Artist’s Notebook:
Addie Wagenknecht

April 29, 2013 | Marina Galperina

ANIMAL’s feature Artist’s Notebook asks artists to show us their original idea sketch next to a finished piece. This week, Addie Wagenknecht explains her project PUSSYDRONES.

Since around 2006, I have been heavily working within a sort of purely utilitarian open source space with projects like Lasersaur and Artifact of Code. In this very personal way, which I suppose might look nonsensical and nonlinear externally, PUSSYDRONES comes full circle.

Whenever a new technology comes out, the first thing that happens is someone puts tits on it or their cat. Open source is no real exception. Tits and dicks have more or less fueled the development of every technology from printed matter to high speed internet. I am rather fasticnated by this and the spaces in the web which are so accessible yet so hidden. We have CNN and Cam4 online, yet very few people are aware of the latter. I think this is one of the reasons which WebcamVenus came to be, we were so interested in this 24/7 access and availability. In that same point in time, I started to play with databending (and databending is only really possible in the legal sense with open source file formats/software). I started to databend sexcam footage and fell into glitch, gif art, etc. I felt like I finally found a way that open source and art co-habituated. I was hooked.

I loved the idea of gifs — these quick moments where you have permission to really play. Somewhere in that process, on the F.A.T. internal list we were talking about dones. I was researching the subject for another project (TBA) and found studies which talked about how drone pilots suffer more burnout than real-world pilots: It is believed because they attempt to live in two worlds — home and battlefield simultaneously. They go to Starbucks, get there Triple Vanilla nonfat venti lattes then drive to some windowless room in their SUV and kill a bunch of kids in Afghanistan before meeting their family at Olive Garden for dinner like nothing happened.

To a lesser degree, I see this with other people — they become overwhelmed until they learn to distinguish between data flows that can be dipped into like Twitter/Facebook, and data storage like email/wikis/blogs, that can be fully consumed. This all comes down to threalization that we are creating, producing and consuming all at the same time, in the same moment. Our biographies are shifting from private journals under lock and key to an internet cache owned by Google. We are reaching a point in society that if it has not been documented online, it has not happened. We no longer share one to one, we share one too many, and so what might that mashup look like? A gifs feels like this obvious answer and somewhere in all of that I needed to put my cat on a penis blowing up walmart and call it even.

I ususally don’t sketch on paper, I want so badly be that chick in some Parisian cafe with my coffee and cigarette sketching up something onto my cute little art journals for hours on end but I never do. Maybe I am too ADD. Never mind. I don’t live in Paris or really smoke. I can’t tell you how many moleskin and Copic markers I’ve bought in an attempt to get that process started but it never happens. I am scared of the paper. It feels too permanent so I never use it. I want my undo button. So instead, I have folders and folders on my desktop with images I save and pull from the web — I have what looks like old growth forest of those electronic post-it notes all over my desktop. I scribble ideas onto napkins when I do have those moments of inspiration AFK and save them until I can get home and add them to my growing list of ideas… For this series I made this visual sketch in Photoshop one day for a gallery when they asked me to explain my process to the curator. So there. The world has it.

Addie Wagenknecht next group show is at the GLITCH Festival’s “Run Computer Run” in May at Rua Red, Dublin.

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