Nikita Gale's collection of new works at MINT Gallery, BOOLESH1T, opens tonight. Gale says in her artist statement for the show that her current work, "seeks to explore the inherently fleeting nature of being human and how human beings cope both physically and psychologically with the rapidly expanding influence and permanence of digital technology within modern human civilization. It’s an exploration of how the human mind negotiates the massive proliferation of information in a visually-driven, post-literate age." Culture Surfing caught up with her this week to ask her a few questions about that.
What's your background?
I was born in Anchorage Alaska, but I've lived in Georgia for most of my life. My family moved here permanently when I was eight years old. I have a degree in Anthropology from Yale University, so my formal training is in anthropology and archaeology. I've been a working artist and photographer for almost two years now.
What interests you in our human relationship to technology?
I think my background in anthropology certainly plays a part in my fascination with this subject. I'm curious about the psychological effects digital technology has had on human beings. It's such a robust subject, and so little has been done in the way of research that I thought it would be interesting to create and express my own opinions on the topic.
What's George Boole got to to do with it?
George Boole was a 19th century mathematician who created a mathematical system that fostered the development of a system of logical operations that is used in virtually every modern digital device - televisions, computers, cell phones, you name it.
Absolutely. I am a recovering obsessive BlackBerry user/emailer/Facebooker/Tweeter (Twitterer?). The height of my Twitter obsession actually played a huge part in the inspiration for 'Boolesh1t'. One weekend some time last year, I spent something like 11 consecutive hours Tweeting from my computer. It genuinely disturbed me enough to prompt a self-imposed media freeze which is where you disable all of your social networking accounts and curtail your Internet use. Subsequently, my level of productivity skyrocketed, and that's when I initially started playing around with the idea for the show. I wanted to try to make sense of this thing that I had experienced.
Can you describe some of the process that went into making work for this show?
I tried to do as much research as possible for the work in the show. The research that is available regarding how digital media and devices are changing human behavior is still very much in its infancy; however, much of the early research is pointing in the same direction. The short answer to the question of whether or not humanity is changing as a result of digital technology is "Yes. Definitely."
The process of creating the work in 'Boolesh1t' was very hands-on and organic. I built everything in the show by hand and all of the photographs (with the exception of the 3-D images) were shot on film. I opted to use a typewriter or my own handwriting as an alternative to using a computer for the text-based pieces. As is the case with all of my work, I always prioritize the idea or concept that a piece represents which is why the work in 'Boolesh1t' is so varied. There are photographs, there are installations, there are pieces that contain no photos at all. The gallery is also set up to mirror a web browsing experience. There are clusters of coherent bodies of work amid small 'distractions' that can take the viewer's attention off of the actual pieces in the show.
I often found myself creating the pieces for the show in a manner similar to the way I work when I'm online. I was constantly moving between working on different pieces at the same time. I'm almost certain my reliance on digital technology has had an effect on my ability to earnestly focus my attention on any one thing for an extended amount of time.
Influences - John Baldessari, Robert Rauschenberg, Lorna Simpson, Richard Hamilton, Michel Gondry.
Enemies - That's between me, my Lisa Frank journal and my 'blocked' list on Twitter.
BOOLESH1T: A Collection of New Work by Nikita Gale opens at MINT Gallery on Sat., Nov. 6 at 7 pm. Bosco performs at 9 pm. More details at MINT.
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