INTRAPARADOX: Interview with Nelmarie Du Preez

GUI Interrogations

26 September 2016 at 09:00, Pretoria Art Museum

 

[Mmutle Arthur Kgokong: Good morning Nelmarie]/[Nelmarie Du Preez: Good morning Mmutle/[Mmutle AK: It might have been great to see you immediately after the opening of SASOL New Signatures but we know that it is a very busy time with regards to the press the following day and obviously you might be having some works that you need to go back to the following day and so on ]/[Nelmarie dP (Smiles, nods and chuckles)]/[Mmutle AK: yah congratulations on the exhibition, something very different…]/[Nelmarie Dp: Yes (chuckles)]/[Mmutle AK: from what we are used to uhm you are focusing on automation and other things I see

NdP:

Uhm… automation mostly and how automation influences the way that we as humans communicate with each other and also how we extend our bodies via these machines that are automated or just you know programmed to enhance our daily lives and, so I am interested in what impact that has on our bodies but also on our relationships

MAK:

Ohh,… it is very interesting that you talk about relationships between machines and human beings and you know I feel when I look at your uhm your artist statement I came across this word which maybe it’s a simple word

NdP:

Yes (smiles)

MAK: Its G – U – I, What’s that?

NdP:

Yes I, its …

MAK:

It’s actually your performance partner from what I have read

NdP:

So yes I… the way that I set up my whole practice especially in relation to all these machines is that I view the machines as performance partners so to speak, so I also interrogate how machines and humans operate on kind of an interactive loop that sort of creates a feedback between us and the machines and uhm how this… so G – U – I, It’s like a French…

(chuckles)

MAK:

Yah, GUI

NdP:

It’s the abbreviation for a,… what is often referred to as Graphic User Interface which is that thing that we interact with on a daily basis whether it’s our computer CREEN! Or cell phones that little interface between our thumbs and the mechanics inside. So that’s for me where that kind of personality appears within these machines

MAK:

That’s the interactive point, you know, where the interaction actually takes place

NdP:

Exactly, yes

MAK:

So in other words that’s the demarcation point…

NdP:

Exactly

MAK:

where our separation with machines…

NdP:

It’s a little moment of touch and I am quite interested in what happens in that little instance and, and even if its not necessary a physical touch there is certain some kind of an exchange that happens

MAK:

Yes

NdP:

And often that’s where I am interested in both the limitations within that! and also the kind of… as you can see in some of my works there is an element of violence involved

MAK:

Yes of course between you and GUI

NdP:

Yes exactly! So it’s a very complicated relationship

MAK:

Well I am very glad you mentioned the violence
NdP:

…Yes…

MAK:

I think we will look at that you know in a moment or so

NdP:

Ok

MAK:

Tell me when you were working on this body of work for ‘Loops of relations… A continuation’ it’s actually a taking further of the work that won SASOL New Signatures art Competition, what were your thoughts behind this? You have already covered some of the aspects up to this point but your thoughts in taking the idea further that we saw from last year’s exhibition

NdP:

I think there was a feeling of urgency within my self after almost uhm not finish my interrogation but continue with it because I think our involvement with technology is becoming exponentially increasing every year with every new iphone that comes out, with every, for instance with this drone that I am using suddenly… technologies that used to be inaccessible to regular people has become more and more accessible. So I think for me it was necessary to continue because, and I say continuation uh-uh the whole title ‘Loops of relation… a continuation’ its kind of, for me, something that does not have an end uhm but kind of operates in a circular motion and FOR ME I WAS’NT READY TO RESOLVE IT JUST YET! I was still, …so there were still things that I wanted to explore in terms of pushing the limits of my body in this relationship

 

>>>00:05:20<<<

MAK:

Yes because we saw in the exhibition the winning work uhm which refers to another work which was done many years ago

NdP:

yes

MAK:

Where you were interacting with your self but you are on a screen and obviously ehh I am assuming that the program that you use has a lot of the technology – GUI behind it

NdP:

Yes absolutely uhm for me ehh often times, in my work especially, there …uhm… the screen captures a digitized self portrait of my self in some ways and I think… personally I think that it is something that we as human are starting to come to terms with as more and more as this virtual self and how you curate that virtual self as well. I mean the moment that you put something of your self online there are certain IMPLICATIONS IN THAT! and it builds >>>a<<< certain portrait. I am interested in the strategies and the implications of what happens in that situation   

MAK:

Of our online versions

NdP:

Yes, (laughs)

MAK: well thanks you for clarifying that part a little bit …I just wanted to find out something with regard to the drone

NdP:

Okay!

MAK

uhm because if you look at all the works that are here uhm this work in particular the one in the middle, uhm the screen is huge,

NdP:

Mhum

MAK:

you know the screen on which the work has been projected ehh why did you go with this scale I see with the others it is very different. Can we talk a little bit about this work?

NdP:

Absolutely, the drone itself it’s a, if you think about the type of footage, those taken by the drone is often very cinematic, you know, and I wanted to kind of PLAY A LITTLE BIT WITH THAT! uhm the impact that – that can have in terms of just the technology that it presents in terms of the visuals and although the visuals that I am presenting is very limited in its tonal ranges, the drone almost disappears in the background and I am interested, uhm, especially the drone is something that… you know it’s a very politicized tool it has a very interesting history where it is sprung out of military developments but also entertainments uhm involvement in that uhm where you know these  technologies are developed both for entertainment but also for military purposes AND I AM VERY INTEREDTED also how those correlations in how >>>we<<< think about our future and what types of,… for what reasons uhm are we developing technology for our entertainment or advanced our bodies uhm or is there maybe some sinister underlying elements we want to not necessarily always ehh be upfront about? So I thought, in this instance it was important for me to kind of play a little bit in terms of the scale, the visibility and the invisibility of it …uhm and also the screen allows light to shine through to the back  

04-to-shoot-film-still-01
Du Preez, Nelmarie. A still from the work ‘To Shoot’

MAK:

mhum

NdP:

So its like very layers of, I guess, revealing that I was trying to play with. [That] I think something like a drone maybe interrogated, be interrogated about …uhm there is also rules about how you are allowed to use the,… a drone. In South Africa it has not been enforced much yet but there are certain like rules that one has to follow [if you]; especially if you want to fly a drone near people

MAK:

Mhuh-mhuh

NdP:

(laughs)

I am also playing a lot with those implications for instances ehh there is a guy here in Pretoria who is very aware of all the rules and regulations around drones when he heard about my project he told me that ehh I probably should have reported it as an incident. Because there was an encounter of a drone and a human that was slight…   

MAK:

(Laughs)

NdP:

dangerous and apparently the people who develop these drones wants to keep a log of such ‘incidents’

05-to-shoot-film-still-02
Du Preez, Nelmarie. A Still from the work ‘To Shoot’

 

>>>00:10:03<<<

MAK:

(laughs) of such incidences

NdP:

That was something very interesting that I have not even considered >>>when<<< I wanted to do this. But of course this video is also inspired by, all of these works are inspired by 1970s – 1980s performance art, uhm this one is inspired by Chris Burden where he had himself shot on his arm

(chuckles)

as a performance – But it was also a reaction to the Vietnam war at the time and how, his own relationship to the gun where he was drafted and he had to go through all these training rituals and [the] understanding [of] how to use this gun when he did not even really want to even touch a the gun and he wanted to interrogate those things. I think the drone for me is a contemporary gun in a way as well and I call it to shoot because

MAK:

Yes because of the title of course

NdP:

…it refers to that artwork, but this drone is a camera drone and it is shooting footage and there is this kind of double meaning for me

MAK:

and the emphasis is when it collides with you as well

NdP:

Yes

MAK:

Because it mimics you know the movement as well of that sudden shooting you know and also the unexpectability of what will happen because it seems like in this performance the drone itself has a life of its own

NdP:

Yes

MAK:

that you do not know ehh

NdP:

Absolutely, I do not know…

MAK:

What it is going to do to you

NdP:

Exactly no, I definitely did not expect to get hurt as badly as I did. Maybe I would not have done it (laughs)

MAK:

So the photograph

NdP:

yes

MAK:

It’s from the results of that impact

NdP:

Yes it was about one minutes

MAK:

…after the impact?

01-dupreez_shot
Nelmarie du Preez after the performance ‘To Shoot’

NdP:

After the impact. I cleaned up my face a little bit. Yes that was after the impact. All the blood is real, it was very intense experience for me uhm it’s funny uhm just after this we cleaned up the space so that my sister could take me to my friend so that I could clean up and on the way there we were on car accident

(laughs)

So I climb out of the car with this bloody face and the guys in the other car are like ‘how did this happened, this is insane’

(laughs)

So I was ‘like look at what he did to me’

MAK:

It was a very interesting day

NdP:

Yes, you know, first I had this…

MAK:

performance

NdP:

Flying performance that I knew that I might get hurt but I did not anticipate how badly and then I go outside, I climb into another machine and I get into an accident

MAK:

You get a real accident

NdP:

Yes, and it was again for me, as much as this is a relationship between humans and machines it is also a relationship between humans and humans because technology only exists because of us. Lately I think a lot of people, for instance a friend is afraid of flying because of all the plane crushes recently

MAK:

Yes plane disappearances as well

NdP:

Yes, exactly but there is always this element of human error involved in that and that’s also something that I enjoy when I am making these works is that I am the programmer so I am uhm responsible for what is going to

MAK:

So the work is an extension of you, obviously…

NdP:

And for me it is interesting what happens when uhm as much control as I would like to have there is this moment of the technology almost taking over and gets a life of its own

MAK:

Like that work there

NdP:

Exactly and that’s why I experience the performance as this equal relationship because it is, it has its unpredictability to it …uhm… it allows me as a performer to actually react truthfully to what is happening to me and not like 

MAK:

Planned?

NdP:

Yes and that’s what I like about doing this

MAK:

It’s like a happening because you don’t know what’s gonna happen out of the whole situation

NdP:

Exactly

MAK:

And this is the drone itself

NdP:

Yes

MAK:

Its cleaned up or is it broken here because

NdP:

Not this one

MAK:

…I can see the wing there

NdP:

This is the ehh oh yah I…

MAK:

That’s the same drone or is this something else

NdP:

No this is the same drone. So everything that you see here is like remnants…

02-gui_damaged
The Drone used in the performance ‘To Shoot’

MAK:

After the happening

NdP:

Yes exactly

MAK:

Yes

NdP:

I purposely did not want to clean it up uhm its hanging there as well

MAK:

Huh, oh-yes

NdP:

there ehh when Jimmy helped me put it up he said ‘it is dirty it needs to be cleaned up’ I said no it has to be

MAK:

It’s interesting how… it’s hidden

NdP:

Yes

(laughs)

And that is uhm I really like it because it plays all sorts of…

MAK:

It is you know it is airily there …it’s like it is aware of you

NdP:

(laughs)

Yes, Exactly

MAK:

But you are not aware of it

NdP:

I did not anticipate that no one will notice it, but every time I say here is the drone people are like ‘oh I did not notice it!’

MAK:

Yes

NdP:

But I like that actually

03-aftershot
Residues from the performance ‘To Shoot’

 

 >>>00:15:44<<<

 

MAK:

And then this ehh third photo of uhm this one ehh I see part of the wing of the drone obviously and this part of… what is this? this is obviously the shirt that you were wearing during the performance mhum?

NdP:

(laughs)

This is the controller that is used to fly the drone. So what you don’t see is that there is someone in the background flying the drone

MAK:

And I wanted to ask about that because it seems as if it can even control…, I wanted to ask whether it was programmed to do the movements, now that you say there was someone

NdP:

I think, I mean I like to have… to kind of reveal a little bit. It’s like this alien thing that is here but if you do research you will just understand that. For me I could have programmed it. That would’ve produced something interesting. For it was kinda of interesting, I mean for the first time to introduce another human although you can’t see them    

MAK:

But they are there

NdP:

But there is… yes they are there

MAK:

This is your assistant?

NdP:

Yes, my sister

MAK:

Oh your sister?

NdP:

Yes and I think she was more traumatized than me actually

(laughs)  

MAK:

(laughs)

Yah you know now that you have said that one can always say that it was human error on her part you know that the drone actually bumped into you

NdP:

Yes

MAK:

Now that you have mentioned that

NdP:

Yes and for me YES that is when technology and humans start to merge even more so.

MAK:

Yah, you know I find something very interesting here and I see it there also. On the surface where you have these displayed there is this which looks like a symbol of WiFi a symbol of…? What is that?

NdP:

Uhm, for mhmmm, well it is an interesting question. Uhm it was something that I just did possibly for aesthetic reasons but also, now that you have mentioned the WiFi, for me those little  

MAK:

Lines

NdP:

They indicate some kind of communication that is happening

MAK:

Yes, yes

NdP:

But also almost reminds me of ehh like Adidas you know

MAK:

Wooo

NdP:

(Laughs)

You know some…, so ehh, for me there is something, again there is elements of advertising, entertainment

MAK:

Branding

NdP:

Branding and how all of those things are part of the way we envision

MAK:

Communicate

NdP:

Communicate yes

MAK:

(with the world around us)

NdP:

And all of those things certainly impact on the way we see the world and each other. I am interested in the politics that happens within those things or not.

MAK:

yes

NdP:

What >>>is<<< the implications especially in our current situation. Also…

MAK:

In the future?

NdP:

Future, yah, and where are we heading with this ehh fascination of finding ways of communicating

MAK:

Efficiently and speedily and so forth

NdP:

Yes and it is always, you know, almost it is always through imagery that is occurring. You can just think about Instagram and how popular it has become  

MAK:

And you see the symbol of it and you know that’s Instagram. You see the symbol of Twitter you know that’s Twitter. Obviously the symbol is communicating something to you that is an idea about the communication platform

NdP:

Exactly

MAK:

The lines themselves did you create them

NdP:

That’s stickers that come with the drone that you can stick on

MAK:

OH

NdP:

…the drone to

MAK:

To make it

NdP:

Make it more…

MAK:

To give it personality

NdP:

YES EXACTLY!

(Laughs)

MAK:

Oh and you stuck them on the table or on the floor?

NdP:

Yeh its like, no this is like a little piece of Perspex, I also – I was wondering ‘should I clean it up?’ because there are these marks on it. The guy who printed the photo wanted to clean it up

MAK:

He wanted to Photoshop it

NdP:

Yes and for me THAT GOES AGAINST PERFORMANCE!

>>>00:20:03<<<

MAK:

Being clinical

NdP:

yes  exactly and I think, you know, I try to make my videos kinda of clean but I like to have little specks of dirt or something that implies a realness to it because I often find that people ask me that but did you,… is this CGI? For instance with this one

MAK:

(Clears throat)

NdP:

So this group I have not shown in this exhibition but they are the first kind of

nelmarie-du-preez-servo-rhythm
Du Preez, Nelmarie. To Stab 2013. Video installation

MAK:

These were your earlier works

NdP:

Yes

MAK:

Yes?

NdP:

For instance with these one I often being asked if those are my real hands? If this is a CGI or

MAK:

And this is a ‘Real life’

NdP:

YES!

(chuckles)

MAK:

And is playing you know the game of chance with you

NdP:

(laughs)

Yes

MAK:

Yah

(chuckles)

But obviously the work now, …in this work you have replaced human beings

NdP:

Mhum,

MAK:

…with GUI

NdP:

Yes!

MAK:

You know I am thinking that even in this work it is GUI, this program that you have developed is interacting you know with you through the machines, through the screens but fundamentally it’s the machines, these machines are, you know eh… I am trying to look for a word you know uhm… a vessel

NdP:

YES!

MAK:

In which GUI operates with you but here it is very clear that most of the work now it’s a… I am not gonna use the word rehashing but pays homage to work that has influenced you, your art thinking isn’t?

NdP:

Yes I think yah, before I started doing this work I was very interested in performance art and uhm… I don’t know – there was something interesting for me in reinterpreting these works that were like very visceral and it was very much about human relations and the human body and for me it was an interesting exercise to reinterpret that in today’s contemporary society. Now I will be interested to know what these artists would have done now!

MAK:

If they had the technology

NdP:

YES, yes. ‘cause very few of these artworks were documented with videos, it is very difficult to find proper documentation whereas now all my work is in video form, I feel that now that’s the kind of space we’re living in. There is YouTube and that’s how we document this time we’re in and I am interested in how all these influences how performances art also operates uhm and imagines itself

MAK:

Yah and it’s a visual documentation, it’s moving pictures. It’s a visual documentation – people don’t have to read, they can just can just sit and watch. Whereas previously people will have to read the description of the performance

NdP:

YES OR THEY WOULD HAVE TO PHYSICALLY HAVE BEEN THERE!

MAK:

Oh yah that would’ve been, in real time, that would’ve been you know uhm a great opportunity to see the performance because you are there in real time you can only report on the experience whereas with video, although it will be secondary, but it gives you the closeness to the performance itself

NdP:

Yes And I think again that is another form of technology that has developed over the years that RELLY INFLUENCE the way that we experience things you know you just go on Facebook in the morning and you experience the war in Syria via a quick edited video and suddenly you think you have a tear in your eye but there is no real

MAK:

You are not there in real time

NdP:

Yes and I think that is also why, people tend to ask me ‘but don’t you perform these things live for…?’…this one for instances everyone wants me to do it live and I have done it, but I still feel like  

MAK:

That’s the Rhythm Term heh

NdP:

Yes but I still feel like this is not what the work is necessarily. It is not necessarily about the liveness you know  

MAK:

So for you what is important is about the documentation of the performance so that it can become accessible and available through time and obviously because technology plays the most important part

NdP:

Yes

MAK:

That’s where the emphasis is at and interaction, human interaction with technology plays a part

NdP:

Absolutely, yah and the way in which >>>the<<< audiences experience art. That there is suddenly something that has changed over the years in the way that we experience art. Now you can look at a beautiful painting by just going on Google and uhm so there are all these ways in which we interact with art in life that is being manipulated through these technologies that we keep on building on and developing more. Now we have this 3D eh all those virtual reality glasses and you know it is a continuous try to mimic real life and yah for me it is interesting to kind of limit my own work in that way and say ok this is…  

MAK:

A space within which I will operate and offer my opinion as an artist

NdP:

Yes, mhum

MAK:

Not to try to be all over because you end up losing your point of departure. I now have an understanding that your point of departure is that your interaction with GUI is the important thing

NdP:

Absolutely

MAK:

That is what is documented you know

NdP:

Mhum

MAK:

Not to take it further into spaces whereby you may even end up losing your… the crux of your craft

NdP:

I am glad that you get that

(laughs)

>>>00:26:23<<<

 

[ Mmutle Arthur Kgokong: (laughs)Yah uhm Lets look at the last artworks, obviously that work there which looks  little bit dark and sinister you know in its approach ][ Nelmarie du Preez:(laughs) ][ Mmutle AK: It is still the drone of course, is this you or your sister? ][ Nelmarie dP: No this is me ][ MAK: Oh, that’s you ][ NdP: Yah, uhm… I think, I view this work as the last one in the series uhm; where most of the work is ][ MAK: Earlier?]/[NdP: Yes it is earlier, …all of the works are referring back to previous performance work and it is looking at past and the present uhm this work it’s almost as if I am looking towards a future …it is a little bit science fiction in it’s ][ MAK: It is ][ NdP: …presentation. There is this tunnel and that tunnel up there. I think for me it will be interesting to now, instead of focusing so much on the now uhm thinking about where this, …well I am interested in science fiction but I think science fiction manipulates us into thinking that there is a certain future ahead ][ MAK: And it is going to happen this way ][ NdP: Yes, I am interested in the nuances in that and how maybe it is not as we think it is uhm maybe there is something else that may appear ]

Mmutle Arthur Kgokong:

Can I ask you a question in that regard?

Nelmarie du Preez:

YES!

(Chuckles)

Mmutle Arthur K:

What are the possibilities that since science fiction was written uhm

Nelmarie du P:

mhuh

Mmutle AK:

..either in book forms and also the films that were made afterwards of science fiction, Star Trek… everything dating back to the 60s I think that’s where it actually really took off that time, a lot of things happened in the 60s, I might be wrong but anyway does it not play a role in the technology that we have today, science fiction?

Nelamrie dP:

Absolutely, I can just think of uhm for instances [the] Star Wars Phenomenon

MAK:

yes

NdP:

I mean you don’t even have to have watched Star Wars to know what has happened. And certainly …and again this is where entertainment for me plays the most interesting role in the development of technologies, science fiction has a very important provision within that and, but I am wondering how far is science fiction accurate or just speculative

MAK:

Speculative

NdP:

Yah …AND …I don’t know for me science fiction has this relation to other worldly life on other planets kind of a thing and if, …well I have done some research into the moment when …well – it’s mostly the Americans who have experienced this. Mostly in the 60s especially when they had the civil rights movement happening. Suddenly there was a surge of people seeing aliens and, I have read some kind of books about it and there is a kind of connection between feeling alienated or uhm

MAK:

A disconnect?

>>>00:30:00<<

NdP:

A disconnect? Yes a disconnect uhm and the civil rights movement in the states uhm of course it was huh civil rights of black people who were 

MAK:

Excluded

NdP:

Excluded made to be the ‘other’, the alien. Suddenly the alien had to be part of everything so now we are looking through the sky for the other alien. So there is always this ‘self-other’ relationship especially white people tends to gravitates towards and I find that so bizarre and troubling

MAK:

Mhum, mhum – It’s unsettling if you really think about it

NdP:

Absolutely and …so my question is ‘what are the reasons behind ehh such

MAK:

Phenomenon

NdP:

PHENOMENONS? Like suddenly there is a surge of people seeing aliens. What instigated that? and…

MAK:

What triggered it

NdP:

What triggered it! And again there is so many like strange psychological processes involved in that and for me, I don’t know, I think technology plays a political role in the way that we engage with each other and I think that there are moments when something like science fiction can offer, offer a new way of seeing; like for instances with Afro Futurism

12-to-spin
Du Preez, Nelmarie. To Spin. Mixed media installation

MAK:

Phenomena that is happening

NdP:

…again, well they kinda of… my knowledge of it is limited but I understand it as a taking up of technology and seeing one’s self as part of this technological world but taking up the role of the other but in a positive kind of a sense, I don’t know if I [I am making sense]

(chuckles)

MAK:

You are making sense not that technology would take over your life but that there is a collaboration between your self and technology. Obviously in most instances you might even have an upper hand because technology still lacks something that we have

NdP:

Yes, yah. So there are various things that I am interested in. this for me was kind of like ‘ok I am going towards something else now, I will take the technology with me now but it might take on other interrogations that might go deeper than what’ve started with’

MAK:

mhum

NdP:

Yah

MAK:

So, there is a sense of mystery with this piece here you know that you, one can’t really assume what is really happening

NdP:

YES!

MAK:

There is also this quietness to it, it’s very quiet we don’t even know where you are

NdP:

Yes

(chuckles)

Could be…

AK:

You know… yah… And also, there is also something very interesting, I mean if you look at the uhm, at the rectangular shape at the bottom here almost feels it is almost receding, it is going down, you know, it is like the figure is caught between two worlds

NdP:

Yes absolutely

MAK:

And if it is a diptych it is a very interesting take on a diptych

(jokes)

NdP:

(chuckles)

MAK:

None of the parts are related to each other

NdP:

Exactly

MAK:

Except obviously if one has your concept that has to do with the machines and human beings because that resonates you know with the two pieces

NdP:

Yah it is what I was trying to interrogate

(chuckles)

MAK:

Thank you

NdP:

yes

MAK:

we are almost coming to the end of our talk uhm you know I have seen those images this, also I think I saw some of them there – I see this one plays around with the idea of GIU, GUI neh? On a video interface where you know sort of tracks your movement and ehh it is as if you are interacting with your self, obviously it is GUI

NdP:

Yes

MAK:

You know uhm on a computer monitor and-and-and what is interesting here is; I see the two screens here again, except here we don’t have a uhm drone

NdP:

NO…YES

MAK:

It is just video monitors, what is the idea behind this work itself?

NdP:

Uhm

MAK:

Because this work

NdP:

Yes?

MAK:

…mimics that work except here its human beings who crushes into each other and there is no accident, there is no incident

NdP:

Yes there is no physical like ehh

 

10-to-collide
Du Preez, Nelmarie. To Collide, 2016. Video Installation

 

>>>00:35:00<<<

MAK:

It’s a virtual incident!

NdP:

Yah it’s a virtual incident, for me, yah I think that is where this work takes it to a different space than that one where there is this collision between my physical present self and again this virtual self and that virtual self it is the previous version, so for instances, I will tell you the mechanics about this work, there is a camera behind the screen that take a video of me and plays it back on this screen about ten seconds later. So I am always running into a previous version of my self, ‘Oh no its history repeating itself’ kind of a  

MAK:

So this one takes time into consideration?

NdP:

Yes and I think time is also a very important element in all of these works is that time and technology and how those two operates together is interesting especially when you think about virtual spaces uhm that are almost limitless in its time capacity uhm and the, yah, this one was quite enjoyable to do because I always have to anticipate my self somehow

MAK:

Did you also take into consideration to how far you had to walk before you turn

NdP:

YES!

MAK:

…so that you don’t end up merging into each other or passing through your self

NdP:

Yes sometimes you can see I don’t get it right

MAK:

Uh-hum

NdP:

This one obviously shows the

MAK:

The merge

NdP:

Yah the merge and uhm it is interesting, it was interesting to 

MAK:

There is the human error element that you know uhm you have taken into consideration otherwise I think you could’ve decided to do the performance again

NdP:

yes

MAK:

You know but then the human error on your part I suppose uhm has led you to just leave >>>that<<< it as it is ‘cause then it becomes a continuous performance of the same thing that is not perfect

NdP:

Exactly

MAK:

but that is the same thing that either you are merging into your self or you are bouncing off your self

NdP:

yes

MAK:

Thank you ehh this one is called ‘To Collide’ and then there is this work on this side ehh

NdP:

So this one, I think this one speaks even more towards the GUI where the ipad has a button that I control, so if I lose touch with the ipad the projection is lost, so the projection can only be there if I am touching the ipad

MAK:

Mmm…

NdP:

So this digital version of me is only visible if I am in contact with that use of technology

 

11-to-touch
Du Preez, Nelmarie. To Touch, 2016. Video installation

Du Preez, Nelmarie. To Touch, 2016. Video Installation

MAK:

Ohhh… so are you implying that if we are not in touch with our social media accounts for instance, because a lot of things happen while you are not there, while you are not keep-updating, our finger is not on the pulse of technology

NdP:

Yah ABSOLUTELY I mean a lot of people would probably argue like that you know, you have to have, for instances ehh you have to have a certain amount of followers and then you can gain some kind of success, you know and you always have to be… like if you want to keep up with society you kind of have to keep up with the trends of technologies you know and where we are going or what is the latest iphone to have and for me there is a lots of

MAK:

Pros and cons to it?

NdP:

Yes absolutely

MAK:

And obviously I think this one hints on that even though there might be other connotations it hints to that idea of the digital self

NdP:

Yes

MAK:

…that you have to keep your pulse on your digital self otherwise you become outdated in the digital realm

NdP:

(chuckles)

Yes, now that’s very accurate

MAK:

Thanks a lot, maybe let’s look at the last work.

NdP:

Oh yes

MAK:

This is a very interesting work because uhm as much as you uhm are a technologically orientated person I see here hair dryers you know I see here a boring machine as well, there is a fan and you know in terms of the perfect presentation that I have seen in the other works which is almost clinical here

NdP:

YES, this one is quite ehh

MAK:

You know I am not gonna use the word tatty

NdP:

(laughs) but?

MAK:

Yah it’s a total take on presentation of your work. obviously it is only in the video, the presentation of the work itself is perfect

NdP:

…but the video itself is kinda of chaotic

MAK:

Yah the video itself it is the opposite of what we see and it’s like you are presenting your self from another perspective

>>>00:40:02<<<

 

NdP:

Absolutely

MAK:

Ehh tell me a little bit about this work, this work is titled ‘To Activate’

NdP:

Yes, so this work operates in a similar way that Siri voice that

MAK:

Voice command

NdP:

So this is ehh the computer or I activate the computer with my voice so I would say drill or knife then the computer listens, yes you can listen to it, so then the computer hears knife or fan then it repeats that word and as soon as it is finished it activates 

08-to-activate-film-still-01
Du Preez, Nelmaie. To Activate, 2016. Video installation

MAK:

It activates the technology related to that

NdP:

Yah, so again there is this GUI interface between me and the button that switches on these, so this is the most automated work that I have done. So again this is for me, …I wanted to use household items specifically  

MAK:

mhum

NdP:

Because there is this move towards the home

MAK:

Home automation

NdP:

And as you can see I don’t interact with anything

MAK:

You don’t touch anything

NdP:

I simply sit there and say words and things happen around me

MAK:

So here what is interesting ehh you know if we compare this work ‘To Touch’ the difference here is that the touch is happening via voice prompts

NdP:

Mhum, mhum, absolutely

MAK:

If we were to be philosophical

NdP:

Okay?

MAK:

[Where does the point] of contact between you and GUI rests in this work?

NdP:

In this work…

MAK:

Because remember

NdP:

mhum

MAK:

Your discourse of your work has to do with the point of interaction itself

NdP:

YES!

MAK:

The point of interaction, when we look at ‘To Collide’ the point of interaction between your self and the drone and not knowing that the drone was going to ‘run’ into you obviously there was human error involved there and there was a real collision

NdP:

Yes

MAK:

We don’t have to talk about the real accident

NdP:

(chuckles) oh no

MAK:

That happened afterwards and if we look at that work ‘To Collide’

NdP:

Yes

MAK:

You are colliding with your digital self

NdP:

Yes mhum

MAK:

You know ehh obviously I can extend this question to that work and say what is the point of contact between your self and GUI? So in all these the point of contact can be pinpointed with the other work ‘To Touch’

NdP:

yes

MAK:

On the screen itself, the screen interface you know uhm but I still, its still eludes us there and here

NdP:

And here the physical

MAK:

The physical does not exist

NdP:

And I think that’s where these works really pushes it into this realm of our bodies almost become disconnected in a way uhm because overall I am very much interested in how the technology extend our bodies and manipulates our bodies and in this work my body is almost non existent and that is also ehhI don’t know if you have ever watched this movie Surrogates?

MAK:

Yes I have

NdP:

Yah it kind of reminds me of that where you just sit and your mind controls some

MAK:

…body out there remotely

NdP:

Yes exactly and here my, okay I am using my voice but it is almost as if I am controlling my virtual self and this virtual self re-enters itself into the physical world and that is where that interesting loop for me appears

MAK:

And when you say it re-enters itself into the physical world

NdP:

Mhum

MAK:

I understand you that you are saying it re-enters itself into the machine world

NdP:

…yes…

MAK:

As software and activates the machines

NdP:

Yes because the machine is very much still a physical you know it is part of the physical world but there is now these virtual elements that is playing around within that relationship and that’s where things get tricky and there is lots of nuances that manipulate that physical relationship. That one could have with the drone for instance – now suddenly I am not even holding it 

MAK:

Mhum, mhum

NdP:

But the way I have set it up, unruly and we don’t, I am not really doing anything there. I think that’s

MAK:

The control that you have is limited

NdP:

Yes

MAK:

To a certain extend you only control GUI you know who is represented by a virtual self

NdP:

Yes

MAK:

But she controls you know the machines that are there and you don’t know whether there will be failure or success

NdP:

Exactly

MAK:

always

NdP:

Because in this video sometimes she does not listen to me, say I would say knife for instance and she just decides its fan and she turns the fan on and I was really happy with those mistakes because it was again, there is again this error

MAK:

Error, human error

NdP:

It’s human error mixed with ehh

MAK:

Mimicked by machines?

[ NdP:Yes exactly and that’s what makes ehh the performing with it very exciting like you know and funny at times as well I think in all my works certain things of humor which I don’t want to lose uhm ]/[ MAK: Yah otherwise it becomes too serious, too clinical too calculated ]/[ Nelmarie dP: Yes ]/[ Mmutle AK: And we know ehh uhm when we look at art itself from a traditional point of view there is an issue that there will be a certain element that we give off that this is the >>>haunt<<< of this artists but then uhm if it becomes too mechanical too perfect it loses human element to it ]/[ Nelmarie du P: Yah ]/[ Mmutle Arthur K: Well Nelmarie thanks for the exhibition, I wish you ]/[Nelmarie du Preez: …Thank you very much… ]/[ Mmutle Arthur Kgokong: …all the best, it was a pleasure I wish you all the best. ]/[ Nelmarie du Preez: Thank you Mmutle ]/[ Mmutle Arthur Kgokong: Thank you ]

End of the interview

>>00:46:44<<<

Now that you have read the interview you can listen to it here:

 

Spring

 

26 September

© Mmutle Arthur Kgokong 2016

Advertisements