Navigating the Digital Nexus: A Conversation with Jonathan Monaghan

Navigating the Digital Nexus: A Conversation with Jonathan Monaghan

Sedition’s Community Manager Vladislav Alimpiev had the pleasure of asking a few questions from Jonathan Monaghan following the launch of his latest collection of Sedition, Zephyr.

Q: Can you provide an overview of your artistic practice and how you approach your work?

A: For the past fifteen years, I have been exhibiting digitally animated videos, sculptures, prints, and installations. This work is motivated by my growing concern over the dehumanizing and alienating effects of society’s growing technological dependency and the ecological consequences of consumerism. My work weaves together ancient myths and metaphors with wide-ranging references to science fiction, mass surveillance, and materialist culture. The result is a cross-disciplinary, yet connected body of work, eliciting anxieties about the future while offering critical reflections on the technological landscape they come from.

Q: How has your creative process evolved over time?

A: My creative process has evolved as I continuously experiment with new technologies and techniques. I have embraced the continuous advancements in digital tools and software, which have allowed me to push the boundaries of my artistic practice. This evolution has enabled me to create more complex and immersive artworks that explore the ever-changing relationship between humans and technology.

Q: Are there any particular artists, movements, or experiences that have significantly influenced your work? If so, can you share them and how they have impacted you?

A: I have always been a big fan of Rachel Maclean and Shana Moulton. Although I don't use performance as they do, I love how they explore contemporary anxieties through a colorful critique of popular culture.

Q: What inspires you to create and continue working in your chosen medium?

A: I think the transformative effects of our digitally-connected culture require the artist's perspective. We are inundated more and more with digital imagery. My works appropriate the sleek, computer-generated techniques and aesthetics found in these all-encompassing forms of digital imagery (video games, advertisements, etc.). This provides my audience with a familiar framework but recast through my critical reflections on the digital landscape, the works also elicit deep-seated anxieties about the future.

Q: Can you give us some insight into your latest collection on Sedition, Zephyr? What themes and ideas are you exploring in this new work?

A: Zephyr delves into themes of power, beauty, and the tension between the natural and the man-made. This collection presents a juxtaposition of opulent baroque architecture in a surreal and dream-like motion, creating a visually meditative experience. By blending traditional and contemporary aesthetics, Zephyr invites viewers to contemplate the evolving relationship between humanity and technology in our modern world.

Q: As an artist, how do you stay engaged with the ever-changing contemporary landscape?

A: To stay engaged, I actively participate in art exhibitions, engage with fellow artists, and stay curious about new technology and critical theory. I am also constantly seeking new inspirations and opportunities for collaboration.

Q: In your opinion, what are some key developments or trends in the contemporary art world that have influenced your work?

A: I don't think an artist should try to follow trends. The best art doesn't come from looking for trends in the contemporary art world but from experimentation and a critical eye on the world around the artist. I embrace digital tools and platforms because they are powerful mediums of artistic expression. Additionally, the growing emphasis on interactivity and immersive experiences in contemporary art has encouraged me to explore new ways of engaging audiences and blurring the boundaries between the physical and virtual realms.

Q: What are your thoughts on the role of digital art and technology within the contemporary landscape, and how do you incorporate or respond to these elements in your work?

A: Digital art and technology play a vital role in shaping the contemporary artistic landscape. I am interested in leveraging the power of digital platforms to reach broader audiences and exploring the impact of technology on our lives and society.

Q: How do you envision the future of your artistic practice and its place in the broader art world?

A: While video installation is the primary aspect of my art practice, I also work with digital fabrication techniques such as 3D printing and computer-controlled milling to produce sculptures in a variety of materials, such as plastic, marble, and gold. I began creating these works in the same computer software as my animations, with imagery, themes, and forms appearing across the physical and virtual spaces. As these works straddle borders, I aim to engage in the growing disconnect between what's real and what's mediated. These works are experimental, challenging new technologies to produce forms impossible with traditional sculptural methods. This has led me to exhibit in a diverse range of venues, from outdoor sculpture exhibitions to major film festivals, in addition to galleries and museums, and I hope to continue this avenue of exploration.

Q: What advice do you have for emerging artists looking to make their mark in today's dynamic artistic landscape?

Stay true to yourself; learn from artists around you in the art world, but don't try to simply imitate. Stay curious and be patient.

Mentioned artists
Jonathan Monaghan
Jonathan Monaghan
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Artworks 5

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