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ZKM Interview with Joseph Nechvatal


Interview with Joseph Nechvatal by Évelyne Rogue (Music2Eye)

Paris, February 2004.

Évelyne Rogue: Since 1986, you’ve been working with ubiquitous electronic visual information, computers and computer-robotics. Your computer-robotic assisted painting and computer animations are shown in galleries and museum throughout the world. How do you explain this choice?

Joseph Nechvatal: For me, to make contemporary art, it is necessary to utilize contemporary tools and materials. However, the attraction to the computer - both as form and content for my art - was primarily a result of my working with ideologies of power - specifically the power of the media in shaping our consciousness. I already was working on this theme beginning around 1980 in my drawings and photomechanical blow-ups. This work investigated American fundamentalism under the Reagan administration and the enhanced threat of nuclear Armageddon of the time. When the computer in the mid-80s came on the corporate/governmental/military scene in a big way, it became clear to me that that was how power was to be administrated and enforced thereafter. Of course this is a few years prior to the personal computer revolution, which amended my views somewhat.

Read the entire interview