Marina Zurkow

Why did you first get online?

In 1992 I bought my first modem and joined echo. It was a social move, a move made out of curiosity and a growing penchant to hide out in the world of text (I never loved the phone and I still prefer email). I was more of a lurker than participant, but I found the format fascinating. When the Village Voice published the article about the evil clown who was impersonating people n his MUDD (A Rape in Cyberspace: How an Evil Clown, a Haitian Trickster Spirit, Two Wizards, and a Cast of Dozens Turned a Database Into a Society by Julian Dibbell), I was hooked.  Narrative, play, an open shifting audience, deception and new rules.

When did you first get involved with digital and why?

I did not grow up on computers. I’d done graphic design and film the old school ways. I first touched Photoshop in 1992, at an arts residency at the Banff New Media Institute. Before that, the closest I’d come to digital was a Mac Classic at my job for Japanese TV (and we still had to fax all our docs from NY to Tokyo). It was love at first sight. Total magic.

I was initially enamored with the internet was the freedom of self-publishing. After working behind the velvet ropes of small film festivals, the internet audience was as wide as one was crafty. Even in 1994, I reached a relatively wider audience than I’d been able to in traditional venues as a filmmaker and artist. I liked the chain of networks that the internet offered – curators, self-designated style hubs, artists.

How would you describe your work and professional interests in the 1990’s (or 80’s etc).

90’s – I was the founding design director at Sonicnet. I learned html and flash from the bottom up. We were very hands-on, and experimental. When Sonicnet was acquired by Prodigy, I left. I went on to do freelance work with IBM Research, MTV, Razorfish, and others.  Created a series of experimental animations, culminating in the 35 minute web episodic, braingirl ( Oddly, by 2001 when I’d completed the series, I found myself back more in film festival / grant / art paradigms. But it really was a thrill when plumbers and office workers wrote me with feedback.

What do you think the future will hold internet/digital?

More of everything, until the oil runs out 🙂

I think it’s time for people to consider the internet as something not only virtual, but also as a depleter of real resources. It’s a kind of microcosm of the ideology that resources are infinite, for those who have access to them.

The internet has become this quickly changing ecosystem – a vast, biodiverse system of interdependent parts.

We all definitely have increased ADD; there’s always more and more  info, also more and more content, but mostly too much info and an increasingly harder time focusing. People will have to relearn in this new exponentially increasing context, to discern for themselves the difference between content and information.

More About Marina:

Marina Zurkow is a video and media artist with a focus on animation. Her works have taken the form of multi-channel videos, customized multi-screen computer pieces, performative and interactive works.

Since 2000, Zurkow has exhibited at The Sundance Film Festival, The Rotterdam Film Festival, The Seoul Media City Biennial, Ars Electronica, Creative Time, The Kitchen, The Walker Art Center, The National Museum for Women in the Arts, and Eyebeam, and other venues. She has been a NYFA Fellow, a Rockefeller New Media Fellow, and a Creative Capital grantee. Zurkow is on faculty at NYU’s Interactive Technology Program (ITP), and lives in Brooklyn, New York. She is represented by Bryce Wolkowitz Gallery in New York.

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