Artist’s Notebook:
Angela Washko

10.08.12 Marina Galperina

ANIMAL’s new feature Artist’s Notebook asks artists to show us their idea sketch next to a finished piece. This week, Angela Washko demonstrates How to Explain Unequal Exchange to Live Sheep.

Angela Washko is a New York-based multimedia performance artist who recently founded the Council on Gender Sensitivity and Behavioral Awareness in World of Warcraft. Her work pairs contemporary feminist ideals with the joyfully absurd.

For her piece How to Explain Unequal Exchange to Live Sheep — an homage to Joseph Beuys’ How to Explain Pictures to a Dead Hare — she did what she could whilst doing her artist residency at the Gullkistan in Laugarvatn, Iceland. What do you do when you’re surrounded by fields, nothingness and sheep?

She explains:

During a month of (mostly) solitary living, Washko pondered the impractical and frivolous nature of many of her belongings and researched capitalism, NYC as a brand, Icelandic advertising, unequal exchange, and merchant trade… and then shot this video.

As for the process, it’s incredibly straight forward:

The drawings created the direct framework for the video.  I used them to frame my shots.  I deviated a bit as drawings don’t account for camera movement.

While working, the narrative elements I was writing in for my own character’s vocals became more interesting when I started downloading tons of self-help/become-a-successful-businesswoman YouTube videos and taking sound from them. I decided to include a lot of the epic landscapes of Iceland which I became more inspired by than I expected… I had originally planned to make a single channel video piece, and ended up making my first dual channel piece — because as I moved away from planning and started shooting, I became interested in showing multiple realities: the environment in Iceland, my ridiculous character, and the reactions of the plentiful (and very often scared) sheep in the same viewing.

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