skot deeming, also known as mrghosty, has done more exciting work in games and new media than I dare imagine. A curator with a long list of digital art exhibitions under his belt, a VJ (that’s “video jockey”, one who mixes not just sound but moving images) and a member of Concordia University’s fantastic TAG lab, skot’s work centers the mod, the hack, and the glitch. Through theoretical work and hands-on interventions, he constantly interrupts patterns, shatters illusions and reveals things that were out of focus.
His latest show finished earlier this month. I caught up with him by email to ask how it went.
First, could you give a brief summary of the show?
Could you describe for me an ideal journey that a person might take while exploring the spaces of this show?
Of the 6 pieces in the show, most of them deal explicitly with worlds that break down, either over time, or through having people interact with them. For me, I think, the ideal journey that i would envision for anyone visiting the show, is the understanding of how digital spaces operate, how conventional digital architectures can be twisted and broken in order to create a vastly different experience. If all digital experiences are built on the illusion of stablity in their front end, I wanted visitors to understand that deep below, instabilities abound.I wanted visitors to experience instability, and become willing participants in it. Click To Tweet
Do you have some thoughts about the historical precedent for the kind of work you were doing in this show? What were your inspirations?
I honestly hadn’t even thought about any sort of ‘historical precedent at all with this exhibition. I’m not sure I would want to make such bold claims about such a thing either, to be honest. I think that this exhibition marks the collection of works that were already out in the world. In fact, much of what was shown here (5 of the 6 works), I had curated in other exhibitions in different contexts, and have been working with most of these artists for several years. This was simply the first time I had brought them all together into a single exhibition.
As for what inspired the show, that has a lot to do with the fact that the directors of Cluster asked me to curate an exhibition around the theme of Interface (the theme for the 2015 edition of the festival). I guess what I wanted to do, is push the idea that digital architectures themselves are kinds of interfaces, in fact I think all architectures, IRL or digital operate in this regard. Then I thought about how can we destabilize this notion of interface? How can we move beyond seeing screens and controllers, and understand how we are affecting and interfacing with the systems within these works?
It’s sort of a constellation of larger inspirations, seeing the work in the global Game Art scene, and following along with the Glitch.Art scene as well. Often many of these artists participate in both, and I kind of had one of those “watershed moments” and it all just came together. Glitch Art and Game Art scenes not only share overlaps with artists, but also in terms of their underlying mandates; to destabilize, and speak critically to an increasingly proprietary digital world. Both of these scenes intervene in cracking that notion open, in hacking, breaking and tweaking the guts of the thing. It’s this kind of work that I’ve been interested in for a very long time.
Matteo Bittanti (2006-) Gamescenes.org
Works featured in the exhibition:
Data Tragedy (2014) Memory of a Broken Dimension
Kent Sheely (2010) Cities in Flux
Luis Henandez (2013) Void One
Notendo w/ membrane (2013) Membrane
Jack Squires (2014) No Cl1p
Sergey Mohov (2012) Paradis Perdus