Katherine Sweetman
Since 2007

Katherine Sweetman is a nationally and internationally exhibited artist in the fields of both new media art and documentary video. Her current work deals with online social networking sites and the issues surrounding personal disclosure in the public realm of the World Wide Web.

Her major areas of research involve public disclosure of private information in both online and offline environments. Katherine is currently working independently on YouTube Relevance Projects for her MFA thesis show and collaboratively two large projects with artist Felipe Zuniga and the artist collective The Infinity Lab.

Some major themes in Katherine’s work are:
-Disclosure of secrets
-YouTube video trends and response mechanisms
-The forgotten online artifact, for example, the forgotten YouTube video or Flickr photograph or text-based blog
-The idea of internet users seeking “divination” when they query a word in a search engine
-Video blogging for video bloggers, “Why do people video blog?”
-Public, performative interventions using private thoughts

Katherine has a B.A. from Cal-State San Marcos and is currently in her final year at the Masters of Fine Arts program at the University of California, San Diego. She is also currently a part-time instructor at Cal-State San Marcos and has recently been awarded a summer teaching fellowship to teach Intro to Computing in the Arts at the University of California, San Diego after her graduation.
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Drawing in the Media Stream

Sun Sep 21, 2008 00:00 - Sun Sep 21, 2008

United States of America

A Review: Drawing in the Media Stream
Closing reception and performance September 24th, 6pm

Swimming in the Media Stream

by Katherine Sweetman

You might bounce off Dick Cheney’s face and then float through the silhouette of the iconic, hooded, Abu Ghraib prisoner. You might drift over to the series of charcoal-preserved Olympic swimming moments and become nostalgic. You might even get caught in the large cardboard cutout logos and their understood consequences.

How do artists navigate the flood of media images in our contemporary society? Tony Allard and Kristine Diekman explore this question in their collaborative exhibition “Drawing in the Media Stream: A Hybrid Media Process” on display at the Southwestern College Art Gallery. The exhibition is a unique, evolving look into the world of perception, iconography, and the creation of memory.

The exhibition unfolds as a multimedia, multilayered, narrative record of the recent past. The cardboard cutout of an AT&T logo, an oil barrel, an Apple Computer logo, a peace sign, and other icons seem to have both personal and collective meanings. A computer rendered environment created in the 3D software “SketchUp” is projected into the domain of the cardboard cutouts. The audience can witness media images in their high-speed digital environment, or see others across the room, acting as their deliberate analog counterparts, hand-drawn with charcoal directly onto the gallery walls. The images in the gallery are familiar to us because they live in our recent, shared experiences, or at least our experiences of “the media stream”. The exhibition is a reaction to, and a reading of what Tony Allard calls, “the nowstream”, or the current global media stream.

In our contemporary world of constant news and media coverage, nothing stays still and nothing is fixed--not even the work in this exhibition. Come in on Tuesdays and Thursdays, 12-2pm, and you will likely see the artists working in the space, drawing on the walls, or perhaps they will be streamed into the gallery, from a remote location, via a live video-feed. Since June, the artists have been working in the gallery, responding to and constructing a personal record of streaming imagery.

“The show is connected to the idea of process, like the media stream it never sits still, in essence it mirrors the media stream itself in that it’s ongoing,” Allard says. “But these images have been pulled out of the media stream and slowed down to the speed of viewing-- of viewing object-based images,” he points to the section of gallery wall that holds hand drawings, newspapers covered in sketches, and drawings on cardboard.

The show is also about the act of drawing. The images in this exhibition are drawn from the artists’ memories and from pre-existing images that have been fabricated by the recording devices of the contemporary media, but mainly the work is about the blending of the two. The artists site author and theorist, Paul Virilio, and his essay, The Vision Machine, as a source for inspiration. In The Vision Machine, Virilio gives a name, “visionics” to the idea that a machine can now construct its own vision, replacing human vision and replacing the truth of human vision and perception. In the artists’ collaborative statement on the exhibition, they explain the dialogue between the kinds of representational drawings in the show:

“This installation is an attempt to negotiate the collision between traditional forms of perceptual drawing and visual memory making with what Paul Virilio has identified as techno culture’s headlong plunge into ‘visionics’, machine-based, sightless vision and image making. Visionics is techno culture’s new visuality, based completely on synthetic, machine-based vision, automated perception and contemplation. The drawings being created for this installation are not a rejection of the ‘industrialization’ of vision, but rather, are hybridizations: creating drawings, representations, and visual memories from immediate personal perception and from the perceptions of the new super synthetic vision machines.”

And, indeed, the artist’s drawing work seems to pass in and out of traditional forms of drawings, moving from realistic tracings to sketches and quick line drawing interpretations to computer aided renderings that question the definition of artistic “drawing”.

Both of these established artists have backgrounds and current works that involve the practice of drawing. Kristine Diekman is a professor of Visual Arts at Cal-State San Marcos. She currently works primarily in video and most often teaches video and computer related courses, yet she reveals that drawing has always been an important part of her work. Tony Allard works mainly in drawing and performance and is currently teaching drawing courses at both Cal-State San Marcos and Southwestern. The artists will continue to draw and the show will continue to progress and change as a direct reaction to the day’s media events until the final closing ceremony.

Tony wanders through the cardboard cutouts and projections. “In the media stream, an image can just be washed away. It just gets washed down stream, but creating a physical drawing takes it out of the media stream, so you can see what your looking at--at least for a moment.”

On September 24th at 6pm, there will be a closing reception and performance in which parts of the exhibition will be set on fire and cremated. The resulting ashes, along with a flash drive of digital files associated with the show, will be entombed in the ground as a kind of time capsule, relic or fossil of the exhibition. “FOSSIL MEDIA” is, appropriately, a name Tony uses for his website and work. This is a poetic ending to a show concerned with the temporarily of the image.

Drawing in the Media Stream,
Open through September 24th
Gallery Hours: Monday-Thursday 10:30am - 2pm, Wednesdays & Thursdays 6-8pm
Closing reception and Entombing Ceremony at 6pm on September 24th

Southwestern College Art Gallery
900 Otay Lakes Road
Chula Vista
(619) 421-6700 x1-5383


The Getty's "Video Revolutionaries" website attacked by digital artists and "over thrown"!

Sun Jun 01, 2008 00:00 - Sun Jun 01, 2008

The Getty's "Video Revolutionaries" website attacked by digital artists and "over thrown"!


videorevolutionaries.com: Descendants or Bastard Children of the Getty's "California Video" exhibit?

The Getty-commissioned website, videorevolutionaries.com, has allegedly been overthrown by a group of San Diego artists called “The Infinity Lab”. As an offshoot of the "California Video" exhibit currently on display at the J. Paul Getty Museum in Los Angeles, CA, the museum had created the "Video Revolutionaries" website as a way for emerging artists to "be a part of the video revolution." The top rated videos were promised a screening at the Getty’s "Fridays Off the 405" event. A monthly event held outdoors in the courtyard of the Getty Center. Part YouTube, part "American Idol," with this Video Revolutionaries website anyone could upload videos, and rate and view other videos. Anyone that was pre-screened by the website’s administrators and allowed on to the website. It was a video art extravaganza--until the contest was abruptly ended by the apparent onslaught of “cheaters”.

Although an obvious attempt to stay up to date to the latest in pop culture, it seems The Getty had not fully thought through the idea of using the Internet as opposed to the gallery for displaying video art. It quickly became apparent that the site was plagued by the tricks of “net artists”. For example, The Infinity Lab videos seemed to dominate the most viewed and highest rated sections of the site. The top viewed and highest rated videos both open with the words “This is a Digital Hijack”. Although no one has explicitly stated how this “hijack” has occurred, the discrepancy in numbers of ratings between certain user’s videos and most other videos raises questions as to whether it is an accurate account of the public’s opinions.

The content of The Infinity Lab’s clips seems to differ from other highly rated videos on the site. Most of the other works are fairly abstract and can pass as ambient, experimental video. Whereas The Infinity Lab’s videos star three characters with tinfoil or medical masks sloppily placed on their faces engaging in odd, random behaviors like dancing around in a backyard next to a toy swimming pool or barbequing tin foil-laden silver bones. It is possible these absurdist pieces are conceptual farces of YouTube culture, but The Infinity Lab doesn't offer any explanation to the Video Revolutionaries viewers.

It is evident that “Video Revolutionaries” is an ironic title for this Getty sponsored on-line public, faux New Media exhibition. In order to upload videos, artists must agree to a vast array of rules and regulations that can only be seen as a form of censorship. Simultaneously, the "California Video" artists whose work is inside the museum present videos that defy homogenized notions of artmaking in the confines of an elite institution. Would the transgressive actions of the Kipper Kids urinating in a cup be allowed on the Video Revolutionaries website? Or does censorship only pertain to those less privileged?

Perhaps this dichotomy invites an electronic hostile take over. It could be said that the “hijack” (although technically more of a net art prank) is an attempt to create a project that is truly inspired by their conceptual predecessors. In their public statement, The Infinity Lab denies all association with any alleged hijack. They claim that they had absolutely no part in this system of rating. They do however site a long list of net art artists who have done similar things in the past (some of whom they have even studied under at local Universities).

If a revolution is a modification of an existing methodology, constitution, or structure, then The Infinity Lab has succeeded in a tiny revolution that is not "homogenized" by the videorevolutionaries.com website. Any possible further effects of this overthrow are still unknown at this time.

The Infinity Lab can be found online:

…and perhaps at
(until the Getty shuts down the website)