Parker Ito discusses AFK, IRL, and post-Web 2.0 arenas.
Although his new paintings attempt to create an artwork that cannot be documented, it was documentation itself that was the aim of one emerging YIBA (Young Internet-based Artist). Parker Ito’s most well-known exhibition projects, New Jpegs took place at Johan Berggren Gallery in Malmo, Sweden in 2011; the artist generated content in the form of installation shots that were then manipulated through digital imaging software to create an entirely new body of work. This conversation between Ito’s practice in the digital realm and three-dimensional artworks that have the capacity to exist within physical space weaves throughout Ito’s work. JstChillin, an online curatorial project that lasted eighteen months, in its retrospective, stepped away from the screen and manifested itself in real space, while his project The Most Infamous Girl in the History of the Internet exists simultaneously as a series of paintings and a continuously re-blogged Internet meme.
With much of his earlier work available online via the artist’s website, and with three exhibitions this summer in New York, Chicago, and Toronto, the perceived notion that a digital environment exists separately from its physical counterpart is limiting. Musing over the oppositions of physicality and virtuality both in space and objects, Ito and I conclude that an artwork—and, by implication, an exhibition—cannot exist solely in real space, but must include an online presence in order to fully exist.
Antonia Marsh While some of your earlier projects such as JstChillin.org and PaintFX were web-based to begin with, they have also included live, real-time aspects. How do you understand this transition from an online environment to an IRL [“In Real Life”] environment?
Parker Ito Well, to begin with, I no longer believe in the relevance of the term “IRL.” Although perhaps somewhat dogmatic, I find its usage antithetical to my entire practice. For me the term “IRL” constitutes a relic of Web 1.0 net anxiety/novelty. “IRL” infers a division between a presumed “real world” and what happens online that I don’t think exists anymore. We live in a technologically hybrid reality where the space between the physical and the virtual is fluid.
What do contemporary art and raves have in common? According to Francesca Gavin’s E-Vapor-8, quite a bit.
E-Vapor-8, the recent exhibition at 319 Scholes in Brooklyn, borrowed its title from a 1992 track by the British rave band Altern8. Curated by Francesca Gavin, a writer, editor and curator based in London, the exhibition explores the relationship between contemporary art and rave culture. The exhibition continues a trajectory that was initiated at The New Psychdelica where Gavin investigated the aesthetic commonalities between the visual imagery of iconic sub-cultures and artists working in new media, digital and web-based art today. The influence of rave on this generation of artists, Gavin suggests, goes deeper than the purely visual and aural, and opens conversations surrounding community, freedom and rebellion.
Augustus Thompson on making art in the shower, Instagram and his solo show at Ed. Varie.
For Augustus Thompson’s latest installation at Ed. Varie in New York, the artist has taken on the role of organizer and collagist of cultural information. Building an archival self-portrait by appropriating images from social media feeds, personal photographs, music videos and texts, Thompson layers printed works to form a floor-based collage. Compositions where Chicago rapper Chief Keef’s Instagram “selfies” meet aerial shots of the Grand Canyon are superimposed on images of the artist’s studio, construction sites and consumer objects. A seemingly infinite combination of potential narratives and associations opens up in the juxtapositions of these prints, resulting in a personal image stream where the mundane and everyday meet the extraordinary.
Antonia Marsh For Hold Tight, which will be your first solo exhibition of 2013, you’re preparing a site-specific installation for the gallery, is that right?
Augustus Thompson Yes, the installation will be around 40 or so digital prints on 13”x19” watercolor paper placed on the floor covered with a clear vinyl. I want the audience to walk on the prints, and although hopefully they won’t get damaged. I do want a tension to be there because it feels slightly strange to be walking on artwork.