Interview: Jane Wingfield

Agricola de Cologne interviews Jane WingField (JW)

 

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Jane Wingfield – Screen-based visual artist

  • artist biography
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    10 questions—>

    AdC:
    You belong to an art scene using new technologies, you are an active representative of a genre dealing with Internet based art, called “netart”.
    When those artists started who are active since a longer time, the education in New Media was not yet such advanced like nowadays, often they came form different disciplines and had an interdisciplinary approach, those young artists who start now have partially this more advanced education, but rather not much experience in other disciplines.

    1.
    AdC:
    Tell me something about your educational background and what is influencing your work?
    JW:
    I have a background in traditional broad-based art forms covering drawing, painting, sculpture etc. I came to screen-based art through working in web-design and finding I wanted to work outside of this, gradually working with screen based art (which I have made including animation, interactive and non-interactive web-based work, interactive and non-interactive screen based installations and more recently video). I liked the immediacy of screen-based work and it suits the narrative content which features largely in my work.

    2.
    AdC:
    The term “netart” is widely used for anything posted on the net, there are dozens of definitions which mostly are even contradictory.
    How do you define “netart” or if you like the description “Internet based art” better, do you think your work belongs to this specific genre,
    JW:
    No
    AdC:
    do you think “netart” is art, at all, if yes, what are the criteria?
    JW:
    Yes- It’s just another medium for displaying work. It allows for remote
    viewing, and at times interactivity. It is international by nature.
    AdC:
    Are there any aesthetic criteria for an Internet based artwork?
    JW:
    Only that the more varied and interesting the better. One of the strengths of internet-based art-work, I hope, is that it is a very free medium which allows for huge variety in creativity.

    3.
    AdC:
    What kind of meaning have the new technologies and the Internet to you,
    are they just tools for expressing your artistic intentions, or have they rather an ideological character, as it can be found with many “netartists”, or what else do they mean to you?
    JW:
    An interesting question. Mainly-it is another tool. It would seem to be a much less exclusive way of displaying work, which is quite nice, but the relationship with the audience is a different one, and it would be interesting to know more about the audience for internet art.

    4.
    AdC:
    Many “Internet based artists” work on “engaged” themes and subjects, for instance, in social, political, cultural etc concern.
    Which contents are you particularly interested in, what are the subjects you are working on and what is your artistic message(s), if you have any, and what are your personal artistic visions for future artworking (if you have any)?
    JW:
    My work has a strong metaphysical element, which I hope works on the emotions.

    5.
    AdC:
    “Art on the net” has the advantage and the disadvantage to be located on the virtual space in Internet which defines also its right to exist.
    Do you think, that “art based on the Internet”, can be called still like that, even if it is just used offline?
    JW:
    I do think that there is a different experience to ‘viewing art through the internet. It seems to heighten the sense of insubstantiality which actually can be an interesting way of viewing work. However I think it is fine to exhibit it in different forms, after all hanging in different galleries does have as dramatic affect on traditional art forms.

    6.
    AdC:
    Dealing with this new, and interactive type of art demands an active viewer or user, and needs the audience much more and in different ways than any other art discipline before. How do you stimulate the user to dive into this new world of art?
    JW:
    Although it is valid to view work from a personal computer, I actually think galleries built with screen-based art specifically in mind, is so much better. As with other art forms, clearing away the clutter of ordinary life to allow the experience of the work to take central stage, seems much preferable to me, as it allows the viewer to absorb the full impact of the experience, whatever that may be. It seems that all galleries, for example traditional through to modern, have an impact on viewing work, and can enrich or diminish the experience. I do like the fact that people who cannot easily get to galleries have access over the internet though.
    AdC:
    What do you think, represents an appropriate environment to present net based art to an audience, is it the context of the lonesome user sitting in front of his personal computer, is it any public context, or is it rather the context of art in general or media art in particular, or anything else.?
    JW:
    If you would be in the position to create an environment for presenting this type of art in physical space, how would you do it?
    I think it would be great for screen, and internet based artists, to work with architects to produce suitable gallery spaces- if money was no object!

    7.
    AdC:
    As Internet based art, as well as other art forms using new technologies are (globally seen) still not widely accepted, yet, as serious art forms, what do you think could be an appropriate solution to change this situation?
    JW:
    See above- I think it would transform screen-art. Internet art could be accessed, and ‘chosen’ by the viewer, along-side screen art which is not on the internet.

    8.
    AdC:
    The Internet is called a kind of “democratic” environment, but the conventional art practice is anything else than that, but selective by using filters of different kind.
    The audience is mostly only able to make up its mind on second hand. Art on the net might potentially be different. Do you think the current practice of dealing with Internet based art is such different or rather the described conventional way through (also curatorial) filtering?
    JW:
    Curatorial filtering does seem a necessary process to me, as in other art forms.
    AdC:
    Do you think, that speaking in the terms of Joseph Beuys, anybody who publishes anything on the net would be also an artist?
    JW:
    I think in the end it is always the audience that decides this.

    9.
    AdC:
    Do you think, the curators dealing with net based art should have any technological knowledge in order to understand such an art work from its roots?
    JW:
    It would help to have a basic working knowledge of what is out there and roughly what is possible, to have a context to choose from, but I don’t think technical expertise in every area is necessary. As with other art forms, it needs to stand and fall on its own merits, not on the need to explain it. That always seems a bit of a failure to me as it would seem that part of the form is to make it user-accessible.

    10.
    AdC:
    It is planned, to re-launch
    JavaMuseum – Forum for Internet Technology in Contemporary Art
    www.javamuseum.org in 2007 in a new context, very likely even in physical space. What would be your personal wishes and expectations connected to this re-launch ?
    JW:
    It would be great if it could make links and build bridges with traditional galleries, as it seems that there could be mutual benefits on both sides, just as some galleries now have a ‘digital wing’, could they not have an’ internet wing’ also?

    AdC:
    Thanks for taking your time.