Saturday, 15 October 2011

FAD Interview: Oliver Michaels at Moving Image

(Originally published on FAD)

With his work showing at Moving Image Contemporary Video Art Fair, FAD caught up with Brooklyn based artist Oliver Michaels for a quick chat about the show and the video installation he is exhibiting…

Why do you use video?
It’s the language of our times. Over the past decade film making has been liberated from it’s previous financial restraints. Advancements in consumer equipment and software has opened up an area that is really exciting to work within as it uses the same vernacular as the media encompassed society we live in today.

How do you combine video and installation?
I’m not sure where installation stops and sculpture begins but I see these pieces more as sculptures than installation. I built the structures to host the videos, to bring them off the walls so that the viewer interacts with them within the space. Each structure is stage appropriate to each video and it’s form reflects this.

What’s the background to your work showing at Moving Image?
In the Museum Postcards series I wanted to liberate these beautiful and powerful objects, to give them a rest for a while from their burden of history. I also wanted to create bastard children of the actual historical objects and pop software. I developed my understanding of the space of history from a diverse range of sources over the years; a good understanding of The Greek landscape say, was informed as much through carry on movies, hip hop videos and computer games, as it was museums, neo-classical architecture and textbooks etc. so I found this relationship to history and it’s artifacts an interesting area to work in.

Can you tell us about the specific piece you’re showing?
In ‘Lover’s’ a beautiful and authoritative black marble bust of Abraham Lincoln presents a dialogue that is a compilation of hundreds of snippets of sourced descriptive writing pasted together; a spoken word version of the juxtapositions of materials in sculpture. The piece presents three experiences of the same thing, looking at a sculpture, listening to a description of a sculpture and watching a video of one. This moves in an area that explores the discrepancies between experiences, one that is relevant to the greater theme in the work that explores the role of understanding in the phenomenological moment.

If someone liked your work how would they buy it?
Museum Postcards can be bought as an edition of the film only, this comes in a 1/4 box set that contains a Blue-ray and a flash drive with a number of different versions on it. Or the sculpture is available as a one off. Here you’d receive the sculpture  and hand drawn plans and instructions for it’s reconstruction, including a computer with the original work that plays directly from the application.

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