Excerpts from "A Conversation with JoAnn Gillerman, ArtsWire, 1996
on ... Tritonia Feldspar - Real-Time Performances in Public
Lots of responses to what you've posted flew thru my head as I read your words Jody! Was interested to read about your moustache performances, and would love to hear more about some of those encounters. I can imagine how some people would consider it an assault - gender coding is surprisingly firmly imbedded. I was often mistaken for a man - even when wearing a skirt! - when my hair was very short. Nothing like being perceived to be in drag when you're dressed in the regalia of your own gender! Do you think the moustache caused people to think differently about their assumptions about gender?
Nice comment on voluntary vs. forced interactivity. I usually fall into the voluntary interactivity camp, but like the way you took it back to real life. Gives the freedom for the work to be what it is...I guess for me it also seems necessary to be aware of the implications of the way that interactivity is done, since much of the interactive work I've organized treads outside the art context.
Do I think the moustache caused people to think differently about their assumptions about gender? I hope so!!!!
When I was exploring environments that I designed for myself, or performed in, I also became interested in how others interacted with me and/or the environment. We are in real life always interacting with our environments - why not in art?
Especially “informative” was when I first wore a prominent mustache around Chicago. (It did, I might add, totally match the color of my hair and the shape went well with my face!) I learned alot about people! I went on my daily activities - to the bank, downtown on route through Chicago, on public transit, grocery stores, etc. Also, relatively recently, as Tritonia Feldspar, I again wore the same mustache here and around the Bay area. One semester, I taught an entire class as Tritonia Feldspar.The students recognized that when the mustache was on I was Tritonia - and when not on - I was Jody. I wore it around town when I was looking for “weights” (barbells) - like to Copeland Sports, or other public places. These “real-time performance pieces” - a continuing study in human interactions!!! . - I view as political in nature and interactive (without much tech!). Questions of gender, normality, and identity come to my mind! (though others may see simply drama and theater!). In cyberspace gender switching is much easier than in non-cyberspace!
About optional vs. forced interactivity ... I felt wearing a mustashe was quite benign and quite personal - Not aggressively requiring interaction. i.e. optional! However, it was surprising how many people considered it a direct assault on something! (I’m still not sure what that is about!)
Getting back to interactive art - I do understand that the world does not always give one the option to be passively or actively engaged. Some decisions are made without personal consultations! And ... so be it with art! But, I firmly believe that it would be a more harmonious place - in general - if a person’s individual space - and the space of varied cultures - is respected and tolerance practiced. I try to convey this in my work - all of my work.
Though this my be construed as simplistic, I don’t believe in re-visiting “somewhat collectively agreed on offensive territory” for the sake of pointing out how really offensive it is! I’m much more into finding creative new solutions.
I respect personal space - of myself and others. That is why, when I work interactively, I usually let the viewer/participant decide how engaged she/he wishes to be. And...along these lines...If I am successful in designing an engaging interactive environment, I believe users will want to interact out of curiosity, interest, or to visually and aurally experience it. I do consider accessibility, and attempt to make environments and interactive art available to a broad and varied audience.
on ... Media or Medium
That last post got my thinking along the line of medium. Is a CD a medium? Or is it a publishing media? is video tape a medium? What is the diff between publishing op and actual creative media? Is the idea of media irrelevant at this point?
Personally It strikes me as a distribution tool. The difference between live music and memorex. Art students....... shouldn't be worrying about distribution. Shouldn't they be taking chances in the machine saving the good stuff to a portable HD. and DOING MORE! But then again, lotsa storage on that little CD.
Looking forward to the response on this!
I don't work with CD but I think the questions and blurring of lines might be similar to what is happening with the web. Certainly Night Feeder is an actual work - not a distribution tool. One reason I was interested was because I thought there might be parallels with what is happening with the web.
I would say that video is the medium, and video tape is the means of distributing the medium if it is recorded (i.e. not live video installation involving no tape!). In that light, CD is a convenient way to distribute interactive works. Interactive works could be distributed on HD, though this would be quite expensive, fragile and inefficient in terms of cost per memory.
I use Interactive CD as a medium and often it is the only presentation of the art work in itself. I also use CD-ROM as storage - like a very large removable disk. It is a wonderful storage medium, small, convenient, and holds lots of data, for a relatively low cost.
I’d say CD is a publishing media at this point in time. This could easily change in a few years, but works of art that now reside on CD-ROM may be considered artwork unto itself. Artists often change mediums, and stay consistent with their concepts and/or images, etc.. I don’t think the work is defined by the medium, though it is usually presented or displayed in the medium. Inotherwords, Art becomes fixed once it has been created and committed to a medium, until it may be re-worked in another medium.
At this particular point in time, and I think the time in this case is quite relevant, CD may be - even if not considered a medium, considered a relatively efficient means of presenting interactive works that have been designed and created on a computer. Interactive works may be distributed or presented on several different media - CD is only one - but a good one for distribution - small, compact, memory efficient, and may be cross platform, etc. I think there will be other media, that are currently in the works - that will become an efficient means for presenting interactive works. I am stressing interactive because I think this is the area where the art (or CD in some cases) becomes the medium unto itself. This is a much larger issue - raises many questions - and is changing constantly with technology. Where is the art on-line? What is the medium? The concept becomes important, the medium is whatever works!