Next up on the B/D Interview (Chat) Roulette is master of disguises Joseph Gillette. Joseph continues to explore the ocean depths as well as D E E P S P A C E in his Party Food performance series. This show debuting at Videos Collide in Real 3D Space features screwed up music, puppets, poop jokes, and Real Life experience. Read the interview after the jump!
First off, let’s start with a survey. There are a lot of terms floating around that describe the ballpark of your media (video / performance art). In 4 words or less, describe in your own words what it is you think you do. How much is “video” and how much is “performance”?
Multi-media Performance Theater, also known as “So Realism.”
How did you come to focus on your current medium/media? What’s motivating you?
My work evolved from collage/installation into kinetics. I wanted my collages to activate and move and occupy space. I started exploring collage in sound and video, and ultimately performing with my own body; collaging myself into this multi-media environment.
Your collective works all have different levels of audience interaction. What is the relationship between you and the viewer? What’s the difference between the LIVE viewer and the viewer behind the screen? What sort of role does the two you play in relation to the other? Do you think there is ever a chance that documentation will ever take over live performance? Btw, HOW important / successful do you think documentation is in bringing your performance to the audience that isn’t physically present? Okay, I realize this is definitely several questions crammed into one.
My attraction to performance was always the idea that it is not about objects, or images, or documentation. Documentation is not something I really consider. I make my performance work for a live audience, but it’s not the only work I do. For the non-live audience, I make things. Objects. Images. People may find it easier to understand those things and enjoy them alone, on their own terms. But when you have a room full of living, breathing people, their experience and interpretation of the work involves all the senses, and everyone’s experience is inter-dependent. I like the idea of each piece, or each performance, being wholly unique in that way.
Performance art was touted as being more real than other forms of art because the presence of the artist and focus of the artist’s body is actually what gives the impression of “the real”. How scared are you when you get on stage? You’re essentially “naked” in front of your audience, before the judge of time, and LIVE snafu’s. How does the fear aid in your performance?
I think it is okay to be afraid — fear of failure, for example, can motivate you to succeed — but fear in relation to my audience or my situation does not affect what I do. I chose to be here, doing performance art, because of that “reality.” Fear is the mind killer. The little death.
Where do your characters come from?
From memory. From dreams. From our collective unconsciousness. From cliches. From real life.
How closely do you think what you do is connected to technology?
Technology is a tool that I employ, and we live in very technological times. I am connected by choice, not by necessity. I think the proliferation of cheap computers, software, and internet access have given our generation a lot more to play with and explore.
What do you think about the idea of “re-hashing” art?
Appropriation — if that’s what you’re getting at — is essential to what I do. As a consumer and an artist, it’s a part of my process. Because it’s all process. Life. Experience… I am the sum of the things I see and hear and experience and they are just as much mine as anything I pay for. And the stories are about me, and us, and the media and how we relate to it and to each other through media. Sometimes it’s about making a reference — touching a certain part of the audience’s subconsciousness. But it’s hard to do anything original, no matter what you do. So my work relies heavily on its own connotations. I welcome them and embrace them and let them guide the work. Sometimes the work is about being an individual who is defined by the media you choose to consume and the information you retain.
And of course, what do you think about the current & future Internet? Do you think it holds the fate of mankind in its web?
Not really. That wouldn’t be giving mankind enough credit. I think what we know as the internet now will continue to evolve, and the ways we exchange information and data will continue to evolve. And that course will largely be guided by human desires and ingenuity, as well as the organic development of the technology. I do think that even in the present, simple personal exchanges and societal practices are falling victim to the internet. I like the idea of trying to challenge that with what I do, hanging on to something in “real life” (or IRL) like performance art. But I love the internet, and I rely on the internet and a lot of my work is definitely about the internet, but that’s because right now it’s sort of like a fire hydrant that’s been run over in the street, it’s a party until the Fire Department comes to close it up again. It’s a controlled kind of chaos. in the future i see it being more about databases, less about interfaces. and the stream/flow/exhange of data will be more focused or controlled, everything will become more personal. The hyper-personal people are coming.