avant / garde / under / net / conditions (vormals: perspektive | issue 43 | 2002 )

code.poetry.loop | dada.lodge | experimental.bungees | mail.art.ocular | post.dogmatism | surreal.sheets | theory.proxy | < visual.tray >
- - - - - - - -< data sheet >- - - - - - - - - |

[/] interview (deutsch)
[/] interview (english)


[/] Last Will of Wanderlust (part I) (30.83 kb, jpg)
[/] Last Will of Wanderlust (part II) (44.42 kb, jpg)

- - - - - - - -< data holders >- - - - - - - - |
> nick churchhill - [australia]
> mark ehling - [USA]
> experimental jetset - [netherlands]
> spencer selby - [USA]
> derek white - [USA]
| - - -< derek white >- - - |

/->/ experimentelle punkte als visuelle gedichte - fictionierungen - hypertexturen // lebt in ny - us

>> wanderlust
>> / interview /
[question-1] :v: [question-2] :v: [question-3]

> [question-1//perspektive]
the purpose of an avant garde today is to smash the surface of hegemonial structures: to deconstruct or disrupt the "cute" screens of dominant code. your visual poems are as a title of your work says "mining" into language. what are you searching for while digging into language? is desconstruction a vivid concept for you?

>> [question-1//response]=[derek white:]

We are at the height of the information age--few of us work in and around actual physical commodities or products, but deal solely with concepts and data. We are bombarded with information and it seems every possible combination of word and image has been taken--right now it’s all about the delivery. There is no shortage of media--the problem now lies with filtering through the dribble and fluff to find information that is meaningful and interesting. Rather than blindly expound and rehash ideas, I attempt to deconstruct and "mine” to the core units and work with these to sculpt concise objects.

I had the fortunate opportunity to work in the copper mining industry for a few years. There was something very gratifying about this kind of work where there is an obvious and undeniable goal--to mine for a simple and valuable element that for all practical purposes cannot be broken down into smaller constituents. Hardly anyone can deny our fundamental need and demand for copper, down to the metaphorical basis of copper as our fundamental unit of currency. As a field geologist, I would perform a variety of surveys, such as biogeochemical field surveys, in which I would simply hike around remote landscapes and take strategic clippings from plants. These would in turn be analyzed to determine what lay hundreds of feet below the surface where only the plant roots could reach.

I approach art and literature in a similar fashion--drill down, expose yourself, give yourself to a routine ritual which is by no means exclusive but can be performed by anyone, then persevere and keep mining down deep through the layers of topsoil (banal media and text) until you hit a vein. And once you hit a vein you milk it for what it’s worth. But that is not the end of it. From there you just know the whereabouts of the fundamental low-grade ore, from there you have to get it out of the ground, take it to the smelter to melt it down, purify it, break it down, etc. until you have pure copper. From there you have something malleable to work with. It’s at that point that "art” begins and you sculpt the fruits of your data mining into something that inevitably characterizes the process you went through to derive it.

--- ||||||||||||||||||||| it's UP to you ||||||||||||||||||||| ---

> [question-2//perspektive]
bilwets data dandy strolls along the hypermedia highways a few years ago as an descendant of walter benjamins flaneur of the passages. today the data dandy is more alonge and alone in the "real existing electronic loneliness" (bilwet) and is more encapsuled as before. as reader/surfer through your visual poems one is remembered to be a kind of flaneur or "wanderer" through language hills. sometimes it even seems to "can smell letters". are your letter/pictospaces a virtual landscape? how important are the senses for your work/ing?

>> [question-2//response]=[derek white]

I have a theory that we (humanity) started existence as eyeballs. Our bodies evolved as a means to move our eyeballs through the landscape. This to me is the fundamental desire--to move our senses through our world to "make sense” of it. All other desires (sex, hunger, etc.) are mere consequences or supporting desires to propagate this fundamental yearning to sense the world.

I have always enjoyed hiking and mountaineering, and now in New York I consider myself an "urban hiker” or flâneur. One of my favorite things about New York City is that there is a constant flux of text and "reading” material in the streets--advertisements on taxis, billboards, scrolling news displays, stock tickers, logos on designer clothes, graffiti, blackberries in your palm, leaflets at your feet, engravings in the concrete, manhole covers, etc. It is a fertile stream of media in which you can throw a hook in almost anywhere and catch something. New York has definitely given a "visual”, "concrete”, and non-linear aspect to my work.

The Internet is a new landscape that enables us to explore all corners of the world while sitting in our homes. While there is extreme power in this, there is also cold detachment. As a reference, or data-mining tool, it is extremely valuable, but we run the risk of severing the interface between the senses and the world if we don’t surface occasionally for air during the waking hours. Like drugs, it is an illusion--a contradiction of hyper-motility at the expense of being sedentary.

In the same way that the Aborigines in Australia use features of the landscape on their walkabouts as cues to memorize stories, features of landscape hold meaning only after you have been there and experienced something there. Triggering this experience is what artists achieve vicariously through text and images, but even then it only holds meaning if the recipient shares a similar repertoire of experience or knowledge of that landscape to relate to.

Being in motion is a comfortable state of for me, and creating a state of motion and geographical frame of reference is something I definitely strive for in my work. When you are moving through a landscape, you rely on all your senses to give you the full picture. It is easy to be presumptuous and think that a landscape exists outside of your own being, but when it comes down to it, our senses are all we have to rely on. The most effective art and literature must appeal directly to the senses in order to "make sense” of it.

--- ||||||||||||||||||||| it's UP to you ||||||||||||||||||||| ---

> [question-3//perspektive]
your visual art is a mixture of "scientific" language/symbols and literature. often it represents science as a cluster oyster around the text. what is the connex between science and literature for you and which role are special characters playing?

>> [question-3//response]=[derek white]

Coming from an agnostic and laissez-faire family, I latched on to science as a way to give structure to my beliefs. I embraced the scientific method of 1. gathering data, 2. forming a hypothesis, and then 3. proving your hypothesis by way of experiment. But at the same time I also grew frustrated with the lack of interpretation or room for spontaneous opinion in science that perhaps drove me to the other extreme of nonsensical and "experiment”al zeal. Going strictly by the laws of physics, a bumblebee should not be able to fly--but it does. At some point you just have to relish in this fact and not ask why.

I guess the scientific characters are leftover archaic relics. In science whenever you come across a new concept, the first thing you usually do is tag a character or acronym to it to make your analysis and equations more concise. Then it becomes sheer mathematics or logic and it’s hard not to lose the original meaning of what the character or symbol stood for. They take on an abstract meaning in themselves. I commonly use scientific concepts to seed my work, and often try to push the concepts and symbols into different contextual roles. I would like to think that I am liberating these concepts and symbols by forcing them into humiliating and uncompromising positions riddled with contradiction and hypothetical conviction--a stark contrast to their previous lives. My wife works as a research scientist and when she comes home I enjoy pilfering through her data and scientific papers. Even if I don’t understand what she does, sometimes the data representations are just visually beautifully for what they are, especially when you take a step back and view them out of context. They seed my imagination for my own metaphorical interpretation.

There are many insightful and interesting revelations that come from science, but I fear the concise and cold delivery scares people off. The hard work and a priori knowledge it takes to understand some of the more esoteric concepts limits the revelation to a select few... not that I don’t think there should be some work involved, but it should be unforced, unprivileged and aesthetically pleasurable work. This get backs to what I was talking about in the beginning--to me its not so much about proving an idea or providing data but delivering it in such a way that induces sheer inspiration and revelation that you are free to take or leave.

--- ||||||||||||||||||||| it's UP to you ||||||||||||||||||||| ---

| - - - - download: .rtf (38.57 kb) - - - - - |

intro.peer | forum.work | web.mail | home