Our net review presents a selection of artists whose works shows the invisible connection betwen inner landscapes and actual places. Apart from stylistic differences and individual approaches to the art process, all of them share the vision that art is a slice of the world to be shared. "An artwork doesn't communicate anything: it simply creates a mental space. Language, gestures, or rather a masterly brush-stroke of a painter are nothing but ways to invite us to explore our inner landscapes". Thirty years have passed since this Borgesean deep and at the same time provocative statement has been written by the fine Italian writer Giorgio Manganelli.
In this issue
“I believe that the medium drives the work and/or the particular project at hand drives the medium” Anne Shaw - Collar
Sergio San Martin
“A clear expressive language of image, without any editing, just a long silent shot, which is not limited by the absence of words. ” Sergio San Martin - Txiki
A.Duque- City Lights
“What makes a work “Great” is a work that conveys and communicates to the senses and guts something more powerful than just an idea, as a feeling with conviction”
“If I have an idea, but not the solution, I get into a thought process to find what I need to realize my artwork. When this process is complete, I have found what I was seeking for and realized my artwork, then I’m very happy and satisfied.”
A. Jahns - What happened to the caterpillar?
VDREY + SCHULTZ
“a work of art is something that can not be defined, but which acts as a real power to give the right to be shocking without limit, questioning, which are facing it ” VDrey+Schultz “White Blood Cells”
Brooke Knight (USA)
Brooke Knight - Mohawk_Pool
“art occurs when the viewer recognizes that she or he is having an art experience: art experiences
“The travel is the most important part of my project. I have always looked forward to going somewhere I have never been before” Yoko Naito
Signal To Noise
“combining such ‘old’ and ‘new’ technologies provide an interesting contrast and juxtaposition as part of our work” Sonophore
“When I am making cello arrangements one of the most important issues is to find a way to make each “line” as a unique instrument, finding texture that could bring another aspect to the “natural sound” of this instrument. Veronique Jacques, a performance
Thordis Erla Zoega
(Iceland) “Sometimes just stopping and taking a closer look at a mundane object Thordis Erla Zoege
you can see the magic in it. I do believe that perception is learned and it is shaped by the tools that we have been given by birth”
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Anne Shaw (USA)
â€œLandscape is a fundamental component of my work. The project I am submitting here, Stead, is a green space established in the back of my 2002 Toyota pickup truck. The project can be viewed at http://anneshaw.carbonmade.com/projects/2979540#1
Stead is a continuously-evolving piece that explores the intersection of the built and natural environments. As a registered motor vehicle, it is private property that floats through public space, both located and locationless. In one iteration it is a nomadic garden, bearing lambsâ€™ quarters, lemon balm, and nettles through the city; in another it has also became a site to interrogate culturally-received notions of property and home ownership. A longtime gardener who had been displaced from my own plot of land to the city of Chicago, I began Stead when I decided to claim the one space available to me: the bed of my truck. What began as an attempt to build a moveable greenhouse evolved into a grassy lawn where I installed furniture reclaimed from my local alleys. Following this procedure, I was able to furnish each room of a house. I then became interested in the interrelated concepts of territory, Manifest Destiny, and the American Dream.
I offered Stead as a rental space on Craigslist, where it was immediately flagged as inappropriate. Frustrated by my own lack of home ownership, I designed my own flag logo and created a Google map of the truck's travels. I decked out the back with various accoutrements of home (or homelessness) including a sleeping bag and pillow, a bowl of fruit, a gas can, the New York Times, and a 2-liter of Diet
ge from unbridled enthusiasm to the
recurrent tendency of strangers to pitch their garbage into the back, just as they might dump litter in someone's lawn or an abandoned lot. In short, the ambiguous status of the garden mirrors, and evokes our own uneasy relationship to the landscape around us. I consider this work to be political as well as deeply personal. Stead is my everyday vehicle, the one I drive, using fossil fuel in the process. Through it, I ask the viewer to question what we think we know about ourselves, others, and the way we exist in our collective environments. (Anne Shaw) Anne Shaw is a visual artist and poet living in Chicago. Her work can be viewed at www.anneshaw.org. Her newest collection of poems, Dido in Winter, is forthcoming from Persea Books in December 2013. Selected Exhibitions
Guerrilla Shrines. In Layered Cities, Portable Studio. Sullivan Galleries, School of the Art Institute of Chicago, Jan. 2014 (Upcoming). Guerrilla Shrines. In Layered Cities, Portable Studio. Kriti Gallery, Varanasi, India, Jan2013. Orange Lining. Portland-Milwaukie Light Rail Transit Project, Portland OR, Aug. 2012-2013. Mute. In Luminal. Betty Rhymer Gallery, Chicago IL, December 9, 2011-Jan. 3, 2012. Inscapes. Providence Optical Gallery, Providence RI, March 11, 2011-April 9, 2011.
Coke. I then staged and documented a series of guerrilla occupations in the driveways of luxurious mansions. More recently, Stead has adopted the form of a nomadic garden that explores themes of environmentalism and the divide between urban and rural, wilderness and domestication. In its current form, it bears an herbalists' garden through the city. Here I am able to grow food and medicinal plants that most people consider to be weeds along with standard ornamentals such as mums. Reactions ran5
the author of Undertow, winner of the Lexi Rudnitsky Poetry Prize, and Dido in Winter forthcoming from Persea Books in 2013. Her work has appeared or is forthcoming in numerous literary journals including Harvard Review, Black Warrior Review, Denver Quarterly, Crab Orchard Review, and New American Writing. Her extended poetry project can be found on Twitter at twitter.com/anneshaw and at www.anneshaw.org. She is currently a student of writing and sculpture at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago
An interview with Anne Shaw
Collar, installation/performance (2011)
What in your opinion defines a work of art?
because it not only looks interesting, but provokes thought.
It's of course impossible to define a work of art. In our particular historical moment, art is anything that is contextualized as such, and perhaps even includes things that aren't. However, in my personal frame of reference, art is a practice that re-frames how we see, that uses making to question received notions we have about the world. On a more practical note, in the studio and the gallery, I personally use what I refer to as "the cool test." If I'm working on a piece and someone comes by and says, "wow--that's cool!" then I think that what I'm making is art,
Do you find that your Bachelor of Arts in English and Psychology plays a role in your artistic process?
I think that my training as a poet and my deep grounding in literature play a key role, not only in artmaking, but simply in the way my brain is wired. I approach the world first through language, and probably always will. I would say that I think less about psychology--at least explicitly--though lately I think a lot about philosophy and theory. My BA is part of my art6
medium. I love learning new skills, so I am always struggling with some technical issue I hadn't anticipated. This, for me, is part of the challenge of art-making. Learning about a new medium, and how to make it do what you want, is both frustrating and gratifying, but the particular technical issues are always changing. You are also a poet, and your work Undertow, has won the Lexi Rudnitsky Poetry Prize: by the way, your recent and stimulating artwork, "Findings," is a series of geocached objects that is also a poem. It creates an effective synergy between poetry and sculpture...
Thank you. That was the goal for "Findings". I wanted to take poetry off the page, to make it participatory, but also to make it exist about and with the environment. The text for "Findings" was written with the particular site in mind, so the process of discovery--finding the geocached objects--is a key part of the experience and meaning of the work. I wanted all of these components to fit together in a way that would require the reader's active participation --both in making sense of the text and in physically discovering the objects.
From the serie â€œFindingsâ€? http://findingspoem.blogspot.it/
There has been an increased interest recently in spoken word poetry and performance. How do you prefer your poetry to be read?
artmaking process in so much as it has shaped, integrally, who I am today. But so have many other experiences, such as my travel to other countries, my experience as a gardener, and the conversations I've engaged in with other artists.
I don't consider myself a spoken-word poet in the sense of that movement as a particular cultural and political phenomenon. My background as a poet is more literary and academic. To me, a poem's sound and its appearance on the page, its form and the look of the words, are equally important. I think of poems as little sound machines that can be activated by the human voice. My poems are different when read on the page and when read aloud. So I'd prefer they be read both ways- using whatever inflections the reader chooses to give them.
You are a multidisciplinary artist: how do you choose a particular medium for your works? And what technical aspects do you mainly focus on in your work?
People always ask me what medium I work in. I can't really answer that question, because i believe that the medium drives the work and or the particular project at hand drives the 7
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from the Findings series, 2012
"Findings" raises questions about our relationships with the natural and the made worlds. Do you think there still exists a dichotomy between Art and Technology?
and should have at their disposal. It depends on what project and materials are and what the artist is trying to do. "Findings" does deal with the idea of intrusion of the human into the natural world, so the use of that technology seemed appropriate.
Between art and technology? No, I don't think there has to be this dichotomy, or even that there can be such a dichotomy.. Because art is, by definition, made, it always involves some form of technology.That's true even if you're making a coil pot or painting with egg tempera. I actually use digital and electronic technology quite often in my work. Parts of "Findings" were etched using a laser cutter and parts were etched by hand. I think that both digital and more traditional craft-based technologies are tools that artists equally can
As we can read in your artist statement "I consider the work Stead to be political as well as deeply personal". Do you think artâ€™s purpose is simply to provide a platform for an artistâ€™s expression? Do you think that art could steer or even change people's behavior?
I do think that good art provides more than a vehicle for personal expression. Otherwise, it's just therapy. Art expresses not only the artist's emotions but also her thoughts, philosophies, 8
So, do you think that art could play an important role in facing social questions?
Yes, but political art falls flat when it knows the answers before it begins; it succeeds when the issues are complex and it doesn't know exactly where or how to stand. Art can show us aspects of social issues we weren't aware of before, certainly. What art can't do--in my opinion, what we shouldn't be trying to do --is tell people what to think or believe, or even how to understand these questions. That's propaganda or preachiness, something I'm opposed to both in my work and in my personal life. Being told what to think closes off modes of thought; art, particularly art that asks us to deal with difficult social issues, should open our avenues of thought, our curiosity, our discomfort and our ability to ask questions about our own relationship to what we are seeing. In this way, it can begin to help us formulate unique answers to social issues we all face. from the Findings series, 2012
and questions. I think that art is an investigation --in this sense, the answers shouldn't be too pat, too pre-determined. However, art is not only a personal investigation, as something that is shown or revealed, it also addressed to others. Though I'm skeptical of the idea that art can save the world, my hope is that it destabilizes our conventional ways of thinking and perceiving. Ideally, art provokes thought, makes us see the world differently and ask questions we weren't asking before. That could potentially change our behaviorâ€Ś but first it has to change perception. Stead, 2011 - present
As you have stated, "Stead" explores themes of environmentalism and the divide between urban and rural, wilderness and domestication: it might sound somewhat strange that there is a "divide" between humans and nature. This is a technological era, however; isn't it paradoxical that the more we study Nature, the more we move a way from it?
Yes. I've had this argument with a friend--if humans are animals, isn't everything we do in some sense "natural"? If this is the case, my plastic pen and computer are natural objects in the same way that an anthill is a natural object. In a strictly logical sense, he's right. However, I think that there is a distinction to be made. Humans have a unique set of capabilities that include the ability to symbolize, abstract, create, and use technology. All of those capacities enable us to make art, but they have also enabled us to industrialize our way to a profound state of disequilibrium and alienation from the larger ecosystems around us. Particularly in the United States, it's perfectly possible to lead one's life without having to think about where raw materials come from or what becomes of the waste we produce. When I encounter someone who does not recognize a piece of rawhide as skin, who doesn't know which end of an onion sends up shoots, or who can't name the trees in her own yard, I am stunned and disturbed. This is a level of profound alienation and ignorance. It's true that we can never live in some kind of primal, idealized state in which we are "at one" with nature.That state may never have existed. However, as symbolizing animals, we have the capacity to see the harm we have done to the ecosystem, and it is our responsibility to try to attenuate it. Too often, I think, the argument that "we're natural too" is used to dismiss our own culpability. That's part of the reason the paradoxical distinction between humans and nature is both useful and important.
There's another artwork that we would like to mention: "Collar". As we can read, the main idea was to explore language as a tool that separates and connects. Again, as in the aforementioned work "Findings", you create a synergy between the "volatility" of language and the "materiality" of solid things...
Thanks! An ongoing challenge of my work is to create successful works that integrate language--a time-based medium, with nontime-based objects. I think "Collar" was able to do that, in part because it was a performance. I was able to enact as well as show. 10
gratifying part of my practice is seeing the finished piece, more or less as I had envisioned it --especially if it felt risky or ambitious to attempt. Thank you for this interview, Anne. Just another question: what are your upcoming projects?
There are a lot! Sculpturally, I'm currently working on a piece that involves projecting Braille text of a poem I wrote onto a screen structure made of rawhide. It will deal with absence, silence, and questions of accessibility. Poetically, I'm awaiting the release of my new book, Dido in Winter (Persea, 2013) and working on a text that involves translating Wittgenstein's Tractatus into poetry. My most recent project is called Night Visions. It deals with memory and documentation and can be viewed at http://nightsite.tumblr.com. Finally, I'm helping organize a symposium that will pair artists, farmers, and chefs.
You can see more of my work at www.anneshaw.org
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?
One of my biggest satisfactions is in learning a skill or surmounting a technical challenge-simply "making it work." For me, this is also the most terrifying aspect of being a visual artist. Strangely, though, the most enjoyable part of being in the studio is doing some process that feels comfortable and familiar, with materials I know well. By far the most 11
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Sergio San Martin
Sergio San Martin (Spain)
Txiki is a cinematic proposal based on a non-traditional narrative form. The documentary film, focused on the work of the plastic arts artist “Txiki Medina”, shows the creation of an oil painting captured with meticulous detail and the viewer become witness to certain activities that surround the painter.The staging enactment is based on a sequence of shots of several minutes duration captured by a moving hand camera or in still shots. This is a visual representation of a technical nakedness and an explicit consciousness of using cinematic language. A clear expressive language of image, without any editing, just a long silent shot, which is not limited by the absence of words. They are places where cinematic representation does not merely linger but follows through in search of a place to settle within the territory of emotions, reason, sense of plasticity and aesthetics, feeling and thought. Cinema has filmed the long silence of emotion. The composition of the shots shows, in addition, the intention of placing the objective at the level of the eyes of the character, so that the viewer can attend the action from a parallel perspective to the subject. The viewer has the chance to identify with “Tzxiki” by means of a camera, mutely, and with just the sounds and the music that the character himself can hear. Cinema resorting to its most basic recourses: the assemblage of the audio, the editing, the length of the shot. This is a sensorial film where the senses become refined. A large part of the visual fascination of the
film hinges on the laborious process of actually completing the painting. This process is structured in a chronological order in sequence with each small advance made in the creation of the work. The minute rigor and thoroughness of the artistic work is captured in detail. We watch each small fragment of paint by means of detailed shots of the painting in progress. As a corollary to this, the camera also captures uninhabited horizons of the railway landscape which serves to inspire the painter and it reveals the loneliness of the home, only offset by the 12
Sergio San Martin
The influence of Abbas Kiarostami is clearly seen in those parts which portray the day-to-day occurrences of the character, revealing his intimacy. A singular form of portraying reality and of understanding the splendor of cinema. Precisely in order to reinforce those elements, the camera captures some small significant scenes at a poetic level. An attempt is made to capture a poetic beauty and transmit the direct visualization of a live single instant, concentrated in an image that traps the insignificance of a moment. The fixed limits of the background settings are what condition the protagonism of the character. A composition of shots which simply capture what is taking place, always from the point of view of the life of the protagonist. What is the difference between conscious filming and what a camera captures when it is left unintentionally running and filming as it rests on a table or shelf? The composition? The Intention? This question is raised by Abbas Kiarostami in Through the Olive Trees and in Five, or by Alexander Sokurov, in Spiritual Voices. The length of the sequences or the shots, including periods of inaction, resort to the freedom and capacity for enjoyment within the viewer who contemplates the reality. presence of a cat and it also shows the performance of an amateur drama group in which the character has a small role in the play. The complete painting is never shown while the artist is at work. In fact, the finished painting is only shown in the final shot of the film. A final shot which brings us back to the start once again, as its structure in the form of loops evokes an almost cyclical condition which the link between the beginning and the end of the narration confers on the painting; the end coincides with the beginning and the same images can be seen.
This is knowledge through interconnected fragments. In the film, â€œTxikiâ€? there is no desire to offer the viewer a closed shabby reality. It is the viewer who should find a solution and connect one scene with another. The film, just as the completed painting, is made with brushstrokes, which, brought together, go to form a complete work. Hyperrealism is what is being sought; to capture life in its fragmentary essence. It is the patience of the painter applied to the viewer. Everything occurs in its due time, just like in real life. One films as one sees. (S.San Martin) 13
Sergio San Martin
an interview with
Sergio San Martin You have a formal training: do you find that your masterâ€™s degree in Audiovisual Creation for Video and Cinema plays a role in your painting process? Do you think that artists with a formal education have an advantage over self-taught artists?
A Master degree in Audiovisual Creation give you the basic knowledge for Filmmaking but it is not the only. You have to investigate by your own and see the works of other filmmakers. I recommend getting professional criticisms for your work, this allows you to learn from others and get recognition as well. Also, many filmmakers are self taught. What training does is provide an atmosphere to create encouragement and background of whatâ€™s been done before. Anyway, no matter what with a Master Degree or without one have to find your own filmmaking direction. Besides working with several companies, you also produce your own videos as a freelancer. Do you think that being a freelancer gives more freedom?
Sergio San Martin choose your subjects for your documentaries?
Yes, being a freelancer give me more freedom. Working for yourself means setting your own budget and schedule. It also means that when something is not going well you have to fix it. But in general terms you have the total control of the project you are creating. Nowadays is easier to produce your own videos with digital filmmaking resources.
I don't have a mainstream for choose a documentary subject, I only make contact with very close subjets and I study the viability of the project. In this case, Txiki Medina is for a long time a meeting person with my family because my mother is also a plastic painter. Now we'd like to talk about your recent work entitled "Txiki": it's a documentary film structured around the Spanish artist Txiki Medina: we must confess that we knew this interesting artist just by hearsay, so your work has been doubly important for us.
A work of yours entitled "El Buste" is an ethnographic documentary: and a very intense one. What was your inspiration for it? How do you
Sergio San Martin
still from “Txiki”
It's absolutely stimulating the way this artist takes inspiration from urban spaces and spoilt aspects of Nature: what's your point about this?
ing and thought. Cinema has filmed the long silence of emotion. The composition of the shots shows, in addition, the intention of placing the objective at the level of the eyes of the character, so that the viewer can attend the action from a parallel perspective to the subject.
Txiki is a documentary focused on the work of the plastic artist “Txiki Medina”. Is the visual representation of a technical nakedness and an explicit consciousness of using cinematic language. A clear expressive language of image, without any editing, just a long silent shot, which is not limited by the absence of words. They are places where cinematic representation does not merely linger but follows through in search of a place to settle within the territory of emotions, reason, sense of plasticity and aesthetics, feel-
The viewer has the chance to identify with “Txiki” by means of a camera, mutely, and with just the sounds and the music that the character himself can hear. Cinema resorting to its most basic recourses: the assemblage of the audio, the editing, the length of the shot. This is a sensorial film where the senses become refined. 15
Sergio San Martin
In your work we can recognize a deep introspection: do you think artâ€™spurpose is simply to provide a platform for an artist s expression? Do you think that art could play an important role in facing social questions? Could art steer or even change people's behavior?
to exhibit the matters that concern everyone. Our documentary is not a social documentary but an intimate one. Making a social documentary is a very acceptable option for future.
You are involved in a local community projects the audiovisual collective known as HAZ, which is based in Madrid. What is the importance of this type of artistic outreach in relation to your work or art career?
We can say that our documentary, Txiki, is an artistic documentary about a plastic artist. It has a double meaning, the final purpose of the documentary is get the introspection of the artist and the final purpose of the artist is finishing the picture. Once this point has been clarified, the art is a way to communicate ideas or transport messages or feelings. Artists create artworks to achieve something and the aim is share your mind to the world, giving the viewer access to feeling. Also some pieces are open to different interpretations. About social questions, a documentary plays a crucial role because is very important to try
Keep in touch with a close group of filmmakers is very instructive. HAZ is an audiovisual collective from very diferents disciplines (video, photo, paint...) and with the common purpose of make "videoart". In this way, the style of filmmaking Txiki is close to a videoart. Also, I usually work with filmmakers of my same city in differents projects and it helps to continue creating videos. Always is important to connect with more people, whether they are filmmakers or not. 16
Sergio San Martin
still from â€œTxikiâ€?
In your Director's Statement we can read references to Abbas Kiarostami and Alexander Sokurov. Have other artists influenced your work?
sense of the history in the editing process. As was said by Sergey Eisenstein "movies are made in the editing room". Also, I enjoy working with actors and actress, because is a challenge to achieve the same personality that the characters have on the screenplay.
I try to watch a lot of cinema: Independent movies, other cultures movies, old movies, documentaries, etc. and particularly there are a handful of directors that have a cinema style that connect with mine. I also like the work of some experimental video work artists like Matthew Barney or Pipilotti Rist.
What's next for Sergio San Martin? Are there any new projects on the horizon?
At the present time we are working in two short fictional movies, we have the screenplays finished and we try to arrange the date for shooting. One short movie is a comedy and the other one is a film noir, so you can see the differents styles we are working on. Also, I want to recover an old documentary project that we started filming in Asia but dropped out.
Here s a cliche question, but one that I am always interested in hearing the answer to: what aspect of your work do you enjoy the most? What gives you the biggest satis-faction?
In the creation process of a film there are many stages. My satisfaction come when planning the sequence of shots, go from paper to cinema language and later composing a
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Alexis Duque (Colombia)
“In his new series of paintings, Alexis Duque presents us with an idealized city. Baroque in spirit, the works abound with a plethora of distinctive buildings that are a blend of fantasy and reality. Among these, we see an inventory of iconic New York City buildings such as the Empire State, Johnson’s AT&T building (now SONY), Frank Gehry’s IAC building, and the Guggenheim. Each of these is rendered as a blend of realistic details with the artist’s own inventions. Throughout the works, the artist is principally concerned with two themes, the skyscraper viewed among the clouds and scenes of the well-known skyline at night. The first series seems inspired in part by Romanticism of the early nineteenth century and the breathtaking power of nature. In these paintings, the concrete sides of the attenuated buildings are visible among dense, lengthy puffs of clouds. The entire image springs forth from the cloud itself, as though it is a passing daydream, entirely imagined.
CITY LIGHTS 1 (2012)
Acrylic on canvas. 36 x 48 inches
adding to their futuristic aura. To create his works, Duque took hundreds of photographs from various local areas including Brooklyn, New York, and Weehawken, New Jersey, which has a famous view of midtown Manhattan. Most inspirational in the photos were the forms of the building themselves, which the artist rendered lovingly, emphasizing the minute details of each majestic edifice. In Uptown, one of the earliest works in the series, we see the Chrysler and the Flatiron buildings in the company of other architectural wonders from upper Manhattan, adorned in some cases with resplendent vegetation. In paintings such as the aptly named Sky City and Metropolis, we see cranes and buildings that are nearly complete, ad-
The night series focuses on the windows of the city and glints of echoed light that become its illumination. In works such as City Lights and Blue Glimmer, the squares of color that line the buildings allude to the late works of Piet Mondrian, who was in turn inspired by urban sounds and their reflection in jazz music of the 1950s. These luminous structures—alight from within and surrounded by various shades of dusk—are truly magical. Throughout the mass of buildings, the artist has included a series of elevated highways or train rails,
ALEXIS DUQUE alexisduque.net 500 east 119th Street #7 New York, NY 10035 T.646-644-8900 E.mail:email@example.com EDUCATION
The School of Visual Arts, New York, NY 2005 The Art Students League of New York, New York, NY 2005 B.F.A University of Antioquia , Medellin, Colombia 1995 School of Fine Arts of Antioquia, Medellin, Colombia 1984 – 1989 SELECTED EXHIBITIONS 2012
“Metropolis” Praxis Gallery, New York – Solo Show “Masquelibros” Organized by Triplica Equipo and the UNED, Madrid, “Blind reproduction” A gathering of the tribes, New York, NY “Puebla Ciudad Mural” Mural Project, Puebla, Mexico. 2011
"El Museo's Bienal: The (S) Files 2011" El Museo del Barrio, NY "Cluster" AG Gallery, Brooklyn, NY “Illustrious” Guga Galleries, Newark, New Jersey “EastXWestXHarlem” Floor4Art Gallery, New York, NY 2010
“Around the way” Curated by Rocio Aranda Alvarado and Trinidad Fombellaorganized by Macy’s and El Museo del Barrio, NY “Interrupted Landscapes” Champion Contemporary, Austin, Texas. “Weaving in and out” No Longer Empty, New York, NY “Super Cluster” Praxis Gallery, Miami, Fl “Curate NYC” Rush Arts, New York, NY 2009
“El Dorado” Praxis Gallery, New York – Solo Show “Babel” Praxis Gallery, Miami, FL - Solo Show “New Tales of Our Age” Visual Arts Center of New Jersey, NJ “PULSE” Art Fair. Praxis Gallery, New York, NY “ART CHICAGO”, Praxis Gallery, New York, NY “Dialogo 365” The Ice box, Crane Building, Philadelphia, PA 2008
ding to the sense that the future is constantly under construction. The artist directly considers the connection between the constructed world and the human organism, creating portrait busts revealed through the vertical, horizontal and curvilinear forms of the buildings. It is this hopeful aspect that permeates the works overall. Rather than the dystopic world seen in the 1927 film Metropolis, however, Duque’s buildings allude to a space where structures are idealized and transcendent beauty is worn on the exterior of each edifice.
del Barrio, New York)
“Where the wild things grow” Praxis Gallery, New York, NY “ARTLONDON” Art Fair. Praxis Gallery, London, England “TIAF” Toronto International Art Fair, Praxis Gallery, Toronto, Canada “ARTBO” Art Fair, Praxis Gallery, Bogota, Colombia “Auction-Exhibition 08” Museum of Latin American Art, Long Beach, “The 1st International Roaming Biennial of Tehran” Instanbul, Turkey “PINTA” Art Fair. Praxis Gallery, New York, NY “Arteamericas” Art Fair. Solar Gallery, Miami, FL “SCOPE” Miami Art Fair. 10G Gallery, Miami FL “Salon Expace” AG Gallery, Williamsburg, New York, NY “Works on Paper” Flux Factory, New York, NY BIBLIOGRAPHY
“Future perfect” Beautiful Decay Magazine, book 6 Blue canvas Magazine#5, July 2010, pag. 54-55 New American Paintings #86, 2010, North East Edition, Juried by “The underdogs” Beautiful Decay Magazine, book 3 “East Hampton’s Solar Greets 2008 as Brave New World” by Joan Baum, Hamptons.com Thursday, January 03,2008 “Studio Visit” Volume #2, june 2008. pag.51 “Artists Explore Brave New World” by Pat Rogers, The East Hampton “ Scary New World” by Jennifer Landes, The East Hampton Star, Nov.
an interview with
Alexis Duque First of all we would like to ask you what are in your opinion the features that make a work of art "great".
What makes a work “Great” is a work that conveys and communicates to the senses and guts something more powerful than just an idea, as a feeling with conviction, created from a place of no-mind, perhaps from an inner stillness. As Jesse Kellerman writes in the murder mystery ‘Genius” about an art dealer turned detective.. “Great art does that, it cuts out your tongue” You have a formal artistic training: you received BA of Fine Arts from University of Antioquia, Medellin, Colombia and then you attended to The School of Visual Arts, New York. How much in your opinion training influences art? By the way, what kind of differences have you found between your training in Colombia and in New York? And how has your art developed since you left school?
Training is important because you learn the rules and it helps give structure to your career, but I think the real learning experience comes from having a direct contact with artists, museums and Galleries in NY. I owe a lot to my first steps in Colombia, where I chose to be an artist since I was a child but coming to NY has been a great experience since you don’t have to see the art world from magazines and books, It doesn’t mean that art doesn’t exist in Colombia, it is just that the vision there is more limited and isolated. I believe it is essential for any artist, to travel outside its own country, to understand who you are, and find your own identity and voice as an artist.
The evolution is something natural, the academy was for me, in some way, a safe haven, it gave me tools and theories to enhance my career but the real developing happened when I left school and started living as an artist. What is your studio process typically like, and how do you decide upon which materials you incorporate within a piece?
I work with basic tools, pencils, paper or canvas, brushes and Acrylic paint. I prime and stretch the canvas directly on the wall, so I may have the support of a solid and hard 20
focused on favelas and shantytowns from the developing world and based on my own memories. One of the first feature of your pieces that leaps out, is the interesting blend of realistic details with your own imagery. There's an effective synergy between perception of the world and imagination. By the way, do you visualize your Art before creating?Do you know what it will look like before you begin?
Before I start drawing and painting, I have an abstract image in my mind, almost like a ghost, with some dominant colors and shapes that I can discern in my mind. Then during the process of drawing and developing such idea, details and variations start to evolve. Often, it takes painting many versions until I achieve the result that I want or was seeking. It is not an easy process to capture such ghost or abstract image, as it mutates and transforms; and as a result, a series of works evolves, from this necessity to paint something you have in your mind that is difficult to capture. In the end, you have the same painting in many variations.
surface. Then I start by sketching with a # 0.5 graphite pencil, I draw with sharp lines to define the entire structure of the work. Then I proceed to paint many smooth layers of Acrylic, using mostly very small brushes such as #0 and 2. Now we would like to focus on your recent series entitle "Metropolis" that our reader can admire in the pages of the current issue. Could you take us through your creative process when starting a new project?
For the “Metropolis” series I was interested in creating a ” body of work” inspired by the urban landscape of the first world from where I currently live. Different to the other series
BLUE GLIMMER (2012) Acrylic on canvas. 16 x 20 inches
CITY OF GOLD (2012) Acrylic on canvas. 24 x 36 inches
By the way, what is the significance of the landscape in your art?
We have read that to create your pieces, you use to take several photographs from various local areas including Brooklyn, New York... so it goes without saying that "reality & experience" play an important role in your process, but I would go as far as to say that the most crucial element of your Art comes from your imagery... I would even say that your Art has a socio-logical implication. What's your point about this?
My Landscape is the â€œUrban-scapeâ€?, a place where I can express all my emotions and obsessions in a way that is compelling. The urban-scape is a world made of small details, where in the end, the whole is greater than the sum of its parts. Your paintings are intricately and complexly layered: moreover we can recognize a subtle irony... do you agree with this?
I take a lot of photos, as studies of the big model that I have directly in front of me, that in this case is the big Metropolis. I observe and use my first and essential tool to draw that are my eyes and memorize a lot, then when I am in my studio and have the canvas in front of me, I try to use those memories with my imagination as a process of recreation of forms but
Yes, Irony is quite present, although initially unintentional. Some people find this series terrifying, almost like an urban nightmare for its cluttered and chaotic qualities; others see a dreamscape filled with luminous and surreal accents, harmony within the chaos.. 22
CITY GLOW 2012Acrylic on canvas. 56x36 inches
SKY CITY 2 2012 Acrylic on canvas. 56 x 36 inches
mention? When you show in Latin America are you perceived as an Colombian artist or an Colombian/American artist?
when I donâ€™t remember a particular architectural shape or qualities of any specific building I use those photos that Iâ€™ve taken and I try to incorporate some of the iconic features of certain buildings. With my work, I pretend to comment on the chaotic and unavoidable processes of urbanization in our contemporary world and how it often overwhelms the resources of our planet. Also, I am interested in the visionary possibilities that art may bring forward as a futuristic vision of the city.
Fortunately, my work has been very well received in other countries and cultures. What is great about art is that it has the power to transcend nationalities, cultures and genres. Thanks for this interview, Alexis: what's next for you? Anything coming up for you professionally that you would like readers to be aware of?
What experiences have you had exhibiting in different countries? What is the difference bet between exhibiting, for example, in USA and exhibiting in Argentina, or in Europe? There's a particular exhibition that you would like to
Thank you! I am currently showing at Galleri Oxholm in Copenhagen, Denmark and have several invitations for group exhibitions over the coming year.
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Astrid Jahns (Germany) “The collages show an interplay of landscapes and the people (within their thoughts and emotions) who live inside their surroundings. A landscape is a place where mysterious, thoughtful or funny things could happen. A landscape is also a place where people take development processes, which translates into the particular character mature in their respective landscape. The landscapes show surreal and bizarre places which seem far away. Also, the point in time the scenes play is not always certain and can only be guessed on the basis of particular signs, but often rejects again. It could be that the scenes are already gone, take place in the present, or even sleep in the distant future. „First man on the moon“, gives an idea that the scene could play in the past because the first moon landing has been in 1969. But the titel suggests, however, that the man must be the first moon visitor, so this moon landing must be done before the alleged first moon landing in 1969. The viewer gets into a truthful-or-nontruthful-perception conflict because the collage suggests that the knowledge about the first moon landig in 1969 could be wrong. However, the man stays in a hidden place, maybe he’ll not be recognized (perhaps because he was lying about his testimony?).
What happened to the caterpillar?
meets the Mad Hatter and has to deal with its tangles landscape. Probably the landscape „Wonderland“ takes place in mind as the story „Alice in Wonderland“ has happened in Alice head. In „What happend to the caterpillar?“, Alice seems totally alone and has to deal with her environment and herself. In my collages I thematically deal with surreal images and surroundings in which different storylines play. The black background, which is an often use design element, symbolizes the vast space of the event without telling the place and the time. Thus the work can be transported into almost any time or place. Also, I like to deal with the language based on (anagram) poems,
So this collage will give the impression of a „lying landscape“. The collaged landscapes show visualized thoughtfully constructs as kind of: „How about if...?“. The results are arranged fictitious characters who find themselves in fictional situations in the midst of their landscape. Such as in the „Alice in Wonderland“ works. In the novel by Lewis Carroll, Alice deals with her „new“ environment and their inhabitants. So she finds landscapes that make curious to explore and discover, as in „May I offer you a cup of tea? The Mad Hatter is ready to pour“, where Alice
at to a virtual place. It’s a place where you can stay for a moment. The place is located elsewhere (somewhere in mind), so no one can interfere. The diptych shows a glimpse into an emotional and mental landscape of a woman. There is a symbiotic relationship between the woman and the landscape. Even the title „Beyond the forests“, points to a place that is far away and well hidden. At first glance, it appears that the woman fit well into the landscape. But on closer inspection you can see that she is the one who forms the architecture of the landscape. That indicates that she made her own place herself. The triptych „Enticed away“, might show the situation in which the woman is located, while (image part two), before (image part three) and after (image part one) she visits her place „beyond the forests“. In image three, she is looking for her place „beyond the forests“, she founds it in image two and in image one the fellow humen beings miss her. So you can see that a landscape is always changeable. Also, a landscape can be experienced all the time and it can exist inside as well as outside the mind, but both should correspond with one another.Quite the opposite is the series „The Roaring Twenties“, which (as the title suggests) takes place in the past. Nevertheless, there could be scenes from the future as well. The twenties of the last century stand for a new beginning. The locations of these collages are reminding of some little places on different planets in the distant future, where every character has set up its own landscape. Against this the collage "But I will not follow you!", shows very clear that this must be a scene from the present. The woman shows the skeleton the way to the realm of death, but simultaneously she makes clear that she won’t follow. So she remains in the present. This shows an interface between two landscapes, the one that is locaded where the death rests and the other one is where the woman lives. (Astrid Jahns)
diptych collage (2010), each 3,8 x 5,2 inches
dada-poem-collages or other short texts – which interact with the collages often. Telling stories is a possibility to let the characters speak to the viewer or among themselves, such as in the five-part-series „Alice goes astray“, where Alice has a dialogue with the White Rabbit. Within this mind game they are going to explore and discover a part of the landscape „Wonderland“. Important therefore is a playful and poetic attitude as well as a „leave open“ for all the possible stories which could take place inside the collages. The diptych „Beyond the Forests“, symbolizes a save haven. A landscape that provides a protection, if the everyday life is too loud and fast, than it could be helpful to retre-
an interview with
Astrid Jahns What in your opinion defines a work of art?
dents, lecturers and professors. So there where many opinions and approaches which encouraged my thoughts and took me on new paths from time to time. It’s about one’s own work, with which you have to deal with, but you also get to know the work of the others. I’ve always found the time of study is like an "experiment" in which I have the chance to try out lots of fascinating techniques and materials and thus can acquire a lot.
I think an artwork implies a deep impression, kind of an idea which grows inside and has to come out. What has been the role of formal training in the development of your artistic production? By the way, do you think that artists with a formal education have an advantage over self-taught artists?
My artistic education was very important for me because I had opportunities dealing with more artistic techniques and materials. I also found it very interesting to develop themes to me and to deal with any other tasks. These are important points with which I would have not been busy in this manner, if I had not studied. In addition, during the study takes place, lots of communication with fellow stu-
But if I have an advantage over self-taught artists, I don’t no, it depends how the person deals with the concept of art, the people are different. However, I do think that it is very important to deal with the concept of art anyhow. If you make art you have to immerse deeply into it. You can only couple with art if you are intimate with it’s concept. 26
of sight. My thoughts are then released, so that they have the ability to browse deep down my subconsciously. Sometimes I’m not with my thoughts and I don’t realize this process. They are drifting away, it’s as if my head is thinking of itself and eventually spit out the result when it’s found. And then when I got the idea in mind how I approach the theme (technique, materials, etc.), then I realize the artwork. Do you work on multiple pieces at a time? Do you think that there's a kind of "channel of communication" between different works that have been produced at the same time?
I often work simultaneously on different things. I’m quite structured, so I focus on the work from which I think is more important or from which I find a better approach. And when I find I need a break or I should work on some of the other artworks, then I turn away from the current artwork to contact the other one. This usually works quite well. Till today I have only one head, so my artworks are somehow connected to each other and communicate with each other. Therefor they use my head as a communication center and my hands to give them shape.
Beyond the forest diptych, collage, 2010, each 3,98 x 5,27 inches
And if you make this concept your owen, you are able to synchronize it with your thoughts and emotions. And therefor you have to get into a never ending process.
One of the most important features of the artworks that we have selected is the retelling process of classic stories through collage technique: why do you focus on this subject?
Could you take us through your creative process when starting a new project?
I can try, but art is difficult to explain and to explain the process how it’s developing is even more difficult: Usually there is a theme or a thought which concerns me. Then my head starts to work, sometimes it let me have a say and sometimes not. I research a lot to open up the theme to me. Also, I often write a lot, which are mostly associations, things that I bring into connection with the theme. Based on the associated concepts, I can break away from the real theme without losing it out
I think that the collage technique is an ideal technique to recreate stories, because it combines different realistic fragments in order to create a new reality. I will not retell stories. I want to recreate them or interpret them for me. There are so many stories which touch me emotionally and settle down in my mind. Anyway, I would like to keep them in my memory, so why should I not continue or visualize those stories? 27
â€žMay I offer you a cup of tea?â€œ The Mad Hatter is ready to pour
We have had the chance to run into a very interesting artwork that you have realized in 2012 entitled "Das Schicksal kennt keine are references to technical devices and to human body: itâ€™s interesting how all of these elements come into play in your work. How did you come up with the idea for it?
I wanted a picture which represents departure, strength and optimism. A picture that strives forward and take this ambition in attack.
triptych, collage, 2010, each 6,4 x 7,4 inches
tribute to the dawn. The left half of the image shows a woman who throws with her left hand a sail into the distance (the future), while also have sailings in reserve (right hand), they are emblematic for the present. At a departure we look into the future indeed, but also into the past, because there is always something which we leave behind. The things which left behind are the fallen sails on the right image half. The technology represents the fun28
time of computer games, TV, etc. which dominating a childhood, art is an important anchor not to slide the power thereof. I don’t know if I’m a post-disciplinary artist, I quite like to feel free with the techniques I’m working with. I think that a certain variety gives me more opportunity to combine and express myself artistically. So when I think about it exactly I could actually identify such as a post-disciplinary artist, good idea.
„But I will not follow you!“ collage, 2009/10, 5,07 x 5,47 inches
ctioning , the drive and the motor, it makes a new beginning possible. The technology is shown as kind of a compass, which makes it to an essential item. Without the compass we would not find the right way. The letters N, O, S and W are kind of a symbolic address, they show the four points of the compass (in germany east means Osten so there is an O). The woman represents the emotion, warmth and also yet the idea of a change, without her a departure would not be possible. Thus there is an interplay of two opposites: The human being and the technology.
Alice goes astray five-part-sequenze, collage + text, 2010, each 4,33 x 4,48 inches
Besides being a collagist, you are also a poet, and you've also produced an illustrated book: do you think that art could play an important role in children's edu-cation?
We have selected a recent artwork entitled "What happend to the caterpillar?" and "But I will not follow you! ". We have found it very interesting: it com-bines a beautiful mixture of abstract forms with realistic elements: what was the inspiration behind this artwork? In particular, could you talk about your process of choosing color combinations?
By the way, your work seems to bridge a number of disciplines. Do you consider yourself a post-disciplinary artist?
Yes, I think it's principle very important that children come into contact with art soon. I have always found that art is such as a "loophole" that allows me to withdraw myself. And especially in these days at the
In: „What happend to the caterpillar?“ I wanted to give an idea of the feeling Alice must have had, when she arrived in Wonderland. Wonderland must be a place
Alice goes astray five-part-sequenze, collage + text, 2010, each 4,33 x 4,48 inches
which is extraordinary strange – that is what I suppose, but if you arrive there it must be very curiously state. And I think she has done very well. The missing of the caterpillar is figurative to an „alone being“ respectively coping with the situation because she finds herself alone. Alice is looking around in hope to find the caterpillar.
diptych, collage + anagram, 2011, each 7,91 x 10,59 inches
ship between the woman and the landscape". Here again we can recognize a deep snergy between Human and Nature. Do you think that any kind landscape could be a source of inspiration?
There is an interacting between the things who are real and the things you can consider. The artwork: „But I will not follow you!“ is an interacting between two landsca-pes which is shown within the colors. The colors are quite reserved and restrained, resulting is a kind of a gray zone which is the border of both of the two landscapes.
Yes, landscapes are always deep impressions. Landscapes are a source of inspiration. I love to watch the doing of the animals or the colors which are changing in the space of the seasons. Also, I find landscapes, of whatever kind, are necessary to sort the thoughts and to soothe the eyes. After a walk I refresh my creativity so that I can continue the work or start a new one.
An important feature of your work "Beyond the forests" is the the "symbiotic relation-
What’s next for Astrid Jahns? Are there any new projects on the horizon?
Yes, of course. I’m know working on short film sequences which are showing my stories in motion. One of them called: „Sometimes my head is swimming would you please sing me a lullaby“. Therefore I put the head of an old doll which I bought at the flea market in 2010, on the surface of my scanner. I painted the inside of a box black, so I had a cover. I turned the dolls head around – step by step, until I had a 360 degree view. I scanned every turn, so I now have 36 picture sequences of the dolls head tuning. The interesting thing is that, just at the point where the head is in direct contact with the scanner surface, the image is sharp. The rest of the head thus disappears into the black background and seem to dissolve in the dark. I have of a bizarre atmosphere which could happend in mind. I wanted to cope with the dealing of situations with problems during someones live. Like: Being alone in the dark, than hearing a noise and turning around. Situations where your head is swimming or scared. In these situations you are pleased if there is someone who sings a lullaby for you. I have included the images in a slide show so that they can be seen within a sequential succession. So the dolls head turns around within a continuous loop in the dark and can be projected onto a wall via beamer. Accompanies the sequence is based on a carillon. But also I still work on poems, collages and objects. Now I combine the poems with artwork quite intensify which gives them a poetic note, which I like.
Enticed away triptych, collage, 2010, each 6,33 x 7,99 inches
In your statement you have underlined that there are several possible stories which could take place in a collage, so the interaction with your audience plays a relevant role: when you conceive a work, do you think to whom will enjoy your work?
No, I always do what my mind is telling me and that is what I’m going to show or to tell the audience. But of course it’s interesting to see what it matters to the viewer. resting one: what aspect of your work do you enjoy the most? What gives you the biggest satisfaction?
If I have an idea, but not the solution, I get into a thought process to find what I need to realize my artwork. When this process is complete, I have found what I was seeking for and realized my artwork, then I’m very happy and satisfied.
For this purpose, I had the idea to send beautiful words (as long as supplies last) to anyone who like.
VDREY & SCHULTZ
VDREY & SCHULTZ Their first performance takes places on 31 December 2006 in Geneva. Subsequently, they present from 2007 to 2009 a series of performances involving the bodyin all its forms, strongly inspired by the world of BDSM and sex in general. These performances were presented in several countries like Switzerland, Holland, Germany, France and England. Having made their debut in the world of performance, they add to their work on a new medium, video and created their own universe. A monochrome world, white, sometimes tinged with touches of color, where painting, video and music are one.
THEIR SEVERALS MAJORS WORKS THE WHITE BOX This performance made between 2010 and 2011 was the first presentation of their world to the public. The staging is simple. On a stage covered with white cloth, a box one meter eighty landedits center. A video is projected on the front of all visible. Performer in the box painted by tran-sparency, allowing paint to mix video, prior to extricate herself from this cage of cloths. This performance was presented at various festivals, underground or alternativ events and parties in France, Switzerland,Germany, England and Poland.
WHITE BLOOD CELLS This performance was made during the year 2012 and will be again in 2013 for some special events. A video featuring VDREY is projected simultaneously behind the artist and ground. This allows two separate working media, one vertical and one horizontal. The performer is then immersed in the video and performs work collection by the paint total improvisation supplementing, removing elements or sublimating video. 32
VDREY & SCHULTZ
VDREY She 's born in Nice (South of France) in 1979. She discovered painting at her young age, his family has always been in the arts. Her work is strongly influenced by expressionist influence, drawinginspiration the joys and pain of everyday life. She have studying fashion designing, painting, photography and art history.Selected to join " de Toulon" in France. Since 2007, she have performed with SCHULTZ or alone in several events in Europe. Contacts: www.vdrey.com firstname.lastname@example.org SCHULTZ He 's born in Nice (South of France) in 1977. Making music since he was 16 years old, he have played several instruments in several projects. He created the solo project SCHULTZ in 2002, drawing its influence in all musical styles explored by the past. he have release several albums on different label all over the world. Since 2007, he have performed with VDREY or alone in several events in Europe. Contacts: www.reverbnation.com/electroschultz email@example.com
PURISM This performance was presented in October 2012 in Switzerland during the anniversary of Le Corbusier. It uses a system of simultaneous video projection onto two different support. A classic white canvas background and a transparent plastic film who take place between the public and the artist. This allows the performer to work on two support both paints carried out on the canvas transparent projecting simultaneously on the white canvas. 33
2 0 1 3 A p r i l
VDREY & SCHULTZ
an interview with VDREY and SCHULTZ Let's start with a our ice-breaker question: what in your opinion defines a work of art?
For our,a work of art is something that can not be defined, but which acts as a real power to give the right to be shocking without limit, questioning, which are facing it. You are an electronic musician: Do you think that studying an acoustic instrument is absolutely necessary to get ahead into a career in experimental music? It seems that a "traditional" training could be an advan-tage for developing experimental music... or not?
Like everybody I have learn music at school, it s gives me some basis. After I have learn music by my own way. I have played during several years traditional instruments like guitar, bass or drums in several projects and I thinks this experience learn me a lot of things. And later have try to make my own universe, to make what I like without really take care about what the other do. To return to your question, I think it is an advantage to have learn some basis but you can also learn with making errors and corect them by yourself.
VDREY and SCHULTZ ÂŤ White Blood Cells Âť Your work is intrinsically connected with the chance to create interaction with audience. When you conceive a work, do you think to whom will enjoy your work?
How big is the role of improvisation in your performances? Do you think that there's also a "technique" for performative arts? Or it's just a matter of inspiration?
During the creation, I devote myself to my art without acts as a real think about the idea that the public can be implemented gradually discovering and measuring its creation. Once finished, my creation is delivered to the public can then make up their own minds.
Improvisation is part of the process of creating the work, without it the performance would not have of great interest. I think art is the tool that allows me to reveal my inspiration.
VDREY & SCHULTZ
You have an account on Reverbnation: let’s look at the online video ecosystem, which is emblematic for the recent boom of creativity. Web services present the works that are completely accessible for immediate feedback on a wide scale and attract massive attention. What is your take on the impact of networked technologies on aesthetics of collaborative practices?
The advantage to have this kind of account is to present our work like music or videos and to have direct feedback from people. But it do not replace traditional contact during our performance with real people. I think it can purpose an approach of our work and can help to make contact, but not replace “real” contact. In your performance we can recognize a mix of different medias: in particular, in the work that we have selected, which is entitled "White Blood Cells" there's a deep and effective synergy... what was you initial main idea? Could you take us through your creative process when starting a new project?
For example "White Blood Cells" is a metaphor between the blood and the world of today. Blood is the source of our life, blood with is red colour, forgotten by the white blood cells, which is essential for the proper functioning of our body. Numbers if they are too weak or too strong, the human being is not healthy. This performance serves as a connection between this and our world where "smaller" of our society and yet find themselves ignored essential as many as "drowned" in the body of peuple.We can not really talk about a creation process, my work is depending on my state of mind of the moment during my performance.
In a recent interview you have stated that "we think our work is for everyone when the public has an open mind": do you think that however- a work of art could play an effective role in "opening minds"? Or it's absolutely necessarily that the audience already have a specifical forma mentis?
I do not pretend to change people's minds but I offer to them a window of my artistic universe. But I think if people are not open-minded I can not force them to enter my world.
VDREY & SCHULTZ
Virginie Drey « Purisme » Not to mention that art should have an effect, should communicate something. Do you think art’s purpose is simply to provide a platform for an artist’s expression?
of art? Do you find it more effective to communicate across through performance art?
We think we are a complementary, two kind of art, for finally giving one work, one performance.We can interrest people who like only painting, only music, or both. This is our force.
Do you think that art could steer or even change people's behavior?
I think that art is of course a platform for the expression of the artist, but if it can orient people's minds to other forms of artistic expression that is only better, and I hope to participate of that.
How big is the influence of location on your performance?
Like each place have a different story, a different past, we try each performances reflects the environment in which it is located. We like to use the space constraints in order to make each performance unique.
Both of you have a personal "training": you are a musician, while Vdrey is a painter. How do you compare performance art to other kind
VDREY & SCHULTZ
By the way, it goes without saying that also audience plays a crucial role: performing for 10 people is not the same than per-forming for hundreds: what's your take about this?
like a success and think this personn is a lucky guy
If it is for one person or for hundreds, it does not make a real difference for our. I do not think it acts as a real impact on my work, though inspired by the environment of the performance. If there is only one person which appreciates my work, I can considered my performance
work do you enjoy the most? What gives you the biggest satisfaction?
Now we wonder if you would like to answer
What gives me the most satisfaction is to create face to face with the public unlike a in a workshop and to saw interrogating people.
Brooke Knight (USA)
Still from Mohawk Pool 39
an interview with
Brooke Knight What in your opinion defines a work of art?
This is a question I often pose to my students; they respond as one would expect, listing one medium after another. For me, it's a matter of viewer reception: art occurs when the viewer recognizes that she or he is having an art experience. The cultural context of the museum or gallery is a clue to the viewer to expect an art experience, but I believe art experiences can happen anywhere. I experience art through witnessing the sublime, the uncanny, the thoughtful, and the delightful. Besides producing art, you also teach: you are currently an Associate Professor in the Department of Visual and Media Arts at Emerson College: how has this influenced your career as an artist?
As a teacher, I try to create a learning environment in my classrooms. I feel that learning should go both ways, and so I'm always discovering things from my students. In fact, the Video/Stills series was inspired by a student whose video work showed his compositional experience as a newspaper photographer: he made videos the same way he made his still images. What are the most important influences that have moved you as an artist?
That list would be too long! There are of course a myriad of artists who have influenced me, from Duchamp to Bierstadt to Friedlander to Ruscha, but I am also influenced by music, dance and theatreâ€Ś and, of course, nature.
Still from Letchworth Woods Can you tell us about your process and set up for making your work? What technical aspects do you mainly focus on in your work?
My work as a whole uses a wide range of technologies, from still images to mobile apps. For the Video/Still series, I used a Canon 7D, which is a DSLR that can capture high definition video. The fact that it was a DSLR made it easier for me to compose the videos exactly as I would a still image, and being able to use the same device for both certainly led to me doing the series. The most difficult part was finding locations and times where there was as little movement as possible. Wind, vegetation, animal life, and human presence really limited the areas that I could photograph. It involved lots of driving, hiking, and patience. 40
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 think that art could steer or even change people's behavior?
Art can't help but communicate! If you logically follow my definition of art, it is the receiver who has the art experience. How that experience is internalized by the viewer is up to the individual. However, artists often have an intention, and sometimes that intention is to change the viewer's behavior. My intention is to point things out and to ask questions, not to determine how the viewer should react -- that would be propaganda. Your work deals with new media technology: do you think that new media art will definitely fill the dichotomy between art and technology? By the way, 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? Your artworks have been shown in several international and regional exhibitions: what experiences have you had exhibiting in different countries? By the way, what is the difference between exhibiting, for example, in USA and exhibiting in France, or in Germany?
In most cases, for me, there is little difference between exhibiting in the States or in Europe. Most of the submissions are done online in email or through a form for juried group shows. I think there are more of those opportunities in Europe. Having said that, most of my solo exhibitions in museums and art galleries have been in the US, due to the fact that I can meet and develop relationships with the curators. That means a lot. 41
I think the dichotomy between art and technology is a false one. All art employs technology: the painter's brush and the potter's wheel were technological breakthroughs at one time or another. If I use a DSLR, is that any different, really? Technology opens up new possibilities, and I think it is incumbent upon artists to test, explore, and even break that technology. I think that dividing art by the medium used is silly -- technology is transitory. I also have trouble with dividing art by genre, but that's a long story.
Now let's talk about your art production. We have been impressed by your recent and interesting artworks entitled "Mohawk Pool" and "Letchworth Woods". What was your inspiration ?
We are used to seeing the landscape as still images, framed and hanging on the wall. We think that nature doesn't move, preserved in parks forever. But nature always moves, from the glint of a spider's web to tectonic shifts. So, I became interested in duration and the scale of time -- these works are the result of those investigations. By the way, what is the significance of the landscape in your art?
For me, the issue is not only landscape itself, but also our perception of that landscape. The idea of "landscape" is a human construction, an attempt to "read" the natural world around us. Landscape is a way for us to control, frame, and package our sense of the wild (whatever "the wild" means). I am drawn to the land because I am that guy who stops at the vista pull-off on the highway. 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 artist could be to reveal unexpected sides of environment or Nature, in the wide sense of word?
Yes, absolutely. We can read Nature and landscape in so many ways -- historically, geologically, socio-politically, or in terms of flora and fauna. The artist's job, in some ways, is to point to something and suggest that people look closely. Hereâ€™s a cliche question, but one that it's always interesting in hearing the answer to. What aspect of your work do you enjoy the most? What gives you the biggest satisfaction?
I love the conceptualizing of new work, I love making the work (from walking in the woods to framing), and I love having other people enjoy it. But what I love most is when I look at past work and still think it's good. That actually happens from time to time for me. 42
Still from Genesee River
Whatâ€™s next for Brooke Knight? What are you going to be working on next?
I'm going to spend more time in the woods. Emerson College granted me a sabbatical for next year, and I've made connections at the Harvard University Forest in central Massachusetts. I've applied for a fellowship there that would fund a full year of art-making, so we'll see what they say. Wish me luck! 43
2 0 1 3
Yoko Naito (Japan)
A p r i l
An artistâ€™s statement
â€œMy project explores the relationship that surrounds a human itself in the world. In between human and nature, living environment and humanity based on individual experience, there is the interdependence relationships. Now we are at the mercy of electronic device. Such as we don't wonder the lifestyle as data. There is getting vague border line between the actual and virtual existence. I've grown up in the middle of the generation of the analog and digital environment. The development of the technology has looked very convenience. In the meantime, we have lost an intrinsic sense. We are at the mercy of electronic devices. This situations occur the superficial relationship and humanity. We lost the human's elements and aspects intrinsically.
The silent and magnificent nature is excluded by human rooted deeply to the earth with an atmosphere of oblivion. Human behavior is a trifling resistance when compared with solemnity of nature. The composure of nature sometimes looks like a daydream because of sublime scenery.
In human's relationship, we regard the visible feeling, cognitive experience and the language as all means. The people who can replace the feeling with language very well can become the world's winner. My feelings can't connect the right words. I am always tormented by vague feelings. Consequently, I am a loser.
To take a picture is the only time to be alone for me - it is an extremely quiet moment. This situation is relieved me from excessive idle thoughts. I devote myself into the world of serene tranquility.
With incongruity The artificial structures juxtaposed with nature which has taken a long time to form. Even if the population increases and huge building constructs on the earth, the weight of the whole earth does not change.Â It is because all objects in the world change the form of one to another in sequence Reincarnation. The object reacts to its surroundings and forms and re-forms to adjust to the space where it is placed. Now, we are at the mercy of electronic devices. Such as we don't wonder the lifestyle as data. Â It can mold us into people who become more and more superficial - Flat personality. The people in similar outfit and uniform city gives me the impression of ostentation and emptiness â€“ Lacking substance. I feel sense of incongruity in this materialism society. The origin of our life is to find beauty in simplicity, and spiritual richness in frugality. The release from the materialistic world attains a serene state of mind.
The world is always infinite loneliness space for me. Under the circumstance that things happen rapidly and simultaneously, the inter-dependence relationship is changing all the time.
This project "with incongruity"comes from WABI-SABI which is Japanese aesthetic of trying to find beauty in simplicity, and spiritual richness in frugality. It's also based on enjoying separation and release from the materialistic world and attaining a peaceful state of mind.
My photographs capture not only a sense of the moment but also the feeling. This is the only way for connecting the world with me.
An interview with
Yoko Naito You have formal training, and you have graduate of Photography, Nihon University College of Art, Tokyo, Japan, your native country. How much training influences art? By the way, do you think that artists with a formal education have an advantage over self-taught artists?
Unfortunately, Japan is low recognition of photograph as a fine art. There is a less boundary of commercial photographer and fine-art photographer. Namely, there is no education about "photograph as fine-art " because professor has no experience in field as fine-art photograph although my graduate University is the most famous photograph institution in Japan. In addition, I was not good student. I took a class only for the required credits. The most of the time in university, I have traveled to everywhere in Japan and abroad to take a picture. My practical knowledge about fine-art photograph obtain in New York. The practical experience and information from artist is the most important for fine-art photographer.
We would like to learn more about WABI-SABI that you have quoted in your series "With Inconguity" which we have selected in this issue. By the way, we have been impressed by the combination between natural environ-ment and artificial structures: there's a "sense of geometry", a formal synergy bet-ween both kinds of structure, isn't it?
Most photographers use light to make their images: what it means to you to paint with light? Can you tell us about your process and set up for making your work?
I take a picture through my travel, not in studio. Thus, I use natural light which is the most beautiful, I guess. I prefer cloudy weather be-cause cloudy light covers over the object very tenderly than shiny light. The intermediate color makes my photo calm.
Yes. Both aspects between object and nature has correlation. Even though everyone or everything is different, we should accept our differences and then coexist. We can't ignore each other to correspond in the same earth.
artist’s expression: do you agree? Or do you think that art could also play a role in facing social questions?
My project starts from travel. It throws doubt the issue by taking a picture outside of my territory. The issue is about sense of incongruity or questionableness in society where I live. I grow up in Tokyo area and now I'm living in New York. The city is sometimes too much for me. I reflect the sense of incongruity that I feel in the city to my photograph by going to rural or abandoned area as if I observe the city objectively. As you have remarked in your artist's statement "Now we are at the mercy of electronic device", and it's impossible to not share this observation. However, we would go as far as to say that these days in a certain sense technology has assimilated Art: in your opinion this is an exaggeration? Is it just an apperance of "humanization"?
The technology and human is always evolving as well as art. All of them are in a reciprocity. Now we can't survive without technology. However the frivolous thought jumping at the new products thing is giving priority to a less important thing.
I'm getting more and more proud as Japanese, if I stay longer in NY. Therefore, I came up with the japanese philosophy which has buried in my mind. WABI-SABI, it is a beauty of things imperfect, impermanent, and incomplete. It is a beauty of things modest and humble. It is a beauty of simplicity. It is a beauty in desolation and isolation…
I'm living without cellphone for about 10 months. I'm relieved and don't need to worry about battery charge. Let’s speak about influences. Have any Japanese artist from the older generation inspired you?
Not to mention that art should have an effect, should communicate something. Reading a line of your artist's statement "To take a picture is the only time to be alone for me " we might think that in your point of view art’s main purpose is to provide a platform for an
I'm inspired by the circumstance and people around me than historical person, hero or famous artist. It doesn't matter how great they are. What I have experienced in my life is important
aspects for my project. Many people say to me "your photograph is very similar to xxx" or "this photograph is similar to xxx's photograph" That words don't make any sense at all for me. Of course, I like art. I go to museum, gallery and read the art books etc... I recognize the art works though, shamefully, I can't recognize artist from name.
project. I have always looked forward to going somewhere I have never been before. My parents have taken me to travel since I was child. When I grew up, I travel around Japan and abroad by myself. I always yearn to spread my world. However every time I return from a trip, I feel the lack substance of the world. Such as everyone pushes their own opinion unconsciously thinking about only their viewpoint.
In your artist's statement we can get to know that you have traveled to approximately 100 cities since you were a child: what aspects of travel have influenced your artistic production?
The uniform city gives me the impression of ostentation and emptiness. I loathe like this small and closed society. I point out several problems concerning modern society by going on a trip.
The travel is the most important part of my
That is, the art works size become smaller than New York inevitably. I don't mention which is good or bad. Because it all depends on art works. I hope I can have the exhibition someday in Europe. By the way, what is an "Eastern perspective" in photography and how is it shown in your work?
Here is the thing that the origin of the Eastern thought is to coexist with nature, the origin of the Western thought is to overcome nature. The sense of unity, relationship and cooperation with the circumference are regarded as important elements in Eastern. The expression of invisible sense, a symbiotic relationship and feeling an atmosphere can be more and more attractive perspective. I'm from Eastern area living in Western area now. I'd like to express the tranquil Japanese aesthetic in my photograph.
Your works have been exhibited both in solo and group exhibitions, and you have recently won London International Creative Competition: what experiences have you had exhibiting in different countries?
Thank you for this interview, Yoko. Just another question: what 's next for you?
I'd like to get further more development in my projects. Please stay tune!
And what is the difference between exhibiting, for example, in Japan and exhibiting in Europe or in the United States?
I have exhibited in only Japan and United States. Especially, It's only Tokyo area and New York. Tokyo is quite small space than New York. There is very different point of view about space. In New York, they "use" a space with art works. In Japan, they "pack" the art works into a space. The space between art works is very narrow in Tokyo.
Signal to Noise
Signal to Noise Oliver Wilshen & Niall Quinn
‘Sonophore’ is a site-specific interactive sound installation developed in 2011 by the artist duo Signal-to-Noise. Translated from Latin as ‘soundcarrier’, ‘Sonophore’ intends to explore magnetic tape’s physical capacity to hold and transmit sonic information. Sono-. (Latin: sound, that which is heard; noise). Phore. (Latin: carrying, bearer, to bear, producing, transmission; directing, turning;) As visitors enter the installation space, they are invited to use a custom interface, taking the form of a glove, to interact with hundreds of strips of unspooled audio cassette tape. Attached directly to the walls of the space, this tape laterally spans its interior, surrounding the participant and audi¬ence. As such, the space’s physical contours act as a structure on which the tape can be both displayed and interacted with. The tangible glove interface is designed to allow the participant to play back the sound content of the tape, enabling an active exploration of the surface of the building. These sounds are then manipulated through the participants hand movements over the tape, with the speed and direction influencing the sonic result. Made up of both found and field recordings, the sound content of the audiotape used is site specific, dictated by the unique history and connotations of each exhibition space. During the Installation's exhibition at The Old Credit Union, Skibereen, Ireland, for example, Signal to Noise used audio material gathered and produced around the subject of financial infrastructures and numerical systems. Such a conceptual underpinning works in parallel with Sonophore’s engaging approach, allowing for sonic glimpses of the site's heritage to be playfully revealed.
Signal to Noise is the collaborative artistic venture of Oliver Wilshen and Niall Quinn, two Audio-Visual artists based in Brighton, UK. They have been developing interactive artworks since 2009, exhibiting in Europe, USA and Japan during this period. Examples of their work have also been included in ‘A Touch of Code: Interactive Installations & Experiences’, published by Gestalten in 2011. Their current practice continues to investigate the creative potential that obsolete media technologies have to offer, at present focusing on the magnetic audiotape format.
Signal to Noise
Sonophore, installation Niall Quinn MA Interactive Media Goldsmiths University, London BA Music and Visual Art: First Class Honours Brighton University Foundation in Fine Art Westminster Kingsway College, London Oliver Wilshen BA Music and Visual Art: First Class Honours Brighton University Art & Design Diploma in Foundation Studies University of the West of England
Signal to Noise
An interview with
Oliver Wilshen (Signal to Noise) You have formal training: how much in your opinion training influences art? By the way, do you think that artists with a formal education have an advantage over self-taught artists?
Although we have gained a range of practical skills from our academic studies, the majority of skills required for our artwork have been selftaught and often come from our own artistic experimentation. We’re also fortunate enough to live in an era where it’s very easy to learn techniques and skills yourself, without even leaving the studio, with lots of websites, tutorials and classes available online. The clear advantage of art institutions and academia from our perspective is the availability of a stimulating creative environment to both inspire and support emerging artists. Personally I feel that academic schooling has informed my critical and conceptual thinking around my work a great deal, but don’t necessarily believe that it puts you in an advantage over any ‘self-taught’ method. Can you tell us about your process and set up for making your work?
There’s a deep and effective synergy between obsolete media technologies like magnetic audio-tapes and modern technologies like wireless transmission unit. This clearly shows that it’s improper to refer to “old” technology as completely out-ofdate: what’s your point about this?
Our practical ethos is really one of just getting stuck-in to working with whatever material/techno-logy you’re interested in. We find that it’s often through such hands-on experimentation that things seem to evolve quite organically, both intentionally and sometimes more interestingly, unintentionally. I think it’s very easy to spend too long considering all the possibilities available as an artist and think this can easily become overwhelming and detrimental to the process of developing work.
Generally, we find that combining such ‘old’ and ‘new’ technologies provide an interesting contrast and juxtaposition as part of our work. We are really interested in the idea of working with older technologies and and trying to subvert their original function or purpose through the addition or intervention of more modern techniques or equipment. Often when working with technology this brings in to questions aspects of both analogue and digital, and explores crossovers and combinations
Signal to Noise
ration. I think they’ll continue to develop and expand with the introduction of touch screen interfaces becoming more prevalent alongside pilot projects such as Google Glass. I’m not sure whether our current research is trying to exploit cutting edge technologies as such, more reassessing and combining existing technologies in different ways.
between the two. The idea that one technology folds into the other is something we try to keep in mind, blurring boundaries between old and new media. By the way, there’s a renewed interest for “old-fashioned” instruments: even modern VSTi technology often try to specifically recreate thesound of instruments from years past, even theremins... but a crucial role is played by controllers, which nowadays are far form being versatile as a pair of gloves... Should we expect a radical change in this field in the years to come?
Do you think that still exists a dichotomy between Art and Technology? In one way, art makes use of modern technology more and more: do you think that in another way technology is assimilating art?
Interface culture is a subject in its own right these days, alongside human-computer interaction. These fields have been important to us for some time and we find them a constant source of inspi-
That’s certainly an interesting way of seeing it, although it somehow has a sinis-
Signal to Noise
ter tone to it! In contemporary western society, modern technology is so integrated in our everyday lives, that half the time we often don’t even realise it’s there. Therefore I think it makes perfect sense to use what surrounds you as a tool for creating artwork.
The use of genetic algorithms and biological systems in a lot of new media art seems to be developing this relationship further.
Often our work reflects a particular comment or critique on certain aspects of a technology and its use. I’m not sure whether there has ever really been a separation between art and technology so to speak. In reality an element of ‘art’ is and has been present in any progression of science, after all the development of all technology requires some sort of inspiration, imagination and creative vision.
Signal to Noise
making the public view the medium in a slightly different way. We were also very conscious that the interface provided a tangible and gestural way of interacting with the format. The glove itself is very much like an instrument in many ways, and even requires a certain technique in order to playback the tape to recall the sounds. These sound recordings are always changing in response to the nature of the project we are working with, but in theory and with a bit of practice it would even be possible to play traditional ‘musical’ melodies using the interface. Let’s talk about your recent work “Sonophore”. we can read that the sounds can be gathered or recorded specifically for each exhibition. How big is the influence of location on your performance?
The Sonophore installation is site-specific in nature, with the sounds entirely based on the space upon which it is installed. All the sound recordings used within the work are taken from either found or field recordings, related to the sites function, history or heritage in some form. This process makes every exhibition different, with a bespoke sound collage created in response to the location, which is then transferred onto audio tape and attached to the physical space. We therefore find unconventional spaces with unique histories particularly fascinating locations to install the work.
We would like to ask you something about another interesting work of yours: “Analogue Tape Glove”. By the way, here’s an interesting synaesthesia between sound and touch. Actually there’s something similar in any instrument, but the way this has been implemented in your works it’s absolutely different from producing a tone by touching the key of a piano...
Your work is intrinsically connected with the
This particular work was very much centred around the development of the glove interface, and was a result of much experimentation using the cassette tape format. We wanted to develop a device that reassessed the way that people used this format, and perhaps consequently
chance to create interaction with audience: when you conceive a work, do you think to whom will enjoy your work?
Target audiences are always something you certainly have to consider as artists, but it’s
Signal to Noise
What experiences have you had exhibiting in different countries? What is the difference between exhibiting, for example, in Great Britain and exhibiting in Japan, or in the United States?
not really top priority for us during the initial development of the work. With the glove interface for example, the project has been a gradual evolution of the interface’s design over a period of time. It has been a process of trial and error in creating a device that is robust enough to withstand public consumption and at the same time flexible enough to be accessible to a wide demographic of people as possible. I think with the Sonophore project the work can really appeal to both those seeking a playful and sonically interesting interactive experience, alongside those who are more interested in the concepts the work explores, either the technology or revealing the sound content.
Strangely enough we seem to be approached and invited to exhibit abroad much more than in the UK. We’re still not certain why that is, but there does seem to be a slightly more active media-arts scene in mainland Europe, particularly when compared with the UK. Also I would say that there doesn’t seem to be a great deal of support available for young and emerging artists here, whether that’s the same in other countries I’m not sure. Obviously all our exhibitions are different, but they’ve generally all been good experiences
Signal to Noise
old pianos with a lump hammer, to programming complicated software patches. They all have their own challenge and consequently you are always learning new ways of working. As I mentioned previously it’s also really satisfying to see the public engage with your work during exhibitions. Hopefully every so often we inspire someone, and maybe they’ll go home, dig out there old cassette players from their childhoods and start experimenting with them! Let’s look at the online video ecosystem, which is emblematic for the recent boom of creativity. Web services present the works that are completely accessible for immediate feedback on a wide scale and attract massive attention. What is your take on the impact of networked technologies on aesthetics of collaborative practices?
Sonophore, exhibition at De La Warr Pavillion
and allowed us to meet a lot of very friendly and hospitable people, and also to see some other really great artwork. Probably one of the most enthusiastic responses to our work was out in Seattle, USA in 2010 when installing as part of the ‘Sound Human’ exhibition in the Seattle Center. People just seemed to be really excited by the work, and that’s really inspiring to see having worked so hard on a project. Although documentation of our work was shown out in Japan, we didn’t actually get to visit Tokyo in person, but hope to at some point in the future.
Well one of our first exhibitions was really off the back of an American curator viewing documentation of our work on You Tube. It’s pretty amazing that we live at a time where something like that can happen and as artists we’re able to share our work in a way that perhaps 10 or 15 years ago wouldn’t have been possible. I also think the open souce networks for developing projects such the Arduino community are invaluable in terms of shared knowledge and collaboraiton.
always interested in hearing the answer to: what aspect of your work do you enjoy the most? What gives you the biggest satisfaction?
What’s next for you? Have you a particular project in mind ?
At the minute we have several new projects under development. One particular favourite uses a modified version of the glove interface, but this time to play back audio tape that this time is encoded with video information. We’re working on an installation that features this idea to be exhibited for summer 2013.
Each project we work on generally seems to have a lot different roles, which all demand different skills and qualities. I think that it’s this variety that really keeps the projects fresh and challenging. Everything from making sound recordings in old derelict buildings, dismantling
Veronique Jacques You have a formal training and you haved studied cello in Montreal: nowadays, your main interests seem to deal with electroacoustic music, so when did your interest for experimental music art begin?
I started to be curious about electronic music and sound manipulation when I discovered the Simon. The way they blend soundscapes, pop music, acoustic instrumentation and electronic processing really inspired me (and still does). Yes, I had formal training in classical cello performance when I was younger, stopped around the age of twelve and started again at nineteen. When I was younger, I played the cello for fun, because I, simply put, love the cello. It was not difficult to practice and play in front of an audience, maybe because I got the chance to start when I was five years old and when I was practicing at home, my sisters were never far away (the best audience ever!). But starting music again at nineteen, was not the same thing. I started thinking a little bit more - why am I not comfortable playing classical music anymore? And I discovered that it is not the sound of classical music, but the context.
and I felt that I could be myself, as a cellist and as a composer. Then I decided to go to the University of Montreal to start Electroacoustic studies. The interest grew when I started being more awake and listening to the sounds around me more as a melodic pattern.
Then I had a gig in 2007 for an electronic project, and I just felt so good on stage with music of this kind. It brought me the emotion I was looking for 58
on the wooden floor, the sound of the coffee machine... it’s lovely!) Do you think that a "traditional" training is an advantage for developing experimental music?
I know great composers who have never touched a classical instrument and never had "traditional" training, and are yet amazing composers! I feel that there is an advantage for both, in the sense that without traditional training, these academic values that you learn at school, your inspiration is more likelt to come from your imagination and/or things around you. You have this freedom to create something completely new and true. I am definitely so grateful to have had this traditional training. I have had the chance to get to know the cello really well, enough to do research around it, look for new texture, new ways of playing and I can write down my ideas, write music score. With knowledge in music theory and the technique, you get the chance to go wherever you want and use this knowledge to go even further. But sometimes it can be hard to "let it go" and stop thinking in this classical way of creating music. To try and "escape" from the structure and the rules... but it has brought up a lot of reflexion and thinking! This is a really interesting process! Do you think that there's a "contrast" between different tradition and contemporary?
Since the music is in the hand of the person, it is developing constantly and I think the contrast is not that big for the music understanding since the middle of the XXe century. Today, we can listen to all sorts of music without going out of the comfort of our home. There are so many music Festival for each genre and maybe that is the main reason for why I don’t think there is contrast between the traditional and contemporary music. Ears today are used to hearing so many different music genres. >>>
(As I’m writing this, I’m sitting in a coffee shop and this scenery.... is great and inspiring! people murmuring, dishes clinging, calm music in the background, the slow turning of pages of newspapers and books, a chair making a cracking sound, footsteps 59
Where I could see the contrast is with the instrumentalist vs. the composer - the music notation is different. I remember my first gig with a contemporary ensemble, I felt like I had only been playing the cello for a year, having to ask what is this symbol? how we play it?... but it was such a great experience!
But everyone has access to the technology and the art, all you need is a computer and you can search for trials on youtube, and get the chance to create electronic music, video, digital paintings... there are no limits! I also think that today, video games, movies, music shows, art installations are constantly stimulating our senses...
Synergy between art and technology has become more and more refined during the last year: do you think that nowadays still exists a "dichotomy" between art and technology? Or are they are already assimilated into each other?
Everything is so big, you’re always looking for something new, something different, looking to having our own “color”. Working closely with technology and doing research with new media also means you search for your identity. (how to be different, and get attention from the public).
I think they are not completely assimilated into each other, because it’s something that’s still so new! But always getting closer.... 60
Veronique Jacques different styles and experiences help each other to better express one's personality?
Yes it definitely brings me so much! Recently I did a collaboration with an Icelandic son) and I got the honor to play a few of my pieces with him. There is something about collaborations, and this really strong bonding over music which brings both of us into the same “universe”. Most people said that music is the universal language... and in moments like these I really believe it. When we were composing together, we had a “main idea”, a feeling or a specific emotion that we wanted to express. Talking, thinking, trying to compose, playing, recording...In the whole process we helped each other to become better musicians. As I mentioned earlier, it forces you to go out of your comfort zone, find words to express the music and you have no choice but to be open minded! This is an example of one of a great collaborations I’ve had. After this project, we realized that we brought something to each other: new inspirations and a little something new in our sounds. We learned so much in the process of sharing and creating!
© What are some of the issues that concern you when making cello arrangements?
When I am making cello arrangements one of the most important issues is to find a way to make each “line” as a unique instrument, working the bow technique, using natural and artificial harmonics, playing with the whole range of the cello and finding texture that could bring another aspect to the “natural sound” of this instrument.
Let's talk about your recent electroacoustic music project "Tveir Heimar": what was your inspiration for this work?
I also try to keep it as natural as possible. I really concentrate my energy on finding a way to record the cello and research how it’s possible to create this effect in live performance without electronic modification. And when I load all the tracks up on my computer, it’s another vision that I have, more technical work with EQ filters, reverb and work on specific resonance.
This music project is about two worlds, two contrasting cities and two inspirations. electro-acoustic music created with the new technologies. These sounds represent the violence of the turbulent Northern winds juxtaposed by the captivating beauty of the perfectly static landscape. Montreal can be represented by acoustic instrumentation, more structural and traditional. These traditional elements overlap and collide representing the internal struggle.
As you have written in your personal statement, collaboration with other musicians in the creative is important for your creative process: may reciprocal influences between
tion. I was looking for an inspiring place where I could find all means I needed to create and also where Art is “explosive”. I’ve been here for five months and I feel so much at home and I already got so many amazing opportunities with music creation. I realize
Both of these places are very physical and alive but at the same time have contrasting landscapes that breathe and are emotionally warm. Moving in an other country can be exciting.... moving to a wonderful country like Iceland is wonderfuly exciting! How much Iceland has contributed to enhance your creativity?
passionate and a place where artists are respected!
Oh yes it’s wonderfully exciting!!! Living in
There is also one specific event in Iceland in which I got the chance to participate, named Vinnslan. This is an amazing opportunity for me in an artistic process. I will give you this link to learn more about it: www.youtube.com/watch?v=0buVBgi-GGw
place for Art and also for experimentation/exploration. I moved in Iceland to get the chance to work on my own music project, take a break of the big city with its noise and pollu62
You are also a teacher: do you think that there's lot to learn from one's students?
What are your futur plans? One of the most important future plans and my priority for the next four months will be to finish the project Tveir Heimar. I’m also composing a piece for a string orchestra which will be played
Definitely yes, it is so important for me to see the passion through the eyes of my students. This is something that I really enjoy, and it reminds me constantly of the beauty of learning and also of the reason why I decided to start playing the cello. I see things through my students that we should never forget: curiosity, don't be afraid to make mistakes, never stop learning and enjoy every single moment where you have the chance to live your passion.
and I’m thinking about presenting a new series of three pieces at Vinnslan #5. There are also new (really interesting) music collaborations that I have planned, that will be amazing! I’m working closely with Ekumen in Montreal and we are planning to organize a concert together when I go back to the city. I will present Tveir Heimar and I have the idea to travel a little bit with this project.With those main projects, who knows what the future holds! One of my friends always said to me: Trust the Universe.
As a performer, have you had any especially touching feedback from audience members?
I had one comment especially that really touched me, it’s about the “live music experien- ce I sometimes get comments from people that tell me that my music “shakes” the inside and brings out a lot of feeling and emotions.This is such an important comment for me, sharing emotions is something which comes truly and directly from the heart (and sometime messed up by the brain ;). It’s an accomplishment for me If people are “affected” by my music and my live performance. it’s all about the feeling.
www.soundcloud.com/veronique-j facebook music's page: www.facebook.com/veronique.cellist
Thordis Erla Zoega
Thordis Erla Zoega (Iceland) The drawings are two dimensional dra-wings/collages that are exploring possibly impossible spaces. They are of spaces that suggest that they are leading to somewhere when in actuality they are not. A play with wrong perspective and thus perception plays a big role in the drawings along with the struggle between nature and humans even though absent, is reflected in the human made architectural construction. I situated the drawings in a room within an old castle in Czech republic aligning the actual window of the castle so it seemed as the drawings were also windows with a view in different worlds. The floor of the room was damaged so it was filled with plywood that had the shape of the floors in the drawings. And in the entrance I put sticker tape that had the image of bricks next to real bricks that were showing in the walls enhancing the difference between what is real and what is fake.
Thordis Erla Zoega
Possibly constructed view
firstname.lastname@example.org www.thordiz.com 65
Thordis Erla Zoega
an interview with
Thordis Erla Zoega
A photo of xCREDITx
First of all we would like to ask you what in your opinion defines a work of art.
international opportunities. But I love working in Iceland.
For me it can be anything that you present as art.
I guess that you have been repeatedly asked about your astonishing country as source of inspiration. How has it had impact on you to move from Iceland to Amsterdam and then to Berlin? I don't think I'm exaggerating if I state that nowadays in Berlin there's something absolutely extraordinary happening.
You have formal training and moreover you have studied in different schools in Europe: how much have these experiences influenced the way you produce art?
your safe zone creating new experiences and Every city has its own charm and energy. In Iceland you can really feel the vastness and
decision of doing my Bachelor in Amsterdam and now working in Berlin. It has created many 66
Thordis Erla Zoega
of a research I did for my end exam project. I was interested in how readily we accept visual incorrections if they look logical.
I can recognize a kind of Ariadne's Thread through your pieces. Is your process the same for both the drawings and installations?
There is a definite puzzle when I start to make a work. You can sometimes see in earlier works where an idea sparked from and how it developed into more intricate works in the sense of research. One thing leads to another. With the drawings I go more along with feeling but with the installations I have usually already built it up in my head. We have read that you once stated that "What we know about reality is both what we perceive and what we have learnt to perceive". Sometimes it seems that environment hides informations which, even though are not â€œencryptedâ€?, need to be deciphered. Do you think that one of the role of an artist could be to reveal unexpected sides of environment or nature, in the wide sense of word?
A difficult task
I think many artists want to try to reveal and research parts of our daily surroundings that
anywhere else. But its great working in bigger cities. I love being in Berlin at the moment.
You seem to be a very prolific artist: we would like to focus on your drawings which our readers can admire in the pages of this issue. By the way, could you take us through your creative process when starting a new project?
Both these drawing projects come from a similar starting point. I started with making the focusing lately on perception of space and visual misunderstanding. The drawings from Possible space construction is a visual result 67
Thordis Erla Zoega
Typewriter are maybe not obvious to the observer. Sometimes just stopping and taking a closer look at a mundane object you can see the magic in it. I do believe that perception is learned and it is shaped by the tools that we have been given by birth.
on in their environment and either consciously or unconsciously reacting to the zeitgeist. Art makes life more fun and interesting and i think that the role of artists is to put focus on different elements in our lives that are easily overlooked.
A distinctive mark of your art production is an effective multidisciplinary approach. Do you think that transmedia art is an attempt to break the tyranny of language?
ways interested in hearing the answer to: what aspects of your work do you enjoy the most?
When I am just starting a new project and I think that I have come up with a great idea gives me always a big rush. Or when I have been trying to find a solution for a work and something suddenly clicks.
I think art is a different kind of language. You can understand it and experience it without any words art and what you are experiencing.
What's next for you? Anything coming up for you professionally that you would like readers to be aware of?
Do you think that art could play an important role in facing social questions? And what role has an artist in society?
project space called ZMF in Berlin in April and I have an upcoming exhibition in Amstel 54 in Amsterdam.
I think artists are always being affected by what is going
Thordis Erla Zoega
That does not depend on the garden where it is lower
Published on Mar 8, 2013
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