Sunday, March 29, 2009

Nouveau Medias

Now that Immobilité is about to have its premiere exhibition which will coincide with the launch of the Immobilité website, I will most likely spend the next few weeks posting entries that look into how this new artwork relates to both my past literary and digital artworks as well as some of my current theories on remixology, postproduction art, and hybrid processes.

For example, this interview with Rick Silva was conducted just as I was finishing principle shooting of Immobilité in Cornwall in late summer 2007 but was for some reason delayed in getting published by Rhizome:
RS: How does writing influence your artmaking and vice versa?

MA: Writing is where it all begins. Writing, for me, is like hacking into virtual space and shaping the world I live in. It can even be prophetic, as Burroughs says. Not in the sense of writing down "I will win the Lotto tomorrow" and then it happens (although that’s cool too — drinks are on me!). Rather, by intuitively tapping into the creative unconscious, one can oftentimes reveal an image of themselves in the world that they may have never visualized before. I can do this by writing. Others draw, or paint, or play sax.

Look at my character in GRAMMATRON, Abe Golam. GTRON turned ten years old this past June. I wrote it as a multimedia hypertext in 1993-1997. The story of GTRON takes place way in the future and is partly about a cyborg-narrator (Golam) who was once part of a net art scene that collectively hacked itself into the mainstream art world and changed art history. But this was 1993, before anyone really had a clue that that would actually happen six or seven years later (I’m still waiting for the film "2000: The Year Net Art Broke"). Abe Golam, it ends up, was the first net artist, albeit a fictionalized version of one that precedes what we now know of as the early history of net art.

Of course, in my current Foreign Film Series, writing is still at the core of my project as the narrative is driven by the subtitles which reveal the disappearing persona (protagonist) who hovers over the scene. For example, in the first film, "My Autoerotic Muse," this invisible protagonist obsesses over the web cam performance of a very well-to-do European writer who lives on Central Park West and uses her web cam performance as source material for her research. This is all revealed in the subtitles, even though we spend long moments throughout the film looking at her web cam image ourselves.

RS: You also have a background in filmmaking. Could you talk about your use of (moving and still) image and text?

MA: As an undergraduate, I studied with Alain Robbe-Grillet, a major figure in the French Nouveau Roman literary movement and who also was then securing his reputation as an experimental filmmaker. He wrote very erotic books, was the principal collaborator on Resnais' Last Year at Marienbad, touched off a wave of artist-generated theory, and his own films, like Glissements Progressifs du Plaisir, were very influential on my impressionable mind back then. At 19, I decided that I would leave the University of Florida, where I was studying creative writing and literature at the time, and move to L.A. to study film at UCLA so that I too could make my erotic art films. Very naive, yes? But I learned a lot while at UCLA and made some life-long friends including Nile Southern who has helped me direct the cinematography on the Muse film. It took me 25 years, but now I am making my foreign art films, although not as movies per se, rather, I see them as unique works of moving visual art that are adapting to the changes taking place in network culture. Most people who will be reading this interview know exactly what I am talking about, that is, what is the difference between cinema, digital narrative, net art, video art, VJing, and mobile blogging? Recognizing the differences while simultaneously blurring them into a hybridized art practice that I call "postproduction art" is where a lot of contemporary art and writing is shifting to these days. I have been working in all of these areas for the last 25 years and yes, there's a difference in technology and even methodology between the genres and formats, but going back to your previous question, I am able to shift between these media and mediums quite fluidly because at root, I approach them as a writer, a hacker, a semiotic codeworker.

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