Events Graphic
MIT Media Lab about us . academics . sponsors . research . publications . events . people . contact us


Jennifer and Kevin McCoy
Lecture as part of the MeAoW (Media Arts or Worse) Series

Thursday, April 25, 2002, 8:00 PM EST

Bartos Theatre, MIT Media Lab (E15)

Computing Culture group

Kevin and Jennifer McCoy create a new interface to their work: an article with no words longer than 4 letters: "Our Love is a Four Ltr. Word." It's pretty short, for obvious reasons.

"In 1996 we had an idea: why not work side by side all of the time, so we can stay with the Idea. So we did and we were wed. The way we work now, we can make art at home, at work and in the lab. We can talk to the one next to us and the talk can help us both. We can find out more and make more art fast. We both work hard and do a lot of work, but with lots left to find out, even now.

"We can talk to you of the idea of play, of data, of code, of a rule, of two who make work, idea by idea, side by side.

"Year by year we have done it. We meet and talk and make art. We do not know what will come when we talk. We make a rule and then see what the art does when it is done and out in the room.

"We like art and we like TV so now we make art with TV. When we see TV (or even film), we can find one idea and then more and more and more. With TV, it may seem that you see it all in it, but you don't. We ask "why is TV this way and not that way"? We ask, "who do you see in TV and how do you see them"? Most of the time, they only show an idea or two, what of all the rest of life? It does not all fit, so we try to make it fit. That is our idea now. We make a list and put all of life into the list. We take TV and find out what it says for real - how we see it. We make old TV new.

"We make a new kind of tiny data kit, a new TV kit - kind of like what Nam Jun Paik or John Cage did, only new this time.

"When we work side by side, most of the time it is to try and make a list, word by word, item by item. We also work with code. Code is a word, a word in a list, over and over, more and more till the page is full. But code is more than just a word, code is a kind of rule too. It puts some data in and some data out. But most of all, code is an idea, a "hard" idea. It's not that code is hard to make (but it may be), it's just that code does not bend. It has it's way, and that is all that it does. When we make code, we take the idea and make it hard.

"When you look at our art, you can see a lot in it. You can hold it in your hand, move it, edit it, make it go. You can make our art the way you want it and see what you like. We like it that you can pick what you want—but you know, it will yet be our idea, with our rule and our code. You play your part, just like all the rest.

"What we like now: Doug from the U.K, and Ric from E.D.T, Kung Fu, Star Trek, 2001 - the film. We like art that has a joke in it and a way to read life into that joke. It is good that even if we can make a joke from TV, TV is still a big idea and to see that, a joke can help. The joke can make a line from the art to life even if the joke is not so good.

"We read that book "on the line" once. In it the two guys said "down with the I, we are many!" From the get-go that was true for us, too."

Jennifer and Kevin McCoy are new media artists. Their work plays upon the capacity of new technology to fragment, store, and analyze audio and video material. Resulting projects include installations, performances, and net art that explore ideas of genre, interactivity, and automation.

In New York City, their work has been exhibited at P.S.1, Postmasters Gallery, the New Museum, and the Swiss Institute. Commissioned projects include net art projects for the Walker Art Center, the Alternative Museum, and the Whitney Museum of American Art. International exhibitions include the ISEA festival in Manchester and screenings in Poland, Japan, Switzerland, France, Germany, and Holland. In 2001 they received an award for New Media from the Colbert Foundation and in 1999 they received the New York Foundation for the Arts grant in computer arts. Articles about their work have appeared in Spin Magazine, Feed, and The Independent. Jennifer and Kevin McCoy live and work in New York City and received MFA degrees from Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute.

MIT Media Laboratory Home Page | Events Main Index