Thursday, October 21, 2010

Interview with Andrew Buszchak, To Main Street, Latitude 53, until November 13*

Since moving to Edmonton on the first day of this year, Andrew Buszchak has undergone training to become an apprentice in welding, assumed the volunteer responsibilities for Instant Coffee's Alberta list serve and recently opened his solo exhibition, To Main Street, in the Projex space at Latitude 53. As a series of large wall mosaics using text and images generated from random Internet searches, To Main Street mediates the tension between individuality, DIY practices and standardization in our daily lives. Here is an excerpt of our conversation held in the Latitude gallery space.

Image credit: Andrew Buszchak, Detail from "Hope, Air, Words, Wind" 2009

VUE WEEKLY: What were you doing before you came to Edmonton?

ANDREW BUSZCHAK: I was in Halifax attending the Nova Scotia College of Art and Design, and before that, in London, Ontario attending Fanshawe College. In London, I was new to studying art and being interested in contemporary art. I guess I was more enthusiastic about going out and seeing any types of shows, whether I knew the artist or not or whether I'd be interested in the type of work. And at NSCAD, my background is technically in printmaking, but I see my degree as interdisciplinary. I don't want to be stuck in any one medium. If I get an idea of how to make something, I don't want to be stuck if it makes sense to use one material over another. I also don't have a studio space, so being versatile is also about working within limitations.

VW: Let's talk about the work. How did you choose the stock images and blog text to make these three large and distinct digitally manipulated mosaics?

AB: The source of the text is any kind of blog on the Internet, selected more or less randomly, and one criteria I was looking for was that it was not written by a corporation, so that it's somebody making use of the Internet, some individual, to express their opinion. Using hundreds of blogs, the choice of colour is a result of the process, an interest in standarization, in the paper size of 8x11, standards and defaults on the programs, like Adobe Illustrator. I just used whatever font and size were set as default, because I was interested in what comes standard.

And the photographs aren't stock images necessarily. They come from a range of Internet sources. For example, "Hope, Air, Words, Wind" is a professional photograph of David Cook, one of the past winner's of American Idol, and the other two images are from amateur photographers. I don't know their names or anything about them, but they are distinct because I don't have any intention to make any story or narrative between the three of them. They can be looked at in any order, and there's no order they should be seen in, but they may be representations of something allegorical.

VW: Can you explain?

AB: I'm reading a bit by Craig Owens, and he wrote a lot about appropriated images and how allegory comes back into postmodern art, but I liked what he said because these images don't read straight across and my use of the images has taken some of their original meaning out and put in new meaning by using random text to make up the images. I guess what I'm saying is that I want to raise an awareness of people using the Internet to express their voices and concerns and opinions and how that all sort of mingles with what's up on the walls.

VW: You've mentioned the idea of "repeatability." What is that to you?

AB: Our society in general is occupied with mass production. The way people live their lives [focused] on how or what to consume. I'm always looking for something ubiquitous and from there I think something interesting can grow.
Artist talk on Sat, October 23, (2 pm) at Latitude 53 (10248 106 St)

*First published in Vue Weekly

No comments: