Name: Aaron Whitney Bjork
Location: Eugene, OR.
Astrological sign: Virgo
Most recently used emojis:
How long have you been showing artwork on the internet?
The first animated GIF I made was for my little brother’s Geocities blog in 2000.
What about exhibiting online interests you?
The materiality of showing online is exciting to me. Exhibiting online allows digital work to transcend locations in a way a physical painting cannot. Granted a painting can be photographed and displayed online, its paint cannot be transferred through the internet in a way that a video’s pixels can.
All artists have been asked to contribute two works for this exhibition. How do your works relate to one another? Is there a specific point of entry or reference that inspired these pieces?
The internet is such a vast phenomenon, finding a point of entry is nearly impossible when considering every aspect of it. Naturally, I chose the browser as that gateway. The video involved harvesting many hundreds of images from netizens around the world. I wanted to give back a symbolic offering of 4 chrome plated artifacts to be placed online with hopes of them being found full cycle in a Google image search. A gesture of gratitude to the chrome fanatics who generously publish their photos online.
Is there a pop culture reference that illustrates or inspires these worlds?
Can we define the internet as a singular pop culture entity?
In the wake of countless unpleasant realities, do you see escapism and fantasy as critical tools that can allow us to better understand the present?
I do think observing escapism and fantasy from a critical point of view offers us insights into the present condition. To be fully sublimated in fantasy allows people a worldview that has concrete boundaries. The social stigmas attached to certain fantasy cultures illuminates that there is a wrong and right way to engage with capitalism. Take for instance how sports fanaticism is deemed as normative by dominant culture while otaku culture is repulsed. But communities built on sites such as 4chan.org, Dvach and others have become tinderboxes for online cultural generation. The proliferation of meme culture from such communities is now being used to subvert our democracy.
Leon Battista Alberti theorized that painting should act as a window to the world. Can the screen act as a portal to worlds unknown?
The power of the screen is only as strong as its ability to connect to other nodes. To me, the profound notion is that our devices are just monitors attached to data centers, networked publics, hackers, lovers and prying corporate entities. Viewing the screen, not as a device that displays surface level illusions, but as the endpoint of a global industrial superstructure is a starting point to understanding this unknown.
What are other themes or formats have you been exploring in your work as of late?
I like cars. ( ͡ᵔ ͜ʖ ͡ᵔ )