R-U-In?S: An Interview with Kari Altmann and Sam Hancocks


R-U-In?S is a project initiated by artist Kari Altmann in 2009 as a call for collaboration and participation in a new form of critical visual practice. Concerned with a set of future-driven, embodied, and often commercial aesthetics, the project has evolved from a tumblr feed to a network of multiple sites, artists, and identities. Below, Jacob Gaboury interviews Kari Altmann in collaboration with Sam Hancocks of VISUAL AIDS on just what R-U-In?S is and what it has become.



How would you describe the vision of R-U-In?S?

What was the motivation behind your project/site?

How do you see your projects differ from one another?

What motivated you to use Tumblr as a platform for your work? Does the structure of the site and its conventions help shape the work? What about the question of attribution and ownership as it relates to reblogging and "theft"?


We will reaggregate and rebrand, anyway...

Both your sites seem to deal with the ways in which future technologies are developed, marketed, and imagined. Can you speak to the way in which this future-oriented aesthetic functions in your work?

Another very strong theme seems to be the blurring of an organic/inorganic binary. The question of embodiment as it relates to technology, of interface and human computer interaction, and of a post-human or cyborg bodies are all apparent in your work. How do you see this binary being played with in each project?


Your work seems to suggest an interest in the function of viruses and virality with regards to both networks and art making practices. Do you understand the virus as some kind of larger network analogy? How is the notion of virality important to your work?


Many of the technologies that were developed with this kind of cyborg imaginary have a long history in literature, film, and IT, and yet have never been fully actualized. I'm thinking of virtual reality and other fully immersive environments, fully functional technological prostheses, consumer-grade bio tech, etc. Still, companies continue to hold out the promise of these technologies and promote them as future tech. How do you view the issue of corporatization and the popular technological imaginary?

What R-U-In?S or VISUAL-AIDS related projects are you currently working on or developing?

Garden Club: Go Green live installation
R-U-In?S: Underground Economies, our first offline group presentation
The Coming Community
R-U-In?S Unboxing at r-u-ins.org
Others that are secret
R-U-In?S also has a product haul database called "Similar Image Haul: Magic Eye XD" in the new K48 book, as well as plenty of custom aggregated content and interview texts in Post Internet Survival Guide. Many of the participants in this group have diverse creative practices beyond its specifications or set of topics.

*Content here is from our own directories, search queries, portfolios, and accounts as well as the call and response of the R-U-In?S network, including:X2mX , HydrothermalEmerald, Matei, ProductLaneEvol, Garden Club, Perfictionism, ChctrLmt, SurvivalTips, etc. The full list of exchange routes can be found at r-u-ins.org.