Marisa Olson: An Interview

Video Data Bank

2015 | 00:57:15 | United States | English | Color | Stereo | 16:9 | HD video

Collection: On Art and Artists, Interviews

Tags: Interview, Multimedia, Technology, VDB Interviews

Growing up in the early computer age, around machines like the Commodore 64, had a formative effect on Marisa Olson and her subsequent artistic career. Now operating across a diverse spectrum of media including video, performance, and even the internet itself, she creates work that simultaneously comments upon and instrumentalizes the potential of digital machines as well as the global networks they’re linked to. However, her work is not circumscribed within the boundaries of these systems’ technical specificity. The culture of the computerized world, the kinds of participation and spectatorship it engenders and its destabilization of privacy are also among the topics her work touches upon. 

This interview sees her thinking through those different topics, as well as the trajectory her career has taken. Being so intimately wedded to technology during the age of continual upgrades and planned obsolescence necessitates, for her, a concomitant, yet critical, movement towards the new. And, paradoxically enough, this requires at times explorations of older, disused media, an “anthropology of garbage” in her terms. Because, it is through the things we leave behind, that traces of what we are currently holding on to can be found.

— Nicolas Holt, 2016

Interview conducted by Jon Cates, Associate Professor of Film, Video, New Media, and Animation at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago.

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