This is 5 Questions. Each week, we send five questions to an artist featured in Under the Radar, our weekly email highlighting the best art on the ArtSlant network. This week we seek answers from Jesse Farber.
What are you trying to communicate with your work?
There is a way in which I think we are very alienated from ourselves, in trying to understand ourselves as material beings existing in the world. We learn more and more about the nature of matter and our physical systems, but it’s still so difficult to feel in any visceral sense that this is actually happening inside us and around us—that it’s in fact who we are, on a fundamental level. Instead, a muddle of textbook diagrams, conceptual frameworks, x-rays, family trees, religious hierarchies, and endless other schemata shapes our fragmented material identities. My work examines this confused sense, deep within us, of what we think we are made of, and therefore, who and what we are.
What is an artist’s responsibility?
I believe artworks should change how we perceive and understand the world. Artists have the power to help us learn, grow, and expand our awareness in an infinite variety of ways. It is the artist’s responsibility to contribute to this. In an age of cultural saturation, with aesthetic pleasure readily available, artists should demand more of themselves than making nice things to look at. Fortunately, however, even the simplest work can evoke a profound experience, if we are willing to let it teach us.
Show us the greatest thing you ever made (art or not)?
O\s⁄º⁄º, 2018, Digital print, 130 x 130 cm
I always feel this way about whatever I’ve just finished making!
I completed this large print work called O\s⁄º⁄º just a few days ago, so it grabs the title for now. Really, I’m very happy about this whole series. For me, the objects and situations in these prints are these kind of ontological puzzles, modeling our fragmented sense of our material self. They have recognizable real-world qualities, and are photographically rendered, but they are not truly identifiable.
Tell us about a work you want to make but never will:
I’ve learned a lot of coding over the last several years, and recently started developing my collage prints into animated algorithmic environments. That work I will definitely make, but I could also imagine a future point at which it would be somehow possible to actually render these elements as living lifeforms, not merely as algorithmic simulations in a virtual environment. This thought repulses me, but, then again, as a fan of horror sci-fi films, I can’t help being intrigued by it.
1gY'lli, 2017, C-print, 130 x 130 cm
Who are three artists we should know but probably don’t?
Joerg Simon (Frankfurt, DE)—Joerg combines the best of alienated paranoiac collage with a humanistic, personal approach. We have also collaborated on collages, and an album of soundworks. This link is to a recent exhibition of his. You can also hear the album we did together here (where a free audio player is embedded.)
Malcolm Smith (Alabama, USA)—Mind-blowing techno-mysticism. We haven’t collaborated yet, but I hope we get to someday.
—The ArtSlant Team
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(Image at top: l)(y•k, 2017, C-print, 130 x 130 cm)