PARTICIPANT INTERVIEWS: Man Bartlett

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

Right now I’m arranging and re-arranging the furniture in my studio at the VCCA where I’m in residency. I’ve been creating installations and documenting them, then sometimes making animated gifs from them. Kind of mashing up ideas of “domestic” and “artistic” production. Not sure if any of them will ever be shown/posted/etc. In a lot of ways that’s the exact opposite of my piece for Conflux. But I suppose they both deal with different kinds of spaces. Inner personal space vs. public/internet space. And the time I’m spending here is a necessary respite; which will then undoubtedly reverse when I re-enter the city. In that regard they feed off each other: Get quiet to then go public, go public to then get quiet again.

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

Access, really. So many different types of people are likely to encounter a public work than they are in a gallery or even museum. Because most of my public work is online there are few challenges. One is the relative newness of the medium, another is creating work that challenges me yet remains accessible to as large an audience as possible. But I suspect these are issues that every artist faces to some degree.

Anything else you’d like to share about your recent work or involvement in Conflux?

I am really excited about the other artists included in the festival! Their work has inspired and challenged mine in many ways. It was also really fun to revisit the work I’m contributing, and to think about how to present it. It actually inspired me to create a series of four-minute walks here in Virginia. I did four over four days, starting at 4pm each day (and ending at 4:04). Every day I walked from my bedroom to my studio, which, incidentally, takes four minutes. I’m playing around with the audio now and it may end up as a sound installation eventually. Something about hearing four days at once…

Any great adventures you’ve been on recently?

Today I went on a short hike on part of the Appalachian trail! It was beyond beautiful. I also opened this door..

Check out more here: www.manbartlett.com

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