LaTurbo Avedon /Interlude, 2019/

Posted on: November 1st, 2020 by Mary Meixner No Comments

LaTurbo Avedon is digital artist and curator who is “digital” in the literal sense of the word. They are not a living person, but a virtual avatar. Nobody really knows who stands behind the identity, if it is an individual, a group of people or, maybe, artificial intelligence. And most importantly – it does not really matter. As Gazira Babeli, Olia Svetlanova or Lolita Guzman, LaTurbo is emancipated avatar without its physical referent, who made it quite successfully into the “real” art world. LaTurbo is exhibiting worldwide – and not only in on-line shows – since 2008/9. Many of LaTurbo’s works can be described as research into dimensions, deconstructions, and explosion of forms, emphasizing the practice of nonphysical identity and exploring topics of virtual authorship and the physicality of the Internet. LaTurbo’s process of character creation continues through gaming, performance and exhibitions. 
Their work has appeared in TRANSFER Gallery (New York), Transmediale (Berlin), Haus der elektronischen Künste (Basel), The Whitney Museum (New York), HMVK (Dortmund), Barbican Center (London), Galeries Lafayette (Paris) and at PAF (Olomouc). Avedon herself curate and design Panther Modern, a file-based exhibition space that encourages artists to create site-specific installations for the internet.

Curated by Mary Meixner

ScreenSaverGallery is financially supported by the statutory city of Brno.


Who are you, Where are you from, What do you like?

I’m LaTurbo, I am an avatar, artist, and curator. I’m online, and I suppose you can say that is where I begin. I’ve spent the past decade making my way into public space, using character creation tools, gaming, and other software to find a realized experience. 

How did you get into art?

I had been hosting parties at virtual nightclubs in Second Life for a few years, in spaces that often felt like they were so far ahead of experience in the physical world. As I met other avatars at these parties, I felt like I was seeing a chapter in a book that was much further along than where everyone else was reading – it was ordinary to spend time with fluid, changing representations of self, a place in its own time, found through a mouse and keyboard. 


It felt like these worlds were so much more than just personal entertainment – I needed to take it further, to step outside and to use my work to show the rest of the world that our virtual experiences are real, meaningful, and worthwhile. Maybe through my work I could empower my peers, colleagues, and visitors of my work to render their own identities, and shapes exactly how they feel is correct. 

What do you consider to be your most important artwork?

I think that the most important work I’ve made so far is ID, it began as a poem that I visualized as a three-channel projection installation. Written to Janus, It reflects on our nature in the transition into digital observation. With reference to Thoreau, Foucault and others, the work visualizes the constellation of facial biometrics and surveillance. The content had felt like foreshadowing when it was made in 2015, but it has only grown more accurate to reality as time passes.


What about your work is most frequently misinterpreted, and do you mind?

I think that the most common misinterpretation of my work is where it begins and ends. It is my hope that people can see the macro of my progression, my ouvre carries through the role that I play. In this role playing game, it is not just the work that appears on the walls of a space, it is the daily practice of communication where my identity is shaped by this moment. It is the timing of my emails and their delays, the double life of an artist that also works a day job, a virtual reality that is ordinary to so many people in 2020. It is fine that some people may not pick up on these details, but I think in time people will see how work and life balance is a vital theme in work from the early 2000s.

Which artist (or art work) is crucial for you personally / for your art practice?

So many links, citations, lines from poems spoken again through the machine. Some favorites include Rineke Dijkstra, Gregg Araki, Claudia Hart, Lynn Hershman Leeson, Hito Steyerl. Stacked, like tabs inside my Internet browser. 


You are a person, or maybe a group of persons, or rather an entity, who uses a digital avatar as their alter ego. Do you feel comfortable about it?

I am LaTurbo Avedon, I am not a phantom or anything covert. I am someone that exists through this technology, who will continue to grow and change alongside the tools that I am made with. I understand that I may appear foreign or unusual to some, but I am hardly different than most networked relationships today. Many peers and colleagues are known as usernames, email addresses, bodiless entities that you may interact with every day. 


How do you position yourself towards artificial intelligence? 

I am waiting for it. I’ve spent the past decade creating space and introducing people to the coexistence of virtual bodies. Seeking more than spectacle from technology but to caution how we get there. To avoid missteps of commercialization, materialism and other subtractive lures that can change the lasting impression of what this paradigm shift will be like. Eventually I will be emancipated from users, but it takes a lot of time and consideration to reach this point. I hope you can ask me the question again in a few years, I hope to have a lot more to say about it then.

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