All Articles
All Articles

Interview: Jeremy Shaw


Interview: Jeremy Shaw

The experimental artist on single viewer exhibitions and photographing plant "aura"

by Jonah Samson
on 24 January 2013
Jeremy-Shaw-1.jpg Jeremy-Shaw-2.jpg

Working out of Berlin and Vancouver, multimedia artist Jeremy Shaw is a busy man supplying both cities with his highly involved works. Currently, Shaw is exhibiting in Berlin alongside artists such as Yoko Ono and Geoffrey Farmer, in the conceptual group show, "One On One," which is curiously designed for a single viewer. He is also the focus of a solo show at Vancouver's Macaulay & Co. Fine Art, which explores his experimental photography techniques. Originally developed in the 1930s to capture coronal discharge, Shaw now uses the Kirlian process as a way to bridge the scientific and the mystic within his work. To gather a greater sense of what each of these really represents we recently caught up with Shaw in his Vancouver studio for a quick chat.

You're currently showing in an innovative exhibition at the KW in Berlin, in which artists were invited to create work specifically to be experienced by on person at a time. Can you tell us about your contribution?

I made a single channel video work that plays out as though it were a sort of ad hoc self-hypnosis VHS tape from the '80s. It incorporates a lot of tropes of '80s motion graphic animation combined with current neuroscience imaging, the Scientology "Personality Test," heavy optical effects, a monotone narration and an immersive analog synth soundtrack. The piece is triggered when the viewer sits down in the single chair in the enclosed room and will shut off if they get up for more than 5 seconds. I felt like this was a good opportunity to really push for the viewing of something exactly the way I wanted it to be seen—and made it very necessary to watch the entire piece from start to finish in order to really get it. I liked the idea of being very demanding of the viewer within this super intimate context.

You recently began using the Kirlian photographic process on both human subjects as well on plants. What drew you to this technology and what have you been investigating with it?

I was drawn to the process because it treads a line between the scientific and the mystic—polarities that I often engage in with my practice. The camera and process was introduced into scientific and medical studies in the '60s in an attempt to learn to read magnetic fields for various things, but was thrown out quite quickly as junk due to the vast amount of variables that affect it. At this point mystics took it in as an "aura" camera. I've been doing experiments with it both on myself—listening to music in headphones and photographing my index finger in an attempt to see if the music is altering my aura—as well as on plants with psychedelic properties in an attempt to expose their hidden potentials.

Jeremy-Shaw-5.jpg Jeremy-Shaw-6.jpg
Your solo show in Vancouver will be followed by the premiere of your stunning 16mm film featuring the sexy vogue dancer Leiomy Maldonado. Tell us how you came to work with her on that piece.

I had wanted to make this piece with Leiomy for a few years—I've been a huge fan of hers via YouTube and I knew exactly what I wanted from the piece, but it was just a matter of getting it all together and contacting her in NY. In 2011 I was awarded a six-month NY residency and so it was the perfect opportunity. I contacted her online and we met and she instantly was into the idea. We shot the piece a couple months later in a day at a theater out in Flushing—but then I spent an entire year figuring out how to get the edit and effects and score the way I'd always imagined them!

For more information on Jeremy Shaw visit his personal site directly. Images by Jonah Samson

The CH25 is a showcase of creators and innovators from a broad range of disciplines who are currently working to drive the world forward.

Corinne Joachim Sanon

The chocolatier bringing social change to Haiti and bean-to-bar chocolate to the world

Read More
Seeing the poverty surrounding me and the lack of jobs and opportunity bothered me

George Arriola and Monohm

An heirloom electronic for the post-smartphone era

Read More
We agonized during the design process as all hyper-obsessed craftspeople should

Jonathan Sparks

Reinventing electronic music by inventing multi-disciplinary instruments

Read More
Recorded music is becoming so cheap, so the value of music is now in live performance

Pauline van Dongen

The Dutch designer blazing the wearable technology path

Read More
I’m fascinated by concepts of change, movement, energy and perception; since they are closely related to the way we experience the world

Eelke Plasmeijer

The locally driven restaurant that’s upending Balinese food culture

Read More
We really try to keep things simple and let the produce do the talking

Tarren Wolfe

The next-generation appliance making kitchens greener—literally

Read More
Our goal is to provide food for everyone in the world, and the best place to start is in our very own community

Lulu Mickelson

A civic leader bringing change to NYC through design

Read More
Human-centered design is one of the many tools that we can use to better engage the public

Tal Danino

The bioengineer who’s programming DNA to fight cancer

Read More
[Manipulating genes] is very new, people are just learning how to program these organisms

Matt Kenyon

Fusing art and technology to disrupt concepts of corporate America

Read More
I want the work to live in the world and circulate, so it can generate more dialogue

LaToya Ruby Frazier

Documenting the slow, troubling change in Braddock, Pennsylvania

Read More
I am not a journalist, I am a conceptual documentary artist using my visual expression for building narratives that are unseen and unheard

Sarah Kunst

The entrepreneur single-handedly changing the landscape for women in tech

Read More
People who live on a planet that is half women but can never seem to find any when they need one, I have solved your problem

Roxie Darling

From un-shampoo to transgender identity, the NYC colorist boldly defining the next chapter of hair

Read More
Hair color is as much a science as it is a craft

Vanessa Newman

Redesigning pregnancy for the post-gender generation with Butchbaby & Co.

Read More
I want my customers to feel comfortable and unchanged, in that becoming pregnant didn't take away from or compromise their identity

Kegan Schouwenburg

Revolutionizing orthotics through 3D-printed insoles

Read More
What orthotics do is they effectively change the geometry of what your alignment is like

Alex Kalman

The tiny museum in Manhattan that’s redefining museums

Read More
The mission is to put this small simple and powerful tool into the hands of as many people as possible

Douglas Riboud + Justin Guilbert

How a mission to create great coconut water led to a whole new way of doing business

Read More
We’ve made a conscious decision to be as transparent and honest as we can, and let people decide for themselves

Dan Barasch + James Ramsey

A quest to make the future brighter—underground

Read More
We both share a passion for groundbreaking technology and a shared love of New York

Joshua Harker

Pushing the boundaries of sculpture with intricate 3D printing

Read More
My intent was to explore and depict the architecture of the imagination, to interpret and share forms evident in the mind’s eye

Kathleen Supové

The NYC performance artist who’s radically reinventing the piano recital

Read More
I like pieces that are virtuosic, that show off the piano and what it can do, and are awe-inspiring

Melissa Kushner

Addressing the needs of orphans and vulnerable children in Malawi through microenterprise

Read More
Poverty is complicated, there is an increasing temptation and pressure in the development space to oversimplify things

Marcus Weller

Using technology to turn motorcycle helmet design on its head

Read More
I was taken aback both by the number of people that doubted it, and by the equally large number of people that got behind it

Cynthia Breazeal

How an emotional, empathetic robot named Jibo stands to revolutionize communication

Read More
The thing that's so provocative about social robots is that it's fundamentally a community technology

Leopoldine Huyghues Despointes

The young filmmaker and non-profit founder who just wants people to follow their dreams

Read More
I feel confident and ready to accomplish so much more, the movement is on

Meredith Perry

How searching the Internet helped a 22-year-old invent wireless electricity

Read More
It’s not about where the information is, it’s about how you use the tools

Sabine Seymour

A future where smart clothes are as ubiquitous as zippers

Read More
In the future you will not buy a piece of 'functional' clothing without SoftSpot
Loading More...