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IN THIS ISSUE
(USA) “All my paintings come from visualizations. I work from my visualization from memory and have many sheets of notes and thumbnail sketches on paper that I have in a stack. I think of my visualizations as the work I do in my sleep. “
(Brazil) “The performance 'DOT, a videogame with no winner' was created with the idea of criticizing some aspects of game logics. The performance criticizes, through abstract images, themes linked to videogames and people’s everyday life.”
(USA) “Art is the opposite of dogma, it doesn't directly steer behavior so much as reveal the world. For me art is alive when it's hard at work on the ground, opening up possibilities, willing to break a sweat, willing to make a fool of itself for new meanings.”
(France) “I try to deal with video art as street artists do, with the desire to deliver the essential in just a few lines or blocks of color. I do not want my videos to live on the margins of society, solely locked in official art places, but to become accessible to everyone.”
(USA) “My work is motivated by our relationship to our innovations, our fascination with these innovations and how they shape culture and the way we think. (…) my hope is to present a more humble view of our activities as super animals within nature.”
Myrthe van der Mark
“I can't build air castles. Yet, I am my own Prima Causa and I see myself responsible for the necessary and unalterable course of my life. What I see as truth is merely based on myself as first cause. This philosophy does not always make me feel that I can control life and the things that happen. “
50 “ I think art comes about through Freedom and Play, so any particular art work should emerge from a place of the freest possible play. These would be the “initial conditions” out of which the specific limitations of any particular project would be generated.”
“Our works are constantly exhibited and we hope for the near development of more fun and engaging machines that attract people into a meaningful experience born from what is unusual yet accessible. “
“Blood imagery tends to come up a lot in the work. Red is really the only color that I use. I really like using a very limited palate that way. Some other colors have crept in but never stay for too long. The gold/ metallics have been making more of an appearance but for the most part it just the red.”
“I don’t think personal experience is necessary, I always aim to completely isolate my life experience from my work and aim to keep it conceptual. I actually dislike a lot of art which incorporates personality, I find it apathetic and an easy way to disregard true concept. ”
78 “I describe my particular practice of painting to be 'visionary' and I am inspired by the work of many Fantasy artists and Surrealists. My work also has a strong spiritual influence, as from a young age my mother would teach me about the universe and its cosmic powers, our connectedness with nature.”
Marie Kazalia “My recent series of spot paintings has deep roots– taproots going back to art school and long before adulthood, encompassing many interests including repeating pattern and subverted pattern and the allowance of asymmetry within sacred geometry–all explored with a new color theory and palette I devised along the way. My paintings contain color and language influences from my 4 expatriate years in the Asian countries of Japan, India and China—primarily in the cities of Tokyo, Madras (now Chennai) and Hong Kong combined with color and form in conjunction with the ever-changing (viewed since my childhood) colors and letters of advertisements of my native English language. I’m an American artist (Bachelor of Fines Arts degree from the California College of Arts in the San Francisco bay area, + graduate studies). My paintings contain color and language influences from my 4 expatriate years in the Asian countries of Japan, India and China—primarily in the cities of Tokyo, Madras (now Chennai) and Hong Kong. As an American, born in Toledo, Ohio, with a Bachelor of Fines Arts degree from the California College of Arts in the San Francisco bay area, I studied Japanese at a private language school in Tokyo where I practiced speaking, reading and writing Japanese kanji, hiragana and katakana characters. Hiragana and katakana the more modern simplified characters most often used on the many large neon signs in the urban centers of Tokyo. I also traveled, lived and taught in India for one full year, then moved to Hong Kong and enrolled in a Mandarin language course at the Chinese Erector Set 4
University– studying conversation, reading, and writing Chinese characters. Being able to read hundreds of the most common Chinese characters made it easier for me when I traveled by train through mainland China to Beijing, then down to Shanghai, and back to Hong Kong, and during my one month stay in Taipei, Taiwan– I was able to read street signs, shop signs and advertisements in Chinese throughout the PRC & ROC and speak with the Chinese residents. Other Asian countries I visited for shorter periods–Thailand, Malaysia, Singapore, and South Korea–yet their language forms and color influences reemerge in new abstracted and combined forms. These Asian travel experiences, as well as months spent in Mexico re-emerge in color and form in my art in conjunction with the ever-changing (viewed since my childhood) colors and letters of advertisements of my native English language. Exhibitions 2010–2011 The Question of Ex-istence Exhibition, To view exhibition:http://www.ScreamiNC.net , Exhibit Reception, Saturday, November 6, 2010, Hotel Des Arts : San Francisco 447 Bush Street, Curator: Everett Leo Madrid 100 Screaming Artists, S.C.R.E.A.M. INC exhibit at the Hotel des Arts, 477 Bush Street, San Francisco, CA, USA, Curator: Everett Leo Madrid, May 2010 to present Arthouse at the Jones Center, FIVE X SEVEN exhibition, Austin, Texas, USA. Exhibit will travel to the cities of, Houston, Dallas, and Abilene/Grace Museum. Marie Kazalia listed as a participating artist on Arthouse’s web site, http://www.arthousetexas.org, and the 5?7 blog, http://www.fivebyseven.org. A Book About Death exhibit at (MoMA Wales) THE TABERNACLE Museum of Modern Art Wales, MACHYLLETH, Wales, UK. Dates: 27 APRIL – 8 MAY 2010. RNG Gallery, 1915 Leavenworth St.,Omaha NE, 68102,USA Opens July 31st, a new exhibition of A Book About Death from the Emily Harvey Foundation Gallery in New York City. MUBE = Museu Brasileiro da Escultra,Sao Paulo, Brazil, MUBE Troy art exhibit http://www.mube.art.br December 2010-January 2011
Marie Kazalia, Kazalia an interview Reading your CV, I have been impressed with the wide spread of your experiences. So, first of all, I would like to ask you how your background has informed the way you produce your own art today.
MK: I remember, as a very young child, my fascination and love for the simple color combinations and boldness in roadside billboards viewed from a car window, and printed ads in magazines and the color and design of grocery shelf product packaging. I also loved movies from a very early age. All of which, for me, are about color and flatness. I traveled with my family as a teenager. Then later I traveled and lived in several Asian countries including Japan, India, and China, where, again, the advertising, street signs, and product packaging interested me. I remain fascinated by color and flatness and layering from those influences, combined with influences of spending many hours from early childhood in fine art museums. I studied studio arts at the California College of Arts where I got my BFA degree. When I work, I combine many aspects of all of the above into my paintings.
Artists have some amount of traditional education, as those who have art school diplomas must teach themselves much as they work in their studios each day. I think getting the work done is more important than origins. With formal education, so much depends on the combination of individual student and the teacher. Is the teacher there to pass on useful information that will help the individual find themselves as artists?
Since I have read that besides making Art you have also taught, I guess that it would sound rhetorical to ask you if you think that artists with a formal education have an advantage over self-taught artists. However, do you think that a certain kind of training could stifle an artist's inspiration?
MK: It's individual or case-by-case. Some artists of the past, such as Klee, had some formal art education, then left school to work on his own for many years and so he is referred to as self-taught or an Outsider Artist by art historians. Many Auto-Didactic or Outsider
No individual should settle for something that isn't working for them. Part of the process is seeking and finding that which meets your needs. That could be art school, travel, or isolation. The answer lies within. 6
on paper, I typically work on it for two days using Flashe and acrylic paints, sometimes tempera and watercolor or inks. That painting may spawn many more variations on paper. Some completed paper paintings make me feel that it may work in oil paint on canvas. The paper I paint on is 22 x 30 inches. I have 15 newly stretches canvases that are 24 x 32, just slightly larger than the paper I work on. My thought and work processes are varied and complex. Sometimes something will stand out--a relationship or a color idea or I will find some strong significance in a certain recurring pattern in my work. But for the most part, it would be impossible to document my process in written narrative. My paintings document my process. My art comes from within and from the work I do on them. I work on my visualizations to get the most I can from them and I work to improve on what they already know how to do. Now we would like to focus on your recent work Erector Set, a very stimulating mixed media painting that our reader can admire in these pages. By the way, could you take our readers through your creative process when starting a new project?
nite Shinjuku, 2013
What is your studio process typically like, and how do you decide upon which materials you incorporate within a piece?
MK: All my paintings come from visualizations. I work from my visualization from memory and have many sheets of notes and thumbnail sketches on paper that I have in a stack. I think of my visualizations as the work I do in my sleep. When I am sleeping I am undisturbed by outside concerns, even unaware of my own biology, off in a free and open place where I can visualize and I bring some of the results back with me when I wake. My visualizations are my starting points and yet my paintings may influence my visualizations as well. The act of painting provokes visualizations.
MK: I work from my visualizations. I paint on paper and canvas. On paper, the water based paints dry faster, and with oil on canvas I may need to allow the ground layer of oil paint to dry before moving forward with the painting. While one is drying I work on another. I have many pieces going simultaneously. Some are successful and some do not work as well, yet were necessary to get me beyond a certain point. If I put off doing one piece that I've been thinking about, then I am held back in some way until I complete it. When I paint a painting 7
I notice that blue is a recurring color in your palette, it figures prominently in many of your recent works, as Torso 1, nite Shinjuku and especially in Boa. Any comments on your choice of palette or how it has changed over time?
MK: Yes, I went through a period of years where I undertook an intensive self-study of pigments-natural and human-made--collecting as many yellow, blues, and reds as I could find. By pigment, I mean the raw dry powder of any specific color. I work with dry pigment powders grinding them into the vehicle or medium, and I work using wet pigment dispersions which are pigments ground in water conveniently available in squeeze bottles. As for the blue you mention, I have collected and most of the blue pigments available from suppliers. Sometimes I think of blue as a contrast color or even an unexpected color appearing on the surface in one of my paintings. Sometimes a tint of blue is the ground color on which I paint. Blue is smooth. In Kandinsky's Concerning the Spiritual in Art, he wrote that some colors, such as dark ultramarine were "smooth and uniform so that one feels inclined to stroke them." Sometimes I want that blue smoothness and sometimes I want the unexpected opposite of that, texture. Do you visualize your Art before creating? Do you know what it will look like before you begin? Since many of your recent piece has some geometrical features I was wondering if you work out the idea for the painting beforehand with drawing...
MK: Yes, I have many visualizations in which I see entire completed paintings. I then either remember and work from memory or I get them down on paper in written notes about layers, forms and color, along with thumbnail sketches. Many times I have had a series of 3-5 visualizaErector Set 8
tions rather rapid-fire as I am in bed about to go to sleep for the night. So I immediately make notes and thumbnails. I keep a stack of sketch paper and markers and pencils on a small table nearby. I also have an iPad and am exploring drawing apps, but for now I mostly use pencils and paper. The purpose of my notes and thumbnail sketches is not to work out ideas, but to create *memory jogs*. My visualizations are stunning and startling, and really I work primarily from memory of them when I paint. I have different categories of visualizations, such as -- visualiza-
Torso 1, Marie Kazalia, 2013
Silver Asemic Spots Would you like to tell us something about your recent artwork entitled "REN"? A feature that has impressed me again is the nuance of the blue color. By the way, am I going wrong or the word "ren" has something to do with Confucianism and the years that you have spent in the Asian countries?
tions while soaking in a hot bath, visualizations while waking up in the morning, and visualizations while falling asleep at night. Dali wrote of "the slumber with a key" and "sleeping without sleeping" and details a method of napping in a chair with a heavy metal key in hand so that as he dosed off and his hand relaxed the key would fall onto a metal plate on the floor below and wake him, and so in his still groggy state of half-slumber he could have visualizations midday.**
MK: I read the aphorisms of Confucius at an early age, but I never personally studied Confucianism. I have formally study other Eastern philosophies. I also studied Mandarin Chinese in a university program for foreigners in China. It was a rigorous program of several back-to-back classroom sessions daily, in which I learned to read, write and speak Man-
My visualizations seem to come in series or patterns of appearance and I keep track of when they occur by writing about them in my journal. 10
wan. Speaking with people in China in their language, reading the Chinese characters on street signs to get around, talking on the phone in Chinese Mandarin, gave me unique and memorable aspects to my tourist experiences. For my painting titled Ren, if I analyze it, I see the central form of the vesica piscis, a shape formed by the overlapping of two circles which is vaginal or life-giving form. So in that way my title Ren references that form from which all humans emerge. You seem to be a very prolific painter, and your works seem to be filled with intense emotion: I would suggest to our reader to admire also your early works, as Silver Asemic Spots and especially Marquee. What progression and changes have you seen in your materials? By the way, is painting like a release for you or is it emotionally draining?
MK: I think of painting as an opening-up (not as a release of emotion). By opening up, I mean that I will work to completion an idea or visualization only to realize that I've opened up many more possibilities and ideas. In that way, one new piece suggests 3 more, and each of those 3 suggest more. So it is hard for me to keep up with my own ideas and visualizations. That's interesting that you see intense emotion in my paintings. No one has ever told me that. It may be true.
Dialtone, 2013 MM Painting on Lennox fine art paper, 22 x 30 inches
darin. The writing of the then foreign to me Chinese characters had a relation to artmaking and a strong influence on me. The character "ren" was one of the first Chinese characters I learned to read, speak and write. Alone, the character means "person, human", but the character also is incorporated into other meanings, such as the name for Chinese currency Renminbi (pronounced: Ren Min Bee), Renminbi (RMB) is the official currency of the People's Republic of China. Renminbi translates as "people's currency".
But then I don't know how to gauge, for I don't know how intensely others feel in relation to how I feel. When I was a child I was frequently told by family members that I was too sensitive. That puzzled me. How could someone be too sensitive. Is that even possible?
I was also able to speak the Mandarin language when I traveled to Shanghai and Beijing, and again on an extended trip to Tai-
I didn't think so. Plus I felt they were lacking not to feel as intensely as I felt about the colors in a sunrise or sunset for instance. 11
What are some of the challenges for a sustainable relationship between the business and arts?
MK: I deal with the same challenge that all artists face--finding time to deal with the business side when I prefer to spend most of my time painting. Getting paintings photographed, cropped and adjusted, and out in submissions to the right places at the right time is a time consuming process. Ordering materials and supplies. Ordering shipping supplies so that when I have a sale I can ship sold paintings to buyers. All so time consuming. I work everyday. It's difficult for me to take time off because my life is about my work. There is so much to do each day, and I know that I can only get a certain amount done in one day. Usually after I work twelve straight clock hours I will tell myself to take a break. But that just means doing work while I'm sitting down for the rest of the evening. Pseudo Morph, 2013 to the artists that we interview: what aspects of your work do you enjoy the most? What gives you the biggest satisfaction? But in this case we would go as far as to say that the act of painting itself gives you an intrinsical satisfaction, isn't it?
mixed media painting on Lennox paper, 22 x 30 inches
for paintings I can't keep up with producing them all. I don't know what it would be like to be empty.
MK: There is a huge satisfaction in completing a painting that then spawns many other possibilities. Even if a piece is not my most successful, it still have major significance in moving things forward and opening things up for me. I get very excited when I have new visualizations and sketch them out. These things take me over and I am glad of it.
Thank you for this interview, Marie. Our last question deals with your future plans. Anything coming up for you professionally that you would like readers to be aware of?
MK: In March, 2013, I signed an art licensing contract with GreenBox Art + Culture for six of my paintings to be reproduced as prints on demand. It may be a few months yet before my paintings appear on the GreenBox site.
I feel fortunate and lucky. I am aware that there are people out there in the world who are bored and searching for life distractions. While I have so many ideas or visualizations
Erector Set 12
DUZ, 2013 mixed media painting on Lennox paper
Henrique Roscoe (Brazil) The performance 'DOT, a videogame with no winner' was created with the idea of criticizing some aspects of game logics, but using its own aesthetics, sounds and characteristic graphic elements. The performance criticizes, through abstract images, themes linked to videogames and peopleâ€™s everyday life. All images and sounds were created and programmed by HOL and they are played in real time, in a 30 minutes performance. For the live performance, the audience is invited to play with the artist, and both produce together the soundtrack and the images. The performance has 5 parts, like the levels of a game. People from the audience are invited to seat on cushions, on the stage, turned to the screen, controlling all the elements of the performance using 2 Nintendo joysticks â€“ as if they were playing a videogame at home. The title 'DOT, a videogame with no winner' is also a critic to the fact that only winning is valorized, while
Instrument used in the performance DOT, a videogame with no winner
the process is given low priority. The aim of this "game" is not winning, but participating of the creation process of a spectacle. Each part of the performance has its own programming in which conceptual aspects can be seen in every single element. The instrument has no pre-recorded sounds or images and everything is created in real time, in a partnership between the artist and five invited players. There is no rigid score to be followed, only instructions for the players about what each button's function. Another important concept is the randomness. This feature appears in the composition in the
Live Performance a photo of Agnaldo Mori
The performance works as a game, and each part deals with a specific theme: - Level 1: Fragment Violence: critic to the stimulus of violence in games. In a hole opened over a red background, the players movements draw veins that leave tracks of blood. In this level - a critic to the high level of violence in nowadays games - a red back-ground is the scenery to the players actions, that consist on drawing red lines inside a blank red square. This square is an abstract shape that symbolizes a bullet hole, while the trickling lines resemble the blood coming from the injury. While the point where the drawing starts is defined by the players, generative animations take part of the scene, in the form of branches that randomly come out of the main line. In this way, only part of the image is generated by the players, while other random lines have their own particular behaviors. Each sound is composed by a single frequency that follows the X and Y current position of the end of each line. Other sounds complete this composition: a continuous pattern resem-bling a heartbeat, and some noisy sounds triggered each time a player presses a button symbolizing a painful cut in the flesh.
Belo Horizonte 2011. Credits: Henrique Roscoe
form of random parameters generated by the system and also by the public participation. Each invited participant can interfere in a complete unpredictable way in the performance as they press each button in the joystick. As many parameters in sound and image are controlled by the guests, the artist doesn't have the complete control of what is going on, although there are some limitations that keep these randomness in an acceptable range. Anyway, the role of the participants is fundamental to the success of the performance, since it depends on their sensibility and musical feeling in order to build a nice sounding soundtrack.
Score given to participants about Level 3
Level 3: Capital. Live at roBOt Festival. Bologna, 2011. Photo: Bruna Finelli - Level 2: Put you down
other participant's avatar, deepening him into the ground. The guest is able to make melodies pressing the joysticks buttons. Each button generates a synthesized sound.
Ones value is measured by the diminution of the other. Two elements in the form of screws are stuck on the ground. The only possible action is to hit the â€˜opponentâ€™, sinking him more and more.
The artist can play these melodies as well, and his joystick has extra functions used to add some patterns to the soundtrack and also change visual elements. The colors black and white were chosen to make more explicit the contrast between the players.
This level is a metaphor of a human behavior that uses the degradation of the other as a way of self promotion. Each player controls an abstract shape that symbolizes a hammer that, once pressed, falls over the 16
- Level 3: Capital
This programming criticizes the mass behavior of people that prefer to be lost in the crowd instead of assuming his particularities. This level has a very rhythmic approach and the artist can turn on and off some audio patterns with random elements in their melodies.
Excess: each player controls the position of falling objects. These objects fill the whole screen until thereâ€™s no more space for the player. This level deals with themes like consumerism and the necessity of filling all the empty spaces in peoples life. The sound is composed by some generative elements and the horizontal position of each shape changes the pitch of the two main voices. The end of this part is controlled by the invited player, since it enters into a glitch aesthetic as all the gaps had been filled. As all the screen is filled with the falling shapes, the instrument enters a glitch mode where non programmable images appear randomly on the screen. Now the players have no more control over their actions. This part is a metaphor for the chaos created by the ultimate level of capitalism. The sound gets messy and everything gets deteriorated until the initial scenery is no more recognizable. This happens because the counting variables enter into an overflow resulting in completely unexpected results in sound and image.
Photo: Danielle Curi
- Level 5: To the Future Decadence: Melancholic ending where both players goes down a 45 degrees ramp. The only possible movement is delaying the arrival of the bottom.
- Level 4: Mimesis
The last level is called 'To the Future' as a metaphor for the decadence of culture in today's world. It resembles a continuous backward movement in the world's evolution. All the players can do is postpone their falling and disappearing in the bottom of the screen. The images refer to the idea is a ski diving down a mountain, with trees passing through. Here the position of each player builds the main melody of the soundtrack, added to the sound of background elements passing through the screen. Other patterns are turned on and off by me in order to create a dynamic soundtrack. The rhythm is composed by generative elements, with random notes composing the melody and rhythm.
Standardization: critic to fashion and the imitation behavior. Abstract shapes pass through through the screen and the player should change their own shape in order to become similar or different from the others. Mimesis is made up of a black and white graphical background that changes each time the artist press a specific button, and two red sprites that represent each player. Players can choose among different shapes in order to look equal (or not) to the background. If the player chooses a shape similar to the background he will almost disappear, whereas a different shape will distinguish him from the background. 17
An interview with
Henrique Roscoe First of all we would like to know something of your background and how in your opinion it has informed your present creative process.
I'm a musician and I had played guitar in many bands since I was a teenager. I graduated in Electronic Engineering and Advertising and begun to work professionally in the design field. I also got a post-graduation in design/arts. In 2004 I started to perform as VJ in parties and events using my own produced content and, in 2008, I created the project HOL where I mix all my audio and visual influences in a project the involves generative audiovisual programming, contemporary arts and construction of custom interfaces and instruments. Despite the long years on my Engineering course, I never worked directly in this area, but I probably got from it the rational thinking that helps me a lot when programming my installations and instruments. Working in creative related jobs like design and advertising may also have helped in my development in visual aesthetics. But all I ever wanted was to make my own authorial projects and earn a living with them. After some time, the design jobs became annoying for me and I decided to quit and try to work with my own art projects.
HOL live at On Off Festival
to find the essential elements of image such as form, color and movement and use them to represent aspects of the world. The search for the pure feeling beyond the aesthetics is one of my aims. But, unlike these artists, I try to add a symbolic side, where these key elements refer to elements of the physical world. In my work, each attribute of a image can be linked to a meaning in a metaphorical way. The same happens with sound: every parameter of the musical elements in the performance refers to a symbolic aspect of the theme. When I'm developing a new work, first I find a theme and then try to find elements that could symbolize it through abstract images and sounds. Only
Your works are replete with subtle and explicit conceptual metaphors where abstract images symbolize elements of the figurative world: can you talk about the development of your techniques and imagery?
My main influences don't come from music or cinema; the fundamental part of my work comes from ideas from the Russian painters Kandinsky and Malevich. With them I learned 18
side by side with noisy sounds representing deep cuts into the flesh. In another part, the repetition of a simple audio loop represents the standardization of contemporary life. Not only standard melodies using musical notes symbolize these feelings, but also elements like scales, rhythm, melody, etc. In the first part of this performance - whose theme is violence - random sounds slowly change their frequencies going beyond the standard western scale and passing through microtonal shifts denoting the blood that flows through the screen. All these sound elements are, at the same time, the music itself and the background, depending on the moment they appear. An important aspect of this performance is the participation of the public, that play with me almost all the sounds. This is a very risky approach because, if what the participant make does not sound good, the performance may be impaired. Your art is intrinsically connected with the chance to create interaction with audience, since in you live performances audience play with the artist. When you conceive a work, do you think to whom will enjoy it?
Photo: Edouard Fraipont
after that I go to the computer and start producing the content.
When it's an interactive installation, I think more about the audience and in some ways in how to make the experience express the concept. When it's a live performance, normally I think more about how to combine all the elements into a unity. In the performance DOT, the theme of the performance itself - videogames - seeks an interactive approach.
The synchronicity between sound and image plays a crucial role in every installation, but in Dot the sound isn't simply a background: every single element in sound and image is perfectly faithful to the theme...
In fact, all the performances by HOL uses this procedure. One of my aims is to give the same importance to sound and image and also find a way to express them using abstract images elements and audio parameters. For instance, when I'm dealing with the violence theme, the audio part symbolizes a continuous heartbeat
So I decided to call people from the audience to play the performance along with me. In most of my works, I don't think about pleasing the public; it's not a entertainment show and one of the main aspects of my work is trying to make people think through art. 19
In your performances you use customized interfaces: could you tell something of the process that has lead you to conceive and especially build them? And how important is in this the role of your background?
I first started building custom interfaces because I use this thinking in all of my works. Even in the software side, I prefer using the ones that give the possibility of building an unique and customized piece. This happens with the use of software that initially have a blank screen and the programmer has to construct the whole application from scratch (like max/msp, vvv, processing), so that the final result fills exactly his necessities. My first interface was a simple mixer that I used for VJing. I built it because I wanted a smaller piece of hardware (before I used a 25 key controller) and also in order to have the exact number of buttons, faders and knobs that you suit my needs when playing live. When I begun to produce my performances for HOL, the construction of custom interfaces was a natural way to extend the possibilities of signification through the use of visual aspects of the instrument in order to transmit another metaphor linked to the performance theme.
HOL live at On Off Festival.
I guess my graduation in Engineering helped me with the logical aspects of projecting an instrument and maybe with the programming, but I guess most of the content I learned in the university has been forgotten. Fortunately, the instruments I built require a low level of complexity concerning electronic components and there are many examples online for me to use as a basis for the circuits. Another important aspect is the communication with the audience. I play everything live in my performances and I'd like to show this to the audience. When I used a standard setup - with laptop and mouse - no one could know what exactly I was playing live, and this is one of the most important aspects of the show, because
few artists permit so much possibilities of error in a performance. It is very risky, because most of the content I perform is improvised, giving me wider possibilities, but also many chances for errors. So I decided to build custom interfaces to show the public that everything they see and listen is actually being played live. Also the possibility of adding extra meanings to the performance is taken into account when building the instrument. For my performance 'Aufhebung' for instance I built an instrument made of 4 cylinders, tree of them with a different RGB color plus white meaning the alpha channel (opacity). These colors were directly related to the theme, that deals with evolution. In the beginning of the performance, 20
sound and image in order to see if everything will work fine and also have a correspondence with the theme. Even before touching the computer, all these relations have already been made and, if any of them does not fit, I try to find another way or even completely change the theme. The relations between music and video are very clear for me and, starting from the most elementary parts of audio and images, the whole thing comes smoothly. As I studied a lot of musical theory, I know most of the parameters involved in sound and I can link them to the image attributes easily. Nowadays, I am so used to this process that when I think about a concept, the kind of sound or image that would suit it comes naturally. I use also some theory created by artists such as Kandinsky in his books 'Concerning the spiritual in art' and 'Point and Line to Plane'. For him, there is a relationship between high pitched and straight lines, for example, or between dark colors and bass sounds. But this is only one of the relations I use in my work. There are many others that I create by myself according to the concept I'm dealing with. A crucial role in your work is played by the powerful Max/MSP software, which is currently used by lots of artists, most of them were once reluctant to make use of new technologies in their works. Do you think there still exists a dichotomy between Art and Technology?
Photo: Edouard Fraipont.
the first images on the screen are black and white, and they begin to get colorful as I pull the lids of each cylinder and the LED colors inside them begin to appear. For the DOT performance, the instrument itself is the work, because it is a complete autonomous object built inside a plastic box resembling a videogame console, even using a pair of real joysticks from an old Nintendo console.
Many artists give more importance to the concept them to the final work. Others prioritize the aesthetics side. I myself give the same importance to concept and aesthetics, so I try to use the best software in order to achieve what I have in mind. My formation in engineering may help me in this programming side, but many artist don't want to spend their time learning to code. Sometimes they call other artists or programmers to do this work. But I think we are beginning to experience a new age, where digital and electronics are a vital part of our lives. Almost everything nowadays passes through the digital in any way and probably in the near future the new artists will be so familiarized with this that the process will become very natural.
One of the features that impressed us the most is the creation of an effective synesthesia not only as the result of your practice, but also during the process itself...
When I begin a new work, after conceiving the theme, I start checking the possibilities of 21
By the way, thereâ€™s a renewed interest for â€œold-fashionedâ€? instruments: even modern VSTi technology often try to specifically recreate the sound of instruments from years past, even theremins... But a crucial role is played by controllers, which nowadays are far from being versatile as a pair of gloves... Should we expect a radical change in this field in the years to come?
I think that with the new technologies the tendency is that customization will become a common use. There are already in the market some very easy to use prototyping boards like Arduino, and everyone, even with no experience with programming at all, can build his own instrument. There are many examples and tutorials in the web and if you have some patience and time to spend on it, your imagination is the limit. Maybe this return to these old hardware with many buttons to push is related to the necessity of customization of today's life. Some people are bored with a product that gives no possibility for customization and want something with which to sympathize.
DOT, a videogame with no winner. Belo Horizonte, 2011
other and from HOL, where I work alone.
In 2009 you have established a collaboration with the artist, researcher and designer Sonia Labouriau: together you have created the Narval collective. Can you explain how an artwork or just a project demonstrates communication between several artists?
In the creation of your videos, we can recognize a great influence of Russian Constructivism: can you elaborate a bit on your interest in it?
I'd always enjoyed modern art and the artistic styles Suprematism and Constructivism are my main influences. I'd read the books from Kandinsky and Malevich and they were both trying to reach the limits of representation, to get the essential elements of images where the pure sensations live. They seek the movement of music transformed into images. The use of abstract images that opens a whole new world beyond simple representation is another fundamental aspect of these styles that I love. Malevich says in his book 'The non-objective world': "An artist who creates rather than imitates express himself; his works are not reflections of nature but, instead, new realities, which
In Narval collective we have complementary skills. While I am more used to the digital side, building electronic stuff, Sonia is an "analogic" artist working in the drawing and sculpture fields. So our work is fluid because each one deals with his specialty, but both think together about the main concepts of each work. I also work this way with another audiovisual project I take part called Ligalingha, with the musician Fabiano Fonseca. Maybe the main issue is finding someone that goes well with you. And it is interesting how the projects that I make with other people are so different from each 22
Tion inside, since that is the way I enjoy playing. For me it would be very boring having to play the same show over and over, playing exactly the same notes every day. I'd studied a lot of improvisation, especially when I studied guitar, and this gives me some techniques to perform live and improvise knowing some strategies in order to make everything sound good, not only in the sound side but also with the images, that I treat as melodies as well. But of course it is much more risky to perform this way because you have to be very creative and, one day that you are not inspired, may result in a awful presentation. We have noticed that you have exhibited several times in many European countries like , Italy and the Netherlands. What experiences have you had exhibiting in different countries? Have you found any difference between exhibiting, for example, in Brazil -which is your native country and exhibiting in Germany, or Italy or in Switzerland?
are no less significant than the realities of nature itself." This was my main inspiration to follow the abstract paths. Also the use of few elements, the importance of each attribute of an image, and the seek for the essential of each shape is a way to achieve very sophisticated works. I just used all these potential forces of image elements and added a symbolic aspect to them, so that each one would signify something in the performance.
In some ways, European countries have a wider culture for digital and electronic works, so I think my work is more recognized there than in my own country. I think my style can't be called Brazilian (maybe I'm wrong...), but a mix of influences specially from Europe. I can see this difference surprisingly when I play in Brazil. Here people use a different aesthetic and few people work with abstract images. So it happens the opposite - I feel that my work looks much more alike artists from Germany for example than from Brazil. But this is my vision and maybe someone from other country may find Brazilian characteristics in my work that I don't explicitly know.
How big is the influence of location on your performance? And how big is the role of impro-visation in your performances?
Thank you very much for this interview. Whatâ€™s next for Henrique Roscoe? Are there any new projects on the horizon?
The location does not interfere too much, because despite the improvisational character of the performances, I always have a score to follow, so I do not change the main elements of my set: the time when each part happens, which instrument is played in each part, but, each act there is a lot of space for improvisa-
You're welcome... Now I am thinking about a new performance for HOL, and also beginning a new project with some friends that will involve live cinema, live acting and music. And I will also continue my work with interactive installations and objects.
Credits: Henrique Roscoe
Jean-Michel Rolland (France)
“A musician and a painter for a long time, I focus on video art and audiovisual performances to make my two favorite medium meet: sound and image. At the origin of each of my creations, musicality plays a role as important as image does and each one influences the other by transmediality. The result is a series of experimental videos and performances where sound and image are so inseparable that the one without the other would lose its meaning.
stills from Neons Melody Installation, 2011
I particularly appreciate using short sequences (samples) and repeat them all along my experimentations, wishing to transfigure commonplaces into coherent work. The sequences are treated as mere utensils, found objects, used to create visual and musical compositions at a time. Unlike Scriabine's, Kan-dinsky's or even Schoenberg's works with whom I like to identify, neither sound or image come first the two mediums take birth in a same creative impulse intended to be reactivated.
rate, color, scale, not to mention those imposed necessarily to sound. The repetition, time lag and arrangement of the samples create a nearmusical rhythm that in some cases may be at the origin of the final composition. To summarize, sound, rhythm, musicality on the one hand and the constantly evolving plastic composition on the other are inseparable elements of my approach. It’s how I get what I call rhythm'n'split. I force myself to the utmost simplicity in the audiovisual shootings inspired by everyday life. Neon tubes that light up, passing cars, banging doors, ringing phones become visual “OCD”. Things are distorted and manipulated, reassembling a new obsessive and compulsive reality, close to Dada by its humor and only made sustainable by the rhythmic
My technique is to capture short samples where sound and image are straight away equally important. The strong constraint of my approach is to never separate them but to play with their perceptive complementarity. These samples are multiplied in time but also in the picture, undergoing successive distortions that affect the frame
stills from Migrations (interactive installation, in collaboration with Fran Lejeune)
Visual and musical work on the sound and light generated by the lightening of a ceiling neon
harmonyny obtained. From the chaos and apparent anarchy of these collages emerges an aesthetic based not on the meaning or the message but on the intermedial coherence between sound and image. My videos are as aesthesic as aesthetic, in order to bring the viewer to experience the immediate sensory elements of everyday life.
Jean-Michel Rolland was born on March 26, 1972, He graduated from University Paris 3, Sorbonne Nouvelle, with a Master’s degree in Foreign Literature and Civilizations.
Convinced that art must leave the premises devoted it and come out to meet people, I try to deal with video art as street artists do, with the desire to deliver the essential in just a few lines or blocks of color. I do not want my videos to live on the margins of society, solely locked in official art places, but to fit into the urban landscape to become accessible to everyone. To go further in that direction,I decided to produce audiovisual performances, extensions of my videos, to try to share the aesthetic experience with the public.
Mention of the jury at Artaq with “Neons Melody”
Awards Most innovative work prize at Digital Graffiti, Florida
His videos have been screened in French and International video festivals such as Videoformes, Instants Videos, Directors Lounge, Traverse Video, K3 International Short Film Festival, Madatac, Screengrab, DokumentART and much more. He won the most innovative work prize at Digital Graffiti (Florida, USA) in June 2012 with my work Neons Melody and feature in an article dedicated to video art in Elephant Magazine n°11. He performed in 2012 at Artaq urban arts festival (Angers, France), Dimanche Rouge (Paris, France), Kasseler Dokfest (Kassel, Germany) and 3rd Computer Art Congress (Paris, France). Convinced that dematerialization of video art is a strength and not a weakness, he allows anybody to access most of his productions on the website http://franetjim.free.fr
an interview with
Jean-Michel Rolland You are a multidisciplinary artist: in fact, before focusing on video art and performance, you have been a musician and a painter for a long time. How do you choose a particular media for your works? And what technical aspects do you mainly focus on in your work?
I came to video art in order to find a solution to an existential problem : I loved both painting and playing music but I never managed to focus on these two medium at the same time and the result was that I didn’t succeed in taking things further enough. So I decided to focus on video art to deal with image and sound at the same time. Performance came a bit later. I missed the sensations of playing live and I managed to acquire a software (Isadora) allowing me to transpose my technique on stage. Now, contrary to painting and music, I consider my two practices complementary because my performances are extensions of my video works (the three performances I conceived are derived from three of my videos).
a very good thing. In fact I think that an open minded artist has much more chances to be universally understood. Not to mention that art should have an effect, should communicate something. And, as we can read in your artist's statement in your opinion "art must leave the premises devoted it and come out to meet people": art’s purpose is not simply to provide a platform for an artist’s expression. But, do you think that art could steer or even change people's behavior? Could art play an important role in facing social questions?
You have studied at the prestigious University Paris 3, Sorbonne Nouvelle, in Paris. Do you find that your Master’s degree in Foreign Literature and Civilizations plays a role in your creative process?
The four years I spent at la Sorbonne Nouvelle were very rich from all points of view. I didn’t of course directly learn arts in this curriculum (I learnt drawing and music when I was a child and later on in a more intimate environment) but my meeting with American and English literatures and civilizations was
The role of art is different depending on the civilization you live in. In countries where people are deprived of liberty, artists certainly have a major social role. I’m very respectful 26
still from Catch Me 2012 video (in collaboration with Fran Lejeune)
towards artists such as Chinese Ai WeiWei or Gao Brothers who make art in order to make their country change, even if they put themselves in danger. In our democratic societies, the role of art is a bit more difficult to define but I’m sure that whatever the subjects they deal with, artists can make people more tolerant by leading them to understand that there are many different ways to grasp reality.
I conceive a work, I never think about the receiver. At first, I have this need to transform a banal reality into something that makes me happy. During the creative process of a video or a performance, I only focus on what I see and hear. I have an idea of what the final work should be, and I try to get the result I expect. I never have the temptation to soften the final result in order to reach a larger public – people who really like what I do wouldn’t forgive it.
We remember that you are also a performer, and performance works -as installations, and we would like to mention your interesting "Migrations"- are intrinsically connected with the chance to create interaction with audience: when you conceive a work, do you think to whom will enjoy your work?
In many of you works there's a reference to technology, both as "medium of expression" and as "subject of the artwork" itself, as in "acommunication" and in "neons melody". Do you think that new media art will definitely fill the dichotomy between art and technology?
You’re going to find me very selfish but when
Well, it’s a fact that we are surrounded by 27
sequence of stills from acommunication 2011 video 5’29’’
mething about this effective synergy between an artist and a researcher?
technology and that we have to cope with it, but I sometimes have difficulties to live in this century because I’m both a fan of Thoreau and a computer maniac. That’s why my subjects of artworks are often related to technology (in a kind of exorcism) and why I’m fond of using these technologies in my creative process (because I know that to be innovative, nowadays artists have to turn their brushes into rays of light).
Fran Lejeune and I have close enough artistic worlds to be able to enrich each other, so we are always trying to feed each other with our ideas but also with our experiences. Neons Melody is our first total art project. I made the art video and Fran conceived an interactive installation on the same subject. Finally, I decided to enrich the project with an audiovisual performance. Fran cares a lot about alternative artistic mediation in her research and she experiments creations where mediation is done by the artwork itself. In Neons Melody, the public first discovers the video, then learns playing with the audiovisual neons in the interactive installation to be able, in a third time, to understand the final part of the exhibition (the performance).
By the way, are we going towards a world in which art will be more "technological" and in the meantime technology will be more "artistic"?
Art will certainly become more and more technological. Actually, artists have always enriched their practices by using the technologies of their times, as they have always enriched their subjects by using the issues of their times. I’m not sure if technology will become more artistic but I’m sure that there’s nothing that will prevent artists from highjacking what tomorrow’s scientists will invent and that’s really great fun!
By the way, what experiences have you had exhibiting in different countries? What is the difference between exhibiting, for example, in Europe and exhibiting in Asia or in the United States?
I haven’t felt any important difference between my exhibitions abroad, people are always very friendly with artists and interested by their artworks. However, it’s interesting to notice in which countries your art is appreciated and in which ones you have
You have established a fruitful collabora-tion with the French researcher Fran Lejeune, who is also an art teacher at Metz University. Together, you have won the "Most innovative work prize" at Digital Graffiti in Florida during the last year. Could you tell us so-
still from Catch Me 2012 video (in collaboration with Fran Lejeune)
more difficulties to be accepted. Nobody is a prophet in his own country is a proverb that suits me well.
I’m going to be able to develop and transform into a creation. Thank you for this interview, Jim: by the way, what's next for you? Have you a particular project in mind ?
My two best friends are the American and the German!
I’m working on a new audiovisual performance derived from my video “Error System” which is a new example of my relation of love and hate with technologies. In April 2011, I destroyed a computer that made me lose some data and filmed myself doing it. Using the film of this execution, I’m building a quite violent performance, inspired by techno music, once again with the wish to build a new disturbing audiovisual reality. Now I just cross my fingers and hope to be invited to perform many times in different places!
we're always interested in hearing the answer to. What aspect of your work do you enjoy the most? What gives you the biggest satisfaction?
Every aspect of my work is interesting and rewarding but I really enjoy the moment when I realize that I have the intellectual opportunity to create a new interesting work. I mean this moment when, after several weeks of thinking and seeking, I have this idea that 29
Patrick Moser (USA)
Professor Moser earned his M.F.A. from The University of Florida and his B.A. from East Carolina University. At Flagler College, in addition to his duties as Department Chair, he teaches painting and drawing and exhibits his work regularly in both solo and group exhibitions. His works are featured in collections including McGraw Hill Companies, The Ringling Museum of Art, Robert Henry Adams Fine Art, Rocky Mount Museum of Art and numerous private collections
RECENT SELECTED SOLO and GROUP EXHIBITIONS FISH 2012, Lightwell Gallery, University of Oklahoma School of Fine Arts, October-November Folio Weekly Invitational, The Cummer Museum of Art and Gardens, Jacksonville, FL, August-December Screaming Love, Solo Exhibition, Wynn Bone Gallery, Annapolis, MD OctoberNovember Situation Range, Legal Arts Miami, 1035 N Miami Blvd, May Filmideo 7th, Annual Contemporary Film and Video Screening, Index Art Center, Newark, NJ Paradoxes in Video, 4141 Garage Gallery, San Diego, CA TRAPS: Screening Series, Space 1026, Philadelphia, PA August 2012 Hesa Inprint, Finnish/English Web Magazine, April 2012
An interview with
Patrick Moser First of all we would like to ask how much the training in painting has informed the way you produce art?
Studying painting has informed most of what I do. This may sound odd but I feel as though I occupy a fortunate position in time. I've developed an understanding of painting that involves a particular sense of time and material but I also live surrounded by amazing user-friendly digital technology. For me thats an exciting intersection. Besides producing art, you also teach: you are currently Associate Professor of Art and chair of the Art and Design department at Flagler College, St. Augustine, Florida: how this has influenced your career as an artist?
I find teaching very rewarding. It's impossible to know if my art career would be more or less successful if I were somewhere else. Im certain that being here in Florida at Flagler College has given me room to explore and grow. My working process has evolved to embrace experience, performance and social practice. More and more I consider teaching and producing art as conflated activities.
Also, Im surrounded by talented colleagues with an equal commitment. Im extremely proud of our BFA program and the success we have experienced. We've created something very special here for undergraduate studio artists.
potentially limit you. I have always been wary of this. If I feel as though I am simply fulfilling the obligation of the language I tend to abandon ship. I've made my share of mediocre paintings and the world really doesn't need any more of those.
I guess that it would sound rethorical to ask you if you think that artists with a formal education have an advantage over self-taught artists. However, do you think that traing could stifle an artist's inspiration?
Coming back to the subject of teaching, once you have stated that you would only keep teaching if I could maintain [your] work because as a studio teacher, if youâ€™re not making stuff, you become an imposter really quickly in the classroom.â€? ...
There is no doubt that becoming comfortable with a conventional vocabulary of art making can become something of a trap over time and
This remains true for me. A studio class has to be alive for any real learning to occur and the 32
Many artists use elements of pop culture in their work, particularly installation artists. How important is the role of pop culture in your pieces mountain of head and 108 head? By the way, why exactly "108"?
Culture or pop culture is always there and I'm constantly trying to enjoy it and exploit it. These heads are many things to me. The paintings you mention were preceded by videos in which I wear the mask. I like the idea of a solitary mask, something you only put on when you are alone, something that inverts the the normal, social usage of a mask some how. Originally I made the head/mask to perform actions that my ailing senior citizen neighbors were unable to do, such as running, jumping, fishingâ€Ś.. Now the head has become more of a performance personality and there are obvious traces of pop culture in it. I titled the painting 108 Head because in a quick count thats how many I saw. These paintings and much of the video work are explorations of light and gravity, landing and falling. One curiosity I have discovered is that paintings seem to age slower than video. A video piece three years old can feel antique but a painting can remain present forever.
Never Surrender Oil canvas 24x36 inches
One of the works of yours that have really impressed us is entitled "Goya With Traps". Can you tell us a little about this piece?
only way to keep it alive is to maintain a persoNal desire to create and explore meanings. I find that teaching, when it's authentic, is more of an experience than a transfer of information. Lets face it, the information is already out there.
It was late at night in the studio and I stumbled upon this arrangement on the floor.It was a quick painting. I think I made it after giving up on another larger piece.
At a certain level students need practice making choices more than anything else. I conceive of studio instruction as an inspired, informed stewardship of a student's artistic decisions.
Goya's work has always seemed bravely honest to me, open to the lightest and darkest qualities of humanity. His etchings and drawings more so than his paintings. Even on a technical level his work is never
There is a cost though, I only have so much to give and teaching can be exhausting. 33
Goya With Traps - oil on canvas - 24 x 32 inches
completely pleased with itself and thats a quality I admire. Also, Goya never stopped making, never stopped producing, never stopped evolving.
that we will never have a reality TV show starring Diego Velazquez, which would be thoroughly watchable.
Your paintings often reveal a subtle irony . "Watching Velasquez" is an example of a stimulating symbiosis between humour and criticism. Was this one of the effects that you desidered to achieve?
In these pages our readers can see a couple of stills of your video "Watch me, See me".
I hope thats the case. Im certainly flattered by your response to this painting. In that piece Im obviously considering the circular act of seeing and reflecting, but Im also lamenting the fact
I think the ambiguity of these terms is exciting. For me the term cinema involves a traditional concept of film making and viewing. Digital technology continues to
We would like to ask you if the "frontier" between Video Art and Cinema will exists longer.
A sequence of stills from Watch Me See Me
think that art could steer or even change people's behavior?
reshape all of this. The frontier between these terms is much less interesting to me than the landscape beyond them both.
I think the artist or art collective, in a democratic society, or as an agent of democracy in a different social system, is the purest source of cultural meaning. The notion of personal expression is important but not everything.
By the way, even though this is just a funny question, we were wondering if the fish that we have seen in the video has been really caught during the filming... we hope you will forgive us for this question...
I adore this question and think its quite important. The answer is yes, I did catch one of those fish in the video. In fact I still have it in my fish tank.
Art is the opposite of dogma, it doesn't directly steer behavior so much as reveal the world. For me art is alive when it's hard at work on the ground, opening up possibilities, willing to break a sweat, willing to make a fool of itself for new meanings.
The reason I like the question is that it relates to what I love about video and performance, which is, that they are actual. Narrative and metaphor are important but what excites me is that, yes, I performed that piece. I did it all in one day and that experiential nature is what interests me.
Thank you for this interview, Patrick, what's next for you?
I have no idea. Thank you so much for this wonderful opportunity. I appreciate your thoughtful questions and had a blast trying to answer them.
Not to mention that art should have an effect, should communicate something. Do you think artâ€™s purpose is simply to provide a platform for an artistâ€™s expression? Do you
A sequence of stills from Watch Me See Me
(Canada / USA)
an Artistâ€™s Statement My work is motivated by our relationship to our innovations, our fascination with these innovations and how they shape culture and the way we think. I am also interested in human endeavor in instinctual terms. Speculating about the natural impulses that have changed, through countless evolutions and contact with extraneous influences, to become the drivers that currently power and posses us. By incorporating flaws or hidden contrasts into seemingly stable, confident, systems, my hope is to present a more humble view of our activities as super animals within nature.
Books in Works One of my fascinations, from the beginning, has been with how meaning is created, in us and by us. Thinking about how reading is different than speaking, painting, whistling, walking,â€Ś and how exposure to these varied information modes shapes our brains and the way we think. Books have always contained a great deal more than their literal content. They are technology, of privilege; fixed in the moment they were created, and represent indoctrination in addition to enlightening. I have uses books in works since 1990. I began creating structures after an experience I had with a censorship issue relating to an exhibition I was in. I was fascinated with how well each side of the debate constructed very reasonable arguments to support their position. I began to think about how we all
Conversation #2 This work was concerned with creating (2008)
imagery: the book were being used as
have access to the same knowledge, yet we construct, by selective reasoning, opposing points of view. So I set about trying to construct structures that represented arguments in some way. Solid, fragile, dependent on history and immovable. The earlier works, Arguments, involved obsessively ordering books by subject. History and connections between titles was the indexing method used. The structure, space and content of the books used worked together to create an over-all artwork. 36
meant to create lateral lines of meaning. They relate to the structure, color or location. Players. When I entered Grad school in 2001 I began by attempting to shred, and roll into cigarettes, every book I was to read while at school. Stimulating, addictive and potentially dangerous. This project lasted 3 months, and involved 8 books. The following text accompanied the work Book Hawk, shown at the University of Toronto. U of T has a historical authority that is necessary for this work to be realized.
Book Hawk Mixed media with thesaurus Hart House, University of Toronto The Book Hawk is a protector, maintaining a claim, concerned with its place and its time. This predator patrols its territory; a location with a historical authority that is undeniable, a place where the maintaining of that history and its traditions, requires a degree of control. Considered largely docile, the Book Hawk, when challenged, can become uncompromising and aggressive. With its complex support structure and constant power supply it can overwhelm its newer, more virile challengers with little effort. Caution is recommended.
pixels to create an over-all image effect. Any historical connections between books are left to chance. 10,000 books
This changed with Argument #4(b), where I began playing with imagery. The most recent book towers, Conversations, are more concerned with the creation of well-defined surface images. Now the book colors are being used as pixels to create an over-all image effect. Any intriguing connections between books are left to chance (a detective novel and a university text on accounting could share a cover color, say blue, and find themselves side by side). The hidden scenes and material in the gaps are
Education 2003 Master's of Fine Arts, State University of New York, Buffalo, USA 1991 AOCAD Diploma, Ontario College of Art and Design, Toronto, Canada
An interview with
Tom Bendtsen What in your opinion defines a work of art?
It should contain one or both of all of the following: innovation of its moment in history, the societal and/or philosophical zeitgeist of the time it was created. This information is better expressed with poetics, not just illustrated. You have formal training and you have received MFA , from State University of New York. How much in your opinion does training influences art? And how has your art developed since you left school?
I believe my educational experience definitely had an impact on my work and my understanding of art. You are forced to confront ideas, opinions and methodologies that you may not come in contact with outside the institutional setting. Even railing against something helps you to understand yourself. The most significant benefit of my formal training was contact with peers. Community within this kind of educational experience is where most of the learning occurs. This is the real incubator of the Art School environment in my view.My work has come into clearer focus since I finished my education. I understand myself a lot Better. Having said that, many of the themes and ideas remain un-changed since long before I ever learned how to analyzed my own methods and motivations.
requirements, often leading to new learning. I had never done any drawing until about 10 years ago, then an idea I wanted to execute required that I learn. I can confidently say that I am now technically proficient in this area. Similarly, if the book structures are not immaculate, they simply don't work, can easily look messy. The consistency, and I guess you could call this technique as well, lies in the motivations behind these works. In the first line of your artist's statement, we can read that your work is motivated by our relationship to our innovations and how they shape culture and the way we think. We would like to ask you if in your opinion Art could play a role in social questions, steering people's behaviour.
You are a multidisciplinary artist: your art ranges from drawing and painting to video, installations and performances. How do you choose a particular media for your works? And what technical aspects do you mainly focus on in your work?
That statement relates more to the instinctual roots of our industriousness. What basic need is being mined, changed or satisfied with each new innovation. I do believe art has and can lead societal change, the Situationist Interna-
Process and material bring content. Every project/series involves a new set of technical 38
and experiential work we see today seems a natural extension of what has been building over the past 200 years. Even before then it seems to me that Art was, and always has been, in a state of flux? I would suggest even 'traditional technique', in all media, evolved through the technological and intellectual change of it's time. An interesting series that we have had the chance to get to know is entitled "Conversation #4 " Tell us something about your inspiration for these creations. Can you describe a little bit about your creative process?
With all these works I am trying to reconcile or contrast a number of relatable ideas at once. With Conversation #4 I first became interested in the over-all form of a nuclear cooling tower, menacing and beautiful in the landscape. I then began thinking of what imagery would be provocative in combination with this form: a tree in nature. This contrast is challenging, yet open. Yes nuclear technology threatens nature, our long term future, but it also allows for 'clean' energy (in the short term anyway) avoiding other possibly more damaging ways of producing power.
Conversation #4 (c) The form was influenced by a nuclear cooling tower.
tionals role in the student up-rising in Paris 1968 comes to mind. Much of the Post Modern movement sought social change. It is, however, a tricky proposition. Delivering topical content directly through visual art can lead to dreadful work.
That's how it began. As I am always looking to introduce contrast, flaws, and subtext into a work, the hidden scenes between the book gaps further complicate the reading of this work. Men mining coal and logging, mushrooms sprouting from religious and legal texts and a snowman meeting a polar bear are all hidden, except for those who take the time to investigate. When I begin to build the creation of the surface imagery is loosely planned, but is resolved as I build, one book at a time.
We also have the problem of relevance to the larger culture. Visual art does not hold the same cultural significance, in a populist sense, that in did before modernism. We aren't the only show in town any more. Do you think that there's a "contrast" between tradition and contemporary?
Well don't the innovations of the 'contemporary' through history eventually become consumed by tradition? The autobiographical 39
Back of Conversation #2, under construction
This might sounds some funny, I remind the words of my first Art teacher, who used to tell us about Filippo Brunelleschi, one of the foremost architects and engineers of the Italian Renaissance. He used to weight every single brick of his buildings... I can recognize a particular attention also in your structures: randomness seems have little importance, in your process isn't it?
devised to allow for randomness. By using colour over subject as an indexing method, these works threw the content of the books into random relationships. A blue book can be an accounting book, can be a self help book can be a romance novel. Random connections of subject was the goal. Conversations over arguments. When viewing your book constructions I am reminded of Marshal Mcluhan's most famous quote: "The medium is the message". We would go as far as to say that your buildings series are meta-art, since the nature of the medium: would you agree with this statement?
The early book works, Arguments, were desperately trying to make order, (the performative part of these works) in an over whelming sea of potential knowledge. I was trying to make links between subjects and create structures that reflected the idea of history being built upon history. With the second book structure series, Conversations, a system was
Yes, to a degree, this work is very much about art and being human. I do believe the book 40
yo look for lateral lines of meaning. A directed yet open endedness in my work Do you think that art could act as a substitute for traditional learning, in a process in which active learning could be carried out through experience ?
Yesâ€Ś, or at least in combination. The studio/critique environment provides a broader, more complicated interaction for the student, less linear than traditional learning. Sometimes we need to understand history, research and approach information logically, as an individual. I use experiential learning when I teach. Rather than talk about the importance of context or performance, why not surprise the student with a site-specific performance piece as a demonstration which is what I have done. We have a complicated information intake system we humans. Sometimes, because it's easier I guess, we privilege reason, literalness, when we naturally take in and store all kinds of information simultaneously. Feeling is believing! Argument #5 The texts become more superficial towards the top,
Conversation #5 Stands 8ft tall, contains 6,000 books.
in contrast to the idea of accention
reading and writing has a complicated relationship/history in the visual arts. Part of my initial interest in using books came from my experience as an undergraduate at OCAD in Toronto. French theory, deconstruction and semiotics were very much in vogue at that time. All very interesting, what I understood of it, to a young artist hopeful. I began to question its prominence within the department I was working. It seemed to me that many students began 'writing' their work. Critiques were full of literal, connect the dots approach to creating meaning. In many ways I was trying to find a way of incorporating these ideas without them overwhelming a work. Nothing, it seemed to me, could be absolutely understood. I began 41
Conversation # 4 Book Hawk in motion
Since you produce videos, there's a question that we would like to submit you: in these last years we have seen that the frontier between Video Art and Cinema is growing more and more vague.
Speaking of Arguments you have said that "they appear solid but in fact are not; they are stacked and on the verge of collapse": this reminds me another kind of ancient ephemeral artworks, Sand Mandala: what's your point about this?
Do you think that this "frontier" will exists longer?
Yes, I do see some similarity. Both have a transitory way about them. Fragility is in contrast to the solid appearance of these book structures, the closer you get to them, the softer they become.
I think It will continue to exist. Yes Video has killed the cinema star to a degree, removed some of it's elitism. But as soon as experimental techniques are absorbed by the mainstream, counter culture will find new ways to bring forth unexpected ways of producing imagery.
For me, more so earlier in my thinking about this work, the possibility of collapse seemed a necessary counter to the the authority of the structures, the books and what those books represent. A definitiveness fixed in a culture that is fluid.
Perhaps slow will become hot? As our senses begin to wear out from over-stimulation?
Argument #2 10,000 books. Interior walls consists of text you would read in private, exterior publicly acceptable texts. 1997
Thank you very much for this interview, Tom: what's next for you? What are your upcoming projects?
Migration Time involves, displaying,via live web cam, a large projection of a forest vista near Haliburton, Ontario, Canada. Of course the actual tree migration is so slow as to be virtually imperceivable, virtually nothing would change during the exhibition. I am interested in the contrast of immediacy (a cultural obsession, reflected in my use of technology) with a slower, imperceivable time-line (the unseen adaptations and movements of nature). The relatively rapid movement of these trees remains to slow to be felt and therefore, is not considered culturally significant. Or canâ€™t be truly perceived in a culture that is accelerating and obsessed with efficiency.The newest book work, Conversation #5, will be displayed a number of times this year.
My newest work Migration Time observes the beech trees movement north into, and possible through southern Ontario Canada. The current projected ranges anticipate that a warmer climate will have significant effect on our forests and the migration of Beech trees in particular. Deciduous forests will move northward and into to higher elevations, replacing coniferous forests in many areas. Estimates project that by the end of this century, this deciduous tree species will move entirely out of the USA into central Ontario and Quebec. (Research provided by Geophysical Fluid Dynamics Laboratory and Goddard Institute for Space Studies).
http://www.tombendtsen.com/conversation-5.html I also am working on new series of drawings, Wishing Well series, an extension of other drawing series to date. http://www.tombendtsen.com/wishing-well.html
Myrthe Van Der Mark
Myrthe Van Der Mark (The Netherlands) an artist’s statement
“If I were an architect, I would build castles made of air. Or air fortresses that would silently carry me. I can't build air castles. Yet, I am my own Prima Causa and I see myself responsible for the necessary and unalterable course of my life. What I see as truth is merely based on myself as first cause. This philosophy does not always make me feel that I can control life and the things that happen. That frightens me. That's one of the reasons why I make films in which I play with the presence of the camera. When do people forget the camera and the role that they are playing and turn into the person whom they pretend to be? Is there a border and is it possible to capture that?
Myrthe van der Mark Alles wordt, niets is (everything becomes, nothing is)
continues, of people living their lives anyway, even when I am not walking down the street looking into their living rooms.
In a way you can see the camera as a presence, a third person, like in a play where there is a director. Myself, I yearn to get involved with other lives. I would like to share their daily matters and concerns. A need to trust, for security, for motion. Also a confirmation that life
Sometimes I wonder if the waves keep on rolling when I pass the highest dune.
Myrthe Van Der Mark
I can't stop questioning. I don't even know whether I am an animal or a God. As long as I live I have a battle to fight for. That seems to be easier when I look at life as a story that I can defragment and divide into chapters, as a sequence of occurrences. I try to understand, but understanding is most of all about experience. Every moment I am seeking an honest translation of reality. But every moment there is another perception of reality. One day I opened 30 white envelopes and introduced myself to 30 butterflies. 30 times I said hello to death. 30 times I said goodbye to life. (Myrthe van der Mark) www.myrthevandermark.com
a sequence of stills from “Schermafbeelding” 2012-07-11”
Myrthe Van Der Mark
An interview with
Myrthe Van der Mark First of all we would like to know something about your background and how your BA of Fine Arts that you have recently received from ArtEZ has influenced the way you nowadays produce your own Art.
In my childhood my mom took me to a lot of museums. It feels like a process my mom and I have been through together. It started with still lives from the Dutch painter Henk Helmantel. I remember our admiring in order of his precise way of working. We visited Jan Sluyters, with his colorful paintings of typical Dutch girls. I got in touch with Gustav Klimt, and his admirer Egon Schiele. I felt uncomfortable by looking at a young clumsy girl with blood coming out of her vagina. Through the ink I felt a need to express his emotions. At the same time my older sister sent me a postcard with the painting 'Barbie' by Marlene Dumas. She wrote to me I probably didn't understand the meaning of the image and more likely: because I was a child, I wasn't supposed to like the image at all. But in contrary: I was amazed. Dumas translated an idea into an image.
I already saw. When I graduated on high school I had to decide whether to study theatre, fashion or a fine art study. I decided to try theatre, but the audition became an anti-climax: I was expelled in the first round. Unfortunately I was too late for the application of fashion. Fine art left. I showed the commission the film I made in my graduation year, my drawings, paintings and the exercises. I read them my opinion about the importance of art (which I had copy pasted from the internet) and they decided instead of sending me a letter, to immediately confirm my admission. I called my mother, she said: I never expected this. Me neither.
During the graduation year of high school my mother and I visited an exhibition in Schiedam. When we arrived at the top floor we saw big installations with screenings of almost naked women, waiting in a white cube while drinking wine, smoking cigarettes and especially: being really thin. I didnâ€™t see art like this before. I even didn't know how to qualify it. There was a screening of a hand with a bottle of water that forced a young girl to drink. It was almost aggressive. The images were as literal as they could be, but I think in a way I had to see this. It was so in contrary with a lot of the paintings 46
Myrthe Van Der Mark
a tragedy. During the first period the teachers were really glad, but after the high rates I had a breaking point. I lost all my credits. The teachers didn't understand what was happening and became negative about my process and way of working. Finally I graduated but not with the rates I was hoping for. Being true to yourself is hard when almost everyone is trying to push you in another direction. The summer ended and I moved to Antwerp to become a production assistant for Jan Fabre. Back in business, but now real business. Not some teachers who were complaining about my ideas, no longer justification, no more desperate tears. Only spirited people, with a great need to do the things they were doing. It felt inspired, I felt alive. I started making a film in the rare hours besides working at the film production. In November when the film production ended I made the film Chapter one and exhibited in Extrapool in Nijmegen. I think in a way I had to deal with all the things that happened during the process, because everything is connected. Besides, it’s easier to see things afterwards in perspective, as a sequence of occurrences.
The first year was really tough. We were expected to find out our way of working. I was used to draw myself, but when they asked for an explanation I couldn’t answer. I made drawings with ink from myself being naked, but they said I was copying Egon Schiele. What did they want, for God’s sake? I started by making little performances, films and series of photographs. By slowly letting go the idea of how they expect me to do it and embrace my own way of experiencing I, little by little, found a way of expressing myself. In the first place I mostly expressed personal misery, but I started writing about it, so eventually I learned to deal with it. Unfortunately, my fine arts graduation year became 47
Myrthe Van Der Mark
Could you take us through your creative process when starting a new project?
I need a trust that life continues. Sometimes I wonder if the waves keep on rolling when I pass the highest dune. I need a confirmation that people living their lives anyway, even when I am not there to observe. I experience two ways of being: when I am alone and when there are others. In the second way I become aware of myself and my actions. It's the difference between subjective and objective. In my film Chapter one I play with the awareness of the camera. When do people forget the camera and the role that they are playing and turn into the person whom they pretend to be? Is someone playing a role while he is aware of another person or the camera? I can't stop questioning. I don't even know whether I am an animal or a God. As long as I live I have a battle to fight for. By the way, how new technology as DSLR has impacted on your process?
When I start studying in 2008 we were expected to buy ourselves a reflex camera. I once developed the pictures myself when I was on high school, but on the academy we didn't had this possibility. Now I regret that the teachers didn't stimulate to photograph analogue. Analogue photography is another way of approaching the subject, because you only have a limited number of images to make.
narrow the field between perception and consciousness?
I am asking myself if its necessary to see the camera as a reason people change. Is it because we know a camera is recording? We are aware of the consequence of the medium: being broadcasted. We consider the media as a part of our reality.
My friend had a Nikon analogue camera and we considered every optional image. In those particular photographs you almost feel the decision of taken the image. Everyone can photograph digital, it's not a craft anymore, and so it has a risk to become superficial.
We are constantly posting images on Facebook, but censor precedes all the postings. You can’t control the image when someone is taking a record of you. It’s just the way it is; you don’t have the possibility to change an impression of yourself. Your videos are marked by an effective narrative approach: in my opinon most of the sequences racall more Cinema that VideoArt... do you think that still exist a dichotomy between Videoart and Cinema? I personally recognize that the more time passes, the more
In your statement, you have explained the matter of which use yourself as the subject for a lot of works of yours. Seeing the camera as a third person could
Myrthe Van Der Mark
By the way, I'm absolutely sure that this will for sure sound very funny, but this sentence has reminded me Spike Jonze's "Being John Malkovitch". The lives of others often stimulate artists' creativity... what's your point about this?
Ha, I discussed Being John Malkovich in my thesis. The thesis was about perception, consciousness and the personal control of the brains. And yes, I think nowadays many artists base themselves on the lives of other. I think there are a lot of questions these days about us in relation to the world. We keep questioning. We keep on trying to understand. A crucial feature of your Art is sharing your perspectives with others: how important is the interaction with your audience. By the way, when you conceive a work, do you think to whom will enjoy your work?
There is a question: when a tree in the forest is falling down and no living being is around, would there be a sound? I wonder: when a person makes art and no living being is around, would it be art? My art is based on having an audience. I consider my art as a reflection of the phenomena and motivations of people. We can recognize that a recurrent characteristic of many of your artworks is experience as starting point of artistic production: in your opinion, is experience an absolutely necessary part of creative process?
these two arts create a meeting, a synergy...
I see video art and cinema as two independent subjects. They offer two different kinds of perspectives. You can see the art house film in between. In the last century a lot of artists used video to document their performances. Cinema probably influenced video art becoming more focused on video instead of an artistic idea translated into video. Nowadays the way of using the camera became a specialty by video artists (thinking of Bill Viola).
No, I think it's not necessary. Itâ€™s a possibility to approach your subject. For me it is important to get involved in the subject, to go through and understand. For someone else experiencing could be to attempt or to try. Thank you for this interview, Myrthe: what are your upcoming projects?
In your artist's statement you have written that you "yearn to get involved with other lives": do you think that art could provide a door to other existences or at least a way out to escape one's life?
Thank you for this interview. One of my upcoming projects is Itahaka21 a group exhibition in Leuven with the theme concerning monumental. I will exhibit films based on the moment of weakness. I keep on working. Trying to build castles made of air.
Yes, I do believe as an artist you can offer new perspectives. Art is about approaching life in different ways.
Michael Filimowicz (USA) "It’s Gonna Rain – A Ludoremage"
"It’s Gonna Rain – A Ludoremage" is a ludological re-mix and hommage (thus: “ludoremage”) of Steve Reich’s classic tape loop work, It’s Gonna Rain. Here, Reich’s work has been reincarnated as a videogame. With graphical umbrella people creating the loop upon hitting the spinning tape reels, and yellow rain boots shutting down the loop upon hitting an umbrella person, the listener-player is positioned to experience Reich’s loops and samples in a new way. The reward for the player is not in points to be scored but rather in the new possibilities (e.g. moments of silence) afforded by this remediation of the composition on a gaming platform. Operation: The initial sample of the Pentecostal preacher plays at the start and on launch. Whenever one of the “umbrella people” hits the spinning tape reels, the sample “it’s gonna rain” begins to loop. However, when a rain boot hits one of the
umbrella people, the loop is shut off. The listenerplayer can interact and intervene in various ways: when boots or umbrella people become stuck to each other or hopelessly spin against the reels, clicking on them releases them back into motion. Similarly, clicking on the umbrellas plays the sample a single time, and also instigates new movement. Hitting
Michael Filimowicz E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org Web: www.filimowicz.com Education: BA (DePaul), MFA (SAIC) Creative Practice Electro-acoustic Music Digital Photography Experimental Video Sound Design Net Art Creative Writing Public Art Research Areas The Phenomenology of Mediation Audiovisual Hermeneutics SELECTED EXHIBITION CATALOGS SIGGRAPH 2010 Art Gallery IDEAS10, Art and Digital Narrative New Media, Sex, and Culture in the 21st Century, MONA (Museum of New Art Detroit) Artech 2010: 5th International Conference of Digital Arts, “Envisioning Digital Spaces.”
It’s Gonna Rain – A Ludoremage is a ludological re-mix and hommage of Steve Reich’s classic tape loop work. The game is largely generative but integrates some minimal interaction, which is appropriate for a work of re-embodied of the composition on a gaming platform.
the large Restart button resets the game back to the original sample and the composition begins anew. The player does not “win” but instead is rewarded with new variations of this classic composition.
IDEAS 09: Arts at the Digital Edge, International Digital Media and Arts Association (IDMAA) conference and exhibition. Archetime Cross-Disciplinary Conference and Exhibition, New York City 2009. UPDATE III, Liedts-Meesen Foundation, Belgium.
An interview with
Micheal Filimovicz First of all we would like to ask you what in your opinion defines a work of art.
I think art comes about through Freedom and Play, so any particular art work should emerge from a place of the freest possible play. These would be the “initial conditions” out of which the specific limitations of any particular project would be generated. It goes without saying that you have an impressively rich background: are there some experiences that have mostly informed the way you make art?
Probably the computer is most responsible for my way of making art, as a meta-medium every possible practice (music, video, photography, net art, video games, etc.) is just an application click away. Aside from this, most of my education was based on the private school and liberal arts model which stresses multi-dimensionality and disciplinary boundary crossing (rather than getting “tracked” early on into some professional direction, as commonly happens in US public schools). I have five years industry experience (I’ve mixed almost 300 documentaries as an audio engineer) so that professional and technical background has added more of an artisan ethos to my work. Also, I’ve never been very moved by the pressure to specialize in some narrowly defined field. I consider my “specialty” to be Mediation (in general). Of course studying at the Art Institute in Chicago was impactful, particularly the lateral curriculum (you can enter as a filmmaker and paint or compose audio the whole time if you wish, the curricular space was wide open).
By the way, you also teach at Simon Fraser University: how has this influenced your career as an artist?
It has provided me with some great opportunities for collaboration. SIAT (School of Interactive Arts and Technologies) is unusually interdisciplinary in its configuration and that has been inspiring. I like being an artist in what could be generally described as a design school. It produces the right level of friction or foreignness, it’s just close enough to art that I can relate what I do to a design context, and just 52
MERIDIEND is a work of internet art combining literary writing and digital photography to explore a variant of psychogeography, defined by Guy Debord as "the study of the precise laws and specific effects of the geographical environment, consciously organized or not, on the emotions and behavior of individuals” and as “a technique of rapid passage through varied ambiences.”
different enough to push me in some new directions over time. Can you tell us about your process and set up for making your work? What technical aspects do you mainly focus on your work?
The approach to psychogeography in MERIDIEND is to explore the interstices between writing and the real places that served in some way as a point of contact for these texts. Neither text nor image "explain" or "caption" the other, but rather viewing and reading relies on the memory of each, as texts and images are not viewable simultaneously. Furthermore, this approach rejects the
I guess my “method” is defined in relation to the computer. There’s the work I do away from the computer (such as photography), then there’s the convergence back to the computer again. It’s a rhythm, toward and away from the computer (and all the stuff hooked up to the computer, the audio gear or cameras etc.). If I can’t do something (such as the sculptural work on Lingua Aqua or Cursor Caressor Eraser) there’s plenty of talented people nearby who I can “drag” into my project. With any work, usually there is a guiding “seed idea” the directs
obsessions, and engages the poetic and dialectical tensions between city and country. can drift amongst these texts and images in either random or systematic fashion. Once the image has been replaced by its accompanying text, it cannot be easily gotten back to unless an effort has been made by the viewer-readerdrifter to keep track of their moves.
everything from the start, but sometimes the seed idea actually pulls together fragments of things that are already in existence (as with the photos and text of Meridiend).
artist was presenting some work and what sounded “experimental” to the audience was just the Phrygian mode and I called her on it and she confessed. I find it productive to know as much about the history of past practices and precedents as I can devote time to. My feeling is that unless one takes a comprehensive and historical view, one is basically just condemning oneself to trends (trend for trend’s sake).
What progression or changes have you seen in your materials? How has your production processes changed over the years? Yes, I keep adding mediums. I am now moving toward 3D/CG animation and video games, it’s as though I am “annexing” the nearby media territories. Just when I think I have enough media forms under my belt, I discover some-thing like Blender (the “free Maya”), a fantastically capable (and no cost) animation program. I once composed a feature film score using only freeware audio applications. In grad school I mostly studied sound, and a little video and sculpture (for making sound effects objects), so the forms I work in are basically due to the status of the computer as a meta-medium.
We would like to focus a bit on "MERIDIEND", a very stimulating work of internet art. By the way, what was your initial inspiration? As a writer, places and spaces, or travel generally, have been very generative and inspiring. And of course these fuel my photography as well. The difference between the transformation of a place in writing (its use as storyworld) and its “fixing” as a photograph struck me at the start of the project. This word “Meridiend” had been in my mind for some years (a name preceding an idea, or a thought initially without a medium)– at the end of a meridian is the convergence of all meridians. It’s a metaphor for differentiation and convergence, relations between singularities that meet up somewhere. A photograph is not just a record or visual capturing of a place or object, it also records a trace of the subjective element, the choice or desire to photograph something in the first place. All photographs in this way are Affect Images, they record the inner affect of taking the photo (desire, choice, thought) as well as the percept of what’s recorded. So the medium of net art was ideal for exploring this gap and connection between literary transformation and photographic representation of “the same place” or “the same thing” and Meridend is built around this gap and connection.
As regards your production as a sound artist we can recognize an effective synergy between tradition and experimentalism. Do you think that studying an acoustic instrument is absolutely necessary to get ahead into Contemporary Music? It seems that a "traditional" training is an advantage for developing experimental music... I have to say I believe in mixing “old school” or “traditional” learning with experimentation, so I would say yes. I studied voice, piano, harmony etc. but I studied it in a nontraditional manner, I started from Gregorian chant and worked my way forward (though very incompletely). I have a didactic strain for sure. I remember fondly a moment when a sound
at the beginning of a major renaissance of filmmaking because of DSLRs with HD video capability. Of course this means that there is no longer any major difference between doing a photographic or video project, or rather the difference between these is the difference between a flipped switch. It has meant that now when I go out to do photography, a little video gets snuck into the media collected as well. So now photography projects quickly morph into video supplementation. What experiences have you had exhibiting in different countries? What is the difference between exhibiting, for example, in Europe and exhibiting in Asia - we would like to mention that you recently exhibited in Bangkok- you or in the United States?
Your work deals with new media technology and in this issue our readers have an over-view of your work entitled "It's Gonna Rain – a Ludoremage". In these last years we have seen that the frontier between Video Art and Cinema is growing more and more vague: do you think that this "frontier" will exists longer? Do you think that new media art will definitely fill the dichotomy between art and technology?
Usually my work travels much more than I do. In North America, my very subjective sense is that one is presenting more for an indistinct crowd (anonymous people who flow through the exhibition space), in Europe it is more likely that I will end up having a beer with someone who has come to the exhibition. European social space is more social, while social space in North America is more spatial. With regards to Asia, my work went to Bangkok but I did not (I have a non-infinite travel budget), and when I presented at ISEA in Singapore, that was a professional conference and exhibition with almost a thousand international practitioners and was basically a fantastic party with Singapore more as a backdrop or setting to the general academic revelry.
First, as a gift to your readers, let me note that the jpeg image of this work on my website is a “secret link” and if you click on it, the game app will download onto your computer (it’s a Mac app, apologies to PC people). New media art on its own won’t resolve dichotomies, it will need discourse – appropriate theories and reflective spaces – to accomplish that along with the production of new forms. I think games and cinema will on the one hand remain distinct media, at the same time new forms will emerge that hybridize the qualities or affordances of each. I think there are always at least three frontiers: there is the frontier of a practice (discipline, form) expanding on its palette of specific possibilities; there is the frontier between practices, media disciplines which are developed through “jumping” in some way the qualities of distinct forms; and there are discursive frontiers, because the conceptual and reflective space is often dominated by old ideas that haven’t kept up with new practices.
Thank you very much for this interview, Michael: what's next for you? My study leave (sabbatical) is coming up, and the popularity of music videos amongst my students (or my desire as a teacher to motivate them) has inflicted me with the desire to produce music videos, so I’m in the process of defining my pop cultural persona, trying to figure out what my „DJ Name“ should be or what have you. Or maybe it’s an MC name, not sure! Some kind of pop culture music persona may be in the works. But making music videos during my sabbatical seems like the right use of that time (pedagogically, it’s convergent media: sound-animation-visual effects-gaming rolled together). And you’re welcome!
By the way, how new technologies as DSLR and digital editing has impacted on your process? Historically, every time there has been some major update in the technology (usually in the direction of lighter weight, more mobility, lower cost, ease of use, sync sound etc.) there is some kind of renaissance or new aesthetic that emerges, so we are now probably
Ovidiu Cincheza & Marte Roel
Ovidiu Cincheza & Marte Roel “These works were born naturally as a conjunction of interests while we were living together in an artist residence in Barcelona; Ovidiu (RO) as a photographer and programmer, and Marte (MX) as a musician and interaction designer. We like to create engaging fun works, with which people can easily connect. We managed to merge our interests into a series of photography installations that react to people’s gestures. In these works, we provide a set of gestures under which people can behave meaningfully in manners that would not be generally appropriate in public contexts; this, in order to take a picture of themselves. Through such construct, we acquire an anthropological collection of pathetic human behaviour; but that at the same time is engaging, meaningful and fun within its context. Partly, the inspiration for building some of these machines came from the idea of reediting classic photography projects; between them are Phillipe Halsman’s Jump Book and Inge Morath and Saul Steinberg’s Masquerade project. Photo booths are well known in urban spaces, and have been commonly used for decades; recently, the accessibility of new digital technologies has prevented these booths from being of particular interest for people, and moreover, new generations of young people. These booths provide a wonderful palette of fun and accessible interaction for pretty much anyone and have proved to be successful in various spaces and contexts. The work that we propose is different from that of a common photo booth software; since we encompass it in a public situation and use novel modes of interaction with photography, where the user himself has a certain level of agency over taking the photograph. From a more general standpoint accoun-
ting for the history of photography (which began well more than 100 years ago and was linked to the industrial revolution); we are at an interesting point of the development of such discipline. Although some people debate about whether photography is dying, we believethat this era is clearly a turning point for it. Today, a growing community of local makers are born within a globalized economy, and authors are even proposing the idea of a third industrial revolution. Our photo booths are born from this paradigm, where novel and meaningful models for photography built by,and for, the local community are proposing new paths for this discipline.
Ovidiu Cincheza & Marte Roel
Scream box photo of the StudioP52 team during the Get Ser Art Festival, Oporto 2012
“Now, to the concrete; so far we have built and presented 3 different machines and conceptualized many others. Of the ones that have been showcased, the first one is a Scream Box, a photo booth that reacts to people’s screams; a second one, is the Jump Booth, that takes a photo when the user, or users, jump upwards. At last, we developed one for an event celebrating the end of the world, where people had to knee under a table and put a paper-bag over their head in order to activate the camera (these ideas were taken from various science fiction caricatures). Besides these, we have thought of -and experimented withmany other ideas that serve as meaningful inputs for our machines, such as a kissing booth. “The shell of these photographic machines, where all the software and hardware are integrated, has been built by separate authors and designers; between them, Hannes Anderson (SE), Michal Kukucka (SK) and James Cronin (UK); all of which used computer numerical control (CNC) machines for their development. All the models were developed in FabLab Barcelona. To the designers and the people at FabLab, we express our enormous gratitude. “Our works are constantly exhibited and we hope for the near development of more fun and engaging machines that attract people into a meaningful experience born from what is unusual yet accessible. Through these installations we not only provide this experience to its users, but expose the nature of contextual meaning. We hope for people to keep enjoying and sharing experiences through our work. Hopefully this also becomes an inspiring path for other artists and developers in order to guide the future of photography to new places.
Ovidiu Cincheza, Lucas Capelli, Tomas Diez and Michal Kucka
The ScreamBooth is an installation that detects the scream of one, or various users, and snaps a photo while they are screaming. It uses state-of-the art devices to provide high-quality photographs, shown on the booth’s screen. All the devices, sensors and actuators are built inside a cool-design wooden box.
Ovidiu Cincheza & Marte Roel
An interview with
Ovidiu Cincheza You received a bachelor degree in Compu-ter Science and a master degree in Auto- motive Embedded Systems. How much these experiences have impacted on your art?
To be honest until one year ago my career and art didn't intersected too much. I was doing mostly photography using a lot the classical darkroom and old alternative techniques. All this things changed when I met Marte in an art residency from Barcelona, called Studio P52 and we started to do these projects together, somehow he opened my eyes and made me understand that I could use my experience in programming and embedded systems for my art. By the way, as we can read in your abstract, you have used a computer numerical control.
Yes, it's true, in all the projects from this series we used computers and various sensors. We used computer numerical controlled machines for the construction of the booths, but I did not program it myself, the people at FabLab Barcelona did.
In your artist statement you have mentioned Jeremy Rifkin and the capability of "doing-ityourself": how much the concept of "do-ityourself" could be applied in art practice? By the way, do you think that artists with a formal artistic education have an advantage over self-taught artists?
I see the â€œdo-it-yourselfâ€? concept more like an exploration of the things that surround us, and maybe as a struggle to understand how these things work and to discover new ways in which they can be used. On the other hand art is also about exploration, understanding and discovering, so I think that they can go very good together.
Ovidiu Cincheza & Marte Roel
the formal education and the self thought one I think that each one has his own advantages, but a lot of times the fresh, revolutionary ideas come from people that are outside the academic world, and this applies to multiple fields, not only art. Not to mention that art should have an effect, or at least should communicate something. After reading your artist statement, the following question might sound some rethorical: do you think art’s purpose is simply to provide a platform for an artist’s expression? Do you think that art could steer or even change people's behaviour? Of course that there is always a viewer that in some way should relate to the artwork and generate some experience, and as experiences change us, art could change us. [Good way to say it!] We would like to mention your recent artwork entitled ScreamBooth, an instal-lation that detects the scream of an user, and snaps a photo. From a technical viewpoint, in this work a crucial role is played by the powerful Max/MSP software, which is currently used by lots of artists, most of them were once reluctan to Marte Roel
Along history, art developed together with techno-logy, architecture etc they always related to each other. Together with Marte, we think of art as the whole experience of it, from the process to the result. In this sense, doing things one's self enriches the process. But this doesn't mean that artists who conceptualize ideas and then have someone else develop them is invalid, it is just another approach, and a very practical one where the process is simply different, not better, not worse. These years we are experiencing the beginning of this “do-it-yourself” revolution and I think that is important to explore this new paradigm also thorough art. Regarding the comparison between
Ovidiu Cincheza & Marte Roel
Studio P52 residents during the testing of the ScreamBooth (Kathrine Gray and Hiba el Youssoufi)
make use of new technologies in their works. Do you think there still exists a dichotomy between Art and Technology?
each one has his own limitation and together we could make things that would be very hard to do on one's own. Like I said before, we met in Barcelona in an art collective, and we have to thank a lot to this collective because everybody helped us much and in various ways; from design, to digital fabrication, to helping us test these installations. And, of course, the wonderful inspiring community that it provided.
I don't think that there is a dichotomy, and I think that there never was. In almost all fields of art, technology has been part of the artistic process. By the way, your works are often "team moves": coming back to ScreamBooth, Marte Roel has been responsible of Max/MSP. Collaboration seems to play a capital role in The way you make art, isn't it? By the way, how did this fruitful collaboration begin?
Again, the artist Peter Tabor once said that "collaboration is working together with ano-ther to create something as a synthesis of two practices, that alone one could not": what's your point about this? Can you ex-
Yes, I think that collaboration is very important, 60
Ovidiu Cincheza & Marte Roel
plain how your work demonstrates communication between several artists?
I totally agree with this. Everybody comes from a completely different background, has different skills, knowledge and thoughts so the output is something that can exist only through this collaboration. What is your take on the impact of networked technologies on aesthetics of collaborative practices?
This question is rhetorical, the impact is huge they provide a very accessible platform for collaboration and for exposure.
when you conceive a work, do you think to whom will enjoy your work?
Your work is intrinsically connected with the chance to create interaction with audience:
Yes of course this is the most important part of the creation process. The kind of works that we are proposing cannot exist without the interaction of the audience. Thank you for this interview: by the way, what's next for you? Have you a particular project in mind ?
With pleasure. The fact is that this series of projects is not closed yet. We already have a new machine implemented that we didn't had yet the occasion to display it to the public and some other ones that are just concepts and who knows maybe the near future they will also come to life. email@example.com
A R T i c u l A c t i o n
Aaron Morgan (USA) an artistâ€™s statement
â€œMost of my work is figural based on reused or scrounged material. Generally I use recycled materials, specifically card packaging and boxes. I try to interplay the images with the materials; elevating the material but making the image dependent on the source. The pieces I'm submitting are part of a new series concerning smoking. This group of work are images of the Marlboro Man ( the American cowboy) on Discarded packages of Marlboro cigarettes. They are done in a mixed group of media; Sumi ink, Acrylic on found or provided Marlboro packages. I smoked for years but have given it up.While my quality of life is better in some ways, I'm not going to lie I miss it. I still have a nostalgia for those times and what they meant to me. 62
Smoking defined who I was at that time in my life. That's really what these pieces mean to me. Not some preachy hypocritical propaganda to get people to quit, but an exploration of the images of smoking and what they mean to me, to us and how they impact and shape our lives. I hope through the use of this particular imagery the viewer will also think about what these images stir and how they impacted or defined there perception of things. These pieces feature the Marlboro man, or my perception of him. That rugged cowboy, a mans man of the old west; a man who knows where the flavor is! Itâ€™s a uniquely American thing and does say something about us in some broader sense.
Marlboro Man series a subset of a larger group of work concerning the nostalgia of smoking; the images and cultures of cigarette smoking and Americana in general. All all on done on cigarette packs and are mixed media hybrids.
An interview with
Aaron Morgan First of all we would like to ask you what is the importance of formal training. Do you think that it could in some way stifle one's creativity?
I think there is deffentialy some pluses to exploring that world for folks with an inclination to doing art; especial if you really want to make a go at doing it as a profession. The flip side is that it really can be pretty stifling. Not some much in the way of smashing ones “vision” ( thought depending on the program that is always a risk) but morphing people into a purely academic sort of mold. I think its one of those duel edge swords. Thought I never actual graduate from a program I did attend about 5 years of studio and theory at a general university with a very strong progressive arts program. It help me in a couple of ways. I was able to build a vocabulary to explain what I was doing first off. As I’ve gotten older has been immensely helpful in writing and speaking about my work. And two, it really taught me the discipline part of the thing. Do just keep doing and producing. A real work ethic. Sometimes the creation process for me is just a numbers game. You have said that you're attected by images that convey a sense of loss or mistery: Sometimes it seems that environment hides informations which -even though are not "encrypted" tout court- need to be deciphered. Do you think that one of the role of artists could be to reveal, to decrypt unexpected sides of the world (maybe inner world) in the wide sense of word?
Certainly. For me there has to be a certain amount of ambiguity. You need the gray edges, 64
if it is too on the noseÂ it can be a turn off. The exception to that being propaganda or political motivated art. Even then there's an openness to the best of that kind work that allows interpretation. I try to inject that into my work. To produce art that speaks of who I am but leave enough openness to it that the viewer can bring their own baggage to the thing. The artist I admire most and really enjoy tell you something about themselves or the world as they see it, but let you bring your own stuff to the table. You often use recycled materials, and the images that you paint and draw interplay with the materials: this has an evocative function and at the same time, by warping the initial image, you give a quite different meaning to the final work. Do you visualize your Art before creating? Do you know what it will look like before you begin?
A: I try to, to some extent but I like leaving room for happy accidents and such. Sometime the base materials sparks ideas and I run with them. This especially true with the new work with cigarette packages which the Marlboro man series is part of. larger pieces are more chaoticÂ and continue to be in there conception. They sometimes put up a pretty good fight! I like the material and I knew there was a lot of directions I could take. That versatility and ready availability of recycle materials is incredibly appealing to me. I think one of the big things that I do as a rule that separates what I'm doing with the cardboard from a lot of other artist working with that medium is I always keep them as boxes. I want the viewer to know that they are containers being retooled for visuals. So in a way I find a happy 65
medium with the materials base function and what I want or am inspired to put on it from a visual sense. I general have at least a pretty rough road map of were Id like to go. I am an compulsive sketcher.
Now we would like to dwell upon the "Marlboro Man Series": you have stated that you have been in a wide sense inspired by the nostalgia of smoking. In particular, you have stated that this series is intrinsecally connected to "a uniquely American thing", a feature that seems to tran transpire also from "Gas Masks". Maybe that nonAmericans couldn't get this at first sight: it would be great if you could try to explain it.
So, I do a fair amount of sketching ideas and images. I'm also a photo hoarder in some ways so I have a pretty good amount of visual reference material to fall back on.
Absolutely. First off I loved smoking! For reals. My quality of life has gotten better senses I quit many years ago but, I have pretty strong warm and fuzzies for it. It kinda like that 66
Those old Marlboro adds more than any of the other brands ( which im exploring as well) have so many suttle and not so suttle social conditioning messages that a lot of us have absorbed over the years. Gender identity being a huge one for me. Come to flavor country-it were the real men are! I'm playing with that a bit and a lot of the images I'm using are back view or obscured views so there is this “riding into the sunset” motif. Something beautiful fading away. We would like to know more on your project It Is What It Is, that our readers can view at http://iiwiiproject.com. As we can read in your abstract "there is no time for revision. For better or worse, each piece is what it is.": this reminds us of a performative artwork, isn't it?
Most definitely. There's a lot of similarities that can be draw. The process in some ways is more important than the finished product. The time constraints and the just doing it are a huge component and strength of the work. The letting go and just letting the chips fall were they do is pretty liberating. Especial compared to the other method we both ( John Boucher) work from.
terrible girlfriend that you know is bad; is just going to get worse and probley kill you, but you just cant give up cause she so, so, seductively attractive. I remember the those old print adds for cigarettes. All my heros smoked when I was growing up. I myself have always been draw to images of smoking as a artist. While the cowboy historical isn't a purely a American thing; the visual image has been condition in the social conscious as part of cultural heritage of the American west. Thess are the men that tamed the west; have that individual moxie and encapsulate all the things we give lip service to as being “American” . That rugged individualism that dominates and tames a savage land. A mans man.
from It is What it is series
from It is What it is series
Going into its 3rd year, the IIWII Project was started by John Boucher and Aaron Morgan. They felt the need to maintain their creative lives even in the thick of mind numbing library employment. Thus, the Project was born. John writes a poem during snippets of free time in the morning, then Aaron illuminates the poem during lunch. As a rule no more than an hour is used for either part. There is no time for revision.
One of the most impressive features of this series (could we refer to it as a "series"?) is the effective synergy between words and images: even though it might sound some rethorical we can recognize a deep symbiosis between words and images, especially when it gives rise to an oxymoron...
Thanks you! John and I have been really lucky to have that kind of work relationship. We just really work well together andÂ get each other ;we are coming from; artistic and just socially. There is a sense of playfulness and freedom to the work-even if the subject matter sometimes strays to dark and ugly places.
For better or worse, each piece is what it is. The pieces are post Monday -Friday on Facebook (https://www.facebook.com/IIWIIProject) as well as the official IIWII site (http://iiwiiproject.com/).
In many of the pieces of It Is What It Is there's an impacting red which reminds blood stains. Can you tell us a little about this feature?
Blood imagery tends to come up a lot in the work. Red is really the only color that I use. I really like using a very limited palate that way. Some other colors have crept in but never stay for too long. The gold/ metallics have been making more of an appearance but for the most part it just the red. Which is sumi ink (which is all I general use for my ink based projects) so it has that very bright, organic, bloody hue to it. We’ve done a lot of reactionary work around violence so its kinda of a major tool for me to bloody the thing up. Add in the fact that I use my fingers in conjunction with brushes and pens you get a visural image mix. It can get messy.
By the way, a distinctive feature of It Is What It Is project is the "random post”. What is the role of improvisation? We would go as far as to say that it's a crucial element...
Defidently. Those pieces have very little pre planing if any at all. Every day we do one is purely random what the subject matter might be. The poem could be based on the hot news topic or something going one with Johns personal life that day. Then add in the time constraints of only having 45 mins to hour to knock something out and it can get pretty hairy so I have to get creative with how I approach the material from a visual sense.
Its also one my tools for juxtaposition. Happy poem =bloody mess of a drawing. I think it mayspeak more to my default imagination concerning such thing.
You have exhibited in many cities of USA, from East Coast to Seattle: we would like to ask what impressions you have received exhibiting and travelling high and low across America. Is there a particular exhibition that you would like to mention?
A: general very positive. I'm still at an early point in my career of showing work in galleries so there is a lot of interest that way. The new work with the cigarette packages have been embraced by number of galleries and collectors. They have really opened some doors for me that hadn't been open before. I've started getting involved with some shows in the UK (which will be taking place later this year). So I'm interested to see the differences or even lack of differences in the way things work over there.
Gas Mask - Sumi Ink & Gold Leaf
Of all the shows and projects there are actual two show that come to mind. They happened almost right on top of each other. One was the first Bemis Juried show; which was the first time I'd shown the large format cardboard and recycled wood pieces. I met lots of people, saw other amazing art work and sold a number of pieces. Just the community of other artist I met from that gig has changed my life. The second was the 2012 Seattle Erotic Arts Festival.
And here's our cliche question: but one that we're always interested in hearing the answer to: what aspects of your work do you enjoy the most? What gives you the biggest satisfaction?
In the past it has always been the "doing" or execution part of it. As of late I've really been enjoying the conceptual part of the process. Forging for materials and trying to figure out if some idea that I’ve had fits this material or if the material itself sparks something new or looking for that very specific box to execute a piece. I'm getting allot of satisfaction out that whole process.
That was the first really high profile show I was involved with. They had name tags and the works. Very rewarding and humbling experience. Just getting into that show was incredible validating professional.
Self Portrait (2009)
Acrylic on Cardboard 9' x 5' Thank you for this interview, Aaron: what are your upcoming projects? What's next for you? Thank you for intervening me. It’s been a pleasure! I try to keep busy so lots of stuff. I have some pieces hanging at Seattle’s Ghost Gallery (http://ghost-galleryshop.com/collections/petiteworks). I will have a piece in the upcoming Mail Me Art 3 show and book (http://www.mailmeart.com/). I’m really honored and excited about being involved with that particular show. It' is what it is project will be entering its 3rd year and still going strong. We've started talking about moving it out of the digital realm. Maybe a book or gallery thing, we will just have to see. I'll have a bunch of work in the upcoming Seattle edition of Pancakes and booze. They have done a bunch of these across the country and it’s a pretty wild fun filled affair ( http://pancakesandbooze.com/). I got some other gallery things in the works and I'm working on a collaborative book project with about 20 other folks concerning erotic art. 71
Dan Crosby (United Kingdom)
“As soon as the effort at rational comprehension ends in contradiction, the practice of intellectual scatology requires the excretion of unassailable elements, which is another way of stating vulgarly that - as a burst of laughter - is the only imaginable and definitively terminal result — and not the means — of philosophical speculation.” Georges Bataille, The use value of D.A.F de Sade.
“My work aims to analyse social and ideoA R T i c u l A c t i o n
logical conventions, intersubjective understanding, and systems of visual communication by: - Deconstructing the appearance of objects, - Deconstructing the seduction of the appearance of objects, - Rejecting visual consumption and aesthetic sensibility or understanding them as aberrant. My work is the conceptualization of a total abstraction in a world reconstructed and produced – understanding and measuring representation within environments polluted by objects; an excess of quintessence – one which is considered rational in a material world.” “We must not forget that the image serves in this way to avoid reality and create frustration, for not only thus can we grasp how it is that the reality principle omitted from the image nevertheless effectively re-emerges therein as the continual repression of desire (as the spectacularization, blocking and dashing of that desire, and, ultimately, its regressive and visible transference onto an object)”
Bench, 2012. installation exercise bench, paint.
Jean Baudrillard, The system of objects.
Dan Crosby was born in 1988, UK. Education 2007-2010, First Class Honours, BA Honors in Fine Art. Manchester Metropolitan University. 2005-2007, BTEC National Diploma in Art and Design. Burnley College. Exhibitions 2013, 'On the criticism of Jean Baudrillard', 3 Picadilly Place, Manchester. 2012, ‘Turn on, tune in’, Factory-Art, Berlin. 2012, ‘Kitsch’, Broadwalk Art, Bristol. 2011, ‘Transgression’ (Longlisted), Beers.Lambert Contemporary, London. 2010, ‘Christmas Day’, Kraak Gallery, Manchester. 2010, 'Manchester Metropolitan Degree Show', Manchester. 2010, ‘Pop Tots’, Kraak Gallery, Manchester. 2009, ‘Judas Goat’. Manchester Art Crawl, Service Point, Manchester.
Publications and Awards 2012, Colorado magazine, www.coloradomagazine.blogspot.com.es 2012, 'Turn on, tune in', Factory Art - online catalog/press release. 2011, 'Fake Blood//Foreign Body', HESA IN PRINT. 2011, 'Micro-commission Scheme', Cornerhouse, Manchester. (Www.microcommissions.org) 2011, 'Artist of the week', Salon Contemporary.
An interview with
First of all we want to thank you for accepting to talk to us. So let's start with our ice-breaker question: what in your opinion defines a work of art?
I don’t think you can define a work of art, it does that itself. When something becomes apparent; whether it be in relation to the weight of history, relation to the politics or towards culture, it automatically becomes – not exactly a work of art in the sense of sensibility – but a work of art understood as a relevant or specific experience within the contemporary. You have a formal training and you received BA Honors in Fine Art from Manchester Metropolitan University. How in your opinion training has influenced your art? And how has your art developed since you left school?
I never really understood what or why I studied at University, I only ever discovered that I was terrible at painting. I doubt that training has influenced my work, I went in as a painter and got fed up with the limitations of painting, I wanted something more direct. I found for myself the practicality of sculpture, and how objects brought together generate ideas which cannot be expressed in painting (or at least that I cannot express in painting).
You are a multidisciplinary artist: how do you choose a particular media for your works? And what technical aspects do you mainly focus on in your work?
which meant digging out cheap objects and bric-a-brac, things that I would have rejected given the funding. It worked out much better for me to work in a manor which eliminates a correct and learned aesthetic and tap in to the amorphous. I also do not wish to make something hyper real – ‘prop’ for example, is materially obvious – theres scratches all around
The last few sculptures really took me by surprise – they all started as ambitious ideas (usually expensive). So I had to find affordable ways to build them, 74
Dan Crosby One of the aims of your work is to analyze social and ideological conventions We would like to ask you if in your opinion Art could play an important role not only in analyzing but also in facing social questions, even steering people's behavior.
One of the issues which surrounds my work is the collective reading of a narrative, my aim was to take ‘clippings’ from culture, objects that separately are recognizable – and to take them out of context to simulate irrelevance (I don’t think it is possible to create something completely meaningless). I am interested in communication, and found that once it is disrupted or confused, it can become isolating. However, I stumbled upon a great quote by Mikhail Bakhtin from ‘Rabelais and his world’: “ The [grotesque] body swallows the world and is itself swallowed”. One major part in my work focuses on the function of an art work – or at least an art work which sets out to mimic or parody culture – as it will one day become part of culture (whether or not it develops that culture). I hope to create works which are completely irrelevant. We can recognize that a recurrent characteristic of some of your artworks is experience as starting point of artistic production: in your opinion, is experience an absolutely necessary part of creative process?
I think by experience, it is wise in regards to forming and expanding (or reinventing ideas). The last two sculptures took me two years worth of studying to understand and to argue my point before I even built them, and I am still developing them and refining them. I don’t think personal experience is necessary, I always aim to completely isolate my life experience from my work and aim to keep it conceptual. I actually dislike a lot of art which incorporates personality, I find it apathetic and an easy way to disregard true concept.
the holes I made when I crammed the hotdogs rock in ‘bench’ has bits of chicken wire tearing out. These are the parts I focus on, I love the intimacy of having something seem unfinished or rough and poorly made. It adds to the disappointment and the impact is much slower when these problematic elements appear. 75
so the development is completely different to what I am used to. We have kept the whole thing casual, so we are reviewing every idea and not focusing too much on the reasons for them – so we arn’t getting bogged down in what it means with art history, or social connotations, even though they exist – we are simply interested in making something over inflated and which we find humorous. We would like if you could tell us about Georges Bataille's 'Intellectual Scatology' and what is its role in your process. “Intellectual Scatology” is a term which has been used in a few essays on Georges Bataille, linking to his essay “The use value of D.A.F De Sade”. It is an object or a culture with no significant value, or is unorganized and irrational – the decontextualization of communication. However, Bataille uses this and appropriates these moments in culture, with the intentions to evaluate the uselessness. For example, a lot of his contemporaries praised De Sade and his works as being heroic, and were appropriating De Sade – where as Bataille writes that De Sade’s writings were made to be disliked, and it is a misread if there is any enjoyment from them.
detail from Prop, installation, 2012
There's a work of yours entitle "Turbo Weed Smoker 3000" that has impressed us: by the way, could you take us through your creative process when starting a new project?
This is a sculpture which is working towards a collaborative installation with artist Sam Rushton – we are celebrating a ‘sober weed culture’ – or what marketing companies think cannabis culture is about. So caricatures of Rastafarian's made into ash treys – something which, in the UK at least, most people who buy this have nothing in common with Rastafarian's nor the associations with cannabis. And we kind of find it funny that there seems to be a belief that there is a cannabis culture, one which relies on images of cartoony cannabis leaves and public figures getting stoned. But I have never collaborated before – nor have I ever set out to create an installation this big,
I don’t particularly ‘use’ this idea in my work – but I am aware of the connotations of irony, where by something is used because it is awful and is liked because it is awful. I don’t really consider my work to be regarded purely because of the low aesthetic objects which I use (as it is not really anything to do with my work), but I have to keep in mind that those elements do exist. I think it is worth acknowledging Intellectual Scatology as my work aims to be irrational, and it aims to be unfinished – to the extreme whereby the piece transgresses itself 76
Turbo-weed smoker 3000, 2013 studio view. Mixed media Thank you for this interview, Dan: what are your upcoming projects?
I will be exhibiting my first two sculptures ‘Prop’ and ‘Bench’ in an exhibition titled ‘On the criticism of Jean Baudrillard’ in Manchester, an exhibition curated by myself and a co-artist. We are actually curating a few exhibitions this year for ourselves and other artists ( our organization is called Festchester). I will be working with performance and installation throughout the year in Manchester city center.
Mannequin head, plastic hotdogs, wood. 240mmX240mm.
It rejects aesthetic sensibility and purely relies on the experience or the simulation, rather than the personal preference of the audience. I always think that art should overwhelm – it should get lodged in the throat of the audience, in order to make them think twice about what it is they attempt to consume.
Chantelle Ferri (Australia) an artistâ€™s statement
â€œI describe my particular practice of painting to be 'visionary' and I am inspired by the work of many Fantasy artists and Surrealists. My work also has a strong spiritual influence, as from a young age my mother would teach me about the universe and its cosmic powers, our connectedness with nature. Her involvement in spiritual development has grown over the years and continues to have an influence on my perceptions of life and awareness of our inner selves. She has opened my eyes to a search for spiritual and philosophical perspectives intended to transform ourselves and our world. Our minds are the creators of our thoughts and dreams, which play an important role in our unconscious mind. My work is created from my own dreams and encounters in the astral realm and my photographs are a form of exploration for me. They are a reflection of my growing spirituality. I strive to recreate the feelings of freedom and adventure that I feel in my dreams when I create these works.
Growth from within
mother would teach me about the universe and its cosmic powers, our connectedness with nature. Her involvement in spiritual development has grown over the years and continues to have an influence on my perceptions of life and awareness of our inner selves.
I describe my particular practice of painting to be 'visionary' and I am inspired by the work of many Fantasy artists and Surrealists. My work also has a strong spiritual influence, as from a young age my
She has opened my eyes to a search for spiritual and philosophical perspectives intended to transform ourselves and our world.
her home in Sydney’s Northern Beaches she completed her Masters in Fine Arts at RMIT in Melbourne in 2012. She currently lives and works in Melbourne. Studies 2012 Master of Fine Arts, RMIT, Melbourne 2008 Bachelor of Fine Arts Honours, College of Fine Arts, Sydney 2004-2006 Bachelor of Fine Arts, College of Fine Arts, Sydney Publications 2008 ‘Half way house: An Honours Reader at the Half Way Mark’, Published by Gary Carsley for the school of art, College of Fine Arts, University of New South Wales, Sydney 2008 (ISBN 978-0-9805218-0-1) Art Awards 2002 Avalon Art Fest, Senior First Prize Commissions 2012 “Mali in the City” public art sculpture in AugustOctober 2012 (Argyle Sq, Lygon St, Carlton & Melbourne Zoo)
Selected Group Exhibitions 2013 Pimp my M.U.F. 4! (Melbourne Ukelele Festival), Bar 303, Northcote 2013 Entry 2013 Contemporary Art Prize, Brunswickarts, Brunswick 2012 Creativity, Unsigned Management Studio, Prahran 2012 RMIT Master of Fine Art Graduate Exhibition 2012, RMIT University, Melbourne 2012 Interpretations of intimacy: Coalesce Collective exhibition”, Open Space Gallery 2012 Click 12, Brunswick Street Gallery, Fitzroy 2012 Small works Art Prize, Brunswick Street Gallery, Fitzroy 2008 Figurative Moments, Art Moment Gallery, Bondi 2008 COFA Annual 08, Kudos Gallery, Sydney 2008 Half-Way house, COFAspace, Sydney 2006 Summer Moments, Art Moment Gallery, Bondi 2006 COFA Annual 06, College of Fine Arts, Sydney
Born in Sydney 30 July 1985, Chantelle began her creative journey from a young age. Coming from an Italian background, having attended primary school in Italy, she was introduced to the world of art and was encouraged to continue her studies in art throughout her youth. She maintained her interest throughout high school and followed on to complete a Bachelor of Fine Arts at the College of Fine Arts in Sydney from 2003-2006 and later completed her Honours Degree in 2008. After a few years of travel and self-discovery she relocated from
An interview with
Chantelle Ferri We would start with our ice breaker question: what in your opinion defines a work of Art?
I believe it is one’s own interpretation or perspective of a moment in time that reveals something from within the creative mind of the artist. It is something that conveys meaning or an emotional response to something personal. For me specifically aesthetics are an integral component of an artwork; which embodies harmony between its subject matter, composition and self expression. I want an artwork to lure me in by tactfully surprising me by the novelty, creativity and individuality of the artist.
I appreciate works which display a high level of skill and technique. I am particularly drawn to work with interesting textures and vibrant colours, anything which stirs a reaction within you and imbued with emotion.
to loose a certain confidence about a work you have created – having put a great deal of time and effort and sleepless nights into a work – only to be told it isn’t successfully communicating your idea. This does lead to you questioning your work; you ask yourself ‘What is most inportant about my practice?” Is it the way in which you communicate your idea visually or is it the message you are trying to get acros?
You have formal training: you received BFA from the College of Fine Arts in Sydney and MFA from RMIT. How important is in your opinion training for an artist? We were wondering if a certain kind of training could even stifle young artist's creativity... what's your point?
For instance, is it important for me to talk about a concept through the process of painting or do my photographs communicate this more effectively? But will this questioning cut out the process of painting which I enjoy so much? I think there are great benefits for those who feel it is their purpose in life to communicate their inspirations, beliefs and desires to an audience, no matter how vast or small. The skills taught in art schools help to expand your field of knowledge and assist in decision making processes about elements
I believe art school training teaches you to go beyond the confines of your comfort zone. It pushes you to try new things and to see them from another perspective. There aren’t many situations in real life where you are able to get real time interpretations of the work before you even put an explannation or title to your audience (unless you share a studio space with other artists). In certain instances you may feel that your work is misunderstood or you begin 80
up between two different countires (Australia and Italy) and being exposed to a creative life from a young age was a very prominant influence. My parents saw my interest in the arts and they nourished it by enrolling me in art classes after school in Italy.
of your practice. It is important to define what is relevant to pursue and to have the expert opinion of lecturers and supervisors who are active in your field. I strongly valued the advice and critiques given to me by my lecturers and peers. Besides all the contacts you make, the people you meet and collaborations you make, i feel enriched by my experience in art schools.
During my travels around Europe in my early 20â€™s, after a few years at art school, I was really inspired by the masterpieces of all the painters and sculptors I had studied in the many years of lectures at University and I was in awe to view them in real life. I recall
What are the most important influences that have moved you as an artist?
For me it was a combination of things; growing 81
walking into a certain room of the Louvre in Paris, decorated from wall to wall, feeling completely overwhelmed by the beauty of the work. The experience moved me so immensely, I was so sure tears of joy would stream from my eyes at any moment. I had similar experiences when I viewed Raphael’s “School of Athens” frescoe in the Vatican, the Winged Victory of Samothrace in the Louvre, the many decorated rooms of the Palace of Versailles, the Uffizi gallery in Florence and the adjoining Loggia dei Lanzi in the Piazza della Signioria where I would sit for hours and draw sketches of the beautiful stautes. I have been very lucky to visit Biennales in both Venice and Sydney over the last few consecutive years which constantly inspire me to look at my practice from new perspectives. I should also mention my spiritual influences that often portray depictions or subject matter of new age phenomenon such as meditative states, astral projection and references to chakras in my most recent works. This influence was sparked by my mother who acts not only as a guide but also a spiritual teacher which has made a profound effect on my artistic practice. Now let's talk about your art production. We have been impressed by your recent and interesting artwork entitled "Mali In The City Project for the Melbourne Zoo" what was your inspiration ?
The photos of the statue of Mali, created by Chantelle Ferri, were taken at Melbourne Zoo, Melbourne, Victoria, Australia. Fifty life size statues had been placed around the Melbourne CBD.
Last year (2012) I was involved in the “Mali in The City Project” for the Melbourne Zoo’s 150th Birthday Celebrations.
The concept for “Mali Dreams” alludes to the potential contemplation of another reality for Mali, of being in the wilderness. I am also interested in the idea of conservation and being precious about the environment. My father was a strong influence in this belief; his passion for the environment and interest in reducing our ecological footprint on the earth has long been another strong influence of mine. The caption on my sculpture read “This piece awakens
I painted 1 of 50 public sculptures of the baby elephant Mali which was displayed throughout Melbourne City. From August to September my painted sculpture “Mali Dreams” was on display in Argyle Square on Lygon Street in Carlton, Melbourne before it was returned to the Zoo for the birthday celebrations.
As it was a 3 dimensional canvas, I utilised this to my advantage by painting animals around the elephant like a collage of memories or visions of the wild. I painted it so the viewer would need to circulate the entire sculpture to see all of the 30 animals I included in the work. To do this the viewer had to look down and around the legs of the elephant to see animals that were hiding. It was particularly interesting watching children interact with it. On October 25th 2012 “Mali Dreams” was
Chantelle Ferri works at her piece Mali Dreams
was auctioned along with the other Mali sculptures and together helped raise over A$400,000 for the Melbourne Zoo towards their concervation projects.
Mali Dreams The statues are now on view at Melbourne Zoo. They celebrate the anniversary of 150 years of Melbourne Zoo.
possibilites of dream worlds. Conjuring up feelings of freedom and adventure. The bright vibrant colours are a celebration of life and nature. Here we can imagine what Mali dreams of.” I wanted this piece to be approachable and exciting for the viewers. I painted hand prints on the trunk of the elephant to encourage viewers to come up closer and make a connection with the sculpture. I associated the hand prints as human contact and affection with the animal.
You have stated that your work is created by your own dreams, so we would like to ask you if in your opinion art’s purpose is simply to provide a platform for an artist’s expression or if you think that art could steer or even change people's behavior.
My art practice is generally a form of expression of my interpretations of dreams,
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feelings, emotions and reflections. However I hope that my audience can view my work and feel a tranquility within them and allow them to find a sense of calmness within themselves in the mayhem of today’s daily life. I like to see my work as an exhaling of stress and tension; inhaling positivity and tranquility. I believe arts purpose is designed to communicate perspectives or particular viewpoints by the artist often in a subtle way. We as artists want our viewer to have something stir within them. A reaction or even a realization about something they perhaps have never contemplated, something which begins a questioning and curiosity about what the work is about explicitly. Whether or not this has an affect on a particular viewers thought process will depend on each individual. But questioning arts purpose still remains an open debate even in my own opinion. Your pieces utilize techniques of projec-tion and mirrored reflections through photographs: so it goes without saying that technology plays a crucial role in your Art: do you think that ther's still a subtle dichotomy between "traditional Art" and Technology?
I believe there are ways in which these areas my overlap but I still feel a tension between the two. I completed my Undergraduate and Honours degree with painting as my major and analog photography as a minor. As I progressed onto Masters – completing my course in 2012I was encouraged to embrace new technologies; Photoshop, data projectors, and digital cameras became my new mediums for the first time.
The argument then became “Why try to replicate something in a traditional medium at all?” When digital technology becomes the primary focus, it becomes a comment on technology and computer generated imagery.
As I was self taught in these area it became important for me to look back to see if these new visual techniques could be once again translated back into a more traditional medium, such as oils on canvas. However the result was not critiqued well.
I still continue to paint but I feel as if I have two practices running alongside each other, without
creative process when starting a new project?
When commencing a new project there will generally be a catalyst which gives birth to an idea of mine. For me it is usually from a location, a memory from the past or a feeling from which a concept is born. I work primarily in my studio but always reference source images taken from my travels or from my surrounding natural environment. Such images were used for my “Natural Magic” studies of places that I desired to escape back to. Once I am in my studio I play around with these images often on Photoshop where I will alter contrast and saturation levels to create a more dynamic image. It is through this playfulness in the studio that you can discover other methods of image making. I often use saturated colour or “chromatically supercharged realities” ([Book reference] Johnson, Ken, “Are you experienced? How psychedelic transformed modern art”, Munich: Prestel Verlag; New York; Prestel Publishing, 2011, p.56), also commonly utilized by psychedelic artists such as Alex Grey, which assist in conveying the meaning of other spiritual realms and states of being. My work also takes inspiration from exhibitions I visit and builds upon ideas I gather aroud me. Sometimes you find artists who’s work reminds you a lot of your own in a visual sense but their comment through the work may differ from your own. For example the mirrored image is used by a number of contemporary artists such as; Emma Hack’s “Mirrored Whispers”, Catherine Nelson’s “Future Memories”, Bonnie Lane’s “Make Believe” and the projected work of Pipilotti Rist “I packed the postcard in my suitcase”. For some of these artists, the notion of the journey is also embedded within their work.
ever feeling like they will ever come to a meeting point. Now we would like to focus on your recent series entitled "Growth from within" and "Natural Magic: Studies” (on behance) that our reader can admire in the pages of the current issue. Could you take us through your
Once I decide on what my images mean to me I then begin to solidify my concept by writing about it in a journal and it begins to tie my ideas together. For example the concept of reflection
in my work has a double meaning; both in the sense of the mirrored reflection, correlating with the physical image, it is also a reflection in the metaphysical and psychological sense in reflecting upon memory and the subconscious mind. Once my idea has taken form, I being to experiment with different mediums and materials. For my “Growth from within” series, I thought about layering my mediated images through the use of projection and photography. There was an immense sense of freedom whilst I was creating them. The photographs were taken using a self timer setting on my digital camera in my private studio, allowing me to be completely free to express myself in a performative and experimental way without holding back. I feel this is one of my most honest and humble works I have made up until now. During each point of the process I was dealing with a certain sense of a journey, both metaphysical, psychological and pysical. My projected work “Growth from within” is a series of self portraits which seek to define my own feminine identity by investigating notions of fragmented memory, whilst also establishing a viewpoint on the transience of our human lives. This work transforms the self-portrait by pursuing the Vanitas concepts of the impermanence of life and decay through natural motifs.
In the last ten years you have shown your works in many exhibitions: when you conceive a work do you think of whom will enjoy it? How important is the role of your audience?
Once my photographic series was completed I needed to consider in which way to display the final work. I thought it was important to acknowledge the ephemeral state of our lives; we will one day pass on after this journey we call life. This thought led to the decision to exhibit the work as a slideshow piece. My images transition into one another, from light into the darkness and from vibrance to obscurity. Within my work I attempt to connect the physical to the spiritual; that which we cannot touch, that we can only imagine. This concept is vital to my practice.
I have had a wide range of viewers from different backgrounds and interests which have commented on my work. I found people who are associated or have a common knowledge or awareness of New Age and spiritual practices or meditation have had a better interpretation of what the work is about. I have to constantly critique my own work and ask “Is it saying what I want it to say to my audience?” Do they understand the emotions
ve elements within my work, such as saturated colours or unnatural landscapes that assist in alluding to another state of being or reality, somewhere between a spiritual state or deep within ones state of consciousness.I get a relaxed sense of satisfaction when I can transport my mind or change my awareness of my state of consciousness; my imagination taking me on a journey driven from the images I have created. Thank you for this interview, Chantelle: what's next for you? Anything coming up for you professionally that you would like readers to be aware of?
I am currently deveolping a new body of work which I hope to exhibit in a solo show over the coming year. I currently have plans to exhibit my work “Growth from within” as a projected work in the Brunswick Street Gallery between the 19th April – 2nd May 2013. I am also currently looking to collaborate with other artists, photographers and expanding my practice to experiment more using projection, film and light installation. I would love to expose my work on an international level. I am looking to start applications to residencies with art institutions around the world as I feel it would be an extremely valuable experience in the development of my artistic career.
and implications associated with the work. Can my audience associate with it or will I be mis-interpreted? My perspective on this is however, if someone who is unrelatd to these interests finds a sense of release or tranquility when viewing my work I am content with that result. always interesting in hearing the answer to. What aspect of your work do you enjoy the most? What gives you the biggest satisfaction?
I really enjoy the creative process itself. To see what I visualized in my mind actually materialized before me. I employ firstname.lastname@example.org