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ART

Special Edition

H A B E N S C o n t e m p o r a r y

A r t

R e v i e w

CECILIA BORGENSTAM MENGDA ZHANG BOBBY FORSYTHE CAROL LAFAYETTE EUN SUN CHO ANDRÈ PERIM ALICE BROOKES JUN-YUAN HONG ANNE YONCHA

ART

a work by


ART

H

A

B

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

N

A r t

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R e v i e w

Eun Sun Cho

André Perim

Cecilia Borgenstam

Carol LaFayette

Jun-Yuan Hong

Anne Yoncha

Germany

Brazil

Sweden / USA

USA

Taiwan

Norway

I work in the fields of photography, drawings, installation and sculpture. My projects revolve around the elements of photographic mediums dealing with physical and technical problems such as measurements, algorithms, analogue/digital difference and representation of language of formality accompanied by the processuality of the image. In conjunction with the themes, I investigate the intersection of chemiphysical phenomena with photographic reality.

Information overload is a problem that is affecting us all. I think we are facing several deep changes in our lives no matter where we are living in. I am here in Brazil, a country with a very unique culture and and now it lot of things are going into a unexpected direction. It seems as most people are not likely to consider complexity. And it is not a local problem, it is almost everywhere. We increased so much the amount of information that we can´t handle it anymore.

The definition of “transience”, a word used to replace the term “homeless”, is “short-lived” or “a state of briefness”, but in the context of displacement, the state of transience can be anything but brief. In Here/Not Here, I photograph objects in abandoned camps in San Francisco’s Golden Gate Park but the visual topography depicted is sadly not isolated to a specific geographical point.

My studio/lab, 40 acres in Central Texas, is an island in an ocean of development eating through green places later named for what’s gone (“Wolf Run,” “Civet Hollow”).

My film works have strong inner emotional problems. The main reason comes from my incomplete original family.

My research examines the ethical complexity of ecological restoation in a time of novel ecosystems and accelerating human impact. My studio practice combines digital sensing technology, such as bio-data sonification, and analog, traditional processes including painting with ink I make with locallysourced tannins and hand-made paper from local plant material. I aim to create work that transforms microcopic or invisible processes into anaogues viewers can experience in a tangible and visceral way.

I build remote sensing devices customized for the question I'm asking and then fashion the samples into artwork as a trace of where it came from…really Ordinary day to day nowhere, just objects are left to ordinary grass and interact with the natural elements of the trees, a few bogs, some animals. Remote park, where the cold sensing allows me to pacific coast fog and strong winds make their get close to subjects, or to see own mark on the underground. rugged terrain.

Therefore, in the film, I like to construct these tangled feelings through close-up, and look for people with similar family situations, let them be my elements of the image that respond to and express their emotional state of facing family problems through the encounters of these different living individuals.


In this issue

Anne Yoncha

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Mengda Zhang Carol LaFayette

Bobby Forsythe Jun-Yuan Hong

André Perim Bobby Forsythe

Mengda Zhang

Alice Brookes

United Kingdom

China / USA

United Kingdom

Bobby Forsythe is a visual artist based in Suffolk, England. Her creations emphasise spatiality and experience for the beholder by creating elaborate installations that exude vibrancy and luminosity.Forsythe is extremely influenced by the phenomenon of immersive installations and has created sensory artwork that allows for the beholder to interact and immerse themselves into a room of threedimensional shape and light. In response to her installations, Forsythe creates two dimensional paintings that portray colour and the incorporation of light through various shades and tones.

I have a research based practice wherein I create performances, videos and installations.

Throughout her work, Alice continually questions the custodianship over the female body, in a society obsessed with female beauty.

The work unpacks personal, social, and historical complexities of my subjects and search for non-binary perspectives, from reality, literature, or imagination, which escapes any one-side grand narrative. Through consistently experimenting with different media and materials, I attempt to translate bodily experience, which may be specific and cultural, to audiences as much as possible.

On the cover:

Pushing questions of what it means to be a woman alongside the notions of fairy tale fantasy & perfection. Alice has been influenced by wide ranging historical references, from the witch hunts of the 1600s, through the waves of Feminism, to present day restrictions on women's bodies with the recent ‘Heartbeat bill’.

Alice Brookes

Eun Sun Cho Cecilia Borgenstam

34 58 82 106 129 148 164 184

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.

, a work by


Lives and works in Wilmington, Delaware, USA


Tell Me There’s A Mathematical Equation For Being Alive


Second Wind


Anne Yoncha An interview by and

, curator curator

Hello Anne and welcome to ART Habens. Before starting to elaborate about your artistic production we would like to invite our readers to visit https://anneyoncha.com and we would start this interview with a couple of questions about your background. You have a solid formal training and after having earned your Bachelor of Arts in Fine Arts from the University of Delaware, you nurtured your education with a Master of Fine Arts that you received from the University of Montana: how did those formative years and your cultural substratum influence your evolution as an artist? Moreover, how does your current experience as a Fulbright Student Research Fellow at the Natural Resources Institute Finland help you to develop your attitude to experiment with different media and art disciplines? I grew up in Delaware—a small state you can drive across longways in about two hours. But there is so much variety there—DuPont and its history of engineering and industry really shaped a different culture up north than the agriculture and tourism you see in the south— what northern Delawareans mostly affectionately call “slower lower”. And the thing that made this difference was about a 200 foot elevation change, the Piedmont Plateau. This last drop-off before the coastal plain led to development of mill power all around where I grew up, and you can still see this dividing line of population density and political leaning that follows the geography. I think this was especially hard to ignore in Delaware, because it’s such a compact state— and it seeped into the background of the way I thought about the world and the art I was

Anne Yoncha Photo courtesy of Starrett Artists

making in undergrad and in my early 20s. But I didn’t start to really think about land use and how it shapes the way we look at the world until I moved to Missoula, Montana. I remember walking around the back of Mt Sentinel, overlooking Missoula, and seeing a single tree in a field of grass, and thinking to myself, that would never happen in Delaware. The only way to get a field with a single tree there would be to chop down all the other

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trees. But in Montana, I started to notice a pattern of denser tree growth on north and east aspects of mountains, and sparser and grassier landscape on south and west—and this is because the difference in light, water, and evaporation is significant enough to shape really different ecosystems. I was really lucky to meet a plant physiologist that first fall—Gerard Sapés, who became one of my ongoing collaborators—who could explain exactly how this worked. I noticed a lot of the words he was using to describe the mechanics of drought in a tree—words like “tension”—were words I used to describe my own work. I started thinking about how plants can often seem so static but incorporate actually really pressurized systems, even equivalent to atmospheres of pressure! How can I use materials and space in a way that allows people to feel what is happening inside them in a tangible and visceral way? A Ponderosa pine, for instance, lives and dies based on a similar set of patterns and constraints that dictate our own human survival. I wanted to use my studio practice to build an affinity for these other biological systems, share their story in a material way. I’d come to grad school looking for a question to investigate—and that’s why I had such rewarding experiences at UD and UM, both schools with researchers investigating areas beyond the arts, where it was possible to meet people working on lots of different projects. At UM, a couple non-arts courses shaped my studio practice. One was a case study of land use in the superfund cleanup site along the Silver Bow and Clark Fork drainages from the Butte copper mines near the Continental Divide. I was captivated by the complexity of ecological restoration—how our conception of what is “natural” has changed over time, and the ongoing debate about a seemingly urgent need for action versus a lack of knowledge

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about the full range of impacts of our actions which are meant to be restorative. Finland was the perfect place to investigate another country’s framework for dealing with these issues, and look at extraction of peat—a biofuel, though not a renewable one. That extraction creates a novel landscape which has its own aesthetic and ecological value, and its own complicated dynamics. This work is lining up with Codex Foundation’s international project “Extraction: Art on the Edge of Abyss”, and it is exciting to consider my work within the context of so many other artists working on these issues. In terms of experimentation, I thought of myself as a painter for most of my life, and in some ways I still do. But between undergrad and grad school, I served on the founding board of Barrel of Makers—Wilmington’s first makerspace, and here I had the chance to collaborate with some people making and thinking in different ways. One of the projects I remember doing here involved making small electronic musical instruments—where you could clip leads from a simple circuit to a drawing, and the graphite from the pencil completed the circuit. The weight and length of the lines in the drawing changed the tone. It’s an idea I still think about in my work today, expanding my idea of what drawing can do, combining digital and analog. Barrel of Makers was where I learned to solder, and first started to feel like electronics were accessible, not some inscrutable and intimidating thing. It’s also where I met another of my ongoing collaborators, Brian Givens, who has worked with me on projects like Tree Talk and Second Wind. In my time in Missoula, I wanted to explore the amount of pushback in the materials I was using. Painting can be really intuitive, putting down a layer which also acts as a problem to

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the plant. I found an ancient recipe for ink from galls—high tannic-density growths on oak leaves—it was a common deep-toned ink in medieval times—and thought, pines are tannic too, maybe the needles will react to the ferric acid mordant in a similar way. And that led to a series of inks I used in Nebraska. I’m still experimenting with these in Finland, where happily my research host here, Oili Tarvainen, also enjoys working with natural dyes.

resolve, and then you can respond to that and create a new problem. You can have a dialogue with the piece. Mold-making and wood-working are different. Electronics and circuitry are different. Your jig has to be perfect, you have to plan how the mold will fit together, your circuit will work or it won’t. It seems like there is less of a gray area, and maybe also a different type of feedback throughout the process. I think about these differences in material as analogous to the difference between analog and digital sensing, a wave function and an on-off, 0/1 signal. I’m interested in these differences in languages of making—it of course changes the type of conversation I have with the materials and processes in my studio practice, but I am interested in whether and how those differences can be communicated to viewers as well.

Here in Finland I wanted to look not just at mark making materials but also surfaces, sourcing those from site. Luckily papermaking, like any timber product, has a really rich history in Finland (and it’s actually still an important industry in Oulu today). So I’ve been experimenting with making paper from plants growing on site, and using probably the most analog paper-making process possible. I boil the plants in soda ash for a few hours, under the hood in the lab here since it’s pretty caustic. That leaves only the cellulose fibers. Then I found the best way to separate out those fibers, so they can interweave to give the paper strength, is to stomp them for a few more hours outside on the parking lot pavement. I had a bit of a rush to process all the pulp before winter started here and everything was covered in ice! So the paper and the ink I developed thinking about how the site can inform the surface and mark making tools.

The body of works that we have selected for this special edition of ART Habens —and that our readers have already started to get to know in the introductory pages of this article — has at once captured our attention for the way you explored the relationship between digital technology and analog traditional processes, and especially for the way the visual language that marks out your artworks seems to be used in a strategic way to counter-balance subjectivity and offers an array of meanings: when walking our readers through your usual setup and process, would you tell us how do you develop your initial ideas?

Then, for the imagery, in this case I wanted to talk about the similarities between sphagnum moss and us, as humans. We both engineer our own environments, monopolizing resources and shaping surroundings to suit our own growth and stifle the competition. So yes, peatlands are a unique and subtly beautiful ecosystem, but they are also acidic and hostile. So I consider the quality of the drawing and

Each project is an excuse to try a few different ways of working—and that helps me continually challenge myself and satisfy my curiosity. For instance, Second Wind was all about translating one Ponderosa pine into the gallery. So I started thinking about how to source some of the materials I was using from

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painting, and the scale, to try to communicate the strength of sphagnum—usually something so small and hidden we might not even notice it’s underfoot—and also the things about it which seem to raise questions about what is natural and what is beautiful.

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each note, etc. So it’s something you can collect and hear in real time, and play back later. But the thing I found most interesting about this kind of sensor translation is that it gives no instructions about the character of the sound. So you can play back the MIDI data with a digital keyboard instrument, or digital strings, or you can make your own instrument. You can choose parameters that make the track soaring and orchestral, or dissonant or mellow. But any choices you make about the sonification, any emotional context they produce, come from your decisions about how to voice the data. The patterns and relationships in the data can emerge no matter what, but you can’t ever get a picture of what the plant actually, objectively, sounds like.

Then comes the piece of the work where I want the structures I create to be acted upon, in some way, by the data. I’m interested in the bias we have toward electronics being ‘objective’ and the traditional mark-making in painting and drawing as ‘subjective’ when of course things are more complicated. This whole line of questioning began a few years ago with a sensor device called the MIDIsprout…but more about that in the next question!

So the human intervention in data translation is happening, inevitably, anyway, and I thought, why not make it obvious? Why not add more layers of human intervention, and really play with this? I have been inspired by artists like Patrick Zentz and TRIMPIN, who are creating physical structures where sound is enacted. I like the idea of the structure and our experience of it being changed unpredictably by forces outside of our control—there is a slipperiness to data and our ability to collect and interpret it, which I continue to think about in current work. So I first translated the MIDI data to vector files—patterns and shapes and overlap remain but its usability for direct digital sonification is gone. Then I layered those on the image and handed it off to my collaborators, so that instead of a computer reading the digital data, we’d have a more imperfect human reading. We chose cello because it seemed important to have an instrument made of plant matter voicing these plant relationships. We also thought the bowing motion and the tension of the bow on the strings could voice something about the

Succession: A Visual Score, an experimental video that can be viewed at https://vimeo.com/364586006, questions the tensions between two groups of plants in the ecosystem of prairie grasses in the Ogallala, Nebraska. We have been particularly impressed by the way you created such powerful parallelism between the richness of details of the visual and the irregularity of the sound: how did you structure your work in order to achieve such brilliant results? I like the word “irregularity” here. In this piece, the point of departure for the composer, Shari Feldman, the the cellist, Julia Marks, is the set of red and blue bands visually representing MIDI data collected from prairie grasses directly below a red cedar. And I collected the data with a galvanometer sensor called the MIDIsprout. You attach two electrode pads, like the ones used for an EEG, to the same plant, connecting the circuit, and then you get an output of electromagnetic signals from the plant already translated into MIDI—on and of signals, variations in the velocity of the hit of

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tension between these two plant groups touching, rubbing. In terms of details, I wanted the piece to reflect some of the complexity of the grassland ecosystem. For a lot of European settlers, Nebraska was a place which would be more ‘productive’ as timbered land, and the fact that Nebraska is the home of Arbor Day is actually its own weird tragedy, since the grassland ecosystem was already a perfectly woven, dense fabric. I wanted to show some of this plant weave in the imagery here, and also create a push and pull between figure and ground, between grassland plants and the eastern red cedar, so I tried to create tension between what recedes and what comes forward. Of course that tension is played out in real life there. As you have remarked once, by examining the tensions resulting from the changing structures of plant ecologies, we may become better equipped to navigate tensions in our own societies: how important is for you to create artworks rich of allegorical qualities? Moreover, does your artistic research respond to a particular cultural moment? In particular, do you think that artists can raise awareness to an evergrowing audience on topical issues, as ecological problems, in our globalised age? A lot of my ideas come from learning about the place where I’ll be. There is almost always some kind of interesting tension between plants, or between humans and plants (usually both). Plants are less charismatic than say a bear or wolf or other megafauna. We know they are alive, of course, but maybe because they don’t move, because they don’t visibly grow and change at the same rate we are used to,

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because the processes they use to sustain themselves are in some ways alien to us—I think it can in some way be a little easier to forget. So I enjoy the challenge of visualizing patterns that unfold in different ways at different scales. I hope I can make work which helps people build an affinity with things that are alive but outside the human experience. And I think art is in many ways perfectly suited to do that because we are working with physical objects and spaces and sounds and smells. It’s sensory, and so we can lead with an aesthetic experience that can cause an audience to feel something, and then that feeling can be enriched as meaning unfolds later. I think a lot about this timeline of work— what does a viewer see and when, and how does the piece unveil in layers over time. Sound plays a crucial role in your work and we have highly appreciated the way it provides Succession: A Visual Score with such an enigmatic ambience capable of evoking the idea of fractal: how would you describe your collaboration with composer Shari Feldman in order to structure the balance between sound and visual? And how would you consider the relationship between images and sound? I’d worked with Shari before in Delaware, and actually first learned about experimental graphic notation (from artists and composers like John Cage and Cathy Berberian) from her. I’m really interested in the ways these artists prod at our traditional musical language, similar to how Natalie Jeremijenko prods at our understanding of the icon, the symbol, of the tree, in her piece Tree Logic, where trees start to grow in a dramatic curve after she plants them upside down (outside the MoMA). So this icon of the tree is shaped by light, and gravity. What natural forces shape our musical symbology? I think the direct insertion of the human voicing into the data can be a powerful

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tree, what clues do I give the viewer? (I put green filters on lights, and included largerthan-life tree imagery in bands on the sails.) I found there were challenges in translating the vertical tree to a horizontal gallery space. Actually since finishing Second Wind, I discovered Peggy Weil’s piece about ice, 88 Cores, which I think is a successful solution to depicting deep vertical space in a gallery. It’s been great to think about this as I explore vertical space in peatlands—actually our sites here in Finland used to be anywhere from 1-2.5 meters deep, all organic matter which was then removed. So it’s quite a volume which was taken away, but a very small volume when compared to other kinds of extraction like mining for instance. That volume can seem a lot bigger if you think of how long it takes peat to accumulate, sometimes only a millimeter a year. So I’m very interested in ways to help viewers imagine what was here, before extraction, and how long a period of time that accumulated matter would represent. I think that gives some extra weight to the idea that now it is gone forever.

way to explore that. I love the mellow tone in Julia’s reading of the data here, how it seems dry and creaky and mournful and beautiful…just like the Sand Hills, once you know a bit of the ecological history. Another interesting work of yours that has particularly impressed us and that we would like to introduce to our readers is entitled Second Wind, a stimulating art installation which examines the invisible processes taking place in and around a Ponderosa pine tree. Reminding us of Jean Tinguely's kinetic artworks, your exploration of hidden mechanics of plant physiology seems to invite the viewers to look inside of what appear to be seen, rather than its surface, providing the spectatorship with freedom to realize their own perception. Austrian Art historian Ernst Gombrich once remarked the importance of providing a space for the viewers to project onto: as an artist particulary interested in exploring the limits of perception and knowledge, how important is for you to trigger the viewers' imagination in order to address them to elaborate personal interpretations? In particular, how open would you like your works to be understood?

We really appreciate the way your choice of materials provides your works with metaphorical aspects, eliciting response in the spectatorship. We’d love to ask you about the qualities of the materials that you include — or that you plan to include — in your artworks: in particular, how important is for you to use materials rich of metaphorical properties in order to create such immersive structures?

This is a really important question I am still working through. How much to show, how much to tell? I am a big fan of wall text, a wall text sandwich: experience the piece, read the text, re-experience it in new context. But that way of seeing art doesn’t work for everyone. Second Wind has a really specific referent. The piece almost began with a hypothesis: the highest sensor in the tree should experience the most wind, and therefore I’d expect the sail structure in the gallery corresponding to the 40’ sensor to move the most. But there were lots of issues here—since the piece is talking about the tree but removed from the

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(here we have reserved space for Don't Be Tempted, that if you like you could mention in your answer, as well) In Don’t Be Tempted, I started by thinking about how bees and other pollinators are drawn to plants, almost seduced by them in a

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materials. I’ve been grateful to have the chance to see Anicka Yi’s ecological portraits of Venice at the Biennale, and Christina Stadlbauer’s bacterial Kin Tsugi at the BioArt Society’s SOLU Space in Helsinki. The field of bio-art is really exploding! I’m excited to keep exploring these possibilities.

way. Does the same thing happen to us? So many of the dangerous plants I read about were visually appealing! I wanted some way to depict them as enticing, but small—so viewers could see form a distance that there is really something to see, but then are drawn up close to investigate further. I unwrapped some undeveloped Holga film and it was perfect— emerald green, gem-like. I’d carved film as part of a series of work in undergrad and thought it was the perfect process to bring back here, painstaking and precise, and in the end prismatic when the light shines through.

We have really appreciated the way Tree Talk embodies an interface between the realm of plants and the viewer's ability to recognize patterns: how do you consider the relationship between reality and imagination playing within your work?

I illuminated the film drawings with an opaque projector. It is a gorgeous, antiquated technology—have you ever looked inside at the mirrors, and the bulb? It’s a huge bulb with an enormous filament, reflected on every side by the mirror cube. Of course we have more efficient ways of seeing now, but I liked that this projector allows you to look in the bowels of the machine, so you can see how we are able to see this way. The idea of using pollen came from Wolfgang Laib, and I backed the projector up so close to the wall that it was basically non-functional—it’s impossible to focus the image at so small a distance. Instead I opened up the back to reveal how it worked, and that created this dramatic rectangle of light that spilled onto the film carvings, and illuminated Rebecca, an environmental philosopher who read the poisonous plant accounts. What I didn’t quite expect was the heat of the bulb—it burnt the pollen slowly over the performance, and during our discussion afterwards a bunch of us started sneezing. So that was a happy accident when our desire to see these plant analogues and hear the story of their side effects also came with its own side effect.

Maybe this way of working makes it easier to see things that are invisible, or forces us to confront things we wouldn’t otherwise want to see. I think there’s also really a need for work which requires some work to interpret and which asks more questions than it answers. Alexander Humboldt’s paintings of vegetative bands on the Chimburazo volcano, showing how ecology changes with altitude but is also linked across continents, helped shape a new conception of nature at the time. ‘Landscape’ is a complicated concept with a dynamic history—if you read the work of writers like Aldo Leopold all the way up to contemporary environmental ethicist Christopher Preston and law professor Jedediah Purdy, the way we think about nature, often subconsciously, has real impacts on policy and management and use. I think artists have had a really powerful and often hidden—maybe more powerful because it has so often been hidden— role in shaping the way we conceive of land ethics. Shaping the public imagination, you could say. And as our technology increases our potential impact, the question arises --do we need a new virtue ethics?

After working on that piece, I’ve had my eye out for artists working with other natural

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Field Notes High Altitude Bioprospecting

Your artworks are often the results of interdisciplinary collaboration: for example, Tree Talk was created in collaboration with plant physiologist Gerard SapĂŠs, electrical engineer Brian Givens, and electronic musician Jesse Blumenthal. It's no doubt that

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collaborations are today ever growing forces in Contemporary Art and that the most exciting things happen when creative minds from different fields meet and collaborate on a project: could you tell us something about the collaborative nature of your

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improvisational performances and sitespecific events? Can you explain how your work demonstrates communication between artists and scientists from different disciplines?

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Representation, James Elkins talked about art and science investigating what lies at the outer edges of our understanding of reality. And those areas are also at the edge of our capacity to communicate—in microscopy or photography or painting or text, for instance.

In his book 6 Stories from the End of

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Ponderosa

I’m really intrigued by the idea that so many apparent differences between our disciplines stem from real differences in the structure of the narratives we use to share our research. That’s why it’s been so exciting to have the chance to work here in Finland alongside scientists, also

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sometimes co-opting equipment and techniques in different ways. Mark Dion wrote about knowledge as a resource—and a limited one. I think art has the capacity to help communicate this kind of higher-order question—why do we see the world the way we do and how did we get

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where we are? And after we start thinking that way, maybe we will be better equipped to get where we need to go.

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the relationship between Art and Technology? Aren’t all art making tools technology? But I do think there is some really fertile ground to explore, if we consider the paintbrush for instance as an extension of the artist’s body,

Your practice links artistic research and with multi-media technology: how do you consider

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what does it mean to make work with information technology? That field of cyborgology is, I think, grounded in even older thought. Heidegger talked about the difference between disclosure and enframing. Disclosive art expresses something fundamental about a culture or a time, bringing together what is already there. Enframing somehow removes the critical context of engagement, separates the work from the culture, or separates viewers from how the work is made. Albert Borgmann, a Montana-based philosopher who studied Heidegger, coined the phrase “Device Paradigm”, the idea that our interaction with the world is increasingly mediated by our devices, and we are increasingly removed from actual engagement with the mechanics behind how things work. To Borgmann, this results in a life of greater ease, but a huge impoverishment of our experience of the world! And, interestingly, he was writing about this in the 80s, long before smartphones. Borgmann asked me last year whether I thought there is anything to disclose about society today, any one thing which can fundamentally express something about our culture and time. It seems like an especially tricky question when all of us have our own curated experience at our fingertips and in our pockets all the time. Is technology an appropriate means to express a critique of technology? Can we effectively use a tool to criticize that tool? I think about the gaps in my own work—through working with sensors and troubleshooting my own circuitry, I become more familiar with those processes, but only a certain level of that familiarity is translated on to viewers. The idea of vocalization of data is partially a response to this critique I have of my own practice. I also see a debate about artists working in ecology, similar to a critique of

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journalists—should the work document or intervene? Do we know the results of an artistic intervention in ecology? Are artists really the best informed people to be making these interventions, and if not them, who is? That brings up interesting questions about participation in and democratization of science. It also calls to mind something critic Nato Thompson wrote about in his book Seeing Power: the spectrum of ambiguity. We gain and lose different things when we move toward work which is didactic, or toward work which is ambiguous. You are an established artist and over the years you have had group and solo shows including your recent solo Second Wind at the Gallery of Visual Arts, University of Montana: how do you consider the participatory nature of your relationship with your audience? Direct relationship with the audience in a physical is definetely the most important one, in order to snatch the spirit of a work of Art. However, as the move of Art from traditional gallery spaces, to street and especially to the online realm increases: how would in your opinion change the relationship with a globalised audience? Second Wind is an interesting example of this, since so many of the mechanics behind the piece were actually outside the gallery, outside on campus and visible to anybody—but most people just passed by as if they were invisible. It’s interesting to think of the curated outputs of our data, and the gallery equivalents, as the part of the process people are primed to see, the part we are prepared to notice...while the structures we use for collecting and transmitting that information so often remain obscure. But a lot of thought goes into those structures, and a lot of troubleshooting. I am drawn to

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September we attached anti-microbial copper “wind socks” and other sensors as payload on a helikite (a helium-filled kite) and have been running PCR on the microbes we collected. Hopefully this leads to some more investigations and exhibits!

artists like Mark Dion who actively engage with our systems of organizing information, and the idea of the system being the work of art itself. I am also really interested in the idea of translation of data across space, for instance one you can see in Stacy Levy’s piece Seeing the Path of the Wind, taking weather data from outside and materializing it on a series of organza fans in the gallery. Actually the first person I heard use the term ‘data materialization’ was Courtney Starrett, an artist we invited to exhibit a few years ago in our nonprofit gallery FrontierSpace in Missoula, and I use that phrase all the time since I think it is so evocative. We’re not just visualizing the data, we are making it material. But it also comes with the idea of something else, which is not made material, and not possible to see. I think it’s fruitful then to consider your question in light of how much of the work is impossible to see in person, and how a lot of the ‘art’ literally happens online. So then we can start thinking about this virtual space, and maybe that opens up new ways of visualizing information and the way it travels. If printmaking is for instance a physical transfer of an image, what is the digital equivalent?

Since air is fluid, and links everything, I think it is a tricky and enticing thing to try to map. Another Fulbrighter I met this year is working with tower sensors measuring gas exchange in peatlands, and I love this idea of ecosystems respirating. I’m interested in using sensors like LiCOR, which can capture and measure smallscale plant respiration in real time—and wonder about ways of transmitting that data to a gallery, where perhaps it can be mechanically drawn in real time on a wall, creating a score of sorts. Then a chorale can read it, and their respiration can be picked up by CO2 sensors, which an inflate a series of objects—similar to a piece called Another Generosity which is on view now at the Philadelphia Museum of Art as part of the exhibit Designs for Different Futures. I’ve been excited to read more about programmable materials—there’s a great book from MIT’s CAST (Center for Art, Science and Technology) Lab about their recent conference, called Active Matter which is full of interesting ideas and maybe more interesting ethical implications of working this way. So maybe the next step is fabricating some giant sensor-reactive balloons, and making a whisper-down-the-lane conversation between sensors.

We have really appreciated the originality of your artistic production and before leaving this stimulating conversation we would like to thank you for chatting with us and for sharing your thoughts, Anne. What projects are you currently working on, and what are some of the ideas that you hope to explore in the future?

We’ll see what comes out of that conversation!

I’ve been really lucky in Finland to work with the HAB (High Altitude Bio-prospecting) team at the Field_Notes residency in Arctic Lapland, investigating whether there are microbes which survive in extreme environments, either at high latitude or high altitude, or both. This

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An interview by and

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, curator curator


inTENSION


ART Habens

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Jordi Rosado

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An interview by and

, curator curator

Hello Mengda and welcome to ART Habens. Before starting to elaborate about your artistic production we would like to invite our readers to visit http://www.mengdazhang.com and we would start this interview with a couple of questions about your background. You have a solid formal training and after having earned your BFA from the School of the Art Institute of Chicago, you nurtured your education with a MFA, that you received from the University of Pennsylvania: how did those formative years influence your evolution as an artist? Moreover, how does your cultural substratum direct the direction of your current artistic research?

Mengda Zhang: Hello and thank you for the invitation! Those years indeed are formative to my art practice. The environment of both art programs is so tolerant and liberal that it’s possible for me to have the time, space, and courage to experiment and sometimes fail. I went to SAIC to focus on painting but I soon found out it’s not the one that I can fully commit to… I started to take classes in other departments, such as ceramics, sculpture, performance. At

Mengda Zhang

that time, I was very into land art, which still plays an important role in my current practice by transforming into Eco art. In my graduate program at UPenn, most of my peers were either making video works or including

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ART Habens

Mengda Zhang

video as part of their practices, arousing my initial interest about this medium. As a result, even though my mother tongue is Chinese, I would be lost for words if I talk about contemporary art in Chinese… When I make art, the default audience in my imagination is also Americans… That’s really not something I can resist after spending seven years living and receiving education in the United States. However, China is always the place that brings me the most inspirations. Every time I go back, I get so amazed by the strangeness and the uneven layers of the current China. Many people who have lived in China for a long time like my family members are insensitive to that, so I cherish those moments of feeling like an outsider as they boost my sensitivity in making art. You are a versatile artist: your practice is marked out with such captivating multidisciplinary nature and includes performances, videos and installations: what does direct you to such multidisciplinary approach?

Mengda Zhang: I’m actually not sure if there was something specific that directed me to explore and combine different media. I love the in-person contact with audiences through

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A still from The Sequel of the Sequel of What the

performance, the abstractness and expressiveness of moving images (some people said video is the language of our era), and the hands-on process of making

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Mengda Zhang

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Master Would Not Discuss

things for installation. At the same time, undeniably, each medium has its own limitation. After freeing myself from committing to only one medium,

I found that I could bring so much more to the audience in one project. More information, more feelings, and even more confusion.

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Mengda Zhang

A still from The Sequel of the Sequel of What the Master Would Not Discuss

For this special edition of ART Habens we have selected The Sequel of the Sequel of What the Master Would Not Discuss, a stimulating work that our

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readers have already started to get to know in the introductory pages of this article and that can be viewed at https://vimeo.com/334279561/e59901b72e

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Mengda Zhang

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question the themes of uprootedness and displacement. When walking our readers through your usual setup and process, would you tell us how do you usually develop your initial idea for your work?

Mengda Zhang: Personally, The Sequel of The Sequel of What the Master Would Not Discuss is a special project because it relates to the Three Gorges Dam, which was the reason that my family moved our home to Chongqing, a new city chartered in 1997 for the purpose of constructing the Three Gorges Dam. My mom opened a business of sewage treatment, and her main customers were from those counties within the reservoir area of the dam. At that time, I didn’t realize that I was moving in a reversed direction from the population of 140,000 who were relocated by the government from different counties of Chongqing City to other more developed provinces including my hometown. I also didn’t know that the Fengjie County, where my mom always went for her business, would later become so well-known. During my gap year in 2017, I watched Still Life (2006) by Zhangke Jia (Such a great movie)! It was shot in the old town of Fengjie, which was destroyed by the building of the Three Gorges

has at once captured our attention for the way you use your visual language in a strategic way to counter-balance subjectivity, to invite the viewers to

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Mengda Zhang

Dam. I was very moved especially by some documenting scenes in the film. It was my first time seeing what my mom had seen there during that period of her life… So I started to conduct research online, planned a performance, and asked around to find people who would like to collaborate, all of which constitute the usual routine of developing my ideas. Elegantly shot, The Sequel of the Sequel of What the Master Would Not Discuss features gorgeous combinations between refined cinematography and refined verité style, with a keen eye for detail, that highlights such powerful resonance with the surroundings: what were your aesthetic decisions when shooting? In particular, how did you select the location and how did it affect your shooting process?

Mengda Zhang: Thank you for that compliment! The two cinematographers of the project, Qinrui Hua and Yucong Lu, should earn the credit! At first, we chose sites near water or transportation terminals to refer to the route of the immigrants from the Three Gorges area. However, during the process, we also got captivated by unexpected strangers and spectacle architectures such as the ghost town in

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A still from The Sequel of the Sequel of What th

Chizhou, Anhui province, and the fake sculpture ‘Unconditional Surrender’ in Jiujiang, Jiangxi province.

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e Master Would Not Discuss

your subjects, and for example Screen was inspired by your experience of working in Foxconn factory in Chengdu,

As you have remarked in your artist's statement, your work unpacks personal, social, and historical complexities of

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Mengda Zhang

A still from The Sequel of the Sequel of What the Master Would Not Discuss

China: how does your everyday life's experience fuel your artistic research?

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Mengda Zhang: About two years ago, I tried out a job that was extremely opposite to being an artist. At that

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Mengda Zhang

ART Habens

imagination (mostly scary) about the place, so I decided to really go there and live the life that over a million of people had tried to live or were living. What I experienced later was really unanticipated: going on the night shift, repeating a three-second gesture for 11 hours per day, and having no weekends but only two days off per month. It was a horrible job but, at the same time, surprisingly romantic‌ During the night shift, everyone was kind of sleepy. The unit I worked at was a dust-free unit for producing the screen of MacBook, so everyone had to cover their entire body but their beautiful eyes. Sometimes, we only remembered each other by the eyes. Once taken off the covering uniforms and masks, we couldn’t recognize each other anymore. Also, I heard another side of those suicide stories. Many of them did that out of being lovelorn. It suddenly became so understandable to me as I noticed that most of my co-workers were younger than me (I was 24 years old) and very much yearned for love. In a system with no way to see personal value, it would also have been unbearable for me to be broken up from my lover who affirmed the meaning of my existence.

time, I accidentally read about the frequent suicides that happened in Foxconn factories. I had lots of

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Mengda Zhang

Even though I was there only for three weeks, my everyday life in the factory subverted my previous research. That’s also what I will usually prepare to experience during art practice: research first to explore the historical and social background of my subject and then experience it bodily to gain the personal side and probably another side of history, the unrecorded side. We really appreciate the way your choice of materials provide your works with metaphorical aspects, eliciting response in the spectatorship: New York City based photographer and sculptor Zoe Leonard once stated, "the objects that we leave behind hold the marks and the sign of our use: like archeological findings, they reveal so much about us". We’d love to ask you about the qualities of the materials that you include — or that you plan to include — in your artworks: in particular, how important is for you to use materials rich of metaphorical properties in order to create such allegorical images?

A still from The Sequel of the Sequel of What

Mengda Zhang: That’s a beautiful quote. I found that sometimes, reality is way too complicated to be fully documented since to document is to uproot a moment from its history and space. On the contrary, combining the documentation with some

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metaphorical aspects could make the work closer to a more real reality (or maybe a more personal reality). I think the imagination of the audience is

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the Master Would Not Discuss

stated, "artists's role differs depending on which part of the world they’re in": does your artistic research respond to a particular cultural moment? In

crucial to my works. Without it, the work is not complete yet. Mexican artist Gabriel Orozco once

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Mengda Zhang

A still from The Sequel of the Sequel of What the Master Would Not Discuss

particular, as an artist who sapiently uses the personal to address the political, do you think that artists can raise awareness to an evergrowing

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audience on topical issues in our globalised age?

Mengda Zhang: Denimaize might be

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people trying to correct some historical man-made mistakes such as plastic, I got inspired a lot. Even though many works in this field only exist on a conceptual level or in the lab for now, they are very effective and raise the awareness on topics such as the climate and food industry to audiences. Your artworks also contain such subtle still effective socio political criticism, as the chewed Foxconn employment contract in Screen, as well as the way Denimaize aims to build a circular system between corn agriculture and the fashion industry. You are an established artist and over the years you have performed and exhibited your works in several occasions, including your recent participation to the 2019 edition of the London Design Festival: how do you consider the nature of your relationship with your audience? Direct relationship with the viewers in a physical context is definetely the most important one, in order to snatch the spirit of a work of Art. However, as the move of Art from traditional gallery spaces, to street and especially to the online realm — as Instagram — increases: how would in your opinion change the relationship with a globalised audience?

the most optimistic one in my works and it was influenced a lot by my collaborators and bio art/bio design field. After seeing so many intelligent

Mengda Zhang: As you mentioned before, in my works, I did try to use the

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A still from Denimaize


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Mengda Zhang

A still from Denimaize Special Issue

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Mengda Zhang

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personal to address the political in my art practice. However, recently, I become more cautious about this approach because of the possible unconscious hypocrisy. In the past, I usually couldn’t reach the ideal destination in my project proposal. So rather than overcoming all the resistance on the road by potentially bringing more harm to the planet and/or some people, it’s better to first make sure that every small step is ethical. We have really appreciated the originality of your artistic production and before leaving this stimulating conversation we would like to thank you for chatting with us and for sharing your thoughts, Mengda. What projects are you currently working on, and what are some of the ideas that you hope to explore in the future?

Mengda Zhang: Thank you for all those exquisitely prepared questions! Currently, I’m working on an animation and also planning with my collaborator, Yucong Lu, on going back to the Three Gorges area to push our project further. In the future, I want to explore more of the ever-changing relationship between humans and ecology.

An interview by and

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, curator curator

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Lives and works in Texas, USA

Installation view, atta presence sensitive, Art Gallery, Uni

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Carol LaFayette

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video, 2013

versity of the South, Sewanee, TN, 2005 422 0

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Jordi Rosado

Installation view, atta presence sensitive Art Gallery, University of the South, Sewanee, TN, 2005403 Special Issue


An interview by and

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Hello Carol and welcome to ART Habens. Before starting to elaborate about your artistic production we would like to invite our readers to visit http://www.clafayette.com and we would start this interview with a couple of questions about your background. You have a solid formal training and after having earned your BFA in Design from the University of Washington, Seattle you nurtured your education with a MFA, that your received from State University of New York at Buffalo: how did those formative years influence your evolution as an artist? Moreover, how does your cultural substratum direct the trajectory of your current artistic research? Carol LaFayette: Thank you for inviting me. I grew up in Florida, the youngest of 5 children. My father used to take the family on fishing trips and we would catch dinner for the week. We’d anchor off an island, and he’d instruct us on how to build a shelter for the night. I was the fish cleaner. My mother, who could only see out of one eye, would set up her easel and paint very realistic landscapes — through painting, she regained her sense of depth perception. Those fishing expeditions made an impression on me, and have returned to me now.

Carol LaFayette

go: spotty broadband. Flash floods are frequent and frightening. Ice storms and then strong winds knock trees down. Droughts dessicate and wild hogs decimate. But it’s gorgeous in its way…a flyover for migrating birds…full of bogs, bugs, fungi…I’ve learned a great deal from staying in one

I studied at several colleges and universities across the country and I sat in on classrooms in other places. I moved every few years for the road trips, and to seek out remote areas to explore. Now, my studio/lab is in a place where not many people want to

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Carol LaFayette

atta tunnel project on immersive system. Carol LaFayette, Frederic I. Parke, Tatsuya Nakamura, and Jace Miller,

place and developing a dialog with it over time.

for the way you sapiently explored the sociodynamics of insect societies, shedding a whole new light on Edward O. Wilson's theories, inviting the viewers to explore the elusive still ubiquitous connection between science and artistic research: would you tell us how do you consider the relationship between Science and Art?

The body of works that we have selected for this special edition of ART Habens and that our readers have already started to get to know in the introductory pages of this article has at once captured our attention

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Carol LaFayette

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2007

Carol LaFayette: Collaboration intersecting the arts and sciences begins with a need to answer questions. One wants to learn what other bodies of knowledge might bring to the table. Collaborations can result in something different from what can be achieved by a single person. Processes used by artists and scientists are sometimes quite similar.

Active inquiry is always potentially creative, and invention, when ideas are shared and individuals listen to each other, can be groundbreaking. Artists focus on process — questioning and sometimes reconfiguring the basis of the work, the tools to be used, and other elements such as site specificity. Scientists are intent on furthering prior

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Carol LaFayette

work, and replicating methodologies in order to build new paradigms. In collaborations this is one area of creative tension that can drive inquiry from different directions. The atta project maps tunnels and chambers of a vast leafcutter ant colony and we have really appreciated the way — scaling the viewer to ant size — you successfully challenged the junction point human viewpoint and the entomological realm, providing the audience with such immersive visual experience. When walking our readers through the genesis of the atta project , would you tell us how did you develop the initial idea, in order to achieve such brilliant results? Carol LaFayette: I was thinking of a traditional landscape painting with foreground, middleground, and background. I mentally made that 2D plane into a 3D sphere, so the first challenge was to view this landscape in 360 degrees. What’s underground? The first idea was to imagine removing all the soil, so one could see all the tree roots. Then I noticed leafcutting ants in great numbers, long lines of them carrying leaves to their nests. Bert Hölldobler and Edward O. Wilson’s The Ants changed the way I saw what I was looking at. Scientists view ants not as individuals but as a superorganism. Leafcutting ant colonies can be so vast they can spread miles, and can be as deep as a 3-story house. These ants are good farmers. They select certain species of leaves and vegetation to form giant “fungus balls,” and feed it to their larvae. I began to search for a non-invasive way to see the form of the tunnels underground. Carl Pierce, then a Ph.D. student in Geophysics at Texas A&M, introduced me to Ground

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Immersive system experience of atta tunnel project, SIGGRAPH Los Angeles, 2008 21 4 08

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Carol LaFayette

atta tunnel project on HoloLens, 2019. Carol LaFayette, Frederic I. Parke, and Tatsuya Nakamura Special Issue

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Carol LaFayette

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Penetrating Radar (GPR). It’s used to find lost graves, buried structures, or underground power lines, sort of an MRI for soil. I convinced him to come out and scan an 8 x 8 meter portion of the ant colony. An installation called atta presence sensitive presented a series of video clips collected with different remote sensing devices, including the GPR scan. A viewer could dial through them standing at a kiosk. There were no instructions on the kiosk, and the knobs made of acrylic contained embedded fragments from the landscape that related to the videos (a fish bone, a tooth, the end of a carpenter’s pencil…). There were two large screens, one of silk facing the viewer, and one of sandstone pieced together on the floor in front of the upright screen. At an exhibition in Tennessee, groups of children had fun twirling the knobs as if it were a video game. A program I wrote captured and re-processed what was viewed onto the sandstone. The flickering images and color seemed to make the stones roil. This paralleled a realization of the giant invisible ant colony’s movements beneath the soil. The atta project grew into a collaboration with Dr. Frederic Parke at Texas A&M, whose background is in Physics and Computer Science. He has designed large scale immersive systems with affordable, off-the-shelf components. We consulted with graduate students on a process to translate the numerical data from the GPR scan into a 3D model. We were then able to view the “data cube” on Dr. Parke’s largescale immersive system. We traveled the project to exhibit in Los Angeles, packed into a large moving van. Now, 12 years later, the atta project can be experienced on the Microsoft HoloLens, about the size of a football.

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Immersive system experience of atta tunnel project, SIGGRAPH Los Angeles, 2008.


ART Habens

Carol LaFayette

If one is interested in learning more about the atta project, here’s a link: https://www.leonardo.info/LEA/CreativeData /CD_Lafayette.pdf Your laboratory/studio, is a 40 acres former ranch in Texas, a island in an ocean of development eating through green places: how do your surroundings inspire you as an artist? In particular, do you think that direct experience with such unique surroundings is an indispensable aspect of your work as an artist? Carol LaFayette: Direct experience is necessary to learn how to ask the right questions. After I devise a good one and build a system or tool to ask it, the art becomes something else — what results is separate from the on site experience. Knowledge from scientists, biologists, and others has expanded my understanding of the boundaries of my own learning and has caused me to shift perspective at critical times in the process. James Turrell bought an extinct volcano, Roden Crater, and then began to turn it into a celestial observatory. He studies astronomical charts to understand how the positions of viewing chambers within the mountain might best contain and reveal how the sun and stars move over them across the seasons. Turrell has spent 45 years working at Roden Crater to understand how the work plays out. Working in one place prompts me to revisit ideas developed earlier. Things don’t always repeat from season to season. It’s become a study that intersects human, animal, and plant interactions, along with phenomena like weather, climate change, and industrial use.

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On site photograph of Atta texana leafcutting ants, 2005 21 4 12

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Carol LaFayette

Installation view, atta presence sensitive, Art Gallery, University of the South, Sewanee, TN, 2005 Special Issue

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Another interesting work of yours that has particularly impressed us and that we would like to introduce to our readers is entitled Food fight a stimulating work that has been awarded with the Silver Award at the 2018 edition of Global Independent Film Awards, and that can be viewed at https://vimeo.com/223506081. We dare say that Food fight could be considered a powerful allegory of every society —including human's one, indeed — and challenges the viewers' perceptual and cultural categories, offering them such a multilayered experience. How important is for you to draw a parallel between contemporary urbanized societies and natural environment? Moreover, how do you consider the role of digital technology playing within your investigation of environmental phenomena? Carol LaFayette: Dualities need to be interrogated. For example, urban / rural might be studied for what the duality preserves and what it seems to close off. I’m interested in how flora and fuana redirect their energies to accommodate us: sea cows who’ve found a warm winter home near sewage treatment plants; hawks who nest on balconies overlooking Central Park; Burrowing owls who’ve discovered storm drain tunnels in freeway medians. I’m impressed because their environment seems more porous than ours, it’s a continuum. food fight follows a couple of White-eyed Vireo raising one of their own along with a cowbird chick. Observing these events involved modifying a GoPro to accept a telephoto lens, and a remote capture program. Afterwards, I had a terabyte of shots. I’m not fond of the “difficult viewing” school of film that forces a person to sit and squirm, so I curtailed the length. But I included one

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Carol LaFayette

very long shot of the male Vireo, standing over the nest with a caterpillar in his beak. He seemed to be momentarily absent minded, glancing around vacantly while the baby birds underneath him begged for the morsel. This seemed to me the point at which everything began to change. John Cage described time based media as a dialog with phrasing and duration — do musical composers organize a work by paying attention to the phrasing, or to the space between phrases? Peter Wollen discusses how attention to duration can create a different kind of suspense from one created through traditional continuity editing. He describes it as “atavistic” — dropping the artifice of film language to experience an event as it unfolds. An example is Chantal Akerman’s film Jeanne Dielman, 23 Commerce Quay, 1080 Brussels…in one scene, Dielman kneads a meatloaf interminably. My decision to use various forms of digital technology is based on my interest in learning how it works, but also on a wish to leave a smallish footprint on the landscape itself. I reuse and repurpose tools and technologies to produce as little e-waste as possible, and power is solar or rechargeable. As you have remarked in your artist's statement, today earth artists are cognizant of the increasing fragility and scarcity of open land. Mexican artist Gabriel Orozco once stated, "the artist's role differs depending on which part of the world they’re in": does your artistic research respond to a particular cultural moment? In particular, do you think that artists can raise awareness to an evergrowing audience on topical environmental

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food fight, 4K video, 2017

issues that affect our globalised and everchanging society? Carol LaFayette: Our cultural moment is the Anthropocene. Thirty years ago I remember a professor lecturing about how technology

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Carol LaFayette

would rescue us. Cities would become obsolete. We’d telecommute across field and tundra — industry would levitate above the land, transact in the atmosphere. We’d have trees again because we wouldn’t need paper.

ART Habens

Some of this artwork is about being an implicated witness. For example, 247 documents a hydraulic fracturing operation down the road. If you live in a rural area where fracking is going on, you get visited by “land men” hired to track you down to

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Carol LaFayette

food fight, 4K video, 2017

sign a pooling contract. So one has advance notice that Big Oil is coming to the neighborhood. I started a literature review and searched public records, mapping GPS coordinates noted in drilling permits. Through this I discovered a grid pattern and could

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pinpoint where the next drilling operation would occur. 247 is a drive-by video, created with a mobile phone as I returned home each day, a sort of extended time-lapse. One troubling aspect of the Anthropocene is the knowledge that, no matter how an individu-

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me, it’s fracking, he explained, but for someone else, it might be a superfund site, clear cutting, or mountain-top removal. Through activating the language and form of these catastrophes, one might reclaim some sense of agency and build a response that isn’t just “singing to the birds.” It's important to remark that your work often involves cutting edge technology, such as the augmented reality system that can be worn while walking through a landscape to experience ultraviolet and infrared light. In this sense, your artworks seem to invite the viewers to look inside of what appears to be seen, rather than at its surface. Austrian Art historian Ernst Gombrich once remarked the importance of providing a space for viewers to project onto: how important is it for you to trigger viewers' imaginations in order to encourage them to elaborate personal interpretations? In particular, how open would you like your works to be understood? Carol LaFayette: Gombrich’s idea of opening a space is an important part of the work as it takes form for an audience. The best art isn’t work that delivers an epiphany — rather it’s work that stops one’s thinking, or prompts one to think differently. While I want to engage an audience, putting that impulse first seems to have the effect of deadening the work by positioning it as interpreter for an experience, before I know what that might be.

al strives to limit waste, there are other forces out-wasting us all. Another tension is that the misuse of resources is so ubiquitous that individuals are always already implicated. Literary theorist Gregory Ulmer, terms such disasters “EmerAgencies.” For

As predicted by Moore’s Law, growth of computing power and speed has been exponential. Ray Kurzweill and others point to a hypothetical future moment when technolo-

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Carol LaFayette

gy and computing power will become irreversible and uncontrollable. Historically, technology’s growth has been propelled by the US military and by supersized corporations. Artists and others who use digital technology are, for the most part, repurposing old tech, while computing that involves ultra-sophisticated systems (AI, for example) is out of most artists’ reach at the time of its development. This inability to affect development of systems that might play a large future role in our lives occurs alongside community devastation by development and extraction industries. I’ve become enamored with open source groups that share data and code, and also with citizen science groups that organize virtual and physical communities to report on the effects of such operations. These groups demystify technology, make it participatory and fun. You are an established artist: your artworks are collected in several museums —including Museum of Modern Art, New Museum of Contemporary Art, The Getty Center and Art Metropole — and over the years you have had solo and group shows in the United States and abroad, including your participation in Balance-Unbalance, in Plymouth: how do you consider the participatory nature of your relationship with your audience? Direct relationship with the audience in a physical way is definetely the most important one, in order to snatch the spirit of a work of Art. However, as the move of Art from traditional gallery spaces to the street and especially to the online realm increases: in your opinion how would this change the relationship with a globalised audience?

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Still from 247, drive-by video, 2014

Carol LaFayette: In general I’ve observed a shift from what’s called “personal expression” to a paradigm that involves shared experiences, tools for others to use, and open source works. This kind of art explodes paradigms — there’s an enormous outpouring

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of energy. In my lifetime there has been a transition from broadcasting (fewer sources, larger audiences) to narrowcasting (many sources, smaller audiences, shifting audiences). A work that is successful in one arena may go ignored in another, and that’s okay. Works

ART Habens

can be repurposed for different results. Systems and tools used to develop projects can be shared for different purposes. I recently had the honor to host a visit to Texas by Dutch artist Theo Jansen, who studied physics and then began to make Strandbeests,

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Carol LaFayette

Still from 247, drive-by video, 2014

beach-walking creatures powered only by the wind. Jansen realized he’d birthed a new form of life, because people were starting to 3D print Strandbeests from models shared on the internet. Strandbeests are evolving out of his personal control. This fills him with joy.

SummerIssue 2015 Special

We have really appreciated the originality of your artistic production and before leaving this stimulating conversation we would like to thank you for chatting with us and for sharing your thoughts, Carol. What projects are you currently working on, and what are some of

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Carol LaFayette

ART Habens

out visible light to show you how things might appear in near-ultraviolet and infrared spectrums combined. I’m starting with toy hexapods so I can learn how to build, power, and program them with the goal to accompany a Trossen Robotics PhantomX on a walk through the woods. They’re beautiful, they can right themselves from a fall in an instant. Another thread I’ve worked on for years is the challenge of interrogating local environments in easy and affordable ways. Many of us wonder about our air, water, or soil quality. But it seems most available systems are very expensive, or require a lot of time to study and understand technology, chemistry, and other things. Things are changing too fast for that. I’m inspired by groups such as PublicLab.org and SkyTruth.org. Such groups offer translation from complex to accessible forms of knowledge, data aggregation from participants, and guides for collective intervention. Then there are solutions that come from other fields. I came across a horticultural group in the UK that takes groups on field studies of lichens. Depending on the species of lichen observed, one can learn about changes in air quality that have happened in recent weeks or months. You just need your feet and the field guide. I don’t yet know how this might become art or whether it matters, but I’m interested to learn.

the ideas that you hope to explore in the future?

An interview by

Carol LaFayette: I’ve begun to experiment with augmented reality and robotics. I’m working on a walking hexapod that can filter

and

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, curator curator

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Bobby Forsythe

ART Habens

video, 2013

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Jordi Rosado

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An interview by and

, curator curator

Hello Bobby and welcome to ART Habens. Before starting to elaborate about your artistic production we would like to invite our readers to visit https://bobbyforsythe.com and we would start this interview with a couple of questions about your background. You have a solid formal training and you hold a Bachelors in Fine Art (hons), that you received from the University of Suffolk: how did those formative years and your cultural substratum influence your evolution as an artist? Moreover, are there any experiences that did particularly help you to develop your attitude to experiment with different media and materials? Throughout my studies at the University of Suffolk I underwent the realisation of importance regarding refinement and professionalism. This aided my journey into discovering the type of artist I truly am. Prior to university I attended college studying a BTEC level three art course. Throughout that time my practice mainly focused on portraiture, tunnel visioning to find the secret of creating hyperrealistic figurative paintings. When I first started studying at university, my practice was considering the human body from an abstract perspective. I would often create large scale paintings experimenting with vibrant colours. When I got to the second year of my study, I began to realise that painting portraiture, for me, was quite restrictive.

Bobby Forsythe

innumerable ways I have experienced art. The consciousness regarding experience also derives from reading a copula amount of theory relating to phenomenology and the Minimalist art movement. This catalysed the creation of my light installations throughout my final year of study.

One of the main criteria for universities is the writing of a dissertation. Within the last year I began to read an immense amount of art theory, philosophical papers, and art history. Throughout my years of creating, I have since acknowledged the realisation for enjoying art on a more personal level, resultant of the

One of the benefits from studying art at university were opportunities given to collaborate with other artists. This allowed for

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ART Habens

Bobby Forsythe

experimentation with presenting artwork on a professional level, often resulting in taking part in exhibitions. Something that I learnt from university was all about refinement and what my art truly represents. I feel this is something that a lot of artists struggle with, trying to figure out the sole reason as to why they create. Throughout the three years of reading art, I was fortunate enough to take part in class critiques. The process included showcasing artwork to your peers for five minutes. Essentially letting the work speak for itself, as I was not allowed to vocalise the creation process. This was daunting, yet incredibly enlightening. It was a vital process to go through in order to develop my work. My peers suggested critiques regarding details or references that I was blinkered to seeing, allowing for further development of work. One critique during the last year on the build up to the degree show stood out to me. Feedback was mentioned regarding the finish of my past sculptures. The word intentional was mentioned a considerable amount during this critique, whether I wanted my work to be intentionally rough around the edges or if I wanted it to intentionally be smooth and pristine. At the time of this critique I expressed an enormous amount of interest regarding Minimalism. Deriving inspiration from Donald Judd and Robert Morris, falling down the rabbit hole of trying to recreate perfect clean sculptures. I became overwhelmed into trying to force my work to be something it was not and never intended to be. This critique made me embark on the journey of realising how I wanted to refine my work, how I wanted my work to look and learning the importance of presentation. I underwent a challenging journey of creating my frames by hand which took over 300 hours. A tedious task, but a very rewarding one.

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Bobby Forsythe

ART Habens

Geometric Irradiation, 2019 21 4 06

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Bobby Forsythe

Luminous, 2019 Special Issue

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Bobby Forsythe

ART Habens

Your artistic production combines personal aesthetics with such a unique conceptual approach, and the visual language that marks out your artworks seems to be used in a strategic way to counter-balance subjectivity. The body of works that we have selected for this special edition of ART Habens —and that our readers have already started to get to know in the introductory pages of this article — has at once captured our attention for the way your exploration of the concept of spatiality challenges the viewers' perceptual categories providing them with such unique immersive experience and that stimulate the viewer’s psyche and consequently works on both a subconscious and a conscious level. When walking our readers through your usual setup, would you tell us how do you structure your process in order to achieve such brilliant results? The physical process of creating my installations requires a lot of experimentation. I integrate motion sensor lights into my installations as movement triggers the source to illuminate other objects/sculptures within the room. This creates illustrations of shadows on the surrounding walls. The motion sensor lights are utilised as one of the main mediums within my installations as it emphasises audience participation, elevating the connection between beholder and art. Throughout my readings, I researched Michael Fried’s essay, Art and Objecthood (1967), where he discusses briefly the idea of theatricality insinuating that it degenerates art. Theatricality was used to describe the presence of Minimalist sculpture. Although applied to the working of art during the 1960s, it can still be challenged in relation to contemporary art. The terminology ‘’degenerates’’ avert the text into belief that once applied within art, it lacks success as a product. Degenerating of art can have various meanings; typically associated with classification in relation to deteriorating physically or morally. Fried may have used the term ‘’degenerate’’ to describe certain work regarding to the lack of realisation

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Bobby Forsythe

Source, 2019

from the Minimalist artists that a theatrical presence is evident within their work. However, as an application when applied to installation art, especially my own, the theatrical

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degeneration is far from evident. My installations are set up like a stage; the motion sensor lights are strategically placed around the room corresponding to the route the beholder

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Bobby Forsythe

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Folded, 2019 21 4 10

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Sunny Side Up 2019


Bobby Forsythe

would take walking through my installation. The lights are placed on angles and suspended at certain heights to be triggered in a sequence formation when the installation is being viewed. Creating my installations require a lot of trial

ART Habens

and error to become realised. The overall process arises from an extensive reading list involving phenomenology, experience and subjectivity. Much of the reading is inclusive as to how we experience art through our senses. I

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Bobby Forsythe

have experimented before with olfactory and tactile approaches to my art, but I always revisit the idea of experiencing with the whole body and not just certain parts of the body and I feel light installations do exactly that.

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Much of my experimentation includes playing around with the composition of wooden geometric frames. The aim is to emphasize the forms by incorporating light reactive resin that requires ultraviolet floodlights to become

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ART Habens

Bobby Forsythe

Geometric Illumination, 2019 Special Issue

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Bobby Forsythe

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Ambiguity is the first word that comes to mind when presented with this question. I think the most poetic way of viewing art is going to an exhibition with a completely fresh outlook on the artwork. Allowing your imagination to run wild as you are trying to figure out what is you’re looking at.

activated. My installation entitled, Luminous (2019), was constructed in response to the surrounding architecture which made this a sitespecific artwork. My piece was viewed externally through the windows and interiorly whilst walking through the space. This installation was seen in two different states; during the evening the artwork illuminated the surrounding streets, bellowing out vibrant shades of pink and blue hues that highlighted the geometry incorporated into the building. After midnight the lights go off leaving a faint glow of colour as the light reactive pigment integrated into some of the frames became charged from long exposure to ultraviolet light. The light always existed even in the dark. The second stage of being able to walk through the space involved the whole consideration of audience participation and movement. As this was now more about becoming immersed in a room of shape rather than looking in on a room of shape. My installation offered multiple versions of experience creating a multitude of unique perspectives regarding light and geometry.

Imagination is important and keeping an open mind is also very important when viewing contemporary artwork. My installations physically represent geometric form but do not necessarily represent anything other than that. So, my subject matter does not in essence connect with the beholder on a personal level in the same way that perhaps a portrait would, especially on first glance. To me that’s more important than creating an artwork that tells all. However, associations can be made within artwork. From the simplest of recognitions to colour or past experiences the imagination conjures up an accumulation of empirical knowledge to undergo the process of comprehension. With my past installations I have received numerous amounts of feedback regarding beholder’s associating the colour of light with past experiences relating to discos and the shapes becoming reminiscent of childhood toys. These are all important elements of interpretive imagination that is vital to understanding an artwork. The reality of viewing my work is the associative process of trying to fill in the gaps whilst viewing a room of unfamiliarity. Trying to understand the reality of why shapes are displayed within a room of luminosity.

I always aim to create what I like the most about experiencing art and thats to become immersed within a piece so much so that your focus is on this new unfamiliar setting that you’re trying to understand. And even if is not understood it’s still being interpreted as an empirical experience. We have really appreciated the way your artworks embody an interface between reality and imagination, as well as the way you include elements from ordinary experience. Scottish artist Peter Doig once remarked that even the most realistic works of art are derived more from within the head than from what's out there in front of us: how do you consider the relationship between reality and imagination playing within your work?

Narrative is a special form of interpretation when viewing art, all is subjective which allows for a unique experience. I think this may explain why I moved away from seeking to achieve the need to create a hyper-realistic painting. Although very much so appreciated, I much prefer to be challenged by looking at artwork in order to can create my own

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Bobby Forsythe

understanding. I remember viewing an Ai Wei Wei for the first time in 2015 at the Royal Academy and I had no idea of what this man’s work was about or who he was as an artist. On arrival I went into his exhibition with a completely fresh outlook on his work. I walked into a room and saw a pile of steel rods, placed in the centre of the room on various levels creating a wave like affect. On the surrounding walls were what appeared to be lists of names in Chinese, at this point I was unable to make the connection between the two pieces as a singular artwork. I would have read the information boards that were placed within the room but unfortunately there were crowds of people surrounding it. I never got the chance and I am glad I didn’t have the chance to read about the piece there. However, curiosity did get the better of me and I ended up researching the piece when I got home. It emphasized how twistedly; beautiful it was but it still was enjoyable even not knowing what the work was about. An experience that stuck with me ever since and reminded me when I have been creating artwork that I don’t necessarily set out to make work which requires understanding but more so just to be experienced.

machine intelligence. His installations are mesmerising to view, yet realising the process of his creation made the point evident to me that I prefer to be hands on with my work, but this still allowed me to appreciate the form of digital art. Although not necessarily digital, I rely on light technology to create dimension via shadows and combining hues of artificial colours. This technique creates seamless space. The light allows for the beholder to take part within the creation by adding to the piece. The addition of the beholder creates more shadows and adds movement to an otherwise static environment. I class light as a medium like paint or pencil as this the material I utilise and manipulate to create a subject matter. The beholder is the art tool within the environment. Triggering lights to metaphorically paint shadows onto the walls. The beholder plays with light and shadow through the action of movement. When stood still the shadows disappear, leaving an aftermath of light reactive luminous shadow. The slightest movement triggers the theatrical sequence of light enabling the perpetual artwork to begin once again.

An interesting work of yours that has at once captured our attention is entitled Geometric Irradiation and it showcased varying sculptures that all require motion to become animated. This integration of motion sensor lighting was decided on by Forsythe as she began to explore what the beholder brings to an artwork. What role does technology play within your process and how does it help you to conceive your artworks?

Although not representational of any particular subject, with their multilayered visual quality, your artworks seem to invite the viewers to look inside of what appear to be seen, rather than its surface, providing the spectatorship with freedom to realize their own perception, Austrian historian Ernst Gombrich once remarked the importance of providing a space for the viewers to project onto, so that they can actively participate in the creation of the illusion: important is for you to trigger the viewers' imagination in order to address them to elaborate personal interpretations? In particular, how open would you like your works to be understood?

My work doesn’t include digital properties that require using a computer or a projector however, I have been inspired by a lot of digital artists especially when I began to research what immersive installation art is. Refik Anadol is a media artist that creates site specific work using

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Bobby Forsythe

''Told you the light didn't disappear'', 2019 Special Issue

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To agree with Gombrich, space is a key element when discussing installation art. When viewing installation art, we as beholder’s attempt to associate ourselves with our surroundings; like that of a survival technique, attempting to adapt to an unfamiliar environment. Although being fully aware you are situated within a gallery space or an art-like setting, the artwork has transformed this environment, creating what seems to be suggestive of being a ‘’new space’’ within an already existing space. The longer the beholder spends exposed to such environments the more the environment is learnt. Hence why I allow for at least 15 minutes of exposure to my installations as its enough time to become familiar within the setting. My past installations have mainly presented in white rooms because of the aesthetic ambience the white light creates. Space is a very situational factor and affects the beholder more than you may consider. I did not want the beholder to be distracted by the surrounding architecture but to feel as if they were in a quiet space that they can experience being seated or walking around the room allowing for the beholder to become immersed within shape and light.

ART Habens

complete. The art would never be experienced. Each integration of material is highly considered and requires interactivity. Without presence my work is empty. Your artworks — especially the interesting Nexus and Luminous — are marked out with such captivating geometric patterns that invites to viewers to elaborate personal associations, and that provide your works with a unique aesthetic identity. New York City based artist Lydia Dona once stated that in order to make art today one has to reevaluate the conceptual language behind the mechanism of art making itself: do you create your works gesturally, instinctively? Or do you methodically transpose geometric schemes? In particular, how do you consider the relation between the nature of the concepts that you explore in your artistic research and the physical aspect of your daily practice as an artist? Shape has been the main subject matter for me for many years. I have always been attracted to geometry realised in sculptural forms or as a Turrell light projection. Minimalism has inspired me an incredible amount when creating my recent work and I have been vastly inspired by the geometric forms exhibited throughout the era. There is something quite intriguing and pleasant about viewing shape within art. We recognise shape on a global spectrum, associating the form with many memories or knowledge. Taking the simplicity of the square or triangle and situating the form in an illuminous environment of colour, creates the exciting nature of unfamiliarity using a wellrecognised subject. As a beholder we acknowledge what it is we are looking at but not necessarily understanding why we are looking at it in that peculiar setting. Simplicity and creating minimal works of art allows for more personal interpretations to be made. I focus on the three ‘primary’ shapes and

Understanding is not a definitive end goal nor is it too important to me when creating artwork. I acknowledge the subjectivity when viewing art and if anything, it inspires me. Although most of my installations include a similar theme of light interactivity; acquiring audience participation is all about how you view the pieces on first encounter. I’m also interested in the simple pleasures of art and if the installation is not understood, finding small details that they understand or like is more so important to me. When asked about my creations, I merely say what has inspired me and the rest is up for interpretation. It must be stated; without the beholder’s participation my installations would never be

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Bobby Forsythe

of colour beauty. The beauty of colour derives from the many connections we as beholders associate with the varying shades. We often link the colour yellow to happiness or the sun, red to fire and warmth, blue to sadness and wintery temperatures. The analogous descriptions are simply a response to how we understand visually, often described initially from an emotive viewpoint.

typically the three primary colours as currently they appeal to me more. It is a conscious utilisation of subject matter and colour schemes as it is a great starting point to develop. The approach to my creation is quite methodological. Everything I do is strategically thought out. My installations are intentionally created after spending countless hours perusing the many books of Merleau-Ponty and Phenomenology in general. Creating instinctively somewhat is a terrifying process due to the lack of control my installations could potentially have. My installations therefore are purposefully planned. I would suggest my paintings are more so instinctively created.

I am frequently attracted to the obnoxiously fluorescent saturation of colours; It must be stated however, that colour does not have to be vibrant to be noticed. It’s the subtle pastels or subdued orange hints that add to a painting. Only noticed if gazed at in admiration than glanced in dismissal. With any visual aid, it is most understood through the prolonged activity of staring, studying with the eyes. The very activity that allows us to learn to appreciate the importance of colour.

You also create two dimensional paintings that celebrate colour and the incorporation of light through various shades and tones and we have particularly appreciated the way you combine delicate tones with geometric patterns, to create tension and dynamics. How does your own psychological make-up determine the nuances of tones that you decide to include your artworks and in particular, how do you develop your textures?

My hue series is a concoction of mainly oranges, blues and yellows with a slight hint of white. I started to paint over old paintings last year, experimenting with two tonal paintings. From the first successful painting, it has become something I create when I’m stuck with my three-dimensional creations. It is also a great way for me to experiment with colour combinations that I can later transcribe into larger installations. The textural properties of the that are evident within the finalised product, is evidence of older paintings. Reusing canvas and old paintings is cost effective.

I am fascinated with gradient tones, especially using artificial lighting. There is something quite relaxing when viewing gradient colour palettes. Felipe Pantone and Olafur Eliasson have continued to inspire me throughout my art career. Falling in love with Pantone’s unique colour palette and Eliasson’s vibrancy incorporated into his installations; has often found comfort within my aesthetic preference of colour.

You have recently had your first solo ''Luminous'': how do you consider the participatory nature of your relationship with your audience? Direct relationship with the audience in a physical is definitely the most important one, and your installations have been very considerate of audience

The technique to creating these paintings is realised by using a wet on wet method. This allows an easier way to blend the colours, but the one wrong colour can transform a painting into a muddy eyesore of failure and regret, unless of course that is your subjective ideology

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Bobby Forsythe

ART Habens

or public outdoor spaces. However, if my installations were to ever be viewed in a setting outside of four white walls; I would need to consider longevity and what aspect I would incorporate the most into an urban construct.

participation, integrating motion sensor lighting and other sensory mechanisms. However, as the move of Art from traditional gallery spaces, to street and especially to the online realm increases: how would in your opinion change the relationship with a globalised audience?

We have really appreciated the originality of your artistic production and before leaving this stimulating conversation we would like to thank you for chatting with us and for sharing your thoughts, Bobby. What projects are you currently working on, and what are some of the ideas that you hope to explore in the future?

To briefly discuss the globalised audience aspect of the question; my artwork is not created or directed towards a certain audience. It is to be enjoyed by all, especially as there is no right or wrong way to look at my installations. I hosted an open weekend for members of the public to view, Luminous (2019). All ages visited, youngest being a sixyear-old who thoroughly enjoyed the encounter and the interactivity elements of the work. My installations invite a globalised audience. Another way I do this is with the use of social media. My Instagram (https://www.instagram.com/forsytheart) is an online documentation of my works in progress and finalised pieces. Allowing me to utilise the hashtag element to expose the online posts to a larger audience creates a form of globalisation. This is a great platform for me to expand my audience and to project my creations to a wider network of art lovers or simply other artists.

The next step in my art career is currently focusing on a new series that utilise threedimensional shape as the main subject. This will still be incorporating light but will experiment with the alternation of colour combinations and exposure to create a gradient effect. However, I aim to create larger installations that utilise the space of derelict buildings as I want to experiment with architecture more and emphasising the importance of space. I want to expand the exposure my installations are receiving on a more globalised basis, experimenting more with the settings my work is situated in, allowing for exposure. I plan to study Art History at a master’s level, to further my keen interest of theory. Hoping one day I can lecture younger artists about the fascinating prospects of theory and why art is an incredibly important subject.

A globalised audience would still encounter the same work(s). Viewing my installations online in photograph or video format decreases that intimacy that is shared in person. Purely for the lack of immersivity. I have considered experimenting with virtual reality technology to record how the human experiences my installations from a technological perspective, but it would merely just be for experimental purposes. I have aspired to have my installations viewed in a museum or gallery setting for many years and I am still in favour with art being viewed in such settings, alongside of favouring site specificity in urban

I aim to keep expanding my knowledge, to further develop my installations and to create a multitude of geometric unfamiliarity on a larger spectrum.

An interview by and

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, curator curator

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Jun-Yuan Hong


Still from Where do you come from


A still from Where do you come from


An interview by and

, curator curator

Hello Jun-Yuan and welcome to ART Habens. Before starting to elaborate about your artistic production we would like to invite our readers to visit https://aco897008.wixsite.com/junyu an and we would start this interview with a couple of questions about your background. You have a solid formal training and after having earned your MFA from the National University of Tainan, you nurtured your education with a Doctoral Program in Art Creation and Theory and you are currently pursuing your Ph.D at the National University of the Arts of Tainan: how did those formative years influence your evolution as an artist? Moreover, how does your cultural substratum direct the direction of your current artistic research? Jun-Yuan Hong

Jun-Yuan Hong: My speciality in college was painting oil paintings because later I saw a lot of video art in some international exhibitions, so I began to wonder about the medium of this creation. After I beginning video

creation, I often think about the differences between video art in different generations. However, during this creative process, I

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ART Habens

Jun-Yuan Hong

found that I have been pursuing technological development. As an artist, my internal problems seem to be There are feelings of avoidance and hiding. Later, when I reviewed my creations, I found that the personal characteristics of an artist seemed to be invisible in my works, so I went back to digging into my life experience and then turned to talk about these emotional issues, especially autobiography. As for the part of cultural influence, maybe Taiwan ’s understanding of the family is still a traditional Chinese concept, so relatively few people will show their own family situation, but also because of this repressive personality in the ethnic group, it makes me more Want to talk about this tangled emotional problem.

Still from Where do you come from

introductory pages of this article and that can be viewed at https://youtu.be/vXqaJVxU3To. What has at once captured our attention of your film is the way you use your visual language in such strategic way to you capture the emotional state of your character facing family

For this special edition of ART Habens we have selected Where do you come from, an interesting film that our readers have already started to get to know in the

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Jun-Yuan Hong

problems. When walking our readers through the genesis of Where do you come from, could you tell us what did attract you to this particular theme?

ART Habens

unexpected. Taiwan has a strong sense of family kinship. Therefore, most people think that they belong to a certain place, perhaps the place of birth, or the hometown of their parents, but when I was a child, I rent and

Jun-Yuan Hong: The generation of this topic is actually very

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ART Habens

Jun-Yuan Hong

Still from Where do you come from

move with my mother everywhere. I am no fixed place of residence in Taiwan, so my concept of hometown is very weak.

where do you come from? At that time, I was a bit unaware of how to answer this question. I could only answer where I currently reside temporarily.

On one occasion when I at a meal with my friend, they asked me:

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Therefore, I came up with the

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Jun-Yuan Hong

ART Habens

have particularly appreciated the way your film gives to the viewers the sense they are watching excerpts from real life, and as you have remarked once, you like to construct tangled feelings through close-up, and look for people with similar family situations : would you tell how did you develop the structure of your film in order to achieve such moving autenticity? Moreover, how does everyday life's experience fuel your creative process?

Jun-Yuan Hong: Regarding the method of shooting emotional images through close-ups, I think that in close- ups, people must be transparent about their emotions. Because of their close relationship with the camera, people ’s emotional performance is more difficult to conceal. concept of creating "Where do you come from?�

In daily life, it is not easy to watch at such a close distance, so in my opinion, the close-up is the best way to magnify this consciousness.

With its brilliantly structured storytelling Where do you come from imparts unparalleled psychological intensity to the narration, to unveil an ever shifting internal struggle. We

Elegantly shot, Where do you come from features stunning cinematography and we have

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Still from Where do you come from


ART Habens

Jun-Yuan Hong

particularly appreciated the way your sapient use of close ups allows you to capture emotionally charged moments: what were your aesthetic decisions when shooting? In particular, what was your choice about camera and lens?

Jun-Yuan Hong: When shooting, like many artists, I will first carry out the basic script and image design, but when shooting, I will always adjust it due to the conditions of the scene, and I will do it again during post-production and editing in the last amendment, so the script I designed is actually quite flexible. As for the photographic equipment, because I have a high demand for image quality, this film was shot using cinema rating Red machines, and 24mm and 85mm focal lengths of Canon cinema lenses. Still from Absence

Sound plays a crucial role in your work and we have highly appreciated the way it provides the footage of Where do you come from with such a enigmatic ambience capable of evoking such an uncanny

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sensation in the viewers: why did you decided to include such sound ambience? And how would you

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Jun-Yuan Hong

ART Habens

consider the relationship between

work is divided into two parts,

moving images and sound?

one is live sound, and the other is

Jun-Yuan Hong: The sound in the

post- production music.

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ART Habens

Jun-Yuan Hong

Still from Absence

Let me first explain the sound of

frame of the film.

the scene. I think the sound is the

Therefore, sound allows the

most important field outside the

audience to focus on the scene of

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Jun-Yuan Hong

ART Habens

work is completed. This part is very grateful to the cooperating composer because after receiving my ideas, he has made many versions for my reference. I based on these versions and The composer discussed and adjusted what I thought I needed to keep or delete. After the music was finished, I made some minor adjustments to the editing music. Where do you come from highlights the tension between the body and its surroundings: how did you select the locations and how was the filming experience?

Jun-Yuan Hong: The film location actually discusses in many places. The final deciding factor was a Taiwanese news event borrowed from the 1980s because the character of the event was a veteran and a person with identity issues.

the film so that the audience has a live experience. The music is the

So one of the film locations is an abandoned military barracks. I

last part of the work after the

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Still from Absence


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Jun-Yuan Hong

regard this scene as a symbolic meaning. In addition, dilapidated houses have the same meaning in the film. In your film you find an effective way to walk the viewers to develop an emotional bridge between their own inner spheres and the characters. We like the way you created entire scenarious out of psychologically charged moments: what was your preparation with actors in terms of rehearsal? In particular, how would you consider the relationship between the necessity of scheduling the details of a scene and the need of spontaneity? How importance does improvisation play in your cinema?

Jun-Yuan Hong: As I said in my statement, the character I am looking to have similar family problems, so they are not professional actors.

Still from Piece

Perhaps we all have similar experiences when I explain the film concept with the actors, they can understand the emotional expression I want, and we did not rehearse too many times when we shooting. In most cases, they

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received my direct to perform the action. I also direct the actors' movements while shooting at the scene, so from the staff to the

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Jun-Yuan Hong

ART Habens

From was recently selected for the Rencontres Internationales Paris/Berlin Film Festival in Paris: how do you consider the nature of your relationship with your audience? Direct relationship with the viewers

actors, they depend on my direction. Over the years your works have been showcased in several occasions and Where Do You Come

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ART Habens

Jun-Yuan Hong

Still from Piece

in a physical context is definetely the most important one, in order to snatch the spirit of a work of Art. However, as the move of Art from traditional gallery spaces, to street and especially to the online realm —

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as Instagram — increases: how would in your opinion change the relationship with a globalised audience?

Jun-Yuan Hong: I think the development of social media and

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Jun-Yuan Hong

ART Habens

because it is an era that full of image. Therefore, the audience is relatively incapable of focusing. They can view many videos by browsing, which also directly affects the longer time film. However, if the screening area can provide a comfortable environment. Under high-quality conditions of video and sounds, I think the audience will be more willing to stop and appreciate the work. We have really appreciated the originality of your artistic production and before leaving this stimulating conversation we would like to thank you for chatting with us and for sharing your thoughts, Jun-Yuan. What projects are you currently working on, and what are some of the ideas that you hope to explore in the future?

audiovisual platforms will indeed affect the screening relationship of works, but I think that in addition to the content of the film, the field of video art or movie is also very important

Jun-Yuan Hong: My films continue to focus on family issues, and I am also creating new works. In the future, I hope to continue

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Jun-Yuan Hong

Still from Return

to communicate with artists from various countries in the world. In recent years, my films have

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been recognized in the United States, Chile, South Korea, Japan, Spain, Norway, Denmark, Greece,

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Jun-Yuan Hong

Saudi Arabia, and France, so I encourage myself to work harder. I hope I can become an excellent

ART Habens

artist and maybe plans for drama films in the future.

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Lives and works in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil


ART Habens

A still from INFOTOXICATION Special Issue

Jordi Rosado

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An interview by and

, curator curator

Hello Andre and welcome to ART Habens. Before starting to elaborate about your artistic production we would like to invite our readers to visit https://www.andreperim.com and we would start this interview with a couple of questions about your background. Are there any experiences that did particularly influence your evolution as an artist? Moreover, are there any experiences that did particularly help you to develop your attitude to experiment with different media and art disciplines? André Perim: Hello everyone. It is a great pleasure to talk about my work. I began as a musician, I play piano, synthesizers and so on, but always had an special interest with all kind of artistic expression, specially drawing. Musicians tend sometimes to be too focused in the performative and technical aspects. I am from a generation (I was born in 1965) who grew up with the idea of specialization. I´ve read and heard in several places the statement that "You can´t do multiple things". You have to be very good in one specific thing", so artists transiting from one media were not taken too serious. I took it for granted, and thought that was my borderline, simply I wasn t allowing myself to go beyond that. The world changed,though. Now we are living in a very different situation. Those things became different, for the better. Art

André Perim (Photo by Pedro Perim)

now can be simply made in a mobile, low cost, and it is very easy to transit between several kind of artist expressions. In a certain way, urgency became more important than accuracy. Now, as a musician, I feel like an sculptor. It is something that the digital

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Special Issue


ART Habens

André Perim

technology brought to us. It is possible to record and "sculpt" the sounds and images throught the criative use of technology. It is very different from writing it down on a paper from the scratch. It is a way to free myself from the quest for a total control. When "sculpting" a lot of unexpected and undesired things can happen. That´s where the fun beggins. For this special edition of ART Habens we have selected INFOTOXICATION, a stimulating video that our readers have already started to get to know in the introductory pages of this article and that can be viewed at https://youtu.be/BRRCqi2xbrQ. What has at once captured our attention of your artwork is the wat you sapiently used such powerful combination between visual patterns and sound, in a strategic way to counter-balance subjectivity and offering an array of meanings. When walking our readers through the genesis of INFOTOXICATION would you tell us how did you develop the inital idea? André Perim: I had a very strong experience during 2017/2018. I stayed one year in a hospital in a treatment against cancer disease and by that time I kept myself away from contact with almost any kind of media. No web, no mobile, no music, no books, no TV. It was a very strong experience and made a deep impact in my life.

A still from INFOTOXICATION

the empty spaces. All became atmospheric. I was composing ambient music in a buble. Obsviously, when I came back home I had a completly different situation and started to be

So I produced the electronic music project "Side Effects" directly from the hospital. It is a work full of subtle textures and silence. I simply felt I had given up the need for filling

Special Issue

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AndrĂŠ Perim

threatened by the amount and the speed of

ART Habens

we have highly appreciated the way it provides INFOTOXICATION with such a enigmatic ambience capable of evoking such an uncanny sensation in the viewers: why did

information around me. Sound plays a crucial role in your work and

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Special Issue


ART Habens

AndrĂŠ Perim

A still from INFOTOXICATION

you decided to include such sound ambience? And how would you consider the relationship between moving images and sound?

Special Issue

AndrĂŠ Perim: Well, to tell the truth, the sound was the first thing that came up. I started writing an imaginary language like a surrealistic writing, building sentences that

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André Perim

ART Habens

to be an hybrid between the robotic and human. Most people may hear it and think it is my voice recorded, because in some moments it "sings", but is all coming throughout the machine. I think this brought "strangeness" to the work. The border between human and non-human is a disturbing place and I wanted to go there. I had been thinking about working with an imaginary idiom since I first saw the Mick Haggerty design cover the Album "Ghost in the machine" by The Police. Well, that was more than thirty years ago, but it is a thing that was sleeping somewhere in my mind and when I read something about information overload all came up. The flow of information increased in a vertiginous pace in the last years and we are loosing our power of choice and discrimination of what we receive. There is a common feeling that there is too much informantion, and sounds and images going on, maybe more than we desired. The price we are paying to stay up-to-date with the flow is very high and it is changing the way we perceive the word around us. Mexican artist Gabriel Orozco once stated, "the artist’s role differs depending on which part of the world you’re in. It depends on the political system you’re living under": as an artist particularly interested in the theme of information overload, what could be in your opinion the role of artists in our contemporary age? Does your artistic

sounded nice but without a fixed meaning. I just wrote it and recorded with a Voice Generator, using a Vocoder effect and corrupted the audio in several ways. It turned

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Special Issue


André Perim with Fábio Gomes and Wellington Soares (Photo by Paulo Barreto)


ART Habens

André Perim

research respond to a particular cultural moment? André Perim: Information overload is a problem that is affecting us all. Without wanting to contest Orozco, I think we are facing several deep changes in our lives no matter where we are living in. I am here in Brazil, a country with a very unique culture and and now it lot of things are going into a unexpected direction. It seems as most people are not likely to consider complexity. And it is not a local problem, it is almost everywhere. We increased so much the amount of information that we can´t handle it anymore. We are facing a future that is being sold to us as if the algorythms will rule everything and there is nothing to be done about it. Maybe the role of the artist now is to be the so called "point out of the curve". Not only the artists, but all those who are working with some creative aspect have to considered doubt. Doubt is directly related with freedom, and we are loosing it because of our connection with high speed communication. We have to be sure. We have to be ready to defend our point of view. The necessity of speed doesn´t gave too much space for "not knowing". We lost the space for being lost.

A still from INFOTOXICATION

INFOTOXICATION has struck us for the way you sapiently created such unique ambience, manipulating signs and urging the viewers to decypher the flow of images and sounds: in a certain sense, INFOTOXICATION seems to stimulate the viewer’s psyche and

consequently works on both a subconscious and a conscious level: how important is for you to trigger the viewers' imagination in order to address them to elaborate personal interpretations? In particular, how open would you like your works to be understood?

Special Issue

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AndrĂŠ Perim

AndrĂŠ Perim: One of the questions I kept in my mind while working with "INFOTOXICATION" was if is it is really important to a piece of art to have a meaning. To affect our perception of time and space leaving room for new possibilities

ART Habens

seemed to me a great thing to do. I beggan working with the idea of just triggering, making contact and allow empty space a multiple understanding . Visually , I basically worked with ideograms I

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ART Habens

AndrĂŠ Perim

A still from INFOTOXICATION

invented myself. The ideograms have a characteristic to work in different levels of understanding. I studied a little bit of I-Ching and symbols, and found out that while working through visual symbols I could go beyond the conscious level.

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Another interesting work of yours that has particularly impressed us and that we would like to introduce to our readers is entitled Vento Lunar and can be viewed at https://youtu.be/cezuK6h-mO8. We have really appreciated the way it draws from the

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André Perim

ART Habens

you consider the relationship between reality and imagination playing within your work? And how does everyday life's experience fuel your artistic research? André Perim: That is a good question."Vento lunar" means in Portuguese "moon wind," and I gave that name for the music because of some night footages I had made. It was like a children´s game of finding recognizable images on the moon. I simply looked out and saw an image of a magician (or something close ) and started shooting. So, was I dealing with reality or imagination? Nothing was preconceived. I think there is a difference between the indiscriminated use of chance and the ritual. I used to play with this since I was very young. Looking for faces in stains, clouds, shades, etc.. lots of children do this. I know it has something with working with the right side of the brain. You´ve mentioned fractal. That was idea an I used in my first videos directly related to my Albuns (Dágua, Dágua ao vivo and Side Effects). They were more related to the idea of a conventional video-clip and all of them had some relation in some way with the idea of fractal. In the first one, Babel, I worked with Kaleidoscopes, "Vento Lunar" with collage, and "Digital Drugs" directly With fractal. Although most of time I use the technology as a subject I don´t have the skills and knowledge to go too deeply into that. So, for the video of "Digital drugs", I called the German Artist Fraktalmeister who made a great work on the visual aspect and at the time I limited my work to the music.

idea of fractal to embody an interface between the real and the imagines. Scottish visual artist Peter Doig once remarked that even the most realistic works of art are derived more from within the head than from what's out there in front of us: how do

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ART Habens

André Perim

New York City based artist Lydia Dona once stated that in order to make art today one has to reevaluate the conceptual language behind the mechanism of art making itself: as a basically self taught musician, do you create your works gesturally, instinctively? Or do you methodically transpose schemes? In particular, how do you consider the role of chance and improvisation playing within your creative process? André Perim: Well, at first I don´t considered myself a self-taught musician. I had my masters, some people to follow in a certain way, but I refused the academic approach. I didn´t feel the academic environment as place to discover new possibilities, not the ones I am interested at the moment. But I studied arrangement, orchestration and a lot of other things and when I decided to put those thing in practice I went right to the opposite way. It is a very liberating experience when you gain a certain amount of theoretical information and you dismiss it I try to do it in a new unexplored way. The idea of having control about everything became something to be avoided at all costs. I have a very particular understanding about intuition. For me it is a more profound stage that goes beyond the theoretical knowledge. It is a knowledge in not knowing what to do, but finding. After I released my first album "Dágua" from 2014, I went with some very good musicians to play live, and we barely didn´t rehearse at all. And all the presentations were based on improvisation and there never been

Special Issue

A still from GLITCH

the same. Of course there is the need of some structures. Improvisation isn´t chaos. Unfortunately, in some music scenes improvisation became an misinterpreted term as synonym for jazz. I don´t have anything against it, but I was looking for a non-

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AndrĂŠ Perim

idiomatic improvisation much more concerned with creating new possibilities than learning a syntax of language that has already been accepted. At that moment I am considering desconstruction as a method for improvisation with multimedia. The use of

ART Habens

filters for changing parameters is a common practice in electronic music as well is videoart. INFOTOXICATION was internationally presented in several locations including

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ART Habens

AndrĂŠ Perim

A still from GLITCH

Hong Kong, Portugal, Saudi Arabia, Bulgaria, Equatorial Guinea and India: how do you consider the participatory nature of your relationship with your audience? Direct relationship with the audience in a physical is definitely the most important one, in order

Special Issue

to snatch the spirit of a work of Art. However, as the move of Art from traditional gallery spaces, to street and especially to the online realm increases: how would in your opinion change the relationship with a globalized audience?

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André Perim

ART Habens

future we will increase our capabilities of creating in real time connected to audience, no matter where in the globe. This change completly the way we interact. After desmaterialization, the next stage is interconnection. We have really appreciated the originality of your artistic production and before leaving this stimulating conversation we would like to thank you for chatting with us and for sharing your thoughts, Andre. What projects are you currently working on, and what are some of the ideas that you hope to explore in the future? André Perim: I produced a video called "I.D.".It is a logical response to "INFOTOXICATION". It has a lot to do with what I was talking before. The desmaterialization, the loss of identity in the digital era. I used a fingerprint and melted it . I am into this idea of digital desconstruction. It is opening new possibilities. I have a major plan to put all those ideas into a Glitch Opera working with the idea of error bringing together video, music, technology and performance. In the meantime a released a musical project called "Xamã" dedicated to the brazilian indian people. It had its debut at the Audioblast#8 "Global E-missions" event in Nantes, France in Feb 23rd. It was really a great pleasure to talk about my work and my life.

André Perim: We went through a desmaterialization process. We spent some time trying to adapt ourselves into this new situation. I think now we are starting to construct artist concepts that works with technology at the same level. And in a near

Thanks for the opportunity. An interview by and

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, curator curator

Special Issue


Throughout her work, Alice continually questions the custodianship over the female body, in a society obsessed with female beauty. Pushing questions of what it means to be a woman alongside the notions of fairy tale fantasy & perfection. Alice has been influenced by wide ranging historical references, from the witch hunts of the 1600s, through the waves of Feminism, to present day restrictions on women's bodies with the recent ‘Heartbeat bill’. Varied art-historical influences include classical sculpture, the depictions through the centuries of the often distorted and perfected female nude, the undulating lines of Degas among other Impressionist with their depictions of women and often sinister undercurrents. Alice found common ground with works by 1970s women performance artists like Valie Export, Schneemann and in particular Hannah Wilke who not only addressed the depictions of women but the problematic ideas of Feminist hierarchy. My videos, that are all filmed on my mobile phone aim to communicate battles we once thought were won that have resurfaced under a new guise. The performance to video submitted tugs at the notion of female resistance and collusion in a society heavily influenced by fear and shame. The tapping of the heels signals to most "there's no place like home" yet the home is the most dangerous place for women, with over 80% of women murdered in the U.K. alone being killed in their home by a husband or partner yet the media still heavily seduces us with the 'perfect home' ideal. Special Issue

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Alice Brookes

ART Habens

video, 2013

Silently Beautiful

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Special Issue


ART Habens

Special Issue ruby slippers

Jordi Rosado

4 03


An interview by and

, curator curator

Hello Alice and welcome to ART Habens. Before starting to elaborate about your artistic production we would like to invite our readers to visit https://alicebrookes01.wixsite.com/mysite and we would start this interview with a couple of questions about your background. You have a solid formal training and you hold a MFA that you received from the prestigious Oxford Brookes University: how did those formative years and your cultural substratum influence your evolution as an artist? Moreover, are there any experiences that did particularly help you to develop your attitude to experiment with different media and art disciplines? Alice Brookes: Firstly thank you for featuring me in ART Habens Magazine. My early career was spent working within the international Fashion industry and traveling extensively throughout Asia. In 2018 after some big life changes I sought a new direction and completed a Masters Degree in Fine Art where I began to engage in solo, self directed performance work. I felt a sense of urgency to express the opposing forces of female experience and found performance gave me that ability. My time within the aesthetic world of fashion and it's often unrealistic ideals of female beauty along with personal experience both positive and negative heavily influence my artistic practice. My

Alice Brookes

work strives to challenge societal norms alongside socially prescribed gender expectations embedded within us. By using my own body to explore the tension between space and the naked body my work often results in visceral, displays that

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Special Issue


ART Habens

Alice Brookes

tug on emotional states such as fear and shame. Your artistic production is focussed on the exploration of the theme of custodianship over the female body in our unstable contemporary societies, combining personal aesthetics with such a unique conceptual approach, that you use in a strategic way to counter-balance subjectivity and offers an array of meanings. The body of works that we have selected for this special edition of ART Habens —and that our readers have already started to get to know in the introductory pages of this article — has at once captured our attention for the way you explored the point of convergence between text and image, to invite the viewers to question of what it means to be a woman alongside the notions of fairy tale fantasy & perfection: when walking our readers through your usual setup and process, would you tell us how do you develop your initial ideas? Alice Brookes: I am influenced by wide ranging historical references, from the witch hunts of the 1600s, through the waves of Feminism, to present day restrictions on women's bodies. Varied art-historical influences include classical sculpture, the depictions through the centuries of the often distorted and perfected female nude, the undulating lines of Degas among other Impressionist with their depictions of women and often sinister undercurrents. I am an advocate for womens safety and ending violence against women, domestic violence and

Special Issue

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Alice Brookes

ART Habens

Silently Beautiful 21 4 06

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ART Habens

Alice Brookes

ruby slippers Special Issue

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Alice Brookes

ART Habens

the recognision of non violent abuse through coersion and control. I can be triggered by a news story that becomes a thread into further research leading down many avenues. I also write, a process I find very cathartic, sometimes singular words will be compiled on paper other times they will form short stories or poems that may accompany my performances. My practical performance work is much more spontaneous, once the seed is in my head I have to do it now. Mexican artist Gabriel Orozco once stated, "the artist’s role differs depending on which part of the world you’re in. It depends on the political system you’re living under": as an artist particularly interested in the theme of cultural identity, what could be in your opinion the role of artists in our contemporary age? Does your artistic research respond to a particular cultural moment? Alice Brookes: Yes definitely, my connection was initially to 1960s - 70s women performance artists and activists like, Carolee Schneemann, Martha Rosler, Adrian Piper and The Guerilla Girls among others. Their groundbreaking approach that battled not only for recognition as women artists but also highlighted the equal pay battle, abortion rights and the plight of women caught deep in the world of domestic expectations. I felt a particular connection with the work of Hannah wilke, her use of chewing gum in the piece S.O.S. - Starification Object Series as a representation of the American woman, Wilke commented, “I chose gum

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ART Habens

Alice Brookes

because it's the perfect metaphor for the American woman-chew her up, get what you want out of her, throw her out and pop in a new piece.” I was also drawn to the way she not only challeged gender sterotypes but also feminist sterotypes in her piece Marxism and Art: Beware of Fascist Feminism, as Chimamanda Adichie states in her book We Should all be Feminists “the word feminist, and the idea of feminism itself, is also limited by stereotypes”. I feel the current political climate both in the uk, other parts of Europe and America have seen challenges we once thought were won are now resurfacing under a new guise. Your practice focuses heavily on the female body and RESISTANCE & COLLUSION inquiries into how society still has a strong sense of custodianship over women's bodies in relation to art, as well as within our society, in particular the naked female body. Over the recent years many artists, from Martha Wilson to Carolee Schneemann have explored culture’s expectations about what women are supposed to be: as an artist interested in questioning the themes of femininity and cultural identity, do you think that contemporary art could be a conduit for a kind of social criticism capable of making aware a large part of the population of the condition of women in our globalized, still patriarchal societies? Moreover, do you think that your being a woman provides your artistic research with some special value?

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Alice Brookes

ART Habens

Resistance and Collusion 21 4 10

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Resistance and Collusion


Alice Brookes

ART Habens

Alice Brookes: I also avidly follow social media activity to see how women are being celebrated, portrayed and judged. Depictions of harassment and aims to silence women are not too dissimilar to the early witch hunts, Seeing phrases like, ‘she was so drunk’, ‘she deserved it’, ‘she met him on Tinder, what did she expect?’,Journalist Jessica Valenti makes it clear “Women don't get raped because they were not careful enough. Women get raped because someone raped them”...This sort of misogynist dialogue is always paralled by predictable media coverage of men who have commited extreme violence against women with phrases like ‘but he was a good dad’ ‘was he just pushed too far?’ accompanied by images of him as a child or his personal achievements.

Alice Brookes: My artist practice relates to being a female human and the experiences that brings. Resistance and Collusion seeks to engage with the contradiction of liberation and breaking down boundaries while at the same time creating self induced limits. In our media driven world, saturated with images of women self filtered beyond recognition, these distorted nymph-like filters create fantastical ideals of female perfection that have been depicted by male artists for centuries. I question are we simply being filtered or phazed out. As Gloria Stienem states “It's not only that we live in a patriarchy, it's that the patriarchy lives in us”. My practice is also informed by a narrative of femininity that surrounds us from childhood with societies persistence of girl and boy toys, of perfect mummies and Princesses. Classic fairy tales with their displays of young beautiful women suffering silently, almost contently under their oppressors. This tradition of relating suffering and silence is intrinsically female.

Another interesting work of yours that has particularly impressed us and that we would like to introduce to our readers is entitled CORNERED, a stimulating performance that hightlights your interested in the residue as you are in the process, and that has struck us for the way you sapiently created such unique ambience, manipulating human figure: in a certain sense, CORNERED seems to stimulate the viewer’s psyche and consequently works on both a subconscious and a conscious level: how important is for you to trigger the viewers' imagination in order to address them to elaborate personal interpretations? In particular, how open

We have really appreciated the way your artworks embody an interface between realism and imagination, as well as the way you include elements from ordinary experience. Scottish painter Peter Doig once remarked that even the most realistic paintings are derived more from within the head than from what's out there in front of us: how do you consider the relationship between reality and imagination playing within your work? And how does everyday life's experience fuel your artistic research?

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ART Habens

Alice Brookes

would you like your works to be understood?

directing things can change course without notice.

Alice Brookes: Cornered “The Pedestal is governed by strict rules, one wrong move will ensure your perpetual descent.� Cornered focused on the concept of being elevated, by who and at what cost. The residue quickly became an important part of my work, the notion of what took place here, what is left behind, not only visually but internally like shame, fear. It is important that women can relate on some level to my work, I have no desire for it to be so obscure that all is lost.

You are an established artist and over the years you have had group and solo shows including your incoming show at CICA Museum, in Korea: how do you consider the participatory nature of your relationship with your audience? Direct relationship with the audience in a physical is definetely the most important one, in order to snatch the spirit of a work of Art. However, as the move of Art from traditional gallery spaces, to street and especially to the online realm increases: how would in your opinion change the relationship with a globalised audience?

The performative and the physical act of art play a relevant role in your work, and we have appreciated the way CORNERED conveys sense of freedom and reflects rigorous approach to the grammar of body language. New York City based artist Lydia Dona once stated that in order to make art today one has to reevaluate the conceptual language behind the mechanism of art making itself: do you create your works gesturally, instinctively? Or do you methodically transpose schemes? In particular, how do you consider the role of chance and improvisation playing within your creative process?

Alice Brookes: A certain amount of my work is performed to video rather than to a live audience, I see the camera as a sort of protective shield, not from the viewers per se but from my own fears. I am also interested in the aspect of voyeurism that is related to a naked or semi women on screen, especially in our ever increasing digital world. We have really appreciated the originality of your artistic production and before leaving this stimulating conversation we would like to thank you for chatting with us and for sharing your thoughts, Alice. What projects are you currently working on, and what are some of the ideas that you hope to explore in the future?

Alice Brookes: The role of chance and improvisation definitely play a part in my performance process, sometimes the work can take an unexpected turn. For me that is one of the things that draws me to performance, as human beings we are unpredictable and even when self

Special Issue

Alice Brookes: New work Ruby Slippers and Silently Beautiful draw on the theme of home and the gendered stereotypes

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Resistance and Collusion


cornered image


Alice Brookes

ART Habens

cornered image

cornered image

that come with that, mother, homemaker and family, we are constantly bombarded by a capitalist agenda that pushes the perfect home, a ‘must have’, an achievable goal that comes with the tragic irony that the home is often far from a safe space and is actually one of the most dangerous places for a woman. Silently Beautiful prompts us to consider the

dissonance between the still, dead-like figure and the burst of bright red glitter. The cropped female figure highlights the implications of a narrative that frames women as Silently Beautiful. An interview by and

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, curator curator

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Lives and works in Berlin, Germany

Silver Grain Body

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Eun Sun Cho

ART Habens

video, 2013

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ART Habens

Eun Sun Cho

DUAL SPACE AND TIME

Special Issue

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An interview by and

, curator curator

Hello Eun Sun and welcome to ART Habens. Before starting to elaborate about your artistic production we would like to invite our readers to visit https://www.eunsuncho.com and we would start this interview with a couple of questions about your background. You have a solid formal training: after your studies in Architecture at the Univeristy of Seoul, you moved from South Korea to Germany to study Photography at Neue Schule fßr Fotografie and you are currently pursuing your degree in Mathematics at the Technische Universität Berlin: how did those formative years influence your evolution as an artist? Moreover, how does your cultural substratum due to your Korean roots and your current life in Berlin address the direction of your current artistic research? Eun Sun Cho: Architecture, Photography and mathematics create specific kind of language towards reality. The approach of the widely used diagram in architecture helps me analyse and summarise the scattered and seemingly irrelevant informations into the systematic visual language which deploys for functional architectural implementation. Architectural practice was for me the simultaneous task that copes with art/design, engineering, social, political, psychological and economic context in the form of the plan taking account of the possibility of realisation. On the other hand, Photography is a visual language that embodies spontaneity as well as

Eun Sun Cho

methodicalness interplaying with the instantaneous phenomenon on the level of the surface. In mathematics, I am still in the middle of exploring the various aspect of mathematics. I can say that it is quite interesting to theorise the information pertaining to the reality in terms of axioms, theorems, conjecture. It gives me much intellectual freedom to nurture the structure of

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ART Habens

Eun Sun Cho

DUAL SPACE AND TIME

DUAL SPACE AND TIME

thoughts in the realm of formula corresponding to the simplified actuality. So I could say that my artistic research is based on Photography as a combination of light and writing in the etymological sense from which explores the fundamental theoretical part of the light through the perspective of chemistry, physics and mathematics and reconstructs reality through the synthetic language of architecture.

rather than the determination of specific direction. On the other hand, Berlin is a felinefaced city with international flair and diversity, which gives me enough space for the continual development of work with surging ideas. Acceptance and respect of difference is the most significant part that I appreciate about Berlin, which makes me feel free to experiment with different methods that I would not have thought of in Korea.

Encapsulating the influences from Korean root, suffice it to say impassioned driving forces towards the perfection in every aspect of work

For this special edition of ART Habens we have selected , an interesting project that explores the concepts

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Eun Sun Cho

ART Habens

DUAL SPACE AND TIME 21 4 06

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ART Habens

Eun Sun Cho

DUAL SPACE AND TIME Special Issue

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Eun Sun Cho

ART Habens

DUAL SPACE AND TIME

DUAL SPACE AND TIME

of transience and displacement and that our readers have already started to get to know in the introductory pages of this article. What has at once captured our attention of E is the way you use your visual language in a strategic way to investigate the duality of light, to challenge the viewers' perceptual parameters. When walking our readers through your usual setup and process, would you tell us how did you develop your initial ideas for DUAL SPACE AND TIME in order to achieve such brilliant results?

photography, I felt the urge to develop the project about sheer light in the continuum of an element of photography. I did not know somehow at that time how to convey dual properties of light into photographic representation. By understanding the impossibility of depicting simultaneity of photon and wave state, I wanted to develop the work that imagines the state of simultaneous measurement and observation of two states. So it became clear for me to show the whole process of the state of light, namely from initial release of particle(exposing the light) to captivation of the particles in the net

Eun Sun Cho: While working on the projects about the format, units, materiality of

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ART Habens

Eun Sun Cho

of grid(observation) to the mingle with the wave(transition) and to the coexistence of photon and wave state in the same frame(fictive state). In that sense, I wanted to explore the meaning of observation in the perspective of photography that snatches the duality of light. Each picture is an observation of constant changes of state which correspondences to one slice of a specific layer of time and space. Then I came across the idea of duality in mathematics which gave me an idea of how the duality of light could be presented visually. In mathematics, a duality, generally speaking, translates mathematical structures into other structures, in a one-to. So if two states of light are mere mathematical structures and if particle state is dual to wave and vice versa, then the depictability of coexistent states of particle and wave could be seen as somehow the union of dual spaces. This is how I got to the main idea of "Dual space and time". We have particularly appreciated the way the delicate nuances that marks out create such sense of dynamics. How does your own psychological make-up determine the nuances of tones that you decide to include in your artwork? Eun Sun Cho: I must say that in the course of experimenting designated masterplans in the darkroom, also my spontaneous and fluctuated intervention marked on every layer of the pictures. Especially in the condition that you hardly see anything but rely on your dull tactile sensation, every movement at exposure done makes slight alteration from the imagined plan. The limitation of physical capability is often

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Eun Sun Cho

ART Habens

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ART Habens

Eun Sun Cho

Silver Grain Body Special Issue

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Eun Sun Cho

ART Habens

psychologically frustrating, and I have to accept that I am not the one who can control everything in the darkroom. On the other hand, I take a passive role of the observer of the physical phenomenon, which is surprisingly liberating. So the nuances of tones are determined by kind of let-go state of mind towards the phenomenon that is designed and planned to a certain extent with inhomogeneous lopsidedness caused by technical limitation. We have really appreciated your successful attempt to make visible the subliminal intercommunication between the distinctive languages, stimulating the viewer’s psyche on both the subconscious and the conscious level. In this sense, your artworks seem to invite the viewers to look inside of what appear to be seen, rather than its surface. Austrian Art historian Ernst Gombrich once remarked the importance of providing a space for the viewers to project onto: how important is for you to trigger the viewers' imagination in order to address them to elaborate personal interpretations? In particular, how open would you like your works to be understood? Eun Sun Cho: I do think that it is essential to trigger the viewer's imagination for personal interpretation because through viewer's contribution to the artwork, the comprehension range of artwork could reach out to the affluent realm beyond the limitation of artist's intention and conception. An author of the work presents a specific framework for the work such as motivations and ideas behind it. And it is personally more about documenting my paths finely enough to infer

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ART Habens

Eun Sun Cho

revealed. I intuitively felt from the story of the most cloned cell line(HeLa) in the world that it could have something to do with the photographic reality. So I wanted to develop the project starting from an analogue portrait to cell-like form which imitates forms of the silver grain in negative film. Also, it was essential to present the formula of the chemical process as well as the measurement of fictive grains since it is related to the reality of the technical aspect of analogue photography and biochemical means so that it arouses the blurriness of the line between physical body and body through Medium on the micro-level.

from them that one could put various conception into coherence in a certain way. I reckon that as soon as every artwork leaves from the artist, it is handed to the viewers who have the right to freely interpret and reconstruct the artwork whether or not the artist intended the work to be seen in a specific way. Another interesting project of yours that has particularly impressed us and that we would like to introduce to our readers is entitled Silver grain body. As you have remarked once, in your body of works analogue negative of portraits has exposed on the negative film, and then the enlarged positive film exposed repeatedly on another negative, so 20 times of the process. Each of enlarged portraits has been then cut into amorphous irregular pieces with diversified sized so that they imitate silver grain formation. How did you develop such unconventional technique in order to achieve such brilliant results?

You investigate the intersection of biology, chemiphysical phenomena and mathematical problems with photographic reality and we have particularly appreciated the way you pratice highlights the Ariadne's thread that links Art to Science. How do you consider the relationship between artistic research and scientific method? In particular, how does in your opinion art could be used to explain science and vice versa?

Eun Sun Cho: I have done a lot of portrait series while studying at the Neue Schule fĂźr Fotografie Berlin because I thought it would be series. But ultimately, I realized that my interest flows into the intersectionality between scientific themes and photography, and I could not find any use for the portraits. Amid the frustration, then I had the strangest encounter with a woman in Berlin who claimed to be cloned by the government. It sounded just insane to me, but it revived my interest in modern biotechnology whether her story was true or not. From the research, I found out the cloning in biotechnology already existed in the same year that the structure of DNA was

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Eun Sun Cho: The scientific method deals with systematic observation, measurement, experiment, and the formulation which apply for general principles. In artistic research, it is, in my opinion, more about the contextualization and representation of a specific idea, which is a dense process somehow without definite structure. So it is not exaggerating to say that the scientific method could compensate for the vagueness of artistic research with an elaborately structured and unambiguous way. I think in

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Silver Grain Body


Silver Grain Body


Eun Sun Cho

many cases that science could give an artist a new frame with the precision towards the phenomenon for which art applies.

ART Habens

lifestyle which are so to speak to me building whole structure of myself once again from the bottom in a new surrounding. It actually helped me a lot to make a new life in the new environment again since I moved quite a lot from place to place as a child. So the combination of childhood memories and new life in Berlin have been the fuel of developing the Series „Reconstruction of Architecture“ as a metaphor for the restructuring the life.

On the other hand, In science, many exciting subjects are not just approachable to the broad public because many theories behind the issues are explained based on demanding presupposition of the abstract formalized meaning of the phenomenon. Then in that sense art could serve to decipher the encapsulated scientific subjects by presenting well-paved accessibility experimentally with collections of focused perspectives.

With learning mathematics, my everyday life‘s experience somehow remains unperturbed and retain my composure with the intellectual challenge that I find the most fascinating. It keeps my work inside the sheer theoretical world with a specific structure that represents the concealed core of the mechanism of the physical phenomenon, which is the main interest in my artistic research.

We have appreciated the way Reconstruction of Architecture invites the viewers to question the way how human being interacts with the environment, highlighting the tension between the body and its surroudings. How do you consider the role of memory — including the places that you have had the chance to visit — playing within your process and how does everyday life's experience fuel your artistic research?

In a controversial quote, German photographer Thomas Ruff stated that ''nowadays you don't have to paint to be an artist: you can just create photographs in a realistic way". Provocatively, the German photographer highlighted the short circuit between the act of looking and that of thinking critically about images: how do you consider the role of photography in our contemporary age, constantly saturated by ubiquitous images?

Eun Sun Cho: For „Reconstruction of Architecture“ I had various influences in terms of concepts over time. It took me some time to realize that the series would be part of the book „Ich und Du“ that I am preparing. At a certain point, I realized that the series like „land of land“ and „Invention of geometry“ reflects the zero ground status whereas „Reconstruction of Architecture“ deals with building elements in the physical world.

Eun Sun Cho: Through overload, overrun and overabundance by the images on an unprecedented scale in modern society, the cognitive effect is to be seen in every part of society, namely “photo-taking impairment effect” – the idea that photographing may

By moving to Berlin, I had a chance to delve myself into a new language, culture and

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ART Habens

Eun Sun Cho

Reconstruction of Architecture

discourage remembering. That implies at a certain point that we do not need to remember anything in a reality where

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photography becomes the life form in which everything is automatically photographed, and we could only cognize the world through the

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Eun Sun Cho

perspective of the photographed world. So, in that sense, the role of photography in our contemporary age is to resolve the

ART Habens

discrepancy between photographed reality and our perception of it and its actuality, in my opinion.

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ART Habens

Eun Sun Cho

Over the years your artworks have exhibited in several occasions, including your show at Nou Wave Gallery in London and at the Akademie der Wissenschaften und der Literature, in Mainz: how do you consider the nature of your relationship with your audience? Direct relationship with the viewers in a physical context is definetely the most important one, in order to snatch the spirit of a work of Art. However, as the move of Art from traditional gallery spaces, to street and especially to the online realm — as Instagram — increases: how would in your opinion change the relationship with a globalised audience?

discover new talent quite quickly and easily, it is worth also mentioning, however, that it does not necessarily guarantee the intensity and quality of art experiences that they perhaps wish to seek for. We have really appreciated the originality of your artistic production and before leaving this stimulating conversation we would like to thank you for chatting with us and for sharing your thoughts, Eun Sun. What projects are you currently working on, and what are some of the ideas that you hope to explore in the future? Eun Sun Cho: Currently, I am editing the photo book project "Ich und Du " that I have been working on the last eight years on and off.

Eun Sun Cho: The physical exhibition is still advantageous in terms of contribution to the viewer‘s sensibility through physical involvement towards artwork as well as interpersonal interaction between viewers and artist since an artist can observe the reflection of the artwork on the base of reaction from the audience in physical space. Compared to the time and energy-consuming exhibition, the online platform is a very economical form of presenting the artwork.

It is about the human condition in a different contradistinctive environment which will include the project "Reconstruction of architecture" I am partially introducing here. Moreover, there is a project dealing with a pesticide in cooperation with the Heinrich Böll Foundation in which I am due to take part. More personally, I would like to explore the correspondence between visual representation and mathematical manipulation behind, more specifically algebraic-geometric problems underlying mathematical structure such as group, ring and field.

In the age of hyperconnectivity and globalism, I do think that it is inevitably necessary to give the work online for broad accessibility. Unfortunately, there is still a definite limitation of the online platform for it is fixed on retinabased 2-dimension. So the display of artwork in globalised online platform demands some kind of flatter and smoother standardised quality with the communication skill. For the globalised audience it opens the possibility to

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An interview by and

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, curator curator


Reconstruction of Architecture


lives and work in San Francisco, CA (USA)

White plastic hangers, August 27, 2019 Special Issue

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Cecilia Borgenstam

ART Habens

video, 2013

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ART Habens

Special Issue 6, 2018 Knife, October

Jordi Rosado

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An interview by and

, curator curator

Hello Cecilia and welcome to ART Habens. Before starting to elaborate about your artistic production we would like to invite our readers to visit http://www.ceciliaborgenstamphoto.c om and we would start this interview with a couple of questions about your background. You have a solid formal training: you hold a BA in Contemporary Literature and Cultural Studies, and after having earned your Bachelor of Fine Arts you nurtured your education with a Masters of Fine Arts in Photography, that you received from San Francisco Art Institute: how did those formative years influence your evolution as an artist? Moreover, how does your cultural substratum address the direction of your current artistic research?

Cecilia Borgenstam

Hi, first of all, thank you for this opportunity. I am very happy to get to talk to you.

harder, not easier, to communicate accurately in either language. With photography I could switch comfortably between different visual languages, something I had struggled with for a long time verbally.

I devoted myself creatively and academically to literature for a long time but my need to express myself visually grew out of a frustration of not being able to express myself verbally. I am bilingual, and it doesn’t matter that I speak English quite well, there is still a language barrier. With time, it became

However, I do think my degree in literature and cultural studies influence my artistic decisions. I often draw inspiration from literature, and there are

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ART Habens

Cecilia Borgenstam

certain academic texts I studied in the past, that will always stay with me. Reading Sandra M. Gilbert and Susan Gubar’s Madwoman in the attic was one of those seminal moments and I still draw inspiration and creative drive from that text. I chose to study at SFAI because of the incredible photography department, and I didn’t get disappointed: I worked with Linda Connor, John Chiara, John Priola and Henry Wessel and I was Meghan Riepenhoff’s TA. They all had an influence on my practice. But more than anything, it was the years working for Richard Misrach that really shaped me as an artist, technically and philosophically. His attention to detail, and his passionate approach to the craft is truly inspirational. I am very, very lucky to call him a mentor. For this special edition of ART Habens we have selected Here/Not Here, an interesting project that explores the concepts of transience and displacement and that our readers have already started to get to know in the introductory pages of this article. What has at once captured our attention of Here/Not Here is the way you use your visual language in a strategic way to counter-balance subjectivity, to challenge the viewers' perceptual parameters. When walking our readers

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Perego stroller, December 30, 2017

through your usual setup and process, would you tell us how did you develop

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Cecilia Borgenstam

your initial ideas for Here/Not Here in order to achieve such brilliant results?

ART Habens

I live in San Francisco, California. It is a sanctuary city, which means that we

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Grey hoodie, September 2, 2018


ART Habens

Cecilia Borgenstam

Persian imitation rug, March 24, 2018

welcome and support all people who are experiencing short- or long-term

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displacement. All the images are made in Golden Gate Park where, during hikes,

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Cecilia Borgenstam

ART Habens

people in the transient community have packed up their temporary encampments and moved on. I found these scenes, which I call “dystopian still lifes�, creating disruptions in the natural landscape. I realized that if I documented what I found, without intervention, they would allow a viewer to ask questions, and create narratives about a community that is often portrayed negatively in news media. The still lifes highlight the absence of human presence. Someone has used these objects and left them behind. This community is, for all intents and purposes, invisible, and it was important to me to remind the viewer of that fact by reinforcing the invisibility and let the objects speak instead. To encourage ongoing positive change, I donate a percentage of image sales to local nonprofits who work to support people who are experiencing homelessness. The images from Here/Not Here seem to be meticulously structured: how do you consider the relationship between the necessity of scheduling the details of your photos and the need of spontaneity? How important is improvisation in your workflow? Every image I make in this project presents itself to me as is, and I embrace what is in front of me. It is important to

I would stumble across discarded objects that had been left behind when

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Blue Tablecloth, January 15, 2018


Women’s dress, sock and flip flop, July 9, 2017


Cecilia Borgenstam

underline that I don’t stage, move, add, subtract or in any way physically manipulate the objects that I photograph. But there’s a large amount of controlled improvisation that goes into making the final image as I spend a lot of time in the park looking for opportunities. I map, track and continually revisit a place to document the interaction between objects and landscape over time. This is not a reliable discipline because the objects undergo a recycling process: if they are useful, chances are that they will be appropriated by someone else who has use for them.

ART Habens

otherwise prosperous country too. So, to put it honestly, I’m not starved for material. I was inspired by Linda Nochlin’s book Misère where she researches the history of portraying poverty in visual arts. She writes that during the industrial revolution poverty was “beautified” because more realistic descriptions and “ugliness” would make people turn away from the problem rather than foster positive change. Realistic documentation and professional, un-biased reporting doesn’t add to the “ugliness” of transience, but I am horrified when I see how some news outlets report on the homeless issue in SF. The images are exploitative, sensationalist and made purely to evoke disgust and nurture negative language. I made a conscious decision to stay firmly in Golden Gate Park instead of visiting other locations in the city or the wider Bay Area because I wanted the rugged landscape, marked by decades of exposure to the cold and damp Pacific Coast fog and wind, and the interaction with material objects through deterioration, to serve as a metaphor for how long term transience can impact a human being. The scenes I find in the park evoke sympathy and have an air of dignity and respect about them.

I go through periods that are very productive, but I also have long periods when nothing happens. The slow periods give me a sense of relief: there is a small possibility that a person who usually sleeps in the park is safe and has found an alternative, hopefully more long term, shelter. Here/Not Here has drawn heavily from the specifics of the surroundings: how did you select the locations and how did they influence your shooting process? It is very, very unfortunate that we don’t have to look very far before we meet someone who has been displaced in San Francisco and this statement is increasingly true in other parts of our

This decision is being reaffirmed when I talk to people I meet while I work. They welcome the fact that I keep their

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ART Habens

Cecilia Borgenstam

identities protected and that I don’t use their lack of agency to make blanket statements about a multi-faceted issue. We really appreciate your unique use of found objects and the way highlights the tension between impermanence and vulnerability, eliciting response in the spectatorship: New York City based photographer and sculptor Zoe Leonard once stated, "the objects that we leave behind hold the marks and the sign of our use: like archeological findings, they reveal so much about us". We’d love to ask you about the qualities of the materials that you include — or that you plan to include — in your artworks: in particular, how important is for you to use materials rich of metaphorical properties in order to create such allegorical images? The metaphysical aspect of the work is determined by the objects. We may associate the clothing in “Women’s dress, sock and flip flop, July 9, 2017” with the human body or the cloth and furniture in “Blue Tablecloth, January 15, 2018” and “Perego stroller, December 30, 2017” with the domestic realm. But it is interesting that some of the objects are very contemporary and have not lost their usefulness because they’re antiquated.

Men’s Nike shoes, rice cooker, and Iphone case,

objects speak to modern consumption where fashion and technology items are

In “Men’s Nike shoes, rice cooker, and iPhone case, November 3, 2017”, some

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Cecilia Borgenstam

ART Habens

November 3, 2017

discarded for their lack of being the most recent version of something, more

than for their lack of being useful. There is a sad discrepancy between the high

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Two cups and water bottle, September 16, 2018


ART Habens

Cecilia Borgenstam

“Anything helps”, August 20, 2017

level of material “trendiness” and short lifespan of the Nike sneaker and the

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iPhone case. And I wonder if time will be able to preserve and inform us of the

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Cecilia Borgenstam

ART Habens

Another interesting project of yours that has particularly impressed us and that we would like to introduce to our readers is entitled Tiny Places, whose images are diary notes, records trying to make sense of your childhood, and the lives of your children. How do you consider the role of memory playing within your artistic research? And how does everyday life's experience fuel your creative process? Because I left my home country 25 years ago, and have moved around a lot since then, memory plays a big part of my day to day life, as well as in my art practice. We all consist of an accumulation of lived experiences and it shapes who we are. I have an almost obsessive need to collect, document and catalog my childhood memories so that they can help me understand not only the person I have become today but what I pass on to my children through nature and nurture. Both sides of my family have a history of mental health issues and opening myself up to those memories are both painful and informative. Tiny Places is an ongoing diary project, and I am still only scratching the surface. In a controversial quote, German photographer Thomas Ruff stated that ''nowadays you don't have to paint to be an artist: you can just create photographs in a realistic way". Provocatively, the German

stark contrast in quality of life for different people using the same object.

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Tiny Places #6008


ART Habens

Cecilia Borgenstam

photographer highlighted the short circuit between the act of looking and that of thinking critically about images: how do you consider the role of photography in our contemporary age, constantly saturated by ubiquitous images? I have pre-teen and teenage children so I always have to navigate my feelings with regards to the constant flow of imagery they consume every day and what impact it may or may not have on them. I think they have a very critical attitude towards that flow, but they are also way savvier than I was when it comes to creating their own content and adding to that flow. They understand how to compose an image and make it stand out in ways that I didn’t understand when I was their age. Despite the visual saturation, it is still true that an image needs to contain a “decisive moment”, a punctum, in order to have an impact, or to survive the “flow”. That hasn’t changed. What I love about photography is that it is never a stagnant medium, it is constantly evolving. It keeps us on our toes. You are an established artist and over the years your artworks have had three solos and your series Here/Not Here received an honorable mention by Phillip Brockman in the 12th Pollux

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Cecilia Borgenstam

ART Habens

Tiny Places #6 21 4 16

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Cecilia Borgenstam

Tiny Places #5.5 Special Issue

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Cecilia Borgenstam

ART Habens

Awards in the category for documentary reportage in early 2019, and you are going to participate to 14th Julia Margaret Cameron Award, at the Gallery FotoNostrum, in Barcelona, Spain. How do you consider the nature of your relationship with your audience? Direct relationship with the viewers in a physical context is definitely the most important one, in order to snatch the spirit of a work of Art. However, as the move of Art from traditional gallery spaces, to street and especially to the online realm — as Instagram — increases: how would in your opinion change the relationship with a globalised audience? I don’t know if I can answer that question accurately. Not only am I a selfconfessed luddite, I’m also a social media hermit, so my experiences so far are perhaps driven by anxiety to overcome these hurdles rather than through choice. That said, there are incredible resources available to artists who want to market themselves, and reach a global audience, and I try to use as many opportunities and platforms that I possibly can. However, to stay true to my project, it is important that any outlet I use retain the correct context of the images, and that the message doesn’t get watered down. Here/Not Here often evoke strong feelings in viewers, and people want to share stories and experiences with me.

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ART Habens

Cecilia Borgenstam

Tiny Places #009

The honest conversations with the people I meet, both when I make the images, and when I share them, are important.

your thoughts, Cecilia. What projects are you currently working on, and what are some of the ideas that you hope to explore in the future?

We have really appreciated the originality of your artistic production and before leaving this stimulating conversation we would like to thank you for chatting with us and for sharing

Right now, I am turning Here/ Not Here into a book, and creating a new chapter, a sequel if you like, of night images. While the daytime images convey

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Cecilia Borgenstam

ART Habens

Tiny Places #2018

as long as the issues of displacement exist.

abandonment: the objects have been discarded indeterminately, the scenes at night have a different appearance. The reinforced invisibility of human presence is still critical, but the objects are seemingly alive, breathing, waiting for someone to reappear or return. I am really excited to explore this further. This is a project that will continue to grow for

And thank you again for this opportunity, it’s been a pleasure talking to you about my work. An interview by and

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, curator curator

Special Issue

Profile for ART Habens

ART Habens Art Review, Special Edition  

In this issue: Cecilia Borgenstam (USA) • Eun Sun Cho (Germany) • Alice Brookes (United Kingdom)• André Perim (Brazil) • Jun-Yuan Hong (Tai...

ART Habens Art Review, Special Edition  

In this issue: Cecilia Borgenstam (USA) • Eun Sun Cho (Germany) • Alice Brookes (United Kingdom)• André Perim (Brazil) • Jun-Yuan Hong (Tai...

Profile for arthabens
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