Eye To Eyebeam: A Conversation With Slava Balasanov

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Eye to Eyebeam is a new series on Eyebeam's artists in residence and fellows. The series will include interviews, photos, and other information and is authored by Eyebeam intern Katherine DiPierro.

From sound collages and virtual sculpture to his collaborative website gifpumper, Slava Balasanov’s projects are riotous, self-aware of their digital status. The Digit, an augmented reality sculpture of two connected thumbs, is only visible through an iPhone app, where it can be seen hovering over Union Square, its chrome surface mirroring the sky and ground. After making a few additions to gifpumper, Eyebeam intern Katherine DiPierro sat down with Slava for a chat about some of his past work.

Katherine DiPierro: What are you planning on doing during your residency?

Slava Balasanov: My main goal is to 'complete' gifpumper. One of the main features of the site is that it can be used in real time by several people to collaboratively create a website. To bring this functionality to the forefront I have to build out the social engine of the site - give users the ability to see who else is working on a site, to rate and mark one another's work, and communicate. After that is done I plan to make the platform more general by enabling creation of a wider variety of website that include text, video and other html elements.

KD: What kind of process do you go through in creating your music/sound art?

SB: Creating music is somewhat similar to art in that it is a cultural discourse. It is like being in a very big dispersed band... sort of a loose form of collaboration. Its exciting to find people that are focusing on similar sounds and references and ride the genre-meme waves with them.

KD: The Digit is a virtual sculpture. Like other sculptures, could it be bought and sold?

SB: Indeed it can and in fact it is actually for sale. For an undisclosed sum, a proud owner can have their name (or a phrase of their choice) engraved on the body of the digit.

KD: Gifpumper makes me think of what might happen if the internet threw a carnival and everyone showed up. What ideas and experiences lead you to start that party?

SB: I was excited about what was happening in the net art scene - the renewed attention to gifs and formation of new internet-based communities. I wanted to make something more immersive and explore the the internet's true 3d space - one made up of 2d html objects. I love the resulting abstracted spaciousness and I'm currently working on features enabling easier traversal of that space.

Thanks so much, Slava! For more information on his current projects and exhibitions, be sure to visit Slava Balasanov’s Eyebeam page and personal website.