LoVid is bridging analog, digital, and natural realms ✷
A Q&A with artist duo Tali Hinkis and Kyle Lapidus
LoVid is made up of partners Tali Hinkis and Kyle Lapidus. Collaborating since 2001, they started with boundary-pushing audiovisual performances, and expanded their practice over 22 years to encompass various media, from prints and wearables to NFTs. They’ve also become quite renowned in the traditional art world, and have presented their work at MoMA, Eyebeam, The Kitchen, and PS1, just to name a few.
As artists they prod the blurry lines between analog and digital, physical and organic. Their work combines ideas and approaches from art, science, and technology—all with the aim of questioning our perceptions of time, place, and the self in today’s networked era.
In the conversation below, Hinkis, Lapidus, and Gemma contributor Willa Köerner delve into LoVid's recently launched Founding Artist Edition, YES** Color Recall, which is available to mint now on Gemma.
Willa Köerner: Tell me about the piece you’re releasing with Gemma, YES** Color Recall. I’m seeing snow, and this gorgeous animated tapestry element. What’s the story behind the work?
Kyle: We've always been interested in interactions between people, electronic devices, the environment, and natural and artificial signals. This piece combines all these interests and also gives a nod to Upstate New York, where we captured the photo and enjoyed some really nice snowfall. Interestingly, the term “snow” is also used to describe the static on an old analog CRT television.
Tali: For the past decade, we’ve been living in and out of wild nature, and collecting images of ephemeral outdoor sculptural interventions has become a consistent part of our creative process. We generate our colorful animated patterns using computers and analog electronic devices, which can create a sense of distance—or, dissonance. Once you bring in a landscape, it draws people in with a sense of familiarity.
We also do a lot of work with fabric and tapestry. Historically, no matter what culture you look at, patterns in fabric and garment-making often reflect the repetitive designs found in the natural world, such as florals and animal prints.
In the piece created for Gemma, we took the photo during a pandemic snowstorm using a plexiglass filter to play with light and color. It feels like forever since we've had a big snowstorm, but we wanted to channel that completely focused, almost silent and reflective, experience of being in fresh snow. It’s similar to being in total darkness, where after spending some time immersed there, you start seeing all of the subtleties and discover a whole new set of color waves.
Where do the colors for the tapestry come from?
Tali: The tapestry mixes analog colors with algorithmically generated ones. It's a meditative color game where we’re working between digital and analog recordings, trying to see where they can interact in an interesting way. Those particular blues and pinks are actually hard to find in our system. We typically work with RGB hues, so to be able to incorporate these light pinks and blues, we had to go out on an excavation mission before we could bring them all together into the final composition.
Overall, we’re seeking these interesting forms, as well as a sense of dimension that creates a feeling of luminosity and contrast. All these parts combine to make a texture that resembles a woven tapestry.
You tend to work between digital and analog media, and there’s often a physical element you bring into a piece, like a scarf made of silk printed with a texture from the work, for example. With releasing an NFT as a purely digital work, with no physical component, does it almost feel too easy, or too simple?
Kyle: We love working with concepts related to translation, iteration, and recycling. We're always interested in the limitations, and as a result, opportunities, of any particular medium. In this case, the strictly non-physical, purely digital nature is a key part of it.
Tali: Recently we were talking about one of our earliest works called VideoWear, from 2003. It featured 14 wearable LCD monitors that we used to show our works directly on our bodies. Back then, there weren’t wireless phones or mobile video displays. The fact that there are now wallets holding our NFTs all over the world, viewable on various devices, allowing people to interact with the work wherever they are—that in itself is a beautiful thing. While releasing NFTs might feel simple, we don't take the technology for granted.
Kyle: The most inspiring aspects of web3, at least from our perspective, are its distribution and the strong sense of community. Especially for this particular artwork, which resembles a window, it would be incredible if people could have it on their phones and hold it up against a snowy backdrop. We would love to see how this piece can become layered onto other people's surroundings and experiences.
Tali: We encourage people to take their NFTs outside. This artwork is meant to be enjoyed while you're taking a walk.
I love the idea of giving people an idea of what to do with an NFT—something beyond just storing it in a wallet.
Kyle: Take it outside into the snow, go sledding or snowshoeing with it. That's the idea.
Tali, you said in another interview that the goal of your earlier work was, “not to be accepted by institutions or sell art. It was to be authentic and use the tools that corporations, governments, and militaries made for us to consume in ways that they were not intended to be used." I'm curious, is this still a goal for you?
Tali: Are you asking if we’ve sold out? [Laughs] We still prioritize being deliberate about the tools we use and how we use them. Much of our creative practice involves analog instruments, artist-made tools, and self-built systems, which hasn't changed over time.
Kyle: We're interested in the flaws and limitations of the equipment we use, whether that's physical equipment or digital tools. This extends to the natural world as well—finding flaws, glitches, and errors is important, and offers a lot of inspiration for our work.
Tali: There are advantages and disadvantages to putting our work on the blockchain, obviously. We think about and reflect on not only the tools we use but also the methods of distribution and how they are perceived.
You’ve both been artists for a long while now, and you’re pioneers in the digital space. Do you have any tips or advice for the younger generation of artists who are coming up at this moment?
Kyle: I have a background in music, and when I was younger, creating cassette tapes to share music was an exciting way to distribute files. As time went on, CDRs became available for burning CDs, but even then, sharing music was hard. There weren’t MP3s or anything like that. It's important for the younger generation to realize the opportunity they have now to instantly share their art with a wide variety of people all over the world, instantaneously. Try your best to appreciate it, enjoy it, and just go for it.
“As human beings, we have a natural inclination toward the worlds that we don't know—the mysterious worlds.”
Read more from our conversation with Anna Condo
Gemma is an emerging community co-inhabited by artists, curators, and contributors with a shared vision for how culture can shape our future. This summer Gemma is releasing weekly open editions from our Founding Artists, which you can mint now. Subscribe and follow us on Instagram and Twitter to be notified about new releases.