Gabriel Martín Uribe Bravo
Where did you start as an artist and or creator? Well this is a tricky question because even for me that is not clear, i’ve been a web programmer for like 10 years because i love the web but no matter where i worked the freedom i got was very little, i’m not complaining or anything it was just a tad disappointing, i’ve always had this dream since i was little of how programming on the web was i guess i still refuse to let it go. So when i got frustrated i decided to just do it even if nobody would pay me for that, i guess that is when i became an artist or creator, i just started making webpages i would do if nobody told me what to do. Think about this: programming is seen as a technical trade (not creative), its never the programmer who comes up with an idea we just follow orders from designers or creatives and so it is kind of boring. I don’t think that is necessarily wrong it works for some kind of content but it is not why i became a programmer. I did it because i still believe it is the most fun, like having a massive lego box.
What do you think you are most passionate about when creating?Coming up with something unexpected even for me is very exhilarating, most of my webpages are funny or just plain weird and i don’t conceptualize on it i just start making code. I do it because i like to see the reaction on people, some webpages are meant to make you laugh, others make you uneasy or just scratch your head. Whenever i get the response i was aiming to it just feel great because my aim is for the web to generate another kind of response on people, to show that it is capable of it.
Can you explain the idea of Garden Review, where the name came from, and why did you choose to start this project? Ok the Garden Review is a game i invented, i ask all the people i know to write a text about whatever on any format and i make a webpage displaying the text. It is anonymous except for me that is because most people are very shy about what they write, i know that because i am that way too so this is a unique chance to just write without worrying about it being cheesy or badly written. The game is then for me to try and emphasize with the text and the person, to provide a context for it even if it doesn’t make sense at first, i just focus of the texture the text generates, or the mood. The game for the people writing is to challenge me with the text, i always talk about it with them when i publish it so i know if i was successful in understanding what they were about. I started it because i wanted to see how the people close to me wrote, i think the manner in which you write and the subjects you choose are a great way of getting to know someone better and well it has been a success in that part.
What were some of the ideas behind this entire concept? It’s called the garden review because it sounds fancy, like a year ago me and some friends where applying to some artist scholarships and stuff like that and our big problem was not work but work experience, we had no exhibitions or showings to talk about. So i started joking with the idea of making a fake website of a really great art magazine based on Glasgow called the Garden Review and just say we were working for them to improve our chances of wining haha, somehow it ended up being something completely different but the name stuck. For the concept i started it thinking about trash, particularly on the web. I think trash defines my generation since we swim on it.
In a more general sense i think trash is something that has lost its propose for existing. Like packaging for furniture, it ceases to have a function once you unpacked said furniture and then becomes trash and lingers around. In the web that happens too, a photograph you took some day and store on iCloud or whatever but never deleted it’s trash, it just lingers there and does not have a function, you could say it is harmless it is just a megabyte who cares? but have you ever wondered what percentage of the web its trash? i get dizzy just thinking about it. So how do you avoid making trash? that is my main worry and this is my first attempt at an awnser: you simply take something that was thought to be worthless at first even by the author, the random text and put some value on it recicllng everything else from the web, images, songs, even the code is mostly stolen from somewhere else. Then i feel like im giving propose to something that was trash at first. You can think about the internet like an infinite collage ¿you feel like using a video of a little girl dancing around? You don’t have to make it just steal it from somebody else’s forgotten youtube channel.
You think the web has great potential if we see it as a medium capable of artistic content (it is not right now) instead of just somewhere to put an ad. Can you explain this a little more? Well most things this day and age are created towards an economic goal, the web is no exception and i think it is more clear on the web even. Webpages are seen as a tool to inform of something else, not as something themselves. That is what i mean when i say they are ad’s, because that is mainly their function and i don’t say it lightly, if we look at our navigation on the web on a computer we go from Facebook to google and back so those companies get to rule the internet and establish rules. Those rules are geared towards economic gain and webpages then have to be “convenient” or are omitted from the platform and well, convenient content leads to standardization. It is no different with artist, all artist webpages are minimalistic even if they took photos of dismembered goats, still the website would be a white background with clean black typo. I understand why, they want the actual work to standout and the rest very minimal it makes sense, and well most artist don't understand the web and don't want to. I get why they do it but those webpages are just an ad for their work and void of any artistic intent which is anything but convenient. I think the website is actually a very powerful tool if we just take the risk and time of figuring out how to approach the content it intends on displaying.
What exactly is this bigger step you are trying to take? Right now im working on expanding the garden review by working with other artists directly and we are turning it into a magazine. The idea is the same though, instead of just showcasing artistic work made for some other reason we are making content explicitly for the web to show that the it is indeed capable of being an artistic medium, its not that i don’t think there are some examples of it already but I would like for artists in general not just web artists to see it as such.
For starters a good friend of mine is doing the garden review dynamic but with her own social circle, she is a video artist and the result has been great, since she is not a programmer this is like a collaboration, im not making an artist webpage since the artwork is meant to live on the web.
Also i’m working with other friends of mine (artists) to let me do a re-apropiation of their work and display it on the garden review, the way it works its similar to what I do with the texts only a bit more difficult because the content is much more complex.
It has been really hard but I think we are finally getting the hang of it, a collaboration is hard work I think because you really gotta try and understand something somebody else made, no easy task but very excited about the results we have been getting. I’m hoping to get this out somewhere around summer.
You can check out more of the Garden Review by clicking here!