It’s digital

Rhizome’s Heather Corcoran selects cloud-based artist Kari Altmann
By Tempe Nakiska | Art | 6 October 2014

Kari Altmann ‘’ 2014-ongoing. Courtesy the artist

This article is part of Young Art Week – Defining a generation

Welcome to HERO Young Art Week – our essential, multifaceted guide to the new wave of creatives working at the vanguard of contemporary art today. Across a dynamic week of digital content, we’re exploring what’s happening at the epicentre of this global community: from the ground up, the artists themselves and the key figures witnessing the evolution of the ideas, trends and movements defining this art generation.

Heather Corcoran is the executive director of the art and technology nonprofit Rhizome in New York. Her career has consistently straddled the realms of art and technology, especially in her previous capacity as deputy director of Film and Video Umbrella, an institution that commissions, curates and produces artists’ moving-image works and presents them in collaboration with galleries and other cultural centres. 

As part of Young Art Week, we asked Heather Corcoran to select her favourite young cyber artists of now. Up first is Kari Altmann.

“Kari is a self-described ‘cloud-based artist’,” says Corcoran. “She participated in Rhizome’s Seven on Seven this past spring, an event pairing contemporary artists with tech luminaries to make something new together, and was a stand-out for the criticality and insight she brings to tech culture by engaging with its processes. She’s sharp and makes great work.” What exactly is a cloud-based artist, you’re wondering? Rather than trying to explain it ourselves, we went straight to the source.

Tempe Nakiska: What is it that you do?
Kari Altmann: Microculturalist, Ambiguationist.

TN: What is occupying your dreams and nightmares at the moment?
KA: The swarm.

TN: What is the place of politics in art today?
KA: The image any community or individual makes of themselves is already moulded by group politics on multiple levels.

TN: What do you think is defining this generation of artists?
KA: A change in what defines an image or an artwork, hypermobility and speed, as well as access to unprecedented archives, information flows, peers, and meta understandings of cultural content.

Kari Altmann ’10,000 Impressions’, 2008-Ongoing. Courtesy Kari Altmann

TN: What does the future look like to you?
KA: Sea to shining sea.

TN: What motivates you to use blogging platforms like Tumblr as platforms for your work?
KA: I use any image-making devices I can, especially quick and interactive ones. Every account is a work of its own with its own tropes relative to the options of the platform. Think about how much time you spend just uploading sets of ‘profile pictures’ to things… so much of your social currency is decided by that image set. It’s an art form.

Kari Altmann ‘Black Hole’, 2009-Ongoing. Courtesy the artist.

TN: How is knowledge evolving?
KA: So much is based on social genres of awareness that are surprisingly geographical and class-oriented, not to mention hegemonic. More and more types of knowledge and understanding will be created, appreciated, shared, and validated across these kinds of borders, outside of systemic and regional value norms and institutional demands. People will tribe and re-tribe earlier and more frequently, education will be more and more open-sourced, populations will author more of their own history and soft power, both on personal and state levels.

TN: Where do you see yourself in ten years?
KA: In a fully ergonomic environment.

TN: The first thing that comes to your head in response to each of the following:
Reality: #eco
Diet: #paleo
America: #petro
Punk: #anthro

Check out more of Kari Altmann’s work at her website. Kari will be speaking at ICA Off-Site: Do You Follow? Art in Circulation #1 at 3.30pm, 15th October at Selfridges off-site: The Old Selfridges Hotel as part of Frieze London 2014. Find tickets here

Stay tuned for more HERO Young Art Week content in the coming days and plug into our social media platforms for updates as they come.


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