For the purpose of these interrogations, the Museum has developed a series of questions for exhibiting contemporary artists in an attempt to enliven and explore the discourse between the artist and the institution – with specific focus on site, interpretation, relevance, process, and sources.
Eric Souther builds and utilizes his own software, manipulating video and sound to explore how technology shapes experience and communication in our contemporary culture. His individualistic artistic explorations of the unseen network of the digital age reveal the experiences of modern life “saturated with digital information.”
Q: Does your work belong in a traditional museum setting?
Eric Souther (ES): Of course. I think it is essential and necessary to be in a dialog with traditional mediums. That could not take place unless my work was in the same room as a sculpture or painting, etc.
Q: Do you think your work gains credibility by being displayed in a traditional museum setting?
ES: Yes, of course.
Q: Can you describe the “ideal venue” for your work?
ES: I feel my work feels most comfortable in a museum or gallery setting.INTERPRETATION:
Q: Do you see your work as self-centered or do you consider the viewer when you create a works of art? In other words, does the viewer matter?
ES: In my work, I attempt to expand and create experiences to my audience that delves into their relationship with media and speaks to our cultural existence within media.
Q: What is the ultimate cliché attributed to your work?
ES: Attributed by others or myself? I was once referenced as “cannibalizing images.” I don’t see this as being cliché, but am I am having trouble coming up with an answer.
Q: Do you ever feel “misunderstood?
ES: At times perhaps. That is why writing and creating a dialog about my work is crucial.
Q: Why should people pay attention to your work? What makes you different?
ES: Because it allows for new ways of seeing the technologically saturated world around them. That can give perspective to a new understanding to how they navigate the constantly changing systems around them.
Q: Does your art engage with societal issues/controversies/trends? Do you consider it among the responsibilities of an artist to provide commentary on society at large? Why or why not?
ES: I think my work will always peruse, utilize, and explore our social rituals and interactions with media. A part of having a voice in this digital sphere is using trends of technology, because those become new tools to create with. Art is here to make different, to make us think, to give us experience and knowledge that cannot be transferred to us by the spoken or written word.
Q: What is the most indispensable item in your studio?
ES: My computer.
Q: Have you ever taken a major risk within your practice? What was the outcome?
ES: Of course, risks are what push me forward – outcomes of which usually end in failure. In those failures comes the work you see. I don’t plan on showing all the work I create.
Q: Some people fail to connect with contemporary art because there are no set rules or criteria – beauty for example – to determine merit. As they say, “anything goes.” When making a work, how do you tell if it is successful? Do you have your own criteria that you measure against?
ES: If the work makes you think and for a moment allows for you to see something you hadn’t before then that’s it. But the “it” is going to be different for everyone. I think it should be this way. I’m not sure I want to measure it.SOURCES:
Q: If you were asked to “cite your sources”, whatever they may be, what would be on your list?
ES: This would be my short list: Woody and Steina Vasulka, Gary Hill, Bill Viola’s early work, Sol LeWitt, Jules Marey, Eadweard Muybridge, Marshall McLuhan, Maya Deren, Laura Mulvey, Donna Haraway, and Joseph Kosuth. Also Tibetan Buddhist philosophy, and other religions rituals and creative practices like the Hindu Darshan, Haitian Voodoo and the Dogon religion. You should check out a book called “Conversations with Ogotemmeli”.