Author Archive | Aliya Bonar

PARTICIPANT INTERVIEW: Nate Hill

What are you working on now and how does the piece in Conflux relate?

Free Bouncy Rides started in 2009 as an independent, public performance. In retrospect, it used spectacle and repetition to achieve notoriety through word of mouth and blog coverage. Most of my performance work that followed did the same. Now in 2012 it was time for a change. Wolfie, my current project, rejected spectacle even though it is also a masked, outlandish character. It did this by denying my audience any pictures or videos of the project whatsoever and denying traditional press/blog “ride-a-long” coverage which before had been the traditional dispersion of my work. I’ve only provided an eye witness written account. Why? Because I’m interested in how my audience can fill in the blanks with their imagination rather than being spoon-fed a brightly colored image. Will they follow? Will they imagine? Is the project still compelling? Will the blogs who loved my spectacles in the past, love my non-spectacle? So far, the answer is no. After over a month of Wolfie, I have concluded that without spectacle, Wolfie gets no press even though it is the same type of project I have always done just without a picture or video! Even a close artist friend last night, when asked how he would have done Wolfie differently, described a character who is all spectacle.

Check out more here: http://natehillisnuts.com, @nateXhill

PARTICIPANT INTERVIEW: Mary Flanagan

What are you working on now and how does the piece in Conflux relate? 

The work I’m showing at CONFLUX are videos from the [borders] series. I love CONFLUX. It is the first and the best festival of media.

Any great adventures you’ve been on recently?

In Finland I was recently guest of honor at a dinner filled with LARPers (Live Action Role Playing gamers). Just before CONFLUX I’ll be hanging out with the digerati at IndieCade, the largest festival of independent game makers, held each year in LA. And I’ll be off to Salzburg after CONFLUX to be faculty at the Salzburg Global Seminars for world peace. So, yes, many adventures!

See more here: http://www.maryflanagan.com, @criticalplay

PARTICIPANT INTERVIEW: Rob Ray

What are you working on now and how does the piece in Conflux relate?

Right now I’m working on an off-the-grid (solar-powered) performance space near the Bonneville Salt Flats in Utah. It doesn’t have a name yet, but it’s an old movie-prop tower about forty feet tall, so the working title I use is simply “The Tower.” The work will span a quarter mile or more of space. The booklet I’m sharing at Conflux (“GET LOST!”) is very tiny, but both projects ask you to become a performer, even if you’re just doing something like lying on the ground in a place where most people wouldn’t normally do that. I’m not a “performative person” but I like to think the world could use a little more weird.

What interests you in working in public space? What are some of the challenges you face making public work?

What people do in public space is quite regimented, but everybody knows just about anything can happen. A good example is the “In case I get hit by a bus” trope. Nobody says “In case I have a heart attack clicking the ‘Like’ button on Facebook,” even though those odds are probably better. Your computer feels safe. The outside and other people feel dangerous. This fear of anything and everything happening to us while out in the world creates a lot of informal social agreements about how we’re to behave in that world—like walking on the proper side of the sidewalk. These agreements are ripe material for artists interested in engaging people in this terrain. The challenge then is how to crack open those informal agreements in—I’ll use a Dungeons and Dragons alignment term here—a “Chaotic Good” way, a way that disrupts the flow of the day in unexpected but ultimately pleasurable and insightful ways.

Any great adventures you’ve been on recently?

I made a visit to the Black Hole in Los Alamos, New Mexico, the other day, right before the liquidation sale. I spent the day digging through some of the most amazing and threatening electronic and machine surplus in the world. I can’t imagine a better way to spend a day. I must have asked “What is that?” to myself about a thousand times. It’s a question I should ask more often.

See more here: http://robray.net, @robdeadtech

Leading Up to the Festival…

We are rushing around excitedly preparing for the Conflux Festival 2012 in just two weeks! Leading up until the Festival itself we’ll be posting sneak peeks into the projects, participants, and behind-the-scene views of the Festival preparations! So keep checking in as we ramp up to bring you an amazing presentation of artists, activists, interaction designers, and pranksters. Looking forward to seeing you at NYU’s Barney Building Gallery (34 Stuyvesant Street, NYC) on October 20th and 21st!

And connect with us online! We’re on Twitter and Facebook, and if you’re interested in volunteering at the Festival, drop us an email!