About The Electoral College
For his Add-Art exhibition artist Jon Winet has chosen bodies of photographic work from his year long project focusing on the 2008 U.S. presidential elections and democracy in America, The Electoral College. The images — all taken by Jon Winet and his longtime collaborator Allen Spore — range from the earliest moments of the campaigns in Iowa in the fall of 2007 to documentation of debate watch parties, and have been collected into sets according to theme or sentiment (such as Maverick or Hope or Change). See the full bodies of work.
The Electoral College is an inherently distributed project whose online elements include a central website, a downloadable widget for the Apple Mac dashboard that displayed live statistics during the campaigns for the nominations; an ongoing blog of written and rich media dispatches, with contributors including David Levi Strauss, intermedia artists Scott MacLeod, Katie McGowan and Mark NeuCollins, and writers/artists Laura Hartwick and D.L. Pughe; a YouTube Channel of videos, and a Flickr photography site.
An experimental tuner, developed for _Vectors Journal_ is also in the very final stages of development.
In mid August, 2008 Jon and Allen Spore, Electoral College Associate Producer and Co-photographer, took a seventeen-day road trip to the Democratic and Republican Party national political conventions, joined by writer David Levi Strauss in Denver. The trip was quickly followed by a week-long swing in September across the Eastern Seaboard, as the focus of the project shifted to the presidential and vice-presidential debates and the final run up to the election. The resulting content is far more than just citizen journalism; perhaps it is a particular kind of citizen documentary. Jon and Allen were able to capture the faces, the props, the sets and the sentiments, with a truthfulness not evident on America’s mass media channels. The backstage access, the focus on those people for whom the cameras don’t usually linger lends an authenticity to their search for ‘American Voice’. In The Electoral College it is patently obvious that the artists have simply let the subjects speak for themselves.
This exhibition is timed to coincide with Election day and the following, so that when you read the news of the outcome on the morning of November 5th, the Add-Art advertisement replacements might blend seamlessly into the content on the page.
About Jon Winet
Jon Winet is an artist, researcher and teacher. He directs the Intermedia program in the School of Art & Art History at The University of Iowa, and is an Associate Professor in International Programs. He is the director of “The Electoral College,” a hybrid new media art | journalism project exploring the 2008 U.S. presidential election and democratic practice in America.
Parts of the project have been included in exhibitions at the San Francisco Art Institute, American University Museum of Art, University of Iowa Museum of Art, and was included in the UnConvention, a project initiated by artists and activists in Minneapolis-St. Paul during the Republican National Convention.
Jon is also currently in pre-production on “Goal 2010 South Africa!,” a media project on the upcoming World Cup. Working with professor and computer scientist Padmini Srinivasan in the School of Library and Information Science at Iowa, the project will include an exploration of the potential of emerging technologies to deliver health care to populations with limited access to doctors.
In August 2006, he launched “Zero One to the Globe –The World to San Jose,” a SMS and MMS project for mobile devices as part of “ZeroOne San Jose: A Global Festival of Art on the Edge & the Thirteenth International Symposium of Electronic Art”. During summer 2006 he also completed work on “Goal 2006!,” an international new media project on the World Cup in Germany The project was shown at Rocker 33 in
conjunction with the Wurttembergischer Kunstverein in Stuttgart, Germany.
Through 2004 he worked in the collaboration Margaret Crane|Jon Winet producing projects revolving around politics, art, language and image in the Information Age. During 1993-1998 they were artists in residence at Xerox PARC, a think tank in the Silicon Valley, investigating the impact of the Internet on public space. Their projects include “2004-America & The Globe,” a year-long multimedia
project on the presidential elections; “The Street” a 2003-2004 art in public kiosk poster project highlight non-profit social service agencies in San Francisco; and “Monument”, 2002, an online hypertext project based in Newcastle that explores English northeastern identity in the contemporary landscape of cultural regeneration and global economics. Their work has been shown nationally at Hallwalls Contemporary Art Center, Buffalo, New York; Walker Art Center and
Intermedia Arts, Minneapolis, Minnesota; San Jose Institute of Contemporary Art and San Jose Museum of Art; Contemporary Arts Forum, Santa Barbara, California; San Francisco Camerawork, Ansel Adams Center/Friends of Photography, Yerba Buena Center for the Arts, San Francisco, California; and White Columns, New York.
In fall 2006 he was appointed director of the Experimental Wing of The University of Iowa Virtual Writing University. The ‘Wing’ develops new networks and delivery systems for hypertext and experimental writing. He has previously taught at the California College of Art, Maryland Institute College of Art, School of the Art Institute of Chicago, University of California, Davis, San Francisco Art Institute,
University of Lethbridge, and San Francisco State University.
Jon serves on the advisory boards of Southern Exposure, San Francisco; and Outpost for Contemporary Art, Los Angeles.
About curator Sarah Cook
Curatorial Fellow Sarah Cook has been based in New York at Eyebeam since Spring 2008 through a partnership with CRUMB, the online resource for curators of new media art at the University of Sunderland. Sarah and CRUMB worked with Jon Winet in 2002 on a collaboration with Margaret Crane funded by Arts Council England and office-based public art agency Locus+, to investigate the economic regeneration through cultural projects in the Northeast of the UK. This is her second Add-Art exhibition, and her first-time witnessing up-close an American presidential election campaign.