Andrew Norman Wilson and I had a chance to flesh out some of the strategies that he employes in a webinar video conference that spanned several weeks of intensive workshopping on ideas circulating around digital/virtual labor, how to stabilize and exist in permanent transience, and how to make actual the metaphoric states that usually occur in online environments. Through our conversation and networking session, we highlighted some key issues concerning how one works within network space can reveal variable points of access and distribution to creative cultural practices.

Andrew Norman Wilson performs in a playful yet poignant role discussing labor hierarchies within digital-corporate entities like Google and virtual assistant service providers like Get Friday. By choosing to activate the occasionally troubled arenas of distributed labor, crowd sourcing, and prefabricated aesthetic experiences that can be found within airport lobbies and stock footage, Andrew Norman Wilson creates dense narratives about how one can exist in an perpetually compromised and privileged location of Western Civilization while maintaining criticality and self-awareness. The subversion of pond5 as a platform for default and/or corporate aesthetic experience are used in videos such as Global Countdown to illustrate both their pervasiveness in our visual language but the absurdity of their absolute abstraction.

In recent work, Andrew Normam Wilson has been exploring the creation of more deliberate performative spaces and installation environments for maximal leisure. The documentation for these spaces has developed into a series of videos called Flow Spot, and show Andrew Normam Wilson employing the products and services of these imitation spas as a way “acknowledging our complicity in commercial products cycles” as a segue to talk about our unwillingness to be critical about the transience of labor. During our workshop, we discuss how the space that we traverse and occupy, both online and off, no longer belongs to the once “civic openness” of a pervious area, but instead have become dominated and sustained by an unsustainable “middle class culture, characterized by increasing mobility, mass consumption, and mass recreation.”

Please join us in the above webinar networking session for more details, and for the full text of our conversation click here.

Nicholas O'Brien