Wednesday, January 25, 2017

Interview with AEIVA's First Long-Term Artist in Residence: Jessica Angel

Interview by Zach Edison, AEIVA Intern

How has being a Colombian artist based in New York attracted you to the idea of the internet as a representation of the city or a point of connection? 
I see the internet as an underground platform where the boundaries between nations are erased. A virtual arena where race and gender have no play. A nursery of culture and knowledge that depends entirely in the free and uncensored flow of information. The ultimate revolution! Along those lines, I see myself as a node in this vast and global net of information referred to as “The Sixth Continent” by Paul Virilio in his book “The Information Bomb”. So, by being a Colombian artist in New York, I have experienced the fading of the frontiers of space and distance as I have maintained the connections and relationships with my homeland intact and alive.

What aspects of thought processes, analogies, and the urban environment inspired you as an artist and how have you connected these three concepts in your work?
Well, these three concepts have a very specific place in my work. Thought processes are at the core of my production, since I read and sketch before putting any of my pieces together. I appreciate processes the most and I use the documentation of these processes as a part of the final result. For the piece presented at AEIVA, I’m integrating the installation process as an open studio for visitors to experience my work in the making.
Secondly, analogic reasoning is the mechanism I use to foster thinking and to blend seemingly different ideas together. As Douglas Hofstadter put it: “Analogies are the interstate freeways of cognition”. I enjoy comparing dissimilar concepts and try to find fundamental connections between them.
And lastly, the urban environment. This has been a great reference in my production and I see it as a landscape where interaction takes place, the physical space that we collectively inhabit as social beings.
These references are part of my research, but by no means do I attempt with my work to illustrate these ideas. I believe in the freedom of associations and the work is there to be interpreted in many different ways.

“Facing the Hyperstructure” is based on analogies and the growth of ideas; are there certain specific ideas and correlations which accompany the installation?
The specific ideas behind this installation are related to the understanding of structure in an expanded way. I see the concept of structure from different points of view, starting from the building itself as a solid physical formation. The hard-edge physicality of the building hosts what I call the dynamic space, which is the interactions and endeavors that happen in it, ranging from education to the display of art. The museum enables different kinds of knowledge to thrive, for intellectual structures to be built. Structure then implies to the affirmation of space and it can have tangible and intangible manifestations, conceptual and physical forms. I am interested in reflecting upon the different layers of structure that fill and shape space in that expanded way, thinking of it as a whole. To do this, I ask myself questions like, what structures the space of our thoughts? or the space inside a computer?  What structures the space of this building? What association can we find between them to understand these spaces as analogs? And the answer that I can come up with is, flow, change, movement, dynamism, and systems of connections.
“Facing the Hyperstructure” responds to this multi-layer vision of structure. It is taking over the physicality of the building by visually curving it, creating a flow by intervening the walls and floors with adhesive vinyl. It is enabling the study of these ideas through education and it is providing a canvas for collaborations to happen in the realm of science, music, and new media by hosting a series of events after the project opens.

The illusion of space is a key feature in your site-specific works, what characteristics of a site’s architecture determine how you will use the space?  
All characteristics of the site’s architecture influence the outcome of the installation, from its formal qualities to our mental associations to the site. When it comes to this specific project, I find the AEIVA building to be an amusing and challenging space to work with. It has stimulating architectural conditions and it is an enriching experience on how to assimilate the intricate shapes the lobby and atrium offer.

Your works take full advantage of the surrounding architecture such as the dome of the Bogota Planetarium in “Planck Projection” or the use of constellations in “Limitless Alignment,” what specific reference point in AEIVA will “Facing the Hyperstructure” revolve around and what is its significance?
The starting point to develop “Facing the Hyperstructure” in AEIVA is its architectural impact and its reference to contemporary architecture. Therefore, I am using the concept of structure as the architecture of this edifice as well as the architecture of ideas and associations. The installation as a hub for the consolidation of art production and education, around the study of space and architecture, have outlined the title of the installation. I am using the word “facing” to enhance the massive nature of the piece and our correspondence to it as the audience, and the prefix “hyper” meaning many, multiple, and excessive.