Artistic Insights

ACI Artist Leader Basil Kincaid 

Project: "Reclamation Ghana" 2014-15

Placement: Accra, Ghana 

Hometown: St. Louis, USA  

In my past blog; “Materiality of Art & the Art of Thanks” I spoke abstractly about the questions that I confront and explore in my work in relationship to the materials that I encountered and dialogued with. 

Here I will endeavor directly into those questions and play with the conversations that I find bubbling beneath the surface of the materials – the conversations that I have come to love as I collected them with the community. I will also dive into my interests, some newly found others revisited through new lenses.

I am interested in time, the temporal, the transient. 

I am interested in using myself as an itinerant traveler as a subject to spark conversation around concepts of home and displacement. 

I am interested in buildings scheduled for demolition. 

I am interested in debris: the debris of our conversations, the debris of the internet and our interaction with it. 

I am interested in communication and economics: the economics of communication and the effects that these economic interactions have on the way we communicate. 

I am interested in the way the internet can flatten the imagination. A child goes to draw a bird and before allowing imagination to run wild, finding all the possibilities of what a bird might be or look like, a search is performed collecting millions of captured images in essence flattening the idea of what a bird is to the limits of what google, bing or yahoo says a bird is, or looks like. 

I am interested in examining the internet as an entity that can, and in many cases does, act as a prosthetic imagination. As art, music and performance are increasingly being removed from schools or marginalized, the internet can become crutch to replace the imaginations that are being amputated by over saturation of the media and attachment to internet enabled mobile devices and a coached ideology that art is something that only a select few people are capable of or are gifted at. 

I am particularly interested in the role that the internet and the media play in the production and performance of identity. How do the images we absorb and are targeted with affect our behavior and conceptions of self? I question how the media helps or hinders the process and journey of self-discovery. 

I am interested in how the internet can be used to educate and aid in the process of miseducation. 

I am interested in how one’s ability to search effectively or ineffectively broadens or limits their ability to access education or resources on the internet. 

I am interested in the effect that mobile technology has on daily life and on the interactions between people. 

I am interested in the ways in which mobile technology connects and disconnects us?

How does the saturation of the media and access to the internet shape our perceptions of self and others within cross cultural contexts? What are their effects on culture/ the production and performance of culture? 

Even what we know to search is in a way coached by the way we are influenced by the media, our education, our surroundings, and our upbringing. 

I then question if through our inability to make truly unbiased searches we subconsciously use the internet to validate our coached beliefs in a way. 

We use social media to generate an image of a best or alternate self, which is an imaginary, incomplete, shadow of the true self bolstered up as the real or highest self; we create a cyber-version of the self we want the world to see within the lens of each particular social network. 

This leads me to wonder what effects these extra spaces that we participate; and in a way exist, in effect our performance of self in real life. 

As cyber spaces grows in regard to being held with real world importance I am interested in questioning how these spaces reach back into the real world. 

There are stories of kids fighting and even killing each other or themselves over comments made on Facebook and Instagram. 

There is a blurred line between reality on the internet and reality in real life. It all makes me think about and quest into questioning how reality will be affected when as we develop continually more immersive alternate realities. 

These questions led me to exploration of the humanoid sculptural forms with the scratch cards and using humans in conjunction with the forms and generated spaces in the photographic works that I produced.

I am interested in place, displacement, and how concepts of home or belonging shape identity. 

I am interested how the internet operates in a globalized world to create a pseudo sense of belonging anywhere or a fabricated sense of familiarity with places that one has only experienced in cyber space or through the media, taking media projections and isolated experiences catalogued on the internet as lived experience allowing them to shape perception. 

How do we actually construct our sense of home and belonging? 

Take Africa for example. The media has done such an effective job of generalizing Africa that many people view Africa as a country rather than a continent. 

People often have this fixed image in their mind of what Africa is like, an adopted prosthetic perception, although many have never stepped foot upon her shores to drink of her diversity and dynamism. I'm interested in bringing all of these divergent, seemingly unrelated histories together in one place to flatten them in a sense the way the internet does to look at the connections throughout time and questioning how far we have come and how far we have to go as a species to come to grips with our bifurcated identities to better understand ourselves and each other.