Art Fag City at iCommons: Art Intercom: An Interview Series with the iCommons Artists in Residence. Featuring Art Collective MTAA (Part One of Two)

by Art Fag City on May 5, 2007 Events


The first part of my interview with artist collective MTAA is up on the iCommons blog. I’ve posted a teaser below, but as always, click through to read the whole piece.

Art Intercom is a six part series conducted by Art Fag City blogger Paddy Johnson, who will be interviewing the iCommons Summit Artists in Residence. In the weeks leading up to the conference, interviews will be posted once weekly, profiling the artists' work and describing their approach to Creative Commons licensing. Artists to be interviewed include Ana Husman, Jaka Železnikar, Joy Garnett, Kathryn Smith, Nathaniel Stern and this weeks interviewees, Mike Sarff and Tim Whidden (who go by the names M.River and T.Whid), of MTAA. Tim will be representing MTAA as one of the Artists in Residence at the iSummit in Dubrovnik.

MTAA (M.River & T.Whid Art Associates) is simply described on their website as “a Brooklyn, New York-based conceptual and net art collaboration founded in 1996.” I like them because they give me wine when I visit their studio. I like their work, because it is characterized by economy of expression without being generalized or simplistic. What's more, they frequently extend this aptitude to create feedback systems that require the same streamlined response from their audience. The result is very clean and eloquent communication mediated by or in the form of websites, installations, sculptures and photographic prints. Creative Commons licensing plays a critical role in their work, because it provides a set of pre-established rules for use of their work so that they don't have to. In short, it simplifies the conversation, and facilitates the elegance that defines their art.

In the two part interview that follows I discuss specific works and what the collective has planned for the iCommons Summit.

AFC: So you guys are a team – how will you be working with one of you in Croatia (Tim Whidden) and the other one (Mike Sarff) in New York?

M.River: I've defaulted to Tim!

T.Whid: Well, I guess there's”¦ sort of an online discussion happening, so we're both taking part in that and then in Dubrovnik I'll just be there as the representative of MTAA so I'll have to email Mike before I do anything and ask “Mike should I do this?”

M.River: “Get lunch first!” (laughter)

T.Whid: We had two ideas and we wanted to do both of them, so the first idea was that we have this illustration called the 'Simple Net Art Diagram' that has had a Creative Commons licence applied to it for a few years now, like one of the most liberal licences beyond just going in the public domain.

AFC: What does a “very liberal” licence mean?

T.Whid: I guess it's called the attribution licence meaning that any one can use it for any purpose as long as we get attribution. So that means someone could make t-shirts and sell them and that's fine with us”¦.

To read the complete interview click here.

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