LandEscape Art Review - March 2013

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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.

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In this issue Tania Goryushina



Tania Goryushina - Anne

“For me a creative force for art making is the challenges associated with dislikes or suffer from something, or hunger about something/someone, or refusal to repeat myself.”

Basil Al Rawi



“The nascent stage of a project excites me immensely as it can often difficult to trace the exact inception of an idea”

Dawn Nye & Katrazyna Randall



D. Nye & K.Randall - American Love Story - A landscape in sequence


“We both still make work independent of our collaborative work and it remains as disperate as it was when we met.”

Jihoon Yoo (South Korea / USA)

“Artworks could include a human being’s life in their generation, because it is able to represent a culture in that era” Jihoon Yoo - Reharsaal II



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Meghan Krauss



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“Art is something that everyone is exposed to from their childhood, through to adulthood whether they realize it or not” M.Krauss ‘autotopia’

Teresa Nunes Alves de Sousa (Portugal)


“We’ll see each other very clearly most of the time, sometimes even admittedly cross visual influences but never touch” Teresa Nunes Alves De Souza - I Canvas


Ezra Wube (Ethiopia / USA)

“Trying to define art is like trying to define life, it is unboundable. In my opinion any truth is art. “ Ezra Wube - Hidar

Ali Kirby



“the viewer has the impression of color in the whole spectrum of the work. It is a challenge of visual and physical activity” A.Kirby - Self Portrait & Him


Kelsey Giraud-Carrier (USA)

“Land-escape is one of the effects that are visible at the surface. But below that there is a deeper truth which core is societies structure inside reducing villages.” Kelsey Giraud Carrier - III

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Tania Goryushina


Tania Goryushina (Ukraine) An artist‘s statement

“By participating

in social activities within an artistic circle I experience life by investigating common ordinary things, which are embedded in specific sites, places and communities. It makes me step out of my comfort zone of working primarily in a studio space, and into the investigation of visual languages and the processes that occur between people while sharing experiences. To me, personal research in artistic language means awakening ones own senses, as well as ones intellectual, emotional, and spiritual potential. Sharing my own observations through engaging audiences or pedagogical practice is an essential element of my work as an artist. Exchange of experiences liberates me from the established limitations and boundaries and opens opportunities for translating of one sense into all the senses.

lour to present with colour, technique and composition certain circumstances I encountered on my way to achieving a certain goal. In The Pupil I reflect the following three concepts that have shaped this project as well as my life experience.

Principally working as a painter in the recent years, watercolour has been my adoration. In taming this delicate medium, I focus on catching the essence, the fleeting, in a fluent and spontaneous way, and not merely showing technical skills. For example, in my recent project, The Pupil, I use my skills and knowledge about waterco-


Tania Goryushina

1. Acceptance. It is about my freedom in a certain space which inspires and increase “positive function of action�. As the pupil responses to some stimuli. It is an acceptance, is a chasm, it is a space, it is enter, is you and me in the process of acceptance and reaction on the light. The bright straight lines on paintings reflect kind of litmus of my perception reacting differently on the circumstances with a use of color. 2. Rejection. Some obstacles related to me as well but from another angle. The limits, the borders, the soft pressure of the visa process, which through invisible lens breaks the perspective of landscape, makes me or others feel frustrated and unsecure. Therefore, metaphorically I reflected the Rejection by using a tape while forming shapes of composition in my paintings. Hereby I deprived the watercolor from its quality.

3. External mistakes. Something unexpected. Could be justified for me with the only one good reason the NEW experience. A tape I used on a paper to separate the fields sometimes destroyed a work when I removed one. I prefer fragility of a paper that a proper canvas. It is much harder to change something on a paper, Sigtuna, Sweden,

it stays there as a reminder of happen mistake, as an experience. The paintings are done in two ways: in some of them the color is floating spontaneously on a surface but few are strictly made with a total control and patience. There are two of me who are in between two external extremes: the Acceptance and the Rejection.


(Tania Goryushina)


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Tania Goryushina

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Tania Goryushina

An interview

(photo by Yevgen Chorny)

What in your opinion defines a work of art?

making.Through working on synthesis of perceptual and logical responses to something, I demonstrate my mind activities through chosen artistic language. In each work of art you should find therapeutic, spiritual and social aspects, it definitely must deal with natural order.

Art for me is a big garden you get in after passing a long dark, shaky, slippery, sticky, with many fake branches, corridor. In that garden you make your own recipe for taking care of herbs. I am already inside of that garden collecting and cooking these herbs for other and for myself.

You have formal training, and you have studied in Ukraine and in Sweden: how much training influences art?

The work of art appears because of the sensory I apply while being able to see/hear these herbs. It may sound too poetic, so that I have another explanation as well. By Art I understand a concept of freedom

Well, in Ukraine and Sweden we have completely different system of art education. In Ukraine formal art education does not apply 6

Tania Goryushina

critical elements or by other words, there is not so much democratic discourse in Art schools. It rather focuses on realistic methods in painting, drawing and sculpture, it is an old school: brushwork, color theory, composition, etc. Beside the official Art Academies, Institutes or schools, there is productive informal art education in Ukraine, which exists as a big platform of discussions and exchanges, established by different culture oriented organizations. Their activities bit by bit are crossing with formal institutions, so the system will be changed soon due to the progressive young volunteers who develop democracy in art field.

I attended two different Art schools in Kyiv and have variety of skills learned from both of them. A good result is a discipline I learned from the routine academic schedule. There is no problem for me to work with any material according to painting or drawing. Skills in technic absorbed during academic years do really help me to survive when it goes to the commission work such us book illustration or advertise services.

John, My Sweden

From my heart I can also say that it is a big pleasure to use these skills just for fun, for example to paint in my travel book instead of taking photos.

photo by Tatiana Novikova



Tania Goryushina

(photo by Jonas Bredenfeldt)

The Grey Zone&The Licmus watercolor 144x122 cm X2, Sigtuna, Sweden

I tried avoiding painting in new projects but it turned me again and again back to what I use to work with. Enlightenment happen to me when I accepted this problem of thinking through painting. I separated art from the illustration and commercial painting. For me a creative force for art making is the challenges associated with dislikes or suffer from something, or hunger about something/someone, or refusal to repeat myself. Therefore the influences are the people I meet or certain private or social situations, could (people could be also authors I read). As soon as it comes to my zone of comfort there is another type of `writing words` appears, more calligraphic maybe. I call it `time to paint flowers`!

In Sweden I experienced absolutely different training. The discussions were mostly oriented on critical thinking and researches in art. At first months I almost cried because it was just impossible for my professor and me to understand each other. I felt that I must change somehow and, at the same time to keep own authenticity. Actually, because of influential methods which teachers used for art tutorials in Sweden, I decided to expand my knowledge towards pedagogy in Art and share my experience about the balance between craft and concept. How has your art developed since you left school? Can you tell us your biggest influences in art and how they have affected your work?

What technical aspects do you mainly focus on in your work?

Oh, this is a life story! Because I developed my skill in using different technics for such long time that later made me feel like a prisoner of the perfectionism. It felt for me more acutely during my study in Sweden when

Regarding the painting I adjust technics to what I want to say. I adore working with watercolor. I like to experiment on its possibilities, not only technical but rather how to use the watercolor metaphorically. 8

Tania Goryushina

The Pupil's Landscape

insecure. Therefore, metaphorically, in this project I reflected ‘rejection’ by using tape on paper while creating shapes of composition, thus, depriving watercolour of its essence and main quality.

A very interesting work of yours that we have selected is entitled "The Pupil's Landscape". What was your inspiration for this series?

A necessity to develop an inner freedom perhaps. I was longing to come back to Sweden after eight months break due to the complexity of a visa process. When finally I arrived to a studio which was kindly provided

How did you come up with the idea for "Children's Line"?

I started creating decorative motives when I studied in Art college folk ceramic, at age 15. Years later this style transformed into the book illustrations, since I was frequently asked to create something for children.

I could really do with accessed freedom instead of just struggling for that. I refined my perceptions due to the tranquil nature of Sigtuna environment and reflected through art some of emergencies that I could not put words on.

In 2008 I got a grant from Ukrainian president, which helped me to publish my first book. Now I permanently work on children books.

In this stimulating serie we often see bright straight lines...

At the moment I work for Ukrainian publisher Glowberrybooks. It is important to have a good team when working on a product, especially for children.

The straight lines relate to Rejection concept. This refers to certain obstacles – the limits, the borders, the soft pressure, which, through an invisible lens, break the perspective of a landscape, make humans feel frustrated and

The best is when you have no limits on creating illustrations, then characters sometimes acting out my inner experiences. 9

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Tania Goryushina

Besides painting on canvas and paper, you also produce illustrated books: do you adapt your style in such situations? And moreover, do you think that art could play an important role in children's education?

For the book illustrations I create characters who are acting and telling the stories but for `adult` art I became the character who verbalize or visualize an ideas. A good explanation could be that for working on illustration for children there are two responsibilities I focus on: caring and creative. For the contemporary art I let my Ego to appear.

Fairy Tales Imagery books

From my experience creative thinking may apply for any discipline so that the learning processes become more effective. I believe that art is not separated matter according to education since art can capture anything.

Bee from Chlidren's Line, wood, acryl, W15

Reflection 3 oil on canvas (55 x 130, 2007-2008)

An interesting work that we have had the chance to get to know is entitled "Anna", realized in 2011.

As you have stated, "is much harder to change something on a paper, it stays there as a reminder of happen mistake, as an experience": could we conclude that a mistake is not just a chance of improvement, but the improvement itself?

We can recognize vertical lines that seem to flow like tears on the paper, and inspire a sensation of contrast with the dreamy expression of the young girl in the picture: at the same time, these lines seems to "close the space", limiting the freedom.Â

All in all, the "footprint" of a mistake clearly reveals the impulses of creativity...

I think that not a mistake but a personal relation to mistake make sense in this way. Whatever happens during the experiment in important in art. I would say that I shape my individuality by how I treat my mistakes.

Could you tell us something about the inspiration between your creations?

Fantastic reflection of you on this work! I have not thought about the `tears`, that was just 10

Land Escape

Tania Goryushina

Photo by Mattias Ericsson

Anna. My Sweden

Sweden 2011

effects from working on such a big board that was fixed vertically while I was working. I could not care about these drops due to the strong concentration on Anna.

puts to her gum) The real tears came later, at the exhibition of this project. That was one of the hardest and most interesting project for me.

Anna is an artist and her works of that time were oriented upon water pollution. She melted into sculptures plastic waste (straws, CD,etc).She decorated with them an aquarium and filled it up with water and fishes.

By the way, I remember that someone at exhibition blamed me that these drops destroyed cleanness of work, at that moment I have understood that this was the best visual trace of the process of painting.

That is why I painted her inside the glass box. On her foot there is a typical Swedish shoe and beside her arm is a box with snuses (one she

I cared about the person I painted but not about the drops on canvas!


Land Escape

Tania Goryushina

My Sweden installation at Gallery-60, Umea,Sweden

(photo by Mattias Ericsson)

How many paintings do you usually produce at the same time? Do you think that there's a "channel of communication" between different works that have been produced at the same time?

Usually I find a subject and work on it for about three-seven months. For example on The Pupil Landscape I worked for three months and made 9 paintings and kilos of sketches. Writing becomes later, when the project is mature and I can bring together what I felt and what created.A communication between works depends on a place. It goes more organized when I need to use residence period or asked to prepare an exhibition or to reflect on something.

Children Illustration for Glowberrybooks in progress


Tania Goryushina

Photo by Tetyana Goryushina


Tania Goryushina

The Swedish song watercolor on paper, 108x88cm photo by Jonas Bredenfeldt

The Virus watercolor on paper 122x108cm each photo by Jonas Bredenfeldt My Sweden in progress,

How many paintings do you usually produce at the same time?

Writing becomes later, when the project is mature and I can bring together what I felt and what created.

Do you think that there's a "channel of communication" between different works that have been produced at the same time?

A communication between works depends on a place. It goes more organized when I need to use residence period or asked to prepare an exhibition or to reflect on something.

Usually I find a subject and work on it for about three-seven months. For example on The Pupil Landscape I worked for three months and made 9 paintings and kilos of sketches. 14

Tania Goryushina

watercolor on paper 100x122 cm. Sigtuna, Sweden 2012

thod an audiencies dominant in a physical way. Through ‘performing a painting’, I sacrifice my pleasure of creation for the audience’s experience. Thus, switching the rules of sequence ‘creation > viewer’ to the opposite. I have tried it with audience and also musicians. The result was incredible! I believe that one day it is going to be a big orchestra with thousand participants for such a conversation.

What's next for you? Have you a particular project in mind?

I work on idea of transforming the painting practice into The Painting Orchestra. It is far from a traditional meaning about painting but rather use of a concept of painting process to explore it as a method of communication – when the painting transforms into a tool or a key to ‘another’ conversation. Through this me15

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Basil Al Rawi


Basil Al Rawi (Ireland)

from the series

, 2012

An artist’s statement

introductory text

“My photographic practice is primarily concerned with how images can mediate, rearrange and reconstruct our reality. I’m interested in using the syntax of the medium and its implicit connection with ‘reality’ and objectivity to interrogate aspects of our world.

“The Irish property bubble burst in 2008, precipitating the ongoing economic crisis in the country. As credit dried up and developers went into receivership, developments were abandoned at various stages of completion. Empty housing estates, skeletal buildings and zoned wastelands now mar the landscape.

“Sometimes what we see is not always as it seems, and I’m fascinated by photography’s ability to absorb us into carefully constructed fictions. For when we have become indifferent to certain uncomfortable truths, fiction can refresh and recontextualise our response to them. (Basil Al Rawi)

Many sites on the periphery of towns and cities remain encircled by hoardings, some covered in hyperreal imagery and grandiose slogans which belie the reality. These fences obstruct our view and act like screens, projecting a fictional past over the present actuality. They have become part of the topography of the country, relics of an illusionary age.


Basil Al Rawi toric of boomtime, monuments of desire and promise now rendered ironic and absurd. These hoardings obstruct our view and perform like screens, projecting one reality while simultaneously concealing another. Intervention was critical to my photographic approach as I was motivated by a desire to reinterpret the reality of these structures, primarily to refresh our observation of them and encourage reflection upon the ideologies that governed the era represented, when happiness and social mobility was inextricably linked with property ownership. Furthermore, through a process of detachment and dislocation I hope, on one level, to convey a sense of the surreal disruptive impact of these structures on the landscape.

rhe This project originated out of a desire to respond to the impact of the property crash and subsequent economic crisis on the social and physical landscape in Ireland. Much reflection has taken place across media, literature and the arts on the repercussions of neo-liberal free market excess and the decline of the Celtic Tiger economy. Reportage of the ensuing social distress precipitated by the crash became a daily ritual in Ireland and living within this climate roused a compulsion to respond. My interest centered on one of the most tangible and stark manifestation of the crash: thousands of incomplete or vacant dwellings which stretch to almost every town in the country, known as “ghost estates”.

On another level, I wish to create space for the viewer to contemplate the visual rhetoric at work on these hoardings and in turn photography”s implicit role in the construction of illusion. Hence the title of this project, which also implicates my own photographs in this theatre. The word with regard to the idea that art, and specifically photography, is a medium of illusion which can provoke us into questioning the real. Mike Kelley wrote that "art must concern itself with the real, but it throws any notion of the real into question. It always turns the real into a facade, a representation, and a construction."[1]The images in this series seek to intervene in the real in order to encourage reflection on fictional constructs from the past which continue to haunt the present.

What I found most compelling as I researched and traveled around the country was the recurring imagery used in the marketing brochures of housing developments; architectural renderings of apartments blocks and housing estates contrasted

from the series

imagery and the photographs appear to function on a virtual, hyperreal level, constructing an illusion through hype and seduction. One of the concerns of this project is to explore and attempt to comment on this territory between the virtual and the real, between the construction of fantasy and represented reality. Many of the abandoned developments I encountered were still encircled by their original hoardings, adorned with the same imagery from the brochures, garishly displaying promises for “a new way of life”. They appear like relics of the rhe-


, 2012

Basil Al Rawi

Land Escape

an interview with

Basil Al Rawi You have a multidisciplinary education across Social Sciences and Art: in fact, before focusing on image making, you have studied English and Sociology. How much these experiences have impacted on your art?

It’s somewhat difficult to ascertain the full extent of the impact these studies have had on my art, but what I am sure of is that this period of study was my first introduction to film studies and critical theory, which aroused and fostered my interest in the area of image making. This particular combination of subjects allowed me to indulge my interest with fiction and literature whilst simultaneously encouraging an everanalytical eye on the world around me, both critical to my current practice. It was a highly formative experience and sociology, through media studies modules in particular, exposed me to analysing the power that images can have on our perception of the world.

Basil Al Rawi

scene. The final images were results of on set improvisation from a pre-conceived plan. by exploring and photographing the landscapes over a period of nine months. I used Google Streetview to recce locations before physical visits, which helped narrow the focus of my research. Many sites were rephotographed a number of times during different weather conditions to achieve the correct lighting and approach. Strict formal and deadpan composition was critical to the aesthetic as I wanted to establish some level of dislocation from the subject matter, to render it stark and impersonal. I constantly engage in critical reassessment of a project as it develops and try to gather feedback from friends and peers; this is fundamental to the development of a rigorous body of work I feel.

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?

I am not a strict adherent to one particular process but rather I approach each project on its own merits. The nascent stage of a project excites me immensely as it can often difficult to trace the exact inception of an idea, but once it has taken hold it can become all consuming. For Where the Dreams Are Growing Wild I approached the images somewhat similar to a film shoot. I developed a narrative for each image, storyboarding the composition and conceptualizing the mise-en18

Basil Al Rawi

from the series

Not to mention that art should have an effect, should communicate something. In

, 2012

By the way, do you think that art could steer or even change people's behavior?

I like to think it can. Certainly images can have a profound effect on people’s behaviours and perceptions, like the power of an image such as Nick Ut’s photo of Kim Phuk fleeing napalm in 1972, which did much to alter the public’s perception of that conflict.

the impact of the property crash in Ireland, your country. So it might sound even rethorical to ask you if you think that art’s purpose is simply to provide a platform for an artist’s expression. But do you think that art could play an important role in social questions?

Its collective effect can be discerned easier than the effect a less mediatised image can have on an individual. But I believe our behaviour is influenced by a complex array of stimuli and art is very much part of that matrix. Art can reveal hidden truths which make us reassess our response to reality. This philosophy is what informs much of my work.

All art is indeed a platform for individual expression, but its purpose is not limited to that. For me, the most profound artistic expressions are those which encourage or demand an interrogative response. Photography is a medium of great efficacy when it comes to holding a mirror up to the world for us to reflect on our relationship to it. 19

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Basil Al Rawi

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still from

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 roles of artist could be to reveal unexpected sides of environment or Nature, in the wide sense of word?

expression that have impressed us is "ghost estates". In this situation, incompleteness suggests a "broken dream" or, as you seem to state, a dichotomy "between the virtual and the real"...

The incomplete and empty dwellings across Ireland are highly symbolic structures, a type of ‘new ruin’. There is a certain paradox to this idea of ‘new ruins’, for to describe empty dwellings as such defines them by their history. The ruin stores a cache of lived narratives, like a conduit to past events. Yet these edifices are like new stages, awaiting narratives which may never occur. They are in a state of limbo, caught between ruin and function, absent from history. Ruins carry a

I absolutely believe that the role of the artist is to interpret our reality and reveal aspects of it that are not superficially evident. This is the function of art, to interpret, interact, transmit, reframe, repackage our reality. It can take many forms, but the most gifted are the ones who can manifest latent truths from the world around us. 20

Basil Al Rawi

still from

connote a denial of this reverie, a vacant stage for potential narratives. The images of windows are designed to idealise ‘the view’, a major selling point for such ‘dream homes’. As with the empty fireplaces, the shell of the house contains unperformed narratives, a void where dreams and memories will never manifest. The windows demarcate that space between inside and outside, mediating the duality between fantasy and reality. They frame the impact of the intervention these structures make not only on the physical landscape, but the economic and social too. The window- frame functions as an aperture and the framed landscape appears as an image within an image, a metaphotograph.

certain allegorical power and these are no different, for they speak of the failure of the neo-liberal fantasy. These ruins, much like the crisis they symbolise, are constructed. The interior images of fireplaces and window frames resonate strongly with overarching theme of the work. All of these interiors are photographs from failed ‘dream’ developments - coastal holiday homes, country retreats or lakeside sanctuaries. The bare breezeblock living rooms and fireplaces represent the site of unrealised dreams, a poignant domestic reminder of the duality between the images from the hoardings and the reality on the ground. Gaston Bachelard wrote that fire is the prime element of reverie and thus the empty and impotent fireplace can 21

Basil Al Rawi

still from

By the way, do you think that the hope of "a new way of life" is irremediably lost?

Even though it might sound absurd, we can recognize an optimistic approach in the final part of your abstract when you say "in order to encourage reflection on fictional constructs from the past which continue to haunt the present": is an exaggeration to say that such incom-pleteness also suggests an hope?

I hope not, but certainly the way of life promoted on the hoardings in Ireland never materialized. It was always an illusion. The ‘new way of life’ wasn’t essentially new, rather it was just rebranded. A new way of life was never achievable through the means promoted, through unsustainable mortgages and unregulated spending. The reality of that fallacy today is evident not only in Ireland, but across Europe and America. We are living through a crisis of ideology and the way ahead is fraught with uncertainty which is, in a perverse way, reassuring.

One can always learn from mistakes, and there’s an inherent hopefulness in that sentiment. The critical element for me is the idea of reflection, of having the space to reconcile what has occurred and attempt to navigate a path through it. It’s about facing up to the reality of the transgression and listening to its message. That is fundamentally what the images in attempt to encourage. 22

Basil Al Rawi

still from

We would like to ask you if in your opinion there are any differences between exhibiting in Ireland and in the United Kingdom.

We have had he chance to admire your series "The City of Arts and Science", so we wonder if you think that nowadays still exists a dichotomy between art and technology. What's your take about this?

My experiences are somewhat limited, but nonetheless I would say that the main difference is audience and exposure. London, by sheer nature of its size and cosmopolitan status, offers a greater exposure for ones work. That said the art scene in Ireland is very vibrant and the degrees of separation are much narrower so the networks are easier to discern and become a part of. I would like to see a broadening of the curatorial approach to contemporary photography in certain Irish galleries as it displays at times an unhealthy conservatism.

As a photographic artist, science and technology are inseparable from the medium. Every innovation in technology has heralded new forms of creative expression and I think that is only going to increase as our interaction with the world becomes ever more mediated by screens. I do not believe that art and technology are mutually exclusive, rather they are coalescing evermore. 23

Basil Al Rawi

You also produce video, and we would like to mention your artwork "Drop" and especially "Opus K" which is very stimulating. 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?

broad terms and I think there will always be a demarcation between mainstream cinematic output and more experimental approaches to the medium.

There is certainly a lot of cross over, with artists such as Willie Doherty making art films like Ghost Story using cast and crew from what you could call ‘standard cinema’ and Steve McQueen transitioning to the theatrical realm with his extraordinary film Hunger. I think that experimentations with the cinematic language are the only way forward for the medium and video artists have more creative space to engage in such practices. I would very much welcome a further blurring of the lines but cinema and video art are very


Basil Al Rawi

Thank you for this interview, Basil. Just another question: what 's next for you?

a sequence of stills from “Drops”

I have just begun my next project, which is focused on experimenting with the photographic negative, real-time web data and image authorship. It’s much more abstract from my previous work and attempts to create photographic abstractions of the impact of stock market speculation and oil exploration on the Irish landscape. Albeit vague, that is about as much as I can say for now!

Still from the trailer of “Opus K”


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Dawn Nye & Katrazyna Randall

Dawn Nye &

Katrazyne Randall (USA) “Over the past two centuries our vision of the American landscape has moved decisively from the heroic to the pastoral, both sites for strong physical and moral action. Bold frontierism eventually gave way to sheltering the moral heart of the nation in the pure, idyllic countryside. There has been a particular relentlessness to the New England landscape, from Homer through Rockwell Kent to the Wyeths and further to today’s inane glut of barns, lighthouses and lobstermen, a devotion to the picturesque cloaked in a deceptive naturalism. The identity of real, truly rural places and communities remainsdeeply submerged in a pastoral fiction. The voice of the urban abject is not culturally dispossessed. Instead, the threatening social presence of the urban poor is visually amplified by its environment, in the eloquently stained pavements of dying cities and sullen graffiti we see represented again and again in the media. This is an environment actively crafted and manipulated by its inhabitants. But the voice of the rural abject is culturally absent, it is harder to locate, harder to place, immersed as it is in a pretty, deeply familiar, and grotesquely simplified pastoral image, a representation crafted by outsiders and romantics as a vacationland. In American Love Story, Katrazyna Randall and Dawn Nye reconceive the tradition 26

Dawn Nye & Katrazyna Randall

of the American landscape to focus on the social presence of the real rural. The voice of this presence is complex, full of resilience and fragility, pain, humor and horror. It is neither good nor bad. It is full of the hypocrisies of rural life that can invite loving admiration of a cashmere goat while pigs scream at slaughter. Flowing beneath this story is the inevitable mutability of both social identity and the land itself. At first the timeless persistence of community memory seems assured, a continuity represented by the generations of native chickadees raising juveniles identical to themselves like so many rural letterboxes marked with the same few surnames. But in the end the voice of the real rural dies as it tells its invisible and tragic love story in lists and fragments, just as the place itself is sold off in bits and pieces in Uncle Henry’s classifieds to outsiders as getaways and investments. Both the voice and the landscape dissolve silently into their representation. (Sarah Maline, Ph.D) Associate Professor of Art History Director, UMF Art Gallery, University of Maine Farmington

stills from American Love Story - A Landscape in Sequence

Katrazyna Randall and Dawn Nye have been making collaborative works since 2001. They have been in exhibits and festivals across the United States, most recently at The Art Kitchen in Milan Italy. They both currently live and work in Maine, U.S.A. Ms. Randall has shown all over the United States, as well as in Micronesia. She is a combined media artist who uses traditional media as well as new media to explore her subjects. Her work is influenced by philosophy, social criticism, design, politics and the history of art. Ms. Nye has worked as a graphic designer but has maintained a studio art practice for the last 20 years. In her work she is most concerned with telling stories of conflicting human desires, best intentions, beauty and futility. She uses humor, pathos and the history of image to connect to ideas that cannot be accurately described with words. She is influenced by graphic design, film, animation, music, literature and the history of art, but also by the people she meets, the neighborhoods she has lived in and the headlines she reads.


Land Escape

Dawn Nye & Katrazyna Randall

an interview with

Katrazyna Randall & Dawn Nye First of all we would like to know what in your opinion defines a work of art.

Katrazyna: I think we are all familiar with the idea of the artist as model maker as one who pushes new territory in dialogue, material and inquiry. I think good art needs to meet this goal but the definition of art doesn’t include judgment or measure. I tell my students simply that art exists in the dialog between intent and audience. I really think it’s that simple. Dawn: To be art, I think something must have intent (to be art), the ability to communicate in some way, and an audience to communicate with. I think a lot about Langston Hughes’ statement about books “happening” to him.

I worked my way through school as a waitress, and a freelance designer and did short stints at the Saint Louis Art Museum as an intern and a deaccessioning assistant. Growing up in the suburbs in a working class family plays a big role in my work. I remember people in art school talking about the “everyman” and thinking it was just a way to oversimplify the human experience. The human story is central to me—even when it is incredibly mundane.

Can you tell our readers a little about your backgrounds?

K: I grew up in an extremely isolated rural community and have since lived in extremes ranging from small rural environments to large urban environments. These different communities span the gamut from a tiny island in Micronesia to New York City. I have spent some time traveling in my life and haven’t really spent more than a few years in any one place here in the states or abroad. For these reason’s I didn’t complete my formal education until later in life than most. I am grateful for those choices because I needed to learn something about the world I wanted to create a dialogue with.

You have established a fruitful collaboration: could you tell us something about this effective synergy? How did you two meet? Did you have similarities in your art at the time?

K: We met in graduate school and I wouldn’t say that we had a lot in common in terms of our work but I was incredibly drawn to Dawn’s work. I had long considered myself a humanist

D: I was raised in the midwestern United States, and lived in Toledo Ohio until I was 18. 28

Dawn Nye & Katrazyna Randall of two practices, that alone one could not": what's your point about this? Can you explain how your work demonstrates communication between two artists? This reminds a famous line by Shakespeare: "for the eye sees not itself, but by reflection, by some other things"...

K: We both still make work independent of our collaborative work and it remains as disperate as it was when we met. I think we both feel that our collaborative work remains our strongest. This particular piece is a very different departure for us. There has always been a very abstract relationship between language and image in our work but in this piece there is a very direct relationship and a very distinct narrative. My personal work is about our relationship with nature, the landscape, our understanding of it or lack there of and the modeling of capitalism on social Darwinism. I think this piece still contains all of those areas of interest for me but it is as though I am reviewing these ideas with another set of eyes.

stills from American Love Story - A Landscape in Sequence

but I was so tightly bound to investigating theoretical problems in my work that I had lost any connection to the human story. I still love theory but Dawn’s work reminded me that work that doesn’t make a real world connection is perhaps soulless. Perhaps it even lacks purpose. That isn’t to say that work has to contain a personal narrative as this piece does but I do believe that it has to have a purpose beyond the machinations of the maker at least for me.

D: Working with Katrazyna forces me to make choices I would not have made alone. The process isn’t always easy. There are so many moments of compromise that transform into moments of invention. The collaborative process frees me from the traps I have built for myself. Dawn, besides producing your own art, you're also an art teacher. How has this influenced your career as an artist? By the way, your work deals with new media technology: do you think that new media art will definitely fill the dichotomy between art and technology? Moreover, 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?

D: As Katrazyna said, we met in graduate school. I wouldn’t say our work looked the same, but we had a mutual love for stories and some unconventional approaches to time based media. The artist Peter Tabor once said that "collaboration is working together with another to create something as a synthesis

D: Both Katrazyna and I teach at the University of Maine Farmington in central western


Land Escape

Dawn Nye & Katrazyna Randall

stills from American Love Story - A Landscape in Sequence

Maine. Teaching at a public rural university offers challenges and rewards that are different than teaching in a city. My students don’t have access to museums and galleries, and many of them are first generation college students.

to create an alternative to commercial media. I think the new paradigm will be a dichotomy within technology itself. New tools will be developed with the purpose of aiding in consumption, and artists will appropriate these tools to critique the consumer culture. The difference is that with new media, we can distribute our work without having access to wealth and power. As far as the division between cinema and video art, I think about this all the time. I have embraced the blurred line as it opens up so many possibilities. I no longer think of the two as having an aesthetic division, but rather a division of motives. Whether the subject is experimental, sculptural, documentary or narrative, the two forms are like limbs from the same body.

I think that teaching has changed how I approach my work. I have had to be more disciplined about how I approach big projects. I tend to do a lot of planning during the school year, and do production during breaks. I am also very aware of the example I am setting for my students. Being an artist isn’t an easy thing to take on in this society. I want them to see being an artist as part of how they experience the world. Technology is pushed by societal needs, but for the most part, it is lead by commerce. I have no doubt that new technology will give rise to all kinds of new ways to sell products, but it will also give artists new opportunities

We would like to ask you some technical questions about your recent video "American Love Story: A Landscape in Sequence" that we have selected. Can you tell us about your process and set up for making your work?


Dawn Nye & Katrazyna Randall

stills from American Love Story - A Landscape in Sequence

What technical aspects do you mainly focus on in your work?

mory. We also sampled some the language from field guides and classified ads that related to rural New England. Katrazyna also acted as the voice actress, though I did most of the audio editing and composing. Ultimately we put a great deal of effort into making sure that our technical choices carry our content.

D: This piece went through a lengthy concepting process, but started with some paper houses. We are both interested in the landscape, but wanted to find a way to create a dialog between the drama of nature and mundane poverty.

I think one of the pitfalls of being a new media artist is that you have access to so many wonderful tools. It would be so easy to become absorbed in the media rather than the content.

We wanted to keep the technical aspects of this piece fairly simple, but we knew we needed to create an emotional context for the story we were telling. We shot most of it locally, but also used clips from an archive of video we filmed in the Western US several years ago.

We have recently interviewed an interesting German artist, Swaantje Guentzel, who has stated that "the exploitation of the environment have never been executed on a higher level while at the same time people have never been more convinced of their passion for nature". And although this is evident, we still accept this paradoxical situation. would it seem that this contra-diction is not clear enough as to force us to change our

The audio was sampled from our environment and it was very important to us that the sound had a direct relationship to the images without being literal. Katrazyna wrote the story, and although I acted as editor and collaborator, I consider it the product of her Industry and me31

Dawn Nye & Katrazyna Randall

stills from American Love Story - A Landscape in Sequence

behaviour or, at least, our consciousness ?

You have recently been at The Art Kitchen in Milan Italy: what experiences have you had exhibiting in different countries? What is the difference between exhibiting, for example, in Erope and exhibiting in Asia, or in the United States? By the way, we would like to ask you what impressions you have received during the exhibition in Italy.

K: This lies at the crux of my interest in making. Most of my work is about our relationship with nature and the landscape. Our love of it, our desire to worship it, our decorative use of it, our abuse of it, our strange ability to adopt its methods as a model for capitalism and to use it as a model of rationalization in the very destruction of it itself.

K: I could write a book about being an artist in Micronesia. It was an incredible experience that taught me more about being an artist then anything else and yet I do not know how to compare it to any western experience. The arts were a way of life, utilitarian and adorning.

As an American, I have to say that I do not think that we can see our way to changing our behavior because at the very center of our relationship with nature is power. Everything we do, understand and model from nature is seen through this lens.

There were no galleries and when I expressed an interest in having a show of student work, folks immediately went about gathering bamboo from the jungle and making selfstanding walls. No one considered the idea of using walls in a building. This was a celebra-

We will use nature’s own balance to rationalize our destruction of it. As long as power lies at the center of our dialog we can expect to see very little change socially or environmentally. 32

Dawn Nye & Katrazyna Randall

stills from American Love Story - A Landscape in Sequence

a platform for an artist’s expression? Do you think that art could steer or even change people's behavior?

tion, a festival of creativity it belonged outside. At first this made me feel very uncomfortable but the festivities and sense of community that surrounded the exhibit was an eye opener for me. Perhaps art should not be separated from life even if it wasn’t obviously utilitarian it had a purpose. From this point on my environment became my gallery, my studio and often my canvas. While people in the community let me know that they thought my ideas were weird these experiences lacked judgment and most importantly they lacked competition.

K: I think that art has both the potential to be a great agent of change and also a simple product of consumption. In either case art is imbibed with an immense amount of power. We are social animals and everything we do or don’t do is a political act. Producing anything for the social environment is or should be an immense responsibility. While I think there is room for personal expression in the making I think the role of art is one of social action or interaction

Art became for me what I think it should be, simply an opportunity to communicate through visual language. This is very different than the way we do things in the west. I have to say that I was very excited about showing this particular piece in Milan. This piece is so specific to a rural experience in the U.S. We think of artists as being city dwellers with complex urban ideas and challenges. This story is based on my memory of the community I grew up in. It is about poverty. It carries the same complexities and chal-lenges that I have engaged in other places in the world urban or rural. I was warmed by the idea that there would be interest in this story in Italy.

10) Thank you for this interview: by the way, what's next for you? Have you a particular project in mind?

D: We are currently working with performance artist Gustavo Aguilar and anthropologist Gaelyn Aguilar on a live performance piece that will involve video and sound. The piece revolves around the Russian sailors who were lost when the submarine Kursk sank in the Barents Sea in 2000. We are also working on another video collaboration, and several smaller solo works. We both really appreciate the opportunity to talk about and to share our work. Thanks so much to the LandEscape staff for making this possible.

Not to mention that art should have an effect, should communicate something. Do you think art’s purpose is simply to provide


Jihoon Yoo

M a r c h

2 0 1 3

Jihoon Yoo

Land Escape

(Korea/USA) “I am making

virtual performance art in virtual theater that I created. “Rehearsal” series is strongly related to all of my experiences. I was a technical art director for three years when I was in Korea, and this experience leads me to create a virtual theater. Also, the photorealistic reflection on digital bodies came from pictures that I took in Chicago. When I moved to Chicago three years ago, I felt a sense of social isolation as an alien.


I spent a lot of time exploring and documenting the city at that time. These two different experiences are combined in my work. In the virtual performance, I can be a director, choreographer, stage designer or lighting operator. Being placed in these positions through digital media allows me to get over a feeling of alienation while creating a story and scene.


I can express my emotion with a digital body. The digital bodies in this series are meant to do two things: to embody the qualities of digital culture and virtual experience and also to express the pain that a real human might feel if confronted with these certain emotions. Imagining and making a virtual performance is one of the methods I use to ensure my existence in an American culture, which seems to exclude me. Through making a virtual performance in digital media, I could fully be able to communicate with the world. (Jihoon Yoo)

Rehearsal (Part of the whole work) Digital Print with float mount, 30x30(inch), 2012


Jihoon Yoo

Jihoon Yoo was born in 1979 in South Korea. He moved to Chicago and now he lives and work in USA EDUCATION

2012 Master of Fine Art, Art and Technology studies / School of the Art Institute of Chicago, USA 2010 Master of Fine Art, Media Art Yonsei University, Seoul, Korea 2004 Bachelor of Fine Arts, Environmental sculptures / Kyung Won University, Seongnam-si, Gyeonggi-do, Korea


2012(Fall) Instructor in Art and Technology Studies Department '3D Jittery Interactivity' class, Schoolof the Art Institute of Chicago 2012(Summer) Instructor in Early College Program 'Animation' class, School of the Art Institute of Chicago SELECTED EXHIBITIONS

2012. 4. The window project: Rehearsal #1-6, Georgia State University, Atlanta, GA 2007 Hyper+graphy, Gallery, Seoul, Korea


2008 Busan International Biennale sea art festival, Busan


Land Escape

Jihoon Yoo

Jihoon Yoo: an interview

What in your opinion defines a work of art?

Artwork could include a human being’s life in their generation, because it is able to represent a culture in that era. It dose not matter what kind of material they are use, such as paintings, sculptures or new medias. In my works, I am focusing on my pure emotion, and trying to express it metaphorically through digital media. A recurrent characteristic of many of your artworks is experience as starting point of artistic production: in your opinion, is experience an absolutely necessary part of creative process?

Definitely. Artists can reinterpretation there daily life in unique ways. So, each of my experience should part of my works. After that it can have authenticity in art.

Jihoon Yoo

Do you think that it might be an "absolute dimension" without any kind of connection with lived experience, capable of imprinting an "indelible mark" in the production of an artist? I would like to say artist’s authenticity is one of the most important values in an artwork. However, lived experience is not only way to give authenticity in their artworks. More important thing is that how much confidence of the authenticity they have.

Rehearsal (detail)


Land Escape

Jihoon Yoo

Rehearsal Yet another question about synergy between art and technology. In one way, art makes use of modern technology more and more, but do you think that in another way technology is assimilating art?

of view of technology. However, in my works, art and Technology are not dichotomy, but coexistence each other. I can say modern technology and human subjects are cause and effect in our culture like cyber punk. 38

Jihoon Yoo

Rehearsal meantime technology will be more "artistic"?

I want to say art should assimilating technology.

I think it can compare with personal and public. Personal could be public and viceversa, public could be personal. However, it does not have to.

Are we going towards a world in which art will be more "technological" and in the


Jihoon Yoo

Rehearsal (detail)

You have written that some of your works are the fruits of a personal research, which originated by a sense of social isolation, which you happened to experience as you moved to another country. Do you think that art might have even a "curative function"? While an artist express himself, could he smooth these kinds of "inner conflicts" which -on the other hand- often are the incentive to make art?

say it is positively necessary. It depends on the attitude of artists, especially new media artists. For me, I tried to observe a traditional way of art when I was dealing with new media. We have been very impressed by the way you have been capable of using modern technology in order to develop markedly human subjects, like the sense of alienation. Do you think that nowadays still exists a dichotomy between art and technology?

It could be. Curative function can be one of the

I do not think so, but it could depend on point

processes of art. However, I am not going to 37

2 0 1 3 M a r c h

Land Escape

Meghan Krauss

Meghan Krauss Canada

540 Seconds

An artist’s statement

“In my most recent body of work, autotopia, the over-crowded roadways act as metaphors for the psyche of the modern western world. Each panoramic photograph depicts a social landscape that emphasizes the freedom that is thought to come with the advantage of owning a vehicle. The chaotic movement captured within each print also addresses issues of urbanization, the complexity of city life and the endless movement of life while seated behind the steering wheel.

600 Seconds

Similarly to Oscar Rejlander’s combination printing, I am approaching the subject of the automobile through the use of photomontage by using multiple photographic images that are seamlessly merged into one compressed state of time and place. In the series autotopia, added vehicles and enhanced motion revise the scene within each of the panoramic photographs, altering the constructs of time and place. Technically, my panoramic photographs are seamlessly stitched images that range between seven and thirty separate photographs. Once I have established the base layer, additional photographs of automobiles that I have taken over a course of time are layered on top of the original image through the use of photomontage. For example, in 540 Seconds, I merged together sixty-seven photographs taken over nine minutes in a single location. Each car depicted in the image derives from one of the sixty-seven photographs, and the title refers to the total time period required to take the photos. In “Driving Towards Modernity”, Jun Zhang writes that automobiles are involved in “constantly moving across the boundaries between the public and the private, they are a terrain of power struggles and ideological negotiations”(2) and therefore, “[a]utomobiles are highly public but also highly personal.”(3) This intimate relationship that society has developed with the automobile and the spaces they occupy are represented through the large number of vehicles added to my photographs, as can be seen in 1,860 Seconds. Although a predominant presence within society, the banality of the automobile makes it’s overwhelming impact almost invisible, as roadways exist as non-places within our own subconscious, ultimately blending into the habitual landscape. Roadways have a constant buzz of activity, but individuals who confine themselves in their automobiles seldom perceive the magnitude of activity that occurs around them on a daily basis. However, when confronted with heavy traffic, drivers may snap out of this “autopilot mode” long enough to notice the constant buzz and traversing chaos surrounding them. Through my work this covertness becomes visible as I see the automobiles that I add onto the roadways as fragmented memory experiences. By adding automobiles to roadways through the use of photomontage, I see my photographs as

840 Seconds

1,260 Seconds

1,380 seconds

autotopia, 2012


Meghan Krauss similar to Ramona Ramlochand’s White Desert series in which she digitally alters the reproduction and portrayal of fabricated places. Within the work, as Alice Ming Wai Jim writes in her essay “Ramona Ramlochand: White Desert – Optica, A Centre for Contemporary Art”, Ramlochand was specifically “interested in questioning the ways in which place – both real and imagined – is perceived, as mega-corporations join forces with new media technologies to advance the increasing digitization of the world.”(4) Ramlochand’s photographic collages create new geographical locations that were at one point considered “real” experiences, but have been altered to create imagined moments. For example, the main photographic image in the gallery installation at Optica, in Montreal, depicts a region of the Sahara desert. There are equal amounts of sand to sky spread out over the two large light boxes, and in each image, objects can be

720 Seconds

theatre screen) disrupting the tranquility of the images. Ramlochand states that her work is a form of a “[m]emory [as] a collection of fragmented experiences, fictionalized with traces of the truth.” (5)Similarly to Ramlochand’s thoughts, I see the automobiles that I add onto the roadways as fragmented memory experiences. The images are taken from the same location over an extended period of time, and in doing so link them to my own memories. Although constructed, the photographs I create become “real” moments in a hyperreal time, thus, challenging the aspects of linear time and perception, revealing a condensed “hyperreality” that exists somewhere between fabrication and reality. Through this exaggerated narrative of roadways, I seek to engender in my viewers a similar angst to my own feelings about the automobile and its place in our urban and rural landscape, as they may be able to relate more closely their own personal experiences and feelings of being on a similarly chaotic roadway. In Camera Lucida, Roland Barthes states, “the photograph does not necessarily say what is no longer, but only and for certain what has been.”(6) In keeping true with this statement, my mandate for my work is that every automobile in my photographs must exist in the spot it is depicted – it is all real, just (re)constructed to create a dynamic “now” rather than a static “documented now.” Thus, my images are not, in the historical sense of an accurate and true document, accurate and true, yet they are not entirely false, for each car has existed in the space that I have shown it. As Martha Langford states in Image and Imagination, “The photograph is always tethered to the external world, however remotely, however mediated the link. Photographic imagination is not limited, but sparked, by that fact.”(7) Therefore, I am moving beyond simple documentation so that the photographs in autotopia metaphorically resemble and challenge the frenetic and highspeed society in which we live. (Meghan Krauss)


1,860 Seconds

1,080 seconds

(1) Dave Hickey. "The Birth of the Big, Beautiful Art Market." Air Guitar: Essays on Art and Democracy. By Dave Hickey. Los Angeles, CA: Art Issues P, 1997. 62. Print. (2) Jun Zhang. "Driving Towards Modernity: An Ethnography of Automobiles in Contemporary China." Diss. Yale University, 2009. 5. Print. (3) Ibid, 4. (4) Alice Ming Wai Jim. "Ramona Ramlochand: White Desert - Optica, A Centre for Contemporary Art." Image & Imagination. Ed. Martha Langford. Montreal: McGillQueen's UP, 2005. 53. Print. (5) Ramona Ramlochand qtd. in Jim, 53. (6) Roland Barthes. Camera Lucida: Reflections on Photography. New York: Hill and Wang, 1981. 85. Print. (7) Martha Langford, ed. Image and Imagination. Montreal McGill-Queen’s UP, 2005. 99100.Print

1,020 Seconds


Meghan Krauss

Land Escape

an interview with

Meghan Krauss What in your opinion defines a work of art?

I am unsure that the term art can be defined, as it is such a subjective subject. Art is something that everyone is exposed to from their childhood, through to adulthood whether they realize it or not. Thus, if the creator intends it to be so, I believe that anything can be art, though not necessarily good, well-made, or innovative art. You have a formal training and you've studied Fine Arts in your country, Canada: 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?

Studying my Masters of Fine Arts gave me the time and space needed to solely focus on my artistic practice over the course of a two-year period. Over this time I was given constructive criticism on the work I was creating in an independent learning environment by mentors and peers, which aided my ability to discuss my work in a more theoretical discourse. Although I felt that this was the next logical step for my own artistic practice, depending on the individuals long-term goals, I do not believe it is an essential step for becoming a successful artist.

Meghan Krauss

mum number of automobiles, I would strategically use the constructed elevations that were available. These spaces ranged from train bridges, as was the case in 1,260 Seconds, to freeway merges, parking garages to sides of pedestrian walkways. As a woman in these locations, I often preferred to venture out with an ally. Those who accompanied me on my excursions were able to observe my process of finding locations, choosing vantage points, and accumulating raw photographic data. In addition, there was always a plentitude of automobile honks, arm waves, odd questions from those that passed by, and even the odd visit from security personnel. Technically, I used

Can you tell us about your process and set up for making your work?

When photographing the series autotopia, I always had control over where I would set up my tripod, but had little control over the vantage point. Therefore, in order to fill the camera frame in a manner that emphasizes the maxi42

Meghan Krauss

dialogue between attraction and repulsion, seduction and far. I am acutely aware of the world's suffering due to human's existence, yet similarly to Burtynsky, I don't aim to place blame, but merely reflect on the issues of our time. Not to mention that art should have an effect, or at least should communicate something. After reading your artist statement, the following question might sound some rethorical: do you think art’s purpose is simply to provide a platform for an artist’s expression? Do you think that art could steer or even change people's behavior?

Yes, I believe that first and foremost, art is a platform for an individual's own expression. I often have trouble verbally expressing my sensitivity's to the world's issues, and thus, the artwork that I make helps facilitate my need to express myself. This being said, art is a powerful medium and it can move people to re-analyze their own preconceived notions based not only on the imagery itself, but also on conversations that can result from the body of work. You have quoted Catherine Lutz and Jane Lou Collins, when they states that the notion of truth of an image causes social and political anxiety: this is a very stimulating concept: what's your point about this?

a Nodal Ninja Panoramic head to create my base images, stitched them together using a program called PTGui Pro, and finally, used Adobe Photoshop to add the layers of people and cars into the final images.

My point is that viewers often construct their own meanings of photographs based on their past experiences. Images are open to appropriation by a range of texts, and each new discourse can generate a new set of meanings. Photographs can merely present the possibility of a meaning, and only in a concrete discourse can a clear semantic outcome exist. Thus, the visual information contained in photographs is subject to interpretation. In this way, even if the photographer is chronicling significant and historical events, the viewer's interpretation may supersede the photographer's intent. >>

What are the most important influences that have moved you as an artist?

Edward Burtynsky has been one of the biggest influences on my art practice as a whole. The way that nature is beautifully transformed through industry in his photographs has made me reflect on how an audience may read my work. His images are meant as metaphors to the dilemma of our modern existence as they search 43

Meghan Krauss

Guitar - from ''The Visual Orchestra''

of the original photographs, thus creating hyperreal images. I am blurring the boundaries between reality and representation and I am creating images that emphasize the original situation. In his essay “Traveling Through Hyperreality with Umberto Eco,” Ken Sanes states “it seems that wherever one looks in this new landscape, one sees exaggerated variations on…fake nature, fake art, fake history, fake cities, and fake people.” (2) These exaggerated variations of the hyperreal can be seen in 840 Seconds through the overabundance of automobiles added to the roadway. I am expanding this notion of the hyperreal in autotopia by capturing a moving sense of the city through the staged use of the automobile, as a comment on the chaotic nature that has developed worldwide.

In autotopia, I am creating documents of specific spaces, and by compressing multiple moments, I alter reality through the manipulation of linear time. [A]utotopia allows vireos to approach photographic documents in which the reality of specific events have been altered. There's another very deep concept that we can read in your artist statement: "hyperreality exists when the boundaries between reality and representation have become blurred". Could you comment this statement?

Theorist Umberto Eco, in his Travels in Hyperreality, explains: “The reason for this journey into hyperreality, in search of instances where the American imagination demands the real thing and, to attain it, must fabricate the absolute fake; where the boundaries between game and illusion are blurred.” (1) Eco’s theory involves what is referred to as a real artiface, or clever and cunning devices used to trick and deceive others. In autotopia, I am altering the original situations photographed by adding automobiles, yet I do not entirely lose the trace

Nick Perry, in Hyperreality and Global Culture, quotes Umberto Eco as stating that “the hyperreal is that which is more real than real, the copy which is more perfect than the original.” (3) Autotopia expresses this idea 44

Meghan Krauss

“description that is true of virtually all fiction and culture, which gives us things that are more exciting, more beautiful, more inspiring, more terrifying, and generally more interesting than what we encounter in everyday life.” Sometimes the word "modern" has a negative connotation and most of the times "human modernity" sounds like an oxymoron, although Modernity itself -and especially technology- is a product of humanity. Do you think that still exists a dichotomy between Art and Science?

I absolutely believe there is a dichotomy between art and science. Art provides innovations through analogies, models, skills, structures, techniques, methods, and knowledge. Art doesn’t just prettify science, or make technology more aesthetic, but makes both possible. Additionally, science has a great impact on the art world. It is more and more common for artists to use science as a medium itself, such as is the case with bio-artists. Many technological innovations made in the scientific community also aid a number of artistic mediums, specifically for myself, in the digital photographic medium. Acclimatization at Dhingboche - Nepal (2009)


in the way I am adding automobiles to roadways in order to create images that contain a concentration of vehicles; many more than there would be in that location at any given time.

1 Umberto Eco. Travels in Hyper Reality: Essays. Brace Jovanovich, 1986. 8. Print. 2 Ken Sanes. "Traveling Through Hyperreality With Umberto Eco." Transparency. Web. 21. Nov. 2011. <>

The places I have photographed are located in the Windsor/Detroit region, and Saskatchewan, places where I have resided. These locations often tend to be less busy than areas such as New York, Toronto, Mexico City, or Bangkok. This strategy allows for the automobiles added to the roadways to become metaphors for the ever-growing world population and our evergrowing dependence on the automobile. Thus, 600 Seconds, for example, is creating, to borrow Sanes’ words for my own purpose, a

3 Umberto Eco qtd. in Perry. Nick Perry. Hyperreality and Global Culture. New York: Routledge, 1998. Print. 42. 4 Ken Sanes. "Traveling Through Hyperreality With Umberto Eco." Transparency. Web. 21. Nov. 2011. <>


Meghan Krauss In one way, art makes use of modern technology more and more: do you think that in another way technology is assimilating art?

Technology is, and always has been incorporated with the art world throughout the years. Therefore, I don't believe that modern technology is assimilating art any more then it has in past decades. Now let's talk about the work "autotopia" that we have selected in this issue and that you have described in your statement: How were you introduced to creating photography specifically in this way?

In retrospect, I can look back at my work over the years, and see a fairly clear progression. In some of my initial bodies of work, I was using the technique of fragmenting photographs to make one large image as a whole. Eventually, this method outgrew itself in my work, so I taught myself how to take photographs using the Nodal Ninja Panoramic head, how to stitch them together in PTGui Pro, and add layers of people and cars into the final images using Adobe Photoshop, as was already mentioned. Additionally, my work has progressed, specifically in regards to the series autotopia, as I have always had an interest in taking landscape photography, but as an artist, my work needed more substance.

Chungking Mansions - Kowloon, Hong Kong (2009)

Many of your works deal with nature and landscape, like the series "World Travels" and the project "Arbornauts": it might sound paradoxichal that most of the times "nature is where humans are not", isn't it?

Most of my work revolves around nature and landscapes because I feel conflicted that humans are in fact everywhere on this planet. Furthermore, any untouched areas that do exist will soon to be explored. Therefore, I don't believe that "nature is where humans are not", and that in fact, nature is adjusting itself to coincide with the pressure that current society places on it.

Upon arriving in Windsor to work complete my MFA, I was surrounded by industrialization, and as Windsor is the automotive capital of Canada, and is separated by Detroit, MI, USA, or Motor City by the Detroit River, this wasn't surprising. Thus, I soon began photographing areas of Windsor that depicted urban and rural landscapes marked with factories, car lots, service stations, junkyards, and other places that indicate the auto industry's presence. All of these factors ultimately led me to create the body of work autotopia.

Another interesting work that we have had the chance to know is the series "The Visual Orchestra" that you realized in 2008. There's an effective synaesthesia: in parti-


Meghan Krauss

Aftermath of a Praire Storm

Just wondering if you would like to answer your work do you enjoy the most? What gives you the biggest satisfaction?

Photography is how I express my awareness about the world. I think the Earth is an extremely beautiful place, thus my attraction to landscape photography. On the other hand, there is my concern for this place we call home, and thus, I focus my attention on these issues through my artistic practice.


cular in "Classical Guitar" the act of dissection that you have mentioned seems to have destabilizing effect on the perception...

Individually, yes, specific pieces in The Visual Orchestra are broken up and can have a destabilizing effect on the viewer. But, when the body of work is seen as a whole, the fragmented images are meant to compliment one another, demonstrating the intricate layers of sound, speed of tempo, and emotional delivery that is created by music.

Thank you for this interview, Meghan. Just another question: what 's next for you?

You have traveled quite a lot: you have been in Nepal and in Thailand, where you took photograps for the the series "The World Is Too Much With Us" what aspects of travel have influenced your artistic production?

Currently, I can't complain as I call the Canadian Rocky Mountains in Banff Alberta home. In it’s own right, I am lucky enough to be experiencing a working holiday in my own country, and therefore, this is a time for me to take a break from making art and reflect on previous bodies of work, but there are new ideas brewing.

Traveling, exploring new places, and taking traditional landscapes is how I clear my mind. I love the challenge of being in new environments, and trying to get that "perfect" shot. In fact, it is my escape from creating "art", yet at the same time, ideas are continually fermenting in the back of my mind.

Soon enough the itch to travel outside of Canada will come again, and only time will tell where I will find myself next on those adventures. Career wise, I hope to one day feel settled enough, and be lucky enough to teach photography in a post-secondary institution. 47

2 0 1 3 M a r c h

Teresa Nunes Alves de Sousa

Land Escape

Teresa Nu nes Alves de Sousa


A performative text

“Printed images of work. What


are they? Images? Work? Or images of work? It is an industrial like process is it not? Small thumbnails prints cut and stacked together: a deck of cards. Years of work in a hand of cards or a hand of cards in years of work? Which is the jocker and which is the ace of hearts?


documentation is documentation of work, sometimes documentation is work and work is documentation and documentation of work. The never ending spiral & the moon game. Catch me if you can. We spin, the earth spins, the moon spins, the universe spins for sure. Thus our stillness. The window, the first still, the architectured frame. Yes, build an inside to frame an outside. The canvas is the window and the window is the canvas.

still from ‘I-canvas’ (performative video)

imitates art. Nature = scenario. Velasquez reflects it. Later the seer and the seen. The subject is in. The Divine falls, Nature dies, landscape lives. The countryside, the mountain, the seaside. Law protected scapes, obviously, the beholder’s eye. The still frame, the moving frame and the live frame.


sets the rules. The nostalgic divine arcadia & the garden of Eden. Paradiso’s canvas. Hortus conclusus. Nature


Teresa Nunes Alves de Sousa

Teresa Nunes Alves de Sousa, born in 1979 in Lisboa (Portugal) studied painting and drawingfirst at the experimental art center ARCO in Lisboa and in 2011 completes the BA in Fine Art(Installation/Sculpture) at Central Saint Martins College of Art and Design in London. Her work is mostly based on performative text and video questioning what she defines as an essential space&time of the frame. Her continuous investigation within pheno-menology of architecture breathes through the film work where the space of the frame becomes her dwelling space. still from ‘I-canvas’ (performative video)

The Absolute has fallen, antropo’s relativity is empty. But not the timeline frame. Long live the Heritage. Landscape = scenario. Mass pro-duction, labour. Male confusion, Female Sapiens release. Travel, communication, networks. Multiplication & Complexity. Nano & Parallel. The Subject (Teresa Nunes Alves de Sousa)




Land Escape

Teresa Nunes Alves de Sousa

Teresa Nunes Alves de Sousa an interview What in your opinion defines a work of art?

A balance between a physical and metaphysical experience. An in-between. An alignment between paradise & inferno. You have formal training: do you think that this has a great influence on your work?

Formal training serves as a good excuse for insecure people like me to allow themselves to create. Most of the times it takes over you and your work but with some luck a good tutor will make less damage. You have studied both in Lisboa -which is your native city- and in London, where you completed your BA in Fine Arts: moving to a different city has had an impact on the way you produce art?

Teresa Nunes Alves de Sousa

Lisbon: a dry makeover of technical skills & London: a guided self awareness process which for insecure people like me (!) takes on a spiritual value.

Not to mention that art should have an effect, it should communicate something. Do you think art’s purpo-se is simply to provide a platform for an artist’s expression?

You have a multidisciplinary background, since you have initially studied painting and drawings: nowadays your work is mostly based on video and performative text.

Do you think that art could change people's behavior?

Drawing has always been intuitive to me and my experience of me: my alignment. Video performance is how I like to see myself: my balance. Performative text is my in-between.

It’s an enhancer: for one person it’s a personal experience; for one million a question; forever, it becomes a cultural change.


Teresa Nunes Alves de Sousa

Control of light as reflection and projection.

Watching your video art production we had the impression that there's a subtle irony: in your opinion is this just an impression?

I believe irony to be the best way to convey a message, but it still uses me and not the opposite.

Let's talk about the interesting artwork entitled "Framescape" that we have selected for this issue: it's performative text, and we recognize a complex texture of words that seems to reverse the meaning of each word. How did you come up with the idea for this work?

Like irony plays with the meaning of words so should a text perform as well as a video: questioning its own frame in relation to the space & time which support it. In these last years we have seen that the frontier between Video Art and Cinema is growing more and more vague: as a videoartist, do you think that this "frontier" will exists longer?

(photo by Thomas McCarron-Shipman)

Artists are often asked about the inspiration for their work… But we're sort of persuaded that it's also a matter of "inner needs"... what's your point about this?

A glass “frontier”: we’ll see each other very clearly most of the time, sometimes even admittedly cross visual influences but never touch.

“Inner needs” up. It’s an excess: some work it out, some sing it out, some perform it out.

What's next for you? Have you a particular project in mind ?

To draw performing gardens.

What technical aspects do you mainly focus on in your work?


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Ezra Wube

M a r c h

Land Escape

Ezra Wube (Ethiopia / USA) Mela: Guided by an artist’s hands, colorful paperclips move like caterpillars over the edges of buildings in Johannesburg, animating the lifeless cityscapes. The colors of the paperclips evoke the utopic discourse of the Rainbow Nation in post-Apartheid South Africa, particularly ones used on maps of the involuntary migrations (mfecane or difaqane) of Sotho, Swazi, Tswana, Xhosa, Zulu, and other nations due to environmental and political changes, along with the influx of Indians, Malays, and Europeans from abroad, as well as contemp-orary migrations from other parts of Africa.


Ezra Wube

Stills form “ Mela� stop-action animation, Johannesburg, 1 min : 41 sec, 2011

"If you don't stand for nothing, you'll fall for anything", Method Man

Born in Addis Ababa, Ezra Wube moved to the United States at the age of 18 and received his BFA in painting from the Massachusetts College of Art (Boston) and an MFA from Hunter College (New York). His work encompass video, installations, drawing, painting and performance.


Land Escape

Ezra Wube

an interview with

Ezra Wube What in your opinion defines a work of art?

Trying to define art is like trying to define life, it is unbound-able. In my opinion any truth is art. You have formal training and you have received BFA in painting from the Massachusetts College of Art (Boston) and an MFA from Hunter College (New York). How much in your opinion training influences art? And how has your art developed since you left school?

Training is crucial for artistic growth, technically and conceptually. In school you are exposed to many forms of artistic practice and historical knowledge. Art is a slow and gradual process that requires space, community and dialogue. Training provides all of that. You are a multidisciplinary artist: your art ranges from drawing and painting to video, installations and performances. How do you choose a particular media for your works? And what technical aspects do you mainly focus on in your work?

Ezra Wube

By the way, what role does the artist have in society?

In my work the concept dictates the medium. Some things can only be communicated through photography, painting, video, installation or a combination of disciplines. These boundaries are continuously being challenged.

An artist is responsible for society. The purpose of art is to share ideas. Through this sharing the artist reflects society. Art needs to engage society, and to make the viewer see something they already know from a new point of view. It needs to reexamine accepted norms. It needs to alter society forever.

Your artwork "Mela" recalls the idea of the Rainbow Nation in South Africa. Not to mention that art should have an effect: do you think that art could play an important role in facing social questions? Could art steer or even change people's behavior?

It needs to open up, melt the walls, deconstruct and liberate each viewer.

Yes, artists are part of society. 54

Ezra Wube

As we can recognize in your recent and interesting artwork entitled "Hidar", 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?

My audience is everyone. I am always interested in hearing the answer to: some of your works characterized by the use of your native language: do you think that it is possible to do without a global language, a kind of "koine", like English? Could language limit the power of art? Or enhance it?

Language can both limit and empower art. The use of Amharic is a kind of "Koine" in Ethiopia (Ethiopia has over eighty languages). If I use only English, it would be considered elite because not so many can speak it there.

A quotation that we can read below your aforesaid video is "If you don't stand for nothing, you'll fall for anything". Art is often concerned with courage... What's your point about this?

The quote contradicts the video. In the video there are paper clips that continuously adjust their shape in response to the surrounding architecture in the city scape. They defy a constant form by adapting to their new environment. The quote also has a double negative. It can read, "If you stand for something, you'll fall for anything". 55

We would like to ask you something about Amharic language which is your mother tongue: we have spent some time on the web, and although all we have managed to get is just an impression, we have to say that it has been a wonderful impression: Amharic language seems to be "artistic": it's just an impression?

Amharic is a hybrid of at least three languages. Some words are a combination of a few words, allowing them to have many interpretations. Sentence structure and length are also flexible. For instance, in Amharic one can shorten a sentence to just one word.

Ezra Wube

still from Hidar By the way, you have a close bond of affection with your native country, Ethiopia, a country rich of culture, which has been passed down through the generations orally. In the spring of 2004, you and Jolie Ruelle received a fellowship from Massachusetts College of Art to collect folklore throughout your country of Ethiopia.

You have also produced a video entitled "Addis Zemen NYC": what was your inspiration for it?

We would like to understand more about this stimulating subject. By the way, how this experience has influenced your art?

I believe that these divisions will eventually vanish. The context of a piece's presentation seems to matter most. What if you were to watch the current number one blockbuster at the Museum of Modern Art?

My wife Jolie and I travelled throughout Ethiopia for a period of four months collecting folklore. We collected over one hundred stories on video. The project was a means of documenting oral tradition and finding inspiration for our artistic development. I have completed four short animations and an illustration book based on the collected stories.

It's a work in progress... 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?

Thank you for this interview, Ezra. Just another question: what's next for you? what are your upcoming projects?

For the coming spring, I will be part of the Lower Manhattan Cultural Council Swing Space residency program at Governors Island. Thank you for your interest in my work. 56

Ezra Wube

When All We Meet animation, graphite, acrylic, fabric, photo collage on mylar, 3 min: 54 sec "When we all met" is based on my recent experience where all members of my family were reunited after years of separation. I use graphite pencil, acrylic paint and photo collage on Mylar. For each scene I use a single surface of Mylar. Mylar's plastic surface allows graphite pencil marks to float over the ground, which facilitates erasure and allows subsequent scene to develop. To make this animation I photographed a drawing then erased it and drew over the same surface for the next frame. In this animation scenes are constructed, then deconstructed, collaged, then decollaged. This process allowed me to keep the past while moving forward. (Ezra Wube)

still from Addis Zemen NYC

Zemed , detail (2012)


2 0 1 3 M a r c h

Land Escape

Ali Kirby

Ali Kirby (Ireland) “My work explores the nature of our relationship with everyday objects. I am pariicularly interested in the way in which we project upon them our own meanings, metaphors and memories. These objects then become rich and dense in cultural and sociological baggage. stills from Dwell, 2012

“The subjectivity of our per-ception and memory is trans-muted into the everyday object, particularly in the domestic sphere. Object becomes subject, capable of undergoing processes of transformation. “A metaphor for our own potentiality. Through video I explore the language of metaphor and memory, constructing layers of imagery that hint at space and place. I try to evoke a sense of unease, using domestic objects to create a highly charged environment. (Ali Kirby) 58

Ali Kirby

Ali Kirby: Education

2000- 2002 D.A.T.E. College, Dublin. She completed a certificate in Interior Design an Architecture with Distinctions then went on to do production design on some short films including 'The carpenter and his clumsy wife" which won best comedy at the L.A. Short Film Festival and got a special mention at Venice Film Festival.

2008- 2010 Sallynoggin College of Further Education. She completed a diploma in Fashion Design with distinctions. I won the Designer of the Year Award in 2010.

2010- Present, L.S.A.D. She’s currently undertaking a Bachelor's Degree in Fine Art, specialising in Sculpture and Combined Media. Her work was chosen for the Open Drawing Awards 2010 and exhibited in the Church Gallery in L.S.A.D. She’s working as gallery and event assistant in Ormston House, Limerick.

Exhibitions Dec 2011 - Jan 2012, Undertow Exhibition, Ormston House, Limerick. Feb 2012 - March 2012, Undertow Exhibition, The LAB, Dublin. 59

Land Escape

an interview with

Ali Kirby

Ali Kirby

What in your opinion defines a work of art?

I would define a work of art as something that speaks some kind of truth, it's own truth, however beautiful or ugly that may be. For me, the most successful and memorable works of art are those that have moved me. Those that truly rupture a sense of the ordinary and offer you a moment to see, hear and feel differently. I am often reminded of a quote by Rothko when trying to define what art means to me. He said that art should 'envelope the visitor in an experience simultaneously intellectual and sensuous. An experience which reaches through the eyes deepened in their capacity, to the mind, the heart and the total being'. What about your training? How much do you think it has influenced your art production?

Ali Kirby (photo by Kostas Rados)

I think it has had a huge influence on my approach to making work. When you are studying Sculpture and Combined Media, you are constantly reminded that there are no restrictions placed on you as an artist. This is brilliant!

all of a sudden I move on to the next! It sounds almost callous! There are some though that I will keep returning to, such as Louise Bourgeois, Sarah Lucas, Francis Bacon, Rebecca Horn, Rothko... Have you a particular approach in conceiving your art?

You are encouraged to explore different means of production; metalwork, casting, drawing, photography, video, performance, installation and so on. This freedom to move between mediums has encouraged me to become braver and more imaginative in my practice.

I tend to begin a project by gathering imagery and text that inspires me. I take photographs, draw and read a lot. I try to be open and non-judgmental at this point, just feeling my way into new territory I suppose. I then begin to hunt down materials. This is one of my favourite parts of the process. Materials are very important to me and I always allow myself to choose them instinctively. From a variety of charity shops, hardware stores and skips, I gather up objects and materials and bring them to the studio. Some I use straight away, others I keep for years. It never feels planned.

What artists, if any, have inspired your work?

So many artists have inspired me in so many different ways. I tend to go through phases where I will become obsessed with a particular artist. I'll take all their books out from the library to learn all about them, their childhood,their careers, their volatile relationships, everything! I become totally fixated then 60

Ali Kirby

Self Portrait & him, 2011, Undertow exhibition, Dublin, 2012 (photo by Davey Moor)

that you can see bubbling in Dwell. It was two weeks old in this footage and had begun to really stink! Self Portrait, 2011

The studio was starting to look like a set with all these strange props playing different parts in the video. After a serious amount of experimenting and editing, Dwell started to take shape.

Let's talk about the work that we have selected: it's entitled "Dwell" and is your first video. How did you come up with the idea for it?

We can recognize that the sense of unease has been effectively evoked: even the "sound background" plays an important role: how did you recorded it?

Dwell came about when I was working on a project that dealt with issues of identity, memory and anxiety. I had begun working in the way I described above, gathering materials that caught my eye; a fish tank, a doll's house, net curtains, an electric fan, mainly domestic objects.

Looking back now I would say I gathered the sound for Dwell in the same way as I gather my other materials. I literally collected lots of sound samples using a hand-held recorder and decided later what worked and what didn't. I initially wanted to use the sound of the dye dripping into the fish tank but when I listened back to the recording it sounded like someone urinating into a toilet!

I had wanted to work with milk as a material as I was drawn to it for its symbolic qualities. I filled the fish tank with milk and began to slowly dye it pink; at this point I started to video each step of the process. This is the liquid 61

Ali Kirby

details from “Dwelling� (2012)

It made me laugh when I heard it as it was completely inappropriate for the video! The washing machine recording, which ended up playing an important part in the build up of tension in the video, came about mostly by accident. I was trying to record some voice samples from the radio in my house but I was also trying to take care of some everyday chores like laundry! At first the noise of the washing machine was a nuisance in the background but then I noticed how aggressive and intense it sounded and began recording it straight away! I then took the sound samples into the editing suite and began layering and looping them until I felt something was working. 62

Ali Kirby

“I want to create objects that come from everywhere but belong nowhere...� to ever confine myself to working with photography and video alone. Over a year ago I was making work that looked at the politics of menstruation and taboo, and people started calling me a 'menstrual artist' or 'feminist artist', this is not true either, it just oversimplifies things.

You have an interesting blog: we have noticed that besides being a videoartist, you have produced lots of stimulating art installations and photographs. Moreover, we have been impressed by a part of your statement "I want to create objects that come from everywhere but belong nowhere..."

That statement that you quoted from my blog came about at a time when I was looking at the work of Richard Deacon, particularly his Art For Other People series. I was excited about creating objects in their own right. Freestanding objects that had material density and could be viewed from all sides.

I see video as another medium I am interested in but would not consider myself a 'videoartist'. I want to maintain the freedom to move between making objects and images, both moving and still. I'm too excited about 'sculpture', those 3D objects that take up space 63

Ali Kirby

Ambiguity, “The presence of two or more possible meanings in any passage�


Ali Kirby

a brief flirtation with graffiti (2012)

Why are you so dirty (2011)

The materials I chose to work with were from the domestic, the everyday, but somehow inverted, subverted so that their original function became unclear.

the consideration of the viewer's body in the space and their relationship to it, has been a concern in both cinema and video art for a long time.

To me, the objects seemed both familiar and ambiguous at the same time. I imagine that they will reappear in my work in some shape or form.

What's next for you? Have you a particular project in mind ?

I am currently working towards a group exhibition that is taking place in April. For this show I am hoping to combine still and moving images as well as objects. At the moment though these are still ideas in my notebook!

As a videoartist, there's a question that we would like to submit you. In these last years we have seen that the frontier between Video Art and Cinema is growing more and more vague: do you think that this "frontier" will exists longer?

It seems to me that there has always been a fluidity between these two mediums if we are to consider the Expanded Cinema movement that has existed since the 1960's.

I am also working on a photography project for another exhibition in March. I am interested in capturing images in many different formats so this means I have to constantly drag around a selection of cameras; mostly 35mm but some digital and some disposable.

This experimental approach to viewing and experiencing the moving image

It's heavy and impractical but nothing about making art is practical right?


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Land Escape

Kelsey Giraud-Carrier

Kelsey Giraud-Carrier (USA)

An artist statement

“ I have always been interested in the connection and harmony that exists between the art world and the world of sciences. Recently I have been exploring more personally the application of science and mathematics in my art. I have done this by creating a mathematical system through which I am able to document and track things that are seemingly impossible to accurately record. I have always been a very emotional person.

As many people do, I base most of my decisions on the way that I feel. Noticing this balance between the rational and irrational was the first step in my artistic endeavor. 66

Kelsey Giraud-Carrier

“Aware of this imbalance

in my decision process, I have often sought a means to express myself more precisely and logically.

“In my current project, I have created a coordinate system that bridges the logical organization offered by mathematics and the evermisunderstood world of emotions. In other words, it is a way to graphically represent emotions.

“Starting with

numerical system with three variables (X, Y, and Z), I set up a scale ranging from -10 to 10 evaluating different aspects of my emotional state. The X axis rates the state from hate to love. The Y axis rates the state from low energy to high energy. The Z axis rates the state from extroversion to introversion. (Kelsey Giraud-Carrier)

I am currently a student at Brigham Young University. I will be receiving my Bachelors of Fine Arts this upcoming June. I plan to continue exploring the synergy that exists between scientific methods and aesthetic forms. 67

Kelsey Giraud-Carrier

Land Escape

an interview with What in your opinion defines a work of art?

Kelsey Giraud-Carrier

That difficult question has been the highlight of art criticism for decades. I have heard many different opinions concerning this question. When it really comes down to it, I think anything intended to be art, is art. However, I believe the more important question to ask is whether something is "good" art verses "bad" art.

A "good" piece of art is one that is created with the honest intention of presenting an idea or beauty to be admired. Do you think art’s purpose is simply to provide a platform for an artist’s expression?

I do believe that art is a form of expression. However, there is something inside me that wants to say that art isn't so selfish. I often see art as a commentary on the world we live in. I think it becomes a great venue for people at large to become inspired and see things differently and more openly than if they were to see the same idea discussed online or on TV. What caused you to become an artist? Have you always done the type of art that you are doing now?

Kelsey Giraud-Carrier

thing to pursue. I applied to the program with some graphite drawings rendered as realistic as I could make them. Realistic drawing is what I liked to do at the time and it is what I thought I wanted to pursue.It wasn't until I took a "new genre" class that I realized that art possibilities are so much vaster than copying a picture. It was then that I started exploring processes which eventually led me to my work with equations and graphs. I am grateful now for my initial training in mathematics, since I feel it has really influenced my take on art.

When I was a little girl I knew I wanted to be an artist. As I grew older I felt like that might never become a reality. I first started college majoring in Exercise Science with a minor in Mathematics. At that time, I often felt jealous of the art students I would meet. I really wanted to be a part of the Visual Arts program. I also took note of the artistic merit I found in my other classes, particularly in graphical mathematics. Once I realized that what I was feeling was a serious conviction towards art, I decided it would be a great 68

Kelsey Giraud-Carrier

Not to mention that Art and Science have common elements: even the great theoretical physicist, Albert Einstein recognized this. Do you think there still exists a dichotomy between Art and Science?

drawings. I use emotions to determine the data points and I plot these points to create a spherical graph. I would never consider these graphs sound science practices. They are very subjective. The data is dependent on humans interpreting their own moods. It leaves too many variables and therefore the conclusion is pathetic. Unlike science, my motive isn't to find a concrete conclusion. I do not want people to use the art to literally express their moods logically. Rather, I want them to play around with that

Obviously I love the scientific method and the process of proving something; that is why I use it in my art. While both art and science start with theoretical explorations, science comes to specific conclusions where art merely presents a concept. For example, I use Cartesian coordinate systems in many of my 69

Kelsey Giraud-Carrier

more accessible to society it seems that many areas of expertise are starting to overlap each other. It seems quite natural to me that science is beginning to assimilate art and I do not think that art is meant to be inaccessible. Technology opens up the path for new areas of art. I'm excited about that. If from this fusion, technology creates a field that involves all areas of interest: mathematics, science, music, art, philosophy etc. that is the field I would choose to be in. Some of the most recent and popular applications of mathematics in Art involves fractals and Chaos Theory. In particular Chaos Theory was thought up in order to explain what classical physics could not. It's an is an extremely fascinating field and I cannot forget that I spent lovely hours in reading James Gleick's bestsellers when I attended college, years ago. This reminds me an interesting aspect of your art: the "balance between the rational and irrational": what's your point about this?

I am working with emotions which are by nature very irrational. Initially, one might think that it is impossible to reach a rational point when starting with emotion. idea and open doors for exploration. Scientists present conclusions that they have discovered, artists (at least as I would like to be) present a path to discovery. The viewers can then make their own conclusions.

However, I wish to show that by tracking something that is completely irrational for long enough you can come to a conclusion that is rational. This plays into the idea of mathematical integration.

Nowadays, art makes use of modern technology more and more, but it seems that in the same time technology is assimilating art: maybe that soon or later Science will turn more "artistic", isn't is?

For example, if I record my mood for years of my life, after a certain point that data can be used to determine my personality, which is a concrete and more stable state than mere emotion.

Because technology allows things to become 70

Kelsey Giraud-Carrier


Kelsey Giraud-Carrier

A popular artist who focused his career on exploring the borders between Logic and Art was the Dutch graphic artist M. C. Escher, as do you like their works? And have other artists influenced your work?

I love M. C. Escher's work. I remember learning about his work in elementary school and making my tessellation drawing. I also remember that one of my first exercise drawings that I was proud of was a copy of Escher's "Drawing Hands". I think I still have them both. As for Rene Magritte, I enjoy his exploration of logical contradictions. In particular I appreciate the piece, "Ceci n'est pas une pipe"(This is not a pipe). This piece depicts a simple pipe, and yet clearly states that it is not a pipe. I enjoy the text used. The viewer is left to choose between choosing what they are told, or what they see.

I am influenced by tons of contemporary artists and modern artists. I enjoy Deb Sokolow's work which moves the viewer through her drawings like a story book. I've started implementing text into my work after her example. Simon Evans has a very alluring way of experimentally recording his world. I like that his works differs so much and yet still reference each other. I often look back on Sol LeWitt's wall drawings as well. 72

Kelsey Giraud-Carrier

Even though it might sound some strange, we could state that one of the tasks of Art is the chance of creating a kind of "formula" for determining something as volatile as an emotional state.

it's always interested in hearing the answer to. What aspect of your work do you enjoy the most? What gives you the biggest satisfaction?

However, this kind of "formula" could be the artwork itself: do you think this is an exaggeration?

While I enjoy the end product, I think I enjoy the actual articulate labor of drafting the graphs themselves. I enjoy the repetition and preciseness involved. I enjoy plain simple lines. I must also admit that I really love doing the research involved. I learn new things all of the time.

I've never heard art explained like that before, but I really like it. I don't think it's necessarily an exaggeration. Sometimes I feel like the actual making of art is more of an art experience than viewing the final product in a show.

And whether we are talking about the artist or the viewer, art is really about learning. I guess I don't have a particular favorite aspect. They are all needed to feed my drive to keep working.

If art is "the chance of creating a formula" then I see my work as the "formula" made into art itself.

Thank you for this interview, Kelsey. Just another question: what are your upcoming projects?

As we can read in your artist's statement, the main focus of your work is to explore synergy that exists between scientific methods and aesthetic forms: this is absolutely stimulating.

Right now I am dipping my hands into a couple of new ideas. I've been interested in the contrast between Protagonists and Antagonists in stories, mainly movies. Using a similar graphing system that I utilized in "How Are You", I am recording and graphing the seeming emotional state of these characters as their stories develop. It's been fun to see their trends.

Could you take us through your creative process when starting a new project? Where do you get the ideas for your work?

I feel like I am constantly converting my surroundings to coordinate points and data structures. My husband is an electrical engineer and every once in a while I will catch him thumbing through a text book and some graph will catch my eye. I am constantly asking him to explain different modes of scientific graphing. Once I have a data set that raises curiosity in my mind, I pick an aesthetic graph that I think will depict it well and then I start converting the points to a drawing. From that drawing I start drafting ideas for sculptures to compliment the drawings.

I am also interested in quantifying and contrasting good and bad. I recently heard a podcast about a man named George Price who attempted to find an equation quantifying selflessness and that stuck out to me. I am currently looking into that idea more. My drawings are also evolving into 3D work. That's fun for me as well. Thank you so much for the interview! It has been very fun for me. 73