I take pleasure in reshaping technological materials, while searching for concealed portals and alternative possibilities. Operating under a forensic drive to reveal specters and data hidden from plain view, I am guided by feral approaches to fabricating and performing. The practice of breaching analog and digital apparatuses arises in order to create channels for responsive aesthetic engagement. All devices are objects with malleable, and often veiled, conditions, where play can become sociopolitical acts of exposure. What are the limits of the technologies I utilize? In what ways can the human body intersect with machine through physical actions such as friction, breath, vibration, or electricity? My body, whether described as the boundaries of my skin, or as the ecological space I inhabit, or even as the tools that aid in perception, fold into one another at often unexpected moments. Through precarious situations I confront various physical and imagined surfaces, which become intermedia performances, video works, photographs, textual documents, constructed objects, and sonic explorations.
Over the last decade I have been producing impromptu and long-term research work at-a-distance, and in intimate live settings, with an emphasis on artist-operated mobile stations and temporary localities. My being with an audience or community frequently runs parallel to works that are presented statically. With this in mind, collaboration often develops through a necessity and love of dialogue. Whether solo or in collaboration, these exchanges and relationships form work through (and about) shared and differentiated labor, technological failure, and performative improvisation. There are many ways to achieve these outgrowths of the body, so I use obsolete and novel materials interchangeably to work out the results. Such a tangle of methods bears witness to evocative object-events that are initiated through flexibility and mischievous study, obfuscating tools much of the time. Shifting creative research from proper technical use towards an intuitive or counter-productive inquiry propels imaginaries that upend societal circumstances.
Laboring, while not firmly distinguishing between discovery and failure, allows anarchic knowledge to take root. Knowledge is always situated and enlivened through acts of disorientation. Opening up the confines of a tool’s construction and meaning signals unique insight into human desire. Is something ever really broken or dead? This any means necessary attitude cultivates open-ended works that live simultaneously as media archaeology and social sculpture. These anarchic studies produce prosthetic realities, developed as a means of extending my sensorial touch within the world at large. By first asking what makes something “technological” to begin with, out-of-kilter tactics for determining fieldwork and information retrieval have become necessary components of my practice. While often allowing noise to over-power signal, my actions take a position of sabotaging commodities in order to contort them towards these hidden, eccentric desires.
© 2020 by Ryan Wade Ruehlen