Stephanie Rothenberg’s “Garden of Virtual Kinship” at ZKM Center for Art and Media
Stephanie Rothenberg, like many corporations, is interested in what you’re doing online. But unlike those companies that are collecting data for monetization, Stephanie uses API, virtual worlds and online transactions as a platform to make art and critique. Her project Laborers of Love/LOL took advantage of the recent phenomenon of crowdsourcing to have workers abroad cull images of sexuality and desire in order to create a collaged pornography; it was a critique on desirability as much as it was about digital labor. Her Creative Capital project, “Reversal of Fortune,” is a series of installations that both depend on and critique crowdfunding that happens between affluent Americans and developing countries. Elements of the project are premiering this fall in international exhibitions at The Lowry Contemporary Gallery in Manchester, England, and at the ZKM Center for Art and Media in Germany. We spoke to her just before her Manchester exhibition opening.
Jenny Gill: This work is really layered and complex—it’s making virtual transactions visible, it’s translating digital human interactions into organic plant growth. Can you talk a bit about the development of this project and the metaphors at work here?
Stephanie Rothenberg: I have always been interested in using art to raise awareness about particular social issues. Before this project, I had been creating interactive artworks that explored both the benefits and exploits of new forms of online digital labor. These performances and installations leveraged what is known as crowdsourcing—outsourcing work to a so-called online “crowd” of global Internet users. The majority of these online workers were, and still are, in developing countries. They perform online work tasks for little money.
Through these earlier artworks I became aware of a new online phenomena that was becoming more popular and was somewhat of a reversal of crowdsourcing. It is known as crowdfunding. Here the online crowd funds a project or business venture that someone wants to pursue. The most familiar example is Kickstarter, which is mostly used for cultural projects. But crowdfunding is also widely used by charity organizations as a social media platform for raising money to assist people in the developing world with small “micro” loans. Rather than cultural projects, these loans are for small-scale local initiatives such as purchasing animals for a farm or paving a village road.
“The Gutless Warrior,” a participatory projection installation
Ali Momeni was born in Isfahan, Iran, and emigrated to the United States at the age of 12. He currently works as an artist and professor at Carnegie Mellon. His work utilizes many technologies to explore the social lives of objects and their embedded performative qualities. As part of his Creative Capital supported project, Center for Urban Intervention Research, Momeni just released A Manual for Urban Projection, so we caught up with him to find out more about it.
Ali Momeni – “Center for Urban Intervention Research” at the 2015 Creative Capital Retreat
Alex Teplitzky: Tell me how you got the idea for Center for Urban Intervention Research, and how it got underway. Are there political elements to the project as the name seems to suggest?
Ali Momeni: The Center for Urban Intervention Research was born out of an increasing number of collaborative, public projects that I initiated and led in the past few years. Starting with my work with MAW, an urban projection collective I founded in Minneapolis in 2008, I have spent several years creating shared experiences in public spaces that leverage new technologies and bring people together. These works (like The Battle of Everyouth, The Gutless Warrior, Statuevision) shared several features: they occur in public spaces, they are cross-generational, conversational and playful, and they use live-cinema and video projection to create an emotional connection between the work and its participants. After years of practice with this medium, I decided that it was time to create an umbrella organization for this part of my practice, a way to create a community around experiential work in public spaces.
Wave & Particle: A group exhibition celebrating Creative Capital’s 15th anniversary
February 14 – March 21, 2015
Ronald Feldman Fine Arts
31 Mercer Street, New York, NY 10013
Open Tuesday – Saturday 10am-6pm; Monday by appointment
Reception: Saturday, February 14, 6-8pm
Brent Green - To Many Men Strange Fates Are Given, 2014
Kelly Heaton - The Surrogate of Live Pelt
Chris Doyle - Bright Canyon [video still], 2014
Ken Gonzales-Day - Wallpaper
Quintan Ana Wikswo - Fieldwork, 2014
SuttonBeresCuller - ON/OFF, 2013
Patty Chang - Invocation for a Wandering Lake, part 1 [film still], 2014
Edgar Arceneaux - Spock, Tuvak, Tupac, 2006
Sam Van Aken - Idiot Moon, n.d.
Janine Antoni - If I Die Before I Wake (mother's hand meets daughter's hand in prayer), 2004
Matthew Moore & Braden King - Cumulus (Fragment 01), 2015
Featuring Creative Capital Awardees: Janine Antoni, Edgar Arceneaux, Heather Cassils, Patty Chang, Julia Christensen, Chris Doyle, Eric Dyer, LaToya Ruby Frazier, Ken Gonzales-Day, Brent Green, Kelly Heaton, Shih Chieh Huang, Jennie C. Jones, Brian Knep, Simone Leigh (featuring Sharifa Rhodes-Pitts), Jennifer & Kevin McCoy, Matthew Moore with Braden King, Carlos Motta, Jeanine Oleson and Laurie Jo Reynolds and Jean Casella, Karyn Olivier, Jason Salavon, Gregory Sale, Miriam Simun, Jesse Sugarmann, SuttonBeresCuller, Sam Van Aken, Quintan Ana Wikswo (list in formation)
A still from 2013 Performing Arts Awardee Kyle Abraham’s “Pavement.” Photo by Carrie Schneider.
Today, we begin accepting applications for Creative Capital’s Awards in Emerging Fields, Literature and Performing Arts, due Monday, March 2 at 4pm EST. We’d like to take a moment to tell you about ourselves and the award, and to answer some of our most frequently asked questions.
What distinguishes Creative Capital from more traditional funders?
Now in our second decade, Creative Capital continues to consider itself the premiere provider of risk capital in the arts—taking chances on projects that are singularly bold, innovative and genre-stretching. We want to support the latest thinking in the field: ideas of scope and ambition expressed through audacious combinations of form and content; varied projects that engage or even create new technologies; and works that take traditional approaches into new territories, teaching us something new about the world and ourselves. We often provide early support for projects that initially have challenges receiving funding from other sources. Continue reading
Media artist Julia Christensen (2013 Emerging Fields) is making DIY projectors out of discarded iPhones. In this video, she introduces her project Burnouts, which is part of a series of works supported by Creative Capital that explore our cultural relationship with e-waste.
Left: Sam Van Aken, Blind Spots, 2014. Silver nitrate photograph.
Right: Julia Christensen, Burnouts, 2014. Videos, plastic with mirrors, glass lenses, smartphones.
On October 2, Creative Capital Artists Juan William Chávez, Julia Christensen, Robert Karimi and Kerry Skarbakka present with Ruby Lerner at IdeaFestival, a celebration for the intellectually curious that takes place each fall in Louisville, KY. This is the fifth year that Creative Capital has presented a session entitled “Art on the Edge” to introduce the diverse audiences at this international convening to the work of four remarkable artistic innovators. Sam Van Aken, also a Creative Capital awardee, will present a separate session, “Disruptive Thinking and a Hole in the Sky,” on October 3. Both presentations take place at 10:30am EST. You can read profiles of all the artists on the IdeaFestival website and follow the presentations live on Twitter (#IF14).
In conjunction with IdeaFestival, 21c Museum Hotel is presenting 21c Celebrates Creative Capital: A 15th Anniversary Exhibition, featuring the work of 18 Creative Capital awardees including Peggy Ahwesh, Nick Cave, Chris Doyle, Simone Leigh, Eve Sussman, and the five artists presenting in this year’s IdeaFestival. The exhibition, which opens on September 30 and runs through March 2015, includes an installation of Julia Christensen’s Burnouts project, a series of projectors made out of recycled iPhones. Continue reading
On April 17, Susan Robb (2013 Emerging Fields) will embark on a five-month adventure from Mexico to Canada on the Pacific Crest Trail. This marks the culmination of her Creative Capital-supported project, Wild Times, which merges new media, social engagement and a 2,650-mile hike to explore wildness as a geographic ideal and a state of mind. I connected with Susan to learn more about this project and her preparations for the trek.
Jenny Gill: Wild Times centers around the importance of untouched wilderness and the notion of “wildness” as an antidote to the stress and structure of modern life. You live in a major city (Seattle). Do you struggle to stay connected to the wild in your day-to-day life?
Susan Robb: The “wild” I’m most interested in is the internal space, the interior dialogue, the autonomous sense of self. In the same way that geographic wild spaces are endangered, I believe the internal, personal ones are endangered as well. A person can feel the struggle and stress of modern life regardless of whether they live in a city or not. Continue reading
Cory Arcangel & Julia Christensen
As part of our “Artist to Artist” interview series, Cory Arcangel (2006 Emerging Fields) and Julia Christensen (2013 Emerging Fields) connected over the phone to discuss DIY projectors, technological obsolescence, source code, and other issues related to their media-based practices. The following is an edited excerpt from their conversation. You can listen online to the full podcast, or subscribe through iTunes.
Julia: Hello! Great to talk to you, Cory! So you’re in Norway right now?
Cory: Yes, I’m in Stavanger, Norway… Are you in Oberlin?
Julia: Yes, I’m in Oberlin, Ohio. It’s winter term here, which is this wonderful break Oberlin gives, so I’m in the studio 9-5 right now, which is really good.
Cory: And what are you working on?
Julia: Well, primarily I’m working this project that is being supported by Creative Capital.
Cory: Aaaahh. At that point they should throw in a Creative Capital audio watermark. CREATIVE CAPITAL. And an airhorn. (Laughs) Cool.
Julia: Sound effects every time we say Creative Capital! (Laughs)
Fallen Fruit (2013 Emerging Fields) presented their project Endless Orchard at the 2013 Creative Capital Artist Retreat. Endless Orchard is a non-contiguous map of fruit trees in public space which will become “a public fruit portal, creating a public fruit map that indexes the largest collection of public fruit trees in the world.” You can watch more artist presentations from the Retreat on our Vimeo channel.