Africa ArtBox 2017 Laureate
Nathan Gates, South Africa
He is working on the domestication of knowledge, in part due to the increasing ubiquity of digital technologies and the accompanying technological thinking.
His winning project proposes to experiment with the physical dimension of technologies, linking the way a website’s information is presented to the physical state of the server running the website.
This project was chosen because of its innovative nature, its experimental, participative content and its approach which seeks to make tangible and understandable the experience of Internet users.
2017 Africa Artbox awards has been won by South-African artist Nathan Gates thanks to his project “ Everything is in perfect working order ” that he further developed during his residence at Plataforma Bogota from may to June 2018.
His concept is an electronic device that forces your web provider to face north when you navigate on internet so that you can correctly visualize on your screen the sites you visit. When you face South, the sites content show tuned upside down, mirroring how the North imposes itself as the unique reference in the worldwide network.
Nathan Gates holds a Digital Arts Master from Witwatersrand University, where he later taught physical computer and artistic practices through media networking. Concerned by the way daily use of technology creates knowledge construction processes and structures, he questions the capability of users to choose and act in more and more controlled environments.
Workshop -Laboratory “This Speed to Weight”
The residency at Ptaforma Bogota has been associated with a workshop-laboratory for artists and different professionals (developers, web programmers, architects, designers, system engineers, sociologists, social communicators) interested in experimentation and research in the fields of human sciences, technology and science.
A total of 22 Colombian professionals participated in this workshop which was developed during the months of May and June 2017 through the Institute of Arts District – IDARTES.
Nathan Gates’ “That Speedy Weight” workshop aimed to explore the relationship between the Internet as an interactive phenomenon, its physical dimension and its physical infrastructure, dimensions often ignored by the public during its daily use.
During the workshop, from different routers and sensors, Nathan Gates and participants created a series of devices that can function as a web platform server that is sensitive to the physical environment.
The creative process in residence
Interception between workshop, research and creation is a central element of the Africa ArtBox competition proposal as a professional development tool for artists in Africa.
More than an isolated act of personal creation, the laboratory-residence is proposed by Africa ArtBox invites the artist to confront the other ways of thinking and working, in order to engage in a process of dialogue and reflection. in various physical and cultural environments during his own creative process.
Presentation of the results
“Everything is in perfect working order” is the final work developed by Nathan Gates during his creative residency at Plataforma Bogota. This is an electronic device that forces your web browser to cope with North when browsing the Internet to properly view websites on your screen. The south-facing Web pages appear completely upside down, pointing out that the North is the point of reference for a global network.
This brainstorming tool proposed by Nathan led to three new projects proposed by participants in the laboratory workshop, from which they interrogate the Internet as a tool, as a plastic matter and cultural conditioner.
The results of this work process were presented at Plataforma Bogota from May 31 to June 15, 2018 and were accompanied by a debate on digital arts in the Global South, led by Nathan Gates and Maria Luisa Angulo, director of TRIAS CULTURE.