W.E.T. | Interview with Margot Bowman

On March 25 inaugurated W.E.T., solo show by Margot Bowman at SPAZIO RIDOTTO, a new exhibition venue managed by Zuecca Projects.
6 Aprile 2015
Margot Bowman,   W-E-T.net,   2015,   web screenshots

Margot Bowman, W-E-T.net, 2015, web screenshots

The exhibition, curated by Gloria Maria Cappelletti and Fabrizio Meris, explores in a digital way the effect of climate change on the present world situation.

Matteo Mottin asked some questions to Margot Bowman.

Matteo Mottin: For this project you decided to focus on the global warming phenomena, imagining a future habitat for human beings. From does your interest in climate change come from and how does it relate to your art practice?

Margot Bowman: I think its really important that we have art and culture that is of it’s time and help us understand our world. With this in mind our two greatest materials as a generation are climate change and technology. Often these things are used to alienate us from each other, to create fear and confusion – I want my work to use them to demonstrate our shared humanity.

MM: The project is divided in two parts, one digital, online, and one physical. Could you briefly introduce us to both, highlighting their connections and explaining your choice?

MB: The physical installation of the work takes place at Spazio Ridotto in Venice. Here 5 pieces are projected on to the walls of the space. The web piece,  w-e-t.net, and the moving image works; Heading, Twist, Journey and Opt_out.

W-e-t.net serves as the digital ‘cabinet of curiosities’ of this future world, a space to play and imagine. There is a questionnaire on the site that formalises this process of imagining a world on the water; where do we dance ? how do we get lost ? is a pesci-tarian or vegetarian diet preferable?

The moving images works in the show are inspired by the answers to these questions. These pieces take the tradition of renaissance painting, perspective chiaroscuro and twist and mis-use them to represent a new world.

Using both spaces allows for a wider interaction with the project, w.e.t. is about presenting a future informed by this connected generation. The structure of the project is like a call and response; the questionnaire answers feed into the works and then by having the site live in the space for visitors to fill out the works feed back into the questionnaire answers. I also think the contrast and gaps between these media’s is where exciting things happen. In spaces between video and website, drawing and photography, post-production and projection this is where the people can create their own visions of the future.

MM: Does the city of Venice had any influence on the project?

MB: Yes so much ! I think showing the work in the context of the city challenges the pre-digital system it is born out of. By having the work in the city i think it makes the whole proposition so real and also calls into question the pre-digital system that created it. A world where a small number of educated elite hold the cards for the whole population. The internet has its flaws but it has changed power dynamics and opened up express to huge numbers of people that didn’t have voices before, w.e.t. is a exploration of what a floating world, like Venice,  could be but with this shift in place. This idea of inserting a new language into this old structure is reflected in the materials the works are made from, using photography and video footage of Ventian water, mixing this in with water footage from other parts of the world and drawings to make the video works.

MM: Can you give me your personal definition of utopia?

MB: I think utopia is a dangerous aim, because nothing including us, is ever perfect. I don’t want one definitive, dogmatic thing, instead to live in a world that shifts, grows and develops in a way thats in touch with an sensitive to our place in the wider ecosystem and our shared humanity.

MM: You are the Creative Director of Auria. To what extent can it be related to your artistic research? Could you introduce us to Auria?

MB: Auria is a luxury sustainable swimwear brand started by Diana Auria, I work with the branding designs the prints for the collection and directing the shoots.

I think Auria is a different way of bringing the future into the present. The fabric the swimsuits are made of is a new-generation fabric 100% recycled, taking old fishing nets and re-spinning the plastic polymers into new fibres. So you’re sort of wearing the future, but in this very sexy, irreverent, joyful way. I love that it takes something like this, thats quite complicated, but brings it into the world in a visceral way. So in that sense it’s very much like w.e.t., but working in the medium of clothing. Also this is a product that’s designed make women feel amazing when they are wearing it as a female artist i feel proud to be empowering women in this public space, we all know the the beach / pool can be intense – no matter how you feel about your body. Auria is about empowering the super-babes of the future.

Until April 26.

Margot Bowman,   Heading,   2015,   12sec 25 frame loop

Margot Bowman, Heading, 2015, 12sec 25 frame loop

Margot Bowman,   W-E-T.net,   2015,   web screenshots

Margot Bowman, W-E-T.net, 2015, web screenshots

Margot Bowman,   Journey,   2015,   2.45min digital video

Margot Bowman, Journey, 2015, 2.45min digital video

Margot Bowman,   W-E-T.net,   2015,   web screenshots

Margot Bowman, W-E-T.net, 2015, web screenshots

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