My aim as an artist is to create work that challenges people’s assumptions of what they perceive or take for granted, specifically examining the mass usage of computers and networks. My goal is to shift our daily experience with networks (from fixed to wireless) into new forms of meaning and interaction. As technology gains ubiquity, networks will continue to proliferate but what will differentiate them will be their specific context and use. My work interrogates how networks integrate into existing architecture and social patterns outside of traditional computer interfaces through bringing together people that might not have connected in physical space. By maintaining an online connection while allowing simultaneous presence in physical space I bring physical world interaction into online environments. By creating open systems that allow people to experience networks collectively and individually, I aim to encourage a unique understanding for each participant.
Since 2000, I have been working on a body of projects that fit into the theme of “Deconstructing Networks”. These projects attempt to challenge existing frameworks surrounding multiple aspects of network interaction. This approach describes our changing relationship to computers and conventional Internet interfaces by bringing virtual processes into physical spaces and shifting rule sets and paradigms surrounding these ubiquitous systems. While working within this theme of “Deconstructing Networks”, I have produced over 77 individual artworks and projects that challenge many of the core network relationships as outlined above. From re-examining mailing list structures with my “Bumplist” project, to enabling collaborative SMS messaging with my collaborative project, “SimpleTEXT“, to networked surveillance with “PoliceState“, to subverting the simple act of downloading with “Crank The Web“, to examining reputation systems sites like DIGG.com with “PleaseSpam.Us“, to uncovering the tensions between physical spaces and the websites that represent them with “Alerting Infrastructure!“, to examining social media with “America’s Got No Talent” my work explores several distinct themes within this overall framework. Continuing along this theme with my work, my recent projects have been more focused on creating and maintaining a narrative of interactivity around how people use and create social relationships with the multitude of new network technologies that are constantly being released.
As interfaces shift from the desktop into physical forms, there is a realization that we (not the computer) have become the ultimate interface for interactive media. Attaching physical forms of representation to things we perceive as truly virtual has the possibility of adding a socio-critical dimension to the interaction of people and machines. These research themes examine our relationship to computers from a purely human perspective, where machines must adapt and respond to us, not us to them. I explore ways we can connect virtual spaces with our physical surroundings by taking the control processes of these spaces away from the device or system and giving it back to us. Through this method it is possible to enable artistic collaboration between people across distance that bridges verbal and cultural barriers typically common in traditional media.
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