Interview /

Jay Ezra Annex / Los Angeles

ANNEX is a newly opened showroom in Los Angeles dedicated to applied arts — a collaboration between Benjamin Trigano of M+B Gallery and Jay Ezra Nayssan of Del Vaz Projects. Focusing on a closer dialogue between art and design, ANNEX has already reached out to more than one hundred artists who embrace an interdisciplinary sensibility. Participating artists include Kelly Akashi, Spencer Ashby, Maurizio Cattelan, Olivia Erlanger, Pedro Friedeberg, Piero Golia, Candice Lin, Nevine Mahmoud, Jill Mulleady, and Max Hooper Schneider.

Your first curatorial presence in Los Angeles was the show “Synesthesia,” co-curated with Daniele Balice, in 2012 at M+B Gallery. What’s happened since then?

Jay Ezra Nayssan: For the two years after “Synesthesia” I was principally concerned with familiarizing myself with the creative community here in Los Angeles. I am from LA but had been living in Paris and New York for several years up until 2012. I was incredibly excited to build new relationships in my old hometown. In September 2014 I started a program of intimate gatherings and exhibitions in my apartment known as Del Vaz Projects. And earlier this year I co-founded ANNEX.


What did you find in Los Angeles that you could not find in New York or Paris?

LA is a city of dilettantes who are eager to experiment, equally interested in success as they are in failure. These are the echoes of the 1849 Gold Rush, the California Homestead Laws, and the experiments in modern living during the first half of the twentieth century. In the aftermath of the 2008 economic crisis, LA was once again becoming a sanctuary, the last frontier. It felt as if we were at the end of the world where nobody could watch us. Parties like “A Club Called Rhonda,” “Mustache Mondays,” and “Spotlight” pushed us to the limit in terms of fashion, dance, and sexual expression. François Ghebaly was above an auto repair shop; Night Gallery was only open Thursday nights after 11 PM. And Joel Kyack was staging puppet shows in the back of a pick-up truck while in traffic on the freeway during rush hour. This freedom of doing, this fearlessness, didn’t exist in Paris or New York. At the same time, the Getty Foundation had its first iteration of Pacific Standard Time, which provided us with a tangible and logistical model for collaboration and communication across the city. In that sense, LA felt a lot less fractured than New York or Paris.


ANNEX winter 2018 installation
ANNEX winter 2018 installation, from left to right: Ann Leese cat mugs; Daniel Long and Dina No ceramic vessel; Alison Veit sand ashtray; Pablo Picasso visage vases; Candice Lin potions; Ben Wolf Noam ceramic mushroom; Candice Lin soy fermentation pot & kit; Candice Lin joint holders; Elana Mann hand megaphone; Sophie Stone carpets. Photo by Ed Mumford. Courtesy of M+B Los Angeles


Where does your interest in interior design and objects come from?

While studying anthropology at UCLA I came across Le souci de soi, in which Michel Foucault describes the importance of “the care of self.” I imagined this cultivation of self within the space of the private home, much like an actor in a dressing room of a theater. And so I began to consider domestic objects as props and cues and interiors as sets used in the formation and mastering of oneself, or rather, one’s character. The show “Synesthesia” butterflied the home into the personal (the vanity) and the public (the living room) and placed these two spaces side by side and on the same plane, as in a theater set. Del Vaz Projects is very much a performance (in my own home) of the Iranian cultural practices of welcoming and hosting that I have inherited from my parents and community. With ANNEX, I want to create a space that will encourage people to consider objects as I consider them — as ritual tools that can assist in the care (or performance) of self.


How did the idea to create ANNEX originate?

Following “Synesthesia,” Benjamin Trigano and I developed an ongoing exchange of our interests and disinterests. When he invited me to return to the gallery in 2016, he expressed a need to break free from the rigidity of the standard exhibition model. At around the same time, I was reading de Chirico’s Hebdomeros and Fernando Pessoa’s Book of Disquiet and revisiting Fellini’s La Dolce Vita and George Antheil’s Ballet Mécanique. We were both yearning for something nonlinear, unfinished, and nonnarrative. It is this mood in which ANNEX developed in the two years that followed — as one long run-on sentence stitched together by a group of over one hundred artists.


What is ANNEX, in one line?

ANNEX is a space that outplays the traditional binary paradigm of fine art versus applied art. (See Roland Barthes’ The Neutral).

by Patrick Steffen

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Interview /

Tenzing Barshee and Robbie Fitzpatrick Sundogs / Paris

Charles Teyssou and Pierre-Alexandre Mateos: You recently opened the art space Sundogs in Paris with the inaugural exhibition “Attention Danger” by Willem Oorebeek. Please talk about the project.

Tenzing Barshee and Robbie Fitzpatrick: Willem Oorebeek is a printmaker who always worked in lithography. In the 1990s he decided to stop reproducing images and discovered the “blackout,” a method of printing black ink over existing materials. One of the first things he blacked out was a poster warning the French population to not look — without protection — at the solar eclipse in 1999. This works lends its title, Attention Danger, to the exhibition. By taking ready-made materials and clouding them behind layers of black ink, his gesture mirrors signage. He calls it an attack against the mass of images — against representation. His method counters the logic of Pop and opposes industrial image culture.

CT/PAM: His works look quite “beautiful.” How does that figure into the critique?

TB/RF: Even though the blackout acts as a symbol against the endless repetition of representation, Oorebeek doesn’t make images disappear solely as a critique. For him, that would be too simple. In his process, the image doesn’t vanish behind the ink. Instead, the black rectangle becomes almost equalized, with traces of color and the contours of the original image pushing through. This leads to a delayering of image information that flattens out its hierarchies. Generally, he only blacks out things that he feels an affinity for.

CT/PAM: The bulk of your exhibition consists of blacked-out Paris Match posters. Does the artist care deeply about the French people’s magazine?

TB/RF: He doesn’t care about the publication’s content at all. In fact, he’s never read an issue. His interest lies in the insistence of its weekly recurrence, the system of information distribution. For him, Paris Match is one of the most convincing examples of how images are aligned with text as a singular unit, and consistently has been since the magazine’s inception after World War II. Between 1999 and 2012, the artist collected posters advertising the magazine in Brussels. At SUNDOGS, he presents a grid of arbitrarily sequenced blacked-out Paris Match posters, covering all available walls with consideration of the architecture.

CT/PAM: A “blackout” describes the switching off of lights — voluntary or not — or the loss of memory. How does that tie in with his project, and why did you choose to start your program with this?

TB/RF: The work suggests an alternative timeline of barely discernible moments in history. But Oorebeek’s project is carried by humor, turning this period, the beginning of euro currency, that is told through faces and catastrophes (the crash of the Concorde, 9/11, etc.), into a caricature of itself: a memory of an outdated Europe. Today, in the interregnum we live in, we are witnessing how these old structures are barely holding up under the weight they’ve accumulated for themselves. This proposal for a different vision of the status quo and alternative models of representation has set the tone for our upcoming exhibition program — not forgetting how Oorebeek not only diffuses his images but ambiguously celebrates them behind a shine of black. We, equally, intend to do both: critique and celebrate.

by Charles Teyssou and Pierre-Alexandre Mateos

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Interview /

Jake Cruzen and Jared Madere / Mother Culture

Mother Culture is a new gallery and digital platform founded by Jake Cruzen and Jared Madere in December 2017. Based in Los Angeles, Mother Culture will collaborate with many contributors from a variety of fields, including parenting, sustainable living, contemporary art, journalism, spirituality, music, education and social consciousness, to create digital content as well as physical exhibitions. The current show, “EVERYTHING IS MORE THAN ONE THING FUTURE FEEL GOOD,” includes works by Jacolby Satterwhite, Bunny Rogers, Darja Bajagić, Suzy Amis Cameron, James Cameron, and Dachi Cole.

Patrick Steffen: From Bed-Stuy Love Affair to Mother Culture in Los Angeles. Why Los Angeles?

Jake Cruzen: We had three years of conversation and planning that led up to Mother Culture. We had ideas about a place that celebrated life and generated creativity of all kinds. When planning things out we often say to each other, “let’s get rid of the quotes,” and what we mean is that we want to try to help democratize creativity by allowing a mixed vocabulary that doesn’t rely so heavily on a know-it-like-the-back-of-my-right-hand grasp of the history of fine art. Above all, California is the wonderland for dreamers. In short, with this new venture, we are definitely more interested in communal values, nature and celebrating creation as a whole.

Jared Madere: Nobody can like good in NY. They like putting thumbtacks in their knuckles for Instagram and bragging about how their mom cried when they saw the blood dribbled on their baby photos. I love seeing my mom smile too much and couldn’t live with the lie.

Jake Cruzen: We are creating a place that puts a high value on a good life, actualized community and celebrated effort. A blend of languages is very appealing to us. Our current show, “EVERYTHING IS MORE THAN ONE THING FUTURE FEEL GOOD,” was put together to form an exhibition of artists that had these aforementioned qualities while still expressing an alter-universe of their own.


PS: The geographical organization of the city is very different from New York. Will this change the way you work within your artistic community?

JC: Yes! We are already working with a local vegan chef to give away bag lunches to the community we are a part of. We are also working on a local youth art exhibit. We want to create a platform that can help anyone who is doing positive creative work and community initiatives. We are working with doulas from LA and helping to organize a podcast and video series that appeals to unconventional motherhood. We also have a giant off-site project in the works that primarily focuses on sustainability.

JM: I like being able to pick up artists’ work in my car instead of telling them to bring it over on the bus. I used to spend a lot of time crying if I missed a blackberry yogurt sunset, but now if I miss it today it’ll be there tomorrow.

JC: And the weather makes it so you can be naked most of the year.


PS: Your platform addresses very wide social goals. You mentioned parenthood, sustainable living and spirituality, among others. With art spaces proliferating in the city, a clear identity is necessary to identify newer ones. What is your main goal?

JC: It’s a real challenge for us to isolate any one of those goals. The elements we are focusing on are the actual interests and challenges in our day-to-day life. I have a baby on the way.

JM: In conceiving of Mother Culture it was very important to us to create a platform that reaches beyond the art-world audience most familiar with our work and this flavor of inquiry in general. With most other expressive/creative avenues audiences are much wider, whereas with art a huge percentage of the audience is highly professionalized within the industry or a very committed and interested third party (collectors, turbo-fans, fashion/furniture designers, architects, etc.). Not many second-grade teachers have the same relationship to the summer group show at Petzel, the Triennial or even Venice, as they do with the top forty cycling through the radio on repeat that same summer, or whatever collusion of forces gives rise to culturo-distributive phenomena like Memoirs of a Geisha, Infinite Jest, A Million Little Pieces or The Subtle Art of Not Giving a F*CK. Art has tunneled or weaseled its way out of the majority of its responsibility of engagement with the larger society, declaring that it will be a cultural laboratory at the far corners of the social fringes, exploring only the most esoteric and rarified subject matter, such that its fruits are only shared with the mainstream as quickly as an advertising agency can figure out how to exploit them through their translation into an ad campaign (a kid graduating art school in the late 2000s sees Clown Torture [Bruce Nauman, 1987] and pitches the Burger King “Wake Up With the King” campaign to seal their interview at Crispin Porter). We are interested in genuinely engaging an audience on a wavelength beyond connoisseurship directly through the programming at Mother Culture.


PS: Can you share a few highlights of the 2018 program?

JM: Our program is fluid in the sense that our exhibitions do not necessarily have hard beginning and end dates and thus the space functions more like a living organism whose belly sometimes contains bubblegum for eight years and/or crab larb for five minutes depending on what fairground the lizard is dining at. Sometimes you take a bite of winter and, surprise, you get a mouthful of spring.

JC: Mother Culture exhibitions will have a longer duration than most and will give birth to new objects and events as they unfold. We have an accomplished team and are really excited to be working with Milo Conroy from Cloudburst, Kate Hillseth and Cindy Conrad from Young Art, and Marie Heilich from White Flag Projects. We are really honored to be working with Dachi Cole, Dese Escobar and Jessi Reaves, and those are the artists we will unveil projects by next.

by Patrick Steffen

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Interview /

Jean Pigozzi / Miami Art Week

Claudio Santoro in conversation with art collector, photographer and philanthropist Jean Pigozzi at the Galerie Gmurzynska booth at Art Basel Miami Beach.

Claudio Santoro: I spent hours in the “Art/Afrique, le nouvel atelier” exhibition at Fondation Louis Vuitton. Do you have more plans to exhibit your collection?

Jean Pigozzi: We’re going to do an exhibition of works by Bodys Kingelez, who created the model cities from the “Art/Afrique” exhibition. We will have a show next spring at MoMA, in May 2018. That’s the first time that an African artist will have a solo show at MoMA.


CS: Can you tell me a bit about Bodys Kingelez?

JP: He’s from Congo (Zaire) and, sadly, passed away. He was a documentary filmmaker who would make these individual buildings. When I met him I said, “Bodys, why don’t you make a city? It’s much more interesting.” So he started making these very big cities that would have like twenty buildings. I own four of the big cities, and I think he made seven. Fondation Cartier has one, Agnes B and someone in Germany. At MoMA we are going to do a virtual reality thing with Oculus, where you will fly inside the city.

Bodys was completely self-taught. I don’t know if he knew who Le Corbusier or Zaha Hadid were or anything. That’s why I’m so interested in African artists. Pre-internet. They had very little information, so everything that they did really came from the inside, or from tradition, or completely from their imagination, or from a few magazines they could see. That’s why I like that work.


CS: Surrounding Bodys Kingelez’s cities were Congolese night scenes painted by Moké. I’m always reminded of them when I see colored lights reflecting off someone’s skin.

JP: I gave one of these paintings to a friend of mine who showed [Francis] Bacon. And Bacon said, “This guy can really paint.” And Bacon was not an easy man to impress.


CS: When you’re away from home, what might trigger a memory of your collection?

JP: I go to Japan quite often because I collect Japanese art, so I go and buy stuff there. I go to every fair and hundreds of galleries and museums every year, but I’m very focused now, so I really only buy African and Japanese art.


CS: Why did you decide to focus on Japanese and African art?

JP: Because you have to be focused on your collection. A lot of these collections are not interesting because they have one Warhol, one Prince, one this, one that. It’s not interesting. I’m trying to collect in depth, so if I like an artist, I’ll buy ten pieces by the artist. The artists I buy are more reasonable. You couldn’t have ten Van Goghs or ten Picassos, even though some people do. If you go to a provincial museum, they will have one Sisley, one Rembrandt, one Yves Klein. So they only know one example of the artist’s work. If you go to MoMA there are five Yves Kleins, so now you understand what the works are all about. If you saw the show we did at Louis Vuitton, we showed five to ten pieces of each artist, so you could really understand in depth what the artist is all about. That’s what I find interesting.


CS: What made you want to start collecting?

JP: I’m a sick collector. I collect anything. I would collect toothbrushes. I collect absolutely everything. If there was something like “Collectors Anonymous” I would be there, but it doesn’t exist. There’s very little I buy from the gallery. About ninety-nine percent of my African collection we bought directly from the artists because there were no galleries representing them. The Japanese works came from galleries in Tokyo.


CS: How did your collection start?

JP: I had a collection like a bad dentist from Minneapolis. A little Clemente, a little this, a little that. And then I became friends with Charles Saatchi, and he told me my collection was ridiculous. So I went to a show in Paris called “Magiciens de la Terre” about thirty years ago. And I saw some African art in the show, the day it was closing actually. I called the museum the day after and asked “What are you gonna do with this stuff? Can I buy it?” They said no, because it was owned by someone else, but that I could meet the curator called André Magnin. I asked what he was doing now and he said: “My dream is to keep going to Africa.” So I hired him, and for twenty-three years we worked and put this collection together.


CS: What do you think your collection says about you?

JP: It says a lot. Everything I do in my life is slightly different. I couldn’t imagine having a collection with a little Warhol, a little Clemente, a little Prince. I really wanted to have a collection that was very different. Nobody has my African collection. Now I have a very Japanese collection, and nobody is really collecting that either.


CS: That says something about you.

JP: I have no interest in being like everybody else. It’s not something that turns me on.


CS: And does that attitude translate into your photography?

JP: I don’t like people posing. I have no interest in people posing. So I try to take them when they are a little bit off balance. Not people picking their nose or doing drugs, but taking pictures that are slightly imperfect.


CS: Do you think you’re photogenic?

JP: Myself? No. But I’m not vain so I couldn’t care less.


CS: Do you prefer acquiring works in the context of a fair or gallery or directly from an artist?

JP: It doesn’t make a difference. For instance, here [at Art Basel] I did my shopping yesterday morning. I had a map and I ran from one place to another, and I did it, and it was done. I got three things yesterday morning, one African and two Japanese.


CS: Did you consider bringing your dogs, Charles and Saatchi, to Miami for the fair?

JP: They are in the South of France. They are very crazy, high-strung dogs. They would be running around driving everybody crazy. They’re not like quiet, living room dogs. I wanted to play some recordings around the photographs of them barking, but you’re not allowed to do that at the fair.


CS: How would you characterize Charles and Saatchi?

JP: They are very cute and affectionate dogs. They think they are smart but they have no understanding of space. They are not really interested in other dogs, but they love humans and expect people to talk to them. They’re Hungarian so they’re philosophers.


CS: Do you spend much time going through all the pictures you take?

JP: I don’t really go through them unless I have a project. I really just like doing “click.”


CS: Any final remarks?

JP: Sell toothpaste.

Claudio Santoro is Flash Art Online Editor

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Interview /

News Crime Sports / Interview with Calla Henkel and Max Pitegoff

News Crime Sports (2017), the new musical by artist duo Calla Henkel and Max Pitegoff, takes place on a cruise ship lost at sea. As its passengers yearn for firm ground beneath their feet, the ship only drifts farther off course.

They take turns delivering verbose speeches into the void and rambling about the past. The play inaugurates Henkel and Pitegoff’s season at Volksbühne Berlin’s Grüner Salon. The theater itself has recently experienced a sea change by way of its controversial new director, Chris Dercon. At the time the duo began their work at the house under Dercon, it was being squatted by activists protesting his appointment and the city development it suggests. In News Crime Sports, the cruise ship’s staff goes on strike. The American duo gush about the lively political discourse at Volksbühne, and its employees’ dedication to the theater. They also praise the technical expertise of its various departments. It has been a hectic production in many ways, but Henkel and Pitegoff are accustomed to running their own very DIY New Theater. Naturally, the poetic quarreling aboard News Crime Sports is reminiscent of the complex set of relationships currently being renegotiated at Volksbühne. Art imitates life, huh? Ahead of the second set of performances, they took me below deck, to the theater’s wood-paneled, smoky and enchanting canteen.

Bianca Heuser: What has working at Volksbühne been like for you?

Calla Henkel: What’s so amazing about this house is that it is possible to really produce work here. Usually, we encounter art institutions as places to put things, but this a temple to keeping things alive. It’s so exciting to learn from people who have worked at this house for so long and know how to attack problems. Everyone is an expert in their respective fields.

Max Pitegoff: Especially after New Theater, where it was just us and a handful of people who tried to do everything at once. Here the process is spread out in a way that is  beyond anything we’ve dealt with before.

CH: The first time I went to the costume department, I was like, “Oh my god, it’s like a museum!” They were like: “It’s not a fucking museum — it’s all usable!”

BH: How has this impacted your production?

MP: We worked on this play completely in the present, as we were constantly negotiating how we work within the house. That really fed into it. Sir Henry, the musical director of the piece (along with Katrin Vellrath), has been part of the ensemble at Volksbühne for many years. His knowledge really influenced us. Though the director has changed, the structure of the theater itself remains more or less intact.

CH: Well yeah, because the beautiful, insane machinery of it still exists. I think we’ve learned more from these months of working here than I have in my whole life. The play is still funny though. It deals with this vacuum of misunderstanding and uncertainty.

BH: Uncertainty of what?

CH: The play is centered around a group of people who are stuck on a boat and have been for long enough to no longer have a concept of time. There’s this back and forth about everyone’s versions of the past and their visions for the future. But they’re also reckless in their inability to worry about anything other than the next drink. The only things they have on the boat are canned peaches and champagne. So it’s this space of rot, social and emotional rot. Lily McMenamy’s character grows up over the course of the play.

MP: She’s this truth teller.

CH: The only character with monologues that feel honest. There’s this tension in imagining the future when it feels hopeless — since you’re stuck on a boat in the middle of the ocean.

BH: What’s appealing to you about the idea of people being stuck together?

MP: A great part of it was dictated by the space itself. There’s no backroom at Grüner Salon, so we started imagining the story of those seven performers stuck on stage together. Our past plays have also dealt in different ways with people being stuck together.

CH: Or being mentally stuck.

BH: Your characters at times appear stuck in their relationships, too.

CH: This piece really tries to deal with that. In one scene, the character played by Mia Von Matt says: “Seelen reisen in Gruppen.” Souls travel in groups. Even if we all jumped off this boat together, we’d all just come back to life as a bunch of tarantulas in a terrarium.

BH: How does that relate to you?

CH: Oh, to our own toxic relationship? [all laugh] We really have to be in love with people in order to write for them. The way none of these characters actually listen to each other is not just bleak. Sometimes you stop listening to people to continue to be able to love them. But theater is about conflict.

BH: Like the newspaper segments of the play’s title: “News Crime Sports.”

CH: We were thinking about the cycles of a city, how shit gets passed back and forth between people. It’s also everything that’s absent from a boat. The sport comes out of annoying each other.

MP: The crime comes out of annoying each other, too.

by Bianca Heuser

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Interview /

#CelebritiesOnDrugs / Cory Arcangel

American artist Cory Arcangel talks with Flash Art about his technological exploration of obsession, obsolescence and the vernacular.

What’s the #CurrentMood?

How do I even answer that? Maybe #CelebritiesOnDrugs?

At Lisson Gallery in London you recently showed a selection of wall-based works, presented in the same format, in carpeted rooms together with a new audio piece. Can you tell me how the exhibition originated?

I’m a digital pack rat. I have every file I made or downloaded off the Internet since I was a teen. And a couple of years ago I finally collected everything — about 750,000 files — in once place. This show came out of that process. More specifically, it came from clicking around in all that stuff. So in the show there are tons of different series I have been working on over the last ten years — “Scanner Paintings,” “Photoshop Gradient Demonstrations,” and “Lakes” — as well as things which were on my drives but not exactly “art” — things like old cell phone photos and random images I downloaded off the net.

Several elements in the exhibition either reactivate existing material or appropriate it for a different purpose. How do you see the notion of the archive in relation to reworking visual imagery you produced and collected over all these years?

I can just talk specifics, as I am sitting here in front of my computer. My archive is literally a twenty-four-terabyte hard drive, and it is fairly organized. I am able to see all the different works I made since the 1990s, and all the research that went into them. When making the show, pretty easily, in an hour or two, I was able to pull up thousands of images and put them into a folder. I started off with a thousand or more images and then I narrowed it down to five hundred, then I narrowed that down to two hundred, then one hundred, then fifty, then thirty and then twenty. Then I made some new things depending on the twenty.

It’s kind of as if I turned my hard drive upside down, dumped everything on the floor, and sifted through the pile until I came up with twenty things I felt represented something.

Some of these images relate back to the clickbait campaign you are running alongside the exhibition. What would you say is your relationship to the vernacular?

It’s about shifting context. By taking images from the show and running them in a clickbait campaign — the really trashy articles that you often see at the end of articles on some websites — it’s just playing around with Lisson, dispersion and context. Is an image more important on the wall of Lisson than next to celebrity trash online? Can it resonate in both spaces? Questions like this.

Your work is often discussed in relation to the obsolescence of technology. I am interested in the way you are appropriating your own work and translating it into an upgraded technological output. I think it’s a very ingenious way of keeping it relevant.

It keeps the work alive. In the show, there is a work from 2005, Mig 29 Soviet Fighter Plane, Clouds, originally a Nintendo game hack, which is now running on a Nintendo emulator on a Macintosh OSX desktop with some other Macintosh programs. It’s quite modern looking. I understand the original work is historically relevant, but it’s important to me to give it some energy and to keep it floating around. Not to mention it’s so easy to pull this stuff off my hard drive and play around with it.

I have been following your work over the years and I’m fascinated by how the context in which you are operating has changed dramatically.

I wouldn’t have been able to do an exhibition like “currentmood” at Lisson ten years ago. I wouldn’t have had the knowledge, and I wouldn’t have had the nerve and it wouldn’t have made sense — which is a lot to do with the context. It would have been completely impossible to understand. When I first showed the “Photoshop Gradient Demonstrations” in 2006–07, people had no way to read that, and when I first showed the Nintendo stuff in galleries, again people had trouble reading it.

I have been thinking about the diagram that Guthrie Lonegan made, “Hacking vs. Defaults,” in relation to your “Photoshop Gradient Demonstrations” series in which you relinquish any knowledge about digital technology by using a default mode.

Guthrie is one of my favorite artists of all time! At a certain point vernacular use of technology was absolutely not a part of my work. Though, it was around 2000, when I first saw Paper Rad’s website, that my thoughts on all that changed. Paper Rad’s website was the first convincing work I saw that dealt with vernacular technology – armature homepages, low rez flash animations, and stuff like that. That site was a masterpiece. I would definitely credit them for opening up that part of my work. And it was through collaborating with them that my work started to move away from coding. Guthrie’s chart is very good in the way it divides those two ways of thinking about technology, which I think is split on a generational line.

Your work is particularly relevant today because it came from within a context of early digital art but it crosses over into post-Internet. I think many younger artists see your work as a point of reference. How do you see that?

The post-Internet question! That word gets used a lot, and everyone has a different meaning for it so it’s hard to talk about it. When I was in school in the late ’90s, art students hated computers. If you were on a computer, you were not making art, and art that did use computers was called “media art” and was seen as techy. I think what happened was, a few generations later, you had kids who were in art school when computers finally became okay, and they graduated and started doing shows.

What would you say it means to be a media artist today?

I think the way that I use the term is old-fashioned — to denote an artist who makes medium-specific, experimental electronic work. There have to be new words because everything has changed, you know? I am clearly tied to early digital work, when there was a clear division between digital and fine art. Things didn’t cross back and forth, and I still consider myself part of that earlier era even though my work ended up crossing over. Even my Lisson show is split down the middle between wall works and real-time software performances. But I don’t know what it means to be a media artist today.

by Silvia Sgualdini

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