Monday 13 July 2009

Olga Mink Interview

Olga Mink works in the fields of new media, live performance, video- and interactive art, exploring new possibilities in digital representation. With a strong emphasis to conceptual approaches, her work crosses boundaries between music, photography, architecture, poetry, nature, dance, public spaces and engaged themes. Her installation Ballet Mechanique explored the idea of physicality in the virtual (projected) environment, whilst Video_matic employed touch screens and online interactive works as part of a permanent installation for a new building. Work has been released on labels internationally, whilst her expansive live performances been seen in Europe, United States and Japan. Her works have been displayed at Tate Britain, Empac New York, Sonar in Spain, and the Grand Canaria Biennial amongst others. She also works as a curator in audiovisual arts and digital media. Mink lives and works in The Netherlands.

1 - Nam June Paik, one of the most important video-artists said “As the glue took over the paint, also the cathode ray tube will replace the canvas”. Do you think that’s what happening in art, nowadays?

I think the screen did replace the canvas, but all is in flux and I see a need for non-screen based arts nowadays. People want to explore works beyond the screen, and make something that is more tangible and human again. There’s a need for more human elements in digital art to identify ourselves with. I think screen-based art will continue to exist merely on the net. However, the need for film and {live} cinematic experiences, will remain to be an important artform.

2. What’s the main concept in your videos? Do you consider being video art?

My video’s contain a wide range of themes and conceptual approaches. I like to explore different kinds of narratives, forms, and context issues. An important aspect in my work is to create a tension between the actual space, the projection and the spectators’ perception. I like to capture one’s focus and create an immersiveness to fully absorb one’s attention and drift into another possible world, to evoke a sensory experience.

3. Where do you get the inspiration? What kind of music, video or other arts forms do you seek to inspire your projects?

I enjoy working with people that explore new boundaries in art, life, music, technology. I am mostly interested in ambient orientated arts, and like to work
with people that are also interested in these fields, wether this is music, art, architecture, ballet, electronics. My work with Scanner has resulted in projects
that explored ideas in nature and digital media. We tried to create a dialogue and response to many digital arts nowadays, that is merely driven by technological and minimal esthetics.

4. How is all the creative and editing process?

I don’t make a distinction between the creative and production process. The creative is embedded in the whole production process, and I prefer to be able to make choices at any time, and to value them as equally important. I prefer having a non-fixed idea to a certain extend. The idea of creating something that already exists and just has be produced doesn’t sound appealing to me. This would bypass the creative exploration which is the core of my practice as an artist..

5. You link all the nowadays technology: video, photography, live performances, installations…Is this the future of Art? All together, making a concept like “The Definitely Art”?

The future of art is now, and as an artist you are shaping the world you live in tomorrow. Mixing hybrid media and working within interdisciplinary art has
been within my interest for years. A creative method involves implementing new ways, ideas and technologies. New Media guru Lev Manovich, explained hybrid media as a fundamental transformation, in his discourse about a “silent revolution”. Media hybridity especially in moving image, occurred from the use of various software applications, in the past decade. Software such as after affects enabled artists to mix all forms of screen based content, to create a new kind of [abstract or visual] narrative. The internet has been a main influence for this too. This idea of ‘remixology’ is a base for new developments and further explorations. Nowadays, there’s a general shift from the virtual to the real world and an unlimited number of challenges are yet to be explored. What major transformation may occur out of this, is an interesting topic to think about, but impossible to predict in advance.

6. You recent release your project “Atlantida”at 2nd Biennial of the Canaries 2009. How was the experience?

Very good, we got to see some exotic and remote places. The Canarian islands are very beautiful and the change of scenery in such a short time was a unique experience. I mean, how often do you get to explore seven islands in seven days? Nevertheless, it has been a week of hard working too. Every day existed of getting up early, driving through mountainy terrains, catching a plane or boat (imagine the last minute stress), hiring a car, checking-in hotels, and finding the best location for filming. Although the trip was well arranged, we still had to sort these things out ourselves, ofcourse. But it has been an amazing opportunity and the results came out very well. At the time we didn’t know wether we would be able to figure out the balloon shots, and our main idea was to use smoke. We wanted to use flairs, but didn’t get permission from the organization as this could cause issues with the local authorities. Luckily the balloons worked out well and the installation has been received as one of the best during the expo!

Watch | Atlantida, Installation at 2nd Biennial of the Canaries 2009

7. Do you prefer to work alone or do you consider more productive working with other artists?

Sometimes working on your own can be very relaxing and totally great. Other times I need to interact with other people, and miss the vibrant interaction you can get from collaborating. If there’s a good flow, something unique can be created out of collaborative projects. It can be easier to push new boundaries and expand on ideas that are beyond the usual. On the downside of things, collaboration can also be limiting, which is something you would want to avoid at any time..

8. Why the decision to put the videos on vimeo and youtube?
Do you defend thedemocratization of art?

I just enjoy sharing what I make, and to use the social network aspect of web2.0. It’s a sign of the time and an opportunity to expand on new ideas and interact with others. It’s a way to communicate, connect, react and interfere with other peers. I hardly submit work to video-screenings, as instead my videos are available on the net. Though, this doesn’t count for live performance or installation based work, which I absolutely love to present in the flesh and could never be fully experienced elsewise.

9. Which is your foresight for the development of Video Art in Europe?

I don’t think any developments are limited to Europe, but my thoughts about this in media- and video art, would be dealing with emergent technology in holography, stereoscopic projection, augmented reality, infrared motion tracking, ambient technology, and ubiquitous computing..

Olga Mink Links


Thank you,
Miguel Peres

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