Paul Catanese, Hybrid Media Artist

Visible from Space
2009 - Present | Multi-Modal Artwork

I was invited to be the featured artist for Leonardo Electronic Almanac's Digital Media Exhibition Platform which launched in the September of 2010. The exhibition program delivers daily artworks via a wide network of social media platforms, for which I created a series of thirty images. Additionally, Vince Dziekan and Lanfranco Aceti, from the curatorial team, conducted an online, text-based interview with me.

...old assumptions based on new interpretations and engagements with the space. Do you believe that there is a space for 'virtual residencies' and what could be the frameworks that are most suitable to contemporary artistic practices?

Paul Catanese: My residency experiences have focused on a break from the everyday, while simultaneously engaging with new individuals, sites, and technologies. Embodiment of the unfamiliar coupled with a self-induced rupture from routines, and the subsequent reflection on my reaction to the reorganization of my working processes is at the core of what I am seeking from a residency experience. Immersion is key. I want to learn things that I had not planned to learn, and physical relocation intrinsically catalyzes these types of experiences.

I do believe that 'virtual residencies' have a role to play and are absolutely capable with regard to challenging assumptions of space and inducing ruptures that encourage meta-reflection. In terms of what frameworks are suitable – I wonder if one pre-requisite could be to invite individuals who are in transit / traveling to simultaneously be in a virtual residency. I've often thought it would be interesting to participate in a residency program that funds individuals to travel somewhere and report back on what they find. Perhaps if this were coupled with a virtual residency, the

role of the resident shifts. Where the experience of the residency tends to solely be first-person, perhaps it could be used to additionally provide a third-person view for everyone else. Of course, at this point, I've essentially re-invented non-virtual residencies to take on virtual components - and it sounds suspiciously like a travelogue.

I find the conversation we're having contains elements of 'virtual residency' that are valuable. Participating in a discussion over an extended period of time with individuals who are in Australia and Turkey, while I'm here in Chicago has been rewarding, and in itself functions as a way of reflecting on the experiences of the desert. Our conversation is more critical and probing, since in the desert, it was mostly about experimentation, drawing, and survival, whereas we are almost entirely focused on the analyzing that experience. The framework reminds me somewhat of what is successful about the asynchronous discussions on empyre. It could also be interesting to embrace the notion of conversation in dislocated space such as in 'this spartan life' or even 'sleep is death' - where virtual space functions as a location for conversation. That being said, I'll admit, I'd prefer if I also were able to walk around Istanbul or Melbourne as part of our conversation, where I might have the feeling of being out of my element, or was able to share a cup of tea with each of you.

Research and development for 'Visible from Space' was supported by a month-long residency in June 2010 at the Goldwell Open Air Museum, just outside of Death Valley. Additionally, this project was chosen by the Leonardo Electronic Almanac to inaugaurate their Digital Media Exhibition Platform in 2010. Continued development provided by Anchor Graphics, a program of the Art+Design department at Columbia College Chicago, the College Art Association Services to Artists Commitee and Video in the Built Environment’s scan2Go exhibition, as well as the Kasa Gallery at Sabanci University in Istanbul.
The Central School Project in Bisbee, Arizona has supported devleopment of this project through extended Artist Residencies in 2009 and 2013.