space. They were often surprised to discover sculptures on the floor or behind a plinth. And during the Relations exhibition an event was made; the viewers were invited to rearrange the exhibition. I had a disagreement once with a curator about the way I was placing my works in the gallery. A sculpture was placed behind a plinth and it was not lit. You could see it only from the stairs when moving down to the

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ground floor, where was the second part of my exhibition. I did this on purpose. It was meant as a reward for those, who were paying attention to the space and my concept. This can be an unusual practice, but every sculpture plays a role in my exhibitions. Thanks a lot for this interesting conversation, Kristina. Finally, I would you like to tell us readers something about your future projects: anything coming up for you professionally that you would like readers to be aware of?

I’m at the point of moving back to Slovenia, so all my plans are open right now but my goals remain the same, in search for new

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Kristina Rutar

ART Habens

Relations, exhibition and happening, visitors are rearranging the exhibition according to their own interpretation of the sculptures, Furstova hiša, Ptuj, 2013 Foto: Kristina Rutar

opportunities. Currently, I’m searching for a gallery to exhibit my serigraph series, possibly abroad. I’ll continue working in ceramics, printmaking and drawing. Having almost a year break from ceramics makes me excited of returning to the medium.

smaller prints with embossments. I’m already doing some tests and I see some possible variations of creating new series. I also want to try and connect them with other materials or creating collage from them. I plan to continue with leading workshops, possibly also do volunteer work. I’m not rejecting the possibility of enrolling in another postgraduate study, to bring more skills to help push my multimedia view point.

I already have some ideas for new sculptures, which would complement my prints made this year. I also want to continue from where I have left in ceramics. Invading the Space was the last work I’ve done, making a new installation, complementing and upgrading the last one would be a nice warm up for my return to my favorite medium. In printmaking, I see a challenge in enlarging and digital printing

But this decision will come with more time. I will also apply to residencies, they fill me up with energy and creativity. Hopefully I will apply for a residency in Asia, so I experience another culture shock to refresh my thinking.

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Eric Souther "Here are myths created by Mass Media. Gods, if you will, that change the way we perceive the world around us. These myths seep into our consciousness and possess us. It mounts us much like a rider and his horse. This is how we travel through the network, physically linking ourselves to the sacred paths laid out by the myths of the media, and it is these paths that remain invisible. Myth of the Masses gives us a glimpse into the ritualistic space of media."

Eric Souther

Breathe Forrest, Breathe!

Sophie Iremonger

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Installation(4mx4mx4m), 2013 021 4


Eric Souther

ART Habens

video, 2013

Life in the Maelstrom 0 422

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Single Channel Video, 2012


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Eric Souther

Search Engine Vision "Chair"

Summer 2015 Single Channel Summer 2015Video, 2011

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Eric Souther

An interview with An interview by Katherine C. Wilson, curator and Josh Ryders, curator arthabens@mail.com

An insightful process of harmonization of multiple timeframes leads Eric Souther to conceive video installations capable of offering to the viewer a multilayered experience, urging to rethink about the ambiguous dichotomy between the perception of space and time. While question in the mythopoiesis of mass media in the contemporary age, his unconventional approach creates an area of interplay where the viewers are invited to explore unexpected relationships with reality and the way we perceive it. I'm very pleased to introduce our readers to his refined artistic production. Hello Eric and welcome to ART Habens: to start this interview, would you like to tell us something about your background? In particular, you have a solid formal training and you hold a B.F.A. of New Media and a M.F.A. of Electronic Integrated Art that you later received from the New York State College of Ceramics at Alfred University, so I would like to ask how training has influenced your evolution as an artist. By the way, you are currently Assistant Professor of New Media: how does the continuous contact with young creative minds inform the way you currently conceive and produce your works?

Eric Souther

I was in the first group through Kansas City Art Institute’s digital foundation track in 2005 with professor Tom Lewis. Those early experiences exposed me to different ways of thinking and making with digital mediums, and is where I found my love for the moving image. My formal training at KCAI and EIA at Alfred University both focused heavily on conceptual development, and gave a space to interact and exist in a community of creative people. It’s in being in those communities that influenced the artist I am

today. I sought out teaching as a way to give back and still participate in a community. I am inspired by the creativity and problem solving of my students. Conversations in the classroom or examples I create often leads to new works. Its an exciting field that is always in flux. I would start to focus on your artistic production beginning from "Myth of the Masses", an interesting work that our readers have already started to get to know in the introductory pages of this article.

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ART Habens

Eric Souther

What mostly appeals to me of this piece is the way your investigation about mythopoesis accomplished by cotemporary mass media conveys an effective sociopolitical criticism, mixed with a refined aesthetics in such a compelling way. In particular, I like the way you unveil the liminal area in which the subcounscious dimension and the perceptual reality seem to find an unexpected equilibrium: do you conceive it on an instinctive way or do you rather structure your process in order to reach the right balance?

There is a mixture of instinct with structure later applied in editing. Myth of the Masses was constructed at first in a large sequence of images that was datamoshed in a performative nature in real-time. It’s a reflexive process that is unpredictable in many ways, but I pay close attention to potential metaphors that later affected the script. For example the quote “They consume us as we consume them” has an image of a man eating in the foreground and as he chews his food the datamoshing displaces the background into the man’s mouth consuming him. After serendipitously finding these metaphors, I later structure them via traditional editing. Many contemporary artists as Edward Burtynsky or Michael Light use to convey social criticism, environmental activism and even explicit political messages in their works. Do you consider that your works are political in this way or do you seek to maintain a neutral approach?

I don’t consider my work political, but that’s not to say they are not. I am simply looking for ways to perceive or represent the ritualistic spaces of media. Pathways to new understanding of our digital and non-digital existence.

Myth of the Masses, Single Channel Video, 2012

most of your works, this piece is open to various interpretations: as the late Franz West did in his installations, your approach reveals unconventional aesthetics in the way you deconstruct and assemble memories in a collective imagery. Although

In "Myth of the Masses" you probe the evokative potential of the medium itself. As

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Eric Souther

ART Habens

make you want to center your artistic style around it?

each of your projects has an autonomous life, there always seem to be a clear channel of communication between your works, springing from the way you convey your analysis. What is it specifically about deconstruction which fascinates you and

I seek to actively break, hack, and process to explore beyond the seductive qualities of the image in order to understand the

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CRISPR, work currently in process


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Eric Souther

Myth of the Masses, Single Channel Video, 2012

residency at Signal Culture, during which time you created the "Dissecting Muybridge" series, your relationship with digital and analog changed dramatically: your analysis of the language of film, rather than a dichotomy, seems to pick out

subliminal codes diriving representation in the 21st Century. By deconstructing the image it gives me a way to humanize it and reveal unseen connections. You have once remarked that after your

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Eric Souther

ART Habens

hybrid techniques that on the long run will definitely fill any dichotomy between art and technology, that will eventually going to assimilate one to each other... what's your opinion about it?

As a media artist I don’t see a dichotomy between art and technology. I was recently asked by my good friend Jason Bernagozzi to be on a panel proposal titled “Old Media is New Media”, which is about the “increasing interest in creating hybrid expression in contemporary media art using the medium specific language of older technologies.” The topic for me is about a philosophical way of working that been lost to many as a result of today’s corporate creative software. It’s a struggle to go against the defaults, or challenge what is possible, when there a huge drive towards mastering ways of making that are prescribed to us by companies like Adobe. I challenge my students in every class to play and experiment with their current tools and I believe it gives them not only problem solving skills, but a deeper relationship with technology. This allows them to adapt to new technologies and also hopefully work towards building their own tools or if not, repurposing or misusing current tools to their advantage. There is a lot to be learned from older technologies and creating hybrid techniques, which I agree is a trend as you mention. Specifically to my field analog systems can help us understand the importance of play and experimentation. I have developed interactive systems on the computer via Max/MSP and Jitter and recently Processing; however, being introduced to analog systems during my residency at Signal Culture in 2014, opened my eyes to an aspect of what I mention is missing in today’s contemporary technologies. Developing interactive systems on the computer entails a certain level of tediousness and logic that is a

a point of convergence between digital and analog techniques. In the contemporary age, the pervasive presence of digital manipulation has got us used to the idea that the only possible direction we could move to is an ever growing saturation of

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Myth of the Masses, Single Channel Video, 2012


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Eric Souther

completely different way of working than an analog system. Analog is more forgiving and open to exploration with physical knobs to twist and the instantaneity of real-time feedback. To be clear this is possible on a completely digital system, however not without a certain level experience in programming. Where it gets really interesting, specifically for the work I am doing now, are the possibilities of a hybrid system that allows for both ways of thinking to work harmoniously. While exhibiting a captivating vibrancy, you sometimes seem to reject an explicit explanatory strategy: rather, you seem to offer to the viewer a key to find personal interpretations to the concepts you communicate through your works: this quality marks out a considerable part of your production in which, rather that a conceptual interiority, I can recognize the desire to enabling us to establish direct relations... Would you say that it's more of an intuitive or a systematic process?

I work towards creating an experience rather than a document to be read or seen. I give my conceptual premises systematically in the title or in the artist statement, the art should be intuitive. Another interesting work from your recent production that has impacted on me and an which I would be pleased to spend some words is entitled "CHROMA-CURRENT", in which you have given a spatial form to the RGB space through a suggestive use of analog visual feedback. By definition video is rhythm and movement: you create timebased works that induce the viewer to abandon himself to his associations, looking at time in spatial terms and I daresay, rethinking the concept of space in such a static way: this seems to remove any historic gaze from the reality you refer to, offering to the viewers the chance to perceive in a more atemporal form. How do you conceive the rhythm of your works?

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CHROMA-CURRENT, Single Channel Video, 2014

In that piece particularly and in all my works rhythm is performed intuitively within a reflexive system (meaning I can manipulate

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Eric Souther

in real-time) either via code, analog, or both. If this dialog doesn’t take place for me the work becomes stale. The viewer doesn’t get

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a chance for interaction, but can experience forms unfolding.

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Impermanence, Single Channel Video, 2011


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Eric Souther

CHROMA-CURRENT, Single Channel Video, 2014

I have really enjoyed your refined exploration of the psychological nature of the collective imagery: I daresay that the

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way you subvert the language of media is in a certain sense representative of the relationship between emotion and memory.

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Eric Souther

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different way. What is the role of memory in your process? And in particular, do you try to achieve a faithful visual translation of your feelings?

Video as a liminal medium evokes impressions of memory; however, I don’t see memory as being at the conceptual forefront of my work. I would say poetics and philosophy play a big role in my practice. It is important to my work to always be in an open dialog with the medium; that is, responding to the image or process and listening to what it is saying. This is specifically important to electronic media as there is a certain amount of intelligence inherently present in a circuit (analog) or software (digital) that I am not responsible for. Therefore my “feelings� become less important as I believe good work comes out of a balance between what the process or image is saying and concepts I am wanting to address. Over your career you have showcased your work in several occasions. So before leaving this conversation I would like to pose a question about the nature of the relationship of your art with your audience. Do you consider the issue of audience reception as being a crucial component of your decision-making process, in terms of what type of language is used in a particular context?

With media art I have both a small audience and at times a large audience via the web. Periodically through the creative process I attempt to step back and become the audience member. I constantly ask questions and through research attempt to layer multifaceted interpretations through the work. In the long run I make the art I want to make.

I find it truly poetically engaging and I have to confess that it suddenly forced me to relate myself to your works in a

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Eric Souther

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Eric Souther

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Eric Souther

Prepositions, work currently in process

Thanks a lot for your time and for sharing your thoughts, Eric. Finally, would you like to tell us readers something about your future projects? How do you see your work evolving?

Jones. One work I’ve already started to piece together is tentatively titled “Prepositions.� In the work, I have hundreds of purposely bad (centered) compositions of the bases of trees that progress from a forest, to suburbs, and then to cities.

I just got back from my second Artist In Residency at Signal Culture. I created a lot of potential new work, most notably I got to work on a newly designed Color Wobbulator designed by Jason Bernagozzi and Dave

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I progressively use the wobbulator to destabilize and eventually deconstruct these image into abstraction as a critique on the

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Eric Souther

foundational ways of thinking. Using the tree is a symbol of philosophical branches of knowledge.

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analog and digital, and I am also looking to do more live audiovisual performances.

The destabilization creates a metaphor for new ways of thinking and understanding. I also have new work dealing with the implications of CRISPR, brain synapses, and possibly prayer poses. I see my practice becoming increasingly hybrid between

An interview by Katherine C. Wilson, curator and Josh Ryders, curator arthabens@mail.com

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Profile for ART Habens

ART Habens Contemporary Art Review // Special Issue  

ART Habens Contemporary Art Review // Special Issue  

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