working artists


Ben Chang
Mary Lucking
Silvia Ruzanka
Andrew Sempere
Dmitry Strakovsky

biography | artist statement | project proposal

artist statement

Appropriation is a commonly heard piece of artspeak which is used to discuss the deliberate re-working of one work into another (often unrelated) work. The Oxford English Dictionary expands this definition to include the phrase "without authority," and although this is usually true, appropriation is not synonymous with plagiarism. The key difference is that while plagiarism is outright theft by misrepresentation, appropriation is recontexulization for the purpose of the discovering of additional meaning.

Both artists and engineers who work with technology should be intimately familiar with this and other themes the Jackals are exploring. As technology artists, the "medium" of the Jackals' work is very often the end product of someone else's work. The pieces they develop, composed often as not by appropriated consumer technology, represent a recontextualization of the end product of a commercial process.

Although appropriation is not new nor limited to art - as I alluded to earlier, it is perhaps similar if not synonymous with "reverse engineering" - the Jackals are lending the process a fresh face by openly acknowledging it and taking it a step further: by inviting the audience to participate in their process. Except in few and special cases, artists who are also technologists are not privileged to start their work from scratch. Painters may have once mixed their own pigments, and may do so again, but net.artists do not build their own internet (nor do they wish to).

The artworld has long championed the individual, elevating signatures to logos and turning galleries into showrooms. Jackals reverse this "cult of the individual" by publicly recognizing their own reliance on others as artists, technologists and humans living in our technology laden (if not driven) society. Rather than search for the next Big Idea, the Jackals are recognizing the collaborative necessity of human experience. Big Ideas emerge on their own, and they could not do what they do without the help of others. Frankly, neither can we.