Saturday, May 23, 2009

my thesis proposal

Since I started graduate school, I have been interested in making works associated with topics of collectivism and alienation. These two topics have eventually combined to form my interest in a singular idea that could be called collective isolation. This term seeks to describe a feeling of loneliness and alienation that I have found prevalent in many people despite being participants in communities and subcultures. So far my research has expanded to subject matter pertaining to the sources and symptoms of this condition. Through the writings of Karl Marx and Theodor Adorno, I have been able to expand my research to include collective isolation's relationship to capitalism and the media. I am also interested in how this condition manifests from the internet and the growing technocracy within global culture. Moreover, I am also investigating technology’s relationship with spirituality and myth-making’s relationship to rationality, allowing me to get a better perspective on how these issues inform the way that we as a society relate to each other and collectively envision progress. In investigating these topics, I am able to approach my own feelings of alienation from a minority standpoint as part of a bigger social phenomenon that many people are a part of.

Thus far, I have made works that refrains from blatantly addressing the subject of collective isolation, but rather, attempts to portray its possible manifestations. My works have ranged in subject matter which include soul-searching, hysteria, apathy, spiritual materialism, hedonism, and apocalyptic narratives, all of which seek to connect to a larger narrative of contemporary social disillusion. Through the use of humor, I attempt to make these dark notions less daunting for viewers to contemplate.

I am naturally drawn to using a wide range of materials—having used paper sculptures, drawings, plants, jewelry and others to actualize my ideas. I would like to continue exploring different mediums in which my ideas can manifest. Particularly, I am interested developing an online platform for my ideas as my research has led me to artists such as Kenneth Tin-Kin Hung,, Maximum Sorrow, and many other net-art identities, most of which have overtones of nihilism and regression in their work-- notions that I have come to believe as some of collective isolation's main symptoms.

For my thesis show, I foresee myself accumulating a combination of internet material with studio-made objects, seeking to emphasize the physical world’s fusion with the virtual. I am hoping that having been able to delineate the ideas that I am interested in, I can begin to create a body of work that more articulately expresses the issues relevant to my main subject of interest, yet leaving the viewers with enough space to pick-up the pieces together for themselves. I see my thesis project, at this point, as reliant on rigorous accumulation of material culminating in their display as historical artifacts of a foreign, yet familiar world. In doing so, my desire is to open up the possibility for these topics to be issues the past in the hope of a less alienating future.

Thursday, May 21, 2009

Maximum Sorrow Interview Excerpt

"Well, the internet has hardly changed our physical lives at all, but it has drastically changed our spiritual lives. I think this perspective goes largely undiscussed when the web is viewed through less pertinent but more common sociological and technological lenses. While the internet is a physical body of wires and chips, the web is a shared non-physical realm of experience that requires many aspects of spiritual faith to interact with. We post and commune on a plane of information that we cannot touch or see. We tend to wander the web in private, confronting the massive database alone each day. We are inclined to use the web for the satisfaction of our emotional and intellectual needs rather than for our physical needs. We make pilgrimage to the same web sites at regular and repeated intervals, paying homage to them by contributing or partaking, and then we move on to our other daily needs like eating and sleeping. But all the while, we have faith that this plane of information we have become so dependent on is tangible enough to provide a worthwhile connectedness. For many of us, the web has become almost sacred, its ritual use is the embodiment of our spiritual needs. So I suppose that my conclusion is this: surfing the web can be a fulfilling spiritual experience and a direct interaction with a transcendent reality." - Kevin Bewersdorf