Experience the impact of the internet on our lives as seen through the eyes of two acclaimed American-born artists. This exhibition at Furtherfield Gallery brings together ‘net native’ artists Mark Amerika and Shu Lea Cheang. Laura Enfield caught up with Paris resident Cheang, 59, and Mark Amerika, appropriately over email, to find out more.


What is the exhibition about?

I am presenting my recent works, UKI and Composting The Net. Both these works reviews our electronic/data overload.

What effect do you hope it has on viewers?

We live in a society in which hardware/software update has become our obsession. The product end, we consume and discard. The data end, we become corporate slaves in providing our personal data willingly. This exhibition hopes to bring to the viewers a conscientious review of our own excessive behaviours.

What is your inspiration?

The inspiration came from living a life. The current social network application, the data hijacking, the food we eat are all part of our daily reality.

Which is more powerful? Nature or technology?

I do not go for any binary speculation. It is not an OR question, but an AND confirmation. Nature and Technology.

Is a picture really worth a thousand words?

Why? I cannot endorse such an assumption. A word can also bring thousands of images.

Complete the sentence. I cannot create unless...

I cannot create unless I am alive.

Which artist or person do you most admire and why?

I do not like to single out one name, one person that I aspire to. I prefer to promote the open-source community I am associated with.

Why is art important?

Why is food important?

What is your philosophy on life?

Live it, love it, share it.

What is your favourite piece of art?


Where is your favourite place to exhibit?

Public space.


Name, age, place you live

Mark Amerika Boulder, Colorado and Kailua, Hawaii

What is the exhibition about?

It features the work of two artists, Shu Lea Cheang and myself, who have been experimenting with new media for a couple of decades now.

What effect do you hope it has on viewers?

I hope that it changes their perception of what's happening around them, especially how new media devices and the software programs they have come to depend on, like Google Earth Street and Street View, are also the new source material for another way of painting the underside of the digital world.

What is your inspiration?

I'm not really inspired. I'm a remixologist, someone who creatively takes pre-existing things and recombines them into new works of art. It's more of a bodily reaction.

Which is more powerful? Nature or technology?

Nature is second nature nature and technology has become so transparent that is feels natural.

Is a picture really worth a thousand words? Why?

It depends on who your dealer is. Right now I'm my own dealer, so maybe it's worth about 40,000 words. Like a good novel.

Artist or person you most admire and why

Most of the artists I admire today are, like Shu Lea, experimenting with technology to address issues of social and political significance.

Why is art important?

Because it teaches us how to trigger our intuition and use our unconscious creative potential to make things out of nothing.

What do you think of the London art scene?

It's probably the best art scene in the world. There's more variety and alternative spaces than in New York.

What is your favourite piece of art?

The art works that I tend to be my favorites are always changing depending on my mood and what I'm working on at the moment, but right now I am writing a book on Marcel Duchamp's The Bride Stripped Bare By Her Bachelors, Even, also known as the Large Glass. There was an exhibition at the Barbican recently that looked into that work from a different angle.

Your favourite place to exhibit?

The Internet

  • Furtherfield Gallery, McKenzie Pavilion, Finsbury Park, Saturday, August 31 to Sunday, October 20. Details: 0208 802 2827, furtherfield.org