What if the Internet was a Box? [A Crowdsourced Project]

After writing What if the Internet was a Box? I thought it would be interesting to see—and work with—other hypothetical examples to the question “What if the Internet was a Box?”.

Fill the empty boxes (boxes, got it?) for a chance to take part in this crowdsourced art project.

 
Your answer
You are not required to use your real name. By completing this form you agree for your response to be reproduced, edited, and used as part of this body of work, even commercially. *
Are you a real human being (and not a Box)? *

Notes on making and showing work for student-led exhibitions

This year I have created and exhibited work for students' exhibitions. Once in March with Three Years, a book based on personal Twitter archival data. And recently with Looking and Gug, two works that speculate about casual gay dating via online platforms—Grindr in particular.

These three works look at the way we interact with popular media of communication. Three Years gives meaning to pieces of information—my Tweets—which contain very little message when taken on their own. I did this using design and live performance. Looking and Gug are works that come from personal experiences with casual dating and hookups in the gay London scene. Both works aim to overturn the image that we hold of platforms we use daily: Twitter and Grindr. They are as much as an artistic exercise—and thus an exercise of self-expression— as they are critiques to popular media of communication.

Installing work with the help of a classmate the University of Greenwich Second Year Show ‘19

Installing work with the help of a classmate the University of Greenwich Second Year Show ‘19

The exhibitions in which I have shown these works were challenging experiences on their own. 528 was one of the most rewarding projects I contributed to this year so far. A show in which I have played a significant part in setting up. Yes, a small and exhibition, but one which process of curation taught me invaluable skills; including writing a press release and working with a large group of students. Square_one was instead a show that I experienced from the outside. As the exhibitor that doesn't know much about how everything is organised. Though, I recognise and am glad for the effort of those who took part in making the exhibition come to life. Both shows were wonderful experiences and I am pleased the University game the opportunity to take part in them.

We all want to be loved (and have love to give)

We all want to be loved (and have love to give)

Dating is a big part of my life. It is how I meet new people, socialise, learn about myself and others. The majority of my dates are passionate exchanges of life stories, knowledge, and ideas. Talking to friends I discovered that my dating and hookup adventures are different. This is not only because I people of my same sex

Read More

Co-curating my first student exhibition

528 is the result of the work of fifteen students in their second year of University. 528 is also a curatorial group and the title to a 3 day-long exhibition retracing fluctuations in time through the art object. Performance, video art, printed matter, installations, photography, and sound art convened in the space of the Heritage Gallery as an ephemeral collection of the exhibitors’ efforts.

The show is about the works as much as it about the shared struggles of the artists who made them and challenged themselves—for the very first time—in putting together an exhibition. 528 presented a selection of works created to speculate on 3 interconnected themes: Listen!, Human Machine, and Fluctuating City.

We came about with this title while pitching ideas for a concept that would connect the works of all students in our Making and Curating class. This class has always run on a Monday evening from 5 to 8 pm. These odd hours to have a class—unless you are studying part-time at an evening university. Our initial plan was to have the opening launch for the exhibition between 5 and 8 pm on a Friday. Yet, misunderstandings between the students, tutors, and gallery management happened. We postponed our opening to different hours on the following day, but we kept the title. 528 is also the name of this blog. It is where I write about my academic research, University projects, exhibition design and making work for the gallery space.

I was assigned the role of writer for the press release to the exhibition and that of supervisor of the online team management platform we used to plan the show, Trello. On Trello, I had been creating tasks as per plan, assigning those to each team member, and kept the online schedule updated.

Writing a press release is something I had done in the past (I have been working in my University's gallery for almost ten months now). But I never had to work with such a large group of exhibitors all making work on several different themes. It's like connecting dots on a page but the page is gigantic and all the figures you get don't make much sense. My aim was to write a coherent piece of writing that would tell a story. A short and convincing story that would expand on the works on show. Words that would give voice to each artist without having each of them write a sentence.

Visiting the space for the first time

Visiting the space for the first time

Planning the position of works

Planning the position of works

On the day of the install

On the day of the install

528 as installed and opened at the Heritage Gallery

528 as installed and opened at the Heritage Gallery

Performing Three Years

Performing Three Years at the opening of 528 was an enjoyable but challenging experience. I performed a book made of sentences, links and absolutely no pause between a section and the other.

I have explained here why the book was designed this way. Yet, performing it is a different matter. And I knew it would be challenging. What I found out only after the performance is that people will follow along with you if what you are doing is absurd enough. And I say absurd as in unusual in the context of the exhibition my work was part of.

And people did follow what I read. They picked up the book from its stand and tried to read with me, at times peeking over to see at which page I had arrived. While most of them were my friends, I still was not expecting such a reaction. I thought everyone would be repulsed by the idea of following through such a boring performance. Endless lines of tweets performed by a university student at an art opening are apparently not boring enough.

Before the opening I imagined myself reading this book for two to three hours sat in a corner of the room while everyone would be sipping wine and chatting about contemporary art. I was not expecting anyone to be interested. I preferred to be the machine running code at the back of the room. I didn't want to be on the spot. Not because that makes me uncomfortable. But because the entire concept of Three Years is based on code that runs unnoticed: code that the platforms we use collect about us without us being affected by theses actions.

IMG-20190324-WA0006.jpg

Re-designing the archive

Designing a book made of tweets is nowhere as easy as I thought it would be. It is not only copy-pasting sentences from a word processor into InDesign, adding page numbers, and sending the file to print. First, it took me countless hours to learn to work with Adobe's publishing and typesetting software: InDesign. And just as many hours to figure out how I would want my book to look and feel like.

The conceptual line

When you download any archive from any social media platform you usually receive two things. A CVS (comma-separated values, basically a worksheet) file, and a bunch of HTML files. The worksheet allows you to make sense of your data. Specifically to the Twitter archive, the CSV file you receive contains the whole of your tweets. As well as the number of likes, retweets and some codes for each tweet (which I still haven't made out the meaning of). The HTML files contain code that the browser will display in a clear and understandable way (even if you're not connected to the internet, yay!). What if you see on the webpage is exactly what you ask those services (Google, Facebook, Twitter) to provide you when requesting your data. There are words, pictures, videos, and every information you could ever imagine about yourself. What is at the back of this nicely displayed archive is code. Rivers of code tightly crammed together to save megabytes. In programming, this process of removing unnecessary or redundant data without affecting how the resource is processed by the browser is called minification. Bit by bit, blocks of code are fetched by the HTML. After being formatted and transmitted to your machine, the requested Web page displays the information in your browser.

What the design of every page in Three Years is doing is simulating how this archive exists in its original form. That is why, when you read through the book you see large blocks of text. Sentences one next to the other. No paragraphs and no end of line breaks. I wanted the words to flow onto the page like the code making up the archive flows and reaches your browser.

In designing Three Years, I took inspiration from philosophical concepts of information, new methods of making art, and visual cues surrounding my life. I would not say that I have now become some sort of publishing or graphic designer. But I have indeed taught myself invaluable skills in a new creative field.


Below are some of the pictures of the finished design for the cover and the inside of Three Years, as well as some of the initial designs (printed in a variety of formats).

Very first print from inkjet printer (cover)

Very first print from inkjet printer (inside)

Original version of the cover design

Receiving the first copy home from Lulu.com

Final version of the book (inside)

Final version of the book (cover)

About The Heads

About the Heads is an exhibition at the Heritage Gallery, University of Greenwich. The exhibition showcases work made by three artists in response to a collection of 300-years old stone heads found kept in the Undercroft to Queen Anne’s Court at the Old Royal Naval College. Here, these mysterious heads from 18th century depict Neptune and other denizens of the deep.

The heads were carved by Robert Jones of Stepney in the early 1700s and were originally intended for display upon the south elevation of the Painted Hall. A decision to use brick instead of stone meant the heads were abandoned, and for 300 years have languished out of sight. (Rosie Dagstir, 2019)

Julian Rosefeldt, Manifesto.

Exhibition shot of one of the 13 films part of Julian Rosefeldt's  Manifesto.  April 2019.

Exhibition shot of one of the 13 films part of Julian Rosefeldt's Manifesto. April 2019.

The architecture of the Palazzo delle Esposizioni in Rome is redesigned by Julian Rosefeldt's Manifesto installation covering 13 large screens with different stories. These stories are written and edited to the same length and they come together, every now and them, into some sort of chorale. Supported by a brilliant exhibition design, the work of Rosefeldt pays homage to the moving tradition and literary beauty of 20th century artist manifestos, ultimately questioning the role of the artist in contemporary society.

Manifesto, Palazzo delle Esposizioni, Rome

Manifesto, Palazzo delle Esposizioni, Rome

Emotion in Abstract Animation

IMG_20190404_154143059.jpg

Gallery visit to Emotion in Abstract Animation: Designing a new form of visual music, an installation with projections and tracing paper by Julie Watkins at the Stephen Lawrence Gallery. April 2019.

IMG_20190408_142216_039.jpg

Haegue Yang: Tracing Movement

Haegue Yang: Tracing Movement. Installation shots, South London Gallery, April 2019.