Ryan Wurst’s art “lives and breathes in technology” in multiple ways. It is executed (and often delivered) with digital media, and inspired by humanity’s relationship with the technology it has created.
Wurst’s latest project, Mouth Breathers, explores this theme with a series of digital humans who engage in human activities via various digital media. We asked him a few questions about his work in our upcoming exhibition ‘Great Expectations’ (Aug. 4 - Nov. 11, 2017 at the GOCA121 gallery):
GOCA: Can you tell us a little bit about The Mouth Breathers Wait?
Ryan: The Mouth Breathers Wait is a simulation that utilizes my ASS (Artificial Stupidity System). Or it can also be thought of like a video game that plays itself. I am programming, very basically, the Mouth Breathers (who are the characters appearing in the simulation) to endlessly wait in a waiting room. Viewers of this piece will also be able to wait in an exact replica (the furniture, magazines and fish bowl) in the gallery as well. The audience can wait and watch the Mouth Breathers Wait.
GOCA: What inspired you to explore/animate the human form through digital media, and how does this relate to the Mouth Breathers and your upcoming installation?
Ryan: I have been using the Mouth Breathers for a few years now. They have become something of an empty space to try out new ideas in the digital realm. I have had them write books, DJ, drown, dance, and many more things. I tend to think of them like a gallery but with the human form. Many of the ideas that I explore revolve around stupidity and technology, hence the name Mouth Breather. They are absolutely perfect to animate in stupid ways and just by way of my typically clumsy animation, their movements come out quite stupid. I want there to be a kind of humor with them, but always with a hint of death.
GOCA: Why is it important to have an interactive/spontaneous element in your work (i.e., why is it important that the waiting room/Mouth Breathers is not just a video on a loop)?
Ryan: This piece needs to feel alive. A video loop is prescribed, even when it is a long loop. If this piece were a video loop it would be stagnant and would have a beginning and end. Since it is a simulation, there is a beginning and only an ending when the software is shut off. I wanted to give the Mouth Breathers behaviors rather than controlling all of their movements. To a certain extent they are making their own choices in the simulation, just as the audience will have the choice to wait along with them.
GOCA: What art/artists have been catching your eye lately?\
Ryan: Currently I have been obsessed with Ian Cheng, who makes simulations as well. I feel very lucky though that most of the people who influence me and my work are friends: Michael Theodore, Josh McGarvey, Zak Loyd, Melanie Clemmons, and Jamie Kinroy, to name a few.
GOCA: Are there any other materials/media you’d like to experiment with in future pieces?
Ryan: I have a lot of ideas to explore with simulations, but I would definitely like to make some strange video games soon too. A sort of Mouth Breather Tamagotchi. I also love making mass produced objects such as books, shirts, hats… really Mouth Breather swag.
"Ryan Wurst is an artist, musician, and curator currently pursuing his PhD at CU Boulder in Intermedia, Writing, and Performance Art. In addition to founding The Midnight Brigade gallery in Minneapolis, Wurst’s solo projects have been shown nationally. His music can be found under such pseudonyms as Yellow Hyper Balls, pleasurlife, Soul Tangler, and more.”
About the Exhibition
Great Expectations @GOCA121, downtown
August 4 - November 11, 2017
Erica Day, Nathaniel Hodges, Stephanie Kantor, Suzie McMurtry, Diego Rodriguez-Warner, Elizabeth Selby, Frankie Toan, Streeter Wright, Ryan Wurst, Dustin Young
This biannual exhibition surveys emerging artists working along the Colorado Front Range corridor. Artists working in Colorado in 2017 are diverse and this exhibit at our downtown GOCA121 site aims to reflect that reality. The artists featured are working across a broad range of media - painting, drawing, sculptural installation, new media, and performance - and creating contemporary art in exciting and challenging ways. Great Expectations will introduce you to some of the brightest (art) stars from the Front Range of Colorado.