Your ideas grew, evolved and shifted during your 10 weeks at BAF—some things were added, others removed, others changed incrementally. How would you reflect on how your exhibition has transformed from ideation to execution?
I think my process is really informed by my design education. We're taught to think very generally and diverge, exploring many possibilites and then converge on a single point to develop a singular idea more thoroughly and then repeat the process, getting rid of unnessecary bits each time. Over time it becomes more clear what Im working on and what direction to pursue . I think thats why my residency progressed in the way it did. I made a lot of stuff during the first half of the residency that didnt get integrated into the show. some of the work I actually spent a decent amount of time on but they didnt end up aligning with the other pieces that were happening so I just got rid of them. Thats not to say that I wont continue those other ones at some other time. I dont really feel like any time is wasted if I can learn something in the process.
Although your work speaks to the materiality of computation both physically and conceptually, in this show it took mostly corporeal forms. What challenges and opportunities were afforded in installing a mostly-physical exhibition whose themes are intangible?
Sometimes in media art there seems to be this need to add theatrics or somehting that has a physical body to the work to counter balance the 'immaterial' part of the work that cant be in the gallery. For example the server(s) that run the code for Interpretations exist and are a part of the work but their physical structures to not add anything to the work and in fact I dont even know where they are geographically located. Its only their functional capabilities that are being used, and because this is a large part of what makes up the concept and the work as a whole, there feels like there is a need to create something with a body for a viewer to focus on and relate to, other wise its just an idea and the ether, or a touch screen. It becomes an entry point for understanding the larger system and the concepts being explored. Its a challenge to avoid the trappings of key words like AI and machine learning which carry deep connotations. I tried to avoid using them when talking about the work, in fact I think this is one of the only times I have mentioned it other than maybe some posts on my social media. I intentionally avoided prefacing the work with any mention of AI to avoid people forming their own preconceived ideas of what that means before they had even seen it.
Your show is poetic and evocative, despite the specifics of computation often involving specific and specialized knowledge, and masking ideological undercurrents. How do poetry, skill and ideology intersect within your body of work?
The motto for SFPC , the school I attended in 2018 is " More poetry , less demo" and I think about it all the time. They never explicitly defined what that meant but I interpreted that as the poetic aspect of a piece of art is more important than the technical part. Relatedly I saw this meme that showed a person standing in front of a neon light piece in a gallery and the caption was " Gallery goer unsure if work is good or just lights up". One of my teachers Taeyoon Choi advised us to think of concepts first and technology second. If you lead with the tech it can leave little room for what people resonate with that isn't just flashing lights. I have always been keen to understand how things work, from many angles, technically, aesthetically, socially and I take this to everything I create.
Some of your works are interactive and some invite contemplation. What do you hope that a visitor might take away from engaging with your work?
Im constantly researching things , doing tutorials online or reading about new technological advancements and discovering all these interesting things. I want to share this feeling of discovery and world of ideas. After immersing myself in the world of speculative design and critical art work related to technology for so long I sometime take for granted the things I have learned and think they are common knowledge. So essentially I want to share what I have found with viewers and I hope they take away a new perspective on some everday things that they might not have considered before.
I'll use the painting "I'm Safe" as an example. Generally speaking, pressing a button is a trivial thing, like, how many software buttons do we press on a daily basis? So many that it becomes thoughtless. For me when I went to press the "I'm safe" button on facebook, when I at the time I was in the vicinity fo a terrorist attack, it felt like it had so much weight and sparked all these ideas for me. In Vancouver where I live , its hard to imagine to ever have to use a mechanism like that , but I could imagine someone in another place in the world getting used to repeatedly using this type of interface. Then the I started to think about how Facebook decides what warrants the use of this button. Its clear that the platform is not apolitical and it raised all these questions for me about who has access to these social functions. So I guess my hope is that people take away a part of this and begin to think differently or perhaps more deeply about the tools they use.
What’s next for your practice?
Its hard to say at this point. Alot of my goals had been overseas with a couple programs in Europe that I had my eyes on but of course with the current state of things its a bit tough to imagine those as a possibility in the near future. I'm doing alot of research and exploration with web technologies so I can publish more work to the web. Its always satisfying when i get to merge my different skills into something cohesiv and I'm currently working with a couple other artists to design and bring their work to the web with interactivity. These projects include some VR and XR stuff for the web that is really exciting and fun to work on.