Featuring the collaborative work of David Galbraith (b. 1965, Milwaukee, WI) and Teresa Seemann (b. 1965, Milwaukee, WI), Waveform explores the innovative and unexpected ways artists working with new media are creating on-going exchanges with other artists. The first project in the Media Z Lounge to integrate all the available technology, the title of the exhibition serves as a metaphor for the connections highlighted by the artists through the videos, audio compilations, animation, computer programs, photographs, magazine projects, and ephemera such as fan letters and performance props on display. Waveform makes visible the network of collaborations among artists, like Galbraith and Seemann, who have developed an interplay between their work in the visual arts, experimental music, and performance. Using the model of collaborations, links, and connections found in electronic and experimental music, the exhibition examines how increased accessibility to advanced technology is directly influencing the content and context of contemporary art and culture.
Nowhere is the resurgent ideal of the “Renaissance man” more evident than in the impact of media technologies on contemporary art. Today, painters use computer design programs to create photographic prints, animators incorporate handmade drawings into their moving images, sculptors work with robotics, and so on. Increased access to advanced technology has allowed artists to experience a “do-it-yourself” freedom and to embrace cultural production that is not easily contained in a given category. Moreover, this type of practice promotes a strong sense of community among its participants, one where collaboration is intrinsic and authorship, market value, and the autonomy of the art object are reconsidered in meaningful and enlightened ways.
Galbraith and Seemann’s practice is characterized by its spontaneity, energy, and adaptability. Working primarily in a situational format, they create each exhibition within the parameters of the given space and context. Although they also make autonomous works apart from a particular installation, their commitment to exchange and exploration has generally kept their work outside of the commercial gallery system. After receiving their undergraduate degrees in different disciplines, they successfully completed both the MFA program at CalArts and the Whitney Independent Study Program as an artistic team. As collaborators for many years, Galbraith and Seemann pose a powerful challenge to the still-prevalent expectation that every artist should be the sole author of works created in a signature style. And Waveform is not only a collaboration between Galbraith and Seemann; it details the interactions and associations of many other artists as well-bands and DJs including The Experimental Makeup, PFR, Discoteca Flaming Star, DJ Steinbrüchel, Twinkle Girls, Marina Rosenfeld, Professor Brown with DJ Jambox, Iron Lap, Hunter Ochs, Christof Kurzmann, and visual artists Megumi Nakai, Michael J. Mahalchick, Marcos Rosales, and Malcolm Jamieson-all contributing to a complex web of interrelated components. As a series of moments, events, and happenings presented in a nonlinear and interactive format, Waveform is animated by the spontaneity and energy that characterize collaboration at its best.