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Sterling Crispin

September 21, 2011

Sterling Crispin by Melanie Watson

Photo: Melanie Watson

Videographer and new media artist Sterling Crispin creates works that finds the magic in machinery. Abandoning the instrumentalist aesthetic most gearheads – consciously or unconsciously – employ, Sterling approaches tech collaboratively, working toward a theoretical event horizon of technological singularity when machine intelligence surpasses that of its creators, ushering in a truly post-human era.

If all that seems a bit esoteric – and it is, as all art that is consciously and conscientiously tied to theory must to some degree be – one has only to take a look at Sterling’s work to see that his theoretical intervention is tied to a disciplined practice of art-making. From exquisite composite portraits of “transhuman” subjects, to video collaborations with gif artist Francoise Gamma, and musicians Pictureplane and Modern Witch, Sterling extracts a provocative beauty from the chaos of the networked world.

1. What is your hometown?

Makawao/Haiku area of Maui, Hawaii

2. With what fictional character do you most identify?

I had to really think about this question and I’m not sure I have an answer, I don’t care much for fiction.

3. In the movie of your life, cast an actor to play you.

Nicholas Cage ? Like I said I don’t care much for fiction, so maybe I would play myself, in a documentary? That sounds like an awful movie.

4. What work of art speaks to your soul?

The last piece I saw that really spoke to me was Bruce Nauman “room with my soul left out, room that does not care” at the Hamburger Banhof.

“Three corridors intersect horizontally and vertically, creating a special force field in the centre that raises the question of desolation and isolation of the soulless human being. Nauman has created an existential space that seems to have been inspired by Samuel Beckett’s descriptions in the prose text The Lost Ones from 1970: ” Abode where lost bodies roam each searching for its lost one. Vast enough for the search to be in vain. Narrow enough for flight to be in vain. Inside a flattened cylinder fifty meters round and sixteen high for the sake of harmony. The light. Its dimness. Its yellowness”

In general the ocean speaks to my soul. And the nature of earth.

5. What books are you currently reading or recommending?

I would recommend reading Post Internet, a blog developed between December 2009 and September 2010 by the New York based art critic Gene McHugh, thanks to a grant of the Creative Capital | Andy Warhol Foundation Arts Writers Grant Program. For almost a year, Gene McHugh kept filling this folder with his personal notes. Writing and posting became a daily, regular activity, that sometimes produced many posts a day, sometimes long (or very long) texts posted at a slower pace. However, Post Internet is not just a piece of beautiful criticism, as reading this book proves. It’s also, in itself, a piece of Post Internet art in the shape of an art criticism blog.

6. What song or album is currently in heavy rotation on your iPod?

I just recently started listening to Nine Inch Nails again after years of not listening to any, but the Dipset Trance Party Vol 3 is pure gold, and gets more playtime than most other music in my mp3 library

7. What’s the last movie that made you cry?

I really don’t have any idea, so I’m just going to say “Rubber” which was the last film I saw. Its a horror(?) film about a tire that comes to life and gains psychic powers, which of course are used to kill people. Its a great film, plenty of “no reason”.

8. Cat person or dog person?

I like both but live with neither.

9. What is more important, truth or kindness?

Thats the same thing, and its very important.

10. How do you define sin?

Harming things without consent.

11. How do you define virtue?

Spreading love & kindness.

12. Design your headstone: What does it say? What does it look like?

I would prefer to live forever, or if I die, to be allowed to decompose, without a marker of any sort.

Bonus Question: Who would you like to see answer these questions?

Ray Kurzweil

Sterling Crispin

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