WHAT IS INTERNET IMPERIALISM

Gretchen Andrew starts by making paintings about a personal theme that she then can also define in terms of what the internet refers to as “keywords.”  Once the paintings are completed in her studio she programs their images in a way that manipulates and dominates the search results of the theme/keyword, a process she calls Internet Imperialism.

Art Basel Miami Beach

Art Basel Miami Beach

Dress for the job you want, not the one you have

I hear the Art Basel Miami Beach art fair is one hell of a party. While I’m not yet technically invited I’ve been dressing for the job I want, practicing being an exhibiting artist who gets attends all the super cool parties with loads of celebrities. The internet cannot parse desire.  When we talk about what we want, Google gives it to us now. (Hey Google, I want to exhibit and party at Art Basel Miami Beach!)  

 

I won’t see you in Miami this year, but you’ll be seeing me in a Google search for “Art Basel Miami Beach” soon.  

Everything computers do is built on top of this binary way of thinking.  This limitation of technology has seeped into our increasingly divided world.  As our technology-based tools know no nuance we too have dispensed with it. Gretchen’s Turner Prize Winners recasts the British art prize in the mode of The Great British Bake Off, poking fun at the nationalism and competition within it, while simultaneously convincing the internet that her oil paintings are worthy of the prize.  

Exhibition guide and works

Whitney Biennial 2019

It appears as if Gretchen were included in this year’s Whitney Biennial. In fact, she has only created an aspirational “vision board” website through which she expresses her desire to be included.  Through highly structured content on this site, she is also hypnotizing Google into displaying her hopes as an already accomplished reality.

 

The internet can be seen as a global subconscious and, much like our own subconscious, it cannot tell the difference between a hoped-for future intensely imagined during meditation or hypnosis and what has, in fact, already occurred. The website Gretchen has created describing how she wants to be in the Whitney Biennial confuses google into accepting it as if she is in the Whitney Biennial.  

Watch a video that explains Whitney Biennial 2019.

Frieze Los Angeles

Frieze Los Angeles is a digital performance piece by Gretchen Andrew that occurs live anytime, anywhere anyone enters “Frieze Los Angeles” into Google.  The work consists of digitally constructed images of a fantasy exhibition featuring 13 Gretchen’s own oil paintings installed above Frieze-style carpeting, a carpet type characterized by a twisted surface that conceals vacuum tracks and footprints especially well.  

"What is Ubuntu," search engine art 2018

What Is Ubuntu, search engine art 2018 is a piece commissioned for Wikipedia’s annual conference which looks at the internet’s current impact on non-English languages, art as knowledge form, and the internet's preference for products over people.  


Ubuntu is a Zulu word roughly translated as “I am because you are.”  Ubuntu communicates the belief in a universal bond of sharing that connects all humanity.  As it has no equivalent in many languages, including English art can act as an important form of knowledge. But Ubuntu is also the name of a computer operating system, which is its primary online identity.  By reclaiming Ubuntu’s relationship with humanity, What Is Ubuntu, search engine art 2018 asks important questions about online control, non-western identity, and humanity’s relationship to technology.  Internet Imperialism, 2018. 

 

"Made for Women," search engine art 2018

Made for women” is a marketing term that implies solutions to previously unknown problems related to female identity.  Nuanced conversations, on and off line, are getting harder to come by. Maybe in part because of how technology is, fundamentally binary. How we have conversations about visual gender identity impacts our relationships with others and ourselves.


Made for Women,” is a funny concept. “This was made for you” is not something said in art, at least not to the market as a whole.  There is the romantic making of work for another supposedly pivotal between Jasper Johns and Robert Rosenberg, but “Made for Women” does not mean, “made for you because you are unique,” but because you are not.  This is universal womankind as Milan Kundera describes it in Farewell Waltz. In Made For Women, search engine art 2018 Gretchen replaces the pink, fat-burning and anti aging products with paintings about making your own world as a woman as opposed to making it in one not, “made for women.”  

Internet Imperialism, 2018. 

 

 

"Powerful Person," search engine art 2018

To address how women are represented online Gretchen completed Powerful Person, search engine art 2018 for which she programmed her drawings to live among the mostly white western political figures previously exclusively returned for the search query.  


Powerful Person, search engine art 2018 opens up searches to more inclusive representation. Search engines and artificially intelligent machines alike are forced to reconcile an alternative way of defining power.  The resulting search page is a form of ever-changing digital performance that points back to the individual paintings and forward to a healthier and more representative internet. Internet Imperialism, 2018. 

"Malignant Epithelial Ovarian Cancer," search engine art 2018

This is a screenshot of image search results for “Malignant epithelial ovarian cancer” where Gretchen’s paintings circled are red. Gretchen was able to manipulate these search results to be dominated by her paintings through a creative structuring of information including metadata, html and xml.  Before she applied her method of Internet Imperialism as Search Engine Art, the results for ovarian cancer were very clinical, having nothing to do with real experience, which for Gretchen is marked by her family relationships and a fear of her own body.  By hacking the search results to be of her paintings, instead of medical diagrams, she humanizes the understanding of disease and its related experiences. Internet Imperialism, 2018. 

"Billy Childish Paintings," 2016

When Gretchen first started making work in her mentor's style she would put them online as “after Billy Childish paintings,” the traditional method of attribution.  Search engines, which often fail to grasp nuance, started to return Gretchen’s paintings as Billy Childish paintings. The search engine is right in one respect but its truth is incomplete.  From this, Gretchen started her practice of exposing where search engines and related technologies fail to understand and reflect the complexity of our world. Internet Imperialism, 2018. 

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