Wave Int’l isn’t like any of the publications I’ve previously reviewed. Wave is a network that is documented in a quarterly exhibition and journal. Wave Int’l is co-directed by Brian Khek and Jasmine Lee, two students at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago. In Issue 01 artists Ida Lehtonen, Micah Schippa and Bret Scheider were commissioned to tackle “office iconography.” I chatted with Jasmine Lee about the relationship between publishing and curating and she explained how Wave seeks to innovate in both areas.
Martine Syms: How did you and Brian [Khek] meet and why did you decide to start working together?
Jasmine Lee: I had just moved to Chicago last summer from San Francisco for the VCS program at SAIC and I wanted to start a publication. Brian and I met in the fall. We went to school together and he lived down the street from me.We started cooking together. Brian makes the best Pad Thai. We would cook, talk art and we’d look at publications together. It was a nice welcome to Chicago.
MS: A friend of mine thinks that every artist/designer should be an adept cook. He puts it on the same level as technical or communication skills. Would you agree?
JL: Yes, absolutely. We talk about this a lot. Cooking or creating anything for consumption requires a prior knowledge which isn’t unlike art. It’s funny to us that art and food are still sort of in their own fields. We look at lot of different fields for fodder, like science or technology. What we like about food and technology is their ability to bring people together.
MS: Do you see Wave Int’l functioning in a similar way?
JL: Yes, we love to invite people over for food. The conversations we have are a lot of fun. We’re obsessed with the idea of connectivity
MS: So why a publication?
JL: A lot of our work is done online.
MS: What do you mean by work? Artwork, homework, client work?
JL: Yes, all of it. Life work. When you work this way, there’s this feeling of fluidity. We wanted a publication because it’s more tangible. It’s less abstract than say a blog.
MS: When you work on a computer each activity blends into the next. A publication is more discrete, more representative of a specific moment/event.
JL: The publication and exhibitions are meant to be meeting points. A moment for us to gather our thoughts, reflect and move on. It’s meant to be transient, like a network.
MS: Tell me about your curatorial process. How did you find the artists in the show? Was there a particular narrative you and Brian were trying to express with the exhibition?
JL: We’re interested in bringing together people who’s work reflects ideas we’ve been contemplating. We’re not so interested in regionalism. Because of how we all experience a lot of the same things, regardless of where we live we have a starting point.
It’s kind of crazy how many people are making work. Bookmarks help. Brian and I exchange readings and work we like. As with most things, we wanted to work with people whose work we’d admired and respected, and most importantly, were curious about. As connected as we are with each other [online], a lot of this critical discourse that’s engaged by the visual work is often overlooked. Wave wants to welcome everyone to the conversation.
MS: On your website you use the term “network” and call yourselves the directors. Do you see Wave operating in the tradition of the gallery or the magazine?
JL: We see ourselves as facilitators. Wave Int’l is a platform for critical discourse. We’re not so much concerned with the tradition of the gallery or magazine. We’re concerned with the responsibility that goes along with putting work out there, the push and pull of things that last and don’t last. We don’t just want to talk about something and throw it out there into space. We’re thinking about what happens after a show or even after the opening.
MS: In using the term director you’re acknowledging your responsibility, but in using network, you reconcile what happens afterwards, once the work is up, or the show is taken down.
JL: Yes. We’re interested in the potential of the ephemeral.
MS: Tell me about Ida Lehtonen and Micah Schippa, the artists in the show/issue.
JL: Micah is graduating from SAIC this fall. He’s from Holland, Michigan. He’s one of our cooking buddies! He makes the best soups and is awesome at baking. He’s someone we talk with a lot. We met Ida for the first time this week, after being in contact with her online for a year. Ida attends the School of Photography at the University of Göteburg in Sweden. Her work is very playful. Both Ida and Micah deal a lot with iconography in their work. Which is inherent in the medium [internet art]. I think there’s a lot of “net art” out there that’s really unapproachable, because of how esoteric it tends to be. It’s intimidating, but their work isn’t like that.
MS: What’s next for Wave Int’l?
JL: We want to travel. It’s another part of the practice, geographic diversity. Kind of like a tour. We’re currently building an ongoing program, which involves a library of visual, audio and literary appropriations from our own archives and that of our peers. We also have a printed version of the PDF, edition of 25, very very slick. Email firstname.lastname@example.org for more info.
Download a copy of Wave Int’l: Issue 01 featuring Ida Lehtonen, Micah Schippa and Bret Schneider at www.waveintl.info. The printed version can also be purchased at Golden Age, where you’ll find Jasmine Lee working hard each Thursday!