[ISEA97] Artist Talk: John Sturgeon – Confessions of Addiction, Love, and Surgical Musings

Artist Statement

I propose a poetic / performative “reading” of my web site, in which I present my brief paper, Confessions of Addiction, Love & Surgical Musings, as performance text, while navigating the site (please read enclosure). As ritualistic act, the performance would be a poetic decoding and interpretation of my own web site (which is a typical web based documentation of an artist’s work) with/for an audience, mimicking the shaman, mediator between the spirit and physical world; or rather, a psychoanalytic subject who mediates between the “Web God” and ISEA audience. Through the act of interpreting/questioning the meaning of the structure and images of the web site for the audience, contemporary issues addressed by critical readings of electronic media (i.e., spirituality, gendered identity constructions, body boundaries, etc.) would be addressed in a nonobjective language. Literally, I would “point and click” my way through the sitewhile it is being projected and generate “improvisational” poetry and interpretation, in-between sections of the performative reading of Confessions… This performative/reading/ critique/demonstration would provide a stark contrast with more “traditional” presentations that try to articulate issues such as “Where is the subject or body located in electronic-media?” or, “Issues of access and control of electronic-media, and the effects of that control on the individual subject,” in a specialized academic language. The audience would be presented with a subject as it (I) is being [de)constructed, in a manner that requires interpretation and translation. Unlike information as it is generally presented on the Web, this performance will -not- facilitate rapid and unquestioned consumption of information.

  • John Sturgeon (U.S.A.) is an electronic media, installation, and per­formance artist who received his Masters in Fine Arts from Cornell University in 1970. He has received numerous awards and fellowships including three National Endowment for the Arts Individual Artists Fellowships; several NEA and state supported production grants; a John Simon Guggenheim Fellowship; and a Fulbright Scholar Abroad Fellowship.Throughout the 70s, 80s, and 90s, Sturgeon has consistently utilized emerging forms of elec­tronic media to articulate his quest for a spiritual persona. His electronic adaptations of ritualistic practices question the role of electronic media in the process of self creation/discovery and community formation while creat­ing a unique space for the contemplation of these issues. His work has exhibited nationally at the Museum of Modern Art, the Whitney Museum of American Art, the Long Beach Museum of Art, the Los Angeles County Museum of Art, the Institute of Contemporary Art-Boston, and the Contemporary Arts Center in Cincinnati. Internationally, Sturgeon has participated in numerous exhibitions and symposiums such as: Symposium Moor’92 in Oldenburg, Germany; the 1976 Biennale of Sydney; Second Link-Video 80’s at the Stedelijk Museum, Amsterdam, & the Institute of Contemporary Art, London; Third Videonale Bonn, Germany; Videobrasil, Festival Fotoptica Museu da Imagem e do Sam, Sao Paulo, and Video Meetings ’91 in Sarajevo,Yugoslavia. Sturgeon is currently Associate Professor of Electronic Media and Associate Head of the School of Art, Carnegie Mellon University in Pittsburgh, PA.