What’s new with you?
This month I was awarded the Frontier Art Prize – an annual $100,000 award established in 2017 by the World Frontiers Forum and the VIA Art Fund. My works – entitled The Seventh Continent and centered on questions around the Anthropocene – are currently on view at the Istanbul Biennial curated by Nicolas Bourriaud. I am also part of the exhibition The Age of You at MOCA Toronto, curated by Hans Ulrich Obrist, Douglas Coupland, and Shumon Basar.

How did you come up with the theme of ecological issues?
Since the beginning of my artistic practice I have been examining how various complex systems (social, economic, ecological) can operate in ways that confuse distinctions between nature and culture, fiction and reality, life and non-life, and on non-human forms of intelligence: collective, Artificial, animal, and microbial. Analysing these evolving natural and social phenomena, I started to adopt an alternative way of producing artworks. I have outsourced my sculptures to colonies of living termites and crowdsourced them to thousands of online workers worldwide. Contemporary ecology is very closely related to the digital economy. While the 20th century was about the extraction of fossils, the 21st is about the extraction of our data and ourselves. We are the new oil!

What are your next projects?
I have many projects, among them: I’m working on a commission for the De Young Museum in San Francisco, as part of the Uncanny Valley: Being Human in the Age of AI exhibition (click here for more info). The show will open on 22 February 2020. I’m also working on my monograph book, which will be published by Sternberg Press in 2020.
© Janek Zamoyski

Find all the articles from Letter #12 — October 2019