Mark Amerika, Miami, 1960
Artist, theorist, writer and teacher. Founder of the Ph. Program in Intermedia Art, Writing and Performance in the School of Media, Communication and Information.
Considered a pioneer of net.art, since the 90s he has developed a solid career based on experimentation with new technologies and media.
He has held solo exhibitions at venues such as the Denver Art Museum, the Institute of Contemporary Art in London and the Walker Art Center in Minneapolis.
His work has been shown in over 100 international group exhibitions on five continents and, in 2009-2010, the National Museum of Contemporary Art in Athens hosted the exhibition entitled UNREALTIME. Other exhibitions were shown at The Power Plant (Toronto), the Eli and Edith Broad Museum of Art, the Denver Museum of Contemporary Art, the ZKM and the Montreal Biennale.
The Abandon Normal Devices Festival in the UK, in conjunction with the London 2012 Olympics commissioned Amerika’s large-scale transmedia artwork, Museum of Glitch Aesthetics [MOGA] which was shown in a solo exhibition in Manchester.
He is the author of numerous books, including the cult novels The Kafka Chronicles (FC2/University of Alabama Press, 1993) and Sexual Blood (FC2/ University of Alabama Press, 1995), as well as two books documenting his experiences as one of the first digital artists investigating Internet and remix culture: META/DATA: A Digital Poetics (The MIT Press, 2007) and remixthebook (University of Minnesota Press, 2011). In 2022, Amerika published My Life as an Artificial Creative Intelligence (Stanford University Press), a book of artist writings focused on his experiments with artificial intelligence.
Cookie Monster (Gloyaglitch 1) [MOGA], 2005-2006
It was created between 2005 and 2006 when Mark Amerika was beginning to experiment with the low quality imageshe obtained with a cell phone camera. He captured details of important works of art history, such as Saturn devouring his son, one of Goya's black paintings.
The animated GIF is a format inherent to today's popular culture, somewhere between photography and video, and where quality is the least relevant. In fact, these images were captured by the artist in the years when cell phones with video cameras were really popular, something that transformed the way we communicate and that was incorporated by some creators to their artistic practices, as it happens with all communication technologies that have emerged in recent decades.
The GIF becomes a perfect vehicle to tell a short story, an emotion. We can appreciate how some of these images are directly linked to the history of art, appropriating, reworking with a contemporary vision, and decontextualizing, sometimes in a humorous way.
Lake Como Remix [MOGA], 2012
It represents a journey via Google Street View through the Italian Lake Como and the landscape that surrounds it. Described by the artist as a “cyberpsychogeographic” journey, he experiments with the functions of the software, creating images that show the glitch aesthetics inherent to the images that are produced by this type of program.
The work is part of the MOGA_Museum of Glitch Aesthetics, a virtual museum and transmedia artwork that hosts various forms of glitch art (video, animated GIF, still images, sound art and electronic literature). It was commissioned by the Abandon Normal Devices Festival on the occasion of the 2012 London Olympics.
This virtual museum displays the expressive capacity of error, of failure, and ruptures our mental construction of reality. We live in a post-digital era in which the hyper-real, high-resolution image is being pursued for its resemblance to reality. Glitch art questions this sort of image, typical of the present, through deformation.
Value [Value Propositions], 2021
During the pandemic, with the surge of NFTs, digital art became a rising commodity for the first time in art history. Amerika, seeing the recent explosion of interest in digital art online, in 2021, working with an archive on a 1994 Powerbook, the same one he used to create his most iconic artwork, GRAMMATRON, decided to address this new speculative art market and began creating a new series of artwork entitled Value Propositions.
These short, conceptual sentences, created on his old laptop and using 30-year-old software, are a direct and playful response to the rapid commodification of digital art.
He uses an old Netscape web browser as a framing device to produce fictitious web pages that have been transformed into digital prints whose titles include the word NFT in a 1994 web browser, creating a disruption in the history of net.art.
Value Propositions represents a satirical critique of the contemporary art market, especially now that digital art is taken more seriously only because it has increased in monetary value.
This series of works is influenced by the work of John Baldessari, Joseph Kosuth and Jenny Holzer.