Katina Bitsicas – featured in the current ShinyArt iPad app exhibition Monsters and Memories – discusses her thoughts on art, technology, ShinyArt and dying chairs….
What do you consider to be your job or responsibility as an artist?
I consider my responsibility as an artist to project deep personal emotions onto a screen in the form of video in hopes of connecting with an audience that feels the same emotions and can get something out of my work. I also project concepts that are partially political in nature to raise awareness through my art.
What are some of the questions or issues you are currently exploring through film or video?
Right now, I am working on a projected titled “Death of a Chair”, in which I discuss the death of inanimate objects, such as a chair. Humans decide the life of these objects by not using them, and covering them with plastic to store them away in the attic. These objects become abandoned and lifeless, much like a human would become if they were covered in plastic. So, basically just discussing why humans abandon what they abandon, and what determines the value of an object in order to keep it in use. This same concept can be applied to buildings as far as which ones are demolished and which get preserved.
What two artists (from any era) would you bring with you to a desert island and why?
If I could bring two artists, it would be Bill Viola and Matthew Barney, one calm and serene, the other sharp and wild. They would balance each other out well! They are both very inspiring to me, Viola on a spiritual level, and Barney on a formal level.
What are your thoughts about using technology and social media tools as alternatives to conventional galleries and film festivals?
I think there is a time and a place for both. While I find social media and technology a great outlet for video art, I also would like to see video art incorporated into more traditional galleries. This would almost serve as a qualifying moment for video art. I feel that many galleries are not as open to video art as they could be, and that this medium still has a long way to go in that aspect.
How does your work on the ShinyArt app fit within your larger body of artwork? How do you envision viewers responding to it on the app? Would you expect different responses in other settings, such as a gallery or a private home?
The piece featured in the ShinyArt app is similar to my other work in the sense that it conveys an inner message that is relatable to a general audience, like the consumerism of the human race. I hope that viewers have a strong reaction to this piece that evokes a change in the way that they viewer others and consume things on a daily basis. I would expect a stronger response in the app, since the downloaders know what they are getting into when they download a video art app. In a home I would find maybe the strongest reaction, since the viewer would be able to watch the piece in the dark without any distractions.
Artists usually have a great deal of control over the ways in which their work is seen and used. The ShinyArt app, and ShinyArt in general (as well as online video databases), challenges this convention and allows for more spontaneity of use by viewers, in contexts that are uncontrolled by the artists or by a curator. How do you feel about this aspect of the project? Will this have an influence in how you make artwork or what you make for this venue?
I personally like this idea of spontaneity in viewing my work. Video itself is a spontaneous medium, where in a gallery setting, someone can walk in on your piece at any moment and get a different experience than the person before them, due to the nature of time-based mediums. I do like the idea of having my work reach another type of audience that may just be your casual app-downloader. Spreading the word about video art is very exciting, and I find this app a great way to accomplish this. As far as influences on my own work, this venue lends itself to the viewing of an entire piece rather than part of a looping video. Therefore, I wouldn’t be hesitant to produce a piece that needs to be seen from beginning to end.