101 The Art Happens Here: Alexei Shulgin
Hello. My name is Alexei Shulgin and I come from Russia and I’m an artist but also I work as a curator at a municipal gallery in Moscow and teach in an art school.
I made it 20 years ago already. By the time the internet was really new and I got inspired by stuff you could find online, like for example media files of popular pop songs. And at some point I decided to make a machine that would perform like a single, like a rock musician. And the idea was in the path of this post-apocalyptical ideas that at some point robots will come and take over all our professions. And even then, back in 1998 or 99, the computer I was using for that had been already obsolete. So in the end what I made was appeared to be kind of old, miserable falling apart machine that would sing in a very touchy voice and you would feel a kind of, you would get feelings from that machine.
The computer mainly sings rock and roll hits from America and Brittan. And that kind of culture that influenced me a lot when I was young. So in a way it’s kind of a reflection of my young years. And also it’s about cultural imperialism. Not only the rock music guys coming from here, from the United States, but also computers. And we the rest of the world have to use them. They form our culture, our the way we work, our societies you know.
I think in most cases people get my message. The message that technology can be funny, it can be dangerous, but it can be also ridiculous and touching and kind of that you can see it as something very much humanized because it’s made by human and humans they put a lot of themselves into technology, in the way it works, in the way it looks. And also computers have become such a big part of our culture and everyday life. What for me was important in this project is to give this message that computers are not just this practical tool to process data or typewrite or edit images or browse. It’s technology that can be used in different ways and also for making art, for making something touching people.
Audio guide: “The Art Happens Here: Net Art’s Archival Poetics,” New Museum, New York, 2019.