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


[/] DRAW FUNNY PICTURES (33.02 kb, jpg)

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

/->/ veröffentlicht in "croonenbergh's fly" autumn 2001 - in "diagramms" broadsides // liebt cartoon cats && bubble fish // "cartoon cats are easy to assemble"

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

> [question-1//perspektive]
eric kluitenberg defines for avant garde today the purpose to smash the hegemonial surface/s and de(con)struct its cude output. your visuals should reflect the complexity of surfaces and reality as much as possible. the diagramatical aspect helps in this to combine complexity. how important are for you surfaces and borders in your visuals? are diagramms a way to deconstruct and/or reconstruct the established code?

>> [question-1//response]=[mark ehling:]

I think borders are very important, because they can provide an artist (or anyone who constructs objects, images or text) with several desireable effects. First, there's a voyeuristic aspect to frames and borders--it invites you to spy in the same way a lit window at night invites you to spy in, and, creepy as that sounds, I've always enjoyed looking in windows. Secondly, borders allow you to play with context--to juxtapose. I could draw a picture, for instance, of a cow. Now I don't draw very well, so it probably wouldn't be a very good cow. But if I were to draw another picture--say, a t-bone steak--and place it next to the cow, I've suddenly created a narrative: a story of life and death. And the narrative was made possible by the border, the distinction between cow and steak. The writer Donald Barthelme talks at length about this effect regarding a work by Robert Rauschenberg called _Monogram_, which is a stuffed goat encircled by a Uniroyal tire. The distinction (or the border, if you will) between "goat" and "tire" allows for a dialogue and a commentary between the two ideas, an interplay of meaning.
And lastly, for reasons I can't really explain, I tend to draw little boxes first, when I draw on paper: I just make all these little boxes and then I fill them up with images. Maybe I do that because I'm afraid I won't fill up an entire sheet--I can't say for sure. But there's something very comforting to me when I know what size of frame I'm going to use.

Regarding your question of why I use diagrams: I think I use diagrams because they allow me to utilize some of their inherent magic. I know "magic" isn't a very accurate word, but it seems appropriate, because when I draw something that's diagrammatic, I feel that I don the special properties of diagrams as if by magic, which I can then exploit or deflect. For instance, diagrams are supposed to be simple. They're supposed to help people carry out complex tasks, like assembling a ceiling fan or dancing the salsa. Diagrams are also authority figures: we find them in textbooks and in instruction manuals. So when I'm drawing or writing about something that is decidedly *not* simple--such as how humans interact with each other--diagrams can become very funny in their reductionism. Just think: try drawing a diagram for the task, "How to Live a Day on Earth." That'd be a diagram I'd like to see: massive distortions everywhere, but also a kind of weirdly compressed insight.

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> [question-2//perspektive]
avant garde is a voyeur of the establishment and for this purpose using the contemporary apparatus/media. your visuals are full of eyes: the position/ing of the viewer and the aspect of eye/controll is important. what is the role of the viewer/reader in your work and where is the focus directed to?

>> [question-2//response]=[mark ehling]

It's tough for me to answer a question about viewers (or the role they play) because I don't consider them at all when drawing or writing. That's not to say I feel scorn or disdain or indifference toward them--I love viewers!--but honestly I'm first and foremost trying to amuse myself, trying to make something I can stay focused on. My attention span isn't that great, I'm afraid, and I just try to make something that I'd like to stop and look at for a while.

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> [question-3//perspektive]
"if it looks cool - it is cool". you summarize your working. could your work be seen as an assembling beauty? :-)

>> [question-3//response]=[mark ehling]

Well, I suppose "beauty" is a loaded word, and I don't know if I'd describe my own work as beautiful. When I think of beauty I usually think of sunsets and naturally occuring wonders and such. In my own work, I suppose I'm interested a lot in iconic power--by which maybe I mean a certain compositional beauty. I'll put it this way: when I was a child, our local newspaper would run little pictoral icons at the beginning of each section. The automotive page would have a little car at the top, the sports page would have little rackets and balls, and so forth. And my brother and I were fascinated with these icons, and we would cut them out and paste them on these big poster boards. And then we did absolutely nothing with them--we just looked at them. Why did they capture our attention so fiercely? I have no idea. But I feel we did intuit (even then) that there was a certain *designed* beauty about them--not the same beauty as looking over a lush river valley--but a beauty nonetheless. And so maybe I'm still being driven by little rackets and balls and cars and I have no earthly idea why.

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